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Alexandra Quick and the Thorn Circle

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Alexandra Quick and the Thorn Circle is the first story in the Alexandra Quick series. Written by Inverarity, the book was published at Fanfiction.net on 23-24 December 2007 and at Mugglenet from 20 May - 9 July 2008, and runs 162,000 words in length (comparable to a 621-page physical novel). In portable document format, the book runs 282 pages in length. Set in the Harry Potter universe, the story concerns the American character of Alexandra Quick and her magical education at Charmbridge Academy. Thorn Circle is set between August of 2007 and June of 2008, during Alex's sixth-grade year, and is followed by the sequel Alexandra Quick and the Lands Below.

Plot Summary Edit

Chapter 1: The Naiad Pond Edit

""I smell mortal flesh
I smell blood.
I smell a little girl
Up to no good."
"
—the redcaps in Old Larkin Pond

Alex, Brian and Bonnie stake out Old Larkin Pond in an attempt to spot a naiad that Alex believes lives in the pond. Brian and Bonnie head home at sunset, but Alex stays until well after dark, confronting a group of redcaps before fleeing home, where her mother grounds her.

Chapter 2: Grounded Edit

""So I'm grounded, what a bore,
Let me in, unlock this door!."
"
—Alexandra's doggerel verse to open a door

While grounded, Alex sneaks into her mother's bedroom to watch television and finds a locket in her closet before Archie stops home to check up on her. After he heads back to work, Alex opens the locket to see a moving photograph of a man she believes to ber her father. The next day, Alex sneaks over to Brian and Bonnie's house after her mother and stepfather are gone, and convinces them to accompany her back to Old Larkin Pond, where she dropped a bracelet that she'd also taken from her mother's closet. Waiting for Brian and Bonnie, she is approached by Billy Boggleston and his friends, and fends off their intimidations.

Chapter 3: Something Found, Something Lost Edit

Alexandra: "And you won't steal things anymore?"
kappa: "I didn't steal! I didn't steal! You left your bracelet in my pond!"
Alexandra: "I dropped it when I was chased into your pond by the redcaps! If something gets dropped by accident it doesn't mean it's yours!"
kappa: "Yes, yes, agreed! You can have it back!" the creature said hastily."
— Alexandra talking with a kappa at Old Larkin Pond

At the Pond, Bonnie is nearly dragged into the water by a kappa, but Alex and Brian fend the creature off and retrieve Alex's bracelet. Brian is furious with Alex during the walk home, and she confesses about her previous altercation with the redcaps. When they all reach Sweetmaple Avenue, Brian and Bonnie wordlessly leave Alex and return home as Alex finds an expensive car in her driveway with a license plate reading LILITH.

Chapter 4: The Charmbridge Scholarship Edit

""How come no one knows about wizards? How do wizards drive cars like... that and not get noticed? Why don't Muggles see the Automagicka if it goes right through Chicago?"
—Alex asking Ms. Grimm

Alex meets a strange woman named Lilith Grimm, the Dean of the Charmbridge Academy, who offers Alex a full scholarship to the school. Alex, her mother, and her stepfather agree, and Grimm takes Alex to Chicago by way of the Automagicka to visit the Goblin Market, where they stop at Goody Pruett's Witch-Made Pies, Cakes, and Other Confections. Grimm explains some of the policies of the Academy and the laws of the Wizarding World, and introduces Alex to Angus MacAvoy, before returning her to Larkin Mills.

Chapter 5: The Short Bus Edit

The next day, Alex uses magic to open the locket again, breaking the rule prohibiting underaged witches from using magic outside of school, earning a warning from the Central Territory Trace Office and a Howler from Grimm. Later, she spots Brian playing kickball in the street and confronts him about her scholarship to Charmbridge, only for him to deny the existence of magic despite his experiences with her. The next day, Alex takes the Charmbridge Bus to the Goblin Market, and meets her fellow sixth-graders Angelique Devereaux, Darla Dearborn, Anna Chu, Constance and Forbearance Pritchard (both Ozarkers), and David Washington.

