Just Why Canty?
by Rob Morris
Late 1998, Gryffindor Common Room
The Trio were in the midst of sorting through endless boxes belonging to the late Lily Evans Potter, and none were decidedly too happy about it. Ron was folding his billionth or so napkin when he spotted Harry reading something.
"Nice of your Auntie to just suddenly dump all this in your, and therefore our, laps."
Harry nodded while not taking his eyes off the document in his hand.
"It's actually remarkable she informed me of the storage unit at all-just prior to cancelling the contract my grand-folks made for it, so she could cash out the remainder of its term. Who knows? Maybe one day, she'll actually send me cards saying why she couldn't get me a Christmas gift that year."
Hermione saw her friend wavering, and finally said it.
"Go to bed, Harry. You've been on this all night. We can sort through at least some of the rest of this mess."
Harry waved her off without looking up.
"I will-I mean, I have to. But this document-I guess there were stories on both sides of my family."
The young couple looked at Harry, who now realized he had to clarify that statement.
"Sorry. This ancestry document - done long before the current craze and researched a fair bit - says that my direct ancestor was none other than Sir Thomas Canty."
Harry in this case was so tired, he depended on Hermione's nature to fill in the knowledge gap he was nearly certain Ron had in this case.
It was a Muggle story of and in the Muggle world, so Hermione was perhaps less pedantic than she might be otherwise.
"Ron, Sir Thomas was a young man knighted by King Edward the Sixth. The two shared an amazing adventure together, right around the time of the king's accession. Now, Harry - off with you."
Harry got up and headed for his bed, a bed still not reassigned as post-war troubles kept Hogwarts' population down for the foreseeable future.
"Don't even have to tell me once, in this case. Night-morning all."
Hermione waited till he was well away and then still checked to see him entering the sleep area. Ron shook his head.
"Alright, what's not right?"
Hermione moved some of the boxes around, so as to absorb sound and keep their privacy.
"First off, you promise me, no repeat of the Tri-Wizarding Tournament."
The blood-vessels in Ron's eyes became visible.
"You know, Harry let that one go a while back. Why can't you? Didn't you say we were both being impossible?"
"I lied. Only YOU were. Harry, I just tried to bamboozle with false equivalency. Now, what I'm about to say may stir up feelings like those you admitted drove you back then. So Promise?"
Ron rolled his eyes.
"I promise. Besides which, relying on apparent facts in that case was not a smart thing to do. Now give with it."
Hermione did just that, and in his heart, Ron knew his lady was trying her best to boil it all down.
"Okay. What happened with Edward the Sixth and Tom Canty was not only an adventure, it was nearly a succession crisis."
Ron went from angry/confused to gaining a thoughtful look.
"Does this have to do with Jean Grey?"
Hermione fought back a sigh, recalling Charlie Weasley telling her that, while British monarchs were heeded, acknowledged and known by and to the Wizarding community in the Isles, in many respects they were foreign rulers, as far as magical folk were concerned.
"Actually, it was Jane Grey, not Jean-certainly not Jean. Anyway, not in this case, though she was around for it. No, when still Prince Of Wales, Edward spotted Tom, who was very nearly his own twin. Having no idea of how the poor lived, Edward commanded Tom to take his place as Prince while Edward played at being a Pauper. More badly lost in Tom's world than anyone could have imagined, Edward almost lost his birthright forever when King Henry the Eighth took deathly ill and near to designated Tom as his official successor when the two reunited just in time. Since Tom had loudly told everyone of the ruse but been dismissed as mad, he was not charged with crimes and in fact lauded by Edward. He named him a knight, and he prospered well, since he was overseas when the mess with Jane Grey and Mary Tudor kicked up."
Now, Ron did look upset.
"Bloody Hell! That's the story of The Prince and The Pauper! Why didn't you just say that?"
Hermione looked entirely astonished, and on the verge of blushing.
"You know who Samuel Clemens is?"
"Uh-yeah. Mark Twain's statements about Humanity were taken as Anti-Muggle by some, so he got popular in the Wizarding world. I always loved that one, but I thought King Henry died while his son was away."
Hermione both delighted in this new knowledge but inwardly cursed her own ignorance in this matter. Given how many stares she and Harry got when referencing something as simple as The Flintstones, she just took a near-universal cultural divide as a given, something she would not allow for again.
"Clemens fictionalized the real events to make his rather curmudgeonly points. Now, speculation has existed for a long while, though only spoken of openly after Elizabeth's death, that Tom was also a son of Henry the Eighth. Given the way the King went about, that's not hard to believe."
"I guess six wives just wouldn't do, would it? Bloke had energy-and probably a few dozen health concerns at that. Jokes aside that would explain the resemblance."
Hermione allowed for the jokes, because of just how much hard truth they reflected.
"There's also evidence that Tom's own supposed mother was the illegitimate half-sister of Lady Jane Seymour, Edward's mother. King Henry was a special case, but all the nobles went where they felt like."
Ron had been around Hermione long enough to catch nuance, as well.
"You said Tom's supposed mother?"
While he was asking this, Hermione gestured and turned some blank pages into rendered images of the people in question. Ron glanced at Jane Grey, noticing she oddly looked a little like Bellatrix.
