“A cloaker is a shadow-dwelling, unearthly creature. They are normally only encountered in deep, dark caverns, far beneath the earth.” (Erol Otus, AD&D module A2: Secret of the Slavers Stockade by Harold Johnson with Tom Moldvay, TSR, 1981)
Maybe, just maybe, Lily shouldn’t have agreed to going on a date with Harold Johnson.
And maybe she shouldn’t have accepted it right in the middle of the Great Hall right in front of James Potter’s nose.
Maybe she shouldn’t have given him a very deliberate look just as she told Harold she would go to Hogsmede with him.
After all, maybe it was mean. That was what Alice told her anyway, and Alice was the one Lily always trusted with those sorts of things.
Marlene told her that it was ‘brilliantly petty’ and ‘would send a clear message’.
Marlene didn’t give very good love advice, though, seeing as she’d been in love with Sirius Black for years and so far hadn’t quite realised that he was in love with Remus Lupin.
Nobody else had volunteered an opinion on the matter. They all looked like they were afraid of hurting Lily’s feelings or offending her, considering she was glaring at them all with fire and smoke in her eyes.
James found her after Potions.
“Harold Johnson?” He asked in disbelief. “That idiot?”
They were standing in the corridor leading to the dungeons, surrounded by what felt like hundreds of curious classmates. The hall felt dark and cramped as Lily spun around, her hair flying everywhere, books clutched to her chest like a shield. “Oh, I’m sorry, Potter, was I supposed to become a nun? If you can’t have me, nobody can? Is that it?”
A couple of students who were standing close to Lily edged away as if they were afraid that she might explode. Lily didn’t blame them; that was how she felt at the moment.
Her and Potter had had fights before, of course, but they were all about silly things. Homework that James had accidentally ruined. That time Lily had blown up because James had asked her out one too many times. But this…
Lily was on fire. Her cheeks were flushed, eyes burning brightly, fingers digging into the sharp edges of her books so hard that her knuckles were white. He’d stepped over the line, now- he’d really done it this time.
James stepped backwards, as if noticing the expression on her face- ten minutes too late. There was no going back now. “Well, of course not- I just mean that-”
“Mean what?” Lily snapped. “Mean what, Potter? Because from where I’m standing, it sounds like you don’t want me to date anyone that isn’t you!”
“Well, of course I don’t!” James yelled, his voice echoing off the walls. His glasses were slipping down his nose, but he didn’t seem to notice or care. “Isn’t that the bloody point? I want you to go out with me, Lily! Me!”
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous,” Lily snapped furiously. “You and I both know that’s only for attention-”
James spluttered, and Peter pulled on his sleeve anxiously. “Prongs, maybe we should leave it-”
It was too late. Far, far too late, because they’d gotten started now, and goddamn it if Lily was going to let this go now.
“You don’t control me, Potter,” Lily spat. “I can date who I like, and the fact you’re suggesting I can’t is-”
“Hey, hey,” James began. “That’s not what I said at all! You’re twisting my words, Evans, you know you are. This is ridiculous!”
“Why bring up Harold in the first place, huh?” Lily cried, taking a step towards him and jabbing the hand that wasn’t holding the books in his general direction. “Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
“You know damn well why I can’t leave you alone,” James said under his breath, running his hands through his already messy hair.
It didn’t matter what he said, though. Lily didn’t hear him; didn’t care. “I don’t want to date you,” she growled. “I never have; I never will. Get it through your thick skull, Potter, or I’ll hit it in with one of those Quaffles you love so much!”
The crowd around them were stepping away slowly. This fight was so much more real than ones before- even when defending Severus, Lily had never gotten this angry. James glanced around as if looking for backup, but Sirius and Remus were in another class and Peter was standing behind him looking miserable. He wasn’t going to be much help.
“Evans-” James began. “I didn’t mean you couldn’t date him-”
Lily laughed loudly. “Oh, well thank Merlin! I was oh so concerned about your opinion. You don’t tell get to tell me what I can and can’t do, Potter.”
“You know damn well-” James began, then stopped himself. “Evans, we’re going around in circles. Can’t we- can’t we just stop arguing?”
“No,” Lily said shortly. “We can’t. We can’t because you and me- we aren’t meant to be together in any way, shape, or form. We’re supposed to stay far, far apart and I’d really appreciate it if you’d just let me be.”
She stalked past him, making sure to knock his shoulder as she went past. She didn’t see the look on James’ face as she past.
Maybe if she had, something else would have happened.
But she didn’t. Two days later, Harold told her he didn’t want to go to Hogsmede after all. Lily, of course, blamed James.
James blamed Harold for ‘being a blind idiot’.
Lily cried herself to sleep for two days, and then she discovered that Harold actually already had another girlfriend. And another.
Then she moved on, but that didn’t change her feelings for James Potter. That didn’t happen until later… far later.
With the end of the Second World War in 1945 and the death of fascism, the temporary wartime alliances forged in the darkest days of late 1941 - between the British Empire, the United States and the Soviet Union - quickly began to show deep cracks.
A few weeks after the release of the Long Telegram in February 1946, which would inspire the Truman Doctrine, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in Fulton, Missouri. The speech called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviets, whom he accused of establishing an “iron curtain” from “Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic”.
It was clear by 1947 that ideological difference had become intolerable and in September of that year the Soviets created Cominform, uniting the global
communist movement while tightening political control over Soviet satellites.
Over the following decades a policy of containment would be pursued by the Western Bloc, usually led, and on occasion too far, by the United States. This, driven by the Domino Theory, that should one state fall it would collapse an entire region, led to a number of not-so-small proxy wars: the Malayan Emergency, Korea, Vietnam. On 13 August 1961, the Soviets erected a barbed wire Berlin Wall, something which would quickly grow in substance. Europe was divided, quite physically in two. When the Soviet Union went nuclear on 29 August 1949 the stakes of confrontation had risen exponentially, triggering an arms buildup on both sides; which, under Robert McNamara, settled into a state of Mutually Assured Destruction. European maps became the atomic battlefield and as crisis came thick and fast in the early 1960s the fate of life on our pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known, rested upon the cool minds of just a few men. Living at the gates of annihilation, they peered through and stepped back, time and again.
Another great magazine available on ebay for someone looking to add to their Dorothy Dandridge collection. (x)
Please notice the article “Why I Remain a Bachelor” by Dorothy’s ex-husband, Harold Nicholas.
The Studio (1913). Harold Knight (English, 1874–1961).
It was at the School of Art that Knight met his future wife, Laura Johnson. Harold was a quiet character who is largely remembered, unfairly, as an adept but unexciting painter, while Laura (later Dame Laura) was flamboyant in both her life and art and achieved greater public renown.