Mid-Term Performance Review
A Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire Crossover
Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall set up a meeting with Hogwarts' inflammatory new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.
Author's Note: I had this silly idea while I was reading A Dance With Dragons and watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the background. This story is set in the years while Harry is growing up at Number Four, Privet Drive.
"Come in, Minerva," Albus Dumbledore projected serenely, not moving his eyes from his copy of The Quibbler.
"Albus," Minerva McGonagall breathed exasperatedly as she swept across the headmaster's office. "You have made some odd decisions when it comes to new professors over the years, but as your Deputy Headmistress, I feel I should inform you that this has been the worst to date."
"I'm aware of the grave charges laid against her," Dumbledore stated calmly. "Take comfort in the fact that, at the very least, she'll be gone by the end of the year."
"That may be," McGonagall glared through her rectangular spectacles, "But I am concerned that, by the end of the year, all of Hogwarts will be gone."
"You don't give the castle enough credit," Dumbledore chuckled.
"All the same, I wouldn't put it past her to try and burn it to the ground."
Dumbledore glanced at a grandfather clock that stood near his desk. "She'll be here soon. We can handle it then."
McGonagall huffed in aggravation, sitting in a leather desk chair to Dumbledore's right. She opened one of his mahogany desk drawers and thumbed through several folders until she reached a tab that read, Melisandre of Asshai. Thinking it wise to refresh herself on the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor's background, McGonagall glanced into her file. Melisandre had stated that she trained in the magical arts in a very select eastern school of magic called the High Temple of Volantis. She had submitted a glowing letter of recommendation (and by glowing, McGonagall had recalled that the parchment itself seemed to have a dull, red glow) from its 'High Priestess,' a woman known only as Kinvara.
She placed the folder on the desk and smoothed her tartan robes over her knees, steeling herself for what would surely be a tiresome ordeal.
When a few minutes' tense silence had passed, there were three slow, steady knocks on the door.
"Come in!" Dumbledore commanded.
The door creaked open to reveal a beautiful woman in red robes. She smiled quizzically at her superiors, her heart-shaped face somewhat illuminated by the glowing ruby she always wore around her neck. As she came closer, McGonagall thought the room's temperature increased.
"Good evening, Professor Melisandre," Dumbledore greeted politely.
"Nay, do not say that the evening is good, for the night is dark and full of terrors," Melisandre began in her ringing, exotic tones.
McGonagall rolled her eyes.
"We must pray to the Lord of Light for dawn to break."
Dumbledore nodded amiably. "Of course. However, we are not here to discuss our yearning for the dawn. Minerva and I would like to discuss some of your… teaching practices so far this term."
"Melisandre," McGonagall began. "When we appointed you to this post, it was with the understanding that you were competent in our Defense Against the Dark Arts curriculum."
Melisandre's eerie smile did not break as she nodded in McGonagall's direction.
"However, it seems to me that the only thing that you've focused on so far this year is setting different things ablaze and sacrificing them to your Lord of Light. I hope it will not be lost on you then that we are somewhat concerned about potential learning outcomes for your pupils." However, McGonagall already knew that this was lost on Melisandre when she began to speak.
"Silly incantations and wand waving can be used to fulfill the Lord's will, but the truest expression of power is that of the flame."
"Professor Flitwick handles all of the flame charms in his class, I assure you. Your focus should be on the defensive magic that is, once again, laid down in our curriculum."
Melisandre smirked and rose dramatically, peering out the darkened window. A light snow was falling, coating the Hogwarts grounds in a crisp, white shroud.
"Curriculums and standards are meaningless in the face of the oncoming winter. We must prepare ourselves."
McGonagall scoffed. And I thought Trelawney was disgustingly melodramatic! Before she could speak, Dumbledore spoke.
"My dear lady," he said. "I assure you that winter is part of the natural way of things. I know you are new to this part of the world, and you may have never experienced a winter before, but you will weather it with aplomb."
