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Complete Lionsnake Chronicles I: Harry and the Viper's Chess by Eria/Ehrenyu - T

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Hawkin, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Hawkin

    Hawkin Chief Warlock

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    Title: Lionsnake Chronicles I: Harry and the Viper's Chess
    Author: Eria (aka ehrenyu on DLP)
    Rating: T
    Genre: Adventure / Friendship
    Status: Complete
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Pairings: N/A
    Summary: AU-ish. Harry rebels against two particular traits expected of a Slytherin, that of unwavering House loyalty and self-serving ambition. As he experiences life as a student of Hogwarts, he learns that, while some of his housemates are not who they merely appear to be, others are precisely the sort of person they present. The chess board is set... How will Harry play the game?
    Link: Link

    This story is the first in an ongoing series; the author is currently writing the 5th book and updates every month.

    Now as per the story itself, I was quite hesitant to put it for review when I first started reading it because of its adherence to the canon plot. Even though Harry has been sort into Slytherin, the Philosopher's Stone plot is left relatively unchanged. The author has decided to focus its attention on the characters' interactions and world building instead, which I think she/he did fairly well. The characters don't feel like cardboard sprouting lines, but actually have goals and ambitions of their own, personalities that are reflected fairly well in their daily interaction with Harry.

    Another thing of note is the author's ability to handle the clichés. I will be frank, the first time I saw the mention of magical core, I almost dropped the story straight away since my experience with them has been painful. However, in this story it is mainly a common slang for a more medical term called MVS which is the Magical Vascular System and is a very important aspect of magical healing as demonstrated mostly in Book II & III if I remember well.

    Another well handled cliché is Daphnee, the Ice Queen. While remaining an important secondary character to the story, the author has so far managed to stray from making her the typical beauty we've seen in most fanfiction. Hell, at the start of book IV you discover that her, Tracey and Pansy are using a huge amount of potions and charm to look so good and are actually fairly average in term of beauty.

    As you can see from these two examples, the author has a pretty good handle on cliché. And even if you might disagree with her method or her choice to introduce something like magical core to the story, worry not because it doesn't really affect the story much. I can't remember Harry never being able to cast spell because he had 'exhausted' his magical core or whatever non-sense. It went more along the line of: the poison is attacking your MVS. I had to purge it out using common method (leech) otherwise it would have react to the healing spell and attached itself more strongly to it.

    Some might say the author's adherence to canon is a deterrent and that was my biggest concern in putting this series up for review but I think the good grammar and character development more than make up for it. We can't hold it against the author and shouldn't prohibit this story placement into the library if we've allowed plenty of canon rehash into the library before. This one is done well and I believe, merits a place there. For those who are interest, know that the further you progress in the series, the more canon divergence are cropping up and slowly changing the way things are going.

    I would easily rate this 4/5. I think the canon rehash keeps it from achieving its true potential, but I am certainly looking forward to the rest of the story.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2016
  2. Russano

    Russano Disappeared

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    "For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
    For want of a horse the rider was lost.
    For want of a rider the message was lost.
    For want of a message the battle was lost.
    For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."

    If the rider and the message and the battle and the kingdom all survive just fine, then the nail was not really important at all. Which is the case of canon rehashes. If its just Harry wearing a different scarf, what's the point. The question is does it deviate in the later books down a road of awesome like On The Way to Greatness, or does the unoriginality continue? I kinda wanna know that before I start reading.

    I skimmed several chapters and noticed several bad cliches right off the bat, such as Snape guardianship with Harry bursting into tears when Snape remembers his birthday.

    Also -1 for cliche chess metaphors.
     
  3. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    I was sure we had had that already and that the author was a DLP member, but I can't find it. :|

    Maybe I'm confusing things. Edit: No I'm not, it's ehrenyu writing it (WbA), although she hasn't been on since October. We discussed our different opinions on IRC extensively ;)

    Since yeah, I tried that and skipped it, because the summary is quite accurate: "Harry rebels against two particular traits expected of a Slytherin, that of unwavering House loyalty and self-serving ambition." -- in other words, why on earth is Harry in Slytherin, and interest in reading it == zero.

