Archive for August, 2007
August 31st, 2007
Lamentations of a Starry Eyed Twit
Lamentations of a Starry Eyed Twit by She’s a Star
Summary: Auriga Sinistra’s not so eventful diary filled with sarcasm, self pity, and assorted proclamations of loathing for a certain Potions professor. Novel Length, Humour, 96,620 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because this author has created some pretty priceless situational comedy, and a wholly wonderful comedic character in Auriga Sinistra. As I’ve read through this, I have never ceased to be delighted by the hijinks and tomfoolery of the Hogwarts staff, both canon and original. Sinistra is the magical version of Bridget Jones, and while Snape might not be quite the equivalent of Mr. Darcy, the combination does make for some interesting and highly entertaining anecdotal material. Sinistra is well created and incurably ridiculous in that way most people are, and all females that have struggled with their own doomed love-lives will feel a certain kinship with her. Snape by and large remains canon, though the central conceit of this piece is that he might possibly harbor some hidden affection for Sinistra, though perhaps quite against his will. Their verbal sparring is worth the price of admission, and while Auriga occasionally comes out on top, by and large she fumbles in the face of Snape’s superior cutting wit and is reduced to something awkwardly akin to “…so’s your face!” I have stolen more quotes from this fic for my notebook collection than any other fanfiction, and that’s got to count for something.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s still a work in progress, and until quite recently I thought it to be abandoned, though Deathly Hallows seems to have spurned the author to write a new chapter or two. This fic occasionally tries to be something more meaningful than a humourous escapade, and those tend to be its weakest moments; this fic is at its best when Sinistra is throwing coffee mugs at Snape and purchasing Quirrell’s iguana collars for the staff Christmas gift exchange. Snape is both completely Snape and… completely not. Sometimes the switches are a little too jarring, but if you’re not there for the comedy, then you’re not there for the right reasons. This author’s strength is very clearly the setting up and writing of the funny.Comment (1) »
August 30th, 2007
Movement by MrsTater
Summary: Things appear to have changed. Drabble, 958 Words.
Why You Should Care: I just like it. It’s Remus and Tonks’ first kiss, and I feel as though Remus is done quite well. He isn’t prematurely noble and self-sacrificing right out of the gate, and is even unashamedly responsible for leading them to it. This is Remus before he’s had time to think too much, and it’s easy to see why Tonks fell for him. I’d fall for him, if it were me.
Why You Might Not Care: Oh, well. Fluff, you know. Kissing. Melt-in-your mouth romance. A small, creamy, milk chocolate truffle that makes you go “mmm…”. If this were a movie scene, it would most certainly be in a Romantic Comedy.Comment (4) »
August 29th, 2007
Here at the End of All Things
Here at the End of All Things by NotSoSoft
Summary: Here at the end of all things, she thinks absently, immediately confused at what brought about this fleeting, unprovoked musing. Oneshot, 7,999 Words.
Why You Should Care: Every time a class graduates, it is the end of an era, and the graduation of the Marauders is no different. NotSoSoft pens us a lovely introspective piece that takes each Marauder by turn and unfolds them at this pivotal moment. They each stand side-by-side on the edges of their own deep chasms, staring off into that terrifying thing called adulthood, and wonder where the will go and what they will do now. Peter, especially, is a remarkable version of himself here; surprisingly discerning and self-aware. He is truly a Marauder, but it is possible to see in him the things that make him lose his way, and his character study is especially revealing.
Why You Might Not Care: People who have not yet experienced the pang and nostalgia of graduation won’t feel this in quite the same ways those who have will, but it’s good regardless. Simple, quiet, and reflective.Comment (1) »
August 28th, 2007
The Man Who Lived
The Man Who Lived by Beth H.
Summary: You haven’t slept in days. Oneshot, 3,501 Words.
Why You Should Care: Second-person POV is not an easy task to undertake, and none but the bravest of writers (fanfiction or otherwise) venture that way. Beth gives it a go, and does surprisingly well in capturing Snape’s voice and creating a compelling second-person perspective. This is an AU piece, and doesn’t pretend to be anything else, but it is an interesting portrait of Snape none-the-less.
Why You Might Not Care: Second-person isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t fancy stepping into Snape’s head this probably isn’t a great fic for you. The AU might keep some people away, also, but to each their own.Comments Off on The Man Who Lived
August 27th, 2007
August 2007 Award for Excellence in Harry Potter Fanfiction
The August 2007 Award for Excellence in Harry Potter Fanficton goes to TangleofThorns for an amazing piece, titled The Abyss Gazes Also. Clocking in at just under 8,000 words, TangleofThorns tackles the impossible and creates the world of Azkaban Prison. Everything about this fic is done shockingly well, and it sucks you right in.
