Fan Fic: Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness
Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness began as a one-shot, 4,000-word Harry Potter fanfic story entitled Dumbledore's Army: Still Recruiting. According to the author, he soon found himself "up to [his] pointed hat in the most out-of-control one-shot in the history of the wizarding world."DAYD, as it is known, is a P.O.V. Sequel that happens at the same time as the story of Deathly Hallows. It follows one of Harry's friends, Neville Longbottom, as he takes control of the underground group Dumbledore's Army, who soon begin a revolt and prepare for an all-or-nothing war against Lord Voldemort.The tale continues in Sluagh.note Destructive, restless spirits of the dead in Irish mythology. It is now five years later, all the survivors have moved on to civilian life, each nursing his and her own trauma scars. Neville is senior Auror and Simon Wiesenthal-in-residence (so to speak) for the rebuilt Ministry of Magic, tasked with rounding up the remnants of Voldemort's henchmen. For his final assignment, he is dispatched to track down a mysterious serial/vigilante killer in Ireland and ends up fighting an even more sinister and brutal dark lord than Voldemort.The concluding novel of the trilogy, A Peccatis,note Translated as "Without Redemption" by the author, though it actually means "From Sins", as in the Catholic formula: "I absolve you from [your] sins in the name of..." ("ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris et filii et spiritus sancti"). Artistic License comes into play because "Sine Absolutione" (the correct Latin phrase) lacks the religious connotations, and both it and "From Sins" are terrible titles. picks up in 2008. Strapped for money (the recession rippled into the wizarding world too), Neville is finally talked into joining the Wizarding legislature just as a vote on officially breaking the masquerade is pending. All the while, Dumbledore's darkest secrets are coming to light. Posting of chapters recently (Jan 2012) restarted after a three year hiatus, on an extremely sporadic schedule.DAYD exploded into a Fan Verse, the DAYDverse, and now comprises more than half a million words by the original author in the form of the two complete novels (Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness and Sluagh) with a third novel in progress (A Peccatis), along with numerous one-shots and short stories exploring various other characters. Other authors have come to play in that world as well, most notably Ceirdwenfc, who has written stories about Ernie and Susan and is currently working on a novel, Bittersweet, which is yet another P.O.V. Sequel and follows Ernie's experiences during DAYD.There is an extensive, and ongoing, YMMV discussion concerning themes, quality, Canon Defilement, and sundry other matters.
Alternate Universe: Implicit in the first novel, increasingly explicit in the second, and right up the reader's nose in the third.
Anyone Can Die: In the Battle of Hogwarts, the brutal deaths of Dennis, Michael, Cho, Parvati and too many others come as shocks. Continued with alarming enthusiasm in the sequels. Basically, anyone who did not get an explicit name check as being alive and well in Rowling's epilogue can be presumed to be dead by the time the trilogy has run its course. And even that is no guarantee, because "Epilogue? What Epilogue?"
Big Bad: As in the books, ultimately, Voldemort. Memories of the horror of his reign and the extremes required to end it echo through the sequels.
Bloodier and Gorier: This fic series has a LOT of very explicitly described violence, rape, gore, and torture. It's based on Harry Potter, a Young Adult series.
Breather Episode: The author does attempt to put a few comic episodes in between the doom and gloom. Like a Fish out of Water scene where Neville and co. attempt (with more success than most wizards) to navigate the byzantine mazes that is British Rail and Marks & Spencer to get to a wedding. And a similar episode in the sequel where Neville and Utterson try to pump a muggle cultural anthropologist for information on magical sites in Ireland.
Also during the run-up to the battle of Hogwarts, persecution by the Death Eaters has driven most of the student body into the safety of the Room of Requirement, which quickly assumed the atmosphere of a rather morbid slumber party. The students noted how ironic it is that the only time they got to relax in the whole year was the week before they will go into a suicidal battle.
So far every such episode in A Peccatis has ended in tears, bodybags or both.
Call to Agriculture: Neville's potential for incredible badassery and his love of herbology are in even bigger contrast with each other than in Canon. He often declares how much he would prefer simple gardening over leading an army. He eventually gets it, with interruptions.
Cannon Fodder: But since every dead character is a person with a name and a backstory, this trope is used to a heartbreakingly sad effect.