    Crossposting from WbA:

    And in general:

    I wish people would keep that in mind.
     
  4. Kinser

    Kinser Fourth Year

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    Okay lets get this right off the bat. I have a weakness for Slytherin!Harry fics. I really do so I'm likely biased.

    As for the good parts, the writing is technically very good. I found very few grammatical errors. The character development was okay, it wasn't great but it was okay. And over all the primise sort of makes sense in that if the main change in the set up (and there is reason to believe the first year tests as it were, were in fact set by Dumbledore) would likely have been a factor in that they were devised prior to Harry's sorting and there was probably a bias towards Harry being sorted into Gryffindor. After all why send Hagrid instead of a Professor to handle a student if the goal wasn't to try and turn him away from Slytherin.

    That being said, a great deal of Harry's character is essentially Canon!Harry with a green and silver tie on. One would expect that with the mentoring system described in this story that Slytherin has he would more readily turn toward more Slytherin-like behaviors instead of following that Gryffindorish path, or would still follow it but in a different way.

    This seems to be the main flaw of the story. As such I'm giving it a 3/5. I'll probably be reading the sequels, but that is mainly because I happen to love the Slytherin!Harry genre.
     
  5. Hawkin

    Hawkin Chief Warlock

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    The first book is probably the weakest of the series, since there is not much of a divergence early. It's a bit like On The Way To Greatness in the sense that canon plot is relatively left untouched globally, but the details are different.

    In 3rd year, Sirius Black escapes and attacks the Gryffindor common room - however, Theodore Nott who was with Harry during the Shrieking Shack confrontation ends up being bitten by Lupin.

    In 4th year, Harry surprises Voldemort with a disarming charm and ends up with his wand before escaping from him. Snape is at Voldemort's resurrection and even meets him BEFORE the resurrection. Hestia Jones is killed in 4th year as she investigates Little Hangleton on Dumbledore's order forcing Voldemort to change his base of operation.

    I don't see what's unrealistic about a 12 years old boy who's been abused and never had any friends or birthday party to be close to crying when his new guardian actually remembered his birthday and invited his friends over. I would actually consider this a good characterization.

    I was sure I had seen it as well before but a search of the Library did not turn it up, didn't think to check the WbA.

    Unwavering house loyalty has nothing to do with the actual sorting and everything to do with how the Slyntherin Head of House or the Slyntherins themselves have decided to run their affairs. I don't see how this should demonstrate that Harry shouldn't be a Slytherin.

    I'm quite confused when you say that :

    Isn't that the whole On The Way To Greatness? If I remember correctly, canon event happens relatively similar. Harry goes to the DoM, ends up dueling Voldemort and revealing his presence to the ministry. Yet, that fic is considered library worthy. Now before you tell me that Lionsnake is not OtWtG, I agree. Mira Mirth has way more aptitude and her way of delivering her story is more sound I think, there is less rehash. Yet, the principle stays the same. Lionsnake does it well if differently.
     
  6. Russano

    Russano Disappeared

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    So do these events change anything at all. Is that really any different from saying that a fic is different because Bellatrix revives Voldemort in the graveyard instead of Wormtail? That doesn't seem to deviate much at all.

    Harry bursting into tears is in character for random teenager X in that situation. It is not in character for Harry Potter. One of his defining characteristics is how little he's affected by life with the Dursley's and how normal he turned out. Another you see that often does this kind of thing is the cliche one where he tells his friends about the abuse and everyone gets all upset. In canon Ron and Hermoine pretty much knew right off the bat, commiserated that it sucked, and moved on. I can't really recall anytime in the books where Harry cried outside of someone dying. He gets angsty, not weepy.

    This is of course not touching any of the terribleness that comes from Snape being the guardian for some reason.

    OtWtG suffers from the same canon rehash problems (and is why some on here, don't like the fic.) It's saving grace however is its format. With 3 years covered in 6 chapters it at least goes through the rehash quickly before getting to the good later stuff.

    Also, I really hate when a fic completely ignores a thematic foundation of Harry Potter - that our choices to define us - to force someone into a house against their choice.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  7. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Basilisk: Everything Russano said, basically. I think OtWtG is the best we have in terms of "What would happen if Harry had been sorted into Slytherin" (and nothing else changed), however, I like it despite how little it changes early on, not because of it.

