The Hero with a Thousand Faces

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Title: The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Author(s): Lori Summers
Date(s): May 2002-May 2005 (chapters 1-12), March 2008 (summary for chapter 13)
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: at FictionAlley

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The Hero with a Thousand Faces is a Harry Potter story by Lori Summers.

The story was serialized at ParadigmOfUncertainty, a mailing list begun by Lori for her stories and the stories of a few other fans, including Cassandra Claire.

It was begun in May of 2002 and continued to May 5, 2005. There was then a three year gap, something that caused a lot of discussion, and controversy, with fans. Fans hounded the author, both good-naturedly, and some much less so, for more chapters and closure to the story. In March 2008, Lori posted a summary of what was to have been the end of the story.


The End of the Story

For years, fans asked the author when the next chapter, chapter thirteen, would be posted.

Things appeared to come to a head in an early-to-mid March on the mailing list when a fan goaded the author into finishing the story, and then threatened to do it themselves. The resulting discussion, often contentious and insulting, was probably the last straw for the story's author. See A 2008 Discussion: Round One and A 2008 Discussion: Round Two.

In the end, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" was not completed. The author posted this at the first page of the mailing list March 24, 2008:

The unfinished story "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" has officially been retired. I regret not being able to finish the story, but it's just been too long and my interests have changed.

I have posted what exists of the final chapter, with a summary of how the story would have ended, on my blog. You may find it here:

Thank you to all my readers for all their support. [1]

The Long-Awaited Chapter 13, and Summary of the End

On March 24, 2008, Lori posted story notes for what was to have been the long-awaited end of the story.

The introduction:

Well, it's Monday the 24th, and as promised, I'm posting what exists of HWTF chapter 13 plus a summary of what would have happened in the rest of the story.

I am so grateful to everyone who's read and commented on my story. I apologize that I can't reply to every email and comment I receive, but rest assured that if you've been kind enough to leave a message or send me an email telling me that you liked my stories, that they affected you, or that they've meant anything to you, it has been read and appreciated. My time in the HP fandom was rewarding and changed my life in ways I couldn't possibly have imagined. My one regret is that I was not able to give this series of stories the closure it deserved. This summary is my humble attempt to exit the HP fanfiction stage with some measure of grace while providing all the readers, who've given me so much, with some kind of sense of completion.

I feel at once sad and relieved to be closing the book on this chapter of my fannish history. Those of you who are fangirls and fanboys will know what I mean. [2]

Reactions and Reviews: The Story Itself Via the Final Summary

A small sample of comments from the story summary on LJ.


So amazing Lori! To this day, even 'unfinished' as it was, this is still (and always will be) my favorite series of fanfiction. It really really is. You're way with words is just astounding. Even your summary at the end was written well!

Words can't fully express what you've given all of your readers. We can only hope that we've shown you in sheer numbers how well received your story has been.

Thanks for Sharing! Thank you for pouring so much of yourself into this story purely for others to read it.

I look forward to anything you publish in the future!

Best of luck!
Wow.... thank you for posting this. Even though there's something bittersweet about reading the summary of what would've been something even more incredible to read, I'm glad you decided to share this with us.
What a wonderful end to an era. I'm sorry that you were unable to finish, but thank you so much for even this little "bare-bones" ending. You were the reason that I discovered this awesome world of fanfiction and for that I will forever be grateful!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! *runs off to read* but not before...

...I just wanted to thank you for these magnificent stories, Lori. They are without a doubt my favorite HP fanfics ever and I find myself reading them (or my fave parts of them) over and over. I have always been a H/Hr shipper, and IMHO these stories are the best exploration of their relationship--platonic and otherwise--i.e., what it could have been. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing them with us.

Best of luck to you in your future endeavors. HUGS!!

Wow, Lori. Thank you for doing this. I don't even read HP fanfic anymore, but apparently I am still a part of your Yahoo group because I got the notification. Your stories were definitely very high up on my list of favourite HP fics.

I remember savouring the reading of them and the anticipation of the next chapter that could never come too soon.

It's been so long that I don't even remember the plot of HWTF but I read the chapter as well as the summary of things that will never be fleshed out and I am happy that I had at least the opportunity to do so.

Thanks again for your monumental contribution to the Fandom. :)

Before I get longwinded- the best line: "Good luck being as smart as she is. Many try, but few succeed.” Just from the preview I know I would have cried when Remus died and when Hermione left and then came back.

I know it has been said in several previous post- but THANK YOU! It is very obvious that this has been very bitter sweet for you. I appreciate all the effort you put in for my enjoyment. I found POU I guess about 6 years ago, like many others it was one of the first H/HR fanfictions I had read. After many years reading HP fanfiction this is still one of my favorites. I came across your lj looking for updates but I have stayed because you make me laugh. I would like to think if we ever met we would be friends- you seem like a really great person. I have great respect for the fanfiction writers- you put your soul out on there to be read and reviewed and sometimes people say not nice things. I was very disappointed in some of the post on the yahoo site. you have said that it was very hard for you to not finish this story, but I think people need to remember how long ago you started this story and how much HP fandom has changed not to mention your life. Just for myself since I started reading POU- I got married and am now pregnant with my 3rd child. Anyone who has anything negative to say regarding you not finishing this story needs a swift kick in the ass. If it was not for you love of HP in the first place we would have no POU universe. I hate to know the amount of hours you have worked on these amazing stories. Just know that there are numerous fans of yours out here who greatly appreciate all your hard work. Thank you for posting the summary. I would have loved to read the full stories, but it is nice to know who the mole finally is. Thank you for the endless hours of entertainment Lori. I look forward to reading some of your published works one day. I will continue to read your lj also. With most sincere thanks! Joey- long time lurker
[pie is good]:

I know PoU wasn't the very first HP fic I read, but it's certainly the first memorable fic that I read. It looks like it was first posted when I was 12, so I imagine I read it somewhere around that age. I'm twenty now.

I'm so glad to know how it ends. PoU was a huge part of my introduction to the HP fandom and fandom in general, and it's nice to see the world come to a close, even if it's not in the way we hoped.

I have to admit, though, that the reason I know you're a talented writer is that your summary even left me wondering what happens next. Because Harry's the mole left me feeling the way the end of almost every chapter of PoU/STNE/HWTF did, so it was nice to see that you had a bit planned afterwards that revealed that it was not, in fact, the case.

