This was written for t_31_bang and already had to be extended for one round. I don't think that it's at it's best (the plot does tend to run wild a bit), but it could be far worse. If it wasn't due today I wouldn't be posting it yet and I hope that I'll be able to revise it shortly and replace this version with a better one.
Title: Book Disoveries
Author: JE / immortalje
Summary: Harry Potter discovers books written about him and an inquiry snowballs other discoveries.
AN: This isn't beta read yet and the plot needs a bit more polishing... but the deadline has come up.
Harry was glad that even though Hagrid had been against him buying the books on jinxes, he had been only to willing to let him buy other supplemental reading to find out more about the wizarding world and Voldemort. If he was famous for supposedly defeating him, even though he had his doubts about that, than he wanted to know more about what had happened.
Having just finished with his potions text, reading some parts and skimming others, he pulled out “Modern Magical History” to read. Looking through the index, he was surprised to find his own name mentioned. Quickly opening the correct page, Harry started reading.
Aside from the things Hagrid had told him and some more detailed assumptions about what had happened when his parents died, Harry found information that was pure gold for him. He found out that his father had worked as an Auror, having finished the Academy just half a year prior. He also found out that his father working was something special as he was apparently from an old family and had more than enough money to live comfortable. There was less about his mother other than a reference to a charms apprenticeship.
With every bit of new things he discovered about his parents, he wondered if there might be more books about him and his family. He remembered seeing an owl order pamphlet at Flourish & Blotts and wondered if it would be able to write them with book requests without actually having one of those.
As he contemplated writing a letter or not, he continued reading “Modern Magical History”, skipping chapters randomly as his mind was too focused on his own history.
When Harry woke the following morning, he decided that he would write a letter to Flourish and Blotts. That is to say, he felt as if he had already made the decision and just became aware of it when he woke up. It was like an inner force telling him what to do and Harry figured that he had made the decision when he had first thought about writing the letter and his doubts had realised that over night and given up protest. They were still there of course, just not as strong as the night before.
Looking over at Hedwig he smiled and said, “There will be a letter for you to deliver today. Do you like that?”
He was rewarded with an excited hoot. Laughing, Harry said, “Well, I better start writing then.”
“Dear Sir or Madame,
I just recently found out about magic and the world I had been born into. To my surprise I found my name mentioned in “Modern Magical History” and wondered if there were any more books about me or where I’m mentioned in. My relatives don’t know anything about magic or my parents life that they would be willing or able to share, as such I would also be interested in anything you might have about my heritage.
I did see an owl order pamphlet at your shop, but sadly didn’t think to take one with me. Could you perhaps send me one? How would I go about paying for any books I order? Would I need to pay the delivery owl directly or is this done another way?
Satisfied with the letter, even if his writing with a quill was horrid and there were ink spots all over, he blew it dry and rolled it up. Turning to Hedwig he held it out and said, “Could you take this to Flourish & Blotts, the bookstore in Diagon Alley? I’m afraid I don’t know who I should direct this to specifically, so just give it to an employee, okay?”
Hedwig moved her head as if to nod, grabbed the parchment and took off. As he left, Harry vowed that he would get envelopes the next time he visited Diagon Alley. The paper had been rolled up and the note Hagrid had sent as well, so he assumed it wasn’t necessary to use an envelope like the Hogwarts letter, but he would still feel better with envelopes.
To Harry’s surprise, Hedwig returned the same evening with a reply.
“Dear Mister Potter,
I was quite surprised when I received your letter today. One of the reasons is that I, along with the rest of the wizarding world, had assumed that you knew all about our world. There are books detailing your adventures as a child. I attached a list with all the books you asked for, separated by being entirely about you or mentioning you as a smaller part of the book. I also attached an owl order pamphlet for you to use should you wish to purchase any of them or other books we have available.
To use the pamphlet all you need to do is fill out the form at the end with the title, author and price of the book. The total will automatically calculate itself. If you are done with this, you can tap the complete area at the bottom of the form and you will receive a duplicate of your order while the form itself will clear itself for new orders. The duplicate will be the order you sent by owl to us.
