- "Oh dear... dear, dear, dear... I wonder what went wrong... Ah, well, guess I should've thought of fireproof robes before experimenting with phosphorus and hydrogen... Yes, yes, now..."
- -Norma talking to herself amidst the wreck of one of her laboratories.
Norma Lapère (March 13, 1963) is a pureblood Swiss-Scottish witch born in the tiny municipality of Lavey-Morcles, Switzerland to Irish witch Isla Lapère (née Glenn) and Swiss wizard Jean Lapère. Soon after the mysterious disappearance of her father in 1972, she and her family moved to England, and on her eleventh birthday she received her letter to Hogwarts, where she was Sorted into Hufflepuff.
After her graduation and the end of the First Wizarding War she decided to pursue her passion for Alchemy by travelling the world and discovering as much as she could of the history, practices, and inventions of other peoples and cultures.
Presently, Norma has returned to Hogwarts to teach this generation of young students about Alchemy, and has recently been appointed as Hufflepuff Head of House.
((OOC Note: Other than the rumours, the following knowledge is not available to your character unless previously discussed.))
Scottish witch Isla Glenn and French wizard Jean Lapère met in 1950, when both were travelling around the world, and as chance would have it, kept bumping into each other for a few years. It wasn't love at first sight, but rather the kind of solid mutual respect and admiration that sometimes grows out of friendship and blooms into love. They got married in 1959 and decided to settle down in Switzerland where, four years later, Norma was born.
Between her birth in March 13, 1963 and her seventh birthday in 1970, her parents had three other children: Kyle (1965), Jacques (1968), and Pauline (1970). During that time, her family lived a fairly normal magical life in the town of Lavey-Morcles, where muggles and magical people coexisted peacefully (even if the former group was largely ignorant of this fact). While not completely abandoning their passion for travelling, Norma's parents were mostly required to stay at home to take care of their four children, who were raised alongside muggle children, going to school with them and making a life.
During 1972's Summer holidays, the family went on one of its frequent vacations, this time to Ireland. The trip was uneventful until one night Jean failed to return from one of his early-morning jogs. After half a year of dealing with increasingly frustrating ineptitude on the part of the British magical government, Isla decided she'd join the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and take a more active attitude to finding her husband, taking her children with her to live in England. The start of the First War, however, meant that she barely had time to dedicate to her husband's disappearance, and eventually she gave up. To this day, only suspicions about how and why Jean vanished remain.
Hogwarts and Gwendolyn Brimble
Norma boarded the train to Hogwarts for the first time in 1974, and there she was sorted into Hufflepuff, to her family's and her own surprise. Being a bright academic and very dedicated to her studies, she felt out of place amongst her House mates. While the fierce loyalty and protectiveness that had merited her membership in that House meant she made friends fairly easily, she still never felt truly at home there.
She soon found her interest drawn to the arts of Transfiguration and Potions, being the first of her year to learn the match-to-needle Transfiguration and avidly consuming books on Potionmaking and brewing techniques. On a day that would prove to be a seed of the shape the rest of her life at Hogwarts would take, in the cold of December, she visited the Library to return a book called Queer Uses of Common Herbs in Absolutely Useless Potions and rent anything that caught her eye. There, she stumbled upon a shy little Slytherin girl called Gwendolyn Brimble. Being as kind as she was, Norma offered to help Gwen find whatever she was looking for. After that day, they kept in touch, started eating together, sat together during classes shared by Slytherin and Hufflepuff, and became fast friends, bonding over their feelings of out-of-placeness.
As they grew, it was clear this was a friendship that would last for life. Gwen was fascinated by Norma's freedom and wit, and Norma was entranced by Gwen's determination and intelligence. It was a rare week when at least one of them didn't find something new in her research to tell the other about, and in one of those exchanges, they heard about the Panacea. Their curiosity drove them to research more, and there Norma truly found her calling: Alchemy. Gwen, conversely, was fascinated by the history and symbology of the peoples that had explored so much in the name of discovery. They promised each other they'd find the legendary Sulphur Vive, rumoured to be a fundamental ingredient in the making of the ultimate medicine, and cure all of the world's ills.
