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Entry #2

Discussion in 'Q1 2019' started by Xiph0, Mar 16, 2019.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    The most surprising thing was that she felt nothing at all.


    Petunia clutched the letter in one hand and with the other absentmindedly rocked a baby that was not hers against her bosom.


    Was this shock? Her sister was dead and her nephew had somehow killed the man responsible. He’d only be safe here, if she took him, the letter implored in that loopy, calligraphic handwriting with ink blots that were so familiar to her. She could remember the script like seen it yesterday.


    An owl had descended upon Spinners End. Her sister had just left to that school of hers and Petunia did not want to admit she’d ran to the bird and gleefully grabbed the letter. And then she’d cried after reading it.


    Alas, I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do for you, Ms. Evan.


    She shook her head, trying to banish the thought. She’d gone to a normal, proper, school afterward, and it wasn’t all bad. She was clever and kind and Lily wrote to her lots. And then Lily wrote a lot less as the year went on. They had all gone to Kings Cross Station to pick her up and she was talking to that Severus Snape.


    Her parents had a thousand questions and Lily talked and talked. Magical stairs, moving photographs, fanciful feasts, ghosts, giants, grumpets and grenkins. At home, she whipped out a wand and shyly swished it and flicked it, jabbed and twirled for their parents. A feather floated, a matchstick became a needle and a button was beetlelike. It was all their parents could talk about – A witch in the family, how sporting.


    They had hardly asked about Petunia’s year.


    Lily was always hanging out with Snape that summer. After breakfast, she’d skip out with a kiss on their father cheek. Petunia wanted to spend time with her sister, but Lily would smile apologetically, “Sorry, we’re just going to be doing charms homework. It wouldn’t be fun for you.”


    So it went.


    Next Christmas, Lily had sent wondrous gifts. A frog made of chocolate with a card for a man named Herpo the Foul. He’d scowled then left the frame –the photographs really did move. And Lily had sent their father some whirring object like a spinning top that made a howling noise whenever Petunia tried to sneak cookies. Her own gift to their parents, a drawing she’d labored over, lay tacked onto the fridge and forgotten. Petunia tried to smash the stupid glass ball with red smoke, but she had no luck.


    And as they grew, Lily grew more distant. It made sense, really. She hardly saw her sister – they were more like acquaintances by her fifth year. And Lily tried to reach out (It was obvious, by the time she spent at the house that she and Snape had some sort of falling out – good riddance). But, by then they’d grown too different. And Petunia had gone from jealous, to resentful, to jealous and had settled on haughtiness. Here she was living in the real world. Working hard, getting good grades, helping around the house, tending to the garden while her sister galvanized around some fairy tale.


    But it was hard to hate her sister, she was pretty and kind and doting when she was around. But then she wasn’t she graduated and all but disappeared. She’d announced that she was engaged. And now she was-


    Petunia clutched the letter as tears stained the ink. She would not abandon her family, she was better than Lily had been and she’d make sure that no wizards would harm him.

    --

    Harry Potter was very young when he asked about his Mummy. It’s something that all orphans are bound to do at some point. They see other families and a lightbulb goes off in their heads. Petunia rocked the boy and brought him close. She told him the truth. Wizards and Witches had killed her. She did not know why. But she knew that Wizards had come to their family and spirited Lily away with wondrous lies. They forced Lily away. They wizards had not come when Harry’s grandparents, Petunia and Lily’s parents, had fallen ill. They had stopped Lily from coming to visit them (Afterall, what else could have stopped Lily from coming to see the parent’s she so dearly loved? Her relationship with Petunia may have been on the rocks, but there was no doubt that Lily loved and was loved by their parents). Harry’s grandparents had died and the Lily and James had died too.


    Harry heard this and saw how sad his Aunt had gotten. He did not understand fully, but he understood enough. Magic had killed his parents.


    He knew he hated magic.


    --


    Nearly ten years had passed since Petunia had awoken to find her nephew on the front step of Number Four Privet Drive and hardly anything about the residence had changed. The sun rose on the same tidy front garden, lit up the fireplace and mantle as it crept into the living room. Only the photographs truly told how much time had passed. There was a pair of large boys, blond and black haired, riding a carousel, at the beach, a family portrait of the four of them taken at the park – the lot of them (Petunia aside) looking as if they would burst from their suits.


    Harry was helping his Aunt in the Kitchen in preparation for his cousin’s birthday. It was only fair – it was his special day and they’d do the same for him in a couple of weeks. Harry cracked the last of two dozen eggs into the frying pan, making sure to pay attention to the bacon in the other pan. He nibbled on a half-cooked piece as he worked.


    Harry Potter was a healthy size for a boy his age. He had a large pink face, a thick, short neck and vibrant green eyes behind a pair of wire frames. Unruly black hair topped his head. Dudley Dursley entered the kitchen looking much the same with blond hair. A boy at school – Stevens, had said the boys were the not so little pigs, Harry and Dudley had persuaded Stevens not to tell lies like that anymore.


