Students of magic need to understand two basic facts before undertaking their tutelage in magical studies. The first is the most important and it is simply that magic is sentient. The second required understanding is that there are four basic pillars of magic: intent, willpower, creativity and magical power. It is obvious to any rational thinking person who studies magic that it is sentient. How else would it be able to discern the true intent of the caster? You cannot make a binding oath without the intention to do so. You can have all the requirements of creating a binding oath but without the intent to enter into it the oath will not bind. Magic protects and understands those who interact with it. Always respect the sentience of magic- only a fool would dare to defy it.
The four pillars of magic need to be thought of not as singular support columns as they are all intricately connected. Intent without willpower, creativity and power is nothing more than an idle thought or actionless conjecture. Without one they all fail and it is of the utmost importance to understand this. Magic is a dynamic force that is fluid and not static. There are no set rules for how much of each aspect is required for magic to be undergone successfully. There are basic guidelines and these explain why the curriculum is structured as it is.
With magic, there are multiple branches and the distinctions for branches of magical study is inherently linked back to the four pillars. Transfiguration is a branch of magic that is most heavily dependent on willpower and creativity. Intent is always required as you are changing the basic structure of an item. Once this base level of intent is achieved it no longer requires mentioning. Magical power is important in Transfiguration at the highest tiers and most difficult of acts. Though it is akin to the requirement of flour and baking bread. There is a minimum amount needed to be able to bake a loaf of bread and flour beyond the required amount is of little use. It is willpower that is the dominant pillar. Magic is sentient and both inanimate and, especially, animate subjects have a natural state of being. Using magic to override their base form requires the willpower to overcome the inherent resistance against change. Magic itself understands the base form and to successfully overcome that, it requires willpower. Creativity or imagination is paramount to the process, as creating a clear idea of what it will be changed to will reduce the willpower and magical power inputs required for success.
Charms, Hexes, and Curses are all very similar and can be lumped into a single category. Hexes do not require much in the way of willpower or magical power. Charms require more magical power than hexes and curses require more willpower and some require more magical power. In general, hexes are easily cast and normally non-damaging. Charms are like the larger older brother of hexes. They are cut from the same cloth but are more difficult to handle. Curses are charms that have been compartmentalized into a new category simply because their intent is to cause harm. A fool would call Curses a Dark magic and claim they are simply evil. Those with wisdom understand that causing harm is correlated with Dark magic or evil acts but they are not mutually inclusive. Self-defence would fall within the use of curses for a righteous act.
The magic behind Hexes relies more heavily on intent and creativity than willpower or magical power. Intent is often praised as the most important aspect of magic. In a sense it is true. Without intent, magic is not possible. In Transfiguration, intent is relegated to a switch. It is either on or off. With hexes, intent mirrors the flow of water. You can intend just a little, like a meandering stream, or you can intend something as strongly as the greatest rivers. Creativity is important again though for hexes intent is primarily the catalyst for success. Charms are heavily fueled with intent and magical power. At the height of Charms, willpower can make a good charm become great.
Creativity and imagination are often thought to make Charms Masters. There is a fallacy here though as most Charms Masters are imaginative as they have a wide array of charms that they are capable of using in inventive ways. However, casting the charms themselves requires far less creativity than intent and power. The fallacy is creatively using charms can help one become a master at using the charms, not just casting them. A tongue-tying hex is rather easy to imagine. Freezing water is easy to picture and, though Charms Masters are typically creative themselves, using the actual magic requires very little of it in comparison to Transfiguration. Curses are similar to charms, though they do require more willpower. It is easy to lock up someone's legs with a leg locking hex. It takes internal fortitude, or willpower, to use magic to remove their legs entirely. Intent is the primary element as you must intend the actual effect of the magic cast, the secondary being power, as charms can be under and overpowered with many having a base requirement for successful casting, and the willpower to go through with the act. Willpower bleeds into both intent and power in both charms and curses. All the pillars of magic are intricately connected. The resolve to defend oneself can increase your intent or push our body to exude more magical power into a charm.
Harry rubbed his forehead as he finished the paragraph. He was stupefied by the failure of Hogwarts educational system. Either Salazar Slytherin was a masterful teacher and could write a memoir that taught better than actually living professors a millennium later or the educational standards had slipped rather far. He was processing the information on the basic pillars of magic and how they interacted with each other. He already had his mind expanded when reading the section on introduction to potions. Understanding why a love potion could not create love. Potions could mimic love but not create it. They can create the actions that follow love, like infatuation, but not the original intent.
Reading this allowed him to practically think back to his first-year lessons. Not even Flitwick had explained the magical theory like this. They talked about it in very broad strokes in the textbook and in class. Only explaining that you had to mean the charm to happen or you had to concentrate hard to make transfigurations successful. Was this understanding not common knowledge? It was puzzling because it all seemed rather simple now. It made sense why he failed at casting charms when he wasn't really trying in class.
