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02 January 2008 @ 07:14 pm
On Fest Virginity and Dark Marks  
Fest virginity is, apparently, quite like the standard type. I was tempted when I saw hd_holidays mooted about. It looked attractive, smart, witty, and kind of cool. People I really liked, liked this fest. So I dipped a toe in the water on the comments pages. Met anthimaeria, which was worth the price of admission alone, and in the end I decided I wasn't ready. I wanted to fool around in fandom a bit longer before taking the plunge.

A few months later my dear Canadian friend rang me. "Have you signed up for Yuletide?" she asked. "God no!" I replied. "You have to! Quick, it closes in an hour." "No." "Yes!" "No!" "Yes!" "No!" "No!!" "Yes!!" "So you'll do it? GREAT! Go and sign up now!" "No … what? Hang on, did you just trick me using kindergarten trickery?" "Maybe …" "Dammit!"

Erm … you don't want to know how well this analogy holds up …

So I signed up, and asked for fics from the Thursday Next fandom (because I love Fforde), or for Young Riders (which is the one hugely dodgy American show I ever loved, it's a long, embarrassing story), or, in a pinch, the BBC Robin Hood universe.

I offered to write Thursday Next, Sherlock Holmes, Blackadder, Diana Wynne Jones, Gaiman, Austen, Shakespeare (I would have died happy if I'd been assigned a Titus Andronicus prompt), or, in a pinch, the BBC Robin Hood universe.

Guess which fandom I received as a gift fic and was given to write? On the upside, my gifts were lovely (I received two! Yay nice people!). Clever (my official gift) is a beautifully observed scene between Robin and Marian that captures their voices perfectly. arllama did a really wonderful job on this, despite my deranged prompts. Then a certain slightly guilty Canadian wrote me another Robin/Marian scene: Not Always Everything, which hits the clear emotional honesty of all her writing (I am trying to lure her to HP after her gales of tears at the finale of BBC's Robin Hood).

I was given a really fun prompt for a Djaq/Alan A Dale story, for which I wrote A Man of Middling Morals. As usual I left it to the last minute and was only saved from my own terrible typing by the genius that is jadzialove. Still, it was something different, even if I don't feel I really did the recipient justice (if I do Yuletide again, I am sticking to things I really know and love).

I've not made any real headway into reading Yuletide, but my absolute favourite of the few I sampled is a Thursday Next tale, featuring Sauron; The Eagle Conspiracy was so magnificently Ffordian, and funny! and smart! and  full of lovely fandom jokes that I had a solid grin on my face the whole way through.

At about the same time as I was panicking over Yuletide, I received an email from the wonderful nqdonne , hd_holidays mod, saying "Hey, you remember that you said that you could pinch hit if I needed it? I need it."

And we're back to the virginity analogy here, because I said "Sure! Fests seem great fun! The more the merrier!"  (Er, re that analogy, you may have been less strumpetty as a lass or lad.) To which she replied: "Fabulous, I need it in 13 days here's your prompts."

Which would have all been fine if I'd thought to plan for the fact that included six travelling days and four booked-out days. Again, fic is v much like sex – I just did without sleep in the end. Ironically, sleep wasn't all I did without for those days. But it was fun!!! And the recipient liked it, even though I actually forgot to write one of the scenes I had planned for the first third, so I danced happily in a groggy circle before falling down in a coma for 48 hours. And I think I'll probably revisit it at some point with more than 13 days of half-arsedry.

So, all in all, losing my fic virginity was highly entertaining, and mostly for the right reasons. I'm leaving that analogy over there in the corner now.

During this very scattered month of not enough reading I managed to catch malachic's wonderful essay on Harry/Draco, where she talks about the textual possibilities for H/Dshippers, and the textual impetus to H/D. I loved this essay, but was confused by one thing, which may be an artefact of me being an idiot (if a possible answer to any Brampton question is 'because your brain manufactures its own crack', then that is also always the most likely answer.) She speaks about Draco's Dark Mark as a proven fact, but I had always thought it was left up in the air by JKR. As I read it, the curse blocking the way to the Astronomy Tower to those without a Dark Mark is clearly set AFTER Draco is already on the roof, and it obviously lets people through from the other direction because Harry comes through it.

