More Recs from Hoggywarty

Recs

Hoggywarty Xmas has ended over at LiveJournal, and, as usual, there was a fabulous set of stories and art. Really, every one is a gem, but here are a few of my especial favorites from this year’s fest (in addition to the two I recced at its opening):

THE ROSE THAT LIVED – by milotzi, PG, 5055 words

Characters: Aberforth Dumbledore/Kingsley Shacklebolt, Augusta Longbottom, Hannah Abbott/Neville Longbottom, Filius Flitwick/Pomona Sprout, Irma Pince/OC, Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall/Severus Snape, Poppy Pomfrey

Summary: Augusta Longbottom wants to see her grandson properly appreciated. All else follows.

Fic as song cycle. This set of vignettes combines humor and wonderful obeservations of some of my favorite characters.

A BIT OF EARTH BENEATH THE FEET – by lash_larue, PG-13, 8400 words

Characters: Minerva and Remus, various others. Snape is only mentioned in passing.

Summary: Sometimes a woman does what she feels is right, and neither asks permission nor looks back.

A marvellous portrait of friendship and of a wonderful teacher who leads a perceptive student to important decisions and realizations, and a tribute to real-life caring teachers.

YOU’RE ALWAYS WELCOME AT THE THREE BROOMSTICKS – by rayvyn2k, NC-17, 17,600 words

Characters: Severus Snape/Rosmerta

Summary:Over the years, Severus comes to depend on the safe space that Rosmerta provides.

Tender (and hot!) telling of an unexpected friendship that becomes something much more.

FILIUS FLITWICK’S CHRISTMAS – by therealsnape, PG, 13,000 words

Characters: Flius Flitwick, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Argus Filch, Cornelius Fudge, and Ron Weasley

Summary: “Right,” said Kingsley Shacklebolt, as Minerva and he sat in her study, now fully cleared of the dinner things. “There’s the five of you, there’s the House Elves, there’s Argus Filch. And there’s one hell of a mess, with a spoiled painting. This wants clearing up.”

A wonderful Hogwarts locked-room mystery with insightful characterizations and a bit of well-earned revenge. I especially love how the author has drawn a much-matured Ron, who is becoming quite a clever fellow!

SEARED WITH SCARS – by tjswhatnot, PG-13, 8,000 words

Characters: Neville/Luna, Ghost!Remus with an appearance by Draco, Snape and Teddy

Summary: Luna and Neville are having a tough time moving on from what they went through in the War when they are visited by a ghost of their past.

This is such a beautiful and painful story! It’s a thoughtful exploration of the emotional costs of war and how these wonderful characters try to deal with their scars and their anger.

I PRAY YOU, BE MERRY – by too_dle_oo, G, 3000 words

Characters: Pomona Sprout, aged 14, and others

Summary: Pomona never understood why everyone at Hogwarts was oblivious to the war going on around them.

A poignant snapshot of the war years and what it must have been like to be a girl trapped between two worlds, and a lovely story of how Pomona learned the quiet value of the world’s “nice” people.

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Hoggywarty

The Best Xmas Party of the Year

Recs

The best Xmas party of the year has started over at LiveJournal.

The HoggyWartyXmas fic and art fest has been running since 2010 and has produced some of the best Harry Potter fanfic and art around. 

The fest spotlights fanworks featuring Hogwarts staff and a few of their close friends, so it’s a real treat for those of us who enjoy reading about the grown-up characters in the Potterverse. It’s always a great mix of frivolous and serious and always has beautifully written, excellently characterized stories and creative art.

 It runs from a few days before Christmas and ends on January 9 (Snape’s birthday!)

This year’s fest has opened with two terrific fanworks:

“Slumming with Staff” is a rollickingly fun comic strip featuring Gilderoy Lockhart’s personal journal. His interactions with his fellow staff members are … memorable. (NSFW). 

“Haeligeweille” is a marvelous fic that does one of my favorite things in fandom: it visits a character that’s played largely for fun in canon and gives him a backstory that is touching, thought-provoking, and very believable.

The (thus-far) anonymous author shows us how Argus Filch became so attached to Mrs. Norris and how they came to Hogwarts together in the wake of a tragedy. The story lyrically weaves different and very complex types of magic into a haunting story that makes Argus human and paints a relationship between him and Mrs. Norris that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Squibstress’s Hierarchy of Canon Sources

Mind Droppings
Look, I made an infographic.

Harry Potter canon is a lot like the Judeo-Christian Bibles. No one really agrees what belongs in it, and people will get in the most God-awful fights over it. But, as with the various versions of the Bible, I find I’m not too fussed about any of it.

Some people are all tied up in knots wondering how to reconcile the Crimes of Grindelwald discrepancies with what went before. While I find JKR’s retconning of her own work mildly annoying, it’s her story; she can do what she likes with it. I don’t have to read/watch it if I don’t want, and I certainly don’t have to use it in my writing. I’m not going to complain too much, since she’s nice enough not to sue me for publishing free fanfic.

