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Harry/Hermione without bashing and other annoying tropes

Discussion in 'Story Search' started by Stan, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. brad

    brad Second Year

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    I don't agree.

    First of all, I offer the HP canon as a counter-example. Would you agree that the HP series revolves around the Trio? With the last book centred on just Harry and Hermione for a large part. What *proof* do you have that focusing a book on a duo will work if they are not romantically involved, but will suddenly become 'warped by its weight' if they share a kiss occasionally? :)

    Secondly, does your theory hold up for Harry/X, where X can be Hermione, or Ginny, or Luna, or any other girl? Why is it only the 'Harry/Hermione' stories which will founder under the Steelbadger Principle? "Simply because it involves Harry and Hermione"? Why, please? Or are you dooming every single romantic novel known to mankind?

    Finally, I'd suggest the 'distance' between the HP canon and a H/Hr story is significantly less than that between Rowling and a H/G romantic story. With the latter you have to bring Ginny in from the cold. Make her a key figure rather than the background tertiary character that she was in the books. Excavate a fourth slot, convert the Trio into a Quartet. Lots of heavy lifting and changes to the foundations.

    You don't have to do any of that with a H/Hr story. Hermione's by Harry's side ... just like she was in the canon. The focus is on those two ... just like it was for a large part of the last book. Hermione's already a principal character. Etc.

    Much *less* 'deviation stress' in a H/Hr story than H/X, where X != Hermione.

    You offer absolutely no proof or reasoning to support your position that H/Hr stories are somehow special in foundering under their own weight.

    Well, sure I did. You'd only made one comment, after all, up to this stage, making the point that Stan was looking for a non-canon story which is canon-compliant. :) An astute observation with which I fully agreed. (It was more my agreeing with you than you with me.)

    It's only now that you've declared your own anti-Hermione bias. Your guess that 'Coming Back Late' is 'horrible' means nothing to me, given as how you (a) haven't read it and (b) can't stand one of the two principle characters. You and I have way different tastes.

    But even in your shared ground with Stan of disliking Coming Back Late (yours as a matter of abstract personal principle, his in having actually read part of it) it's interesting to see how you differ there too. Your reason to eschew the story is completely subjective; you don't like canon!Hermione, you don't like stories featuring canon!Hermione, so you won't even read the first page of Coming Back Late. That's cool. That reason works for you and that's as far as you take it.

    But with Stan there's an element, I feel, of his trying to show how *his* rationale for disliking the story should mean something to the rest of us. A hint of trying to shift the blame onto the author. An attempt at saying "I don't like this story *and so it's objectively a bad story*". With the reason being disguised as the 'Weasley Bashing' that he so dislikes.

    Stan doesn't like the story because he thinks it's "Weasley Bashing". But Stan tries to argue that his label of 'bashing' involves "llogical, piss poor characterizations with the author projecting his biases upon the protagonists". In another quantum jump Stan affixes the 'bashing' label to the story because "Harry no longer gives a fuck about Ginny for reasons" (in a H/Hr story, natch), among other reasons.

    Stan's trying to show us that his reasons for disliking the story should be our reasons; that his reasons should make sense to us; that the labelling of his reasons ('bashing') also cross the gap between 'subjective' and 'objective' and should apply to us - 'bashing' means 'bad writing'.

    Whereas you, Sesc, don't try to do that at all. You just discriminate against Hermione because you can't stand her, which works for you.

    That works for me too. :)

    Whereas Stan's trying to shift the reasons/blame onto the author, or the story, suggesting that his reasons should apply for other readers. This invites discussion. :)

    Funnily enough, in saying that I was also quoting Paracelsus, the author of Coming Back Late, who stated such in one of his Author's Notes for the story. So there's further evidence that you wouldn't enjoy picking it up. :)

    There's oodles of examples in the last two books, Sesc, that show that Ginny is a nasty little girl.

    The nasty and mean belittling of Fleur - her brother's fiance and family guest - behind her back. The whole 'phlegm' thing.

    Her acting nasty and mean towards her brother Ron (tripping him from behind his back, making fun of him in book 6, calling him a prat in front of the quidditch team, and so forth).

    Meanly laughing (with Ron and Harry) at the idea of Hermione being stuck in the 'Slug Club'.

    Snapping at Hermione in the 'Sectumsempra' chapter with her quidditch non sequitur.

    Assaulting Smith on the train in HBP.

    Assaulting Smith physically - another cowardly sneak attack - in the quidditch game.

    Her every second appearance in DH is accompanied by jealousy over Harry. She's jealous of Gabrielle. She's jealous that Harry might encounter other girls ('veela') on his travels.

