Olwen Hier

What you want is right in front of you

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The start of the new year brought with it a flock of the usual suspects to the Hogwarts library. Dusty decor and old fashioned books littered the space around Olwen. She realized that some of those books were older than her. Including the one that was right in front of her. It was a well worn book, with pages yellowed and frayed from years of love. Olwen was certain that the cover was once a brighter shade of blue. Unfortunately it was the same shade of blue as her grandmother's book about old-fashioned herbs that her father kept in the living room for some ungodly reason. She wondered if the books came from the same publisher.

 

Trading sunshine and socializing with her new boyfriend for studying and sitting was not Olwen's ideal use of her spare time. At the end of the summer she received an owl from Professor Qin. Initially she wanted to throw it into the rubbish bin without opening it, but her mother encouraged her otherwise. Upon opening it, an option to complete a Care of Magical Creatures internship the following year was offered along with an application form. Her mother said that Professor Qin was "very knowledgable" and that Olwen should at least apply. She shared her ideas, and surprisingly her application was accepted.

 

This year, Olwen was assigned to study giants. She was to calm her nerves about her heritage, and learn about her mother's family culture and values. She was to go in-depth with giant history, and figure out how it applies to their culture in the present day. Additionally, she was to learn about half-giants and other part-humans to see what traits were passed down from parent to offspring. Professor Qin would supervise these sessions and answer any questions that Olwen would have about her research. Which was a good thing, Olwen had a lot of questions.

 

"Professor. Hi." Olwen said quietly, as the woman came into her view. "So, this book is very ancient. I'm having trouble interpreting it. It seems as if this is a chart about what can be inherited for part-humans. I'm looking under the giant part, and two of the phrases included are temper and intelligence. I know that most giants aren't angry or dumb. My mother could converse in English well enough to make a treaty. It's just that... I don't know exactly what I inherited from her, apart from my height of course. What if I inherited, as this book says, their temper. Could I lose control of my humanity and burst into a fit of rage? Am I dumber than the average human? I don't think I am." The book scared her more than it helped her along. Who knew that spell resistance was something that could be inherited?

 

Olwen's Notes: September

~Giants are not all dumb (I'm an example)

~Madam Maxime was an actual headmistress of a school. What did she inherit from her parents?

~Hagrid, former groundskeeper, is obviously on the rougher side of the inheritance scale but still not dumb. He could take care of animals and misbehaving children.

Note: It was said that he was tough to take down due to the immunity he inherited. Did I inherit immunity? Is that why I have never felt a knockback jinx or pepperbreath hex? Why do I feel more powerful spells? ~Do I have a temper? Make notes of that this week.

~What would happen if I met a real giant tribe?


Edited by Olwen Hier

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Meryl didn’t come across many half-giants in her work but the moment she spotted Olwen Hier sitting among her Gryffindor peers, the professor had wondered. Then, there was the girl’s less than positive reaction to giants when the professor had given her lecture on half humans. And then, there was the rather unflattering article in the prophet. Suffice to say, there was no doubt about the fourth year’s nature now.

 

Although unaware of how Olwen truly felt about her identity, the professor figured it would be worth it to send the teen the details of the internship. She didn’t expect a positive response and had to take a double take when she did. Fast forward a few months later and Olwen was elbows-deep in some rather curious reading material. As she stepped up to the girl, Meryl didn’t fail to think, Merlin – she’s tall.

 

She listened to the girl’s queries quietly while reflecting upon her personal knowledge of giants. Honestly? Given the lack of ties between the wizarding community and the giants, Olwen was more well-disposed in obtaining information on these creatures than Meryl was. But she supposed she could guide the other along where she can.

