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WIP "Unlike a Sister" by MADharmony - M

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by NoxedSalvation, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. NoxedSalvation

    NoxedSalvation Temporarily Banhammered

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    Title: Unlike a Sister
    Author: MADharmony (formerly known as 'Michelle AD')
    Rating: M
    Genre: Romance/Drama
    Pairings: H/G, R/Hr, finally H/Hr
    Status: WIP, updated slowly, nicely-sized chapters
    Words: 204.000
    Library Category: Romance
    Link: Unlike a Sister

    Summary:

    I posted this in "Almost recommendable" nearly two years ago and finally decided to put it up for review, despite the H/Hr pairing and the focus on romance and angst.

    Reactions from the old thread:






    I still love the story for the rich characterization, the realism of the romantic relationships, the tension, the criminal case that forms the backstory... easy 5/5
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2013
  2. Darth Disaster

    Darth Disaster The Waking Sith ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    So, I'll read it.. but.. the first thing I noticed was the little picture of Hermione and Harry in the top left. That harry is fucking UGLY. Sure, there's the whole 'don't judge a book by it's cover' thing, but goddamn he is super ugly. His nose looks like a fucking dwarf potato. That image is going to stuck in my head and ruin my mental view of this Harry for some time.

    Now, on to reading.

    Edit 1: Overuse of the word 'Darling'. This is annoying.

    Edit 2:
    The 'first kiss' actually feels very natural and true. Like it could happen. I've been in similar situations, myself. It feels.. genuine. Human.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
  3. JimmyCranberry

    JimmyCranberry High Inquisitor

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    I'm quite surprised to see this appear on the DLP review board. It's a story I enjoy, but i would have thought it a little outside of DLP's usual tastes.

    This a story that I quite enjoy, though I may be viewing it through H/Hr-tinted glasses. The character's responses to the various situations they find themselves in appear to be within canonical limits, although Harry's obsession with Hermione can get a little excessive. However, both of their denials regarding the attraction seem quite in-character.

    I particularly like the way the Callahan situation has been integrated into the arc of the story.
    Social revolution? Could be an intriguing read...
    I get the impression that there is quite a long way to go with this story, but at this point I'll give it a 4/5. Depending on how the story progresses from here, it may change +/- 1.
     
  4. NoxedSalvation

    NoxedSalvation Temporarily Banhammered

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    If the contemporary DLP readership can vote the H/G family fic Strangers in Drakeshaugh into the library, there should be a chance for "Unlike a Sister" too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
  5. Myduraz

    Myduraz Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Taste is as diverse as the amount of people. Quality writing is always the most important factor in a story, though I suppose completely ludicrous nonsense written perfectly would be quite unwanted as well.

    For the story itself, it's one of the stories I enjoy the most at the moment. I find myself in a cycle where I'm bored to death of the school/young adult setting that the vast majority of fics use. It's rare to see quality post!Hogwarts, seeing as most of the time the primary antagonist is dead by then.

    I'll agree with WD and say that the interaction is done very well. It feels real and that is the thing that makes this story belong in the library.
     
  6. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I'll second everyone that has been saying, more or less, that it's quality DLP cares about first and foremost. We may have a preference for specific things sometimes (Harry as protagonist, certain themes, no slash, and so on), but if the story is really good then it doesn't matter.

    That said I'm not going to read/rate this, because it's romance, and romance sucks. ^^
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  7. Darth Disaster

    Darth Disaster The Waking Sith ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Note: Somewhat spoilery.

    Honestly, I'm not terribly into this fic. Even as an H/Hr fan. Harry doesn't feel romantic towards Hermione.. he has a lustful obsession with her. He HATES the fact that he has it. And it's damaging to his life.

    This is not Romance, this is a man and woman struggling to control their libido around each other. Harry doesn't really do romantic things for Hermione. Nor she for him. The story vacillates between a healthy minded Harry who is devoted to Ginny and his family, and an obsessive Harry who cares only about Hermione while being a jealous prick in his head.

    Never before have I run into an H/Hr with H/G elements where I was ROOTING for Ginny. She's a loving, worthy, devoted woman who doesn't deserve her husband's failing dedication to her and his family.