Travels and the Sulphur Vive
Upon graduation and the news of Voldemort's defeat at the hands of an infant, Norma decided to travel the world and explore other cultures and peoples, learning about their Alchemical exploits and running many experiments herself. She invited Gwen to come along, and the girl accepted, but said she'd need to wait and solve some troubles with her family. For six months they communicated via letters, until one day Gwen simply stopped replying. After twelve months of silence, Norma decided that enough was enough, and went to visit the Brimble manor and find out what had happened to her best friend. There, she found a man named Scrivner, who claimed to be Gwen's husband and that she didn't want anything to do with Norma anymore. Devastated, the witch left and spent a month wandering about the United Kingdom, trying to figure out where they went wrong.
For the following eight years, Norma collected and created knowledge, travelling wherever her heart desired and her brain deemed sensible. She visited all continents and met many people, she found out about the great alchemists throughout history, their discoveries, recipes, and legends. She helped muggle chemists by posing as a scholar and co-authoring papers, and magical alchemists by doing hands-on experiments they were too afraid to conduct. At least four times a year, she wrote Gwen a letter, but never got a reply.
One day, in 1992, she got wind of a legend about the location of the Sulphur Vive - which turned out to be a magical stone, according to the rumour. She immediately sent Gwen an excited letter about it, and after a month of silence, decided to visit the Brimble-Scrivner manor herself, which she found empty. Giving up on waiting, she headed to the alleged location, a long lost temple in Asia, and in the altar room, she found Gwen. After a heated argument, they duelled, and Gwen hit Norma with a Dark Curse. All hopes of mending their broken friendship dashed, they fought even harder, and in the fight the alleged Vive broke in two. They grabbed the two halves simultaneously, but were too weak to continue fighting, and left.
In the following years, Norma kept travelling and experimenting, now in possession of what she believed to be half of the means to the Panacea. During this time, she earned a reputation as someone who always preceded explosions, and was the cause of no less than 20 international incidents, 13 of which earned her a ban from their respective countries.
Back to Hogwarts
In late 2021, Norma came back to Hogwarts to reopen the Alchemy course in the curriculum, which had been closed for many years due to a lack of student interest and available Professors. She opened her doors to students of all ages, given that none of them had had any but the most rudimentar training in the Alchemical Arts. With a haphazard and erratic schedule, she taught symbolism, history, Alchemical Circles, and the Alchemical (or Scientific) Method. She has plans to restore structure to the course, and offer it as an elective three-year course to interested students of all ages, but her motivations are the same that drove her these past decades: creating the ultimate medicine.
Personality and Appearance
Norma is and always has been a free spirit. If there's anything at all that can be said about her is that she's always trying new things, experimenting and discovering, and she is well-deserving of her Sycamore wand. Due to the sheer amount of times she has almost lost her life to those experiments, she has developed a very practical frame of mind, and is quick to react and take responsibility when the need arises. She frequently trails off as a new thought or observation causes her to rethink something or have new ideas, but that doesn't mean she lost track or isn't paying attention. She's very loyal and protective, and she believes everyone is good, deep inside, when you get to know them. Sometimes this leads her to act in very naïve ways, and she can be rash and impulsive a lot of the time.
From each place she has visited she has taken something. A piece of jewelry or clothing, a book or a letter, a photograph or a trinket. And she always carries an assortment of those with her. As such, her appearance is very bright and peculiar, with many colours and jewelry in a clashing outfit. She needs glasses to see, although sometimes she wears protection goggles instead, usually when she's experimenting with new Potions.
Rumour has it she's caused international incidents on at least 26 separate occasions, 19 of which earned her a permanent ban from the respective countries.
Rumour has it she knows 17 languages, one of which is Parseltongue, which she learnt from the snakes themselves while she was lost for 11 months in the Amazon rainforest and refused to apparate away because it was just so interesting there.
Rumour has it she never wears shoes.
Rumour has it she created a second Philosopher's Stone and deviously hid it in one of her many amulets.
Rumour has it the above rumour is clearly false and it's actually hidden in her hat.
Rumour has it she jingles when she walks. Wait... scrap that, that's not a rumour, she actually jingles when she walks.
Rumour has it she possesses one half of the legendary Sulphur Vive needed to create the Panacea, and no one knows who has the other half.
Rumour has it she's responsible for 36% of the explosions that happen in Europe on any given year.
Rumour has it her hair is magical.
Rumour has it she has put undetectable extension charms on everything she owns, including her hats.