|Where men are men and sheep are scared
||[Sep. 13th, 2004|08:55 pm]
Yaoi/slash that BURNS.
Have you ever read a fanfiction story where the characters are virtually mouthpieces of the author? I have; sometimes they are quite good and sometimes they are quite funny, and then sometimes one would wish that the author would button his or her lip, and that of the character being used as the mouthpiece.
Now, I'm not innocent of using another character as my mouthpiece; more than a few opinions of mine often make their way into fanfic, but mostly because my opinion had to correlate with the questions being asked in a certain situation and it suited that particular thought process and ethics of that particular character. (Usually, my characters tend to do the opposite of what I actually approve, since that makes it a much more entertaining story to read.) And then the character sprouts messages that you're not really sure if this is an agenda or issue with an author, or if it just goes with the story.
Do keep this all in mind as we embark into the following fanfic:
Name of author: PaddycakePadfoot
Name of story: OH my gosh Kurt Cobain!
Fandom this is from:
Saint Harry Potter
Pairings: Eventually Harry/anything with at least one hole--er, I mean, it mostly comprises of Harry/Remus and Harry/Draco
What makes it bad: Rampant OOC, Harry in the most bizare situations (which doesn't make it bad, but the situations weren't given the merit their potential deserves), Harry-as-a-mouthpiece, list abuse, inability to allow the plot to breath
The story begins with a very cynical sixteen-year-old Harry, which makes this story start off on a good note. I'm not too sure about the rest of you, but I like dark Harry. I like seeing HP stories take a psychologically unpleasant twist, which would be amazingly easy to do considering how JK Rowling left off in the fifth book. Sirius falls through a curtain, everything seems to have gone downhill, the Dementors are running amuck, etc. etc. I'm going to assume that everyone who knows what I mean has read the books and knows what I'm talking about, instead of just watching the movies. (In case you are one of those - is it too late to warn of how this review contains spoilers?) The writing isn't horrible; it's a rather quirky, free-thought style, which is always neat when carried off well. I'm pleased to say that, for the most part, the author does indeed carry off the style quite well.
However, this story ignores such elements of Sirius falling through the curtain and Dementors running amuck. Perhaps that isn't the best way to describe it; it's doesn't ignore the elements as in pretend they never happen, but it rather skirts around the issues as if they had very little impact on Harry. Now, the story is not without good points. As mentioned before, it starts out quite well with cynical Harry, told in his point of view:
Call me lucky.
Call me highly endowed,
but, do NOT call me the-boy-who-lived. Heavens to Betsy I fucking can't stand those...er..one..two..FOUR, yes four, words. I can't stand that icon of a name.
And the author sees fit to show us that Harry can, indeed, count. Am I the only one whose mind sort of stuttered at Heavens to Betsy? No? Glad to know I'm not alone. Other than those two nitpicks, it's not a bad way to start. (Betsy?)
The golden boy, Saint Potter, which is by far and above what you think is saintly. I am anything but saintly, I'm boisterous, insidious, indifferent, positively rabid, and remarkably in love.
Call me consequential,
Call me courageous and valiant, but I won't admit to either one, and I certainly won't divulge that I, Harry Potter am in love.
I like how Harry rails against what other people think of him; one gets the idea that Harry is very bitter to being forced into a box, to wear the heavy sign of Label. (. . . Heavens to Betsy. Does that just seem to fit into the Harry Potter world, or is just me?) And then we reach a point in the story, which is about maybe a hundred words from the beginning:
I'm either black or Mexican, what can I say. (A/N: POWER TO THE MEXICANS! MY HOMIES! Er..yah.)
Nothing ruins a powerful mood faster than an A/N. This may be just me, but I imagine high-pitched, squeaky voices saying the author's notes. It did not jive with the even flow of Harry's light tenor the story took the form of in my mind. Ding ding ding went the little warning bell in my mind.
This begs the question: How can a skinny-assed British caucasion be either, er, black or Mexican? There is no possible way to write Harry as being that confused. (Unless he is reading this story. But the possibilities of a fictional character reading an actual story on the real-life Internet is small-to-none.)
Onward the story continues, but downhill. Harry composes a list of the things the Wizarding World thinks concerning Harry. The term, "straight", makes the list three times, despite there only being thirteen entries. Again, bitterness, and even a touch of irony and sarcasm. Harry ends the list with something along the lines of Have I spelled this out with enough one-syllable words that your puny minds may comprehend? (My wording, which is probably better than the story's.) This allows the author to lead in with the following:
You see, in order to get my point across, I have to speak American for you all to understand, which brings my I.Q. down about fifty- percent.
