Home > PPC
Mysterious Nonscience Reader 2014
HrnmsGrbrd -- Humour/Parody -- Posted: 24/09/2014 -- Updated: 29/09/2014
"Author's Note: Hello, friends! My name is Grace Ann. I'm new to this whole fanfiction thing; but recently, I've encountered a problem that I believe this is the solution to. My little ones have been asking to read the Harry Potter books; and of course I'm happy for them to be reading; but I don't want them turning into witches! So I thought….. why not make some slight changes so these books are family friendly? And then I thought, why not share this with all the other mommies who are facing the same problem? So-Ta da! Here it is! I am SO excited to share this with all of you! So, without further ado- "

"This is not what the summary said," grumbled Hieronymus. "I've read fiction that had no magic and still wasn't family friendly."

"I bet you also wrote some fiction that was not family friendly, specifically about us. I just never found it, yet."

"That's unfair," complained Hieronymus. "How often do I need to apologize? There are really only the two pieces you know, and I tried to be subtle about the matter."

"I would not call it subtle," retorted Androia. "But since there was some magic involved, my comment may have been missing the point. I apologize for this. Now let me read further." And thus she ended this inane argument and continued reading.

"Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Harry Potter who lived under the stairs in a house on Privet Drive with his aunt and uncle. He was a good, obedient boy who did all his chores; –"

"Now that's not how I would describe him."

"– but he felt that there was something missing in his life."

"May have been his parents."

Androia raised her voice. "Something big and special; but he could not quite name it."

"The names might be Mrs. and Mr. Potter."

"He stayed up every night; and wished for this special something; but then one day, there was a knock at his door-and everything changed." Androia stopped reading to ask "Hieronymus? Do you know that it is impolite to interrupt when somebody else is speaking?"

"Sorry, I'm still not over this author's note. I always thought that Harry Potter is family friendly, and now I'm afraid that her take on family-friendliness may be quite different from mine. The start doesn't look good. She may have changed more than would be good for our purpose."

"You saying that the main character is not characterized properly does worry me. I admit this. But do you also imply that the original book revealed everything about Harry's parents in the first paragraph? I would probably call this bad story-telling. And it seems clear enough here. Mrs. and Mr. Potter are not available for some reason that is still unknown, so that these kind people took Harry in, although their house is so small that they cannot even give him a spare room to live in."

"Part of the problem is that the Dursleys aren’t kind. They dislike Harry so much that they don’t want to waste a room on him."

"So I got this wrong. But it may be clarified later. And I am curious who may be at the door. May I continue now, uninterrupted?"

"Go on then. I hope we will not be drowned in semicolons," muttered Hieronymus.

"’Answer the door, Harry!’ his Aunt Petunia, a career woman, barked from her armchair where she sat with her feet up. She had short, curly blonde hair and never wore any makeup. Uncle Vernon nodded sheepishly from the kitchen; and put a tray of moist, chocolatey brownies in the oven."

Hieronymus shook his head in disbelieve.

"What is wrong now?" asked Androia. "We get a strong female character, and a male character who is not above helping with the household work. Is this not what we want for children to read?"

"Just read on," sight Hieronymus.

"Shouldn't you be doing that? Harry thought; but he was a very obedient young boy, so he answered the door right away. He turned the brass, metal doorknob; and pulled open the heavy, wooden door."

“Now this sounds actually sensible. Don’t let your little kid open the door for a stranger, while you’re just sitting in your armchair. In case it is an alien monster, you are better suited to defend yourself."

"You see, it is already clarified that this Aunt Petunia is not as nice as I thought. It may not be word for word what you expected, but it is an accurate retelling and I can learn from it. Now let me see whether it is an alien monster –

"On the porch was standing a huge, muscular man with a big, manly beard; and he was dressed in a plaid, red shirt, blue jeans, and sturdy, leather boots. His chest was covered in a thick, unruly carpet of coarse, brown hair. He wore a necklace that looked to Harry like a lowercase T. Just looking at Harry feel happy, peaceful somehow; but ..." Androias voice trailed off. She frowned. "Who is looking at Harry? Why do they specifically look at Harry feel happy and why does Harry feel happy in the first place? His recent thoughts didn’t sound happy."

