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Fanfic / The Difference One Man Can Make

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After the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter decided to travel the world. Twelve years later when a new threat attempts to destroy the progress made in Britain he returns home to deal with the situation. During the fight that puts down the small group of upstarts Harry finds himself in a world of ice and fire.
Story summary
"We Have no kings here, no lords, except for those we choose. Even then, we never kneel."-Val, explaining the meaning behind the Norfolk words.

The Difference One Man Can Make is a Harry Potter-A Song of Ice and Fire Crossover fanfic by joen1801, that begins twelve years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry decided to Walk the Earth after learning Ginny was involved with Neville, and upon returning to England, an accident that happens while he helps stop a group of fanatic purebloods from taking over the Department of Mysteries ends up sending him to a cold land in the north of a continent called Westeros.

After some reflection, Harry decides to join the Free Folk, the inhabitants of the lands north of the Wall, and manages to take over Tormund Giantsbane's tribe, with the aim of making the most of his abilities to help the Free Folk make use of their great potential to establish a new civilization. However, when he learns that, once more, he has become the linchpin on which many people's destiny depends on, and a threat thought dead is making its comeback, Harry realizes he will have to strengthen his people, find allies and learn more about the world he lives in now, if he wants to ensure humanity's survival.


This story so far provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: when Harry meets Osha for the first time, he realizes she looks a lot like Tonks. Both women were played by Natalia Tena.
  • Adult Fear: Seeing your child choke because of poison is certainly a horrible experience.
  • A Light in the Distance: Newport builds a lighthouse shortly after the Norfolk's first travel to Braavos.
  • The Alliance: Harry manages to form one between most Free Folk, to prepare them for the incoming war against the Others. They later ally with the North and Dorne as well.
  • Alternate Universe: To Harry Potter at the beginning of the story (Ginny starts a relationship with Neville Longbottom), and to A Song of Ice and Fire starting on Chapter 2.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Maesters of the Citadel have actively tried to eliminate Magic and its influence from the world for centuries, with the exception of Marwyn the Magician and possibly other Maesters who still try to study Magic.
  • Anti-Magic
    • The Wall keeps anything magical from passing by it directly, as Harry discovered when he tried to Apparate south of it.
    • The Others also have some kind of magic that can counter Harry's.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The Citadel, when rumors that the Norfolk's leader is a sorcerer reach them they send a maester beyond the Wall with the intent to spy on him and assassinate him should the rumors prove to be true.
  • The Apprentice: Harry manages to get a few.
  • Arranged Marriage: Being the Seven Kingdoms, this happens a lot of times.
    • Tywin Lannister offers the hand of a Lannister girl to Trystan (Harry's son), who is also offered the chance to foster at Casterly Rock, and a castle in exchange of an alliance (or, more accurately, Harry fighting against Tywin's enemies). Harry rejects the offer, as the offered deal gives nothing of use to Harry and would not work on Tywin's side either, since, as Harry is not a lord in the sense of Tywin, none of his men would actually follow him to fight for Tywin.
    • Doran Martell attempts to arrange the marriage between Trystan and one of the Sand Snakes to cement their alliance. Harry rejects it as well, as he needs to keep Trystan close to teach him how to use magic, and he can barely arrange such marriage when he has previously renounced to marry Trystan to a trueborn Lannister.
    • Harry ends up making a suggestion to Eddard Stark, making an official betrothal between Trystan and Emer on Harry's side, and Arya and Bran on Ned's, but without expecting either side to commit to it, mostly so Harry will not get bombarded with more offers.
    • To formalize the alliance between the Norfolk, the North and Dorne, Ned and Doran end up agreeing to betroth Sansa to Trystane Martell.
    • Olenna Tyrell suggests her granddaughter Margaery to seduce and wed Harry, dismissing Val as a mere concubine, in order to gain influence over the growing power in the North.
  • Bloodraven's Prophecy pretty much foreshadows the future conflicts, such as the War of Five Kings - although Bloodraven later acknowledges that Harry's arrival has completely offset the board.
  • The Others returning. Harry does his best to prepare the Norfolk for the Second War for the Dawn and to make the Seven Kingdoms aware of the threat.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Quite a few characters in Game of Thrones has at least one of these. Harry himself becomes "The Witch-King-Beyond-the-Wall".
  • Badass Army: Harry's people become one thanks to his lessons and getting steel weapons and armor.
  • Bag of Holding: Harry has one, where he keeps many things from his magical past.
