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WIP The Shadow of Angmar by Steelbadger - M - HP/LotR

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by Steelbadger, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Steelbadger

    Steelbadger Death Eater

    Nov 9, 2013
    United Kingdom
    Title: The Shadow of Angmar (HP/Lord of the Rings)
    Author: Steelbadger
    Rating: M
    Genre: Adventure
    Chapters: 11
    Words: 70,644
    Published: March 15, 2015
    Status: WIP
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Pairings: Unknown

    Summary: The Master of Death is a dangerous title; many would claim to hold a position greater than Death. Harry is pulled to Middle-earth by the Witch King of Angmar in an attempt to bring Morgoth back to Arda. A year later Angmar falls and Harry is freed. What will he do with the eternity granted to him? Story begins 1000 years before LotR. Eventual major canon divergence.

    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11115934/1/The-Shadow-of-Angmar
    DLP WbA Link: https://forums.darklordpotter.net/showthread.php?t=28486

    After achieving the somewhat dubious honour of becoming the most favourited, and most followed HP/LotR story on Fanfiction.net I figured it was time to submit this story for review.

    It's not done, but hopefully it is far enough on to give a sense of what is to come, and to be enjoyable in its own right. In the spirit of review, though, I should do this properly:

    The Good
    This story manages to correct many of the issues of The Power He Knows Not.
    • The framing and narrative is more consistent, and the tone has remained either fairly constant, or has changed only slowly and in line with Harry's character development.
    • It attempts a rather ambitious story and setting, which amounts to more like original fiction than a canon re-tread.
    • Much more thought has been given to back-story and the attempt to reconcile the very different worlds of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
    • Though we're not there yet the plan is to depart so significantly from the established story-line that only the general shape of things will be inherited from the Lord of the Rings.

    The Bad
    It is not, however, with its niggling issues.
    • The occasionally clumsy attempts to emulate Tolkien's descriptive style remain, even if they are mostly improved over The Power He Knows Not.
    • The Harry Potter portion seems to be lost, at least in these early stages. The story so far could be re-written with a very few changes to completely cut out any mention of Harry Potter.
    • It tends towards the verbose and the pace can be interminably slow. Perhaps this is an over-correction from the unrelenting haste of The Power He Knows Not.
    • Even the Lord of the Rings aspects feel distant. The entire story so far has taken place almost completely outside of the written history of Tolkien's setting.

    The Ugly
    • How many names and OCs does one story need? Are we into treble figures yet? And how am I meant to remember all these bloody places and people?
    • It often feels like the story is merely meandering rather than building towards something. It is often more like a travel diary than an adventure story.
    • It remains to be seen if the rather leisurely update rate can be sustained throughout what is expected to be a multi-hundred thousand word story.

    Anyway, tell me what you think! (I haven't rated it, obviously)
  2. Hawkin

    Hawkin Chief Warlock

    Apr 20, 2011
    QC, Canada
    However dubious it may be, I think it does warrant a congratulation! Well done Steelbadger!
    I'll be frank, I tried reading your previous LotR story the other day when I browsed your profile on FFnet. I barely made it past chapter 1. I think your writing has improve by leaps since then; you show us a lot more, the dialogues flow more easily, the descriptions while lengthy provide a better picture of things, and there's barely any exposition at all.

    I think it's a genre and you do it well. The OCs are literally not a problem for me at the moment and I'm generally against them, but I don't know enough after LotR to feel offended by their presence. I feel like I'm reading a story and these characters are there for a purpose.

    I give this easily a 5/5. It's pretty rare these days that I'll drop whatever I'm doing and open up FFnet when I see an update to a fic and The Shadow of Angmar is definitely one of those.

    Again, well done man and keep it up, I would hate to see this amazing story abandoned!
  3. bob eddy

    bob eddy First Year

    Jan 26, 2008
    I've been following this in the work by author and I always just assumed it was in the library cause it's a great story that I will read even under threat of missing an important deadline. Easy 5/5. Keep up the great work!
  4. Suty

    Suty First Year

    Apr 3, 2015

    Should be in the Library. My main issues are Bad#3 and Ugly#2, but I noticed them only in the recent chapters. I remember very fondly the first chunk of the story.
  5. Download

    Download Auror ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Aug 6, 2014
    Adelaide, Australia
    High Score:
    You got it wrong, you're not the most favourited LotR/HP crossover, you're the most favourited of all of the LotR crossovers.
  6. Clampert

    Clampert First Year

    Feb 28, 2016
    High Score:
    The only real problem I see in this story, as with the authors previous hp/lotr fic, is that the main character really does not feel like Harry.