This is primarily Sirius’ story, but it is divided into even portions by brief glimpses of other inmates. Rather than detracting from Sirius’ tale, TangleofThorns handles these foils with such skill that they instead serve as punctuation fo the central theme; a sentence in Azkaban isn’t about bars or cells, it’s about being trapped in the Dementor-twisted confines of one’s own miserable mind.
Sirius holds desperately and, occasionally, unwillingly, to the sliver of sanity the concrete knowledge of his innocence provides. He despairs, rages… and retreats, finding just enough rest to keep him living, if such an existence can indeed be considered that.
The language of this story is truly remarkable. It is almost entirely written in descriptive narrative, yet never once slides into purple prose. TangleofThorns uses a brilliant combination of simplicity, stream of consciousness, and triggers of all five senses that paints each experience with all encompassing precision. I have read it several times over, and each time I find a new twist of words to consider. This is meant to be read slowly, as one might savor the eating of a last meal on death row.
This story treads on the very edge of reason and sanity, blurring the borders between the two until it is impossible to say which is more real. As I mentioned before in the original rec, it is by turns heartbreaking, staggering, thought-provoking, and chilling. A brilliant portrait of Azkaban, and those poor souls left in the pitiless care of the Dementors. This has been carefully crafted, with close attention to the smallest of details, by a master artist. I am indeed shocked to be the first to give it an award.Comments Off on August 2007 Award for Excellence in Harry Potter Fanfiction
August 27th, 2007
Accio Stone by KrisLaughs
Summary: This is what might happen if Lily and James Potter had survived Voldemort’s final attack, if Harry grew up in a close-knit family far away from the wizarding world, if it was Harry’s eleventh birthday and there was a whisper of trouble in the air… Oneshot, AU, 8,800 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is an AU about what possible turn of events might have left the Potter family alive and whole instead of dead and Harry orphaned. The strength in this fic lies not necessarily in the writing (which is still quite well done) but rather the brilliance and originality in which Kris justifies her AU world, and the great sacrifice Lily makes for her family without having to die. When you figure it out, you will understand what I mean.
Why You Might Not Care: There’s a happy ending here, and I really feel a little like that is a cheat. I would have preferred Lily’s choice had more staying power, and I think it would have made this story stronger. As is, it is good — but there is real potential here for an astounding AU world that means as much as JKR’s original.Comment (1) »
August 26th, 2007
A Turnip For Luck
A Turnip For Luck by Lady Whizbee
Summary: It wasn’t as if he wasn’t interested in meeting new women. He was. It was just that there was so much pressure attached to that first conversation. He had to be interesting, and witty, and clever, and he had to have more than one interesting, one witty and one clever thing to say. And, in total, that was very hard work. After all, what could he say that was all that profound? He was just Neville Longbottom. Oneshot, 3,555 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is a fluffy, 100% cute and 100% in character Neville fic. He’s appropriately awkward at the notion of dating in generally, but soldiers on in typical Gryffindor fashion. It’s little fics like this that make me want a Neville plushy to cuddle when I feel lonely or completely useless at relationships in general, because if Neville can put himself out there, dammit, so can I.
Why You Might Not Care: Dating and Neville can only equal shocking quantities of fluff. You have been warned.Comment (1) »
August 25th, 2007
Home is the Place Where
Home is the Place Where by Kyra Cullinan
Summary: Petunia and Harry at the end of the world. Oneshot, 1,151 Words.
Why You Should Care: There is so much bitterness here. The depth of absolute loss, of hopelessness in triumph, and the knowing that not even the face of complete destruction is enough to heal old wounds aches in nearly every word. Petunia is all angles, unable not to cut after years of sharpening herself for it, and Harry is a hero who never wanted to be and hates a world that made him so. They share a moment of understanding in deep tragedy, but no more. Richly sad.
Why You Might Not Care: Some stories do not have — cannot have — happy endings. We’d like to see Harry glory and move on and lead a quiet, happy life, but some heroes are not destined for that end and — perhaps — Harry just might be one of them. Terribly sad, and for some maybe too sad.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Admins’ — AUComment (2) »
August 24th, 2007
Grasp by Laura Smith
Summary: The dead don’t dream. Drabble, 509 Words.
