At long last (and with heaps of apologies for the unforgivable wait), I have managed to dole out a few more Gold Star Awards. Without further delay (because hasn’t there been enough of that, really?), I give you four new Gold Star Award Winners:
For September, I really had to give the award to Lady Bracknell’s fantastic novel, Disaster: See Also, Remus J. Lupin, Lovelife Of, mostly because I’m completely shocked that no one’s given her an award for this one already.
This wonderful piece of romantic comedy follows Remus through the misadventure that is his interaction with women, from his very first girlfriend to his meeting of Tonks. Lady Bracknell’s Remus is entirely three dimensional, and the only cliché in this story are the ones that set up the punchline. Remus is occasionally an active participant and sometimes only a passenger doing his best to hang on while someone else takes him for a spin, but the one thing he never is is the maudlin, noble, self-sacrificing hero we’ve come to expect of him in fanon, and it’s wonderfully refreshing. This could be the story of anyone’s life.
I also give this award to Lady Bracknell for her stunningly good show on the Original Character front, having created — not one, not two, but nearly a dozen — wonderfully unique and likewise three dimensional original female characters for Remus to bounce off of over the years. Not one of them could be considered a Mary Sue (though one or two of them could be considered a bit insane) and this fic wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without these fantastic women.
For October, the Gold Star Award goes to Snegurochka Lee’s Five Women Who Hate Fleur Delacour and her hard-hitting combination of feminist commentary and canon-accurate portrayals of some of the women in the Harry Potter universe, most notable among them Fleur and Luna.
I would never have expected these two females to foil each other so excellently, but each brings out something in the other that makes every exchange between them interesting and revealing. The character of Fleur is studied through the opinions of other women in and around her life in a prose-disguised dissertation on women and how women interact with each other. Between each section, Fleur is allowed her say, and we realize that she has a very clear and realistic picture of popular opinion about her. A very cunning exploration of what women think about women, and a great character piece.
November’s winner was a tough choice, but in the end I have given the award to Paperclip Bitch’s unforgiving and in-depth portrait of Remus Lupin in And When I Have Lost Everything I Will Remember This. The writing is carefully sculpted narrative, and while Remus is the focus, each of the secondary characters have been considered with thought and — the Marauders especially — stand as individual people even though it would have been easy enough to paint them as vague shadows that all look the same.
This piece is tragic from start to finish, and for her unyielding commitment to it I applaud Paperclip Bitch. It would have been so easy — and others have done it many, many times — to leave Remus at the moment of his death with something uplifting or something sweet, but she has chosen her theme and the nature of Remus’ death does not allow for easy peace. This has been handled with real style, and it breaks your heart in a way that makes you want to read it all over again in hopes that, next time, it might end differently.
December’s Gold Star Award goes to PigWithHair’s The Boy Who Lived, which is by far the best thing I’ve ever read featuring an old, aged Harry Potter. PigWithHair has committed to writing these characters as elderly, and has done so with more realism than we usually find in fanfiction — Harry and Ginny are cranky, crotchety, temperamental, and thickly nostalgic. Everything about them reminds us of their age — the way they walk, the way they talk, they way the shout and mutter and grumble.
Yet under all that age and all that temperament, the Harry and Ginny JKR created can still be seen, and that is the real treat. These are realistic extrapolations of these characters into their 80s and 90s, and the need of Harry to share his stories to a younger generation so they won’t be forgotten is just so completely Harry. It’s a truly delightful character piece on a life lived, and the things and people we often take for granted.
Phew… glad that’s finally done (and just in time for the end of January, too). Apologies to those of you who have to scroll past this on your Livejournal Friends list — my blogging software doesn’t allow for Livejournal cuts. A reminder to any new readers who’ve just joined us that you can get C&C recs every day on your Livejournal Friends feed by Friending this Syndicated account.