    When Harry and the gang are desperately trying to work out how to stop the world's most powerful dark lord from killing him little Ginny's only thought is to STOP his ex-girlfriend from helping to *save his life*. Way to go, little Ginny.

    I'm sure there are other incidents.

    I'm not saying that Ginny is a death eater, Sesc. Or that she's the most evil girl in the galaxy. (Why, that would be Weasley Bashing! :)).

    What I'm saying is that Ginny is a not-very-nice little girl. It's all in the last couple of books.

    Stan, here's a real short H/Hr drabble that you might like; it doesn't even mention the Weasleys and is set before HBP so your 'bashing' allergy won't kick in - One Morning in February by Mary G. You might want to have a look at her other works as well. I think they're all early-era, pre-HBP, so they might pass your muster. Does ignoring Ginny like she was ignored prior to book 6 constitute Weasley Bashing? :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
  2. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Yes. And now here's the thing.

    Harry found all of those funny, liked her sticking up for him, or didn't mind.

    So if you dislike Ginny enough to blow that way out of proportions like that (crashing into Smith, that pompous dick, is hilarious, and nothing else was that scene intended to convey), what does that say about Harry?

    Harry and Ginny are the obvious fit, for this reason as much as others, and trying to bring Hermione in there means a massive deviation in both character and circumstances. But what is bashing? Bashing is ramping up negative traits in order deliver smack downs with other characters. Bashing is also, however, keeping existing behaviour and changing the circumstances, so that the context suddenly makes it seem completely unreasonable. It sounds like exactly that is happening.
     
  3. Steelbadger

    Steelbadger High Inquisitor

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    Oh no, however will I live with myself. You do realise I used the term 'interesting' in my post? You do realise that that term means I fully accept that it's heavily subjective?

    And 'proof' in a situation like this is a vacuous concept. It means nothing. A more meaningful term might be 'rationale'. Proof means that there's some kind of greater cosmic truth that describes the nature of Harry/Hermione fanfiction. Rationale simply means that the logic used to come to our differing opinions is internally consistent.

    And so, without further ado, I present; "The Steelbadger Principle."

    That falls under the 'tacked on without thought' section. A 'romance' where the two characters occasionally share a kiss isn't, to my mind, a romance. Romance, for me, is about the emotional journeys of two individuals as they fall in love with each-other. It is not about taking the two characters you like most and mashing them together at the lips (or the nethers, if that's your thing). Even fucking Twilight does better than that.

    Without any influence on the character development or story it's just back-story that has little to no influence on the plot. I'm a firm believer that a main-character romance should have some tangible influence on the story in which it features. Conservation of detail etc. etc.

    Example: What about a story where Harry has a cat! It has no bearing on the plot at all, apart from a couple of instances where it has a trivial influence on something irrelevant. It does not serve to provide a window into any of the characters and it is simply mentioned periodically in passing. The question, then, is why does the cat exist in the story? It's obviously pointless, it's just watering down the meat of the story.

    And so it is with a 'just kissing every now and then' relationship.

    Because when the romantic pairing is a non-primary character it is possible for the author to create a clear demarcation between the primary plot and the romantic sub plot. It allows the author to decide how they interconnect and entwine on their own terms. They can bring them close together when Harry's romantic situation is important to the primary plot, or they can pull them apart as they see fit. It gives the author control of how everything plays out. They can have plot critical scenes and romantic scenes and they don't need to have much of a connection between them. For example, if Harry's relationship is in a rough patch, or there is some other drama going on, he is not precluded from interacting usefully with his main partners in crime (Ron and Hermione).

    Harry/Hermione is different. The romance there will be part of the main plot because there's nowhere else for it to go. Trying to shove it off into a sub-plot simply leaves us with the 'tacked on' situation I described above.

    Of course you can choose to keep it in the main thread but then you have to make a choice. Which aspect drives that thread forward? The romance or the other thing? If it's the other thing then the romance becomes, once again, pointless and simply serves to cause issues for the author. To return to the previous example; if the relationship is Harry/Hermione and has hit some kind of dramatic stumbling block, you suddenly have to deal with that block in the main plot too. It is doable, of course, but the main plot has now been warped by the romance as you shuffle things about a bit to make sure everything continues roughly on the intended path.

    If you elect for the romance to lead the plot, well...

    You see this as a point in favour of H/Hr, I see it as one of the greatest disadvantages. A 'pure' Harry/Hermione romance is basically just fluff. It's boring. There's no will-they; won't-they involved, the element that forms the core of most romance fiction. Where's the conflict? Where's the story?

