Welcome to my profile. My only claim to fame is that, as far as I am aware, I invented the word "Thaumolocation" (the same as "Echolocation" only using waves of pure magic, rather than waves of sound or an actual detection spell like Homenum Revelio) for OnTheImportanceOfLungs. I intended to give it to him outright, since I basically just took the idea from Terry Pratchett's "Thaumameter", but he insisted on giving me credit for it.
I think the most important thing you need to know is that I don't write stories - I have no imagination - so don't ask me to. You'll be lucky to even get a review from me, though, since that's probably why you're here, I'll cover those below. I suppose I should describe myself a bit, to stop you buggers complaining. Before that, let me give you the first rule of writing: Dew knot trussed yore spell chequer two fined awl yore mist aches.
The second most important thing about me (that is relevant) is that I do not consider the movies to be canon. Not only do they open up even more plot-holes than the books themselves (and that's no small number), but there were a lot of changes from the books that I couldn't really get behind. Some were small, like Harry having blue eyes (would it have killed them to get him some green contacts? Not like his bright green eyes are an oft-mentioned trait or anything...), while others made no sense at all - Umbridge breaking into the room of requirement, Hagrid's attempt to escape via road in the "Battle over Little Whinging" (key word, over), and that pointless train sequence in "Deathly Hallows Part 1", to name just a few. They couldn't even keep the spell-naming or effects consistent (adding "Maxima" to the end should not universally increase the power of almost any spell, and what the hell was up with Rictusempra in the second movie?), either between the book/movie transitions or between each movie individually. That's not to say I didn't enjoy them, or that they weren't entertaining, I just don't consider them canon.
As I've said, I don't write. I have a lot of trouble getting scenarios from my head onto paper (or computer) because I try to get them all organised before I write them, rather than writing first and rephrasing later - combine that with the fact that I tend to be very verbose, and my terrible memory, and it's easy to see why writing is simply too difficult for me.
I prefer Harry-centric fics, but that doesn't mean the point of view must be his; it just needs to involve Harry as a major character. It is his series, after all. Any combination of Harry along with Hermione and/or Luna is awesome. To my amusement, H/Hr is generally known as "Harmony", while Paladeus calls H/Hr/L "Lunar Harmony" and, as far as I know, he is master of that domain. Harry/Tonks (Honks) is another good one, as is Harry/Daphne and Harry/Susan (basically OC inserts with a basis). There are a couple of good Harem fics, too. Harry/Ginny is just a little creepy to me - she looks like his mother, for starters. He's got enough problems after a decade of horrible abuse, without giving him an Oedipus complex.
I don't read Harry/Male ships. It's nothing homophobic (that would be a bit stupid, since I already mentioned the Harem fics and all), I just find it too OOC to enjoy the fic properly. As far as I'm concerned, Harry isn't gay or bisexual, and I don't really enjoy any fics where this is the case. That's my choice. I don't much like fem!Harry either, because I just can't realistically see that happening - "Renegade Cause" by Silens Cursor finds a neat way of getting around the plausibility issue though. I'm not fond of completely OC relationships, but if they're done well they can be interesting as a compliment to the main ship.
A lot of characters went woefully under-developed in canon, but thankfully the fandom has no qualms about adding to them. We'll start with the Golden Trio, and move on from there.
Harry: A bit of a moody bastard, but his heart's in the right place. JKR really pissed me off with the way Harry tries to push everybody away from him, and he really needs a good shouting match to get him to listen to his friends. There's not much more I can say, really...he's the main character in most fics, and both Dark and Light alignments have their merits, though Grey is the most realistic. His abuse at the hands of the Dursleys is woefully underexplored in the canon, but it's definitely there. At the very least, he was mentally abused and beaten by his cousin - the fact that he had enough practice to dodge a "heavy blow" with a frying pan tells me that he probably suffered worse than is let on, especially in the movies.
