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What is the most annoying HP fanfic clichés?

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Snowy, Apr 30, 2022.

  1. Snowy

    Snowy First Year

    Dec 15, 2020
    Ron bashing

    The entirety of Ravenclaw bullying Luna

    So mote it be

    Abusive Lily and James

    Love potion mistress Molly

    Epic CHUNGUS pranksters twins

    Lord Potter Black Slytherin Gryffindor Ravenclaw Hufflepuff Merlin Le Fay Pendragon

    The Slytherins did nothing wrong

    Friendly goblins

    Ridiculously abusive Dursleys just so the author can make everyone fawn over Harry and how much of a trooper he is.

    Harry/Harem fics.

    When Harry goes to gringotts and gets an inheritance test and the goblins give him a sheet that says
    Magical core:90% blocked
    Oclumency: blocked

    mpregs Holy crap. Just no. Why does it drive people to write it? Harry shouldn't be pregnant. Ever.

    Draco being a misunderstood sweet sensitive guy
  2. Innomine

    Innomine The Chosen One ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Nov 27, 2007
    New Zealand
    High Score:
    In hindsight, I can’t help but think that all the fics/tropes with extremely abusive adults were written by authors with an experience of that kind of abuse.

    They were also probably quite validating to others who shared those experiences.
  3. Atram Noctem

    Atram Noctem Auror

    Jan 13, 2015
    I disagree. Not that I'm an expert on child abuse, but most of those come off as extremely unrealistic to me, whether it's the passive Harry that suffers multiple broken bones/rape/concussions without a complaint or attempts of escape, or the Harry that goes around telling everyone he just meets about his abuse - I think abused children tend to hide their abuse for the most part, since they are ashamed of it, and in their mind it makes them look weak, which would invite more abuse.

    Anywho. I agree with pretty much everything Snowy listed. I've actually compiled a list not long ago, so here are some.

    - Bashing that isn’t based on actual canon. Yeah, lots of characters in canon were annoying. No need to make them even more annoying just so Harry would dislike them just as much as you do.
    - Lords. I nope the fuck out of the story the minute someone mentions that Harry is “Lord Potter” or “Lord Peverell” and lacks his “family ring” or what not. It doesn’t fit at all in the Potterverse. Harry doesn’t wear his “family ring” because it DOESN’T EXIST outside of the mind of authors who can only think in Victorian cliches. The same goes to “pureblood etiquette” where they all talk to each other formally. Go and read the books and tell me if Draco Malfoy comes off to you as someone with any sort of etiquette. It’s completely out of the way, it’s cheesy, cheap, and it sucks. Every single time.
    - For that matter, 11 year old Slytherins who are all perfect political geniuses playing 5D chess who know everything about magic and who just spout whatever their parents tell them. Most of the Slytherins we see in canon are fucking morons, not even close to a competent elite.
    - Casual and binding magical oaths. The Unbreakable Vow is said to be a big taboo, and it’s probably limited if Voldemort didn’t use it to ensure loyalty from his Death Eaters. For that matter, if magical oaths were really common and acceptable, it wouldn’t be hard to convict Death Eaters or discern innocents. Terrible plot device.
  4. MuggsieToll

    MuggsieToll Fourth Year

    Mar 9, 2019
    Yep. Mild mannered Arthur Weasley canonically beat the shit out of 7 year old Fred for swiping his wand and trying to perform one on Ron.
  5. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

    Sep 1, 2010
    Germany occupied Greece
    High Score:
    I wonder if anyone ever tracked down the first instance of the 'mote it be' trope.
  6. LT2000

    LT2000 Heir

    Jun 5, 2005
    No. They were written by teenage girls with a hurt/comfort fixation. All poor Harry needs is some tender loving buttsex from Professor Snape to set him right again.
  7. Iztiak

    Iztiak Prisoner DLP Supporter

    Dec 4, 2006
    The most annoying fanfic cliche is the one where all the good ones get abandoned, and all the shit ones get completed with 2 million words+.

    *Eyes our entire userbase*
  8. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    I keep a list handy for this exact circumstance; time to brush it off. I may well update it at the same time...

    Muggles and Wizards

    - Technology being depicted as able to overcome/get around magic.

    - White-washing of Muggle society and exaggeration of the flaws of wizarding society.

    - Muggle culture or technology making significant inroads into wizarding society.

    - Muggles/squibs being able to make potions.

    - Muggles/squibs being able to resist the Imperius.

    - Muggles/squibs being able to resist legilimency.

