blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Happy Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] bottle_of_smoke! You've had such an incredible year, I don't think I can wish for anything more fervently than I did for you to have a head cold (we know why that was good!), but I do hope that everyone surpasses themselves in the gifts, cake and enjoyable fuss stakes on your behalf. You're a gem!

And, fanfic recs!

I am dipping in and out of [livejournal.com profile] hd_erised like a weak-willed swimmer at a cold beach. It's revoltingly hot or humid here most days, so in theory I have loads of reading time. In actuality, I have a disastrous house and garden after two months of Mr B 'doing' the housework and we still have boxes to unpack, so I am forcing myself to do things and then need brief comas to recover, so I've not made it through half as much as I ought. But I come bearing some real treats!

Firstly, my gift art! I don't know why more people don't request art, because you are likely to be on such a winning bet if you do. And I won hugely! It's a multi-page work called Fiji and it's utterly fabulous. The faces! The eyes! The hands! The story is simple: Hermione goes on holidays, so Harry is free to skive off, taking his grumpy assistant Draco with him. But the emotion that comes through the simple marks on paper is astonishing and beautiful, as is all this artist's work.

And now, fics! I think that Tea and No Sympathy was the first I managed to catch, and it was such a good start! It's long, 70K, but written in such an engaging style that it never feels as though you are labouring. Basically, Draco spells himself into a Groundhog Day style loop and becomes convinced that he needs Potter to get him out of it. I loved the fact that the author held out for a non-easy end on this one, it really paid off dramatically. A sterling blend of humour and drama, and with the most splendid little owl OC. No, trust me, Pip the Owl is totally a fully fledged (pun intended) character!

Similarly assured in its writing was House Style for Gryffindors. It's a fifth the length of Tea and No Sympathy, so if you're pushed for time, start here. Draco works on a wizarding version of the Tatler, along with half his schoolmates, including Hermione Granger. When editor Pansy hires Harry Potter for sports and general buffness, Draco takes refuge first in prossecco, then in refuge, and finally in denial. None of these work. It's the best kind of silliness, loaded with light, sparklng wit, but with a few moments that make you pause and say 'Oh …'

And I do have more, but my left hand is still meh, so I'll come back later. Have a marvellous New Year, you lot!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Blessed be the cool change: 20 degrees C cooler today. Madness. Apparently, it might snow down Hobart way. Dear Planet, I know we are a dreadful species, but stop fucking with us!

Anyway, more recs from hd_holidays!

…And With Persons Even Worse, for [livejournal.com profile] novembersnow, 14,560 words. Someone is killing rentboys in Lower Knockturn Alley, you've already guessed the Auror sent in undercover to sort it. I'm not a fan of the rentboy trope, in much the same way I'm not that tall or blonde. In 5.5 years in fandom, this is exactly the second rentboy fic I have read that did not make me want to go 'ARGH!' and 'HOW? WHY?' at the author. Instead, I found myself reading avidly and enjoying it.

Cynics among you will say that could be because it is PG. I have to admit, that did help, because it kept the story focussed on the people and not the sex, and story is ALWAYS better focussed on people (if you don't believe me, I invite you to Google Bad Sex Awards and read up!) But this would under-value the tightness of the mystery and the compelling 'family' working the streets together, some of them unexpected and intriguing! And the ending was hopeful and as right as Baby Bear's porridge.

He closed his eyes. "Fun was it? Seeing how low the mighty Malfoy has fallen? Watching me flaunt my arse every night?"

"Not really."

Draco turned his head. Potter had that horribly earnest expression his face. The one that had always made Draco want to hex it off when they were in school. Not now though. Now he just wanted to believe it was real. That Potter's utter inability to give up, to do what any wizard with half a brain would do and walk away when faced with the impossible, would get Draco what he wanted this time. Would catch this murderer

The Shoemaker and the Elves, for [livejournal.com profile] hdwriter, 14,500 words. Draco makes shoes, usually. Until one morning, it turns out shoes also make themselves. This is a lighter story than the others I've recced, so if you're in the need of just a quick read or a pick-me-up, this is the one. Sweet and charming, though with some darker touches as befit its Grimm fairy tale origins, it's a very neatly wrought twist on the original. Draco feeling obliged to be honest about all the details was a particularly fun piece of characterisation, which fit in very well with the author's sense of where they would all be several years after the war.

Oh FFS, LJ just ate two more recs, which is clearly a sign that I have to go to bed!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
OK, let's see if I can type like the wind! Just a short rec list today because I did my first spin class of the year and Am Knackered. I didn't even take the break off gym! But the first week of the year is always full of instructors assuming you've eaten All The Pie, as they did ;-) Again, the following recs are all from this year's HD Holidays, and I am not reading in order, so they're a bit all over the place.

Hints are for Schoolboys for ME! HURRAH! There is another St Paul's in London, which was built out of one man's vanity and another's genius. It's nestled in one of the busier parts of the city, where tourists mingle and people do strange things, including tightrope walking. Really! So with everyone busy with their own things, it's the perfect place for an unobserved kiss.

The artist is about as anonymous as I am tall. And she fooled me AGAIN. There is a long story there, which I will share after reveals. Suffice to say that this is a perfect slice of London rendered in watercolour and you will LOVE it.

Quietus  for [livejournal.com profile] frayach is a very tightly composed 17,600 words. Straight after the final battle, Draco realises that he wants to do something to make it all seem worthwhile. He asks Harry Potter if there's something he can do to help, and Harry rebuffs him – while he hopes Malfoy is sincere, he's too exhausted to think about it right now. But the Order of the Phoenix still exists, and Draco is perfectly positioned to draw out escaped Death Eaters.

His handler Charlie Weasley disguises him as Malcolm, a distant Weasley cousin (home-schooled) and stows him in a safe house. One shared by another Order member. You will win no prizes for guessing his name. And so each has a chance to get to know the other, and to right past wrongs.

This is another compassionate story, where mistakes are not overlooked, but they can be moved past, and you can learn from them and not make them again. There are some wonderful ideas in here that I cannot tell you about because they would be too spoilery, but let me just say that it is a lovely piece of plot-driven gentle romance, with a genuine intelligence.

And there are lots of lovely passages in this piece, too. A non-spoilery bit from the beginning: 'He grew dimly aware of the noise and activity rising around them as the survivors' shock wore off and the process of recovery began—bodies removed, tables replaced, knots of students (and adults, even) passing a somewhat dazed-looking Potter from hand to hand like a Quaffle. The Hall began to fill with daylight, bright and relentless, as though this were just any ordinary morning—as though the world hadn't upended itself in the light of dawn.'

