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hd_worldcup: Tarot Prompt - The Tower

"The Tower is an unsettling card. Fire, lightning, falling on jagged rocks - definitely looks like trouble! It represents a sudden, dramatic upheaval or reversal in fortune. Usually change is gradual, giving us time to adapt, but sometimes it is quick and explosive. This is the action of the Tower.

In films, the hero sometimes slaps someone who is groggy or babbling. Having tried everything else, he finally resorts to a sharp sting to snap him out of it. Sudden crises are life's way of telling you to wake up. Something's wrong, and you're not responding. Are you too full of pride? Expect a blow to your ego. Are you holding back your anger? Expect the dam to burst. Are you stuck in a rut? Expect a surprise.

How you respond to the Tower's change makes all the difference in how uncomfortable the experience will be. Recognize that the disruption occurred because it was needed. Perhaps embracing the change is too much to ask, but try to find the positive in it. In fact, you may feel tremendous release that you have finally been forced in a new direction. You may have a burst of insight about your situation and reach a new level of understanding about it." - learntarot.com
Ok, the final two fics are definite recs ^__^ And the one at the end? Is one of my top three favorites so far. Yes, in line with Take a Sad Song. Do check it out!

The One Where Goyle Kidnaps Scorpius
Precious Things -- Team Fanon
I admit this was one of those fics I had to skim. The characterization was very much Fanon, Draco being the most obvious example since he started out as as a distant and cold father, and then at one point Harry discovers him vulnerable and sobbing in Scorpius' room. I'm aware that the tarot prompt is all about change and upheaval, but the change in personality felt very odd. And through the fic I never figured out how old Scorpius was - even though he was most likely a teen, he seemed much younger in several scenes.

On the other hand, I'm happy that authors in this fest are including original characters or minor characters in their fics - and in this case we got Goyle. I admit I would have enjoyed it more if his character had had additional development - perhaps Scorpius and Greg could have bonded over their problems? There were hints of it but the story thread wasn't really explored. I've read one Greg/Draco fic in the past and it really made me sit up and take notice. Wish there were more fics like that.

One of the things that struck me as odd was the kidnapper's demand for Draco's hair. This happens just after Harry polyjuiced into Scorpius. I don't understand how Harry and Draco ignored the risks of giving somebody one's hair. IMO they might as well have given the kidnapper the keys to the Malfoy fortune.

Overall it felt like I was reading a fic that still had kinks to be worked out - my mind couldn't embrace the story and so I guess this reflects that.

The One With Draco's Seventh Year in Durmstrang
The Affairs of Men -- Team EWE
To me this was a Draco-centric fic with a side of H/D. I ADORED the first half to bits. The analysis of what happens to Draco and his family after the war was something I didn't realise I *needed*. The first half of the fic was like that - it was like reading an extension of canon and seeing what could very well have happened to the Malfoys after the last chapter in book 7.

I found certain moments in this story to be very...human. Doing interviews for work and applications for college, as much as we think we should be welcomed with open arms - that's rarely the case. I felt incredibly sad for Draco 'cause it was a rude awakening.

Each original or minor character introduced shines in their own way and added not only to the plot but also to my enjoyment of the whole story. I really liked Professor Bukhalov and the opening scene with Luna definitely worked for me. Draco felt so lost and in need of direction. Oh and his connecting the tarot card to the Astronomy tower incident? It felt incredibly canon :)

There were also parts that were harder to read - Lucius dying like that? *shudders* The rejection letters had me cringing too. And yet those parts made the fic better. I love that the author did not try to glorify Minerva but instead made her very human.

The one bit that was odd in this fic was Harry. He was too nice. I might have believed Harry's characterization more if we had switched to his POV and saw how his view of Draco changed with time. Without it, his personality felt...off. And BTW can the Elder wand be returned to the hands of a former owner without some kind of battle? That area seems a bit grey. And I don't think Draco could ever reach a point in his life where he'd willingly accept the Manor from Harry as a gift.

