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Old 10-14-2015, 01:20 PM   #1
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boy with a scar by dirgewithoutmusic - K

Title: boy with a scar
Author: dirgewithoutmusic
Rating: K
Chapters: 4
Status: It's a collection of unrelated oneshots
Words: 36,525
Published: 28 Feb 2015
Updated: 21 May 2015
Library Category: The Alternates
Pairing: None
Link: Link

First one-shot summary:

What if Voldemort had chosen the pureblood boy, not the halfblood, as his opponent? This Neville would have had graves to visit, instead of a hospital. He’d still have grown up in his grandmother’s clutches, tut-tutted at, dropped out windows absentmindedly, left to bounce on paving stones.

Let’s tell this story: Alice Longbottom, who was the better at hexing, told Frank to take Neville and run.
Second one-shot summary: (expand to see)

Let’s tell another story where Voldemort, snippets of prophecy in hand, went after the Longbottoms instead of the Potters—

Neville Longbottom didn’t do magic until he was nearly eight (and even then it was just bouncing down the stairs after he had tripped), but his grandmother beamed proudly all the same.

"Used up eight years of it slaying dark wizards," she told her other society ladies over tea.

But Neville, in any ‘verse, was not a stupid boy. When people praised him for things that weren’t his fault, he knew better than to believe they were looking at him. Overlooking the stammering, pudgy kid in the corner isn’t that much different from seeing the scar and not the boy.

This was a Neville who stepped onto Platform 9 3/4 with all eyes on him— the Remerberall clutched tight in one sweaty fist, the sleek black cat his uncle had bought him under the other arm. He did not ask for Hufflepuff, even though he wanted to, because he was supposed to be brave.

Let’s tell this story: if Voldemort went after the Longbottoms, then the Lestranges went after the Potters.


What if Voldemort went after Harry and Neville, and gave no one a chance to die for them? What if both Chosen Ones died as children?

Gosh, we didn't want to pull our punches today, did we. Okay, well, I guess here we go--


When Petunia Dursley refused to take Harry in she forfeited his birthright protection, so Dumbledore took the baby to the safest place he knew: Hogwarts.

The applicable staff (mostly just… not Snape) took Harry in on a rotating schedule as he grew from baby to toddler to child. They traded extra credit for babysitting among the older students, and Harry grew up knowing a few dozen different laps that were safe and warm to nap in.

This was a Harry who grew up among books, among old transient walls and learned professors. They gave Binns night duty sometimes, and let him talk young Harry to sleep. This was a Harry whose world changed, on principle, daily. The stairs moved. The walls became doors. You had to keep your eyes open–you had to pay attention. So he did.

He grew up in a school. Knowledge was power, but knowledge was also joy. This was his sanctuary. There was magic in his world from birth.

A collection of oneshots I found over at AO3 based on a bunch of What if? situations. I enjoyed reading them for the most part. The writing is good and I like the characters too. There are a couple of places it contradicts canon facts though, and all the one-shots share similar themes, so it can get a bit repetitive by the time you read the final one.

I think I like the third one-shot the best. I've never read another fic where Voldemort kills both Harry and Neville leaving the world without a chosen one, and this was an interesting take on it.
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Old 10-14-2015, 01:23 PM   #2
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I was going to berate you for not using proper capitals, but on a hunch I checked the link and yep.. you copied it correctly. So, what I'm trying to say is... carry on with your business.
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Old 10-14-2015, 02:50 PM   #3
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I liked the concepts, but this mostly reads like outlines for a proper story. Not very interesting outlines, either, IMO.
They tread too close to canon for my liking - it could be on purpose, but they visit every station on the same old rails with a vaguely different coat of paint slathered on it, most of that paint being the shoddy interpretation of the author.
Only the fourth introduces new characters and even then isn't actually that different.

Other problems are the fact they're mostly character pieces that skip some of the most important moments of the story - just what happened after the Triwizard Tournament in the first oneshot is never told or shown, despite it being one of the more important moments in the series. So much could've been done with them, but no.

Dumbledore's characterization is manipulative, to boot.
I mean, shit,
Dumbledore withered, with no double agent’s position to earn with his death. On a hot Tuesday in the summer between their sixth and seventh years, the curse eating his hand stopped his old, wise, ruthless heart.
That's... no.