 

“Part-giants aren’t common – that’s the first thing you’ll have to be aware of. It is likely because of the rough history between wizards and the giants. So that means that while we have some understanding of how inheritance or behavior works with half-giants, there is probably much more to discover.” Which was entirely the reason why Meryl put forth these internships in the first place. “There are many traits we associate with giants and those two are just some of them. And just like how we inherit part of our looks from our parents, it is believe that half-giants inherit parts of these two traits. The extent likely differs from one half-giant to the next so I think it is too early for you to come to any conclusions regarding your temper or intelligence. What you can do, if you’re willing, is ask your close friends what they think about you as a person. Or, you can write journals. Reflect on your experiences. Still, I believe an outside eye is important because they tend to catch things you didn’t. But in general, I think the important thing to remember here is that you are both human and giant, equally. And humans aren’t perfect either.”

 

She cast the book a critical glance. “You will probably learn more about half-giants through your own experiences than what is written there. Most of the time, I wouldn’t trust a book when there is some bias. And when it comes to wizards and giants, there’s probably a lot of it.”


Edited by Professor Qin

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Week Two

 

Muggle Studies was a rather... interesting course. Professor Gawkrodger was very patient with very annoying fourth years, especially Olwen who asked too many questions at the improper place and time. Looking back, she was certain that she should've asked her father about the question. However, it did gain her a new book, one that Gawkrodger was compliant in obtaining for her. The book also answered questions in a plain sort of manner. Instead of the highly scientific words like genetics and recessive magical resistance, there was a chart that explained how certain traits may cross over.

 

The giant section of the book was as blunt as many of her professors were. Main points included A). Giants will abandon their children the first chance they get and B ). You will be the caretaker. Good luck. The story seemed to be based off of a first hand account, a part giant reared in the 1970s. Subject R as he was called in the book was a part-giant who was abandoned by his mother and found by a wizarding orphanage in London. As a goodwill gesture, he was taken into a research facility and brought up by the establishment's head dean who had a house as rural as Olwen's house.

 

It was revealed that Subject R lacked normal intelligence, but held incredible power and resistance to some of the strongest spells of magic. Later, when they found his real father, they learned that he was a Hogwarts dropout who traveled in Romania. Subject R grew up to be a laborer at the institute, and found joy in crafting model buildings during his spare time. Which, was a nice life, but she wished that he could've had a proper career as a magical architect or something distinguishable.

 

Olwen sketched down a few notes in her book about this fact. Perhaps the reason she turned out to be so intelligent was that her parents were both intelligent. Her human side was more prominent than the giant side, but she still recognized the same emotional outbursts that troubled Subject R when he was growing up. Maybe it was the fact that she grew in a warm household with a human influence that caused her to be more normal.

 

It was time to ask Professor Qin for some questions.

 

"Professor Qin, Professor Gawkrodger gave me this book the other day, and I think that it's having a lot of very interesting points. They had a case study of Subject R, who was abandoned at birth and taken in by a research team in the 1970s. He seemed to have lower intelligence, still went through Hogwarts, but ended up living a simpler life with a fondness for model buildings. I have a lot more ambition than him. Is that because I was raised in a loving household? Does nurture have a lot to do with it?" She thought before asking her next question.

 

"Or, do you think that it was because my parents were both intelligent? Subject R's father was a Hogwarts dropout who went to travel Romania." Nature vs nurture presented as an argument in the book. These were all very important questions. Was Olwen intelligent because it was part of her genetics? Or was it because she was raised as a normal human?


Edited by Olwen Hier

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Meryl quickly learnt that Olwen was more inquisitive than she had appeared to be in her lessons. Whenever there was a consultation with the Gryffindor, the professor had to arm herself with books and scrolls that centered on the nature of giants. They were barely sufficient for the fourth year was already pushing beyond the boundaries of what the magizoologists in Britain knew about this creature. It made her briefly consider seeking the expertise of magizoologists in other countries but alas, she didn’t have a single idea of where to begin. Given the history between wizards and giants, they were rarely a subject of interest even among the magizoologist community. There were, of course, exceptions. But they were generally rare.