Why You Should Care: The thought that Sirius might be trapped forever in a purgatory such as this breaks my heart a little, because I feel he has earned his rest and not the pain of being this flimsy, half-formed ghost. It’s unclear whether or not the people Sirius spies upon are real or ghosts of souls themselves, but I think that is as Smith intended. The language is sweeping, like the wind-blown folds of the cloaks of Dementors, and there is the tang of restlessness throughout. The observation that “Arthur is not made for heroism, but he stands there as he always did” is just… wow. It made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle in that way only amazing prose can.
Why You Might Not Care: This is touched (slightly more than only vaguely) with Remus/Sirius slash connotations, but it compliments the piece nicely rather than takes away from it. It is a softer angst, but angst never-the-less, and herein there are no happy endings.Comments Off on Grasp
August 23rd, 2007
Of A Sort
Of A Sort by FernWithy
Summary: A series of stories about the experience all Hogwarts students share: being Sorted into their houses on their first day at school. Novel Length (abandoned), 49,388 Words.
Why You Should Care: FernWithy says in her notes that she considers this idea of hers woefully overused, but I confess I have never read a compilation like this, so for me it’s quite original. It deals a little with sorting and a lot with how the first day of school can very much affect the rest of your educational life. The seemingly benign choices made on the Hogwarts Express have lasting repercussions, some of which we’ve seen even in canon.
Why You Might Not Care: This appears to have been abandoned as she began to attempt the sorting of the Trio Era characters, but I have rec’d it for the strength of the things I think are more valuable — that is to say, the fact that she’s already tackled the characters we haven’t seen being sorted. It’s been about a year and a half since an update, and I sort of wish she’d just ended it with the sorting of Tonks instead of trying to slog onwards. We’ve already seen Harry’s generation and their sorting, so I feel it’s unnecessary. Parts have since been made AU by new canon factoids offered by JKR, but it still stands quite well.Comment (3) »
August 22nd, 2007
Newts and Salamanders
Newts and Salamanders by Orange Crushed
Summary: “He remembers what they wrapped him in– satin, satin for a baby. Satin for the little prince. He soiled it, as babies do, and stuffed a sleeve into his mouth; and still they replaced it with yet more satin, bearing the family crest.” Oneshot, 1,661 Words.
Why You Should Care: The relationship between Snape and Draco Malfoy (and perhaps even the Malfoy family entire) has always been one of those unknowns. Orange Crushed takes a stab at quantifying it, and in doing so creates a beautifully stirring piece of poetic prose. Both Draco and Snape are in character; their edges are sharp and their dealings ever aristocratic. We see Draco while we stand beside Snape, and it is a view that melds with canon while at the same time complimenting it. The language here is exquisite and highly appropriate: it becomes aloofly sentimental, and Snape becomes — perhaps — a better godfather to Draco than Sirius ever was permitted to be for Harry.
Why You Might Not Care: I can’t really say why not, because I can’t really think of a qualifying reason. This is lovely, and for me to say that about a thing primarily focusing on Draco — whom I tend to overlook more often than not for all his fangirls — is nothing short of surprising.Comment (2) »
August 21st, 2007
A Sorting Song by Severus
A Sorting Song by Severus by TextualSphinx
Summary: Who but Severus would write a song that insults every house but his own in polysyllabic rhyming couplets? If Rowling were in her grave, she’d be spinning… Parody, 1,458 Words.
Why You Should Care: Oh. My. God. Why am I not surprised by the idea that Snape might possibly be a Gilbert and Sullivan fan? Oh dear. But the funny! Anything that uses the base “Modern Major General” has got to be worth a read, and the idea that Slytherin isn’t always short-handed in the sorting songs is delightful.
Why You Might Not Care: There is only parody and funny here, and if you grant the premiss (be sure to read the note at the beginning of this for optimal enjoyment) then you will not be disappointed. Sure to delight Pirates of Penzance fans. This is silly, and sometimes that alone is a good enough reason for being.Comments Off on A Sorting Song by Severus
August 20th, 2007
Last Brother’s Valediction
Last Brother’s Valediction by DMP
Summary: Lupin contemplates death and tries to rationalise it the only way he can. Oneshot, 1,551 Words.
Why You Should Care: There are lots and lots and lots of “Remus reflects after Sirius dies” fics out there. Quite a few of them are bad — terribly cliche, carbon copies of each other — and lots are all right. There are a few that are outstanding, and DMP gives the issue a slightly different slant which, I think, has made all the difference. Here she highlights a fundamental distinction between Remus and Sirius and the way they deal (or do not deal) with their own emotional weight, and Remus’ reflections circle this theme. The letter exchange between he and Harry is appropriately strained — both of them are floundering in an unwelcome storm of criss-crossing emotions, and neither of them is capable of sharing the weight with someone else. This fic has one of my most favorite closing lines ever, by the way, and it will hold a high place in my heart for that feat alone.