You have the option of paying the owl for a total up to 10 Galleons, anything beyond that needs to be paid through Gringotts. You may chose to pay through Gringotts if the total is less than 10 Galleons. To pay through Gringotts you should add a vault number (most likely a trust vault considering your age) in the designated field and put the responding key over it. There will be short golden glow to confirm that the vault number and key match up to prove that you are the owner of the vault or at least allowed to use the funds within. This is to avoid customers simply writing down a random vault number for payment.
If you have more questions about this or simply wish for book suggestions to find out more about the wizarding world or other supplemental reading, feel free to request advice either at our store or through another letter.
Harry smiled in relief at all the explanations in the letter and the pamphlet the letter had contained, although he wasn’t too sure about the books depicting his adventures. When he looked at the list of books about him, his eyes widened. He was mentioned in about five different books that mostly sounded either like history books or detailed the Dark Arts and their defeat. There were two more books that were about families in general – one that featured all the noble families and one more specific about the Potter family or at least the more famous members of the Potter family. By far the largest section was the one with the books detailing his supposed adventures as a child. There were seven books in total and a note about an eight one coming out soon. Worst of all, he had no clue what these books were even about other than himself as he simply had no idea what any of the things were in the titles. Just what was a Hungarian Horntail?
He needed advice on this, but who could he ask? He somehow doubted that there were books about what to do if someone wrote books about imagined adventures you went on and he wasn’t sure if he should ask Archibald Blott about legal advice.
Suddenly he thought of Gringotts. Surely they would know where he could find help. After all, others were earning money with his name. At the very least, he could ask them if his vault was all he inherited or if it was a trust vault as Archibald Blott had assumed.
Pulling out another piece of parchment Harry wondered if it might not be safer to put his Gringotts letter in an envelope, just for privacy since this did involve his account. He remembered hearing his uncle say something like that once. Or well, complain about it more likely.
He couldn’t just ask his aunt and uncle for an envelope as surely they would want to know why he needed it. Speaking of them, maybe he should also enquire about them getting money for raising him. They had lied about so many things – would they lie about something like that as well?
Sighing, Harry pulled out some parchment and started writing.
“Dear Sir or Madame,
On my eleventh birthday I was informed about my magical inheritance for the first time. I had been kept unaware about my parents’ life before their death. As it is, my relatives had led me to believe that my parents died in a car crash and they were penniless and drunk.
On my birthday I was taken to Gringotts by Rubeus Hagrid, on the orders of Headmaster Dumbledore. He gave me the key to my vault at the time, so I could access my vault.
Due to what I had been told all my life about my parents having no money and being overwhelmed by the amount of money I had apparently inherited, I never once considered how wealthy my parents might have been and if I had inherited anything else. Recently, I inquired at Flourish and Blotts about books concerning me or that simply mentioned me. The reply I received implied that I had access to a trust vault and that there might be other vaults I would gain access to later on. Is this true? If yes, how much did I inherit and what is the usual procedure for access or age for me to access it?
Further, my relatives have been complaining about how much money they have to spend on me while actually spending as little as possible. With the lies about my parents revealed (though I don’t know how much they actually do know about them), I wondered if they received money for raising me or not.
I’m just asking because I don’t want them to spend my parents’ money without any of it actually being used on me.
It took Gringotts several days to reply, but it contained a lot of interesting information about his accounts and his options in regards to the books published about him.
“Dear Mister Potter,
First of all, we would like to apologise for the oversight in not realising that this was your first visit to Gringotts and therefore failed to arrange a meeting between yourself and me, the account manager of the Potter family. I had been told that your magical guardian, Albus Dumbledore, had been instructing you in regards to your financial inheritance thus acting as a financial buffer between your learning and actual access to your finances. He also assured us that he would take care of arranging the heritage test to see if you were eligible to any dormant vaults before your coming of age.
Right now, you are only able to access your trust vault. However, you may instruct investments up to 5,000 Galleons (the accumulated interest) a year taken from the family vault after a check through either me or Albus Dumbledore. You also are eligible to access one of the Potter properties to live there under supervision of a guardian approved by the Ministry or Gringotts. Lastly, as an orphan, you are able to remove one family portrait from the family vault to be instructed by them on family magic, traditions and whatever the chosen ancestors might consider of importance.
