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    Archive for July, 2007

    
    

    July 31st, 2007

    Nothing But Vain Fantasy

    Nothing But Vain Fantasy by Bec

    Summary: Less than a week after she knew she was pregnant, knew with a bone-deep certainty that tolled and reverberated in her head like big brass-bellied church bells, Lily had the dream. Angst, Drabble, 915 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is on the surface a story about Lily, but touches on the more general theme of the terror and uncertainty of impending motherhood and the dichotomy of emotions it brings with it. Lily flits between joy and fear, bouncing off her shameful thoughts and then back into them. The phrasing and rich language is poetic and intensely visual, and while some of the punctuation choices are a little odd, everything flows smoothly around the jagged edges. Where other characters appear (James and Remus) the observations made about them are particularly apt.

    Why You Might Not Care: This is full of imagery, and feels part real and part dream, which I expect was the intent going in. The metaphors are exquisite, but occasionally thick, and the subject matter is at times a little dark for people who have never considered pregnancy thusly. Fairly angsty… sort of.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 30th, 2007

    Not

    Not by Elektra3

    Summary: If something’s just too horrible to contemplate, the mind will refuse to contemplate it. Angst. Drabble, 461 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is heart-wrenching. I don’t know why I usually feel the need to chase a light-hearted fic with pure angst, but here I go again. This is morbid, and horrible, and terrible, but it’s supposed to be and so it’s done its job well if you fall apart a little inside. I found myself falling into step with Ron, refusing to see it or believe it, reaching for some other explanation; and while this fic makes my stomach roll, I appreciate that it was done so deliberately. I hate this fic, and love it because I hate it so much.

    Why You Might Not Care: This is hardcore, evocative angst, and even though it’s brief it’s almost too difficult to read. Ron/Hermione shippers will have their hearts shattered, and everyone else’s will surely crack and break in two.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 29th, 2007

    Dancing Shoes: A Music Box You Couldn’t Fix Remix

    Dancing Shoes: A Music Box You Couldn’t Fix Remix Original by Pirate Perian, Remix by Riko

    Summary: Neville Longbottom finds where he belongs. Remix Oneshot, 3,651 Words.

    Why You Should Care: I’ve very specifically rec’d this the day after Dancing Shoes because it’s a partner piece to it, or “remix” as they’re often called in fanfic. This springboards off the ideas presented briefly in Dancing Shoes and paints a beautiful sketch of Neville. The words and syntax are simple, reflecting the age of Neville, and this story carries him in moments and brief memories from a young boy to a young man. The simplicity is most assuredly deliberate, and the author finds the theme in it: simple language, simple moments, simple memories. Every overwhelming defining moment of Neville’s life is looked over in favor of the quieter ones, the ones that reveal where he came from, and Neville’s line at the end is appropriately true. Masterful.

    Why You Might Not Care: You’ve got to be willing to be there with Neville, in those quiet moments, or nothing here will affect you in the ways it should. Neville is neither hero nor anti-hero — only an everyman who will never know any glory but that of being completely average.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 28th, 2007

    Dancing Shoes

    Dancing Shoes by Pirate Perian

    Summary: During the summer before his fourth year, Neville acquires his first set of dress robes. Oneshot, 1,123 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is a brief little snapshot of Neville and his Grandmother that’s very simple, yet surprisingly sweet.  Augusta Longbottom is a hard, stern woman who has suffered and deals with it in the way hard, stern women generally do, but she does have real affection for Neville and it shows.  Despite appearances, you never get the feeling that she is ashamed of her grandson who doesn’t quite “fit” into his father’s shoes, and her comments on that score seem more wistful than cutting.  An intriguing brush stroke of an old woman who is a reluctant mother for a second time.

    Why You Might Not Care: It’s a character piece driven by Neville’s POV and action, not words.  You have to read beyond the things that are said and see the motivation behind them.  If you don’t want to work that hard, you’ll probably read this wondering why I rec’d it.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 27th, 2007

    A Small Truce

    A Small Truce by Marina Frants

    Summary: Severus Snape threatens an owl, faces a moral quandary, and talks to a wall.  Oneshot, 6,833 Words.