Defense Against the Dark Arts was an amalgamation of charms and transfiguration with more focused being on jinxes and hexes. Harry had wondered why he was the top student in DADA and not in charms and transfiguration. Now it made more sense. In transfiguration, he concentrated because it was required but he wouldn't venture to say he used his willpower. He was going through the motions to complete the work and not focusing his willpower on the task. Even the creativity required he'd not done well on because it wasn't clear to him that it was required.
Now though, he understood, and began working through the transfigurations that he wanted and found he was far more gifted in the art than he'd ever thought. Harry understood what he needed to do and how to go about doing it now. Charms made more sense as he never used much intent in his studies. Was it really important to be able to cast all the silly charms? He'd not thought so which meant his intent was lacking. This basic understanding was going to change his entire magical education. He felt like he'd been putting a puzzle together without knowing what the final picture should look like. The picture wasn't needed to complete the puzzle. It just made it substantially easier. He understood how the different parts are supposed to fit together.
Harry had already read the part on Charms and Transfiguration a few times and he was reading the part that he'd kept skipping. The book had not added new words any longer and Harry thought it must be because he kept skipping the section on Rituals. He'd been told by Dumbledore that Tom Riddle underwent many rituals to become the monster- Lord Voldemort. It had taken his humanity and left behind a powerful monster. Harry had no will to follow Voldemort's path and so he kept skipping the section. He had the choice to skip it taken from him. If he wanted to progress further through the book he had to read the section on rituals. Eventually, he decided to read it. Learning about them did not mean he had to undergo them.
Rituals are an old form of magic and are incredibly dangerous. The risk with rituals is how imprecise they are. To understand the concept you can compare it to the art of making potions. Both use reagents and have steps to follow to obtain a specific result. In potions when coming up with a new formula, trial and error are the primary sources. The result of a bad potion can be contained within the potion itself. It can be tested on animals or on humans with their results studied. Through the long process of creating a new formula, unexpected or unintended consequences can be sorted out to bring about the final intended function of the potion. Explosions and melted cauldrons can be stopped by proper safety techniques. The danger in making new potions can be reduced so there is very limited risk to the brewer.
Rituals are like potions except the magic is contained by the witch or wizard instead of a potion. Any mistakes are borne on the one undergoing the ritual. The practice of rituals has been studied for centuries, it has set formulae to achieve specific results that have been tested throughout the years. The various magical reagents have catalogued properties and interactions. They are dangerous only for the novice who fails to heed the precise nature of them or to the one experimenting with a new ritual. Rituals require precision and accuracy to be performed correctly.
My hubris is where I have failed. Though none alive and none before me are as accomplished as I in the art of rituals, I failed to heed the two truths of magic. The mistakes were minor and I overlooked the compounding nature of them. Some that have dabbled in the art have tried new rituals that would've brought them power and their errors cost them dearly. I have seen the effects of botched rituals. From the loss of one's mind, magic, changes that are inhuman, even to the mutilation of one's own humanity. The rituals I will advocate for my future progeny will be of balance and those tested extensively.
Rituals are a branch of magic that can be thought of as permanent potions for the witch or wizard. Most rituals have negligible or minor specific effects. There is a hair loss potion and there is a reciprocal ritual that can make it permanent. Because of their permanence, their effects are often muted. The most powerful rituals are the most dangerous and costly for errors. The same way there are potions too complicated for novices, there are rituals too complicated for those not practised in the art. Rituals have another drawback in that they are less precise than what is often desired. While the potion for improving one's memory is rather strong, and its effects are short term, to gain the corresponding result would take no less than seven rituals. The specific combination that I am aware of, is also less precise. The seven rituals would also add other elements that were not supplied by the potion that is dangerous and unstable.
For my heirs, I have designed a series of rituals that are intended to give an advantage over regular adversaries. The designs are specific and must be followed precisely. I have toiled for decades to design a series of rituals for my heirs. Other families have a small series of family rituals that they undertake and their practices are guarded zealously. I spent much of my early adult life seeking out the mysteries of magic and would do whatever it was necessary to achieve my goals. I have uncovered family secrets that have been protected for centuries. When I boast there is none more learned than I in the art of ritualistic magic it is not done out of hubris or idly.
There is a final risk to Rituals that is not as well understood. It is the concept of magical balance. Magic is sentient and abusing magic has consequences. I cannot overstate or repeat it enough. Rituals are a way to add to your magical potential. There are unnatural acts that bring about the ire of magic. Most scoff and disregard the very idea. Ritualistic magic is where the very vindictive nature of magic can be evidenced. Magic wants balance and there is also importance to specific signs, sigils, and numbers. With Rituals, it is important to not become more than you are able to be. That you do not push the boundaries of the natural beyond where they are found. There are costs for doing so. Numbers also have power.
