The journey home on the Hogwarts Express next day was eventful in several ways. Firstly, Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who had clearly been waiting all week for the opportunity to strike without teacher wit-nesses, attempted to ambush Harry halfway down the train as he made his way back from the toilet. The attack might have succeeded had it not been for the fact that they unwittingly chose to stage the at-tack right outside a compartment full of D.A. members, who saw what was happening through the glass and rose as one to rush to Harry’s aid. By the time Ernie Macmillan, Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Anthony Goldstein, and Terry Boot had finished using a wide variety of the hexes and jinxes Harry had taught them, Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle resembled nothing so much as three gigantic slugs squeezed into Hogwarts uniforms as Harry, Ernie, and Justin hoisted them into the luggage rack and left them there to ooze.
twin.ta winner award: @goldstiens winner of the remus lupin award for best upcoming blogger (at the time)
I had the idea — that it might be good if people who wanted to study Defence Against the Dark Arts — and I mean, really study it, you know, not the rubbish that Umbridge is doing with us because nobody could call that Defence Against the Dark Arts— Hear, hear.
”Something very odd was happening to Zacharias Smith; every time he opened his mouth to disarm Anthony Goldstein, his own wand would fly out of his hand, yet Anthony did not seem to be making a sound.“
The day after the battle, Hermione Granger got up before the sun did. The Lake was covered in fog, and she was used to having somewhere urgent to go, to be, to fight.
She closed the tent flap up behind her. Hogwarts had something like enough beds, but Hermione hadn’t had it in her to climb those moving staircases, to step through the painting’s open frame and make her way to the Gryffindor girls’ seventh year dormitory. Her bed would have been there, months untouched except for the bras and scarves and bottles of sparkly purple nail polish Parvati and Lavender had strewn onto every open surface.
The fog rolled in off the Lake and Hermione stood at the damp shore and shivered until the sun rose and burned it all away.
The day after the battle, they buried their dead out on an island in the Lake, the day after the battle. Madame Pomfrey fretted and hovered, but every injured witch, wizard, and squib made it out to those conjured chairs. They might sit with assistance– with spells, with braces, with a friend’s shoulder– but they sat quiet and they listened to Flitwick read out the names.
The day after the battle, Ron Weasley stood on tiptoe when he stepped back into the Great Hall, looking over a sea of bent heads to find a cluster of red. They’d brought the tables back.
The cluster was only a tiny blip of three– Bill and their parents were flitting about, helping Flitwick float steaming bowls of pasta down onto each table. But Ginny and Percy were sitting on either side of George, keeping up a lively conversation about Gilderoy Lockhart’s hair.
Ginny was sitting half in Harry’s lap, like if she didn’t he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from getting up to help, or to pace the castle, or to walk out to the Forest and not come back. She was holding his hand, her freckled thumb running over the words written into his skin.
Ron thought about sitting with Luna, instead. Percy tried to laugh at one of Ginny’s jokes, and Ron didn’t know how to be kind like that. Ginny held Harry’s hand. Ron had thought for a long terrible stretch of heartbeats that he had lost two brothers yesterday.
He could sit with Dean. He could walk out to the Forest and punch Aragog in his ugly eyes, because normally when he walked away from everyone he loved it was because he was scared and maybe change was good for the soul.
Ron pushed his hands through his hair. He crossed the Great Hall, swung into a seat next to Harry, and filled his plate with lukewarm pasta.
The day after the battle, Luna Lovegood climbed up to the Astronomy Tower, because it was the furthest she could get away from everything. She laid on her back on the cold stone and cast balls of light and enchanted birds to chase each other across the ceiling until she felt like descending down to the ground again.
The day after the battle, Neville Longbottom went down to the greenhouses to see what the damage was there. He had sat all night and all morning in the infirmary, fetching water for Anthony Goldstein and holding Dennis Creevey’s hand and folding extra blankets down over Professor Sprout’s cold feet. Madame Pomfrey had banished him to go get a spot to eat and some sleep, so he walked down to the greenhouses to see what was salvageable.
Whole panes of greenish glass stood jagged and shattered. Protective spells had put out any fires, but stray blasts of magic had killed beds of vegetables and flowers and taken almost all the silver-green leaves off an olive tree that twisted in the corner of Greenhouse 4.
