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WIP Harry Potter and the Den of Snakes by sunmoonandstars - T

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by Sesc, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. Villanelle

    Villanelle Groundskeeper

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    I think that's it.

    I was looking forward to updates from Den of Snakes every week last year, but lost all interest shortly after the lawyer friend of Lord Greengrass showed up. The story is engaging and I had fun reading it, but I never thought it was great by any stretch.

    My favourite Slytherin!Harry stories are The Other Side of the Coin, On the Way to Greatness, HP and the Hero's Path, and Control. What Lies Beneath also has many elements of what I'd want in a Slytherin!Harry story, and it could be argued that I equate Slytherin!Harry with grey!Harry or dark!Harry, but I suspect you might dislike those stories for the very same reasons I like them.

    I want to see cunning and ambition but applied in a more adventure setting, as opposed to Wizengamot politics.
     
  2. Rahkesh Asmodaeus

    Rahkesh Asmodaeus THUNDAH Bawd Admin DLP Supporter

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    Lul, I think you're going into the story looking for something to hate. And you can't really judge a story or a character if you jump to a random chapter without knowing any sort of context. Some examples, maybe?
     
  3. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    I always check random chapters of a story before I read it, because I don't wanna invest time in something that turns into crap. So that's just what I usually do, and Prince failed every time I tried -- I'm really not purposefully picking out shit. You said something about the first year, so that's where I looked this time.

    ... you're going to make me read it, aren't you? :p

    Alright, so I did read up to Christmas, and skimmed around some more. TL;DR: I stand by what I said.

    --

    First, in more general considerations, about Slytherin, Slytherin!Harry, and what kinds of characters you can write.

    --Harry: "Because all the Hat said to me was that Slytherin was the house of cunning and ambition where I'd have the best chance to prove myself. I might have asked to go somewhere else if it had warned me that Slytherin was also the house of selfish prats who abandon their friends when things get tough."

    ... and that is precisely the point of contention, no? Slytherins are selfish. From Snape to Slughorn they are that, or rather: they aren't when it's easy to be selfless (which arguably then isn't selflessness at all), but hardly when it gets tough. Snape only ever cared about Lily because he loved her. Slughorn would have rather kept the Horcrux memory hidden than admit his greatest mistake.

    And hence, I consider an unselfish Harry an ill fit. Or perhaps rather, you can change Slytherin that way. You can do anything you like. But I guess, ultimately, that's not what I went looking for, then, when started to read a Slytherin!Harry. Labels have meaning. Slytherin!Harry means a certain degree of self-serving, of selfishness. Additionally, rational considerations over feelings and impulses. Otherwise, why bother?

    In that regard, as I said, Den (and also Souls Touch, the other story) are exemplary. You point out the CoS ending in Monster of Slytherin, but it's precisely the fact that they end up forced in there that makes it work. Harry wouldn't randomly jump into the hole, for no reason. And yeah, I very much would have liked to see the fallout in Prince after Harry refusing to risk his neck even when Quirrelmort took hostages, and the Gryffindors ended up dead when Harry didn't come.

    That would make for a great plot. Harry having to live with the consequences of his character and his actions. Stuff like that is why I'm in the genre -- flawed people making choices because they aren't heroes, because they pick what's easy, and the world dealing with it as it will, sometimes rewarding selfishness, sometimes punishing it.

    Instead, I get Canon (talk about forcing stuff). A Harry who dies for his friends I have seven books worth of, I don't need that here.

    In the same vein, from a story-building perspective: What's a pity in Den is Dumbledore and the "Light" side's non-reasoning. Not their stance in general. I very much enjoy Den's take on blood purity, Muggleborns and what it means to be a Witch and a Wizard, and that Harry absorbs all those values, instead of converting Slytherin House -- putting him at odds with his family and Dumbledore. I mean, that's the sad thing here in the first place -- James, Jules, Dumbledore, they have a point when they lump him with all the rest of the "snakes" and "Death Eater Kids". He is one, yes. Hell, if Voldemort wasn't Voldemort, he'd already have signed up with the movement, he agrees with every argument they ever made. And I appreciate that. It's just that, because the other side's argument is non-existent, Harry's (and the Slytherin's) POV is the objectively sensible one and the other side appears retarded.