To achieve balance, I have designed a set of rituals that are done for each aspect: seven rituals for the mind, seven for physical rejuvenation, seven for magical rejuvenation, seven for magical strength, seven for physical strength, seven for magical abilities and seven specialized powerful rituals. The rituals are designed for enhancing the entire person and not just specific aspects. The seven sets of seven rituals are also of the utmost importance. Some families did only three rituals, other seven and a few ever considered either three sets of seven or seven sets of three. Finding balance and not accruing side effects is an arduous task for the foremost experts in the understanding of Ritualistic Magic. The background information is simply not compiled in any single library if it is necessary to move beyond twenty-one rituals. Decades of accumulating knowledge led to pushing beyond twenty-one to the next available balanced magical number: seven sets of seven rituals.
In sheer numbers, undertaking rituals in three sets of three sets of seven rituals is the next pedestal of magical balance for a total of sixty-three individual rituals. One must note that the next balance point is not possible if you have done seven sets of seven already. The target of three sets of three sets of seven is only achievable to the one who had gone the path of completing twenty-one rituals. It is the next pedestal of balance for those that undertake the twenty-one. Each set focuses on a specific attribute. Finding seven rituals that do not clash or have ill side effects is rather difficult. I did try and design such a process but found the expected results to be far too unstable for my liking. The final rituals to reach thirteen and fourteen became far too easy to err in completing.
Those that have gone on to seven sets of seven their next pedestal of magical balance would be three sets of seven sets of seven rituals or one hundred and forty-seven individual rituals. I, the foremost expert in the field, toiled for decades to find a way to achieve forty-nine balanced rituals. Trying to achieve the next pedestal is indubitably inconceivable. Perhaps if my knowledge was copied over and I lived multiple lifetimes it could be possible, for me, to consider. I would estimate, at minimum, five centuries of experimentation to complete it as one would have to devise half of the newly required rituals on their own.
Balance is a necessity. Completing a fiftieth ritual would bring imbalance and wreak havoc on the person. How the imbalance affects the person depends on the whole equation. Some will lose control of their magic, others their body, or parts of their body, for some, their minds or aspects of it. There is the possibility of varying degrees of all of them and it is where we can see the sentience of magic. The resulting punishment for being out of magical balance is correlated to their intention. Those who try and gain too much power lose the ability to effectively wield their imbalanced power. Changes to their body and mind are most common. I have seen one that delved too far into increasing the mental faculties and they lost the physical ability to communicate in any way. Incapable of speech and unable to move their body. All their brilliance locked into their own mind. I cannot state it enough: Magic is sentient and magic is to be respected.
Potions and Rituals… Harry had skimmed the next part seeing it was a ritual to be undergone by himself. A ritual for his mind. Three deceased animals, runes painted in his own blood, and a potion that Salazar had devised were the components of the first ritual. It looked rather simple but it was also really a precipice. If what he read was true if he did one he was obligated to do at least three or seven. He did not have the expertise to know if that would keep him in balance with magic though. That meant he would have to do the whole planned set of procedures. Forty-nine rituals in total with most completed on the third and seventh days of the week. The book went on to explain further about rituals and how to prepare and undertake them.
Beyond the third and seventh days of the week, there were other days of importance. Some required elements that necessitated specific days that were not the third or seventh of the week. The transformation he would undergo doing the rituals would take just less than half a year. Two per week meant less than twenty-five weeks. If some weeks included three then even less time would be required. Still, it was a decision that he had to consider carefully. Could he trust the memoirs of a man that the murderer of his parents idolized? Could imbalance or abuse of magic be the reason for Riddle to have become a monster?
Really though, could he trust the founder? Salazar Slytherin was apparently his ancestor. The memoir made it painfully clear only a blood relative could gain access to his sanctuary. Parseltongue was a blood gift passed down through family lines. The trait was not always active in every family member otherwise his parents would have had it. Following the path of a man that proclaimed himself as power-crazy did not sound overly prudent. Yet what else was he to do? He had just been put into a death trap of a tournament meant for the best and brightest of each school. Harry was not the best and brightest in Hogwarts. He only had three years of magical education versus the six years of tutelage the other Champions had. He was two years away from taking his OWLs and they were in a year of specialized study beyond the OWLs. More than likely all three were raised magical and came into their formal magical education far ahead of where Harry had at the age of eleven.
Harry was trapped by circumstances out of his control again and there was nobody in his corner. There was a Dark Lord after him and his dreams made it clear he was plotting something again. In fact, it was probably his plot to get Harry killed in the tournament. Hopelessness, fear, and an attitude of indifference overtook him. Nobody was going to come and pull him out or save him. His family despised him, his father's best friends were too caught up with themselves to consider putting Harry as their first concern. Dumbledore seemed to enjoy playing games with his life while simultaneously withholding information from him. The professors never listened, helped, or even gave a damn about him. His friends did not care for him like he thought they did. The only one who might help him was a House Elf. Dobby was many things but helpful in keeping him alive through the tournament Harry didn't think was one of them.
