Archive for January, 2008
January 31st, 2008
Sherlock Holmes and the Ravenclaw Codex
Sherlock Holmes and the Ravenclaw Codex by Dolorous Ett
Summary: “The young man who entered presented an indefinably odd aspect. He was of no more than middle height, and dressed in a long, shabby travelling cloak that did not match his mud-stained army boots or his ebony and silver swordstick. A veritable bird’s nest of bright red hair stood up from his head in wild disarray, framing a broad, freckled face. Nonetheless, his voice when he spoke was cultured and pleasant, despite an underlying note of panic.” Crossover, 27,077 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s an absolutely fabulous crossover! There’s Hogwarts! And Sherlock Holmes! The biggest rule for writers of crossover fanfiction is to understand both of your subjects equally well, and Dolorous Ett sets us an absolutely perfect example. She’s a master of the Potter universe and a master of the Holmes universe, she’s got all of her characters down perfectly, she’s constructed a fantastic little mystery while still being able to provide some very interesting commentary on Wizarding prejudice of the Victorian era, and she’s managed to do all that and give it to us in traditional Holmesian style. Brilliant! A fantastic addition to both fandoms.
Why You Might Not Care: Some people don’t like crossover fic. And some people don’t like Sherlock Holmes the way I do, either. But if you do, then this is not-to-miss!Comment (2) »
January 30th, 2008
The Story of the Mantle and the Silver Tree
The Story of the Mantle and the Silver Tree by Trowizilla
Summary: “In the youth of the world, Bedaal the Singer strode between mountains, and his singing wove the languages of men and elves, centaurs and goblins, pixies and nixies, the hissing tongue of dragons and the ululation of the weres” Drabble, 839 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is an example of world-building at its finest in fandom. It’s a wizarding creation story, a myth of mortality and the Veil, and the tone of it feels very much in the oral tradition, as a story passed down through generations of wizards to their small children and then to their small children. Really, really neat.
Why You Might Not Care: This is definitely Beedle the Bard territory. It’s one of those little stories that is less about Harry Potter and more about the culture and mythos of the Harry Potter universe. These sorts of things I find incredibly interesting, but you might not.Comment (2) »
January 29th, 2008
I Miss You
I Miss You by Pantz
Summary: She was supposed to be his forever. Oneshot, 3,263 Words.
Why You Should Care: Totally anti-canon, written pre-HBP, but this fic is beautiful, sweet and bitter, and heartbreaking in a simple, practiced way. Percy is depicted with maturity and delicacy, and Penelope, who nearly falls into the trap of becoming a cliche, seems to gain a life of her own. Somehow the tragedy played out in this fic gets me every time.
Why You Might Not Care: …two Percy!fics in a row? Also, HBP and DH smashed the canon of this one.Comments Off on I Miss You
January 28th, 2008
On Becoming A Woman
On Becoming a Woman by Anne-Cara Apple
Summary: “Everything suddenly seemed much clearer now.” Oneshot, 6,198 Words.
Why You Should Care: Narcissa Malfoy is not Bellatrix, the headstrong and daring one, or Andromeda, the rebel — she is the sister who grew up into a very specific role, and the four spotlighted moments that Anne-Cara Apple shows us illustrate this perfectly. Everything about this rings just right — it’s not overstated, her interactions with Sirius and Andromeda are particularly spot on, and you truly feel as though you’re watching her grow up and accept her place in life. When you read this, you’re not only reading about Narcissa, but the tradition and pretension of pureblood society, and it’s the way the two are interwoven that makes this wonderful.
Why You Might Not Care: If it bothers you when names don’t match up with the Black Family Tree, you might not like the first section very much, but there was a time when authors had to make up the names of various parents, and I suppose she could have done a lot worse than “Flavia.” Other than that, no complaints. This is beautiful.Comment (2) »
January 27th, 2008
Five Ways of Growing Up Between the Wars
Five Ways of Growing Up Between the Wars by Penknife
Summary: Five ways Tonks might have met Percy over the years. Oneshot, 2,653 Words.
Why You Should Care: Written from Tonks’ point of view, Penknife finds the foils and parallels between two characters that couldn’t be more different, yet still share a few underlying similarities. It’s interesting to see the random momentary connecting of two nearly-complete strangers. In addition, Penknife’s high calibre of writing makes this one just that much better– for all her slash-fic, it is Penknife’s gen-fic that affects me the most.
