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Entry #8

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

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    Gil the Golden Dragon
    “Harhar!”

    Harry Potter, thrice retired Chief Auror, Headmaster, and Supreme Mugwump, stopped and spun on a dime, his robes flaring around him, and threw his hands into the air with a yell. “Who’s that?!”

    “It’s me Harhar!” Giggling ensued as the littlest Potter, Harry’s great-great-great-grandson Artie Potter, toddled over holding a book and thrust it into Harry’s legs. “Up!”

    In a heartbeat, Harry tossed his progeny fifty feet into the air with a casual flick of his wand. The book went flying, but Harry redirected it to the couch while bouncing Artie through the air and eventually into his waiting arms.

    “Up?” asked Harry.

    “Up, up, up!”

    Harry laughed, shook his head, and set the lad down. Artie rushed towards the couch and his beloved book. He shouldn’t play favorites amongst his many descendants, but Harry couldn’t help it. Artie was a perfect blend of his own scant positive traits and everything he loved most about Luna, as if their attributes had distilled through the generations to produce only the best of themselves in him. He looked like them too, with his untamable pale hair.

    “Harhaaaaaaaaaar!”

    Harry snapped out of his daze and smiled. “Sorry Artie, nargles got me for a minute there.” He walked over and scooped him off the couch, sitting back down with both boy and book in his lap. “Which one are we reading today?”

    “Gilly!”

    “Gil the Golden Dragon it is,” said Harry, turning to the last story in the book of Fantastical Fairy Tales. “Is this it?”

    “Yah! Glow.”

    Harry smiled, tapped his wand against the pages, and brought all the characters to life in streaming motes of gold. Then he began to read, immersing them into the story.

    == == == ==
    Once upon a time, there was a golden dragon named Gil, who was the prince of a great kingdom. The King and Queen hired the finest artisans in all the land to craft a marvelous crown worthy of him, their only child.

    Goblins, Dwarves, Mages, and Dragons—all the citizens of the realm—came together to work, careful to get everything just right. The crown emerged as a circlet of golden braids studded with the finest gems, molded by dragonfire, and woven together with magic.

    Wearing it made the prince more worthy, and with every passing day he grew more handsome and intelligent. But Gil was spoiled rotten and given all that he asked. Like many young dragons, Gil preened. He was more pretty and smart than any other dragon in the realm, and he thought he deserved everything he desired.

    Having these things made Gil proud, though he had not earned them. He held his advantages over others, just to harm or have fun, and thought better of himself than anyone you’ve ever seen.

    Then one day Gil went to draw water from the well, but not paying attention he tipped over and tumbled into the wet mud. The crown toppled off, rolled right down the hill, and Gil forgot who he was. He had no idea.

    Without his crown, Gil was dumb, ugly, and sad. He wandered for days, freezing cold as young dragons should never be, until he heard a voice call out to him. It was a kind old farmer, who kept magical goats, that took Gil in and put him to work. Gil milked the goats and learned to work hard.

    After a few months, Gil joined the Dwarves to help mine gems. He protected the Goblins and their large piles of gold. He joined a band of dragons and used his fire to help warm a caravan. He learned of pride in one’s abilities, earned through honest effort.

    All through this time, the King and Queen searched, and finally a friend found Gil’s crown buried in muck. They sent out a call to everyone in the realm, asking all the dragons to come try on the crown.

    They lined up, mile after mile, but even after days there was no prince to be found. Until at long last a small dragon trundled by. He hadn’t lined up, he wasn’t special, but as soon as the crown touched his brow… an explosion of gold!

    Gil blinked and said, “What?” then remembered his life. He was back to his beautiful, intelligent self. But now he was more, he was a hard-working lad, and he understood the trials and tribulations that others less fortunate often had.

    “It can’t just be for me,” he told mom and dad. “This crown that they made? I’ll use it for them instead! I’ll use it as King, I’ll work really hard. I’ll make our Kingdom the best in all of the world.”

    The King and Queen nodded, for they understood, and Gil swore he’d become worthy. So Gil studied and worked, and made many things better, becoming a great King. Yes, even greater than his father!

    His brilliance and beauty both helped him move fast, and in no time at all the kingdom rejoiced at long last.

    == == == ==
    Artie clapped in glee and reached for the glowing image of Gil, which Harry directed towards him before diffusing it around the laughing boy. “What did we learn from Gil, Artie?” Harry asked.

    “Be nice to all the peoples,” Artie said.

    Harry chuckled. “Yes, other people are still people, and we should always strive to understand them and be kind. Well said, Artie.”