    Not impressed.

    5/5.. -1 for Scumbag Harry.

    4/5.. -0.5 for little in the way of actual Romance.

    3.5/5.. -0.5 for slightly less scumbag Hermione.

    3/5 for technical writing skill, and the Callahan sub-plot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  8. NoxedSalvation

    NoxedSalvation Temporarily Banhammered

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    I don't know about you, but being romantically interested in someone usually goes hand in hand with *lustful* thoughts about them, maybe even "lustful obsession". The fact that the protagonists in question have known and platonically loved each other for decades makes your assertion that their feelings aren't romantic even more problematic.

    Really? I wonder how much of the story you read before you came to this conclusion:

    Harry was waiting to see if Hermione would replace her hand…

    And to his great disbelief, she did. As the theatre grew dark, she retook his hand, weaving their fingers together again.


    Harry felt that familiar bead of heat radiating under his skin. It seemed to originate from the point where their palms touched, running up his arm and settling somewhere in his chest. (not his groin! N.S.) His whole consciousness seemed to exist in the space between their entwined hands.


    Barely caring if either Ron or Ginny could see, Harry let himself revel in the fact that Hermione had reached out for him. Was it wrong to rejoice that Hermione could have been thinking of him in that moment? To think that, just perhaps, he hadn't been entirely crazy over the past month as he and Hermione had kept their distance from one another? That perhaps something like what had happened between Violetta and Alfredo was happening between himself and Hermione...? That they had gone genuinely insane together? And wasn't that so much better? To be insane, but at least not alone


    Chapter 16

    Another problem with your interpretation of the H/Hr relationship is the fact that they both fight against their feelings to preserve their existing commitments and families. That means that they suppress their emotions and most of the time only the most overwhelming aspect of them, the erotic tension, pushes through their efforts.

    Actually, Harry is *not* shizophrenic, he is just battling with the new emotions that threaten to destroy his family. It doesn't seem very "healthy" to me when he has sex with his wife while thinking of his long time friend:

    In that moment, however, Hermione swam to the front of his mind. Without meaning to, Harry imagined that it was Hermione who had said his name in ecstasy. His name with those soft lips, reddened by his kisses.

    It's one of the great achievements of this fic that the author is able to realistically portray the internal conflicts caused by Harry's and Hermione's feelings. To understand the complexity of the situation only in terms of maritial fidelity ignores the fact that people can fall out of love and need to disband their relationship before staying together destroys their happyness.
     
  9. Darth Disaster

    Darth Disaster The Waking Sith ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Platonic Love =/= Romantic Love. It's not the same, not by a long shot. Having Platonically loved someone for years does not mean you are experienced in the areas of Romance with them. The differences between the two are vast.

    Most of it. I stopped at chapter 17, I think.

    Moments of romance here and there don't make this a romantic story. Harry spends most of story either obsessing about Hermione sexually or doing his best to re-dedicate himself to Ginny. He has romantic thoughts here and there, but even those are often later soiled with obsession and jealousy based entirely on physical variables. Things which he has no right or reason to be jealous about unless one keeps in mind he wants to fuck her.

    "The Most Overwhelming Aspect"... I.E. The strongest motivation/core motivation. That which is most powerfully the driving desire behind their actions. In this case, as you state yourself, it's erotic. Not Romantic. They want to fuck, not spend their lives dedicated to eachother more than any other.

    Fantasizing about others in bed is actually very common, psychologically. Even when you're with your loved one. What matters is how often you do it. Is it healthy for Harry to be thinking of Hermione? Not particularly. But so long as it isn't every time, or most of the time, and from what I read it was not, then it's not particularly unhealthy either. What is healthy, and morally right, is to remain with your wife, and mother of your children, even while struggling with infidelity.

    To frame the fic in terms of Marital Fidelity keeps in mind the consequences and truth of his actions. He crossed a line with his best friend, and then crossed it again and again. He didn't fall out of love with Ginny. The story goes to great lengths to show that he still cares for her, loves her deeply, respects her. He destroyed his fidelity and dedication to her through lack of self control. He's allowed his desire for the forbidden and unknown to over-rule his affections for his wife.

