On the Coastal Tip of Jamaica, actress Candice Patton stands barefoot in a sheer yellow dress before settling turquoise waters. Her arms sway back and forth as the Caribbean air billows through the thigh-high slit. She gives the camera a small smile as the sun radiates off her skin and the tide tiptoes towards the shore. The Instagram boomerang I’m glancing at has now been viewed over 200,000 times by her 1.2 million-user following.
It’s mid-June; a median between two milestones in Candice’s life - two weeks before her 29th birthday, and two weeks after the Season 3 finale of The Flash aired in homes nationwide. The superhero fiction show, based on the DC Comics character of the same name, stars Candice as Iris West, opposite Grant Gustin as the titular hero, Barry Allen. In the last three years, The Flash has garnered over 15 awards, with Candice herself most recently winning a Saturn Award for “Best Supporting Actress on Television”. It makes sense that CBS Watch! Magazine would send her over to the Caribbean for a photoshoot.
The CW star calls me from her residence in Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon, after her trip in Jamaica. I expect her to sound exhausted from her jet setting, but she’s not. To my astoundment, there’s a lot on her mind. I come to realize that, unlike Iris West, Candice Patton is equipped with a power of her own.
First, I wanted to say that I love love love your Harry Potter fics and what-ifs! thank you so much for writing them :) And I also wondered if you ever written what if the Dursleys had refused to take Harry in?
When Petunia Dursley refused to take Harry in she forfeited his birthright protection, so Dumbledore took the baby to the safest place he knew: Hogwarts.
The applicable staff (mostly just… not Snape) took Harry in on a rotating schedule as he grew from baby to toddler to child. They traded extra credit for babysitting among the older students, and Harry grew up knowing a few dozen different laps that were safe and warm to nap in.
This was a Harry who grew up among books, among old transient walls and learned professors. They gave Binns night duty sometimes, and let him talk young Harry to sleep. This was a Harry whose world changed, on principle, daily. The stairs moved. The walls became doors. You had to keep your eyes open–you had to pay attention. So he did.
He grew up in a school. Knowledge was power, but knowledge was also joy. This was his sanctuary. There was magic in his world from birth.
“The castle will keep him safe,” said Dumbledore, when McGonagall came into his office to complain for the eighth time about Albus’s rather cavalier take on child-rearing. “That’s what it does.”
“Then why do we bother with chaperones ever,” McGonagall said, tempted to shriek it. “Should we let all the children run about willy-nilly at all hours, or just the orphan waifs?!”
“He’s not a student. He’s a ward of Hogwarts. It will take care of him, Minerva.”
McGonagall walked off fuming. A cat with spectacle markings followed Harry almost constantly from ages three through four. At some point McGonagall was far enough behind on her paperwork, and had seen enough suits of armor carry the kid back to his room, enough draperies lift off the wall and tug Harry away from edges, and enough stairs creakingly shift their slope for his tiny toddler legs. She gave a grumpy sigh, stole some of Albus’s lemon drops, and resigned herself to a magical world.
The Grey Lady, the ghost of Ravenclaw Tower, didn’t really like boys but she liked children. She especially liked patience, and politeness, and Harry had been raised by McGonagall’s stern table manners, by Victorian portraiture and quite a few House Elves. He said please, thank you, and ma'am, and as a child he was very cunning in how he got bedtime stories and bedtime snacks out of most every adult he met.
The Grey Lady told the best stories, you see, the ones with riddles in them. You had to think and ask questions to get all the way through them. So he hunted her down with big patient eyes and plates of very smelly cheese, and she told him stories that made him think.
When Harry was stable enough on his feet to walk, and then to run, Sir Cadogan would race him through the castle, the knight scattering banquet tables and galloping across landscapes, twisting through the abstract gallery up on the seventh and a half floor. Harry stumbled and sprinted up stairways and didn’t notice for years the way Cadogan waited at the end of corridors for him to catch up.
Harry was a chubby-legged toddler, in this world–cute cheeks and stubby limbs. It’s a cute image, yes– but this is important. He was a chubby kid. He ate in a high chair on the teacher’s dais, getting peas and mashed potatoes on the adults beside him– Sprout laughed. Snape didn’t.
But this is important–Harry filled his plate. He wobbled up on little legs and grabbed biscuits from the table, slurped his soup, got marinara sauce on his chin and forehead and somehow behind his ear. When he was hungry, he ate. If he snuck down to the kitchens at night, it was for the adventure of it and nothing else. When he was hungry, he ate.
When he was four, they started letting him go sit down with the students. Bill Weasley, on route to be a prefect next year, took him under his wing and scrubbed his face down after meals. Harry was passed around the Hufflepuff table; theirs was the House Common Room he most liked sneaking into, with its barrels and cozy warmth. Nymphadora Tonks turned her nose a dozen different shapes to make Harry laugh, gurgling, as a toddler (and then a child) (and then for the rest of her life, honestly–it never stopped being funny).
The whole Ravenclaw table got distracted from meals, trying to solve riddles from a book one of their Muggleborns had smuggled in.Harry pushed his fork through his gravy, trying to draw out his thoughts but only making squiggles.
It was years before Harry sat at the Slytherin table for the first time–no one had ever set him down there, like they had with the others. But he liked green–it was the color of Professor Sprout’s greenhouses, where he went and napped sometimes in winter. It was the color of his mother’s eyes, from the little book of moving pictures Hagrid had given him when he was three.
All the Slytherin kids seemed big, but everyone Harry ever met seemed big–except for Flitwick, who was seeming smaller with every growth spurt. He leaned forward, teetering on the bench, and grabbed a chicken drumstick. “Hi,” he said, because he’d had a childhood full of tea parties with high portrait society– the French nobility and the tired housewife from the third floor and an old witch with her sleeve on fire but very particular table manners. “I’m Harry. What’s your name?”
By the end of the meal, they were flicking peas across the table with their spoons, like catapult projectiles. Harry had been unwelcome in so few places in his life, after he’d left 4 Privet Drive, that he simply didn’t expect it. He asked Warrington, a Slytherin with shoulders like a bulldog’s, to help him with the juice, which was too unwieldy for his kid-sized wrists. Harry sat there blinking, smiling, until Warrington took the jug and poured him a brimming glass.
The D&D game is clearly rooted in the medieval warfare
Soldiers wear chain-mail or plate armor, and they
wield weapons such as swords and bows.
across the battlefield on horses, and catapults bombard castle
Yet, the presence of fantastic creatures and magic supports a more modern kind of warfare, in which flying
creatures provide air support, soldiers use camouflage or
magic to hide themselves from enemies, and spells that
affect a large area can devastate clusters of troops.
It’s useful to think of D&D warfare as a continuum
with historical medieval warfare on one end and
modern warfare on the other end.
Before you take
your D&D game to the battlefield, decide where on
that continuum you want your battles to be.