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Complete Meaning of One by Sovran - M

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by SeverusTheKnight, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. SeverusTheKnight

    SeverusTheKnight Squib

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    Title: Meaning of One
    Author: Sovran
    Rating: M
    Genre: Action, Adventure, Angst
    Status: Complete
    Library Category: Romance, Adventure/Drama, Angst
    Pairings: Harry/Ginny
    Summary:
    Part One: If two people are deliberately created to be together, how will the challenges in a world of magic and Dark Lords be dealt with? What would it mean for two people to truly become one? A re-imagination of first year.
    Part Two: The second year at Hogwarts brings new experiences, new friends, and new challenges. Along the way, they learn more about what it means to be who they are, even as Hogwarts seeks to cope with who they are feared to be.
    Link:
    (Series) : http://www.siye.co.uk/siye/series.php?seriesid=54
    (Part One) : http://www.siye.co.uk/siye/viewstory.php?sid=11833
    (Part Two) : http://www.siye.co.uk/siye/viewstory.php?sid=126789

    Note: Part One and Two are seamless, so I'm reviewing them together. No Spoilers.

    I like Meaning of One because it gets almost everything right. There is no undue hatred or resignation -- it could be called rather myopic. But by the very nature of this story, that is to be expected. The children aren't geniuses and they aren't overlords, they're just average 10 and 11 year olds with rightfully concerned parents and teachers that completely fail to grasp the nature of Harry and Ginny's relationship with each other. For them, their melding is obvious, not a surprise, and something that is expected and non-threatening. Instinctive trust and affection comes from a likeness of affect (for lack of a better word) and not from a dread of their chains or the constant, overwhelming contact.

    Apart from the Soul Bond, this story does not veer from canon concepts. Other characters carry faithful torches from canon. Their reactions to the sudden, unexpected events (which seem rather drawn out to Harry and Ginny, which they should) and the retaliation from the protagonists form the basis for much of Part One, with the new intrigue and mystery of Hogwarts presenting itself as a slow burn that might be too slow for some who were not expecting a Year One story to be a 500,000 word behemoth. Despite the length, the story is only sluggish in parts where the advancing plot seems odd and unconnected for the present. Most of the "clues" could be gleaned by anyone familiar with canon, but the author's attempts at masking the same is commendable. It's good enough to revitalize a nagging feeling of anticipation for the events, which are driven not by incredible feats or meaningless conflicts, but by the inevitable natures of the protagonists and their friends.

    This might be a downside for those who wish to find novelty in their AU stories and those who tend to sneer at stories that veer only slightly from canon and often find a way to shoehorn events. I expected this to be one of this story's downsides, but after reading a third of Part One, I could not support this any longer. Sovran's writing is impeccable - I might be able to count typos and grammatical mistakes in this story on one hand. The way the story is written is what really sets the stage -- you're not paying for the thrill, but the feel. The writer manages to blend Adventure, Mystery and World Building seamlessly and lets one overpower the other only to make poignant points and to advance characterization. This preserves the subtlety and immersiveness of canon, and at the same time manages a whodunit that the author crafts with care to imbalance your canon-aware expectations. This acknowledgement and practice of independence lets the story divert from canon synthetically, without succumbing to tricks employed by cheap entertainment, like major last-minute surprises and character growth that suddenly precedes adversity.

    Part Two seamlessly grows on this, and the first chapter of Part Two picks up where the last chapter of Part One left us. Attending a boarding school tends to make mothers hyper-protective, and for someone as rambunctious as Molly Weasley, this could even entail mortal danger. The Dursleys a sidenote and a mild annoyance, the beginning of Part Two deals with what Harry has never had - genuine family trouble and freedom. Although well executed, it might run too long for some. It delivers new friendships and genuine connections that form a major part of the story after. Quelling high spirits, it moves on to Hogwarts like familiar territory, which echoes in the actions of the protagonists. Their surprises and worries are hence greater.

