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Alexandra Quick is the main character in a series of fan fictions written by Inverarity (currently on the fifth book out of seven) that is set in the Harry Potter universe, but is almost completely unrelated otherwise. Quick is a young witch who, much like Potter, was raised as a Muggle in the United States, and much like Harry, she is whisked away to Charmbridge Academy at age eleven to learn how to control her magical talents. Unlike Harry, she has a fascination with Dark Magic and is generally ostracized by her peers for it. Worse yet, someone appears to be trying to kill her...The series is notable for being Darker and Edgier while still managing to capture the same feeling as Harry Potter, as well as exploring magic beyond that the students are taught in schools. With one of the most realistic and coherent portrayals of Magical America, Alexandra Quick is a lot more than fanfiction, it's closer to the Star Wars novels set in earlier eras with less Lucas guidance.Titles in the series are Alexandra Quick and the Thorn Circle, the Lands Below, the Deathly Regiment and the Stars Above.Has a Character Sheet under construction.
Activist Fundamentalist Antics: ASPEW want to liberate the elves who work at Charmbridge, but they can't comprehend that the elves are terrified of freedom and don't want it. Pretty much none of them have ever even talked to an elf, and while they've discussed undoing the enchantments that make the elves love working, they've built up an idealistic idea that they're going to liberate the oppressed slaves.
Adults Are Useless: Zig-zagged. The adults do attempt to help, but many refuse to believe Alex when she warns them or tells them what's happening, and often she ends up taking action because she can't see any sign that the adults aren't being useless.
Almighty Janitor: House Elves ( and their extraplanar cousins) have a much larger role in this story and the dangerous power of their magic, especially relative to untrained students is emphasized several times.
Artifact of Doom: There's quite a variety of evil or dark artifacts in this series.
Obols are tokens enchanted with a ritual that requires a human sacrifice, they can be used to force an elf to open a portal to the Lands Below, or as payment to allow someone to return from the Lands Beyond.
The Death Token is a special and possibly unique item given to Alexandra by the Grim Reaper himself. It was enchanted to kill whoever Alexandra gave it to and resurrect Maximillian in their place. We never found out whether it would have worked as advertised.
Mistletoe Wands are wands without a proper core that can only be used for extremely dangerous curses.
Arranged Marriage: Constance and Forbearance are 'bespoke'- essentially, they're not technically engaged yet, but their prospective grooms, Benjamin and Mordecai Rash, will ask them to marry them after they've graduated, and it's expected that they'll say yes. They can say no, but it would upset a lot of people, not just their families, because to the Ozarkers, twins marrying twins is one of a number of powerful combinations.
For The Thorn Circle it turns out to be Ben Journey
For The Deathly Regiment it's Darla Dearborn
For The Stars Above it seems to be John Manuelito, and he actually assumes the role for the climax, but it's eventually revealed that he wasn't involved until Alexandra came to New Mexico to mess up his plans and the actual Bigger Bad of book 4 is still unknown.
Black and Grey Morality: Present since the start, but it really comes to the forefront from the climax of Deathly Regiment onwards.
Brainy Brunette: The Thorns and the Grimms. Black hair, intelligence, and magical talent run in both families.
But Thou Must: Non-video game example: Constance and Forbearance are provisionally engaged to Benjamin and Mordecai Rash, the idea being that as they're at the same school, they'll get to know each other and get an education. Once they all graduate, Benjamin and Mordecai will ask Constance and Forbearance to marry them. Technically, Constance and Forbearance can say no, but they both know that they're expected to say yes, that there's a very large number of people all expecting them to say yes, and that all those people will be extremely unamused should they say no. The twins aren't deluding themselves, they're both pretty resigned to marrying the Rash brothers, even though they're dickheads.
Byronic Hero: Alexandra herself, Abraham Thorn, Diana Grimm, Darla Dearborn, Maximillian. This series is notable not only for having many Byronic heroes but also because so many of them are female.
The Bully: Many. Including Larry Albo, Benjamin and Mordecai Rash, Billy Boggleston and at one point even Anna.
Chekhov's Gunman: Troublesome, an Ozarker legend about a girl who's annoying, causes trouble for everyone and is extremely unlikeable, but who can also be very kind and is very brave. Constance and Forbearance start out calling Alex 'Troublesome' as a nickname, but eventually that becomes her capital-N Name, which they use to call down the Stars Above.
Colonel Badass: Ms. Shirtliffe is a reserve colonel as well as defense teacher.
Cool Big Sis: Valeria for Alexandra. Until Alexandra steals Valeria's Time-Turner and gets Valeria in a world of trouble.
