"The Chariot represents struggle, but not one that the seeker will definitely lose. The Chariot suggests that the seeker actually has a good chance of prevailing if he or she does not give up. Accomplishment can be achieved with effort and resources mix with strong direction. It is symbolic the strength associated with battle (think any roman epic). It speaks of fortitude and perseverance. This card could also represent that control is necessary for the victory. It is a hero’s journey. Possessing strength of conviction.WOOT! Two recs in this round and one of them happens to be a top favorite too!
It could also represent a possible voyage or journey. It can be a physical one or one of spiritual discovery. You create your own destiny.
Reversed - Incompletion, not finishing cycle. Unsuccessful. Defeat. Failure. To lose something in your grasp at the last moment. Sudden collapse of plans. Conquered. Overwhelmed. Failure to face reality. Captive of your own fears." - bewitchingways.com
The One with the Biography
Wheels Of Fire (The Official Autobiography of Harry Potter) -- Team EWE
Humor and awkwardness and some really funny one liners all came together in a story that felt surprisingly real- Team EWE's entry was a delight to read.
In this fest, there have been several stories that were very smooth - so smooth in fact, that I couldn't really see Harry and Draco in the characters I was reading. In this fic however, the author manages to take the friction in H/D and soften the edge - leaving a slight awkwardness and a magnetic pull too. I was totally sucked in.
Actually, I was laughing from the very first scene! For once Harry's mediocrity in academics results in him not getting his way - his biography is rejected by no less than seventeen publishers. The scene made me hit the table with my fists while I snickered. And the concept of Draco as a ghost writer is just wonderful - it also makes a lot of sense, though I wish we didn't have destitute!Malfoys so often in fanfics.
Interspersed with the humor is the friction which gives way to awkwardness as Harry and Draco get more comfortable with each other. There isn't much focus on other characters (Hermione and Ron being in Australia and all, lol) but that just means we get to focus more on the budding relationship. When the first kiss occurs, I was utterly charmed and yet it also felt realistic. If you take out the I'm-going-to-kill-you-if-I-don't-fuck-yo
This is the shortest fic of the round and like some other shorter works, the length is just enough to embrace the story. Still I wanted to read more about Harry and Draco, especially when they first started working on the books. You know those movie sequences, where time passes fast and you see bits and pieces of the people as their relationship changes? Well, I wanted one of those for the period leading up the first H/D kiss. In any case, a lovely read.
The One With the Hunt for the Anti-Horcrux Weapon
Who Can Stand? -- Team Fanon
One of the reasons I was happy with Deathly Hallows was 'cause we got rid of Voldie and moved on from the Horcrux plot (which IMO was really just one very convoluted storyline). So seeing the whole concept of using a Super!knife to destroy the Horcrux in Harry and Draco being the one to do it...I just felt tired. I take great comfort in knowing that the Horcrux plot is something in the past. It's probably the one AU idea I'm least interested in seeing. Just an FYI.
The characterization felt fanon and just a bit off. For one thing, I couldn't believe Draco would recover so fast from watching the torture and murder of his mother. I know that in war, people get hardened - but really for the Malfoys, family has always come first. Plus as the story progresses Draco was just so balanced and level headed generally. It felt like the characterization played second fiddle to the plot. And I don't think Draco would ever be *obvious* in his "admiration" of Harry. I also couldn't help thinking Ron and Hermione were a bit of a waste - they tagged along to Spinner's End but didn't actually end up doing anything much. I would have enjoyed some dialogue from them to play off of Harry and Draco at the very least.
On a side note, this fic made me realize that recently I haven't been reading H/D for the pr0n. Rather, its been about the chemistry and tension and interaction and the getting together - and especially those first kisses and Harry and Draco finally acknowledging their relationship. In this fic I could have skipped the sex and it would have been alright. I think I get my smut from other fandoms nowadays, oddly enough.
The One With Draco in Azkaban
Wall of Glass -- Team Canon ♥ ♥ ♥
WINNAR. This story is beautiful and canon and just real. Probably one of the absolute best characterizations of Draco in the fest IMO. While I love reading snark and wit from our favorite Malfoy, that isn't what really draws me to him. It's *this* - and I don't even know how to describe it. It's reading Draco not as a character but as a living, breathing person. There aren't too many fics that can hit me on this level. TOTAL LOVE.
The story starts with Draco being released from Azkaban. I loved the imagery that the author is able to conjure with a few lines. Most fanfics tend to skip out on those kinds of details and its fics like this one that make me wonder why. The writing is excellent, setting a mood with the scene and we can't help but wonder what happened to Draco. The author then focuses on showing us exactly that.
