TMQ #139 -- Don't Kid a Kidder

blaqlives
July 3rd, 2008, 6:53 am
Discussion of The Magic Quill #139 -- Don't Kid a Kidder (www.mugglenet.com/editorials/themagicquill/tmq139.shtml) by Robbie Fischer.

+++DOUBLE CHALLENGE+++

SURVEY: What is the scariest curse in the Harry Potter books?

CONTEST: Rumor has it that a potions expert can "bottle fame, brew glory, stopper death," etc. Describe something that would be really unusual to find in liquid form.

Dragonic
July 3rd, 2008, 11:06 pm
Survey: either Crucio or Sectusempra. I really can't decide

Contest: What about a spell in liquid form? You could pour a little drop of potion on a lock and alohamora it open. I don't see a practical use, except maybe for Squibs and muggles.

Quercitron
July 4th, 2008, 12:09 am
As far as the curse, well, both crucio and sectumsempra would be horrible, but for me, petrificus totalus would be terrifying. Imagine not even being able to scream!
As far as the potion, halitosis? Bottled halitosis could give the drinker dangerously bad breath, enough to knock out the whole room.

greyniffler
July 4th, 2008, 12:57 am
Scariest curse? Either the Imperius Curse or Legilimens. Taking you over, reading your mind ... what's left? Of course, if the Daydream charm were turned into a curse, you'd have a Nightmare curse, and that would be pretty bad too.

As to bottling things ... well, of course there's Time in a bottle, and Bottled Ocean (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20030827). Tolkien gave us bottled light. You could bottle darkness, but that's kind of like Peruvian Darkness powder. What if someone bottled your history, and it ceased to exist--you became totally anonymous in the world--until someone released it? But that sounds like something that Bobs would get involved in. Bottled weather ... naw, Oddesseus had the four winds in a sack. Bottled charm or charisma ... no, that's something Snape would know about.

How about a bottled choice? Open it at a critical moment and you are given a choice that makes no sense at all, but either saves your quest or destroys it. A singularity, an inflection point, a key to catastrophe, a chance to choose the wild card.

FishEByrd
July 4th, 2008, 2:14 am
As to bottling things ... What if someone bottled your history, and it ceased to exist--you became totally anonymous in the world--until someone released it? ... How about a bottled choice? Open it at a critical moment and you are given a choice that makes no sense at all, but either saves your quest or destroys it. A singularity, an inflection point, a key to catastrophe, a chance to choose the wild card.

Ye gods. You should be writing fantasy. Why don't you?

Linda_Carrig
July 4th, 2008, 11:13 am
Someone bottling your history.... Quite frightening! Good one greyniffler.

Of the three unforgivable curses, I think the 'crucio' would be the worst. With 'avada kadavra' it's all over forget it and with 'Imperio' the witch/wizard can fight it off.

As for a potion, how about 'mortus ambulantis'? A potion to create zombies. (I made that one up for my fic)

greyniffler
July 4th, 2008, 2:51 pm
Ye gods. You should be writing fantasy. Why don't you?

With your help, I am. Besides, remember what Edison said: 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. Or maybe 99% craft (no pun intended).

I think the bottled choice might be regarded as Dark Magic of a very nasty kind. Does your foresight exceed the ability of the wizard who bottled it? If you possessed it, would Bobs want it? What would he offer in exchange? Or would he give it to you in exchange for something else? Perhaps the bottled history of someone the world should not want to remember?

Actually, if someone were trying to deal with a deadly enemy, it might be useful to bottle one's own history. If your enemy forgets that you ever existed, it could give you a free shot at them. Of course, your allies forget, too. I don't know about Gringott's; goblins might not be affected by the magic. Or house-elves.

But this drifts a bit from the question, which was not about things bottled, but about things in liquid form. Might the liquid temporarily grant common sense to the clueless, or the Sight to the mundane? But that gift of prophecy might be as perilous as the gift of Choice.

