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Old 06-20-2015, 12:21 PM   #1
Stan
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Before the Beginning by Arabella - K

Title: Before the Beginning
Author: Arabella
Rating: K
Genre: Fantasy
Library category: General
Updated: July 27, 2002
Words: 6,759
Status: Oneshot
Pairing: Hints of Godric/ Rowena
Summary: A story about the beginning of Hogwarts - did you ever wonder how the ceiling in the Great Hall was created?
Link: Sugarquill

An excellently written founders era story about the beginnings of Hogwarts by one of the best writers in the fandom. The story takes place a week before Hogwarts is to accept it's first ever batch of students, and is mostly about the founders going about their final preparations to receive them.

The story does so many things so well it is hard to believe it is a oneshot of moderate length. In barely a few thousand words, it characterizes the founders better than any fic I've ever read, all four distinct characters with actual depth and distinct character voices. The characters feel real and that is the most important thing: Godric is brave and Salazar is cunning and Rowena is smart, but that is not all they are. Their interactions feel real and meaningful, and you can see both the bonds of friendship between the founders and the tension between Salazar and the others, and you can see why Godric and Salazar were friends and why they built a school togethere, despite Salazar being prejudiced and bigoted.

Oh, and Slytherin is prejudiced, thank you very much. If I read another "Slytherin really loved muggleborns" story, I swear.....

A bigger selling point of the story might be the magic of Hogwarts. Hogwarts feels like a magical place, with its armors and paintings and specialized common rooms, and the founders hustling around getting everything ready for their first batch of students -- it invokes impressive images.

The best way part, of course, is the grand finale -- the enchanting of the ceiling of the Great Hall, in all its magical glory. Beautiful.

5/5.

Last edited by Dark Minion; 06-22-2015 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:00 PM   #2
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Minor nitpick, Merlin attended Hogwarts, yet in this fic they swear by his name. Also not a big fan of the long Latin incantations. I like my spells short and sweet.

Aside from those though, the descriptions were vivid and beautiful, certainly gave me a new appreciation for Hogwarts. The characterizations and interactions were also well done.

4.5/5, rounding down to 4.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:18 PM   #3
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Yeah, the Merlin mention bothered me a bit too.

Along with Rowena constantly noting how beautiful/perfect/cold Salazar was.

3/5 from me, and I'd have given it a bigger score if we weren't privy to Rowena's thoughts so much.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:24 PM   #4
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The story was written thirteen years ago. I believe the author deserves a bit of leeway for not prediciting that JKR's Merlin would end up in Slytherin.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:37 PM   #5
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Meh, it had a few problems, but the biggest one I felt is that the character voices were muted and not very convincing. Even with the use of Merlin, what bugged me more than the actual use of the name is that the utterance fell flat.

I'll give it a 3.5 rounded down.

3/5
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:24 PM   #6
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I also didn't know this little tidbit about Merlin. Isn't Arturian era somewhere around the 5th or 6th century AD? Hogwarts was built around the 9th or 10th century AD, so...
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narf View Post
I also didn't know this little tidbit about Merlin. Isn't Arturian era somewhere around the 5th or 6th century AD? Hogwarts was built around the 9th or 10th century AD, so...
Yes it is, but Pottermore says that Merlin was a Slytherin. I'm not sure if there is any other concrete info.
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