The Cameo: Peripheral characters from previous books tend to drop by for a scene or two, and most likely, get killed in the process.
Crapsack World: The wizarding world is becoming this. And Sluagh somehow managed to mesh the worst of the Troubles in Northern Ireland with the worst of Voldemort's reign of terror.
Crazy-Prepared: Hermione, whose method of dealing with PTSD involves carrying around enough supplies to stock half an army in her magic purse absolutely everywhere.
Darker and Edgier: DAYD itself compared to Canon; Sluagh, goes even further with a few sections with very detailed descriptions of the rape and torture of Hermione. And A Peccatis seems determined to examine all the warts and seams of the wizarding world in general.
Did Not Do the Bloody Research: If you speak British or Irish English, be prepared to hit stuff a lot. Thanfiction's ignorance about European languages is painfully obvious.
Door Stopper: Longer than Order of the Phoenix by quite a bit. The 'verse taken together is already longer than the entire SERIES.
Fire-Forged Friends: The D.A. through all three stories so far, although cracks have shown up from time to time.
Gorn: Doesn't even begin to describe the Battle of Hogwarts. Gory descriptions include a girl being slashed to bloody shreds by a curse, Lavender having her throat torn and mangled, a giant crushing a student like jelly, and Michael's head smashed open so his exposed brain gleams white.
Sluagh ups the ante, with Seamus Finnigan ritually torturing and slowly eviscerating his targets while they are still alive, Bill getting his limbs ripped off and buried alive, Ginny being impaled and her heart ripped out by a sentient tree, and the less said about what happened to Ron and Hermione, the better.
The author seems to be backpedalling from this, people are still dying left and right in A Peccatis but a lot more bloodlessly.
Kill 'em All: The Battle of Hogwarts put up a valiant attempt to carry out this trope on the protagonists, while the Battle of Druim Cett in Sluaghactually managed it (temporarily). A Peccatis seems to be doing this to the previous generation.
National Stereotypes: Seamus and the other Irish characters pretty much cover all of the major Irish stereotypes, and by Sluagh, Thanfiction starts to resurrect some of the stock Irish characters from the Victorian era.
The stereotyping covers the spectrum: starting with Cho, a Chinese girl who is indistinguishable from her English neighbour; to Parvati and Padma, who are attracted to some superficial trappings of their Indian heritage (e.g. the cooking and Yoga); to Ernie, a fully-rounded character who is just happens to be quite Scottish; to Seamus, who looks like he wandered in from an Irish epic and the author spends every other chapter making sure you get that.
Never Mess with Granny: Augusta Dorsett Longbottom (Neville's ill-tempered grandmother) and Minerva McGonagall....
Oireland: This fic's version of Seamus Finnegan reeks of this trope. JK Rowling has said that naming the character "Seamus Finnegan" was pushing it a bit, but Thanfiction takes the Irish stereotype Up to Eleven:
"Tell you what. You say one word, and I'll make it worth your while. I've smuggled in a bit of the real good stuff – Muggle-made Irish pure – and I'll slip you a tot. Or if you'd rather, I'll work my charms and score you a kiss from that lovely Miss MacDonald you've been castin' eyes at all year. What say you?" (DAYD, Chapter 11)
Self-Fanservice: In the books, both Neville and Hannah are a bit pudgy. In DAYD, Hannah's hotness was concealed by the school robes, which made her - but none of the other girls - look fat, and Neville replaces all of his fat with muscle, helped by him being starved for weeks as part of a punishment.
There Are No Therapists: Lampshaded, the students of Hogwarts survived a year of genocidal torture and war, and all they have at the end are each other for comfort. The only thing the wizarding world at large tossed them is a bunch of nosy reporters. Everyone ended up learning to deal with his or her PTSD themselves. Some retreated into domesticity, some became lawmen, one became a vigilante serial killer, another became a drug addict, and everyone had nightmares.
Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Neville becomes more and more of a Jerk Ass Stu as the fic goes on. Mostly this is due to the fact that he starts to see himself as a military leader and begins to expect military discipline from his underlings, while the said underlings still see him as their fellow classmate.
Everybody Takes A Level in Jerkass at some point (or points) in the original books. It's just that this fanfic dials it Up to Eleven.