Chapter 6: The Goblin Market Edit

Entering the Goblin Market through Grobnowski's Old World Deli, Alex and her classmates visit Hoargrim's Wands and Alchemical Supplies to acquire wands and alchemical supplies under the supervision of twelfth-grader Gwendolyn Adams. They visit Boxley's Books to purchase textbooks, then head to Grundy's department store to pick up the rest of their school supplies. In the cafeteria, Alex and David get into a fight with Benjamin and Mordecai Rash and Larry Albo, all Ozarkers when the boys insult them and order Constance and Forbearance to sit with them. Finally, the sixth-graders visit The Familiar Corner, and Alex chooses a raven whom she names him Charlie.

Chapter 7: The Invisible Bridge Edit

Four days later, Alex and Charlie ride the Charmbridge Bus to the Charmbridge Academy campus, which resides in a secluded region of mountains. Alex meets the Charmbridge custodian and groundskeeper Ben Journey before she attempts to cross the Invisible Bridge of a wide, deep valley. As she and David cross, it disappears, dropping them both, and Alex barely manages to cast a charm that enlarges Charlie, who catches the children and flies them to safety.

Chapter 8: Remedial Magic Edit

The sixth-graders reach the Charmbridge Academy campus and head to their dorms where they choose roommates; Alex rooms with Anna, while Darla and Angelique share the other room of the suite. The students attend dinner, and Alex, David and Anna discuss joining a school chapter of the American Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare before heading back to their dorms for the night. The next day, the students attend an assembly where they meet the staff, after which Alex and David sit for their placement tests. Alex struggles through the written assessment, then completes her practical exames with Professors Hobbes, Newton, and Shirtliffe. After the test, Alex visits the library, then heads down to dinner before receiving her exam results, which are poor enough to place her in remedial classes.

Chapter 9: Troublesome Edit

Alex, David, Anna, Constance and Forbearance are called to the Dean's Office concerning the fight at Grundy's, and Alex barges into Grimm's office to take responsibility. She and David are assigned two weeks of detention and an essay before being sent to their classes; they both share Remedial Charms and Remedial Transfigurations, and Alex attends Remedial Alchemy before lunch. She and David also attend Basic Principles of Magic, Wizarding World History, and Practical Magical Exercise where they play plunkballs before Alex confronts Albo again. At dinner, Constance and Forbearance liken Alex to a folklorish girl named Troublesome, and the nickname sticks.

Chapter 10: Chicken Edit

Alex, David, Albo and the Rash brothers serve their detentions with Journey, supervising Clockwork Golems that clean the school. Alex finds herself bored in her classes, and resolves to study in order to retake her S.P.A.W.N. tests and get out of remedial courses, continuing to use doggerel verse instead of "proper" incantations. She impresses Shirtliffe by shrinking a massive statue as part of a class challenge. In the second week of her detentions, she discovers that Albo and the Rash brothers are sabotaging her cleaning efforts, and retaliates by enchanting their Clockworks to attack them. When she makes an appointment to retake her placement tests, Vice Dean Price refuses to allow. Albo and the Rash brothers retaliate in Practical Magical Exercise, and Alex hurls a quod at Albo, who chases her into a game of chicken that Alex wins before both are called to the Dean's Office.

Chapter 11: Jinxed Edit

Alex and Albo both receive three additional months of detention, as do David and the Rash brothers, and have transfiguration jinxes placed on them that will turn them both into rats if they got closer than ten feet from each other. Both are banned from sports and flying for the semester, along with David and the Rash brothers. Alex serves her detentions while reading up on Clockworks and continuing to study for the S.P.A.W.N. tests that she would take again next semester. As word of Grimm's transfiguration jinx spreads, students - including Torvald Krogstad and Stuart Cortlandt - prank Alex and Albo by forcing them into proximity. Alex and Albo serve their detentions under Journey, supervising crews of Clockworks as the robots clean the school. Later, they are assigned to clean the building's attic, and after both get lost, they enter the same room and transform into rats. Almost immediately, Galen finds them and chases them before finally catching both students, but Charlie arrives and attacks Galen before Journey finds them. Alex later shares her theory with Anna that Dean Grimm is trying to kill her.

