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Fan Fic / When in Doubt, Obliviate

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When In Doubt, Obliviate is a Harry Potter fanfic by Sarah1281 (author of the entertaining Oh God Not Again!) where in Harry Potter is adopted and raised by Gilderoy Lockhart. Harry gets a magical upbringing and Lockhart gets the Boy-Who-Lived; everyone wins!

Well written and hilarious, this story is currently complete and comes highly recommended.


This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: As in canon, Voldemort convinces Quirrell that "there is no good and evil, only power and those too weak to seek it". He still believes it after Voldemort's spirit is removed from him — until Dumbledore shuts him down by pointing out the gaping flaws in Voldemort's logic. Ultimately, Voldemort didn't care about his philosophy; anything he claimed to believe was entirely self-justification for doing whatever he wanted.
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  • Adult Fear: Minerva McGonagall points out to Dumbledore that putting an infant Harry on a doorstep without sufficient protection and tracking charms is a surefire way for someone (like Lockhart) to kidnap him unawares.
  • Affectionate Parody: A lot of the dialogues in the stories take jabs at some of the Canon's premises and of other typical fanfiction settings, and most of it is played for laughs.
    • Lockhart criticizes Hogwart's sorting system and how it promotes labeling and segregation. This criticism is brought up again when Harry is first sorted, with Nott theorising that the Hat simply pigeonholes the students into the houses at random, to make sure that each house get an equal number of students.
    • Ron angrily confronting Harry about being sorted in Slytherin. In most other Slytherin!Harry fics, this falling out would be played for drama. Here, the dialogue takes a hilarious turn when Harry was able to point out the irrationality of Ron's outburst, and the latter had to resort to an increasingly stupid Insane Troll Logic to back up his claim that Slytherin is the evil house.
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    • The relationship between Harry and Snape clearly pokes fun at many fanfic premises where 'Snape becomes Harry's mentor and father figure after discovering how badly he's abused by the Dursleys and finding a newfound affection for the child's noble virtues'. To drive this point even further, Snape goes on a long-winded, and Suspiciously Specific, rant about how the aforementioned scenarios will never happen (to Dumbledore's amusement)—almost ignoring the fact that Harry is neither abused nor is as virtuous as he is in Canon due to being raised by Gilderoy Lockhart. Harry, for his part, plays along with this scenario... lying to Dumbledore that Snape is his favourite teacher, then allowing Fred and George to spread the rumour that Snape's friendship with Lily makes him favour Harry, just to infuriate Snape even further.
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  • Agony of the Feet: Why you should never be in the same room as drunk Gilderoy Lockhart and a bowling ball at the same time. Poor Snape.
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Averted for Quirrell. After he recovers, he points out that it'd still be absurd to let him off scot-free just because he can't remember his crimes — and in any case, he can remember that Voldemort convinced him he was Above Good and Evil. Dumbledore settles for completely destroying his logic for following Voldemort and having him sentenced to one year in the dementor-free part of Azkaban.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Ron has declared that Snape is “Pure Evil”:
    Neville: "Funny. And here I thought that label was reserved for the Dark Lord and people who use muggle pesticides."
  • Black Widow: Blaise’s mother; interestingly we get to see what sort of effect that has on him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Moaning Myrtle; she ends up being attacked by the basilisk twice, killed the first time and petrified the second.
  • Cassandra Truth: Lampshaded. After Gilderoy Lockhart complained that Sirius believed that Lockhart had erased his memory before taking him to St. Mungo's that fateful Halloween night, Harry commented that it was the truth.
    Lockhart: "That just makes it worse. Still, at least no one else seems to believe it."
    Harry: "I think it's the way he's phrasing it, really. It makes him sound like it's just a conspiracy theory."
    Lockhart: "I've never tried the whole Cassandra Truth but it's really working for me."