In one scene, Neville and several characters use a National Express East Coast train as part of a journey to Gretna Green. In 1997/98, the route from King's Cross to the North was controlled by Great North Eastern Railway...and the far more convenient way to get to Gretna Green by train is via the line from Euston to Carlisle.
Artistic License - Medicine: The blood transfusion in Chapter 10 of DAYD, done without any attempt at cross-matching bloodtypes, and with two people donating blood, was quite risky, with about a 35% chance Colin would die from bloodtype incompatibility note The commonest blood type in the British Isles is O, which can donate to anybody, followed closely in England by A (not so closely in Scotland, which averages 51% O to England's 47%). Ernie is Scots and Neville, as a Yorkshireman, is from the north of England, meaning that there's a good chance one or both of them are Type O. (There's also a 3% chance that Colin is Type AB, which can receive from anybody.) The Rh factor seldom causes problems unless an Rh- recipient has been previously sensitized by an incorrectly cross-matched transfusion or by an Rh+ pregnancy (neither of which applies to Colin). These odds help explain why early blood transfusion experiments were successful up to about half the time, with very primitive techniques and no real knowledge of what they were doing. We should note by this point that none of these characters have any medical (or indeed, biological) training.
Becoming the Mask: From the perspective of Hogwarts students in 1997-8, there's no real difference between Severus Snape pretending to be evil so as not to make Voldemort suspicious, and Snape actually being evil.
Broken Pedestal: Harry is... confusing, when viewed through Neville's eyes. While Neville and the D.A. had spent the whole year planning, drilling, accepting the likelihood of their wholesale slaughter against the Death Eaters, they've also been relying on each other for friendship, love and support. Harry, on the other hand, has experienced isolation, panic and dread with barely any respite, so when he finally stumbles back into Hogwarts, he has all the disconnect and PTSD you'd expect. But from the D.A.'s perspective, Harry has none of the spark of revolution or excitement they'd expected.
It's strongly implied that Neville's summoning of the entire D.A. and allies from the wizarding world for the final battle is less a function of his gee-whiz enthusiasm (as presented in the official canon) and more a tactic to keep the D.A. from imploding out of disappointment.
Also, a different pedestal breaks in Seamus and Neville's horrified reactions when they find out that Dumbledore's "plan" was a lot more of Gambit Roulette than Batman-Gambit:
"Din't you know ol' Dumbledore din't tell them anythin'? They were out there, tryin' not ta get killed, wanderin' around for better part o' a year on a little breadcrumb scavenger hunt, no bleedin' idea o' what they were doin', or what they'd do when they were done." 'There has to be a reason, Seamus.' He fought to keep his voice calm, reasonable, but he could hear the tremble of fury and newly-awakened pain at the edges. 'I'm sure he had a reason.'
"I did just fine with the Muggle girls on holidays, thank you very much, because they think I'm cute and mysterious and know I go to some kind of exclusive and super-secret private boarding school.”
Child Soldiers: Used in a realistic and very depressing way. Many underaged Hogwarts students fight in the final battle and are killed in gory ways.
Cold-Blooded Torture: The Cruciatus Curse is used as routine punishment, to the point where the students get used to it and that doesn't even begin to compare with what Doctor Belsen does to Mike Corner (his best friend tries to euthanize him half-way through the torture session).
Most notably, the same Battle of Hogwarts is portrayed as an actual battle, with lots of gorn, as opposed to Rowling's lighter portrayal of the house elves, ghosts, Sybill Trelawney, and Neville throwing stuff at the Death Eaters' heads.
Disproportionate Retribution: When Renny, a young Slytherin, gets caught with a copy of the Quibbler in his bag, he gets his arms broken by Crabbe and Goyle for being a "blood traitor." Then his dad pulls him out of the school. Then Voldemort murders him along with his whole family. Renny's story was one of the greatest Tear Jerker moments in the fic.
The Death Eaters respond to the the students rebelling by inviting Hans Belsen (a cross between Mengele and Tomás de Torquemada) to make an example out of a few students.
Heroic BSOD and Heroic RROD: Neville goes through both of these when one of the D.A. is killed by the Death Eaters, and Neville's subsequent removal from command of the D.A. in his pursuit to make sure that it never happens again.
