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Entry #5

Discussion in 'Q3 2019' started by Xiph0, Sep 10, 2019.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    "Professor, you said Hogwarts was the safest place in the world." Harry objected. He had gone home the summer after his first year, and was not inclined to repeat the experience. "I know they're my legal guardians, but they'll be much happier if I'm not around." They're not my parents.

    "Harry, the school during the summer is not the same experience as that to which you have accustomed yourself. I'm afraid it's a very dull place with none of your friends around." the Headmaster informed him, avoiding his eyes by resting his head on a hand. He must be tired. It's got to be terrible for him to have to deal with parents and the Ministry- and for the second year in a row.

    "I'd rather it be dull than go back, sir." That sounds impolite. "Please, I'd even be willing to help with things here."

    "I am afraid I cannot make an exception in your case, however filled with exceptions your life has been. There are other students who would prefer to stay here, whether for financial or academic reasons..." Harry glowered, momentarily thinking Dumbledore had both of his friends in mind.

    "Well, what if you just said people who defeated the basilisk?" he asked. Well, that's a bit worse. "I mean, I don't want to act like the school owes me or anything, I never wanted that, but really, sir, the school almost closed. Shouldn't I be exploring the Chamber to see if there's anything else down there?"

    The aged warlock seemed to consider his proposal. He started to think there was something being kept from him, some pressing reason for him to go home, but at length he waved a hand.

    "One student will cause no overly great complication-"

    "Ron and Hermione helped me defeat the basilisk. I wouldn't have been able to do it without them." he said firmly.

    "Perhaps you would have been unable to save the school without Professor Snape, as he provided the potion ingredients. I imagine no small amount of credit goes to Aragog, as he pointed you in the right direction."

    "Well, they can stay as well. Er, I mean, Aragog would probably prefer to be in the Forest..." Dumbledore sighed. Oh. He doesn't think Ron and Hermione helped me that much, and they weren't the only ones.

    "For the record, Harry, I have been writing letters to parents assuring them their children will be back at the end of the term." His voice sounded as tired as it ever had.

    "I'll bet the Dursleys were disappointed." he muttered, not entirely inaudibly. "I've already asked them. Ron would rather be here with me than with his brothers, and Hermione can't wait to get ahead on her reading." I mean, most of what Ron wants to do is race on brooms. They don't have to be here the entire time, I don't expect they really want anything other than to keep me company, since they know about what my alternative is.

    "Their parents would have to approve, and though the Weasleys-"

    "I've already asked them about that." It was half true. He had only asked Hermione, and she said her parents would usually permit whatever she wanted to do for the sake of academics, since she had never betrayed their trust in the past. Harry had been impressed with the amount of latitude she had, but compared to him, everyone had freedom.

    "I am prepared to conditionally offer you the opportunity to remain at Hogwarts. The first condition is that you will be suspended next Christmas holiday if anyone learns of this." The young wizard grimaced internally. He supposed it was fair, since he was getting entire months away from the Dursleys, and in exchange he merely ran the risk of being stuck with them a fortnight or so. "Secondly, you and your friends have been flaunting the curfew and I believe you may not recognize the rules apply to you. If you are out of bed at night, you will be punished appropriately." He simply nodded. After two life-threatening adventures, it seemed unlikely he would have any further reason to disobey for the rest of his magical education. "Finally, you will remember that as this is being dressed as an opportunity for you to learn, you will take it. Motivate your actions with academic achievement."

    "Of course, sir, thank you." Harry said quickly, wondering what was going on with the last condition as he ducked his head briefly and left the office. Perhaps Dumbledore was really just a die-hard teacher intent on getting him to learn, but there was an odd sense of foreboding. Don't tell me there's some other thing out to kill me and I have to learn all I can.

    He found Ron and Hermione just beyond the gargoyle.

    "It worked! We're going to get to be here all summer."

    "That's great, Harry." Hermione said. "I'm glad you don't have to spend this summer with your relatives."

    "Yeah, and I'm glad I can finally look for all the secret passageways Fred and George-"

    "Oh, honestly, Ron, hasn't it occurred to you that they're lying?" the witch objected. "They're not mentioned anywhere in Hogwarts: A History, and it would be just like them just to wind you up by hinting that they can get around with secret passages."

    "They've got to be real." the red-haired wizard insisted as the three of them meandered back to Gryffindor tower. "For one thing, they keep on calling this corridor on the fifth floor 'Gregory the Smarmy's Corridor', when the statue of him is on the first floor. They know something."

    Harry shared Ron's hopes that the secret passages would turn out to be real. It helped to have an invisibility cloak, but sneaking around would be much easier if he could avoid running into people. That's not to say I intend to sneak around. Two years of trouble has been quite enough for me. On occasion, though, it might be fun.

    According to the Weasley twins, much of the secret passages led to the wizarding village called Hogsmeade. Students were allowed to visit there on the weekends, but only with a permission slip from a parent or guardian. The Dursleys might be in a better mood than they had been last time he asked for something after a whole summer of being without him, but he could hardly just owl them before third year started, since there was serious doubt they would comply with magical post regulation.

    Sleep that night was perfectly restful.

    He woke to Ron asking him how they were going to avoid being seen by the students going down to the train after the Leaving Feast.

    "We'll find Hermione and just get under the Cloak."

    "Prob'ly best to hide somewhere no one else goes, like the library." Harry nodded, not bothering of thinking of alternate places for Hermione's benefit. She'll be thrilled.

    The next day was perhaps one of the best in his life, not limited to the instrumental role he had played in Gryffindor winning the House Cup for the second year running. Lee Jordan had joked that it was actually starting to seem terribly unfair, having him on their side all seven years. Following the departure of the other students, things only improved. The Quidditch equipment out on the grounds had a magical lock called a ward, but the brooms were still accessible, meaning they could fly around all they wanted, for which the pressures of the school year rarely allowed. Hermione was inside getting ahead on her reading, though the pair of them wondered what she would do after the entire library was finished.

    "I mean, thanks to the secret passages we can leave the school whenever we want." Ron suggested. "Dumbledore didn't think to make a rule about that, did he?"

    "No. It's kind of weird, actually, what his priorities were." I would think he expects us to stay on the grounds, whether or not he said it.

    "What do muggles do during the summer?"

    "Dudley mostly watches television, though there's beating up ten year-olds when he gets bored of that. I don't really have a lot of friends in Surrey." It was more accurate to say that he had no friends, but that was no fault of his. Being friends with him was a dangerous prospect, though that only worsened when he entered the wizarding world.

    "What's television again?"

    "It's like a portrait that tells a story or informs you of something. My cousin doesn't have the attention span for books."

    Noting that it was about to be dark, they decided Hermione would probably come out and find them, making it unnecessary for them to find her. They knew where she was, of course, but she needed to be moving around after being petrified by the basilisk for weeks straight.

    As the sun set, the pair of them landed, at last winded from an afternoon of mad tricks Madam Hooch would never have allowed, during a game or otherwise. It was shaping up to be the best summer yet, though Harry privately decided this was not saying much for him. I'm sure Ron can visit home every so often. Now that we know how to use the Floo Network, we'll just have to find a connected fireplace in Hogsmeade.

    "Are you two quite done?" Hermione asked, tossing the Cloak off and levitating it.

    "Just about. It's time to eat." Ron said, watching the witch reliably roll her eyes.