 

“Professor Gawkrodger?” Meryl faintly echoed. Why on earth would that ridiculous man even have such a book? As far as Meryl was concerned, her ‘boss’ was someone who was in dire need of a personality transplant and had no right to provide their students with reading material since his lessons were so off the mark. But of course, that wasn’t something she should share with Olwen. Thankfully, the book the man gave Olwen appeared to be one of the more proper ones.

 

“I believe we can extrapolate a lot of what we know about the growth of a human child onto part-giants. How old was Subject R when the humans took him in? For humans, the early years are very important for brain development. You absorb and retain a lot of information when you’re younger and this tapers off as you grow older. And for ample development, you’d need to be given a rich environment for learning. Human societies are very complex and would provide the necessary challenges. If Subject R was taken in later, then it would make sense that he had lower intelligence. But of course, we can’t discount the theory that he was less intelligent because of his parents’ genetics. You can possibly infer this from the suggestion that he had giant in him compared to you, going by his resistance to magic. In summary, both nature and nurture play an important role… for both Subject R and for you. But, if I were to hazard a guess, it does seem that the combined intelligence of your parents far exceeds that of any known human-giant pair.” Naturally, research involves oodles of guesswork. “I hope this helps.”

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It only took the giant four years to come into play and mess up her entire life.

 

The giant messed up so spectacularly that she got he very first detention ever and life as she knew it was going to crumble down. The world would end, Professor Qin would disown her and snatch her studies away to force her to think about what she had done. She didn't deserve it; anything nice at all. The giant won control in the quidditch game. It punched a poor defenseless (though vey annoying and mean Olwen did admit) Hufflepuff.

 

The control she worked so hard to achieve was lost to a boy with cookie smeared on his forehead. How pathetic.

 

Olwen spent the next two days figuratively kicking herself. Writing everything she could in her journals about the experience.

 

 

Saturday night

Stupid giant. I have detention because of you. I feel so horrible that everything went to pieces, everything I've worked so hard for these past two years, gone. Vanished. Kaput. I punched that dumb Hufflepuff because he was taunting me and he deserved it, but I really didn't want to punch him. It was the rage that I felt, I couldn't control it. I didn't understand why I felt the anger. It felt like someone was threatening me, and it was almost like someone else was in control. I can't explain this at all and I really hate detention and I am a really good kid and oh Merlin why did it have to happen to me?

 

(this goes on for several pages, but it's the same general idea).

 

Sunday night

I feel absolutely ashamed of what I did, but it's interesting how the giant took control. He taunted me, but I should've walked away. Maybe next time I should take a good look at myself and recognize the anger before. Is this what all giants feel when they're angry? Is there something like my human thoughts that stop them from being angry?

Monday she did all she could to avoid passing Colin in the hallway. It wasn't that hard, they were in different years and had different schedules and lived in separate areas of the castle, but she still saw him at meal times and it was incredibly awkward. Monday afternoon she went up to the library to tell Professor Qin what happened on Saturday and how she was analyzing the incident.

 

"Professor... I have something to confess." Olwen said. "I...I punched a guy. He was taunting me. The anger took control. I wasn't myself. I felt shame afterwards, like I was the worst person in the entire world. I don't punch people. I got my first EVER detention, something which I am not proud of. I don't get detentions. This... It's a giant thing." She avoided crying in front of a professor. How embarrassing would that be. "Here are my notes from the weekend. Notice how long Saturday is. I tried to analyze why my thoughts then were giant, and how human thoughts could've stopped them. I also want to know if giants feel that incredible anger all the time, and do they have thoughts that stop that anger? I am different then they are, so I wouldn't know if they have human thoughts or not."

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Meryl had been present for said quidditch game so she was well aware of what went down between the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors. As a professor, she was expected to be disapproving of ‘unauthorized’ violence on the pitch. But she also knew it would be naïve of her to expect a clean game. Since everything was well within her expectations, Meryl didn’t give the issue much thought after the game ended. However, it soon became apparent that someone else did.