You will gain access to your full inheritance when you come of age on your 17th birthday.
We at Gringotts will be able to initiate contact to someone that can act as a financial buffer and teach you anything that is necessary to take responsibility of your accounts.
In regards to your relatives, I have started an inquiry. The initial assessment has shown that the stipend set aside for raising you by your parents went to your magical guardian. Your muggle relatives are not registered as your primary guardians and as such did not receive direct payment from Gringotts. We are currently investigating if they received payment through other means. In that regard we are also investigating who fulfils the requirements to be considered your primary guardian and will inform you of any changes in that regard.
Lastly, in regards to your enquiry in regards to the books about you, we have discovered a contract, made by your guardian Albus Dumbledore, to redistribute your image in combination to what happened when your parents died and the Dark Lord was defeated and by the Daily Prophet. The story books about you do not have any backing by a contract although Albus Dumbledore instructed us not to go against the authors and publishers of them. We are unable to do anything unless either he or you tell us otherwise.
You are welcome to request a meeting with me at your convenience to discuss your options in that regard. A Gringotts employed solicitor will be present for such a meeting. Please note that any appointment has to be requested at least 24 hours before it is set to start. I do have other accounts to manage and clients to see to.
You may set up an appointment by owling Gringotts in general (it will be delivered to a teller who takes care of these) or by coming to Gringotts personally and talking with one of the tellers directly. It would be advisable to address the letter with Gringotts Teller instead of Sir or Madame.
Harry wasn’t sure what he should think about Albus Dumbledore being his magical guardian when he had never met the man. He wasn’t sure if he had deliberately left him in the dark or if he actually believed his relatives would treat him with respect and take care of telling him. What he didn’t like was that contract about people being allowed to publish his photo. It was no wonder everyone recognised him if they had recent photos of him after all and he didn’t like it one bit. He would have preferred not to be recognised on his first trip to the wizarding world after all! Maybe it would have been easier to bear if he already was familiar with the world he was just entering instead of having both heaped on him at once.
The meeting with Goldbone sounded great, but he would have to find a way to get to Diagon Alley first. With the way Hagrid had been struggling getting there the normal way, surely there were other ways to get there with magical means. Once again he was left without an idea what to do.
A moment later, he noticed the Pamphlet he had been sent and he wondered if there were any books about magical transport. Snatching it up quickly, he started leafing through it. After a couple of pages with nothing but index, he found one that said ‘Everyday Life’. Tapping that, the pages started to turn on their own in a rapid speed until they stopped again. The newly opened page showed several books, ranging from cookbooks, household charms to something called ‘The Knightbus – The Magic behind it!’
To his delight there was also a book called “The Ultimate Guide to Magical Travel – Methods, cost and legalities”. Without a second thought he noted down the title, the author and the price (1 Galleon), before going to the end of the pamphlet were the ordering form was. He wrote the necessary information down, before adding his vault number.
Harry was just about to tap the complete when he remembered that he needed his key to verify the vault. Quickly getting up, he walked to his trunk and searched for his key in there. He had put it into his trunk after returning to make sure that he wouldn’t lose it or his aunt found it while washing his clothes.
Within a minute he had the key and completed his order. Satisfied that everything seemed to have worked he walked over to Hedwig, who was watching him from her cage. Smiling happily, he said, “You ready for another delivery? This one goes to Flourish and Blotts.”
Without further ado, Hedwig snatched the letter and flew through the open window.
Now once again, did the waiting start.
The following day a regal looking owl appeared carrying a package that was slightly bigger than Harry had expected. The owl took off again as soon as the package had been untied from its legs. Harry hadn’t even had time to offer it some water, although he assumed that it would have plenty of opportunity to hunt and drink water on its way back now that it wasn’t carrying anything.
The book was rather large and Harry wasn’t sure if that was a sign that there were so many different ways for transportation or just that much theory behind it. Opening it, he saw that while there weren’t that many different forms of travel, there was quite a lot of information about the laws governing them and the theory behind it. By far the biggest chapter was the one about apparition, detailing just how one would go about obtaining a license and under which points that license might be revoked. Not to mention all kinds of accidents that could happen with the most gruesome pictures to show just how horrid those accidents could be.
