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[Oneshot] The Cupboard by FranticArmoire - T

Discussion in 'General Fics' started by Dark Syaoran, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Darth Disaster

    Darth Disaster The Waking Sith Prestige DLP Supporter

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    >9000/5~!

    Nah, kidding. Still, very good, at the end I was left with contentment and a grin on my face. Very well written indeed. 5/5.
     
  2. Tinn Tam

    Tinn Tam Review Goddess Retired Staff

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    It was... nice.

    There wasn't anything pretentious about it, it wasn't trying to tell a groundbreaking story, it wasn't a quest for originality, a daring dive into unexplored areas, or a splendid show of writing skills.

    It was telling a story we know happened -- Dudley changed his slow mind about Harry, after the Dementor attacked -- about a character we don't care much about, in the blandest, dullest setting of the JKR novels (the only times number 4, Privet Drive proved interesting, was when it was wrecked with magic). There's something refreshing about it, after all the epicness and originality and drama and grandeur lobbed around (more or less successfully) by most fanfiction writers.

    It reads like an eccentricity, a whim. Something to be fond of rather than criticise for its literary qualities. It's exactly what fanfiction should be.

    About the literary qualities, though: the format was perfect. There isn't much to tell about Dudley, so writing it as a one-shot was the best thing the author could do. It adds to the feeling of simplicity that made me like the story. The writing is, likewise, unconceited and direct.

    The characterisation of the Dursleys is obviously fantastic -- nothing less should be expected, as it's the main subject of the story. Dudley's feelings of unease, the incursions of the memory of the Dementors in his thoughts, were perfectly timed.

    My favourite thing about this story: I loved the idea of Dudley feeling uncomfortable in his own bedroom and squeezing himself into the cupboard. That's one of these ideas that ring true. It's the physical expression of Dudley's change of mind, and again, so simple!

    Now, about Harry.

    I was impatiently waiting for him to show up. With all my love for simplicity, characterisation and whatnot, I'm still a Harry Potter fan -- not a Dudley Dursley fan. Without Harry, the fic would've lost a lot of its appeal. He was... okay. Seen through Dudley's eyes, of course he'd be a lot different than what I'm used to seeing. The sarcasm and wariness felt right; in HBP and DH, he's using it quite a bit during his (short) interactions with the Dursleys.

    What annoyed me a little was the "it keeps me sane" line. Overly dramatic. I'm not sure either about the walking in the streets at the end -- a bit... I don't know, solemn? -- but it was handled reasonably well.

    All in all, it's one of those fics I like for how gratuitous, how simple they feel. It's not trying to sell me anything, or dazzle me, and it's something I appreciate. Besides, I've always liked toying with let-down characters.

    4/5.
     
  3. Poytin

    Poytin The Arby's Hipster DLP Supporter

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    That would be the story A Hero by Celebony which is also in the Library.

    Overall I like this story. Dudley's thought progressions seems very logical following the events of meeting the Dementors and having a year thinking about it.

    I'd go ahead and give it a 4/5.
     
  4. Rin

    Rin Oberstgruppenführer DLP Supporter

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    Okay, fine, you've convinced me to read it. Rating when I'm done.
     
  5. Silens Cursor

    Silens Cursor The Silencer DLP Supporter

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    This story does a lot right, and despite some of the admitted corniness at points... yeah, I kind of really liked it.

    What I think worked best about it was that it had a very 'lived-in' feel - it was the sort of fic that works so damn well because it's incredibly immersive. The description is appropriate, the dialogue (both internal and external) are excellent, and best of all, the story took its time to develop. It wasn't fast or pretentious, or all that complex - there's a real simple charm to this fic that I quite enjoyed. On the same note, I'm not sure it's a tone that could be nailed quite as easily in a story set in the wizarding world, with all of its zaniness and quirkiness.

    Overall, I've got no complaints with this. 5/5
     
  6. Andro

    Andro Master of Death DLP Supporter

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    Dudley's transformation and gradually realizing how his family has wronged Harry was handled well. It constitutes the first half of the story, but as soon as that phase finished, the one-shot started deteriorating in quality.

    The actual interaction with Harry was bland. While Dudley is quite human, Harry is just a character role.

    I'd consider this part to be the most important part of a one-shot on this premise. You give the character you're redeeming all these horrifying realizations, walk him through the cycle of guilt as you're supposed to, and do a good job of it. But the payoff is when the two characters confront each other. It's too average. No surprises, runs exactly according to script.

    In fact, the canon scene was better. Short, terse, with an implicit forgiveness and Dudley being uncomfortable extending himself by giving an apology in the first place.

    Too much of this one-shot runs exactly according to script. I either read a similar story before, or imagined the scenario in my own head a while ago, but Dudley arguing with his parents ran identically to what I expected, nearly line-by-line.