    "For your information, the kitchen is closed. The both of you are lucky I had the foresight to save some provisions from the Leaving Feast."

    "Brilliant, Hermione." Harry said. "I hadn't even thought about it."

    "It's prob'ly the elves needing a break." the red-haired wizard speculated, taking a roll from their mutual friend. "I reckon they're only going to serve us lunch, since most of the professors won't be here full time. Well, Snape will be, but only because he's got no one waiting for him."

    "Professor Snape, Ron- and what is this about elves?"

    "They're the ones who make the food. You can't just make feasts appear out of nowhere. No idea where they get the raw materials-"

    "Wait, then they're like Dobby, aren't they? Is that why they don't tell us about them?"

    "They like doing menial tasks without being paid. It'd be an insult-"

    "This is slavery. It's literally chattel slavery. Why does Hogwarts suppo- why does Hogwarts practice this?"

    Harry did not quite know how to respond. Certain things about the wizarding world were still new to him, and he had no reason to believe elvish service to wizards was entirely unethical. That the Malfoys treated their servants with cruelty hardly surprised him.

    "Hermione, we can still learn more about it-" he started to say at length.

    "Of course. I intend to find out exactly what kind of treatment the slaves here are experiencing." she responded as she walked off in a huff. At a shrug from Ron, the wizards followed her, deciding they were going that direction anyway.

    To their surprise, the door was locked.

    "Bollocks." Ron muttered. "I guess we kept going on and on with conversation too long." Is he blaming Hermione? Well, I suppose it kind of is-

    "There's no need to worry, we'll just ask Hagrid to let us in."

    "Brilliant." Harry said. He'll probably still be happy about our getting him out of Azkaban.

    The three of them walked down to the hut, seeing smoke coming out of the chimney. That's a good sign.

    What they heard as they approached was a decidedly more worrying sign.

    "What are those noises?" Harry asked. He did not know the names of most magical creatures. If anything, the more he was introduced to the wizarding world, the less it seemed he knew about it. The sounds came from behind the hut, though Hermione held up a hand.

    "I'm beginning to think we should not go back there."

    "Nonsense, Hermione, how else are we getting inside?" Ron asked. "Couldn't possibly use one of the secret passages, after all." he muttered, going closer despite the warning. "Bloody hell." he nearly whispered. "What is that?" Hearing Hagrid's footsteps, the three of them quickly got under the Cloak.

    "Nothin' at all to fear, fire crabbies." the mountain of a man encouraged. "No, there's nothin' at all to fear, it's the best time of the year."

    "Is he rhyming?" Ron asked at a whisper. Hermione shushed him, a shocked expression on her face. In front of them, the crabs were starting to pile on top of each other. Hagrid was pouring out a bag of green clippings, probably herbs of some sort.

    "Nothin' like a sprinkle o' apherdizzyac when yer havin' trouble in the sack." the grounds keeper sang. It appeared one fire crab in particular was being drowned in the herbs, knocked off the top of the pile and turned over on its back. The rest of the creatures wasted no time in scuttling over.

    "Hermione, if we don't get the hell out of-" The red-haired wizard found himself interrupted by a hand over his mouth. From her initiative, it seemed the witch's plan was to inch away as quietly as possible. Sorry, that's just not going to cut it. Failing to cast a silent levitation charm on one of the crabs to distract Hagrid, he put his wand arm outside the cloak and shot sparks in the opposite direction. As Hagrid looked away, the three of them ran for it.

    "Why the hell does he have to do that?" Ron complained when at last they were far enough away. They had found the path, near the main entrance to the castle.

    "It's important to breed new magical creatures for the students to study next year." the bushy-haired witch explained. "For the record, I was not at all disgusted, merely uncomfortable invading on the privacy of the fire crabs."

    "No, I meant why does he have to rhyme about it?" It appeared no one else was as bothered by the grounds keeper's enthusiasm, and he pointed at a sign, marking a fork in the road. "Hogsmeade's that way. Reckon 's our only way in at this point."

    The village was what he might have expected, but it still made him wonder about what kind of wizarding societies there were out there, living, breathing, yet curiously tucked out of sight. The storefronts did not present quite the same variety as was present in Diagon Alley, but there were shops he doubted he would have found in magical London.

    The three of them found themselves inside a sporting goods store called 'Spintwitches Sporting Needs', which almost entirely catered to Qudditch.

    "Ron, is there a real reason you think the secret passage is in here?" Hermione asked.

    "Pretty much isn't. Just thought we might as well look here first, if we'll find it somewhere else either way." he answered from the back of the store. It appeared the shopkeeper was out momentarily, though the door had been unlocked. Ron probably would have just unlocked it.

    The bell at the door dinged and the three of them jumped to different hiding places. Harry felt like a child inside a circular rack of padded uniforms. Peeking out of his hiding place, it seemed Madam Hooch was in, there was a well-hidden flash of red hair behind a large array of boxes, but he was having greater difficulty locating his other friend. She might still have the Cloak. To make matters worse, the shopkeeper returned right as the newest customer called out asking if anyone was in. Now they really can't find us. Had they seen us in here while it was unlocked, we could have just said we were looking for a broom for Ron or something.

    "Norah!" Madam Hooch called out. "I never get to see you during the year, how have you been?"

    "Well, business has been good, but an old girl gets lonely, you know. All these broom handles..." The shopkeeper had her palms down on the counter over which she was leaning. "It's not every day someone like you comes along."

    "I'm afraid this is a business trip rather than a pleasure one. I need a broom."

    Hermione was out the door with a ding.

    If you don't at least create a distraction for us, I'll burn down the library.

    At the confused looks from the two witches in the shop, who were focused on the door, there was a shriek from across the street and they opened the door, hurriedly asking questions neither could be expected to answer. Harry and Ron left shortly after.

    "Well, I'd say that was a bit better than the thing with Hagrid-"

    "Ron, I don't want to touch a school broom again."

    "That's not a bad point, Harry."

    They found their friend staring into the window of another store.

    "What's in there?"

    "It's the Wizarding Wireless Network." Hermione said flatly. "A radio, tower, if you will. I suppose with magic, there's no need for altitude." Harry nodded at the explanation and chanced the lock.

    "Alohamora." he incanted. "I'm not waiting around for it to get dark out here."

    The three of them entered, looking around the dark room. With no one here, the candles would be unlit, I suppose. Strange to think that even the radios don't use electricity.

    "Where would a secret passage be?" the witch asked. Ron appeared to be looking through the programs on the docket.

    "Don't know; should have a secret switch or something. Have you seen these programs they run in the summer? Look at this, Harry, it's Lonely Wizards and their Wands. Then there's an ad for Christina Warbleck's wand water. Merlin, why the hell-"

    "Something tells me I don't want to know, Ron." Harry responded, looking through a row of books in the back with a layer of dust over them. "This might be it." He drew out a book about halfway before the entire shelf descended into the ground.

    "How'd you puzzle that out?"

    "Hasn't been used in years. We're looking for something secret, so it's a good place to start."

    The three of them ducked into the passage, a long narrow tunnel that appeared to go underground with a set of steps. We'll probably surface on the ground floor.

    It became perfectly apparent the passage would take a while, since no light could be seen on the other end. At the same time, Harry estimated it would be all the more relieving when they finally got out, from which point it would be a short trip up the stairs to Gryffindor Tower, assuming they behaved. He had yet to fully accustom himself to the moving staircases, at least not the way the older students seemed to manage them.

