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hd_worldcup: Tarot Prompt - Death

"In readings, Death often represents an important ending that will initiate great change. It signals the end of an era; a moment when a door is closing. At such times, there may be sadness and reluctance, but also relief and a sense of completion. Death also suggests getting down to basics. Dying has a way of making you concentrate on what's important. This card reminds you to cut out the unnecessary. Death can also mean you will experience an inexorable force. Death is inevitable, and sometimes there are events that are inescapable as well. When these moments occur, the best approach is to ride your fate and see where it takes you." -

The One with Vamp!Draco
Companions in the Dark -- Team Fanon
I expect more creative liberties to be taken when it comes to fanon fics and noticing this round had a vamp!fic from the team had me doing a mini cheer. I admit one of my absolute favorite fics is Harry Potter & The Inconvenient Condition. So creature!fics have me going \o/

Unfortunately, events in this fic happen at a lightning pace. One moment Snape was getting somebody to polyjuice into Draco and the next moment we have Vamp!Draco calling out ,"Harry!"

It felt too fast. I think the plot overwhelmed the length - the storyline has potential, but when you have issues such as Harry's mistrust with Snape, Draco getting used to vampirism, the development of H/D - this fic had the potential to be five times as long.

If it were to be under 5000 words, it might have been better if the fic had just focused on the parts with the H/D...basically, the bonding!smut. The fic Rituals & Traditions did just that and it's a H/D classic to this day.

The One With Draco's Secret Barn
Nothing Ventured (Nothing Lost) -- Team Canon
This fic doesn't have a lot of words either but it doesn't feel short. In fact, it's my pick for the round. The characterization and interaction is excellent and the focus is definitely on H/D - on their affair which occurs in a secluded barn on the Malfoy property. 

It's definitely a fic from Team Canon - the H/D relationship is raw and sharp and impossible; ultimately the end of the fic is the end of the boys' relationship. The overall message IMO focuses on the belief that the H/D relationship will not work in the real world. Draco will always hold onto his pure blood beliefs and Harry can't change that as much as he wants to. They set each other on fire and they want to be together - but ultimately, they know it can never be.

I have to say this: Team Canon's fics are the ones that have probably given me the most heartache and migraines as a shipper. H/D shippers know from the get go that their ship is not canon - but there's still this hope. It's all about the possibilities and that even with canon and everything that stands in the way of H/D (including Harry and Draco themselves) things can and will work out between the two.

Team Canon keeps reminding me about the lack of stability and longetivity in a H/D relationship - there are too many sparks and volatility, and that's not even taking into account the rest of the world and their family and friends and obligations. And while fics like this one are brilliantly written and are top picks, my shipper heart can't accept that message. To me H/D can work. Period.

The One With Lawyer!Draco
Day of the Dead -- Team Epilogue
It wasn't until I was in the second half of the fic that I realized what felt extremely odd: Harry and Draco didn't feel like they were married and with kids - or in Harry's case, at least with kids. When we finally see James, my mind kind of went, "Oh yeah, this is an Epilogue!fic!"

Harry and Draco got together between the last chapter of book 7 and the epilogue but the relationship didn't last. The fic opens up just after Harry breaks up with Draco. So we have the death of a relationship from the get go.  I did like this concept - having the two get together and then break up because they weren't ready...only to get back together in future years. It just clicks for me.

Through the fic there are flashbacks to the H/D of yesteryears - so much so, that it didn't quite feel like an epilogue!fic anymore. For me, Draco didn't feel married - for someone whose first thoughts in the books are about family, I found it incongruent that throughout the fic, his thoughts revolved so entirely on Harry instead of Scorpius and Astoria. The characterization didn't quite gel with me either - Harry was a bit too civil from the start and drunk!Draco's antics at Harry's wedding felt odd.

I don't know… towards the end everything just felt too pat.  I'm used to Harry having to hunt down villains. I expected there to have been an active investigation. Yet things just happened to fall into place at the same time Harry and Draco get together. I admit I had a hard time connecting with the fic.