    Wizarding Society

    - Depiction of the wizarding world as stuck in the past rather than simply being different. Especially when it comes to gender roles – marriage contracts etc.

    - Depiction of wizarding society as lacking innovation/static.

    - Backwater Britain (with respect to other magical nations).

    - Backwater wizards (with respect to other magical species).

    Wizarding Economy

    - A magical population outside the range of 10,000 to 30,000 wizards.

    - A magical economy that is too large or sophisticated (stock markets, etc).

    - Turning rare and powerful magical objects into “off the shelf” purchases.

    Wizarding Government

    - Depiction of Aurors as magical police who have general enforcement duties, as opposed to specifically elite Dark wizard hunters (and occasionally VIP bodyguards).

    - Depiction of Aurors as having a command structure, procedures etc. which are reminiscent of Muggle police or military.

    - Goblins who perform a great many functions which would more correctly lie with the government, law firms, and accountants.


    - Hogwarts teachers giving their students far too much leeway. In particular, having the teachers permit a teenage authorial avatar to continually undermine their authority.

    - The idea that anti-Muggleborn discrimination happens in the open and is institutionalised, as opposed to it being an analogue of racism in the Muggle world: definitely present, but in a insidious way, with institutions being officially opposed to it.

    Magic in Society

    - Ancient magic that is depicted as more powerful or advanced than modern magic.

    - The idea that “Dark Lord” is a commonly used title, or even a magically real title, as opposed to a made-up title that originated with Voldemort.

    - Casual use of the Unbreakable Vow, rather than giving it reasonable limitations.

    - Casual use of Veritaserum, rather than giving it reasonable limitations.

    - Making rare and obscure magic relatively common knowledge, in particular occlumency and horcruxes.

    Magical Power

    - Any kind of magical exhaustion, including “concentration exhaustion”. Physical exhaustion and general tiredness are acceptable.

    - Magic as energy, or as working within the same system of laws as physics (rather than overriding/breaking physical law).

    - Simple/easy magic.

    - “Wish magic”, where all you need is intent and willpower.

    - “Dictionary magic”, where all you need to do is look up the incantation and wand movements and practice it.

    - Discrete magic, where there is a separate spell for every conceivable task, rather than broad spells capable of flexible use. E.g. there being a dozen different shield charms rather than a single Shield Charm.

    - “Magical brutes” – idiots without any learning who can cast powerful magic.

    - “Magical academics” – clever wizards with lots of spell knowledge who are useless at casting magic.

    Witchcraft and Wizardry

    - Non-permanent transfiguration.

    - “Enchantment” being a separate discipline to Charms.

    - “Mind shields” occlumency

    - Duels lasting a long time, with multiple injuries being incurred, rather than ending very quickly the moment one fighter gains a slight advantage over the other.

    - Dodging being presented as a valid, or even superior, combat tactic.

    - Destroying/manipulating horcruxes without destroying the physical container.


    - Veela having an area-of-affect befuddling aura capable of being adjusted in intensity by the veela turning a mental volume dial.

    - Any worldbuilding which makes the house-elf problem morally simple. E.g. house-elves needing a bond to live.

    - Friendly/misunderstood goblins.

    - Subjugated magical beings (such as goblins) capable of going toe to toe with wizards.


    - Characterisation of Harry which ignores his resilience and turns him into a crybaby, a nervous wreck, prone to emotional breakdowns, or infantilizes him.

    - Harry who rants and shouts at adults as a habit, and generally comports himself like a 7-year-old having a tantrum.

    - Harry who tells his life story, including extremely private matters, to everyone he meets.

    - Harry who constantly dispenses “wisdom” to his peers, such as telling Hermione not to believe everything she sees in a book the first time he meets her.

    - Harry picking up a book in year five only to discover the “real nature of magic”. He’s been at magic school for several years and has been getting pretty good grades. He already knows the real nature of magic.

    - Overstating the level of the Dursleys’ abuse.

    - Overstating Harry’s level of wealth.

    - Short Harry short. 175 cm (5’9) at the minimum (by adulthood).

    - “Potter Manor”.

    - “Potter-Black” and its infinite variations.

    - “Harry likes flying, not Quidditch.”

    - Naive sex god eunuch Harry. That is, having female characters be attracted to Harry precisely because he’s so insecure and freaks out at anything sexual.

    Other characters

    - Any kind of bashing, especially of Dumbledore.

    - Making Harry the only character who is capable of learning.

    - Hermione ‘s magical ability being upgraded to Snape-level or higher.

    - A Hermione who identifies more as a Muggle than a witch.

    - A Fleur who identifies as a Veela rather than a witch.