Neville went in through the door, even though there as a broken hole in the glass wall big enough for him, and almost fell back through it when Hannah Abbott stood up from the row of pots she’d been crouching behind. Dirt streaked every crease of her hands. “Hey,” he said, and let the door click shut behind him.
“Hey.” When she saw where he was heading, she added, “The olive’s still alive.”
The bark was rough under his hand, gnarled from decades of slow growth. He could hear the green magic whispering down its xylem.
“I was thinking I’d try to mend up the walls, close this place up again,” said Hannah. “But I wasn’t sure I could do it alone."
"Alright,” said Neville. When Professor Sprout argued her way out of the infirmary and thumped downhill with the wind throwing her cloudy hair in her face, she found every pane of glass healed and Neville and Hannah asleep on the softest patch of moss in Greenhouse 2.
The day after the battle, Parvati Patil sent an owl to Lavender Brown’s parents.
The day after the end of it all, Hermione skipped lunch and found her favorite secluded corner of the library instead. The chairs stood silent and sober, all gouged dark wood. The high windows threw light gleaming across the polished table, catching on the dust motes drifting through the air above it.
She dumped her carry-all down on it and reached inside– up to her elbows, her shoulders. She tried not to feel like it was eating her alive and she pulled out protein bars and unicorn horn and crumpled wanted flyers.
She wasn’t sure when it had gotten so cluttered– sometime before the night in the ditch outside the little Scottish village with the awesome curry shop. Sometime after the time they hid out from a storm in an unknowing Muggle’s barn, wrinkling their noses at the itch of hay as they ate their dinner. Hermione had taken first watch, listening to the thunder roll over the shallow hills outside, and she’d gone through her bag pouch by endless pouch. Harry had twitched in his sleep with every flash of lightning, but everything in her bag had been where it was supposed to be.
She summoned a wastepaper bin to hover beside her and got to work. Quills and ballpoint pens went in a neat heap to her left. Books she stacked by subject matter around her, except for the ones she flew back to their homes on Hogwarts shelves. She checked potions ingredients for decay, tossed the bad ones and wrapped the good ones back up in their oiled cloth and ziplock bags.
She ate a protein bar while she piled duct tape and the radio and a travel-sized magnetic foldable Muggle chess set and a depleted first aid kit all up around her. She threw the wrapper away and wondered if the smell would ever come out of the bag’s insides, or if she should just buy another one.
The day after the battle, they started putting the stones of the castle back into place. They put bones back together, first, skin and knit muscle and tendons. McGonagall escorted every statue and suit of armor back to where it belonged.
Sue Li sat atop a pile of rubble and ate the biggest chocolate bar she’d ever seen her life. She thought she could still taste a film of Polyjuice on her tongue, but she told herself that was dumb. She dropped little pebbles down the ragged tumble of stones, counting their bounces and calculating averages, until Astoria Greengrass showed up with a glass of water and a pasty and put them down beside her.
Astoria got her hands dirty every chance she got, put her back into sweeping up glass shards or hauling bandages or Wingardium Leviosa-ing stone blocks the size of a horseless carriage. She would stay in the castle as long as she could, finding odd tasks and errands and corners to lurk in. When she finally went back to the Greengrass family estate, it would be to pack her bags, kiss the old house elf on the cheek, and steal her dog away with her.
The day after the battle, Ron went out to Hagrid’s cabin in the stubborn chill of the afternoon and sat in his pumpkin patch. He didn’t go knock on the rough-hewn door, and Hagrid didn’t come out, but after twenty minutes Fang trotted into the yard and patiently got slobber all over his shirt.
Ron watched the sway of the shadows beyond the Forest’s edge. Buckbeak’s old tying post stood among the twining squash vines and their giant fuzzy leaves, the metal ring hanging empty against weathered wood. He thought about Ginny brushing her thumb over Harry’s scars and wrapped
his hands over the pale marks that curled around his wrists.
When the air started biting and the sky started darkening, Ron pulled himself back to his feet and climbed up to the library. He had never lived there, never really liked its labyrinth of stacks and dusty air, but he knew the way there better than he knew the way to the Quidditch pitch or the Room of Requirement or all those other places he liked so much more.