Deep in thought, he sat behind the desk thinking. His head in his hands. His hands supported by his elbows and his elbows by the desk under them as he leaned forward. Ruffling and pulling on his hair as he considered what to do. Resolve boiled deep within Harry. He was not going to let this tournament dictate his life. He was not going to let poor friends and adults ruin his life. He was going to do it because why not. At least if his life was ruined, this time it would be his own choice.
If Salazar Slytherin was so bad, why did they let his name stand as a founder? Once he left they could have removed him or even done it a generation or two later. Harry knew he was being naive and possibly making a horrible decision. He just didn't care. At this point, he felt like he was mentally shrugging his shoulders and saying 'what do I really have to lose trying it?'. He was being trained by a founder of the school who apparently was his ancestor. Everything he had learned with magic had made him rather impressed. Why not just do it. The book also had not revealed any new information yet, so it was possible that doing the ritual was the only way to continue.
It made no logical sense that Salazar's plan was to breed Dark Wizards. There was no evidence in books like their History of Magic texts or in Hogwarts a History that Slytherin was a Dark Lord. From his own book, it appeared that he cared deeply for the children of the school. If he had wanted to be a Dark Lord and kill muggle-borns or take over the wizarding world, why would he have kept his basilisk a secret and hidden away? It would be far more rational to have used the giant snake bred for destruction to make his enemies succumb to his might.
Harry groaned and tried to open his eyes to look around but his eyelids were caked onto his face for some reason. His hands reflexively reached to his eyes and rubbed. His fingers found resistance though they did not encounter sleep in his eyes. The substance was harder, grimier and crusty. He managed to rub his eyes open and sat up. His legs were laid out straight in front of him with his feet beyond shoulder width and he was now sitting with his buttocks on the ground and his upper body upright. He looked at his hands and saw they had red on them. Red? That didn't make sense. Oh, it did, now that he remembered why he was laying on the stone surface in the first place.
He'd done his first ritual. He closed his eyes again and just focused on breathing and himself. He was seeing if he'd become a Dark Lord. If he had been tricked by an ancient book that was far too sentient for his liking. This section had a mind of its own. It was Saturday, November seventh and he had completed his first-ever ritual. He did not feel, and couldn't see either, any difference, from what he could tell, at all. The book indicated it was an incremental change, not a substantial one. Each successive ritual would increase the minor effects as they accumulated and built off each other. The book suggested he would not notice the change at all. There would be a noticeable change between one and seven though. He would not become a powerhouse by completing the ritual sets. It explained he was getting a stronger frame to build off on. In the end, he could achieve more because of them, not that they would make him more.
The entire first set was focused on his mind. Strengthening his ability to learn, understand, think, plan, retain, sort, and process better. Maybe it was like making changes to a race car. He just upgraded the breaks when the old ones were performing to the maximum needs of the car already. He would not need the new breaks until the rest of the upgrades were done. At this point, the upgraded brakes served no function but as the other parts came into place, they would. Either that or he was failing to notice the change and Salazar was leading him down a nefarious path...
Before he could exit the room to shower, Hedwig flew in and barked at him. He took the letter from her and walked back across the hall to the study to open the letter.
Gringotts has been expecting a meeting with yourself since your thirteenth birthday. It was your responsibility to come in then and to take up your position, formally, as the Heir of House Potter. Your legal status has changed this past week and an in-person meeting is required to discuss further details. Make your way to Gringotts in London at your earliest opportunity.
A list of services provided by Gringotts is attached.
The list of services was less than he was expecting to see. Banking, investment, currency exchange, warding, curse breaking, and government forms. The first few services were things he was already aware of. Ron's brother worked for Gringotts at a curse breaker and he had heard of families paying for Goblin wards to be put up. It was the last one that caught his eye. Why did they specialize in government forms? Banking, investments, and currency exchange were just natural extensions for a banking institution. At least it was a fair bet to assume that In the muggle world.
The letter was rather direct and abrupt. Get to Gringotts and try and sort out what was going on. There was something he had missed at age 13 and that was unsettling to him. Someone should have told him if there was an important event for him at 13 that related to the Potter family. He stayed in Diagon Alley for quite some time and had gone to the bank to get some gold. They had not told him about anything other than taking him to the requested vault.
Harry had finished the ritual and after a shower, a quick trip to Gringotts would be a good idea. Dobby had delivered the letter so it might be interesting to see how the mood was in Hogwarts after taking in the news. He could skip out of the chamber and sneak into the Great Hall at lunchtime before heading out of the grounds. With that decided, he went out to put it into action.
It was a fairly simple plan and it worked well. Showered and dressed in clean clothes, thanks to Dobby, Harry flew his broom up the pipe and discovered something he hadn't expected. When he reached the top the pipe stayed closed and he could see what was going on in the bathroom as if the pipe's exit was glass. He could see there was someone in the bathroom and it was like the Chamber of Secrets knew it could expose its secret and worked to protect it.
