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WIP Harry Potter and the Untitled Tome by Ihateseatbelts- T

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by Puzzled, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. CrippledGod

    CrippledGod Third Year

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    Aside from the fact that Hermione is somehow vastly more irritating than any incarnation of Draco Malfoy I have ever read, this is pretty good.
    Edit: Would be brilliant if it wasn't for Hermione's characterization, not just because she's annoying, which she is, but because the author seems to agree with her views (as the lack of any worthy rebuttal whatsoever from any character in the story points to), making me dread the inevitable future Muggle/Wizard interaction.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  2. newageofpower

    newageofpower Professor DLP Supporter

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    I was hoping the plot would get moved along more quickly, but the pacing is still anemic.
     
  3. masterwill22

    masterwill22 Squib

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    The story is based on the premise that Grindelwald is not defeated. This has far reaching consequences which results in a very different Harry Potter and magical society. What really hooks the reader into this story is the possible divergences from canon and the limited amount of information about the magical society. This adds intrigue and a drive to continue the story. The strengths of this story are the author’s writing style and story concept. As many noted, the author’s writing style does have a peculiar quality to it, but this tone is gradually lost as the story progresses: most likely due to a decline in attention to the writing and perhaps partly due to the magical setting which makes everything seem peculiar.

    The story’s biggest flaws are its planning and pacing as the author fails to follow up on many of the interesting concepts. The lack of pacing is largely due to the author’s attempt to include many immense AU changes which the plot suffers for. The author is so focused on the differences in magical society that it leaves little development for an actual plot to progress.

    Examples of some of my points will be included below my rating with spoiler tags.

    Overall, the story has a great concept and is executed partially well. This is a decent time waster and with some beta work, could be a library worthy submission.

    3/5

    The explanation of the magical world in the first few chapters is handled well. Doge’s expository role does a great job in introducing some of the differences of this story’s magical society from canon. His use of an Augometer to measure Harry’s magical capacity is one of the few clues to the readers that there will be large divergences from canon. Expect to be mildly amused or horrified at some of the radical changes the author implements.

    The author’s focus on various nuances such as Muggleborn issues is interesting and the emotional turmoil Hermione struggles through is a great concept. However, the author fails to follow up on this idea and seems to forget about this issue only to bring it up randomly in later chapters. To be fair, Hermione’s struggles might be hard to emphasize consistently when the story focuses on Harry and his magical adventure. The lack of focus holds true for many of the novel concepts in this universe. Harry’s proficiency in wandless magic is largely forgotten towards the later chapters and there is no mention of it again. His wandless magic could imply that he has great innate magical power that allows him to hear the wandsong – a feat only few wizards such as Dumbledore can do. But no other character, even Dumbledore, showed proficiency in wandless casting. Unless wandless magic plays a prominent role in later chapters, the inclusion of wandless magic in the earlier chapters (a huge portion) is just extraneous filler.

    The author has many great ideas and interpretations on some of the fandom clichés, but needs better planning to emphasize certain concepts and improve the pacing of the story. Some of the plot devices such as the dueling club and the new political arrangements are initially engaging, but when Harry settles into his Hogwart’s routine, the story reads as Harry’s diary of his everyday life with minor school drama.
     
  4. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~

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    masterwill22, that's a hell of a de-lurk, man.

    (unlike the scrubs in the lurker thread :awesome)
     
  5. M.L.

    M.L. Seventh Year

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    Honestly this story would be better if they focused on a few concepts rather than try to jam everything in there. I dig the bigger magical world, I dig the Public School Hogwarts, I dig the wizarding religion, I dig the dueling club, but all together it is just to much. I would like to see a story which just focused on the dueling and the more prestigious hogwarts rather than spreading the story too thin. Despite all its flaws I still enjoyed it.

    4/5
     
  6. Stan

    Stan Order Member

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    A tentative 4/5 from me too.

    Most of the specifics have been discussed in the thread already. Love the writing, character interactions are fun and the worldbuilding is good for most part. Harry's part of the story meanders though, and I skimmed some parts of it because I was more interested in the Pettigrew/Grindelwald plot than how well Harry was doing in school.

    I dislike overly studious and prodigious versions of Harry, and I don't care for it here either. It seems that you gave him too far many unearned talents -- his sensitivity to magic, wandless magic, apparition skills at 10, wandsong, over 9000 augometer reading.....

    Another disappointment was the potions accident that was apparently enough for some people to see Harry as a Dark Wizard. The way the Hufflepuffs (why Hufflepuffs, anyway?) turn on Harry feels silly and contrived. And it is supposed to be a major plot point too, seeing that it is mentioned in the summary.

    Some characters are OOC for no reason: Snape, Neville, Susan, Draco (to an extent).

