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Oneshot Professor C. Binns: A Personal History by PurpleFluffyCat

Discussion in 'General Fics' started by Agravaine, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Agravaine

    Agravaine Sixth Year

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    Title: Professor C. Binns: A Personal History
    Author: PurpleFluffyCat
    Status: Complete
    Words: 13,063
    Library Category: General Fics
    Pairings: Cuthbert Binns & Walburga Black, sort of, ish
    Publication Date: February 2014
    Summary:
    Link: AO3

    Introspective and quietly tragic, in exceptionally competent prose, the memoir of Cuthbert Binns, with particular concern to his friendship with Walburga Black. Both these characters get an unsympathetic turn in canon, but here the author portrays them with nuance and empathy, without giving way to idealization. (Plus excellent cameos from the Hogwarts staff.) One of those rare pieces that meshes perfectly with canon while building upon it in ways Rowling could not.

    I admit, this checks a lot of personal boxes—I love thoughtful spins on neglected characters, and the hows and whys of historical scholarship in the wizarding world pose intriguing conundrums. I can only wish the author delved into it here in greater detail . . . the effect of talking portraits and pensieves, the mixing of myth and fact and intersections with Muggle histories, what the very notion of history means to a small society on the constant brink of world negation . . . but that's not quite the point of this story, and that's fine.

    The enthusiasm of my recommendation is also contingent on the success of the characterization of Binns as non-neurotypical; if others with more expertise on the matter find it problematic, I will happily and apologetically recant. Until then, 5/5 from me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  2. Ennead

    Ennead Seventh Year

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    Thank you OP, for reccing this fic; I loved it. In one part, that may be because I too, really enjoy seeing minor characters get well-developed backstories. For the most part though, it's just because the story was engaging from the start. It begins and ends with Walburga Black.

    Despite the first person narration, the story had a very Jane Austen feel to it. Or maybe its better to go with A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, since that's cited as inspiration. It gave a sense of distance from all the other characters in the fic, reflective of Binns' own perspective of moving at the edges of the world. But then arrives Walburga Black. Their developing relationship...the creeping emotionality in his POV...the meeting of these two people who never truly fit into society nonetheless finding kinship with each other...were so nuanced that when I reached the last sentence of chapter 2.iii, I had to stop, put my phone down, and take some time to breathe.

    You will never see Binns the ghost in quite the same way after reading this fic.

    5/5
     
  3. MrFizzySodapop

    MrFizzySodapop Squib

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    That.

    To reiterate what has been already said, this one-shot encapsulates a lesser character and develops him into someone who can be emotionally invested in. Tragic and, somehow, strangely heartwarming, the prose is brilliant and the first-person perspective actually gives a boost to the central theme of 'being on the outside, looking in'.

    4.5/5
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  4. endsley_17

    endsley_17 Squib

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    Wow! I know, what a stunning and descriptive vocabulary. But all I can say is wow because I am simply stunned by this work. Because not only has this author created one of the rare gems that can stand along side canon. The author has breed depth, life, and feeling into flat forgotten characters. My only criticism is that i wish I could keep reading (4.5/5)
     
  5. Jarizok

    Jarizok Seventh Year

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    I commented on a thread that was 10 years older than this one yesterday, which had a lot of 'wow' in it that I did share. I share all the wow expressed in this thread.

    5/5
     
  6. Zerg_Lurker

    Zerg_Lurker Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    I like it. Reminiscent of Geminio by Portus in how it gives a great depth and life to a minor character in a way that doesn't demand rewriting canon.

    This fic reads a little flat, with far too much telling instead of showing. Almost pretentious in its voice. However, it fits perfectly as a narrative with Binns' voice, and I appreciate the stylistic flourish there.

    Don't care one way or the other about the accuracy of his portrayal as some manner of autistic savant, but credit for using it to drive his interactions with other characters and own development instead of making it his sole defining characteristic and source of his personality or lack thereof.

    It's not perfect; his father getting him to write his first history as a dying wish comes off too contrived and brings things together too neatly. The ending's also cheesy and way it folds back into canon is a little hamfisted.

    4/5, worth reading at least once.
     
  7. Majube

    Majube Seventh Year

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    5\5
    /10char
     
  8. Lungs

    Lungs KT Loser Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Absolutely incredible. 5/5
     
  9. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros.

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    Brilliant stuff, reading about how Binns grows as a character over time. That last line hit me especially hard, even if I didn't like Walburga all that much. Tragic, yet heartwarming and fleshes out why Binns is who he is. 5/5
     
  10. natero

    natero Squib

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    This is a story that stands out not for plot, but for the excellent character description. While reading, I got the impression that the author was trying to portray Binns as being on their autism spectrum, which is something that sets this story apart. Cliche is avoided, and due to the originality and excellent writing, I rate it 5/5.
     
  11. douter

    douter Fourth Year

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    I really like seeing minor characters fleshed out in a competent manner, this easily deserves 5/5.
     
  12. MaxQuill

    MaxQuill Muggle

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    As douter said, this easily deserves a 5/5. The characterization of Cuthbert and Walburga was fantastic, if a bit dull, but I suppose it was intended to be. I found the way it was written to be very unique among any of the stories I've read.
     
  13. vlad

    vlad Seventh Year Prestige

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    This is a fantastic find. As a bonus, the language was such that my head voice narrated the story as Sir Arnold from Yes, minister.

    5/5