    - Misunderstood Voldemort

    - Insane Voldemort

    - Rickman!Snape

    - Hitler!Grindelwald


    - Any change made to the HP world which does not have corresponding changes to character motivations and actions. For example, in canon Voldemort could not penetrate Privet Drive during the summer. If your fanon makes it so that him taking Harry’s blood does allow him to penetrate Privet Drive, you should also change character behaviours to match - Dumbledore would know this, and act accordingly.

    - Taking an absence of an explicit explanation in canon and assuming a plot hole, rather than assuming the existence of a reasonable explanation.

    - Romantic partners who do not have their own lives, with their own circle of friends, their own dreams and ambitions which may clash with their partner’s plans, their own opinions and beliefs which differ in some areas from those of their partner.

    - Fics where Voldemort just sits around making pointless terrorist attacks but never actually does anything to try to take control of the wizarding world until a “final battle” with no strategic purpose.

    - Inconsistency in the abilities that characters possess, especially their level of duelling ability or the use of any special talents. This inconsistency is more often than not used to force the plot onto canon rehash rails.

    - Depiction of magical warfare that ignores the high mobility and stealth capabilities of wizards, as well as the relative lack of need for natural resources or land. We should be seeing skirmishes for strategic objectives, not significant pitched battles.

    - Time travel/dimension travel stories where the travelling character very quickly ends up telling their whole life story to people they barely know.

    - Time-travel/dimension-travel stories in which there is more than one travelling character, or the character(s) are able to move back and forth between times/dimensions.

    - Letters to Harry from his dead parents.

    - Discovering the Potter will.

    - “Pranks”


    - Spelling mistakes and typos.

    - Grammatical errors.

    - Run-on sentences.

    - Purple prose.

    - Self-insert.

    - Walls of text.

    - Incorrect dialogue formatting.

    - Author notes in the middle of the text.

    - Breaking the 4th wall.

    - Preachy authorial mouthpiece characters.

    - Juvenile humour.

    - “Pup”
  9. MonkeyEpoxy

    MonkeyEpoxy Master of Death DLP Supporter

    Aug 11, 2011
    Lupin calling Harry "cub."

    First of all, baby wolves aren't cubs, second, unless you're in an AU where lycanthropy is depicted as something other than a horrible curse with no benefits as it is in canon, Lupin would never give someone a nickname that refers to it. He hates it
  10. zoopdiwoop

    zoopdiwoop Muggle

    Oct 3, 2018
    Jesus, I forgot how much I dislike "pup," "cub," "prongslet," or any sort of similar nickname. Massive cringe whenever I come across it.


    - Any sort of pairing with Snape or Snape playing a (legitimately caring) parental role to Harry.

    - AUs which make neat changes to the HP world but somehow the exact same canon plot points manage to occur anyways. If you're going AU, logically it should also change at least something in the plot. Otherwise it's just boring as hell to read.

    - Fics with Tonks or Fleur that have them immediately jump into Harry's arms because "oh he sees the real me!!!!"/"oh he can 'resist' my allure!!!!!!"

    - Incessant "twinspeak" from Fred and George.
  11. Download

    Download High Inquisitor ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Aug 6, 2014
    Adelaide, Australia
    High Score:
    It's easy to write shit.
  12. zugrian

    zugrian Third Year

    Sep 14, 2018
    For me it's got to be James & Lily as terrible parents in all the WBWL crap.

    They literally died to save his life, but now instead they ship him off to the Dursleys because of REASONS! Or even dumber, they keep him around but completely ignore him in favor of their other kid.

    That takes bashing & OOC to new, moronic levels.
  13. MuggsieToll

    MuggsieToll Fourth Year

    Mar 9, 2019
    A great twist on this would be that James, Lily, and the WBWL are all great, loving, supportive family members, but Harry still turns out to be a Death Eater because he was a jealous little shit.
  14. yargle

    yargle Groundskeeper

    Dec 29, 2019
    Anything where the author feels the need at the start of chapters to define that a different language (say, parseltongue) will be in text using a specific typographical emphasis (such as italics, or underlined).

    And this one isn't HP fanfic specific, or even a cliche, but it derives too much rage in me not to mention: Writing a story from multiple character perspectives and having each one be in first person. Stop it. Just... stop it.
  15. Grenn

    Grenn First Year

    Jan 29, 2017
    High Score:
    Chunks of JKR's text in the fic. Instant drop.

    Changes of no consequence. Little guys run around doing dragon dung the whole year, then BAM! Back to the canon, witch.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022