After a while, from what he could see, the bathroom cleared out. It was quite the nice surprise as he could dismount his broom, shrink it down then cloak himself and check the map to ensure it was a good time to exit. With the map showing nobody nearby and most occupants of the castle heading to, or were already in, the Great Hall, he entered into the castle proper.
Quickly he snuck through the corridors undetected and moved behind some of the students heading into lunch to get behind Ron to hear what he was talking about. When he moved towards the Gryffindor table he had immediately noticed Ron and Hermione were not sitting together. Ron was seated where Dean and Seamus normally sat and he was amicably talking with them. Harry moved closer to hear.
"You put that much on him? You're barmy mate!" Dean laughed.
"Potter's always had some crazy luck! No way he dies as quickly as Draco is saying. Two minutes is a long time! Twice as long as that slimy snake is betting!" Ron defended himself from his friend's teasing.
"I've got him at seven minutes but being rescued instead of dying. Smaller and safer odds." Seamus chimed in while the two were bickering across from him.
"Seven minutes against a bloody dragon?! You're the barmy one! Charlie finished Hogwarts then spent years training to even handle the beasts!" Ron disagreed vehemently.
"Shush!" Dean said clamping a hand over Ron's mouth. "Thought you said it was to be kept quiet!" He admonished with a fierce whisper.
Harry backed up slowly with his mind racing. Dragons! The first task had something to do with dragons! Fire breathing, crush you into a pulp with a single appendage, dragons! He'd been so caught up in his own situation that he had forgotten the fact he had to face a deadly tournament this month. He felt something hard and unmoving behind him. He'd backed up right into the wall.
Taking deep breaths he began to calm himself. Overreacting will just complicate things. He had to get out of the Hall quickly. Simmering beneath the worry and panic of having to face an XXXXX beast, was further anger and betrayal. His former best friend knew about the dragons and was laughing about how quickly he would die. Like Harry's life was worth nothing to him.
Adrenaline was coursing through his veins. A torrent of pent up emotions yearned to make themselves known in magical release. Harry tore out of the hall towards the grounds as quickly as he could without giving himself away under the cloak. He was moving too quickly to be perfectly invisible, he knew, but he had to get outside. The cool air would help quench his anger and anxiety.
Too quickly he moved to get to the grounds. He looked back over his shoulder to see if anyone had seen him or followed him. As he went out through the main doors, the inside of his left knee collided with something moving perpendicular to him. His knee gave out as he put his weight on it and he grunted in pain as he fell to the ground. He felt the inside of his leg flare with pain. Whomever he ran into, the bony front of their knee drove into the inside of his knee and it was hurting badly.
Harry groaned noticing that he was on the steps still and only the upper half of his body was under the cloak now. This was not what he needed! He swore at himself for being so careless and moving far too quickly. He was just so upset though! "Buggering hell," he said in frustration as he grasped his knee with his hands and brought it towards his chest for a quick inspection. It was just soreness and would be bruising soon. Nothing a bruise paste couldn't handle later. He just had to get up and get out of here, preferably before he was discovered.
Harry quickly got back up and had the cloak covering him. The person he ran into was wearing a Beauxbatons outfit and from what he could see she was standing on one leg holding her knee as well. The impact had hurt her knee as well. She turned her head to see about the person she had run into when she heard him say something.
Putting her sore leg back on the ground she drew her wand. "Whoever you are, reveal yourself," she commanded in accented English. She seemed off-kilter and it seemed obvious why. She'd just run into an invisible person. That would throw anyone for a loop.
Harry began limping away as quickly as his knee would take him while ensuring his cloak didn't reveal him any more than his clumsiness already had. He crept down the steps and began moving towards the open lawns. He'd kept his eyes trained on the witch and noticed it was Fleur Delacour herself, the Beauxbatons Champion. She still had her wand drawn and cast 'Homenum Revelio' trying to detect him. She frowned as it did not light him up or indicate he was even there.
Harry kept backing away until he was on the lawn and he made for the whomping willow. He had thought about using the passage to Honeydukes cellar but that passage was more well used. If anyone was watching the passages to see if he was coming or going from the castle, that one would be the first one they would check. Each step on his sore leg brought about a resurgence of the dull pain in his knee. Each step became slightly less painful as he walked off the effects of the impact. He should have apologized or said something. It was rather rude and if she reported the incident, Dumbledore or his former friends would be able to piece together his presence with ease.
It was not something he could do anything about so he focused on his destination. It was not far to the Whomping Willow and he levitated a fallen branch to push into the knob, allowing his passage out. Once inside he was able to take off his cloak and walk normally.
Anticlimactic was the feeling Harry had as he was ushered into a private office of his apparent family account manager Bloodfang. A short walk in a tunnel, a trip through floo to Diagon Alley, and then presenting the letter he received from Gringotts led him to this room.
A small office with an old goblin sitting behind the desk. The goblin did not get up for his entrance or even offer a greeting. The distinct impression Harry had was that he was annoying the goblin in front of him. Harry took a step into the office as the door behind him closed. The goblin stopped scratching on his quill after twelve seconds and put it down.