    They surfaced a small room off to the side of the Great Hall, which was somewhere within his expectations.

    "Least we're inside the school." Ron muttered. To get to the stairs they would pass a Charms classroom, which would be no concern at all, were it not open, with light pouring out of the room. "Well, I suppose we should count our blessings there wasn't a dragon in the Great Hall."

    "Honestly, Ron, be quiet." Hermione cautioned. "We'll just have to sneak past under the Cloak. We'll have to go slowly."

    In the attempt it became clear that the room was not empty, as they had suspected, and to make matters worse, Professor Flitwick's voice could be heard, pleading almost.

    "Professor, please put an end to the Sticky Solution!" he squeaked. Harry's eyes met those of the others. Snape.

    "You will find, Filius, that this is no worse than one of your sort... deserves." A foul green potion spread out over the floor.

    "How did it reach all the way here?" Hermione whispered. "Some kind of magically reduced viscosity?"

    "Oh, please, Severus, more derision!"

    "There will be no more... derision for the likes of you." Snape muttered as the three of them did their best to avoid the solution on the ground, needing no more incentive to avoid looking into the classroom. "Filthy half-breeds will be called exactly what they are, no more, no less."

    At last out of the range of the door, Harry, Ron, and Hermione nearly broke and ran, settling for a brisk walk.

    "How dare he use such language!" the witch said as they reached the stairs. "I mean honestly, just because Professor Flitwick is half goblin..." She stepped on to the stair and it rotated, reaching another landing. The wizards followed her, exchanging a look.

    "Hermione, there's a fair chance he asked Snape to call him that." the red-haired wizard ventured. "He seemed to like being insulted and well, I guess Snape is the one to ask when you want that."

    She raised a hand and the three of them stopped dead. There was a mewling sound from far above them on the stairs, two or three landings ahead.

    "Mrs Norris..." Harry whispered as a tuft of dust colored fur floated down. "Filch can't be far behind..."

    "Harry, I don't think Filch knows anything about this." the bushy-haired witch said, a worried expression developing. "It sounds like there's another cat up there."

    As if to credit her suspicions on cue, there was another sound. It was a purr, long and... chiding? Harry covered his eyes as though they were burning.

    "Is that McGonagall?" he asked. Ron shook his head, but more out of disbelief than anything else.

    "I can't believe it... well, maybe I can. She was always terribly strict... and Mrs Norris... is Filch okay with this? For some reason I hope he already knows and I won't have to wonder if I should tell him the rest of my life."

    "Ron, he can't just decide whether or not..." Hermione started quietly, backing away onto the first floor.

    "He owns her! He literally owns her! Don't tell me you're against owning pets now!" Ron whispered back, throwing his hands in the air.

    "If anything it's something the Deputy Headmistress shouldn't be doing." Harry decided, interrupting them.

    "Of course, it's incredibly unprofessional." Hermione agreed as they walked the first floor corridor, following their friend who seemed to have a better idea of where he was going. "At the same time, you can hardly let Professor Snape and Professor Flitwick off the hook-"

    "Hermione, I was in favor of exactly nothing that was going on in that room."

    "There it is! It's Gregory the Smarmy!" the red-haired wizard exclaimed, pointing at a statue at the end of the corridor. Nearly skipping to it, he waved his wand over the effigy as the other two caught up.

    "I haven't read about him." the witch said, causing the other two to turn their heads. "Where have you seen his likeness before?" she asked, glaring slightly.

    "I've never seen his likeness before." Ron explained. "Look at his expression, though. I mean, have you ever seen anyone that smarmy?"

    "It'll get us past the cats." Harry offered, entering the passage, which seemed to be an upwardly curving set of stairs. Stairs that don't move? At Hogwarts? It's as if they want us to be able to get somewhere. The way was dark and long, taking them far around the castle, mercifully taking less time than one would think. The three of them surfaced at the other end, exiting a through a portrait, which swung closed behind them.

    "He does look smarmy." he decided quietly as they walked off. "Where are we? This looks like..."

    "It's the East Wing of the fifth floor." Hermione answered. "We're not far from the entrance to the Common Room."

    "Right. Let's just hope the fat lady isn't out of her portrait again. Starting to not want to find out where she's gone if she is."

    Reaching the entrance, the painting was occupied as had been the hope, though a bit disheveled. She did say one time that she had another painting she liked to visit. It was someone named Violet, I think.

    "What is the password?" The Fat Lady asked.

    "Password? There's a password in the summer?" Ron asked.

    "Yes. Mister Filch updates the passwords immediately after the students leave. What is the password?"

    "Lady, you can ask us all you like, but I wouldn't recommend it, because you'll just be disappointed with the answer." He turned to Hermione. "There any other way to get through here?"

    "I don't believe any unwanted visitor can enter." she answered, sighing. "Let's split up. None of us have been to Filch's office, so we'll have to look for it. Harry, you keep the Cloak."

    "Alright. If we don't find anything in an hour, we'll meet up at the fruit painting on the fourth floor." Ron decided. They stared at him. "It's the entrance to the kitchen. At least we'll be warm in there."

    The plan went as expected, and Harry found that having the Cloak would really only be useful if he found Filch's office, and it was more likely one of the others would find it. Of course, if I run into any more of the staff, I just might need it. What we really need is some way of passing it between ourselves, but that sounds like highly advanced magic.

    At last Harry came across the Greenhouses, and decided he might as well check for the school's custodian there, since at least he could follow him back to the office under the Cloak. Ron and Hermione will have to avoid him if they see him- I hope they know better than to follow him too closely.

    All of a sudden a scent caught his nose, and he hid, looking around for what he could be smelling.

    "Oh, it's the best time of the year, that it is." Professor Sprout's voice rang out. Must have just come in or something- there's supposed to be an exterior door- "To think, all those months of working with mandrakes."

    "Truly, as is manifest to the senses themselves. Mandrakes, of all things, when your talents are so much better served elsewhere." It was a voice he had not heard before, but could imagine it coming out of the woman it fit, as he caught sight of her through the Cloak. They were levitating a tray of potted plants, all of the decidedly illegal variety. "The Inner Eye is the clearest when the proper herbology is in place." Right after the students leave? Really? Why?

    His mental interrogative pleading did not reach the squat witch.

    "Call it what you will, Sybil. I wouldn't know how else to get through the fourth-years without imagining them all naked." Harry's mouth was agape. The plants couldn't really let her see through anything- could they? Even a hallucination, though-

    A puff of smoke came out of a nearby plant, a bizarre shrubbery that seemed to be burning in the middle, though unharmed. I have to get out of here. I can't breathe that; I don't even know what it is.

    "Guess who brought that in- I had to 'confiscate' it, of course." Professor Sprout asked as Harry tried to navigate his way out of the rows of plants, not wanting to make a sound.

    "The Inner Eye does not upon command-"

    "It was Anthony Goldstein- a real burning bush!" she cackled, nearly falling over.

    "Of course! The vapors coalesce and clarify-" Alright, that's about enough I've had of this. Harry broke and ran, levitating a plant on the other end of the greenhouse to distract the teachers. He made it out into the corridor, but did not dare remove the cloak. Going back up the stairs, he found them mercifully free of cats, though Ron and Hermione were bickering on the way to the painting on the fourth floor.

    "You'll never believe what I saw."