Ron: I'm in two minds about Ron. On the one hand; he's Harry's longest-standing friend among his peers, one of the first people to accept him, and fairly loyal despite a few bouts of stupidity. On the other; he's lazy, has jealousy issues, he's horribly prejudiced against Slytherins (and, in some cases, Muggles), and he seems to go out of his way to make Hermione cry. His greatest desire is to outshine all of his brothers, but he doesn't do anything to make that dream a reality. If I'd known my heart's desire at age 11, you can bet your ass I would have worked hard to get it (I still don't know what I want from life, and it's actually proving quite problematic). Then there's the canon relationship. There's no way that Hermione should have ended up with Ron - bickering and arguing does not equal unresolved sexual tension, and a constant state of warfare does not a relationship make. Plus, for the perpetual overachiever to aim to end up in a relationship with somebody like RON - that's so OOC that I wouldn't be surprised if JKR turned around and said "Well of course there were love potions involved...", we already know Molly seems proud of her own use of the blasted things, unfortunately it wouldn't be too far out of character for Ron to do something like that. Don't get me wrong, he's definitely redeemable, but it usually takes a lot of work by the author, and he just plays the "jealous, greedy, selfish git" card so well during canon that any major changes can be hard to achieve - "Notebooks and Letters", by Chem Prof, does an exceptional job of redeeming Ron while still allowing his negative traits to show through. When he's redeemed, he goes well with Luna, or an OC. I can understand why people who haven't read the books argue that they go well together in the films - a lot of the worse aspects of Ron's personality are removed, altered, or omitted, and he ends up slightly more likeable.
Hermione: I really hate when people come up with stupid nicknames for her (Herms? Hermy? Seriously? Even Herm-own-ninny is better than that...at least Krum made an effort) in an attempt to make them cute (it's fine just to annoy her though). If no one abbreviated her name, ever, in seven books...why do some people have this insufferable urge to suddenly create a nickname (usually badly) and then act as if they've always called her by it? Hermione is a fantastic name and there's no need to ruin it by cutting bits off. As a character, I love her; she's smart (which is incredibly sexy, no matter what anyone says), she has a heart of gold, and she loves to learn. In most fics, she also ends up with a great sense of humour (one aspect I wish had been developed more in canon), she truly wants to do the right thing, and usually has a bit of a kinky side to her to boot. In short, she's absolutely perfect, and if Harry can't see that then maybe he should have died at Voldemort's hands. Yes, she does sometimes harp on a bit, but I can't think of a single fic I've enjoyed where Hermione ends up as an antagonist. She usually ends up in the best friend or girlfriend role, which is exactly where she should be. If not with Harry, she's probably best paired with Neville.
Ginny: I don't know what Harry sees in her. She is pretty much unmentioned (aside from the whole Chamber deal) throughout the first four books. From fifth year onward, she's dated pretty much every guy in her year and the one above, and she very probably used a love potion on Harry, especially with the whole "chest monster" thing - chest monsters do NOT sound like a healthy basis for a relationship. Fics where she turns out bad are all too common, because it's simply built into her character. I don't like her very much, but she CAN be redeemed. The movies actually did a very good job of that, in my opinion.
Neville: TOTALLY underused in canon. Deathly Hallows gave him some of his dues, but I love fics where Neville comes into his own a bit sooner, and hangs around with Harry (especially in Ron's place), because he's just such a nice guy. He's loyal, brave, reliable, smart (and if Snape leaves him alone he usually ends up being a good all-round student), and just the right amount of shy. He goes really well with Luna, Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones, or Hermione. He deserved his place in the final film, so just deal with it.
Luna: Another seriously underused goldmine. Luna can range from a grounded genius who plays the "Loony" card to keep everybody off-balance, to an off-kilter mind damaged by her mother's death, her father's eccentricity and apparent delusions, and years of loneliness. Either way, she's just one of those people you feel like you have to hug, and she doesn't have a jealous or hurtful bone in her body. I really wish she had more screen-time in the films and books (page-time?). I like her to end up either with Harry, Neville, or occasionally Ron - she usually winds up being a close friend though. Everybody needs a Luna in their life.
Gred and Forge: These two are geniuses, and easily my favourite Weasleys. Some fics portray them as bullies, but I can't say their pranks ever seemed to amount to anything more than a bit of harmless fun; the only people who actually suffered at their hands really did deserve it. Sometimes they get a bit carried away, but they're teenageers so it's only to be expected, and they apologised in the canon whenever they felt they (or anyone else) had gone too far. Even if Ron and Ginny turn bad, it's really hard for me to believe these two would abandon their friends. Not to mention that they have some of the best lines in either canon or the fandom, and some of the ideas that people come up with for them are truly inspired. Fred is my favourite of the two, because he has some of the better lines and actions in the books (a lot of the really important or funny things seem to be Fred), but they're always going to be a double act - I hate that Rowling killed him.