I'm not saying that it's in any way certain that he isn't marked, thought given the fuss that is made about the Malfoys being on the outer and the Mark being an especial sign of favour, I come down on the side of not, but am I missing something obvious? Comments, chapter directions, opinions all welcome!
Current Location: sofa
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: fan
nahimanaemerald_dragon8 on January 2nd, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
I think you might be right about Draco - I don't recall any absolute evidence of Draco's Dark Mark, but maybe we are meant to assume that Voldemort wouldn't allow anyone unmarked to witness a murder/torture (and Draco was present when Burbage was tortured in the beginning of DH). I checked the Lexicon, because I am lazy and don't want to get up to get my copy of DH, and they don't say that Draco was definitely seen at any time with the Dark Mark - just that Harry has suspicions in HBP. I'm not definite about this, though.

I know what you mean about fest virginity. I was tempted to sign up to the snarry_games (art) this year, but thought better of it. Then they had a team angst member drop out, and a friend (creascendo) poked me, so I did it. I left it a bit late, took on a big project (I ended up with about 6 or 7 panels, which meant a fair bit of detail) and freaked out a bit at the end. But it all ended well!

ANYWAY. I shall have to read your hd_holidays fic, if I haven't already! XD
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
Oooh ... were you the artist of 'it is at moments after i have dreamed'? That was SO poignant! It ended VERY well! I'm so glad the freaking out seems to be universal. I am sure that better time management will see things improve next time. (Signing up for HD Worldcup would be mad, wouldn't it?)

See, your logic is excellent, but then JKR has the Greyback conundrum, he's clearly on the 'in', but canonically unmarked. Of course, he's a werewolf, so he'd be 'beneath' Voldemort, but is the young sacrificial son of a perceived failure, Draco is fairly 'out', too. Sigh.

If she has nothing in canon, then I hope she shuts up on the topic and just lets us make up our own minds!

I'll post a link or repost it here. I think I really do need to rewrite it, I think it wants to be part of something much bigger. I think I should go away and finish Fathers so that I can clear out some writing time ...
(no subject) - emerald_dragon8 on January 8th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
snottygrrl on January 2nd, 2008 11:54 am (UTC)
short comment because i am so supposed to be asleep.

there is no proof in canon afaik that he's marked, however i have a niiggling thought at the back of my brain that perhaps jk mentioned it later? or maybe not [*flails*]
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
I hope you are asleep now, miss!

I think she said he was a Death Eater, but so is Greyback, and we know he's not Marked. Actually, I hope she never tells, because if it is ambiguous, then I think we should all be able to interpret it as we will. I think JKR might also have a self-cracking brain ...
timorous beastiejackieohno on January 2nd, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)
I haven't lost my fest virginity yet--like you, I always think I'm not ready to participate, and my real-life record of deadline procrastination is appalling, so... I might never write a fest fic! Which is sad, since I think fic fests are gonna eventually die out after a while now that Book 7 is out.

The Eagle Conspiracy was so good. I was sad when it ended, man.

(And hi--I came to your journal for Sins of the Fathers and I added you because your posts are interesting!)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
I friended you for EXACTLY the same reason (which reminds me, how did Christmas dinner go?)

I could have done with more Eagle Conspiracy, too. I checked out her profile and she is apparently 23-years-old and Polish. [Cries.]

I think there will be fic fests for a while yet, DH seems to have created more story lines than it closed down ... So there is still time, if you ever have RL time!
(no subject) - jackieohno on January 2nd, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on January 3rd, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
not your typical annihilatrix: Draco: Be evilfuriosity on January 2nd, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
There is no canon proof that Draco is Marked, and JKR has never confirmed whether or not he had the Dark Mark. I would actually say that after Deathly Hallows, it's unlikely that Draco is marked; mid-DH we find out that Fenrir Greyback isn't Marked, because that highest honour is reserved to Voldemort's inner circle. I sincerely doubt that canon Draco is a part of Voldemort's inner circle, though I'm sure some zomgDrakiepooiztehgreatestandmostpowerful!!!11one!!1 fangirls would disagree.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
I'm feeling a bit better about the whole thing; I had assumed that there was some obvious and overwhelming clue that I had missed (and since I read DH with the flu from hell and hallucinated whole sections, that was wholly likely).

I agree with you that it is unlikely, and for the same reasons, but I am happy to allow people to make up their own minds fic-wise, I was just confused to see it as a tenet of faith in an essay (not that it in any way lessened my enjoyment of that essay, save for my small worry I was even madder than I thought).
(no subject) - furiosity on January 2nd, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norton_gale on January 2nd, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on January 3rd, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norton_gale on January 3rd, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sassy_cissasassy_cissa on January 2nd, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
I'm pleased to see you've popped your fandom cherry and were involved with hd_holidays It's a great fest and the mods are loves.

