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21 June 2013 @ 12:24 am
Marriage Law Challenge - Part 2  
It has come to our attention that the original Marriage Law Challenge quiz posted in April of 2007 and there has never been another one. Yeah, there are just a few more MLC fics out there and it's about time they were featured! Hermione and Severus are forced into marriage by the evil or misguided Ministry and that's about all these fics have in common. It's amazing how many different directions our SSHG authors took from the original Marriage Law Challenge!

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:

Indifference by Sare Liz
The Activist by rillalicious
Denial by little_beloved
Care of Magical Creatures by miamadwyn
The Gilded Cage by apollinav
Bride of the Potions Professor by SamusAran
Polyandry and Other Problems by ayerf
A Proper Romance and A Proper Romance: The M Chapters by Keryl Raist
Blame it on the Cat by blueartemis07
Takeover Bid: A Tale of the Marriage Law by dickgloucester
Parody: The Amazing Marriage Law by southernwitch69
What I Want by Dryad

1. "So. In review, you burst into my classroom in a manner that would justify me turning you over to Filch and his thumbscrews, you disarm me—"

"I gave it back!"

"—and ask for my hand in marriage, assuring me I wasn’t your first choice –"

"I wanted you to know I’d considered all the other options!"

"—behind a centenarian and a lunatic—"

"You needn’t take it personally!"

"—and that you are choosing me because I am too old to rut—"

She choked.

"—and then you think by shedding an artful tear, leaning on my desk to expose a swell of breast—"

She looked down, horrified, and grasped her robe closed.

"—and attempting to arouse my pity by flourishing a death threat in front of my face, you think you can induce me to marry you?"

"Miss Granger…" His voice lowered to a gravelly whisper that sent chills skimming down her back. "Have you quite forgotten to whom you are speaking?"

2. "Then explain yourself."

With a loud longsuffering sigh Granger relaxed back into the armchair, a part of Severus ached to run his fingers up the curve of the arm rests and wiggle into the cushion. He only had his mattress as a seat and the stone wall wasn't quite accommodating on his back.

"The Ministry in its infinite wisdom has seen fit to pass a marriage law requiring all unwed witches to marry and start popping out babies as soon as possible."

For a moment he could only stare at the girl. Of course he had no way of knowing what she said were true. Occasionally he got scraps of old newsprint to use as bog paper, but never full articles and certainly not current events.

Severus's brain quickly ran through the ramifications of such a ridiculous law and came to many of the same conclusions that Hermione had. Even without the benefit of knowing more that what she had only just said, he was able to fill in the missing details; he was well accustomed to the Ministry's modus operandi. No doubt they would put the unwilling witches on a short leash. All in all it was a bit of brilliance for her to come to him.

Hermione watched as his thin pressed lips curled upwards and before her startled eyes Severus Snape smiled broadly showing off his snarled teeth and evidence of a lack of basic dental care. It was beyond scary. The man looked like a pirate.

"Tsk! Tsk! Miss Granger, what have your parents to say about your proposition then? Tell me, are they more repulsed by their little girl lusting after her big bad ex-professor, or the prospect of having a convicted murderer in the family?"

"Lusting? I assure you Mr. Snape I have never harbored any lust for you. Loathing perhaps, but certainly never lust. As for Monica and Wendell Wilkins… let's just say they don't exactly remember having a daughter, and everyone involved prefers it that way."

"Then I take it you are quite serious about this," at her nodded affirmation Severus thoughtfully stroked his beard, "I assume there will be something for me out of this arrangement?"


3. It was all very neat. The whole endeavor took hardly any time out of anyone's schedule and changed the normal course of lives for all parties involved at the bare minimum. It meant she had tea with Order members more often as she now was one, and in class she was now Madam instead of Miss. Her friends had come out with mixed reviews at first, but had rallied nicely and with little fuss. It was the latest buzz in school, but that lasted only a day and a half, as she was not the only one to be getting married, though perhaps the only one so apparently young - the beginning of her sixth year. The only ones who were truly vocal in any sense were her parents, who came around in the end.

Her new husband was dispassionate and otherwise preoccupied, which suited her quite well. He had placed very little strictures on her behavior, and only with compromise on his own part. She, for instance, was no longer to use the Time Turner, as forty hour days are good for no one under any circumstances. He, in return promised to be civil to her at all times and in all but the most extreme circumstances which might actually merit his behavior to be otherwise. He signed the Ministry waiver that released her from enforced maternity, though they both kept the fidelity clause as a part of the contract. He agreed without recompense to support her fully through whatever course of education she would choose to pursue. There was a mutual agreement both to live separately, have a celibate marriage, and to have tea together on Tuesdays, all until her graduation, at which point the entire matter would be reconsidered by both parties.

