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WIP The Shadow of Angmar by Steelbadger - M - HP/LotR

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by Steelbadger, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Zysek

    Zysek Squib

    May 14, 2015
    I really loved the whole 'magic is a story woven from the meanings we attribute to things', it gives a sense of wonder and fantasy to magic that is sorely lacking fantasy literature these days, where magic has become more rigid and structured.

    Do I detect some Dresden Files' influence in the potion making? The way that series handles potions is eerily similar.

    Other than that, I have one major gripe with the story: it tries to do everything at once. The protagonist is a man who has been under heinous torture for a year, something which has irrevocably changed him, and he is also in another world without any of his friends who could put context to those changes both to him and to the readers. This wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't for the fact that the setting is virtually unknown to us.

    So, the story has to deal with giving context to Harry's changes at the same time it establishes the world to give such context. This is not an easy task by any means, and even when a story succeeds it tends to drag the pace down.

    This is what I feel happened in this story, it tries to strike a balance between world building and character development and though it mostly succeds at it, it drags the story to a glacial pace. Thus, to avoid 100k of world building and introspection, it has to resort time skips to move the story to more interesting places.

    I feel like I am lambasting the story here, but despite all the criticism I really loved it. I just wanted to put into words the things which bugged me about it. Easily the best HP/LotR crossover I've seen - 4.5/5.

    P.D.: English is not my first language, if you have any suggestions to improve my sentence structure please say so. I feel clumsy writing in english, like the words don't convey the idea I'm trying to express.
  2. illya_

    illya_ First Year

    Mar 13, 2015
    It feels fresh.

    Harry gets thrown into a new world and actually doesn't know exactly what to do. He fumbles and fails.
    Not everything he experiences is helpful, some just happens and at best increases his understanding of the world. It doesn't Harry achieve his goals, it just feels genuine.

    A lot of the story seems to be about understanding and finding out things, which takes time.

    He stubbornly tries to regain his magic, tries to craft a wand. And when he succeeds, even if only minor, it feels huge. Like some part of him gets returned.
    The story truly let you feel his frustration, sadness and happiness.
    I have full understanding of people who feel that the story is slow and random. And while I think that adds to its charm, I don't think it would hurt to streamline it just a tad :)
  3. mistermisstep

    mistermisstep First Year

    Mar 20, 2016
    Off the shoulder of Orion
    High Score:
    One of the things about Tolkien's works that I appreciate most have always been his mythopoeia, which sets it apart from the many works inspired by his. The other is a sense of wonder, either in the text or evoked in the reader.

    This fic uses the first and manages to create the second with both worlds of its crossover. The attention to detail is excellent. The style of writing is Tolkien-flavored but never falls into the trap of pseudo-medieval pretension. Harry's magic feels like ... well, like magic while it also doesn't solve every problem he faces. It also skips a major issue that a lot of crossover fics have -- rehashing -- by placing the start of the story well before LotR.

    In fact, the biggest problem I've found with this since I started reading it (months ago, and shamefully without reviewing until now) are the occasional reviews which read like they were either written by poorly coded chatbots, clueless speed-readers, or people wanting to see a super-powered Harry curb-stomp Middle Earth with spells and technology because good, deep writing is painful. (So just the usual FFN, then.)

    But one sentence can sum up how great this story is, really:
    Steelbadger can give Harry a staff and the writing still remains top-notch.
  4. mdatot

    mdatot Squib

    Mar 17, 2016
    Stockholm, Sweden
    High Score:
    This isn't for me, I think. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the technical quality of the writing and I really can't call it bad by any stretch, but I just can't get into it at all. The pacing is just too slow for me and I'm not really feeling any of the side characters. The big thing with Tolkien's works for me has always been the world building, how he makes middle-earth feel really ancient, but that's not really here either. Harry and his problems just don't engage me, here.
  5. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

    Jan 6, 2009
    Alright... it's long past time for me to speak up on this excellent story. I couldn't decide whether to do so in a review, in the library thread, or here... but since I want to point out something about the writing that you genuinely did RIGHT I figure here works. Especially since I'll be rating it as well.

    There are a lot of great things about this story and no horrible things. There are good things and maybe one or two things that could be better, but those are mostly personal taste.

    But this is what made the story for me, and I suspect that it will not be what anyone would guess.

    So... why is that tidbit of a scene that tied the whole story together for me? Why is this quoted part right here, why I round UP from 4.5 instead of down?

    Because this is what every other LotR/HP crossover gets wrong, and you got it right.

    Look. LotR has a very specific kind of magic system that is... almost, but not quite, the opposite of the sort of magic system Harry Potter has. They're damned hard to merge, and yet neither HP nor LotR would feel like itself if one was forced into the guise of the other.

    Harry Potter uses a wand to perform ridiculous magic spells that do everything from expelling entrails to making colored lights to turning teacups into toads. It's a system that can be taught in a traditional school system to kids who are bored half the time. Lord of the Rings magic, however, is very mystical and unexplained and apparently damn near impossible to teach for various reasons.

    But if you take Harry's ability to do HP magic away, he's no longer Harry Potter.

    But if you stick Harry Potter with his magic into LotR, LotR no longer works.

    There are other stories that try to do what you did but it fell flat because they never confirmed that Harry's magic is still functional if he can just make a wand. They sometimes have him doing potions, or a bit of wandless magic, but the reader is left stewing in frustration as they try to figure out if his magic would work or not if he had a damn wand.

    In your story we know it would, so that 'itch' is scratched, for lack of a better term.

    I am not describing this well, and I don't know if that scene above was put in because you knew it would work so well or if you did it naturally without thinking... but take out those few paragraphs and you'd still have a fantastic story.

    I'd just have rounded down to 4/5 instead of up to 5/5.

    Rock on mate, good stuff.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017