    Additionally, and on a more technical level, it's by no means easy to write a Slytherin!Harry, insofar as this means cunning, resourcefulness, clever schemes and plans -- subtlelty, because you have to have an idea of what it means to be all that, and some people just don't. In Prince, the author certainly talks about it, but Harry comes off as a cocky little shit. There's speeches. There's scenes he creates. There's ridiculous nicknames. And people in awe or at once convinced of his shit by author's fiat. It sometimes reads like an Indy!Harry, to be honest, in all the worst ways.

    Makes me agree with Snape when he's on his James Potter clone tear, except for some bizarre reason here, where it would be appropriate, he doesn't. That chapter with the Prince of Slytherin stuff in first year alone is like nails on chalkboard, to say nothing of the last Halloween one. That thing where I wrote in my OP about dumb people's ideas about smart people? Yeah.

    Of all the people, I enjoyed Peter Pettigrew most. Now that was a clever, sneaky, underhand scheme well executed. Give Harry his character, and we're talking.


    So the former points are to a certain degree subjective and a matter of taste. But the latter, about the technical execution of the character, I think, not.

    What's also not subjective is quality of writing. Den's author can write. Skill or talent, but he puts out a well above-average prose. They have a hand for building sentences, scenes; it was a pleasure to simply read for me every now and then, regardless of the content. A clever line here, a carefully constructed scene there ... I appreciate that. Prince showed me nothing of that. Instead, I got stuff like

    Like ... am I reading a story or a play? Stage directions, are you fucking kidding me? And that's entirely leaving aside that Slytherin!Harry does not get kicked out of the library for yelling because he does not yell. (See above point.)

    And this is not a one-off, it's exemplary.

    --Harry: "BINGO!" shouted Harry loudly. All the Slytherins nearby were startled by his outburst. "Sorry. That's a Muggle thing. You finally managed to work mudblood, blood traitor, and my father into a single sentence. I thought if I pointed it out first I might win a prize."

    Whaaa...?

    I dunno if the author has watched too much anime, but it's the usual over-emotional expressiveness. I think I caught a literal instance of banging his head against the table? The tone is flippant. Things are played for comic relief. It downright descends into whackieness at times. That's really not an appropriate style if you want to write a serious story. Whatever you feel about Den, I think you must concede it takes itself seriously. Harry is serious. The tone of the story is serious. The topics are serious. And James and Dumbledore, too, are serious (to their detriment); it's always played straight. Nothing in there is even hinting at a crackfic. That alone makes it more enjoyable than Prince to me already.


    All in all, from what I caught about Prince's first year, there are indeed similarities. My verdict is that Den is Prince, only better. Better characters. Better writing. Better plot. Better Slytherin, better pureblood politics, better conflict -- the one place where Den is lacking is the "Light" side, but since I don't care about them anyway, I can ignore that.

    Hyperboles aside, I didn't hate what I read of Prince. But it's not fun to read, and I honestly don't see how it's better than Den.
     
  4. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Edit: I'm going to write a better review for this later when I'm not on mobile.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  5. Panther

    Panther Third Year

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    Interesting, I had the opposite impression - that Den is just an inferior clone of Prince of Slytherin.

    Now, I only made it to Year 3 in this before dropping it, but while that might have taken fewer words, while more events might have transpired (didn't count), I got the impression that nothing had truly happened at all, because the characters are so static and the actual changes from Canon are so miniscule.

    The same thing can't be said of Prince. It's ponderous, sure, and I did skim here and there, but the characters actually grew in interesting ways, and their growth seemed to be lasting and impactful. The fact that prince has so many growing characters is actually one of my biggest criticisms of that story, as many seem to be forgotten for large stretches, but at least you can get invested.

    In this any growth felt temporary, or one-dimensional at best. At worst, it was just characters being assigned a conflict ball.

    As an aside, quite a few scenes in these two stories are uncannily similar. I didn't check, but they felt like word for word copies.
     
  6. thejabber27

    thejabber27 Groundskeeper

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    This is hard for me to rate. Like others has stated, it's hard to put this one down, but the characterisation of James, Ron, and Dumbledore just kind of kill the immersion at times, the zealot excuse doesn't hold much water for me, not because Ron, James, and Ethan aren't written as such, but the lack of nuance in their Zealotry for the most part. Also I was honestly hoping Ethan had some type of hold on James, because James and Ron have no character arc, and at least James needs one. Also as stated before the Authors unwillingness to stray far from canon despite needing to do some weird gymnastics to get there is annoying at times.