    Straying and having an affair =/= falling out of love. In fact that is very rarely the cause for affairs. What most often causes them is exactly what happens to Harry. He got a taste of something 'new'. Something 'different'. Something 'forbidden'.. and then couldn't let it go, couldn't stop himself. Despite the fact that every time he went back both re-enforced his desire, and was an insult to his marriage & his family.

    I'll make my opinion on this fic clear. If Harry stops the affair, or lets Hermione stop it, he'll only have been taking scummy actions for awhile... and I'll be able to respect him having the ability to master himself and retain at least some semblance of his honor.

    On the other hand, if he dumps Ginny for Hermione, then he'll be a scumbag in truth. And all respect for him will be gone. Since the story is labeled H/Hr, only a 'sad/bad ending' could turn it that way. It's labeling/genre lead one to belief it will end, ultimately, H/Hr. Which is why I labeled him 'Scumbag Harry' in my initial review.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  10. NoxedSalvation

    NoxedSalvation Temporarily Banhammered

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    You are quite correct that platonic and romantic love aren't the same... but going from platonic love to "lustful obsession", as you called it, doesn't ring plausible at all. And it's *not* what happened in the fic. Just take another look at the first kiss:

    Slowly, he lowered his lips to hers. They were deliciously soft, far beyond what he could have imagined. He held himself there for a few seconds, memorizing the feel of it. At first, Hermione's lips did not move under his, but as Harry pulled back, her mouth opened slightly.They stared at each other for a moment, neither of them close to laughing. Her brown eyes were shining, reflecting the gold of the clearing. Yet, her eyes had that same immeasurable depth Harry found so appealing. He watched those eyes look into his emerald ones, and then slowly, her eyes traveled down to his lips.

    It's their feelings for one another that cause the erotic tension between them, not just some crazy attack of midlive crisis hornyness.

    I don't understand why you construct this total seperation between romance and lust. Harry loves Hermione and he wants to have sex with her- being seperated most of the time and suppressing their feelings in order to save their families leaves very little room for romantic moments, but much time to agonize over the erotic tension between them.

    I find your moral strictness rather remarkable, and I think it's at the root of your unease with the story. I'm not advocating destroying families and breaking hearts just following a whim, but neither Harry nor Hermione did that. Still, they suffer on in silence and torture themself, while a much more liberal approach to the whole situation could be used to solve it without total catastrophy. Polyamory isn't easy and transforming two monogamous marriages in this direction would be stressful at best, but it could be the least harmful solution if they work it out.

    I'm not inclined to view this whole thing through the lense of conservative/traditional ideology about marriage. It's not ok that Harry doesn't speak with his wife about the development and the risks H/Hr are running are high- that doesn't mean that their love isn't legitimate and that they must suppress it at all costs. Living an unhappy live because of a vow you made half a lifetime ago is stupid.

    Much of that is rationalization because Harry knows the consequences for his kids, larger family and professional live. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of instances in the story where the serious fractures between H/G are shown. The fic even starts out with a very clear example:

    Lily was crying piteously and Ginny was stroking the nine-year-old's hair. Ginny's eyes, however, were impatient and focused on Harry.

    "Harry," she called. "We should head back. I still need to write up that report on the Cannons' game yesterday. Any later and the Pitch will have it before the Prophet..."


    (...)


    "You'll have to fix supper tonight for Lily. I've got to stop by the office. I forgot I left the game stats there. All this preparing the kids for their send-off has made me so forgetful…" Ginny said as she fumbled in her bag with one hand and held on to Lily with the other.

    Lily's freckled face was blotched, her nose a shiny pink. Harry moved to her other side and took her hand.

    "That's fine," he said to Ginny. "Should I cook for you too, or just Lily?"
    "Just Lily. I might as well write the report there with some peace and quiet," she said as she pushed her way between two slow-moving couples, dragging Lily and consequently Harry in her wake.

    Harry nodded behind her head. He wanted to say it might be best for both of Lily's parents to be present tonight. After all, Lily had just been made a de facto only child.

