The Halloween/troll business made me think harder about canon parallels, especially regarding Quirrell and the Stone. These really aren’t fully-developed theories but just hypotheses to think about, and maybe areas to watch for further clues.
1. Assuming the Stone is hidden in the castle (which seems like a safe assumption), is the conspiracy to “steal” the Stone a bad
conspiracy in this world? How might it be useful in supporting the Order or defeating Voldemort? What is Quirrell's role? McGonagall admitted to Arthur that the LP would be watching out for any insider who tried to steal the Stone. Maybe the Order -- or the Machiavellian Dumbledore -- needs someone independent to get it out. We know Quirrell was fired for pro-Muggle sympathies -- in this universe, could he be aligned with the good guys? Perhaps through Dumbledore, and without even the full knowledge of the Order?
2. I think it was lapin_agile who suggested the “borrowing” of Harry’s broom might be related to an attempt to penetrate the Stone’s defenses. Could any of the other temporary borrowings and thefts – Ron’s quill/notebook, Michael’s necklace, Pansy’s doll’s-head, Draco’s tea – be connected to the same plan? Honestly I can’t see how, but there’s a really odd pattern of objects disappearing and reappearing, in ways that sometimes fly just beneath suspcion but that may point to an intruder with an odd interest in particular students and their possessions. Would there be any point in returning these objects with some kind of enchantment on them?
3. Muggle music heard (maybe just in a dream) at 3 am – is someone trying to get past Fluffy?
4. Speaking of intruders -- is there an Invisibility Cloak in play in this Universe? If so, then presumably Dumbledore (and his allies) still have it. Is it being used to penetrate the castle?
5. I love Pansy’s creepy doll’s-head, and it’s kind of interesting to take its influence on Pansy at face value. There could be a loose parallel to Tom's Diary, as something that talks back to you when you least expect it, and messes with your head. The Players are steering us away from Imperio, at least from any specific suspicion about Pansy releasing the Troll, but I wonder if there are other ways that a student under Imperius (or something like
Imperius) would be useful in penetrating the Stone’s defenses? Is it significant that someone tried to smash Pansy’s doll’s head – perhaps there a difference in tactics among the conspirators, maybe between a manipulative Quirrel and, say, a more sympathetic Lupin? ETA:
We have confirmation
from Pansy that the doll's head was enchanted, but was Professor Acton telling the whole truth?
I really can’t work any of this out yet, but I figured I’d share my paranoia to see if it strikes any sparks. Thoughts?