    I suppose you can draw out the 'but I don't want to ruin our friendship' thing at the start, then you can drop in a 'but everything's changed and now I'm scared' but that's about it. Put simply Harry and Hermione are too easy to reconcile as a couple to make for an interesting story (See the beginning of this post for my point about the word 'interesting').

    A story with a canon rehash but with Harry/Hermione isn't really a noticeably different story to canon. I've read so many canon rehashes at this point that it holds no interest for me at all.

    But I've already written far more words about this than is warranted. I really don't think about this that much, but I figured I'd explain why I think Harry/Hermione is doomed to forever be either boring or merely bad.

    Would I read a Harry/Hermione that managed to negotiate these issues? Hell yes I would, the author is obviously pretty damn talented. Do I think I'm likely to see one? No, not really.
     
  4. shez

    shez Second Year

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    Agreed. Sadly, what tends to be the case for most not canon ship-centric fics is that they become more about justifying the ship and less about telling the story. I've yet to read a well-done HHr fic where the pairing or relationship drama wasn't the focal point.

    I guess I do ship HHr in a mild, speculative, bottom of my heart sort of way-- like if Rowling was ever to write HHr fanfiction, but the fandom has chipped away at my enthusiasm for it. Thought about writing one myself once, but yeah, hit the same problem Steelbadger did. It's really hard to meld canon in a way that doesn't disrupt Rowling's character dynamics, lest erring so far as to make everyone OOC or having to do heaps of explanations or retcons (if you're writing AU, this obviously doesn't apply). Because Ginny was designed to be the perfect girl for Harry, it's much easier to write a non-ship centric fic with HG in the background than HHr. It's already established in the framework.

    So this post isn't a complete waste: Here's a Harry/Hermione friendship oneshot. Short vignettes of canon. Fairly sappy but maybe not overly so.
     
  5. crimson sun06

    crimson sun06 Unspeakable

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    Just thought I'd put in my two cents to the discussion.
    Romance between main characters in a story not focused around romance works best when it is the end-game. There's a reason a lot of professional authors wait till the last book in the series to establish/cement the romance. It allows them to keep the focus on the main plot and at the same time have the readers salivating with the prospect of their favourite characters getting together.
    Another way would be how Northumbrian (hope I spelt that right) does it by totally circumventing the drama of an early romance and starting at the mature phase where both the characters are no longer insecure about the relationship in any way. There isn't a lot of conflict or drama in it but that's not necessarily a bad thing. A mature romance can be just as engaging as a will they/won't they situation If the author can portray the chemistry well.
     
  6. Jon

    Jon The Demon Mayor Admin DLP Supporter

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    To be fair...

    Ginny Weasley = Red Head

    Emma Stone = Red Head

    Therefore Ginny Weasley = Emma Stone?
     
  7. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    Now that I think about it, do you people really consider gingers as Red Heads? I mean, I know that's a common way to say it, but they're actually Orange Heads.

    Or am I just crazy?
     
  8. kalespr

    kalespr Fourth Year

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    It likely stems from the time before orange was called orange. It was just called red. Or yellow-red. Or saffron.
     
  9. Odran

    Odran Prisoner

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    Whoops, I have somehow completely missed in what tab I posted the question.

    My apologies folks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
  10. Reptile3607

    Reptile3607 Third Year

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    Huh, that's weird, DLP must be stuffing up. I thought I was in a story search thread, but for some reason the site redirected me unto a completely different discussion topic.

    Odd.
     
  11. Richard

    Richard Supreme Mugwump

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    If they have orange hair, and not actual red hair...I still think "orange head". Orange just gets thrown into the mix.
     
  12. NuitTombee

    NuitTombee Dark Lord

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    Orange head reminds me of Fruit Gushers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr0nU1e6wjI
     
  13. brad

    brad Second Year

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    I'm pleased you agree that Ginny is a nasty little girl.

    It says that Harry is likewise nasty ... but to a lesser degree than Ginny.

    Because Harry didn't find *all* of those funny, Sesc.

    And he also didn't actively go and *do* all of that nasty stuff. He just looked on.

    And this is one of the staple reasons why the H/G pairing is so distasteful. Ginny brings out, or encourages, the nastiness in Harry.

    Nah. Nothing 'massive' about it. It's called 'growing up'.

    One of the nice things about many H/Hr stories is that Harry grows up, leaves the childish nastiness of Ginny (and the younger Harry) behind.

    You're carefully defining things so that it's impossible to write a story that you can't diss for being 'bashing'. If we exaggerate the canon nastiness it's bashing. But if we keep the canon nastiness as it was ... it's also bashing in the offing. You'll only drop a charge of bashing if the circumstances are altered but not 'completely unreasonable'. Which, voila, is a completely subjective assessment. One sane man's 'reasonable' is Stan's "but you've changed things so Harry isn't attracted to Ginny like he was in the canon and so that constitutes BASHING!".

