Avery Leighton
Portrayed By Saoirse Ronan
House Gryffindor
Year 5
Position Student
Sex Female
Race Pureblood
Age 15
Place of Birth Wolsingham, Northumberland
Date of Birth 17 April, 1980
Mother Nydia Leighton
Father Gabriel Leighton
Siblings Twin brother Merrick; younger brother Sidney
Marital Status Single
First Appearance Orally Forbidden

Character History:

The Leightons were tremendously pleased, in 1979, to realize that Nydia was pregnant. They were a good bit more surprised, later, to realize that she was in fact pregnant with twins — but rallied gamely, and on April 17th, 1980, they welcomed first Avery and then Merrick into the world with love and open arms. Twins were a good omen for their marriage, after all, and something of a rarity in Pureblood families. All their friends were proud, except for those who were particularly jealous.

As the twins grew older, it became clear that Avery would continue to take the lead in most things. She was bolder, more curious, more excitable; Merrick would follow her everywhere, and learn just as much about whatever they were doing, but he'd be the one to help her back out if they got into trouble. During the inevitable stage when one twin would be accused of trouble, the Leightons were somewhat surprised to discover that neither twin would, in fact, filch on the other — if one or the other really did cause the trouble, it didn't matter which twin was accused; at least at first, that was the twin who would accept the punishment. In time, yes, they began to admit when the other committed the crime — but never did either blame the other for his or her own ill acts.

When the twins were five, and Nydia and Gabriel were beginning to wonder if perhaps they needed to find some alternative means of educating them, that they might learn how to socialize with others their own age, plans were somewhat derailed with the knowledge that Nydia was once again pregnant — this time giving birth to younger brother Sidney, when the twins were six. All the fuss around his birth meant that they'd reached the age of seven before anyone got back to wondering if they needed to be treated specially. A nice neighborhood witch who ran something of a day-care center and pre-Hogwarts training school proved to be the perfect answer, they thought.

What they found, however, was that they really should have gotten the twins there a good year or two sooner: day in and day out, week after week, the story was the same. Avery and Merrick just weren't good at interacting with anyone else. It wasn't that they fought with the other children, so much as it was that they acted as though those children weren't in the room. They had their own world, with just the two of them, and even their own language — and they were happy that way, it seemed. Nydia and Gabriel began to dismay, but the neighborhood witch was determined — and she was the one who won, as they learned, slowly, to come out of their world and talk to others, at least a little bit every day.

She was the one who — somehow — got Avery to start writing poetry, at age nine. Merrick tried it, too — but where he grew bored quickly enough, and began doodling, or playing with toy brooms, Avery kept at it, writing poem after poem. More than that, even as a child, her poetry had spirit to it — some spark of magic, perhaps — they were good poems. So Avery was encouraged to keep writing those poems, and Merrick wasn't required to, and this was one of the very first things that distinguished them from each other, where their interests were concerned.

Oddly enough, despite this, Merrick was the one teased — perhaps because he was always so quiet, always near Avery, even when she was writing at a table indoors for hours. Other children were out playing, when their lessons were over; Merrick was indoors, even if he had one of those toy brooms. And Avery would be the one to yell at those who were teasing him, standing up for her brother. She would yell, too, and fight with those who were bullies, scaring or threatening younger children — but only if she noticed; when it was Merrick, she always knew, and always came to stand up for him, never asking why he never bothered to defend himself.

Besides, it was time for them to go to Hogwarts.

Strangely enough, they'd never given much consideration to which House they'd end up in. It didn't really matter to them — they'd be together; what mattered beyond that? But that was not what Fate, or at least the Sorting Hat, had in store for them — summoning Avery up, rummaging around in her mind, a quick call of "Gryffindor!" filled the Hall. Much applause, much ado, Merrick's turn —


And for the first time, the twins were separated. The shock of that was enough that neither of them has a particularly clear memory of their first night at Hogwarts.

They were more or less separated, at any rate. Between Avery's pet rat, Set, and Merrick's pet owl, Horus, it was surprisingly easy for the two of them to send messages back and forth — the familiar of each was more comfortable, it would have seemed, in the home of the other. Then, too, they frequently had classes together; for some reason, the Gryffindors and Slytherins were frequently put in classes opposite each other. Although Merrick's classmate Draco Malfoy and Avery's classmate Harry Potter (the one and only!) were constantly at each other's throats, the twins, at least, greatly appreciated the arrangement. For one thing, they were learning that their magic frequently worked better — quicker learning, steadier results — if they were united in intent, or at the very least in the same room as each other. When separated, their efforts had a tendency to either backfire catastrophically or simply… fizzle out.

Avery came to be friends with the other Gryffindors in her year fairly quickly. Her honorable nature — always so quick to defend others — found itself surrounded by brethren, as the other Gryffindors were just as bold and brave. Even Hermione's early know-it-all nature didn't really bother her — and after that first Halloween, when those two boys (Harry Potter made a pretty poor celebrity, really) befriended her, she wasn't even an annoyance anymore.

Her poetry, still free verse, took a bent for the fantastical — as was only fair, considering her tendency to write from life. As before, some of the poems she sent home to their parents ended up published in the local paper, accidentally or otherwise. Her fascination with words and how they fit together to form a story or an image stood her in good stead in History of Magic, too, where — along with Hermione — she was one of the only non-Ravenclaws to get good marks. She didn't always have her head in one book or another, though — Care of Magical Creatures was a preferred class, too, and she wasn't one of those who got mauled by hippogriffs in third year; instead, she remained in the class, even up through fifth year, and added Ancient Runes as her other elective.

Although some people were concerned that she was only listing two electives, Avery wasn't one of them. As far as she was concerned, her courseload was just right; moreover, this left her with just enough time in the day for all her poetry-writing.



Other Information

Memorable Quotes:

Trivia and Notes:

  • Avery is a natural-born Occlumens; if you are going to try to use Legilimency on her, it just won't work. You'll get mental images of fluffy kittens or something silly like that instead — look, a distraction! She won't appear in premonitions or trigger visions. This may indicate she'll be a wonderful Legilimens someday. It might be a strange fluke. Either way, she's not really aware of it.
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