Chapter Four: The Marriages of Cian and Fian

The Weyard sisters left Hogwarts in March 1042, never to return again as students. Their goodbye to the castle had little sentiment; Dian even described it as a good riddance. Cian, however, apparently expressed some strong verbal regrets to her sisters about abandoning their refuge in the woods, and also with taking note of them, Nian also wrote that she herself would miss having a place where she was the authority, when everywhere else the girls were subject to someone else’s, and she did not expect this to change: throughout history in both wizard and Muggle society married women have been expected to obey their husbands or at least behave in a way that suits their wishes. Muggle society at the time made a married woman virtually her husband’s legal property, and while wizarding society did not go quite this far, there was still the general expectation.

Arthur and Sinead Weyard had not yet arrived in London, and Gaius-Claudius was not entirely certain when they would, so at first he said nothing to the girls about any of them marrying. This confused them, and made them wary, worrying that he had some sort of plan in mind for marrying them off in such a way they might especially dislike. Dian especially dreamed up schemes that her sisters thought unlikely, but all four were concerned.

Finally at the end of the months the parents arrived. As had been his custom from the time he had taken the girls in as wards, Gaius-Claudius first met with them alone, and at that time he explained what he intended to do, and asked them to order the girls to marry whom he chose for them.

Their reaction was not what the wandmaker had been hoping for. As said earlier, the concept of arranged marriages was one they were not familiar with, and though they had been exposed to it at the beginning, still a little shock seems to have resulted when brought face-on with it in a way they hadn’t been when agreeing to the marriage of an unspecified daughter had simply been part of an unusual foster arrangement. Sinead was especially upset at the idea, protesting that they had never agreed Gaius-Claudius should be given such absolute power over their daughters’ lives. Arthur voiced his agreement. He conceded that one of the girls ought to marry Gecundus because they had agreed to that and Gaius-Claudius had fulfilled his part of the bargain by taking them in and giving them a better life and opportunities, but beyond that, he insisted, Gaius-Claudius had no rights, and he would not give him any.

When the parents went to their daughters and related to them this conversation, it emboldened them, and when Gaius-Claudius next spoke to the family, it was to hear from them that Fian was willing to marry Gecundus and the other three would marry as they liked. The other three even threatened to quit his roof and go home with their parents if he tried to insist otherwise, though Nian admits in her writing that they probably would not have made good on the threat when it would have parted them so drastically from Fian.

Gaius-Claudius, ever a clever man, responded in two parts. First he agreed that Gecundus’ bride would indeed be Fian. It is unlikely he thought this at all a bad idea anyway; his writings indicate he would have been reluctant for his son to marry either Nian or Dian, and that he liked Fian’s obedience and humility. Then he said that if they absolutely wished to arrange their marriages by themselves, he would not stand in their way, but added that if they did this, it was unlikely they would be able to marry anyone of better standing in society. He spoke of how all young aristocratic wizards married at the dictates of their parents, and no parent would consent to a match with a witch who did not have elders to speak for her, preferably ones used to moving about in their society, which their parents of course were not. They would do much better in life, he urged them, if they accepted his services as matchmaker.

His tactic worked. The Weyards did first insist they had the final right to make all decisions, but then agreed to let themselves be guided. Gauis-Claudius assured to them that their destinies were truly theirs to control, saying many words to that effect before the interview concluded, and even offered to house their parents until the marriages were all conducted. Then after it, by his own admission, he went on almost exactly as he had before, except that when he talking to people and sent out inquiries as to who might be interested in marrying one of the sisters, he did so only for Nian, Cian, and Dian, and no longer had to warn that one of them would have to be married to his son.

No one records any particular reaction from Gecundus when he learned the sister he was to marry was to be Fian. It is possible he did not really have one; he may have gotten the impression that this was, at least, what the sisters themselves wanted, and perhaps been as prepared for the eventuality as he would have been for marriage to Nian. Whatever his initial reaction, it did not take long for him the make clear he was extremely pleased. He certainly knew Fian better than the other three and liked her better than Nian. Although there was no notion of love on either side, and would not be for years, he and Fian, who would spend the days after the match was decided on in very common company with each other, developed and spoke of a very strong liking for each other, and Nian, at least, expressed a certainty then that the marriage would be a happy one.

The engagement was officially announced on April 19, the same date in which a friend of Gauis-Claudius, an extremely wealthy wizard named Thorodan Cragg, announced that his daughter-in-law was pregnant with his first grandchild. He decided to hold a banquet in honor of the upcoming baby, and invited Gauis-Claudius to present his son and daughter-in-law to be in places of honor. So that evening, the entire Ollivander family, plus the Weyard sisters and their parents, rode down to Cragg’s farming estate for what was by far the biggest ever event any member of the Weyard family had attended.

