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Tentative Attempting

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Jan. 25th, 2010 | 01:08 pm
location: kitchen
mood: excited excited
music: Hairspray - Welcome to the 60s

Writing is hard recently. Let me get that out right now. I'm coming out of a really good writing high - probably the best I've had so far - and it's slipping away like it always does, and it's the most maddening thing. I might try keeping my hand in with translations and experimenting with poetic forms. Having some kind of skeleton to build on is immeasurably helpful. Let's play the waiting game.

Today is my first tutoring session with a Bradford girl over Skype, so I'm excited and desperately hoping I can help her, as she sounds really sweet. So, 3pm! Send some good vibes both our ways!

As for now, well.

There's this Harry Potter fanfic that's fairly recently emerged from the underground through the shenanigans of its author. That's all fun and games, but I was curious and went to read this epic fic.

I am telling you here and now, I was absolutely floored. It was everything I've wanted to write and more! It was brutal and vast, the author diving in with no hesitation where I would have shied and stumbled.

And then I looked closer.

The more I read (and I can't stop) the more I want to yell at someone.

And that's what lj's for, amirite?

Feel free to read along.

The very, very opening I thought was utter genius. If we had ever seen what was going on in Hogwarts during the Harry and Co. Go Camping episode, then it would have been this.

And then Seamus opens his mouth. “Please, ma’am, those anti-social tendencies, they’d be the reason You-Know-Who’s so delusional, then?” Oh what the fuck. How witty.

Pay attention to the 'ma'am', as well. The author has decided that this is in American English. That's fine, as author is American. Makes perfect sense.

Back to Seamus, he's just come out of Crucio *smiling*. Of course! He's the author's favourite! Neville, our viewpoint character, remembers how fucking awful Crucio is by experience both direct and indirect. In canon we see it and hear of it pretty regularly, and it's horrendous. But it's okay, you guys, because Seamus Finnegan is beloved of the author. HE'S FINE! STILL SMILING AND BEING WITTY!

Also, thanks Neville for protecting the womenfolk from having to watch the horrors. Everyone knows it's just the Gryffindor boys who have the courage.

Seamus wakes up, being tended by the rest of Gryffindor. When asked wtf was he doing, he replies, “I wanted to set an example like Harry. I thought if someone stood up to her straight away, folk’d see it could be done, you know?”

Fair enough. Wait, "folk"? What kind of voice is the author actually going for? Later on, it will turn out Seamus is from Belfast. Apparently.

Neville lifted his head from the cauldron where he had been carefully stirring in the Mandrake, one drop at a time, allowing his instincts to tell him when the texture was exactly right. “You have a broken wrist, a few cracked ribs, a sprained ankle, and more bruises than if you’d been used for practice by every Beater in the school. That’s not to mention a knot the size of a Snitch on that thick head of yours, two black eyes, a few wand scorches, and a mouth that is just starting to look human again. I suggest you lie back and think about Gryffindors having a tendency to be brave to the point of stupidity, and then we need to talk about what you originally had in mind and make some decisions.” The tone of cool authority in his voice surprised him, and he stopped, blushing and looking back down into the green mixture. “If that’s okay with everyone.”

Not only is Neville well-versed in medical knowledge, but he's suddenly shed all of his self-esteem issues, taken some lessons in rhetoric, and become The Leader!

“Wow, Neville,” gushed Colin Creevey, “you sounded just like Harry there for a minute! It was like the DA again!”

I hope you were paying attention there, because that's all the foreshadowing you're going to get. Also, Neville, are you sure you really wanted to arouse Colin's undying devotion? Anyway, Neville seems to revert back into his shy self, mumbling about how everyone's gone and things are more desperate now.

“But this is why we had the DA in the first place, isn’t it? Because Harry knew it might come to this?” Parvati asked, and Neville wondered hotly why everyone seemed to be looking to him, even Ginny, who seemed to him the far more natural successor to any kind of leadership in Gryffindor.

The reason everyone's looking at you, Neville dear, is because you just spoke. This is what we call "conversation".

Anyway, then it turns out that everyone in Hogwarts has ~secret ethnic backgrounds~ and knows spells in secret languages! Not only that, but everyone's totes willing to spill the beans on this. Seamus has his "Gaelic" (Irish >_<), Ernie Macmillan is apparently Scottish so has Erse, which is totally not Gaelic oh my God research do you some, Anthony Goldstein knows Hebrew spells, the Patil twins know some Indian magic (Padma can control snakes, but not all snakes, "just little ones – normal ones – like cobras and adders" Yep, cobras are totally normal in the UK, where we have precisely three kinds of snake, the adder, grass snake and smooth snake. Oh but wait, they're Indian, of course cobras are normal to them. Oh but wait, they never went to India. Oh but wait, it's exotic if they think cobras are normal. Of course. GLAD THAT'S SORTED). Also, that thing about French spells being different from British Latin spells doesn't sit right with me. Pretty sure French is actually a Romance language, moreso than English. Unless you're talking about Francien, Occitan, Breton, Alsacien or other little languages, I'm almost certain they'd use Latin-based spells.

