The Death of Narcissa Black

The Death of Narcissa Black by Winkout

Summary: Narcissa never intended to marry, but circumstances change and needs must. The darkest thing I could think of was abandoning the person you want to be for the person you feel you must be, so that’s what this is about. Art Fic, 1,000 Words with Illustrations (some rated R).

Why You Should Care: Wow. Between the story itself and the amazing artwork, I’m a bit shell-shocked. I’ve not got enough artistic background to really give you a solid critique of the art, but the style and the colours were so unique and well suited to the subject matter that I read the whole thing twice over, the second time just for the art. The story itself is well written and presses all the right buttons in all the right orders, and it creates a truly sad tragedy around Narcissa with this completely different take on her character. I would gladly purchase this as a real paper-and-binding book.

Why You Might Not Care: Some of the art is definitely Not Work Safe. Which only means you should read it at home instead of at work, not that you shouldn’t read it at all. Really, really wonderful. (It brought me back to make a rec after, oh, five months now is it? *grins*)

On Becoming A Woman

On Becoming a Woman by Anne-Cara Apple

Summary: “Everything suddenly seemed much clearer now.” Oneshot, 6,198 Words.

Why You Should Care: Narcissa Malfoy is not Bellatrix, the headstrong and daring one, or Andromeda, the rebel — she is the sister who grew up into a very specific role, and the four spotlighted moments that Anne-Cara Apple shows us illustrate this perfectly. Everything about this rings just right — it’s not overstated, her interactions with Sirius and Andromeda are particularly spot on, and you truly feel as though you’re watching her grow up and accept her place in life. When you read this, you’re not only reading about Narcissa, but the tradition and pretension of pureblood society, and it’s the way the two are interwoven that makes this wonderful.

Why You Might Not Care: If it bothers you when names don’t match up with the Black Family Tree, you might not like the first section very much, but there was a time when authors had to make up the names of various parents, and I suppose she could have done a lot worse than “Flavia.” Other than that, no complaints. This is beautiful.


Faith by Lady Apocalymon

Summary: Narcissa has no faith in the dirty, dark world, as her sisters abandon her and outshine her. Only when she sees a spark of light in the world does she begin to find faith in her existence. Oneshot, 4,505 Words.

Why You Should Care: Lady Apocalymon takes a couple of villains and nearly turns them into protagonists with this fic. Lucius and Narcissa seem well within their canon characterisations — their high-brow snobbery and nobility oozes throughout the words in dialogue and action — yet there seems to be a new kind of affection breathed into their relationship. They are courtly, but as unable to restrain their attraction to each other — physical and intellectual — as any other fevered couple in Harry Potter canon. R-rated because of a sex scene near the end.

Why You Might Not Care: To be honest, the sex scene — for me — was the weakest part of the fic. Now, to be fair, there are probably quite a few people who would consider this the best part of the fic; it’s one of those highly subjective things. I prefer a little less throbbing-burning-pounding cliche, personally, but not for nothing is Harlequin a popular form of female erotica. I’ll let y’all decide for yourselves whether it gets the thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

Two Lights Above the Sea

Two Lights Above the Sea by V.M. Bell

Summary: Narcissa Black’s wedding day is filled with doubt. Oneshot, 1,540 Words.

Why You Should Care: Lucius Malfoy has picked his side in the war, and Narcissa Black calculates the risk of becoming a widow too soon after she becomes a wife.  She is tempted — and reasonably so — to abandon the life and love she has chosen with Lucius in favour of something safer, something not so precariously balanced on the edge of a knife.  Bell does fairly well getting into Narcissa’s head in this time and place, and of honouring her character and the relationship between Narcissa and Lucius, and when she does so with a poetic twist of phrase is where this fic really shines.

Why You Might Not Care: The dialogue between Narcissa and Lucius is a little flat, to be honest.  I would have preferred a little more of the character we see in the narrative injected into the dialogue for a little more “show, don’t tell”, but what’s there does do the job.  There are also a couple of places where the sentence structure could have been made less awkward with the use of some higher level punctuation.  Over all, I get the sense that the author of this fic is pushing at her limits a little bit, but trying to be better at something you love should never be considered a bad thing.


Remembered by Alyx Bradford

Summary: Narcissa tends to her dead after the war. Oneshot, 1,242 Words.

Why You Should Care: War is not kind to either side, and the followers of Voldemort have suffered losses, too.  It is customary to forget that every fallen soldier — no matter whom they fought for — is survived by people who will mourn their passing, and Narcissa feels the death of her sister acutely.  This fic is a small reminder that, in some ways, there are no right or wrong sides in war — only the winners who’s dead are heroes and martyrs, and the losers, who’s dead are villains and traitors.  Narcissa knows that, if not for a few twists of fate — some of which she directly influenced — things might have turned out quite different.