 

The professor furrowed her brows at the sight of the displeased fourth year. Could she have found something in her research that irked her? Or was there something else? It turned out to be the latter as Olwen soon explained her predicament, leaving Meryl at a loss for words.

Carefully, she perused the entry Olwen made on Saturday and noted the intensity of the feelings Olwen’s words evoked. She couldn’t say for sure she understood how the girl felt but surely there was something she could do to soothe the Gryffindor’s ruffled feathers.

 

“Olwen, you might have inherited your temper from your giant mother, but let’s not forget that humans can have tempers as well. You certainly aren’t the first student to punch someone and you won’t be the last. And I bet those individuals don’t have giant genes. As long as you learn from it, I think it’s fine. In other words, u’re being too hard on yourself.

 

That being said, if you’re worried about your temper taking over in the future, there are always strategies that you can adopt to help you control it. As for your other questions, I’m afraid I can only offer possible answers. Given the culture of giants and the environment they live in, holding back their tempers probably isn’t as necessary as it would be in human society. If it isn’t necessary to hold back, then they wouldn’t need to have those ‘thoughts’ to stop that anger…..Does that help?”

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Post break

 

Professor Qin said she was being too hard on herself. It was something that Olwen heard from multiple sources. Another thing that she heard from multiple sources was that she can control it, that she's human too and that human side can somehow overpower the giant instinct. The next few weeks were spent contemplating that inquiry, as she went through the motions of school after the attacks.

 

After the Christmas incident, Olwen didn't know what to feel. She had many questions swirling around her head that were yet unanswered. The attacks had put a brief pause on her studies withProfessor Qin. Olwen was in no place to do many extracurricular activities apart from her basic school work. Now she was ready to resume everything about this internship and try to find out who she actually was.

 

"Professor. I take it your break was well?" Olwen greeted. She had dug the book out on Madam Maxime, a woman who was accused more than once of being part-giant but would never reveal it. "My break didn't go so spectacular." She commented in response. "I... I may have accidentally blew up my Grandmama. She became the size of her house!" Her cheeks tinted red with embarrassment. "It was an accident, I swear. She was just... really really mean to me. She doesn't like the fact that I exist and that my dad created me, and can't wrap the idea around her head." Of course, she'd probably do that if one of her children married a Muggle, but there hadn't been that opportunity.

 

"I think the anger was definitely the giant side, but the magic happened too. I think this means that all of me was angry, not just the giant. I also had a conversation with my mother. She said she couldn't raise me because it was too dangerous for me to be around giants. That... that's because giants are violent creatures right?" She turned her attention back to the book at hand, Madam Maxime. "I'm currently reading this book my father gave me. Olympe Maxime spent years denying her heritage, but was she ever truly happy I wonder? I'm sure it must have ate away at her like it did to me. Especially when she met Hagrid, and he was looking for a peer he could relate to." She added. "What do you think about her?"

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Meryl’s Christmas break had been spent looking over her fifth year owl examination papers. Pitiful, yes… but it helped to keep the woman busy and put whatever happened earlier in the term behind her. Of course, she also made it a point to spend some time with her family. She rarely ever saw them and the attack on the castle reminded her that she really shouldn’t have taken them for granted. Being back in Hogwarts was like a rude awakening but the professor also knew she wouldn’t be able to leave her creatures for long. And of course, with the approach of the second term, that meant guiding her interns along with their individual aspirations as well. One in particular was trickier than the others.

“In a manner of speaking, I suppose.” Meryl replied airily to Olwen’s enquiry. She always strove to keep some distance between her and her students.

 

"My break didn't go so spectacular."

 

Oh. Oooh no…..blew up her grandmother?!

 

O____O Wha?