    Artie yawned and leaned his head against Harry’s shoulder. “What you learn from Gilly, Harhar?”

    Harry rubbed the small boy’s back with one hand and turned the book to its final page with the other. A smiling image of Gilderoy Lockhart waved at him from within the Author’s biography. “Well,” said Harry, “your Harhar can be a slow learner sometimes, Artie.”

    Harry drummed his fingers across the page, stopping on the obituary. Lockhart’s memory had returned one hundred years to the day that he lost it. His life without a sense of self had been full of struggle, doubt, and anxiety. His efforts to fix the ills of society once his memory returned had been genuine. He became a good man.

    “I suppose Gil taught me that sometimes people really do change, and that forgiving others is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.” Harry pressed a kiss to the boy’s temple.

    Artie had no response save for a tired grunt, so Harry set the book on the floor and lay back across the couch, securing the child against his chest. Softly, he hummed one of Luna’s lullabies and let himself drift into dreams.

    All was well.
     
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    1105 words - I liked the 'twist' at the end of this one but the fairy tale portion felt a tad disjointed in places.

    Harhar is a… strange, choice for a grandfather’s nickname, but okay.

    I like Harry’s casual reference to nargles. He’s been around Luna quite a lot by this point and it shows.

    Wasn’t a big fan of the fairy tale portion, however. The writing doesn’t flow here as well and it feels disjointed in places.

    Old man with goats? Did Aberforth take Gilderoy in? I guess that could potentially be hilarious, but not sure the ages would work. If Gilderoy got his memory back 100 years after losing it he’d probably be 140 or so at that point and Abe should be dead.

    The ending ‘twist’ works for me, with the fairy tale portion mirroring what (apparently) happened to Gilderoy Lockhart. It provides a secondary moral of sorts that still ties into the more simple one in the fairy tale.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  3. Lungs

    Lungs KT Loser ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Agree on Ched - Harhar is a bit strange.

    This would have been incredibly good if it weren't explained. This is almost certainly the most fairy-tale fairy tale in this competition but it loses a ton of points via smacking us with the punchline until we're blue in the end.

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. The obituary goes at the start. "In memoriam, teacher, hero, freer of towns, hunter of beasts," etc. This is your foreshadowing. You don't need to explain the man's struggle, his doubt, his anxiety. That's in the very carefully crafted fairy tale that you've just SHOT IN THE FACE.

    All you have to do is have Harry or Artie interact with that Lockhart paraphernalia in some way and your point comes across in spades.

    Don't you dare hold my hand. We're over.
     
  4. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    Yeah, you really didn't need the whole explanation thing for Lockhart. The story was serviceable until then, but you trip over yourself at the finish line and make a mess.

    The fairytale itself is typical - arrogant sod is humbled, becomes better person as a result. I dunno why they needed to be dragons, though. Wizards aren't good enough, maybe? I do like that you set up the tribes of people in the kingdom to learn from, even if I would've put more focus on him learning rather than the setup for Gil "falling".

    Really, I think you could've had it if not for that final stumbling block.
     
  5. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    I liked this.

    I think it was very well written technically, and well expressed. I liked to an extent the dynamic between Harry and his great-great so and so, though it didn't feel quite so realistic a depiction of a child and a care-giver as 6. I enjoyed the story within a story, it was a simple framing but it did give it heart. I think it was obvious that it was Gildroy from the story and perhaps you robbed some of the satisfaction by being plain at the end. A picture of Gildroy in the author insert would be quite enough and Harry could've had a more poignant thought to tie it together than redundant exposition.

    What else? I think that you sometimes choose the more complex word when your first choice would do, in the framing sections. Something to look out for.

    I think the actual tale of the dragon is charming, if a little straight-forward.

    But yes, this is a very good contender. I would just have liked to see a little more complexity, and a little more of a revelation at the end that I could infer than just 'it was Gildroy' because that is apparent from the moment he loses his memory, with Harry telling it.

    I'm not enough of a Luna fan-boy that the essentially meaningless change to canon does anything for me.
     
  6. Microwave

    Microwave Professor

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    Maybe I'm just tired but this one confused me.

    I got that it was supposed to be a twist at the end but it felt a bit too obvious from the start. I think the conclusion should have been disregarded altogether, or the telling made more vague. It didn't really have much of an effect because it was expected the whole time.
     
  7. Gaius

    Gaius Fourth Year

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    I think the ending frame makes the moral too explicit. Perhaps you could have mentioned that the book was by Gilderoy Lockhart upfront, and the twist could be on the duskjacket, that it was his most recent book?