    Mostly it's because of the shift in speech mannerism. Harry feels and sounds like a lotr character and I can't really say that there was a meaningful transition from HP Harry to this one.

    The story is still great and by far the best Lotr cross I've read.
  7. Hawkin

    Hawkin Chief Warlock

    Apr 20, 2011
    QC, Canada
    To be fair, the story starts like six months (I think?) after Harry has been summoned, imprisoned and tortured to the brink of death. I think a little change in character is warranted.
  8. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Mar 16, 2006
    One of the Shires
    High Score:
    He's been in Middle Earth for two years, apparently, and has learned at least two languages since then. That's more than enough time for some mannerisms to cross over. Also, he sounds like he's from Middle Earth because he's speaking a language from there. I imagine he speaks it with a very strange accent to those who live there.
  9. dopeydinosaur

    dopeydinosaur Squib

    Apr 8, 2014
    I'm really loving this crossover, easy 4.5/5, maybe even 5/5.

    Personally, I feel your attempt at 'Tolkien-style' prose isn't as clumsy as you seem to think it is – I think you are being your biggest critic there. While I'm not saying that you're nailing it completely, it is in no way jarring, and I am quite enjoying your writing style. That said, I have to say I read LotR when I was much younger and found parts to be a bit too tedious, so my enjoyment now may not be what you're going for.

    I am also actually enjoying the fact that this setting is so far removed from the LotR. There is enough here to connect it to the trilogy, but at the same time explores a time and setting that hasn't really been done much before, if at all – like you said, it amounts to more like original fiction with characters we love. I look forward to seeing how Harry's presence here affects the events of the Hobbit/LotR, but the story is interesting enough that I don't at all mind reading about the 1000 years that precede it.

    I even disagree that your HP doesn't feel like HP. I think you've managed to have a darker theme to your story than the HP books, by far, and still maintain something that makes HP, well, HP. I can't even put my finger on it – it could be the innate goodness in him, or his will power and determination, or even his abstract understanding of magic that shone through in DH – but I can say that it reads like Harry Potter.

    In fact, unlike a lot of fics that go this route on having Harry without his wand in a new crossover world, you've managed (skillfully, I might add), to avoid having a Harry Potter without magic.

    Harry Potter – the series, the person – is about magic. Taking it out – making him primarily an expert swordsmen that resorts to bouts of wandless magic when pressed, for example – or even leaving it out for the duration of time that he doesn't have a wand, just seems wrong. But you've managed to keep enough of the magic alive and also hinted tantalisingly at what's to come. I can see how this might become more of an issue if you really prolong his time without a wand, but so far you are handling it well.

    In fact, the only real issue I see is the pacing, and it is not a big one. As I've already said, I've enjoyed your writing style – in fact, as Basilisk said, I find it an improvement on your previous LotR crossovers, which I loved – and the setting of the story is refreshing. However, you're pacing it so ambitiously that a small part of me is sure that this is going to go the way of the many other good Harry Potter crossovers that tend to start strong and then go into hiatus. I wouldn't blame you (well, I would, but I'd get over it) if that happens to this fic – after all, you're doing this for nothing. But given the update schedule and the sheer scale of where I feel the story is going, if you're going to finish this, things are going to have to speed up – timeskips are good but sometimes too many after such a detailed introduction can reduce the immersion the reader feels – something to look out for.

    I think it's this pacing that's cause of a lot of what you feel is wrong with this story. The feeling that HP is just meandering his way through Middle Earth, with only hints about the plot being revealed, for example, or the verbosity.

    Still, despite his magical progression being slow, Harry has in fact covered a huge amount of distance, met quite a few influential and non-influential people, and has already left his mark on the events of the world.