Dragonic
July 4th, 2008, 6:06 pm
greyniffler, it's good to know that there are other people that have heard of webcomics.

And what would happen if you drank someone's history? That's a pretty creepy idea to me.

greyniffler
July 4th, 2008, 7:55 pm
That is a scary thought ... but the history is out of the bottle, so to speak. I expect that the drinker would somehow be destroyed by the attempt (Mwa Ha HA!) but I don't have a preferred route to doom.

(I don't follow many webcomics, but that one has a story that is evolving nicely, and a sense of humor I like: the van Rijn of this page (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20050926) is almost certainly a reference to a real van Rijn who lived at the time indicated, and who is better known by his first name.)

Linda_Carrig
July 5th, 2008, 12:50 pm
How about a potion that is the reverse of 'felix felices' (not sure of the spelling)? Instead of good/liquid luck it would be bad luck. You could call it 'mal mal'. Or something

greyniffler
July 5th, 2008, 6:41 pm
How about a potion that is the reverse of 'felix felices' (not sure of the spelling)? Instead of good/liquid luck it would be bad luck. You could call it 'mal mal'. Or something

Would it be derived from Malaclaw venom? (FBa***T: 28) (Drat, the naughty-words filter keeps splatting out the abbreviation for Where to Find. Sorry.)

What about liquid music, liquid sound, liquid noise or cacophony?

We already know that thoughts and memories can be made liquid. What about liquid skill?

Linda_Carrig
July 6th, 2008, 11:19 am
The list is endless!

Dragonic
July 6th, 2008, 4:08 pm
Ideas:
Dragonic: Liquid spells
Quercitron: Liquid Halitosis
greyniffler: Liquid Time
Liquid Ocean
Liquid Light
Liquid Darkness
Liquis History
Liquid Weather
Liquid Charm
Liquid Choice
Liquid Music
Liquid sound/noise
Liquid Cacophany
Linda_Carrig: Liquid Zombies (kinda, read post for details)
Liquid Bad luck


And that is the list so far. If I come up with more ideas, I'll post them.

FishEByrd
July 6th, 2008, 11:27 pm
Ideas:...Liquid Ocean...Liquid Zombies...

Hmmm. Now "powdered ocean" would be really good. "Just add water..."

As for zombies, I think there's a powder for that, too. It's made from dragon's teeth; see Diana Wynne Jones' The Ogre Downstairs, Rick Riordan's The Titan's Curse, and some of the Pure Dead books by Debi Gliori for examples of how to use it. (In Riordan's case, whole teeth are used.)

greyniffler
July 7th, 2008, 3:19 am
Note also the liquid skill. What about liquid knowledge? Six hours, let's say, of being an expert. What if this were administered to someone surreptitiously? Or if someone was given it to take without knowing what expertise was involved? Someone being sent on a very secret mission, perhaps?

(We should note the distinction between liquid, which Robbie asked for, and bottled, which I started. Any ocean is liquid, but an ocean in a bottle is something special.)

Years ago on misc.writing I introduced liquor bottles that seemed to have cobwebs on the inside of the liquid ... and someone else arranged that they refill themselves. And the idea was brought to its end by someone who decided that various missing persons had been incorporated into the bottles. Not in the liquid, but in the corks, which could be convinced to restore their prisoners with much noise and smoke, at the cost of losing the magic of the bottles and their contents. There was this bottle whose contents smelled of old socks ... and the bottle that contained Elf and a pixie named Gunsel.

Linda_Carrig
July 7th, 2008, 12:21 pm
I like that powdered ocean Robbie said--just add water! hehehehe

Having the corks being something other than corks..... hmmm...

greyniffler
July 9th, 2008, 3:35 am
Since whatever it is is bottled, do we replace the incantation with a decantation?