Thanks so much for all the time you put into this world, and for sharing it with all of us. <3

Wow. Even written as a fairly unemotional summary, your twists and turns still had me gasping out loud. And Remus! Sniff! I really liked the ship with him and Diz so I feel really bad for her.

Part of me will always hold out hope that one day a bolt of inspiration for the PoUniverse might strike you and you may scribble out a quickie (your various cookies, both future and present canon, have actually been some of my favourite parts of PoU), but most of me hopes the opposite - that writing this final chapter has been cathartic for you and you will be able to close the book (no pun intended) on Harry, Hermione and the rest. Personally, I'm looking forward to the day when I walk into Borders and squee because the new Lorna Summers is finally out in paperback, and she's one of my favourite authors, doncha know! I've got all her novels lined up on my bookshelf!

There aren't words to express how much I've enjoyed the PoU series - it was something I initially started to fill the time waiting for new Draco Veritas chapters, but by halfway through PoU, I'd forgotten all about DV - ironically, I never finished it! I'll always think fondly of the parts that spoke to me most - Florence, the bachelor/bachelorette parties, the rescue of Ron - but it's nice to be able to put the story to bed finally as a reader, so I imagine it's a thousand times as nice for you as a writer.

Thank you for everything, Lori. You are truly talented, and I'm so pleased you chose fanfic as an outlet for that talent :D

Lori, let me just say that the PoUniverse was one that I truly enjoyed reading over the last many years. It was one of the first H/Hr fics I encountered in the fandom, and played a big part in making me a H/Hr shipper.

That being said, I can totally understand your position in regards to the story. I'm over HP, too. Reading the last book gave me a great sense of closure. And even though Harry and Hermione didn't end up together, I still enjoyed it immensely.

Thank you, Lori, for making this available to us. I feel and understand your disappointment, but truly, this was a magnificent feat.

This was the very first Harry Potter fanfiction I read way back in June 2002. Really. I ain't shitting you. I found it on Fiction Alley and I clicked on HP & POU because I liked the title. I had no shipping preferences, didn't know beans about the HPfGU other than I couldn't leave that listserv fast enough, didn't know anything about ships and theories or anything (I had just left the 'Law & Order' fandom). And then I clicked on Paradigm of Uncertainty, I am.

I will continue to follow your blog, and will support you in any way your writing takes you.

Thanks, again, Lori. And may the fates be kind to you.

Thank you for sharing this Lori. HP wasn't my first fandom, and it isn't my last. But you fics were among the first quality ones I read in that fandom, and I appreciate it tremendously.

And thank you for introducing me to a couple of other fandoms I never would have considered. If something has the "Lori Seal of Approval" I know there is quality there.

I'm feeling such a sense of loss. First let me say that I appreciate how hard this must be for you. I thank you along with others for giving us this this. The partial chapter was nothing short of amazing. Oh I do hope you would've have changed your mind about Remus! Why does everyone have to kill him? The summary left me wanting more but then so did Book 7. I'm just speechless because I do feel such a sense of loss. This series was one of the first I read when I came into this fandom. I've loved every single moment of it,down to the last word. Thank you again Lori for such an amazing piece of work.

I think now I'll cry for a while, then maybe read it again....

I'm part of your ygroup, but I decided to stay out of all the madness that was going on (although after reading a few of the messages, I wanted to tell some of them just to shut the frack up).

I just want to say that it was a pleasure to read your stories. From the first time I read PoU, on a Saturday night a few years ago on a website I can't remember the URL to. (I just remember that the background color was brown) I stayed up until 4 reading it. I went to church the next morning with my eyes so dry they hurt. (Was it worth it? Heck yes!)

It is sad that it won't be finished, but would I really want to read something with your heart not in it? (ok yeah I would, but it wouldn't be the same) You should be proud of yourself. EVERYONE knew your stories and they were the ones to recommend. I only posted one comment on the group and I remember you were so nice in replying even though I'm sure my questions were lame.

Thank you so much for posting what you did. Reading the last part you wrote put me right back there. It was like coming back to a favorite novel that you had misplaced. And thank you so much for the summary. It made me feel better to know what would happen and that Harry would have prevailed. And that huge cliffhanger would have killed me! And Remus! AND it turned out to be Napoleon?!?!

Thanks so much again. I know one day I will read more from you. Weither it is online or in book form.

Whenever I read your stories, I wonder how you do it. The layers and depth, conversations and character development are incredible. The plot connections, the flow, the arrangement, the humor are so well formed and well written that I am awed. Just re-reading the story from chapter nine brought the universe back to me and made it real and powerful. It shows just how amazing an author you are that even your summary was powerful and shocking.

You made it real. Many authors try to make everything alright and perfect in then end. A true story-teller can make the sacrifices it takes to make a good story ring true. Killing Remus for one.

I really wish I could have read that scene with Harry and Hermione on the train. It would have probably hurt, but I would have been stunned. I am now. And it was just the summary.

You were not my first foray into fanfiction. I had to sift through a lot of relative garbage before I found writing of this callibur. In fact, I find it difficult to find this callibur of writing in most novels. However, your stories led me to your journal, which I read daily because even if you're just reciting recipes you do it with humor and literary grace. It's a treat to read your work.

So, I know it's been said a million and one times before, but thank you. Thank you for having the courage to say 'that's it' and to share with us the conclusion to your story. I admire you greatly and find your work incredible.

Thank you for everything and best of luck in your future work.
I cannot begin to thank you enough for bringing closure to your absolutely wonderful HP universe. It has been a long time coming and was certainly well worth the wait. I understand your reasons for ending HWTF the way you did, and certainly hope that you find success in your original writing. I know that I will be looking forward to reading your work! I love how you concluded the story, and now will probably go back and read the entire series from start to finish.
Thank you so much for both this summary and this story. This is the first fic I'd ever read and seven years ago it got me started on the HP Fandom and then that led to so many more and opened up a huge chapter in my life. All because I read Paradigm and thought, "Hey, this is actually good. I wonder what else is out there."