It was empty, except for Hermione, and he was glad. She squeezed her last book into her bag and looked up at him, shoving her hair back off her forehead.
“They doing dinner down there?” she said, her dry throat rasping on it.
He shrugged. “Mum’s organizing, I think. It– helps, I think."
She nodded, looking down to do the clasps up slowly, one by one.
"I just wanted to go back to the tent,” said Ron. “Be alone. It’s quiet."
"I won’t get in your way,” she said. “It’s still pitched down there."
"I know,” he said. “With you, I meant.”
“That’s not alone,” she said. “I’m not quiet,” she said. She clasped and unclasped the bag.
“Words. Accuracy. I never claimed to be the clever one."
"But you are, Ron–"
"Hermione,” he said. “Come with me? You shouldn’t be sitting here alone. Come home.”
They went down the grass through chilling air. Ron could hear his mother in his head, telling him to take her bag and carry it for her, but he just reached out for her hand.
The day after the end of it all, Ron laid on the floor of the tent, counting stitches in the canvas, while Hermione read Hogwarts, A History like she didn’t have it memorized. She read her favorite parts aloud, stopping mid-sentence when the tent flap rustled and opened.
“Ginny’s sitting on Neville until he agrees to sleep in a real bed and not a pile of shrubbery,” Harry said, stepping inside and shutting it up behind him. “She got Luna to help because she says otherwise Luna will just fade into a corner and not come out for food.” He hunched his shoulders. “I’m not intruding, right?"
"Don’t be daft,” said Ron and patted a bit of floor next to him. “C'mon, join in, Hermione’s trying to bore me to sleep. I suspect it’s an act of caring concern.” Hermione threw a pillow at his head without looking up from the pages.
The day after the battle, they fell asleep in a tangle in the center of the tent that they had lugged across their country, across these long, cold days of the war. They had danced here to the radio, had chewed protein bars, played chess and bled and yelled at each other.
But the war was over and they were growing into it, slow, staying up too late as they leaned into each other and whispered on this threadbare rug. They meant to wobble to their feet and get to bed, but Harry was clinging to Hermione’s hand and none of them wanted to go.
They would get too old for this– hard floors and the way Harry’s neck was cricked up on Ron’s bony shoulder. Hermione’s snoring would get worse and Ron would have to sleep with four carefully arranged pillows to stop his back from aching in the mornings, but Harry would always have a place here. He had slept on Ron’s bedroom floor at fourteen, leaned on Hermione outside his parents’ broken home.
In the weeks after the battle, Hermione would track down her parents and move back home, and they would all help the Weasleys rebuild the Burrow. Harry would move in Andromeda Tonks’s spare room. “We’re almost like family, after all,” she’d say briskly, shooing him into the house and showing him where she kept the tea, Teddy’s diapers, and the whiskey. They’d come for visits and talk through the night in each of those homes, curled up under Molly’s quilts or out on the Granger’s back porch swing or over fingers of firewhiskey with Andromeda.
In the months after the war, he and Ron would get a flat while they went through Auror training and Hermione would crash there five nights out of seven. Her university textbooks would take over their countertops, shelves, tables, and floor and Harry wouldn’t tease them (too much) for how hilariously long they tried to pretend it was the couch Hermione slept on.
Every home Ron and Hermione lived in, for the rest of their lives, would have a place for Harry– a spare room or a patch of floor or an old sofa. He would know how Hermione took her coffee, and his favorite cereal and Ginny’s favorite oatmeal would always been in the cupboard, and their children would have giggly cousin-sleepovers in magical tents they pitched on the living room rug.
When the kids came shrieking in to wake them at absolutely unacceptable, ugly hours, Ginny would groan curse words they’d repeat gleefully among themselves, but Harry would let them grab his hands in their little sticky ones and pull him barefoot and messy-haired out into the morning.
Ravenclaw headcanons because there's not enough Ravenclaw on my dash
Padma sneaking Parvati into Ravenclaw Tower all the time and letting her stay in her dorm room because Parvati is allergic to Crookshanks.