    Its saving grace really is the format -- Mira did the next best thing to skipping the early years: summing them up. Well, that and her writing.


    All that aside, I think there's a more general point to make in that regard, and I think I made it in the WbA thread as well. We can probably agree that it is not unreasonable to say that sorting Harry into Slytherin can change a lot of events. Not requiring that, just a possibility. Say, Harry behaves differently because of his new House mates, or he plain is at different places so events unfold in a different way without his presence (flying scene, Troll incident, etc. pp.).

    If this is so, though, you have a justification for changing Canon, and what I don't get is: If you can do it, why on earth wouldn't you do it? That's exactly what I told ehrenyu, the moment you start to think of ways how to fit the Canon events into the story, you have the entire thing backwards.

    You shouldn't consider how to make them work, but how to make them not work! The less you use, the better, because it's far more interesting to read about.

    And the latter also is the reason why, even if I agreed that whatever point I criticised was justifiable (I don't), I'd still consider it as negatives: I plain don't want to read it. If I read a Slytherin!Harry, I do that because want to read about a Slytherin-Harry. For Harry with Canon character I have, well, Canon.
     
  8. Kinser

    Kinser Fourth Year

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    I would argue that a sorting change would and in fact only could change some things if an author otherwise wants to stay true to canon.

    For Example a Slytherin Harry might not save Granger from the troll in first year, but Granger very well would likely have the troll incident. But as a counter example somethings might not change at all from Canon simply because Harry is a Slytherin. For example in first year the several tasks set up by Dumbledore to "Protect" a very important magical artifact with "protections" that a first year wizard can seemingly defeat very well could play a role. The question that the author has to address by changing house is if Harry goes after the stone, and if so by what method he uses. Simply rehashing canon using Theo Nott or Draco Malfoy in place of Ron and Daphne Greengrass instead of Hermione won't cut it in my book.

    In this instance Harry did address these tasks but he did so alone rather than with help except at the end by Snape.

    In the second book the Lucius-Diary-Ginny plot is largely beyond his control, as such the opening of the chamber in that book is pretty much inevitable. However, it is conceivable that a Slytherin Harry could embrace those claiming him to be Slytherin's heir or he could reject them, or he could be indifferent to them.

    Having read into the third installment of this series the technical aspects of the writing and story telling remain quite high, however, what leaves me desiring more is the fact that Harry remains overtly canon in nature. Which is why I only gave a 3/5 for the first one, and the others don't look like they can rise above that rating.
     
  9. Russano

    Russano Disappeared

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    I won't even get into the fanon manipulative Dumbledore theory thing that you've got masquerading as canon.

    The events of the second book are in no way inevitable. Maybe Lucius never gets a chance to place the book during the shopping trip, because the Weasley's never went that day, or he never bumped into them, or any other reason. Maybe Ginny wasn't mooning over Harry Potter so much cuz he wasn't you know, living with her for a while, so she didn't spend time writing in her diary. Maybe she got caught right away because people were in different places at different times because of the "changes" in the story. Hell, maybe Harry gets petrified and misses most of 2nd year and we get to deal with him catching up on his life and the drama that ensues.

    The only reason to follow canon events is because you can't thing of anything original to write instead. At best you could say that for later events you wanted to happen to actually happen, those early events are requires. And that's a cop out at best.

    If all that changes is that the protagonist talks with X instead of Y. Whats the point?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  10. Anarchy

    Anarchy Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    I barely even made it past the title . Lionsnake chronicles, really? I trudged on a bit, but it was so dull and uninspired. There's nothing really separating it from the plethora of other similar fics, and I don't really get the point behind it at all.
     
  11. NuScorpii

    NuScorpii Professor

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    There's only one way to describe this fic: tiring. I remember trying to read it a while back and I couldn't get through it entirely. Tried again, and no luck this time either.

    Besides the rehash and even first years going "Slytherins are evil", there's just something off about Harry's characterization in this fic that I can't put my finger on, but keeps distracting me every now and then.

    The technical writing is alright, though.