Why You Might Not Care: Some people don’t like to remember the dark people are still people in the end, and it is easier to remember Bellatrix Lestrange as a murder and torturer than a sister.  If you balk at feeling sympathy for the Black sisters that stayed the course, then Narcissa’s grief will seem very indecent indeed.

Thyself in Me

Thyself in Me by Branwyn

Summary: Whenever Narcissa is alone, she spends long minutes gazing at herself in mirrors. Oneshot, 2,244 Words.

Why You Should Care: This is one of these fabulous character pieces that you sit back from reading and start to see canon differently. It’s a somewhat original view on the Black sisters, particularly Narcissa, and it gives real insight into her motivations. The romance between Narcissa and Lucius is suitably formal, and wonderfully contrasted with the sheer instincts that she discovers at becoming a mother. It’s quite sparely written: unlike many one-shots of its kind it doesn’t overdose on beautiful words, and the emotions, the actions, the decisions: they’re all very real. Beautifully constructed and excellently executed.

Why You Might Not Care: Sometimes this is a little too sparely written and a little of the depth is lost, and Branwyn’s phrasing can occasionally be a little clunky and awkward, but the psychology of the character, even with this awkwardness, is always handled sensitively and delicately.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Lilith Morgana

Summary: Last time, things were different. Oneshot, 2,700 Words.

Why You Should Care: Even Lord Voldemort’s highest ranking lieutenants experience the war, and this is a portrait of the Malfoy family and their fall from grace during the second war as told through Narcissa’s POV. It is too easy to forget sometimes that even the villains have something to lose, and sometimes are that much closer to losing it. There is still love amongst the lowest of us, and while the likes of Voldemort — and maybe even Bellatrix — are beyond it, the Malfoys are not. Dark moments in the life of a dark family as the Malfoys do what they do best — survive and escape.

Why You Might Not Care: This will be best for people who like the darker characters, and who don’t eternally hate the Malfoys for weaseling their way out of trouble again. Let’s face it folks, if Lucius Malfoy tortured puppies in front of five-year-olds twirling an old-fashioned villain’s moustache, he’d somehow find a way to buy himself out of it. Again.

Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Best Drama — Second Place

Of A Sort

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.


Embroidery by IsabelA113

Summary: Alone in the Manor in the wake of her husband’s arrest, Narcissa Malfoy finds that she does not know what to do with her hands. Oneshot, 2,845 Words.

Why You Should Care: Some people have difficulty seeing the humanity in the Malfoys, but this quiet little fic does the job splendidly. It neither belittles Narcissa nor ignores her, but instead takes this little-seen character and breaths a lonely life into her. Yet there is a strength in this Narcissa, a feeling that she is only bending to the wind, not breaking in it. It’s a puzzle to figure out from exactly where her actions are coming from, but that seems to me quite fitting for a woman under such tight control, and intentional from an author of the same. In her upset, Narcissa remains aristocratic, and we are reminded that not all evil is total and that Death Eaters have something to lose in this war as well.

Why You Might Not Care: This is a tight little character piece about Narcissa Malfoy, and if neither of those things tickle your fancy, you’ll probably be bored. If you — like me — love a thoughtful, well written piece and damn the subject matter, then you will enjoy it.

A Keen Observer

A Keen Observer by DeepDownSlytherin

Summary: Andromeda says little, but she sees everything. Through their years at Hogwarts, she watches her sisters as one falls in love and one falls into madness, and doesn’t see as a Muggleborn boy breaks into her sheltered life. Novel Length, 145,600 Words, Complete.

Why You Should Care: A brilliantly told story of the Black sisters – and to some extent the Black brothers – from the summer before the first of them goes to Hogwarts until the very end of Andromeda’s seventh year. It is so difficult to trace these characters backward through time – most especially Bellatrix – but this is how it must have been. This fic just pulls you right in, and you quickly forget that nearly every major character in this piece turns into a villain. The growing respect and romance between Andromeda and Ted is paced perfectly, and never takes away from the main themes. This family is given real depth, and their journeys are compelling.

Why You Might Not Care: If you really don’t like stories that focus on the villains, or on the Black family in particular, this story isn’t for you. Also, this was written prior to the release of the Black Family Tree, so the ages of the girls are no longer canon. In my opinion (and I worship canon, remember) it’s worth over-looking. A warning that this fiction is long; over 145,000 words. It is, however, complete, so there is no fear of the potential that you might never get the payoff. Expect this one to take you at least several days – if you can put it down, that is.

Awards: 2007 Hourglass Award, Romance – Second Place.