Like in a Dream  for omi_ohmy, just over 18,000 words. I need to do a load of washing before I can sleep, so I am just going to edit my comment for this one. Harry has been plagued with bad dreams since the War and has used lucid dreaming techniques to manage them. Into one of his dreams blunders Draco Malfoy, lost in the dreamscape and cut off from his body, a body that he can't even direct Harry to. Unless he can be found and made whole, he's doomed.

I loved the many layers of care that make up this story. It's a generous and gentle story out of two people's hurt that uses such richly evocative language that it was easy to get lost in the dream world and start seeing it as the real one. I loved that the writer then snapped us back into the 'reality' of the story with Harry's Aurorly investigation of Draco's, er, Separation full of economical language and appropriately mocking sidekicks. The reality of Harry and Draco's past creeps into their idyll in the dreamworld, bringing laughter and learning, and even understanding.

It's much pornier than most fics I read, there were a few scenes I had to read with my eyes shut, but I really enjoyed the cleverness of this fic, and it's tremendously romantic, a perfect Sunday afternoon fic!

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Before we get to the matter of this post, Vale Tony Greig, and WOO! Sir Wiggo!

Now. The age of miracles is not past: I have NOTHING to write that must be written right now. Admittedly I have loads that I ought to be cracking on with, but in the spirit of the holidays, I am reading fanfic instead. Hurrah! And so, some recs from the current hd_holidays. Where I have so far managed to read about 7% of posts … Oh well. Still, recs!

Take a Chance, Make a Change for [livejournal.com profile] stellamoon is just under 24,000 words of Harry the sore-backed Healer and Draco Malfoy, real estate agent trying to find Potter a house big enough to fit a comfortable bed. That they might both have designs on what goes on in that bed would surely have been easier to notice if Harry wasn't so exhausted and Draco so shy.

The author has a real lightness and surety of touch that made this a swift and enjoyable read. Friends and work situations are deftly drawn and although there is a comfortable familiarity about many of the settings, there are also moments of delicious originality, my favourite being:
"He was, however, a fan of the crisp notes bearing their Queen's head. Draco currently had a handful of them tucked neatly inside his wallet, much lighter than a pouch full of coins. In fact, so strong was his approval that he had been lobbying both Gringotts and the Ministry for quite some time for Galleon notes at the very least. If for no other reason than the fact a pocketful of weighty coins did nothing for the line of a good suit."

Department of Mysteries for [livejournal.com profile] marianna_merlo is a beautiful series of art panels with text. I was lucky enough to beta this piece, and it was a joy! From the opening images of a coolly interested Draco and a wary Harry, it's a compelling ride along with the two of them as they attempt to sort out things that have gone very wrong in the Department of Mysteries. The original material on the Ministry and magic is utterly convincing, and very clever, sketched out with shirt prose pieces that link the images. But it's the images that will stay with you: I am tempted to say boots! and patronuses! but then I would have to say longing! despair! kindness! action! and it would all come down to They're All My Favourites, as it may well for you.

Here's the Pencil, Make it Work for [livejournal.com profile] fireflavored sits at just-under 50,000 words, but the writing is so smooth and assured that it feels like nowhere near this length. To say that this is the most competently written story on my list sounds as though I am damning with faint praise in this age of arch commentary, but I mean that at face value: there is a lilt and flow to every aspect of this story that comes with skill on the part of the author.

The story itself is simple enough: Harry is worn out from the expectations of the media and has taken to prowling Muggle London, er, which is to say, walking around to familiarise himself with Muggle London. When he one day enters a new coffee shop, it comes as a great surprise to find Draco Malfoy behind the counter:
"Malfoy is working. He is wearing a nametag and a smock. He is counting muggle money and making various drinks with practised ease, and chatting to his obviously muggle co-worker like they do it all the time. He is flirting with the customers, most prominently with the old lady who comes in shortly after Harry sits down. He is humming along and even dancing a bit to the muggle music on the radio, swaying and mouthing the words as he pumps flavoured syrup into someone's latte like a normal, chipper fucking person.

What the fuck."

I will confess that I had my old pouf issues with the word smock, which means something very different for me, however, this added to the comedy on several occasions. Let us not speak of flavoured coffee: you people who would defend it know that you secretly want a milkshake. Philistines! And don't tell me it's popular: 50 Shades of Grey!

Back to the story, the central relationship is rounded out by a marvellous cast of canon and OC friends, who enrich our view of events and characters, with real depth and humanity. It's the perfect story for a bitterly cold or oppressively hot December or January day, when you just want to settle in.

Heart Music for [livejournal.com profile] icmezzo is a short piece of animation where Harry the Healer (clearly the new black) can hear music that no-one else can as he wanders around the children's wards of St Mungo's. Lovely soft watercolours that remind me of the colours of [livejournal.com profile] leochi, though with more (yet tasteful!) nudity at the end. It's a very pretty, gentle piece, with the scene of Harry and Luna in the garden and – I know you will be shocked to hear this – the nudes at the end the two standout images for me.

Manticoria for [livejournal.com profile] ashiiblack will probably be the longest fic of the fest at 70,000 words, but it's worth the effort. I know that traditionally one is meant to say only lovely things about fest fics, so you can call me honest, a rebel or a bitch when I say that this is a flawed fic. I have to say that upfront, because you will notice things as soon as you start to read that might make you stop, and that would be a tremendous shame, because its flaws don't matter half as much as its successes, and indeed, some add to them. Set after the war, there is no time to rest because the wards that protect wizarding Britain from Muggle view are falling. With the New Ministry at a loss, the students whose seventh year was interrupted by the war are called back to Hogwarts and divided into teams then set to work on parts of the problem in a bid to see if they can solve the problem that has defeated the older generation. Because it worked last time …

The level of imaginative effort that has gone into this story is immense and sustained. Much of it is anchored in original ideas of wandlore that are complex and compelling. Harry has had dreams ever since he won Draco's wand, and he is not alone. But personal feelings must be pushed aside as they battle against seemingly insurmountable difficulties and an increasingly desperate deadline. There is a broad cast brought in to play here and all move in and out of the action as characters rather than as plot devices – in itself a great achievement – as the impossibility of succeeding in time becomes more apparent and more terrifying.

As to the flaws, most are byproducts of trying to write a big story in a small period of time: literal errors, shifts in the scope of some parts of the story, sections that could do with expansion or added clarity – especially the politics … Some are a matter of taste: having the Celtic pantheon suddenly invoked at every turn irritated me hugely, but that's probably because I spent too much of my childhood on communes listening to women named Storm telling me how you had to wait for the Elder tree to give you its wood for a wand and then being sent off to gather herbs for their 'spells' while they made cow eyes at my father. That I kept reading regardless is a testimony to the main parts of the story being strong and vital.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I watched the most magnificent episode of Top Gear tonight. Be aware that SBS (a free government channel affectionately and accurately known as Sex Before Soccer here) screens episodes quite some time after they are screened in the UK. I think their theory is that since no one can afford a Bugatti Veyron, it doesn't really matter when we see it on the track.