In Medias Res: In canon, Neville's a bumbling, timid boy with a hidden core of steel that comes out when the shit hits the fan. During his 7th year, the challenges force him to grow up, and the awesome qualities hinted at before come to the forefront. However, DAYD skips over this Character Development completely: The fanfic starts with him having already grown up, and he then gains everyone's respect over the course of a single speech in the first chapter. Presumably, Thanfiction just wasn't interested in that part of the story, but it produces rather a disconnect from canon. Luckily, the fic's main story starts immediately after that Handwave.
The Lad-ette: It was hinted at in HP canon, and this fic makes it explicit — Ginny Weasley:
”I’m the only girl in a family of seven! I could belch the entire Chudley Cannons fight song by the time I was four, but Katie Bell had to tell me when I needed a bra and show me how to put the effing thing on, so don’t act like I’m supposed to be some sheltered little flower about how boys are put together.”
Les Collaborateurs: Sometimes, but not always, Slytherin House. Most of them hate the Carrows.
Must Not Die a Virgin: It was noted that both times when Voldemort was in power, nearly half of the Hogwarts graduates got married as soon as they left the school (indeed, some got married before).
National Stereotypes: Marks & Spencer is not the stuffy and upper-class department store presented in the fic; in reality M&S is closer to J.C. Penney. (The author might have confused it with Harrod's, which is that stuffy and upper-class, and more.)
Noble Bigot: Various DA members who happen to believe in pureblood supremacy. Rather oddly handled, though - in many cases, their only noble quality is being willing to fight Voldemort, and they still seem to hate all the mudbloods and non-bigots they're fighting with.
Rape as Drama: Lavender's rape by Crabbe and Goyle is primarily used as a Kick the Dog moment to further motivate Neville and company. Lavender has very little agency in the Roaring Rampage of Revenge that follows. The reader is left with the feeling that it wasn't as much about the rape victim's feelings, as much as Neville's male honor being sullied. The revenge squad consists only of men, and after their vengeance is over, the rape is barely mentioned at all.
Addressed in a later fic, from Lavender's POV - "Underpinnings."
Reality Ensues: Let's face it—those kids never really stood a chance of doing anything but keeping the Death Eaters busy while Harry dealt with Voldemort. Teenagers against adults who have spent the better parts of their lives learning to use magic designed to inflict pain, suffering, and death? The D.A. is lucky they lasted as long as they did.
Bilingual Bonus / Meaningful Name: The Big Bad in Sluagh is The Diabhal Dubh, explained In-Story to mean 'The Black Devil' in Gaelic. What isn't explained is that Dubh can also mean several other things, including 'Hidden'. Given his nature, this is very appropriate.
Bi the Way: Icarus Utterson, as revealed in his 20 Random Facts...
Enemy Mine: Apparently a Wizard Big Bad is exactly what's needed to get the Real IRA and the Unionist militia to work together.
Fantasy Gun Control: Averted, as Seamus is equally adept with a firearm as with a wand, and the muggle militiamen stand their own against the onslaught of magicians during the battle of Druim Cett. As Seamus noted, waving around a machine pistol in wartorn Belfast attracts far less attention than brandishing a wooden stick that shoots red thunderbolts.
Flashed Badge Hijack: Neville attempted to do this to a Muggle with his wizard Auror badge. It worked the first time as it was too dark to see the badge properly. The second time the Muggle assumed it was a joke until Neville transfigured a teacup into a gerbil in front of her.
Genre Roulette: The first half of Sluagh reads like a hard-boiled detective story, morphs into a war epic, then into eldritch horror around the Battle of Druim Cett, and then turns into high fantasy (complete with mythic landscapes and Gods), all of which clashed quite a bit with Rowling's brand of Urban Fantasy. Also, there are shifts within the shifts and they occur with little to no warning.
Going Native: Neville, working undercover as an enforcer for the Real IRA, starts to accept their tactics and goals.
Oh Crap: After suffering heavy losses breaching the outer defenses at the Battle of Druim Cett, Neville and company realizes that the Big Bad is surrounded by a magical army of hundreds (not to mention a homicidal sentient forest), not the seventy men as previously reported, cue trope.