  • Character Development: Lockhart has a minor one, as he goes from glibly noting that he probably couldn't go on without Obliviating Harry forever, to realising that he doesn't have the heart to Obliviate the boy he's raised as his son for eleven years.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In chapter 2, Sirius plans to make every member of the Order of the Phoenix a Portkey to St. Mungo’s; Lupin and Dumbledore figures he needs a hobby. In chapter 7, it turns out that he succeeded and that Neville’s parents are fine in this story because they had their Portkeys when the Lestranges and company attacked.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Theodore Nott often comes up with wildly improbably theories. Although some of them ends up being right. For example, after the announcement that a troll was loose in the school, Theodore theorized:
    "Considering that the only things in the dungeon are Snape's classroom and office and the Slytherin Common Room, why was [Quirrell] even in the dungeon in the first place? I bet he let the troll in in the first place."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A conversation between them about Harry not taking his school rivalry with Zacharias seriously sounds an awful lot like an argument from a romantic relationship on the rocks:
    Zacharias: "When was the last time you even spoke to me?"
    Harry: "Maybe October?"
    Zacharias: "Maybe October? *Looks up to sky* Do you see what I have to put up with?"
    Harry: "Who are you talking to? Is it me? Because I don't really-"
    Zacharias: "Oh, never mind; why are you ignoring me?"
    Harry: "It's been awhile so I'm not sure, but didn't we already have the talk about how I can't possibly be ignoring you while I'm talking to you?"
    Zacharias: "Yes, we did, but you haven't sought me out in ages!"
    Harry: "I have never sought you out."
    Zacharias: "And that's another thing!...I shouldn't always be the one who has to do the seeking out. That doesn't really put us on equal footing, does it? It makes it seem like you have better things to do while I don't."
    Harry: "Well, when you put it that way-"
    Zacharias: "And it's really not fair! Why do you never seek me out? Do you enjoy making me do all the work?"
    Harry: "I really don't; why would I seek you out? All you ever do is yell at me that I'm not paying enough attention to you!"
    Zacharias: "Well, you're not."
    Harry: "I talk to you whenever you're around."
    Zacharias: "It's not enough."
    Harry: "Fine, I'll play along. Just what do you want from me that I'm not giving you?"
    Zacharias: "I want...I want someone who glares at me when he happens to meet my eyes. I want someone who calls me by my last name. I want someone who might hex me in the hallway just because or who I could hex with people thinking I'm an ass. I want someone to laugh at all of my failures and try to downplay my victories so that I might do the same to them. I want someone whose friends I can hate and who will hate all of my friends. I want someone that no one but Snape would think of partnering me with for a project because it will just cause problems. I was a rival. Is that really so much to ask?"
    Harry: "I-I guess not, but only if the other party wants that, too, and I'd really hoped you would have understood by now, Zacharias, that that's not what I want."
  • Doting Parent: For all his faults, and his less than selfless reasons for taking him in originally, Lockhart is actually a good father figure.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Lockhart will memory wipe you and take credit for your achievements but seducing a student (legal or not) is “morally bankrupt”.
  • Fate Worse than Death: For the Slytherins, having “Gryffindor detentions” (which are apparently worse than being forced to scrub cauldrons).
  • For Want of a Nail: Lockhart happens to meet Sirius the night Harry's parents are killed and finds out where Harry is before Obliviating him and taking him to St. Mungo's. Thus, Sirius wasn't able to carry out his plan to murder Pettigrew, and the latter was caught, thus preventing Sirius from wrongfully being sent to Azkaban. Also, because Sirius was acquitted, he provided his allies with emergency portkeys (fearing that they would be targeted by Death Eaters like James and Lily), which the Longbottoms used to escape from Bellatrix Lestrange. With his parents intact and healthy, Neville grows up to be a confident and self-assured man.
  • Friendly Enemies: Hermione and Daphne Greengrass; so friendly in fact that the only reason they are rivals in the first place is that they agreed to be rivals so not to get caught up in the antics of being in a real rivalry.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: You might think that Obliviate is a spell with extremely limited use, but get it in quick enough on an opponent and they'll be knocked out cold. As Quirrelmort found out the hard way. Add that Lockhart is a master of the spell and very intelligent besides, and you have an opponent you'll regret underestimating.
  • Hypocritical Humour: When faced with the Devil’s Snare, Neville proceeds to set it alight in revenge for it trying to kill him. Ron points out that it’s a plant. Hermione points out that the fire should be extinguished (being a magical fire) so that they don’t come back to an inferno. Neville agrees figuring that the plant should be dead or at least too afraid to attack them when they come back:
    Ron: "Unless it wants bloody vengeance, too."
