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Entry #13

Discussion in 'Q4.2 2019' started by Xiph0, Dec 23, 2019.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

    Dec 7, 2005
    West Bank
    This was hers, all hers, if one was to think about it. The manor, the galleons, and the child that they were fighting over… he had done some of the work, sure, but it had been she who had made sure that these things were here today.

    “Hello, my baby boy.” She was his mother, she knew the kind of child he was. Her son would be expecting her later, but she was too excited today to worry about punctuality. He was just about dressed for bed when she entered his room without knocking. “I have come with another muggle tale.”

    “Mother!” he shouted in exasperation. She giggled and sat on his bed, waiting for him to finish getting into his sleeping robes. She prepared to set her plan in motion with a loving caress to his forehead. “What’s this story going to be about tonight? Another broken promise? Squibs turning out to be wizards?”

    She had started this book in June just to finish on Christmas Day. They had bought all they could for their son, but she wanted one more thing to spoil him with. She would complete the book here and now. It was this muggle tales storybook that she had grown up with. This would be her tool. She rubbed his cheek with a finger as he got into his bed, before turning to her book.

    “I have quite the story for you for our final night. One that we can all learn from: Once upon a time, when the fairies and the muggles danced together, there was an old witch. She had been beautiful once, she had been married, and had had her own child, too.

    Her husband was long dead and her child long gone. Her child never owled her, her child never checked on her and would regret leaving her as she did. Now, our story starts with two muggle children, lost in her forest when they happen upon her land.

    They were very hungry and, being that they were Muggles, they did not have the decency to ask for permission before they ate of her things.

    Back then, Magic was more personal and specialized. The witch lived in a nice house made out of the sweetest candies and gingerbread for she was a witch who loved to cook and had little other skills. She was old and desperate for the company and took a shining to the two muggle children despite their horrible manners. Of course, the boy was a troublemaker and enjoyed destroying her gingerbread fence and lollipop garden.

    “Why you,” said the witch one day, too weary to scold him any more, “I will lock you up until you learn to behave!”

    She did so, to teach him better manners.

    It was a different time when parents were harsher on the children who misbehaved. The witch still fed the muggle - though she did not have to - and, whenever he was let out, he still wreaked havoc on her properties and the girl wasn’t much better when she saw her brother acting up.

    They were wild beyond any hope and the witch decided to owl her daughter, the now-famous Yaga, for some company. The old witch of the forest did not know it would be her last correspondence.

    The children had grown weary of her civilized rearing and hatched an evil plan for the poor old witch. While she fed them and provided them with shelter, they were still muggles and did not understand what gratitude was. When she let the boy out, they forced her into her own oven and made her stay in there without a wand. She was one of the first witches to be burned to death…
    Draco. Now, do you want your mummy to grow so lonely that she’ll grow fond of muggle children?” He shook his head vehemently. “What do we say to that awful story my son?”

    “No, mother, I won’t let them burn you.”

    She giggled and pulled out her wand, “Draco, I don’t have anything to worry about so long as I have my wand.”

    “Father will protect you as well, mother—”

    “Draco, in this story, the husband died first. It was up to her child to protect her and give her company. We do not control anything but our own actions and not even death will stop me from being there for you.” She tapped his forehead with her wand, silent as she cast the basic warming charm. “I want you to know that I love you very much and hope you make the right choice tomorrow when your father asks you what school you want to go to.”

    She picked up the old muggle-tales book she had grown up with and spotted her husband at the door of her son’s room. She gave her son a kiss on the cheek and walked to her husband. In his arms was a book on Bulgarian grammar. She gave her husband a peck on the cheek for her son’s view and he followed her after saying something to him.

    “What a viper you are.” He breathed huskily as he walked next to her, “Using those children’s stories to get your way.”

    “He is still a child, Lucius.” Narcissa said with a fond smile, “You can’t blame a mother for knowing the best way to get into her son’s heart and mind.”
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

    Jan 6, 2009
    The South
    901 words - I'm glad to see another one coming in on the lower side of the spectrum!

    This is in part a retelling of a popular fairy tale from a magical POV, and I like that idea. I don't think you quite stuck the landing though, because while I can see hints of how it ties into the framing story with Draco it's not clear enough how the two relate.

    I’m snickering at him having “done some of the work” on producing the child. I’m feeling rather juvenile at the moment apparently.