  • Balance of Power: The Night's Watch and many south of the Wall fear that the formation of First Forge can break this and unite the Wildlings against the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Batman Gambit: Mance Rayder pulls one, ensuring that all those Wildlings that are more dangerous will die, while those that favor allying with Harry will survive and be free to act on their wishes.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Daenerys smashes the Faceless Man that tried to kill Harry and his family, and who is trying to kill Arya, with a hammer.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jon loses his illusions about the Night's Watch much more earlier than in canon and opts for joining the Norfolk, seeing them as more prepared and tolerant.
  • Butt-Monkey: Maester Gareth is this to Harry's Clan due to his trying to "civilize" them. It is not until he ceases pursuing this attitude that things become better for him.
  • Cassandra Truth: In spite of the proof showed to him, Allister Thorne still thinks that the Others are a tale made up by the Norfolk to cause panic in the Seven Kingdoms, and continuously advocates for their destruction even though he knows such an action would be lucky to end up in a Pyrrhic Victory. It is unknown what his reaction after the close encounter with a bunch of wights and an Other will be.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Phoenix tears, which help heal Shireen Baratheon from greyscale, also save Trystan's life after a Faceless Man attempts to poison the Potters.
  • The Clan: Harry's people, the inhabitants of First Forge.
  • The Conspiracy: The Citadel tries to get Gareth to poison Harry and his family to prevent them from bringing magic back to Westeros. When this fails as Gareth goes native, Grand Maester Pycelle hires the Faceless Men to do the deed.
  • Cool Boat: Harry's ships, modified with magic to be Bigger on the Inside, go faster than normal and prevent waves from hitting them too hard.
  • Cool Sword: Harry makes several swords made of an alloy of steel and obsidian. He offers Tywin Lannister a sword for his family as an apology for not accepting his marriage offer, which Tywin accepts. He sells weapons made of this material to the North and Dorne, so they can prepare for the incoming battle.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death
    • One cannibal threatens to eat Harry's children and rape Val, his spouse. Harry "rewards" him with torture under the Cruciatus curse and finishes it off by burning him alive with Fiendfyre.
    • The Faceless Man that attempted to kill Harry and his family is subjected to a terrible torture by the Norfolk, leading to his very painful death.
  • Cruel Mercy: Harry allows a murderer to leave First Forge untouched... but he forces him to go almost naked without any of his belongings and bans him from ever approaching First Forge. The murderer then met a cannibal clan.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Norfolk versus the Wildling alliance arranged against Harry. The latter died to a man (those that attacked, that is), while the Norfolk barely lose a couple hundreds of men.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Tormund, after being defeated by Harry, becomes one of his best friends. Also a few other Wildling chiefs who Harry defeats.
  • Stannis Baratheon, strong-willed enough that he manages to break through one of Harry's compulsion charms.
  • Arya Stark, who is determined to learn how to fight with weapons, no matter how many hits she receives.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: A mixed Norfolk-Night's Watch-Children of the Forest taskforce manages to capture an Other.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Viserys was so sure the Norfolk would support him and his claim for the Iron Throne that he blew through the money he had managed to gain by selling his mother's crown in just a few weeks before taking Daenerys to First Forge.
  • Disproportionate Retribution
    • Harry tells Viserys that the Norfolk will never fight to place him on the Iron Throne, calling him out for his idiocy. Viserys tries to kill Harry.
    • When Daenerys stops him from attacking Harry - which would have led to his death - Viserys nearly attacks her instead.
  • Does Not Like Magic: The Wildlings are cautious of Harry's magic at first, but quickly get used to it. The Citadel is actively trying to keep it from returning to the world. Varys, for the reason he was castrated.
  • Elective Monarchy: Harry leads the Free Folk because they acknowledge him as a good leader. The magic powers and genius ideas don't hurt on this front either. It foils the Seven Kingdoms's attempts to tie Harry to the game of thrones, as the Westerosi nobility is used to marry a house to another - based on power being inherited rather than earned - and doesn't know Harry's children have no claim over his legacy.
  • Enemy Mine: The Night's Watch and the wildlings would happily slaughter each other, and the Starks and the Martells really have a bad history together, but they immediately decide to band together when they have proof of the Others' return.
  • Entitled Bastard: Viserys expects the Norfolk to help him take the Iron Throne. They give him the proverbial finger, though they do allow him and Daenerys to stay in First Forge some time for their protection - and it is heavily hinted that Viserys will get himself booted out of the city for the trouble he is causing.
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: The Norfolk are very proud of their small (but growing) fleet.