“I’ve no idea who this man might be," admitted Hieronymus. "But I think it may make more sense if Harry looked at something that’s unfortunately missing there, and looking at it made him feel happy."

"I will take a wild guess then, and also correct the tense shift," agreed Androia. “Just looking at the little tee Harry felt happy, peaceful somehow; but he couldn't say why! – Well, I could not say either, but it appears to make more sense this way. Let me see whether I guessed right –

"’Good morning, kiddo,’ the man greeted amiably; and smiled at Harry. He had the peaceful, friendly sort of face you just knew you could trust. ‘My name is Hagrid. Could I speak to your mommy and daddy?’"

"He’s meant to be Hagrid? This is far too rushed! Hagrid should not appear before chapter four! And since you don’t allow me to interrupt you, I would also like to mention now that up there I wondered how Harry could see the unruly carpet of coarse, brown hair through the man’s red shirt."

"I just assumed that Harry got X-ray sight. Since you imply that this is not the case, should I fear that there may still be some magic left in this retelling?"

“I don’t think so. There will probably be a reasonable explanation. Read on."

"’I don't have a mommy or daddy,’ Harry replied sadly; and looked at his raggedy, old shoes that were blue. Perhaps that was why he felt so lonely, he thought, not for the first time. Maybe that was what he was missing-a mommy and daddy. But no, that was not quite right. – Look, there was no need to interrupt me with sarcastic remarks in the first paragraph."

"Okay, I apologize for talking out of order," said Hieronymus, not using any adverb. "But I wonder what he might have missed even more than his parents.”

"’I am so sorry to hear that!’ Hagrid uttered empathetically. – I wonder," added Androia, "how you utter something empathetically. May this be a case of the threaded Thesaurus Abuse?"

"Maybe." Hieronymus’ response was quite monosyllabic. "Go on."

"’You can speak with my auntie and uncle,’ Harry retorted politely; and blinked his big, blue, childlike eyes."

"Green," groaned Hieronymus, "his eyes are green. You know, she may be retelling the movies. But even then a lot is left out."

"I wouldn’t know," replied Androia, using a contraction once just for the fun of confusing the reader. "Are Harry’s eyes blue in the movies? Did you notice that the semicolons are back? Can you imagine a polite retort? "

"Yes, they are. Don’t tell me you missed them. There was just one short paragraph with no semicolon in it. And no, I can’t. "

"Well then – ‘What do you want?’ Aunt Petunia peered out the door with her narrow, suspicious eyes; and she was wearing a baggy, unflattering pantsuit." Androia hesitated. “Is this, together with short, curly blonde hair, and a career woman never wearing any makeup, an accurate description of Harry’s aunt?” she asked at last.

"The eyes and hair may be canon, but –"

"I don’t want to sound misogynistic, but from what I have seen of World One media, I would expect that it is impossible to be a woman, have a career, and never wear makeup. Wearing a nice dress at work and baggy pantsuits at home I can imagine though, and I am not sure whether this is meant to be set in World One."

"Your definitions of career may differ. You think big business’ Chief Executive Officer, she thinks mechanic in overalls. But what I wanted to say before you interrupted me – canonically Harry’s aunt is a housewife, while Harry’s uncle is something like a CEO and never seen doing any household work."

"So they were changed into their opposites? Why should this be?"

"I haven’t any idea. I hope we’ll find out when you read further."

"'Hello, neighbor! I was wondering if you have been saved,' Hagrid exclaimed brightly; and tipped his wide-brimmed, straw cowboy hat."

"Will somebody please say something unadverbalized," grumbled Hieronymus. “We’ve already dropped most of the speech tags to compensate for the overflow."

"Aunt Petunia laughed a gravelly laugh; and leaned forward on her sturdy, practical boots. 'Saved? Don't tell me you are you – ah, there is one you too much here – one of those Christians?"

"Two," murmured Hieronymus for no apparent reason.