    Harry set the table as Dudley wailed about having fewer presents than last year. Harry shook his head; his Aunt and Uncle were getting cheap on them. He’d make sure to count his presents twice in a couple of weeks - get your money’s worth as Uncle Vernon was fond of saying.


    Harry’s uncle smacked his lips appreciatively as he dove into breakfast.


    “You’ve nearly gotten your Aunt beat at cooking, Harry. Come on then, eat.” He shoveled food on a plate for Harry who was washing his hands. The Dursleys enjoyed a nice family breakfast before they would head to the zoo. Harry had always been to with the family on all the outings. He had one distant memory of a babysitter with too many cats, but he begged his Aunt not to send him back to her. She’d talked to her cats and they had listened to her in a way that cats normally didn’t and Harry had seen a bubbling concoction on the stove – it looked magic. His Aunt had told him the signs, floating objects, moving pictures. She had told him how a boy, Severus Snape, had tricked her mother in thinking magic was a good thing – how he was responsible for everything. His Aunt had nodded grimly and hugged Harry tightly, we won’t let them get you, she’d said and Harry had known how his Aunt loved him. He was a Dursley from that moment on.


    Half an hour after breakfast, Piers Polkiss sat squeezed between Harry and Dudley in the back of the car as they drove to the zoo. Harry found his mind wandering, he hoped it’d be a normal day for him – because try as he might –weird things, magic happened around him, despite his best efforts to avoid the freakish thing. He’d gotten a haircut once where the barber, incompetent as he was, had cut his hair much too short, leaving him nearly bald. The next day Harry had woken up to find his hair as long as if he’d never seen a pair of scissors in his life. Another thing was Harry’s clothes, although Harry grew taller and wider always seemed to fit. The Dursleys gave him the newest and nicest clothing, as they did with Duddykins, but they did not overly mind this gift horse of saved expense. Harry laughed at the memory of turning a teacher’s wig blue, she’d deserved it for calling out his missing homework, It was like Uncle Vernon said - Those who cannot do, teach.


    Harry promised nothing would go wrong today, he wasn’t interested in this magic stuff. He was content with good family and good food.


    It was a lovely Sunday at the zoo and it was crowded with families. They had large chocolate ice creams at the entrance. He licked it as he watched a Walrus sun itself, what a huge animal, Harry thought. As the morning grew into the afternoon, Harry, Dudley, and Piers grew bored with the animals. The ventured to the reptile house where it was cool, they also wanted to see the biggest snakes. They found the largest snake in the place; it could have filled the large cupboard under the stairs at home where Petunia kept the cleaning supplies.


    Dudley stood with his nose to the glass, tapping it with a large fist. “Move, move you great lump.”


    Uncle Vernon and Petunia were some distance away watching frogs the size of coins.


    Harry rapped the glass too. “Come on then, move.”


    The snake suddenly opened its eyes and raised its head, looking very intently at Harry.


    You move.


    Harry stepped back, had that snake just spoken. His cousin and Piers were staring open-mouthed at him. Dudley whispered. “Was that – you know?”


    “I dunno.” Harry shrugged.


    Piers, unaware that Harry had done something more than hiss was making some ridiculous noises towards the python. The python, very deliberately, rolled its eyes. Harry gasped.


    You should be more polite, said the Snake to Harry and it rested its head back down and slept.


    --


    Mr. H. Potter

    The Second Bedroom

    4 Privet Drive

    Little Whinging

    Surrey


    They ran of course. Harry read the ridiculous letter and more had come. There was no ignoring them. The came to the hotel, they were at the gas station, owls followed them everywhere. Surely, they’d escape the wizards at sea.


    But the wizards had sent an emissary, a Giant. Vicious and uncouth it had knocked down the door, terrible bloody manners.


    “An’ here’s Harry. Yer lookin a bit big around the middle there.” Said the giant, smiling under a bushy black beard and with twinkling beady black eyes. “Las’ time I saw you, you were only a baby. Yeh look like yer uncle, but you’ve, er, got yer mother’s eyes.


    Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia made strangled noises.


    “Anyway – Harry,” said the giant. “a very Happy Birthday to yeh.”


    From the depths of his coat, the giant removed a parcel, it was slightly squashed. Harry opened it, it was a chocolate cake with green icing it read: Happy Birthday Harry. Perhaps this giant fellow wasn’t half bad.


    “Who are you?” he asked.


    The giant chuckled.


    “Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. Yeh’ll know all about Hogwarts, o’course.”


    “Er – yeah,” said Harry. “ But, I won’t be going.”


    Hagrid looked shocked.


    “Not go?”


    Harry nodded fervently, sending his chins a wobblin’. “I’m not interested, sorry.” And then more softly, he added. “Magic killed my parents.”


    “O’, Harry,” Hagrid sniffled. “I’m sorry. Yer parent woulda wanted this for you. There are bad sorts that use magic like tha’ man that killed yer parents. But magic is wonderful, Harry. You’ll see.”