Susan Bones/Hannah Abbott: I'm pairing these two because (like the twins) you never really see one without the other. Susan is another great fanfiction goldmine. She has a close relationship with her aunt, the head of the DMLE, and will often end up close to the main cast, if not paired with Harry or Neville. Anywhere Susan goes, Hannah is fairly sure to follow, and makes a great ship for Neville if he's free. The interactions between this pair are usually really great fun to read, and their relative lack of character development means that they can be made to fit most roles.
Daphne Greengrass/Tracy Davis: I'm pairing these two together for the same reason as above. They have NO character development in canon, and their combined appearances can be counted on the fingers of a blind butcher's hand. This makes either of them the perfect Slytherin girlfriend for Harry, since they're effectively OCs with officially sanctioned names - even more so than Susan and Hannah.
If there's one thing that annoys me more than any other, it's when people get spell classifications or incantations wrong. Create new spells, by all means, or refer to existing ones by their incantations, but make sure that you at least try to use and name existing spells correctly - check the Harry Potter Wiki, or the Harry Potter Lexicon, if you aren't sure about the spelling of an incantation. If you're unsure whether a spell exists, try searching for its effects. Bear in mind that even sites like the Wiki aren't perfect (JKR's spell descriptions were also contradictory on occasion), and modifying the explained spell effects while still retaining the generally accepted result is perfectly acceptable. An example would be "Deprimo": the Wiki states that it "forces a target towards the ground" or "exerts downward pressure", when really it was only used once in canon. To extrapolate from that one data-point and assume that it acts specifically downwards is idiotic - all we really know for sure is that it exerts force in the direction the caster aims, since Hermione points her wand at the floor in the Lovegood's house and exerts enough pressure to create a hole. If you fired it at a person, would it force them to the ground, or away? Fus-ro-DAH! (I couldn't resist)
Starting from basics, there are seven known spell types: Transfiguration, Charms, Healing spells, Jinxes, Hexes, Curses, and Counter-spells. Wards are not a spell type, for the same reason blood magic is not a spell type - they all fall into one of the other categories and have too many different uses.
Transfiguration spells: Alter the appearance or form of an object, essentially changing its chemical structure; changing what an object is. There are four branches of Transfiguration - in ascending order of difficulty: Transformation, Vanishment, Conjuration, and Untransfiguration.
Charms: Alter the properties of an object, essentially changing the physics; changing what an object is doing. An object or area under a long-lasting charm is said to be "enchanted" or "bewitched". Examples of common charms include the Hover Charm, Banishment Charm, Summoning Charm, or Disarming Charm. Most protection spells are also charms - such as the Muggle-Repelling Charm (Repello Muggletum), and the Shield Charm (Protego).
Healing spells: Fairly self-explanatory, these spells are used to heal injuries - they are a subset of both charms and transfiguration (usually conjuration), but are classified separately because they have no purpose or use other than healing. Examples of healing spells would be Episkey, Ferula, or Anapneo.
Jinxes: These are minor irritations or inconveniences, which are usually more playful or annoying than they are dangerous. The Jelly-Legs Jinx, Tripping Jinx, Impediment Jinx, or Knockback Jinx are good examples.
Hexes: Major inconveniences which have some dark connotations, and can be seen as a minor form of dark magic. These are usually meant to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, but not to maim or kill. These include the Instant-Scalping Hex, Bat-Bogey Hex, and Knee-Reversal Hex.
Curses: The darkest of magic, curses are used only to cause severe damage to people or objects, or to impose the caster's will on another. Examples include the Reductor Curse, Entrail-Expelling Curse, Torture Curse, Imperius Curse, and Killing Curse.
Counter-spells: These are used to counter the effects of any other spell. There are specific counters to many individual spells, and some branches of magic (such as Untransfiguration) are entirely composed of counter-spells, but not all spells have a counter. The most common and well known counter-spell is Finite Incantatum, which counters the effects of most non-instant spells, such as Transfigurations, Charms, Jinxes, and Hexes - some advanced Charms or Transfigurations cannot be countered in this way, however, as they are too complex. Curses tend to instantly inflict direct harm upon contact (cuts, abrasions, bruises, fractures, etc) which cannot be directly countered, only healed using the appropriate healing spells - even those that are non-instant (such as the Flagrante curse) tend to be unresponsive to a simple Finite. On the same note, most healing spells fix such harm immediately and do not "wear off", so they cannot be countered - notable exceptions being conjurations, such as Ferula (which conjures and applies a splint for broken limbs), which can be countered as normal.
