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Deconstruction Fics

Discussion in 'Story Search' started by eden, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. eden

    eden First Year

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    Hi, guys,

    Got a question:

    Does anyone know any good deconstruction fics? Mainly looking for deconstruction of that gosh darned annoying harem trope. You know, the ones where every woman is bisexual, but never the guy? The ones where the author goes as far as turning a canonically guy character into a girl just so he can add him to the protagonist Gary Sue's harem, never you mind all the disgusting implications of such a move on the author's part?

    Example: Wannabe haremlord approaches girls, gets told to eff off, real life women have more self-respect than that.

    Or: Guy is in a relationship, maybe even in a ménage à trois. Guy gets approached by other girls saying they want to be with him too, and basically offering for him to start a harem. Guy then proceeds to laugh in their face, not just because he's loyal, but also because he's aware how much work real life relationships with free will on everyone's part actually takes.

    Or: Smarmy Gary Stu tries to approach hot older woman and seduce her into his "harem", only to get smacked down hilariously as she reminds him he's just a manchild on an ego trip and way below her league.

    There are probably a million and one ways to deconstruct the "one guy/absurd amount of girls in a sexual relationship" trope. Question is only where I could find stories where that is a thing, be it as the basis of the overall plot or just a minor side plot of an otherwise different story. Heck, maybe there are even published or original works along those lines?

    It doesn't have to be just harem trope deconstruction, and it doesn't matter which fandom, but it's the trope that's been annoying me the most lately, because I keep running into it in various archives unexpectedly (whatever happened to labelling such fics anyway?)

    I know there are a number of HP fics that are basically deconstruction for the Marriage Law trope (by way of assassinations, naturally), though I can't remember or find any of them anymore. Those would be appreciated too, if anyone else remembers titles on that front.

    Really hope you guys can help me out here. Please and thank you. :)
     
  2. Pathological Liar

    Pathological Liar Squib

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    Not part of Harms, but in terms of general deconstruction, Harry Potter And The Prince Of Slytherin is a good one.
     
  3. Vulcan

    Vulcan Groundskeeper

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  4. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Order Member

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    Yeah, after reading the first 5 chapters Prince of Slytherin ironically seems way more similar to the very Fics it's allegedly deconstructing. I should know, I had a WBWL faze.

    1. The Twin (and not Harry) is proclaimed TBWL based on literally zero evidence. Harry's scar is dismissed as fallen masonry or something like that.
    2. Harry is falsely proclaimed a squib as an infant (without explaining why he was mistaken for a squib) and immediately shipped off to the Dursleys, where the Potters don't so much as write to him until he gets his Letter.
    3. The Dursleys abuse is dialed up to 11. One particular abuse worth mentioning is the whole "Harry is an uber-genius but dumbs down his grades to just below Dudley," which ties into...
    4. Harry being an uber-genius. He doesn't really act like a real 11 year old. In fact, he gets peeved when other 11 year olds act like 11 year olds.
    5. Harry immediately picks up intricate Magical politics after reading a few books for a few weeks.
    6. Lord Black, Lord Potter, and some bullshit subplot involving the unloved Harry being the Potter Heir (and James trying to disown his own son for Reasons).
    7. The Potters being jerks towards Harry. This Fic may not be so bad as other stories, but they still kind of abandoned him to the Dursleys for nearly a decade and all but forgot about him until they were forced to contact him again.
    8. Books on Wizarding Etiquette, which are just so different from the Muggle world. This one wouldn't bother me so much if this Fic didn't try to claim there was something especially rude about Magical students raising their hands every time a teacher a question. Seriously, Hermione was a teacher's pet, you don't need to dig any deeper into that.

    So, yeah. Pettigrew was actually interesting as an intelligent villain, and the Twin isn't a prat for once (well, not a complete prat). But at this point, it looks more like a straight-up WBWL Fic than an actual Deconstruction.
     
  5. Pathological Liar

    Pathological Liar Squib

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    Did you fully read it?

    When I first read it, it seemed like the normal WBWL fics too, but the slight differences got me interested. The first year is okay, but the second year and the subsequent ones are great, and sometimes weirder too.

    Plus, I think people should read just because of the awesome Lockhart in it.
     
  6. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Order Member

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    First of all, no one is able to pull off "awesome Lockhart." With the strict exception of "Oh God, Not Again" and "When in Doubt, Oblviate," it's impossible to make him that good a character.

    Second of all, it still has way too many of the basic tropes that define WBWL Fics in the first few chapters. If it really wanted to Deconstruct the genre, it would:

    a. Have the Twin named TBWL based on some real evidence. Hell, maybe make him the real BWL, while Harry thinks he's the real BWL based on literally zero evidence.
    b. Make James and Lily loving and caring guardians for Harry. Just ignore the Dursleys altogether in such a Fic. Alternatively, Harry complains about them because they don't let him have ice cream for breakfast or something.
    c. Show Harry and the Twin having a close friendship without being estranged in any way. Alternatively, Harry doesn't like the Twin because he thinks he's a prat (when in reality the Twin is very nice and more than a bit shy).
    d. Don't make 11 year old Harry into some political genius, or act like he's a perfect Slytherin. Alternatively, let him think he's really good at politics and stuff, when in reality he is actually quite lousy at it.
    e. Don't make 11 year old Harry into an uber-genius who can pick up any topic after reading that one book. Alternatively, he thinks he's really smart when he's actually average at best.
    f. No Lord Potter or massive wealth. Harry can claim he actually is rich and important based on some ancestor no one cares about.