Thank you

The very first time I read The Paradigm Of Uncertainty series it was the year 2000 and had only just recently discovered that fanfiction existed. Your story got me hooked (not to mention yelled at quite a bit for hogging the computer and staying up until all hours of the night). I've looked forward to every new chapter no matter how long I had to wait and when they came it always put a smile on my face. Few stories that I've read since then have been able to compare to originality and the quality that was in your stories (and believe me, I've read A LOT). Eight years later (not to mention countless rereads) I can't say that I'm not a little heartbroken that the story wont be finished but it was kind of you to post the rest of what you had written.Your work was one of kind. Thank you for all your hard work over the years and I wish you all the best.

Lori; I read how this story was the first some people read, or how it converted them to H/Hr... And sometimes, I'm a bit jealous. PoU wasn't by any means the first fan fic that I read. And it certainly didn't convert me to H/Hr. But it was most absolutely a before and after piece. It made a difference. And to this day, you ought to know your writing made a difference. It was made out of a bit of a greater picture (which was what we had in terms of HP Canon back in the day)... And it became an icon of our fandom. And I think, not just for H/Hr fans, but for the HP fandom in general. And for us, the Pumpkin Pie Shippers (Haven't referred to us as that in a long time)... well, we named it our bible! What else is there to say? Your Harry, your Hermione and your H/Hr made a difference. They gave everyone a great deal of hope to believe, that even if this isn't canon (which doesn't really matter), it is an amazing idea to hold on to. That we weren't ever that far off...

It has been a good ride. Thanks for it. It often had me in tears, I laughed endlessly, it had me on the edge of my seat every time; and it never ceased to amaze me. I was on the ride for about 5 years, and I've deeply enjoyed every minute of it. It was an amazing time!

I'll be entirely honest, that it doesn't obviously make me happy that it wasn't finished, but reading through it, I can see why it wasn't finished. Because in its complexity, it was bound to take a lot of effort that most of us don't dedicate to the HP fandom anymore. Having said that... It was good enough to know what was going to happen: It serves for closure. And it helps with the being on the edge of my seat thing. For that, thank you very much.

Now, I do have quite a fluffy question... What about Ben and Helen? When were they to come into the picture, if ever? Did you ever mean for the story to extend up to there, or to keep more cookies happening? It always intrigued me because the construction you made for the Harry and Hermione characters made for awesome parents characters :) Did you know how Harry and Hermione decided they were ready to have kids? Ever wrote anything on their special weekend?

Good luck on your writing work. I hope it works out for you. And rest assured, the many, many, so many good memories I keep of this story will motivate when I stumble upon Third.

Thank you, for an amazing ride. Sad that it was over, but every minute was fantastic.

Under Constant Request for Completion

Fans asked constantly when the story would be completed.

Some sample comments:

[2007]: "No offense, but you did say that you were going to provide closure at the end of august - it is now september. (Honestly, no offense, I love the PoU trilogy - but i was standing by your word that you would at least post the spoiler at the end of august if you weren't going to finish the book...)" [3]

[2007]: "I'd emailed Lori a while back and she had told me that she had neither the time nor the interest to finish THWTF. Maybe she was yanking my chain, but if not, there's Cassandra Claire's Draco Trilogy. It's really kickass. The lady has a great sense of humor. You can find all three parts on the website www.fur-haven/draco. It'll keep u in splits. [4]

[2006]: "We are ALL waiting. Please be patient. There are several messages like yours that comes through every week, and I don't get it. Would you really want to rush Lori for a less well done product?" [5]

[2006]: [comment by Lori]: "Okay, I'm getting the feeling that some of you would like to read chapter 13. Seriously. I totally get your impatience. In fact, I'm flattered by it and I'm very grateful for it. But it's really not helpful. It just makes me feel bad and guilty and that is not a mood that's conducive to writing. It just makes me start associating bad feelings with the chapter and that's now how I want to feel about it. I don't know how many more ways I can say it. I am working on the chapter. I haven't quit. It will come out. No, I don't know when. I have a bajillion other things I'm working on at the moment. It will come out when it's done. That's all the information I have. Thank you very much for your continued interest." [6]

[2004: "I have every confidence Lori will finish this her own time. I certainly an not going to speak for her, and I hope this isn't off-putting but she's got more going on in her world than fanfiction. I'm sure she'll post the next chapter when she not only finds the time to write it, but feels like it's ready to post. In the venerable words of Yoda (who yells this at me everytime I click too fast on my computer) "Patience!"" [7]

A small sample of comments about having to wait for the next chapter: A Hero With a Thousand Faces - Part 13 - annual recurrence (May 2006), Fan Fiction - Hero with a Thousand Faces (March 2006)

A 2008 Discussion: Round One

In March 2008, a fan posted a long, snarky post asking Lori Summers to finish "The Hero with a Thousand Faces." It sparked many comments about WIPs, frustrations fans had when chapters to favorite stories were a long time in coming, fannish entitlement, the "obligation" that fanwriters had to their fans, and whether BNFs were fairer game for criticism than other fans.

This discussion was at Bear with me..., a series of posts made March 5-20, 2008 at ParadigmOfUncertainty.


I was curious about how far a person can see on a clear day with a normal curvature of the earth. So I set up a math problem to figure it out. Assuming the person's eyes are 5 ft off the ground, I drew a right triangle with point A being the person's eyes, point B was the ground at furthest visible point, and point C was the center of the earth. If we assume the earth is round then the line of sight would be tangent to the earth making the angle ABC a right angle. Knowing that, we can use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve the problem. (The line of sight) AB^2 + (the radius of the earth) BC^2 = (the radius of the earth + 5 ft) AC^2. Assuming the mean radius of the earth is approximately 20.9 million feet we the equation 20,900,000^2 + X^2 = 20,900,005^2. That becomes X = Square Root of (20,900,005^2 - 20,900,000^2) = 14,400 ft. So the answer is that a person should be able to see 2.7 miles.

Why did I want to know this? Lori has written 42 out of 43 chapters in the POU universe, or 97.6%. Normal 97.6% would be very good if that was a grade in a class. But accounting for how dissatisfied all of the fans are, this is much different than that. It is much more like a marathon. Lori trained for a very long time to get to the point where she could keep thousands of people riveted by her prose for so long, and the writing itself is a huge endeavor. But a marathon is 26.2 miles long, and 97.6% of that is 25.6 miles. If Lori had been running a marathon she would be .6 miles away. Assuming what I did above is correct, she could have seen the finish line for over 2 miles already. Now the finish line should be so clear that you could almost reach out and touch it. I implore you, please fight of the physical and mental fatigue. You have put in too much time and effort to stop now. Please, Please Please, Please, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, find it in your heart to finish. If not for the legions of fans, do it for the children. They are our future.