Why You Might Not Care: This is not slash. I feel it’s important to point this out, because I would wager that a good 75% of the fics that fall into the “Remus reflects after Sirius dies” category do end up being slash in some form or another. The fact that this one is decidedly not is probably one of the reasons I love it so much. It’s not quite angst, either; it’s almost Remus reflecting on angst. Sort of.Comment (3) »
August 19th, 2007
The Shoebox Project
The Shoebox Project by Dorkorific and LadyJaida
NOTE: The Shoebox Project LJ community has been hacked. The link that purportedly points to a “new” archive actually points to a keystroke-logging virus. Until the community has been restored, I’ve pointed the link to a place where you can download Shoebox chapters in PDF format.
Summary: A multi-media Remus/Sirius extravaganze, with plenty of James, Lily and Peter thrown in to make things extra-fun. Novel Length, Probably over 100,000 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is… this is the Remus/Sirius fanfic, people. There is no other better, no other more in depth, and no other that is more realistic. If it was canon, this is how it would have been. Dorkorific and LadyJaida never forget that these are teenagers in the 70s to whom the idea of homosexuality is not an entirely comfortable one, and the coming together of Remus and Sirius is achingly slow; at some places, they almost move backwards. But every section of this fic is so fantastically well written — like a huge collection of smaller stories that link together — that it probably wouldn’t matter if Remus and Sirius never figured it out, because there are plenty of other reasons to stay and read this. It is romantic, completely comical, but 100% real and I adore it. The characters are all fantastically written, and each has their own distinctive personality (which is often a difficult thing to find in Marauder fics) and I love it. Love, love, love it. There are notes between friends, diary entires, and dozens of fantastically drawn “photos” of the golden age of the Marauders. I love it.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s addictive. When you start, it’s very difficult not to stop. It’s also still a work in progress, and sometimes there are significant lags in between updates. But it the end it is all worth it, because this is easily one of the top five Marauder fics I have ever read. If you are one of the very, very few people who hasn’t already found this, make some time and get over there and read it for God sakes, in case the internet collapses in on itself and The Shoebox Project disappears forever. Go. NOW.
Awards: 2007 Hourglass Award, Best Overall — First Place.Comment (9) »
August 18th, 2007
Let the Times Roll
Let The Times Roll by Shrk-Bait
Summary: For most people, the middle of the night is not the best time to think. Albus Dumbledore is not most people. In the middle of a vicious war, the aged Headmaster reflects upon sacrifices made in the past and wonders who will be next in a seemingly endless struggle between good and evil. Oneshot, 2,200 Words.
Why You Should Care: A peak into the restless thoughts of Albus Dumbledore, not terribly long before his death. The Dumbledore here is very close to canon — closer than most people manage — and fits his wise old man archetype well. The metaphor Shrk-Bait creates is not precisely subtle, but it’s not an anvil to the head either, and it’s the interaction between Dumbledore and the metaphor that are particularly telling: “It was all as simple and as complex as a roll of the dice.” There are several exquisite lines throughout this fic, ones that I wish I had come up with first.
Why You Might Not Care: Sometime the execution is a little clunky, and there is some excess here that could have been trimmed. Shrk-Bait, at this time, resides somewhere in the land of transition; a place where good authors start to become great ones, and in places both sides are seen. The style of this piece doesn’t quite rub right with the subject matter, and at times I wished for the narrative to reflect the complexity of the metaphor as well as the simplicity. There is great promise here, but not quite all of it has been realized. Yet.
Awards: Best Overall, July 2005 Scrivenshaft ChallengeComments Off on Let the Times Roll
August 17th, 2007
FictionAlley Back In Business
It appears that FictionAlley has sorted itself out. All links pointed in that direction should be fully functional once again.Comments Off on FictionAlley Back In Business
August 17th, 2007
True Gryffindor by Merle
Summary: “They were supposed to be Gryffindors, and one ended up hiding, running away; the other one was left alone, and believed that his other old friend was a murderer, while the latter made his best friends change Secret Keepers to save his own skin. How bold, how brave, how heroic they’d all been.” Drabble, 658 Words.
Why You Should Care: Oh, Peter... This piece dares to do what someone like Peter usually does, daring to blame everyone but the one person on whom the blame truly rests. You can see how easy it is to allow himself to believe it, how he manages to make himself a victim of circumstance rather than its pawn. This answers the question of how Peter manages to live with himself after betraying the Potters and how he deals with the guilt. Unsurprisingly, the answer is that he doesn’t.
