Fanfiction Fridays: Cho Chang and the Jasmine Code by xenokattz

A couple months ago, I recced a fic called Where My Thought’s Escaping which was about Harry Potter‘s Cho Chang. It focused on worldbuilding, the international wizarding community, and Cho’s perspective as someone who was simultaneously part of the war with Voldemort and outside of it; and it was the first time I’d ever seen anyone attempt to engage with Cho’s Chinese heritage, let alone with Cho as a character. It was a pretty well done fic, and if that was the only fic we’d ever get about Cho, I’d be pretty pleased. Fortunately for me, though, some fanficcers are intent on giving Cho more screentime than she got in the books or the movie, and today’s fanfic is another great fic starring Cho Chang.

cho chang

Where My Thought’s Escaping features Cho seizing agency for herself, as her parents force her to go back to China and she fights her way back to Hogwarts to join the battle. Cho Chang and the Jasmine Code, today’s fic, gives Cho some agency from the start. She hasn’t left England when Alicia Spinnet, former Gryffindor chaser, recruits her to help in the fight against the Death Eaters.

“That’s the fourth Skrewt-blasted code those hag-fucking Death Eaters have broken, pardon my French.” Alicia pulled at her braids. “It’s just that I feel like we’re leading our people right to them. At this rate, the best safe house for all the part-bloods would be their own damn home. Can you do anything to fix them up?”

“Let me see them.” Cho held her hand out. Alicia gave her four pieces of parchment, some singed badly. “Who made these?”

“I dunno. Aurors, I guess.”

“And they didn’t bother deviating from Indo-European incantations? The triple-Loki shift combined with a bedazzling charm works well enough–”

“The ink was mixed with confusion potion,” Alicia added.

“– but a paste of flitterby dust and salamander tears would negate the ink. After that, you’d only need a day of hard attacking to break the pattern.” She flipped to the next one. “And this one’s even worse! Only a single shift?”

“That was an earlier attempt.”

“And it’s very clever but…” Cho bit her lip. “I could make some recommendations to the Aurors.”

“There’s no time,” said Alicia. “We received word that You-Know-Who’s made four more gangs of Snatchers. That makes twenty Snatcher gangs roaming all of Britain.”

And soon there would be no place to hide.

Cho touched her bandaged arm. A Snatcher attack from her last transport had raised burning blisters where it touched bare skin and they’d barely reached the time-triggered Portkey to Egypt. In fact, two of the Snatchers had travelled with them. Other members of the Resistance had subdued them but the incident was enough to scare the Egyptian Magical Parliament into closing off all Portkeys to and from Britain. They would still offer sanctuary, but only through indirect means.

“What do you need me to do?” asked Cho.

“We need an unbreakable code,” said Alicia.

Similar to the other fic, Cho Chang and the Jasmine Code specifically decided to talk about how Cho’s Asian heritage would affect the ways in which Cho effected rebellion.  In order to come up with an unbreakable code, Cho ultimately uses a Chinese language-based set of spells, which she assumes the Death Eaters won’t know because they’re extremely xenophobic and racist. She’s right, of course, and this becomes the foundation for the Lightning Railroad, which helps many Muggleborn and halfblood families to escape the Death Eaters. The fic follows Cho as she helps one family in particular, Justin Finch-Fletchley and his Muggle family, escape magic-torn London and go on the Lightning Railroad to Australia.

Cho Chang and the Jasmine Code only casually alludes to the Golden Trio, as they’re not needed here at all — the fic does a great job of integrating lesser-utilized Harry Potter characters, like Viktor Krum and Alicia Spinnet, and of course, does a brilliant job with Cho herself. Most importantly, it clearly shows us how Cho has the smarts and specialized knowledge to have been sorted into Ravenclaw—in canon she was just a girl who dated Cedric and then Harry, but this Cho has far more important things to do than date anyone. In fact, the only thing wrong with this fic was that at about 5k, it was too short a story! I could easily have read another 50k of her adventures and successes in this universe.

You can check out Cho Chang and the Jasmine Code here on the AO3!

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