Now, to the AS/S Fest.

When sign-ups were happening, the mods were horribly cruel and asked that we include an age listing. Reading through I realised that I am the equivalent of 140 years old. But I thought it would be fun, and so threw my hat into the ring. It actually was fun, and the mods were relaxed and supportive (which is, of course, shorthand for understood when I needed an extension (to be fair to me, my original recipient dropped out.))

I am miles behind at reading, and feeling very guilty about it. But I have been reading some meta about the fest and the characters, which has me thinking. There have been some folk rabbiting on about how Scorpius or Albus is X or Y, and never, ever A or B. I dispute their canonical basis for these assertions. A hair colour and first-day nerves do not equal a character study.

[personal profile] wemyss has written persuasively that it is not lazy to look to the canon characters to give us guides for writing and reading these next-gen characters, since most of us are heavily influenced by our parents and other relatives (read it here), which I find an interesting position.

Others have said that they find the characters utterly uninteresting, or the writing on them too young. To which I say "Look, modesty forbids me suggesting you should read or like my story, but for the love of tiny bunnies, people, [profile] sansa1970's Man's Dwelling Place is anything but immature!"  (Read it here if you are not on her flist)

ETA And, due to being hit in the head with one too many moving vehicles, I completely forgot about [profile] mistful's Coda to an Epilogue, which is another very convincing reason as to why next-gen can be fascinating. (Is it just me who sees a lot of Flora Segunda in Scorpius's mum? That's FS the novel, not the character.) End edit.

Of course, that said, a lot of the writing on next gen characters is very young. But there's some surprisingly good stuff in this fest. And if young writers are supported and encouraged, they go on to become older writers, and produce a great deal of good reading along the way. So, for purely selfish reasons, you should stop by and take a peek. Try these for starters:

A Wizard's Guide to Pocket Dwelling is a story I should never have liked, filled as it is with angst, self-destruction and a spot more angst, but it's great. The writing is assured and focussed, and the tightly constructed story never flags. Albus Potter is spiralling downwards since his father died, and he's not the only one. His best friend is feeling fairly low and reptilian himself. The only thing keeping either of them going is the relationship between them, and it's as fucked-up as they are.

Through Harry's Eyes is similar to Pocket in that it has an unusual voice, but otherwise it is a different kettle of fish: it's AS/S told through a very close Harry POV, with confusion aplenty. Sweet, funny and just a teeny bit fluffy, this is a gentle and well-written tale that shines an unusual light on the concept of future!Potter.

The Rules of Malfoy Manor
received quite a few recs a few weeks ago, but it's worth mentioning for those who missed it. Light, bright and short, this is an hilarious little romp through the changing rules that govern life with the Malfoys in the post-War years.

What about you? Any AS/S you'd like to shake?
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I watched the most magnificent episode of Top Gear tonight. Be aware that SBS (a free government channel affectionately and accurately known as Sex Before Soccer here) screens episodes quite some time after they are screened in the UK. I think their theory is that since no one can afford a Bugatti Veyron, it doesn't really matter when we see it on the track.

Now, to the AS/S Fest.

When sign-ups were happening, the mods were horribly cruel and asked that we include an age listing. Reading through I realised that I am the equivalent of 140 years old. But I thought it would be fun, and so threw my hat into the ring. It actually was fun, and the mods were relaxed and supportive (which is, of course, shorthand for understood when I needed an extension (to be fair to me, my original recipient dropped out.))

I am miles behind at reading, and feeling very guilty about it. But I have been reading some meta about the fest and the characters, which has me thinking. There have been some folk rabbiting on about how Scorpius or Albus is X or Y, and never, ever A or B. I dispute their canonical basis for these assertions. A hair colour and first-day nerves do not equal a character study.

[personal profile] wemyss has written persuasively that it is not lazy to look to the canon characters to give us guides for writing and reading these next-gen characters, since most of us are heavily influenced by our parents and other relatives (read it here), which I find an interesting position.

Others have said that they find the characters utterly uninteresting, or the writing on them too young. To which I say "Look, modesty forbids me suggesting you should read or like my story, but for the love of tiny bunnies, people, [profile] sansa1970's Man's Dwelling Place is anything but immature!"  (Read it here if you are not on her flist)

ETA And, due to being hit in the head with one too many moving vehicles, I completely forgot about [profile] mistful's Coda to an Epilogue, which is another very convincing reason as to why next-gen can be fascinating. (Is it just me who sees a lot of Flora Segunda in Scorpius's mum? That's FS the novel, not the character.) End edit.

Of course, that said, a lot of the writing on next gen characters is very young. But there's some surprisingly good stuff in this fest. And if young writers are supported and encouraged, they go on to become older writers, and produce a great deal of good reading along the way. So, for purely selfish reasons, you should stop by and take a peek. Try these for starters:

A Wizard's Guide to Pocket Dwelling is a story I should never have liked, filled as it is with angst, self-destruction and a spot more angst, but it's great. The writing is assured and focussed, and the tightly constructed story never flags. Albus Potter is spiralling downwards since his father died, and he's not the only one. His best friend is feeling fairly low and reptilian himself. The only thing keeping either of them going is the relationship between them, and it's as fucked-up as they are.

Through Harry's Eyes is similar to Pocket in that it has an unusual voice, but otherwise it is a different kettle of fish: it's AS/S told through a very close Harry POV, with confusion aplenty. Sweet, funny and just a teeny bit fluffy, this is a gentle and well-written tale that shines an unusual light on the concept of future!Potter.

The Rules of Malfoy Manor
received quite a few recs a few weeks ago, but it's worth mentioning for those who missed it. Light, bright and short, this is an hilarious little romp through the changing rules that govern life with the Malfoys in the post-War years.

What about you? Any AS/S you'd like to shake?
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
And now it's my turn to rec like the Spanish Armada! Small caveat to say that I have read about one eighth of the hd_holidays fics that have come into my To Be Read folder through the fest season. And I am going to start with some I feel missed out on a bit of love for one reason or another and get to the universally adored ones at the end.

Powerful Men is only under-commented on because it was posted so late in the piece. Set post-Voldemort's victory, in a world where Muggle-borns and half bloods are pushed into an Unspeakable caste, it is told in the voice of a recovering addict who watched for years as Harry, favourite rent boy of the Minister, waged his quiet and ultimately victorious war. I loved this for several reasons: partly because of the unreliable narrator who conflates sex and politics so readily; partly because of the snippets of Harry's war that we are able to glimpse, and largely for the over-arching sense of *cost* that the author conveys, how much they are willing to pay to win. (Everything. They're willing to pay everything. And do.)