    "No, you'll never believe what I saw, and I reckon I've seen quite a bit today, thank you very much."

    "I think I'll believe both of you." Harry answered, spooking them as he came from behind.

    "Oh, really?" the red-haired wizard asked. "What if I told you I took a wrong turn at the Hospital Wing and I saw none other than old Kettleburn begging Madam Pomfrey to 'take care of him' and take care to leave him with his remaining limbs?"

    Well, I didn't ask you to share.

    "Did you find Filch?"

    "He wasn't in his office." Ron explained. "There was nothing written in there about the passwords, and I really turned the place upside down."

    "Did you find him?" he asked, turning to Hermione.

    "I found out a bit, but nothing I ever wanted to learn. Just after we split up, I saw Moaning Myrtle float into Professor Binns's office, practically singing that she had been a bad girl. I mean, can ghosts even-" She shook her head. "Either way, it was incredibly inappropriate, especially considering their age difference. How old was she, thirteen?"

    "Yeah, like fifty years ago." Ron muttered. "Was Filch there?"

    "No, I ran into the library."

    "Color me surprised."

    "For your information, there might have been books about how to get into the dormitory."

    "And there weren't?" Ron asked as Harry walked a bit ahead to get to the painting. As described, it was a still life of an arrangement of fruit.

    "I have no idea. I ran for it after seeing Professor Babbling and Madam Prince reading ancient erotic literature together. To think, I was looking forward to learning Ancient Runes, but now that I know what her real interest is-"

    "Hermione, how do we get through this?" Harry asked.

    "Tickle the pear." the red-haired wizard answered. "Elves wouldn't be able to get past anything that needed a wand. Not allowed to carry them, I don't think."

    Hermione scowled, but entered with the pair of them all the same.

    "I for one would like to see this for myself, though the fact that they are not allowed wands paints a worrying picture-" As they passed through the painting, they were greeted by loud music, mostly fiddling and what sounded like banjo.

    "All y'all, best lissen up!" a shrill elvish voice announced from the end of a worktable. "We'se got a new 'servant' in da Hogwarts kitchuns!" Someone threw the cloak over the three of them by default. I suppose there are worse habits to develop.

    "Hello..." another voice started. That's Dobby! What's he doing here? Ron pointed him out, standing uncomfortably on another worktable.

    "Now I'se no doubt at all- tha's right, no doubt at all, that we know how to welcome Dobby!" Harry raised a hand to cover Hermione's eyes, imagining the sackcloth was about to come off, but she batted it away, holding her determination to observe their conditions. His other friend looked ready to bolt, but could hardly leave them with the Cloak.

    The next few minutes were a cacophony, shouts of praise of Hogwarts and the servitude of house elves were all he could make out in the otherwise incomprehensible din, though it seemed in a general sense they were excited to have a new co-worker, if that term even applied. The witch next to him was standing stock-still, as though looking at a train wreck while the chorus of elves magically opened enormous cans of black paint, levitating the liquid out in the shape of a mask, unmistakably suggesting years, if not decades of practice.

    "This doesn't even... tangentially apply to them!" she whispered in a pleading tone. "Why? Why are they doing this?" she asked as they danced all over the work tables, getting black paint everywhere as it dripped from their faces. The jaunty tune was maintained by a rotating cycle of kitchen workers, who took turns playing, dancing, and tossing Dobby in the air with frightening efficiency.

    When at last everything devolved into a cheer for the elf of honor, he was permitted to speak.

    "Dobby..." he started, looking around to see a crowd of large eyes staring back. "Well, he was thinking, that as he may be leavings whenever he likes, and he is askings for payment, that... that we all might be free elves."

    The room, enormous though it was, immediately filled with the most raucous, high-pitched laughter, which went from communicating utter bewilderment to abject cruelty. Tears were streaming down Hermione's face as the pair of wizards dragged her out of there, with every expectation the Cloak was fluttering about their ankles.

    "That was the worst thing yet." the witch decided at length, taking a moment to compose herself as the painting shut itself, cutting off a feigned accent in mid-sentence.

    "Well, at least it can't get any worse." Harry said, despite a shake of the head from Ron. That's right, he's a bit superstitious. He might have wondered if superstitions were different in the world of magic, since they knew magic was actually real, but he was too tired to care. "We probably won't find Filch anywhere." he decided.

    "Now you're just making it worse." Ron decided. "Now he'll catch us out of bed and string us up by our toes."

    "No, we really won't. He's probably gone home, wherever that is."

    "We'll find him. Mark my words."

    "Well, it will be no worse than we deserve." Hermione decided, still sniffling. "We really are out of bed, when we knew that was one of the most important rules. We really should have expected they would ward the doors. I should have checked-"

    "It doesn't matter now." Harry said. I'm the one who really got us all into this. "There's only one place left to go."

    The other two followed him as he headed to Dumbledore's office, or the gargoyle guarding it, to be precise. Filch most likely had no authority over the password for that particular statue, so it would most likely only change when another sweet struck the Headmaster's fancy. In truth, he did not know whether he would apologize for being out of bed, express his disappointment that they were barred from Gryffindor Tower because the custodian had not been informed of their presence, or simply ask for everyone to be allowed to go home, having decided that it was much worse than anything the Dursleys could have managed.

    The grotesque statue simply stared at them until they uttered a password.

    "Sorbet lemon."

    The gargoyle stepped aside.

    "Finally. Something went our way." Hermione expressed, sighing.

    "You're only making it worse." Ron muttered as they started up the spiral stair.

    "It's not going to get any worse." Harry responded, stopping. "We're going to go in there, apologize for being out of bed, and if we can get the new password, great, if we can't, then I don't know. What makes me dread it so much is the certainty." He imagined the sigh of disappointment the Headmaster would offer as he explained himself, thinking of all the things he should have done in the last twenty four hours, most notably asking about password changes in advance. If only we'd been inside when it turned dark- we might've caught Filch.

    Sighing, he reached up and opened the door.

    All at once the three of them were confronted with Argus Filch in black leather standing in front of a presumably naked Dumbledore, strung up against the back wall of the office by his toes. Ron clamped his hands over Hermione's mouth to muffle her scream as Harry tried to get the Cloak over them, though he doubted either occupant of the room would notice them.

    "Really wish you'd stop calling me Gellert, Albus." he sneered, cracking a whip. "I'd prefer you call me Daddy."

    "It can't get any worse, Ron!" the red-haired wizard managed at a quiet scream. "We won't find Filch anywhere!"

    "No one expected this!" the bushy-haired witch responded, removing his hand as Harry straightened out the cloak. "For the record, predicting things will get worse just because someone says they won't-"

    "Apologies, Argus, it appears we have some guests..." Professor Dumbledore began, waving a wand to close the door behind them. "Harry, I find that the greatest magic in the world for avoiding awkward situations may save you some trouble in the future."

    "It's called knocking, you twits!" Filch shouted, red faced. "Alb- Headmaster, we really have to explore alternate punishments for these circumstances. If nothing else, they should be strung up and-"

    "Nonsense." the old warlock decided. "A simple memory charm will be sufficient to prevent any lasting harm to them or anyone at the school. They will not remember the beginning of the summer, perhaps the first few weeks if some punishment does take place, but I fear that if their memories are eroded, castigation would be quite pointless, as they will truly not learn anything."

    Filch looked stunned for a moment, but then thought of something.