Spells are classified by their intended effects, not their possible effects. This becomes apparent when comparing spells with similar effects, such as Diffindo and Sectumsempra. Diffindo is the Severing (or Cutting) Charm and, although it can be used to cut flesh, it is not usually used to harm others. In those circumstances where it is used as an offensive spell, it should be referred to as either a charm or hex - it's not weak enough to be called a jinx, nor powerful enough to be called a curse; it creates fairly minor wounds that can be healed like any other cut (unless overpowered to the point of severing limbs, though there is nothing preventing reattachment). Sectumsempra is the Severing Curse, created by Severus (how fitting) Snape, and has no purpose other than causing severe pain and mutilation (often irreparable) to the target. It is blatantly obvious that the only difference between a Charm, Jinx, Hex, and Curse is the severity of the intended effect - a Tripping Jinx could be just as deadly as the Killing Curse, if used at the top of a flight of stairs, but the jinx is not usually intended to kill, and you would never refer to it as the "Tripping Curse" because the effect simply is not severe enough to fit the definition. When referring to a spell by name and classification (rather than by incantation), ensure you make the effort to assign it the right terms.
If you're reading this, I either gave you a review, or you're bored. Either way, this is probably the best place for you. Read over the following sections and see which fits the review best, then go to the appropriate result to find out what it means.
Type 1: If my review was too critical of your spelling, grammar, scenario, or other such frivolities, and you feel some other aspects of your story redeem it - go to the section marked "Result 1".
If you found my review funny, regardless of the type of review I gave you, then you're as broken as I am. Congratulations!
Result 1: You are the fucking bane of my existence. You are clearly a failure as a student of the English language, and I would thank you to get the hell off my page in case your illiteracy is contagious. I don't want to go through my life using alphanumeric bastardisations of words, and removing letters in an attempt to make them "cool". It's not cool. If I ever started talking like that, I would honestly just kill myself. In fact, you should probably just kill yourself too. Kill yourself right in the face for being such a waste of potentially useful atoms. That calcium in your bones could be used to make a new fucking element, and it's being wasted on you. There's no excuse for your pathetic attempt at a story, especially not with the abundance of spellcheckers and Beta readers and word processing programs. If you can't even write a proper fucking sentence, even with ALL of that aid, how could ANY other aspect of your story redeem that? Wankers. If I even bothered to review something that falls into this category, it means that it was so bad that I couldn't just ignore it, and you'd do the world a favour by just deleting the entire thing.
Result 2: You're almost as bad as the first lot. Get the hell out. If I was sarcastic or made fun of your story, then your story is such a pile of trash that I wouldn't use it to wipe my ass if the alternative was thistles. I don't spare people because it was "their first story" or because I might "offend" them with my criticism...if you earned yourself a mocking, then it means you aren't suited to writing and you should just stop before you hurt yourself. It's nothing personal - I can't write either. Don't try to do something you're no good at, because you're just going to embarrass yourself and piss off the rest of us. Send your idea to a well-written, established fanfic author who does that type of story, and see if they can make something good out of it. They might even credit you as an inspiration.
Result 3: Alright, now we have some hopefuls...you might have the basic outline of a story there. You need to get your ideas straight, come up with a good plotline, and adjust the story so that whatever problem I've mentioned is no longer there. If your story chops and changes so much that nobody can keep up, your descriptions are weak and your entire story rushed, or if you randomly swap between points of view or tenses, you need to fix that. When that's done, maybe send me a message to let me know that you've improved it. I won't be neutral a second time, so make sure you've got something worth reading.
Result 4: And finally we come to the actual authors. I love you guys, seriously. You give me so much entertainment with your masterful story-writing ability that I can never thank you enough. Sometimes it's a good plotline, sometimes it's a hilarious parody, and sometimes it's a lemon: we all read them, don't bother denying it - somebody has to write them and I am thankful for those who do - sometimes you just need to get out of the woefully unrealistic celibacy of JKR's canon. I can't imagine somebody going through puberty and not once even thinking about sex, no matter WHAT ship you like - the closest they get is a few snogs. And yes, I realise this is a children's book series; if she can include serious injury, maiming, torture, and death, then she can include a few swear words and a couple of sexual thoughts. The main point of this section is just to thank you for the wonderful world of fanfiction you've created. You're the best people ever, and I hope you continue to write.