Why You Might Not Care: Um…? Nope, I’ve got nothing.Comment (1) »
January 26th, 2008
Worth Saving by Lady Altair
Summary: He’s just about to leave, to go and fight and maybe not return, when he turns to look, just one more time, at the beautiful mess he’s made of his life. Kingsley Shacklebolt, before the Battle of Hogwarts, wonders: We’re all human, aren’t we? Oneshot, 1,171 Words.
Why You Should Care: On the top it’s about Kingsley, but what’s really here is that moment when each of us begins to really, truly understand the principles we fight for; when it ceases to be about everyone, everywhere, and starts to be just about you and the people you care about, because that’s what hits us where we live. This is the story of how Kingsley discovers the real reason to fight the war against Voldemort while he’s fighting it all ready. Tightly tied around one theme.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s the obvious way to have written around this theme, and so even though I’ve never read something like this before, I feel at the same time like I’ve read it a thousand times before. This is in no way meant to be a comment on the quality of writing — which is really quite decent all around — just a note that this was the easiest way to have written this. Whether that makes it the best way to have written it is up for debate.
Thanks To: Jamilla for this rec. Cheers!Comments Off on Worth Saving
January 25th, 2008
Tea With The Dark Lord
Tea with the Dark Lord by Cranberry_Crash
Summary: Luna Lovegood is good at telling stories. Oneshot, 1,667 Words.
Why You Should Care: Luna is already a difficult character to write, but lowering her into the middle of a war and showing the appropriate effects without changing who she is completely — that is a task for only the best of authors. Cranberry_crash does an excellent job, and the supporting characters are executed just as well, coming across powerfully even in cameos of a line or two. This is a delightful read that maintains Luna’s airy quality while giving her the subtle edge that even she would obtain in such times, and ultimately brings you hope and a smile — exactly as Luna would have wanted.
Why You Might Not Care: The scene for which the piece is named has a surreal quality that makes you wonder if the characters actually would have done this; but then, with a character such as Luna, perhaps such a quality is exactly what it should have. It’s an excellent work, and why are you still reading this rec? You could be absorbing good fic.Comment (3) »
January 24th, 2008
New Reccer at C&C
Isn’t it funny how Website News always happens in clumps?
I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the newest member of the Coffee and Chocolate rec team, Insanguinare. From sunny California, she’s authored eight Harry Potter fics including Descent, which was recently rec’d here by me on January 21, and has a keen eye for good stories. Expect her first rec bright and early tomorrow morning.
From here on in, Wingless Flight will rec on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Insanguinare will take care of Mondays and Fridays, and I’ll continue to rec on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. To date we’ve rec’d a total of 240 excellent pieces of Harry Potter fanfiction, and I’ve given out a total of six Gold Star Awards. A big thanks to all of you who continue to leave thoughtful comments on the recs; we love hearing what you have to say.
A reminder that C&C is always open for guest recs and suggestions!Comment (3) »
January 24th, 2008
With A Little Bit Of Luck
With A Little Bit Of Luck by LongSunday
Summary: Diagon Alley was the first fatality of the second war. Drabble, 248 Words.
Why You Should Care: No writer can truly encapsulate war – not even J K Rowling, but LongSunday comes pretty close. She uses Diagon Alley, the HP fan’s image of magical heaven, as something of a symbol of loss of innocence and somehow it so works, maybe because she allows it play to out in our head. And she makes these horrible, tangible links to Muggle society and suddenly the war in Harry Potter comes alive in a way that character studies of war-traumatised Harrys never manage. Suddenly, it’s not a fairytale. In this fic, the Potterverse really does exist.
Why You Might Not Care: This is miles too short. The author really needs to have made this a real one-shot, not a drabble: she’s got a real concept and she hasn’t allowed herself to explore it. Even so, what she has written is quite shockingly emotive.Comment (1) »
January 23rd, 2008
Scion by Phoenix Serapha
Summary: At sixteen, Sirius is confronted with the true nature of his family on his last night in Grimmauld Place. Oneshot, 4,404 Words.