    "Was your punishment pointless?" he asked, snarling as always.

    "I should certainly not like you to discontinue entirely." Dumbledore evaded.

    "Quite. Yet you never seem to learn, always being a bad boy and skipping your punishments."

    Harry struggled to think of a way out, but Hermione had already tried the gargoyle, which was simply shaking a finger at them.

    "Argus, I remind you that many of those punishments have been banned in every country except Angola-"

    "Only because you were tired of them- Now were these punishments pointless or not?" Filch asked, not letting the argument go. The three students waited with wide eyes for the Headmaster to come to a decision.

    "Very well, Argus. For a short period, you will be allowed to punish them, though they will not learn their lesson. A few false memories will be necessary to complete their idea of their return home, but nothing more. I expect they will simply ignore the gaps in their memory, and as they will learn nothing, this pattern will continue for the next five years." He sighed. "Alas, it appears Harry will never fully explore the Chamber of Secrets."

    "Wait..." Hermione started. "Has this happened before, sir?"

    "I am afraid it has, Miss Granger. You and your friends were gladly granted permission to remain at Hogwarts last year, after which you discovered some interesting things about the anatomy of a possessed man, though for the life of me I have no idea how you ended up in the school's crypt."

    Harry was not aware of his own expression, but it could have been the same as either of his friends.

    "Sir, please, it's my fault." he said at last. "If I'd explained the rules better... please don't punish my friends."

    "I imagine it is both an honor and a dreadful responsibility, but you will find that wherever one of you goes, the other two will follow, no matter how poor of a decision. Now, as it happens, you will follow Mr. Filch to the dungeons. If Professor Snape happens to discover your unfortunate circumstance, do remember you were promised an appropriate punishment for your disobedience."

    Harry could hardly face his friends as they turned back to the stairs, but it seemed Ron had no such trouble with Hermione. He was practically glaring at her.

    "What?" she asked, annoyed.

    "Go on. Say it can't get any worse again." Ron stopped on the way out the door, turning back to Dumbledore and Filch. "For the record, your cats are getting at it."



    Please place all reviews in spoiler tags ~Sorrows
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2019
  2. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    I like the idea of Harry getting to stay at Hogwarts for the summer, but this entry feels a bit pointless.

    Most of it is just humour, and the thing about humour is, it has to actually land. Most of the jokes are cringy and sexual. The line about "Christina Warbleck" (her name is Celestina Warbeck) and her wand water is awful and groan-inducing, not even in a good way.

    And it just keeps on getting more cringy and more sexual. We go from Hagrid drizzling aphrodisiacs over the firecrabs while singing to Hooch wanting some gooch to a radio sex line (??) to gay BDSM jokes to drug jokes to more gay BDSM jokes.

    Humour has to be funny, and for me this just isn't it, chief.

    The ending, which says that all of this has happened before and will, in all likelihood, happen again, just isn't funny. Normally you want to end a humourous entry on a real howler of a line, but "your pets are banging btw" just isn't good enough.

    There's also technical errors all over the place and bits where you seem to forget what's already happened, but frankly, you've got other issues to work through first.
     
  3. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    So I read this story and then I read BTTs review, I generally don't do that but I don't know what I want to say about this one. I haven't much to say, really that would be constructive. On a personal level I don't like humor stories. I've said this before, and I'll say it here -- Humor writing takes a certain amount of talent to pull off. Humor in general is subjective to the person reading it, and a lot of times when people write humor its feels disingenuous. Its forced, its not true, its only there because the situation in which the humor is happening was carefully constructed.

    A better explanation would be: You ever tell someone a joke, they don't get it, so you waste time telling them about the joke?When you have to explain the joke, then its no longer funny. By setting up the scene to make your joke work, its like you're telling us why the joke is funny and not letting the reader find the humor themselves.

    There's a lot of that here. If I was to turn what I've said above into something constructive for you, I'd say this: The elements of canon that are funny are the odd quirky moments of character interaction. You've got a bit of that going here, but your piece is largely introspective. So the humor is contained only to one POV.

    Sexualized humor has a specific niche in the stand-up world. Everything I said above is rendered moot by the fact that you focus nearly exclusively on making the jokes sexual. Its worse than a fart joke. I'm not five, and I like my humor to come from odd moments or bizarre scenarios.

    Plot & Pacing: 2/5
    There isn't much here in terms of plot. Pacing is all over the place. Its basically just you trying to tell as many fart jokes as possible so each scene feels forced and slightly ruined because the end goal is for you to try and get us to laugh with shitty humor.

    Characters: 2/5
    The biggest issue here was the Filch scene, never-mind everyone else. Filch didn't read like Filch, or even a cartoon of his character. He read like someone else that had his same name, but wasn't related in the least.

    Prompt Use: 3/5
    You used the prompt. That's about all I can say. Points for effort?

    Other: 2/5
    I found the more I read this the harder it became for me not to skim it. Where other stories were short and needed more content to make them better, I think this one needed less to make it more.

    Thank you for submitting, however.

    9/20
     
  4. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    On a technical level, this isn't too bad, at least in the first half or so - I'll admit that by about halfway through, I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to pay particularly close attention to that kind of thing, to be honest.

    There's four big problems with this, for me. The first is that you have literally one joke. It might have a different coat of paint, scene to scene, but basically one joke, dragged out over the entire piece. Hogwarts staff are filthy, how hilarious. To be fair, it's not exactly a bad idea for a joke, but you just hammer away at it with no subtlely or real development, which leads to the second fundamental problem; the jokes aren't really funny. The initial bit with Hagrid raised a bit of a smile, but beyond that, I was just rolling my eyes.

    Away from the humour or lack of it, you've got issues with characterisation and consistency. It seems a bit daft to criticise something like this for characterisation issues, because the whole point is that characters are acting in ways we wouldn't expect, so I'm not really going to comment on the staff, but the trio really didn't feel like kids at all. Maybe I'm just naive, but I feel like twelve, thirteen year olds seeing this kind of thing would have reacted a hell of a lot worse than the snarky comments given here. Unless, of course, they got all that out of the way the first time round, and it's stuck beyond the memory charms, which leads me neatly on to consistency - if the castle descends into debauchery once the school closes for the summer, why in God's (or indeed Merlin's) name are pre-pubescent children allowed to stay under any circumstances, and especially a second time? Why are the staff not more careful the second time around, given that they can apparently keep themselves under control for the duration of term? Why am I thinking about the logic of this so much?

    2/5
     
  5. darklordmike

    darklordmike Headmaster

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    I appreciate the attempt to write a humor fic about what happens over the summer for the Professors. There's lots of potential to mine there. This obviously leans toward crack, but even so there are the kernels of a few good jokes here (e.g., the trio walking in on McGonagall getting shagged by another cat). The problem is the delivery. You stop short of actually telling the jokes. There's the set-up, but then the characters basically give us a summary of what happened instead of delivering a punch line.

    Also, even in crack, there's got to be some reason for the bit to be happening at all. Why are Flitwick and Snape in a dom/sub scenario? It's absurd, yes, and silly, but where's the joke? If it's supposed to be in the trio's reactions, then it falls flat because their reactions get glossed over or aren't horrified enough.

    I won't belabor the point anymore. The premise isn't terrible for crack, but imo the jokes just weren't presented in a funny way.

    From a technical point of view, the writing is solid. There are a couple minor issues like this one that are repeated:
    The period after 'entirely' should be a comma, and that's an issue throughout.