That is all.

[Lori Summers]:

Actually it's 42 out of 44.
I apologize you have only been able to see the finish line for 1.2 miles.
[Agata Zielinska]:

OK. Although it's obvious that everyone wants to read the few final words of this whole series, we've got to stop being so annoying. Lori stated that she doesn't know when/whether she will finish HWTF. I believe SHE is the author and that SHE is the one who decides about this story and that our little cries of annoyance, outrage, disappointment won't change it.

If I was in Lori's shoes, by now I would've probably have changed my mind and decided to never finish this story, as a form of revange on all those who are constantly punishing her for something over which she has no control of.

You mean 1.2 miles of brick wall and barbed wire, that is. It's writer's block. It's not like the story is just sitting there perfectly finished on Lori's desktop and she doesn't feel like uploading the files.

Besides, I'd rather have the ending that Lori intends to write for HWTF whenever it should arrive. It deserves nothing less.

[Jen Matthews]:

Writing a story on the scale of this trilogy is extremely emotionally draining, not to mention time consuming. And she's doing it purely out of love - there is no financial or other kinds of gain involved.

This story is Lori's creation. Only she has the right to say what happens to it. I think it's extremely selfish of fans to give writers a bad time over whether or not a story is finished. She's a person with a life and many commitments out side of a fandom that she doesn't even feel a strong connection to any longer.

So do us all a favor, and leave Lori alone. She'll finish it in her own time, and if not, that's her choice. Just be grateful she's given us what she *has,* which is hands DOWN the best fanfic I've ever read in ANY fandom. She's inspired many of us to do our own writing, and I hold anything I write up to her standard (which is why very very little of my work has ever been published online!). Just be grateful for that, and don't ask her to justify herself anymore.

And if and when she posts the rest of the story, we'll all get to go back and reread the whole thing again from the beginning and just revel in its fabulousness all over again! ;-)

Wow...Sorry for indirectly starting the whole debate up again. I didn't mean to! *g* But I think it's probably not entirely a bad thing because it starts up talk and lets everyone say how they feel and vent. I, for one, don't care. Well, not entirely true. It would be great and amazing if HWTF got finished, but I accept that, well, things happen, stories die. So I send my love and support to Lori and I want her to work on whatever she wants to write, and if that's not PoU, well, at least we'll have other things to read from her in the future [I hope).

On another note, I've been looking through some of the discussion from a few years ago, and I think it would be great if we could get some discussion and debate going here about PoU and the Draco Trilogy and ASA. Lately the group seems to have degenerated into a search for new fics and looking for the old ones.

So. Let's get some discussion! Even the arguments about ships would be nice! What were your favourite parts in the fics? PoU versus Draco Trilogy?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit....I've now read through the entire series 4 times, and I love it more now than I ever have. It's frustrating as a fan to be in a place where you are waiting and waiting for something you love to be finished. You both anticipate it and dread it.

On the flip side, it's frustrating as an author to have something that you both love and hate in your's frustrating to look at what you've done and know that no matter how much you may want to, you cannot finish it. Add to that your fans, who are just as frustrated, and it's a mess.

I respect Lori so much. Am I frustrated with her? Absolutely. But my love for the story she's created for me makes me forgive her. A while back, she promised us closure on this story, which I'm sure she knows we're waiting for. But I am decidedly against pushing her, adding my frustration on top of hers. So, I'm going to add my vote to the 'leave her alone' pile.

Lori-I'm sure that you've heard this before, but I want to give you my sincere thanks. Thank you so much for this story, which is almost as dear to my heart as the Harry Potter series itself. In fact, this story is so ingrained in my Harry Potter experience that one hardly comes to mind without the other. Thank you.


I'd like to start a poll:

What are your thoughts on the HWTF situation?

1) I can't believe Lori has the audacity to leave thousand of hopeful, doe-eyed fans in the lurch. These magical stories helped me quit drugs but now I need heroine to imagine my own fantastic ending.

2) I can't believe any fan has the audacity to hint at the fact that they want to read the end of the story. POU is to me as Subway is to Jared, and the only way I think I can get my meatball subs back is by yelling at others.

3) I can't wait until the next chapter comes out, but I can't let anyone know. I am a writer myself, after all I (was praised for my work in my high school literary magazine/published my own novel at cafe press/am not really writer, but I want to brag in message boards to feel better about myself), and therefore I know what it's like to be bothered by annoying fans. The writer's block will go away only if we be very, very quiet. Trust me.

5) I'm only here for the sexy cookies!

6) While waiting for the new chapters, I decided to read other novels and I want to recommend one. It's called the bible. I learned that witchcraft and sorcery are works of the devil and Harry is just as bad as Voldemort. Maybe more so, since he seems like a nice guy who tries to corrupt the hearts of the innocent with evil.

7) What happened to number 4?

8) Oops. I thought POU was a Poughkeepsie, NY group. You should see Poughkeepsie. It's beautiful this time of year.

All I wanted to with my original email as well as this one is give some people something slightly humorous to read if they have nothing better to do. As for me, I am going to vote for #4 which is "I loved these stories, but so much time has passed that I have given up. With that being said, I would be very excited to read the end, and hope that Lori does finish her masterpiece. Good Luck!"

That is all.

[Molly Ireland]:

Amen to #3. The preachy e-mails are thirty times more annoying than the entitled ones. Honestly, I think Lori or whoever the admin is would be doing everybody a favor if they deleted this community.

Seriously, what is the function of this crazy hodge podge of self-aggrandizing, aimlessly feisty Harry Potter-lovers? What do we do besides alternately yell at Lori and then each other? When we're not reprimanding each other for pressuring Lori or congratulating ourselves on our endless love and patience we're bitching at each other about going off topic or asking boring questions (where's the Draco trilogy, who's the oldest Lori-lover, etc.).

I'm not saying I haven't participated in the feistiness--you could argue that I'm participating *right *now, actually. I'm just saying maybe enough is enough. I mean, the crazier e-mails that have come out since Lori's "I hate entitled peeps" decree are fun to read, but who--besides maybe me and a couple of other misanthropic psychological types--is benefiting from this group anymore? Seriously, who is this supposed to be for? Lori? Her fans?--those maniacs who vacillate crazily between indifference and self-righteous fury? Really?