The root of my problem may be that H/D for me is characterized by them getting on each others toes. Since Draco came back from Durmstrang, there wasn't a single fight. I'm used to the idea that with Harry and Draco, someone is going to say the wrong thing and they'll fight and we'll be facepalming even as we grin. So I kinda consider this story to be more of a Draco fic - but it's still worth a read!

The One With the Horcrux!Mirror
Ring A-Ring O' Roses -- Team Canon ♥ ♥ ♥
This fic makes up for the lack of H/D antagonism in the previous two by miles. In fact I kinda wish it had traded off some of the angst for a bit of humor because...ouch. Still, my favorite canon!fics are the ones that take the Harry and Draco we know and love and get them into a relationship despite the fights and snark and arguments. Or even using those elements to make the H/D relationship stronger. This fic does that superbly.

The switches in POV were fabulous - the author got into the heads of both our boys and you could get where each of them was coming from. And there were certain lines that were simple yet packed one hell of a punch. The line "the peacocks were dead or escaped" was stated matter-of-factly but my breath kinda wheezed out and all I could think of was, fuck.

\o/ ⇐ this was me when Harry and Draco got into that first explosive fight. Hell, YEAH. This is what H/D is about *__* And while this fic isn't really humorous, I snickered when Invisibility cloak!Harry started stalking Draco again. And then I burst out laughing when Harry got discovered at the worst possible moment. What is UP with everyone's sex getting interrupted in this fest?

From the beginning everything about the fic flowed smoothly - except for Draco primping in front of a mirror. Finding out that it had a deeper meaning made everything click. The fic was tight and well written.

Bellatrix using Draco as a pawn? The horror of the situation...in some ways its similar to Ginny's experience with the diary but in others, its completely different. In Draco's case, he suceeded in killing the targets. God, the mirror made him turn against his family - and it breaks him. In some ways while the Weasleys seem to be the Family in the HP series, IMO, its the Malfoys - everything is about their loved ones and even war ceased to matter in that case. To see Draco become the reason for his own family's destruction. God, it hits you in the gut. One of the big fics of the fest IMO.

The One Where Al is called Bussy
DIY Messiah -- Team Epilogue ♥ ♥ ♥
When a child's whoop is said to be "spine chilling", you know the author truly *understands* kids XD

Harry is kinda going through a mid life crisis - his grand ideas of a life with a picket fence has shown itself to be an illusion. His stay at home wife doesn't do much, sex is quick and the kids are a loving nightmare. Basically, his life has lost its spark. His friends all have Things To Do and for a Hero, a life of monotony can be Hell. And then he meets up with Draco on Take Your Kids To Work Day. And there is a bit more color to his life.

This fic has got to be the most...balanced in the fest. It's got a little of everything. It was like reading about the lives of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy - not a work of fiction. Harry's day to day activities, the development of his relationship with Draco, the changes in the Ministry, the focus on family and upheaval and change and growth. It's a bloody fantastic story.

Oh and on a side note: Scorpius in Gryffindor and fighting with James...oh, my next-gen!OTP, how much I adore you! I LOVE how Draco noticed Scorpius' growing obsession with James XD I can see something developing in future and Draco pointing it out to Harry with this "I told you so" expression, lol.

What is really, really great about this story is that the author takes the characters we loved in the books and walks them through the years - you can feel the way they've changed. They aren't the same people anymore. And that's okay. In fact, that's probably why I love this fic so much. There is so much depth and dimensionality to their characters. We aren't readers - we become witnesses to the events in their lives ♥

My Top Teams for The Tower: Team Epilogue followed by Team Canon

I'm guessing furiosity wrote Ring A-Ring O' Roses >__>

All Tarot Prompts can be found via the fests tag.