"Could we attend to the topic at hand?" Minerva reminded them sternly. Melisandre smirked at her once again and returned to her chair opposite Dumbledore's desk. Dumbledore smiled widely at both women. "Now then," McGonagall continued, adjusting her spectacles and holding her open folder aloft. "It says here that in the first week of school, you had your students do nothing but stare into your classroom's fireplace searching for visions from your Lord of Light."
"How better to defend from the dark than by learning the will of R'hllor?" Melisandre asked innocently.
"Two weeks later, you took a party of third year students out onto the grounds and tried to burn Mr. Filch's cat as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light."
Melisandre pursed her lips. "That man lacks vision. My students told me that Mrs. Norris was cruel and wicked, and we all decided that the best way to cleanse her was through fire. She would have been cleansed by the Lord if it weren't for your groundskeeper."
"Hagrid displays an endearing fondness for all living things," Dumbledore explained. "He, as well as all of us, were puzzled by your notion that burning Mrs. Norris alive would, in some way, be beneficial."
"Moving right along," McGonagall continued, "You tried to teach fifth year students how to unleash Fiendfyre, though you were, thankfully, unsuccessful."
Melisandre shrugged and smiled. "It seemed to be the one useful thing on your curriculum."
Dumbledore and McGonagall exchanged worried glances. "It's not on the curriculum," Albus said.
"Accio Curriculum Guide!" McGonagall said, magically summoning the book, which laid in front of her on the desk. She flipped to the index searching for Fiendfyre. "The only time Fiendfyre is mentioned is in the seventh year, where we educate our students on how to resist dangerous bits of dark magic."
Melisandre chuckled at this. "The Lord of Light protects his chosen."
"I don't doubt it," Dumbledore began, "But all it takes is for one student not to be his chosen or for one of your rituals to go wrong, and we could face some rather dark times for Hogwarts."
McGonagall inwardly groused at Dumbledore's use of the word, "dark," as she knew that this was one of Melisandre's favorite terms to play off of.
Surely enough: "The only dark times that this school need fear is the death that the winds of winter will spread near and far across this land. Only the Lord's chosen champion, born amid salt and smoke, will be able to stand against it." The Red Priestess suddenly turned her attention to Fawkes the Phoenix, who was surveying her with interest from his perch, which sat off to Dumbledore's left.
"R'hllor's chosen fowl? In my many years, I have not had the honor of laying eyes upon one."
"You are welcome to come and visit him whenever you desire," Dumbledore said kindly. "And if you would like, I'm sure he can come and visit you."
Melisandre beamed with pure joy. "Thank you, Professor Dumbledore!"
"I think that will conclude our meeting for the evening. I do hope you enjoy your night-fire."
Melisandre bowed and swept from the office.
"Albus!" McGonagall grumbled. "I was not finished with her!"
Dumbledore laughed and rose from his desk. "There will be no need for us to deal with Melisandre any further. She's not going to listen to us."
"Or rather, she's not going to listen to reason," McGonagall muttered.
"She seems to have a fondness for Fawkes," Dumbledore stroked his bird's crested head.
Suddenly, Minerva McGonagall realized what her friend was thinking. "She won't obey us, but she will take orders from 'The Lord's Chosen Bird.'"
"Precisely," Dumbledore smiled widely. "Every morning, I will send Fawkes to Melisandre's classroom with the approved lesson plans. She's bound to cease some of her pyromania if she thinks her fire god is telling her to teach the students Patronus charms and tickling hexes."
McGonagall smiled, placing Melisandre's folder back in the staff records. "Albus Dumbledore, you are a genius!"
"Not at all," Dumbledore waved her praise away. "I just know that when a person won't listen to the voice of reason, they'll listen to the voice of whatever it is they've replaced it with. Now go and rest, and I'll see you at dawn."
Minerva McGonagall did not think that the night was dark and full of terrors, but she could hardly wait for the next dawn to break.
Author's Note: I hope you chuckled a bit while you read this! If so, please review and favorite!