    But Harry refused. Hagrid had rounded on his Aunt and Uncle saying that they’d lied to Harry, that their “muggleness” had rubbed off on him, but the family had a united front. In the end, Hagrid left the house dejected and confused.


    The Dursleys returned home to Privet Drive after that and for a time no letters came. Harry was happy to return to normality, but it was not to last.


    Harry was enjoying his third serving of sausages when a knock came sounding from the front door. Perhaps the ugliest man in the world stood upon their doorstep. He had greasy black hair, sallow skin, and a hooked nose. His eyes flickered to Harry’s forehead and he sneered.


    “Mr. Potter, I am from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry-“


    “I’m sorry, we’re not interested,” said Harry as he made to close the door, but the man stuck a foot in the door.


    “Cease this nonsense, Potter.” The man’s lip curled. “Bad enough that I must come to fetch you. Rude and arrogant like your father.”


    Harry puffed up, offended, but the man was saved from Harry’s ire by his Aunt emerging from the kitchen, cup of tea in hand. “Harry, dear. Who is it?”


    Petunia Dursley dropped her cup, the sound of broken glass nearly drowned out by her exclamation. “You!”


    “Yes, me.” The man sneered. “Petunia, surely you must have known the boy must attend Hogwarts.”


    Harry looked from the man to his Aunt and back and forth again as understanding blossomed in his eyes.


    “You’re Severus Snape!” yelled Harry.


    The man nodded.


    “You killed my mum!”


    Severus Snape paled so thoroughly that he could have made a ghost look tan. He stared at Harry Potter’s green eyes and looked as if he would be sick. He took a half-step back. “How could you possibly –“


    Severus Snape turned where he stood and left Private Drive with a resounding crack.



    It was not unheard of that a man of Vernon Dursley’s girth and exercise habits would have a heart attack. The unfortunate coincidence was that it happened mere hours after Severus Snape’s departure from the Dursley home so Harry and his family made the logical conclusion – Severus Snape had done this.


    The doctors had said Vernon could have died, it was near thing, Thankfully, Vernon would live. He’d been sped off to the hospital with an ambulance, a few stents put in, upped dosage of hypertension medication. Harry could hardly bring himself to eat the hospital food as they visited his Uncle. It had been a warning, come to Hogwarts or else. He watched his Aunt adjust his Uncle’s hospital bed and knew he could not let them hurt his family.


    That was why when the old wizard with a beard long enough to tuck under a belt came the next day, Harry went with him.


    Harry, like his Uncle, could spot a scam from a distance. The wizards had tried intimidation (Hagrid), forcefulness (Snape) and now they brought out the good guy to butter them up. Albus Dumbledore could almost be mistaken for a kindly, if not insane, old man. He wore checkered robes with moving chess pieces that seemed to be playing themselves and when he smiled it was with a twinkle borrowed from stars. Harry did not trust him; nonetheless, he accepted a lemon drop.


    “Have you ever,” said the Professor with a smile. “done anything extraordinary when happy, or sad, or scared?”


    “Well,” Harry’s face twisted as the lemon drop became particularly sour as he recalled his most recent magical feat. “I can talk to snakes.”


    Albus Dumbledore’s face twisted too. Funny, Harry did not remember the man having eaten a lemon drop.


    Harry despite his best efforts, could not help but be impressed by magic. It was, well, magical. Diagon Alley, the goblins (Vernon would have appreciated the fact that magical bankers didn’t bother hiding their true natures), Madam Malkins, Flourish and Blotts and Florean Fortesque’s ice cream. How Harry had enjoyed that ice cream store and he was still enjoying it. That was the magic of 100 Acre Rocky Road, the flavor would remain in his mouth until he’d walked 100 Acres.


    Professor Dumbledore had even gotten Harry a pet. In the store, Harry had been ready to choose a snowy white owl, when a voice had called out to him. He found the little snake in its terrarium in the back, nearly begging to be taken with him. The Professor had not so subtlety asked him to reconsider, but Harry had been insistent.


    “I can’t speak to owls.“


    --


    “His name’s Scabbers.”


    Ron’s ears went pink.


    “This is Hedwig,” said Harry, taking a small curled snake out of his breast pocket.


    “That is a man,” hissed Hedwig.


    “What?” hissed Harry.


    “You’re a Parselmouth!” said Ron, sounding both shocked and terrified. “You-know-who could talk to snakes.


    “Voldemort?”


    Ronald looked ready to faint, but a smiling, dimpled woman bearing a trolley of sweets interrupted the boys.


    Harry, with much money and no regard, bought the lot. Ron stared.


    “Hungry, are you?”


    “Starving,” said Harry, taking a large bite out of a pumpkin pasty.


    Ron took out an unwieldy package of sandwiches. He pulled them apart.


    “She always forgets that I don’t like corned beef.”


    “Rough, that.”


    --


    “Hmm,” said the hat. “Difficult. Not too courageous, are you? Not one for studying either. No desire to learn magic – you have me at a loss. Do you even want to be here?”


