Story Title: Harry Potter and the Muggle Mess
Author Name: DisobedienceWriter
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Teen
Length: 14,314 words
Story Summary: Albus Dumbledore attempts to drop Harry Potter off with the Dursley family when things go terribly wrong. The whole universe shifts because of one man’s action.
Part of what is interesting about this story is that it isn’t necessarily depicting a perfect world. At first, I though that the author’s point was that without Dumbledore, everything would be better, post-Oct. 1981. But look deeper than that and you’ll see there is more to the story. Things would be different. And in some ways, that is better, but not in all ways. Dumbledore is one of the most debated characters of the series. Was he a kindly, grandfatherly, old man who loved Harry dearly and whose heart was broken by what Harry had to be prepared to face? Or was he a manipulative puppet master who played with peoples lives, uncaring of their personal rights or needs, much like Aberforth and Rita Skeeter described him in DH? I like the way that this story takes a look at the things Dumbledore would theoretically have been prevented from doing by killing him off early, vs. those things which he theoretically would have prevented from occurring had he lived. Most of all, I like how this story follows these scenarios to their logical ends, leaving us to draw our own conclusions about whether the world was a better place with or without Dumbledore in it.
For example, the author creates an oath which the Wizengamot debates requiring all ministry employees make. Three things concerned me about that oath: 1) It requires the oath-taker to prioritize the protection of the wizarding community above all else, with the implication being that other concerns, including family, MUST come second. 2) It leaves out muggles from the list of those whom one is authorized to defend. 3) Note the implied penalty for violating that oath. We readers must therefore ask ourselves whether it is better for such an oath to be mandated, considering how many lives would be saved by its mere existence; or for it not to exist, considering how many would be unable to defend their muggle relatives or neighbors, or show allegiance to their family, faith, or even the muggle world over the wizarding community?
And while you read this story and are contemplating the various changes, ask yourself, too, how each character named (particularly those from neutral or dark families) ends up by the conclusion of this story. Is the world in general, and those characters in particular, in a better place at the end of this story as a result of these AU changes?
That isn’t to say that this story is an overly deep story which sucks all of the enjoyment out of the narrative. Truthfully, I read this story more than once for the sheer enjoyment of it before all of the above points occurred to me. Ultimately, though, I love how this fantastic story makes one think through several issues in the midst of what initially appears to be merely an AU, Happily Ever After epilogue to Chapter One of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”