Followed by that was floo travel which looked promising, but wouldn’t be usable for him – at least he didn’t imagine the Dursleys agreeing with him using their fireplace in that fashion. There was a short mention of flying carpets and that they were illegal in Britain.
After nearly two hours of reading, he finally came to a useful chapter. The Knightbus. The transportation in itself didn’t sound all too pleasant, but he would be able to summon it (the act itself being not regarded as underage magic) and pay for it as he had money left from his shopping trip with Hagrid.
Now knowing how he would be able to get to London, Harry started writing another letter to Gringotts.
“Dear Gringotts Teller,
I wish to set up an appointment with my account manager Goldbone in two days. At what point in time would it be suitable for him to see to me?
Harry didn’t even need to ask Hedwig if she was up for delivering another letter as she landed on his desk as soon as he was done. Smiling at her, he said, “You’re a brilliant owl, you know that? I wouldn’t want any other at my side.”
Petting her head slightly as she preened at the praise, Harry held out the letter and said, “This goes to Gringotts.”
As soon as Hedwig was gone, Harry pulled out another piece of parchment and wrote down envelopes and string on it. If he was going to send more letters soon he would need them so that Hedwig wouldn’t have to take all the letters into her beak and if he was going to Diagon Alley he might as well use the opportunity.
Two days later, Harry was ready to go to London. The letter with the appointment time hadn’t taken long to arrive, letting him know that 10am would be suitable. Right now it was 9am and Harry hoped that it would be enough time to get to Diagon Alley.
He had packed all the money he had left along with some parchment and quills. So far nobody had complained about his attempts to write with a quill and he hoped that this meant it was legible enough even if it could improve. With a shake of his head, Harry had noted down that he needed to buy more parchment and ink so he could practice writing some more and if possible a book that could give him advise on learning to write with a quill. He was sure that someone in Flourish and Blotts would be able to reference him a good one.
He quickly told his aunt that he was going out and left without another word. The Dursleys were still ignoring him after all. There was no use in waiting for an answer.
Searching for a slightly remote place where few people passed by during this day, Harry went through everything he wanted to do that day. First order of business was his meeting with Goldbone and a solicitor to find out what he could do about the adventure books about him. He grudgingly had to admit that the history books couldn’t leave him out considering that he was a part of history. After that, he would spend some time shopping.
These last couple of days he had finished reading the book about magical transport and to his pleasant surprise had also found a book about the Hogwarts Express, including how to access the platform. That had been a moment of quiet panic when he realised that Hagrid hadn’t told him about accessing the platform only to remind himself that it was standing right there in the book. There was a lot to find out about the wizarding world.
After that he would start his campaign to find out just what the wizarding world knew and thought about him. A part of him didn’t want to, afraid of what they might expect. However, a bigger part wanted to tell them who he truly was and for that he needed to know what needed to be fixed. Surely Gringotts would be able to help with that as well while they were taking care of the adventure books.
The ride on the Knightbus turned out to be as bad as he had expected after he had read the chapter on it. Still, it brought him to where he wanted to go and was affordable to him.
He arrived at Gringotts with about 10 minutes to spare until his appointment and figured it would be just fine. On top of that, the lines at Gringotts weren’t that long either, so he found himself waiting in a chair to the side of the hall rather quickly.
Once he was sitting in Goldbone’s office and introduced to Alvin Fisher, the solicitor Goldbone had hired, they quickly got to the first point of the meeting: Dumbledore and his various obligations.
“As I had mentioned, Albus Dumbledore is your magical guardian and as such controls where you live and is responsible for your education in wizarding matters. He is also the person that is receiving the stipend. We have checked his accounts and the current status of the investigation shows that he is transferring money in muggle currency that equals roughly the stipend your parents set aside for whoever is raising you. We are currently investigating if the Dursleys were aware of it and how much they spent on you. This is easily done and doesn’t require your input. Now Mister Fisher is going to explain the peculiarities of what a magical guardian is responsible for and what you can do,” Goldbone started.