This would not be an evening without its stresses, particularly for Arthur and Sinead, who were clad in robes not theirs of the sort they were not as all used to moving about in, lectured for hours by various peoples, including their daughters, on the etiquette of a society they still knew very little about, and then told very firmly by Gauis-Claudius that one misstep from them could ruin the prospects of their three unengaged daughters. For Fian, too, it was a night mainly of anxiety; being the guest of honor was something she would never be comfortable with even many years later when it became a common thing for the sisters, and this time, with her first experience of it including her being placed even above the other three, was the one of the most trying ordeals she’d faced so far. But while the other three sympathized for their distressed sister and parents, their experiences of the banquet were generally positive. Nian, Cian, and Dian all enjoyed seeing the big estate and the great house, and meeting so many rich and important people who all paid special attention to them and they were presented before as guests of honor, because Gaius-Claudius saw to it that all four sisters were given this.

They realized that part of their benefactor’s reason for that was to bring them to the attention of potential husbands and their families. He even spoke words to the people they met in front of them and even also in front of their parents to that effect. However, they themselves did not think they would object to every last one of the suitors presented to them that night, and some of them they liked well enough. Dian especially took a fancy to one of them, a fiery warlock known generally as Jack the Aggressor, and when Gaius-Claudius insisted he was a bad choice and refused to enter negotiations, she spent over a month trying to persuade him to change his mind, until he was announced as engaged to someone else, resulting in an afternoon of her crying on her bed.

Amoung those first introduced to the Weyard sisters that night were Jason Overdramblus, then only twenty-four years of age, who decades later would become Headmaster of Hogwarts, Gumboil of Wye, a Muggle-born wizard about eight years the sisters’ senior, who had already achieved fame for his dueling skills, and famous Potioneer Golpalott of London, who at the time was in his thirties and unmarried. All three expressed interest to Gaius-Claudius both that night and after, much to his delight. So did two elderly wizards, but when the Weyards made it clear to him they could never be prevailed upon to marry men of their age, his wisely chose to focus his efforts on bringing about marriages with the younger three candidates.

However, matters with Cian were about to be taken out of his hands all together. Scarcely a month after Jack the Aggressor married and left him, he believed, without any complications from the girls themselves having any particular preferences, she, while buying food for the household, a common errand for all four girls at the time, would first meet Philus Hudd, a young wizard of nineteen, whose father grew vegetables just outside London, and who had newly taken over the task of taking them and selling them in the city. The two of them apparently were attracted to each other immediately, and enough so that Cian two days later volunteered to go buy food again in the hopes of meeting him a second time. A second visit to his stall was followed by a third, and a third by a fourth, and it did not take long for a full-blown romance to blossom. Her sisters knew of everything from the start, and aware their elders might object, helped keep Gaius-Claudius from any suspicion for a number of weeks, sometimes by lying and saying they had gone to buy the food that day. When Cian realized how serious her feelings for Philus were, she confided in her parents, who saw no objection to a marriage that reminded them of their own, and then also helped her keep the secret.

But finally Gaius-Claudius began to think something was up, and insisted one day on accompanying Cian on a multi-purpose shopping trip. Although while at his vegetable stand she and Philus did their best to behave with decorum to each other, neither had the ability to fool the perceptive wandmaker. Nor, in fact, did Cian have the ability to deny her feelings for long, when subjected to direct questioning after their return home.

As it happened, unlike with Jack the Aggressor, Gaius-Claudius did not entirely object to Philus Hudd per se. He certainly did not have the wealth or high rank he would’ve preferred to marry all three of Nian, Cian, and Dian off to, but he was a good and decent young man, and when Gauis-Claudius traveled out to his father’s farm the next day, requested a meeting with him, and asked about his intentions, when he heard the boy say he was trying to work up the nerve to make an offer of marriage, he described himself as genuinely moved.

At this point in time, however, he had very nearly successfully concluded negotiations with Overdramblus over Cian, and had even been on the verge of talking to Cian herself about it. In fact, given the attentions Overdramblus had paid to Cian during his visits to the house, she likely would have been aware of things herself had her mind not been so occupied by Philus that it was causing her to overlook the behaviors of any other man around her. Nian and Dian express some confusion as to why he did not notice that she was not responding to him very attentively, though he himself would later write he was sometimes blinded by arrogance in his youth, so perhaps this was merely an instance of that.

Unwilling to give this imminent success up, Gaius-Claudius instead told Philus that he intended to marry her to someone else, and left the boy heartbroken before going home to claim to Cian that Philus did not intend to marry her, and he and Overdramblus had agreed he could marry her, and urged her to at least consider him. However, this ultimately backfired, as when the next day Overdramblus paid a visit, one which both men thought beforehand would result in a final agreement, a heartbroken but determined Cian felt the need to see him alone first, and tell him that he might not want to marry her after all when her heart belonged to another. On learning that Gaius-Claudius had claimed a deal had been made when it hadn’t, Overdramblus was angered, and told her that her guardian had lied to her, and that as a result he could no longer be interested.