Critical Research Failure: In-universe example — when Alex first acquires Nigel, she believes that he's a harmless brown snake. He's actually a very deadly Australian snake, and Dean Grimm has to have him removed because he could have killed someone.
Cry for the Devil: Darla. She just wanted to keep her little sister alive, and she ended up killing people and nearly killing a child to do it.
Deadpan Snarker: Alexandra is the biggest one. Both Grimm sisters and Ms. Shirtliffe are also snarky as hell.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: A known enemy of the established government makes a terrorist attack upon a harmless target, killing people. In response, society goes mad, the transport system becomes hard to navigate, and harsh laws are put in place that supposedly protect the country and crack down on enemies, but are easily abused to keep people locked up without trial. Lands Below and Deathly Regiment weren't written that close to 9/11 (2008 and 2010, to be exact), but the similarities are there.
Fantastic Racism: Much like the stories they are based on, wizards in the AQ-universe tend to look down on Muggles, Muggle-borns, House-Elves and non-humans. They are, however, genuinely shocked, appalled and/or confused when David and Alex try to explain mundane racism and sexism to them.
There's an extra level to the pureblood/Muggle-born/half-blood hatred: Only pureblood children are eligible to be sacrificed as part of the Deathly Regiment. The Elect, the oldest and most powerful pureblood families, feel that this sacrifice has given them the right to their privileges, and so they get angry at Muggle-borns and half-bloods demanding the same rights and respect as the purebloods, even though they've given up nothing.
The amount of hatred toward Squibs is horrifying. The Confederacy made Claudia barren for being a Squib. And she wasn't the only one.
The series also differs from canon in that Magical America has good-old-fashioned mundane racism as well. The Chinese and Japanese despise each other, and the Chinese are pretty chauvinistic towards most other races as well, while the Ozarkers and some of the other cultures seem to look down on "Furriners" and blacks in particular, and the Ozarkers themselves are considered hillbilly white trash by pretty much everyone else.
Fatal Flaw: Alex's is Honor Before Reason, along with a pumped-up sense of her own morality- in essence, she often ignores potential consequences or side effects and goes for the main goal, but when people inevitably get hurt because of her, she often won't acknowledge that it was her fault and resorts to 'I never meant to do it' or 'It happened for a good cause'.
Five-Token Band: Justified and mildly deconstructed. Alex's core group of friends is formed from those in her class who, for whatever reason, do not fit in with the mainstream school culture. The deconstruction comes when the diverse cultural backgrounds of the group, and the intra-group conflicts they sometimes cause, are explored rather than ignored as is typical for this trope.
Foreshadowing: When the Mors Mortis Club are seeing visions in a special brazier, Darla cries out 'My sister!'. What she saw becomes the foundation for most of Deathly Regiment.
When Diana Grimm confronts Alexandra with the derailment of the Roanoke Underhill, a nearby Muggle mistakes Grimm for Alexandra's mother. And the Grimm triplets were identical.
Foregone Conclusion: Darla takes Innocence to the Lands Below to sacrifice her. Alexandra rushes off to rescue both of them. Unfortunately, by the time she gets there, Darla has opened a portal to the Lands Beyond, and once that happens, somebody has to die. It's Darla.
Generation Xerox: Alex apparently really resembles her mother, Hecate Grimm. Too bad we can't see the resemblance, since Hecate is a cat, and when she's human, she has no memory whatsoever.
The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: The Grimm Sisters. Lilith was the smart one, Hecate was the pretty one (technically the charismatic one, since they're identical) and Diana was a third side best described as "The Bossy One".
Good Is Not Nice: Lilith Grimm seems to have a major in this trope. She's a cold hearted lying bitch, but she does truly care about Alex.
Alex as well, she's hostile, arrogant, rude and manipulative, but she's ultimately a good person.
Lilith and Maximillian are actually subversions. Word of God is that they are both actually neutral-aligned.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: Abraham Thorn and his daughter Alexandra have an almost supernatural ability to inspire others' loyalty. It's how Thorn's children still think well of him despite his deeds, and how Alex still has friends.
It's also very easily abused. In the first book, Dean Grimm stops Alex's mischief-making by telling her flatly that she will not be punished for any further transgressions… it's her friends who'll be punished. Alex is horrified and promptly starts being good.
Holy Shit Quotient: The entire series is good at this, but the Stars Above in particular seems to be fueled by unleaded HSQ.
There's an in-universe one for just about everyone when Darla and Alexandra duel. Like almost everyone else, Alexandra just uses a Stunning Spell, but Darla casts Avada Kedavra at her. (To be fair, Darla didn't intend it to work, or expect it to, but casting a Killing Curse made everyone sit up.)