    They married very young, had children and are now concentrating on their career, especially Ginny. Their marriage isn't a happy one, that's for sure.

    Do you read what you write? How can someone "allow" his "desire" to "over-rule" their "affections"? Fact is, Harry has fallen in love with Hermione and that is the reality of the situation. You don't "self- control" your emotions, you can't "will" what you want.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  11. MonkeyEpoxy

    MonkeyEpoxy Totally Sirius DLP Supporter

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    Meh. I'd prefer not to read a story where the protagonist is a piece of trash adulterer.
     
  12. Aerylife

    Aerylife Not Equal

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    It's just another overrated Harmony fic, and him being a cheater with kids is pretty off putting. The plot is definitely believable but it doesn't make me dislike Harry and Hermione any less for being cheaters. 2/5 for decent spelling/grammar I guess.
     
  13. thebrute7

    thebrute7 High Inquisitor

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    So... Unlike a Sister.

    I hate commenting on H/Hr stories because I have such a soft spot for them. In fact, I doubt you'll find anyone on DLP more inclined to the pairing than I.

    Damn. Sorry Noxed, but I have to agree with WalkingDisaster here.

    I have touched the story on and off since I started reading fanfiction, and I liked it better when I was still in my "I hate Ginny because Rowling didn't pair Harry with Hermione phase." But it has since put me off for exactly the reasons Walking touched on. The is little redeemable about Harry in this story.

    I just don't see the problems that the author seems to see in Harry's marriage to Ginny, and frankly I think they are of Harry's making. And yes, it stems from lust, and lust is not love, no matter what anyone says. There is so little of the caring relationship that Harry and Hermione share during the books that is the basis for a more meaningful romantic one, one that could stand on more than lust.

    The story is well-written, but uninteresting because it forces us to deal with a protagonist without the strength of character to love his wife.

    Because Love, True Love, is about choice, not about emotions. Lust fades, and the "monster in your chest" may go, but our choices remain with us forever.

    God damnit, I started waxing poetic on the nature of love.

    3/5 for being well written, if not necessarily good.

    EDIT: And, frankly, the story does a great disservice to the character of Hermione, my favorite character int he series, by having her throw her strong moral convictions to one side on a whim.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  14. scaryisntit

    scaryisntit Death Eater

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    Way to boil it down to the most simplistic, mis-representative sentence you could. That takes a certain type of skill.

    There's a lot more going on than Harry and Hermione jumping in the sack for a few romps behind their partners backs. Both marriages are far from perfect. Sure, there's happiness still to be found, there's still love and respect, but neither marriage is working on the same level as that of a decade previous. Neither are happy like they used to be. Both marriages are shown to have real, significant problems.

    I read the fic six or more months back and haven't read the most recent update, and I have admittedly forgotten about the legal case side of the fic. The Harry/Hermione side, however, stuck with me. Though clearly I need a second look given how many people are saying there's absolutely zero romantic feelings between Harry and Hermione. I distinctly recall several instances in the first few chapters alone that indicate the opposite.

    Regardless, I'll vote 4/5 based on my memory. I'll reread it sometimes soon and change this accordingly.

    Edit: The reactions here are actually quite surprising. While I'll never disagree that it's wrong to cheat, I am surprised anyone advocates maintaining a relationship in which one becomes unhappy in. Problems existing in Harry and Hermione's marriages have been present for awhile. That was made pretty clear from my mind. The children complicate the situation immeasurably. But that's why Harry's seen struggling so much with it: for the children.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  15. Darth Disaster

    Darth Disaster The Waking Sith ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Relationships have rough patches, scaryisntit. In fact, that's surprisingly common. Sometimes we even become unhappy with our lot in life for a time. What represents strength of character is the moral fortitude to hold to one's vows and not give up at the first sign of deep troubles. You and Noxed speak as if Harry's marriage to Ginny is impossible to save, and Hermione's to Ron is impossible to save.

    This is wrong, so wrong. A Marriage can take a downturn, but it can also take an upturn, and I've read nothing that says "permanent damage to the very foundations of the marriage" that haven't been caused directly by Harry/Hermione in their act of cheating.