    'Massive!Wizarding World, No!BWL'? Why the exclamation marks? It looks weird.

    Another thing I need to mention is I'm tired of every character mentioning how great and amazing and awesome and < insert wank-y word here > Lily and James were. I get that a lot of this fic is based on Harry's family past, but some opposing viewpoints from characters who don't like them would be nice. This shouldn't be too hard in James's case, given that he was a major dick in canon. If they are going to be important, try to give them actual personalities and flaws instead of merely glorifying them at every turn.

    Super interested in the Grindelwald stuff. Hope the international scene will be explored more as well. Try to get Harry involved more in that stuff soon, because right now I'm far more interested in them than most of the stuff involving Harry.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  7. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~

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    Goddamn shit. Stupid computer froze on me in the middle of the post. Fuck me if I'm recreating that monster. Stupid technology. Here's a short(er) version:

    Technically speaking, text is clean (as far as typos and that stuff, I haven't actually noticed any).

    The prose gets super verbose at times and a few times I got lost in the middle of a scene. Personally, I'm for brevity in this department, but I'll admit that ihateseatbelts wrote some genuinely beautiful passages. It's his chosen style and he's pulling it off, so I guess I can deal with it.

    As far as the plot itself, there wasn't much of that for the first 16 or so chapters - obviously, first year was supposed to setup the AU. We got glimpses of the politicking and scheming. Many plots and subplots were set up, but none of them were resolved in year one. More recent chapters seem to move away from the rather mundane "slice of life at Hogwarts" scenes what with that Albatross dude, Moody being back and Grindelwald being mentioned more, so that's good. Story is very character driven, is what I'm saying. Pretty hyped for that stuff. I always prefer this approach than the tired (and canonical) "Big Bad Villain Struggle". Any story that reminds me of Renegade Cause, which this one did, will be better received.

    No point in comparing characters with their canon incarnations because of how different this AU is, so I'll just say that characters are internally consistent within the story and I can roll with that. Some of the secondary cast are a bit on the annoying side (Susan's a right cunt). The whole thing with Puffs where they think Harry is Grindelwald Mk II is silly, but hey, Hufflepuff amirite?

    What else. I like the Grimoire and I think Holly is really weird.

    I think first year dragged on a chapter or two too long, but I read it as belts taking his time to say everything he wanted to say in setting up his world and I can't fault him for not wanting to half-ass things.

    There's custom lore aplenty and we know nothing about a lot of it, but that's always a challenge with adding new stuff. Hopefully we'll learn more as the story continues. I do love the names ihateseatbelts comes up with though. Cantabulous Chamomile, indeed.

    Overall, I'd say it's one of the best entries in the HP fandom in the last two years (of the things I read, of course). Unless the fic takes a horrific nosedive, I think I can give it a 4/5 and recommend for inclusion in the Library.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  8. Lindsey

    Lindsey Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    I agree that everything is jammed in there. All these concepts can work together if you introduced them slowly, not all at once. Prince of the Dark Kingdom has a lot of these same concepts but they are spaced out dramatically. The readers don't learn about wizarding religions until the second or third books (100k + words in).

    It is like the author is trying to put three or four books of information into one, which hurts the story. I end up forgetting what happens in the past chapters but I don't have enough interest to reread it (too many info dumps, not enough plot).

    4/5 for the new ideas and world building, -1 for the execution.
     
  9. Drakken

    Drakken Squib

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    Good fic! I've read a few chapters and I must say that the writing style is quite enjoyable. 4/5
     
  10. seraph7221

    seraph7221 Disappeared

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    This is quite nice. Definitely worthy of the library, though it has continually lost steam over the story arch. It is a bit aimless at present, and I must admit that while initially quite taken with it, it could do with more plot.

    Hope that increased views will keep author engaged - perhaps someone will invite seatbelts to post ongoing chapters in Wba. I also hope that the story arch hasn't already outpaced the outline or it could be dead in the water fairly soon.

    Read this if you like the harry potter fanfiction. It is pretty good.

    :D You can trust me, I'm a doctor.
     
  11. ihateseatbelts

    ihateseatbelts Seventh Year

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    So I'm just putting this out here... (swear it's the last time I'll post! Probably.)

    This could really use the WbA. It would have happened earlier, but I wasn't comfortable with its quality when I first started it (first thing I'd written, no guage for quality even now). Even though I've done a ridiculous amount of planning, the plot has suffered without a steadying hand.

    That being said, I'm doing my best to converge all of these aimless-seeming streams into two or three tributaries, as was my not-so-grand-idea in the beginning. For the sake of people following it on FFN, I'm thinking to finish it as normal, and begin the next arc here.