    Anyone looking for inappropriate contact will be sorely disappointed -- they protagonists are simple and well-behaved children who walk with their hearts on their sleeves, and consider lying an affront to their sensibilities.
     
  2. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I mean, flawless post really apart from the fact that it's bound to be in the Recycle Bin because that fic is an easy fifteen years old and it wasn't great back then.

    Then, maybe there's room for people who might not have experienced it in the past to take a look at it. For what's it's worth I remember this being about as cheesy and cliche as fics of that era could get, it was pretty much the archetypal SIYE fic.
     
  3. SeverusTheKnight

    SeverusTheKnight Squib

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    It's not fifteen years old, Part Two ended in 2016. And it's not cliche by any measure. If you're looking for loud explosions, then yeah it's very cheesy.
     
  4. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    I remember reading it way back when, and I give Sovran props for taking the "soul bond" trope and playing it 100% straight, consequently showing why it's an awful thing no one should want to have. That's also about the value of the story -- a thesis on why soul bonds are a Terrible Idea.
     
  5. Otters

    Otters Fourth Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    This is a dull and insipid story.

    The prologue was absurd with an attempt at anthropomorphism in a 'flavour' intro paragraph that would make Pratchett gag on his own sword, but I decided to give the author another chance be auae prologue often don't accurately reflect the story.

    Perhaps the writing isn't full of spelling errors, but it has an atrocious style. It's predominantly exposition, staggering drunkenly from authorial intrusion to tumblr-esque OOC inner monologues.

    2/5 because the mechanical use of language is at least coherent, but there's zero appeal in the story or the way the author wishes to tell it.

    Suspicion that OP is a troll rose to max from their first message in Discord and has not dipped since.
     
  6. SeverusTheKnight

    SeverusTheKnight Squib

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    Not trolling. I suspect you haven't read the story, seeing how your gripe is with the prologue and the "writing".

    I did not find this story "Dull and Insipid" at all.

    Well, if you don't like soul bonds, you shouldn't deride the story for using them. That's very Dursley-ish.
     
  7. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Enough.

    OP you don't need to defend every reply to the thread this gets. People are either going to like it or not.
    Considering the reception it got in discord, you should expect about the same here.

    Next "in defense of" post you make in this thread will get you a time out.

    Everyone else, keep it civil.
     
  8. TMD

    TMD High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    I'd like to dedicate this post to Zombie, who yesterday on Discord told me to 'save it for the review thread.' I'd also like to re-iterate that when OP provided a link to a 250k+ word completed fic that he claimed was undeniably the best in the entire fandom, I was very excited. Instead, reading this story was an experience not unlike excitedly opening a purchase from ebay only to find an empty box with a 'fuck you' note inside. If I had paid for this, I would report you to the advertising standards agency for misrepresentation.

    Nonetheless, the review.

    We open with a prologue more unintelligible than even the worst comprehensive school drivel. The author is trying far too hard, but in his defence at the very top he says "The prologue is very different from the rest of the story. If you don't like it or it doesn't make sense, please DO skip it." So after about 20 seconds, I do exactly that and proceed to chapter 1.

    Thus begins the endless paragraphs of telling, rather than showing. It's almost as if the author has made a bullet point list of Harry's personality traits, and then expanded those into prose. Red flags appear aplenty, and my fellow conneiseurs of garbage fanfiction will recognise these as characteristic of a typical hurt/comfort/angst fic:
    - "Harry was well aware that he did not seem to feel many of the things his classmates did, such as affection, frustration, or joy."
    - "Anger was an old friend to Harry. It was the one emotion he felt fully and regularly."
    We then progress to the same for Ginny, where the author demonstrates his perception of what a perfect angel looks like. Instead, the description aligns more closely with a psychiatric patient - euphoric mood disorder if I had to name one. We also discover this story has magical cores (even if they're not called that), and that our perfect pixie dream girl is a weak little loser, and that at eight years old she's set her mentally disturbed mind on Harry Potter. Molly sees this as wisdom rather than making an urgent trip to the Dai Llewellyn ward, and we head over to King's Cross a few years later. Harry and Ginny touch hands, and their telepathic soul bond forms.