Trust me, I am *not *taking this too seriously. These are just casual, spring break-type observations. If you read this, take them that way.

"As for me, I am going to vote for #4 which is "I loved these stories, but so much time has passed that I have given up. With that being said, I would be very excited to read the end, and hope that Lori does finish her masterpiece. Good Luck!"

That is all."

You've nailed as far as I am concerned, huricaneh. I hung in there for a while with the Lori-gets-no-reward-for-all-her-hard-work-so-we-are-not-entitled-to-expect-anything group for a long time. But the longer this non-posting has dragged on, the more I've changed my mind.

Yes, Lori receives no monetary compensation for the many hours of long, hard work she's put into this amazing trilogy. But she's received kudos, praise, begging and fawning up the wahzoo. Money is only one kind of compensation, and not necesssarily the most rewarding.

An author who is publishing a story in serial postings has --perhaps unconsciously or unintentionally-- set up a reciprocal relationship with her readers. She works, writes, edits, revises, posts and puts it out there for our (free) enjoyment --or flaming...hey, it's a risk--and the reader supplies feedback in the form of praise, gushing, swooning, fawning, begging, etc, and/or some real literary suggestions for improvement.

In this view of fanfic publishing on the internet, Lori has broken faith with her readers. I do not suggest that she has done this willingly or happily. Having read multitudes of her anguished posts about writer's block --including the infamous April 1 post-- I do sincerely sympathize with her frustration in being log-jammed with this trilogy with only 2 chapters to go.

On the other hand.....Lori, suck it up and just say "uncle", why don't you? I can't believe that you continue to even check up on posts in this yahoo group any longer. Post an outline of the ending events, say 'good-bye, it's been fun', and move on with your life for God's sakes. I can't imagine that lingering over this non-ending for //years// now is good for you! Why do you do it? For your own sake, I think you need to let it go and move forward without the spectre of unfinished work hanging around your neck.

And for my own sake, I will now let it go, too.'s been fun...thank you for the many hours of reading enjoyment. Live long and prosper in many new writing endeavors, as you are supremely talented and deserve much success.

But don't expect me back to your next serial story.

That is all.
[Pauline Greenfield]:
Well, I would like to see it finished "someday". Whether it is in the near future or later. I have faith that Lori will finish it someday. Well, I can hope anyway. This is my very favorite HP fan fiction story. I would hope the group is not closed. Keep your chin up, Lori. Hopefully someday you will be re-inspired to finish writing it & when you do, I'll be here to read it.

I'm always a bit surprised when I read angry messages from fans berating those who dare to criticise any author for (longstanding) failure to update, stating that there is no 'obligation' for the author to finish a fanfic.

Of course there is.

Any fanfic author who writes a story - particularly one with thousands of readers and a long-term story arc, with huge questions unanswered - has an obligation to finish it, in my option. That obligation is simply of a (much) lower priority than other real-life duties, there's no formal *legal* compulsion to finish, et cetera. But there's still an obligation to finish, built on that 'reciprocal relationship' that freshwater mentioned.

I think the current standstill must be a case of Lori writing herself into a corner; that plus - or resulting in - a big case of writer's block. It does seem that she has the TIME to write those final two chapters; every day she churns out livejournal blog entries on such exciting matters as what she ate for breakfast, the time she's spending on sorting out her IPOD tunes, her interior decorating triumphs, the movies she's seen, the idle time she has on weekends or her other writing.

I guess this is one clear difference between fan fiction and commercial writing; a professional writer can't afford to be held up by writer's block, he'll fight his way through it (somehow). Or else he starves.

Option #4 is pretty close to my feelings too:

"I loved these stories, but so much time has passed that I have given up. With that being said, I would be very excited to read the end, and hope that Lori does finish her masterpiece. Good Luck!"

Except that I haven't quite 'given up'; I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that one day I'll see an e-mail notification in the mail saying that the story has been completed. After all, finishing PoU would bounce it up an order of magnitude in value. I disagree with huricaneh that the PoU series, as it stands, is a 'masterpiece'; I'm personally not one who can award such an accolade to an unfinished work. While there are various scenes and passages of excellence in the 2.93 novels its current incomplete state makes it difficult for old fans like us to pick up the series for a re-read, knowing that, however much we might like the journey, we're going to left with a feeling of disappointment when we get to the end of what's been written. But if it was completed ...

Oh well. Fingers still crossed, and I'm in no rush to urge Lori to say 'uncle' when there's still even a faint possibility that her PoU muse might one day deign to accommodate her and her readers.
[Lori Summers]:

Do not ever think that I don't understand, or sympathize with anybody's frustration at the standstill. You have no idea how often I've been on your side of the desk, waiting for updates that never come. I have always viewed it as just part of the fanfiction game. You start reading a WIP knowing full well that there's an excellent chance it'll never be finished. You pays your money and you takes your chances. We authors take the same chance when we start a story. This is why all stories I write from now on will be finished before they're posted. Because I can't take this anymore.

Regarding your comments quoted below...well, I just hope you never have to read such a thing written about yourself. I hope no one ever belittles your entire existence to your face as you've just done to me, commenting on my regular day-to-day life as a mere distraction from what is, of course, my ultimate purpose in write HWTF. How dare I decorate, eat breakfast or watch movies when there's fanfiction to be written?

I've sometimes wondered if some people regard me as a robot to produce fanfiction. I no longer have to wonder.
I, for one, respect you wanting to have a life. after all, authors are not robots, but human beings who have a right to chill out once in a while. I realize that bitching about something doesn't mean it gets done any faster. so when the mood suits you and you have an inspirational epiphany or whatnot, write away. after all to paraphrase ex-wrestler Jesse Ventura: "Don't write when everyone else is ready, write when you're ready. if you aren't ready, talk a (mental) walk." so, looking forward to the last two chapters when the muses smile on you. peace out.

Actually I think you've highlighted one big difference between us; I'm usually optimistic about the story being completed, and the idea that it *won't* get done doesn't materialise until the updates have stopped for a while. But I gather I haven't been involved with fandoms nearly as long as you. I guess PoU is a learning experience for both of us! :-)...