Tea, as it happens, revolved around certain subjects and was always precisely one hour and five minutes long. Academia was fair game to be spoken of, as was research and non-fiction. After a great deal of persuasion, muggle fiction was added to the informal list. Politics and religion were always interesting subjects, though the war, the dark lord, and the weather were to be avoided at all costs.

4. Severus watched as Hermione dragged a hand across her face and rubbed at her eyes.

“Let me get this straight,” she said through clenched teeth, “the Wizengamot, in all their wisdom, have decreed that in order for the Wizarding population to recover, everyone has to get married. Because there are too few witches of child-bearing age compared to wizards, that means every witch has to marry two wizards. What about marrying Muggles?”

“While not outlawed, it is not encouraged, for reasons to do with the Statute of Secrecy. I doubt many wizards would be keen to marry Muggles anyway, even if it means they have to share a witch instead.”

Hermione was staring at him, her face pale, lips compressed into a thin line. “You said ‘wizards’. What about witches?”

For a moment Severus did not understand what she meant until she elaborated.

“Are witches allowed to marry Muggles?”

He had to think for a moment. Most of what he knew of the law was restricted to how it would affect him, but he had vaguely noted what Hermione was asking about. “No. The purpose of this law is not just to encourage reproduction but also to prevent wizards fighting over witches.”

Two spots of colour had appeared in her cheeks and her eyes glittered. “Obviously a committee decision,” Hermione muttered darkly, a hint of a tremor in her voice. “No single person could be that stupid.”

5. Dear Miss Granger,

It has come to the notice of the Ministry that you have not yet married. Since the war, we are in desperate need of more children, particularly those born of a solid bond, as that helps develop the magic. We would prefer that you marry a Pureblood, but if that is not possible, a half-blood will do. You have six months from the date of this notice to comply, or your magic will be bound. Reading this letter is regarded as a binding magical contract.

Kingsley Shacklebolt
Minister for Magic

“As if I haven’t given up enough for the blasted Wizarding World. Maybe I should just go back home and become a dentist!” Hermione Granger ranted at the sight of the letter she had received from the Ministry of Magic.

At her comment, Kingsley Shacklebolt, the Minister, winced, then, putting on his best politician face, took a deep breath and readied himself to speak. “Hermione, love, you can’t leave. If you do we will break your wand; you don’t want that.”

“Don’t try that with me, Kings. You and the morons that have their noses up your arse took my research and decided to force marriages on people. Just because the best and brightest of the wizarding world have put off getting married, doesn’t mean that you have the right to force us to do so.”

“Your wand, Hermione; we will break your wand.”

Hermione smiled evilly at Kingsley then walked toward the Atrium.

6. So which challenge would he take: move to a new land, settle in, and avoid the Marriage Act, or try to woo some young thing?

He sat in his garden, sipping tea, fiddled with the questionnaire the Ministry had sent him, and debated moving to France. The weather was nice, the food was good, and he wouldn't have to get married. But he would have to move; he'd have to say goodbye to his cottage and lab, both of which he was very fond. And his flat, of which he wasn't as fond, but was great for getting the occasional Muggle woman to spend a night with him. Plus he'd have to learn French, which sounded like a challenge, but not of the sort he was craving. And he'd have to start dealing with new laws, and bugger, the French Tax system was nothing he wanted to deal with.

America? God forbid! It would be moving to the land of the Gryffindors. He had read Granger's book on life among the Americans from her year teaching there. No rules, no laws, do whatever you want, whenever you want to. He shuddered. He'd dealt enough with that as a teacher.

Australia? That was a possibility. No language problems, nice sunny beaches, somewhat English people. Other side of the globe. No one knows what I spent the last twenty years up to. Maybe, I'll take up surfing and work on anti-venom spells. Yes, Australia could be a possibility.

He continued to fiddle with a fantasy home in Australia, but the reality of the questionnaire kept intruding on him.

He stared at it, and a thought flitted through his mind: every currently single, fertile witch either went to school with him, had been his student, or was too young to marry. Several years' worth of nubile, pretty girls that he had spent many an hour scowling at as they turned valuable potion ingredients into mud danced through his mind. God, he wanted to see their reactions when they saw his name show up on their match list. The shock value alone would be worth it. Trying to get one of them to see him as an acceptable mate would certainly be a challenge. It would involve skills that had been rusting since…They were never sharp in the first place. He began to fill out the questionnaire.

Besides, if none of them worked out, there was always Australia.

