Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Introducing Hydrangea MacDuff

Hydrangea will be joining us here at Knitsmith, Wordpurl every so often. You'll be able to tell it's her because she'll write in italics. She's a participant in the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap 5; if she writes a lot, she may get her own blog. I'll try to keep it all straight, but I know you all will understand if it blends together a bit.

Hello all. I'm Hydrangea, 'Drangea for short, a first-year at Hogwarts. I have a rather interesting history--My dad is a Squib, my mother is a muggle. So discovering that I am a witch was quite a surprise!

My dad, Jamie MacDuff, is from an old wizarding family, Ravenclaws all, who specialize in arcane studies of magic. My grandfather, Sturgeon MacDuff, contributes regularly to Transfiguration Today and often serves as an examiner for the O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. exams My grandmother, Eurydice, is a former Quidditch champion, from back when Ravenclaw was the powerhouse team. Dad grew up in a family that simply expected excellence in all aspects.

It came as a great shock to Grandfather and Grandmother when their younger son showed no signs of magical talent. Otherwise normal and clearly intelligent, he simply could not perform even the simplest baby spell--not even toy broomsticks worked for him, a heartbreaker for his Quidditch-loving mother. As he grew older and his siblings went on to Hogwarts -- my auntie Coriolis was a Ravenclaw prefect at one time, and uncle Benjamin was tops in his class AND Quidditch captain -- my father began to realize that he wouldn't follow the same path.

Luckily, my grandparents were not ashamed. They sought the best research on Squibbishness and tried everything to educate their son in magical theory, but also accepted him for what he was. So dad, instead of attending Hogwarts, attended the local day school with the muggles.

While attending muggle classes, he became fascinated with muggles and became sort of an anthropologist, (a muggleologist?) studying the habits and culture of non-wizarding folk, learning how to fit in, researching how to live his life as a non-wizard. He went off to University and there he met my mum. He had to decide -- did he tell her about his family? or present himself as a muggle entirely? He was torn.

To this crossroads entered an unexpected opportunity. It had been just a few years after You-Know-Who had been defeated, and the Ministry was finally putting itself back together. The Minister of Magic realized the need for better understanding of and communication with the muggle world, but it had to be done without violating the Statute of Secrecy.

Grandfather Sturgeon, hearing of the Minister's conundrum, suggested that his son Jamie would be the perfect secret ambassador to the Muggle world. And so my father lived for years with one foot in the magical world, reporting on and analyzing muggle society, culture, and possible responses to magic -- he was the first to study the effects of dementors on muggles -- and the other foot in the muggle world, living an ostensibly normal life with my mum, brother Thaddeus, and me, baby Hydrangea, going off each day to his job in London as an "insurance analyst."

My brother is muggle all the way. But I was different. My mum couldn't figure out how I kept escaping from my crib...seemed to be able to talk to the dressed in seconds without opening my drawers...threw spaghetti against the wall, forming an image of the Mona Lisa. She had me checked out by paranormal experts, by IQ testers, by doctors and nurses and pastors and New Agers, all to no avail. I was normal by all (muggle) measures.

Da, of course, suspected the truth, but denied it for a long time. The recessive magic gene, you see, usually doesn't manifest for
several generations; it's why wizard children can suddenly appear in completely muggle families, a result of the rather barbaric practice of giving Squib children up to muggle families, a practice that persisted until just a few generations ago.

As I approached the fateful age of eleven, Da checked the Hogwarts list and realized that I was on there; Dumbledore wasn't going to deny me my education, my identity, just because Da had a secretive sort of job. Da was going to have to reveal the truth to Mum -- his parents had not died of cholera while doing missionary work in India; he wasn't an only child; he wasn't really an insurance analyst (although he thought she'd probably be relieved to find out the last bit--what a boring job!). In fact, he was from a very respectable family who were alive and well, living in a big rambling house in Inverness, writing their articles and studying their spellwork. Auntie Coriolis and Da, in fact, often collaborated, although they hadn't seen each other in person in years.

The summer I was eleven, Da suggested a family vacation to Scotland. We visited all sorts of fantastic sites, took the train everywhere, got sunburnt at the shore even though it was cloudy out (who knew?), and finally ended up in Inverness one night for a late tea. When the lovely old couple in the funny robes approached us, I thought it was just another historical re-enactment; soon, I expected, William Wallace would pop out, too, in his blue paint and dreadlocks. Da saw the couple, started crying, gave them hugs, and they joined us at our table. Mum was in shock, Thaddeus incredulous. You mean we'd had grandparents this whole time and we didn't know?

Grandfather handed me my Hogwarts letter -- he'd persuaded Dumbledore to send it directly to him. I'll never forget the look on his face as he said, voice thick with tears, "This should explain a lot, lass."

We spent the rest of the vacation with Grandfather and Grandmother. Mum adapted quite well, I thought, and Thaddeus was for the first time EVER, sort of jealous of me. I went directly to Hogwarts from their house, and I'll likely spend most of my holidays there, too, getting to know them, Auntie Coriolis, Uncle Benjamin, and their families. Da writes me every week, asking me about being a Ravenclaw, how'm I doing with spellwork, will I try out for the Quidditch team? I can tell he's trying hard to let me live each experience for myself, but I can also tell that I am, just a little bit, living it for him as well. Pfewf. No pressure!


Anonymous said...

Nice biography! Watch out for those Slytherins. they don't seem to always like the non-purebloods.

Lavender A said...

Wow, that's a great bio!! Will there be more to the story in future posts from Hydrangea? (I hope so!)

Lavender Diggory-Dolohov said...

Great bio!! Plus, I love your name. Hydrangeas are such beautiful plants!!

Ingrid Ze Insightful said...

Wow! You've got a great story, Hydrangea! Nice to meet you by the by- I'm Ingrid, your other roomate! (:

I look forward to getting to know you better over the term. I myself, am a fourth-generation Munro, though I don't have the last name. ^^;