3/5. Technically okay but not much more than that, rounded down to 2.5/5 because of Dumbledore.
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Old 10-14-2015, 02:55 PM   #4
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Yeah. Forgot to mention Dumbledore. He doesn't come up much though, just mentioned a few times here and there. Barely gets any screen time. Also, the problem isn't so much with Dumbledore's actions, which more or less match with his canon personality (the above statement is accurate for the most part), but the way you can practically feel the author's dislike of him dripping from the words the handful of times he's mentioned.

I liked the concepts, but this mostly reads like outlines...

They tread too close to canon for my liking...

Other problems are the fact they're mostly character pieces that skip some of the most important moments of the story
Admittedly, my favorite kind of story. The OTWTG formula. Fast paced, canon-ish and without details that aren't strictly necessary.

Last edited by Stan; 10-14-2015 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 10-14-2015, 05:59 PM   #5
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It's definitely different.

The author's intend is not to write a full fledged novel, but to explore, how certain variations of Halloween 1981 would affect the storyline. Of course, thus they all are mostly character pieces - or, if you want to argue, drafts of longer stories. You need to accept that and enjoy the writing style to like these stories.

I don't agree with some of the results the author comes up with, but then that's fanfiction. Technically the first one bothers me most with its canon references. I like the fourth chapter the most with Harry as BWL. That one has its ridiculous moments, though, too.

I like the concept and especially No. 3 and 4 of the oneshots and rate it 4/5 for these.
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Old 10-14-2015, 06:26 PM   #6
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I think interesting is the best way to describe it. It suffers by its very nature, with potentially interesting things being glossed over. Some of the ideas didn't interest me at all - not just the big plot bunnies, but the little details within them (Neville not learning to read until not long before he goes to Hogwarts, really?).

There's some lovely touches to the writing though, here and there, and while the glorified story plan nature of it is frustrating, they're still quite compelling. I'm happy to give it a 4/5 solely for the last one, with Harry growing up at Hogwarts. I really want to see that done properly.
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Old 10-15-2015, 04:33 AM   #7
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These oneshots don't fall into the same trap that most what if? fics do, where they expend precious words to reestablish the world with very minute differences. Instead this fic relies pretty heavily on the fact that readers have actually read Harry Potter, something a lot of authors seem to forget they can do. This collection takes the original story, makes the appropriate tweaks, and removes everything in-between. Because this fic isn't about what changes in the plot. It's about what changes in the characters. It's a character study done very well. And it is written very well too. The storytelling is fantastic and you can tell that things were either planned meticulously or the author is freakishly talented. The foreshadowing and the theme building is spot on for all of these oneshots.

These are all good things, but the best thing about this is the prose; I think this fic deserves a 4/5 for prose alone. It captures the whimsy that basically defined the first couple books and maintains it for thousands of words, all without sounding pretentious. It makes omniscient narration exciting and lively. That's the best I can explain it, you should just read this collection since it's only a couple thousand words.

5/5. Maybe I'm just a sucker for stories that know they're stories.
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:42 PM   #8
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Story Review

This is truly an amazing set of one-shots. The writer drew me in with every word and made me believe the story. I especially loved the last chapter, with harry being raised by the school. The story had true emotion weaved through-out it.

Last edited by yak; 10-25-2015 at 02:25 PM. Reason: Removed emoticon spam
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:37 PM   #9
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Im going to review each seperately because in the end they were different stories just compiled.

The first one was good, I enjoyed the fact that Harry was not shown to be the product of his scar but rather the scar was simply another part. He was still his heroic self, simply not the chosen one. He almost reminded me of the Cedric diggory of Gryffindor. I'd give it a 4/5.

The second one I enjoyed much less, I'm just not a real fan of Hufflepuff Harry and older sister Tonks. I was expecting a crowning moment of badass, with Harry killing Bellatrix, but that just didn't materialize. I'd give it a 3/5

The third I just didn't enjoy but it was written well technically and my dislike was simply a product of the plot. 2/5

The fourth story however was brilliant. I enjoyed the hell out of it. But as previous viewers have pointed out, it may have stayed too close to canon. Fred dying was a rather random event and the fact that it happened in a similar way a second time is a large violation of the butterfly effect. Even so, I'd still give it a 5/5

That averages out to a 3.5 but I'm rounding up to a 4
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:44 PM   #10
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The more of this I read the more fond of it I grow. The first and second are pretty bland and not much happens but the third one is interesting. I really like the characterization of the Weasleys in that fic. It was very refreshing, I think. The one with Harry raised by Hogwarts was unique. I've never seen the Carrows or Worrington used much as main characters, but I think the author wrote them well.
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:12 AM   #11
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So I was only able to read three chapters/stories, because if I continued I would have thrown up. It's that bad.