"Yes-now this part, I only learned while cataloging Dumbledore's offices. You see, King Henry the Eighth had a friendship and association with a Dark Wizard whose name is now lost. It seems like he used this man to kill off his older brother Prince Arthur, first Prince of Wales under their father, Henry the Seventh, who was the Henry Tudor from Richard the Third, a play written by-"
"I ALSO know who Shakespeare is. God, Woman! We're in-country expatriates, not aliens landed in a rocket ship. Even then, he'd be hard to ignore."
Hermione would soon after this begin studying the crossover between the two cultures, where it existed. This would lead to the shocking reveal that House Elves were just as divided as Muggles on the eternal debate over The Munsters versus The Addams Family.
"There's no need to be cross. I don't know everyt-RON, you stop writing that down! I MEAN IT!"
Calming down, Hermione continued her narrative.
"Well, him killing his brother that way not only led to his being King, but like as not the entirety of the Reformation in the Isles. But when said dark wizard wasn't paid for his efforts, he swore to enact a revenge the paranoid king would never see coming. For you see, according to these records, Edward when born to Henry and Jane Seymour had two sons, including a twin born minutes after Edward. Jane Seymour was a frail sort, so the first revenge was the toll the exhaustion of having twins took on her. Henry either truly loved her or did not have time to become bored with her, take your pick."
Ron sat down at that thought.
"No thanks. One is sad, the other's just sick."
Then he looked up at Hermione.
"So Tom Canty was really Edward's full brother?"
Hermione sat down as well, heartened a bit to see Ron reject the selfishness of the multi-wived king.
"It seems so. The wizard knew any overt revenge would be met with him being pursued on all fronts, so he did something Henry could not realize fully until he saw Edward and Tom together. Tom's mother - Imperiused to believe she really was his by birth, was a good woman, though his supposed father outdid the Dursleys in many cases. Tellingly, while he avoided all court intrigue and really the court itself after Edward passed, Tom was always compelled to sign loyalty oaths to each monarch that followed, up to his time as a very old man in the reign of Charles The First."
Ron showed the signs of ciphering behind his eyes, much as he did for chess.
"That alone could be proof of lineage. I mean, there were non-royal causes and reasons for it, but royals were known to enjoy longevity at a time most really couldn't."
Hermione fought off a shudder, as she often did when her man showed his brains in full.
"Good-point. You see why I warned you off earlier? While the Tudors' own rights of succession were disputed, they did make the crown, with Elizabeth effectively creating Great Britain by designating her heir as James of Scotland. You realize what this makes Harry?"
Ron risked a lot by smirking in that moment.
"You yourself just said the fact of crowning is what drives much of the heir arguments. Also, you're forgetting: even if they had a disaster in the royalty or needed the mystic 'true heir' or some such, it wouldn't be Harry. His Aunt Petunia is the older sister, and she has an heir-maybe two or three heirs in one package."
Hermione moved to wipe that smirk away.
"Ronald-don't you think I know that? But consider. You are someone, who, for reasons mundane or mystic, must find the real monarch of all Britain. Since again all such claims are subject to possible shenanigans, you are presented with a choice of Petunia, Dudley or Harry. Add to that: Choosing either of the first two means that Vernon Dursley will reside in Buckingham Palace and likely be granted a title."
Ron imagined each and every jurisdiction in Great Britain seceding from the kingdom. The Commonwealth might switch allegiances to Luxembourg.
"Oh-that is a painful one. Ouch."
"And there's more."
Already woozy, Ron now felt dizzy while sitting down.
"Please don't say that."
Hermione looked sympathetic.
"Sorry, but in for a Knut, in for a galleon. In the Muggle world, Henry the Seventh's claim of descent from King Arthur is considered spurious, something he said to advance unity after the Wars of the Roses, even naming his first son for that. But it seems these claims were real as well. Arthur in turn was said by Merlin himself to be the descendant of many if not most mythical heroes. That all of course doesn't even broach the subject of Sang Real or San Graal, being the bloodline of..."
Ron gently covered her mouth.
"Don't say it, please? So what do we tell him?"
Hermione moved his hand away.
"Are you mental? Nothing. He has little enough peace as it stands. This could place him in a realm of celebrity even in the Muggle world, if it were somehow found out."
"It could go to his head, or make him want to blow his brains out. Lately, he's been going on about how there was no Chosen One, just an accident of Riddle's paranoia. I've never inquired as to his religious views, but I'm pretty sure when it comes to fate and destiny, he's an Atheist."
With both agreeing to keep quiet about this all their days, they resumed their work. While a unique treasure was to be found amidst the junk, that is a story for another time.
Harry arose a few hours later. Life on the run had toughened all of them as to needed sleep time, and he rejoined the sorting effort. Harry laughed out loud to see one of the items.
"What's so funny, then?"
Harry held up a mechanism that Hermione recognized but Ron, his earlier stance aside, could not hope to.
"Is that a VCR?"
Harry kept smiling.
"I guess Big D finally got his DVD player. Auntie hated this thing. Makes sense she'd dump it off on me. Oh well-Ron's Dad gets first refusal on any such finds, and he will love this one. Wonder if there are any tapes?"
Harry never lost his smile as he went through the pile.
"Mystery Science Theater 3000-should be good to watch without Dudley and his chums talking through the whole thing. Oh-'Matinee' - that's a pretty good period piece starring a man named John Goodman-ohhh, bugger..."
Harry now lost his smile.
"Same man, not so good film-'King Ralph'. See, it's about some average fool who, after a dumb accident, finds himself as King Of Britain. I mean, really-"
Harry looked up at both his closest friends, never realizing how they were literally biting their tongues.
"How bizarre a plot is that?"