    For some reason a grown woman ‘giggling’ made me blink. It does happen but it made her feel oddly like a child here, and that messed with my perspective of the scene. Perhaps chuckled? Or perhaps it’s only me that sees ‘giggling’ as more of a thing for children or psychos.

    The book would be her ‘tool’? That feels like significant foreshadowing – if it’s not foreshadowing for something at the climax I’d use a different word than tool, which sounds deliberate.

    I like the idea of magic being more personal and specialized back in the day, leading to unique things like the Gingerbread House. I always wanted to see more unique things like that in fanfiction.

    And I’m not sure what’s going on here. It’s a retelling of Hansel and Gretel from a magical point of view and used to scare Draco into going to Hogwarts (somehow)? I like Narcissa and Lucius trying to get Draco interested in different schools and I like that they are clearly planning to let Draco choose where he goes but I’m not clear on what the moral/point here is. I get that you tied Narcissa’s safety into the story, and tied that into Hogwarts somehow, but it’s still a bit murky how this works.

    Love me some gingerbread tho. Thanks for writing!
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  3. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

    Aug 31, 2011
    Cyber City Oedo
    High Score:
    This is basically the same idea as #6, except you tell the whole story and the story remains the same anyway across cultures.

    I do think it's elegant that you don't actually need to change the story much to get the point across, but I really would've appreciated a burst of extra creativity. Hagrid said that if the muggles were to know of wizards then they would've just kept begging for all their problems to be solved - why not do something with that? Tie that into witch-burnings like you have here and you would've received full marks from me, no questions asked.

    As is, though, I have to detract points for retelling Hansel and Gretel without much changes, except elaborating on the witch's background somewhat. You throw "the Yaga" in there (Baba Yaga, I presume?) which is a bit weird in itself. I don't recall her being anywhere near the original story, geographically or narratively.

    Finally, I think you could've gone about "fading back in" from the fairytale to Narcissa telling the story better.
  4. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

    Oct 16, 2010
    I wasn't a fan that the whole fairy tale was italicised. Though it spared you speech marks all over the place, so I get it. It just made it a bit tedious to read.

    Otherwise, I like that it was a story within a story again. It reminds me of number 6 in that way, but also number 10. However, the retelling of Hansel and Gretel, while very well serving Narcissa's purpose was a bit flat. It worked well for the story. It made sense why she wanted to do that one at Christmas, around the time of his birthday, and her goal was well evidenced. I think the actual telling of the tale was just a bit simplistic. Why was Yaga in there? Just to make him think of the poor wizarding child? Then why not play up her agony etc. You had 300 words spare.

    It was well-written technically. Always nice to see the Malfoys as a family.

    I just think that you could've pushed more into it. I think you could've made it less flat. I like the combination of elements. But adding wizarding elements to a tale was done better elsewhere, and the family framing dynamic was done better elsewhere, too.

    Still, it's a very good effort, and although it won't be in my winning two I think it's something to be proud of. It could be really great with more of a push.
  5. Lungs

    Lungs KT Loser ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Jul 16, 2011
    i love girl's generation tbh
    High Score:
    I'm quite a fan of your Narcissa and I thought it was very creative that the first witch to be burned was the one in Hansel and Gretel.

    I can't say I loved it - I think part of that would be because it seemed a bit brief to me for what it was trying to do, though while I look through it, I'm not quite sure there's anything else to say either. This is for sure less clumsy that some of the other canon character focused fairy tale tellings. At the very least I didn't hate it, the same which couldn't be said for the vast majority of the competition pieces.
  6. FitzDizzyspells

    FitzDizzyspells Fourth Year DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

    Dec 4, 2018
    This was a fun idea. A Muggle tale from a witch's POV. I think the fairy tale itself should've had more detail and structure. The story of Hansel and Gretel has plenty, after all.

    I also don't entirely follow Narcissa's logic, even though it's canonical ("Mother didn't like the idea of me going to school so far away"). I mean, even if the Malfoys live in Scotland (an idea that makes me laugh), Draco still won't be able to visit them very often at all if he attends Hogwarts. Would Narcissa really see Draco any more frequently if he went to Hogwarts than if he went to Durmstrang? Wizarding transport makes it pretty easy to go home every holiday.

    But I suppose that, even though that's her argument to Draco, that doesn't necessarily mean that's what matters to her, specifically. If she has other issues with Durmstrang (which is likely), I think it would be not only clearer but a more compelling story if you spelled that out for the reader.