    Neville: "Please, Ron. It's a plant."
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: During the Sorting Hat's song:
    Zacharias: Why is that hat singing? Hats should not sing.
    Harry: I'm with you.
    Zacharias: It's a lovely and time-honored tradition, you heathen.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Harry and Lockhart stop Voldemort in front of the Mirror of Erised but the Chamber of Secrets still gets opened.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Devil’s Snare.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    Harry: "Well, you know how Snape and my mother used to be close friends?"
    Daphne: "I'm pretty sure that there are Muggles who have heard this by now."
  • Loophole Abuse: Lockhart says Cuthbert Binns cannot be fired because he's got tenure and the law about tenure doesn't care is the employee with tenure is alive or not because nobody expected a deceased person wanting to keep a job.
  • Manchild: Sirius. Despite being in his 30’s (not that he’ll admit it), if forced to go into a book store, he will go to the children’s section and read in order to amuse himself and was up at four on Christmas morning in order to open presents.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The other students theorize that when Zacharias Smith and Ernie MacMillan were caught in the Trophy Room at midnight that they wanted “a little alone time” (they were actually waiting for Harry and Draco to show up for a duel).
    • And, apparently, some of the adults gossip about how close Remus Lupin and Sirius Black are.
  • Morality Pet: It would seem like raising Harry does wonders to Lockhart's own personality. Although he's still a vain man who enjoys attention and flattery, he is not as much as a coward or as flippant about letting his students get into harm's way as he is in canon. He does genuinely see Harry as his own after all, and he doesn't want his son, and his friends, in danger. He's also a lot more subtle (and therefore less obnoxious) in flaunting his fame than his canon counterpart, likely because he's had to stay off the radar for ten years in order to raise Harry in secret.
  • Muggles Do It Better: The first items that Harry buys for Hogwarts are ordinary school supplies (i.e. notebooks, pens, etc.) instead of the Wizarding worlds’ parchment and quills.
  • Mythology Gag: While wondering how old is "old enough" for Harry to be told about the Horcrux fragment in his scar, Dumbledore muses that if he's not careful he might talk himself into putting it off until Harry's seventeen. In canon, he did just that, not telling Harry about the prophecy until he was forced to and even then not mentioning the Horcrux thing until literally hours before the crucial moment.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Lockhart comes across as shallow and superficial, but is actually pretty intelligent and cunning, such as when:
    • He out argues Dumbledore in the legality surrounding how Harry should have been raised.
    • He’s made a successful career despite being a muggleborn and only being very good at one spell (memory modification) and decent at glamour spells.
    • He was a Ravenclaw and therefore had to solve a riddle every time he wanted to enter his dorms and knows all about King Hedwig from off the top of his head.
    • He is very good at deducing facts and thought of looking up the Dursley’s address in the phonebook; something that no other wizard in the series had thought to do.
  • Papa Wolf: When Dumbledore tries to retrieve Harry and put him with the Dursley's, Lockhart makes the old man back off by presenting a very good legal argument as to why it wasn't a good idea to place Harry with people who hate magic, and why Dumbledore's attempts to put Harry in the Dursley's care will fail.
  • The Rival: Invoked and Parodied. Apparently a Hogwarts/pureblood custom, where one must decide who their best friend and arch-rival would be on their first Hogwarts train ride, and this relationship is supposed to carry on for life (also, the relationship has to be declared on the train, or else it would not have complied with the "proper procedure", and is therefore invalid). Zacharias Smith decides to claim Harry as his rival, but Harry is having none of it, and doesn't really treat the former any differently from other students. Zacharias complains that Harry isn't even willing to snark at his expense, while Harry wonders if all Pureblood parents would give their children a pep-talk about finding their arch-rival.
  • Running Gag:
    • Other characters wondering how Snape manages to make his robes whip around him dramatically when he enters.
    • The Hufflepuff House being an in-universe Acceptable Target, and is generally seen as a holding place for the losers, with a stupid name to boot. Even Neville didn't want to be sorted in there.
    • Blaise can't remember the name of his current stepfather. Taken Up to Eleven in the last chapter when this conversation occurs:
    Blaise: "Do any of you guys know a Peter? I got a letter this morning saying that he died so, if you do, sorry. Unless you didn't like him in which case, public sorry and private congratulations."