    I'll hold off from rating, since I didn't finish it.
     
  12. Kinser

    Kinser Fourth Year

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    I think you're missing the point.

    In canon it is clear that Dumbledore is behind the series of obstacles guarding the philosopher's stone. He was Flamel's friend/apprentice/whatever, he enlisted the help of other professors to set these various tests, and we know that he asked Hagrid himself to borrow the Cerberus. What is not clear is that if he was expecting that having this bait would lure whatever was left of Voldemort out of hiding then why set these series of traps in a manner that an 11 year old could figure them out and defeat them? It is conceivable that if three meddling kids can defeat these tasks that they should be no problem for even the most incompetent adult.

    Is that a manipulation by Dumbledore? I don't know. I find that one can equally attribute that to incompetance. The fact is that having the stone, and setting up that trap is on Dumbledore (and to a lesser extent other professors).

    As to the Diary-Ginny Weasley-Chamber plot line. Again you miss the point. The starting point of it was Lucius planting the diary into Ginny's possession. Meaning that planting it is on Lucius Malfoy and beyond the control of Harry Potter. Euqually, Ginny wrote in the diary. Now one could argue that she couldn't, or if she did she could have brought it up to her Parents or to a Professor at some point should she have suspected the artifact to be something more than merely a diary. Honestly I don't know how common diaries that write back are in the Wizarding World but based on the statements of Arthur Weasley at the end of COS I would think they are uncommon.

    Again, in order for the Chamber plot to unfold the first move has to be taken by Lucius Malfoy (meaning it is beyond Harry's control regardless his house), the second act of writing in the diary to the point where possession is possible is on Ginny Weasley (meaning it is beyond Harry's control).

    In short, my point can be boiled down to the theory that Harry is not, and cannot be responsible for the actions of others, he can only be responsible for how he reacts to them and those actions he initiates. And that would be true be he a Griffindor, a Slytherin or at muggle school.
     
  13. NuScorpii

    NuScorpii Professor

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    While I agree with you that the divergence of Harry being sorted into Slytherin would likely cause events to change, and a simple substitution of characters wouldn't work, I disagree with your logic that uses fanon to do it.

    First of all, read the books. Three meddling kids didn't defeat the obstacles. Ron got stopped at the chess board and Hermione at the puzzle.

    Secondly, it wasn't any three meddling kids. Due to luck and circumstance, they ended up having the exact knowledge and skillset required for this. If Harry hadn't befriended Hermione, Ron, or Hagrid, they wouldn't have passed the obstacles. If Harry hadn't been so good at flying, they wouldn't have passed the obstacles. Most importantly, something that many seem to conveniently ignore, if Voldemort hadn't found a way to get Dumbledore out of the castle, they wouldn't have passed the obstacles.

    Unless you're claiming that Dumbledore manipulated Harry to befriend Ron, Hagrid and Hermione and manipulated all the teachers to use tasks that were specifically tailored towards their knowledge and skillset, and made himself scarce at just the right time, please stop with the nonsense. Maybe read the books once more.


    I'm not even going to comment on this and how you ignore the fact that Voldemort and Quirrel couldn't find a way to get through for an entire year. Perhaps you're claiming that Voldemort is incompetent too?
     
  14. Kinser

    Kinser Fourth Year

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    I have read the books actually. In fact I consider that the books themselves are the only canon that there is (the movies and other such are apocrypha).

    In Philosopher's Stone we see that Ron was a necessary sacrifice at the chess board. At the riddle portion Hermione was needed to go back, collect Ron and then alert the professors. I would suggest that if Harry did not in fact need the other two to complete the task of retrieving the stone, then both would have been eliminated long before they were.

    As to luck and skill set that was incredibly lucky. Disturbingly lucky. The Devil's Snare trap could be combated with just about any spell that conjures fire. The Flying Keys could have been captured in a seeker-esque feat, but just as easily could have been summoned, or all the keys immobilized and tried sequentially. The chess board could be handled by just about anyone with a solid background in chess.

    Quirrel dealt with the troll before they reached the fire room so that could be discounted, that leaves Snape's logic puzzle which only really requires logic to solve. It therefore seems reasonable to me that just about anyone could get past these protections (save one) with reasonable ease.