    In terms of style, it's again solid with one exception: the italicized text that you use to indicate Harry's thoughts. That's hard to pull off correctly. It can be done, but it's usually best to imply what the character is thinking using his speech and actions. The bigger problem here is that what Harry thinks in italics is literally repeating what just happened or interpreting the story for the reader, giving them no work to do.

    It's not a terrible first attempt at a crack premise, and a few jokes have potential, but it needs work. Thanks for writing.

    2/5
     
  6. Chadrew

    Chadrew Second Year

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    One thing that stood out to me was the liberal use of epithets, especially in speech tags:


    I understand the desire to avoid repetition, but personally, it made this entry more cumbersome to read. It's also odd that the PoV character - Harry - would think of his best friend as simply "the witch".

    There are ways to avoid repetition without resorting to epithets. For example, if two characters are speaking and the third is only listening, after the initial mention of the two's names you can skip speech tags altogether, simply putting their speech into separate paragraphs, until the third chimes in. This works well if each character has distinctive speech patterns.

    You already seem to be using pronouns for the PoV character in particular, which is another way. "He" for Harry, from who's perspective we experience the story, and "Ron" for "Ron".

    Perhaps most importantly, readers tends to skip over familiar character names just like they skip over pronouns and the word "said", so avoiding them so zealously isn't necessary in the first place.

    Humor is subjective so I won't say much on that front. The jokes got a little repetitive, but I did found the reveal that this isn't the first time this happened to Harry amusing (if a little disturbing, considering they were only first-years last time).
     
  7. Eilyfe

    Eilyfe Supreme Mugwump

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    Okay, that was something. The idea itself is pretty crack-ish and, imo, had a bit too much "erotica" in it for a story involving 12-year-olds. Some of the scenarios were plain weird. The saving grace, really, was the twist that it has happened like this already, and their memories are charmed. I like the idea of the trio always finding themselves in trouble over the summer and being forced to forget it; the sentence "where one goes, two follow" is a nice sentiment.

    From a technical standpoint the writing could use some work. Some things are easily fixable (punctuation in dialog, etc.) and we've got a good compendium of writing sources on DLP to help with that. The other part, getting better into a pov, rhythm, and diction are things that get better by writing and reading a lot.

    I had trouble, at times, to really get into the story because Harry didn't behave like Harry. The way he demanded things from Dumbledore was one such instance. It felt a bit like you veered between trying to write a 12-y-o and your own voice/interpretation.

    Overall I think you had an interesting premise - the Trio stays > the Trio discovers shit > the Trio has to be obliviated (again) - but the execution and the details were somewhat lacking. There was a real opportunity to show some interesting world building with that premise but the story went for comedy instead, and that comedy didn't really land for me.
     
  8. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Chief Warlock DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    Spoiler warning! brought to you by maliciouscomplianceTM

    Gosh, well, ok then.

    Sometimes when I'm mowing the garden, a little robin will come and watch me from the wall. When I move onto the next section s/he'll jump down to where I've just been - or to the birdbath - and look for worms. The adorable little bugger is always chirping and dancing, and the fact that probably means it’s posting up doesn't bother me too much because it's not shoving it in my face and there's a degree of ambiguity about what it’s about, really. This is not particularly relevant to this review beyond that but, -- like I've just learnt a Patronus charm that fends off nausea -- I want to have this memory at the top of my working document to refer to as we go along and I reread nastiness after nastiness.

    In the two reviews I've posted so far I've covered turning points and scene analysis and I suppose conflict and character development. You could, pessimistically, say it's roughly all the same thing: when one value turns into a different value.

    For me, this was the turning point of your story:
    Not for the narrative, but for the reader. Regrettably, this is the point where it turned from wonderful to less-than-wonderful for me, I'm sorry to say.

    Plot & Pacing:
    There certainly is a plot, a whole story. In brief, Harry, Ron and Hermione stay at Hogwarts over the Summer Holidays, they fail to follow the rules and in their troubles to get back into the castle encounter various dramatic sexcapades until they meet Dumbledore and it reveals that they do this each year and are then sent home with their memory altered. Cool. Funny. In theory.

    It runs over-long, certainly. A bit too much in the way of sexcapades, I suspect. Practically everyone gets their turn. Repeating the same essential form means that each successive encounter is robbed of more and more humour. I did laugh at Hagrid's rhyme. I smiled at Hooch's brief encounter, but then I realised this would be the whole thing. Progressively more and more lewd and cracky and disinteresting.

    I have realised, from previous competitions, that I seem to have quite a low threshold for crack compared to every-one else who reviews, so I'd take all this with a pinch of salt.

    The problem is that, once the pattern was established, there was no longer unexpected events. They'd encounter a character, there'd be a gross sex act seen or intimated and then we'd progress to the next stop on the story-rails. Particularly, in humour, I feel that you need to subvert my expectations, extremely. Much more than in a regular story. I feel a joke is built on a very logical expectation for a set-up than having a very different punch-line, but one that still makes sense.

    'My wife told me: ‘Sex is better on holiday.’ That wasn’t a nice postcard to receive'. Badum tish.

    It needs to be unexpected, and change your previous understanding of events. I stopped laughing with this story when that stopped happening.

    I think if perhaps Dumbledore hadn't been participating or you'd had some sort of different role for his part in that ending, that would've been better, underscoring all these shenanigans with something different - perhaps Dumbledore ironically playing the straight man for his staff. Perhaps being woefully inept at all these shenanigans.

    That said, between the three of the trio, there were still some good lines. And Ron's final line did get a smile out of me.

    Characters:
    On my first pass, before this section was recontextualised, I particularly enjoyed how Dumbledore negotiated with Harry. Certainly, it wasn’t particularly Harry as we usually see him with Dumbledore but it was the divergence of your story, the opener so I don’t think it mattered. I think the essential cheeky (and slightly slow) characterisation of 12-year-old Harry came through. Dumbledore’s response above felt fantastically in character.

    The dynamic of the trio carried on along at this sort of level and I think was the most enjoyable aspect of the story. I would’ve liked to see that played up more. If the events had been less absurd and sexual then the dynamic could have made some more straight situation comedic, I think. Hermione’s line about preserving the fire crabs dignity made me laugh. Her and Ron’s argument about house-elves felt organic and I got the sense that they all had different perspectives on how to solve the problems they were encountering. Beyond the locked door, they were constantly slightly antagonising each other to decide on a course of action and I liked that.

    I really did like that. After all the endless bashing, any story that gives Ron the best lines gets an extra point from me.

    Perhaps, there was a little too much passiveness from Harry’s internal voice, turned a little too much toward the blank slate in his role as the perspective character.

    Obviously, everyone else after that turning-point mentioned at the start was cracky. I particularly disliked the (?) southern USA elf minstrel thing.

    Prompt Use:
    You covered all the professors and what they did in the summer, certainly.

    Copy-edit:
    The strongest aspect of this story was sometimes undermined by clunky language.
    When these came close to each other or at transitional moments, it sometimes took a couple of rereads of a section to fully understand what the trio was doing or what sex act they had encountered, or whatever, and that of course dips you out the narrative and makes it harder to follow along and get into the story. Particularly, I’m thinking of: meeting Sprout and Trelawney, after they leave the shop and reencounter Hermione, the conversation regarding punishment between Dumbledore and Filch, and what happens after Dobby’s speech.

