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29 March 2013 @ 12:06 am
Arithmancy Quiz  
There are many specialties in magic. One that Hermione seems particularly suited for is Arithmancy. Apparently our SSHG authors agree with that. Come play the quiz as Severus and Hermione display their Arithmancy skills!

Thanks to kerravonsen for this quiz theme!

Want to give Hermione a run for her money in the know-it-all field? Simply play the quiz by commenting on this post with your answers at any time over the weekend. All comments with answers will be screened until the answer sheet is posted on Monday morning EDT. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!

Match the quotes to the story titles without picking the red herring titles:

Scarborough Arithmancy by lillithj
Arithmantic Equations as a Second Language by absolute_tash
The Long Wait by ayerf
Pet Project by caeria (WIP)
From Lost to Found by alexandramuses
The Granger Solution by talesofsnape
The Arithmantic Dating Agency by shiv5468
Preparation is the Key by melisande88
Don't Get Me Wrong by bleddyn_coch
Exact Calculations by mayadidi
A Balance of Three by madeleone
Marriage by Numbers by sunnythirty3

1. “Why not? Just because Minerva is having a fit at the thought, it doesn’t mean they aren’t right for each other. We get it all the time; people are often disappointed with their chosen partner, and then they write to us complaining, and we say: just try it. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. After all, you weren’t exactly happy at the prospect of going out with me to start with, and look how well we are getting on now.”

He thought about that. Minerva and Filch were unlikely it was true, but no more unlikely than he and Hermione. He had been so indignant at the thought of being linked with her; he wondered what she had thought of him.

So he took a deep breath and asked her.

“It was a shock: I didn’t even know my name was on the list, no one was supposed to be able to get through the protective charms, and then there was the fact that you used to be my teacher. So of course, my first reaction was horror, and then I noticed you’d washed your hair. If that had changed about you, what else had? So I decided to give you a chance. And I am an Arithmancy genius!” From the wide grin, Severus deduced this was some in-joke, and he quirked an eyebrow in query.

Hermione looked mildly embarrassed for a moment, then said, “This afternoon, I started getting a bit anxious about the date, so Ginny had me chanting that over and over again.”

“Did it help?”

“A bit.”

“I had Minerva,” he said simply. “Minerva and Pomona.”

She sniggered.

“They were full of good advice.”

“So was Ginny: don’t do this, do do that, don’t have sex before the third date.” Her voice trailed off as she realised what she had said. “Ooops. I’m not supposed to tell you that. I’m supposed to keep you guessing.”

“Is this our first or second date?” he asked, with a suggestive smile.

2. So this mattered to him.

It must, for him to have sought the aid of the goblins, not known for their generosity.

Suddenly she felt better. She wasn't the only nervous person in the room. The power belonged to her, not to Snape. Her chin lifted, the tip of her wand swooped and glowed, and the glyph bloomed above the parchment, where Snape's projected earnings and returns on investment were scratched in black ink. The figures seemed to shake themselves, as if the glyph made them sit up straighter. Hermione whispered to the glyph, and it softly disintegrated, drifting down onto the parchment like dust from a moth's wings.

She sketched the second glyph, and then the third and fourth in quick succession. They were best evaluated in combination. Snape's figures shivered harder this time, but though they leaned forward as if straining at a leash, they kept their integrity. Hermione allowed herself the slightest lift of an eyebrow.

Snape's hand clenched on the arm of his chair.

She hadn't realized he was watching her so closely, and took a steadying breath, reminding herself he wasn't her professor any longer; his opinion of her did not matter in the least to the goblins. The glyphs disintegrated, adding their substance to the powder blurring the parchment.

The eighth glyph was where it all fell apart. Somewhere there was a flaw in Snape's figures.

"That's not correct," said Snape harshly.

"On the contrary," said Gulpslobber, smiling, but not in a nice way.

3. "But your lecture this evening was excellent," protested Hermione. "You explained everything so clearly – which you've got a real gift for – and you must have sensed how much everyone enjoyed it."

"I rest my case. This evening's audience approached my ideal in that they sat and listened quietly. Had I allowed them to take part in any sort of practical activity, I would no doubt have reverted to my usual cantankerous self."

He looked at her steadily, as if daring her to argue, then swiftly drank half of his pint.

"You're right about the beer, Miss Granger. Very well kept. So, tell me, what is it you do at the Ministry?"

"I use a combination of Arithmancy and Muggle computing power to pre-test new charms and potions, thus reducing the need for hazardous experiments." She grinned. "And that's the point at which people's eyes usually glaze over slightly and they say something like 'How interesting' and change the subject rapidly. Feel free to do the same."

Snape gave an impatient shake of his head. "Not at all. That genuinely does sound interesting. How does the combination with computers work? I always thought there were conflicts between Muggle technology and magic."

"Tell me about it. My computer is in what is basically a store cupboard at the Ministry, with Shielding Charms around the room to protect it from the magical field outside. But all it takes is for some idiot to wander in and Accio a pen or something and I can lose an entire day's work."

