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*)
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.
The Chocolate Frog War by Leni Jess
Summary: The war is over, and Severus Snape is in Azkaban. With Chocolate Frogs. Could there be worse? Well, yes. Correspondence about them. Just what is really going on? Oneshot, 4,918 Words.
Why You Should Care: I… don’t really know. I just like something about it. Probably the complete randomness of the situation that is dealt with in (almost) all seriousness. It’s a grand battle of the wills over something completely insane. It’s wacky. It doesn’t quite make sense. It might be crackfic, except that it doesn’t read quite like crackfic.
Why You Might Not Care: It ends with several questions unanswered, and even after three read-overs I’m still not quite sure what all actually happened. But I still like it, possibly because it’s just… odd. A very strange and possibly unique piece of fanfic.
The Taste Of Smoke by Tani
Summary: There are some things that cannot be forgotten. For George Weasley, the taste of smoke is one of them. Oneshot, 1,218 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because everyone has to grow up, even if part of their charm is that they never really completely do. Fred and George learn that lesson made famous by Ben Parker: with great power comes great responsibility.
Why You Might Not Care: Not as poignant as it maybe could have been. This could have hurt like a slap to the face, and perhaps it would have been better for it. As is, it’s more uneasy than jarring; still effective, but less powerful.
Huffle Tonks Story by Fernwithy
Summary: “It was decided that Hufflepuff would make fine Jedi, archaeologists, and alien finders, while Gryffindors could perhaps do well fighting against things that had knives on their fingertips. Ravenclaws were only for the serious sorts of films, and Slytherins were gaily relegated to serving as magical nannies for the children of stuffy bankers, to be blown about by umbrellas in the wind.” Oneshot, 2,030 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is light, fuffy fair that has no broader purpose than to have a bit of fun with Tonks and her Hufflepuff contemporaries, and in that it does its job splendidly. In the Harry Potter books, we spend so much time with Gryffindors looking out at the other houses that it’s really refreshing to have the chance to experience one of the other houses; to see what being in that house means to them and what they think of the others. Superbly characterised as all Fernwithy stories are.
Why You Might Not Care: A bit of pointless fun, but well worth it.
A Marauder’s Map by Xylodemon
Summary: Seven memories found in Sirius Black’s pensieve, one for each of his years at Hogwarts. Oneshot, 7,076 Words.
Why You Should Care: Xylodemon always delivers something worth a read, quite frankly, and these seven pinches from Sirius Black’s school-days is no exception. There’s enough character to keep the boys defined, though this fic’s focus is Sirius in particular. My favorite bits are the pranks — good Marauder pranks are difficult to come up with, especially ones that mix magical execution with light-hearted, boyish goals.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s a little overly generic, to tell the truth, though perhaps it wasn’t back when it was written in September 2005. Similarly, a splash of Remus/Sirius is thrown in and then never really developed or explained, which makes its inclusion — for me — a little pointless, though die-hard Remus/Sirius shippers will probably disagree vehemently.
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.
Stand Helplessly Before The Spirit At Bay by Paradise Loved
Summary: Albus Dumbledore comes to convince Remus Lupin to take the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position. Oneshot, 2,584 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s something different for Remus, that seems neither completely canon nor at all fanon. Paradise’s pre PoA Remus is a shadow, haunted by ghosts twelve-years dead or gone, and one gets the sense that he never really moved on past that ill-fated Haloween night. His depression permeates this piece, carrying a hollow, dusty weight of something that has been hanging over him long enough now that he’s become used to it and dulled by it.
Why You Might Not Care: This doesn’t connect entirely well with the Remus in PoA, and while that may seem a trifle nit-picky, I feel there could have been a better transition made and that the fic would have been stronger for it. This is also not the strongest characterisation of Dumbledore I’ve read — though it isn’t by any stretch the weakest either; he does serve his purpose well enough, however, albeit without his trademark twinkle.