    There are just some odd word-choices, like when Ron and Hermione both discuss Gregory’s likeness. This is really important because it’s not just this story, it’s going to need work to not affect whatever you write in the future.

    I was considering writing about the dialogue, which we've established is both one of your strengths in the characters proper, while also sometimes creating confusion and being clunky and unnatural.
    There is a wealth of information on this online, in web videos and on the site itself. If you've not seen it then Halt's series is a useful primer and helps to figure out where to travel next.

    Instead, I think I'll discuss genre and comedy. I'm by no means an expert on it, but just some ideas about why genre is helpful and important, and maybe throw in some links along the way to things that might be useful to a budding comedy writer, like Why Comedy needs Character.

    Essentially it's because comedy is a story like any other. It's not enough to say that because it's a joke that you can avoid all the other things that more dramatic stories need. Consider some successful comedies, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (a quest) to Role Models (a coming of age story/buddy story for two man-childs) there's always a more 'normal' story underpinning things. In fact, 'comedy is written by angry people' seems to be the prevailing sentiment I see tossed around - and I think this is because good comedy comes from a place of looking at something society needs to learn or poking fun at the tropes of less-comedic stories and showing why their lessons/themes would be terrible for people. Ultimately, everything that comes in a drama is amped up in a comedy, and I think you give yourself a harder task in writing a comedic story than in any other genre.

    That said, considering genre writing is fantastically helpful, if you can use it from the start to pin down what you want to write.

    What did you want to write here when you sat down?

    A farce? A parody? A black comedy? A screwball comedy or ... a romantic comedy? A gross-out comedy? A fish out of water comedy? Slapstick (I'm not sure how much this one applies to written works)?

    Genre is important for audience:

    Genre is fantastically important because everyone knows it, even if they can't put the words to it. Everyone here has been watching films, anime, reading stories and fanfictions for their whole lives, probably. There's a library in everyone's head and we use it to instantly and massively build expectations for the direction the story will take. People identify a genre and then they want to see what they're expecting but also not. They want to see a new take on an old pattern.

    The more specifically you can identify your genre, the more expertly you can deduce what you need to follow and what you need to diverge from to surprise your reader and get them talking about it and recommend it. Steer too close and people are bored, diverge and people say they didn't get what they expected - that it wasn't to their tastes.

    Genre is useful for writer:

    Each genre has unique conventions but, if you can identify them, you can figure out the way to write your stories. Genre conventions help with the settings, roles of characters, the events that happen themselves and the values that you need to touch. Imagine a detective mystery where the main character was actually no good at solving mysteries... well, then you get Pink Panther, which is a comedy.

    Comedy is a ball-ache because you'll have to appreciate multiple conventions and pick them apart and put them together.

    As tedious as these limitations are, they can actually prove really useful. Robert Mckee writes 'Genre conventions are the rhyme scheme of a storyteller's "poem." They do not inhibit creativity they inspire it. The challenge is to keep convention but avoid cliche.'

    The best way to understand genre is to expose yourself to what you're trying to emulate, and only you can really identify what you intended specifically for this story. I hope it's not too offensive to you, but I'll look at Gross-out/off-colour comedy as a subgenre of comedy. I'm thinking American Pie, I'm thinking some aspects of Scary Movie, South Park for television. I'm sure there are some books, probably.

    There's no immediately obvious beat sheet/convention-list to link that I can find on google. However, just brainstorming:
    • Schadenfreude - generally in films like Eurotrip and other things that jump to mind, there's a principal character who is partaking in something horrible, or having something horrible happen to them.
      • This doesn't quite happen in your story, thankfully, considering the principal characters are twelve-year-olds. The Professors are all suitably enjoying their horrid acts, but the acts never hit the students, they're not caught up in them. Imagine American Pie where it's Jim's dad that fingers the pie, not Jim.
    • Sympathetic and unsympathetic protagonists - every example I can think of has a mix of the sensible ones and the obnoxious one. The Stiffler, the Cartman etc. You need to have people who you hope will avoid their fate, and people you hope will get a face full of Fluggaenkoecchicebolsen. The trouble is that they're all still protagonists, even the obnoxious one. You need to make their characterisation enjoyable even if their character itself is piss-poor.
      • You could argue that Ron, Hermione and Harry can fit various roles by their nature. The problem is that they're all quite reasonable. It's not pushed to extremes. It may be slightly difficult to do it with this cast considering canon, however with Neville and Dean and Seamus maybe, or some AUness that was well defined, maybe.
    • A preoccupation with Sex - again, because most of the goals for these gross-out films is for the character to get laid, a lot of their gross-out events involve bodily problems and sexual issues. The subject of the comedy is always somewhat related to the goal of the story itself, and remember that the story structure is separate to genre conventions. You need both.
    I think you could sit down and watch a few of these and create your own list, or with some dedicated searching find a proper convention list. Cribbing from carry on films, or exploring a different comedy sub-genre may also allow you to hit the notes you want in this story so that you can establish a comedic tone and explore that comedic element, while also providing subversion. So that it doesn't feel like one identical thing after another.

    A good comedy done well is always the most impressive achievement to read.

    I think there's not terribly much in the other reviews, now that I've read them for this section, that I disagree with. I think I've said most of it myself in this, too, actually.

    The comedy was quite one-note and the twist at the end couldn't carry us to a satisfying finish because there was just too much of the same joke form throughout. I do stand by my thoughts that the characterisations and the early story gave me a great deal of hope and I think it showed promise. If it had headed somewhere else, this could've been a podium finisher for me.

    I hope this feedback as a whole is helpful and not terribly discouraging. I always think that the real opportunity of the competitions is the chance to do peculiar things and see how it works. It's a fantastic experience to step outside your wheel-house or to try out an odd concept that you may have never committed to writing down otherwise.

    I'd look forward to seeing another comedy story from you after this. Any comedy story done well is a triumph. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  9. FitzDizzyspells

    FitzDizzyspells Sixth Year DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    This story was way too childish for me to enjoy it, but I’ll give the author one thing: They set out to write a story in which the Golden Trio keeps awkwardly stumbling on the professors talking about and having kinky sex, and they wrote exactly that story. And that’s more than I did for this competition, so I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

    I did laugh when Ron recognized Gregory the Smarmy by his expression, lol.

    There are a couple of grammar and style issues worth fixing.

    First of all, italicized thoughts are acceptable if they’re used sparingly, but it’s overdone here. Pull a novel off your bookshelf, and you’ll see that exposition is an extension of the protagonist’s thoughts. Thoughts that occur to your protagonist don’t all need to be italicized. And if something quippy occurs to your protagonist when they’re around friends — “Stairs that don’t move? At Hogwarts? It’s as if they want us to be able to get somewhere.” — it’s best to just say it out loud. I mean, who would think that and not say it to their friend, who’s standing right next to them?

    Your sentences like this: "That's great, Harry." Hermione said.

    Need to be punctuated like this: "That's great, Harry," Hermione said.

    And, last thing: This story overuses epithets, like “the aged warlock” and “the red-haired wizard.” I know that when you’re writing, it will feel like you’re overusing people’s names, but trust me: It sounds much more natural to just use people’s names.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  10. Microwave

    Microwave Professor

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    It's not very funny.