    For all the complaints, I found myself putting things off to read this. One of my few times reading Slytherin!Harry, makes me want to read more of that type. The characterisation is what draws me the most, I'm hoping for Harry/Pansy and Daphne/Hermione.

    4/5
     
  7. Hymnsicality

    Hymnsicality Seventh Year

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    Pretty much this. Den is the more polished, less engaging version of prince. There’s boldness and creative problem solving in the writing of prince with instances of real pathos. Sure there’s some real trash there too in the billion or so words it takes to get past second year. But the entertainment value is undeniable. There’s even a cringey wiki site to go along with it. That’s just pure entertainment.

    Den is solid but unspectacular the whole way through. There’s zero tension because none of the canon pillars are different and no new mysteries to uncover (that I can remember). Characterisation is solid if unspectacular. And the romance is just awful.

    The fuck was up with that edgelord “(paraphrased) I can never be with Harry, he’s colder than I, the ice queen, could ever be.”

    3/5 entertaining but nothing new or standout here.
     
  8. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    This is exemplary of everything that is wrong with WBWL stories though. They use this mechanic a lot in books they've written so far to an extent that really just boggles my mind how they think it logically makes sense. There are leaps of intuition, and just outright animosity that happens only to make their story work.

    I think that's the biggest flaw with this fic, and fics that are based around similar concepts like this. There is no logical flow to the chain of events they use to get them through points of canon. The troll incident, the puzzle for the stone, the tri-wizard tournament each use things that make no fucking sense.

    Yet, I can't stop reading it. I think in large part its because there's a lot of it there and I'm just desperate for something to read.

    The execution of larger concepts within the story leaves something to be desired. I felt like I was waiting for something more specific to happen and it never did. Gotta give it credit for a canon rehash, it made it further than first year, and their execution of the tasks weren't all that terrible despite not being something new.

    Overall, I'd give this a 3/5. If only because its something to read.

    Prince of Slytherin is a more evolved version of this, and is better only because the narrative and the plot are a lot tighter. There are no leaps of logic weighing it down, despite James and Lily going full fucking retard when faced with how they should treat one of their children.

    This story uses it as a setup for Dumbledore bashing, whereas PoS uses it as a means to create animosity between James and Lily and Harry and largely keeps Dumbledore out of it.

    I think its unfair to compare one to the other despite being of a very similar nature. They each have their merits, but they each have very distinct flaws.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  9. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    ... it's stating a fact? Both are broken, but Harry more so than Daphne. Still, she's the only one that even comes close to matching -- and understanding -- him. No one else (except Theo) even sees what you just quoted. Also, the second never followed the first, her reasoning only was that they worked better as friends -- because she had (has) illusionary expectations for her relationships. She, too, is fucked up, but hasn't quite accepted the consequences in the way Harry has. That's the missing step. I expect they both will try someone else (Harry & Pansy), and realise afterwards that they were, in fact, better off together.

    At least, that's what I would write with if I had this setup. Which is me saying that I consider Daphne constructed to match Harry here.
     
  10. Hymnsicality

    Hymnsicality Seventh Year

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    Are you saying a 14 year old pointing out how much edgier their ex-boyfriend is than their own edgy selves in a coldly succinct breakdown over their respective levels of edginess isn't edgy?

    Look @Sesc clearly this story appeals to your sensibilities something fierce. But man that line seriously just made me actually laugh out loud.
     
  11. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Edgy <--- | ---> This Harry.

    Edgy == being intentionally whichever provocative way when you actually aren't. PoS!Harry is edgy when he channels the ghost of all bad Indy!Harrys. Harry here genuinely is lacking just about any sort of morals or warm feelings. What on earth is your definition of "edgy"?
     
  12. Hymnsicality

    Hymnsicality Seventh Year

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    > Little 14 year old movers and shakers.
    > Literally live in a dungeon.
    > Their mascot is a snake.
    > Harry has been marked for death.
    > Dad is horrifically and pointlessly negligent and openly antagonistic

    By default Slytherin harry is already pretty edgy. As in just pointlessly dark and needlessly intellectual. It really doesn't take much to push it over the top. And by golly PoS goes over the top like insanely so that's why I find it so entertaining. I think at one point they're making pokemon? Like what. It doesn't take itself so deathly humourlessly seriously like Den though.

    I really just think this is a difference in value proposition here not any search for an objective truth. I don't mind edginess if it's entertaining or if it's competent, that's why I don't have an issue with the majority of the fic.