I was simply wondering what the actual block was - time or a plot hole. The whole aim of that paragraph was to argue that it must be the latter, since you seem to have the time. Given your impassioned posts in the past about how you'd like to finish PoU, the size of your readership (more than 18,000 members in this Yahoo group!) and so on, and the time this blockage has stretched out, over years, it seemed to me, from what knowledge I have of your daily life acquired from your blog, that you would have been able to devote some time to finishing it - just two chapters?! - at some stage. So I'm guessing it was/is writer's block.

I guess all will be revealed with the summary you're going to post, and whether there are any <FROM THERE WE GET TO HERE BUT I COULDN'T WORK OUT HOW> sections. :-)

But shucks, Lori - 'belittle'? 'Entire existence'? 'Ultimate purpose'? Try as I might I can't see those words in what I wrote. Actually I thought my opening paragraph established that the onus on a fanfic author to write was significantly *less* than 'real life' duties. Exaggerating much?

I think everyone here has been pretty careful NOT to appear autocratic, to seem like they're giving a lori!robot 'commands' to produce that fan fiction. Just growing pessimism over the lengthening time without an update.
[Ray Ramsay]:

Don't worry , I think Brad needs to get a life, which you obviously have, especially if he's waiting for something that's delivered , when it's delivered. It's not like your under any contractual obligation....

Once again, good luck, hopefully, these last two chapters will pacify the cravings on the intellectually and emotionally handicapped.

Uhm, I think you've missed the point here. No one would begrudge your eating breakfast, enjoying a movie or having hobbies. What is a bit off-putting the time you've investing in writing about those things what purpose? If you enjoy keeping a journal for yourself, fine. I do, too. But why post it on-line for other readers, then?

This goes back to the implied contract between writer and reader: the writer will write and the reader will read. Once a story is begun, it seems only right and natural to expect an ending. When the writing end of the contract is broken, but the writer continues to invest considerable time writing other stuff, it's a bit of a slap in the face for the expectant reader. In short, it's not a nice way to treat people, to string them along --for years-- with vague promises of maybe finishing it someday.

Even more importantly, it can't be good for you, Lori, to linger on with the burden of unfinished work on your mind. I firmly believe that once you post whatever you choose to post about the remainder of HWTF, that you will feel a tremendous sense of relief and accomplishment, even if it is not the total ending you had originally planned. I hope that for you, and --knowing Brad as I do-- I'm sure he hopes that for you, too.
[Lori Summers]:

I've tried four times to compose a coherent, civil response to this message but I can't do it. I'm too tired, I'm too sad, I'm too guilty and I can't handle it.

I'm sorry for all the ways I've wronged you by writing other things and stringing you along. My hope to be able to finish only served to extend everyone's agony to the point that even my own hope was extinguished. All I wanted to do was write something fun and interesting for grown-up Harry Potter fans, and my sin is not being able to finish because that group of people no longer includes me. I've been driven away from HP by a combination of disappointing canon, shifting interests, fandom craziness, and sheer fatigue. HWTF was to me in succession a joy, then a reward, then an obligation, then a chore, then a torment, then a torture, and finally a crime.

Judge me however you like. Judge me for the 300,000+ words of writing I contributed over the course of five years, or judge me for the 10,000 I was unable to produce. I will post the summary and I'll be profoundly glad to do it and leave all of this behind me, and move on to the writing that's still rewarding and still gives me any joy.

My deepest thanks to those of you who've expressed support and appreciation, here, on the blog or in private.
[Maria Elmvang]:

I have tried to keep quiet because this seems to be one of those issues where you'll never make anybody see it from another side, but this I had to comment on. You've *got* to be kidding me. How can you compare writing an informal LJ entry to writing a very formal fanfic chapter? Just because you have time for the former does not mean you have time for the latter. Writing an LJ entry takes about as long as it takes to type out the words, whereas (without being a writer myself I assume) writing a chapter of as detailed a fanfic as HWTF is long and hard work. As for why Lori posts it online - that's what bloggers do. Her LJ isn't a fanfic journal, it's a personal journal.

There's no implied contract between a reader and a writer of fanfic. Any WIP runs the risk of being abandoned, and while we may expect it'll be finished we have no right to demand that it is or be angry if it's not. Fanfics live and die by the interest of the author. We're under no obligation to finish reading it, nor is Lori under any obligation to finish writing it. If there were an implied contract, that would mean that all the people who started reading a fanfic but then decided it didn't hold their interest, they had no time or whatever and didn't finish it, were breaking it too. Yet nobody is 'telling them off' for 'breaking a contract'. That's not how fanfics work.

Lori is a better person than I am to write a summary at all. The way she's been treated lately is just atrocious. If you don't like the lack of updates, nobody is forcing you to stay on the group. It's really easy to unsubscribe.

I feel for Lori to have to read through all this.

I don't like being negative, and don't like the feeling in my gut that I'm kicking someone when they're down. But I also strongly believe in the intellectual rigour of debate, which is why I'd like to reply to your post, below.

And Lori is, after all, a HP superstar, something like a 'public figure' of HP fandom. And this public group was set up to discuss PoU. As long as no-one starts a personal attack, or responds to same (which is why I'm ignoring Ray's content-free insult-laden post) then polite discussion should be allowable, don't you think?

You're completely missing the point Maria. The blog entries themselves would take much less time and effort than pushing out those last 10,000 words, no doubt (if taken separately). But they are just public *pointers* to Lori's life and what she's been doing with her time. Blog entries saying that she doesn't have much to do this weekend except worry about what to cook for Sunday lunch, for example. "Tomorrow, no real plans. Writing, movie watching, laundry".

So that's why I've figured it's been a case of writer's block - writing herself into a corner - which is at the nexus of the PoU log jam, and which has made finishing it so difficult for her to accomplish. We'll all know in a few days time.

Well, we'll just have to disagree there. I believe there *is* an obligation ... just a much lesser one than any 'real life' resonsibilities, Lori's own desires to do what she likes, her professional writing, Ray's "contractual" obligation, etc. But it's there ... and for an epic like PoU, spanning all that fandom geologic time, compounded by the occasional "it *will* get done one day, I haven't abandoned it!" messages of the past ... there's reason for that PoU 'obligation' to be a bit larger than normal....

