"The Fool is the spirit in search of experience. He represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason within us, the childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world. The sun shining behind him represents the divine nature of the Fool's wisdom and exuberance. On his back are all the possessions he might need. In his hand there is a flower, showing his appreciation of beauty. He is frequently accompanied by a dog, sometimes seen as his animal desires, sometimes as the call of the "real world", nipping at his heels and distracting him. He is seemingly unconcerned that he is standing on a precipice, apparently about to leap, engaged in the supremest act of idiocy or trust." - wikipedia
As I said before, all four entries so far were a delight to read. Not only have the authors focused on the prompt, each applying it to the fics with their own style but they've also managed to provide us with stories that resonate (at least IMO).
The One With The End of The Hall
Prodigal -- Team Fanon
I liked the non-ending which seemed artsy what with the running down the hall bit and leaving it up to us to decide whether things would really work out. Actually, most of the fics for this prompt had a non-ending because yes, the Fool is all about beginnings. I do wish there was a bit more though, such as Harry finding out that Lucius was little more than a puppet and that is was Draco who had to torture him to keep up appearances. I admit I'm not very used to first person point of view either, so that was a bit jarring.
The good thing about this fic is that by being labelled AU, I could throw canon out the window and accept the fic as is. It reminded me a bit of old school future fics done during the time of GoF and OotP and it had a definite fanon feel that way. The way the dialogue and relationship developed was classic H/D and just lovely. The lack of Super!Harry which has always been present in the HP books was different but I think nice in a way. Nowadays we don't normally see Harry stripped of powers or at least, the ability to do something heroic from the get go.
Another way it felt like classic H/D was the lack of major secondary characters; H/D was the main focus apart from the bits on Lucius. Oh that's a point of note - I adored the moments with Lucius. It actually got me wondering about the lack of Draco's parents in most post series fics. They deserve to have more presence, being compelling characters in their own right.
The One With The Lessons In The Forbidden Forest
Catch Me If I Fall -- Team EWE
There were two scenes that were absolute favorites. Firstly, the author going ahead and having an actual tarot reading done in a believable way. This fic had the best opening in regards to connection to prompt - and a really good opening for the fest, period. I probably should have read Catch Me If I Fall first since as it's an excellent intro to hd_worldcup.
Moving on: Draco tripping as soon as he turned away from the seer? Priceless.
The second scene I loved was the Madam Malkins bit - bringing things back full circle was awesome. Not to mention Lucius and Narcissa - the latter with her Notice me Not charm on Draco. I was surprised by how much affection I felt for Mrs. Malfoy at that moment. The Malfoys are definitely my favorite family in the series.
One of the things that did feel off was the lack of antagonism between Draco and Harry. Their relationship developed rather smoothly, at least IMO. Even with the events of the war, it would take a lot to get the two to start speaking civilly to each other. Another thing, Draco being the Head of Hogwarts felt like it came out of left field. That was a bit of a WTF moment 'cause I really did not expect it at all.
The One With The Dog Named Pyxius
The Fool or The Many Good Deeds of Draco Malfoy -- Team Canon
I only read the wikipedia entry for the tarot after reading the fics but OMG, the author included the dog in the card! Not only did I love Phyxius in the fic, but to know that he could be connected to the prompt? FABULOUS.
Also, the wand!storyline is something I really, really like. It's one of those ideas that haven't really been done to death in fandom (yet) and still has a lot of potential. Not to mention, Kreacher has always been a favorite of mine.
I really liked Draco's characterization - wiping his hands on the tissues in his pocket - god, yes. And him approaching his first real charity cause as a business transaction is so in character - and Harry seeing right past that *happy sigh*. One of the highlights was Harry falling off the sofa. Then there was Harry catching Ginny in flagrante - that whole scene was just deliciously evil. Pyxius kinda stole the show in some moments and I admit this fic had the best application of the prompt for me.
The One With The Prophet & The Leaky Cauldron ♥ ♥ ♥
Riptide -- Team Epilogue
With the other fics, as much as I enjoyed them, I spent just as much time trying to reconcile differences between canon and characterization. Not so with Riptide. The only point where I went o__O was trying to sort out all the kids and wondering how Scorpius can have such bad taste when it comes to his love life.
Firstly, the Prophet excerpts were excellent. It felt like a nod to all the trashy tabloid news we get in RL - where not everything is true but the few bits that are, well, they make it hard to know what's really going on. Draco's curiosity, sympathy and censure for Harry's actions as a result of them felt very close to my own - so I really appreciated those bits.
And secondly, that Draco was as flabbergasted as me with Harry's new job at WWW, made the whole situation that much more in character because yes, people don't always do what's expected and life throws curveballs.
The Draco in this fic reminded me of The Years That Walk Between by femmequixotic - it developed his character just as much as the romance between him and Harry.
Another thing I liked was that Harry was The Fool which set this fic apart from the others for the same prompt.
The lack of obvious acerbity was lovely, and yet still completely canon IMO - after a decade you'd expect Harry and Draco to mellow down and while they still have completely different ideals, beliefs and values they are still drawn to each other. And this fic had the best non-ending from all four. It just felt incredibly real.
My Top Teams for the Fool: Team Epilogue followed by Team Canon
All Tarot Prompts can be found via the fests tag.
My masterlist of recs for hd_worldcup can be found here