    In other words, actually take all the usual things found in WBWL fics, and completely twist them around. Not just play it much too straight for quite a while.
     
  7. Pathological Liar

    Pathological Liar Squib

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    If you like it, you read it. If you don't like it, then don't read it.

    Btw, are you planning to write a story based on what you have said?
     
  8. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Order Member

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    Eh, it's one of those Plot Bunnies I've toyed around with but am never actually going to write. I'm much too lazy for that.

    I am curious though: how exactly is Prince of Slytherin a Deconstruction Fic? Other than the Twin being a nice enough bloke, all the early signs point to a fairly straightforward WBWL fic. When does it actually start to deviate from the usual course?
     
  9. Pathological Liar

    Pathological Liar Squib

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    There is a good enough reason for Potters to abandon Harry, and another reason for James to hate Harry's Slytherin sorting. There are also some other instances.

    Sirius in Azkaban despite Potters alive, Intelligence and cunning increasing potions. Things like that...

    The major things start on the first year end and second year onwards, I think.

    I am unable to explain more as it has been a long time since I read that fic, the update rate is really bad that you have re-read the last few chapters to read the new one, but the author is promising to have regular updates, starting this month.
     
  10. darklordmike

    darklordmike Auror

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    This was actually pretty funny. Harry's way OOC, but there are some great one-liners in there.

    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'deconstruction,' OP. Subversion? Analysis? Fics that manage to be entertaining while also subverting a trope usually fall into the humor/parody category. Fics that 'explain' why some trope doesn't work usually turn into rants best left out of a story.

    As far as Prince of Slytherin goes, I don't see how it subverts much of anything:
    The story has some interesting and well-told subplots (the bit with Regulus, etc.), but the premise itself is still not plausible. James abandons Harry because there's a second prophecy that only he knows and they think he's a squib, but that still doesn't explain their total neglect. They're not even curious about how their other child is growing up. Once Harry arrives at Hogwarts, Lily doesn't speak to him for months. The interesting thing about Santi's WBWL story is that he manages to write it without relying on the irrational abuse/neglect trope. Is that what you mean by deconstruction?
     
  11. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Order Member

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    Except there isn't.

    1. He thought Harry was a squib. We have no idea why he thought Harry was a squib or how he could believe something so wrong until Harry got his Letter, all it says is he thought Harry was a squib.
    2. It was allegedly to prepare their squib son for a life in the Muggle World. Which wouldn't be all bad, but James and Lily are totally okay abandoning their own son. They just leave him with Lily's estranged sister and never so much as write for nearly a decade.
    3. It was partially for Harry's own safety, in case someone kidnapped him to get to the Potters, and the Dursleys apparently got a bunch of Magical safety measures that make him safer there even after Harry finds out the truth. Except the Potters are presumably as heavily protected as possible, why would he be any safer away from them than with some Muggles who don't even tell him about the possibility of Wizards threatening him? Wouldn't it be easier for a wizard who wanted to kidnap/kill Harry to wait when he's unprotected outside of the Dursleys? The sole advantage he has being with the Dursleys is the anonymity from the larger Wizarding World, and even that doesn't matter the moment Harry attends Hogwarts and tells everyone he's the Twin's brother, so it would still make sense to get him back in the Potter household the moment he gets the Letter.
    4. There's some Prophecy or something that James is trying to prevent, and apparently no one else knows about. And as with way too many HP Fics, the guy who hears an inconvenient prophecies goes all Laius on baby Oedipus and fulfills it instead of, I don't know, ignoring it? Or trying to prevent it in ways that doesn't revolve around abandoning his own son? It's also worth mentioning that Dumbledore specifically claimed HP prophecies don't actually get fulfilled unless someone bothers to fulfill it, so ignoring it really would have been the best course of action for everyone involved.

    So again, it isn't so much a Deconstruction as a regular Construction.

    For comparison, let's compare it to The Santi's "Harry Potter and the Wrong Boy Who Lived."* Harry is raised by loving parents, he has a close relationship with his parents, twin brother, and Sirius and Remus, the Twin is the real BWL, and the Twin is a perfectly normal kid. So when Harry uses Dark Magic and attend Durmstrang in that Fic, it has a gradual buildup that fits with this Harry's character. It is a proper Deconstruction because it twisted around all the usual Tropes and made something better out of them.

    *Shoutout to @darklordmike for reminding me of that wonderful fic.
     
  12. eden

    eden First Year

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    Thank you so much, guys, for your recs and your comments! :)

    (Sorry for the late reply, had no internet access for a while there.)