Harry nodded in understanding and turned to the middle aged wizard, “As your magical guardian Albus Dumbledore has the right to decide where you live. You may petition him to chose a different residence, but ultimately, it will be his choice until you are of age. He also represents you in various matters such as school matters, in legal matters and is able to decide if medical procedures should be done or not. To a lesser extend he can influence your monetary situation. That means that he can restrict your money access and until you are of age you will need his approval for nay investments or acquirements over 300 Galleons a year. In the case that you don’t invest during a year, the amount will be kept and the money available will double for the following year. Amongst his responsibilities is your physical and mental health as well as your education about your social and financial status. Lastly, if he fails in any of these, you are able to petition for a new magical guardian. You are free to offer a suggestion and others are free to petition for it. In the end anyone else your parents might have thought suitable will have a say in this. Should nobody be available, the Ministry of Magic will make the final decision.”
After Harry nodded in understanding, Fisher continued, “Now, as I’ve been told you were only told about the wizarding world on your last birthday at the end of July. Normally this is counted as a great neglect on the side of your magical guardian. However, since he placed you into the guardianship of someone else, they can also be held accountable. Do you mind telling me, who you were staying with?”
“My aunt and uncle. My aunt was my mother’s sister and they’re all muggles. I don’t know how much they even know about magic. I just know that they don’t like it,” Harry answered.
Fisher hummed and said, “Muggles can’t be held acountable to inform a child about the wizarding world. However, Albus Dumbledore might still believe that they would have. I will sent him a letter to officially make him aware of that oversight and remind him of his responsibilities. If you wish to aquire teachers through Gringotts, please have Goldbone inform me and I will add this into the letter. As your magical guardian he has a right to refuse a teacher. However, I don’t think that he would refuse a Gringotts appointed teacher in financial matters. The social aspect will be more delicately.”
“I would like it if you could suggest teachers. However, I’m afraid my aunt and uncle wouldn’t be comfortable with having a witch or wizard coming to their home – where could I be taught alternatively?”
“Since you are still a minor, financial education isn’t as urgent and it will be fine if you start once you started at Hogwarts. I’m sure that it can be arranged for a tutor to teach you there. For the social aspects, I would recommend to start before you reach Hogwarts as the ride to school traditionally is a time where the heirs start building their alliances. If you unintentionally insult someone, this could have far reaching consequences. I will also inform your magical guardian about it and he should get in contact with you.”
“Oh – would a portrait be able to instruct me? I considered taking a family portrait out of Gringotts. Before I do that I wondered how I would be able to transport it though – would I be able to take it to Hogwarts with me?”
“You won’t be able to transport a normal portrait like that. However, there are smaller frames that allow your ancestors to speak with you once they have been activated,” Goldbone said.
Harry nodded in understanding and said, “So portraits can talk in the wizarding world?”
“Painting portraits is a magical process that enables a portrait to activate, for a lack of a better word, once the witches or wizards it depicts die. They will be moving slightly before that similar to magical photographs, but once activated they will also be able to communicate with other portraits and of course the living,” Fisher said in response.
“I would very much like to have such a portrait, or at least a smaller frame, available. Does the smaller frame allow access only to one portrait or several?”
“That would be possible as the portraits would only have to enter a specific portrait in your vaults that is directly connected to the small frame. They would not be able to enter another larger portrait once you have removed it from the vault though,” Goldbone said, “You will be able to take it with you when you go to access money or specifically request a trip down.”
“Now, as to the last matter of your questions in our first communication. The books sold with your name. As I said, your primary guardian has an agreement that allows current photographs to be posted alongside anything relating to the night the Dark Lord was vanquished and the Daily Prophet. The other books are not sanctioned, but by order of your primary guardian we didn’t interfere with them. What are your wishes in this regard?”
“I guess I can’t really complain about history books, but what about the Daily Prophet? What if they write something bad about me? Could I at least complain about it? To make them stop that is,” Harry asked.
Fisher nodded and said, “You won’t be able to make them stop reporting the truth. However, you are able to legally go against them if they slander you or report outright lies. Eypecially if they report it as facts instead of rumours.”
