|caecelia_ (caecelia_) wrote,|
@ 2012-07-26 17:54:00
fic recs from hp_friendship et al.
I am not remotely caught up with hp_friendship, but every story I have had the pleasure to read has been immensely satisfying, aesthetically and emotionally and because each story expands canon in unexpected yet entirely plausible ways, making me think and dream. I wish I had even an ounce of the verbal talent that these authors share. Below you will find some of my favourites so far (many of which I have not yet had a chance to comment upon):
- Anonymous wrote Mad Dogs and Scotsmen (Alastor Moody, Emmeline Vance)
I have a fairly good guess who this author is -- a genius and master at capturing the diction and habits and sheer fucking insanity that define Alastor Moody, in any case. This Moody is so real, and so infuriating, that I found myself lifting heavy objects to throw at him. But the real show-stopper here is Emmeline Vance, whose believably fraying patience, quick instincts and sharp tongue make her more than equal to dealing with a man as difficult and paranoid and suffering as Moody. Their friendship is beautifully reflected in several ways: through the metaphor of Emmeline's poorly-maintained house, through their more-often-than-not frustrated dialogue and through Emmeline's own clever self-reflections, which to this reader hit the nail right on the head:
The problem with Moody's friends, she reflected as she stubbed out her last cigarette on the exterior wall of St. Mungo's Hospital and went inside, was that they were all old friends. That was the thing about being an Auror. It eventually got so you couldn't trust anyone you hadn't bled alongside at three o'clock in the morning. All of Moody's friends dated back to Hogwarts or the barracks, or else like her, they had come up under him when he was a senior agent in the '60s. They had been there as he slowly shuffled across the line from sharp to squirrelly, and now they were stuck with him.
- Anonymous wrote The Secret of Black Hall (Arabella Figg, Argus Filch et al).
The author, who came up with the idea to place these two -- wonderfully perceptive, capable and in their own way, truly magical -- Squibs at the centre of a period piece, is a genius. This story, a colourful and unforgettable adventure, seamlessly plays into canon while expanding on it believably and memorably. I am particularly fond of sensible young Arabella, a character about whom I quite honestly had never spared a thought for at all, whose cleverness and calm in the face of a crisis are a testament to Dumbledore's later trust in her as a caretaker for Harry.
Augusta turned to Arabella who was fingering her address label and wondering whether she could trust someone who didn't appear to know her own name.
"I'm Arabella Doreen Figg," she said.
"But she likes to be called Harry," Argus added. Arabella glared at him over 'Gussie's' enveloping handshake.
"Hello then, Harry. Are you any relation to Peter Figg, of Figg's Transformative Theory?"
"He was my great-grandfather," she admitted, and added, defiantly, "And he was Muggle-born."
- Anonymous wrote Five People Who Insisted on Being Friends with Severus Snape ... (Severus Snape et al.)
I wasn't sure what to expect when I clicked on this story, but I found myself thoroughly enjoying the brief glimpses it provides into Severus' (rather damaged) life. In particular, I enjoyed the portrayal of his friendship with Minerva -- such fun! I was smiling by the end of this quiet, well-written little story.
Severus smirked. McGonagall smiled.
"Do you think he's crying in the toilet now?" she asked.
"I should hope so." Severus eyed the full tea pot on the table. The aroma was enticing. Dumbledore's special blend, no doubt. "Tea?" he asked.
"Don't mind if I do." McGonagall pulled out one of the heavy wooden chairs, and Severus sat down across from her. "That was fun," she said. "We should frighten underachieving nitwits together more often."
Severus quirked an eyebrow. He generally preferred to work alone, yet he could not deny that teamwork had occasional merits.
- Anonymous wrote The Road to Roundabout (Dudley, Harry, Draco, Millicent, et al)
I believe this author also wrote the extraordinary And It Could Be Me, And It Could Be Thee, recced earlier in this journal. Now I will state up-front that I had some difficulty understanding many of the references (primarily made by Dudley and his countrymen), the intricacy of the details that make the prose here shine, but I will also say that once I realised that Harry and Draco were in my shoes, I settled in and truly began to enjoy this masterfully written story about Dudley having finally come into his own, about a Dudley settled and interesting, whose friendship with Harry feels real, whose bond with Harry runs deep, beyond words. These two boys grew up together, really, and it was like being struck in the face to be reminded of this, of all the potential for friendship -- and networking -- that lies between them. There are many lovely details here, details that connect one with Petunia's world of Gardening Competitions etc. and yet somehow never make this world seem ordinary, but rather even more magical. The mystery which drives much of the plot is also rather wittily done.
Even so, the time, he had felt, had not been wasted. Dud was not a bad sort, nowadays, was even a good sort, and Harry was – nowadays – always glad to see his cousin. More than that, however, it had occurred to Harry that Dud – and others of his sort: Squibs and Muggles who knew of the Wizarding world and knew, also, all there was to know of their neighbours and their own bits of country – could be a very useful resource, a network to cultivate. (Justin’s father, for example: the Old Major very much met the specifications, Harry had confided.)
From this, much was to follow.
- I should also like to reiterate my love for Cocktail Time, which I recced earlier and still love to bits.
- And, as though this post were not long enough already, I have one last rec. As it is not the sort of story I would ordinarily rec, let alone read, I feel I should preface it with a bit of explanation. Namely: I am not fond of Snily.
With very few exceptions (shyfoxling has written splendid short stories about these two, and I did like much of Ananke -- especially the bits where Lily and Severus are arguing), I usually avoid this pairing like the plague. I cannot see things working out between these two, period. Add to this the fact that the bulk of Snily involves drastic changes being made to Severus' character -- such as his suddenly finding the urge to wash his hair and fix his teeth and work out and become socially adept and reject even the slightest hint of Dark Magic -- while Lily remains some perfect angel, and my dislike turns to loathing.
At the same time, I am very interested in Lily and her relationship to Severus. This probably has to do with my fascination with Snarry and with stories that tackle the problem triangle of Lily-Severus-Harry face-on, stories such as fuschia's utterly gorgeous Playing Azkaban or perverse_idyll's unforgettable, heart-stopping The White Road. I might as well go ahead and admit that the whole point of the time-travel trope in my stupid WiP was that it enabled me to write from Lily's perspective, and that hers, aside from Severus' own, is my absolute favourite to write. So I have a bit of a Lily obsession, and once and a while (especially when thinking about continuing Elective Affinities) I will go looking for new fictional perspectives on her character.
When I discovered laventadorn's Come Once Again and Love Me (Severus/Lily)on a recommendation, I was so turned off by the title that I nearly closed the tab. However, I had been told by a reliable source that it was well-worth the read, and so decided to give it a chance. I'm glad that I did. This is not a romance, or at least not primarily a romance. As the author herself puts it:
As I neared the end of this story, I realized what I had written wasn't a so much a love story as a good-bye story setting itself up to be a love story. I started with the idea "What would happen if Severus and Lily met up after they'd died?" only to realize I was exploring what the situation meant for them. There was so much shit in their past, and to send them into the past was to need to deal with all of that; but we can only be who we are, not who we've been. To have gone beyond the point where they realized that would have taken me into a different story.