This story spoke to every dark place in me, the places that spent the 80s planning for inevitable holocaust, where we planned for what to do if the bomb dropped, and had actual lists of where to meet up if the Tube station was blown up by the more local threats. Even if Thatcherism never happened to you, the scream of a society turned on its axis rings through so much of this story. As you can guess, I loved it.


On Mid-Winters Day
starts with Harry breaking the news of Ginny's betrayal to her startled but supportive mother. Needing a break, he follows some good advice and goes to work at Hogwarts on Sabbatical. There he is chagrined to discover the identity of the other new teacher, but is determined to put their past enmity behind them. The writer weaves a strong and well-paced school fic for the first part where old friendships are resumed and new ones begin to be built, before a shift in pace as news of a developing environmental disaster reaches Hogwarts. Two teachers are selected to perform the rites that will restore balance, and a no-longer young H&D set about understanding the parts they will play in a more ancient ritual than their own traditional bickering.  It's a gentle, leisurely fic for much of its 14,000-odd words, but one that exists in a real world of connecting humanity, with lives and jobs and responsibilities. The author's assuredness with all of the side characters was one of the great joys for me, including her original next-gennage (Byronic Hugo is a great joy!), but the focus always comes back to Harry and Draco and the conclusion is just fabulous

I do know who wrote OMWD, but I forget that  each time I start to read it; like a Russell Hoban novel the characters just take over and make the reader walk with them for a little while, without beating you over the head with any sort of conceit, just gentle humour and authentic characterisation. Go take the walk! This is a fic of solace and happiness and hope.

Kings Among Runaways begins days after the Battle of Hogwarts with Draco and Narcissa burning the defiled contents of their home. A sequence of moments then tracks the trio and young Master Malfoy through their first, sometimes tentative, steps on the way to moving on with their lives. The structure of this fic means that it is open and dream-like in many ways, but for me it was akin to looking back to those very hard periods in life and seeing clearly in retrospect the steps that defined you through and after them.

This was more difficult for me to reach into from a reader's perspective than the previous two, and yet it offers so many readings that once I was there, I found myself finding more and more within it. The trio touches were my favourite parts, but Draco is lovely here.



Others I loved (and so did everyone else, apparently):
101 Ways to Heal Your Wizarding Woes (Or, an Unfortunate Incident with a Traffic Cone and a Policeman’s Helmet)
, a smart, laugh-out-loud funny fic, generous to all its characters and inventive with a well-worn scenario. Draco turns to a self-help book to overcome the war, one thing leads to another, and a lot of alcohol, and soon their friends are 'helping'.

Unrequited, this is art to rend the heart.

Ferrets in Pipe Dreams is the mini graphic novel of my dreams, part Miyazaki, part Alison Bechdel, script with influences from Martin Millar. NB, I have no idea if the artist knows or likes any of the above (well, presumably Miyazaki ...), but they'd like this artist! Harry and Draco are caught while Auroring about. Only one way out, cf the title ...

These Nineteen Years: a short sequence of panels with a few slight words evokes a life of passion, betrayal, desire and love, however turned from the easy openness promised in the first images.

The Price we Pay for Wings has been recced by everyone. That's because it is amazing. This writer really loves her characters. It shows. "And, of course, as if Albus’s eyes could ever let him forget, there had been that graceful quiet gentle boy." destroyed me. I don't think
 I have loved any art so painfully since Wings of Desire, which this reminded me so strongly of.


More later, but first to catch up on the reading!! And to see darling K before she flees to San Francisco for years!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
And now it's my turn to rec like the Spanish Armada! Small caveat to say that I have read about one eighth of the hd_holidays fics that have come into my To Be Read folder through the fest season. And I am going to start with some I feel missed out on a bit of love for one reason or another and get to the universally adored ones at the end.

Powerful Men is only under-commented on because it was posted so late in the piece. Set post-Voldemort's victory, in a world where Muggle-borns and half bloods are pushed into an Unspeakable caste, it is told in the voice of a recovering addict who watched for years as Harry, favourite rent boy of the Minister, waged his quiet and ultimately victorious war. I loved this for several reasons: partly because of the unreliable narrator who conflates sex and politics so readily; partly because of the snippets of Harry's war that we are able to glimpse, and largely for the over-arching sense of *cost* that the author conveys, how much they are willing to pay to win. (Everything. They're willing to pay everything. And do.)

This story spoke to every dark place in me, the places that spent the 80s planning for inevitable holocaust, where we planned for what to do if the bomb dropped, and had actual lists of where to meet up if the Tube station was blown up by the more local threats. Even if Thatcherism never happened to you, the scream of a society turned on its axis rings through so much of this story. As you can guess, I loved it.


On Mid-Winters Day
starts with Harry breaking the news of Ginny's betrayal to her startled but supportive mother. Needing a break, he follows some good advice and goes to work at Hogwarts on Sabbatical. There he is chagrined to discover the identity of the other new teacher, but is determined to put their past enmity behind them. The writer weaves a strong and well-paced school fic for the first part where old friendships are resumed and new ones begin to be built, before a shift in pace as news of a developing environmental disaster reaches Hogwarts. Two teachers are selected to perform the rites that will restore balance, and a no-longer young H&D set about understanding the parts they will play in a more ancient ritual than their own traditional bickering.  It's a gentle, leisurely fic for much of its 14,000-odd words, but one that exists in a real world of connecting humanity, with lives and jobs and responsibilities. The author's assuredness with all of the side characters was one of the great joys for me, including her original next-gennage (Byronic Hugo is a great joy!), but the focus always comes back to Harry and Draco and the conclusion is just fabulous

I do know who wrote OMWD, but I forget that  each time I start to read it; like a Russell Hoban novel the characters just take over and make the reader walk with them for a little while, without beating you over the head with any sort of conceit, just gentle humour and authentic characterisation. Go take the walk! This is a fic of solace and happiness and hope.

Kings Among Runaways begins days after the Battle of Hogwarts with Draco and Narcissa burning the defiled contents of their home. A sequence of moments then tracks the trio and young Master Malfoy through their first, sometimes tentative, steps on the way to moving on with their lives. The structure of this fic means that it is open and dream-like in many ways, but for me it was akin to looking back to those very hard periods in life and seeing clearly in retrospect the steps that defined you through and after them.

This was more difficult for me to reach into from a reader's perspective than the previous two, and yet it offers so many readings that once I was there, I found myself finding more and more within it. The trio touches were my favourite parts, but Draco is lovely here.



Others I loved (and so did everyone else, apparently):
101 Ways to Heal Your Wizarding Woes (Or, an Unfortunate Incident with a Traffic Cone and a Policeman’s Helmet)
, a smart, laugh-out-loud funny fic, generous to all its characters and inventive with a well-worn scenario. Draco turns to a self-help book to overcome the war, one thing leads to another, and a lot of alcohol, and soon their friends are 'helping'.