Yes, and I, er, what?
Haha, nah, just kidding. Us Brits LOVE you Yankees and your thirst for power, enabling random deaths of innocent souls and your paranoid antics leading to mass destruction and new enemies from all over the world. It's sad to say the muggle population of England chose to fight in the frisk you called a war.
What is it you Americans say?
You got served!
How posh is that? Tee hee hee.
I'm, uh, incredibly confused at the moment. And the warning bell has suddenly become Big Ben: BONG!!BONG!!BONG!!
Remember how I mentioned some characters can become an author's virtual mouthpiece? Would it be incredibly rude to ask Harry if he buttoned his lip, or would that just make me a rude American? (Look, Montana is so far removed from the rest of the US that outsiders wonder if we're still fighting with the Injuns.
Yes, but only lawyers. Which is dirtier.)
Now, there is a time and a place for everything, and while poorly-masquaraded hate for the war in Iraq may find a place in fanfiction, a story set in 1996 is not the time. (Either that, or Harry is channeling Trewlanie for some bizarre reason.) Lastly, Great Britain's colonization of Africa keeps popping into my mind for some reason, so the pot should not be calling the kettle black.
Or would that be considered racist?
The entrance of Hermione interrupts Harry as he goes on to talk about love - his love; he won't tell us what sort of love. The description of Hermione prattles into nothingness, and the chapter ends with Harry mentioning something about how it all happened five months ago. Okay, so we go into the next chapter to find out what happened this five months ago.
Chapter two starts with June, and another list, this one of chores. For some odd reason, Harry is off to find a job. I would expect he would have to tell someone like his aunt or uncle, but there is no mention of either. I would think that both of them could quite easily find enough work for Harry to keep himself preoccupied. But no . . . So Harry sneaks off because he doesn't want anyone to notice his leaving. Harry doesn't seem to realize that maybe people will notice that he's missing. Like, say, the people assigned to watch him day and night lest Voldemort and/or his Death Eaters attack.
See, it is important for people like Harry to recognize the following: There are consequences for actions. Admittedly, Harry doesn't make a very good connection with either in the books, but after what happened to Sirius, I'm sure he would have a bit more critical thought for his doings.
After an interesting little note of how Harry got high off dishwashing soap (?? Isn't dishwashing soap too mild for that?), he's off to find a job. After wandering the streets of London with his invisible cloak and answering a Help Wanted sign at Starbuck, Harry goes on a shopping trip oddly reminiscent of generic-GothicGinnySue's trips to a place called Hot Topic. (Really; when I went into the Hot Topic store, I pointed and giggled at everything.) Luckily, the place he shopped at didn't have too much to do with Hot Topic and all their silly black clothes.
I was purchasing my converse, when I saw my beauty.
It was what I would come to depend on for the rest of my teenage life.
It was a black, long, mousy sweater. It had zipper pockets inside and out. It fit around me like a circus tent. I loved it.
I could hide things under this jacket.
Now, bear in mind that Harry is sixteen when this happens and he tells it in stream of thought. Unless he died quite young, he's got four more years until he's out of his teenaged years. Unless, of course, he is still channeling Trewlanie. To complete his shopping, Harry gets a new pair of glasses ("They were smaller and nearly invisible, they fit my face well too."). With that accomplished, he goes home and meets up with Tonks. This results in the following conversation:
"Harry. You know your not aloud to go wondering off."
HAHA! Oh yes I know...I promise I won't go anywhere Tonks, goodnight.
I love this; your and aloud. Actually, this irritates me to no end. I'm sure I don't have to go into the whole, just because it's spellchecked doesn't mean it's actually spelt right.
What a coincidence, Harry! That is precisely my thought
of this particular author!
So, Harry, are you going to run off lickety-split like you did after having the vision of Voldemort attacking Sirius, and therefore get more people killed? Hello, self-preservation is talking here: are you stupid or just suicidal? (Wait, don't answer that.) Come on, author, give Harry's character a little more credit than that. Furthermore, I thought that Harry respected Remus and Tonks enough to not call them dumb shits.
The next day, Harry goes off to his new job in a "knew pair of shoes." Woe, I want intelligent shoes, too!
There's some interaction between Harry and the guy who looks over his resume at the job.
He's checking me out! Hmm, he is kind of cute...
I decided I would worry about my sexual preference later. I gave him a smile.