    Once again, thanks for all the feedback. In addition to a handful of reviewers on FFN (who really should come here), this thread has been a great benchmark.
     
  12. Zerg_Lurker

    Zerg_Lurker Order Member DLP Supporter

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    I enjoyed it. The title's uninspired and the pacing is indeed slow, but steady and engaging. What makes it really stand out is the exceptional world building; an interpretation of canon that feels like a natural extension rather than a complete rewrite. One drawback though, is that at times the world building reads like info dumping that neither drives the story nor emerges as a consequence of the story.

    3.5/5, rounded up to 4.
     
  13. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~

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    ihateseatbelts, I say you make a thread and start posting from where you are. DLP advice never made a fic worse.
     
  14. Snarf

    Snarf Squanchin' Party Bro! ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I think my biggest issue with this story so far isn't the lack of forward plot progression; it's the fact that we're given so many character who only retain skin-deep connections to their canon incarnations, yet no single character is given enough time on stage to develop their new identity. This becomes an obnoxious and slightly tedious game of comparing canon personalities as our sole frame of reference to actions that will inevitably feel out of character.

    If only the author paced themselves better. The characters acting as foils of themselves would seem less constant.
     
  15. BlueBird

    BlueBird Squib

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    I think that this fic is certainly library worthy, but does have some problems.

    Partway through I had to go back and double check that I didn't accidentally skip a chapter that explained things. There's a fair bit new to this world that wasn't in canon, and I found myself lost a few times, particularly when it came to all the talk about the magical theory. I think that you either need to have a few principles and leave the rest open to interpretation (a la Rowling), or you really need to double down to explain it. This fic fell somewhere in the middle for me, and I ultimately found myself skimming parts.

    The writing though is great, and I think that, overall, Harry was made suitably competent without going into super!Harry territory. 4/5.
     
  16. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Okay! Massive post! I wanted to respond to some things apparently.

    TL;DR - I'm going to rate it at 4/5. It's not one of my new favorites, but it's a refreshing read and the best new HP fic I've come across in months. I do think it could use a new summary.

    However, I have only made it through Chapter 11. I felt it early enough to rate, given the material available... and I didn't want to forget when I restart my computer in a bit.

    Agreed. One thing this story does well, probably what it does best, is provide an echo of that sense of wonder that the original books inspired. Not quite to the same level, of course, but far more than most HP fics ever manage. Even some of the best 5/5 fics in the fandom don't always manage to recreate even a portion of that wonder, despite nailing other things that this story doesn't.

    Good job ihateseatbelts.

    I disagree. I think this is an advantage. While it's true that I find the various plots to flounder a bit here and there, I feel I can get immersed into the environment reasonably well.

    Yes, there's plenty of things we don't know. But I feel the same was true with canon. The author is already spending significant time showing us changes from canon in magic and the environment, and I (personally) feel it's been enough to run with. The 'sense of wonder' mentioned before is partly in having enough information to work with but not knowing so much that you fully understand.

    I'd agree that this is potentially an issue. Harry hasn't got a goal or a big problem of some kind to deal with, at least that I've seen, and I'm far enough in that I feel like I should have.

    I applaud you (many times over) for not rehashing canon. But as a comparison, in this story, Harry hasn't got the rivalry with Draco, he isn't spending his free time with a clear goal like finding out about the Philosopher's Stone, and he's not the BWL and therefore a target and object of fame.

    I think that's why so many people comment on the plot feeling as if it's floundering. I don't think it's that you need to focus more on one aspect of your story, I think it's that you didn't give Harry anything to drive towards/against.

    Eh, as I said above, I don't think this is exactly the issue. But that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong.

    However I do think that with all the craziness going on the author might have bitten off slightly more than he could (easily) chew... and I think that might be a good thing for the author. The writing is solid and he's probably learning a TON as he writes and getting better and better because he's chosen to write not just a story but a challenging story. And it's fanfic, so it hasn't got to be perfect. Kudos ihateseatbelts.

    Dafuck? Dude, post all you like. You have been receptive of feedback, you haven't gotten defensive, and you seem pretty friendly and into both the fandom and DLP. Pop into WbA whenever you like, you have enough of a following here (so it seems) that you'd likely get some feedback.

    I'd suggest changing your summary, personally. It's not bad, but it put me off reading the story for a few weeks.

    Some call him the next Dumbledore. Others, a thrall of Grindelwald. Not even Harry himself is sure of where he belongs, until one book leads him on the path to discovering his ill-fated parents' efforts to conceal a dangerously magical secret. In the meantime, Chief-wizard Malfoy has his eyes set on Hogwarts, and only Sir Albus stands in his way. Massive!Wizarding World, No!BWL.