Cian, who had already found it difficult to believe Philus really had not intended marriage, and had only done so because she did not think Gauis-Claudius would lie to her about it, went to her parents and told them all. That evening Arthur Weyard went to the market himself, tracked down Philus Hudd, and learned the rest of the truth. He immediately shook hands with the boy and told him he consented, and that the marriage should take place, though he was not yet sure when or how. Understanding that there was essentially a crisis with their long-time benefactor to be sorted out, Philus readily agreed to wait as long as need be.

Indeed, the family now was not entirely sure what to do in reaction to learning they’d been lied to. The next morning, parents and children held council together to discuss their options. Cian and Dian were for cutting all ties to the Ollivanders, breaking Fian’s engagement in the process, and trying to do in life without any further help from them. Fian, however, surprised the others with how unhappy the idea of breaking the engagement made her. She still insisted she was not in love with Gecundus, but was unable to articulate her exact feelings for him. Nian, trying to analyze it years later, theorizes she had simply grown so accustomed to the idea that it was difficult for her to consider any alternatives. But at the time, not understanding why she was so upset and so not knowing how to alleviate her distress, it was enough to make Nian and the parents hesitate to do anything that would part her from her betrothed. It led them to end the meeting with no decisions made.

Meanwhile, when Overdramblus met with Gaius-Claudius and broke negotiations off, he also informed him that he had exposed his lie to Cian. Once again he had to move quickly to placate the family. But as Overdramblus was now lost and he had no other objection to Philus Hudd, he decided that Cian’s marriage, too, must now be conceded to. The family was still deliberating when he rode out again to the Hudd farm. This time he met with the parents, who had already learned of events from their son and at first were not happy to see him, but after speaking a few words about a possible misunderstanding, he declared he would offer Cian for their son, and with her, a sizable dowry. It was enough money that even though it is unlikely anyone believed his claims about a misunderstanding, the parents were willing to overlook the whole matter and consent, and Philus, who merely wished to marry Cian and cared little for the details of how to do so, thanked him as well as any man could have wished.

He then invited the whole family to London with him, so that afternoon, Cian’s beloved was brought to her and she found an offer of dowry also made to her that his parents made very clear they wished for her to take. Once again Gauis-Claudius’ cleverness got him what he wanted; Cian did not dare turn the money down when she had no idea how Philus’ parents would react if she did, her parents, quick to realize how much difference the money would in their daughter and new son-in-law’s lives, voiced their approval immediately, and once their parents had spoken, while Nian still had lingering doubts, Dian and Fian were also all for forgiveness, and seeing what else remaining with the Ollivanders would get them.

Gaius-Claudius had paid a steeper price in agreeing to the second marriage than he had to the first, however. Instead of having three sisters to sell on the marriage market, he now had only two. And while he had been making progress with both Golpalott, who was interested in marrying Nian, and Gumboil of Wye, who was interested in Dian, he was now forced to reduce the dowries he had offered both of them for marrying their preferred sister. When word came around on why, and what had happened with Overdramblus, it did not help matters, and negotiations with both wizards faltered.

However, now that he had seen two sisters more or less choose their husbands for themselves, and was aware that Dian, at least, was very capable of expressing another preference to him, he decided to turn this to his advantage by getting the two girls themselves involved in the business of their marriages. Cian and Philus, meanwhile, wanted to be married as soon as possible, and Gaius-Claudius was also by now wanting to get the marriage of his son done as well. So he scheduled both weddings, and invited the two suitors to both. Then he met with each of the two girls in turn, talked up the two suitors, explained the cost Cian’s dowry had exacted, and suggested that if they liked the men, they could perhaps try to charm them into accepting them for less.

Although both young women told him they would try, only one of them did so truthfully. They in fact had almost opposite reactions. Nian found the idea of being married to a learned man like Golpalott appealing enough that the idea of perhaps giving him some encouragement only seemed logical to her, or at least, she thought, she should see if he did indeed suit her. But while ironically had she come to Gumboil of Wye on her own terms, by her own admission Dian too might have found her benefactor’s choice for her appealing, instead his method of talking to her provoked her temper, and she determined instead to turn her heart against him.

Cian and Philus’ wedding was scheduled first, on August 20. The evening before was bittersweet for all four sisters, as they faced the idea of being even further separated than being sorted into different Houses at Hogwarts had ever made them. “Eache eyes did shedde tears thatte nighte,” Dian writes, “and though we hadde before slepte two to a bedde, then we all four did crawle into one bedde, and dared anyone to parte us before dawne. Indeede, it was fortunate thatte Cian was going to one she helde so deare, for if it hadde been otherwise, mayhap we might notte have lette her go.”