    He's also healed himself as of chapter 11

    So, yeah, the pacing issue isn't really much of a problem.

    So we've done the good and the bad of the story. Now for the awesome.

    Your representation of potions (and through it, magic in general) is fantastic. I can safely say I've never come across it anything like this before. In general, I tend to love stories that emphasise the importance of symbolism in magic. And you've done it superbly.

    In fact, if you take one thing from this unnecessarily long review, I would love for you to include more magic – even some of the other types of wandless magic, like Astronomy. I couldn't for the life of me think how you'd manage to do this, but it would be awesome.

    Rating it 5/5 since most of my concerns revolve around how the story is going to fare in the future – everything so far has been great.
  10. Zeitgeist

    Zeitgeist High Inquisitor

    Dec 27, 2010
    Under the Staircase
    At least 4/5 on the simple virtue of being a LOTR/HP crossover which doesn't feature Harry as either an elf or Legolas's sodomite. On a less facetious note, the writing has a decent flow, although the pacing perhaps could be quickened.
  11. kriulrs

    kriulrs Squib

    May 22, 2015
    I have to agree that the writing is good, and the author definitely knows his lore. The last part however is my problem with it to be honest, he might know it too well. I've read the LOTR books and The Hobbit and seen the movies, but that's about it. So until the story gets closer to the LOTR timeline I'm going to have a hard time enjoying the story that much. That being said it's enjoyable so far and I'm really looking forward to see where it's going!
  12. trollolol

    trollolol Third Year

    Mar 11, 2012
    I agree with all of these points. I would add to "the good" some things you might not mention yourself: at the very least, it is very pleasant to read; it flows well and the writing never has glaring errors. The characters are interesting, and the world you are building is (to me, as someone who knows much less about LOTR) very interesting and original.

    It is sort of true that at times things might be a little clumsy, compared to Tolkien, but if all amateur authors measured themselves by whether or not they are as good as Tolkien we'd never see any published work!

    It is true that the "Harry Potter" element is lacking a little, although I like your Harry and was able to suspend disbelief easily. Of course, the story is a long way from being finished but it had been the opinion of this reader that the story was building up and the potential for HP-verse-ness was coming.

    I think its pretty much accepted now in LOTR crossovers that HP should be neutered a little, through some plot device, because otherwise he would to some degree simply not be challenged enough for it to be interesting - bar those fights he'd never have a chance in even at full power.


    Actually I don't think OCs are ugly in stories like yours - what other choice do you have? Harry is quite literally alone without any character we know from HP, and at a time in Middle Earth when we hardly know any characters as well.

    To your second point: this is sort of true, I suppose, but if it is a travel journal it is the best damn HP/LOTR travel journal I've ever read.

  13. Thedutchyy

    Thedutchyy Squib

    Feb 26, 2016
    High Score:
    It's a very enjoyable story to me. There are no massive amounts of text to go through before reading a dialogue. It's a good balance you created. There are no obvious grammatical errors that I see and your flow of writing just feels good to me.

    That being said; I'm no LotR expert, having only seen the movies. But your story in that universe, but not directly connected to the movies (and the books ons which they are based obviously), gives me a glimpse into a larger picture. I'm not sure what is canon or not, but I enjoy every part all the same.

    One of the things I very much enjoyed, is that in the beginning of this story, Harry was not a wand waving hero but actually used the subtle art of potionmaking (an art very much overlooked in fiction). So kudos for that :)

    4/5 for me. Would be a 5/5 if the story was longer (hint hint ^^) Just kidding. Keep up the good work.
  14. Sauur

    Sauur First Year

    Mar 3, 2016
    High Score:
    This story is amazing. My only complaint is the pace of updates. I would like to see how Saruman changes over the course of a 1,000 years and if Harry changes his fate. The way you emulate Tolkien's style is breathtaking.
  15. Alpaca Queen

    Alpaca Queen Fourth Year

    May 12, 2014
    New York
    Most of what I can say as criticism will just be a rehash of what other people have already said, so I'll just focus on how cool it is that you took away Harry's wand, and then didn't have him learn wandless magic or get a staff or something similar. It's a really clever way of forcing him to rebuild magic from the ground up, and to actually understand it in the process. Potions, for one, have been handled beautifully. Over a slow build of a thousand years, even with timeskips covering the majority of the period, I can see it working really well.