    Harry gripped the stool that was creaking under his weight and thought. I’m just here so they don’t kill my family.


    “I suppose that’s bravery, in the face of fear?” said the small voice. “I’ll have to make a practical call on this one and the walk up to their dormitories will be good for your health. It has to be – GRYFFINDOR!”


    Harry’s mouth fell open when the magical dishes were piled with food. These wizards knew how to run a scam. Harry’s thirteen chocolate frogs from earlier had hardly tied him over. He loaded his plate with roast beef, pork chops, Yorkshire pudding, peas, and carrots.


    “That does look good,” said a ghost nearby.


    Harry avoided eye contact. Uncle Vernon had taught him to avoid strange types like beggars and the homeless. A ghost was certainly both.


    Instead, Harry looked towards the High Table to avoid the ghost’s eye. A professor in an absurd turban was speaking to the sallow-faced, greasy haired, Professor Snape. Severus Snape looked past the turban and met Harry’s eye for a second and in that moment a sharp, hot pain, blossomed from the scar on Harry’s forehead.


    Harry clapped a hand to his head and paled. Message received. The wizards had hurt his Uncle and they were watching him.


    Harry no longer felt hungry.


    --


    “Look, there.”

    “Where?”

    “Next to the ginger?”

    “The fat one?”

    “Does he have the scar?”

    “The one with the chins.”


    Whispers followed him and people would walk by him several times to get a look at him. Harry inclined his head at his curious onlookers. Harry and Dudley had commanded respect at their school because their peers had, no doubt, respected their impeccable upbringing and natural charisma. Fame agreed with Harry Potter.


    He had defeated their greatest fear as a babe. Undoubtedly, he’d be talented with a wand. He would learn all the magic he could to escape under from under the thumb of his oppressors.


    If only half the classes were not boring. There was gardening or whatever taught by a dumpy old woman who was head of the hufflesomethings. Harry had watched the landscapers work on Privet Drive once or twice, that work was beneath him. There was History of Magic taught by a ghost. Unnatural, that.


    At least the midget that taught Charms was not half bad. He’d squeaked when reading Harry’s name off the roll. Professor McGonagall had started them on magic. Turning a matchstick to a needle had not been hard for Harry confident as he was in his inherent betterness in relation to his peers. The Professor, a stern woman, had gifted Harry with a rare smile.


    Harry had never met a gypsy, but Uncle Vernon had gone on enough about them that Harry knew they were bad news. Harry was fairly certain Professor Quirrell was a gypsy. Harry tightened his grip on his galleons reflexively.


    “Ron, if he throws a baby don’t try and catch it.”


    Ron was bewildered, but Harry had accepted that Ron was chronically stupid.


    There was a blonde ponce that kept trying to talk to Harry. Harry knew old money when he saw it; Vernon’s executives and client were often old money. Harry also knew a poofter when he saw one. A war raged inside Harry. The desire to consort with the right sort and the equally strong urge to avoid any freakishness. His Aunt and Uncle had taught him well. In the end, the boy had taken Harry’s refusal to shake his hand very personally. Draco Malfoy could often be found bullying Neville Longbottom.


    --


    “Scabbers has gone missing!” exclaimed Ron.


    Harry did not care, dinner had been impeccable as usual and he was ready to drift to sleep.


    “Could you ask Hedwig if she’s seen him?”


    Harry lifted his pillow that Hedwig was curled under.


    “Have you seen Scabbers?” he hissed.


    Hedwig blinked sleepily before jerking her head towards the suspiciously rat-shaped bulge in her body.


    “She hasn’t the foggiest.”


    Thus Peter Pettigrew, presumed dead, died.
     
  2. H_A_Greene

    H_A_Greene Professor –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I uh, I'm kind of at a loss with this one. I suppose you were going for humor once we progressed passed the Petunia portion of the submission, and I suppose that you managed that in a few places. Harry certainly felt like a loving member of the Dursley household, rather than the pariah as in canon.

    More than one paragraph felt stilted. There were a lot of spelling mistakes, dropped words/letters, and even a couple of repeated words throughout this(see spoiler tag).

    Pretty sure you wanted gallivanted here.

    This is an example of it being stilted.

    This is the line that broke my immersion. Spinning it so that Harry was now against magic is, I have to admit, a logical conclusion for a loving relationship with the Dursleys, but it truly grinds my gears nonetheless.

    'looked like magic'? 'it looked magical'?

    There's no real reason to capitalize giant here when you don't anywhere else.

    I really feel like you're pushing the 'Harry Hates Magic' shtick just a step too far, but since you had to do this to further your narrative pursuit of having Harry roped into going to Hogwarts somehow after building him up to detest magic, I'm not going to complain overmuch, just say it bothers me and press on.

    butwhy_ryanreynolds.gif

    No, seriously though, why would Harry stick with the name Hedwig for a snake? Wasn't it Hagrid who gave that name in canon? If you're going to go this far, don't shortchange us my friend, you can surely find an original name like... Pepperoni, to fit his gluttonous theme. But then, he might end up eating her, so I suppose that doesn't work after all.