Why You Should Care: There’s quite a lot of fic out there about Sirius running away from home at sixteen, exploring the when and the why. We know he had a miserable home life, though aside from the fact that his family supported Voldemort we don’t really know what kind of miserable it was. Phoenix Serapha writes us a much darker, harsher piece than we’re used to seeing on this subject, and — most unusually — she highlights Sirius’ father Orion as the premier adversary instead of Walburga. We’re used to reading about the formidable Black matriarch, and because of the madcap wailing of her portrait a lot of us have rather assumed she was the master of her house; Orion gets shunted aside, either glozed over completely, or characterised as the weaker half of the Black parental unit. Not here, though, and it’s utterly glorious to read this new twist on an old story as Orion and Sirius face off. It is Sirius’ character that is the most fascinating in this exchange, as much a bullied boy as a mouth-off, and he is driven to leave out of desperation rather than willingly by choice, which makes him feel much more a real person and less an impudent teenager. It’s a sharp contrast to the Sirius we see at school, and to most writers’ versions of him over all. Unique, and probably the most canon telling of this event yet.
Why You Might Not Care: A few typos that might irk you. A few missing words or mixed up tenses. An author that could really benefit from the use of a few well-placed semi-colons. But none of these should stop you from reading on.
Thanks To: Amy, who sent me some very lovely recs. Cheers!Comments Off on Scion
January 22nd, 2008
The Fourth by Twinsuns
Summary: They say that no spell can bring the dead back into the world of living, yet there is a loophole in that law… A look into a moment that spanned a lifetime. Oneshot, 1,082 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is my favourite type of fic, one where someone’s found a line in canon and a thought sparked and a thread woven and suddenly a shadow becomes a character. Ghosts in Harry Potter are important in JKR’s depiction of the understanding of death, and this fic is beautifully subtle in its depiction of death as an unknown, but more, in man’s emotion towards it. Twinsuns shows death through Nearly Headless Nick’s last moments, and through the executioner who ‘beheads’ him (“you’re my fourth–this week”). Thoughtful and mature.
Why You Might Not Care: This fic is surprisingly adult, not that there is anything more than G involved, but by the very delicate nature — nothing emotive or passionate — by which it is handled. Some might find it dull, I find it exquisite.Comments Off on The Fourth
January 22nd, 2008
Gold Star Award Catch-Up
At long last (and with heaps of apologies for the unforgivable wait), I have managed to dole out a few more Gold Star Awards. Without further delay (because hasn’t there been enough of that, really?), I give you four new Gold Star Award Winners:
For September, I really had to give the award to Lady Bracknell’s fantastic novel, Disaster: See Also, Remus J. Lupin, Lovelife Of, mostly because I’m completely shocked that no one’s given her an award for this one already.
This wonderful piece of romantic comedy follows Remus through the misadventure that is his interaction with women, from his very first girlfriend to his meeting of Tonks. Lady Bracknell’s Remus is entirely three dimensional, and the only cliché in this story are the ones that set up the punchline. Remus is occasionally an active participant and sometimes only a passenger doing his best to hang on while someone else takes him for a spin, but the one thing he never is is the maudlin, noble, self-sacrificing hero we’ve come to expect of him in fanon, and it’s wonderfully refreshing. This could be the story of anyone’s life.
I also give this award to Lady Bracknell for her stunningly good show on the Original Character front, having created — not one, not two, but nearly a dozen — wonderfully unique and likewise three dimensional original female characters for Remus to bounce off of over the years. Not one of them could be considered a Mary Sue (though one or two of them could be considered a bit insane) and this fic wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without these fantastic women.
For October, the Gold Star Award goes to Snegurochka Lee’s Five Women Who Hate Fleur Delacour and her hard-hitting combination of feminist commentary and canon-accurate portrayals of some of the women in the Harry Potter universe, most notable among them Fleur and Luna.
I would never have expected these two females to foil each other so excellently, but each brings out something in the other that makes every exchange between them interesting and revealing. The character of Fleur is studied through the opinions of other women in and around her life in a prose-disguised dissertation on women and how women interact with each other. Between each section, Fleur is allowed her say, and we realize that she has a very clear and realistic picture of popular opinion about her. A very cunning exploration of what women think about women, and a great character piece.
November’s winner was a tough choice, but in the end I have given the award to Paperclip Bitch’s unforgiving and in-depth portrait of Remus Lupin in And When I Have Lost Everything I Will Remember This. The writing is carefully sculpted narrative, and while Remus is the focus, each of the secondary characters have been considered with thought and — the Marauders especially — stand as individual people even though it would have been easy enough to paint them as vague shadows that all look the same.
