Where Have You Gone, Mandy Brocklehurst? (With apologies to Ginger Sister)

Now that the final Harry Potter film is released, my friend, idol, and Maven Council VP for Mid-West Operations, Ginger Sister, posted a wonderful piece on what more she wants from JK Rowling.  (Hopefully, she’ll link to it if she comments)

One idea I liked was for a series of novellas about the Hogwarts faculty.  What epic journeys led a Professor Flitwick or Argus Filch to their homes in Hogwarts Castle?

Then it dawned on me: we do know some things about them, although nobody’s whole backstory.  I also realized I don’t know a novella’s worth about most of my teachers.

My school was very small, with 600 kids in grades 4-12.  It was like Hogwarts (only for dorks), in that the same Dr Malinsky who taught 7th grade science also taught AP Chemistry.

I wonder if one of the HP series’ charms (npi) is that our minds are drawn into not only the story, but that whole world.  JKR develops some characters more richly than others. To me, we then fill in the gaps with our own knowledge, sealing our imagined Hogwarts, et al, to the basic words on the page. (Think of the actual book as a denture plate, the fully realized story as an old toothless person’s gums, and our own experiences and histories as the pink goo that secures them together)

I apologize, but I had to use that metaphor.

A few questions i’d want answered: why would there ever be thousands of people in the Great Hall, as has been mentioned? At the first Sorting, there were “hundreds of faces.” Hundreds? Barely. There are 5 boys and 5 girls per year, per house, times 7 years/grades, times 4 houses=280 students.  The quidditch stands are always packed. How?  The Yule Ball in HP: GoF, e.g.: “there were about a hundred smaller, lantern-lit [tables], each seating about a dozen people.” Even half-full, that’s 600 filled seats from 280 HW students, and 12 each from Durmstrang & Beauxbatons?

Also, in HP: TDH, we learn that one can’t create food out of nothing, due to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration. Was that passed after McGonagall magicked a self-replenishing plate of sandwiches following Harry & Ron’s crash landing in Book 2?

And when did Hagrid–“Keeper of the Keys and Grounds” from book one–ever do anything with any keys? Filch had all the damn keys.

Most of all, whatever happened to Mandy Brocklehurst and Sally-Anne Perks??


I’ll tell you.

In book one, they were sorted along with Harry, Susan Bones, Malfoy, and friends, and then they were never heard from again.

As outcast girls sometimes do, they grew closer and closer, and found themselves distanced from their Hogwarts peers. They loved magic, and they grew to trust each other, to drive one another’s magical skills to new heights. They fell in love, two kindred souls, passionate and unfettered, yet physically yoked to the staid, ancient, black-work-robed oppressosphere that Hogwarts represented to such free spirits.

Christmas Break in their O.W.L. year, they took the Hogwarts Express back to London, but they didn’t catch their connections home. They hitched a ride to The Leaky Cauldron, touched the magic brick, and walked through the arch. They passed Ollivander’s, Madame Malkin’s, and Gringott’s–neither had access to her parents’ vault. They kept walking to Knockturn Alley, to Borgin and Burkes.

Inside they went, standing close for comfort and warmth in the chilly store. A stooping man with greasy hair came skulking from the back room.

“I’m sorry, girls. Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor is up in Diagon Alley, and the lesbian bar is–“


A jet of light shot from Mandy Brocklehurst’s wand, and smacked the oily Mr Borgin in his oily nuts with the force of fifty Doc Marten’s steel toed boots.

“Look, you withered slimeball. We are selling. You are buying.”

With a wand flourish, Sally-Anne Perks magicked their trunks open, and the contents floated gently to the counter.

There was a Pensieve, a number of delicate silver instruments emitting puffs of smoke, a case of boomslang skin, a collection of well-oiled ancient shackles & whips, a crate of Quidditch balls, and a very pissed-off poltergeist, bound with advanced magic and duct tape.

“This is the part where you hand over 500 Galleons, bow us from your shop, then lock up and go to St Mungo’s to have that ruptured testicle healed.”

Sally-Anne Perks’ soft voice was hypnotic. Borgin passed over 500 Galleons in a small sack. The girls held hands as they walked out, and headed to Gringott’s. They walked up to one of the high counters, and exchanged their Galleons for several thick stacks of American $100 bills, and one decent wad of British pounds-sterling.

They stuffed their coat pockets full of bills, and walked back to the Leaky Cauldron. Five “sex on the beach” shooters later, they walked out into Muggle London.

Mandy and Sally-Anne hailed a cab, paid extra for a speedy trip, and got out at Heathrow. They stood arm-in-arm, staring at the huge Departures board.

“Someplace warm,” said Mandy.

They saw their destination at the same time. A non-stop British Airways 747 flight was leaving in 60 minutes.  A pair of smiling young witches in love walked to the BA counter, and paid cash for two first-class tickets. The word “Imperio” substituted for photo ID’s and passports.  The girls settled into their posh leather seats, and toasted each other with complimentary first class Champagne.

“To us–“
“To getting the hell out of Hogwarts–“
“Where we were completely ignored after our First Year sorting.”
“Here’s to love–“
“To lust–“
“To magic–“
“To our new home–“
“To new names–”
“And new beginnings.”
“To someplace warm–”

They clinked glasses, and downed their Champagne in one.

In unison, “To Sunnydale!”



3 Responses to “Where Have You Gone, Mandy Brocklehurst? (With apologies to Ginger Sister)”

  1. Oh Tom. I love everything about this post. They way, like me, you wonder what happened to the ones that were never mentioned again. I loved the Buffy reference, and the well placed cursed. You rock my world.

    Oh, and here’s the link to my original piece.

    • I think a Harry Potterverse-Sunnydale exchange program would be awesome, even if only to watch Faith kick book-Harry’s ass and Xander finally be the coolest kid in school. 😀

      Your comment made me blush a little. Happy Monday.

      • Although, I must admit: I smirked a little that Mandy’s name fit into “Mrs Robinson” so handily. 😉

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