Unrequited, this is art to rend the heart.

Ferrets in Pipe Dreams is the mini graphic novel of my dreams, part Miyazaki, part Alison Bechdel, script with influences from Martin Millar. NB, I have no idea if the artist knows or likes any of the above (well, presumably Miyazaki ...), but they'd like this artist! Harry and Draco are caught while Auroring about. Only one way out, cf the title ...

These Nineteen Years: a short sequence of panels with a few slight words evokes a life of passion, betrayal, desire and love, however turned from the easy openness promised in the first images.

The Price we Pay for Wings has been recced by everyone. That's because it is amazing. This writer really loves her characters. It shows. "And, of course, as if Albus’s eyes could ever let him forget, there had been that graceful quiet gentle boy." destroyed me. I don't think
 I have loved any art so painfully since Wings of Desire, which this reminded me so strongly of.


More later, but first to catch up on the reading!! And to see darling K before she flees to San Francisco for years!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I always liked the White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I thought he was funny, running about constantly, buffeted by the fates and tardiness. No one mentioned that he was just representative of adult life ... 

This month has been a bad one for many. For me it has been medium-sized grievances that I will deal with. But others on my flist are having serious problems that are hard. And I only know a few of you well enough to know what to say. For the others I feel deep sympathy, and wish I could do something useful. In the absence of a huge fund of money to fix problems that can be fixed with cash or buy presents/hoidatys for those whose problems can't, I come bearing fic recs. Because escapes for a short while can help, too.

Corridors of Power, by [profile] byblythe was recommended to me by [personal profile] anthimaeria. I think. Since, as you may have noticed, I have the memory of a slightly vague stoat*, I could be wrong (again. I previously thought that [personal profile] jadzialove had recced it.) ETA: It WAS anthimaeria! I thank her a great deal as it was a very great joy. The Ministry decides that it needs stronger connections within the Muggle bastions of power. Who better to send than two of its most charismatic young wizards? That's right: Harry and Draco in Westminster.

Depicting Harry as a hardworking MP and Draco embracing the most decadent traditions of the Lords, this boded well from the first paragraphs. (My first laugh came from Harry's party affiliation: Liberal Democrat.) With a keen eye for procedure and a finely honed sense of voice, Blythe's style is perfect for this tale of young wizards in power. For any reader who has ever thought the Potterverse needed a good dose of FU or Humphrey Appleby, here is the perfect answer. And for those to whom the last sentence read as Ancient Greek trigonometry, Blythe tells a story wherein our two heroes cross swords in debates and PR challenges, stay awake through Question Time and leave off their growing longing for some more solid engagement in time to respond to division bells. Over 10 medium-length chapters plus an epilogue.

Blythe's greatest genius lies in her easy mastery of details (often explained for Americans in hilarious footnotes). She is also a dab hand with the smouldering and her Epilogue of Great Sauciness was a wonderful ending (mmmm, cycle lanes!) My favourite part of all will be immediately apparent to any Spectator readers, and when you consider there's also a brief Red Ken mention (I do love him so), it's no wonder that I can't stop raving about this one.

Intangible by [personal profile] ladybracknell is a completely unexpected joy. She gives a meeting of minds between Sirius and Lily, who comfort each other while James rages over personal  issues. Like the relationship that builds between the two of them, this fc takes a premise that should be illicit and makes it seem very right, even loving. What she writes most beautifully is the deep love that both Sirius and Lily have for James, even when slapping him would be a more intelligent solution. It's a shortish piece, 4228 words, but it resonates long after it ends. And for all there there is drama and sex, at heart, it's really about the important parts of friendship.

Welcome to the Broom Closet by [profile] janicechess is one of two gay club fics I've loved in recent weeks. This may be because our local one is shut and I am missing the colour and movement ... Over two centuries ago Herbert was stabbed at the doors of his home after being interrupted with his gay lover on the street. After holding her dying son in her arms, his mother dedicates her home's future to protecting young men like him. Which is why nearly 21-year-old Harry Potter finds himself talking to the ghost of Herbert as he makes his first ever visit to a gay club, having been lured by a very persuasive advert. No prizes for guessing who he encounters there, but a series of casual encounters shifts over time. Beyond H/D, janicechess really excels with her side characters, from a smart and genuine Ginny, Ron and Hermione to the delight that is Herbert. Witty one liners and a warm and humane sensibility abound -- the perfect fic for a day when you need a spot of uplifting.

And finally, thanks to a certain beta, I have read Snarry, and now I have listened to one of my favourite writers and read some more. The Snarry_holidays exchange came to my attention through [profile] sansa1970's recommendations and I couldn't agree with her more. Whispers, the other club fic for this month, is a highly original approach which plays with ideas of identity in very smart ways. Persona non Grata is a similarly smartly written story built around Harry's determination to protect Snape from himself -- and hordes of apparently scheming shopkeepers. Naturally, all is not as it appears. Both are well away from the power disparty of teacher/student relationships that stopped me from reading this ship when I first met fandom. Both are also funny and smart, well-written stories!

I don't expect life to sort itself out for another month at least, so please excuse the relative quietness. But I am still writing, just not quickly! I hope that those with more serious things weighing them down have a far faster improvement in their circumstances.


* Just a side note here, I actually DO have a wretched memory. One too many hits to the head with moving vehicles. (And yes, I have given up commuter cycling, cheers. But may move back to London if BoJo wins and further clubs the cars.) Never take it personally if I vague out at you; it's always my fault.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I always liked the White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I thought he was funny, running about constantly, buffeted by the fates and tardiness. No one mentioned that he was just representative of adult life ... 

This month has been a bad one for many. For me it has been medium-sized grievances that I will deal with. But others on my flist are having serious problems that are hard. And I only know a few of you well enough to know what to say. For the others I feel deep sympathy, and wish I could do something useful. In the absence of a huge fund of money to fix problems that can be fixed with cash or buy presents/hoidatys for those whose problems can't, I come bearing fic recs. Because escapes for a short while can help, too.

Corridors of Power, by [profile] byblythe was recommended to me by [personal profile] anthimaeria. I think. Since, as you may have noticed, I have the memory of a slightly vague stoat*, I could be wrong (again. I previously thought that [personal profile] jadzialove had recced it.) ETA: It WAS anthimaeria! I thank her a great deal as it was a very great joy. The Ministry decides that it needs stronger connections within the Muggle bastions of power. Who better to send than two of its most charismatic young wizards? That's right: Harry and Draco in Westminster.

