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14 May 2008 @ 11:26 pm
Worldcup and team EWE, post 3  
Oh cock! ... which is my word for the day ... Due to my commitment to doing these in order, only two today, since I have two unfinished reads coming up. Most of the way through both ... but it's getting late again.

Lamp in the Cooling Room
, Prompt: The Lovers, Wordcount ~9000
Draco stumbles across some of the last of his father's magic, alas shortly after an innocent  Muggle girl has already tripped the trap. Auror Harry Potter is quick to respond to the stirring of deep Dark magic, and he, too, is confined within the small house, where any may enter, but only one may leave alive.
Seen through the eyes of the young innocent, the two men try to puzzle out the spells, with some help from the outside.

I adore this story, and I am not alone! The voice is marvellous, an idiosyncratic child who has obsessions and insights far beyond her years. So much of the boys' character is revealed in response to her, especially for Draco. The writer's style is tight and sure, and so compelling. Huge swathes of backstory are told, not in exposition, but in snaps of dialogue, or quick gestures. Draco's loneliness in the intervening years, Harry's increasing sense of unwelcome solitude ... Don't listen to me, listen to this writer:

Malfoy's hand returns to stroke her head. With infinite slowness, she melts into him until she's curled against his side, ruining the pleats in his coat. "Magic," she says, "is the most perfectly wonderful thing! Belle lived in an enchanted castle. The candles talked. And the furniture. And the cups and plates." She claps her hands together and laughs.

"And did any of those cups or saucers grow insane with power and try to take over the world?" Malfoy asks.

She considers. "No." Her eyes flick to his stick, gripped between his fingers. "Have they been known to do that on your planet?"

Potter laughs, but Malfoy is all business. "Oh, yes," he says. "I'm afraid they have."

Though they are referred to throughout as Potter and Malfoy, there is an intimacy in these two characters that I rarely find in fic. And the ending is just ... well ... splendid. To see the two of them perfectly happy to accept this moment as a completion ... oh go and read it!

Beneath Boundless Skies
, Prompt: Death, Wordcount, 29,800
Life is a series of funerals and media intrusions for Harry in the weeks after the War, so when Minerva suggests he act like a proper English teenager and sod off to Australia for a gap year, he takes her up on the offer. And he's not alone.
Harry and Draco Malfoy accompany Hannah Abbott on her return to Wollongong Wizarding University, where every serious groundbreaking magic is studied, and everyone plays Quidditch and strange animals go bump in the night.

Though at first glance the device seems obvious, this story has excellent internal logic. The opening sections in England are a time of closed difficulty, with little possibility for change, while once they shift continents, anything can happen. The Australian scenes are lighter and brighter in every way, and, thrown together, the boys have no choice but to be there for each other in ways that begin as pragmatic and end up as sincere. Though there are a number of scenes that are very moving, there is an abundance of well-crafted comedy in this story, even through the funerals (well, at Fred's, because how would you properly remember Fred otherwise?)

I especially love this writer's assured use of dialogue, which is particularly evident in her use of minor characters (Neville and Hannah in particular), and her OCs:
“There was an Australian Prime Minister name Holt, who disappeared,” said Charlie, who had been very quiet until then. “He went for a snorkel off the Victorian coast, and was drowned, or taken by a shark.”

She paused, and Malfoy and Harry looked at her expectantly, unsure if they were missing some obscure Australian joke.

“So,” she went on. “They built the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre.”
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down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on May 14th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Much ♥ for both of these. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 15th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC)
I was really happy to see that the team's two 'older' fics, ones that weren't designed to appeal to the mainstream young reader, both did well comment-wise. Restores a bit of my faith in fandom.
parallel parking prodigy: gorgeous harry/draco kissempress_jae on May 14th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
*GUH* Lamp in the Cooling Room...i start tearing up just thinking about it. i was on the phone with a friend last night and we were discussing all the fests and she asked me if i'd read this one yet, and i started sniffling as i thought about the little girl! i'm such a sucker for well-written children in well-written, heart-wrenching, pieces of gorgeous fic...

Edited at 2008-05-14 07:22 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 15th, 2008 09:20 am (UTC)
She's just great, isn't she? And I love the way that her story reveals everything about Harry and Draco ...
Meredythmeredyth_13 on May 14th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
Really, this rec is close to the only one needed for the whole fest... no, not entirely true, there are some other lovely fics, but these two are two stories that went straight to my keeper file.

It's possible I may have committed a 'fanfic' re the first one - I blame Cal. >.>

The second makes me warm in all my happy places. It feels like home - and not just because part of it is set so delightfully in Aus.

So yeah, this rec could well be sub-titled 'Mere's happy place, with angsty bits'

blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 15th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
Yay! Hurrah for Team EWE love!

I missed Lamp fanfic? Point me in the right direction! (You clever clogs, you!)
Voldemoofrantic_mice on May 15th, 2008 06:21 am (UTC)
I could live in those stories, that's how much I adored them. There was simply absolutely nothing "eh" about them. You know what I mean? I just bought into them completely. I just ♥ stories that feel like experiences.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 15th, 2008 09:28 am (UTC)
YAY! I know that the authors will both be doing little happy dances to hear that. They are both on my list of fest faves, too. I think that the Lamp world might be a bit less comfortable than the BBS world, but you would not have to put up with as many people making jokes about wombats ... And there's sex ...
Bubba: Manet's Lemonabsynthedrinker on May 15th, 2008 11:51 am (UTC)
I think I misunderstood "Lamp", because I came away from it thinking our boys died. I have since been assured by several people that they did in fact live. The purposeful ambiguity of the ending made me a bit wary of it as a fave. BBS was among my absolute faves just for its breadth of imagination and its clever dilaogue. Thanks

blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 15th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
Can you keep a secret? I rather think they did, too, but I have been telling people that they didn't really in a bid to keep my friends more cheerful. I'm quite happy to be wrong! Regardless, I loved the fact that Harry and Draco were both completely prepared to die at that moment, and felt complete with each other.
Bubba: Paris Electricabsynthedrinker on May 15th, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC)
Yes the dynamic between the two men is brilliant. Not to mention the "hissing of the belt through loops " and "burn ointment"! If I were ever to have a "character death" story on my fave list I imagine this would have to be it then. Thanks!