This piece is tragic from start to finish, and for her unyielding commitment to it I applaud Paperclip Bitch. It would have been so easy — and others have done it many, many times — to leave Remus at the moment of his death with something uplifting or something sweet, but she has chosen her theme and the nature of Remus’ death does not allow for easy peace. This has been handled with real style, and it breaks your heart in a way that makes you want to read it all over again in hopes that, next time, it might end differently.
December’s Gold Star Award goes to PigWithHair’s The Boy Who Lived, which is by far the best thing I’ve ever read featuring an old, aged Harry Potter. PigWithHair has committed to writing these characters as elderly, and has done so with more realism than we usually find in fanfiction — Harry and Ginny are cranky, crotchety, temperamental, and thickly nostalgic. Everything about them reminds us of their age — the way they walk, the way they talk, they way the shout and mutter and grumble.
Yet under all that age and all that temperament, the Harry and Ginny JKR created can still be seen, and that is the real treat. These are realistic extrapolations of these characters into their 80s and 90s, and the need of Harry to share his stories to a younger generation so they won’t be forgotten is just so completely Harry. It’s a truly delightful character piece on a life lived, and the things and people we often take for granted.
Phew… glad that’s finally done (and just in time for the end of January, too). Apologies to those of you who have to scroll past this on your Livejournal Friends list — my blogging software doesn’t allow for Livejournal cuts. A reminder to any new readers who’ve just joined us that you can get C&C recs every day on your Livejournal Friends feed by Friending this Syndicated account.Comment (4) »
January 21st, 2008
Descent by Insanguinare
Summary: “She found herself flexing her fingers around her wand, willing herself to keep the promise she’d just made and trying to remember when she’d decided to break her most important one.” It takes Bellatrix eight years to go mad. Oneshot, 6,527 Words.
Why You Should Care: The backstory of Bellatrix intrigues me, quite frankly, and while my own personal canon will probably always include at its core the depth and twists of DeepDownSlytherin’s A Keen Observer, there is something here that delights me also. This Bellatrix has an inherent and unbridled lust for dark magic, much the same as Tom Riddle did when he was growing up. The two are not so much foils as parallels in this piece, and the interesting twist on the Cruciatus curse — while most probably not at all canon — makes for quite a lovely bit of final punctuation.
Why You Might Not Care: The ages of the Blacks have been muddled for those whose canon must include the ages on the Black Family Tree, but I tend not to care too much about that. The scene in which Sirius makes his grand exit is perhaps a touch too long; the focus begins to shift from Bellatrix to Sirius, and parts of what is supposed to be an intense conversation sounds a little too much like exposition. It is still quite strong overall, however.Comment (6) »
January 20th, 2008
As We Destroy, So Do We Build
As We Destroy, So Do We Build by Montlake
Summary: She is sixteen when she falls in love with the wrong boy and she’s sixteen years too young to understand why it all feels so right. Oneshot, 1,266 Words.
Guest Rec’d By: Tash (PirateSmile)
Why You Should Care: The simplicity of not only Ted and Andromeda’s romance, but of Andy’s own evolution as an independent person, is really beautiful to see unfold. It’s not overly detailed, and the snapshots of her life over four years are very sparse, but, again, the simplicity of it allows it all to just flow naturally.
Why You Might Not Care: Like I said, it’s not overly detailed, and it would be nice to have more moments.Comments Off on As We Destroy, So Do We Build
January 19th, 2008
Up All Night
Up All Night by Gilpin and Mrs. Tater
Summary: The night before Harry’s hearing in OotP and, for Remus and Tonks, it really was asking for trouble to go out like this. Risky and unprofessional. In fact, anything might happen… Romantic Comedy, 51,093 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because I love stories like this, that take a brief and completely perfunctory exchange and give it a backstory and a different sort of weight. Now, every time I read the beginning of Chapter Seven of OotP, I’m going to remember this story and smile. The characters are well constructed, and the dialogue is spot on in every scene. Remus and Tonks shine as real people tripping their way across the muddled waters of any friendship-turned-romance, and the bit characters — Sirius in particular — have not underperformed, either. It’s also a great example of a well done co-authored story: the authors have melded their styles and ideas so well that it really only seems like one of them wrote it. And, you know, because I think it’s been a little while since I’ve recced a Remus/Tonks, and that just won’t do.
