I'm not sure how this conversation began, but I think it had something to do with Manthara.
We were sitting in the garden when my son announced, "If you're bad you get a hunchback. Like Manthara."
"Hmm. So you mean everyone who's bad has a hunchback?" I reeled of a few names and asked him if they had hunchbacks.
Of course he said no. I suggested that it was a good idea somtimes to tell a story where the outside of people is a lot like what's in their heads. But what if the outside is nothing like what the person is like, I asked him.
The bench was giving off all the accumulated heat of the day and I found myself telling him a highly potted version of Dorian Gray. At the end of it, my son looked rather puzzled.
"I don't understand, " he said. "Is it magic?"
"What do you think?"
After a minute, "I think the painting is a Horcrux."