  • Foreshadowing: Bloodraven's prophecy is full of this. But he acknowledges that Harry's arrival has completely turned the game around.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: When he met Benjen Stark, Harry had nothing but the clothes on his back, his wand and his knowledge. After amically parting with the Ranger, he goes find a band of Wildings, gains control over them with Asskicking Equals Authority and through sheer charisma, technological innovation and battle prowess, quickly becomes the leader to more than half of all the Free Folk, and is hailed as the new King-Beyong-the-Wall in the Seven Kingdoms.
    • It can apply to the Norfolk themselves. From disorganized barbarians to well-armed, rapidly advancing nation establishing ties via trading. And it spans on only five years.
  • Frontline General: Harry. Of course, being able to teleport (with Apparition) makes for an easier leading of armies.
  • Gargle Blaster: Played with when Harry introduces Vodka to the world. Tyrion, who is known for his ability to hold his drink, can't handle his first mouthful of the stuff.
  • Gender Is No Object: A staple of Wildling society. Harry encourages this, and men and women have no trouble in doing the same jobs, no matter how tough they are. Theon gets a hard lesson in this when Ygritte beats him in an archery contest.
  • Good Old Ways: The Wildlings are believers of this. Harry builds a society that takes out its worst aspects and strengthens the best.
  • Good Samaritan: Benjen does not doubt in helping Harry, even though he knows nothing about him.
  • Grim Up North: Where most of the action takes place, although not so grim as Harry improves things.
  • Guile Hero: Harry, who has no problem with sneaking around and killing at the back.
  • Haunted Castle: Hardhome. Turns out to be inhabited by the spirits of people that were attacked by Dragon Lords many years before the Doom of Valyria. Harry manages to exorcize the place and create a new city in there.
  • Hero of Another Story: Mance Rayder, who was trying to unite the Wildlings knowing that the Others were coming, before learning of Harry and devising a plan to get the worst of them killed while the moderates are free to join in.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Harry is trying to make sure the Norfolk don't fully depend on his magic, but it is tough to do things the hard way when you know Harry can do them with less effort and in less time. For example, while Harry is away to meet the Northern nobles, their iron mine suffers a collapse, and some wonder why Harry did not come to get them out.
  • The Horde: The Wildling alliance that attacks First Forge.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When it becomes obvious that the mixed Black Watch-Norfolk-Mormont group is going to get killed, the Norfolk bring out the Portkey Harry gave them and grab the others to escape.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: Most Wildlings believe in this. Harry joins them because of this - although he works to ensure they have prosperity as well.
  • Lighthouse Point: Harry has a lighthouse built in Newport.
  • Lost Technology: Dragonsteel and Valyrian Steel. Harry tries his best to find the way to replicate these two technologies. He (possibly) succeeds with the former.
  • Love Ruins the Realm: Invoked by Olenna Tyrell when she suggests to her granddaughter to seduce Harry, in order to gain control over the Norfolk, when their trading policies - selling foodstuffs cheaper, thanks to their ability to produce more and them not rotting as fast - start to negatively impact the Reach.
  • Magnetic Hero: Harry is charismatic enough that a lot of Wildlings follow him willingly, and some join him as his name becomes greater.
  • Master Poisoner: Gareth is considered this due to his knowledge of poisons, which was why he was picked to go to First Forge and kill Harry if he was magical.
  • Meaningful Name: First Forge is named after the forge in the city's center, the first of its kind north of the Wall. Newport is called this because it is the new port of Harry's people being renamed from Hardhome.
  • Modest Royalty: Harry doesn't like to be called a lord, and lives in the same conditions as his people. He doesn't think of himself as a ruler, but the fact is that he's the spokesman to the Norfolk and the leader they chose to follow. Oberyn Martell outright thinks of him as the King-Beyond-the-Wall in spite of his assertions, and estimates that many would follow him in battle if he wished it, as loyal subjects would follow their King.
  • Morally Ambiguous Cannot Comprehend Good: No one south of the Wall, save for the Starks, the Martells and a few others, believes that neither Harry nor the Norfolk want to go south. They also do not understand that Harry is simply not interested in joining the game of thrones.
  • Mundane Utility: Harry's magic, which makes him one of the most powerful people in Westeros, is used to make crops grow faster, create buildings within days, construct ships that are Bigger on the Inside and can run faster than the norm...
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: Harry, with a major in magic - which he also uses to kick ass.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Witch King Beyond The Wall.
  • News Travels Fast: It takes barely a few weeks for news of First Forge to reach King's Landing.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Harry's attempt to improve the lot of the Wildlings and finish their raiding south of the Wall ends up earning him the wrath and jealousy of several other Wildling leaders and a potential attack by the Seven Kingdoms, who fear he is organizing them to assault the Wall.