Why You Might Not Care: Remus/Tonks, for those who prefer Remus shipped with someone else. Some might say it’s a tad anti-climactic (and they’re not necessarily wrong) what with the addition of the last chapter, which stretches out the ending a bit more than was perhaps necessary, but for me it’s a minor quibble.Comments Off on Up All Night
January 18th, 2008
Sixteen Ways to Tell the Weasley Twins Apart
Sixteen Ways to Tell the Weasley Twins Apart by KaydeeFalls
Summary: How do you tell Fred and George apart? Drabble Collection, 1,353 Words.
Why You Should Care: A list-fic on the surface, but actually quite an excellent set of themed drabbles underneath. They’re all on point, but each one could stand alone as a separate piece, and this list-fic doesn’t fall into the list-fic trap of mediocrity. Each drabble is interesting, and the last one especially is an eye-opener — left purposely vague so we’re left with a very unsteady understanding about George’s future without his twin (leaving aside the canon details JKR has offered up since in interviews, of course). Often entertaining and often thought-provoking.
Why You Might Not Care: Well, list-fics of all sorts and shapes and sizes seem to be the meme style that’s out to consume Livejournal. At some point, even the really, really good ones are going to seem stale because of format. I’d like to think we’re not quite there yet.Comment (4) »
January 17th, 2008
Idol by Merle
Summary: “The next day, he’d secretly snatch her mama’s wand while she cooked and made a lightning bolt scar shaped on his own forehead with it just like his hero’s. He’d grab Percy’s eyeglasses and put them on, even though he would not see a thing, even though the glasses weren’t rounded but rather square, but he’d do it all the same”. Oneshot, 896 Words.
Why You Should Care: Ron’s innocent naiveté might be his most charming flaw, and this fic totally captures that. It’s adorable without being sappy, youthful without being irritating and charming without being clichéd. This is Ron, just canon Ron, nothing added or taken away, but somehow you see him in a new light. What Merle does isn’t to create excitement or intrigue, she just shows us what we already know, but didn’t realise we knew. It’s sweet and simple and illuminating.
Why You Might Not Care: I’m not totally certain about some of the phrasing in this fic, and there are the odd sentences that bug me, but the style and emotions evoked are heartwrenchingly real.Comment (3) »
January 16th, 2008
Chroma by Emiime
Summary: It’s the brightness Percy can’t stand. Drabble, 623 Words.
Why You Should Care: What might Christmas during OotP have been like for Percy Weasley, having cut himself off from his family? This is a brief and beautifully written drabble that is laced with simply delightful imagery, metaphor, and theme. Wonderful use of colour to punctuate Percy’s experience.
Why You Might Not Care: It slips up, once or twice, into cliche. But only once or twice.Comments Off on Chroma
January 15th, 2008
Dreaming Through The Twilight
Dreaming Through The Twilight by msmoocow
Summary: Ariana; like a beautiful melody. Oneshot, 1,855 Words.
Why You Should Care: This fic is like a fragmented dream, slightly mad and slightly scary, and reflects the character it centres on to perfection. The true beauty of this is that the author uses exactly the right amount of narrative, so that the prose feels spare and poetic, but the reader always understands. The choice and placing of words is always impeccable, and the idiosyncracies of the characters are skillfully woven into the prose.
Why You Might Not Care: We don’t know a lot about Ariana because there isn’t a lot to know, and if you don’t want to read this author’s speculation on what the shadow we hear of in canon may actually have been like, steer clear.Comment (3) »
January 14th, 2008
Faith by Lady Apocalymon
Summary: Narcissa has no faith in the dirty, dark world, as her sisters abandon her and outshine her. Only when she sees a spark of light in the world does she begin to find faith in her existence. Oneshot, 4,505 Words.
Why You Should Care: Lady Apocalymon takes a couple of villains and nearly turns them into protagonists with this fic. Lucius and Narcissa seem well within their canon characterisations — their high-brow snobbery and nobility oozes throughout the words in dialogue and action — yet there seems to be a new kind of affection breathed into their relationship. They are courtly, but as unable to restrain their attraction to each other — physical and intellectual — as any other fevered couple in Harry Potter canon. R-rated because of a sex scene near the end.
Why You Might Not Care: To be honest, the sex scene — for me — was the weakest part of the fic. Now, to be fair, there are probably quite a few people who would consider this the best part of the fic; it’s one of those highly subjective things. I prefer a little less throbbing-burning-pounding cliche, personally, but not for nothing is Harlequin a popular form of female erotica. I’ll let y’all decide for yourselves whether it gets the thumbs-up or thumbs-down.Comment (1) »