Hermione Granger’s writing wisdom

Via John Granger’s HogwartsProfessor.com, this is one of four playful endings to the Harry Potter saga written by professional writers for the NY Times. The whole thing’s funny, but I especially love the part about word order.

July 8, 2007

Op-Ed Contributor

Hermione Tells All

By POLLY HORVATH

YOU’VE been coming in a lot lately, you and that little tyke, haven’t you, dearie?” asked the waitress, idly swishing her cloth across a neighboring table.

“Yeah, they turned off the heat again in my flat,” said the woman, writing in a notebook. A baby rested in a carrier on the chair next to her.

“You used to hang out a bit in town with them lot in robes. Haven’t seen them around lately.”

“Dead,” said Hermione briefly.

“What, all of them?”

“We had a bit of a dust-up,” said Hermione, biting on her pencil.

“I can’t believe it. How’d they die?”

“Which one?”

“Neville?”

“Blaze of glory.”

“Ron?”

“Blaze of glory.”

“Professor Merrythought?”

“Blaze of glory.”

“Potter?”

“Tripped.”

“No! But he’s O.K.?”

“He’s pretty much dead too. I admit I had a little something to do with it. But, you’re a woman, I ask you, how many times should you have to ask them to include a vegan alternative?”

“Crikey!”

“All right, I might have been a bit postpartumy but I’m all better now. Ruddy men!”

“Don’t I know it, dearie. Still,” the waitress said, looking at the baby, “I guess you had yourself a little romance. Which one was it? Potter? Ron? Percy, was it?”

“Probably,” said Hermione.

“And looking for a job now, are you?” asked the waitress, pointing at the newspapers with the circled ads on Hermione’s table.

“Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Once you graduate, oh, sure, you’ve got the ruddy degree in witchcraft and the dark arts but whatcha gonna do with it? Doesn’t half pay the rent. I got me a new tack now. I’m writing some books. Seven or so. Gonna sell them and make some money. I got the whole thing planned out.”

“So, writing a little fantasy, are you?”

“Not ruddy likely. Genre’s been overdone to death. Nope, just writing about my experiences with the Death Eaters and Dark Lords and Dementors. Write what you know.”

“Isn’t that clever, luv.”

“I dream about M.,” said Hermione, putting the baby carrier on the floor.

“Nightmares about them Dementors, eh?”

“Not ‘them.’ M.”

“Muggles?”

“Merchandising.”

“Isn’t it a bit tricky then, writing a bunch of books if you’ve never written anything before?”

“Nah, I got it beat. I figure it’s all in arranging words in some sort of order. Sentences they call it. Like this one I come up with this morning: ‘Started out, Could nutshell myself infinite were bad dreams God, I count, a king, oh, space bounded in not I have that and it of a be.’ Then I rearranged things a bit and got this: ‘Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space were it not that I have bad dreams.’ Don’t know what it means.”

“That’s Shakespeare, that is,” said the waitress.

“DRATS! Not again. He hogged all the best word orders. Never mind, I got the whole day to reorder me words. Bring a piece of cake and keep them cups of tea coming. I plans to knock off three of these suckers by closing time.”

“Chapters, dearie?”

“Books. The kid’s gotta eat.”

The baby started to cry.

“Hush,” said Hermione, kicking the carrier to the other side of the room, “Mummy’s writing.”

Polly Horvath is the author of “The Canning Season” and the forthcoming “The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane.”

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