    The mixture of Cinderella (with the trying on of crowns), the prodigal son (working the land, being humbled, and returning to his parents), and also the spoiled boy who becomes a dragon in Chronicles of Narnia (spoiled Gil doesn't care about other people or take care of his own crown) confuses the fairytale for me. I think you would have done better with one, strong theme.
     
  8. FitzDizzyspells

    FitzDizzyspells Fourth Year DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    This seems really grim to me, although I can't put my finger on exactly why. I think it's because Lockhart didn't spend his time with a good family, learning the value of hard work. He spent it in a hospital : ( I think I might've been more on board if Lockhart had healed in 5-10 years instead of 100.

    There were a couple lines that took me out of this story:
    Fifty feet? Jesus, Harry, lol.
    Would a child really call an elderly relative by their first name, even if it is a childlike nickname? Eh, maybe they would, what do I know.

    There were also a couple lines that were a little absurd. I laughed at all these lines, which also sort of took me out of the story:
    Ultimately, though, you do a good job at crafting a good a fairy tale, and it does have a fun twist.
     
  9. Majube

    Majube Order Member

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    Tbh, I disliked everything about this opening scene its what made me click over this entry like 3 times. You can shorten it to make it less pretentious and unappealing, have the kid say "Gramps/Papa/Grandpa Harry" or etc. skip saying all those greats just say distant grandchild or whatever, Harry tosses him 'fifty feet' in the air but then a second later they sit on a couch. Are they inside a mansion or what? The genetic stuff was unbearable, cut that out and just say that 'somehow Artie looked a mix of everything he loved about luna and himself, with untamable pale hair' maybe add in a slight thought that it reminds him of Draco or whatnot as well.
    --- Post automerged ---
    Right up until the ending was revealed I was going to say you should focus on the fairy tale more and maybe even nix the Harry parts. The Gilderoy part was pretty powerful though and enjoyable. Before that, I was thinking it was some allusion to Dudley.

    Regardless, I still think you can cut down on the beginning and maybe even take it out altogether and just keep the bottom part. Either way, expand more on the main tale now that you're not limited by comp reqs.
     
  10. H_A_Greene

    H_A_Greene Professor –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Eh, I liked it for what it was. I agree with Majube, however, that I did skip over this one a few times due to that opening line. 'Harhar' is not a remotely pleasant nickname. Also, yeah, maybe cut back on the genetics stuff. The fairy tale itself suffices, though I do think that someone from the peoples should have recognized him, given they all pitched in to craft that crown.

    That you were making allusions to Gilderoy Lockhart did not occur to me until I reached that part. I mean, it's kind of nice that Lockhart learned from his years in the hospital, but how much did he really learn other than some humility, I suppose? I don't quite recall how his scene in Order of the Phoenix depicted him, beyond generally cheerful? I'd also agree that taking a hundred years is a bit of a stretch. You were past the 'fairy tale' portion of your entry by that point, you could have settled for more reasonable number.

    I dunno. I'd put this one as middle of the road, slightly above average. There were better fairy tales and entries on the whole, but there were also worse to this point.
     
  11. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    This was my story!

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone - lots of good stuff in there. I do want to respond to it in more detail later.

    It sounds like I was too heavy-handed at the end with the Gilderoy reference, though I don't think I'd remove it completely. I don't think all the readers on ffnet would get it without at least a mention, but I can change it to a sentence from a paragraph. Good stuff.

    This Fairy Tale was based on Adalmina's Pearl, which happened to be the very first one on the list of Fairy Tales on the TV Tropes page. I had intended to read several of them to look for inspiration but I stopped after the first one because I immediately saw how I could make it about Lockhart and built the rest from there.

    I'm on the fence about the use of "Harhar" - maybe it's just my area, but often children will have non-standard names for their older-than-grandparents relatives. I've heard all sorts of random things from "Big Daddy" to "Heyobud" and so on, so I picked "Harhar" not as a first name, but as a nickname for an older relative that takes the place of "Great-Great-Great-so-and-so." Seems like it didn't work for everyone though so I'll revisit that and possibly change/remove it. I don't plan to remove the scenes with Harry at the start/finish.

    Gil wasn't recognizable because the crown physically made him more beautiful - without it even his parents wouldn't recognize him. I might need to clarify that.

    Thanks everyone for the amazing feedback - felt good to finally compete in one of these damn things.
     
  12. Lungs

    Lungs KT Loser ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I’m infinitely glad it wasn’t Big Daddy. In context harhar is grand.
     
  13. Niez

    Niez Slug Club Member

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    Hello :)
    Ched’s entry, an automatic 10/10. Next.

    Edited by Ched to /glare.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2020
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