Fandom's a place where one can witness lots of childish behaviour ... I'm pretty sure there's been heaps of cases where authors have pulled stories off archives - or deleted Yahoo groups - in tantrums or the like. Instead Lori's going to give all those PoU fans what closure she can. Full marks!
[Liz Anne]:

I wasn't going to say anything, mostly because you can't fight stupid, but this thread has just gone dark. Doesn't anyone have manners anymore? It astounds me that everyone is starting personal attacks over a story! Not to denigrate what Lori has given us, I have immensely enjoyed the world she created beyond the books, and loved every minute I spent in it, but then I turned off my computer and went back into the real world.

I hope you naysayers never have to face the negative scrutiny that Lori has to face. You all made her a fandom celebrity, just to turn on her? So wrong...feel shame.

I don't know if you're reading this Lori but I'm sorry you're going through this.. and thanks for a wonderful story.

Your moving on -and ultimately,away-- from Harry Potter is perfectly understandable to me, and something for which you need not apologize. Your moving into other areas of writing that you find more rewarding is also perfectly acceptable, and you owe no one an explanation for that.

If I'm judging you now, it's not for the 300,000+ words you wrote (magnificently, I might say) or for the 10,000 you chose not to is for "extending the agnony" (as you phrased it, above) instead of making a clean break. And I certainly can NOT tell you when that should have best guess would be "sometime after one year, and before 3 years, since last updating". You have every right to say, "It's done, I'm not doing any more, this is the way it will be, I've moved on to other interests and other work." I have absolutely no problem with a statement like that.....although I am thrilled to think that we will soon know your final plans for our beloved characters.
[Pauline Greenfield]:
I totally agree, Maria. It just kills me to read a lot of these negative & just rude & ignorant comments. If you are so angry that it hasn't been finished, then unsub! No one is forcing those that are angry to stay. It makes me so mad & sad for Lori to have to read the crap they write. I'm usually just a lurker, but these people just make me so mad.

There is, as many of us have reiterated, no reason to feel guilty. The notion that some people have the gall to demand that you continue to do them favors out of some sort of obligation is appaling. It would be like if you gave a charity $100 a month for a year, and then they came after you and sued you when one month you couldn't afford the donation. Fanfiction is a favor. And not just 300,000 words of favors, but by my calculations approximately 556,000 words of favors (including all three parts of the PoU series). We try to repay you with feedback and reviews, but the ten seconds it takes us to write "OMG THAT CHAPTER WAS AWESOME!!!!" does not compare to the hours it took you to write it. You moved on from HP fandom. Not a sin (even JKR would probably agree). And even if you hadn't, not finishing the story wouldn't be a crime. You don't owe us anything. We owe you a debt of gratitude for the hours of enjoyment you gave us. I'm sorry writing became a chore, and such torture. I'm sorry some people on this forum have the outrageous audacity to try to make you feel guilty.

In answer to the [expletive deleted] guy below: An implied contract between writer and reader comes when you BUY a book. If you bought a book and it left out the last 50 pages, then you've been gyped (unless its some postmodern thing about there being no real endings or whatever). Fanfiction is entirely different.

Isaac Asimov, one of the most prolific writers in history (over 450 books published), was never able to finish his most famous series (and possibly the most famous SciFi series of all time), the Foundation series. He could never figure out how to follow Foundation and Earth, so he didn't. He later wrote two prequel books, but never answered the cliffhanger ending at the end of Foundation and Earth. Did Isaac Asimov break the contract between writer and reader? I think had he made something up just for the sake of completion, that would have been a disservice to his reader. If Lori just wanted to end the series, she could have done it in two sentences: "Harry and Julian got run over by a bus. The End."

In closing, I just have to say that 15,000 people can't be wrong.

Lori, your stories were a blast.
[Julie Pavika]:
Lori is under no obligation to us to write another word. if she wanted to throw in the towel and say screw you all, she'd totally be allowed to do that. and the fact that she's giving us any type of closure is more than most of us deserve. especially after the countless posts of "omg lori should do this because she's obligated to" and "it's just not right for her to leave us hanging" or better yet, my all time favorite "lori writes in her LJ about she has no real plans and that she's never really doing anything and her life is crap(at least that's the impression I got from him)". If lori would rather do laundry, or watch a movie, or just stare at the blank wall for hours on end, then guess what? SHE CAN! and no one in this group has any right to bash her for it. It's up to her and I think it's very rude to get mad at her and act like you're entitled(for lack of a better word) to an ending. you're not, so boo hoo, cry me a river and get over it. So, I'm hoping that from here on out we can all leave this petty argument that has been ongoing for at least four months now, and talk about some things that make people happy instead of mad all the time.

Hi Lori,

Please take your time and write the ending that YOU feel the story deserves. When it is finished it is. I believe that most of the fans who have been around since day whatever support you in this and think that you are a brilliant writer. That being said, I think those same fans have also already made up their own ending to the story in their own minds, so an actual ending would only be icing on the cake.

As for all of this wonderful "fan" mail that you've been receiving as of late, remember that you started this series because of YOUR passion for the HP world. Don't let those whom have never written bring you down into the world of ordinary muggles!

Good luck and chin up.

A 2008 Discussion: Round Two

This discussion continued a few days later when the fan who'd posted the original complaint said they were going to wait until Lori posted her summary of how the end of the-now permanently unfinished story. The fan was then going to write the ending of the story themselves.

The discussion can be seen here: YOU ASKED FOR IT!, March 19, 2008.


After a very long time Lori has decided to finally strip herself of the albatross around her neck. I will pick up that albatross and finish HWTF. You might ask, "Do you have any experience writing stories?" I have two responses to that. First, I lie all the time so making up stories is second nature. Second, I was able to pass my university writing class in college without having to sleep with my professor even though I am an engineer. So what do you think?

Soon after Lori releases her version of the end of the story, you can all let out a sigh of relief because I will take her notes into account, and I will give the series the closure it needs. Plus, I always thought that Harry was going to vanquish evil and retire to do magic shows at muggle kids' birthday parties.

I plan to read over Lori['s] post when it comes out and two days after I will post my game plan. I encourage you all to not read Lori's notes so that you can appreciate the full genius that will be my chapters (I might write three! What do you think of that?). I'd like to make one thing clear from the start, though. No matter how much you enjoy my work, I will not rewrite any of the previous chapters.

I guess the only way POU readers will be spared is if Lori doesn't want manhandled by someone with no grasp of grammar, syntax, or common decency, is to finish the final chapters before I do. The ball is in your court, Lori. Let the games begin!
[Lori Summers]:

Umm...seriously? Because I'd prefer it if you not do this...