Honor Before Reason: This is Alex's entire schtick. It borders on stupidity at times, most notably when after learning that Darla has taken Innocence to the Lands Below, Alex rushes off to save them both without actually packing supplies or making a plan. To be fair, though, she had exactly zero time to waste.
Alex's other big problem is that she often believes that whatever she does, no matter how bad, should be excused if it was done with good intentions, or if it was an accident that occurred during an attempt to do something good. During the first three books, she doesn't get expelled because her aunt, Dean Grimm, is protecting her, but in the end of the fourth book, Grimm tells her that her actions were too dangerous and she has no choice but to expel Alex.
Hope Spot: At the climax of Deathly Regiment, Darla, having learned that her sister is to be sacrificed, has taken Innocence to the Lands Below to sacrifice her instead. At first, Alex manages to freeze them both and cuts a deal with the Generous Ones: She owes them her life for having accidentally killed their old leader, but they will collect in seven years, as opposed to right then. It looks like Alex will be able to rescue all of them, but when she tries to get Darla out, Darla fights her off and tries to sacrifice Innocence. Alex rescues Innocence, and Darla sacrifices herself.
I Warned You: After the climax of Lands Below, Abraham Thorn tells the Confederacy that he's going to shut down their train lines by blocking off the Lands Below. They don't listen, and he does it. After a train crashes into solid rock and rolls over several houses, they start listening.
Jerkass Has a Point: The Confederacy are a bunch of douchebags, especially with the whole sacrificing kids every seven years thing. But that being said, Abraham Thorn is still an incredible dick.
When Alex finds out about the above, she points out to the Generous Ones that they didn't have to accept what the Confederacy offered. In return, they pointedly ask her why they should value the lives of the sacrificed children, since the Confederacy don't. Alex doesn't have an answer for that.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Alex. Self-centred, obsessive, rude and manipulative? check. Brave, loyal and noble to the point of self-sacrifice? Oh good lord,check!
Kappa: Encountering one is Alexandra's first real step into the wizarding world.
Killed Off for Real: Diana Grimm considers her sister, Hecate, to be dead. Hecate is technically alive… as a cat. And while she can be turned back to human, as a human she suffers from incredibly severe retrograde and anterograde amnesia, so she can neither remember anything nor can she make new memories.
Max. Accepting his death takes Alexandra a long time, and it's the most important subplot in Deathly Regiment. Eventually she concedes that there really isn't a way to get him back.
MacGyvering: Alexandra refuses to acknowledge the word 'impossible', and will always come up with a plan.
Innocence's toad familiar, Misery. Misery gets kidnapped by Darla and tortured to fuck Innocence over repeatedly.
Charmbridge Academy, probably named after the Invisible Bridge.
Diana Alecto Grimm is named after the Roman goddess of archery and hunting, and a demon of vengeance from Greek mythology; this gives something of a clue as to her personality.
Alexandra's middle name is Octavia. In Roman times, people would often get given a numerical name to denote their place in the family: Alexandra is the eighth child of Abraham Thorn.
Metaphorically True: Everything that Abraham Thorn says to Alexandra when they meet in Lands Below. For example, he talks about Claudia, but never calls her Alexandra's mother.
Morton's Fork: According to the Ozarkers, "Troublesome" is a mythological figure who is brave and quick-witted, but who causes calamities even when she's trying not to. People used to name their daughters Troublesome, but at the time of the stories, it's considered to be bad luck. However, according to the Grannies, a group of old, powerful Ozark witches, the fact that everyone has stopped naming girls Troublesome is bad luck in itself. In Stars Above, Alexandra is Named Troublesome, which deflates some of the tension.
Narrative Profanity Filter: Both played straight and averted- 'shit' and 'fuck' have been used in the stories, but there have also been scenes where people mutter curses, or, in one memorable case, say them in Chinese.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the climax of the Stars Above, Alexandra lets a nemesis spirit through the wards around Charmbridge, letting in John, who sends a murder of crows in and several malignant ghosts. Dozens of students are hurt and a couple come close to dying. Nice one, Alexandra.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Anna's father runs for Congress, and is arrested under a new act which allows the government to keep him imprisoned for six months without a trial. He's arrested under suspicion of conspiring with the government's sworn enemy, but it's really suspected that he was arrested to keep him from becoming Congressman. However, the unjustness of his situation draws many followers to his cause, and other Asian wizards and witches throw their oar in with him. At the end of Deathly Regiment, he makes Congressman and is charged with nothing.