    Why You Should Care: And here’s another exceptional fic written by Marina Frants.  The relationship between Snape and Sirius Black has never been friendly, and it shows as Snape becomes a very reluctant rescuer.  Told from Snape’s POV with his brand of trademark sarcastic commentary, the characterization here is dead on: Sirius is as colourful, quick-tempered, and restless as his canon counterpart, and Snape is a complete bastard through and through to the very core. Even when Sirius’s Gryffindor sensibilities make him offer a half-hearted, begrudging apology (which obviously Snape smacks down with appropriate Slytherin contempt) their interaction is delightfully hostile.   What is fascinating is the set-up, and how these two people are from start to finish clearly on the same side (which they both know) and yet never once back off the snark.  The moral quandary Snape faces is reprehensible, but entirely canon-accurate.

    Why You Might Not Care: This is another one of those times where I’m at a loss of what to put here.  I can’t find anything wrong with this fic: it’s potentially one of the most canon-like interactions between these two characters post-Azkaban that I’ve ever read.  The only people who won’t appreciate it are the people who don’t appreciate Snape and Sirius and what it means to hate someone with the fire of a thousand suns.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 26th, 2007

    Tower of Air

    Tower of Air by ClueGirl

    Summary: Sometimes, even when the price is too high, there is no choice but to pay it. Oneshot, 2,378 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Dumbledore is notoriously difficult to write properly, and ClueGirl gets damn close here, but the real worth of this piece lies more in the idea that fueled it and the intent of the character being exactly right, even if some of the smaller moments seem off. I love this piece, and the weight of memory in it.

    Why You Might Not Care: Sometimes it’s not quite perfect, and I longed for it to be more so because even where it’s very good I wanted it to be better somehow. I’m not really sure how or in what ways, but I know finishing reading it left me feeling like I’d read something brilliant disguised as something just slightly smaller.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 25th, 2007

    Direct The Other Way

    Direct The Other Way by L. Inman

    Summary: Snape feels it is really not a far, far better thing he’s doing, at all. Oneshot, 5,293 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is a curious little interaction between Snape and Harry that takes place after HBP yet still somehow manages to keep both alive and in character without waxing maudlin or making the two of them talk too much. When they do talk, their dialogue is as canon as you could hope for, and the begrudging battle of words continues on its weary way. So much is said about both characters here, and most of it lies in their actions and not their words. Remarkable.

    Why You Might Not Care: Some people may thing this is too easy. I’ve often wondered why it couldn’t be exactly this simple, because some things just are that simple.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 24th, 2007

    Fall On Me

    Fall On Me by Marina Frants

    Summary: After fourteen years apart, how well does Remus still know Sirius? And how well does Sirius know himself? Oneshot, 5,293 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Marina Frants has only written a few pieces of Harry Potter fan fiction, but rest-assured all of it is well worth reading. At the end of GoF, Dumbledore sends Sirius to “lay low” at Remus’ for a while, and this picks up where that left off as these two people try and re-connect. What happens is sometimes light, sometimes easy, sometimes awkward, and sometimes terribly difficult. There are moments here that are so somber, so telling, that the author doesn’t need to go into extensive detail or conversation. Like most men, these two communicate in silent, quiet ways, but it proves just as effective. Both Remus and Sirius are well constructed. I particularly loved Remus’ hypothetical gardening.

    Why You Might Not Care: This is not in any way a slash fiction, for those who think it might go that way. This is a story about friendship and time, and occasionally a story about guilt and shame. So if it’s slash action you’re hoping for, this is likely to disappoint. Also, once again my penchant for character pieces has made me select a fiction that is low on the action-packed adventure and high on the quiet moments of introspect. Go figure.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 23rd, 2007

    Acts of Necessity

    Acts of Necessity by Jedi Boadicea

    Summary: “Sometime later, he was standing in the blissfully empty shower room of the Hospital Wing with a black towel and a bottle of Mrs Skower’s Might As Well Scalp Yourself Heavy Duty Hair Wash, and hating circumstances that could make him feel like he was a student again in a dormitory bathroom. Truly, passionately hating them.” Snape washes his hair. Humour, 2,509 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Peeves floods the bathrooms of the faculty, and Snape showers in the Hospital Ward. It’s not long before Gilderoy Lockhart prances down to do the same. This is the funniest in-character Harry Potter fic I have ever read. Ever. Period. Snape is completely, utterly, 100% snarky canon and Lockhart is so very Gilderoy Lockhart. Obviously there can only be funny in this situation.