    The author overlooked this with this truly shitty paragraph while editing:

    How did Vernon come up with this lol? It's one thing to redeem Dudley, but then the fic errs in trying to extend it to Vernon, by making him reasonable, and maybe creating a kind of greyness to 'who's right and who's wrong'. Or at least showing Vernon truly believes what he does. But it's badly executed.

    The author chooses this "wizards are leeches (on the Muggle government? Huh?)" idea that is too retarded to be believed, especially for a grown adult like Vernon. Maybe you can make the argument that Vernon makes it up because he wants to hate wizards, and makes it up to justify it to himself.

    But Dudley doesn't notice this either. I don't think the author realizes this violation of common sense.

    This line about Dudley's epiphany was very cheap:

    3/5, a decent, second-tier one-shot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  7. Tinn Tam

    Tinn Tam Review Goddess Retired Staff

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    I wasn't shocked by that. Dudley didn't suddenly become smart, he just started noticing something that would've jumped at anyone's face -- and he needed a Dementor attack to notice.

    Besides, while this assertion of Vernon's is ridiculous, it's very consistent with his character. He's not very smart either, and that's what he keeps talking about, isn't it? How normal Muggles are no-nonsense, useful to society, reasonable, etc.? And while he hates wizards, he still tries to connect his grievances to something much more mundane than magic. Remember in DH? "This is a plot to get the house."?

    I don't know about you, but in my world, no-nonsense useful people are always bitching about people who don't work (and wizards don't work, by an ignorant Muggle's standards) and get material help from the government, meaning, from their own taxes.

    However I, too, disliked the line you posted about Petunia being "jealous". All cheapness aside, Dudley can't understand why someone would be jealous of wizards, he just doesn't have the brains for that. In fact, all throughout the story he was thinking "it wasn't Harry's fault if he was a freak, maybe if it had been explained to him he'd have corrected it"; and not "he wasn't a freak, what he's doing is great."

    The interaction with Harry was best left bland and short, IMO. Two boys who've hated each other so fiercely for their entire lives aren't going to start sharing meaningful conversations, just because one of them isn't so hostile anymore.
     
  8. Andro

    Andro Master of Death DLP Supporter

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    I live in the United States. :/ I definitely see what Vernon sees in the wizards.

    I hadn't thought about it while reading it... but this is true. It's not really a true redemption if Dudley says "It's not their fault they have magic", where magic is still inherently hideous to him, is it?

    But then again this one-shot is about Dudley's way of thinking beginning to change.

    Which leads to me realize I like that about this one-shot. Even though it's imperfect, it still has that "lived in" feeling of being grounded in reality, as Silens mentioned. It isn't an overnight change. A complete overturn of his belief would never be done well enough in this length. That is an intelligent, realistic decision on the part of the author.

    I like it a lot, actually. Reading it again, Dudley isn't even truly about the right vs wrong of magic. His focus is really on how Harry was treated as a human being. He could still believe that wizards embodied evil, but he'd still repent for how the Dursleys treated Harry. It's very moving.

    I'm making my vote 4/5.

    Also, I never took "It's a plot to get our house" literally. It felt obvious that it was Vernon blustering in the face of not understanding the situation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  9. Mercenary

    Mercenary Snake Eater

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    I actually quite liked this one. It brought up something I never thought about. What would the Dementors had brought up as his Worst memories.
    I like it. 4/5
     
  10. Roarian

    Roarian High Inquisitor

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    Now I'm curious what a Boggart would turn into for him, or what it would turn into for a Dementor for that matter.

    Hmmm, would a Boggart just change into Dudley himself?
     
  11. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Professor DLP Supporter

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    4/5

    I thought this was a great one shot. It dealt with issues that I thought anyone could relate to, and really made an empathetic character out of Dudley Dursley.

    We knew the end result but it was a pleasure to watch how Dudley got there from the brat he was always shown to be and I think the author really caught what would be going on inside his head.

    It wasn't long enough to run dry or short enough that you felt the ideas came to Dudley too quickly.

    Like most people I wasn't quite as keen on the bits actually featuring Harry. He came across as just a bit too hostile, too sarcastic. Yet, it's totally understandable as we're used to seeing Harry outside of privet drive and from his own point of view where his ways are much more justifiable and less offensive.

    With the ending, I disagree with Tinn Tam that it was a little too solemn. Although Dudley's come to gain a sense of how the rest of the world views him and he's finally done the right thing he's still going to be quite egocentric. Even with some sense of perspective, his world still revolves around him and he's solemn because he's now committed to redefining all the relationships around him. And that's hard and undesirable and I think he's mourning the loss of his easy life.
     
  12. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    An empty plate. :p
     
  13. knight504

    knight504 The Chosen One

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    At least up until he was eleven. Then it's Hagrid with a pink umbrella.
     