No Antagonist: Unlike the other three books, which each have a clear villain behind the events of the story (even if we still don't know who it is in the Stars Above), Alexandra Quick and the Lands Below does not have any single main villain and the plot is driven almost entirely by the actions of Alexandra and Max, unless you consider Abraham Thorn the villain.
Likewise, the series as a whole still has no clear villain as of the end of Book 4. The most promising candidates are probably Governor GeneralHucksteen, who we have barely seen and has had minimal impact on the plot so far, AbrahamThorn, who generally has the same goals as the protagonist and goes out of his way to protect her, or somecombination of the two. And there's still plenty of room for a dark horse candidate, like the Dark Convention, who haven't really been seen.
Noble Bigot: A lot. Unlike Harry Potter, where most of the racist characters are vilains, this series includes many sympathetic characters with rather bigoted views including, but not limited to, Maximillian, Geming Chu, Larry (to a point), and Henry Tsotsie.
Noble Jerkass / Even Jerks Have Standards: Larry Albo is shown to be this by book four: While he continues to antagonise Alex, he shows a strong sense of honor when Alex is forced to forfeit a duel against him, he refuses to accept the stipulation that the loser (Alex) will have to be his slave for a year, knowing that Alex didn't lose fairly.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When Alex tries to confort Mary Dearborn over the death of her sister, she is chewed out for it by Ms Shirtliffe, one of the few teachers that Alex actually likes and respects.
Similarly, when Anna gets in a fight with Tomo and Alex tries to break it up, she gets yelled at for involving herself in the fight.
Non Indicative Name: The Generous Ones. They're incredibly generous, but they're not nice: They shower their guests with gifts because each gift accepted is a debt that the new owner now owes them. Most of these guests are in no position to repay.
Not So Different: Abraham Thorn and Anna's father, Geming Chu: like Thorn, Chu is a pureblooded Congressman, the head of a great family and an accomplished wizard who hates and despises the existence of the Deathly Regiment. However, Chu believes that he can work with the system and get the Regiment stopped legally, while Thorn doesn't think that can happen, which is why he founded a terrorist organisation and became an Enemy of the Confederation.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: John Manuelito was originally introduced as a minor annoyance in the earlier books. When he shows up in book four, he is suddenly much more threatening.
Not What It Looks Like: In the Lands Below, Anna gets furious at Alexandra for continually going out, late at night, with Max, who is significantly older than her, and returning hours later exhausted and covered in bruises. Max is Alex's brother, and he's teaching her new spells.
Parents as People: A major theme of the series. None of the parents in the story have been shown to be outright Abusive Parents yet, but they all have significant flaws. The only parental figure that is close to ideal is Thalia King.
Phrase Catcher: Alexandra and 'Troublesome': as a nickname, as a descriptor, as the sign she was born under according to Ozark astrology, as her Name…
Precision F-Strike: Alexandra's language has gotten progressively more foul as the series progresses but she has so far only dropped one F-bomb.
John Manuelito: I was surprised that you were the one who came back. I didn't think your brother would turn out to be the weak one.
Alexandra: Fuck you.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: See Honor Before Reason, above, for an in-universe example. Another example is after Abraham Thorn shuts off the paths to the Lands Below and a train derails, killing dozens and rolling over Muggle houses: Alexandra is furious, pointing out that her friends could have been on that train, but Thorn tells her that he made sure that none of her friends were on the train, and that he actually warned the Confederacy, but they chose not to listen. Alexandra then pointedly asks him if he warned the Muggles, which he didn't.
The Reveal: Claudia is actually Alexandra's sister, not her mother- she's a Squib who was forced to live as a Muggle. Alex's real mother is Dean Grimm's sister, who has been forced to live as her cat, Galen, because of a Memory Charm that gave her permanent anterograde amnesia.
Riddle for the Ages: Who really Obliviated Hecate Grimm? Diana Grimm claims that it was Thorn, Thorn claims that Diana blames everything on him and that it was an Auror. Both sides have equal validity at this point.
Did Abraham Thorn send Max and Alexandra into the Lands Below knowing that at least one of them would die? On the one hand, Thorn is insanely protective of his children, Max refused to take Alexandra along in the first place and Thorn flat-out denied it twice; on the other, Thorn knew about the Deathly Regiment and probably guessed that if he wanted the same thing as the Confederacy, he'd probably pay the same price, namely a life.
Sanity Slippage: Alexandra and Darla both start to lose it as Book 3 goes on.
