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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. Zysek

    Zysek Squib

    May 14, 2015
    I really loved the whole 'magic is a story woven from the meanings we attribute to things', it gives a sense of wonder and fantasy to magic that is sorely lacking fantasy literature these days, where magic has become more rigid and structured.

    Do I detect some Dresden Files' influence in the potion making? The way that series handles potions is eerily similar.

    Other than that, I have one major gripe with the story: it tries to do everything at once. The protagonist is a man who has been under heinous torture for a year, something which has irrevocably changed him, and he is also in another world without any of his friends who could put context to those changes both to him and to the readers. This wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't for the fact that the setting is virtually unknown to us.

    So, the story has to deal with giving context to Harry's changes at the same time it establishes the world to give such context. This is not an easy task by any means, and even when a story succeeds it tends to drag the pace down.

    This is what I feel happened in this story, it tries to strike a balance between world building and character development and though it mostly succeds at it, it drags the story to a glacial pace. Thus, to avoid 100k of world building and introspection, it has to resort time skips to move the story to more interesting places.

    I feel like I am lambasting the story here, but despite all the criticism I really loved it. I just wanted to put into words the things which bugged me about it. Easily the best HP/LotR crossover I've seen - 4.5/5.

    P.D.: English is not my first language, if you have any suggestions to improve my sentence structure please say so. I feel clumsy writing in english, like the words don't convey the idea I'm trying to express.
  2. illya_

    illya_ First Year

    Mar 13, 2015
    It feels fresh.

    Harry gets thrown into a new world and actually doesn't know exactly what to do. He fumbles and fails.
    Not everything he experiences is helpful, some just happens and at best increases his understanding of the world. It doesn't Harry achieve his goals, it just feels genuine.

    A lot of the story seems to be about understanding and finding out things, which takes time.

    He stubbornly tries to regain his magic, tries to craft a wand. And when he succeeds, even if only minor, it feels huge. Like some part of him gets returned.
    The story truly let you feel his frustration, sadness and happiness.
    I have full understanding of people who feel that the story is slow and random. And while I think that adds to its charm, I don't think it would hurt to streamline it just a tad :)
  3. mistermisstep

    mistermisstep First Year

    Mar 20, 2016
    Off the shoulder of Orion
    High Score:
    One of the things about Tolkien's works that I appreciate most have always been his mythopoeia, which sets it apart from the many works inspired by his. The other is a sense of wonder, either in the text or evoked in the reader.

    This fic uses the first and manages to create the second with both worlds of its crossover. The attention to detail is excellent. The style of writing is Tolkien-flavored but never falls into the trap of pseudo-medieval pretension. Harry's magic feels like ... well, like magic while it also doesn't solve every problem he faces. It also skips a major issue that a lot of crossover fics have -- rehashing -- by placing the start of the story well before LotR.

    In fact, the biggest problem I've found with this since I started reading it (months ago, and shamefully without reviewing until now) are the occasional reviews which read like they were either written by poorly coded chatbots, clueless speed-readers, or people wanting to see a super-powered Harry curb-stomp Middle Earth with spells and technology because good, deep writing is painful. (So just the usual FFN, then.)

    But one sentence can sum up how great this story is, really:
    Steelbadger can give Harry a staff and the writing still remains top-notch.
  4. mdatot

    mdatot First Year

    Mar 17, 2016
    Stockholm, Sweden
    High Score:
    This isn't for me, I think. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the technical quality of the writing and I really can't call it bad by any stretch, but I just can't get into it at all. The pacing is just too slow for me and I'm not really feeling any of the side characters. The big thing with Tolkien's works for me has always been the world building, how he makes middle-earth feel really ancient, but that's not really here either. Harry and his problems just don't engage me, here.
  5. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

    Jan 6, 2009
    Alright... it's long past time for me to speak up on this excellent story. I couldn't decide whether to do so in a review, in the library thread, or here... but since I want to point out something about the writing that you genuinely did RIGHT I figure here works. Especially since I'll be rating it as well.

    There are a lot of great things about this story and no horrible things. There are good things and maybe one or two things that could be better, but those are mostly personal taste.

    But this is what made the story for me, and I suspect that it will not be what anyone would guess.

    So... why is that tidbit of a scene that tied the whole story together for me? Why is this quoted part right here, why I round UP from 4.5 instead of down?

    Because this is what every other LotR/HP crossover gets wrong, and you got it right.

    Look. LotR has a very specific kind of magic system that is... almost, but not quite, the opposite of the sort of magic system Harry Potter has. They're damned hard to merge, and yet neither HP nor LotR would feel like itself if one was forced into the guise of the other.

