There is the old saying that “Blood is thicker than Water”, and this is one of the main issues which I want to address with In From the Cold. I’ve always considered the magical world behind Harry Potter to be one where family is the most important thing; it might be a ruthless cut throat world in terms of business and blood (social classes) but I’d always imagine that family bonds would still be of the most importance, whether those bonds are to siblings, parents or husbands.

JK shows us that a Wizarding family can and will take extreme measures when one of their own refuses to follow the family ideology; the example being Sirius Black, who was disowned for nothing more than having his own views of the world. However it is rare that we see struggles in the families of the main characters; yes there are some occasions, such as Percy Weasley, who although not completely disowned by his family, was ignored when the family chose to side with Potter, against popular opinion. My point is that especially with Potter, he slips too well into the family dynamic of the Weasley Bunch, especially after many years of abuse. After the way that he has been treated by the family authority figures of the Dursley’s there should at least be some minor trust issues; it can be accepted that he makes quick friends with Ron and then Hermione, children are forgiving of others, and will try their best to get along when they can; but to suddenly accept Molly and Arthur as parental figures after staying with them is a little much.

Something similar could be said about the elder Potter’s accepting Sirius Black. We have very little information about the background of the Marauders, but it is general speculation that James’ parents are Charlus Potter and Dorea Black; making James and Sirius cousins of an indeterminate distance. The Potter’s and the Black’s although both suspected to be prominent families in the Magical World, the gold in Harry’s vault tells us that the Potter’s were anything but poor, would have likely occupied polar opposites of the high society. With the Black’s being known for their pure-blooded heritage, their motto translates to mean “Always Pure”, and their connection to the Dark Arts, especially throughout the first reign of Voldemort. Where the Potter family, having connections to Godric’s Hollow and likely to the Dumbledore family, would most probably occupy the circles influenced by ‘muggle lovers’ and those interested in the integration of magical and muggle society, especially for those witches and wizards of a muggle decent.

In ‘In From the Cold’ I want to challenge the overly happy outlook of the magical world, instead of seeing the horrors Harry faces countered by the loving adoptive family, I want to show that even Gryfindor’s can by as bad as the Slytherins. I want to look at the family ties that hold a family such as the Weasley’s together, yet would cause a family such as the Black’s to cast out their Heir.

From the very beginning we are introduced to Angel Harmony, a ward of the state. She’s going to have some trust issues, no matter how she appears. From an author’s perspective, I see an unexplainable bond between twins, and I am using this as an explanation for her trust of James. I have one younger sister, and I hope that if anything should separate us completely for an extended period of time, that upon meeting again, I would know her. I would be able to say, “Yes this is my sister” without a shadow of a doubt, just because she is blood of my blood, just as I am blood of hers. Angel’s issues are more likely to stem from the authority figures of parents, she’s grown up surrounded by members of the Social Services, who are likely to have called her magic “freakish” or possibly tried to have her diagnosed has having some sort of mental disorder. She’s never had parents, and the people she looked up to haven’t been able to tell her anything of her history, or been able to explain any of her “abilities”; it all fell to Professor Sprout, who as revealed in the second chapter had no knowledge of Evangeline Potter, that knowledge belongs only to Professor McGonagall. Angel has every right to be hostile towards the otter family, they are the parents who abandoned her at birth, the parents who only granted her a name and nothing else.

At the end of Chapter 2 we are given a hint that the Skeeter family will play a rather large part in the telling of this story. I introduced this as I wanted to be able to show what was happening, not only from the internal perspective of Angel, but I wanted to be able to look at things from the outside too. Even though Rita Skeeter is known to exaggerate the truth, I figured that instead of invent another journalist I would use the resources that JK has provided.

Chapter 3 really introduces the Skeeter Sisters, we all know Rita from the books, but Serenity is my creation. Through the sisters I want to examine the way family impacts our futures and influences our choices. I want to add something to the back story of this woman, it’s a bit tragic, but I see a woman hidden behind all of the layers of make up who wanted something more from life. I see a woman who has learned to be happy with the lot that she’s been given; she’s about ten years older than the Marauders which puts her in the beginnings of her career as the first war against Voldemort was beginning. I’ve always wondered if it was an outside influence which pushed Rita into the way of journalism in which she resides.

I created Serenity as a means of getting the newest information from Hogwarts to Rita. But as I continue to write, I see her character developing. The Potter Scandal is going to be the big make or break story for Rita. And its going to be the event which shapes her future as well as the futures of others. And I see Serenity as that family influence which pushes Rita outside of her comfort zone into the world where she has to adapt.

See you next time
R x

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