    5/5 in the tentative hope that this is going in wonderful directions. Keep up the good work.
  16. corrwin

    corrwin Second Year

    Feb 1, 2012
    It's a great story that shows probably the deepest knowledge of Tolkien I've seen in a fanfic. I like just about everything, including the pace, the diary-like feel & all the original characters. One of two x-overs I follow religiously :) 5/5
  17. Anthares

    Anthares Squib

    Mar 5, 2016
    High Score:
    I can't compare your writing to Tolkien's as I read the books in french so I couldn't say if it is as clumsy as you say by comparison, but it doesn't feel so. In fact it flows very well! I couldn't find anything to reproach because I didn't "stumble" while reading. I basically read the entire thing without stopping.

    I'm not very knowledgeable on LOTR lore so while I see how it could be slow going for some people, I'm finding it very interesting. I think even someone who's never read LOTR or watched it would enjoy it.

    Regarding Magic, well I'm afraid I have nothing new to add. I also like the fact that his magic is there but unreachable and the answer isn't the obvious wandless jazz, the fact that he has to do his own research to understand it before he can wield it, that there are many other kinds of magic each with their own, er, foundations (?)...

    I think your portrayal of Harry couldn't be better. Yes he is quite different from canon Harry but with reason and you can still see glimpses of the old Harry.

    Anyway I'll stop here before I start gushing nonsensically because I'm totally a fan now. I'm loving it so far so it's a solid 5/5 for me!
  18. soczab

    soczab Professor

    Feb 1, 2016
    High Score:
    I was actually reading this story before I came to DLP, so nice to see it here.

    On the whole I liked it a good deal. I actually think there's a strength to you setting it so far before the normal LOTR storyline. It's allowed you to break away from some of the cliche's I often see in the LOTR crossover fiction.

    Lets see. Highlights. I really have enjoyed how you have handled all of the LOTR wizards, especially Sauramon. I think you've avoided the pitfall of making him an evil bastard this early on (I mean if the seeds of his betrayal were so obvious this early it wouldn't have BEEN much of a betrayal.) Indeed, in a weird way while reading your Sauramon I had in the back of my head about how tragic his later betrayal was based on this.

    In terms of the two many random characters, I wasn't feeling that way until the last chapter or so. Its all the dwarves for some reason, I can't keep them straight or get that interested in them. But that might just be me.

    The writing quality is very solid, the plots great, and its definitely a story i'm eagerly following. I'm going to be very curious to see how/if harry starts making any progress in his quest.

    I'm still getting a sense of how ratings work on DLP, but I would give it at least a 4/5.
  19. Lord Murtaza

    Lord Murtaza First Year

    Nov 6, 2014
    I do enjoy a good HP/LoTR crossover and this is one of them.

    I'm just afraid this'll end up like the other good ones - unfinished.
  20. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

    May 27, 2010

    It's not a canon rehash. It's imaginative, interesting and compelling as a narrative. That makes me a happy camper.


    Evocative writing that flows well. I never found myself glossing over a paragraph or thinking that the prose was too purple - something I cannot grant the original trilogy. It's a nice balance in my opinion between the descriptiveness of Tolkien and the style of JKR.


    It has remained Harry-centric for the most part, which is a definite plus. There are a ton of OC characters though, with more to follow. While Steelbadger does his best to give each one time to develop via their interactions with Harry, it's still rather difficult to remember all the names and, unfortunately, I didn't care very much for the new OCs.


    Shadows of Angmar exposes us to a variety of Middle Earth culture, from a brief encounter with the elves to the clans of the Rhovanion to the mountain halls of the dwarves. Each one is unique and far more distinct than the characters that inhabit them.

    As someone with only second-hand knowledge of the lore, it's a refreshing twist to see these often ignored places in typical LOTR fanfiction and the experience of learning at the same pace of the protagonist is nice too.

    The explanations of HP regarding his magic and how they contrast to LOTR magic was fascinating to read about too, possibly some of my favorite parts about this fic.

    Tentative 4.5/5, rounding down for now.