    @darklordmike: By "deconstruction" I mean actually letting the story show just why that particular trope is stupid/horrifying/impractical/can't work/etc. Just the author taking the trope and running with it to it's logical conclusion. Like, Kryptonite-immune!Superman is great! Now he doesn't have to worry about his enemies always using it against him! Whee! :rolleyes: Until you realise that it also means he can never die and if he ever decides to turn on the people of Earth and rule, there is no one who can stand against him.

    I gave a few examples for harem deconstruction I could think of above in my original post.

    But subverting the trope in a way that it makes so much sense that one can possibly say: "This is the one story that proves that everything can be written well, even this nonsensical trope." works for me too.

    In that regard, there are probably a few WBWL stories out there that'd qualify, but hell if I ever came across any. (I haven't yet read the Prince of Slytherin, so I can't judge. Though Rhaegar's summarising of it is pretty damning.)

    Again, thank you for your replies and comments, guys. :)
     
  13. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Order Member

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    In that case allow me to recommend The FireBird Trilogy, by Darth Marrs. It basically did just that with Harem Fics.

    Women all want to join a harem? There's a population crisis, fertility issues, and the women outnumber men 4 to 1.

    Only Harry gets a harem? Everyone is legally required to have at least two wives, even gay men like Dumbledore.

    Women have some immediate bond with the guy in the harem? It's a real Magical reaction.

    Someone wants to start a harem when very young? That's extremely frowned upon, if not outright illegal.

    Men have all the power? The society is a matriarchy, thanks to the fact there are way more women than men.

    And so on and so forth. It's been a while since I read it, and I only read the first one, but it was the closest anyone ever came to a good Harem Fic.

    I'd also suggest The Amplitude, Frequency and Resistance of the Soul Bond, by Council. Basically, Harry and Ginny get into a Soul Bond in the Chamber of Secrets, and suffice it to say neither of them are exactly harry about it. Add in the single funniest Dumbledore I've ever read, I'd say it should get you your fix of deconstructing Soul Bond Fics.
     
  14. eden

    eden First Year

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    Thank you, Rhaegar! Much appreciated! Those sound both quite interesting and right up my alley. :D
     
  15. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Order Member

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    No problem, I was glad to help.
     
  16. Methos

    Methos Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    Deconstruction fics.

    1) Dumbeldore Obliviate Harry.
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2565609/147/Odd-Ideas

    2) wrong boy who lived, neglecting parents
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2565609/150/Odd-Ideas

    3) traitor/jealous back stabbing Ron
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2565609/174/Odd-Ideas

    4) If you are aiming for decent Snape, here is an example of how you do it nicely.
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2565609/116/Odd-Ideas

    5) Memory charms, if you play the obliviate game, also check the Omake, the perils of truth serum
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2565609/145/Odd-Ideas

    6) Harry is thrown to Azkaban, with everyone back stabbing him.
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2565609/3/Odd-Ideas
    The last scene is interesting.
     
  17. Sataniel

    Sataniel Professor

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    I hate TV Tropes.
    Yeah, no. Magic, Speedforce hax, and even someone just hitting hard enough to overcome protections (see Doomsday) all can defeat and kill Superman. He was kryptonite resistant for sometime during bronze age and for almost two decades of post-Crisis there was almost no Kryptonite on Earth (until Loeb decided to break things and brought a giant meteor with it) and yet there were dangers big enough for Superman. Even when kryptonite is more abundant it is not like every antagonist uses it.

    It also "deconstructs" magical cores in the meaning of taking them to the extreme version of logical conclusion.
     
  18. eden

    eden First Year

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    That's a lot of examples. Thank you very much, Methos! :D Hadn't seen that particular fic collection.



    Okaaay. What did I miss? What's TV Tropes got to do with anything? :confused:

    Did you really seriously take offence at the example I used? If so, my apologies. It was just the first thing that came to mind to explain what I wanted. No need to take it that seriously, sheeesh. :pOf course Superman was vulnerable to magic. And just about anything else the comic artist du jour needed him to be vulnerable to so he could make his plotline work. Deus ex what the eff ever. :rolleyes:

    About Firebird Trilogy: It sounds like you're criticising it (in fact, sounds like it's one of those fics that annoy you very much), but frankly, you've just made me more curious about it. :D

    Nevertheless. Thank you for your reply, Sataniel. It is quite appreciated. :)
     
  19. Sataniel

    Sataniel Professor

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    The definition of "deconstruction" you used was popualised by (if not created on) TV Tropes.

    Capeshit is one of my trigger topics. If somebody writes something incorrect I feel an unresistable urge to correct them.

    I don't know why you interpreted it as that. I just wanted to point that is even more relevant to what you search than Rhaegar stated. I like those fics (even if they certainly had potential to be better).
     
  20. eden

    eden First Year

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    Huh. I honestly did not know TV Tropes coined the term. Thought it was fandom in general. Doesn't matter though, it's still a definition that works for me. I have yet to hear a better definition for it.

    re "Capeshit": Again, that was just a random example, albeit a badly chosen one apparently. Sorry for the offence.

    re Firebird Trilogy: Well, obviously I misinterpreted. Nevermind then, sorry. :) Really looking forward to reading those stories. :D

    Thank you for these clarifications, Sataniel. :)
     
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