Anthony and Terry arguing over which twin is who because they are known to switch ties all the time just to mess with everyone.
Cho organizing parties after every Quidditch match win or lose. Marietta taking care of food and drinks because she has “connections”.
“Connections” meaning she flirts with the Hufflepuffs because they have a secret easy access to the kitchens.
Luna’s things disappearing and then reappearing around the common room two months later. Her shoes tend to pop up elsewhere though.
Luna having thoughtful Saturday afternoon conversations with The Grey Lady about being dead.
Peeves bouncing around the common room for hours every single Tuesday night without fail and as a result the library stays open two hours longer than usual so the Ravenclaws can study.
Anthony spending more time doodling in his notebook than doing classwork and getting caught by McGonagall.
Su Li having an eagle owl that basically hates everyone and the entire Ravenclaw table knows to duck whenever they see it coming through the Great Hall because if you so much as look at it the wrong way it will go for your hair. Or your breakfast.
Terry never making it back to Ravenclaw Tower before curfew and getting into arguments with the Tower knocker because the questions become twice as difficult after curfew to discourage late night stragglers. Clearly it doesn’t work on him.
Every year after CoS, the Ravenclaws make bets on what sort of shit Harry Potter is going to get himself into. His fifth year Padma made a few Galleons off the fact that Loony Lovegood got mixed up in it.
What if Harry Potter, the chosen one, had turned out to be a squib, how do you think history would have turned out differently?
It was Mrs. Figg who suspected first.
She noticed many things, sitting on her side of her fence with her cats chasing butterflies and nuzzling her ankles, Mundungus and the other watchers dropping by for tea now and then.
Mrs. Figg noticed that Petunia was a nosy bit of work with insecurities hanging from her every harsh angle. She noticed when Dudley learned the word MINE– the whole neighborhood noticed that one. She noticed that Vernon glared at owls.
She noticed that when Petunia gave Harry a truly horrendous haircut one year, it grew back in at a normal rate. Harry was uneven and weird-looking for ages, hiding under beanies when he could.
When Mrs. Figg had Harry over for carefully miserable afternoons of babysitting, she noticed nothing moved that shouldn’t. He didn’t accidentally make flowers out of fallen leaves, or levitate anything during tantrums, or turn toys funny colors.
Mrs. Figg called up her mother, interrupting the wizarding bridge game she was winning against the nursing home staff, and asked her how she had known, decades back, that her youngest daughter was a squib.
When Albus Dumbledore received Mrs. Figg’s letter he wrote back a polite thank you and then went to talk with Minerva McGonagall, who inhaled sharply in horror when he told her the news.
Finally, McGonagall gave a gathered sigh. “I suppose we can ask one of the wizarding families to homeschool him,” she said. “We can’t have the Boy Who Lived not knowing about his own world.”
“No, he’ll come to Hogwarts,” said Dumbledore.
“Hogwarts is not a place for–” Her voice fell. “–squibs, Albus.”
Dumbledore shook his head. “Harry must be taught.”
“Be taught what, Albus?”
But Dumbledore just sighed and offered her a lemon drop.
Years later, the owls and the letters came to 4 Privet Drive. The Dursleys ran, dragging Harry with them, and the letters and one stubborn gamekeeper followed– none of this would change with a magicless Harry.
When Hagrid asked Harry in that little cabin on that little rock in the middle of the sea if weird things always happened around him, Harry couldn’t tell him about vanishing glass and setting captive snakes free, about ending up somehow on the school roof, or growing his hair out overnight.
“Strange things always happen around you, don’ they?”
“Um,” said Harry, racking his brain. “Well… I live in a cupboard under the stairs…”
Harry could tell him about how snakes sometimes talked back, because that had never been Harry’s magic, but when he did Hagrid just blanched and changed the subject.
Hagrid held out hope, even against Dumbledore’s quiet warning explanations, until they made it to Ollivander’s Wands. Harry marveled at Diagon Alley, got his hands shaken in the Leaky, pressed his nose up against shop windows. Hagrid watched the scant boy– looked at James’s messy hair, Lily’s eyes, Harry’s own wandering gaze– and he wondered how this boy could be anything but magical.