    'tided'.

    'Transfiguration'.

    Now, to talk about a positive note for once, I do like this. It fits the nature of magic in the Potterverse, especially Year One magic I think.

    But as fun(in a dumb, turn-off-your-brain-and-run-with-it) way as this submission is, I feel like the time that is dedicated to 'death' is kind of minimal. The real change is in how Petunia takes Lily's death, where she chooses to behave like a better person in regards to her nephew, and then she poisons him with her own failings so rather than respect the wishes expressed in the letter, so... is she really honoring her sister at all? There are a few references here and there, but on the whole, I don't feel that you made major use of the prompt so much as used it for an excuse to set up the 'Harry raised like Dudley' joke someone mentioned in the ideas thread.

    The way that you transition between the present to her youth really needed something more to indicate it, it just abruptly begins. You don't do that later on when Harry is the PoV, so it would have been nice to have a little scene break there.

    And then the ending. It just sort of... ends, with a joke about Scabbers. So I guess you did make more use of the prompt at the end after all, but man, I was expecting more.


    Plot & Pacing: 3/5
    Moving passed this as a death-inspired prompt, the plot was serviceable. It did its job of demonstrating Harry's life if he was raised with love in the Dursley household instead of disinterest and scorn, the pacing was fine for that until the sudden end.

    Characters: 3/5
    I will say that you kept the narrative pretty consistent with everyone. None of the characters you meant to be in-character really felt like they departed from their basic natures, and the out-of-character Harry fit his Dursley upbringing, so props for that.

    Prompt Use: 2/5
    You used it to set up Petunia giving a damn about Harry. You used it to make a joke about Scabbers at the end. It wasn't greatly involved beyond that, IMO.

    Other: 3/5
    The writing was pretty messy from start to finish, but it did get a rise out of me in a couple of places, and you know what? I do, genuinely, want to read more of this. I want to see how this Harry addresses the rest of the year.

    Total: 11/20
     
  3. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    Excellent.

    This is an idea I've rarely seen. Usually, the Dursleys are just too irredeemable to take Harry in as one of their own no matter what he tries. What I like even more is that there's no attempt to paint the Dursleys as better than they are - they don't suddenly like magic, Vernon is still fat and an overconfident pillock. Even though Harry likes them and tries to paint over their flaws, you leave enough little breadcrumbs to make it clear that despite his rosier view the Dursleys haven't actually changed that much.

    That said, this does fall into the usual pitfalls of short comedy fics. Things turn out largely the same as canon, except that Harry's new outlook on life leads to the occasional comedic bit and a change every so often. Despite his newfound wealth, I don't recall it being stated that Harry shares it with Vernon. He's still sorted into Gryffindor, while he might fit better into Hufflepuff. He'll be doing a lot of huffing and puffing, at least, and teach him some proper work ethic. He still rejects Draco's offer - albeit for a different reason. Another pitfall: shitting on Ron, which is just poor form in general.

    Finally, there's just no real ending. You end on the comedic beat of Pettigrew having been eaten, which isn't much of an ending in my eyes. It's a shame, because I'd definitely have kept on reading this if there'd been more.
     
  4. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

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    As a premise this amused me. I don't think I've seen a story were Harry gets accepted by the Durselys and therefore becomes just like them. Well done it is a great idea. I particularly like how they are still just as awful as always. I was worried at the beginning this was going to be a Durselys redemption fic.

    That being said, while having Harry think and act like a mini Vernon is amusing in itself. You don't really use it as a springboard to explore new or interesting directions. Things procced in a canon-like fashion with a few comedic beats of difference. Nothing really changes and the story doesn't really have a purpose, just a premise that inevitably peters out with no real conclusion.

    I think you had a good idea, but you didn't have a story to go with it. Still the writing while unrefined had some decent comedic turns and there is talent on show here. I think if you had a plot to go with this you could have something really decent.

    As for whether it ties in with the theme? I'm not too hung up on that, I'd say it pays enough lip service to merit a pass.
     
  5. ChaosGuy

    ChaosGuy Unspeakable

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    Well that was a thing. Honestly not sure HOW I feel about this one. It amused me so if it was meant to be comedy it works? On the other hand I have no desire to ever read it again. Getting sorted into Gryffindor felt like it only existed so you could have him eat Scabbers day/night one and wasted a chance for him to go elsewhere, Hufflepuff perhaps after all he did mentioning wanting to make, the right, friends. Altogether I'd say this was an nteresting idea that felt like it was wasted on a cheap/quick joke.
     
  6. Stealthy

    Stealthy Groundskeeper

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    Prompt use was weak here. Death wasn't the focus of the piece, and it wasn't a catalyst either. The change was Petunia resolving to raise Harry as one of her own and while she did that in the face of Lily's death... that death didn't do anything different from canon to make it significant. So points against you there.

