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Old 05-12-2011, 10:50 AM   #1
JimmyCranberry
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Angels Don't Live Here by empathapathique - T

Title: Angels Don't Live Here
Author: empathapathique
Rating: T
Genre: Drama/Romance
DLP Category: Romance
Pairing: HP/PP
Chapters: 2
Words: 17,582
Updated: October 15, 2008
Published: October 12, 2008

Status: Complete
Summary: They are standing on a corner, in a moment, allowing French-speaking Muggles to pass them by and continue with their lives. He is amazed by the fact that life goes on for these people while it is war-stalled in Britain. HarryPansy.
Link: FF.net

So I searched DLP as best I could and could find no references to this fic. Apologies if it has, in fact, been posted before.

I found it to be a particularly enjoyable, if short, exploration of a romance in the midst of a war. I felt the author does very well to capture the mood of the story and that her technical writing is, in this instance, good.

It is an AU, obviously, and I felt the premise felt a little forced. Also, at times, I thought Harry's characterisation was a little off, but overall this does little to detract from it. On the other hand, I found Pansy's characterisation - in particular her escapism - to be refreshing and far more interesting than the usual Bitch!Slytherin that turns up. Not that I don't enjoy reading those stories, but they can get old.

Also, I try to ignore the Dramione that appears out of nowhere. It was as unwelcome as a fart in a lift, but hey, it was gone in the blink of an eye.

Overall, 4.5/5 - rounded down on thread rating due to flatulence.


Checked by Minion, Nov. 18, 2012

Last edited by Dark Minion; 11-18-2012 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 05-12-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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Meh. I don't like it. The writing was fantastic. Top notch.

Everything else.......I dunno. As you said the premise was forced. Then the author engages in the worst cliches about pureblood women being cattle in order to give Pansy depth. The D/Hr was unnecessary and awkward. Harry's characterization I felt was off, especially at the end when he desperately searches out Pansy and apologizes.


The escapism was nice, but I found it ludicrous that that quality was what attracted Harry to her. Maybe he'd envy her at times, but I don't see him wanting someone who was too cowardly to make a stand. At least not during and immediately after the conflict. It's the type of personality trait that should piss Harry off more than anything else.
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Old 05-12-2011, 02:58 PM   #3
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tl;dr: OOCness?

I have to agree with you that Harry's reactions seem out of character, and the author does use some clichés. However, I found the story to be a good change of pace from the usual Harry/ Slytherin fare. Perhaps, if the author had expanded the backstory more, providing a greater number of reasons for Harry's response to Pansy to be as it was, then you may have enjoyed it more?

Then again, you have to remember the Half-Baked Plot (although, I, like most of DLP, would prefer not to): Harry tried to escape it all with the Sl*t there, so there is past precedence for him to react like this. however, it is most definitely OOC with regards to the books before HBP...
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:00 PM   #4
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It's not Harry having a desire to escape that he doesn't act on that bothers me. Nor is it the idea that he'd use a relationship as a way to temporarily escape from the war or his other issues. It's the idea that he'd be attracted to someone specifically because they got up and ran away from everything. Ginny, whatever her flaws, never did that. Harry wasn't attracted to her because she tried to run away and avoid the issues of the day---she didn't.

Pansy, in the story, chose to stand for nothing. Not Voldemort, not the resistance, not her family. She ran away and still tries to hide from anything that could bring her into the conflict. That's self-preservation sure, but it also comes across as a lack of any principles save her own safety and as cowardice. And it's not something that should attract Harry.

tl;dr. I don't mind Harry being attracted to Pansy, or having escapist desires. I mind him being attracted because she refuses to stand for anything, which is how it came across.

Last edited by Tenages; 05-13-2011 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:28 AM   #5
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Wat. Are we reading the same story? Seems like I got a really different meaning out of it. Also, obvious AU is obvious. So how can Harry be OOC?

Within the story, he's consistent, and the end was the logical conclusion to all that happened before. It was all about Harry trying to understand Pansy and her motivations, which in the end, he did -- but it took an entire war for him to do so. And he actually didn't want to escape from the war, which was the root of the problem -- realising that she isn't like him, which intrigued and annoyed and confused him all at once, because he'd been attracted to her already at Hogwarts, and now had to match these feelings with the ones stemming from seeing her in Lyon (the great allegory of the piece), completely away from the war.

The story's all about trying to understand Pansy, but he fails at that while it's war because he's stuck in the war. That's the highlight in the piece, the fantastic portrayal of this complete disconnect between Harry and the surroundings, because he's in an entirely different world; one he's unwilling to leave when it comes down to it. Even for Pansy. It's only at the very end of the story that the boundaries of both are blurring.


The piece rests entirely on the characters of Harry and Pansy, which is something I love. The technical skill merits a 5/5 alone, and I'm a sucker for well-executed allegories, so this is just a great piece of writing and belongs into the library for being far more sophisticated than a HP FF has a right to be.


Edit: Oh, and regarding the Draco/Hermione: That was integral to the plot (if gave the -- if somewhat clichéd -- reason for why Draco turned away from Voldemort), and since it's an AU, it works. If there ever was a story where nothing was superfluous and everything had a point it's this one.
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She shuddered, even as we were descending, but when we dismounted, there was no sadness, no grief. Her ice blue eyes burned in boundless fury, a look so piercing it went clean through me. It was simultaneously the most beautiful and most terrifying thing I had ever seen on her face.

“Someone is going to pay.”