    No one has really called him the next Dumbledore as of Chapter 11, except to compare his Augometer scores to Sir Albus. The only ones who have mentioned him being a thrall of Grindelwald are some 11-year olds whose plotline is more of a schoolboy issue than a serious one. Chief Wizard Malfoy hasn't shown up yet, though it's been foreshadowed that he's coming.

    But none of this makes me want to read the story, because I'm expecting all of that to be in play in the first, I don't know, 20k words or so, and it's not.

    I like knowing that you have a massive wizarding world AU, which you convey very clearly. I like that Grindelwald is the antagonist. I want to know that the story starts 'at the beginning' with Harry pre-Hogwarts, or at least first year fic.

    So I guess I can't really tell you how to re-do your summary (if you even want to do so), but it doesn't represent the story very well in my opinion. Even if it represents the overall story quite well, I'd try to rephrase it.

    Cheers ihateseatbelts. 4/5 - I'm gonna go keep reading.
     
  17. ihateseatbelts

    ihateseatbelts Seventh Year

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    Wow - thanks for the feedback, @CheddarTrek!

    If I'm honest, that's been my biggest problem: Harry's role/investment in the overall narrative. As of the most recent chapter, I'd say he's found it (or he thinks he has) but it should have come far earlier. I think my reason for not doing so was simply for the fear of making him too important in the AU, even though he is the protagonist. I know it sounds silly, but there was some sort of method to my madness - I swear.

    In any case - and I don't want to spoil anything - this is where Harry really starts to participate. Thanks for all the encouragement.

    P.S. The summary... yeah. You should have seen the first one. And as Zerg mentioned, the title isn't the best either, so these might be things that'll get tightened up in the WbA. Hopefully I can start from Ch.22 and link the previous updates?

    Many thanks again! :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  18. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Glad you've found it recently, though I haven't caught up to the most recent bits.

    However Harry's investment hasn't got to be so grand as to make him seem too important. It could be something as simple as I want to do better than dad did in his first year of dueling. That gives Harry a specific goal to work towards, that can inform his actions. That's what I feel he lacks, a goal. It hasn't got to play into the larger overall plot, because that came come up later like you say it has the most recent chapter, but he needed something to work towards, however minor.

    Not saying I like the one I used for an example, because I don't really, but hopefully it helped illustrate the point.

    I think the title is fine, honestly. It got my attention no problem.

    If you choose start a WbA thread now, start it with a summary regarding what the story is about. A couple of paragraphs. Then link to your story on ffnet, say that the first 22/whatever chapters are available there, and then post the most recent one.

    You might want to use spoiler tags to briefly summarize the first 20-ish chapters that you aren't posting in WbA as well, so that people who read your entry without the first 150k know what's going on.
     
  19. adamofalba

    adamofalba Squib

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    I absolutely love the AU created in this fic, it's so diverse and massive, and new. It's so exploreable, I love it!
     
  20. Ferdiad

    Ferdiad Unspeakable

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    Well I'd been putting off reading this because I didn't like the title and the summary. I'd look into changing them If I were you. Anyways, I enjoyed the fic a fair amount. It's definitely the best new HP fic I've read in a long time.

    The fics strong points are it's general worldbuilding and the writing as been stated in the thread already. It didn't feel like an info dump apart from in a few cases like the chapters where he's starting classes IMO. You were just rattling off Harry going to all these new classes one after another. I think you could have spaced that out better. On the other hand I quite liked how you slid in the fact that Quidditch was a dying sport though Neville and Draco's conversation. You also got a smile out of me when you had Hermione telling him he should play Quidditch instead. Writing wise, I don't have much to offer critically, besides that it got a bit heavy at times. Otherwise I enjoyed the style, it made even his mundane school life easy to read.

    In regards to the plot, I was a bit ambivalent about the whole Prewett plotline. Hoping there's a stronger hook or mystery for Harry in 2nd year. Now that he has the Marauders Map I'm expecting him to begin exploring the castle in earnest. I assume whatever hook or plotline you introduce will be something to do with how his Parents got betrayed and where Sirius is fucking about atm.

    My biggest problem with the fic though is Harry hasn't really faced a challenge. He's a magical prodigy and has all these unusual talents.Yeah he's a bit shite at the druidy stuff but that feels a bit token. I'd like him to experience a few setbacks. Maybe have him get humiliated in a dueling tournament or challenge match. There's a few ways you could do this, he could get predictable in his movements due to him focusing on all the wandwork in the duel too much. Or have someone notice he always opens up with a certain combo of spells etc. The other problem I'm having is that he has no nemesis yet. I was hoping you were going to keep Bones as his enemy instead of their current frosty-ness. Yeah there's Smith but I can't take him seriously, he's not vitriolic enough about it like Draco was in canon.

    TL;DR:4/5
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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