  14. FranticArmoire

    FranticArmoire Muggle

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    Hi, everyone-- I'm the author of the fic, and I've lurked around the boards in the past. I checked the rules to see if it was all right to post here and didn't see anything prohibiting it, but if I'm breaking some sort of rule I apologize!

    Thank you so much for all the reviews and feedback. There's been some great constructive criticism that I'm definitely going to keep in mind for future stories.
     
  15. Aradene

    Aradene Guest

    I actually really liked this line, it demonstrated how uninformed and unfounded the Dursleys hatred and knowledge is in regard to all things magical. They have such an unfounded discrimination against them that they would likely form their own assumptions - assumptions that would be in their very nature wrong. Why would Vernon investigate something he detests?

    Aside from this, I also like that we don't see too much of Harry, after all, this is Dudley's story and not Harry's.

    The ending, I agree in some ways was possibly a little rushed, but that I think is fairly common in most one shots (if not the entire thing like so many are). Finding an ending to this type of one shot would I imagine be challenging as there is really so much you could do with it to keep it going - even if the long term effect of it was detrimental.

    I would like to see a short epilogue for this, just to tie up the ending a little neater.

    Overall however, it was a nice little feel good peice with a simple and effective plot that carried its own without the need to introduce Magic to make a more engaging story.

    5/5
     
  16. Mock Moniker

    Mock Moniker Professor

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    I didn't think it was that great. It is notable for being semi-realistic with the Dursleys (or at least as realistic as you can get with the cartoonish caricatures that canon provides), but it just wasn't that interesting to me. While overall the writing is decent, there are some parts that drag it down in my eyes (like Harry's lines).

    I'd say it's 3/5.
     
  17. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I can't bring myself to jump on the early 5/5 bandwagon -- I rate this at 4/5 for what it is.

    I won't go back over the highlights as others have already mentioned why it's pretty good.

    I felt like it should have done one of two things -- either (1) fit better into canon by not being as obvious (the last scene here doesn't jive with the Harry/Dudley interaction we saw at their last meeting) or (2) gone on for another one or two scenes to round it out (and have Harry leaving with the Order at the end).

    Minor quibble, I know.

    *shrug* It's a story about Dudley changing because of the dementors. It's one of the best of its kind, but that doesn't make it a 5/5 unless I'm only comparing it to other stories like it.

    Worth going into the library though.
     
  18. Tinn Tam

    Tinn Tam Review Goddess Retired Staff

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    Yeah, that's not what I meant.

    The silent walk, side by side, through the empty streets of Private Drive was what felt too solemn for me. Too much pathos shimmering right under the surface of that meaningful walk. Dudley himself wasn't too solemn -- but Harry and Dudley together, walking silently etc. were. Harry makes the scene odd, because Harry wasn't in Dudley's head, and even if he heard the result of Dudley's thoughts, I just don't see him walking along with his cousin in such a brotherly fashion. Too much, too soon.

    It might be just a personal thing. I just liked the dry, awkward handshake of DH a lot more.
     
  19. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Professor DLP Supporter

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    Ahh, I understand what you mean a little more now, although I still disagree.

    With regards to Harry then: I felt he was there for two reasons. One, to protect Dudley - it'd be a poor reward if Dudley got attacked somehow after he finally became a modicum more reasonable as a human being. Two, particularly due to the partial dropping of Harry's wariness of Dudley earlier in the oneshot I feel that his sense of compassion would compel him to accompany Dudley who's experiencing a sense of loss and a desire for escape that Harry himself has had to deal with many times before.

    The reason for the solemnity I thought, on Harry's part, would be precisely because he doesn't feel or care about Dudley in the same way he does about Ron, or any Weasley. I felt Harry would be enjoying the fact of Dudley's pain a little but would also feel guilty about it, and responsible to an extent as this argument was fought using him - even if it sums up a lot of Dudley's other inner revelations about his family - and that this conflict is expressed in precisely how awkward and quiet Harry is. He can't bring himself to jab, but he can't say it's all going to be better either. He just states facts.

    To be honest, I really enjoyed the ending because I really enjoyed the story and it didn't drag on too long. I felt like there was more to see that wouldn't be shown and because of that it affected me on an emotional level which is what I see as a good ending.

    If it got a different response from yourself then I can totally understand your not enjoying it but I felt I should try to explain the angle I didn't address in my earlier post.
     
  20. Inziladun

    Inziladun First Year

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Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Tabla normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> It's readable, and that's the only good thing I can say about this story, it shouldn't be enough that it's well written. There is nothing captivating about it that makes it deserving a 5/5. I may not be in the right mindset for the story (having just read the last chapter from Enembee's last story), but for me it was completely uninteresting, it was a chore to read it. Dudley it's a dull character, and even though it was well developed, a great text about a dull character doesn't make it a great story, even less a Harry Potter fic.
    I can't rate it any higher than 3/5, although I must say that this is a good story to rest from all the clichés that populate fanfiction.