    Great premise. Going through the beats of canon is a let down, but the new Harry is still entertaining. Him struggling to reject Draco but doing so for an entirely different reason was good. He doesn't make sense as a Gryffindor; he should be Hufflepuff or Slytherin instead. His actual characterization feels accurate to the change throughout.

    Snape interaction was on point. Love it. Wish we got Harry's first Potions Class too.

    Ending is abrupt. Good joke, but it wasn't a natural end point, you were just done writing. It goes beginning middle and end, not beginning middle and stop. At least give me something to prime that this ends when it does. This felt less like a story, and more like the breezing through of one with the highlights, but that works for a one-shot competition. It's the failure to diverge that story that really lets things down.

    So while it doesn't fit the prompt, and I wish it got more creative, this was still amusing and I'd love to read a full version of this fic that was willing to diverge accordingly. This has some potential, but unfortunately not enough of it was tapped.
     
  7. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    Isn't this a novel idea.

    I don't think I've ever encountered a piece where the Dursleys are nice to Harry and he ends up becoming more like them in response. Usually, what we do see is Harry still being Harry, with the Dursleys being nice having a minimal impact on his behavior. Not so here.

    Unfortunately, the novelty wears thing pretty quick. There's really nothing here beyond the initial idea which, aside from some jokes, doesn't really affect the story overly much. Perhaps I'm being too critical and given a more advanced timeline this could have resulted in more significant changes, but so far it's mostly been a canon retread with some mild alterations here and there.

    It's not really a story so much as a canon rehash.

    What I do like about the piece is that despite Harry's skewed view on the Dursleys, they are still the Dursleys. Dudley remains a bully, Vernon a pig, and Petunia ever jealous.

    The most interesting part of this was Petunia's introspections in the beginning. It really felt like we were getting into the soul of who she was and the recounting of her life, while a bit heavy handed, served as an effective tool to show how she had changed and grown as a person, ultimately culminating in her choice to treat Harry well.

    How easily things could have changed for Harry.

    As a story though, it feels rather incomplete. It needed more - maybe not a whole 7 year recap, but a long one-shot covering his first year perhaps and with more time and thought spent on how Harry's change changes things.
     
  8. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    This is clearly written as a tongue-in-cheek cracky idea, and for that, it worked quite well. The writing was amateurish and very clumsy in places, littered with needless mistakes such as capitalising the names of species of animals, yet none of the errors were the type which were so jarring as to knock me out of the moment. Except right at the beginning where Petunia Dursley was addressed as Ms Evan. That honestly pissed me off a little. I'd have taken Mrs Dursley, Ms Dursley, Mrs Evans, Ms Evans, Miss Evans, or Petunia.

    It felt like a series of silly in-jokes for readers of fanfiction, which I loved, and there was an internal consistency to Harry's deluded reasoning which allowed the narrative to go onwards seamlessly. I enjoyed some of the one-liners, especially "Uncle Vernon had taught him to avoid strange types like beggars and the homeless. A ghost was certainly both." which got an actual laugh from me.

    I did enjoy this. The juvenile writing didn't impede my enjoyment much at all, although I didn't really see much in the way of artistry or craftsmanship outside the jokes. The part which really holds it back as an entry is the utter absence of the prompt. I'd easily read more of this but it doesn't work as a 'death' themed story. The line about Petunia clutching a baby that wasn't hers was a fantastically understated way to showcase the divergence, but the divergence is really more in Petunia's reaction than the actual death. It feels a little like this was just the story which the author wanted to write as opposed to a contest entry.
     
  9. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Holy shit, Petunia is at Spinner's End? That's the first time I've seen that. I had to stop and make a comment about how interested I was when I saw something new, so I haven't finished reading yet, but I assume she's with Snape somehow?

    Also love the nostalgic scene you've set here. Even without Lily's use of underage magic (which I'll excuse as AU or else that the Trace wasn't a thing til later) I can see how Petunia would feel resentment. Lily gives such fancy gifts and Petunia's hard work on her painting feels drab and not at all special, even though hers required effort and Lily's didn't. Hell even if her parents HAD paid attention to her Petunia still couldn't help but resent that situation, I think.

    Wait, now Petunia found Harry at Privet Drive? The first part of this story, that got me so excited, was because it implied that Petunia was receiving owls at Spinner's End?

    Eh, still super interested as this is well written, involves "Death" as a theme from what I can guess so far, and is an AU! Yay.

    Huh, I like this:
    It's not that I'm a fan of Fat!Harry but rather that most stories which have the Dursleys treat Harry well never make him as rotund as Dudley. I like that you did - it's something different. Same as for you have two boys who are the same age and raised together by the same people actually be, well, a lot alike.

    Good point of divergence too, which apparently the main difference being that Petunia told Harry the truth about his parents. That led him to dislike magic which led him to tell on Mrs. Figg which appears to have led him right into Petunia's genuine good graces.