Shaggy Dog Story: In Deathly Regiment, Alex discovers that there is a possible way to go back in time and save Max's life: a Time-Turner. As it turns out, her sister Valeria is a Historicist who owns one, and both she and Alex go to Roanoke during the holidays. Alex steals the Time-Turner, gets back to Charmbridge and goes down into the basement… and gets knocked out by someone with a wand. When she's found, the Time-Turner is confiscated, Valeria gets in a huge amount of trouble and Alex never gets her chance, though it's pointed out that if she'd succeeded, she would have had to find a way to live undetected for six months, so it's probably better that she didn't.
Shout-Out: When Alexandra first encounters Hagar, the raven enters her room by knocking on the window, and is described as having "A Lordly mien". From Edgar Allan Poe'sThe Raven:
''Open, then, I threw the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter/ In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore./ Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;/ But, with mien of Lord or Lady, perched above my chamber door."
Another one to The Raven: The library elves are named Bran and Poe, Bran is welsh for 'Raven' while Poe is the author of the poem.
Sins of Our Fathers: All of Thorn's children get incredible amounts of shit for being related to him, even the ones who barely met him and have no loyalty to him.
Diana Grimm seems like this at first, she is arrogant, condescending, manipulative, pretends to be Alex's friend just to use her against her father and has a tendency to freak out whenever things don't go her way. However, The Stars Above show that she may genuinely care about stopping Thorn to avenge her sister. Or alternatively to use him as a scapegoat, since it's not currently revealed whether it was herself or Thorn who broke Hecate's mind.
Theme Naming: Every child of Abraham Thorn has a Roman name (Maximilian, Claudia, Julia, Valeria, Livia, Lucilla, Drusilla), and Alexandra's middle name is Octavia.
The Thorn family has traditionally used obscure Old Testament names, like Absalom, Joshua, Enoch, or Abraham. Abraham didn't have any sons carrying the Thorn name, so he started the above theme for his own children.
The Grimm sisters- Lilith Tisiphone Grimm, Diana Alecto Grimm, and Hecate Megaera Grimm all have the name of a Fury for a middle name.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Alexandra is slightly more pragmatic about this than Harry, her philosophy is best described as thou shalt not murder. Outside of combat she adheres strictly to this rule even to the point of sacrificing herself to save Darla, but in the heat of battle she's willing to use potentially deadly force she has killed at least one, possibly two people in this manner and isn't terribly remorseful about either.
It's implied she may be willing to consider exceptions to this rule. She stated after the fact that she didn't know if she would have killed John Manuelito if she caught him, though while pursuing him her plan was to merely find him and summon help rather than engage him directly, she did use potentially lethal spells during her duel with him.
Time Master: Abraham Thorn is a big fan of time stop spells, and he implies that the spells he uses are so difficult as to be more or less unique to him.
That Didn't Happen: A non-sexual example: at the end of Deathly Regiment, after rescuing Innocence, Innocence tells Diana Grimm everything, including Alexandra being forced to use Crucio on her to snap her out of her trance. Grimm's response is to tell Innocence that she was obviously mistaken, since using that spell would result in Alexandra being expelled, even if it was out of necessity. Innocence agrees that she obviously remembered it wrong.
Too Clever by Half: Alexandra tends to do ridiculously stupid things in incredibly clever and Badass ways. This usually doesn't win her many points with adults since most of her exploits still end in tears, but after her rampage through the New Mexico desert in book four the Navajo auror, and even both Grimm sisters seem so impressed that she gets off with minor punishments.
Took a Level in Badass: By book four, Alex has become much more adept at thinking before she acts, making her a much more effective hero.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: This is Abraham Thorn's entire schtick. Needless to say, he does not like the way things are run in the Confederacy and he does not pull his punches.
Alexandra has hints of this too. The difference is that she will never deliberately sacrifice someone else (even an enemy) to accomplish her goals. Her conscience and empathy are what prevent her from being this.
What the Hell, Hero?: Anna gives Alexandra an epic one in the Deathly Regiment, pointing out that Alexandra has been neglecting everything important in favour of a quest she knows can never succeed.
Dean Grimm gives Alexandra one in the end of Stars Above, telling her that no excuse will cut it because the amount of collateral damage she caused was so big and so severe that the Dean has no choice but to expel her.
What You Are in the Dark: After spending the entire school year trying to kill Alex, Ben Journey finally gets her alone, tied up and helpless, with a broken ankle and no wand… but he can't bring himself to kill a helpless child, and when he finally tries, he is killed in turn.
With Friends Like These...: Alexandra has no problem with using, manipulating, hurting or lying to her friends to get what she wants. She does feel horrible about it, and does her best to make amends, but she's very often a horrible friend.
You Killed My Father: In the Stars Above, Darla's little sister Mary comes after Alexandra because she was fed false information by someone claiming to be John so that she'd try to kill Alexandra. Alex talks her out of it, thankfully.