He asked me out. I accepted. I asked him if he had a car. He did, he asked me if I did. I said no. He asked me if I wanted to go to a club that night. I said an interested yes. He queried at where to pick me up. I said I would be able to take the train here, and then leave. He nodded.
I went into Starbucks to get a job. I got a job. AND a date.
What the fuck?!
Woe, me too! I am finding way too much in common with Harry, here. Big Ben continues to ring away as Harry goes off on his date, gets a false ID to sneak into the club, and has the following conversation:
" Creative." I commented. He was a lively guy, he had a look in his eye that kind of scared me, of a hunger of some sorts. I asked him some questions about what he was interested in.
" Well, at the moment, I'm only interested in you." He smiled. I cracked up.
" Charming fellow aren't you?" He smiled and nodded.
" Do you drink?"
" So and so."
" So and so."
" Haven't but may one day. You drink?"
" So and so."
" So and well, a lot."
" You want some?"
I laughed. He couldn't be serious could he? HAHA! Harry you're funny...
WHY DO YOU VIOLATE THE CHARACTER OF HARRY IN SUCH A CRUDE MANNER?!!!
*coughcough* Er, excuse me.
Could someone please explain the leap of logic (artistic license? imagination?) it must have taken for this author to write Harry into this situation? Aside from the fact that I got very, very lost in the above dialogue, is Harry showing off under false pretenses in an attempt to impress the other guy? Is there a set of Harry Potter books out there that I missed which has the characters involved in sex, rocks and roll, drugs, sex, more drugs, illicit sex, and gay porn?
Does JKR know these books exist?
Bearing all that aside, let's look at the potential of Harry agreeing to accompany some stranger he had never, ever met before to a place he, according to canon, has never thought of attending, with the use of a false ID in order to engage in acts of a questionable nature. Is this the same gawky, skinny four-eyes who lived under the stairs, or some evil clone created by Voldemort so we can support Voldemort as the lesser of the two evils? To be fair, there is great potential to be had in the ideas the author is using, but woooohooo, not if I've got to make the same sort of leaps of illogic as the author to even partially believe that Harry could possibly get himself involved with any of this.
We pulled up to the parking lot and parked. Well, it was more like a dirt road. I could vaguely hear music in the background. I got out and looked around. A hand snaked around my waist, then...
Wow, he's a really good kisser!
And he was. Jason was one of the best I'd ever met. I felt his tongue lightly touch my lips, I opened my mouth and kissed him back. He pushed me up against the car, I pulled away and laughed,
" Whoa Tiger, leave it for later. Feisty eh?"
Harry's been on this date with Jason probably a good ten minutes, knew the guy for a grand total of twelve, and already Jason is putting the move on him? RUN HARRY, RUN!! (Why isn't Big Ben going off in his head, eh?)
Need I mention how Harry has Cho in which to compare Jason in his repetoire of fellow kissees? No, because my readers actually read the books? Good.
Jason laughed. I grabbed his hand and dragged him over to the building everyone was entering.
HEY, hold the phone!
What is it with people kissing me anyway?
Ah, good, Big Ben is going off.
I mean, Cho just totally smooched me like a Ho, and Jason, well, Jason nearly chokes me with his tongue.
Ho? Cho is a Ho? Cho?
And Jason merely tries killing Harry with tongue, after Jason was considered one of the best kissers? (Eewwww) It's been a fair bit of time since the last I read OotP, but if I remember Cho's kiss right, it was quite clumsy and awkward on both kisser and kissee's part.
What, I mean what is the deal?! Am I that kissable? Hmm, maybe I am.
Come near me, Daniel Radcliffe and I'll show you how kissable you are--. Ummmm ...
The club was, well, to put it bluntly, erotic.
I met my first drag queen! It was actually highly amusing. He, er, she was actually hitting on me. Jason totally went all ghetto on me and yelled at him cough her.
" He's my Bitch you whore!"
RUN, HARRY!! BIG BEN IS DRIVING ME MAD!! (Harry can't look older than fifteen when he's short and scrawny, right? Right? There's a mad lot of pedophiles running amuck in London. RUN, HARRY!)
And then Harry gets involved in an orgy. Harry, who up to this point has only been kissed twice, gets involved in an orgy. (Clone? Or replaced by the evil pod people? Hmmmmm.)
When we managed to enter the club. After much persuasion to the guard and a few death threats, we hopped into the massive orgy they called a Homosexual/heterosexual/lesbian/Bisexual/ all-in-one Rave.
It was a new experience for me really. I'd never actually been beside or even possibly in the middle of someone having an orgy party and I was enlightened.