7. "Ah!" said the harassed bureaucrat. "There you are at last! Now we can begin."

"Begin what, exactly?" demanded Snape, looking down his nose and raising his eyebrow in the patented Crushing Upstarts expression. Granger nodded approvingly and turned her own blazing glare on the annoying little man.

"Would you sit down, please?"

They glanced at the two rather impressive chairs which faced the desk at a safe distance. Their wands lay together on the desk's finely-polished surface. Snape noted approvingly that Miss Granger, like himself, elected to remain standing. No kow-towing to lesser beings – good girl, was the rather unexpected thought that crossed his mind. The Aurors took position on either side of the Junior Sub-Undersecretary, who cleared his throat and began nervously:

"We are present here today to celebrate the marriage of Severus Snape to Hermione Granger…"

He was silenced by a barrage of shouting from both parties.

Once they could be brought to order – at wand-point, even though they were currently unarmed – the Junior Sub-Undersecretary started to explain.

"Ministry records show that you are the last witch and wizard of marriageable age who remain single. It has been decided to bring forward the date of your union, as there is little point in waiting…"

"There are three weeks left until the deadline!" shouted Granger. "For all you know, I might be engaged to a wizard from out of the country, or a Muggle, even!"

The Junior Sub-Undersecretary pretended to consult a file which lay on the desk next to their wands.

"Neither of you has been reported as showing any signs of romantic or even particularly social behaviour during the past eight months –"

"You've been spying on us?" she screeched, plainly outraged.

8. At two o’clock in the morning she had placed a Silencing Charm on her vexed feline, and, levitating her trunk, she’d tip-toed down to the Gryffindor common room. She had just reached the bottom of the stairs when she had almost collided with another late-night prowler. Neville Longbottom had stood before her, Trevor the toad clutched in his left hand, his wand in his right, his trunk floating in the air behind him.

“Hermione!” he’d gasped. “What are you doing?”

“What am I doing? What are you doing?”

Neville had looked around before whispering, “I’m leaving. I’ll explain on the way out. I want to go now, before I lose my nerve.”

Hermione had nodded and followed him through the portrait hole. As soon as it had swung shut behind them, Neville had lit his wand and turned his pale face towards her.

“My Gran’s going to kill me,” he’d whispered. “She’ll say it’s my duty to marry and continue the bloodline, but I’m not being forced into marrying someone against my will. If I have to, I’ll live like a Muggle.”

Hermione had met his gaze through the wandlit gloom. “I feel the same. I want to go to university. There’s no way I’m settling down at nineteen.”

“But, I thought with you and Ron being together … you’d … I don’t know. Come to some sort of agreement, I suppose.”

“Yes, well, Ron thought so, too,’ she’d said with a grunt. “He’s been in a complete sulk since I’ve told him I’m not getting married. There’s no way my parents would agree to me marrying at nineteen. I don’t really understand why you’re leaving, though, Neville. Most pure-bloods still marry by arrangement.”

“There’s only one witch I’d want to marry,” he’d said, and even in the dull light she could the flush of his cheeks. “And I can’t because she’s a pure-blood.”

Hermione had known immediately. She’d suspected the truth for months. “Luna. It’s Luna, isn’t it, Neville?”

9. Hermione smirked as she sat in the same chair as she had that morning. She heard Professor Snape bellyaching in the anteroom to Dumbledore’s office. Boy, she was glad she wasn’t the headmaster right now.

The two men entered the room, and her countenance quickly changed to one of cautious hope.

“Professor, did you come up with a plan?” and does it match mine?

“It is not the most ideal, but yes, I do believe we have found the best plan.” He nodded at Snape who practically growled at the headmaster.

“Our illustrious leader seems to think that I would be able to protect you,”

Hermione worked for a shocked expression, before letting it relax.

“It is a better choice than Mr. Dolohov, that is for certain,” she agreed a bit brightly.

“Fine,” he snapped, pulling out a quill. “Where’s the bloody paper.”

The headmaster found the Ministry form on his desk. “Sign here,” he asked.

With a great slashing stroke, he affixed his name. “Hermione, you need to sign this as well,” he sighed.

She smiled brightly at the headmaster, before taking the quill from his fingers.

Albus suddenly knew something was not quite right. The girl looked far too agreeable. Before he had time to consider what exactly it was though, her own careful signature was attached, and the form disappeared with a pop.

Not certain his heart could take anymore of this today, he took the cowards way out. “I’m sure the two of you have much to discuss. I will leave you to it,” he said with a swish of his robes, left his office.

10. “Dad, what is it?” asked Bill.