This is the final section. Things that piss me off when included in Harry Potter fanfiction.
1) Mixing up spell effects or names. As I mentioned above, I have no problem with people using spells in unique ways, or creating their own spells, but please make sure that the spells do what you think they do, and are called what you think they're called. For example, Expelliarmus is not the "disarming curse", or "disarming hex", it's the disarming charm. There is also a major difference between vanishing and banishing - the banishing charm, Depulso, is the opposite of the summoning charm, Accio. Summoning brings an object to the caster, banishing forces it away. If the intended effect is for something to disappear, then the incantation you are looking for is Evanesco, the Vanishing Spell, and it causes an object to disappear. The Vanishing Spell is effectively the opposite of a conjuration spell, like Aguamenti.
2) Canon-type stories narrated in first person past tense. If it's written in that style then it's probably either a detective story, a diary, or personal memoirs. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against those types of stories - they really can be great - but don't narrate a story entirely in the first person style while writing it like the canon books. The Harry Potter universe, unlike many detective stories, does not lend itself well to being written in that style, so unless it's an in-universe book, diary, or conversation, it will probably turn out badly. "Growing up Granger", by MattD12027, is an example of a well-done first-person story, written in-universe as Hermione's memoirs. The Hunger Games are a great example of a first person present tense story that I enjoyed immensely.
3) Stories narrated in third person present tense. That isn't even a diary, it's a goddamn commentary. I'm not watching a bloody sports game here, and you're not directing a play. First person present tense can work - writing it as if following the narrator's thoughts can make for an interesting story (see "Birth of a Name" by Nonjon) - but third person present tense just sounds stupid.
4) Name changes. One of the single most frustrating things in all of fanfiction. To use an extremely appropriate analogy - if you want to play in the sandbox, you have to follow the rules. You can play whatever game you like with JKR's toys, or bring your own, but you don't break them just because you don't like the way they look. This is directly analogous to renaming characters. You can change the roles of the toys, put them in different places, or make them act differently... but renaming characters is the same as snapping a toy car's spoiler just because you don't want it to have one. You could ignore it, or play with a different car (including one of your own), but you're choosing to break this one for no other reason than to make yourself feel better. Harry (Harrison, Harold, Hadrian...fuck you.) is the worst victim of this practice, but he's by no means the only one. Do not do this.
5) Stories where the author makes a character (especially one I love, but it applies to most) self-contradictory. I know, a lot of authors (J.K. included) do this, but it's the clear-cut contradictions that annoy me most. The best example I can think of is from one fic I read (the name of which escapes me), a long time ago, where Hermione didn't believe in things like Nargles, Wrackspurts, or Snorkacks, specifically because the only evidence was Luna's word and the Quibbler. That's typical Hermione, and exactly what would be expected. She was also strongly Christian, despite the only evidence for Christianity being the Bible: a book written by more than a score of authors, all at least half a century after the events described (some MUCH later), who had a third-hand account at best, and the contents of which were determined by popular vote based on what was being read out at sermons most often. There's no way a logical Hermione would just blindly accept such a book, especially given her strong sense of morals (have you read the Bible? That book talks about slavery, cannibalism, misogyny, child abuse, and even genocide as if they're ever justifiable actions - a great moral compass you have there). Yes, she accepted Lockhart in a similar situation, but she was thirteen, he was charming, and he duped a great many people before his incompetence was shown (at which point she renounced him completely). This leads me straight into...
6) Inclusion of strongly religious quotations and practices as "positive" story aspects or references, especially (but not exclusively) from Christianity. I can't see any witch or wizard being all that religious, but why not read the Bible (or other assorted holy books) yourself, then see if you can honestly tell me that a magical person (or the loving parents of such) would follow that doctrine - even those who were raised religious would likely change once they found out about magic, given that the alternative is, quite literally, suicide. I can definitely see it as being the direct cause of a lot of problems between Muggle parents and their magical children, however.
OK. I'm finished. Off you go. Shoo. Go on, get out, so I can go back to reading stories in peace. And take my soapbox with you, it's cluttering up my space.
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