In the wand shop, Ollivander said, “James Potter, yes… mahogany, eleven inches. Pliable. A powerful wand for Transfiguration.” He said, “And your mother, Lily… strong in Charms work, ten and… yes, ten and a quarter, willow, swishy.”
Harry picked up stick after wooden stick. They remained just that– wood with bits of feather or scale or hair. Harry wondered if the creatures who gave these offerings were still alive– if they were given or taken. What did it do to your wand when they died? He waved a maplewood wand (unicorn hair, eleven inches) and a gust from the door opening blew some receipts off the counter.
“Well, said Ollivander. “I think that’s as close as we’re likely to get.”
He sent them out with the maplewood. Hagrid bought Harry a snowy owl and a fudge sundae and tried not make it too obvious that these were condolence gifts. The next day the Prophet’s headlines read: The Boy Who Lived– A Squib? Various magical medical experts weighed in on how it might have happened. Fingers were pointed at childhood trauma, at his upbringing, at his family lineage.
Harry still met Ron on the train– Ron was still smudge-nosed and Harry still bought enough candy to share. When Molly had helped him through the platform entrance, her voice had been a little softer, a little more pitying– but it was still better than the laughter that had been in his aunt and uncle’s voices when they dropped him here to find a platform they didn’t think existed.
Hermione Granger dropped by their compartment, looking for Neville’s toad, but got distracted when she spotted Harry. “I’ve read about you! In my books, and in the paper,” she said. “You’re the Boy Who Lived, and you’re a squib.”
Harry sank down in his seat. Ron hid Scabbers under a candy wrapper.
“Squibs have never been allowed in Hogwarts,” Hermione announced. “According to Hogwarts, A History, squibs try to sneak in now and then– the furthest anyone’s ever gotten is to the Sorting Hat before they got found out.” At eleven, Hermione still believed in expulsion being worse than death. Her voice was thrumming with sympathetic horror.
“But they already found out about me,” Harry said, alarmed.
“It’s alright, mate,” said Ron. “You’re Harry Potter. Oy, Granger,” he added. “What’s this Hat? Fred and George were trying to sell me some story about having to fight a mountain troll to get your House…”
Harry sat back and watched the countryside rush by. Yes, he was Harry Potter– his aunt’s useless sister’s useless child, the boy in the lumpy hand-me-down sweaters who named the spiders who lived in his cupboard. And here, in new world, he was apparently useless too.
When they got to Hogwarts, Harry clenched his fists and stood in line with the other first years. He barely twitched at the ghosts or Peeves, just stared ahead and thought about how far he would get before they turned him around and sent him back to Vernon and Petunia.
They opened the Great Hall doors. They called the first years one by one. Harry clenched his teeth and walked up to the Hat when they called his name.
As he turned to sit down on the stool, he really caught sight of the Hall for the first time– the hovering candles, the big wooden tables, the black robes that swallowed the light. Translucent ghosts gossiped with the students beside them. The paintings on the far walls– were they moving?
Harry’s jaw had unclenched, falling open. His fists curled open, curving around the stool’s seat as he leaned forward to stare. If this was it, if this was as far as he’d get in this world, then he wanted to drink it all in. The candles were floating, in mid-air.
The Hat dropped down over his eyes and blocked out the light.
Well, said the dry voice that had been hollering House placements all night. What do we have here?
Ron had been begging for not-Slytherin. Draco from the robes shop had been scornful of Hufflepuff, desperate in his disdain. Neville had begged for Hufflepuff, sure he was not brave enough for Gryffindor.
A discreet Portkey was set up for him once a year. It was usually an empty bottle brought up from the kitchen, except for the time Fred Weasley managed to enchant all the bottles to hide themselves around the castle and explode into different colored confetti any time a prefect walked by. That year, he had to make do with a biscuit tin.
Anthony often thought that he’d just skip it. He was usually only just digging into his classes for the year, and there was always at least three essays he would have to finish when he got back. He sometimes started to write the letter to his mum telling her he’d be staying at Hogwarts before the guilt would overwhelm him.
The truth was, he wasn’t sure he believed in any of it any more. He lived in a world where bushes really did catch fire without flame, where water could be made to spurt from a stone. Those wonderful, terrifying tales he grew up with could really be true- and that made him question his faith.