But since some of the things she says or writes contradict other things she’s said or written about the Potterverse, I have my own little hierarchy I try to use when I’m writing my HP fanfic. YMMV .

1. If it ain’t in the books, it ain’t canon. The seven published Harry Potter books are the final word for me. Anything that didn’t make it into one of them isn’t canon, sez I.

2. The other books (plus the play). To be honest, I haven’t paid much attention to these, but I’ll grudgingly admit that they’re canon too.

3. Pottermore. Since this information wasn’t included in the books, I consider it extra-canon. I use it or not, according to my whim.

4. The films. Since these don’t (ahem) always agree with the books, I mostly use these for stealing inspiration about settings, clothes, and sometimes character appearance.

5. Everything else. Rowling’s interviews and tweets about the Potterverse I largely ignore.

Cast photo of Crimes of Grindelwald

CoG WTF?

Mind Droppings

Warning: Here Be Spoilers!

So, The Crimes of Grindelwald.

First off, I didn’t hate it. I didn’t exactly like it, but I didn’t hate it. It seemed very much an interim story that was just setting up plot points to be explored in the future films. And much of it seemed pointless. For example, there was little reason for Jacob’s presence in Paris, much as I love the character. If the idea was to set up a reason for Queenie to join Grindelwald(!), it could have been accomplished in a much less jolting way than having her slip her poor Muggle honey-bun a love potion and making the poor guy tag along like a piece of toilet paper stuck to Newt’s shoe while the other characters do the real work of the movie.

Maybe the whys and wherefores of all the seemingly tacked-on stuff will be explained in the next films. I hope so.

Stuff Wot I Liked

1. Eddie Redmayne. He’s a terrific actor, and I love what he does with Newt. As the parent of a neurodivergent kid, I like the way Newt is coded as Autistic without making it a Big Thing. I’d love to hear the opinions of some Actually Autistic folks on Redmayne’s portrayal.

2. The CGI.

3. Jude Law. He captures the essence of how I imagine a middle-aged Dumbledore to be. (But when did he go from being a gray-suit guy to a purple-spangles guy? The wizarding 1970s must have been very different from my 1970s.)

4. The blood pact between Dumbles and Grindelwald. It helps answer the burning question of why Dumbles waited SO LONG (46 years!) to confront and defeat Grindelwald. It also nicely ties in with the theme of blood protection that was so important in the original HP books. There’s a lot to this blood magic thing, it seems. Of course, I’ve used the same theme extensively in the Epithalamium series, so I might be biased, but it made me squee.

Stuff Wot I Didn’t Like So Very Much

1. The stupid “romance” between Newt and Tina is very, very strained. And not just because there was a typo in a newspaper. (Valuable Life Lesson: editors not only save lives, they can save romances.) It didn’t work for me in the first movie, and it works even less in this one. Not every story needs a central romance, and the scenes that deal with it in CoG just bog down a movie that’s already a little long and overburdened with plot threads.

2. Too many potentially interesting characters get introduced and then, mostly, ignored. The Auror who helps Grindelwald escape, Grindelwald’s other sidekicks, Theseus… even Nagini is mostly arm candy, FFS. And just when we finally meet Leta Lestrange and get some backstory (which also felt like an oh, yeah… this happened moment), she burns up. Yes, I’m sure we’ll find out more about all of this in the coming films but shoving them all into this one just makes me feel like Dug the Dog in Up.

Dug the Dog looking at a squirrel

Squirrel!

3. The art direction. It was beautiful, it evoked the time period wonderfully, and it certainly suggested that things in the world are turning darker. But it did nothing to suggest any differences between the magical and Muggle worlds. In fact, it was difficult to tell wizards and Muggles apart. Yes, the wizards need to hide in plain sight, but JKR made so much of wizards’ inability to quite master Muggle fashion in the HP books—which was nicely done in the films, too—that it seems odd that they’re indistinguishable from Muggles here. Same for the wizarding locations in Paris, moving statue notwithstanding. It sucks a little of the magic out of the film for me.

4. Timeline fuckery. Okay, so I’m hoping that JKR didn’t just ignore the original HP timeline so she could give Albus a long-lost half-brother (more on that in a moment). Dumbledore’s parents both should have been dead before Credence was born, and I can’t quite believe that JKR would throw that fact away just to create a “holy shit!” plot twist at the very end of CoG.

On the other hand, I can’t think of a single good reason for the McGonagall cameos, unless there’s some weird kind of time-turner plot to be revealed later.

5. The aforementioned Queenie-gives-Jacob-a-love-potion-and-joins-Grindelwald thing. Unlike some folks, I don’t think it’s a terrible thing for the story, but If a character is going to go this off-the-rails, it needs a much more careful set up. As it stands, it feels very much as if the Queenie plot was inserted just to provide a reason for Tina and Jacob to show up in the next films, and I’ve already ranted about how wasted those characters seem to me. Grrr.