The One With the Continuation of Book 7 and...Australia?
Beneath Boundless Skies -- Team EWE
While the first third of this fic dragged like hell for me, the remainder made up for it. If you lost interest early on I recommend you try sticking with it till you're halfway through and our two boys are in Australia. There are some wonderful one-liners in the second half that are not to be missed. Overall, this is a lovely travel fic with interesting details on the locale and the culture of the people

Initially this fic feels like a continuation of book 7. There are a number of funerals, you don't see much of Draco and the few bits that stood out IMO revolved around Dudley and Kreacher. I guess I just wasn't in the mood 'cause it felt like filler. Things get better when we get to Australia. There are brilliant one-liners from the locals and between Harry and Draco. As they start communicating, it's easy to get caught up in the flow of the story,
"That was ... good," admitted Malfoy. "I haven't flown in a year."

"Me neither," Harry confessed. "Well, one dragon."

Malfoy snorted. "Merlin's balls, Potter, you don't even do it intentionally, do you?"
One of the highlights of the story for me was Keeper!Draco which hardly ever happens in fics but is an absolute treasure to read when it does. Sneeker!Harry and Keeper!Draco make an unbeatable combination and it made me go \o/

I wish Harry had actively focused on Draco sexually though. The two didn't have much friction and instead the relationship just felt a bit too smooth and didn't have the sparks I'm used to seeing. I also expected Draco's humor to have more bite.

On a side note, I can't help thinking that even with all the public attention and paparazzi, Harry's decision to leave for Australia felt too easy. He didn't seem desperate enough to be willing to leave everyone and everything familiar for an unknown continent halfway around the world. Comparatively, I'm more understanding of Draco, considering his situation. And yet, would Draco really leave the UK when his father's fate had yet to be decided? In such an uncertain political climate, that feels unlikely.

This story did make me realize what I am DYING to read: a fic where the Prophet is sued for libel XD

My Top Teams for Death : Team Canon followed by Team EWE
All Tarot Prompts can be found via the fests tag.

My masterlist of recs for hd_worldcup can be found here
To me H/D can work.

Thank you. I've noticed this trend too, and to be honest, the underlying message "canon-compliant H/D is impossible" is beginning to put me off reading Team Canon's entries altogether. Why ship H/D in the first place if you believe that it doesn't work? It is perfectly possible to write H/D with canon-complinat characterisations (which is the only thing that is required for this team, afaik), and many of the team members have proven before that they can do it beautifully, so I really wonder where this is coming from.

Edited at 2008-04-25 12:56 pm (UTC)
I'm not up on reading world cup, but had noted a fandom tendency towards the less than happy ending for our boys for a while now. I have a theory that it's epilogue-created. I wondered aloud to a few people on my f-list about whether our ship is primarily consisting of women who hold a poor view of infidelity, and whether this personal view leads us to subconsciously project those feelings onto the plots we come up with. I've noticed much less crack and PWP since DH, and I do attribute that to the epilogue. Perhaps we're all suffering from PTSD!

I couldn't have labelled myself a few months ago as to what sort of shipper I had become post-DH, but now I feel I'm swaying towards EWE. I love the history created by the books, but I feel the epilogue offers a finite (and generally angsty) number of plots to achieve H/D in the longrun. I'm feeling much more inclined to do what the HG/SS shippers have done and start to ignore the bits of canon that don't suit my ship.
Epilogue!H/D fic does mean dealing with the wives and that's the main source of angst IMO. The thing is I'm most happy with either a) Grown up H/D fics where at least Draco has a kid and b) Complete AU fics where the author has redifined my OTP in new and exciting ways.

The first scenario can happen in both EWE and Epilogue fics but with EWE it's possible to get rid of the infidelity issues and bring in the H/D lovin' faster. Still, when it's only slighty AU, my mind does tend to remind me that this wasn't the way the books went >__>

With complete AUs I just throw the books out the window. And it can be so much fun :)
Personally, I also prefer EWE because it's a lot less limiting - epilogue-compliant fics have a fixed set of issues they have to deal with, and it can become repetitive very quickly. I have no problem with infidelity fics, but "101 ways to get rid of Ginny" gets old pretty quickly, and I have zero interest in the next gen characters, so I'll take EWE over epilogue-compliant every day.