    I don't know, maybe the humour just isn't really my style, but I found the writing more uncomfortable than anything. It feels a bit too mature and immature at the same time, they don't really behave and interact like their twelve-year-olds, and at the same time, the humour is a bit too exuberant to really hit the mark.

    It's very sexual, which is kind of questionable, even more so considering the fact that it's not particularly humorous either. Despite that, I think the main issue with the story is that it doesn't really capture any real feeling of magic, it's just edgy.

    I'm being a bit mean, but I think that's really the crux of what prevents your story from being genuinely entertaining. It's an interesting idea, having our protagonists stumble into strange situations and the twist that the same scenario had been repeated previously, but its effect is kind of taken away from the fact that the twist is the only part that really provokes the reader in a way that's not just discomfort.

    That being said, this story could probably be amazing if its comedic elements could be toned down into a less excessive way, and the twist became more than just a bit of a side note at the end. It's a nice concept, but I don't think it was pulled off in a way that really gives it light.

    1.5/5
     
  11. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    I dislike this story. It's just trying too hard to be funny in a crack-ish, childish way. There's no real attempt to be subtle or sophisticated with the humor, relying instead on kinky sex gotchas and absurdity in order to get laughs, but the problem is that that absurdity isn't juxtaposed with anything else. It just keeps doubling down on itself, and hopes that it works.

    The magical aspects as well just don't feel magical to me. The worldbuilding feels off from JKR's. It doesn't capture the same wonder.

    And at the end of it all their obliviated. Not only that, we learn that this has happened before and will likely happen again. So the end state is not really satisfactory. Nothing has really changed, it will keep going on. Nor is there any tragedy in the loss of their memories. What they've learned is meh, and there's no real character development. There's no growth. Seeing their professors engage in all manners of debauchery feels like it hasn't affected the trio at all, and for all those reasons it makes it hard to care about the story's result.

    All stories, even those that rely on humor, must never forget that it's character first---everything else second. You can't break your characters to be funny, because in doing so you lose both.
     
  12. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator

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    Things I liked

    First off, I think you did a decent job of keeping the feel of the trios interactions authentic. Ron in particular had some great lines when he was bantering with Hermione. It was engaging and amusing to listen to them as they careened around the castle. In the same way, Dumbledore and Harry at the beginning had great chemistry.

    The technical writing was also good. It did get a bit confusing at times and I don't think Harry's direct internal voice added anything, but that is a personal bugbear of mind.

    In terms of the prompt you certainly explored it thoroughly. We found out what all the professor's were doing. You had a decent structure. Your story had a clear set up, the trio wanting to stay at Hogwarts and being allowed if they followed the rules. They promptly break them, the consequence being finding out what the professor's really get up to and ending up memory charmed for their troubles. As a crack set up it has potential.

    Things that didn't work for me.

    I see what you were going for, each professor being found in increasingly outlandish compromising conditions. I could easially see the skit in my head as the trio bounced around the castle seeing weirder and weirder stuff. I think though, often while I could see what was ment to be , it did not land. This was mainly because the 'scenes' were often missing some component to make the joke work, whether it was set up, tension, comic timing, subverting expectations, reactions. The joke was often summarised rather than explored.

    I think the pacing was hard to grasp. It felt as if everything happens in only mad dash, which gives little breathing room between each teacher encounter. This means the trio (and the reader) don't really get time to react on what has happened, lessening its impact. It also ment you did not have time to set up the next joke or developed the three charecters logical emotional journey through what was happening. (Yes even for crack this would make the humour flow better.)

    Humour is very subjective, but I think the reason this fall's a bit flat is not the subject (yes it is juvenile, but that doesn't mean it can't be funny) but more the technical components of writing humour that are not entirely understood. However the writing itself is technically solid. The author could probably absorb the theory behind what makes a joke land on the page and produce something much closer to what they were going for pretty easially.

    Good effort, didn't quite do what you wanted, but with a bit of research I reckon you could nail a humourous crack-fest on a second attempt.
     
  13. Niez

    Niez Competition Winner CHAMPION ⭐⭐

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    I knew from the first moment where this was going, was excited for it too, as it seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately the rest of the story then took place and it was… well it was something alright. I’m just not sure that it was good.

    Why do this? This apparent insignificant detail already stretches disbelief to a breaking point. Dumbledore making an exception for Harry is… eh. I’ll allow it. Dumbledore making an exception for all of them, and Ron and Hermione’s parents agreeing? Nuh-uh. Clear foul.

    In all seriousness I believe that an important aspect for comedy is keeping the events moderately realistic. If reasonable expectations fly out of the window then unreasonable events cease to become funny. Why should we be amused when we catch Snape degrading Filch? You have established this fic as taken place in an alternative universe already, so why would he not? If would be a different thing if everything seemed normal to the reader up until that point and then we got to see progressively weirder things. Then at least you would have gotten a couple surprised giggles. But as it stands? Very few, and only because I was high we share a sense of humour.

    [But what about crack? I hear you argue. Well, this is just a personal opinion, but I disdain crack. I turn my nose up at it (and then sniff really hard). But seriously though, fanfiction crack is mildly amusing at best, and always unreadable when longer than a chapter or two. It severely annoys me, and you don’t wanna see me when I’m annoyed. I’m even more insufferable about inane minutiae :)].

    In any case, I’m not giving this a rating. I think you knew that even if you pulled it off perfectly you weren’t going to win. Comedy never seems to do that well in story competitions (nor at family dinners - thought that could just be me). Still though A++ for effort. It's mostly well written too.

    And this line?
    Pure gold.
     
  14. Dirty Puzzle

    Dirty Puzzle Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    This was really hard for me to get through, if I'm being honest. The pacing was pretty slow the whole way through, and the one joke got stale pretty quickly. I think there's a good way to at the very least refresh the idea that Hogwarts' faculty is raunchy. People prefer different things, and it could've been a lot funnier with the same premise if some good old fashion irony and hypocrisy was added in. Other than that, I'm not super sold that the premise is all that funny unless it was tailored really well to the specific characters. I think there was a lot more potential for humor in the Trio staying at Hogwarts over the summer than just sex jokes.

    Technically speaking, it was average. A beta could clean up some peeves with syntax and grammar, but it wasn't unreadable.

    Overall, a 2/5.
     
  15. Majube

    Majube Order Member DLP Supporter

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    I'm going to be honest, I didn't enjoy this entry. I don't tend to read crack fics and this one was kind of offputting because it's a lowkey-lewd fic. Filch/Dumbledore BDSM isn't really anyone's cup of tea.

    Nonetheless, it did have good writing I guess, pacing was kind of all over the place but the plotting and how they went about discovering the different professors was alright.

    I just don't think the premise is plausible and as this is a crackfic more effort could've been put into actually making the suspension of disbelief work. It just wasn't a good start, instead of having Harry convince a lukewarm Dumbledore. It could've been all three of them with Hermione having come prepared with a lot of intelligent arguments, Ron with childish charisma, and Harry pulling the orphan card and then at last the 'basilisk champion' card as a last trump card.

    I don't think that Dumbledore would memory charm them unless it was serious and as this is a crackfic you could've had them be looking around dumbledore's office and find something/look in his pensieve and be disturbed then have Dumbledore walk in and sign and memory charm them.

    As is, this reads like a fic that could've been written in 2009. The shining parts of it are the premise that the trio stay in hogwarts over the summer and discover the professors secrets and see them in a new light. I think the unfunny crack could've been ditched.
     
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