But he went. Every year.
Every year, he felt the jerk under his navel, landed dizzily in the field behind his house. Every year he entered the warm kitchen, smelling of freshly baked challah and sweet apples. Every year he helped his mother clean up after dinner, licking the honey off the spoon she offered him as a treat.
Every year he recited the same prayers, sung the same melodies, told the same lies to the friends and neighbors he saw at shul. Every year, he felt the slight dizziness and unreality that came with fasting. Every year, he watched as tears rolled down his mother’s cheek as she recited the Yizkor for his father.
Every year, he cried too.
And every year, when the kugel had been eaten and the kitchen was in a state of controlled disaster, Anthony Goldstein would kiss his mother on the cheek, gather up the leftovers she had neatly wrapped for him, and walk out to find the empty bottle in the middle of the field.
And returned to the real world.
L'shanah tovah, lovely followers! May your new year be sweet and full of joy.
[NOTE: I don’t know why I have been obsessed with this for like, the last week, but I have, so here you go. Also, I cannot believe an Anthony Goldstein tag actually exists on Tumblr. When I despair, I am reminded that no one quite obsesses over barely-extant characters like the HP fandom, and I love them for it.]
I find Anthony Goldstein a really fascinating way to think about the way that a Jewish character would fit into the wider spectrum of the magical world as realized by JK Rowling. On the surface, it shouldn’t matter. A Jew should’t be any different from any other minority culture shoved into Ravenclaw (which for what it’s worth seems to be the house that stereotypically high-achieving minorities get sorted into). And yet it’s a question worth thinking about, particularly because Rowling’s world is constructed on notions specifically Christian in character.
This largely boils down to the struggle of Absolute Good vs Absolute Evil, with terms of morality used as alternative names for God and Satan, two independent forces in eternal opposition. This dichotomy isn’t really a thing in Judaism (Satan is understood as an agent of God). The books are ultimately framed in the context of this struggle, from the world building to Harry’s personal coming of age and fight against Voldemort. It is the very foundation of British Wizarding culture, and to not proscribe to this view would leave someone like Anthony Goldstein permanently alienated.
Culture clash would arise for Goldstein out of such things as the notion of ‘the Dark Arts.’ In traditional Potterverse, the Dark Arts are 'Dark’ because of some evil that seems inherent in the nature of the creature/spell. The reaction toward such magic is 'defense,’ by either learning how to beat the creatures, or counteract the spellwork. Judaism would not, arguably, make the distinction between good and evil magic in such terms. They would not be mutually exclusive. Magic would be considered evil in the context of its practitioner, not so much in the particulars of a spell or beast. Specifically, magic would be primarily understood as evil if the one who uses it does so to render himself a God-like figure. The ramifications of this would be subtle but significant. Voldemort, for instance, would be evil not because of the magic that he uses, but because he uses it with the intent to elevate himself above the condition of man, and exact powers that humanity should not possess.
This would give rise to the question of whether any sort of magical power is permissible for humans, a question that I could see being an ongoing concern for Goldstein, particularly as he presumably lacks the presence and affirmation of other Jewish wizards in Hogwarts. I could see Goldstein as someone predisposed to disciplines that require an individual to not see himself or herself in inherent opposition with a type of magic, such as Care of Magical Creatures.
Jewish tradition has a history of magic different from that of medieval Britain, from which a lot of the stock images and sentiment in Potterverse arises. Rather than identifying with Merlin, or the Witches burned at the stake, a Jewish wizard might instead look instead to the 'miracles’ of certain medieval Rabbis, or Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel and the Golem of Prague, or King Solomon. Demons instead of Goblins as the morally ambiguous, humanoid figure. Dybbuks instead of Boggarts. Magic derived from Hebrew as opposed to Latin. There is the potential that Goldstein would find himself, or his family, identifying with a magical past and identity that would have very little to do with that adopted by British wizardry, and by extension Hogwarts as a community and educational establishment.