    I agree that amplifying negative traits - to a 'massive' degree - is bashing. But keeping the canon negative traits in 'changed circumstances'? That's not bashing! That's a standard fanfic! (Other than the ones that do a retelling of Rowling's exact canon from altered perspectives.)

    Ginny fans are inured to Ginny's nastiness because Rowling wrote the canon to likewise ignore all of Ginny's many faults, to view them with a soft filter on the lens, to give her Get out of Jail free cards and so forth. When they come across stories which show her nastiness in a fairer, unbiased setting and they see her for the way she is ... they cry BASHING!

    It's not. It's GINNY WEASLEY! :)

    Why the silliness, Steelbadger? I pointed out that you offered no supporting reasoning for your wave-the-hands theories and asked for details. You kindly did exactly that. No need for the childish melodrama.

    Ha ha ha! No, I didn't. I think you're being silly again. You start off with a sentence using the word 'interesting' ... and that's supposed to mitigate everything you then write? Things like statements that the H/Hr relationship *will* (your emphasis) take over the story, the *only way* (my empasis) to stop it is to marginalise them, everything *has to start orbiting around that relationship* ... strong words that we're supposed to water down because, oh, you used the word 'interesting' two paragraphs up? Hee. :)

    The way I see it, 'proof' means something that can be 'proven' using objective criteria which cannot be refuted.

    Which is hard to do in literary analysis, surely. Quite often a chain of 'objective' reasoning will have a link or two of subjective assessment which will destroy the whole proof.

    But you can't say that 'proof' is impossible. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's trivial to *disprove* something with a simple counter-example. So no, it's laziness to wave your hands and say "sorry, proof means nothing". It's just difficult.

    Right. And such a journey may consist of slowly-building romantic feelings that (a) don't 'take over' the story but (b) comprise a significant part of the end game and final emotional payload. Exactly like crimson sun06 said:

    There's a whole sub-class of H/Hr stories which do exactly that; it's one of the unique possibilities of H/Hr which can be realised while keeping the 'changed circumstances' minimal. Harry and Hermione, with or without Ron, fight on, just like they did in DH ... but with a non-capsizing amount of growing romantic attraction thrown into the mix. A pianissimo body leading up to a fortissimo crescendo. Yay for H/Hr! :)

    Right. So, as per the above, that's not a problem for H/Hr.

    Secondly, there's another sub-class of story plots which can handle this sort of thing nicely - the story which has our heroes on divergent paths for a large part of it, sharing the narrative equally between the two, even though they are separated. There must be any number of novels which do this. I'm not widely read; the best example I'm coming up with right now are the Timothy Zahn Star Wars novels; he seems to be a master of writing any number of threads which are all drawn together at the close. Han's in one, Leia's in another, Luke and Mara Jade are apart, etc.

    Or consider a version of the canon with Harry and his 'soul mate' (!) Ginny, exactly as they were in Rowling's books, but with equal time between the ultimate camping trip and the high school resistance squad. Would that have worked? And given us even more romantic payoff for the H/G, versus what little we did receive with little Ginny hidden away for practically the entire tale?

    Rowling chose to write her series from a single narrative perspective (other than a couple of chapters) and comprising a simple single-threaded plot. But fanfics could quite easily have Harry and Hermione together, then split apart (hunting Horcruxes) and so forth. With the romantic tension building throughout ... even more obvious (to them) when it's a case of 'absence making the hearts grow fonder' and so forth. While keeping the main story arcs (plural) charging ahead with equal time on both.

    Right. It *is* doable, of coarse. And if you end up with a dual storyline - a main plot infused (not 'warped' :)) with romance - that means we get a double payback/payload at the end. Looks good to me.

    I guess the point here that it is, indeed, a variety of story that other pairings can't offer. Which was my point. Not *all* H/Hr stories have to go down this road, but some can, and give fluff/'purity' that you don't get with the others.

    You mention one such class of story here yourself - canon rehashes. Which only works with H/Hr because they're the only couple (other than R/Hr) with material going back to book #1 that can be used as fodder for the different perspective of the rehash. You don't like those stories; I do. And you can only get them with H/Hr (or R/Hr, but Ron isn't as interesting as the 'hero' of the series).

    Thank you for your proof rationale. Although I think you're wrong, and I hope you can see there are umpteen counter-example scenarios 'proving' such, I also thought it was quite ... interesting. :)

    Rowling's failure at concluding her series took away any respect I have for her or her HP work so I personally couldn't care less if she ever wrote H/Hr.