My masterlist of recs for hd_worldcup can be found here
I've only read 2 world cup fics so far, but I've been going mad for the art. I don't know - I just feel too 'forced' in some ways with the word counts and the time allocation in which to read them before the next lot. I think I'm having a teenage rebellion (except that I'll be 40 next year)! I think I'll wait until I'm in a better frame of mind and pick the notable ones up at the end of the fest.

But I just wanted to say how refreshing I find your reviews. I relly like your positive approach to the fics and what the authors are trying to do.

And I also wanted to say how much I like your layout. It's really clean and ordered.
While I've been able to jump into the fics, I'm finding the art much harder because I'm so damn picky it's crazy. And with such extreme preferences I can't bring myself to vote for the art :( I've reach the point where I stare at the prettiness and just shut up *sigh*

I was the same for December fests - didn't read them till Jan and I was so out of it I only read the popular fics or the ones that were recced or the ones by favorite authors. I felt guilty about it but at the same time the wait let me enjoy the fics a lot more...

Thank you for the FB! This is the first time I'm doing reviews for a fest rather than just flailing and yelling "Go! Read!" and I have to admit - getting words down is both easier and harder than I thought it would be...

♥ Well, if you're interested there's a certain post on the 14th that you could check out...
Hahaha, oh yes. I noticed not everyone liked it but for me it worked just as well as Take a Sad Song...
I wish so much I could discuss these reviews with you. I'll put my questions away for after the reveals, though :)
(feel free to message me if you want ^__^)

The wait for the reveals feels like forever - but I also don't want the deluge of fic to end!
I know you said you skimmed the first fic, but Harry does throw in a line about how he could use some spells to protect it from being used in potions. Which made me pretty much go... "Well, if you're going to do that, what's the point?" Also, I found Scorpius's point of view amusing, but that's when I thought he was seven. And throughout the whole fic, though we were told he was a teenager, it still felt like he was seven. And that's actually what amused me most about his scenes--imagining a seven-year-old being abducted with porn (after not falling for the "standard" tricks). Overall, I found the fic funny, but it lacked the... substance, I think? To make the fic rec-worthy. Also, it provided me with some very amusing mental images (Unabashed!Gay!Harry was one--especially since it tends to be Draco with the glitter in his hair.)

DIY Messiah took the idea of Harry saving the world through paperwork and turned it into something that felt very, very real. Lily was an absolute terror. And... I really dislike Bussy as a nickname as much has Harry did/does. Also, I find it interesting how Hermione and Ron's marriage works just the way I thought it would--Hermione wears the pants in the family, and Ron is pretty much whipped. But it works for them. All in all, it felt very real to me.

The Affairs of Men is another fic where the H/D felt too easy. I can understand growing up, but there's a difference between thinking that and your gut reaction upon seeing someone that you hated for the first time in years. Harry was far too nice, and I definitely saw the Manor bit coming--right when Harry started interrupting Draco to discuss the Manor. I suppose a big part of H/D for me is that the fights (no matter how trivial) make them feel alive, in a world where they feel like they're slowing dying--both during the war and after it. And were they twenty when the fic ended? Harry felt far "older and wiser," while Draco just felt... mellower--a mature twenty, which is what people are to expect when their twenty-year-olds have been through a war. Harry felt a little as if he were channeling Dumbledore, which is... odd in an H/D context. Yes, Harry'll try to emulate Dumbledore, but there are few fics where he succeeds to such an extent, and it reads... a hair odd.

And I knew that mirror was bad news once Draco started talking to it (and it got so excited at the sound of Voldemort). This was another fic for me where I adored the first half of it, but... the tower scene felt a bit stagnant for me--I felt like there were more words than action, though it might be because I read the fic in pieces, and perhaps wasn't in the same mood I started the fic with. I liked the concept a lot, and I liked the characterization, but I thought the showing of the Tower scene could use some work. ::shrugs::

Anyway, my thoughts on that round, a week late. (I'm slowly catching up--sort of. Trying to get less than a week behind...)