Romilda Vane apparently boasts that her family are Rom a lot - I doubt it. Firstly, 'rom' is a masculine singular noun. Secondly, antiziganism is an ugly, ugly thing, and it's still horribly alive and well even in our fair isles.

This betrays nothing more than general ignorance towards cultural balances blah, but later on our intrepid author is going to bring up things like the Troubles to give Seamus a bit of background. If you want to play that game, you have to *play* it. None of this pick and choosing bollocks.

Anyway, from now on Neville as we know him is gone. He's suddenly this guy that the other Gryffindors listen to and respect, despite the fact that they all know he's shit with magic and outwardly as timid as a rabbit. He speaks with this voice that's like a plucky half-British dialect thing that sometimes breaks out into quasi-poetry. Later on it's mentioned that he is, in fact, from Yorkshire, and my eyes rolled so hard that I had to go groping under the table to find them again. My dojo-mates are from Yorkshire. I'm fucking living in Yorkshire. This Neville is not from Yorkshire.

He proceeds to tell them what choices they have, and when Seamus points out that they're not exactly safe at Hogwarts he says “Cormac is dead. Cho and Lee are in hiding. Roger is in St. Mungo’s in worse shape than you, Seamus, and that’s just what’s in the Prophet, or what Ginny’s brothers have managed to pass on in news under labels. Right now, he thinks there’s still a chance to brainwash us in school, but once we’re graduated, we lose the safety of numbers and the protection of being kids. He doesn’t want the public outcry that would happen from a massacre at Hogwarts, but once we’re out, we’re on our own.”

Back up, what? When did people die and get chased out? Have I not read the book for that long? What? WHAT?

Blah blah, they're going to FIGHT and DIE, and wow wasn't that easy, and strangely prophetic, everyone is decided, Ginny tells Neville that he's the leader, moving short portraits of all our heroes, end section.

Then Ginny has a nightmare about accidentally killing Seamus instead of fixing him, and decides she needs to tell Neville about it in the middle of the night. Neville stubs his toe and Ginny's wearing hand-me-down pyjamas, so we know they're in character. Neville expresses his misgivings re: being the Leader, and Ginny embarks on the weirdest euphemistic encouragment I've ever read. Observe.

She tilted her head at him, seeming to give the matter serious consideration for a few seconds, then spoke, her voice lightly tinged with an edge of sarcasm. “You know, you’re at least as tall as Ron, your voice has changed, and I think you shave more often than Harry, so it really confuses me.”

He blinked. “What?”

“Well, that would seem to indicate that you’ve got a working set of what they do, so I don’t see why you constantly refuse to use them.”

I actually thought she was coming onto him. When Neville is shocked (presumably he thought the same?) she retorts:

“Oh, come off it!” She rolled her eyes. “I’m the only girl in a family of seven! I could belch the entire Chudley Cannons fight song by the time I was four, but Katie Bell had to tell me when I needed a bra and show me how to put the effing thing on, so don’t act like I’m supposed to be some sheltered little flower about how boys are put together.”

You don't want to look like a sheltered little flower about how boys are put together? THEN JUST SAY "BALLS". IT'S EASY. LOOK. "HEY NEVILLE, GROW A PAIR." EASY!

"...woe be to anyone who says differently..." That's 'woe betide', I think you'll find.

Then Neville tells her exactly what happened to his parents. Ginny tells him he's more amazing than everyone else, and when he denies it, she says "You’re not nearly as bad as you think you are most of the time, but when you fight ...” she shook her head slowly, “you’re amazing.”

What? I'm pretty sure Neville being shite at everything except his precious plants was the point of his character. He's shite at it all, but he muddles through it because he's Neville, and we love him for it. He just stubbed his toe on the way through his own dorm. I just can't see him having any kind of lethal fighting grace.

Anyway, Ginny ~drapes herself over his shoulders~ and basically guilts him into taking the responsibility. Trite things are said. Neville learns posture and speaks with his father's voice.

Next section is a Herbology lesson, and Hannah Abbott's ignoring Neville due to a comical misunderstanding, in which she thinks he was making out with Ginny and he thinks she's angry because he's decided to lead the DA. There's some hilarious high school drama, Hannah tries to kill Neville because of his perceived infidelity, it turns out that everything's due to some jealous girl spreading shit. Of course it is.

End chapter.

Look out for Chapter 2 when I next have some free time!
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