    • When Benjen argues against going to war with the Norfolk, Alliser Thorne promptly accuses his wildling blood - inherited from Bael the Bard - to influence him and asks if he's in bed with Harry.
  • No Hero to His Valet: The South and many Norfolk admire Harry, but his inner circle has no problem to criticize him. Tormund and Ygritte even threaten to kick his ass if he ever starts to act "lordlike".
  • Odd Friendship: Arya and Daenerys, youngest daughters of Eddard Stark and Aerys Targaryen, surprisingly hit it off quite well. They even capture a Faceless Man together!
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are quite a few Harrys (or similar names) in the Seven Kingdoms. There's also both Trystan (Harry's son) and Trystane Martell.
  • Only Sane Man
    • Amongst the Seven Kingdoms, only Dorne and the North acknowledge the threat of the White Walkers and offer support to the Norfolk and the Night's Watch.
    • The Lord Commander Jeor Mormont has to bluntly explain to Alliser Thorne why going to war with the Norfolk would end up in a disaster for the Watch. Benjen Stark also claims peace, which let some Black Brothers accuse him of cowardice and consorting with the Wildlings.
    • When Robert dreams of adding the Norfolk to the Seven Kingdoms via conquest, his brother Stannis argues that none of his lords or knights would accept leaving their warm castles to go fight in a harsh country inhabited by rather aggressive natives because their king wants a fight breaking his existence's monotony. Jon Arryn also points that the royal treasury would unable to support the war effort.
  • Papa Wolf: Harry is one, threaten or harm his children and he'll make you experience a Fate Worse than Death before killing you.
  • Pet the Dog
    • When he first meets Craster, he gives one of the girls (who turns out to be Gilly) a flower that never wilts and curses Craster to suffer great pain whenever he tries to rape one of his "wives".
    • He also comforts a young Daenerys Targaryen when she and her brother are told to leave Braavos.
    • During a visit to the Citadel, Harry learns about Stannis' daughter catching greyscale, and he takes a detour to heal the girl. In exchange, he only asks for dragonglass (which Stannis has in abundance and no use for) and the possibility for future trade, offering to Stannis the possibility of buying much needed food.
    • Despite his uneasiness regarding the Wildlings, Robert praises their alcohol-brewing skills after he gets a taste of their cider.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Harry, who has no problem using his magic to ensure he can make his point.
  • Properly Paranoid: Harry. Of course, he knows the Others are coming soon.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
    • Harry might be the leader of the Norfolk, but he always listens to what others say, makes sure to explain the reasons behind his decisions and tries to protect his people to the best of his ability.
    • Jeor Mormont knows that the Norfolk are a potential threat, but is unwilling to attack them so long as they are not a confirmed threat. And, during his visit to First Forge, he sees that Benjen was right in wanting to make peace with them.
    • Ned Stark and Doran Martell. Both of them offer to help Harry should the need arrive, but point out that they can hardly commit any soldiers to a fight against something that, as far as they know, is only a legend. When they are shown clear proof in the form of a living White Walker, they commit themselves to help.
  • Reality Ensues
    • Alliser Thorne is shot down by Lord Commander Jeor Mormont when he counsels for war with the Norfolk. The Night's Watch is less than a thousand men strong with bad equipment while the Norfolk is around twenty thousand at least with brand-new steel weapons and a leader actively using witchcraft to cull the enemy. No matter how much you squint, it would be a slaughter for the Watch.
    • When Ned Stark learns the new King-Beyond-the-Wall focuses on making his people strong and more civilized, he waits to see if it would lead to an invasion. Otherwise, a more prosperous Free Folk means less raiding and pillaging in the North, which benefits everyone.
    • Stannis flat-out condemns his royal brother's desire to add the Norfolk to the Seven Kingdoms as foolish. No lord or landed knight would accept to leave their warm castles to go beyond the Wall, fighting bloodthirsty barbarians only because their king is bored. Also, as Jon Arryn points it, where are they supposed to find the money for the campaign since the realm in already indebted?
    • As the Norfolk start to trade with the Seven Kingdoms, their main exportation is really cheap, really abundant foodstuffs. The Reach's economy plummets because they cannot sell as much as they used to the smallfolk.
  • Red Baron: Harry is the "Witch-King-Beyond-The-Wall".
  • Religion Is Magic: Averted. To Harry, magic is simply part of who he is. Played straight with the Old Gods and the Red God.
  • Right Under Their Noses: Harry travels across Westeros on a flying broom and sleeps in inns close to those that might wish to harm or manipulate him.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
    • He might not be a king, but Harry is always doing a lot of things for his people.
