Death and King’s Cross by Sciathan File
Summary: Who was to know Death had etiquette enough to be personalized? Oneshot, 10,074 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s my very favorite Harry Potter afterlife fic ever, I think. It’s amazingly well characterised and considered, with each afterlife tailored to the individual. It is completely canon, having been launched from the springboard of the King’s Cross chapter in Deathly Hallows, and it’s just really, really well done. JKR would approve, I think. Hedwig’s interlude especially made me smile.
Why You Might Not Care: If you dislike afterlife fics, that is all this one is about. Otherwise, it’s really an excellent comment on the characters it covers. Definitely worth the time to read.
A Metaphor For Change by Sahara Storm
Summary: Five things Albus Dumbledore could not bring himself to say to Gellert Grindelwald. (One of them is a lie.) Drabbles, 1,000 Words.
Why You Should Care: Ah, the “Five Things” meme… what an awful lot of fic it spawned. It is fortunate that quite an impressive percent of it turned out to be quite good. Dumbledore is hard enough to characterise as a wise old man, and tracing him back through the years to his younger self is nigh impossible. Sahara Storm does, I think, a reasonable job, and what’s more the drabbles she creates around her theme of things not said are well worded.
Why You Might Not Care: Obviously a Dumbledore/Grindlewald, and an R-rated one at that. This may or may not slip over into NC-17 territory, depending on your point of view. I would say it’s probably not worksafe.
Box, Opened by Halrloprillalar
Summary: Girls and politics. Drabble, 100 Words.
Why You Should Care: It’s a Harry Potter/Adrian Mole crossover. It’s a 100 word drabble. It’s by that girl that did the Snape-counsels-gay-Hogwartians drabble (recced here 07.01.08). It’s funny, and rips the piss out of canon (in a good way) and Dumbledore features.
Why You Might Not Care: No content, no meaning, no worthy messages. It’s, basically, a witty one-liner. But what’s wrong with that? Also, will make no sense if you haven’t read Adrian Mole. However, if you haven’t, do.
World Without End by Kitestringer
Summary: Albus has no need for Legilimency to know this, to know what Remus and Sirius were to each other. He’d might as well be looking in a long-ago mirror. Drabble, 645 Words.
Why You Should Care: It’s so patently obvious when she points it out, and yet you feel like she’s slapped you in the face. Ever word of this drips with dreadful, raw emotion. Every bit of Albus’ pain is laid bare, reflected in Remus’ loss, and you start to understand just what must happen when good people are deceived by their own hearts. This piece rips you to shreds. Beautiful, but terrible.
Why You Might Not Care: Major angst. Major angst. Beware.
Atonement by ChristyCorr
Summary: “Sometimes I think a curse should rest on me—because I love this war.” Oneshot, 3,437 Words.
Why You Should Care: A fabulously revealing character piece about Albus Dumbledore and Grindlewald. It is, perhaps, not quite canon except for the slight chance that it just might be completely canon. Original, with masterfully written dialogue between two kings of manipulation who have their own tangled history to contend with. One of my new favorites.
Why You Might Not Care: Slash pairing undertones, but they’re so under they almost don’t exist. This has more to do with each character as individuals than as any sort of couple. All conversation, but the wonderful kind that’s been carefully sculpted.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Best Gen Fic — Second Place
To Dwell In Dreams by Snorkackcatcher
Summary: There is a danger in dwelling on past mistakes. Drabble, 1,000 Words.
Why You Should Care: These two men are not so different, really; both chased power and chose the wrong ally, and both paid in someone else’s blood. For all its redeeming qualities, love can be a hard, merciless master, and broken hearts often stay that way long after they should have healed. This is a melancholy piece where Albus Dumbledore struggles to heed his own advice, and it has been written without fanfare and with a mindful nod to subtlety. This is a prime example of the adege “show, don’t tell”.
Why You Might Not Care: We don’t garner much from this we didn’t already know, I suppose, but sometimes it’s worthwhile just to walk the path and take note of it. This is a brief and quiet walk through familiar territory. Not really remarkable, except in its execution.
Fraternity by Lyras
Summary: Aberforth Dumbledore is very different from his brother. Oneshot.
Why You Should Care: I have nothing to say. It’s rich and deep, it’s multifaceted and poignant, it’s beautifully characterised. Words are not enough. Man, you have to read this fic.
Why You Might Not Care: What did I just say? Unbelievably fantastic.
A Correspondence Between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald by M’lah Sihfay
Summary: As two men try to rebuild we read the letters between 1951 and 1997. Approx. 9,500 Words.
Guest Rec’d By: Christy (ChristyCorr – insofar that it was on her Livejournal and I jacked it and put it here.)
Why You Should Care: I’m not a huge slasher and I’m not a big Albus/Gellert fan at all, but I really like this fic. It’s got these fabulous nuances – epistolary styles in general are tricky because you’ve got to show the character, but it’s not like speech where things are blurted out – in letters everything is weighted and thought through. There are clear characters here and I really like that. The way the two rationalise themselves through the first war, the second war – every moment of weakness and strength and the way that neither can ever stop writing, can ever break away. There’s a theme throughout the fic of being ‘broken’ by events and it’s eloquently and interestingly expressed.