I don't know how to explain it. This fic disregards the epilogue but the story reads like alternate canon to me. The descriptions of Diagon Alley, the events around Draco's trial, the reactions of the other prisoners to Harry - all of it connects into a larger picture. We can see on a fundamental level that the world has changed. And so has Draco's lot in life; he has a five year prison sentence during which time the Ministry pretty much drains the family's coffers and more importantly, the Malfoy family is destroyed. And yet this is a story about survival and living and picking up the pieces of your life and standing back up. It's wonderful.
Even the minor characters and their interactions are deeper than that of your average fic. You have Stan Shunpike for instance, who befriends Draco and helps him get used to Azkaban - that is, until he gets pressured by some of the other inmates to stay away. Seeing Draco in prison, his inability to cope with the food, his underlying fear while he nibbles bread - I could relate to it. A lot. And then we have Harry making a connection, sending a message to Narcissa, seeing if Draco is alright and finally telling him the news about his mother. These scenes were so gradual that until Draco was on his knees, I didn't realize my eyes were wet.
This is a very visual and emotive peace. The scene near the end, with Draco leaning against the wall, just breathing. It's a snapshot in my mind. Draco survives even though he's not really *living* - there's this mix of strength through survival and desolation from the loss of loved ones and family. And then we get Harry and things start changing yet again.
Out of all the fics in the fest, this is the one I most want to see continued further. The wizarding world has changed so much (all so believably though) that I want to see Draco recover, get a job, try to figure out what he's doing with Harry and so much more. I want to see Harry change the wizarding world. I want to see people's views of Draco change.
In a way this felt like a slice of life fic because there are so many more pieces of the story out there and I really want to see it *all*. I loved this. I want more. I will bribe the author for more. I love it that much. This is definitely amongst my absolute top favorites for the fest.
And oh my god, it's times like these that I just want to sit quietly by Draco on a bench in Diagon Alley and watch people walk past us. LOVE.
The One with Albus and Scopius as Triwizard Champions
Love in a London Tube Stop (Under Construction) -- Team Epilogue ♥ ♥ ♥
Evidence of Teh Funny in this fic:
Malfoy whirled again and faced Harry. His grey eyes sparked, his sneer identical to the one he'd worn when they were young. "You stay out of it! This is all your fault, you know!"While the Canon entry of this round left me wanting so much more even while it made me incredibly happy, this one was long and meaty and more than enough to satisfy the shipper in me. In a way it made me think of Iron Man 'cause it was entertaining all round and I just enjoyed the experience. The plot is inventive, funny, witty and clever. Draco's characterization stole the show IMO. And the dialogue between Harry and Draco had me zipping through scenes at a record pace. We also have strong minor characters in this fic through Albus and Scorpius. Overall, there are a whirlwind of things happening and you never get a chance to look closely at one development before you're snatched up again and left flailing from the awesome in the next scene.
Harry felt like hexing him. "You're deluded! I don't even know your son!"
"Always heroing around, as if it's a socially acceptable profession."
"I don't think 'heroing' is a word."
"Of course it's a word! And don't change the subject. If Scorpius is injured during this farce, if one hair on his head is singed, frozen, yanked out or curled, I will sue you for every Galleon you possess, Potter!"
There were one or two things I wondered about though. For instance, Draco bringing his son to Rosmerta's and being at ease. I wanted to know what had happened in the past few years on that front. I was also surprised by how much of an impact Ginny had on the story, even with her not being present in most scenes. I never really got why Harry didn't go ahead and get a divorce - and why Ron seemed to willfully ignore his sister's infidelity.
Still, a fabulous read. This fic and Team Canon's entry have completely different takes on the same prompt and yet they're both amazing in their own way.
My Top Teams for The Chariot: Team Canon followed by Team Epilogue
All Tarot Prompts can be found via the fests tag.
My masterlist of recs for hd_worldcup can be found here
I think I've come to understand why I've enjoyed the hd_worldcup so much overall. It's because the writing has been pretty comfortable to read (more or less) and whether or not the story connects with me, each author has managed to bring something different to the contest. It hasn't been just, "oh yay, H/D fic" but rather, the competition aspect made people and the teams try harder to get something that isn't the staple fare.
I've never had a fest where I've found over a dozen good reads. It's what I always hoped for after looking wistfully at past snarry_games and now that the fest is almost over, I've got to say it's been the highlight of the season. It feels like a celebration of the awesomeness that is the H/D ship and for that, I am thankful to everyone who has participated and stressed over deadlines and headdesked over stories which were killing them. Thank you ♥