    Why You Might Not Care: There’s no slash — despite the obvious setup — sorry to disappoint. Other than that, there is absolutely no good reason not to read this fic. Not one. Even Snape haters will adore it.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 23rd, 2007

    July 2007 Gold Star Award for Excellence In Harry Potter Fanfiction

    There are a couple of Harry Potter fanfiction awards sites out there that give much-deserved nods to well written fics — most notably the Hourglass Awards — but due to the sheer size of the Harry Potter fandom, there are large slices of people who have no idea such award sites even exist. I do admit that, considering the size of the Harry Potter fanfiction community, I am surprised there aren’t more award sites out there.

    So, because I feel it fits with the general theme of this website, I am offering my own award for Harry Potter Fanfiction: The Gold Star Award for Excellence in Harry Potter Fanfiction.

    Most fanfiction award sites work using the Nominate then Vote method, with voting either being done by the public at large or by a panel of judges. This award is going to be a little different.

    While this site seeks to rec quality fanfic on a daily basis, I feel an urge to acknowledge those authors and pieces that are of the highest quality and go above and beyond the call of fanfiction to produce stories that I feel should be read by everyone, stories that raise the bar, and stories that say something important. Once a month, I will canvass my recs and pluck from their midst a shining example of fanfiction which I feel deserves extra recognition and give it a little boost in that direction by giving it “a little extra press” so to speak.

    july 2007 gold star award

    The July 2007 Gold Star Award is going to And The Hat Said ‘Gryffindor’ by Ciircee. This is a wonderful 2,941 word story about Rubeus Hagrid and what it means to be brave. Jo has told us the Sorting Hat has never been wrong, and Ciircee proves it by invoking Jo’s words and style perfectly, giving us a piece that fits so neatly into canon and is characterized so accurately that this must be the way it happened.

    It’s not only the stunning portrayal of Hagrid I’d like to award this piece for, but also its marvelous characterization of Dumbledore as well, who is arguably the most difficult of Jo’s characters to reproduce, but Ciircee nails it with clean strokes every time.

    The language is like something straight out of the books, and the carefully constructed theme rings true. It is both heart-warming yet manner-of-fact, and to hear Hagrid talk about his father and the life he has lead as an outcast child is sweet and candid; I have never found the character of Hagrid particularly interesting, but here he is a quiet hero willing to pay the price of doing good and I can’t help but love him. It’s simple yet moving, and the last line of the story manages to sum it up by being both all at once.

    As Hagrid says: “An’ I figured out that being brave is nothing but doing what needs doing even if you’re scared o’ what might happen.”

    posted by afterthree
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    July 22nd, 2007

    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner by DeepDownSlytherin

    Summary: Ted and Andromeda have always thought of themselves as fairly open-minded parents, so how will they react to their daughter’s new romance? 5,011 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Once again, I find myself recing something written by DeepDownSlytherin and hoping you won’t think I’m pigeon-holing myself too much. This is a delightful fic about parents, daughters, and boyfriends that aren’t what or who you expect. It’s a light-hearted and sweetly written family portrait, and anyone who’s ever brought someone home to meet the parents will enjoy this. I adore Ted and Andromeda as an older couple, and thoroughly love the dynamic between them and their daughter.

    Why You Might Not Care: Technically, this fits into the world of DeepDownSlytherin’s “A Keen Observer” but, yet again, the author makes sure it’s not required reading. This is mostly cute and character-driven, but humour is threaded through the piece and Ted especially — as all fathers everywhere — keeps you smiling. Occasionally just a teensy bit fluffy, but the writing is always worth it with this author.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 21st, 2007

    Midnight in the Silence

    Midnight in the Silence by Mary G.