    Huh, interesting - I liked your description of the 'scam' here and Harry's fears of Vernon's heart attack being a warning.

    ROFLMAO here, seriously, I actually did giggle out loud:
    Okay, okay... this was great, honestly. I thoroughly enjoyed it. A clear humor piece that wasn't purely some gimmick. Well done.

    I mentioned in another thread somewhere that the use of "Death" as the prompt would be somewhat subjective. The way that I am personally deciding if stories meet the criteria is by summing them up in 1-2 sentences and seeing if words like death, died, killed, etc. show up in a succinct summary like that.

    In your case it does, since to me a summary of this story would include Petunia telling Harry that magic killed his parents. Harry's reactions to this information about their deaths informs the entire story. That Pettigrew dies at the end is just a bonus.
     
  10. Newcomb

    Newcomb Minister of Magic

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    Not gonna focus on typos and stuff after this, but it's pinging me that the very first part of this has two noticeable ones. It's just really the wrong foot to start off on - it undermines my confidence as a reader that I'm in good hands.

    This is decently evocative.

    I have no trouble believing this, since we know that's the character arc, but if you're going for pathos here, a few small bits like the one above with Lily and Charms homework, really showing that transition and that change, in small moments - would have served you well here.

    Random tense change why?

    O...kay? So we're doing an AU thing then. I'm not really convinced that this is going to be long enough for that to pay off, but we'll see.

    LOL

    Fat!Harry

    Okay I changed my mind this story is a glorious shitpost.

    Please never stop writing this. All I want is to read about the adventures of Harry and Dudley, the fat pig twins.

    Okay. The bits up to this, like after the letter comes, are good. I'm into it. It's like, teetering on the edge of crack and I'm not quite sure where it's going but I want to see, which is a fantastic place to be, but please, for the love of all that's holy, never include the parentheticals there. It's undercutting your whole point, and it makes me think you think the reader is dumb. If you have to include the names, about the events I literally just read two minutes ago, you're signaling to your readers that you think they won't pick up on the most shallow, obvious subtext ever.

    The chess robes are great. Very HP feeling. "Borrowed from stars" is kind of a cringe phrase. You don't want "if not" there in the first bit, you just want "if", or "if somewhat" or something.

    Very solid, great use of dramatic irony. I'd axe the last sentence - we got it already, you're undercutting the nice moment of Albus reacting.

    Destruction 100

    Fantastic line.

    Alright I'm into this.

    Uh okay so it was crack after all.

    ___

    Yeah hm. The middle of this and everything up to the end was very solid. I was digging this version of Harry, and the worldview shaped by Vernon was really great as applied to Hogwarts.

    The end doesn't fit at all with the beginning. The stuff with Petunia at the beginning made me think this was a serious fic, and it really wasn't. I'd probably re-work that whole section to be more droll.

    I'm not sure how much the idea really has legs, but leaning into the fat, anti-magic biased Harry feels really fun to read about. I'd read more of him dunking on Hogwarts, as long as it didn't get boring or actually serious/preachy.

    I think I enjoyed that? The writing's kind of rough. Needs a polish for sure. Some good lines.

    I'd say it's like a B, B+? Solid double to the gap?
     
  11. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'm a fan of mindless comedy and also a fan of slightly mindful comedy too. Let's start with the initial problems: You clearly didn't spend enough time on the opening segment. It is filled with errors (the most egregious being "Ms Evan") and the pacing is rushed and meandering, fairly uninterested in the content. Considering that your only point is "Harry Dursley" I get why you may have wished to rush through this opening bit. You weren't wrong, if that is so.

    However, I very much enjoyed Harry's inner POV as a Dursley, clearly somebody with a touch of intelligence, wit, and bravery, if tempered by the awful lessons of the Dursley household. All of the little "Vernon always said" lines were quite amusing, even if they didn't evince hilarity. Your last line, killing off Pettigrew? Cute, I suppose.

    The odd thing is that there's actual intriguing content here in the potential of an alt-universe. Harry studying magic to protect his family, being good at some of it, delighting in his fame, killing off Pettigrew -- those are all fascinating angles to change the canonical storyline entirely. Almost seems a waste to just have a silly oneshot where you joke about Harry thinking a walrus is fat.

    Overall, I liked it, but it also felt like it could be more -- something more I'd like to see. So what would I change? I'd condense and simplify the opening segment, because most of it has Petunia acting the same way as always. Only include what you need to include, because as it is, it was a chore to get to the "fun" part. The other thing is to proofread more carefully and fix all of those errors, of which there are many. Otherwise, nicely done.

    Hope this helps!
     
  12. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I'm biased against crack stories, in as much that I don't like them. The delivery on this was fine. I don't see anything that stands out as remarkable or unremarkable. There are things about this that I feel like where there for an attention grab.

    Fat!Harry is both hilarious and horrifying. I think a lot of people get pissed at DLP because of how serious we take fan-fiction and the way we critique things. If I was browsing and found this story on FFN, I'd never have given it time of day. The concept is too foreign and the resolution was too heavy. Hedwig ate Peter, thus the story is about Death.