Harry, you were kept in a cupboard until you were eleven years old. There is going to be a whole lot in your life that will be enlightening.
Harry then gets drunk on free vodka tonics. Um, yeah.
Maybe Harry Potter is just DEAD sexy to homosexuals.
Dead is right. I imagine in an alley with your throat slashed and enough venereal diseases floating through your bloodstream to knock out Voldemort, Nagini, and every house elf at Hogwarts.
About that, I have officially named myself a Bisexual, NOT a homosexual. Girls still turn me on.
Actually, I would like to extend a big, big thank you to the author for actually considering the mostly-unmentioned and almost-always forgotten bisexuals, and to consider the option of Harry being attracted to girls. After the I-don't-want-to-know-how-many stories I've read about Harry, "deciding he was gay" and "coming out" in the wizardng world after "going through that icky phase with Cho", it's refreshing to see this considered. But it doesn't redeem the other mistakes the author is making, and I shall extrapolate on those when I finish up this second chapter.
Jason introduced me to a guy named Charley. [...] He was like a half of a drag queen. He hooked Jason up with some weed, Acid, and some cocaine. NO, we didn't do it all that night. We would have died. DUH. Mixing drugs is one of the many fatalities when dealing with them. [...] Weed, was a very dirty drug. It made you feel lousy after you got high, it made you stink, it made you stupid, and it made extremely hungry afterwards. It was my first dip into a really, really deep swimming pool.
And I didn't know how to swim.
Personally, I loved those last two lines. This is a very powerful analogy, especially when you're messing with something far above anyone's ability to handle. Drugs are very potent, very dangerous, and very ugly. The analogy about the swimming pool fits in beautifully with the theme of Don't Do Drugs, but Harry Does Drugs Anyway. I find it funny that the author makes mention not to mix drugs, but Harry does drugs when he's drunk. Woo. A Toxic Cocktail that is; suppressants, narcotics, and stimulants all at once. You are brilliant, Harry.
The Snape in me says, "You idiot. Couldn't you kill yourself a little more conveniently, like strapping grenades to your chest and then throwing yourself on top of Voldemort before yanking the key?"
After experimenting with the drugs, Harry agrees to another date with Jason; apparently, Harry feels obliged to see him after so much kissing. Why? Don't look at me; I'm asexual. When Jason tries to make out with Harry and pushes it beyond the boundaries of kissing on the lips, Harry pulls a stop and leaves. After walking around in a drunken/high stupor that renders Harry incapable of wondering where he is or what he's doing (and therefore makes him a wonderful target to Death Eaters, who ordinarily would have taken advantage of such a state, except that the author has completely removed them from the possibility of existence), Harry looks at his watch.
HOLY SHEEP. It was six in the morning.
Sheep, too? After all those drugs and orgies, leave the sheep out of this!* Criminy, one crime against humanity at a time.
When Harry gets back, all the lights in the house are on, and he is in deep, well, he's up to his neck. We'll leave it at that, since that's all of Chapter 2.
Now, I'm going to briefly address what the author does right: she is telling a story where the moral (if there is one), basically amounts to Don't Do Drugs; They Are Really, Really, Bad; No, I Mean It, They Are BAD, And I Speak From Experience, So Trust Me. It doesn't come off in a preachy or forced-upon manner. However, Harry is getting over his head in the story, and it happens too fast. Harry doesn't strike me as being someone who gives into peer pressure, yet he does alcohol, sex, and drugs with people he has never met before simply because they offer it.
Detail in the story is sparse, although that's not uncommon for stream-of-thought, but the events of the story and the trouble Harry gets into happens far too fast. It's one thing if it's all apart of one larger picture, but drugs are a different picture from Jason from the free alcohol from the orgy. There are too many events crammed into one small space of time. I call this suffocation.
If there are internal emotions and reasons for Harry to do so many things, why isn't it added into the stream-of-thought? Harry is very good at angsting and dwelling on the negative, if given half a chance. Wouldn't he show a little more remorse or guilt? Too many things are happening for the reader to take a step back and breathe. Even when the reader does, everything has been lumped together in a somewhat disjointed manner that doesn't make sense, especially for Harry's character.
I may, in the future, cover more of the chapters. Or I might not. There's only so much of Big Ben a body can stand.
*This refers to what I heard a long time ago when someone mentioned Wyoming. "Ah, yes, Wyoming. Where men are men and sheep are scared." When Harry said, "HOLY SHEEP!", I thought Ah yes, Wales, where men are men and sheep are scared. Not fair to the author, perhaps, nor the people from Wales. My apologies.