My only suggestion is unless you can pop off a fic in no time, to watch deadlines. I had three that fell within days of each other, causing much stress and sleepless nights. But in the end - they were all finished. They may not have been the belle of the ball or the most read fics, but I was pleased with them and in the end...as long as your recipient does not hate it - liking what we do is all one can ask for. IMO

Sorry to be so rambly. :D

Edited at 2008-01-02 02:41 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's what I didn't watch closely enough. After so long in journalism I can hit any deadline, but what I hit it with is the issue!

Yuletide seems to have taught me that I'm not really interested in general fandom, just HD. HD-holidays seems to have taught me that I am incapable of writing a short short story! And the encouraging mods made it a fabulous experience.
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)

I have so much to do ... but it would be so much fun ... but I'd be all in love with the idea and then not win a lottery place ... but it would be so much fun ...

Bloody hell, just send me a semi-clad Sean Bean dipped in chocolate and holding packages of party drugs; it would be less of a moral conundrum!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - blamebrampton on January 2nd, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
shadowclub: Ostrichshadowclub on January 2nd, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Yes, I don't think we ever really find out if Draco is marked, but there was that one scene in HPB where he grabs his left arm to prevent his sleeve from being raised at the robe shop. I think this led many people to believe he was marked (including Harry), but this is never confirmed. Thanks for the link to the essay, I must go check it out!

hd_holidays is a lovely fest! Although between that smutmas and like the p34234(yes, this number includes letters) other fests I'm so behind on reading! Too much good fic!

blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 3rd, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
I , too, have resorted to algebra when it comes to how far behind I am on things fic. In fact, I am calling a moratorium on commenting until Sunday except in urgent circumstances!

And I had to go and look this up: the old is he marked with Voldie's sigil or did Madame Malkin stab him with a needle trick, eh? Who can say? Do read it, I very much enjoyed it.
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on January 2nd, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Our surprise meeting on the sign-up list was serendipitous indeed! You never know who'll you'll run into in fandom.

And as I said to furiosity above: I doubt Draco's marked. Harry thinks he is, but then again, Harry's hunches are usually wrong, especially when he gets all hysterical about them. My theory is that he needed to rationalize his consuming obsession with Draco. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 3rd, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC)
Because Ginny is his One True Love. And I am very tall. Did I mention blonde? And Canadian. Also, a man. Sheesh. (Do Canadians say sheesh? Maybe I'm from Pensacola?)

Well, you introduced me to Sansa and nqdonne, so as far as I am concerned, you have perfect taste and know only brilliant people.
(no subject) - norton_gale on January 3rd, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on January 3rd, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norton_gale on January 3rd, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
acidic_lipstick on January 4th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
oooo now I want to know which one you wrote! =D was it a long one? I love long ones (aka I only read the long ones xD).

love your fic = sex comparison rofl. I totally agree. good fic is positively euphoric and bad fic? *holds up pinky finger and shrugs* eh.

I always thought Draco wasn't marked? Maybe because a lot of fics I read have him unmarked. Like he got on of those wet with water and paste on types for the purpose of his mission but the reward of fulfilling the task would be getting the Dark Mark (and you know, everybody you love not dying).
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 15th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)
D'oh! Dammit, I didn't mean to miss this! You are so right about the two options for fic! And I agree with you about the marking.
randomidiotorions_stars on January 4th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I love fests! Of course, I'm a reader only. :) I can never keep up while they're being posted, but they provide reading material for months. I can only imagine the travails of the poor authors, but congrats on getting it done.

Re: Dark Mark - this confused me, because I swear I remember Snape (in Goblet of Fire) showing his Mark to Fudge (I think?) and saying that every Death Eater had got one from Voldemort. And how would he call them without one anyway? So I don't believe Draco ever was one, officially. At least not how Snape defines it. Of course, I don't believe his mother ever was one either.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 15th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)
I agree with you (and am mortified it's taken me 10 days to mention it ...)
(no subject) - orions_stars on January 15th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on January 15th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 5th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
YES! That's an excellent point, and if he had defected, wouldn't his Dark Mark have bothered him the way whatsisface from Durmstrang's did? (I did know his name, but my brain has been turned into sago by far too much work of late, must take some time off to concentrate on important things, like Potter!)