Depicting Harry as a hardworking MP and Draco embracing the most decadent traditions of the Lords, this boded well from the first paragraphs. (My first laugh came from Harry's party affiliation: Liberal Democrat.) With a keen eye for procedure and a finely honed sense of voice, Blythe's style is perfect for this tale of young wizards in power. For any reader who has ever thought the Potterverse needed a good dose of FU or Humphrey Appleby, here is the perfect answer. And for those to whom the last sentence read as Ancient Greek trigonometry, Blythe tells a story wherein our two heroes cross swords in debates and PR challenges, stay awake through Question Time and leave off their growing longing for some more solid engagement in time to respond to division bells. Over 10 medium-length chapters plus an epilogue.

Blythe's greatest genius lies in her easy mastery of details (often explained for Americans in hilarious footnotes). She is also a dab hand with the smouldering and her Epilogue of Great Sauciness was a wonderful ending (mmmm, cycle lanes!) My favourite part of all will be immediately apparent to any Spectator readers, and when you consider there's also a brief Red Ken mention (I do love him so), it's no wonder that I can't stop raving about this one.

Intangible by [personal profile] ladybracknell is a completely unexpected joy. She gives a meeting of minds between Sirius and Lily, who comfort each other while James rages over personal  issues. Like the relationship that builds between the two of them, this fc takes a premise that should be illicit and makes it seem very right, even loving. What she writes most beautifully is the deep love that both Sirius and Lily have for James, even when slapping him would be a more intelligent solution. It's a shortish piece, 4228 words, but it resonates long after it ends. And for all there there is drama and sex, at heart, it's really about the important parts of friendship.

Welcome to the Broom Closet by [profile] janicechess is one of two gay club fics I've loved in recent weeks. This may be because our local one is shut and I am missing the colour and movement ... Over two centuries ago Herbert was stabbed at the doors of his home after being interrupted with his gay lover on the street. After holding her dying son in her arms, his mother dedicates her home's future to protecting young men like him. Which is why nearly 21-year-old Harry Potter finds himself talking to the ghost of Herbert as he makes his first ever visit to a gay club, having been lured by a very persuasive advert. No prizes for guessing who he encounters there, but a series of casual encounters shifts over time. Beyond H/D, janicechess really excels with her side characters, from a smart and genuine Ginny, Ron and Hermione to the delight that is Herbert. Witty one liners and a warm and humane sensibility abound -- the perfect fic for a day when you need a spot of uplifting.

And finally, thanks to a certain beta, I have read Snarry, and now I have listened to one of my favourite writers and read some more. The Snarry_holidays exchange came to my attention through [profile] sansa1970's recommendations and I couldn't agree with her more. Whispers, the other club fic for this month, is a highly original approach which plays with ideas of identity in very smart ways. Persona non Grata is a similarly smartly written story built around Harry's determination to protect Snape from himself -- and hordes of apparently scheming shopkeepers. Naturally, all is not as it appears. Both are well away from the power disparty of teacher/student relationships that stopped me from reading this ship when I first met fandom. Both are also funny and smart, well-written stories!

I don't expect life to sort itself out for another month at least, so please excuse the relative quietness. But I am still writing, just not quickly! I hope that those with more serious things weighing them down have a far faster improvement in their circumstances.


* Just a side note here, I actually DO have a wretched memory. One too many hits to the head with moving vehicles. (And yes, I have given up commuter cycling, cheers. But may move back to London if BoJo wins and further clubs the cars.) Never take it personally if I vague out at you; it's always my fault.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Time out again. Because I need to think of a good name for an ex- Snatcher and all I keep coming up with is ex-boyfriend names. Which is not to say that it wouldn't fit for some of them ... But, on a happier note --

West of Never Again
by [personal profile] furiosity [profile] , H/D, NC17, 5000 words
I am so jealous of [personal profile] furiosity 's ability to capture a whole portrait of two lives in these apparently lightly sketched scenes. Her story begins in the first years after the war, with Harry focussing on his career until a chance encounter at a party turns his world upside down. While the premise may be straight out of everybody's life at some point between the ages of 15 and 30, her treatment of it captures perfectly that strange moment of calm when you realise that you are not afraid, that the arms you are in are the right arms -- and then the waves of self-inflicted doubt and horror that can come crashing in upon that moment the minute we listen to our demons. Her Harry and Draco grow up to be epilogue compliant, and yet still achieve a point of grace in their relationship, with an ending that is poignant, beautiful and hopeful. If you've ever seen one of Leonardo's cartoons, where hastily sketched lines and smudges of white chalk create a whole bloody world: this is the textual equivalent.

Implausible, Irrational, Preposterous, Peculiar and Just Plain Luna by [profile] thetreacletart was recced by someone on a friend's friends list, and I idiotically forgot to bookmark that rec, because I keep trying and failing to function on about four hours sleep a night, despite knowing it doesn't work, so please feel free to let me know who it was! Now, a listing of Snape/Luna would normally have me looking very askance, although I was reassured by the PG13, but the glowing praise from the original reccer sold me. And that person was right! Luna Lovegood decides that Severus Snape needs rescuing, and since she is now a young woman of immense brightness in every way, she sets about doing it as no one else could or would. Under her guidance he confronts the horrors of his life, and finds forgiveness from outside and inside. It's whimsical, it's fey, it's hilarious in parts and it's a delight, a true fairystory of the Potterverse, that ends, as all good fairystories should with both characters changed and stronger.

Finally, Persistence of Memory, Hermione Granger and her Mum by [profile] rose_whispers fills in the missing story of the Granger women. I recognise that this is two non H/D recs in a row, and point those who need their dose of boy on boy action to the first in this list, which is cheerfully delightful. However, for good writing, for clever interpretations of clues from canon and for insight into the characters that are left behind by JKR's tight focus, this is one hell of a good read. Beginning with Monica Wilkins walking in Queensland, it flashes back through the life she had with her daughter when she was Susan Granger, and the ways in which they have both worked to keep each other whole. The two stories run in balanced parallel until a well-wrought ending brings a satisfying close. Because a family can be a love story, too.

OK, that's enough procrastinating ...
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Time out again. Because I need to think of a good name for an ex- Snatcher and all I keep coming up with is ex-boyfriend names. Which is not to say that it wouldn't fit for some of them ... But, on a happier note --

West of Never Again
by [personal profile] furiosity [profile] , H/D, NC17, 5000 words
I am so jealous of [personal profile] furiosity 's ability to capture a whole portrait of two lives in these apparently lightly sketched scenes. Her story begins in the first years after the war, with Harry focussing on his career until a chance encounter at a party turns his world upside down. While the premise may be straight out of everybody's life at some point between the ages of 15 and 30, her treatment of it captures perfectly that strange moment of calm when you realise that you are not afraid, that the arms you are in are the right arms -- and then the waves of self-inflicted doubt and horror that can come crashing in upon that moment the minute we listen to our demons. Her Harry and Draco grow up to be epilogue compliant, and yet still achieve a point of grace in their relationship, with an ending that is poignant, beautiful and hopeful. If you've ever seen one of Leonardo's cartoons, where hastily sketched lines and smudges of white chalk create a whole bloody world: this is the textual equivalent.