There is no story here, just speculation of events, and that speculation never presents anything interesting in the way of narrative. It's only made worse by the awful characterization: every one of the good guys is a humble little angel who supports and showers his friends with accolades about how brave and good they are, in a horribly tacky way - at one point, the author even states "They were all brave, all wise, all fair. They were cunning, too, quick-witted and resourceful, and they had made true friends under those darkening halls." - everything about their struggle is so sugary that it's a wonder I did not get diabetes. (Petunia Potter? Seriously?!)

It's also full of factual errors and implausible plot lines. The Twins don't find find the Map because the Marauders are still alive. Dumbledore gives Neville the same Snitch Harry had gotten in canon, against all logic. The Order tells every little kid about the Horcruxes, for some reason, and none of the bad guys ever find out about it.

I seriously feel disturbed after reading this. What monster could ever envision such a horrifyingly sentimental world?

Do not feed the plot bunnies.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:01 AM   #12
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No title - By Ink Splotch - K+

Title: No title
Author: Ink Splotch
Rating: K+
Genre: General
Status: Oneshot
Library Category: The Alternates
Pairings: None
Summary: AU. Voldemort goes after Neville and is defeated. This is a story about Neville but it would always be a story about Harry, somewhat, because it had never been the scar that made the boy.
Link: http://ink-splotch.tumblr.com/post/1...a-fic-in-which

This stoy is about a world where Voldemort went for Neville Longbottom and not Harry Potter. It is believable and well written. The story doesn't differ much from the original, still I find it lovely and worthy of attention.

While I frequently think about it and feel the need the read it at least every year, I know that it may not be for eveyone, from the writing style and the story itself.

I feel it is at least worthy of a 3/5, but I'm biased and not used at all to rate stories so I will leave it at that.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:48 AM   #13
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This was already posted for review here, and somehow managed to reach Almost Recommended status, though I stand by my review, this is one of the corniest, most melodramatic and shallow stories I've ever read. I seriously prefer reading My Immortal over it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:59 AM   #14
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It started off a little weak, but the divergences, specially in the later years, were very original and well thought. The more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Harry did Harry things and Neville was Neville through and through. 4/5

Edit: Eh, nevermind, apparently it was already reviewed.

Last edited by Zel; 05-09-2016 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 07-01-2017, 05:58 PM   #15
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Bump, because I went back to this the other week, and there's a load of other entries in the same series. Same basic idea - glorified story plans/synopses for different takes on the Harry Potter story, to varying degrees. There's a Slytherin!Harry, squib!Harry, fem!Harry, trans!Harry. There's one version where Ron is the Boy-Who-Lived, and one where Hermione is the Girl-Who-Lived. There's one where Lily and James survive, but Vernon and Petunia don't, so Dudley grows up with them in Godric's Hollow, while there's another that takes the canon starting point, but has Petunia come to accept Harry and divorce Vernon for his treatment of him. Then there's one where it's Petunia who goes to Hogwarts, while Lily is a Muggle.

If you didn't like the ones originally posted, none of these are going to win you over - although with the further variations, it becomes clear that the canon rehash elements that got criticised previously is a thematic choice, rather than laziness - whatever else might change about Harry, the fundamentals of his (or, as the case might be, her) character are unshakeable. He's always going to be the kind of person who'll choose to sacrifice his own life to save others, for example, no matter how else things have changed. Whether you agree with or like that approach is open to debate, of course, but at least it appears to have been done deliberately.

My earlier review basically covers these; there's some cool and unusual ideas here, executed in an oddly charming writing style, but ultimately you're still reading extended plot drafts. Equally, some of the entries really suck. The potentially interesting one about Petunia being the witch, rather than Lily, amounts to nothing much because, in keeping with the above thematic point, Lily still makes her way to the Order to fight Voldemort, because she's been reading the Daily Prophet and wants to help out, thereby meeting and falling in love with James, etc etc.

Almost recommended is probably still the right place for it, but I'd be interested in seeing if the newer material affects opinions at all.
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alternate universe, author: dirgewithoutmusic, boy-who-lived neville, neville

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