    Harry Potter uses a wand to perform ridiculous magic spells that do everything from expelling entrails to making colored lights to turning teacups into toads. It's a system that can be taught in a traditional school system to kids who are bored half the time. Lord of the Rings magic, however, is very mystical and unexplained and apparently damn near impossible to teach for various reasons.

    But if you take Harry's ability to do HP magic away, he's no longer Harry Potter.

    But if you stick Harry Potter with his magic into LotR, LotR no longer works.

    There are other stories that try to do what you did but it fell flat because they never confirmed that Harry's magic is still functional if he can just make a wand. They sometimes have him doing potions, or a bit of wandless magic, but the reader is left stewing in frustration as they try to figure out if his magic would work or not if he had a damn wand.

    In your story we know it would, so that 'itch' is scratched, for lack of a better term.

    I am not describing this well, and I don't know if that scene above was put in because you knew it would work so well or if you did it naturally without thinking... but take out those few paragraphs and you'd still have a fantastic story.

    I'd just have rounded down to 4/5 instead of up to 5/5.

    Rock on mate, good stuff.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  6. PoshMafia

    PoshMafia Squib

    Feb 5, 2018
    I found this story underwhelming in the extreme. The characters are like leaves upon the wind, there one second and gone the next, and all you are left with is a poor cut out of Harry Potter that wants to go home.

    I totally understand the taking away his magic powers/changing them, but it is a different world, potions shouldn't work as he understands them. For a moment I had hope with the way he described each rock having a story but then he said that his people have taken centuries to study them.

    There is nothing in HP that would ever suggest such an outlook, and a great many options needed animal parts.

    Too many half measures for me and a lack of concrete characters.

    2/5 for me. Just not that good.
  7. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

    Apr 4, 2008
    I'd tentatively agree. Most of the cast are ephemeral set pieces rather than agents. They're as much a part of the landscape as the Lonely Mountain. Thankfully, with his arrival at Rivendell we got to see him interact with characters who will appear more frequently.

    Saying that potions shouldn't work in this world is as arbitrary as saying that they should. Part of it comes down to whether you think that potion making has more to do with the ingredients or more to do with the wizard. Do you think that a muggle could brew a potion if provided with all the materials? That's a matter that I don't think has a consensus on DLP, though @Taure is of the opinion that it's more focused on the wizard if I recall correctly.

    I would say that I disagree with the discovery method of assigning attributes. The conceptual nature of HP magic would have it make sense if a potion ingredient could be substituted since the potion ingredients carry that history thanks to cultural associations, not inherent ones. Hell, we see this with Harry's creation of potions equivalent to his home world's without the useage of the same ingredients. It's about what it feels like rather than the native properties.

    As for me, I'd give it a 4/5. It's technically well written, and the setting is explored in an interesting way that expands on canon LotR while staying loyal to the source material. The characters were a weak point to be sure, but that is something that is changing as of the last half dozen updates.
  8. PoshMafia

    PoshMafia Squib

    Feb 5, 2018
    I would argue there is a natural aptitude towards potion brewing, if not only because of Neville's complete lack of; then because of simply the lack of people who attain a portion mastery.

    Alright, I disagree with just about everything mentioned here. First of all, allow me to point out some of the fallacies within the FanFIction with the establishment of a few easy to agree with facts.

    First: Harry Potter is in a different world.

    Second: The world of middle earth is inherently different from earth.

    Supporting facts - 1. Magic operates differently, suggest that the way the world interacts upon a fundamental scale is different.
    2. Due to the inherent difference within magic, and the operation of the world, different fauna have evolved over countless millennia.

    In support of points One and Two - it is not a large mental leap to believe, with good reason, that the Flora of middle earth would also be different if not fundamentally so.

    So allow me to state again. The author did not create a new system upon which potions are created. He even went so far as to shoot himself in the foot by saying that the nature of such ingredients was discovered/found after centuries of experimentation. And yet with the new plants, an animal life, our Intrepid Cardboard Cut-Out Hero happens to know all their inherent properties as it were. Once again I will state there was no such philosophy in the original HP series.

    The simple fact is that the whole potions creating/synthesizing process was lazy and a piss poor attempt to recover our 2-dimensional hero from his grave injuries.

    And don't even get me started upon the lazy plot armor of find all such ingredients within an arms reach with no difficulties at all.