Quercitron
July 11th, 2008, 1:12 am
Bottled Animals? Plants? Life?
Something that would be really useful would be bottled forest/glen. Just sprinkle in your backyard for a enviromentally friendly decoration.
Or how about bottled fire? Really useful for camping? Arson? Then, one you were done burning, you could just put the fire back in the bottle to stop it from causing real damage. It would be very useful to remove invasive species, or controlled burning in ecosystems dependent on fire
How about bottled bottles? If you could bottle one bottle, then you could bottle that bottle, and soon, you'd have a large supply of bottles all in the space of one bottle.
Oh, and bottled rabbits would be really useful for magicians; if they put the bottled rabbits in their hats, they could actually pull rabbits of their hats (or any other place, for that matter, if the bottle was small enough.

Linda_Carrig
July 11th, 2008, 10:48 am
A bottled forest would come in very handy here, and anywhere else that suffers from mass forest fires for that matter. Good one, Quercitron!

greyniffler
July 12th, 2008, 2:34 am
Of course, not everything goes well when preserved. Consider canned laughter, for example.

Speaking of things in bottles, did you hear about the new wizards' rent-a-broom service? They specify their rates in miles per galeon.

Some wizards toured the American west. They were especially fascinated by the cowboys. Why would anyone spend ten galeons for a hat?

Linda_Carrig
July 12th, 2008, 4:32 pm
Cute jokes, greyniffler!

To go back a bit, the 'malmal' potion giving the drinker bad luck is indeed made from malaclaw venom. It's a bit difficult getting the venom in the first place, but once you do get it, you're all set.

Just mix the venom in your cauldron with some streeler juice, knot grass and a dash of dragon blood (Hebridian Black is the best dragon blood to use in this particular potion). Simmer for 5 minutes then add a moke tail.

Another 2 minutes and voilá--malmal potion!

Tada!

greyniffler
July 12th, 2008, 6:30 pm
To go back a bit, the 'malmal' potion giving the drinker bad luck is indeed made from malaclaw venom. ... Simmer for 5 minutes then add a moke tail.

Another 2 minutes and voilá--malmal potion!

Hmm. I wouldn't have thought that would work if the moon was more than half-full. <grin>

Say, how about bottling normally-perishable potion ingredients? Or bottling a very advanced incomplete potion that needs to be made during conflicting moon phases or seasons? Or even bottling very advanced stirring patterns like that Labyrinth pattern (http://www.mugglenet.com/editorials/themagicquill/tmq89.shtml) that Endora smelled?

I can imagine an angry wizard bottling his revenge, either so that it can be carried out after his death or else to let him get over it. But when the bottle is opened or accidentally broken ... well, it will be carried out sometime, against someone. Imagine if AoUL bottled hier revenge against various people who were too useful to kill just yet .... And Il Comte might have a whole cellar laid up.

Hmm. Il Comte's preferred method of forcing someone to talk is to force them to eat when they aren't talking. AoUL is insatiable. The irresistable punch meeting the infinitely yielding punching bag?

Linda_Carrig
July 13th, 2008, 11:13 am
ha,ha! I'm just getting a picture of the comte and AoUL together in the same room! Hideously funny!

LadyZylas
July 14th, 2008, 12:19 am
What about liquid innocence?
A potion that makes the drinker see as though through the eyes of a child. This is not to be confused with a potion that MAKES the drinker a child again, like what happened to Rigel. The drinker would still have an adult body and an adult mind (therefore the ability to make more or less adult decisions), but his/her perception would become once again like it was when he/she was very young. The stronger the dose, the younger the perception, thus, the stronger the innocence.

I think that the imperious curse is the scariest one there is. For the ones who can't fight it that is. Can you imagine being forced to do terrible, terrible things, and then having to "wake up" later and deal with all the harm and horror you've caused? It would be awful!!!! No thank you!!!! :no:

Remind me to take lessons from Harry on how to fight that one off...

Dragonic
July 14th, 2008, 3:48 am
What about liquid writing, or information? You could write somebody a message and then put it into an aerosol can. give them the can, and they could spray the message onto a piece of paper, and whatever you wrote or drew would appear. I'm not sure how you would originally bottle the message, but it sounds like the kind of thing you could figure out.