    Tracy: "Peter was your stepfather."
    Draco: "How much of our conversation were you listening to?"
    Tracy: "I don't actually care about your conversation, Draco, I just sensed that Blaise was having trouble keeping track of his various stepfathers again."
    Blaise: "Is it that time of year already?"
    Pansy: "There is no way that your stepfathers meet you before the wedding."
    Blaise: "They don't always meet me afterwards."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: Lockhart; the powers being a very powerful memory charm.
  • Secret Keeper: Only Harry knows the real reason why Lockhart is so successful.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Happens all the time, especially with the Slytherins. Apparently Draco walking in covered in blood and chicken feathers isn't enough to stop a discussion about whether or not Godot may have shown up after the play ended, or what it had to do with Quantum Leap. (He's actually a bit upset to be ignored like that.)
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Frank and Alice Longbottom aren't tortured into insanity because Sirius made them an emergency Portkey. Quirrell isn't killed in the fight for the Philosopher's Stone, but Obliviated, and spends a year in the non-dementor-infested part of Azkaban for his crimes.
  • Stations of the Canon: Despite almost none of the original causes of the original event remaining in place, a student still gets trapped in a restroom with a troll on Halloween and has to be rescued by their housemates. The only difference is that it's Blaise this time instead of Hermione.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Usually inverted for laughs. Even though the sorting system is often criticized, many of the so-called critics would often call out on each other for not behaving like the stereotypical behaviour of their respective houses enough.
  • Take That!: To the Twilight series in chapter 25. We get a description of a book that sounds suspiciously like Twilight if a few details were swapped. Also, Hermione finds them sexist.
    “... this is a romance series so the other part is just mushy and angsty drivel."
  • That Man Is Dead: ”Far from being seen as the barely competent Muggleborn he had gone to Hogwarts as, people looked at him and saw a heroic and legendary celebrity with a killer smile and a mysterious past.”
  • The Talk: Lockhart had an interesting one with Harry:
    "Now Harry, I know you might have urges and think that you know what you're doing but every child you have is a huge financial burden so make absolutely sure that you want them and don't just have them by accident. And remember that the wizarding public will judge you for everything you do and quite a bit that you won't do so please wait until you're married to reproduce and definitely wait until you're twenty. Remember, anything you do reflects on me as well."
  • The Teetotaler: Lockhart usually; he doesn’t like the taste and doesn’t want to give away the secret to his success or act like an idiot.
  • The Unfettered: “… a complete and utter lack of regard for trifles like 'truth' and 'integrity', and memory charms were really the secret to all of Gilderoy's not inconsiderable success.”
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Draco covered in blood and chicken feathers. The Slytherins continue their conversation when he enters and still don't mention it until he points it out.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Neville and Draco of all people. They don't bandy about together due to their differing houses, but they know each other well enough to be on first name basis, and their usual banter is far from hostile.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • No one is concerned over the fact that the troll at Hallowe'en was killed; they only worry about Pansy because she reduced its head to pulp by smashing its club into it about a dozen times.
    • While under the 3rd floor corridor and Ron kills the (unconscious) troll in the same way Pansy did, he wonders if he’ll get into the newspaper too. Only Hermione points out that a troll is still a living creature.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Lockhart's magical capabilities are mostly limited to memory charms. And yet, it’s surprisingly effective; it works on trolls and Dark Lords.
  • With All Due Respect: “Professor, by the time that anyone knew that I had been facing the troll it was already dead and so it's perfectly reasonable for my father not to be too worried about something that didn't happen after the fact."
  • Worth It:
    • When Lockhart points out that, had Sirius killed Pettigrew, he would be arrested for it in spite of what Pettigrew did to deserve it, Sirius says "It would have been worth it".
    • Neville tries to fit in the Gryffindor stereotype better after Malfoy complains that he's not Gryffindor enough. He does this by deliberately falling off his broom during their first Riding lesson, and gets his wrist broken. When Harry gets to him, Neville happily declares, "Worth it."
    • Harry himself also invokes this reaction after he gets detention from Snape after trolling the Potions master by telling everyone that he (Snape) is his favourite teacher.

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