It was perhaps because it was such an emotional night for her that Cian had what seems to have been by far the longest and most vivid dream she had in her entire life. Unfortunately she seems to have never given a very detailed description of it; Nian and Dian describe her the next morning as too overwhelmed and frightened about her dream to describe it at all, and so she did not until nearly a year later when they were finally before the Wizarding Council again, by which time her memory of it was much poorer. But while the details are thus largely lost, the basic content of the dream was almost certainly that of the success of William the Conquerer’s 1066 invasion of Britain, by which he and his followers would become the new ruling class of Muggle England.

When her sisters were at least able to get out of her, however, that the dream had nothing to do with their own personal lives, and she could reasonably hope it would not interrupt the wedding, they managed to console Cian, turn her thoughts away from her troubling dream, and deliver her to the day’s events with a sufficient amount of cheer. And so she and Philus Hudd were wed, and indeed by the end of the day things looked to be in a good enough situation for everyone. Cian was married to the man she loved, Fian and Gecundus showed themselves on that day and others to be headed along to a marriage equally desired by them both, and both of the two remaining sisters spent large parts of the day in the company of the two men Gaius-Claudius wished to marry them off to, and both those men said things to the wandmaker in the evening that pleased him greatly, although he did not record the details. Golpalott would also then request to meet further with the wandmaker to discuss matters of wand core materials as potion ingredients, an obvious ploy to give him into his home more often, and one everyone indulged, so the next month he was often there, and often with Nian.

For three of the sisters, the picture looked very similar on September 26, when Fian was married to Gecundus Ollivander. Several people were of the opinion that Fian looked even happier than Cian had at the previous wedding. Not that Cian and her new husband looked at all unhappy; on the contrary, by all reports they had done very well in their first month of marriage, buoyed by a good harvest as well as by the uses they had put her benefactor’s money too to set themselves up to live comfortably close to both the market and to where Fian and her husband were going to live. Then during the evening Nian spent so much time with Golpalott it became the talk of everyone present, and by the end of it, everyone was expecting the news of a third wedding to follow shortly.

However, Gumboil of Wye had already been doomed to a very different day from the other three men. At the previous wedding, Dian, while being warm and encouraging towards him, had in fact been doing what she describes as an evaluation of him. But she also admits that she came into that day already biased against him, and it is easy to imagine most of what he did that day provided her with ample fodder she could use to enforce what it suited her to believe. Whatever subject of conversation he chose to broach seemed to indicate to her he was boastful, or condescending to her as a witch, or not understanding who she was at all, and any attempt to talk to her about her and her sisters’ abilities as a Seer was intrusive and presumptive. Any attempts at gallantry were insulting, and lack of it indicated he was a lout. If he was trying to stay in her company he was demanding too much of her time, and if he wasn’t seeking it out, he was being rude and neglectful for a declared suitor. In short, there was nothing he could do that say that would not reinforce and, in Dian’s mind, justify her decision to not only reject him, but to do so after a month of getting his hopes up. Unlike Nian and Golpalott, they did not see much of each other between the two weddings, but her behavior to him remained the same whenever they did, and his negotiations with her guardian, though slow, also seemed to be going well enough.

The day’s plans did change, however, when they first met while waiting for the ceremony to begin. According to Dian, he sought her out, presumably expecting her usual welcome, and was surprised by her cold greeting, and indication she did not wish to talk to him. He first asked if he had done something to upset her, or if anything was wrong. When her answers were elusive, he grew angry, and started to raise his voice, until the others there began to look at them. It was only then, it seemed, that Dian realized, “the trouble he woulde make, and to do as I hadde planned woulde bring ruin on Fian’s wedding daye.” Not wishing to ruin her sister’s big day, she decided to wait. She apologized to Gumboil then, but shortly after claimed Fian needed her, and throughout the rest of the day she avoided him as much as possible.

By the time Gumboil paid his respects to the bride and groom while preparing to leave at the end of the night, he had no doubt long realized that she wanted nothing more to do with him. Naturally he wanted to know why, although when he finally cornered Dian around that time, instead of asking she explain herself immediately, he requested a meeting the next day. It is possible he, too, wished to avoid ruining Fian’s wedding day; by all accounts he was already treating her, Nian, and Cian like his own sisters. Dian, too, understood that she would have to settle the matter later, although she still insisted she would not be able to meet with him for three days.

Ironically, she might have insisted on four, or at least until the evening instead of the morning, had she known that Nian and Golpalott themselves were planning to meet again that day, in the afternoon, a meeting Nian would later be certain would have ended in an engagement, had not the explosive outcome of Gumboil’s final interview with her sister led to it not happening, and indeed nearly led to all things between the two of them being severed as well.