Linda_Carrig
July 14th, 2008, 11:21 am
Instead of a message in a bottle, a message in a spray can? Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

blaqlives
July 14th, 2008, 6:29 pm
Hi everyone--

Just checking in to let you know Robbie has been without an internet connection the past week, and it could be a little while longer while he tries to fix the problem. Hopefully it won't be long!

--Sara

greyniffler
July 14th, 2008, 9:53 pm
What about liquid writing, or information? You could write somebody a message and then put it into an aerosol can. give them the can, and they could spray the message onto a piece of paper, and whatever you wrote or drew would appear.I like that idea! You could also bottle a message that would be heard (or even seen) when somebody drinks it. If the bottle doesn't refill, you know that only one person got the message.

Quercitron
July 15th, 2008, 3:58 am
Going with the innocence thread, people could gain brain plasticity with innocence (i.e., make a lot of new brain connections). This would enable them to learn a plethora of new skills, i.e. perfect pitch, photographic memory, new language, etc. On the other hand, the innocence potion could be used as a weapon, making enemies more impressionable (more like brainwashable) and even change their entire personality with a little conditioning and hypnosis.
Speaking of that, could people put skills in a bottle?

Linda_Carrig
July 15th, 2008, 10:48 am
If magic folk can put messages in spray cans, why can't they put skills in a bottle?

LadyZylas
July 15th, 2008, 9:49 pm
...could people put skills in a bottle?

I suppose it depends on the skill, but I think it could be quite an easy thing to bottle a skill. You'd probably need some sort of essence from a person who posessed that skill, (Perhaps something like polyjuice potion, only pretaining to the skill in question. i.e. if said person is a fantastic flier, a twig from the handle of that person's broomstick would suffice.) and then it would be a matter of isolating the skill, and increasing the potency. This could get very handy, but I can also see it becoming addictive, like the wizard version of steriods.
Perhaps this could be helpful for squibs? Or maybe an individual has to have the knowledge and means to be able to perform the skill in the first place.
Hmmmm....

greyniffler
July 15th, 2008, 10:13 pm
I can imagine that quibs or near-squibs might want to use bottled skill if it will work for them. I can especially imagine that their families might insist that they take it before family gatherings.

Linda_Carrig
July 16th, 2008, 10:39 am
Poor squibs, having to be something they're not to 'keep up with the Joneses'..... but I could really see that happening.

LadyZylas
July 16th, 2008, 12:42 pm
Thats IT!!!
The squibs have a hard go of things! I'm officially pulling a Hermione and starting S.P.L.A.T.S
(Society for the Permenent Love, and Acceptance of all Today's Squibs)

It's an excellent support group. Anyone care to join? :p

Linda_Carrig
July 17th, 2008, 11:30 am
Good one, LadyZylas! S.P.L.A.T.S!!! I'm in.

I had a vision of bottled mice. Just open the bottle and sprinkle when you need a diversion. While everybody is jumping onto the nearest chair screaming, you can go about your business with the greatest of calm.

greyniffler
July 17th, 2008, 12:24 pm
Gee, what about bottled fear? Open the bottle and get out of there, and pretty soon everyone is on the edge of mindless panic.

TWZRD
July 17th, 2008, 12:28 pm
So much good stuff! SPLATS! LOL. and Il C. vs Auntie Uncle? Greyniffler, you are a genious.

OK, in the bottle: how about drought? Spritz it in the air, no rain; pour it on the ground, everything dries up. Drink it? Poor you.You'll need a gallon of water just to get enough spit for attempting a hydrating spell. Most victims are found drowned in pools.
However, in the right context, it could be really useful. Floods? No problem. Was once used to clean wizard basements (think magical sump pump) until it was banned. I suspect there are still stashes protected by house elves in lots of older homes; probably in cans labeled "mop 'n magic" or "salamander dung spot remover".