Implausible, Irrational, Preposterous, Peculiar and Just Plain Luna by [profile] thetreacletart was recced by someone on a friend's friends list, and I idiotically forgot to bookmark that rec, because I keep trying and failing to function on about four hours sleep a night, despite knowing it doesn't work, so please feel free to let me know who it was! Now, a listing of Snape/Luna would normally have me looking very askance, although I was reassured by the PG13, but the glowing praise from the original reccer sold me. And that person was right! Luna Lovegood decides that Severus Snape needs rescuing, and since she is now a young woman of immense brightness in every way, she sets about doing it as no one else could or would. Under her guidance he confronts the horrors of his life, and finds forgiveness from outside and inside. It's whimsical, it's fey, it's hilarious in parts and it's a delight, a true fairystory of the Potterverse, that ends, as all good fairystories should with both characters changed and stronger.

Finally, Persistence of Memory, Hermione Granger and her Mum by [profile] rose_whispers fills in the missing story of the Granger women. I recognise that this is two non H/D recs in a row, and point those who need their dose of boy on boy action to the first in this list, which is cheerfully delightful. However, for good writing, for clever interpretations of clues from canon and for insight into the characters that are left behind by JKR's tight focus, this is one hell of a good read. Beginning with Monica Wilkins walking in Queensland, it flashes back through the life she had with her daughter when she was Susan Granger, and the ways in which they have both worked to keep each other whole. The two stories run in balanced parallel until a well-wrought ending brings a satisfying close. Because a family can be a love story, too.

OK, that's enough procrastinating ...

More recs

Aug. 30th, 2007 04:52 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Busiest week in months, up to my eyeballs in work, visitors arriving Saturday morning just as the city goes into lockdown (Why oh Why did I not organise to be in Wellington this weekend?), so what am I doing? I'm reccing fics.

(And writing 3000 words for the fic that no-one but GB reads, not that I'm bitter, and writing tips for writing ... what the hell is going on here? Fandom has eaten my brain.)

[profile] silentauror 's Graffiti and Insomnia is a witty, fast-paced fic set in the Ministry where both Harry and Draco work as adults. Communication is the key behind the action in this piece and it takes place in an unexpected yet perfectly traditional environment, for a given value of traditional. There is smut, there's humour, there's tastefully graphic boy-on-boy action, it's like HP meets QAF without the PSAs in the background.  Best of all is the strong use of interior voice that creates a powerful personal narrative under the lighter action, using flippancy as an elegant cloak for revelation. 

It's Our Choices by [profile] dumbys_baby was the first H/D fic I ever read, actually, it was probably the first fic I ever read. It's scenes from the life that Harry wold have led if he had shaken Malfoy's hand on the train to Hogwarts that first year. Short, fragmented, and yet oh-so revealing as an utterly different life is constructed. This story always makes me thing of Japanese calligraphy in its spare beauty, without being opaque in its underwriting. This writer is the Brampton I blame, BTW.

I was less certain of Cinnamon's Beautiful World, because I am Old, and therefore less about the Angst, and the opening of this story is All About the Angst, however once Malfoy came leaping into the narrative I was happy to give her another chapter or two to convince me, by which time the hooks were well and truly in. The set-up is bleak: Harry gives up on life, just in time to be told that it has essentially given up on him. Draco Malfoy, so used to defining himself in antithesis to Potter, finds himself trying to reconstruct the Potter that was; or else see what can be built from the remnants. It's hopelessly romantic in parts and full of High Drama, but the writing is so assured and so inventive that it sucks you back into the heady days of teenage madness and makes  them seem natural, even beautiful. Long and worth the time it will take to read, it's not going to scare the horses if you're reading in a stable.
 
Finally, [personal profile] anthimaeria made my day with Unfinished Business, which starts off with the genius that is post-war Romilda Vane teaching Arthur Weasley's Ministry (!) about Muggle management techniques and ends with Draco Malfoy's hair-drying spells. In between there's a beautifully realised tale of wants and needs and working them out. I love her Harry and Draco (and yes, this fic also carries a smut warning), but it's the way she writes minor characters that really made this fic for me. So often writers let the support cast fade into the background but here she has them as distinct voices propelling much of the drama, and certainly hogging most of the best lines. I also enjoyed the fact that she has teenage Harry as a complete prick; it worked so well in the narrative structure of this piece and was a really authentic depiction.

On a completely unrelated note, some funny bugger has signed me up to the Pray For Bush mailing list. Because as an atheist Englishwoman living in the Antipodes, that makes sense, right? I've been keeping a track on the frequency of their mailouts, since Rove and Gonzales have gone, they seem to need less prayer at the White House. Maybe I've been reading this all wrong and that's what they've been praying for. If Cheney carks it and they stop mailing, I'll know I misjudged them all along.

More recs

Aug. 30th, 2007 04:52 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Busiest week in months, up to my eyeballs in work, visitors arriving Saturday morning just as the city goes into lockdown (Why oh Why did I not organise to be in Wellington this weekend?), so what am I doing? I'm reccing fics.

(And writing 3000 words for the fic that no-one but GB reads, not that I'm bitter, and writing tips for writing ... what the hell is going on here? Fandom has eaten my brain.)

[profile] silentauror 's Graffiti and Insomnia is a witty, fast-paced fic set in the Ministry where both Harry and Draco work as adults. Communication is the key behind the action in this piece and it takes place in an unexpected yet perfectly traditional environment, for a given value of traditional. There is smut, there's humour, there's tastefully graphic boy-on-boy action, it's like HP meets QAF without the PSAs in the background.  Best of all is the strong use of interior voice that creates a powerful personal narrative under the lighter action, using flippancy as an elegant cloak for revelation. 

It's Our Choices by [profile] dumbys_baby was the first H/D fic I ever read, actually, it was probably the first fic I ever read. It's scenes from the life that Harry wold have led if he had shaken Malfoy's hand on the train to Hogwarts that first year. Short, fragmented, and yet oh-so revealing as an utterly different life is constructed. This story always makes me thing of Japanese calligraphy in its spare beauty, without being opaque in its underwriting. This writer is the Brampton I blame, BTW.

I was less certain of Cinnamon's Beautiful World, because I am Old, and therefore less about the Angst, and the opening of this story is All About the Angst, however once Malfoy came leaping into the narrative I was happy to give her another chapter or two to convince me, by which time the hooks were well and truly in. The set-up is bleak: Harry gives up on life, just in time to be told that it has essentially given up on him. Draco Malfoy, so used to defining himself in antithesis to Potter, finds himself trying to reconstruct the Potter that was; or else see what can be built from the remnants. It's hopelessly romantic in parts and full of High Drama, but the writing is so assured and so inventive that it sucks you back into the heady days of teenage madness and makes  them seem natural, even beautiful. Long and worth the time it will take to read, it's not going to scare the horses if you're reading in a stable.
 
