The Delusionist by Sciathan File
Summary: In the Wizarding World, people who have passed on are remembered by their portraits. Some cling to these seemingly living and breathing works of magic and forget that they are, like Muggle portraits, breathed into life by the artist who created them. Oneshot, 9,300 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is a really excellent look at a concept in the Harry Potter world rather than a particular character — though the ones that appear are as well written as you could possibly wish for — and it is by far the most interesting and complete consideration wizarding portraiture has received. It is a story about the process and the hand that creates the portrait just as much as it is about the cultural traditions based around the portrait. This fic is anchored by an original character that is well suited to the subject matter, crafted to suit the explorative nature of the piece, and the fic’s non-linear style acts as a focusing lens on scenes that might otherwise have been about the characters in them. Fabulously well done.
Why You Might Not Care: This is one of those fics that is more about an idea than a character, and some folk don’t bother to read anything that hasn’t got a “/” in it somewhere. Sure to attract and be remembered by the genfic connoisseur.
Minerva McGonagall and the Insurance Salesman by Emiime
Summary: “The hapless insurance salesman squirmed. ‘If you will recall, Professor McGonagall, last time we spoke I told you we wished to cancel your policy. The amount of issues the school has — it’s simply too high-risk for us….’ ” Oneshot, 1,218 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s an absolutely smashing idea for a fic that mixes the magical and the ordinary in ways that make me cackle. I adore the original character of Brian Hemmings, who bit off much more than he could chew. A bit of a stab at the insurance industry. Delightfully amusing.
Why You Might Not Care: It says part one of two, and the second part hasn’t made it up yet. It stands well enough on its own, though.
Seven Photographs by Casira
Summary: Glimpses of our heroes at the end of the battles and beyond, as they face what’s lost and what’s to come. Oneshot, 8,300 Words.
Guest Rec’d By: Kira
Why You Should Care: Written shortly after the release of DH, casira writes seven separate scenes that, frankly, JKR should have written, and succeeds just as if Jo had written it herself. There’s Remus and Tonks’ death; Minerva and Hogwarts directly after the battle; Hermione’s parents in Australia; George returning to WWW’s alone for the first time; Kingsley and the rebuilding of the MoM via Potterwatch; Ginny, Neville, Luna, and Andromeda discussing post-war plans; and finally, Harry visiting Snape’s grave. In a style very reminiscent of Jo’s, casira really wraps the HP series up well with a touch of everything that made it successful in the first place: brilliant character interaction, gripping action, laughter, family, and sacrifice. A brilliant pre-epilogue.
Why You Might Not Care: If you didn’t like the way DH ended at all, then this may not be your cup of tea.
Variations on a Happily Ever After by GM Weasley
Summary: All was eventually well, but it took nineteen years to get there. Drabble Collection, 7,400.
Why You Should Care: This is a wonderful series of drabbles centered around the women of the Harry Potter universe and life beyond the epilogue. Insightful, thoughtful, and occasionally even mundane, these little snatches of the painfully ordinary process of moving on after the end of the story are well worth your time. Angelina’s thoughts on her wedding are particularly well done.
Why You Might Not Care: These drabbles could have been tighter, and occasionally they suffer from awkward syntax. A couple of passes from a sharp-eyed beta would have alleviated this problem.
Minutes of Order of the Phoenix Meeting, 28th June 1997 by GoogleBrat
Summary: Even in a war, it’s important to follow procedure. Humour, 1,455 Words.
Why You Should Care: Almost a parody and certainly a comedy, this fic will be especially wonderful to anyone who’s ever taken or read minutes in a professional setting. If you’ve ever wanted to know what goes on behind that closed door during top secret Order of the Phoenix meeting, now’s your chance!
Why You Might Not Care: Mostly pointless fluff, but the funny kind. Mocking minutes more than Harry Potter.
Get There From Here by La Onza
Summary: From parents who had attended Hogwarts in their day, such a brief, vague, yet unambiguous letter advising the school not to expect their child in September – that was a poser. Oneshot, 1,046 Words.
Why You Should Care: Firstly, the idea of little!Remus writing to McGonagall and asking not to go to Hogwarts is adorable. Secondly, because the characterisation of McGonagall is spot-on: La Onza really shows her humanity, without casting doubt on what we see in the books. And finally because this fic has the wondrous ability to capture each character’s register without any effort and I love that.
Why You Might Not Care: The ending of this fic kills me. The last line, after a fic that is fabulous, sucks. It’s cliched and overly romantic and ugh. I hate it. But otherwise there’s not much here to offend.
Silent Night by Xylodemon
Summary: The rain won’t stop, and they haven’t seen Potter in seventeen days. Oneshot, 1,463 Words.
Why You Should Care: A bleak picture of what might have happened, written prior to the release of Deathly Hallows, using McGonagall as a lens through which each moment is experienced. It is both angsty and not — I doubt if Minerva has ever been the sort of girl to allow emotional release, and Xylodemon expertly uses this chosen character to create delicious tension. The picture this fic paints is of the mundane, animalistic day-to-day desperation of surviving, like rats under the floorboards. The choices of what to say and what to leave unsaid have been made cleverly, and the language is disarmingly simple. Beautiful.
Why You Might Not Care: This fic will leave you with a suggestion of tension and hopelessness: it is not a shiny happy story. But it is good, and it works its way into your head.
And Yet He Flinched by HLB
Summary: McGonagall’s thoughts as she contemplates the mask Snape wears. Oneshot, 1,339 Words.
Why You Should Care: This was written, I think, prior to the release of HBP and so the author did not at this point know that Snape’s father was a Muggle. However, the sentiment turned out to be (probably) all too accurate, even if the method is a bust. It is a terrible thing that people can be ruined so early in life, and Snape is one of the three lost boys of Hogwarts; I think his, in the end, is the most tragic story, because he isn’t able to chose the path of total darkness or total light, but rather is thrown constantly between the two as only a ruined man may be.
Why You Might Not Care: This may not be entirely canon Snape; we don’t really get enough of him to know for sure. Something about McGonagall is… not quite accurate. But — and correct me if I’m wrong — the details aren’t the point, I don’t think.
Five Moments of Doubt by Bagheera
Summary: Sprout, Neville, Luna, Ginny and Professor McGonagall during Deathly Hallows. Oneshot, 5,971 Words.
Why You Should Care: Snape is not, perhaps, the infallible master of deception he seems. He swore to Dumbledore he would do everything in his power to keep the students and the school safe, but it is a precarious line to walk, and at times he slips to one side or the other. This seems to me perfectly canon in every way, and the notion that McGonagall — especially — might have discovered him is no surprise. Snape tells McGonagall “I am exactly what you think I am” and means it; he has played the game so long that he is what he must be, both Dumbledore’s man and Voldemort’s man.
Why You Might Not Care: Experience these moments of doubt with these characters as you experienced your own while reading, and know the uneasy feeling that things might go either way even though you already know the outcome. This fic is well written, astute, and with thoughtful and accurate canon characters. I encourage you not to overlook it.
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.
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.
A Little Night Air by Penknife
Summary: Snape and McGonagall are friends. More or less. Oneshot, 1,678 Words.
Why You Should Care: Snape and McGonagall talk about the fundamental differences between Slytherins and Gryffindors, but the differences are in more than the discussion. Anything by Penknife is worth a read, and this fic is no different. The dialogue and character is perfect, and the repartee between them is well crafted. There is a begrudging respect between these two characters that is very tangible in this brief scene.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s a conversation, so not much happens. If you need action action ACTION all the time, then you’ll be disappointed. This is for people who like character, not plot.