"I'm guessing from your tone of voice that this is not an infrequent occurrence?"

"Oh, it happens at least once a week. I've banned Ron and Harry from coming within a twenty metre radius of my computer room, on pain of, well, pain.

4. Hermione sat at the desk in the library of Grimmauld Place, which she used as her study. She furiously scribbled across the page as numerals, runes and complex Arithmantic equations danced upon the parchment. The outcomes were constantly changing as she inserted different options into the mix. Still, when she came to the end of the process, she got exactly the same solutions she had gotten the first twelve times she had run the numbers.

“No, no, no! This just can't be right. There has to be another answer. This is not possible—I must be missing something somewhere—doing something wrong.” But that seemed unlikely; she was one of the best Arithmancers at the Ministry of Magic and a rising star in her field.

Pulling out a fresh sheet of parchment, she started again from the very beginning. Maybe, time number thirteen would be the charm, would give her the right answers.


That was how Harry and Kingsley found her hours later: slumped over her work, her head resting on her arm, sound asleep, drooling a bit on the blotter, her quill still in her hand, pieces of parchment scattered about all across the desk and some fallen on the floor.

“What is all this, Harry?” Kingsley asked quietly, picking up a few of the many parchments from the floor.

“Some pet project she's been working on in her off time. I think she's becoming obsessed with it. She spends all her time in here after work, stays up half the night, spends all her weekends on it. I don't really understand all of it; I was never great at Arithmancy. I can comprehend the basics, and having been around Hermione so long, even a bit more, but all this...” He waved his hand around the desk. “It's way over my head. I have no clue what it all means. Something brilliant I'm sure.

5. Independent Arithmancy Research Project – Hermione Granger

TOPIC: The declining ratio of wizards to witches in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry intake.

INTRODUCTION: It has become apparent to this student that each year the number of wizards relative to witches in the first year intake has decreased. My intention was to determine if this is a true trend and to extrapolate this to future years, using current and prospective enrolment records. With this information gathered, I plan to demonstrate Arithmantically my proposed solution to the imbalance...

Minerva McGonagall read on for some time and then looked up at the young witch before her. “Merlin. You were correct. Down to twenty-five percent wizards this year, and no-one else had noticed. Ten percent in five years, according to the list we have so far. What on earth is happening?”

“As you can see, Professor, my investigations show a distinct trend. I looked at parental ages and found that wizards under forty-five years of age are three times more likely to produce male offspring, but as they age they father more female children. During Voldemort’s first reign of power in the 1970s, the young men of that generation suffered a lot of losses on both sides during the raids, and more decided to put off starting families until later. It fell to the older men, who were less involved in the fighting, to continue with their family lives, as can be shown by the ages of the fathers of the new entrants over the last decade or so. The year I started was the last year when there were equal numbers of witches and wizards in first year. You can see the average age of first-years’ fathers has gradually increased along with the proportion of witches in each year.” She pointed out an Arithmantically derived curve showing the correlation of the two trends. A further projection, which was the key to her project, demonstrated the figures for her alarming conclusion.

6. Hermione watched him place the tray on her oversized desk, and then waved him toward one of the two armchairs that sat at either side of the fire. She took a seat in the office chair behind her desk while she waited for the coffee to brew. "Have you used Laplace's methods before?"

Severus scowled. "No. I did, of course, refresh my memory on the topic when the Minister mentioned you might be able to help, but heretofore I have not had a partner with whom to practice. Professor Vector and I have not kept in touch since I left Hogwarts, and I believe you are the only other female British Arithmancer trained in the technique."

"Very well. I will be perfectly honest, professor. This is a technique which requires cooperation and trust between the participants. As you have the deepest possible understanding of the problem we will be attempting to solve, I am willing to work with you, given your knowledge can only lend itself to the working." She rose to her feet to pour their coffees. "However, this is not a simple process. You should not take it for granted that you will be able to familiarise yourself with the technique in the time available, especially as for the most part I will be busy going over your notes. I cannot devote a lot of time to coaching you. If I do not think you are ready by the time I have assimilated the material, then I will bring in a partner familiar with the technique to take your place."

"I assure you that I will be capable of mastering the material," Severus responded, as coolly as if she had impugned his manhood.

7. "All right, class, quills down. Who's finished with their projects?"

Snape reluctantly put up his hand. He might as well get the pain over and done with before Vector called on him. She would, too, judging by the eager look in her beady eyes.

Vector appeared next to his desk so fast that if not for Hogwarts' wards, he would have sworn she'd Apparated. She snatched the parchment from his hands and caught on within seconds.

"My word, Snape! As usual, your working is flawless. Do you mind?" She pointed her wand at the blackboard even as he nodded. His calculation instantly replicated there.