Scary spells; I'll go with Obliviate. Imagine someone else erasing part of your mind. Kind of like doing drugs...

greyniffler
July 17th, 2008, 11:12 pm
Remember that genies are bottled. What if other living things could be bottled? Dragons, for instance. You might have to break the bottles to let them out. The scariest thing might be a dementor, followed by a lethifold.

What about bottled portkey? It activates on exposure to air, begins timing, turns blue ...

Linda_Carrig
July 18th, 2008, 11:04 am
Ai, ai! Drought in a bottle, banned, but some might be hidden by clever house elves in bottles labeled 'mop-n-magic' or 'salamander dung spot remover'. Love it TWZRD! hehehe...

greyniffler
July 18th, 2008, 6:39 pm
That's a very good point, and one that might be usable in the future: since Master's bidding is a house-elf's highest law, even an elf that fears the Department for Regulation of Magical Creatures might stockpile all manner of contraband. It's not even necessary that Master want (or say) that the elf should do so, only that the thing in question is the best or most obvious tool for the job. Of course, the elf might also have a secondary agenda that this substance/object helps with.

Linda_Carrig
July 19th, 2008, 12:04 pm
A house elf with a second agenda.... now that gives one pause..... poor thing might have to crush his fingers in the oven door... or pull excessively on his ears!

I imagine that it is quite possible that there are stock piles of various order of contraband hidden by elves in compliance with the 'master's' wishes.

greyniffler
July 19th, 2008, 4:58 pm
But wasn't that elf Kreacher, up until Harry, Ron and Hermione got him to talk about the locket?

I was thinking about an elf who had spent decades polishing the silver, and now had a new master (heir) who had the silver packed away and used chopsticks. (Or some such.)

Linda_Carrig
July 20th, 2008, 12:05 pm
That would work too. How much 'stuff' are house elves all over the world hiding? When they get a new master or when fashions change, they dutifully hide the unwanted articles in elf fashion: hidden from prying eyes in a way that only elves can get at it.

greyniffler
July 21st, 2008, 1:52 am
Y'know, I'm curious ... Ilona/Joe handled two sacks of treasure. This looks like a magician's trick to get two sacks even when only one was supposed to be taken--the second sack was NOT replaced by the first, but by a third sack. Yet she only gave Spanky one sack ... what's up?

FishEByrd
July 21st, 2008, 3:08 am
Y'know, I'm curious ... Ilona/Joe handled two sacks of treasure. This looks like a magician's trick to get two sacks even when only one was supposed to be taken--the second sack was NOT replaced by the first, but by a third sack. Yet she only gave Spanky one sack ... what's up?Oops. I missed that. I guess you really have to watch those sharps from the Hog's Head, there's no telling what trick they will play on you!

EDIT: At one point while writing this chapter, I had the idea that Sadie, after touching the trick tile, would end up in the bag in Spanky's desk drawer. For one reason or another I decided against that. FWIW.

greyniffler
July 21st, 2008, 6:58 am
Oops. I missed that. I guess you really have to watch those sharps from the Hog's Head, there's no telling what trick they will play on you!Well, I guess Ilona's part in the story just got a lot more interesting!

Linda_Carrig
July 21st, 2008, 11:15 am
Whoops!

Welcome back, Robbie. Hope you got your computer thing straightened out.

FishEByrd
July 22nd, 2008, 3:34 am
Welcome back, Robbie. Hope you got your computer thing straightened out.Thanks. I think the editorial staff needs our prayers now. They sound a little overwhelmed. Please be patient while things straighten themselves out (hopefully) on TMQ & the Book Trolley.

FishEByrd
August 6th, 2008, 9:45 pm
Thanks for the amazing feedback on this Double Challenge! I really felt inspired by the winning contest entry and the answers to the survey (though only one answer got more than a single vote). Even I was surprised by the direction your comments led me to take the story. I hope you will enjoy reading #141 when it comes out!