"Harry did not know what that word meant; but Hagrid's smile was the most peaceful smile he had ever seen. It made Harry feel warm and happy inside just seeing the glowing, radiant grin on the kind, friendly stranger's face. He wondered why Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon did not smile like that... I am not sure what I shall do with this ellipsis here. If this implies that the narrator’s voice trails off and there is a pause, I may take the chance to comment on the word that Harry does not know. It is one of World One’s bigger religions, but not being native to this world, I never studied it in detail. I suppose that Christians are obligated to always smile and save people? "

Hieronymus winced. "That’s what this version of Aunt Petunia may believe. But most of us – ah, most Christians I know, I mean –"

"But Hagrid is meant to represent Christians! Or maybe he is not? Oh –

"'Yes, I am,' Hagrid replied kindly. 'Are you?'"

"No, I’m not," mumbled Hieronymus.

"Aunt Petunia laughed again; and stuck her pointy, sharp nose up in the air. 'We are too smart for that. Haven't you read Dawkins? God is dead! Dawkins proved that. Would you like us to educate you on the Dawkins?' – Who or what is the Dawkins?"

"Clinton Richard Dawkins, famous British biologist and atheist," explained Hieronymus, who had quickly googled this on his smartphone that had never been mentioned before. "You know, that’s interesting," he continued. "To prove that god is dead, it seems necessary to prove that he was once alive first. I may need to read Dawkins works to find out how he did this."

"Can we pretend that this is not the right time to get lost in the internet?" asked Androia, slightly worried.

Hieronymus shrugged. "Oh well, it may not be worth the effort; Aunt Petunia probably got this wrong anyway. Go on, then."

"’What is a Christian?’ Harry queried innocently; and scuffed his shoe on the shaggy, yellow carpet which had not been vacuumed in quite some time. "

"Uncanon," snarked Hieronymus. "Petunia is one of the tidiest persons I’ve ever seen. Is she so busy having a career in this AU that she didn’t find the time to hire a cleaner?"

"’Christians are people who want to be good,’ Hagrid explained wisely; and crouched down so he was on eye level with Harry. ‘We want to go to heaven after we die. Do you know what heaven is, Harry?’ " Androia frowned. "Implying that people who are not Christians do not want to be good is a bit unfortunate. I might feel offended. And, supposing that this heaven is a good place, doing good only because they want to go to heaven sounds like a quite selfish motive. But you seem to believe that Hagrid does not represent Christians well. Can you educate me on the topic what a Christian is, then?"

A brief smile showed on Hieronymus' face. It had been a long time since she had asked for education. But the smile vanished soon. Better not touch these shameful memories. And concerning the topic –

"It's – complicated. You should ask a priest."

"You should ask a priest! This is what you made me say whenever somebody asked why I knelt at a moon well. It is not fair to quote it back on me!"

"I’m sorry. I don’t know your religion, and I don't even know where you got this belief. I just thought I should play you showing some respect at places I perceived as meant to be holy. Unlike some of the guys we’ve seen there."

"And apparently you do not know your own religion either. We have a serious case of not done the research here. "

"It’s not my religion. I –"

Harry shook his head; and his big eyes were wide and curious.

"’Heaven is a beautiful place where we can be with God.’ – Is this like being with Ysera in the Emerald Dream? Although – Ysera is not a god, and we do not need to be dead to share the Emerald Dream. Actually, we need to be alive."

"I don’t know how being in the Emerald Dream is like."

"As I said: not done the research. Well, I have to draw on other sources then –

"Aunt Petunia smacked her hands over Harry's young ears; and her voice was sickly sweet when she said, ‘Thank you very much for your concern, sir, but he does not need your religion, he has science and socialism and birthdays. Haven't you heard of Evolution? I have a very good textbook on Evolution that I could give you on it if you would like to learn things.’"

"Evil Aunt!" shouted Hieronymus. "I don’t need any religion," he continued calmer. “But I decided this on my own, after checking the facts. You shouldn’t shut your pupil’s ears and eyes. Helicopter parents don’t do any good."

"Helicopter parents?" asked Androia.

"They always hover above the kids," explained Hieronymus, "guarding them against any bad experience that might ever occur, and actually denying them any own experience at all. Effectively, they make the kids more vulnerable to the first bad experience that will inevitably come when they are not around."

"This reminds me of something," said Androia with a faint smile. "But I forgave you, and I predict now that Harry, since he was never allowed to think on his own, will inevitably be lost if his Aunt cannot defeat the intruder."

"Yeah, Uncle Vernon is apparently of no use there."

(to be continued)