Finally, [personal profile] anthimaeria made my day with Unfinished Business, which starts off with the genius that is post-war Romilda Vane teaching Arthur Weasley's Ministry (!) about Muggle management techniques and ends with Draco Malfoy's hair-drying spells. In between there's a beautifully realised tale of wants and needs and working them out. I love her Harry and Draco (and yes, this fic also carries a smut warning), but it's the way she writes minor characters that really made this fic for me. So often writers let the support cast fade into the background but here she has them as distinct voices propelling much of the drama, and certainly hogging most of the best lines. I also enjoyed the fact that she has teenage Harry as a complete prick; it worked so well in the narrative structure of this piece and was a really authentic depiction.

On a completely unrelated note, some funny bugger has signed me up to the Pray For Bush mailing list. Because as an atheist Englishwoman living in the Antipodes, that makes sense, right? I've been keeping a track on the frequency of their mailouts, since Rove and Gonzales have gone, they seem to need less prayer at the White House. Maybe I've been reading this all wrong and that's what they've been praying for. If Cheney carks it and they stop mailing, I'll know I misjudged them all along.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It's a common tale. You hear a rumour that a friend writes fic, and, purely out of solidarity, you stop by and read a few of hers. A few hours later you're startled on one level (Harry what?! with whom?!), but, on another, impressed.

Then you follow a link or two. Just a few. Only ones your friend likes. You're not really paying attention to fandom, there's too much else on. But still, you're not feeling that this is silly anymore.There's some good writing out there, and really, isn't it all a witty embrace of theory? Yes, the text is open, it's all about the jeu!

So, because you're rubbish at buying gifts, you write her a fic for her birthday. A one-shot, that's all. Straight to begin with and then a gently pervy rewrite, because it's 2am and the straight version was just too filled with URST.

And because you've never written fic in your life, you need to read just a little more so that you can get your head around the rules, the tropes, the cliches and this strange thing people have about ferrets.

And many, many hours end up disappearing, even after your friend's present has been received with thanks and laughter. Because while you were right about there being some utter tosh out there, there's some bloody good writing lurking, too.

So, like someone who has learned a language for many years, but has for the first time moved to a country where that language is spoken, you proceed with care and slowness. Just quietly over here for the moment. Slowly writing, sometimes supporting, giving thanks where they're due, and grateful, because these people have made me laugh out loud, and moved me far more than I thought they could.

So. Stories I will reread:

The Years that Walk Between … is a beautifully sketched story of an evolving Harry/Draco relationship post DH, which manages to be canon-compliant at the same time as making many annoying things about DH seem better. Written by [personal profile] femmequixotic, who is very good at writing friendships and dialogue. Some shagging between people who aren't teenagers. Blessed mercy for thos of us who would like our younger friends and relatives to all be behaving so much better than we were at their age. [... what's the opposite of Oedipal tension? (er, that would be Oedipal tension, wouldn't it?), most of the time in HP fic it's like having to listen to my nephews talk about what they actually do on weekends. They're still four in my head. Just six-feet tall and four ...]

Draco Malfoy, the Amazing Bouncing … Rat? had me stuffing my scarf into my mouth so that I would not wake my partner in the next room with my shrieks of gleeful cackling. Draco is put upon by a mysterious ill-wisher, and finds himself scurrying around Hogwarts as a sleekly attractive rodent of the literal type. In this world of big boots and bad-tempered cats, he hides in the only logical place, and is appalled to realise that he likes Gryffindors. One smart, bushy haired example of the species in particular. [profile] mistful has a glorious sense of anarchic humour, nicely tempered with good plot instincts and extremely fine characterisations. While being totally AU in concept and events, the characters feel very genuine, even if Malfoy has had his sulk surgically removed and replaced with the sort of wit that would have Alan Clark's publisher saying "So, been keeping any diaries lately?"
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It's a common tale. You hear a rumour that a friend writes fic, and, purely out of solidarity, you stop by and read a few of hers. A few hours later you're startled on one level (Harry what?! with whom?!), but, on another, impressed.

Then you follow a link or two. Just a few. Only ones your friend likes. You're not really paying attention to fandom, there's too much else on. But still, you're not feeling that this is silly anymore.There's some good writing out there, and really, isn't it all a witty embrace of theory? Yes, the text is open, it's all about the jeu!

So, because you're rubbish at buying gifts, you write her a fic for her birthday. A one-shot, that's all. Straight to begin with and then a gently pervy rewrite, because it's 2am and the straight version was just too filled with URST.

And because you've never written fic in your life, you need to read just a little more so that you can get your head around the rules, the tropes, the cliches and this strange thing people have about ferrets.

And many, many hours end up disappearing, even after your friend's present has been received with thanks and laughter. Because while you were right about there being some utter tosh out there, there's some bloody good writing lurking, too.

So, like someone who has learned a language for many years, but has for the first time moved to a country where that language is spoken, you proceed with care and slowness. Just quietly over here for the moment. Slowly writing, sometimes supporting, giving thanks where they're due, and grateful, because these people have made me laugh out loud, and moved me far more than I thought they could.

So. Stories I will reread:

The Years that Walk Between … is a beautifully sketched story of an evolving Harry/Draco relationship post DH, which manages to be canon-compliant at the same time as making many annoying things about DH seem better. Written by [personal profile] femmequixotic, who is very good at writing friendships and dialogue. Some shagging between people who aren't teenagers. Blessed mercy for thos of us who would like our younger friends and relatives to all be behaving so much better than we were at their age. [... what's the opposite of Oedipal tension? (er, that would be Oedipal tension, wouldn't it?), most of the time in HP fic it's like having to listen to my nephews talk about what they actually do on weekends. They're still four in my head. Just six-feet tall and four ...]

Draco Malfoy, the Amazing Bouncing … Rat? had me stuffing my scarf into my mouth so that I would not wake my partner in the next room with my shrieks of gleeful cackling. Draco is put upon by a mysterious ill-wisher, and finds himself scurrying around Hogwarts as a sleekly attractive rodent of the literal type. In this world of big boots and bad-tempered cats, he hides in the only logical place, and is appalled to realise that he likes Gryffindors. One smart, bushy haired example of the species in particular. [profile] mistful has a glorious sense of anarchic humour, nicely tempered with good plot instincts and extremely fine characterisations. While being totally AU in concept and events, the characters feel very genuine, even if Malfoy has had his sulk surgically removed and replaced with the sort of wit that would have Alan Clark's publisher saying "So, been keeping any diaries lately?"

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