"The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. The Querent who gets this card should be warned that they may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if they have any past mental problems, they must be vigilant in taking their medication. They should avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. They can and should trust their intuition." - aecle ctic.net
The One with the Dreams
S. Morgenstern's Through the Looking Glass -- Team Canon
I am still surprised that this fic is part of Team Canon's lineup. The fusion of fandoms (Looking Glass, Princess Bride, HP etc.) feels more suited for Team Fanon or rather, a different type of fest altogether IMHO - one which focuses on crossovers and fusion fics. As such it is probably the most unique fic posted in hd_worldcup so far.
Eloise the narrator, walks us through the story known as The Looking Glass which focuses on a Harry Potter who can't tell the difference between his dreams and reality. Eloise seems to be a bit of a fangirl herself with her own thoughts and meta woven into the narration. Sometimes we can definitely relate to it ("Rocks fall, everybody dies") and sometimes I just went WTF - such as when she decided most of what constituted as plot in the Looking Glass to be pointless which made it even harder to follow the storyline.
It's a very creative and ambitious and artistic endeavor. But does it work? Ultimately, I'm always looking for that personal connection with a fic and the characters and the story - the connection that makes me fall in love with my OTP again. I never managed to make that link and for that reason the fic seemed to flow straight over my head.
I do think the question "which world is reality?" is a non issue - canon is definitely featured but that doesn't necessarily mean that that is the real world. Perhaps they are both dream worlds and reality is something else entirely? It was the confusion and blending of worlds that stays with Harry and readers.
I did enjoy the bits of meta though. There was also the point where Eloise talks about "long-winded scenes between Harry and Draco in which not much at all happens". It made me think of Maya's fics like Quality of Mercy where really nothing much *actually* happens during a number of the Harry+Draco scenes and yet...that's what we as fangirls would see as the real "plot" of the fic. It's all a matter of perspective really and wholly subjective.
The One with the St. Brutus' Boys
"Did You Know I'm Naked Underneath This T-Shirt" And Other Great Hits -- Team Fanon
A Non-Magic AU at St. Brutus? This could either go really well or really weird. From the first two scenes, I knew it was the former. OH MY GOD, ACTUAL WELL WRITTEN AU FIC ♥ Now I initially did have slight reservations since I don't even remember the last non-magic HP fic I read. And yet...it didn't feel as weird as I thought it would. In fact it felt refreshing and perhaps even a bit liberating. Harry and Draco are just two boys in school who happen to be gay - oh and musicians too XD
You also get the teen angst. I wanted to hug Draco as soon as he heard Harry playing on the guitar and knew Harry was better than him *wibble* And there were these lines in the fic that just made me snicker, like:
You see, Draco's problem—at least in the eyes of Lucius Malfoy—was not so much that he was incurably criminal as he was incurably homosexual.
Harry is impossible and angry and one hell of a gifted musician. Draco is gay, rich, nowhere as talented and yet would still like to at least be friends with Potter. Considering the fic practically starts with Harry punching Draco in the face, you can see how that might prove to be a problem. Especially since Draco snags a tutoring session that Harry had desperately wanted.
And really, as long as Harry and Draco are rivals in *something* - whether it be magic or music or mastering pokemons - I'm fine with the storyline. I'm here for the H/D, no matter the world.
In the end though, the boys at St. Brutus are just regular guys. They all have their issues but there's nothing fantastical or magical about them. And yet it's that normality that was a novelty for me. It was new and shiny in a very unique way.
And I was surprised by how much I related to a single label - Draco talking about the GCSE exams had me walking down memory lane, remember all-nighters spent cramming for maths and computers et all. Unlike OWLs and NEWTs I really understood what the boys were going through. Oh and speaking about boys - Goyle and Seamus were wonderful as side characters and I would have loved to see more of them.
Now who's going to write a sci fi AU fic where Draco rides a hovercraft? ^_^
The One With The Mental Ward
Subconscious -- Team EWE
Here we have auror!Harry and Draco who works in a mental ward as a nurse. And yet it's not so much about Harry and Draco as it is about a young seer named Jackie.
This fic has potential for something more. I can't really put my finger on it. The moment when Harry gets trapped in Jackie's mind, things could have gotten far more nightmarish and as long as Draco was there to drag Harry back, it would have worked. I felt like the climax could have been a bit more. The fic was building up to it even since the moment Draco mentioned those cheering charms. The effect they had on Harry was unsettling and downright creepy. I wondered how addictive something like that could be on people and what kind of mind altering effect it could have.
I also wish we were shown rather than told of the deepening of Harry and Draco's relationship - at least in regards to those initial stages. I'd have loved to have a scene played where they do end up sleeping on each others shoulders and the awkward dialogue and interaction after, in detail. It's the intimacies that were lacking at times.
One thing I appreciated was that Harry does not really complete the objective of his assignment. Rather he gets trapped for a bit in a young lady's mind and Draco ends up getting him out. Young Girl - 1, Harry - 0. It was a nice change from the old cliche of Harry saving the day XD
The One Where Albus gets Kidnapped
Of Truth and Illusion -- Team Epilogue
The writing in this fic is good and I kept expecting the story to take off but...it never did. I kinda found myself skimming at various points. After several weeks of fest fics, the storyline felt like something that had been done before. The timing of the posting probably has something to do with it too - might have been more receptive if it was posted earlier in the fest.
One thing unique about the fic was the villain's identity - a male relative of Draco's, namely, Augustus Malfoy with very similar coloring and build. So for once we see an alternative to Polyjuice!villains, which I definitely liked.
I would have liked to see more interaction with the kids and less narration of events. I also kept expecting Ginny to finally let go and get mad at Harry...but she was very understanding and that just felt off. With Epilogue!fic, I don't expect things to be easy - whether it's Draco or Ginny or Harry or the kids - somebody's going to be yelling. And that's alright - because it just makes me feel closer to the characters I know and love.
With some of the other fics in the fest, while the ideas were good the writing didn't flow well. In this case, I think the plot/storyline could have gone a bit wild and crazy and the author would have been able to pull it off because their writing is good enough. So, uh, yeah.
My Top Team for The Moon: Team Fanon
All Tarot Prompts can be found via the fests tag.
My masterlist of recs for hd_worldcup can be found here