 

It wasn’t often that Meryl was shocked. But she supposed she shouldn’t have taken Olwen’s words literally, given the explanation that came later. Honestly? The professor didn’t know what she should say in response to Olwen’s revelation about her family dynamics. It wasn’t an issue that was commonly faced and it wasn’t like she could equate Olwen’s difficulties with those of children who had similar struggles with their extended family. While there were similarities, the giant aspect complicated things. Thankfully, it seemed like Olwen merely wanted a listening ear.

 

“The claim that giants are violent creatures is something wizards came up with. To what extent it is the truth, I cannot be sure. But I’m positive it isn’t black and white. Nothing is, really.” Even death – considering the fact that ghosts existed. “As for Olympe Maxime…. She is someone who I believe is well respected for her abilities. She wouldn’t have become Headmistress of Beauxbatons if she wasn’t. I respect her too, given her achievements. But I think that and…accepting oneself are two different things. It’s ultimately a…choice whether you let outsiders influence your feelings or not. Granted, it isn’t easy to be impervious to the prejudice of others.”

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Olwen spent much of the next week in quiet reflection and study of the giants. Going on this journey was something that she really appreciated. It helped her understand herself, and it also helped her prepare for what was going to come next. Her father owled her details of their assignment for the summer. He felt that she had corresponded enough knowledge and social skills for whatever they were going to do. He still wouldn't tell her what exactly they were going to do, which bugged her immensely. Olwen enjoyed planning and hated spontaneity, especially after what happened with the Death Eater. 

 

The more she found out about Subject R, the more she pitied him. He lived in a time where people were just discovering the true nature of half-giants, and starting to treat them as having some human footing. She couldn't imagine the attitude that existed, and was incredibly thankful that she grew up in a time where she could be treated just the same as her classmates. Thankfully she was normal. She wasn't a genius either, but she had a strong work ethic that drove her through the natural limitation. In retrospect, she wasn't that good at classes that required heavy reading like History of Magic. Instead, she was better at the raw magical classes like Transfiguration and Charms. While those required a fair bit of theory, the theory actually applied to the magical study. She was a pretty decent duelist if she did say so herself, using strategy combined with her natural instinct. She wrote these observations in her notes about herself. 

 

Perhaps it was my raising that enabled me to become all that I am today. I am driven like my father, and creative like my mother. They were strict on my behavior when I was little, but that was because I was nothing like a normal human child.  They also didn't teach me about my heritage until I was old enough to understand what it meant and ask questions for myself. Of course, they never hid from me that I was a half-giant, it was just never something that came up in daily conversation. If I asked why I was tall, they would say "you're different, Olwen. Everyone's unique." I came to my own conclusions that I was just tall, and that took me through to Hogwarts where I discovered the truth for myself and was mature enough to realize that I am who I am not because of the giant, but because of me. 

 

I'm different than Subject R, because I was not an experiment and wasn't reminded of my condition constantly through childhood. I was allowed to follow my own path without any limitations and complete support of my parents. My nature is still present in my emotions and my actions sometimes, and I am working hard to control that. It's a testament to how nurture can really affect a living being, whether it be human, animal, or part-giant. I have reached the conclusion that I'm Olwen because of the way my childhood came to be. There are many factors that contributed to who I am, and it can't be pointed to just one method of rearing that my parents used. I believe that I can use what I learned about giant history and behavior effectively in the task I have this summer. Da won't tell me what it is, only that it has to deal with giants. I learned all that I can learn, read every book in the Hogwarts library about giant behavior and culture. I am ready for whatever is coming ahead of me. 

 

She closed her notebook and handed it to the Professor. It was filled with notes from every single book she read, along with behavorial notes that she had taken about herself and how they applied to the theories that she was reading. The notebook was her project for the semester.  It felt really good to be done with everything and to reflect on what she had accomplished over her years at Hogwarts. Now it was time to utilize her unique talents and gifts that nobody in Hogwarts had. 

 

"If you don't mind, da' says I need that notebook for my summer assignment. You can either owl it back to me or leave it with Fjord. I will definitely be writing you over the summer to see what I have learned about the giants."  


Edited by Olwen Hier

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