I use fanfiction as both a distraction from the stress of real life and, well, for entertainment. I'm an engineer in the actual world, so I'm very...hmm, analytical is a good way to put it, I think. I'll get around to writing something eventually.
My interests in fiction tend towards the setting as a primary point of interest, then to the plot, then to the characters. I'd be willing to explain more should I be PM'd. I'm a huge fan of Sci-Fi, usually older works. Favorite would probably be a tie between The City and the Stars by Clarke and Gateway by Pohl. Asimov is always good as well, but anyways, that's enough about my Sci-Fi objects of worship.
Fantasy-wise, it's a bit more complicated. Tolkien and Pratchett are the top, for the former's incredible worldbuilding and the latter's...well, everything. Seriously, go read his books. My personal favorites are Reaper Man, Thief of Time, Night Watch, and Thud!. Death's speech at the end of the first is easily up there for my favorite climactic moments in the entirety of literature, the plot and characters of the second make it my favorite of all of his books, Night Watch is like Les Miserables but better, and Thud! features another of the best moments in all of literature (The Guarding Dark. Anyone who has read the book knows immediately what I'm talking about.)
JK Rowling is up there on the one hand, but on the "Stephanie Meyer" level on the other. You see, the world she created is just a bit below Middle-Earth and the Discworld on the "oh wow, this is incredible" scale, but past book 5, she started trying to force her already developed characters into a different plot structure. I think of it this way: the first 4 books all feature a reagent being added to a long sloped straight pipe, the fifth book features the pipe narrowing, the sixth has all the reagents falling out of a hole in the pipe, and the 7th is just an entirely different science experiment.
Er, to put in more legible terms, she totally destroyed the characters of Harry and Hermione, depicted the former in a relationship with someone who didn't know enough about how he worked, and the latter in an outright abusive relationship, neither of these attractions being hinted at prior to book 6. I'd elaborate further but, again, I'm PM-able.
Oh, almost forgot: Will not read the following HP stories:
1) Slash with straight characters (I'm Bi, before someone accuses me of homophobia, I just find changing the sexual orientation of extant characters to be utterly ridiculous and never actually justified.) Straight relationships with gay characters doesn't work for me either (exception: Dumbledore in stories written prior to JK Rowling's interview and revelation. Can't blame people for what they didn't know.) No Bi-anything, as it's inevitably an excuse for pornography (I wish more characters were bi.)
2) Draco/Any of the Good Guys (Dude isn't even very attractive, seriously. He's also an asshole, and if you need to change him to fit your preferred character, just use someone else.)
3)Any adult/Kid (Abhorrent. That goes for anyone who pairs Snape with Hermione, especially.)
4) Ron/Hermione. Note that this severely restricts the stories I'll read, as the only way to make sure this isn't a thing is to either read Neville/Hermione stories or, more commonly, Harry/Hermione stories. I personally enjoy the latter more, but have no problem reading the former. What Jo Rowling seems to miss is that they really don't share anything in common: a sense of humor is great, but it's not the basis for a stable relationship. That would be mutual respect, shared interests, and a healthy friendship. I'd like someone to PM me with a reasonable explanation for why it might work, because until that happens, I'm sticking to my belief that any relationship between the two would be rather short-lived.
5) No pornography without purpose. Especially underaged. Ugh. I can find porn on my own time, thank you very much, I have no need to read about your own personal fantasies of sleeping with Tonks, Remus, Sirius, Dumbledore, Petunia, Hagrid, and/or Aragog. Just don't.
I'll rarely read harem stories if they're well written and don't feature everyone loving each other (see my first rule.) There had better be a purpose beyond wish-fulfillment.
Thoughts on the characters of Harry Potter.
I'll be brief in my statements. Dumbledore is two things at once. He's the shining exemplar of the light side, the man who defeated Grindelwald and guided Harry to the final defeat of Voldemort. He's wise, funny, trusting, kind, and powerful. He's Gandalf. But. He's the scheming manipulator who left Harry to suffer for 17 years at the Dursleys, the man who knew that Snape was abusing students, the man who shared Grindelwald's Nazi-like beliefs, the man who sent an innocent boy to his death. He's Wormtongue.
I find the dichotomy endlessly fascinating, thanks in very little part to JK Rowling, who decided to try to destroy Dumbledore in book 7 when he'd already become this character beforehand. I know that it isn't really true, and that the depth is me projecting my wishes onto the books (much like Shakespearean scholars do to everything written by Shakespeare,) but this conflicted man who is both a master manipulator and hero of good is just so fascinating.
Dumbledore's reasons for his actions seem to be beyond mere concern for human lives. It's not the sanctity of human life that fuels his actions, it's the breakdown of society into calculations, figures that can be toyed with in an attempt to end up with the greatest possible sum. It's the idea that one life can not, and never will be, more important than future lives. It's the idea that there exists an equation wherein any one life can be compared to a figure of "average" lives, and that one is worth the other. And it's impossible to claim that he's wrong, because it's not that simple.
Dumbledore isn't a chessmaster. He's a mathematician. And, if written well, he's my second favorite character in the entire series (barring Harry, Dumbledore is the character with the most literary potential.)
Despite my absolute hatred of the Ron/Hermione pairing, I actually quite like Ron. He's loyal, funny, and lighthearted. He's the comic relief, but with more depth. Thing is, so few people seem to understand that depth. It's not jealousy, not really, and it's not laziness, though he is lazy.
What makes Ron a good character is his inferiority complex. It's part of the reason why he and Hermione would never work out: she's superior to him in pretty much every way, and it leads to spite. It's really interesting to see a truly flawed character rise above his problems and be the loyal friend that he should be and could be. It's too bad that JK Rowling didn't understand that her characters needed to have an arc, because the Ron of book 7 is the Ron of book 1. That's why I dislike him in canon, apart from his presence in an abusive relationship: he was a static character. He doesn't have the depth to him that Hermione or Dumbledore do, and he's not the viewpoint character that Harry is.
He can be a great character, but I don't think he can ever truly rise above his role as the sidekick. He's loyal and funny, but he's not a hero.
I don't know where to begin. There are really 3 separate Harrys throughout the series. I like to think of them as fitting specific archetypes. Book 1 to Book 5 have the Messianic Harry, the leader against evil. He wins by his quick wits, a fair dose of power, and some really cool dei ex machina. Book 6 features the Angsty Idiot Harry, who doesn't actually win anything. And Book 7 features the Christ Figure Harry, whose role is, as implied, to die and heal the world.
I like the first Harry a lot. The last Harry is tolerable. The book 6 Harry is a cretin and, much like the rest of book 6, deserves to be torn apart in the tidal forces of a neutron star.
Again, more to come when I'm not lazy.
Why didn't Harry's friends contact him over the summer?
Well, Ron is a mystery. But Hermione listened to Dumbledore, and is thus evil, right? No, not really. You see, when Dumbledore, who has been around for over a century, tells you that letting your friend stew in his own grief is a good thing, you listen. But, you ask, why would you listen?! Well, Dumbledore has been dealing with kids suffering from grief for a very long time: he was around for the first war with Voldemort, and obviously kids in hogwarts would have had their families die. He has experience with the whole thing: why wouldn't you listen to the headmaster who had to console countless kids?
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