    Given as how the only way she seems to be able to depict teenage 'love' is via the ugly theme of jealousy - Ron is perpetually jealous of Hermione's suitors, Harry's 'chest monster' was borne out of jealousy of Ginny kissing Dean, book 6 at Hogwarts Valley High was puerile games of jealousy from start to finish, one in two of little Ginny's scenes in book 7 embodies her jealousy of losing Harry - I suspect I wouldn't like her version of H/Hr anyway.

    Thank goodness for (H/Hr) fan fiction!

    As I mentioned to Sesc, little Ginny was designed to be the perfect girl for 'little Harry'. She was his first teenage infatuation - or the first that saw him dating properly, if you count Cho as his first crush.

    But just like he moved on from Cho, so too could he move on from Ginny. Who was 'perfect' (in a mean, nasty, lowest-common-denominator way) for him when he was sixteen, but not necessarily so when he was finally freed from the yoke of Voldemort and could sit back and think about what he wanted beyond firewhiskey kisses.

    Another class of stories where H/Hr would stand equal (I'm not saying superior for this case) to H/G. Although for H/anyone-other-than-Ginny the author would have to explain how/why Harry grew up and was attracted to other girls. (But hey, as of the end of the series proper, Harry and Ginny were officially not together anyway, right. :))
     
  14. Odran

    Odran Prisoner

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    Hermione a shit.
     
  15. Mr. Merriman

    Mr. Merriman Seventh Year

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    I'd like to point out that, while Hermione is one of my favorite characters, she is much meaner than any of the other protagonists when you get on her bad side.

    She permanently disfigures Marietta's face. No one ever manages to remove the jinx, and it leaves life-long facial scars when it fades. That is, not coincidentally, one of the chief hallmarks of Dark Magic in the HP-verse. Harry, by the way, considers this brilliant.

    In one of the subtlest revenge schemes ever and one of my favorite parts of the series, she masterminds Umbridge's abduction by enraged centaurs. She is almost certainly well-educated enough to know what rowdy centaurs are famous for (namely, kidnapping and gang-raping human women), and takes great pleasure in mocking a very traumatized Umbridge post-abduction.

    I'm honestly not sure anything Ginny does in the entire series (when she's not being possessed by a Horcrux of the Dark Lord) comes even close to those two examples. If Ginny is nasty, Hermione is orders of magnitude more so.

    Shippers are annoying.
     
  16. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Minister of Magic

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    :confused: Dude... what the fuck have you been reading. This isn't canon. They're known for being overly aggressive to interlopers and staring at the sky, and that's about it.
     
  17. Mr. Merriman

    Mr. Merriman Seventh Year

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    Um, I've been reading classical mythology. Rowling didn't invent centaurs, you know. Perhaps this will help. The rest of the article is hit and miss, but the one about Umbridge is pretty spot on.
     
  18. PomMan

    PomMan Professor

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    OK I dont have the energy to go through everything you said and explain why I find it completely incorrect (largely because steelbadger is doing a pretty bang up job of it already) but I might tomorrow when I'm not so sick. I just really had to ask, what on earth are you talking about here? Is this meant to be a joke? Or did you somehow read the epilogue differently to myself? If it was a joke, please make it a better one, we have people who have completely disregarded canon before and so I've learnt not to make assumptions about that.

    EDIT: yo wth you've been here since '06?! I've literally never seen you before this. No wonder I was getting flashbacks to the way DLP used to be.
     
  19. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Minister of Magic

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    Yes, and a fifth year Hermione would also know that Muggle mythology has very little to do with the HP magical world. This is ridiculous. You can pull random crap from anywhere and fit it into whatever part of the story you want. I would suggest reading the story for what actually went on, which is virtually nothing. She was carried off an not seen again until she was leaving the castle, if I remember properly.

    I would imagine being impaled by dozens of horse cocks in a short amount of time would most likely kill a person.

    If you don't like Hermione, that's fine. I get it. But this is just flat out stupid.
     
  20. Mr. Merriman

    Mr. Merriman Seventh Year

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    Um, I didn't say I didn't like Hermione. I said the opposite. But that's definitely my interpretation of the scene.

    Now, it is true that the centaurs in the HP books are not explicitly said to have those characteristics, and the whole thing could be innocent of any subtext. And it's probably likely that Rowling had no intent to imply such things in the scenes in question.

    But just because the author didn't mean to imply a gang-rape doesn't mean the implication isn't there. For anyone with a decent grounding in classical mythology, it's almost impossible to miss, even if it was unintentional.
     
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