    Summary: The days after the Third Task are quiet ones. Oneshot, 1,127 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is a snapshot of Harry and Ron’s relationship at the end of GoF, and a lovely little reflection on friendship. Ron’s character is spot on, and this version of Harry is still fresh from witnessing Voldemort’s return. The age of these characters is right, with Ron needing to help but not knowing how and not willing to ask how, and Harry not sure what he needs but knowing what he doesn’t need. There’s a very real feeling of normal people in larger than life situations doing their best to deal with things the only way they know how.

    Why You Might Not Care: There is no slash here, not even a hint of it you can reach for. If that’s your agenda, you’re at the wrong door.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 21st, 2007

    Coffee and Chocolate Deathly Hallows Spoiler Policy

    Happy Deathly Hallows Release Day!

    Well, since it’s finally here, I thought I’d take a quick moment to let y’all know what the Spoiler policy is here for those of you who might take a little longer to read the new book.

    Since I have quite a list to get through already, I will not rec any fan fiction here for the remainder of July and all of August that was written after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So fear not, gentle readers: everything posted here within that time frame will only allude to canon from the previous six books — though I make no guarantees that some of these author’s guesses might not be accurate. However, rest assured that, at the time all of those fics were written, they were still in fact only guesses and not canon.

    Starting September first, all bets are off. At that point, if you have not finished the book in English I seriously doubt you’d be able to avoid the spoilers anyway and any warning I might add will be mostly entirely useless. At some point in the future I’ll just have to go and remove all the spoiler notes anyway, which is a fair pain in the arse, and so I’m opting not to put any in.

    I am planning on creating some sort of graphic to indicate whether or not the fic is 100% canon friendly, so as to clearly mark them from the stories that are AU or have become AU by virtue of being written before Deathly Hallows was published. Why? Because if I were surfing this site, it’s something I would like to see, and since I’ve got all these admin-like powers, I figure why not? As in accordance with the general spoiler policy outlined above, this marker will not appear before September first so as not to appease the spoil-me-not readers.

    If by September first you have still not read Deathly Hallows and still somehow remain blissfully ignorant of plot details, then I would advise not clicking through to any fanfic dated as rec’d after August 31. You have been officially notified and warned.

    Happy reading!

    posted by afterthree
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    July 20th, 2007

    Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane by Pirate Perian

    Summary: During their school days, Sirius became an Animagus for Remus’ sake. But now years have passed and Remus has started taking the Wolfsbane Potion, which helps him keep his own mind (if not his own body) at the full moon. Over the summer of 1995, Padfoot sees Moony under the influence of the Potion for the first time, and Sirius realizes how much Remus has changed over the last fourteen years. Oneshot, 2,834 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This touches on the inevitable question of Sirius’ worth during OotP, and what is left of him and for him after fifteen years in prison. Things have changed, and Sirius is having trouble adjusting as people often do. A realistic look at the beginning decent of one man into depression.

    Why You Might Not Care: The characters are some version of canon in this fiction, both right and not right by turns, but the sentiment is accurate, and the motivation behind it. Remus especially seems less sensitive to Sirius’ increasing frustration that he should be.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 19th, 2007

    Before the Beginning: A Founders Fic, With Sugar Quills

    Before the Beginning: A Founders Fic, With Sugar Quills by Arabella

    Summary: A story about the beginning of Hogwarts – did you ever wonder how the ceiling in the Great Hall was created? Oneshot, 6,757 Words.

    Why You Should Care: We know so much about the Founders and yet so little about their personalities except for clichés based off of Sorting Hat songs. Arabella brings them to life, and creates four people from four legends that feel like real people. Each character is strongly defined, yet not caricatured, and that is what sets this story apart from other Founder fics that wallow in indecision and cliché. You can see that these four were friends, once, but also that they will not always be and that there will be — inevitably — a “parting of the ways”. Very, very good.