    But let's consider how different it is to a normal teenage romance. The average relationship is confusing, messy, hormonal, nobody knows really how to deal with situations together, the guy is either constantly horny or is constantly pressured into thinking he's always horny and it's just this mess of awkwardness and wrought melodrama. This was pretty much every single relationship in my highschool. Now let's consider this relationship:

    Harry: Huh she's kinda pretty and I admire certain qualities about her.
    Dahpne: You know I kind of like you to.
    "Cute moments."
    Daphne: You haven't been paying me much attention lately and we're drifting apart.
    Harry: That checks out and is factually accurate.
    Daphne: It was not meant to be because he is in fact colder than I am. Colder than I am! Me! The Ice queen!

    But done completely dead seriously. So yes, edgy.
     
  13. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Right, I enjoy my stories dead serious :p

    So, I wouldn't call that edgy at all, but (beyond confusion cleared up) that's just semantics. The point indeed is we disagree entirely what's good, yeah. Fair enough.
     
  14. point09micron

    point09micron Groundskeeper

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    I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it seems to have been recently abandoned (like within the last couple weeks). If you go to it now it lists the author as "orphan_account" and the real author sunmoonandstars doesn't appear in user search at all, so it seems he or she has deleted the account but left the stories for people to read. It definitely wasn't like that in January. Unfortunate, because the parts of year 5 posted so far have been interesting. Annoying as well, because the author notes at various times mention editing "the end of book 5" and an "outline of book 6."
     
  15. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Well that just figures.
     
  16. royalsentinus

    royalsentinus Muggle

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    I just read the entire 5 books in a single sitting. And there were things that I really liked and things I did not like. First about the characterization,
    1. Harry's friends are all extremely well fleshed out but the author's tone is very ambiguous.
    a. Like whether the children of the death eaters are on which side.
    2. Here the author has tried to make the Voldemort side of the conflict as a kind of revolutionaries and the light side as conformists who are against change to the doctrine and is implied that they sacrifice their own people to instigate hate against the dark side.
    3. The sheer amount of contrast between the intelligence of HP's friends and the rest of the cast is mind boggling.
    4. Yes I can understand James willfully ignoring Harry's abuse because of guilt but to downplay it is almost cartoonish, the light side's reaction to Sirius's unjust incarceration is even more mind boggling.
    5. Imagine working under somebody, who you know will throw you of a cliff if it is for the greater good, throw a child in to an abusive household for another child's safety. Will you truly work under someone like that.
    6. There is an underlying theme to make all of the light side characters into a sort of mindless drones or emotional sociopaths and the Harry's side of the cast into intelligent and empathetic characters.
    7. I especially did not like how the Weasley parents characters developed.
    8. The removal of Harry's potter heir status was almost foreshadowed the moment Sirius came into the picture.

    But overall the author has tried sticking to the book plots through out the years sans 4th and 5th year.
    My rating for this 3.5/5 as the grammar and the pacing kept me from dumping this and moving onto a different story.

    One last complaint, the hiding of Harry's prodigious ability. If he did not have so many people observing him it would have been believable.
     
  17. PWIZDUO

    PWIZDUO Third Year

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    I just read the near million words of this story that have been published and I can confidently say:

    This absolutely does not deserve to be in the library.

    What this story has going for it:

    - Good supporting cast among harry's friends.
    - Technically well written.
    - 4.5 books long at a time when the fandom has died.
    - The occasional interesting bit of magic theory

    What is wrong with this story.

    - All the tropes. Being polite to goblins. The Super Trunk. A training room that shoots spells at him. A dueling chamber that magically reverses the effects the effects of the curse that he used to kill an adult.
    - Overpowered harry who occasionally regresses to incompetent when the author remembers that there needs to be some adversity.

    and, this is the worst, excessive LORDS AND LADIES

    - Lord this, heir that, blah blah blah.

    3/5. The definition of almost recommended.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  18. darknessfalls

    darknessfalls Squib

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    Does anyone know what happened to the author of this story? The account in Ao3 appears to have become an orphan_account.
     
  19. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    They abandoned it. As you can see like four or five post above yours. Maybe less I'm not actually counting but it was mentioned here.
     
  20. Harpy Prince

    Harpy Prince Seventh Year

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    5/5 really well done. Renewed my passion for HP fanfics. Only wish there was more.
     
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