Chapter 12: A Confederation of Wizards Edit

Alex hears about the Dark Convention from Darla, and later learns from Mrs. Grinder that the cabal is a group of wizards intent on seizing political power. Alex and Albo serve their detentions raking leaves on campus, and Alex learns from Journey that the intentions of the Dark Convention are more complicated than most people know.

Chapter 13: Clockwork Mutiny Edit

Alex arrives at the bonfire pit before Albo, but after her Clockworks finish burning the leaves, they turn on Alex and try to throw her into the fire; Albo arrives moments later, and jumps into the pit to transform them both into rats, thereby allowing Alex to escape. Both are called to the Dean's Office, where they learn from Grimm that the Clockworks will be inspected, during which time house-elves will return to their posts. Albo is reassigned to serve his detention in the kitchens; Alex is reassigned to serve her detention in the library with Mrs. Minder.

Chapter 14: The Dark Convention Edit

Alex helps Mrs. Minder clean library tables and desks. In the cafeteria. the students are served by kitchen-elves to the delight of everyone but David, who declares a hunger strike. That night, Alex meets the library-elves Bran and Poe, and learns about the nature of elf-service, which she then conveys to David and the ASPEW students the next morning. Alex eventually persuades Bran and Poe to give her access to restricted books on the Dark Convention, and as her interest in Dark wizards becomes a school rumor, she endures taunting from other students. She later shows her locket to Anna, explaining that she doesn't know who her father is, and that her interest in Dark Wizards is part of her search for him. Alex learns from Mrs. Grinder that a faction of the Dark Convention known as "the Thorn Circle" conspired to assassinate Governor-General Hucksteen in the mid-1990's, and Alex later theorizes to Anna that Grimm may be a Death Eater.

Chapter 15: Thanksgiving Edit

Alex finds three books on the Thorn Circle and persuades Bran and Poe to order them through Interlibrary Loan. She also becomes isolated from her friends, studying and concentrating on her homework. During her last Alchemy test before Thanksgiving, Alex's Blister Tincture explodes, landing her in the infirmary where she is treated by Mrs. Murphy, and where she reconciles with Anna. While in the infirmary, Alex is visited by Bran and Poe who inform her that her books have arrived. Alex later tells the story to the rest of her friends before being called to the Dean's Office, where she explains the incident and learns that any further misbehavior on her part will earn severe punishment for her friends, but none for her. Alex later attended the Thanksgiving Feast with her friends, and Anna confesses that Alex is her best friend.

Chapter 16: The Hidden Thorn Edit

The next morning, Alex and Albo are called to the Dean's Office for the removal of the transfiguration jinx and the end of their detentions. Alex visits Bran and Poe at the library and arranges to read her loaned books - Dark or Demented? The Case Against Abraham Thorn; The Thorn Circle: Warlocks in Hiding; and The Darkness That Threatens Us All! - and learns that the man behind the conspiracy to assassinate the Governor-General - Abraham Everard Thorn - is the same man who photograph is in her mother's locket.

Chapter 17: Homesickness Edit

Alex tells Anna what she learned, and yells at the photograph in her locket, calling Thorn by his name immediately before he leaves the cameo. Alex begins playing along with the rumors about her infatuation with Dark magic, and later learns that the Pritchard sisters are enduring as much taunting as she is because they are Ozarkers. Alex also discovers that the Registrar's Scroll receives student names from the Territorial Census Office, and resolves to learn if she is listed under her father's surname. She sits for her final exames and scores well, and receives a Christmas present from Anna before the sixth-graders leave campus for Christmas break.