Reset Button:Battle of Druim Cett, every good wizard character that died comes back to life due to the intervention of the Celtic Gods(considering Rowling's canonical epilogue is set in 2017 and Sluagh is set in 2003, there is really not much of a choice for the author).
Retirony: Played with, as Neville is on his last case with the Aurors. Needless to say, He dies then comes back to life.
Sacrificial Lamb: Utterson, the nicest member of Seamus' group of vigilante killers.
Sequel Hook: Epilogue of Sluagh. It leads directly into the opening chapter of A Peccatis.
The Unmasqued World: The Masquerade is already seriously cracking in Ireland, where wizards are openly working for the militias. And this is the ultimate goal of Diabhal Dubh, who wants to take over Ireland by building up a united muggle and magical army.
Viewers Are Geniuses: Non-UK/Irish readers are advised to brush up on the history of the Irish/Northern-Irish independence movements and Irish slang.
Tropes applying specifically to A Peccatis (unfinished):
Altum Videtur: A Peccatis, where all the chapter titles are in Latin.
Broken Masquerade: Wizarding England has realized that muggle technology is rapidly catching up and that the War killed or exiled too many of the wizards who are needed to maintain the magical infrastructure, and they are going to call a vote on breaking the masquerade, True Blood-style.
Da Chief: Harry Potter, as the head of the Auror Office.
Faking the Dead: Aberforth Dumbledore, who has been sending the diary segments but is not the "Nevermore". And he may not be the only one faking it....
Genre Shift: A Peccatis keeps switching unpredictably between police procedural and political conspiracy thriller.
It's The Only Way To Be Sure: The Assurance faction, which has arisen in the decade since the end of the Second Wizarding War. According to Draco, they want to see everyone who was associated with Voldemort — along with their families — killed. They feel it's the only way to stamp out the lineage of Dark Wizards for good.
Reading Your Rights: Aurors are saddled with a wonderfully verbose version of the British police caution in order to plug in the extra legal loopholes that being magical might present. Legal buffs might care to notice that in the Wizarding version, the right to remain silent (which is front and center in the Caution and Miranda) is the second-to-last thing mentioned. Also please note that unlike the caution, this one is to be recited upon arrest (or when the suspect wakes up from all the stunning spells), not interrogation.
For those of you who want to see it:
It is my duty that you be made aware of your standing under the Provision of Magical Rights and Liberties. You have been apprehended by officers of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement while engaging in activities reasonably believed to be criminal in nature, and there is intent to hold you in violation of the law. Your wand has been confiscated and may not be returned to you unless you are exonerated of charges by the Wizengamot or equivalent legal due process. Officers of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement may use physical or magical force against you, including such as may cause permanent harm, injury, illness, incapacitation, or death if and only to the degree as is necessary to retain you in custody and to safeguard their own welfare as well as that of others. Any statement or incantation you may say or perform, including via non-verbal means may be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. You are considered to be innocent until such time as guilt is reasonably proven, however your apprehension in situ is considered temporary grounds upon which you have waived your right to liberty at this time. You have the right to refuse to answer questions, however any false or misleading answers given will result in additional criminal charges. If you believe yourself to be operating under a curse, hex, jinx, or otherwise engaging in your current activities under magical coercion, you may indicate as such at any time. Additional rights and exclusions under wizarding law will be explained to you fully and completely as relevant. Do you understand these rights and exclusions?
Reality Ensues: From 1997 through 1998, Wizarding Britain was taken over by a far right terrorist group focused on cleansing the magical society of Muggle Borns and impure bloodlines. Even a decade after they were stopped, is it really a surprise that Muggle Borns have left the Wizarding world or are refusing to send their children to Hogwarts for fear the insanity will start all over again?
Secret Diary: A Peccatis starts with Neville and Harry receiving, and having to figure out the meaning of, isolated pages from Dumbledore's diary.
Yank the Dog's Chain: A Peccatis. Someone is going Ax-Crazy on the Order of the Phoenix, and Neville, Harry AND Ron all lose people who are extremely important to them. It's especially blatant when Neville's parents are killed off immediately after a breakthrough in communicating with his mother. And Hermione is accused of being the serial killer.