The reveals for hoggywartyxmas
happen later today (Severus Snape's birthday, natch), and I've been dithering about how to do a rec post.
The thing is, almost every entry is worth a rec. I'm serious. The quality of the art and writing is always stellar at Hoggywarty, and each year, it just gets better and better. I toyed with the idea of just picking five random favorites from my Sorting Hat, but that approach doesn't really do justice to the scope of excellence of this fest.
So I've decided to do something a little different: I'm going to do a Hoggywarty "Best of. . ." list. The categories are arbitrary; the judgments are personal, reflecting the things I love about these entries:
FIC -- Most Creative Point of View: If This Dog Could Talk
(Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank/Aurora Sinistra, OCC [original canine character]).
I love inventive approaches like this one. The narrator is a delight and the pairing ditto. It's also a thoughtful exploration of physical disability in the wizarding world (something I've never seen discussed, unless you count the metaphors of werewolf and Squib), and the author handles it very effectively.
FIC -- Best Use of an Ending Punchline
: Butterscotch Mountain
(Rolanda Hooch, Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank)
This story is a hoot -- great one-liner after great one-liner -- yet the characterization isn't neglected. Very clever magic, too.
FIC -- One that Made Me Laugh Hardest
: The Sexual Education of Magical Flowers
(Neville Longbottom/Luna Lovegood; Neville/Severus Snape)
The humor is pitch-perfect -- the author is really alive to the whimsical absurdity of the magical world. Great Neville characterization, too.
FIC -- Best Character Voice
(Minerva McGonagall/Horace Slughorn)
This was a really tough choice, since the Hoggywarty stories this year are feasts of expert characterization and voice. But I can just hear this tart, self-aware, confident, dedicated Minerva. One of the best Minerva voices I've read.
FIC -- Most Thought-Provoking
: The Cat Cannot Feel Duty
(Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore).
This was another tough choice, and I could have picked at least 2-3 others, but this story, with its thoughtful exploration of the animagus process and its careful depiction of a complex relationship, really intrigues me. Beautifully written.
ART -- Most Evocative of Holiday Spirit
: Exploding Crackers
(Severus Snape, Remus Lupin)
The colors, the details, the cozy room contrasting with the external snow, the shimmering firelight and tree, the characters' expressions. . .
ART -- Best Action Scenes
: Great Balls of Snow
(Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, various Hogwarts staffers)
An epic magical snowball fight is drawn so well that you can see every movement. Close-ups, far shots, movement of clothes and hair. . .just so good.
FIC -- Best Exploration of Non-Human Cultures: Retiring Minds Want to Know
(Minerva McGonagall and a cast of thousands)
I particularly loved the scene between Minerva and an aged house-elf -- Minerva accepts that the best way to help the elves is simply to listen to them, and lucky for us, we get to listen along with her.
FIC -- Best Missing Scenes
: TIE Hiring Defence Against the Dark Arts Teachers and Other Unforgiveable Acts
(Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore)
Expert characterizations and insights1945
(Horace Slughorn, Albus Dumbledore)
Both men just come alive here.
FIC -- Most Heart-Tugging in the Best of Ways
: Love Hides in Familiar Faces
(Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Filius Flitwick, Horace Slughorn, Aurora Sinistra)
This is a beautifully-imagined, creative story that makes full use of the potential of magic.
ART -- Best Exemplar of the Truth that Something Doesn’t Need to Be Explicit to Be Really Sexy
: Excellent Choice!
(Minerva McGonagall/Severus Snape)
Romantic, sexy, cozy, inviting, warm, tender. . .all this, and excellent hair to boot.
FIC -- Most Interesting Thematic Explorations: The Remember All
(Neville Longbottom/Remus Lupin, past Remus/Severus)
Another category in which I could easily have picked any number of others, too. Here, I love the way this author explores issues of memory, of past selves, of the way our personal narratives construct our pasts and our futures. Very nice characterization of Neville in particular.
ART -- Best Santa Hat
-- Just Take It Off
(Neville Longbottom/Charlie Weasley)
FIC -- Most Haunting Character Study
-- Friends, Teachers, Countrymen
A powerful, well-written look at Headmaster Severus Snape during Christmas of the DH year. The author shows us a man of intensity and complexity -- not always a "nice" person; in fact, often harsh. . .but at bottom, he's a just man.
FIC -- Scariest, Funniest Satire
(Kingsley Shackelbolt, Rita Skeeter, Filius Flitwick, Stan Shunpike, and more)
People of reasonable intelligence can be tricked and manipulated, through misrepresentation and outright lies, into voting for dangerous idiots. Who knew?
FIC -- Best Snark and Repartee
: TIEThe War of Snape's Nose
(Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy, Minerva McGonagall, Hogwarts Staffers)
Be prepared to laugh out loud at this witty feast.A Term of Endearment
(Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Harry Potter, dozens more)
This fine story covers many years and many characters, and I was swept along with it, reveling in the strong characterizations and the clever insights and the power of a well-placed "Fuck off."
FIC -- Best Rare Pair That Works So Well That You Wonder Why on Earth It's a Rare Pair
: Seasons of Love
(Pomona Sprout/Aberforth Dumbledore)
A beautifully-rendered story of the intersections of romance and friendship. So many fine lines and character insights.
FIC -- Most Inventive Use of the Restricted Section
: Revelation in the Library
(Severus Snape/Hermione Granger; Neville Longbottom)
FIC -- Effective Use of an Ensemble Cast
: A Christmas Conspiracy
(Minerva McGonagall, Hogwarts staff)
A fun story of a satisfying Christmas surprise. Love the broom deliveries.
FIC -- Best Post-DH Career
(Malfoy family, Severus Snape).
An enjoyable exploration of post-DH Malfoys and the quest for power. I loved Draco's possible new career.
FIC -- Best Long-Term Romance
: Through the Spiral of the Years
(Minerva McGonagall/Severus Snape)
You'll never disappoint me with a good Minerva/Severus story.
FIC -- Best Long-Term Hatemance
: Brotherly Love XXX
(Albus Dumbledore, Aberforth Dumbledore)
No, not an incest story, but nonetheless, a compelling story about a complicated and fraught relationship.
And don't forget to check out my excellent gift: See previous rec here