6. The blood pact between Dumbles and Grindelwald. (Yes, I know I just said I liked it, but bear with me.) I like the idea of it, but when, exactly, did they make this pact that prevents them from acting against one another? Because they supposedly dueled each other the day Ariana was killed, and I can’t see them getting cozy enough to make the blood pact after that.

alien head exploding

(Head exploding.)

Stuff Wot I’m Conflicted About

1. The Dumbledore-Grindelwald relationship. Yes, I would have liked them to be less coy about it, but if wizarding society was anything like Muggle society in the 1920s, it’s easy to see why Dumbledore wouldn’t admit outright to a sexual relationship with a man. But, given the relationship’s centrality to the plot, it would have been nice to see something more telling than a hand-touch in Dumbledore’s private memories and a wink-wink-nudge-nudge line about “closer than brothers.” It feels distressingly like the Fantastic Beasts franchise is trying to get brownie points for inclusion without actually including.

Dumbledore seeing Grindelwald in the Mirror of Erised

(Life-defining love? And Dumbledore in a gray suit. Nuh-uh.)

2. The Credence-Dumbledore connection. I hope that this goes in the direction that Reddit user couscous01080326 lays out: that Credence’s Obscurus was previously Ariana Dumbledore’s Obscurus, which is why both Grindelwald and Dumbledore are so desperate to get hold of him. It’s a much better motivation than just wanting to get their hands on a magical meat-weapon, given all the other weapons available to a pair of powerful wizards.

So, them’s my initial thoughts on CoG.

Anything to add?

A Slant-Told Tale Now Complete!

Shameless Self-Promotion

 

Book cover: A Slant-Told Tale

A Slant-Told Tale is now complete in 47 chapters and an epilogue.

It’s a canon-but-not-Pottermore-compliant novel of love, loss and redemption, featuring Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore, Alastor Moody and a host of canon and original characters. With a total of 65,800 reads on FFN to date, this is one of my most popular stories.

Before she was Professor McGonagall, she was Minerva Macnair. After an arranged marriage forces her into an impossible situation, Minerva does what she must to survive. When she makes a new life for herself, her secrets follow and threaten everything, including the only love she has ever found. The tale of a woman, her secrets, and how she keeps them.

  • 168,000 words
  • Minerva McGonagall/Alastor Moody; Albus Dumbledore; Original Characters
  • Mature audiences

Read It On

AO3 | FFN | Wattpad


Read an Excerpt

 

New Fic: Exotic Matter (Minerva/Severus, Hermione/Ron; R)

Fic
Book cover: Exotic Matter

The wonderful Minerva Fest has just ended and the reveals have been posted.

My contribution was a long-ish short story, “Exotic Matter.”

Title: Exotic Matter
Characters: Minerva McGonagall/Severus Snape; Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley, plus a host of other characters you’ll recognize from canon.
Summary: When Hermione is asked to update the National Dictionary of Wizarding Biography, she discovers some surprising things about her favourite professor. An angsty, nerdy time-travel romance.
Rating: R (for brief sexual content and some violent imagery)
Word count: 17,000

Excerpt:

It was going on three o’clock when she rose from her bed and removed the wards from the box that was Concealed at the top of her wardrobe. Gazing into it, she made a decision. Or rather, she acknowledged the decision she’d made the moment she looked into Harry’s blank eyes.

Three hours later, she used the privilege of her position to Floo directly to Albus’s quarters, surprising him before he’d risen from bed.

“There may be a way to save them.”

“Tell me,” he said, pulling on his dressing gown and gesturing for her to sit
He listened to her without interruption, seemingly without reaction, but she’d known him long enough to understand that the slight twitch of lips meant she’d surprised him.

When she finished her tale and showed him the item in question, he said, “Are you certain it will work properly?”

“It did forty years ago.”

He looked into her eyes, and she waited to feel the press of his Legilimency against her mind, but it didn’t come.
“You haven’t used it since?” he asked.

“Never.”

He was silent, looking at her appraisingly, and she understood that he was recalibrating her in his mind, reconciling the Minerva McGonagall he’d thought he knew with one who could make the only functioning prototype of a dangerous magical instrument and keep it a secret for decades.

“Why did you take it?”

His question surprised her. They almost never spoke of personal matters, of their whys and wherefores. That path would be too fraught with hazards neither wanted to engage.

Because I was angry, she wanted to say. Because they didn’t deal fairly with me. Because Rufus kept his bloody job, while I was tossed out without a reference. But he knew all that. He wanted to know the excuse she gave to herself, wanted to judge whether her private lie should affect his actions. He was not a scholar of time travel, but he was a man who understood that a lie could affect the fabric of reality just as surely as the tiny instrument that hung from a chain around Minerva’s neck.

Read it at AO3|Download it from Feedbooks