“So I can’t really stop them using my image either. What about the books? I haven’t read any yet, but the descriptions I’ve seen in the Flourish and Blotts catalogue make them appear as if anything in them is true, as if I truly went on such adventures. Considering that I only found out about magic a week ago and I don’t even know what most of the things in the titles are – like a Hungarian Horntail for example.”
“A Hungarian Horntail is a dragon, I don’t know if you’ve heard of those before,” Goldbone said.
Harry nodded with wide eyes and said, “Hagrid told me about them. He said he wanted one. I didn’t know there was more than one kind though.”
“The groundskeeper at Hogwarts? He was the one to inform you about magic?” Fisher asked.
Harry nodded, “Yes.”
“That’s really unusual. Normally Professor McGonagall delivers the letters to muggleborn students or when there are problems in delivering a letter. She has a lot of experience explaining the magical world and everything else you need to know. An example would be introductionary books or how to access platform 9 ¾.”
“There’s a special way to get there?” Harry said wide-eyed.
Fisher nodded and said, “I almost feared this. There is a wall that will allow you to pass through without problems. There is a charm on it that makes muggles ignore it or the people passing through. It is the third pfeiler between platforms 9 and 10.
“Back to the topic at hand – the books depicting your adventures that are obviously only fiction,” Goldbone reminded them.
“Can you make them stop selling them? And let everybody know that they’re not true?” Harry asked.
Fisher sighed and said, “At the very least we can make them let everybody know that they are nothing but fiction and don’t depict your childhood. Even better might be a small press conference that allows you to clarify that you had no knowledge of magic prior to receiving your Hogwarts letter. Stopping more books from being published is also possible.”
Harry nodded and said, “I’d prefer for them to stop selling them all together, but I could accept it if everybody knew that they weren’t true.”
“Gringotts will also see about getting a part of the prophet for past publications, and depending on their continuation, the same for future books.,” Goldbone said.
“How long would this take?” Harry said.
“Considering all the legal matters that could be invoked by us and the other side, it will probably take several months. I would suggest a small press conference at the end of the month. You could then spend the remaining time at the Leaky Cauldron and get to Kings Cross station from there. Unless you wish to stay with your relatives until the l,ast day of course.”
“That would be great actually,” Harry said, “My relatives would prefer it if I was gone as soon as possible… That reminds me. My cousin kind of has a pig’s tail and they would probably prefer if it was gone without having to show anybody.”
“I can accompany you home tonight, or visit you at an arrange time, and take care of it. At the same time I could also discuss the stipend they should have been receiving and what the investigation of Gringotts has revealed so far,” Fisher said.
Harry nodded and said, “That would be great. I planned on stopping in Diagon Alley for some shopping to get some envelopes and maybe some more paper so I can practise writing with a quill some more, but aside from that I have no plans.”
“In that case I can suggest you a book that would help you learn how to take care of a quill. It will allow you to use it longer and achieve more readable writing aside from merely practising how to write,” Fisher said.
Harry nodded in acceptance, before he said, “I think that covers all of my questions or is there something else I should know?”
“Anything else can be covered by your teacher once you start taking classes,” Goldbone said.
The press conference had been more or less a success. The response to the truth was shocking to Harry though. The Daily Prophet, which he had supplied to on suggestion of Alvin Fisher, had had a field day questioning his placement and Albus Dumbledore was under a lot of pressure. He had also received several comments and letters with advice on which books to study, teachers to hire or other things. He had learned to take it with a grain of salt as Fisher had told him that some of them were from people that had sided with Voldemort at one time and were strict traditionalists.
The small frame he had gotten from Gringotts which frequently had his parents and grandparents as guests also gave him a lot of advice and told him a lot of stories.
The decision about the books about his adventures took a long time to reach and Fisher sent him a letter shortly before Christmas with the results. It had been decided that the eighth book, which had been finished by then, would still be published but no new books started. On top of that he would receive 25% of the money previous and future sales would produce.
He was just glad that everybody knew the truth when it came to his knowledge about the wizarding world and didn’t expect too much of him. It made learning what he needed to know much easier as he didn’t feel as if he needed to catch up by yesterday.