    I could, perhaps, see your point a bit when it comes to Ron/Hermione. But not really. They're having issues, problems, but I've seen Marriages with much deeper problems repair and return to happiness.

    Harry/Ginny though? Their problems are of Harry's making. Not Ginny's. Ginny has been almost beyond any form of reproach in this piece of fiction. What Harry is doing to her is reprehensible.

    The point I'm making is. The moral thing to do for both of them would be to really, really fight to improve/save/repair their marriages. Not to throw their hands in the air and go 'oh, well, things suck now, time to fuck my best friend instead!'

    Both of them are scummy. Hermione less so, because she fights it more than Harry does, but she's not without guilt either.

    Now, in the name of fairness, they aren't doing that. But it's likely there this fic is headed, and it's what Noxed and Scary are advocating.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  16. thebrute7

    thebrute7 High Inquisitor

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    Now that I think about it, this fic is a perfect example of why post-epilogue fics tend to suck.

    Because without making Ginny sleep around or something else horrible there is no way to both like Harry and have him divorce Ginny and get together with someone else. This story suffers from a double dose of this problem because it is focusing on not one but two relationships.

    The parts of the story not linked to Harry and Hermione's affair is quite good and interesting though. The story would be a lot better if he had focused the story on those plot arcs, and just had Harry and Hermione together from the beginning, throwing out the epilogue in the first place.

    The author has promise too, but it's a pity he wasted his talent on writing a pair of adulterers instead of something else.
     
  17. Shezza

    Shezza Renegade 4 Life DLP Supporter

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    1/5

    Fuck little Miss. Exposition!



    In all seriousness, I didn't vote, since as somebody said before, this is a Romance story and I don't read, nor appreciate, Romance stories. That said, WalkingDisaster has made some good points.

    If you have an affair when you're in a committed relationship, you're a scumbag.

    End of story. It doesn't matter if you fell out of love. End the relationship then. Have kids and don't want to hurt them? Well, you obviously love your kids more than your other partner- break the affair off and suck it up.

    Harry is dishonest, a liar, and a cheater. Hardly the protagonist I want to be rooting for.


    Heh. I said 'rooting' and we're talking about sex...

     
  18. melior

    melior Seventh Year

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    Callahan uses the Cruciatus on two Muggles and destroys their daughter's mind, and Ginny says, "So ridiculous the fuss they're making. Just give him a reprimand and be done with it."

    I don't disagree with most of your points, but there is plenty to dislike about Ginny in this fic.

    It's a touchy subject for sure, and I would have hated it ten years ago when the sting of my last (not counting my now-wife) girlfriend's cheating was more fresh in my mind, but I'm enjoying it now. Of course, a couple days ago I trolled FFnet looking for newly completed fics, and the last few I've started were utter garbage, so I might be a bit biased. Reading about a marriage deteriorating might not be the most pleasant thing, but neither are, for example, some of the dark!Harry stories I've read.

    And I don't understand the idea that everything *should* work out between Harry and Ginny. Yes, where I'm at in the story, their marriages are certainly salvageable, but any number of things could happen. It's going to suck for everyone involved, but it would also be kind of a frustrating story if Harry and Hermione wised up and suddenly started acting cold to each other despite their spouses' continued insensitivity about the Callahan situation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  19. Myduraz

    Myduraz Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Frankly I personally find the fact that Harry is morally flawed irrelevant. I enjoy reading this story because he is different. It's not everyones cup of tea, especially the romance part as I understand it, but I myself like a non cookie cutter protagonist every once in a while.
     
  20. h2o

    h2o Professor

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    I have to say I agree with what thebrute7 said. If this story had them perhaps as single after having failed relationships with Ginny & Ron it would work. It would still feel wrong and seem wrong for them to hook up but at least they wouldn't be cheating on their significant others.

    I agree that Ginny's attitude in the Callahan case is just a bit nasty, but she doesn't exactly deserve having a cheating Harry. Ron is actually portrayed very well here imo, which makes it kind of all the worse reading Harry's jealous rage over Ron touching his own wife.

    Difficult to rate as I can't see how the author is going to pull this off atm, I'm not quite liking this Harry... 3/5 atm with potential to go either way.