Why You Might Not Care: I want to go through this fic and cut out every slightly graphic moment. They’re few and far between, but they’re there and they’re pointless. But it’s a slash fic, and the slashers need their kicks from somewhere, I guess. Probably rated R for the occasional mention of boysex.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Admins’ Choice — Slash Romance
Of A Sort by FernWithy
Summary: A series of stories about the experience all Hogwarts students share: being Sorted into their houses on their first day at school. Novel Length (abandoned), 49,388 Words.
Why You Should Care: FernWithy says in her notes that she considers this idea of hers woefully overused, but I confess I have never read a compilation like this, so for me it’s quite original. It deals a little with sorting and a lot with how the first day of school can very much affect the rest of your educational life. The seemingly benign choices made on the Hogwarts Express have lasting repercussions, some of which we’ve seen even in canon.
Why You Might Not Care: This appears to have been abandoned as she began to attempt the sorting of the Trio Era characters, but I have rec’d it for the strength of the things I think are more valuable — that is to say, the fact that she’s already tackled the characters we haven’t seen being sorted. It’s been about a year and a half since an update, and I sort of wish she’d just ended it with the sorting of Tonks instead of trying to slog onwards. We’ve already seen Harry’s generation and their sorting, so I feel it’s unnecessary. Parts have since been made AU by new canon factoids offered by JKR, but it still stands quite well.
Let The Times Roll by Shrk-Bait
Summary: For most people, the middle of the night is not the best time to think. Albus Dumbledore is not most people. In the middle of a vicious war, the aged Headmaster reflects upon sacrifices made in the past and wonders who will be next in a seemingly endless struggle between good and evil. Oneshot, 2,200 Words.
Why You Should Care: A peak into the restless thoughts of Albus Dumbledore, not terribly long before his death. The Dumbledore here is very close to canon — closer than most people manage — and fits his wise old man archetype well. The metaphor Shrk-Bait creates is not precisely subtle, but it’s not an anvil to the head either, and it’s the interaction between Dumbledore and the metaphor that are particularly telling: “It was all as simple and as complex as a roll of the dice.” There are several exquisite lines throughout this fic, ones that I wish I had come up with first.
Why You Might Not Care: Sometime the execution is a little clunky, and there is some excess here that could have been trimmed. Shrk-Bait, at this time, resides somewhere in the land of transition; a place where good authors start to become great ones, and in places both sides are seen. The style of this piece doesn’t quite rub right with the subject matter, and at times I wished for the narrative to reflect the complexity of the metaphor as well as the simplicity. There is great promise here, but not quite all of it has been realized. Yet.
Awards: Best Overall, July 2005 Scrivenshaft Challenge
Disenchanted by Arabella
Summary: Dumbledore speaks to Ginny about her experience with Tom Riddle. Oneshot, 3,472 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is a missing scene from Chamber of Secrets, and Arabella does an excellent job of wrapping up all Ginny’s loose ends without really wrapping them up at all, because she knows (and Dumbledore even says) that healing of that sort can only be done alone, and over time. Yet this provides some closure, and some insight into Ginny’s experiences over the course of her first year that we were not allowed through Harry’s POV in the books. We are stuck at how young Ginny is to have experienced this, and at the same time how much older she is because of it. Ginny’s childhood ended in her first year, and we are allowed glimpses of how it came about, and are impressed by her courage, will, and determination to heal the hard way.
Why You Might Not Care: Dumbledore is very, very close to his canon counterpart, but some of his whimsy is conspicuously vacant, probably due to a concern that it would be inappropriate. The trick to writing Dumbledore dead on is to find ways of making it not be inappropriate, but it is quite a trick to master indeed, and the Albus Dumbledore here is still very canon and very well-written. This story was written prior to the release of Ginny’s full, canon name, so it is “Virgina” in here, but it’s a small and unimportant detail.
Tower of Air by ClueGirl
Summary: Sometimes, even when the price is too high, there is no choice but to pay it. Oneshot, 2,378 Words.
Why You Should Care: Dumbledore is notoriously difficult to write properly, and ClueGirl gets damn close here, but the real worth of this piece lies more in the idea that fueled it and the intent of the character being exactly right, even if some of the smaller moments seem off. I love this piece, and the weight of memory in it.
Why You Might Not Care: Sometimes it’s not quite perfect, and I longed for it to be more so because even where it’s very good I wanted it to be better somehow. I’m not really sure how or in what ways, but I know finishing reading it left me feeling like I’d read something brilliant disguised as something just slightly smaller.
Fortunes Favor the Bold by Seldes Katne
Summary: As part of their Divination final exam, three seventh-year students perform Tarot card readings for Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape. Story is set at the end of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”. 6,539 Words.
Why You Should Care: Seldes, after taking a Tarot course, decided to read the cards for three Harry Potter characters: Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Severus Snape. The results, which she kindly wrote into a neat little oneshot, are indeed interesting. A fascinating character sketch that hints at what may yet come. Startlingly canon, when you consider how it came about. If it remains canon through the end of the seventh book (and it’s not outside the realm of possibility) I may go out and buy my own tarot deck.
Why You Might Not Care: Well… if the premise explained above makes you scoff, I suppose you’ll probably stay away, but you shouldn’t. The writing is well enough, and the dialogue is well formed and in character, so there aren’t any quabbles there. If the only thing keeping you away is the fortune telling, that’s a pretty poor excuse.