    Again 2/5 I don't read novels without solid writing and therefore I do not consider it worthy of mention. But I am glad you enjoy it. In the end for you that is what matters.
  9. invinoveri

    invinoveri Third Year

    Aug 29, 2012
    Is this some type of reverse psychology to get Steelbadger to update? I'm down with anything if it works.
  10. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:

    1. Those familiar with the lore of Middle Earth know that it is not, in fact, a different world. It is a pre-history of our own world. So the fundamental premise of your argument is flawed. Harry has not traveled between worlds, he has time traveled (assuming the author has decided to keep this aspect of the lore).

    2. Even if it were a completely different world, there's nothing preventing an author from having it share certain properties. One imagines that Harry is still breathing oxygen. Many types of tree still exist as they do on Earth, as do grass, humans, potatoes, other vegetables and herbs, etc. It's not a stretch at all to think that certain other animals and plants are the same too.

    3. With regards to magic, HP magic is known to come from the wizard, not from the world around them. So it's perfectly consistent with canon for Harry to "bring" his magic with him.

    4. With regards to the magic in the world around Harry and how it interacts with his magic, the author is free to determine this for themselves. For example, it's completely open to the author to postulate that, although LotR magic and HP magic manifest differently in the world, they are based on similar principles/modes of thinking. Therefore while Harry may not be able to cast the same spells he would have cast in the HP world in the same way, the principles of magic he spent years at Hogwarts learning will at least partly translate, allowing him to fashion new magic for himself in his new world, based on the common principles of magic across the two worlds. And Potions is one form of magic where the rules may translate best, given that it's a form of magic that is quite LotR-friendly in terms of method and effect.

    Tl;DR your complaints are neither canonical nor required by logic. They are simply your subjective preferences.
  11. Evillevi

    Evillevi First Year

    Mar 25, 2014
    So here is some of my opinion of the story in lieu of a review.

    First off all it's well written. +1

    It feels like LOTR.+1 . More specifically it feels like the story could have taken place in the LOTR Universe what with all the references and characters and themes.

    Harry Potter doesn't feel like Harry Potter. +? This... is not a big problem per se but a consequence of how LOTR is more like an epic/myth while HP is rather more down to earth and character focussed and relatable. What is a problem I feel is that there's not that much interplay between HP and LOTR until he stays in Revendale. And I'm not talking about magic but hte minor things like how Harry has a bitey humour, how he talks, how he thinks and how the world reacts to someone so odd.

    Characters are rotated out too fast-1. We don't usually read enough about how Harry interacts with the same characters for more than a chapter or two and this feels a bit shallow on top of feeling less like Harry Potter since character interactions are a core part of making HP feel like HP.

    Now that this is done here are some hopes of mine.

    Firstly I do hope you consider integrating HP magic in it's entirety, but treat it more like a sword in the sense that Harry can do anything he knows the spells for but he may not be good at using the spells in the context that is required.

    Secondly I do hope you consider putting some story emphasis on spells that require a certain amount of emotion or will or drive to cast. Like how the best killing spell requires that Harry wants with all his might to kill something and make that a point of conflict.
  12. dnemes

    dnemes Muggle

    Jul 18, 2018
    I was originally not a fan of crossovers of any kind. Your story, however... it basically skipped straight to my top three, and I regularly find myself anxiously checking for an update.

    Most of what I wanted to compliment on has already been mentioned one way or another, but what I feel important to say is:
    – I really love your style. it flows well, it's captivating, and it made me slow down ( – meaning I love the pacing too). It really is a pleasure to read.
    – I honestly didn't mind the so called 'loss' of the Harry Potter portion: or rather I disagree with that assessment. Harry was the one who moved to another world, and of course he is the one adapting. I have found the changes in his character (and their speed) authentic, and I accepted basically everything you threw at me easily, I even welcomed most of it. It was honestly refreshing.
    – I didn't feel that there was a loss of the LotR portion. I'm not very knowledgable of LotR lore, but what you did choose to do – to put Harry in another time as the events of LotR – was the only interesting thing you could have done – for me at least. When writers put HP into the plot of LotR, they basically create a very fertile ground for cliches and just general dumbness. You did something truly interesting by putting HP into an actual different world. Thank you very much for that.
    – Kudos for your potion and magic theory, I love this kind of stuff, and you do it exceptionally well here,
    – and please don't apologise for the original characters. They are interesting, and they fill your world with life. They are one of the great pros in this fanfic for me.
    – I strongly disagree with the meandering judgement, the pacing is good, and yeah see all the above (writing style-wise, or how it makes possible to the detailed introduction of the world).
    – Update rate is no issue either, however I would be very happy to see one : )

    Anyhow, from here on i would just probably degrade into fangirling, so i'll just rather stop.
    Thanks, love it, keep it up!
    (And for me it's an easy 5/5)