"Be seated, Harry Potter," he said looking up in a rather bored tone.
Harry moved forward and sat in the closest chair to the door. It was padded with leather over the wooden seat and it still found a way to be as unyielding as if it was just sitting on uncomfortable wood. He didn't let the discomfort bother him.
"I am Bloodfang, the account manager for the House of Potter. I received your inquiry for assets you are entitled to, held by Gringotts and that is a rather interesting conundrum." The goblin paused his speech for a moment and looked rather pleased as he saw how interested Harry was in what he was saying.
"You are a Triwizard Champion in a tournament that has specifically stated you must be an adult to compete in. Therefore, as a competitor, you must currently be a legal adult in the wizarding world." That was rather interesting, Harry thought. It would alleviate his issues with trying to be his own man while others had legal authority over him. He started to think about the implications of being a legal adult when Bloodfang continued.
"Your status is tied to the competition and the tournament will end prior to your seventeenth birthday. Your new status can then be revoked or contested because you are not being emancipated as a minor through any legal means, just magical emancipation."
Harry's happy countenance ended with that statement and he abruptly asked the two questions that jumped to the front of his brain. "What does that mean for me now, and is there a way I can make it permanent?" His voice betrayed his desperation.
"If you'd kindly let me finish explaining I will cover your questions" the goblin growled at him, clearly perturbed for being interrupted. "This means your current status as an adult can be revoked by the Ministry or challenged by various persons in the wizarding world. From our understanding, if you are able to achieve the requirements to be an emancipated minor through the normal legal ways, they cannot overturn it. The requirements would have to be completed while your magical emancipation is still in place and the correct legal forms filled out."
Bloodfang had paused to let that knowledge sink into the young human's brain. The look on the goblin's face was daring him to interrupt him again. Harry had no intention of doing that to the already hacked off goblin.
"Completing your OWLs in wanded magic is the basic requirement you have to fulfil. Your status as the only son or daughter of House Potter has taken care of all the other requirements." Bloodfang folded his hands onto the desk in front of him and Harry took that to mean he had completed his explanation.
"Just so I am sure of my understanding, Bloodfang, can you confirm which subjects are considered the wanded OWLs?"
That was apparently the wrong question to ask as irritation flashed through the eyes of the green-skinned goblin. "The ones that require the use of your wand: Charms, Defense against the Dark Arts, and Transfiguration." Harry nodded and felt embarrassed and chastised by the elder goblin.
"That leads to your interesting status. You are an adult and should be entitled to become Head of House Potter. Your status may not be permanent and I expect the Ministry or Wizengamot to ensure it remains temporary if they are able. Allowing a precedent of a fourteen-year-old Head of House for any reason will not be something they will wish to allow."
Harry wanted to ask why and opened his mouth but a single look from Bloodfang silenced him.
"As Head of House Potter you are able to sit on the legislature of the Wizengamot and no member will wish to grant a schoolboy equal status and power to the most prominent members of wizarding society. The Ministry will challenge it for fiscal reasons. House Potter is in a tenuous state. The will of the last Head of House Potter has been sealed by order of the Wizengamot. Legally, it is an inactive House as the arrangements for how it will be controlled have not been executed. This results in its inactive status rendering the Ministry to reap all fiscal benefits from the inactive vaults. When a House dies out without any arrangements left for its assets, the Ministry of Magic gains total control of their assets. House Potter is not extinct so they cannot claim your vaults. They can claim any profits that should have been going into them. I suspect a deal allowing the will to be repressed by the Ministry was cut and their benefit was entitlement to your family's profits."
The ministry was taking the money that should rightfully be his family's? They made a deal with the Wizengamot to seal his parents will? "They sealed my parents will so they could steal my family's money?" He asked in outrage. Harry couldn't help himself he stood up as the rage-filled words left his mouth.
"Sit down Mister Potter." The goblin barked at him equally as loud. The strength of the tone and bite of the words allowed him to comply and fend off his anger.
"Your father, James Potter, did not execute the will of his father Charlus Potter. Your parents' will could not be executed until the Head of House Potter allowed for the will of the officially recognized Head of House to be executed. James Potter did not take up his birthright after his father's death and he was not entitled to anything other than the use of the family assets as the primary heir."
Bloodfang's explanation further deflated the ballooned rage he had burning within him. His father had not taken up his duties to lead his family. It was this mistake that led to his family losing wealth. Why?
"James Potter decided not to take up the position because it was a time of war. The MInistry was in a state of war and legislation was passed that any gold received from inactive Head of Houses would be used to fund the war. James Potter was one of many that decided to protect his family by helping to fund the DMLE. He could not sign contracts or make decisions on behalf of House Potter. If family member or friend was captured your family assets were safe from being lost as he could not take up his position if he was under duress."
