Dorcas Shacklebolt, June 15, 1960 - October 12, 1981
Dorcas Shacklebolt was the second child of Lemuel and Fatimah Shacklebolt and the younger sister of Kingsley Shacklebolt. She was raised on a small farm near Tutshill on the Welsh border. Her brother was a strong influence and an inspiration to the young witch.
Lemuel Shacklebolt was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts from 1945 until 1971. He continued to work as a consultant at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement until his death. His wife, Fatimah, née Shafiq, worked as a caretaker at St. Oswald’s Home for Aged Witches and Wizards. On the farm, she kept chickens, goats, a cow, and several kneazles.
Dorcas grew up in the woods of the West Country. Her parents, though they could have benefited from the pure-blood pedigree that came with their names, were more interested in raising their children to value hard work and brotherhood, rather than the nepotism and arrogance that was rampant in other pure-blood social circles. They did, however, visit with other pure-blood families; Arthur Weasley and Kingsley were close in age, while James Potter was a childhood playmate of Dorcas’s.
Dorcas was a wry, unbothered, and easygoing child. Growing up, Dorcas followed her brother Kingsley everywhere. He was seven years older than her, but he was kind to her, and she looked up to him. For a long time, only he could call her by his nickname for her, Dorckles.
When he became an Auror, Dorcas knew there would only be one path for her. She would work hard in school, graduate with top marks, and become an Auror just like her brother. There was simply no question in her mind.
Dorcas was sorted into Slytherin, much to her initial chagrin. The first friend she made on her very first day of classes was Mary Macdonald, who attempted to remove the ink from a lock of hair that James Potter had dipped in an inkwell. Instead, Mary removed the lock of hair. It seemed that Mary Macdonald, a Muggle-born Ravenclaw, was not particularly talented in any branch of magic, though it later became clear that her talents were oriented toward music, rather than lessons or books.
A year later, Dorcas would rescue a first year named Alfred Thomas from the bottom of a ravine in the forest at the edge of the lake. During Dorcas’s time at Hogwarts, she, Mary, and Alfred became fast friends and notorious troublemakers, as the Slytherin Dorcas made a name for herself leading the charge in snooping into matters that didn’t concern her, and defending her Muggle-born friends against biased attacks from other pure-blood students.
Dorcas became friends with Lily Evans in sixth year, and together they started a student magazine in response to Death Eater rallies that were taking place near their school. The rallies turned out to be an integral part of a wide-reaching Death Eater recruitment and initiation plan, which was being directed by a high-ranking Ministry official. When it became apparent that the plan also involved attempts to poison Muggle-born students, and the abduction of a teacher, Dorcas and Lily sprung into action.
Dorcas and Lily foiled the plots with the help of James Potter and his friends, proving themselves to be promising assets to anti-Voldemort resistance movement in the process. When the high-ranking Ministry official tried to exact revenge, they once again rose to the challenge, despite risking their lives. As dangerous as it was to be a Hogwarts student during the first rise of Voldemort, Dorcas still managed to attend a party or two, receive her first kiss from the cool, beautiful Emmeline Vance, and graduate with top N.E.W.T. marks.
However, it was the snooping and the plot-foiling, amplified by the uniquely Slytherin trait of an ambitious streak, that would usher her into the Auror Academy after graduation.
Several scrapes with corrupt Ministry officials not only forged Dorcas’s and Lily’s friendship in fire, it allowed Dorcas to see Slytherins, and pure-blood wizards as a whole, from a new perspective. It seemed there was no single cloth from which all evil wizards were cut. She would use this newfound perspective to her advantage in her missions as an Auror, as she hunted down Death Eaters and helped the Order of the Phoenix, alongside Lily Evans, to bring down You-Know-Who.
It was while working as an Auror that many of Dorcas’s rose-tinted fantasies about the job were shattered. She bore witness to the ambiguous nature of law enforcement; it seemed at times as though her bosses were working for the same team as the very wizards she hunted. Occasionally, it was literally the case.
Though Dorcas married a wizard named Cassius Meadowes just after leaving Hogwarts, she never forgot her first love, Emmeline. Dorcas and Cassius separated less than a year later, and though Dorcas reunited briefly with Emmeline, she would eventually decide to move forward on her own. Though she insisted always on using her maiden name, her colleagues both in the Auror office and in the Order of the Phoenix often referred to her by her married name, in spite of her separation from the wizard called Meadowes lasting longer than her marriage to him.
No scenario made Death Eaters more nervous than the idea of pure-blood wizards joining Muggle-borns in their resistance to the terrorism of You-Know-Who. This made Dorcas Shacklebolt and her cohort in the Order of the Phoenix some of the most dangerous witches and wizards around, a threat which the Death Eaters were determined to neutralize. Just weeks before his downfall, during a period of near-non-stop assaults on the Order, You-Know-Who would murder Dorcas himself. She was buried in a plot under an old-growth evergreen on her parents’ property.
It is by the name Meadowes that she is known today. It is the name Meadowes that appears on memorial plaques honoring the fallen witches and wizards of the First Wizarding War, and it is the name Meadowes that is remembered in the history books. But it was Dorcas Shacklebolt who devoted her life to resisting You-Know-Who.
Lyric Hunter is a writer from New York City. She is a grown-ass woman with an MFA in Creative writing. You can find her fanfiction on AO3 under the pen name Vashti Shacklebolt (after the chicken in her story). She is an Aquarius and a Ravenclaw.