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A Brief But True History Of Gilderoy Lockhart

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Old April 6th, 2013, 12:20 am
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A Brief But True History Of Gilderoy Lockhart

Gilderoy Lockhart was a Muggleborn wizard of unexceptional intelligence, physical strength, or magical potential. In fact, his magical potential was so low that he was very nearly missed by Hogwarts altogether, and he entered Hogwarts one full year older than is standard. His social cunning got him sorted into Slytherin, where he nonetheless suffered from routine bullying - not only was he a Muggleborn in Slytherin (while the Dark Lord was in the midst of ascending for the first time, recruiting his forces and sowing the seeds of his ideology in Slytherin), but he wasn't even a very good wizard. He was lucky he wasn't killed; if he had been born earlier, he very likely would have wound up in Myrtle's place. All of this bullying created a vicious cycle, damaging his magical ability further.

Staff could see that he was troubled, so he was soon being sent to regular visits with Hogwarts' resident mentalist (read: counselor/psychiatric healer), Madam Forquette. Gilderoy developed a strong bond with Madam Forquette, even though she never could truly alleviate the damage others did to him. They would pore over his traumatic memories in a Pensieve and analyze them. But Gilderoy soon had grown tired of this - he didn't want to remove the memories from his head so that he could look at them; he wanted to remove the memories from his head so that they would be gone.

Madam Forquette initially acted conflicted. Indeed, what Gilderoy was suggesting was entirely literally possible - memory charms were a specialty of Madam Forquette, and she made a point of shoehorning them into any available situation, bragging that she should have been enlisted by the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, or some other high-ranking Ministry field position in which memory charms would come in handy. But Gilderoy's suggested use of them would be entirely fruitless - memory charms don't erase the emotional effect of an event, simply the knowledge of its details. That is, you may use a memory charm to erase someone's history in an abusive home, but they will still feel unloved. Furthermore, Gilderoy didn't want Madam Forquette to apply the memory charm herself; he wanted to learn how to employ his own memory charms so that he could erase any unpleasant experiences that come up in the future. It didn't take long for Madam Forquette's pride to get the better of her, though, and she became Gilderoy's secret personal tutor on the subject of memory charms. (Madam Forquette was relieved of her post at the end of the First War, when she attempted to use a memory charm to relieve Neville Longbottom of the experience of seeing his parents tortured. She should have known that this was pointless, so Dumbledore concluded that she must have been trying to show off. She was never replaced.)

Memory charms were the only magic that Gilderoy ever became particularly skilled with. Even then, he was reckless, and though he developed self-control, it was only after he wiped out many of his own memories, including his reasoning for learning memory charms in the first place. Gilderoy decided that he must have learned memory charms as an alternative to learning all other kinds of magic. He could simply make everybody else forget that he was not skilled at anything. He swore to never again allow a memory charm to backfire on himself, and he quickly set about using a combination of memory charms and lies to amass a huge following of students and staff who believed he was brilliant. He even attempted to pull Dumbledore in, and he secretly had plans to do the same to Voldemort, gaining complete control of the Wizarding world. However, when he attempted to obliviate Dumbledore, he was deflected, and informed that he must become an honest man. Dumbledore was quite frightened - he saw a new Tom Riddle in Gilderoy. Gilderoy reached an agreement with his headmaster that he would not continue to lie, but he would not dispel all of the lies he had already made. Consequently, he attained NEWT scores that were substantially lower than his OWLs - a fact explainable because he never legitimately earned his OWLs in the first place. He only passed his Defense Against The Dark Arts NEWT - and that was because he allowed himself to obliviate his instructors, justifying it to himself as not cheating because he saw obliviation as a valuable DADA technique.

Gilderoy's incredibly-shaky agreement broke soon after he left Hogwarts, and consequently was out of his Headmaster's eye. He attained a variety of honors and accomplishments as a direct result of his exploitation of memory charms - he had long ago concluded that this was why he chose to specialize in memory charms in the first place. He kept his opinion of himself high by eliminating any of his own memories that made him feel insecure. This didn't make him any less insecure, but it did push his insecurities to a deeply-repressed, subconscious level.

Gilderoy had heard of the curse that Voldemort had put upon the position of DADA teacher at Hogwarts, and at first he feared it. However, he soon saw that not every year ended in death, so he began to apply for the position on an annual basis, seeing it as a one-year stint that he could add to his "About The Author" section. However, before his application could even reach Dumbledore, it was always rejected by Dumbledore's wiser, wearier, older friend and partner, Nicolas Flamel. After the events surrounding Voldemort, Quirrel, and the Philosopher's Stone led to Flamel choosing to end his life, Lockhart's application could finally make it to the interview stage.

Dumbledore had heard of Gilderoy's accomplishments since leaving school, and strongly suspected that they were forgeries. However, he saw two possibilities: either Gilderoy was an honest hero, in which case he would be a perfect DADA teacher, or Gilderoy was an exceedingly cunning fraud, in which case he was a repeat of Tom Riddle - in which case he had better be kept close to Dumbledore, where he could be watched. Dumbledore passed over Alastor Moody for the position, telling him that he could have it the following year unless something surprising came up. (That something surprising was Sirius Black, whose breakout caused Dumbledore to select Remus Lupin.)

The "exceedingly cunning fraud" theory was thoroughly proven, as Gilderoy hadn't considered that the position of DADA teacher would require him to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the subject, and, indeed, of magic in general. He didn't have any such knowledge; he had simply found one trick and exploited it. And exploit it he did. Gilderoy took an interest in the young girls who had taken an interest in him; dozens of reports from teenage and even preteen girls indicated an inability to remember anything at all of his "detentions", nor of his "private lessons". Gilderoy's magical incompetence was enough to make the staff and the smarter students detest him, but once that began to leak out, he was looked on with abject hatred by his fellow teachers. He had committed similar acts before, but he never had access to such a large pool of victims, and he was never in an environment so antithetical to allowing them.

It was nearly the end of the year, and they were in the midst of filing paperwork (without his knowledge) to have him sacked and sent to Azkaban. When Ginny was taken into the Chamber Of Secrets, it distracted them. They ultimately decided that the perfect touch of irony would be to send him in as the "hero" that they had long ago concluded he wasn't - actually, a simple distraction for the Monster of Slytherin, to buy a little time for some other solution to come along (such as Harry and Ron). Gilderoy had enough brains to know he was walking to his death, though he didn't know he was being intentionally condemned to that death, so he fought it at every step. If his memory charm on Harry and Ron had succeeded, he would have been sent to Azkaban regardless. However, when the charm backfired, he bought himself a one-way ticket to Saint Mungo's - now bereft of all of his adult experiences, with a distinct sensation that he should be famous, but with no idea for what. He was the child he had always been.

Gilderoy Lockhart was the father of many Grudges, several of which were born during his year as DADA teacher at Hogwarts. A Grudge is the product of a very Dark spell - a magical abortion. It's an uncontrollable, extremely powerful inferi fetus. A Grudge will always seek out and attempt to destroy all of its half-brothers and sisters. Gilderoy Lockhart's only surviving Grudge, nineteen years later, is his child by Hermione Granger. Rose and Hugo Weasley have reason to be afraid.

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