    Overall, though, the story was fun to read, and the characterizations were strong and fun to read. I think I want more from this story because it's close to being a strong story. There just needs to be a little more to it.
  7. Gaius

    Gaius Fourth Year

    Apr 25, 2018
    It is interesting that you try to elaborate on canon to answer the question "Why did Draco end up at Hogwarts instead of Durmstrang?" and the answer "he's a mama's boy," is fitting of his character earlier in the books.

    The Hansel and Gretel story that Narcissa uses doesn't quite fit her manipulations though. Your deviation from the story is that the witch is lonely and contacts her daughter, who is far away, but perhaps a different fairytale would have fitted the frame better.

    I stumbled on the beginning at first too. The line that "this was all hers" makes it sound like Narcissa was at one time broke, which she wasn't if she was a Black (?), and also like she has the book out of a sense of frugality (a story for each day, lasting as long as possible). Maybe that was just me misreading though.
  8. Microwave

    Microwave Professor

    Oct 21, 2017
    It's a character study more than anything, and that's nice.

    Repurposing a well-known story into a wizard's perspective was a neat idea. I liked the switch, it's fun to put a twist on this sort of thing.

    Like many of the others, your story was a bit limited by its length. It feels like you haven't really explored enough of their family dynamic, and I think it's the one thing that was really cut short in the end.
  9. Majube

    Majube Order Member

    Aug 2, 2016
    High Score:
    I liked this line,
    didn't like this one. My thoughts were that overall you could've made the story she told flow better. As a riff on Hansel & Gretal you could've made this one better thought out, there's been tons of twists on this old tale and yours was uninspired.
    You disappoint me.
  10. H_A_Greene

    H_A_Greene Professor –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

    Aug 30, 2009
    High Score:
    At first blush, I did not like this one. But having sat here for a little longer and considered, I think you tell an okay tale. Not the greatest, but also not as bad as I was treating it initially. Narcissa manipulating Draco for her own purposes is alright. Not really sure why it matters that she wanted him to go to Hogwarts and Lucius was vying for Durmstrang, other than Dumbledore, and for some odd reason, Narcissa is telling Draco muggle fairy tales turned to her own interpretation.

    On the fence about this one, ultimately. Good enough but not great.
  11. Niez

    Niez Slug Club Member

    Jun 26, 2018
    Hello :)
    Solid entry. Well written. Interesting premise, well-sketched characters. The only problem was in the execution (oof).

    First, the opening line. I wrote on my first reading; ‘I love fairy tales set in the backdrop of a divorce. Sets the tone up perfectly I find.’ This is due to the fact that ‘fighting over a child’ brings up, at least to my mind, custody fights (RIP me I know).

    This really doesn’t sound like a couple fighting over which school to send their child to, imo. And this misconception dogged me all the way till the end, where I was confused how a retelling of Hansel and Gretel was going to make the son want to stick with his mother when his parents divorced, nor why his opinion would be all that relevant for the proceedings.

    (Also I don’t know what you imply with that last line in the opening (were the Malfoys pauper’s before Lucius married Narcissa - was she the brains behind getting Lucius free?) and whatever it is, its entirely irrelevant to the narrative.)

    Then the tale itself. It doesn’t hide that it's a twisted version of Hansel and Gretel and that’s fine. Not overtly imaginative, but I guess twisting a common fairy tale to have a different meaning that its supposed to its creative enough. My main concern with it though, is that it doesn't do what its supposed to do. I don’t know how that tale - burning witch and all - is supposed to make Draco want to go to Hogwarts instead of Durmstrang. The main takeaway for me would be ‘don’t trust muggle children’ not ‘stick with your mother in the unlikely situation that your father dies you are in Durmstrang and some rando muggle children get her wand from her and roast her in the oven’.

    Also you are too telly at the beginning. Narcissa outright narrates to us in the few first lines how she is going to use her secret weapon to manipulate Draco into her choice. Given that Lucius is just going to flat out tell us at the end (you viper, etc) for those of us who are a bit slower, I fail to see the point in that in the first place. Also why Yaga? How does she tie in to all of this? Did you only do it for some name recognition? you goosey goose, you.

    So yeah, not bad, but nothing to throw up some fireworks for either. 3/5 maybe. I like your portrayal of Narcissa though, so maybe a 3.5. I would have liked to suggest an alternate fairy tale that could be twisted into having the message you want it to have more cleanly, but my brain seems to be working very poorly recently. Sad.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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