    That final protection is hiding the stone in the Mirror of Erised under the conditions of it only being granted to someone who wanted the stone for purposes other than using it. (Which would mean obviously someone who wasn't operating out of self-interest.)

    Since I've never made the claim that Dumbledore himself some how managed to manipulate Harry to befriend anyone I think you're attempting to make a strawman here. Honestly I don't see how Dumbledore could manipulate anyone to be friends with anyone else if we assume that all humans have some degree of free will. What we do know is that Dumbledore was behind having said stone at Hogwarts and was behind the protections set up to "protect" said stone.

    That said, I do find it intriguing that Dumbledore sent Hagrid, instead of say a Professor (it should be remembered that Hagrid was not a professor, in addition to his other duties, in the first two books), to collect Harry. I would imagine with a significant minority of students being muggle-born and/or muggle-raised students there would be a clear procedure for dealing with in coming muggle-born/muggle-raised students. Of course that is only an assumption since canon never describes such beyond Dumbledore himself collecting Tom Riddle who would later become Lord Voldemort.

    As to Quirrel and Voldemort's alleged incompetence, I would say that Voldemort at any rate may have had to play a long game, particularly if his host was posing as a teacher. He, Voldemort, definitely had to gather intelligence, and to set a plan into motion. A great deal of that intelligence would be getting past Fluffy, following finding out which professors worked on the other protections. Both Quirrel and Voldemort would presumably know about Quirrel's "protection".

    ETA: This line of argument of course does not address my main criticism of the fic being reviewed, that of being too close to canon itself. It would seem to me that Harry being placed into Slytherin would have had consequences as to friendships, skill sets, and behaviors which would diverge from Canon in those areas that are under Harry's direct control.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  15. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Russano was exactly on point, alex_malfoi. He understood what I meant. You didn't.

    That was the point. Approaching writing a story using your way means you've already lost. There's any number of reasons you could invent for why XYZ doesn't happen like it does in Canon, whether it's Harry's doing or not, and the fact that you can means that you must, because in that case there's no justification for keeping it the same any more.
     
  16. Kinser

    Kinser Fourth Year

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    It seems to me that we are in agreement but coming from different angles. Were I to write a story featuring a Slytherin Harry I would definitely change a great deal. [I have a few outlines I probably should work on actually.] I would actually argue that changing events from canon would be the point of having a Slytherin Harry.

    However, if one is attempting to include canon events and force them around a totally different character (which it is arguable Slytherin Harry almost has to be) then one really can only use those events that are beyond Harry's direct control.

    My argumentation is that how much impact the subtle change of a sorting has on the first book is limited but would result in a very vast difference by the seventh book. And that certain plot elements are almost inevitable if one keeps the basic backdrop from canon. (For example the chamber being opened in book 2, Sirius escaping Azkaban in book 3 and so on.)

    But what is it that we notice about these backdrop and atmospheric elements? Almost all of them are beyond Harry's direct control. The thing is that Harry regardless of what house he is sorted into has limitations.
     
  17. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Yes, that was what I meant in my OP. Why would anyone attempt that?

    It makes no sense. You're robbing yourself the chance to write an exciting story, because you cling to the Canon plot which everyone already knows. Come up with your own plot, and then use any of the possible explanations of why Canon doesn't happen. That is what I want to read, not the millionth variation of how over Y2, the CoS gets opened.

    And that's what I said in the WbA thread.
     
  18. bob eddy

    bob eddy First Year

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    I usually like Slytherin Harry, but I couldn't get past the first few paragraphs. And a skim if the rest of the story didn't give any indications that it was going to get better. 1/5
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  19. NuScorpii

    NuScorpii Professor

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    Err, I'm a bit confused. Could you elaborate on what exactly it is about the first few paragraphs that you didn't like?

    While I couldn't actually manage to read it entirely either, it was certainly not because of the first few paragraphs. In fact, I would say that the entire first chapter was a pretty decent read.
     
  20. bob eddy

    bob eddy First Year

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    I can't exactly put my finger on it, but something about the dialogue just bugs me. Maybe it seems a little forced? Not sure if thats the right word though.
     
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