Arthur sighed. “It seems the Ministry, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that something needs to be done about the declining population. Scrimgeour says that due to the number of people dying in this war and the number sure to die before it is over, steps must be taken now to ensure that the Wizarding population of Britain remains... sustainable.”

By the time You-Know-Who is finally defeated,” Molly read aloud, her voice shrill with disbelief, “all our best and brightest will likely be dead. If they have not done so already, they owe it to the community to produce offspring, in case they should die before the war is over.

“What is this?” scoffed Fred. “More pureblood nonsense?”

“No,” Arthur replied. “Scrimgeour’s not differentiating based on blood purity. The announcement indicated that only certain witches and wizards would be chosen, based on their individual merits, including test scores, standing in prestigious organizations, various honors, known strength of magical power... that sort of thing.”

“Chosen for what?” asked Ron.

“Forced breeding!” Molly seethed, slamming down the paper. “They mean to arrange marriages between people they choose and force them to produce children. For the good of the community indeed.”

“What?” George exclaimed. “That’s rubbish!”

“And zey think zee right time for zis is while we are still at war?” asked Fleur in a tone that made it clear she thought Brits were mad.

“I suspect there’s more at play here than he’s letting on,” Arthur replied. “Scrimgeour’s still fairly new in his office and after all the attacks that have been happening, especially the one on Hogwarts, he needs to do something just to prove he’s doing something.

Hermione got a sinking feeling in her stomach. She had, after all, been called ‘the brightest witch of her age’ on more than one occasion.

Still want more Marriage Law Challenge stories? Try our first MLC Quiz!

(Anonymous) on June 21st, 2013 02:43 pm (UTC)
Will there be answers for which story goes with what clip? Some of these clips are intriguing.
morethansirius: Snape Writes Fanficmorethansirius on June 21st, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Yep! Each quiz posts on Friday and the answers post goes up the following Monday. The answers post features all the clips with the story links directly underneath so you can click through to the stories that intrigue you!
talesofsnape: Ravenpuff - treat everyonetalesofsnape on June 22nd, 2013 08:41 am (UTC)
Bounces in seat whilst waving my hand in the air...

1. Care of Magical Creatures by miamadwyn
2. The Gilded Cage by apollinav
3. Indifference by Sare Liz
4. Polyandry and Other Problems by ayerf
5. Blame it on the Cat by blueartemis07
6. A Proper Romance and A Proper Romance: The M Chapters by Keryl Raist
7. Takeover Bid: A Tale of the Marriage Law by dickgloucester
8. Denial by little_beloved
9. What I Want by Dryad
10. Bride of the Potions Professor by SamusAran

Edited at 2013-06-25 07:41 am (UTC)
morethansirius: Snape Writes Fanficmorethansirius on June 25th, 2013 01:11 pm (UTC)
You did it! You aced the SSHG Quiz, my dear! Outstanding work like that deserves a pretty SSHG banner to prove you have all the right answers.

m_mcgonagall_65: McGonagallm_mcgonagall_65 on June 22nd, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
This must be a record for me. Three weeks in a row! I love a MLC fic and had read a fair share of these already. So here goes:

1. Care of Magical Creatures
2. The Gilded Cage
3. Indifference
4. Polyandry and Other Problems
5. Blame It on the Cat
6. A Proper Romance
7. Takeover Bid: A Tale of the Marriage Law
8. Denial
9. What I Want
10. Bride of the Potions Professor
morethansirius: Snape Writes Fanficmorethansirius on June 25th, 2013 01:11 pm (UTC)
You did it! You aced the SSHG Quiz, my dear! Outstanding work like that deserves a pretty SSHG banner to prove you have all the right answers.

micky42 on June 23rd, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
1. Care of Magical Creatures. By. miamadwyn. 2. The Gilded Cage. By. apollinav. 3. Indifference. By. Sare Liz.
4. Polyandry and Other Problems. By. ayerf. 5. Blame it on the Cat. By. blueartemis07. 6. A Proper Romance. By. Keryl Raist. 7. Takeover Bid. By: A Tale of the Marriage Law. By. dickgloucester. 8. Denial. By. little beloved. 9. What I Want. By. Dryad. 10. The Bride of the Potions Master. By. Samus Aran.

Red Herrings.
1. The Activist. By. rillalicious.
2. Parody of the Amazing Marriage Law. By. southernwitch69
morethansirius: Snape Writes Fanficmorethansirius on June 25th, 2013 01:12 pm (UTC)
You did it! You aced the SSHG Quiz, my dear! Outstanding work like that deserves a pretty SSHG banner to prove you have all the right answers.