    • When Oberyn Martell, Ellaria Sand and Nymeria Sand come to visit First Forge, they have no problem in helping the Norfolk with their day-to-day duties and to fight off the wildling army's attack on the city, which slightly improves the Norfolk's opinion of southern nobles..
  • Running Gag: If Harry is going to go away for several days, he will not tell Val until he has made his decision.
  • Shout-Out: Harry likes to tell tales based on stories from Earth. And, of course, there's the occassional one to his own adventures. An indirect shout-out to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy in Harry's in-story epithet the "Witch King Beyond-The-Wall".
  • Shrouded in Myth: Some of Harry's exploits and his origins.
  • Smug Snake: Melisandre. When she arrives to First Forge, she expects to be welcomed and that, once Harry meets her, she will easily get her way through.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: How the Seven Kingdoms consider the Witch-King-Beyond-the-Wall. Magic powers, check. His powerbase in a deathly cold country, check. Ruling over bloodthirsty barbarians, check. Possible ambitions to come South of the Wall, check. Of course, after meeting Harry himself and visiting his city, the Lord Commander and Eddard Stark can see that Harry is just a Nice Guy trying to improve his people's lives - and prepare for a future crisis that can mean The End of the World as We Know It if not fought.
  • Spanner in the Works: Harry is an ironmonger's worth of it.
    • Case in point: Chapter 17 has Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen travel to Newport, because the former thinks he can convince the Norfolk to invade the Seven Kingdoms in his name.
    • The fast-acting nature of the Strangler poison messes up the Faceless Man's attempts to kill Harry and his family.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Norfolk. From nomad people whose best weapons are old and rusty, to people with three large self-sufficient cities, armed and armored in steel (or better) and kicking ass like no one's business, in just a few short years.
  • Villain Respect: Well, calling Jeor Mormont a villain is certainly stretching a bit, but he's certainly an antagonist to Harry and the Norfolk at the beginning. He's not happy about Wildlings becoming better organized and armed under a competent and powerful leader, but he nonetheless feels grateful towards Harry for killing Alfyn Crowkiller - who murdered many Black Brothers - and acknowledges him as the most serious candidate to the mantle of King-Beyond-the-Wall - not to mention the fact that it is growingly possible that their intentions to remain where they are are true.
    • Varys' hatred for everything magic makes him Harry's opponent, but he still notes the wizard as a great leader who managed to create a nation from unwashed barbarians.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Pycelle begs for his life being spared when a vengeful Harry comes to seek revenge for the attempt against his family. Needless to say, Harry is disgusted by his cowardice.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Harry manages to become an Animagus.
  • Walking the Earth: What Harry was doing before coming back to England and the incident that brought him to Westeros.
  • Wild Card: Harry. Bloodraven acknowledges that Harry's actions has completely changed the game of thrones - particularly with the incoming Others' attack.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Wildling and Norfolk men have no trouble fighting against women... but attacking a defenseless woman is heavily frowned upon as Viserys discovers when he tries to strike Daenerys for the high crime of preventing him from getting himself killed.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Archmaesters order Gareth to murder Harry's kids if they ever show signs of being magical. The Faceless Man hired to kill Harry and his family nearly kills Trystan by poisoning him.
  • Written by the Winners: Subverted. Viserys thinks that all the terrible stories about Aerys were made by the Baratheons and their supporters to make Aerys look bad. Harry counters this by pointing out that historical texts in Westeros tend to focus on simple facts rather than giving sensational stories, so Aerys probably (read: unquestionably) was guilty of the atrocities he is often accused of.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy
    • Alliser Thorne believes Harry is simply planning to bide his time before making a large attack against the Wall, never mind that everything he is doing pretty much spells his intention to stay put.
    • Many nobles in the Seven Kingdoms believe Harry will be willing to tie himself down to the game of thrones. Tywin Lannister thinks he can easily convince Harry to betroth his son to a Lannister girl, and that one of Harry's subordinates might want lands south of the Wall, not knowing that Harry is more of an elected ruler than a real king and his children have no inheritance rights beyond a personal one.
    • Viserys thought he could easily convince (or not even have to try to get) Harry and the Norfolk to invade the Seven Kingdoms, so as to place him on the throne.
    • Melisandre thinks Harry will fall over himself to accept all of her demands when she meets him.
    • Olenna Tyrell believes Margaery will be able to get Harry to abandon Val, simply based on the fact that they are not married by the Seven Kingdoms' standards.
  • Young Conqueror: Harry, who goes from a nobody (in Westerosi terms) to ruling over nearly a half of the people north of the Wall.


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