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Last edited by Sesc; 05-13-2011 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:02 AM   #6
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The tone of this fic turned me off. I could actually buy and enjoy the premise (Pansy ditching England during the war), but the story just felt off as I read it. Too many details seemed extraneous along with unnecessary elements such as Hermione/Draco.

2/5
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:09 AM   #7
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This was fantastic. Sesc said everything that needed to be said.

5/5
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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This is very nice. The writing is excellent, with only a few errors that the Beta should have caught; and the Pansy/Harry interaction is original and interesting. There's not quite enough justification built up for the ending, in my opinion. It devalues the relationship in a way by making it seem that Harry is merely looking to Pansy as an escape from reality.

Still...

4/5. Definitely worth a read.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:44 PM   #9
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I don't often read romance, if only there were more like these... Excellent development, and an excellent window to the soul.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:43 PM   #10
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4/5 from me. For how short it was, it imparted a lot of depth, even if it was a simple story. But, I didn't like the writing style. I guess the author has her own unique writing technique, but it was more tedious than interesting I think, what with her comma descriptors at the end of sentences and active present first person POV, with frequent tense shifting.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:11 PM   #11
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Ugh. I nearly stopped reading at that part where Pansy starts making up crap about the people on the train I hated Pansy's character and the way she was being vague and distant all the time. I don't see why Harry is attracted to someone who feeds him BS, and who ran way from England while he stayed to fight and watched all his friends die. In fact, the whole romance between them seems forced.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:38 PM   #12
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I'd ask if you understood whose tale Pansy was really telling there, but I think I know the answer. Needless to say that (the parable of the failed author) is one of the central parts of the story. That aside, if your ultimate point is that attraction -- or love -- doesn't make sense, then yes, welcome to life.


Since I never have problems with sounding like a snob: This is one of those stories where everyone who didn't like it (or at least appreciated it on an intellectual level) simply was unable to understand it
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She shuddered, even as we were descending, but when we dismounted, there was no sadness, no grief. Her ice blue eyes burned in boundless fury, a look so piercing it went clean through me. It was simultaneously the most beautiful and most terrifying thing I had ever seen on her face.

“Someone is going to pay.”

Kairos

________________________________
FF.net :: By That Last Candle's Light :: The French Affair :: Unatoned


I heard that you like the bad girls, honey,
Is that true?
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:43 PM   #13
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The story does artistic things we rarely see, like fitting in parables, the unusual dialogue, things like "Pansy is a ghost", "this is my lie", but on the other hand, it feels very try-hard. Things with the dialogue are really forced in order to achieve the sophisticated effect. The parable of the failed author itself is presented very unartistically: they run into the homeless man, cue Pansy reeling off a long speech explaining the significance, and then the author moves on, and it doesn't gain any more significance thereafter. The author appreciates the literary value of such devices, but doesn't execute it perfectly himself.

A lot of the dialogue added to generate profundity actually don't mean anything, like "This is my lie", and "You don't understand anything." I really hate that in stories.

It got a little ridiculous and arbitrary with Draco and Hermione suddenly becoming involved; the story should have remained focus on Harry and Pansy. Draco/Hermione is too bizarre to be anything other than an authorial fixation that he (probably she) just had to shoehorn in. I automatically lose a little respect for the author redeeming characters so cheaply.

Harry's "not-good-with-girls" is overexaggerated with how Pansy dominates their conversations, which are carefully contrived so that Pansy can say as many insightful and mystifying statements as possible. Harry is only not good with classy girls, which Pansy isn't, even in this AU, as evidenced in Harry's early thought process.

The author is writing a little bit above his or her actual level, and it shows.

3/5.

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Old 11-25-2011, 11:01 AM   #14
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Interesting little piece. Its strong point is that it's a very enjoyable read; it does a really good job at creating a romantic atmosphere by focusing on small lifelike scenes rather than the big picture, and leaves you with this warm and fuzzy feeling inside-- which I suppose is the sign of a successful romance story (though I'm not the right person to ask about that). Pansy's character was also realistic and well-fleshed out, and a welcome departure from her usual fanon portrayal.

Its weak point is basically that that's all there is to it.

It may very well be because I'm the first person to miss subtly delivered messages in stories, but to me, the story appears to exemplify a certain rosy superficiality characteristic of something like, say, hipster photography (no, really, this comparison seems most fitting to the impression it had on me)-- I mean yeah, it's pretty and all that jazz, the romance was beautifully done and, like I previously said, it really managed to capture the small joys of life, without downplaying the characters' personal dramas and the sadness in their lives. Perhaps the irresponsibility of the characters is even the whole point of this story.

But the thing that doesn't really sit right with me is, in the end, the fact that you have this complicated little relationship of theirs going on in an idyllic Muggle hideout, slapped against the background of a big motherfucking magical war with big damn implications for all the parties involved-- and it wouldn't even be such a bad thing (like I said, central idea of the story, completely missing the point, yadda yadda yadda) if the romance was intense enough to justify all that. It isn't. It just feels disconnected, like the author forced this setting into being for the sake of mere aesthetics-- you know, French cafe, cigarette-smoking and slightly neurotic hot British girl (slang included), and a handful of scenes that reminded me an awful lot of Amélie. This is why I found it appropriate to compare it to those artsy vintage-toned photos in terms of the effect it produces on the reader/watcher-- a lot of work being put into appearances (an otherwise appreciable thing), to the detriment of essence.

(Also: the conspicuous absence of use of magic, for a HP story at least. Just a personal preference, really.)

That said, this definitely does deserve a place in the library, even if for the writing alone. 4/5.
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