    If anything, you could have written a story about the Sin of Gluttony and made it a bit more serious, which would have kept my attention a bit more. As it was I found my self skimming, and hoping to make it to the end to see what the pay off was. I appreciate the effort you put into this and I thank you for submitting something, it just didn't turn out to be what I was looking for.

    Good luck, hope to see more from you in the future.
     
  13. Raigan123

    Raigan123 Banned

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    Petunia’s change from canon is easy to follow and understand. You also describe the Dursleys very well, I think.

    The bashing irked me somewhat, but is actually well done considering Harry’s values in this fic. I especially liked the line he said to Snape. It was one of the few instances I was honestly amused, the other being when Harry watched the Walrus thinking it was a large animal.

    Another thing I liked was how unlikeable Harry is despite the fact he is actually trying to save his uncle, which is actually heroic. The Dursleys’ distorted values really come through there.

    Death is used in the beginning and the end of the fic, but isn’t used much overall. Good enough, I suppose.

    I’m not sure what to say here, since I don’t know what you were trying to achieve with this fic. Is it supposed to be a comedy or a tragedy? I think the fic really suffers because of where you ended it. There seems to be so much potential in all the things you didn’t write. A one shot covering the whole year would have served you better in my opinion.

    I wish you would have written more.
     
  14. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    I think you mean gallivanted.

    So, the good. This is definitely an original idea. Several of them, in fact, in my personal experience. I've not seen a Harry who hates magic, I've not seen a Harry who's become a mirror of Dudley. Kudos on that, for a start. As far as it goes, it's all developed quite well, conveying quite a lot with minimal words, which is a good skill to get into. While the plot changes aren't that significant, they all work, for me, and made sense within the context of the story.

    The writing isn't too bad, a few areas that are clunkier than others, but overall OK. There's a nice tone to it, quite light and a little whimsical, despite what's actually going on. Equally though, the jokes aren't exactly hilarious, while at the same time undercutting some of the more serious moments, if serious they are supposed to be. I felt like the first scene, from Petunia's POV, was from a different, potentially better, story altogether.

    The prompt is little more than a springboard, which is fine as far as that goes, I guess, and there's not really much to it beyond Harry becoming an asshole - which again, fine, and I'm saying this as someone who co-wrote a fic where that was the central idea, but there's not enough here to really satisfy on that score. And then it just...stops.

    As with entry 1, a decent start, but not much more.
     
  15. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

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    Hahaha! I really, really enjoyed this. This is hilarious.

    I think Petunia's introspection at the start runs a bit long, considering it 1) doesn't fit tonally with the rest of the piece 2) is longer than the scenes from Harry's pov. Another criticism I have is that the prompt is tangentially related to the story you're trying to tell. A metric I use is that I ask myself: if I'd read this story before knowing what the prompt was, would I be able to guess it? And would I be able to go "Ohh, I see" after knowing what it was? In this story's case, I wouldn't. It's there but not really.

    Otherwise, I don't have much else to say about it. While the writing has some awkward sentences here and there, and the grammar could use some polish, it reads smoothly, which is a greater accomplishment than it might seem. There are so many technically great stories with interesting plots, but the writing-- it should work, it uses unique words, has a beat, but it just doesn't. In this story, with the Harry pov scenes especially, your writing has that momentum which pulls me from one sentence to the next. I want to keep reading.

    I'd have more to say if this were longer. Stories like this start hitting obstacles when the real plot points come up, as being able to strike that balance becomes more difficult. It would be interesting to see how you deal with them, if you wish to continue.

    The jokes are great. I had a perma-smile practically through the entire thing. Humor is subjective, but this was spot-on for me.
     
  16. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    So, this one definitely stands out, and that alone buys you some goodwill right away.

    I think the transition from a more mainstream serious tone in the beginning to the crack comedy as you adopt Harry's POV was well done, and left me unable to predict where this would go. The feeling was compounded when I arrived at the last lines, where you go full cheeky bastard to fulfill the prompt. Almost like everything else was just buildup for a ridiculous punchline, and it worked for me.

    Comedic timing and jokes were on point, I had a few laugh out loud moments, so great job there. Comedy is a tough nut to crack, and I think you've done it smoothly here. Harry taking after Vernon is not something I've seen before, and just the freshness of that idea elevates the story before the first joke arrives. I commend the employ of barebones, headline style writing in places, and the whole piece in general is on the sparse side with descriptions. That leaves the text feeling very "light", if that makes sense. In a serious fic this style would perhaps be "thin" instead, but here it allows you to move on from scene to scene quickly and keep bringing on the jokes without stopping. I just think that everything comes together here, and while the prompt is used only barely, I think it fits the comedic story you tell. Death being merely an afterthought is a perfect fit.

    I spotted some typos, but overall they don't take away from the story at all. Well done, I really liked this one. Harry's line at Snape and Snape's reaction were delicious.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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