YMMV: Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness


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  • Author's Saving Throw: A common complaint about the first story is that the Cruciatus Curse is demoted from being a nightmarish torture to the equivalent of flogging - the students take to bragging about how often they get cruciated. As if catching on himself, Thanfiction wrote a scene in Chapter 21 of the first story where Neville, facing Bellatrix, gets hit with the curse and thinks to himself, just before he whites out from the pain, that the Carrows never did a proper one.
  • Canon Defilement: This is never going to match up with the Epilogue and is becoming another case of "EWE" (Epilogue? What Epilogue?)
  • Complete Monster: Severus Snape. As Headmaster, he inflicts his sadistic whims on the poor students and regularly blackmails the D.A. by punishing eleven-year olds in their place. He even ordered an eleven-year old flogged and left in chains for thirty hours. What Snape did to Michael as a punishment for freeing this kid was completely unforgivable: he had the poor guy tortured in a nightmarish way, prolonging the agony to the point where his best friend Terry tried to put him out of his misery with Avada Kedavra. The author has been criticized for portraying Snape as way, way too evil.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • Recent rape victims are usually not receptive to male-initiated sexual acts as the post-Sluagh one-shot More Realer and the end of the Lavender scene in DAYD describe.
    • If Thanfiction knew enough about Demiguises to include them in DAYD, he should have known enough about them to not portray them as invisible goats when they're invisible apes.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The fic wants to be a "serious" take on the Harry Potter series. Unfortunately, the author has mistaken gratuitous gore and bloodshed for seriousness. People die en masse even when canon insists they lived, morally-ambiguous characters are transformed into pure evil, nobody gets out without severe injury (physical or mental), and if it looks like something good is about to happen, the heroes will destroy it with their own stupidity or selfishness—and yet the narrative expects us to sympathize with them, especially in the case of Neville Longbottom. Once hailed as a work of art, it's now seen as a mass of potential buried in overdone "drama".
  • Deader Than Disco: The fic was once one of the best-regarded stories in the Harry Potter fandom. It provided an intriguing Perspective Flip to one of the premiere offscreen moments of awesome in the series, namely the resistance to the Death Eaters by the students of Hogwarts in the final book, and the author gained praise for researching actual Child Soldiers to better be able to describe the students' plight. The hype, however, was not to last, and criticisms mounted over time, including, but not limited to, the Character Shilling of Neville as the leader of the resistance to the expense of Luna and Ginny (in the book, Neville himself says they shared leadership duties equally); the treatment of women, particularly the arc involving Lavender being raped and the boys, not Lavender herself, punishing the rapists; the seeming disdain for the canon main characters Harry, Ron, and Hermione, whom various characters insult for not weathering the storm with them; the fact that the story kills off several characters confirmed to survive in canon despite claiming to be canon-compliant; and the treatment given to Snape, who is shown as an unrepentant Death Eater and the true Big Bad of the story - Thanfiction even stated on his blog that he hated how Snape was redeemed in the books and chose to write him as the sociopath he "really" is. Any fandom the story had was largely finished off when it came out that "Thanfiction" was actually Andrew Blake, a notorious Con Man who had, under his previous screen name "Victoria Bitter," swindled many Lord of the Rings fans out of money, and who is also known for having abused several women in real life. The story still has a following, but they are mostly looked at with disdain and wilfully blind to the story's flaws.
  • Ensemble Darkhorses: Terry Boot and Michael Corner.
  • Hype Backlash: In-progress. Much more criticism of the story has been seen as of late, including on our own recommendations page. Criticisms include the sexism, Marty Stu-ing Neville, other people acting Out of Character, the Darker and Edgier content being gratuitous, characters carrying the Idiot Ball, and flagrant violations of canon.
    • And the author getting caught faking being ill so readers would send him money really didn't help.
    • Regarding Andrew Blake, people also haven't missed the fact that he seems to change personas and communities constantly - after DAYD's Hype Backlash, he pretty much instantly jumped to the Supernatural fandom, and he only got involved with Harry Potter fandom after he was caught scamming people in The Lord of the Rings fandom (under numerous names, most notably Victoria Bitter). Then there's this...
  • Jerk Sue: Neville Longbottom. This is the heart of the Fandom/Hatedom split.
    • This story's Neville never thinks of his friends as friends, just as assets to be used in the war. This is supposedly why he's such a good leader - but it's completely the opposite of the Neville we know from the books. Granted, he Took A Level In Bad Ass in canon, but he never Took A Level In Jerk Ass to go with it. Here, however, it's another story.
    • Everyone fawns over him. Even when he's acting violent and irrational. Hell, even in chapters where he's evidently meant to be in the wrong, others apologise to him. For example, at one point, he's literally killing himself through pushing himself too hard, and is lashing out at people left and right. The rest of the Dumbledore's Army leadership decides to tell him he needs to step down for a few weeks, and that they won't take no for an answer, carefully explaining that it's for his own good, and that they look up to him, admire him, and look forwards to his return in a few weeks. Cue several chapters of Wangst, constant whining and despair that he's lost Dumbledore's Army! How could they do this to him, etc, and throwing as big of a temper tantrum as he can. The other people apologise (with much suppressed eye-rolling) for having dared to look after his health. He never apologizes to them.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now: Sluagh is the second book in the DAYD canon, focusing on Neville Longbottom. In it, a 22-year-old Neville takes the remaining members of Dumbledore's Army into battle against another Dark wizard, and Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Neville's new wife Hannah are brutally, horrifically slaughtered. Except the first book in DAYD canon had an epilogue that contradicted all of that, so you just knew there'd be a big magic Reset Button lurking somewhere...
  • Ron the Death Eater: Done to many characters who were already unpleasant in canon, indeed forming a large part of why the story is so controversial.
    • Severus Snape, who in the books was a very, very effective Reverse Mole who through all his sadist teaching legitimately tried to protect as many students as possible from the Death Eaters, is here shown to thoroughly enjoy his position as Death Eater-appointed Headmaster of Hogwarts; he attempts to assassinate Neville, hires the former Dragon to Grindelwald as school disciplinarian, and when a Slytherin student defects to the good guys it's strongly implied he has the boy's entire family killed. He still turns out to be a mole here, but this is simply treated as the final insult; that someone so horrible could still be remembered as a hero simply for nominally siding against someone even worse. This essay by the author interpreting him as an unrepentant sociopath looking for an excuse to murder and torture students. Even considering that he's a rather unpleasant Sadist Teacher in the books, the logic taken to reach this conclusion is... somewhat debatable given the textual evidence. Especially since Word of God from Rowling indicates that Snape often shielded students from more severe punishment at the hands of the Carrows.
    • Crabbe and Goyle have their Smash Mook characterization taken Up to Eleven and become torturers and rapists.
    • Even the crotchety janitor Mr. Filch is shown to have joined the Carrows as a school Torture Technician.
    • Two minor characters, John Dawlish and Albert Runcorn, also receive passing mentions as having literally joined the Death Eaters; in the books they're Umbridge's henchmen, which is plenty bad, but there's no indication they serve anyone but the Ministry.
  • 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.
  • Strawman Has a Point: About two-thirds of the way through, Zacharias Smith decides to leave the DA. When he does so, he explains that the DA is sounding more and more like a martyrdom cult with each passing day, and the focus of the group has changed from "Resist the Death Eaters" to "Die heroically". The DA counterargument is... to agree with every word he says and ask, "What's the problem with that?" Bear in mind that all of the members of Dumbledore's Army are teenagers, and Zacharias Smith (who was a strawman in canon!) suddenly becomes the Only Sane Man.