I'm not a writer, but I love reading fanfiction! Harry Potter is one of my favorite universes, as I see it as an opportunity for writers to address many of the glaring inconsistencies of the books.
Pet Peeves in fanfiction
Mary Sues. I hate them with a passion. I read fanfiction because I want to read different scenarios involving characters from books/shows/etc that I like. I have no desire to read an author's attempt to insert themselves into a story as an original character, or worse, replacement of a canon character. And not all original characters are Mary Sues, but generally speaking, if an OC has anything more than a background supporting role, they do tend to be. Any summary that involves something along the lines of Harry's long lost twin sister surfacing, Snape's daughter appearing, or a mysterious exchange student saving the day just turns me completely off.
Girl!Harry Potter. See above. In my opinion, every fic I have encountered where Harry was written as being a girl, she is a Mary Sue character. I have this mental image of the writer thinking, 'oooh, what if I were Harry Potter! That would be so cool!' and then deleting Harry Potter and writing herself into the story. Most of the time, stories where boy Harry is turned into a girl follow this trend as well.
So-and-so reads the HP books. There are hundreds and hundreds of these lurking, and I just don't get it. I like to read stories. A story about someone reading a story is just...dumb. I'm assuming it's the author's way of pointing out to everyone what they think is wrong with the books. But how much of 'OMG, I can't believe that happens!' can a reader be expected to put up with? And the word-for-word copying of the text from the books...Blergh!
Long Author Notes/story recaps. I don't need the author to tell me what happened in the last chapter, or what happened in the chapter I just read. My brain actually has the ability to recall this information myself. Also, I hate having to scroll through 3 or 4 pages of detailed responses to reviews. I have come across stories where the ANs are more than half the chapter. That is just ridiculous!
Holding chapters 'hostage' for reviews. Every time I read a story that has an author's note stating basically that the next chapter won't be published until the story receives X amount of reviews, I immediately exit the story. I think that is crass and very offputting. If an author is writing solely for reviews and not because they actually enjoy writing, I'm not going to waste my time on them.
Inability to spell the names of major characters/plot ideas correctly. I can understand if you don't have a beta; everyone makes the occasional spelling mistake. But really, if an author can't be bothered to spell a major character's name correctly, then I can't be bothered to read their story. There is no character named Voldermort in HP, and I doubt the curse 'Avada Kerdava' will do much of anything.
Idiotic 'spells'. I do understand that sometimes the author wants a spell in their story that isn't one in the books, and has to make up an incantation. But really, adding -us and -is to the end of a word to turn it into a spell is just ridiculous. Take 15 seconds to google a Latin version of the word to at least make it as believable as most of Rowling's. I just get sick of reading things like a spell to destroy a book that is incanted as 'bookis destroyus'. Gag me.
Harry gets a makeover. This happens in about 95% of fics where Harry goes independent, and it has become seriously worn and overused. You know what I mean; Harry 'declares' his independence, and immediately goes shopping. Where, of course, he picks up several shirts with snarky sayings on them and/or goth style clothes, gets a few tattoos, some piercings, and of course a new hairdo, maybe something with green and silver tips/streaks/etc. Sorry to say, this is no longer original, and it gets old reading it over and over!
Hermione repeatedly referred to as the 'brightest/smartest witch of the age'. This is a case of taking a single statement made in canon and twisting it beyond its original meaning. Please stop acting like canon has portrayed her as a super genius. Remus Lupin states "You're the cleverest witch of your age I've ever met, Hermione." Your age. Not the age/ages. Translation - Hermione is the most clever 14 year old girl that Remus has ever met. Considering Remus is a werewolf and likely doesn't spend a lot of time around teenage girls, this would mean that from a pool of 7 years of students while he was in school, and 1 year of students while he taught, Hermione was the most clever. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
'Cliches' I enjoy reading
Ron/Dumbledore bashing. After reading the books, I honestly can't understand why Ron was considered Harry's best friend; he turned his back on Harry at almost every given opportunity. and yet he is accepted back without question every time he turns around and grudgingly hints around the fact that he was in the wrong. If I had a friend who did that to me, they certainly wouldn't get more than 1 'second chance'. As for Dumbledore... Here is a person who can knowingly abandon a child on a doorstep in the middle of the night in November, to people who will ensure he grows up miserable and neglected. Someone who knows for a fact that this child is considered a mortal enemy of an evil Dark Lord who is not actually dead, and yet refuses to train him in any way, or even simply tell him about anything important. Someone who is utterly incapable of keeping children safe in an environment of learning, and instead enables them (giving an invisibility cloak to an 11 year old?) to get into all manner of trouble and even actively allows the children to be placed in dangerous situations (detention in the Forbidden Forest at night????). Someone who meddles in affairs which rightly should be completely outside his purview (a school Headmaster in charge of the summer arrangements for a student?). Not to mention, a Headmaster who is incapable of employing competent teachers for all the subjects offered by his school (moronic Divinations teacher who constantly 'predicts' death, a History teacher that no one can stay awake to listen to, a string of idiotic/homocidal Defense professors, and a Potions professor who verbally abuses his students), which is supposed to be the 'premier' place of magical learning. How can this man, by any stretch of the imagination, ever be considered 'good'? And then to have the audacity to claim he loved Harry? I call bullshit.
Independant!Harry. I love to see Harry break free of the manipulations of his 'beloved' Headmaster, and even have his eyes opened to the flaws and idiocy of his 'friends'. Honestly, anyone with half a brain and any free will at all would have told most of the people in the wizarding world to stuff it. And then obtained legal representation to sue the Ministry, Hogwarts, the newspaper, and anyone who made money off of Harry Potter merchandise while he was growing up unloved and neglected with his relatives.
Molly getting put in her place. Quite frankly, I don't care for Molly Weasly. She is overbearing, and unsupportive of her children. She doesn't seem to care about their happiness, only about what she thinks is best for them, and firmly believes that ignorance is bliss. And why is she presented as a mother figure for Harry in the books? By book 5, she has spent maybe a grand total of 1 month in Harry's actual presence, and yet she considers him 'like a son'. Shall we even go into the fact that she considers love potions to be a perfectly valid way of getting a boy's attention? As for killing Bellatrix in Book 7... The housewife who shows minimal magical skill throughout the books, versus the homicidal bitch who is apparently evil and powerful enough to be quite high up in Voldemort's ranks...and the housewife wins. Really? Really? I will gladly read fics that show her getting a bit of comeuppance.
Pairings I like
Harry/Tom Riddle(Voldemort) - if done convincingly
Harry/Ginny - only if Ginny is actually developed as a believable character of her own, and not presented as the annoying fangirl who mysteriously snags Harry as she is in canon. (I honestly think in canon, she got Harry by using love potions, since this is the sort of behavior Molly seems to encourage.)
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