    I'll confess I started skipping through at this point to see if anything interesting flashes up, but nothing did. Essentially, 10 year old Ginny gets to go to Hogwarts. Both of these kids have PTSD and nightmares for one reason or another, Ginny beefs her mum because she wants to sleep in the same bed as Harry so they can comfort each other etc. The underlying plot is fairly canon rehash of first year, but I didn't read this enough to even notice the 'whodunit' the OP talks about. The writing is technically fine, spelling and grammar aren't noticeably problematic - but the author continues telling rather than showing throughout. At points it's rather patronising, you'd think after 500,000 words they'd trust the reader to have an understanding of a character's thoughts and motivations, but instead randomly interspersed paragraphs remind us that Harry feels a certain type of way because of some generic Dursley abuse.

    In terms of the romance, the story is fundamentally flawed. 11 year old children, however accelerated their relationship by the telepathic link, do not fall in love like this. There's seemingly never any doubt what the outcome will be between Harry and Ginny, no challenge or obstacles to their paediatric love story. The whole thing would have worked better if they were at least post-puberty, and had to overcome significant difficulty to develop these feelings. For example, if Harry got the soul bond with fem!Draco, in the context of Voldemort's return, that might be an interesting concept (relatively, for soul bond fics.)

    Overall, this is a 2/5. It can be forgiven for the magical core/soul bond garbage due to the age of the story, but the lack of any exciting interpretations of those, along with the frankly boring writing style condemn this to not even being a worthy time waster.
     
  9. cucio

    cucio Seventh Year

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    Soul bonds are usually cheap plot devices in romance stories. The lack of freedom and agency they imply may be appealing to some and extremely off-putting to others, so you should expect very strong, negative reactions to stories based on them. Between children, they earn extra creepy points for those who don't find them appealing.

    Soul bonds could perhaps be explored more aseptically in some kind of weird-ass alien race, a la U. K. Le Guin.

    Regarding the story, I sort of remember giving it a go many years ago. Maybe it was finished in 2016, but it was started in 2006 or thereabouts. Utterly forgettable, except some references to Plato's Other Half stuff, IIRC.
     
  10. Nauro

    Nauro Headmaster

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    I think I've forgotten this story nearly in it's entirety, but for vague remembrance of the enjoyment I had a long way back. Yes, I remember liking it, but that doesn't put it nowhere near the top tier stories.

    I think it was one of the better soul bond stories, but that's just placing it at the top of the pile of garbage mountain, like a decent enough chair that you could sit on, but your feet would still be immersed in the mess beneath, and it stinks.

    I still wish there would be a descent subversion of the trope, which this story has hints of. In some ways, this story treats the soul bond as two bodied single person, and that could be an interesting approach, by merging the personalities into a common blob, and confronting the universe with this strange existence, but it never goes that extra step, turning into an excuse for destined partners instead.

    In the olden days, I'd have given this a 3 or even 3.5 had I been feeling generous, but I don't think the age of the fanfic helps it one bit, rather makes it's flaws stand out even more.

    I have tried to quickly skim the first few chapters, but it doesn't work for me now - and even then I read it despite being of subpar quality, not because of it.

    There are a few interesting idea bare-bones here and there, like the two using each others knowledge to form quick lies, but...

    The sorting is a poorly done excuse to get Ginny attending the same year, and the whole magical core bit is just... sad. Getting two eleven year old sleeping in the same bed because they get no nightmares/feel better/etc, is a very prevalent trope in this "genre" of soul-bonds, and is one of my biggest disappointments. If they have this all present all encompassing connection, why do you need to keep them sleeping in the same physical place - they already share ALL the senses all the time, and are basically in two places at once. The physical distance should be a non factor in this arrangement....

    ...

    Anyway.

    2/5

    Maybe 2.5/5, but can't find any reasons to round up.

    Very much a guilty pleasure at it's best, but a story ridden with contrivances and poor ideas cannot be truly amazing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2020