The decision still seemed suspicious to Harry. There must have been better ways to fund the DMLE and protect the family assets. There was no way that many prominent families took the same action. It was something else he should look into. Sadly, that list was growing longer with little to no progress on striking anything off of it. He recognized as a fourteen-year-old, he had no business being involved in these kinds of circumstances.
"You cannot take up your position as Head of House Potter until you are legally an adult. You are only magically recognized as an adult. However, you can take up your position as Heir; the Heir is allowed access to financial records and the family vaults."
Harry nodded and collected his thoughts. He'd been thinking of his plan of action. First was staying alive in the tournament. Secondly, the new priority was complete three OWLs before the tournament ended and thirdly to get control of his family assets.
"Bloodfang, my understanding is that House Potter is being taken advantage of and I need to complete the wanded OWLs as quickly as possible. Is there any way of improving the position of my House as the Heir?"
Bloodfang sat back in thought in his chair. Thus far in the meeting, he had been seated forward leaning towards or across his side of the desk. He now sat back deep in his chair with his index finger rubbing the left side of his jawline and his thumb the right side. He looked deep in thought. It was rather difficult to read what emotions he might have going through him for Harry. There weren't any typical human emotional cues to pick out.
"As the Heir, you cannot direct investments, you cannot conduct legal affairs nor even retain a solicitor, and as the Heir, you cannot sign any contracts on behalf of your House. Those are the three main functions aside from the Wizengamot. Your understanding is correct and if you look at the Wizarding Directory you should be able to find capable tutors."
Harry blinked. Wizarding Directory? What was that, he wondered astounded at the notion that the was a Wizarding Directory. He knew the muggle world had phone books with a directory of residential and commercial phone numbers and yet he never considered the concept could have occurred within the wizarding world. That led to the second question of how in Merlin's name did he not know about it?
Bloodfang opened the top drawer and withdrew some parchment and placed them on the desk in front of Harry. On top of it was a ring. A large green gem in the centre with a silver-coloured P at the middle. Harry picked it up and examined it closely. It felt magical in his hands.
"That is the Heir's ring for House Potter. A peridot gem with a mithril P on it. Peridot gems are said to have magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares. It is also said to instil power and influence through the wearing of the gemstone. It has been in your family for generations and magical peridot gems are rarely used for Heir or Head of House rings. Your House is the only active one to do so. To Gringotts' knowledge, it should help protect or warn you against external influences and might foster confidence and charisma. Upon the death of the Heir, the ring returns to your vault. That is how I have it and I took it out in preparation for this meeting."
Harry reverently placed the ring onto his finger as he listened to his family account manager talk and explain the properties of the ring. He gently slid it on and couldn't help but let his other hand idly caress it as the goblin spoke.
"That leaves me with financial matters. Your family should be rather wealthy but close to a decade and a half of having your incomes go to the Ministry has not helped. Compounding that was the sale of most of House Potter's assets into gold. The only investment that was retained was political in nature."
Bloodfang gestured to the paperwork in front of Harry and he looked at it as Bloodfang turned the page.
"As you can see you own thirty per cent of the Daily Prophet. The Potters are the single largest shareholder but you cannot direct or act on it. This, also, would be yet another reason the ministry will not allow you to easily retain an adult status. Note the paper is barely solvent."
That made sense, to Harry, if they were able to benefit from him not having access to control what the press does or does not say about him. He was aware of the nasty reports done on him after the champion selection.
"James Potter made a mistake turning your assets into gold because of inflation." Seeing the blank look on Harry's face he elaborated. "In short, inflation is the change in the purchasing power of money. What one galleon could buy in 1979 now takes almost three galleons to purchase. To put it very simply things cost more now than they did back in 1979. Your account has not been receiving any interest and the purchasing power diminishes every year even though the contents stays the same."
That was rather unfortunate, Harry thought again. Was the purpose of it to try and help fund the war effort? Harry understood that if his wife and family were in danger using all of your resources to try and protect them would be prudent. Harry knew that he would trade all of his gold to have his parents alive. Financially James Potter had made mistakes but morally his actions were not something Harry could fault. Only if he was manipulated into it would there be fault. Harry had a suspicion that Dumbledore's war effort was partially funded by his family. Though he had to admit he might've taken the same actions in his father's place.
Bloodfang continued on, ignorant of Harry's inner conflict. "As the Heir, you can authorize purchases with your ring and you can take out 100 galleons a day. The limit means little for investing as you would have to come and personally withdraw 100 galleons each day and then instruct me to invest it. The best way to help your House recover is to complete your 3 OWLs. Was there anything else you needed, Heir Potter?" The tone of the final question made it clear he had covered everything that was needed from his perspective. Harry knew the aged goblin was not one to have his time wasted. Everything had been direct and to the point. He had given all the pertinent information every time he spoke about anything, being as efficient and effective as possible.
"Two things come to mind. Where can I get a Wizarding Directory and why did Gringotts not inform me of this when I was thirteen? I came into the bank more than once..." Harry questioned as politely as possible, though his voice did trail off as he saw the change in mood from the goblin. He didn't want to upset the goblin that looked after his family account.