    Why You Might Not Care: Not everyone likes to read about the Founders, and even fewer people like to read about the Founders when there aren’t any ships involved. But if you like good characters you can sink your teeth into, then you’ve come to the right place.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 18th, 2007

    Vocabulary Lesson

    Vocabulary Lesson by Elektra3

    Summary: Evil doesn’t always start out as cruelty. Sometimes it’s something simpler. Something as simple as aesthetic appreciation… A younger Tom Riddle reflects on the Unforgivable Curses. Oneshot, 718 Words.

    Why You Should Care: The English major and closet Linguist in me adores this fic to pieces. It’s wonderful to play with the words, and to see Tom Riddle’s personality portrayed through them and the aesthetic appreciation of them. Very original.

    Why You Might Not Care: People who do not love language as much as I do probably won’t understand why I love this piece so much. This is as much about the words as it the story or the character.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 17th, 2007

    After the Earth

    After the Earth by Torch

    Summary: But shall we wear these honours for a day? Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them? Drabble, 471 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This piece is so true and so real and so perfectly sad. I love the awkwardness of Remus here, how he tries his hardest to be kind about it and how you can still tell how much he’s hurting anyway. We forget that almost every horrible thing is done by a person who has a mother that loves him even still. It’s so much easier to have a dead son that was a hero than a living son that is a traitor.

    Why You Might Not Care: There is no reason I can put here that is not contrived. Go and read it. It will only take a moment, and you will perhaps be a better person for it.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 16th, 2007

    To Love a Hero

    To Love a Hero by Pantz

    Summary: Tell him, tell him you love him. He’ll tell you, painfully, that he loves you, too. Oneshot, 3,169 Words.

    Why You Should Care: A lovely staccato piece about the life of Ginny Weasley as it entwined with The Boy Who Lived. It’s beautiful and sweet to watch as Ginny goes from a young girl to a young woman. Lyrical.

    Why You Might Not Care: This has not been written like a standard piece of fan fiction, and it might annoy some people. Other than that, there is no reason not to read this.

    Awards: 2007 Hourglass Award, Oneshot – Third Place.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 15th, 2007

    Love In Fire and In Blood

    Love In Fire and In Blood by Raven

    Summary: In which James and Lily get married, Sirius gets maudlin, Remus gets put-upon and everyone gets pissed. Humour, 6,345 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Because no one on Earth has written drunken Marauders better than this. I’m almost convinced the author was a drunken Marauder at some point in their life. The rest is light and cute and funny enough but the part where Remus is drunk on the table is why this is up here. “I lie here, drunk and rejected, on your kitchen table.” HaHA! That’s where it’s at, my peeps.

    Why You Might Not Care: Hardcore Marauder fans will get the impression that most of the characters here are slightly off, but will likely be amused all the same. Peter is almost-but-not-quite shunted aside, but has just enough cameos that you won’t hold it against the author. What does make a regrettable cameo, however, is a “serious Sirius” pun uttered from Remus’ lips. I’d forgive him, as he was stunningly hungover at the time of the transgression.

    posted by afterthree
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    July 14th, 2007

    The Almost Legend of Draco Malfoy

    The Almost Legend of Draco Malfoy by Zahra

    Summary: Not everything is about Harry Potter. Oneshot, 1,273 Words.

    Why You Should Care: I admit that Draco Malfoy is not my most favorite character. He is, in fact, one of the ones I have the least interest in and which the rabid fan enthusiasm in the Harry Potter fandom at large eludes me. I find him too simple to take apart, I suppose, and strongly dislike the fanon version of Draco that most authors write. As a result, I tend to stay away from Draco fics in general, as all evidence supports that Fanon Draco has broadly taken over the fan fiction world. Having said that, every once in a while I get pestered into reading something that turns out to be good, and closer to canon than the average Draco-fic. This is a reflective character piece on Draco Malfoy: who he was, who he is, and who he will be.

    Why You Might Not Care: For me, it still misses the mark, but it misses it buy a far smaller margin. The author seems completely unable to resist adding a line that hints at slash, but to each their own and it’s not the focus of the piece by any margin. Neither canon nor fanon Draco lovers will be completely satisfied with this story.

    posted by afterthree
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