I don't think the tendency towards unhappy endings has to do with the epilogue, though - most epilogue-compliant fics I've read tried to overcome the epilogue so that they could give the boys a chance. From the worldcup entries, and the reactions to them in the comments, I get the impression that some writers and readers regard unhappy ending!H/D as "more canon" than the opposite, and I just don't get that concept.
I think the underlying message, if there is any, is "canon-compliant H/D is possible if the characters can be made willing to change -- and if they're not, then tough titty". Which isn't really all that different from the "underlying message" of the H/D ship itself. Show me a fic where Harry and Draco STAY AS THEY ARE IN CANON *and* end up Happy Ever After. You can't, because it does not exist.
I think the underlying message, if there is any, is "canon-compliant H/D is possible if the characters can be made willing to change -- and if they're not, then tough titty".

No, that's not my impression from the fics I've read. Like you said, change is pretty much the heart and soul of the H/D pairing, but from many of the worldcup entries, the message I get is "in the end, it's impossible, deal with it".

I don't think that "canon-compliant" characterisation means that the characters have to stay exactly as they are in canon (whatever that is, because a lot still depends on the reader's view). That's the starting point, and the writer has to show a believable development from there. If there is no development, I don't see how there could be any kind of H/D pairing in the first place, never mind happily ever afters ;)
the message I get is "in the end, it's impossible, deal with it".
Well, we have discussed no messages of this sort as a team, so perhaps you might be seeing a message where none is intended. >.> But anyway, character development is, hm. It can go many ways, and when you're sticking to the "canon" style of development -- i.e. people mostly remain the same, except they maybe possibly change their minds about this thing or that -- it's very, very difficult to make a case for H/D. A temporary change in outlook or circumstance might make something happen between them (e.g. Draco hadn't given Harry away in DH even though he knew full well it was Harry he was looking at) but it isn't enough for full-scale turnabout. That doesn't make H/D impossible, just improbable and, well, fanon. Which is no surprise, since the pairing is a fanon one.
Actually, you just made my point for me - what you're saying is exactly the message I'm getting from many of Team Canon's entries, and that's why I have begun avoiding them. I guess I just have totally different ideas about what constitutes "canon-compliant characterisation".
I guess I just have totally different ideas about what constitutes "canon-compliant characterisation".
I think there are as many ideas of "canon-compliant characterisation" as there are people, really -- which is why I'm really glad that the "how true to the team?" question on the voting polls was scaled down to yes/no rather than 1-9 'cause I predict Team Canon will see more "no" responses than any other team, but it won't hurt as much points-wise than if it were 1-9.

Just out of curiosity, can you think of a concrete in-world scenario that would remain faithful to H&D as they are in canon and also have them end up together in an actual relationship? Or are we speaking strictly hypothetically?
Yes, I think switching it to yes/no was a wise decision because EWE/epilogue is totally clear-cut while canon/fanon is wide open for interpretation.

Just out of curiosity, can you think of a concrete in-world scenario that would remain faithful to H&D as they are in canon and also have them end up together in an actual relationship?

*g* I'm trying to write one at the moment - I'm at 80 000 words, and I think they've had two civil conversations so far ;)

Seriously, though, I think it will always have to be a scenario that starts out with them as we know them from the books and takes it from there. Like you said above, change and development is always necessary with H/D, but I think that's true with pretty much every pairing in fanfic - and honestly, I can't see Harry/Ginny ever working without huge changes in both their personalities either ;)) If Deathly Hallows!Harry doesn't undergo a lot of maturing and personal growth first, I can't really see him in any kind of successful relationship, no matter with whom...
Oh yes. When I get a fic like this from team cannon, there's a part of my mind that's rocking back and forth in a corner repeating "What are you doing to me?" ;_;

It also comes down to the idea that fandom is a bit of an escape from RL - which already has enough frustrations that I don't really welcome additional angst from a less than happy ending. It just gets me mopey.
I don't mind an unhappy ending here and there, but overall I'm with you, I don't read fanfic to depress myself.

Besides, I just don't see why canon-compliant H/D should be depressing by default. If I did, I would never have started shipping the pairing ;)