Chapter 18: The Christmas Blizzard Edit

Alex returns home to Larkin Mills and is greeted by her mother, and later shops for presents for her friends before receiving a gift from the Pritchards by owl. On Christmas Eve, Alex wanders to Larkin Mills Pond and talks to Bonnie before Billy Boggleston mocks her for going to a "spcial" school and Brian calls her a "freak." Alex rushes home and inadvertantly conjures a "nasty" "ball of energy [that] crackled with malice and spite" before dispersing the spell. That night, the Christmas Eve Blizzard of 2007 starts, dropping six feet of snow on the Midwestern United States. The next morning, Alex opens gifts from her mother and her friends, and spends the day snuggling with Claudia in front of the fireplace. Later in the day, an intruder breaks into the second floor of the house, and when Alex and her mother check on it, a fire breaks out in the living room, forcing the two to flee the house through the upstairs window. In the midst of the blizzard, Alex wanders nearly a mile from the house before Archie finds her near the Interstate. The house burns to the ground, and Alex spends the remainder of the holiday shuttling between the friends of her parents and the motel room where Claudia and Archie are staying before heading back to Charmbridge.

Chapter 19: The Registrar's Scroll Edit

Alex returns to Charmbridge and tells her friends about the house fire and the curse that preceeded it. At an assembly, Alex learns that Governor-General Hucksteen will be attending the 2008 Charmbridge commencement ceremony, and is later called to the Dean's Office to explain the incident over Christmas break. Alex demands to know if she is Thorn's daughter, and if Grimm is trying to kill her; Grimm shows Alex the Registrar's Scroll, which has Alex listed as "Alexandra Octavia Quick," and further explains the accidental nature of all of Alex's brushes with death. Grimm concedes that much of Alex's recklessness stems from her troubled past and her difficulty in adjusting to the wizarding world, and offers Alex a chance to make a fresh start. Alex accepts.

Chapter 20: Larry's Wager Edit

Alexandra is determined to stay out of trouble, but Larry is determined to get her into some. And how can Alex turn down a dare?

Chapter 21: The Hodag Edit

Accepting Larry's wager, Alexandra and Anna go into the woods. They soon find that they are not alone. Alexandra is heedless of danger to herself, but what about danger to her friends?

Chapter 22: Field Trip Edit

Charmbridge Academy's sixth grade class goes on a field trip to Chicago for Muggle Awareness Month. Of course Alexandra gets into trouble... and discovers a sinister secret.

Chapter 23: Forgiveness Edit

Alexandra crosses a line with the Dean, pushes her friendship with Anna to the limits, and learns important lessons in forgiveness and responsibility, as she prepares to break the rules in a spectacular manner.

Chapter 24: Responsibility Edit

Alexandra crosses a line with the Dean, pushes her friendship with Anna to the limits, and learns important lessons in forgiveness and responsibility, as she prepares to break the rules in a spectacular manner.

Chapter 25: The Registrar's Office Edit

As our story nears its climax, Alexandra breaks into the Registrar's Office, uncovers the truth, and unmasks a villain!

Chapter 26: Murder in the Woods Edit

To save her friend, Alexandra must go into the woods and face a killer, without her wand.

Chapter 27: Broken Circle Edit

In the aftermath of her deadly confrontation in the woods, Alexandra finally learns the truth about the Thorn Circle.

Chapter 28: Governor-General Hucksteen Edit

Charmbridge Academy is honored by a very important visitor, and Alexandra is given an audience she didn't ask for, with the Governor-General of the Confederation.

Chapter 29: The Raven Edit

As her first year at Charmbridge Academy draws to an end, Alexandra receives one more unexpected visitor

Awards Edit

Thorn Circle won the 2008/9 Quicksilver Quill Award for Best General Story, Chaptered.

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