Literacy by Sin Fin
Summary: Sirius is an illiterate bastard, James doesn’t care for the Dark Arts, Peter just wants to pass Astronomy, and Remus is a werewolf. Hogwarts, years 1 and 2. Oneshot, 6,000 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is not quite canon and also not quite the typical characterisation of the young Marauders, but there’s something about it that still just works in that way fics sometimes do. The characterisations are solid enough that you get a feel for these boys as individuals, and tying the discovery of Remus’ lycanthropy into the theme of literacy is a nice touch.
Why You Might Not Care: It ends rather suddenly, I think because the thematic elements weren’t as tight as I wished they were throughout all the facets of the story — you’re left hanging because there’s the feeling there ought to be more, that the author hasn’t quite said everything she meant to say. As a whole, it lacks… something. It feels unfinished and loose.
Stasis by Andromeda311
Summary: There is no hero. There is no villain. There is only redemption and damnation, success and failure. Oneshot, 5,137 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s the Regulus everyone writes except that it’s so much better. This characterisation is everything I’ve been missing in Regulus fics — darker, harsher, more bitter, and on a path clearly marked by self-destruction. This is a character sketch I can sink my teeth into, and one that is sure to be enjoyed by darkfic readers.
Why You Might Not Care: You might like seeing Regulus as more a victim of circumstance than this portrays. Like Snape, Regulus makes his own bed in this one.
A Matter of Opportunity by Shimotsuki
Summary: Remus is worried about Teddy, but Tonks is worried about Remus, and circumstances lead her to try something she’s never done before. She can only hope they are ready for it. Oneshot, 2,390 Words.
Why You Should Care: Mostly because I haven’t rec’d a Remus/Tonks in a little while and angsty!Remus fretting over baby Teddy’s first full moon delights me. I also quite enjoyed the interaction between Tonks and Wolfsbaned-Wolf Remus. Nice, cute, and fluffy.
Why You Might Not Care: What do you mean Remus and Tonks died in Deathly Hallows? Psht, like even. Unashamed denial-fic.
Five Stories About Gwenog Jones by Snegurochka Lee
Summary: Gwenog Jones is a Beater, a woman, a Slytherin, and she loves to fly – not necessarily in that order. She’s not afraid of very much in this world, because she’s never found very much to be afraid of. And yeah, for the record, she could kick your arse. Oneshot, 4,800 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because Snegurochka Lee is pretty much the queen of minor characters, and this is just another excellent instance of her breathing life into a name dropped by JKR. She has the single-mindedness of Oliver Wood wrapped up in a tough, female-Beater exterior. Her interaction with Hermione at Slughorn’s party is particularly well written.
Why You Might Not Care: Extreme minor character alert. But if you know me at all, you’d know that these usually turn out to be some of my favorites.
Flowers Shall Grow by Newyork Noodles
Summary: “He needs you. It’s the easiest and hardest thing in the world.” They say that hope can be found in the darkest of places, but Andromeda isn’t so sure anymore. A conversation with Augusta Longbottom might help. Oneshot, 3,645 Words.
Why You Should Care: I can’t believe it took me until reading this fic to realize the completely obvious parallels between Andromeda Tonks and Augusta Longbottom and the way the wars ended for them. Andromeda is at a crossroads, and her grief is too new to be entirely bearable. Her interaction with Neville is especially lovely.
Why You Might Not Care: This is not my favorite characterisation of Augusta Longbottom ever. There is too little personality there, and I feel as though she is merely a placeholder for some more neutral-sounding narrator. Everything the author gives Augusta to say is valid, but something about the way she says it falls flat. Over all, this fic starts out strong and struggles a bit near the end.
Between the Lines by Lady Altair
Summary: There are many tales to be told between the golden threads of the Black Family tree. Oneshot, 1,024 Words.
Why You Should Care: I love it when a clever author takes the thinnest, flimsiest of threads from some sideboarded piece of the Harry Potter universe and weaves it expertly into the broader tapestry, tucking it in here, tying it in there, and making it feel so obvious, like it couldn’t possibly have gone any other way. What was probably an unintentional gaff of math on JKR’s side is turned into an incredibly poignant story.