The account manager did not respond right away. He just stared at the boy for a few seconds before opening a drawer on the desk and reached his whole arm into the drawer, from what Harry could tell. It was hidden below desk height but it looked like he was up to his shoulder in the drawer. Harry waited until he withdrew something. It was a thin book, though it was full muggle sized paper in its dimension and bound in leather. Harry couldn't tell accurately but it seemed to have fifty pages or less. Perhaps thirty he surmised.
"Here is the Wizarding Directory." He said it rather gruffly. "Mister Potter, Gringotts is the premier bank in all the magical world and that is all we are. We do not inform any heirs of their rights when they are thirteen. We are only meeting today because you asked for an accounting of your full accounts. It was only your odd status in the magical world that led to this meeting. Had you not been magically emancipated, temporarily, you would have received a short letter with the information requested. We are a bank, nothing more nothing less."
With his short rant over and his peace said, he gestured for Harry to leave. Harry distinctly felt his very presence had annoyed his manager. He wondered if it was because the goblin had no way of actually making money with the meeting. He was not authorized to allow his vaults to be invested. He had thought it was interesting that he'd retrieved the Heir ring that now adorned his finger. It was somewhat disturbing that he was able to waltz into his vault and withdraw such an important item. Perhaps something to think on. Again, that growing list.
After his time at Gringotts and a shopping montage for books, clothes, and anything else he could find that caught his fancy, Harry had returned to the Chamber without incident. Dobby was able to continue providing him with dinner and afterwards, he continued working through his first three years of textbooks on Charms, Transfiguration and DADA. He was reworking on the difficult spells he had not mastered the first time. His new understanding of the magical theory behind the spells allowed him to improve his previous spellcasting markedly.
This morning he was back to the memoir book and reading further about his next ritual. It was another mind ritual and was to be performed on the third day of the week. What caught his attention the most was what was below it.
Intent is incredibly important with Ritualistic magic. However, the academic study of intent and its impact on the results of a ritual is profoundly limited. There is virtually no ability to research it, just from the scarcity of knowledge being shared about rituals, let alone the basis for having a way to actually capture the true intent of the person undertaking the ritual. Men can be deceitful even to themselves. What they espouse of themselves and what they truly are, do not always match. Some will fail to understand their own real intent. Insecurity could also be the true reason when they themselves truly believe it is for another purpose. Speculation based on a theoretical understanding is the most one could really expect or hope for on the subject.
I digress, the intent is important, that is well known. It is the result that is in question- that is what is speculated on. When undergoing a ritual to improve one's mind, the intent on why it was done matters. Is the person doing it simply because they wish to improve themselves in a general sense? Are they trying to do it for conceited reasons of lording their ability over those lesser than them? Magic is intelligent and works towards balance. A wizard strictly trying to gain power for the sake of domination and dominance over others with a malicious intent will find that magic exacts a price.
In the last scenario, I can only try and guess as to the price. Power without the ability to use it to its full might may be where the malicious mage could see deteriorating ability. Perhaps their ability to think rationally could be affected. Loss of bodily processes, like the over or underproduction of hormones could occur. Magic could make a myriad of punishing effects. When you, my heir, undergo a ritual, focus on why you are doing it. Find reasons that are just and morally sound and keep those at the forefront of your mind. Magic is sentient. Those users who have nothing but pure intentions may receive wonderful gifts from unicorns and those who are malicious to them live cursed lives for their arrogance. Never forget, magic is sentient.
Harry grumbled how that would have been nice to know before he did his first ritual and essentially locked himself into doing forty-nine in total. Salazar was a bloody prick for not telling him before he locked himself into his path.
A flash on the bookshelf across from him caught his eye. Harry thought he'd seen a quick glow around a book and plucked it from the bookshelf. There was a title on the book now. A Novice's Guide to Charms by Salazar Slytherin. Harry opened the first page and saw the Lumos charm. The instructions on how to cast it were there, as well as modifications to the base charm and exercises to run in order to perfect his control and ability with the charm. Below that there were practical uses for the charm including a suggestion of uses in combat.
Harry didn't even go and sit back down, he just started reading and working on casting the spell. He'd recently gone over it but now he was being challenged to change the colour, shape, brightness and even have it done silently without wand movements. The book waited for him to master everything before the second page with a new charm showed up.
Harry went to the magical practice room across the hall and began to work through the book as best as he could. He had practised magic non-stop until Dobby brought him food. Even as he ate, he continued reading and practising the best he could while eating.
Anyone hoping for a Rocky Balboa training montage is going to be disappointed. I've read enough shopping trips and hopefully, I'll never write one. I've simply read too many to contribute to those types of fics.
A quick note on the tagged characters for those wondering. The first task will see Fleur again, the OC will come next and Daphne will not be around for a while. Her character doesn't really factor in until the new year.
Beta'd 10/4/19 by Nauze.