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SS/HG Holiday Gift Exchange 2019

This year I was assigned my prompts, and the first one on the list was ‘The Wild West’. i.e., Transposing Severus Snape and Hermione Granger to the American West. Okay, I can do that. I did that several times.

Illustration #1: Close Quarters

Severus Snape greets a new day…
I rather suspect that even transposed to the American West, Severus Snape would probably still be a wizard. Whether the American West of this particular AU has adopted the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy or not is uncertain. Nevertheless, wizarding space is a wonderful thing. As are shrinking charms. However, both have limits, and incrementalism is a thing. Not to mention that it is inadvisable to attempt to shrink oneself. In the trade-off between living space and storage, if one is frugal about resources some other sleeping arrangement can be advisable.

Note: What we regard to as “the wild West” was in fact a very short period of time. Basically this is referring to the age of the great cattle drives, when teams of cowboys would escort the herds from the ranges where they were raised, north to the stockyards where they were sold. This was usually an enterprise of several weeks duration. This era basically covered a roughly 20-year span between the end of the Civil War, and the completion of the intercontinental railway. Once the railroad was in operation, it was easier to load the cattle into livestock cars, and ship them to their destination. Where they arrived more quickly, in somewhat better condition, and with a deal less attrition in transit. The demand for cowboys became somewhat reduced, thereby. However, the frontier continued to be decidedly primitive for several decades afterwards.

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Illustration #2: A Spelling Bee

Our Miss Granger may or may not be a witch in this AU, but people know her family, and where she came from. So, statute of secrecy or not, she considers discretion to be a virtue. She certainly isn’t about to seek employment as a witch. Teaching, however, is one of the very few respectable professions open to unmarried women (indeed, married women were not considered suitable for employment as teachers). Plus, of course, teaching is a career which gives her access to further learning. She makes the best of things. And she seems to feel that that best is certainly not anything which could be considered bad.

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Illustration #3: Aces High

Recognizance is called for upon arrival in a new place. And what better way to get the lay of the land than in a friendly game of cards at one of the local watering-holes. It’s a risk to find oneself in a game with higher stakes than one had anticipated, but when the information is flowing one doesn’t necessarily care to bow out.

It’s not a good idea to tweak the odds, if you’re a stranger, and Severus doesn’t, but if the cards are going to fall in his favor, then he is certainly not going to lose on purpose.

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Illustration #4: A Stranger @ Sunset

As stated above; I’m not sure what AU this is happening in, but evidently either the Statute of Wizarding Secrecy didn’t migrate to the new world with the European settlers, or the Professor (and yes, I do rather suspect that he is indeed calling himself “Professor”) is masquerading as a traveling stage magician. Hermione seems to have taken exception to his advertising. Or perhaps her objection is in regards to something else?

Note: When counting crows, there are a number of different versions of the chant: Quite a few stop at seven. A number continue on to 9, 12 or even 13. However, there doesn’t appear to be a strong consensus on the significance of nine crows. I tend to doubt that anyone bothers to count finches, and definitely not pigeons.

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Illustration #5: Fellow Travelers

Riding off into the sunset may be terribly cinematic, but it means that you have to stop almost immediately, before you are even properly underway, and set up camp. Much more practical to leave directly after breakfast. Especially a wedding breakfast. (One assumes that the wagon’s wizarding space is likely to have undergone some expansion and a fair amount of redesign.)

Note: White wedding dresses did gradually become the norm over the course of the 19th century, but they were far from universal. Particularly on the frontier, where, frankly, using white for anything other than underwear (and even then it was as likely as not to be unbleached muslin) was probably to be considered highly impractical.

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