Why You Might Not Care: Merle makes Peter a real person, trying to justify his own actions by blaming the actions of others. This sort of thing happens all the time in the real world, and some people with bristle at the implications of fault, hissing and snapping at Wormtail instead of feeling the deep, hanging sadness of this story of a good man who fell from grace and can’t fathom how to make his way back.Comment (1) »
August 16th, 2007
Smoke and Mirrors
Smoke and Mirrors by Andromeda311
Summary: Twenty somewhat related facts about the Marauders. And Lily. Drabble Collection, 1,761 Words.
Why You Should Care: It’s such a unique idea, so simple and graceful and straightforward, but these little tidbits and trifles manage to be more telling than a novel-length MWPP-era fic, and it deals with all five characters equally and by turns. Genius.
Why You Might Not Care: Because you’re lazy and stupid. Otherwise, you’d obviously read it.Comments Off on Smoke and Mirrors
August 15th, 2007
I seek a partner. A Sonny to my Cher. A Thelma to my Louise. A Fawks to my Dumbledore. A — ahem — Coffee to my Chocolate.
I am looking for someone with similar taste in Harry Potter fanfiction to supplement the recs here, potentially someone with a greater interest in Trio Era fic and the younger generation to compliment my preference for MWPP and their era, though it is not a requirement. Your taste should, however, be slanted very firmly in the same direction as the other recs on this site, especially toward canon pairings (though a few departures for outstanding non-canon pairings are acceptable; I am a closet Remus/Sirius fan myself). The candidate should also be a fan of the general fic, the oneshot, and the character piece. Obsessive slash readers need not apply, if only because there’s plenty of that to be found in other places and I’m trying to keep this recs site styled toward readers — like myself — who are not as interested in slash. It’s acceptable in small doses, but at least 75% of your recs should be general in nature.
The applying individual should be a naturally and perhaps compulsively avid reader of Harry Potter fanfiction across the fandom and across genres, with flags in all the major archives and Livejournal communities, and will likely already have scads of excellent fics bookmarked across the web. We’re talking about providing a rec every second day, so it’s best if you already spend mounds of time reading fic, because that kind of time can’t be scrounged from an already full schedule. You should also have and be willing to set aside around an hour a week to write and submit the recs to this site.
You should have a firm grasp and appreciation of fiction in general, and a keen understanding and instict as to what good writing is. People with a talent or background in English, World Literature or Comparative Literature at a college or University level are likely to be more strongly considered. Obviously, a thorough and complete knowledge of all seven Harry Potter books is required; obsessive-compulsive canon-Nazis are highly encouraged. You will have well-rounded critical strengths, and be able to comment on plot, theme, structure, style, character, format, word choice, and other relevant literary features. Strong beta-readers and editors are excellent candidates.
Age is not a discriminating factor, but as experience and knowledge come with age it is unlikely individuals under the age of 19 will be seriously considered unless their submissions blow me away.
You should have strong writing skills, particularly in the area of summary and critique as is the format of the recs provided on this site. All applicants are required to submit at least five recs in the Coffee and Chocolate format (complete with links) to the Webmaster as application. These five recommended fics should show off the wide range of fiction you enjoy reading, your ability to pick appropriate recs, and your ability to assume the “Why You Should Care & Why You Might Not Care” style. The recommendations here are not written in a completely formal manner, and so should you likewise allow your personality and humor come out in your recs; there is no need to remain stoic or academic. I highly encourage the “Bringing of the Funny”, but any chatspeak should be avoided like the plague.
Interested applicants are invited to submit their rec examples to afterthree, the Coffee and Chocolate Webmaster, along with a brief (no more than 200 words) sales pitch that sells me on your personality, your ability, and why you think you’d be any good at this. This partnership will remain open until filled, and could potentially expand into a threefold partnership if two exemplary candidates are found.Comment (1) »
August 15th, 2007
From the Desk of James F. Potter
From the Desk of James F. Potter by Xylodemon
Summary: James writes his resume, and Sirius helps… or rather, doesn’t help at all. Oneshot, 650 Words.
Why You Should Care: It’s funny as heck, that’s why. Everyone normal hates writing a resume, and it turns out wizards are no different. James and Sirius are in top-notch form, and the friendly insults and British slang runs rampant. Highly enjoyable. It brings the banter effectively.
Why You Might Not Care: There is not point except the funny. If that’s not your cup of tea, wrong story.Comment (1) »