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WIP a red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground - M - by piesofrage

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by Download, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. Download

    Download Auror ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Aug 6, 2014
    Adelaide, Australia
    High Score:
    Title: a red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground
    Author: piesofrage
    Rating: M
    Genre: Romance
    DLP Category: Romance
    Pairing: Hermione/Pansy
    Status: Work in Progress (9 of 10 chapters so far, updated August 2021)

    I know some of you saw Hermione or Hermione/Pansy and started edging towards the X button, but please bear with me. I've only read 4 chapters so far, but the chapters are ridiculously long so it's more than 100 k words and I think I have a good idea by now.

    This is an actually well characterised HG/PP romance fic and is the first time in ages I've actually wanted to read a Hermione-centric fic through. It's about Hogwarts students being told they have to write to an anonymous penpal to improve inter-house unity (a bit cliché but whatever) and Hermione and Pansy unwittingly end up being 'pals.

    To start, Hermione is both a bitch at times and wrong on multiple occasions. She isn't perfect, she fucks up on occasions and even does that thing where she refuses to accept she's in the wrong. So the author has actually written a real person and not a Mary Sue.

    Pansy is an awful person (at least at the start), but why she is the way she is makes loads of sense and the author has clearly written that in a way that allows for an actual redemption to take place. So none of that boring "I'm actually not a blood purist, I just wanted to fit in in Slytherin" or sudden 180 nonsense. The author has constructed it in a believable manner.

    The Slytherins are well written. They're little shits, sure, but they are actually friends with each other and there's none of that Slytherin politics nonsense. They do friend things and talk like friends. There's also no bashing and other characters seem pretty firmly in canon characterisation to me.

    The bad: betrothals. It's mentioned, but I wouldn't take many points away because it seems more like an arrangement between parents and not some magically binding contract nonsense where Pansy must marry Malfoy or she'll lose her magic.

    The story could still go downhill, depending on how the reveal goes. It could be handled poorly. We might also see unnecessary and tedious relationship drama, but I've not seen it yet.

    4/5 from me.
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

    Jan 6, 2009
    The South
    Always good to see unconventional recommendations I suppose. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea but you make a good case for at least trying a chapter.
  3. AutumnSouls

    AutumnSouls Squib

    Apr 8, 2020
    North America
    I've never liked Hermione/Pansy, even though I'm a huge fan of femslash, but this fic pulled me in hard. It's definitely got its flaws, and I'll even disagree with Download and say that while Pansy's turn wasn't a 180, it still felt a bit quick to me, and Pansy does kind of go the "I had to pretend" route. But it's not badly done, at the very least. And Hermione's character itself is solid.

    The "reveal" happened in the latest chapter, which is literally 60,000+ words. And it's nice. I don't think it really pushed the fic up or down for me. I wasn't really a fan of Ron being super homophobic, but at least it's - for what it's worth - done relatively well. Harry is treated as a good-hearted if somewhat confused teen boy, which is fine. Pansy is great as a character, Daphne is chill, Ginny is great, McGonagall was cool. Overall, the fic executes its premise and story fairly well.

    Easy 4/5 from me.
  4. Agravaine

    Agravaine Seventh Year

    Jun 7, 2010
    New England
    This story is quality. Most of all, I’m impressed that the author managed 300,000 words of slow-burn romance without going in circles or defaulting to unlikely misunderstandings to prolong tension. It’s great fun to watch the friends-to-lovers and the enemies-to-lovers dynamic unfold in unison, and Hermione and Pansy exhibit real wit and warmth.

    Dropping my criticisms under a spoiler tag because I don't want them to dominate the post.

    The relationship to canon is fuzzy—comments about Quirrell, Aragog, and Moody imply that this takes place in a continuity consistent with the first four books, but the story never interfaces with the plot developments of Half-Blood Prince, and there’s no indication that those are occurring, even in the background. Which is fine—it's just not that sort of story.

    More problematically, we never hear anything about Umbridge or get much indication that Order of the Phoenix occurred in this fic's verse. It’s certainly easier for the reader (and Hermione) to forgive Pansy when her misdeeds amount to a few years of cruel remarks, rather than grappling with her role as a member of the Inquisitorial Squad, where she caused and contributed to real harm. Similarly, Pansy never reevaluates her relationship with Draco on the basis of their shared history of hateful rhetoric.

    It’s also a shame that a story that rehabilitates Rowling’s other female punching bags like Pansy and Millicent Bulstrode continues to pigeonhole Parvati and Lavender as vacuous flibbertigibbets.

    (Even more) minor gripes: Hermione’s thoughts about Ron’s goodness are basically never reflected by his actions and the dramatic irony can be a little too on the nose, especially in early chapters.
  5. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    Not Harry-centric. And when Harry does appear, he's a caricature "laddy jock who avoids homework and doesn't understand girls" persona that borders on bashing.

    Shitty "no capital letters in title" trope.

    Present tense narrative.

    Premise so painfully twee that it makes me grimace.

    It's a sixth year fic where Voldemort and the war are basically not mentioned once, to the point where you begin to wonder if this is set in a universe where Voldemort doesn't exist. But no, Voldemort is definitely a thing, as are Death Eaters. They just seem to have taken a holiday - as have our heroes, who aren't doing anything to prepare for the war or even talk about it.

    Not even "barely recommended" material. 2/5 for the ability to string a sentence together.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021