Just to clarify, once I post the summary, I AM DONE. I will not keep up the pretense of trying to finish it. I'm not discounting the possibility that someday I'll get inspired again and write it, but it's very unlikely.

So once I post the partial chapter and summary, that's it. That doesn't mean I want someone else finishing it for me. Lori
[Molly Ireland]:

Amazing idea! Just so you know, I'm taking credit for it. Remember, long, long ago when I asked if anyone ever wrote fanfic based on Lori's and suggested that somebody take over where she left off? (Just kidding, by the way--I realize that would be a little like taking credit for the way umbrella salesmen twirl their umbrellas.)

I just wanted to say two things really quickly, and if they're irrelevant and redundant they'll be easily overlooked in the flood of recent posts, so no big deal, right?

First, Brad (was that his name? should I find his post and reply directly to it?), the ferociously rational guy is ridiculous! No offense, really. That's just my objective, well-reasoned opinion. I mean, as I think Maria pointed out, clearly he wasn't just coldly stating the empirical fact that Lori has time galore. Maybe Lori overreacted, maybe most of us would have reacted exactly the same way, that's irrelevant. He clearly thinks interior decorating is lame and boring to read about. Which is also fine. But to talk about how lame he thinks her blog is was really mean and unrelated to whether she ever writes HP again. I think my reaction would have been 1000x worse than Lori's seemingly exaggerated reaction if, for example, some random weirdo from facebook said (in front of a few thousand people, albeit in a very reasonable, innocently observant way) that it's weird that I haven't been published yet because I have several thousand points on Buffy trivia. Mindless, wasted time is incredibly valuable, especially if you have a job that requires lots of high-pressure thinking and stressful criticism of your thought processes (I think Lori's some kind of "hard" scientist). It's like meditation.

More evidence that wasted time is like spun gold: I think I remember from college that leisure time per day is one of the main markers of standards of living in a country, whether or not it's third or first world, etc. If you want me to make that more rational I'll dig up a citation.

Oh, and your artful use of "shucks" in your response to Lori was really disarming and adorable. I thought it really took the sting out of your (implied and very diplomatic) "you're wasting your life, Lori" rant.

Second point (all of the above was one big point), Lori's Brokeback Mountain fanfiction is *amazing! *And plentiful. Maybe that feels like a deep, twisted stab in your back, HwTF fans. But I swear, it's worth a try. Even if you don't like Brokeback Mountain, maybe. If she had to share her skills with another fandom, she chose a deserving one.

So to sum up, since I've lost track of my thoughts, I guess it's fine to be mean to a formerly adored author on a thread in her personal group, whatever. The internet's pretty lawless and one might argue that fanfic authors, especially famous ones, should be thick-skinned. But to passive aggressively cloak your cruelty in logic and rationalism is transparent and, by the way, totally irrational. In the spirit of honesty, full disclosure, etc., wouldn't it have been better, maybe more logical even, to say up front "this message is subjective, I can't be totally rational about something that's caused me so much frustration, but here goes nothing"?

I know this is long and possibly *really *redundant, and it's possible that there are better ways I could be spending my time. But that's kind of the nature of fanfiction, so isn't it okay if my comments mimic the art I love so much? Isn't it, Brad??
[katie ann]:
Hon, I'm sure you mean well, but please don't, alright?
[Molly Ireland]:
I'm no writer so maybe I'm insensitive, but what's the big deal? Isn't writing an ending--with a huge disclaimer, clearly, saying "I'm not Lori," etc.--a lot like what fanfic authors do with JK Rowling's work? I guess working from Lori's outline might blur some authorship lines. And maybe implying that it's a contest to see who can finish first might rub me the wrong way, if I were Lori. I thought that huricaneh was Lori's close personal friend but if she/he's not then I guess I'm on the fence again... . anyway, I for one (and I guess I'm the only one) think it would be fun to read if well done.
[katie ann]:

Molly, First, I am a writer, not specifically of HP, and I think it's a huge deal.

It's not so much that I don't want to see the end of PoU in all its glory, but I also want it from the same author who has had me completely caught up in the universe for 6 years. Even if huricaneh plans to follow Lori's summary to a tee and not change anything up, it won't be Lori's work. Huricaneh, if you want to write something, please do so. In fact, send me the link; I'd like to read it. Just make it your own work.

I'm not knocking Huricaneh's ability as a writer. People are entitled to come up with their own versions of how something should end. In this case, though, I'd want Lori's ending, with whatever she chooses to post.
[Michael Evans]:
Umm...dude, as someone who has a bit of FF under his belt...that's not exactly kosher. I know that I've had enough ideas, let alone the fics directly ripped off to think that one just doesn't declare that you will take anothers work without permission either implied or acknowledged from the orginal author.

Man, guys, get a clue. Do you have any idea how hard writing a story is, how much blood, sweat, and tears are transferred with the written word??

Instead of acting like children who didn't get a favorite toy for a birthday, what about being thankful to Lori for the entertainment she's offered?? She's taken time out of her busy life to entertain us, and is she making a profit on her HP stuff? Heck no! This is a labor of love, and trust me, writing IS a labor, no matter the universe.

It is completely uncool and borderline offensive for anyone to try to hijack her fic or to continue to complain or harass her.

Lori, THANK YOU for all the time and energy you've given to entertaining us. I hope these bad apples won't spoil your view of the fic realm as a whole.
[Lori Summers]:

Writing fanfiction of someone else's work is quite a different thing than finishing their "canon" stories for them. I have absolutely no problem with people writing their own fanfiction based on the PoU series. Go for it.

But I am very uncomfortable with the idea of someone else finishing HWTF in my place, even if they base it off the summary I will be providing.

And I don't know huricaneh from Adam.

I did say I was a liar...

I seemed to have forgotten that you all don't know that everything I say is drowned in sarcasm. If I sign all of my messages with a ;) will that make it more clear?

-Me :(


  1. ^ Introduction
  2. ^ HWTF Chapter 13 and story-end summary
  3. ^ Re: Hero with a Thousand Faces, September 8, 2007
  4. ^ Re: Hero with a Thousand Faces, September 8, 2007
  5. ^ 26801 Re: (PoU) The Hero With a Thousand Faces, March 13, 2006
  6. ^ Chapter 13, July 31, 2006
  7. ^ Re: (PoU) Hero with a thousand faces, July 22, 2004