Then of course there is the fun of parsing apart the whose and wheres of Anthony Goldstein. Is he a North London Jew? The next generation of an old British family? Or apart of one of the twentieth century Jewish-immigration waves? Is there a wider Jewish Wizarding community, or is he an anomaly? The last of a tradition? Judaism’s rich tradition of fantasy storytelling and folktales were largely wiped out along with the rural European communities that fostered them, so it wouldn’t be far-fetched that if there was a larger Jewish Wizarding community, it had all but vanished after the Holocaust, and that people like Goldstein represent what remains of a nearly-extinct subculture.
Anti-Semitism was historically a feature of elite British boarding schools, and it would not be unreasonable to assume that it would extend to magical ones, especially seeing as there is even less of an established Jewish presence in the magical community than the muggle one.
Anthony Goldstein would likely never have a place where he could realize himself fully, constantly requiring to either subdue his magic, or his Jewishness in turn. He would find himself alienated on a fundamental level with the British magical community, and would be plagued by doubt when it came to the practice of magic. He would be perceptive and capable at communicating with magical non-humans, and would not see magic as a source of darkness, but the human thirst for power. He would distrust magical assertions of authority, and would find himself burdened with a past that his education has not equipped him to fully understand.
Tracey usually thinks of herself as a fundamentally selfish person, because she always puts herself first.
To be honest, she isn’t particularly ashamed of that. Self preservation instincts and self interest are things she considers everyone to have, anyway.
That doesn’t mean she doesn’t help other people, or takes joy in deliberately hindering others like some do.
In fact, she generally tries to help other people if the cost isn’t too great to herself, in the reasoning of those action will pay one day.
It’s important to maintain nice relationships and cultivate connections, in her opinion.
After all, she isn’t like one of those purebloods from the Sacred 28, born with money and power. She needs to build her own connection web, to maintain it, and small favors to people here and there are the quickest and easiest way.
Small gestures and politeness are simple to do if you make it a habit, but they can go a long way.
Pansy doesn’t understand Tracey’s motives, and often teases her for being too Hufflepuff. Tracey thinks, that she is just playing the long game and waiting for things to pay off. She isn’t as selfless as her friends believe, but she doesn’t bother correcting them.
(Because cultivating an image goes a long way too.)
Tracey maintains her web of friends and allies efficiently, but is deeply wary of and adverse to entering a relationship.
She likes her personal space, her personal time, her freedom and she doesn’t want any of those to be compromised. She doesn’t really think someone as fundamentally selfish as her is girlfriend material.
Sure, she’s got crushes now and then, but she doesn’t actually want to be with any of her crushes. It’s satisfying enough to like them, to admire them from afar – no commitment, no pressure.
(She spent a good few years admiring Cho Chang and Cedric Diggory flying in the air, appreciating the lean and muscular bodies of the Quidditch players.
Well, Oliver Wood, too, but it’s impolitical to admire Oliver Wood in Slytherin, though she is never sure if it’s because Wood is the Gryffindor captain, or because Wood is Flint’s by unspoken agreement in the house.)
When she starts getting close to Anthony Goldstein after a Herbology project together, for a brief while she questions her long time belief.
But she soon realizes they are actually quite alike in this aspect (and many others), and it’s somehow easy and natural to settle into a friendship where they occasionally kiss and tell each other “I love you”,
but still labels it as friendship because it makes both of them more comfortable.
(And she does love him, in a way, just like he loves her. But maybe she just loves herself more. Or, to be precise, not herself, but her freedom and personal space.)
After graduation, she has the chance to work at MACUSA while Anthony gets a Gringotts job in Egypt. Since they’ve both agreed that they are just close friends and neither want to tie the other one down, they each leave for their destination respectively after goodbye kisses.
They owl each other frequently, and chat using the floo when they’ve got the chance. She tells him about that time she went home with a girl from New Jersey, and he shares about the hot Bulgarian girl he meets at work and she makes him promise to send a picture. (The girl turns out to have cheekbones like Blaise Zabini, which is gorgeous.)
Sometimes she hears news of her old Slytherin girl’s gang, about another friend settling down with someone. She feels happy for them, but also glad that it’s not her because she still can’t – and she doesn’t think she will in the near future – imagine herself being in a relationship.
(After all, she doesn’t need a lover when she’s got best friends forever, right?)