"Everyone, take a new piece of parchment. It's our lucky day! Snape has come up with something really wonderful – this will identify your soul mates. By now this should go without saying, but don't copy it down exactly, remember to personalise it. No one else can perform your calculations for you, you know! So don't go trying to do this for your friends."

Snape kept his eyes on the table. Somehow he could feel Lily's gaze on him. He knew she must be wondering whom he'd got. All of them must know it wasn't her, or he would have flaunted it.

And now that Vector had got the entire class doing the matchmaking calculation...

Sure enough, Potter's smug voice soon rang out. "Thanks a lot, Snape."

"Yes, thank you, Severus," Lily said, equally smugly. "James and I... We got each other!"

"I may vomit," Severus muttered.

"Snape, this really is groundbreaking stuff. Can't think why no one else has thought of it, but I'm not surprised you did with that inventive mind of yours. Do you mind if I use it from now on as a bonus for those students electing to do N.E.W.T. level Arithmancy?"

8. "Pieter, I need to know exactly who you were looking for." Hermione kept her wand available -- not quite pointed at him, but distinctly visible. "Very few people are even aware of being searched via the string method, much less can cut the cords. And I certainly don't want to be the target of someone that powerful who doesn't want to be found."

"My dear Hermione, I really must apologize. I had no idea he'd be able to detect the search. In fact" -- and his voice grew slightly accusing -- "I was under the impression that a skilled Arithmancer was completely undetectable."

Hermione bristled, but got control of herself. "A skilled Arithmancer using standard methods is indeed undetectable. The memory-powered string method is far from standard, having been only accepted into professional circles last month. More importantly, I do need to know who might be coming after me for an unwanted search. I hope you understand that it is possibly a matter of life and death, and that I will be billing you for any measures I may need to take to protect myself."

That got his attention. "Ah, you have found my weakness," he said with a fake little smile that set her teeth on edge.

"A name, if you please."

Pieter tried to hide his furious glare behind a rueful grin, but couldn't. "Lucius Malfoy."

Hermione nearly fainted again. "Lucius Malfoy?" she stuttered. "Why the hell?"

"As I said before, my weakness is money," Pieter said with a frilly hand gesture of it's complicated. "I would like Lucius' assistance in financing a particular venture--"

9. Miranda Vector had thought long and hard about Albus' offer to join the "Inner Circle" of the Order of the Phoenix. There were pros and cons for both joining and not joining. She had, of course, sat down and seriously weighed the options that were presented to her. As the closest thing the wizarding world possessed to both a mathematician and statistician, Miranda Vector was rather good at weighing options.

She liked calculating the probabilities of success and failure. She liked having weighted values and knowing the value of diminishing returns. She liked knowing what she was getting into before she got into it. She was not, after all, a Gryffindor. She would never leap before looking. She was an extremely prudent Ravenclaw who would not only look, but drop a measuring string down the other side, take a few measurements, snap a wizarding photo or two, calculate the odds and then jump.

Or not.

Because really, why jump when just walking down to the other side was vastly safer and eminently more practical?

Miranda being Miranda, she'd taken a few days and done a few calculations and drew a few probability lines using some of her better Arithmantic calculations. She was, after all, an Arithmancer, and a damn good one, if she did say so herself. Ultimately, she'd decided that Albus was correct and that her skills were needed on a more immediate basis. Of course, that decision had been partially based on a rather ugly convergence she'd noticed in the main probability matrix that pointed at something serious happening between Voldemort and the Order's spy. A convergence that predicated the meeting between the Order's spy and the mysterious, and rather annoying, rogue line.

So, decision made, she'd gone back to Albus' little sea cliff home to tell him that she was accepting his offer.

10. "Was it ruined?"

She arched a questioning eyebrow at him.

"Your notebook."

"A page or two, I think."

He nodded. "My apologies."

In the years to come, in all her calculations, this was always the moment she came back to – not the first time their lips met, not the first surprisingly heady moment of love-making. A simple, two-word apology that contained, in its brevity, the acknowledgment that there might be value in a few smudged pages of her work. She recalled every slash of red ink on her childhood essays, each slightly imperfect potion, the handful of moments when she had been wrong in her assumptions – and she was absolved of them all. In her absolution she found the spark of love.

"Thank you, Professor."

She closed his door behind her, and crept softly down the stairs. Returning to the kitchen, she retrieved her notebook.

puzzlegrrl: Geekpuzzlegrrl on April 1st, 2013 01:50 am (UTC)
1 The Arithmantic Dating Agency
2 Preparation is the Key
3 Don't Get Me Wrong
4 A Balance of Three
5 Marriage by Numbers
6 The Granger Solution
7 The Long Wait
8 From Lost to Found
9 Pet Project
10 Arithmantic Equations as a Second Language
morethansirius: Hermione- I know!morethansirius on April 1st, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
Congrats on acing the SSHG Arithmancy Quiz! The owl should be arriving shortly with your Outstanding certificate. Here's a pretty Hermione banner to prove you aced the quiz!