Why You Might Not Care: Um…? Lady Altair pretty much always deserves a read. This one looks like it’s going to be a larger collection of oneshot stories; I anticipate all of them will be of similar stellar quality.
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.
Stranger Things by Sonya
Summary: Buffy meets someone interesting in an unlikely place… Crossover, Humor, Romance, 2,772 Words.
Guest Rec’d By: Kira
Why You Should Care: An HP/BtVS crossover set post-OoTP, the first in a series of three one-shots where Remus meets Buffy Summers in a wizarding employment agency. Sonya does a great job of giving Buffy her trademark witty, but sometimes foot-in-mouth, remarks without grating on the readers’ nerves and Remus gets an in-character, though slightly snarky personality that is reminiscent of Young!Remus in Marauder-era fics. It’s touching to read this cute fic where Remus finally meets someone who feels just as out of place in society as he does and doesn’t mind the fact that he’s a werewolf.
Why You Might Not Care: You might not like Buffy. You might not like Remus.
The Final Stage by Another Dreamer
Summary: 12 Grimmauld Place is nobody’s idea of the perfect place for a party. Yet that is where Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks find themselves spending the fourteenth anniversary of Voldemort’s defeat. Overwhelmed by memories of that Halloween night, the three just want to drink brandy and forget. Oneshot, 4,727 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is one of those lovely little plotless character genfics that I always gravitate toward, the value of which lies in what is said (and sometimes what is not said) rather than what is done. Just as Sirius and Remus are trying very hard not to think about it, this story dances around the edges of what it’s trying to say, and also just like Remus and Sirius sometimes can’t help but think about it, so this story sinks just deep enough into its subject matter to make it seriously worthwhile.
Why You Might Not Care: Low on the action-packed, high on the subtle character sketch.
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.
An Undying Passion for Cupcakes by Ignipes
Summary: “That morning, when they were finishing breakfast, she had been very insistent: ‘I’m going to make them the Muggle way… That’s the proper way to make these cupcakes.’ ” Oneshot, 4,622.
Why You Should Care: In places it’s quite funny, and in others it’s just so well written I can’t help but rec it. It’s AU, taking place in a post-Voldemort world where Sirius didn’t die (or at least, didn’t stay dead), and there’s been some attempt to create an after the war that reflects some of the same price as the one JKR created. Hermione’s story, particularly, is rather touching despite being “frosted” with humour. In the end, though, I rather think this is mostly fluffy.
Why You Might Not Care: I think it suffers from trying to do too much with too few words. Either it’s a moderately fluffy piece of AU post-war or it’s an in depth AU treatment of another version of events. In the end, this fic tries to be both, and ends up not really being either. The AU world hinted here is fascinating and would fill several chapters of several novel-length fics well, but the gaps that inform the characters written are too big to get much out of this story (aside from a moderate understanding of Hermione’s journey) but fluff. There hasn’t been a clear enough picture painted of the path taken that resulted in this AU endpoint.
Home Invader by Ichthyosaur
Summary: Ron is home alone with Rosie and Hugo when a spider attacks! Humour, Oneshot, 1,856.
Guest Rec’d By: Kira
Why You Should Care: Fangirls, rejoice! Daddy!Ron is the sex. The over-the-top reaction that Ron and little Rosie have to the intrusive spider is hilarious and their interaction whilst facing off the spider with their brave Gryffindor courage is adorable. Ichthyosaur does a delightful job of placing our favourite characteristics each from Ron and Hermione and reflecting what home life would be like in the Granger-Weasley family, post-Epilogue – filled with Gryffindor courage and makeshift kitchen armour!
Why You Might Not Care: Epilogue fics aren’t suited for everyone, particularly those about the next generation. However, the fic stands strong on its own without the Epilogue (read: without the names Rose and Hugo pulled from those pages.) It’s just a splendid read to see Ron in a father/daughter situation; guaranteed to resonate with anyone who has an arachnophobic significant other or offspring.