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Fan Fic / Zastruga

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Zastruga is a Rise of the Guardians fanfiction by Solemini, set in an Alternate Timeline that splits off the day Jack Frost is raised from his lake. Pitch Black steps in before the Man in the Moon can give Jack his name and takes the new-born spirit under his wing, hiding him away from the rest of the world. Three hundred years later, Pitch prepares to make his move against the Guardians and the Man in the Moon elects Jack as the team’s newest member. Now they just have to get him on their side and figure out if he can be trusted at all, after so much time under the care of the Nightmare King…


Aside from the occasional Rouge Angles of Satin typo, the fanfic is very well-written, particularly its portrayal of Pitch as an Abusive Parent to Jack. But be warned, it can be trigger-y for those same reasons. It can be read on either FanFiction.Net or Archive Of Our Own, take your pick.

In case you’re curious, a ‘zastruga’ or ‘sastruga’ is a sharp irregular grove or ridge formed in snow by wind erosion, similar to a sand dune. When asked what it’s supposed to mean as a title, the author just shrugged.


Tropes include:

  • Alternate Universe Fic
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Pitch is very touchy with Jack when he’s playing nice, and usually favors patting his head or stroking his hair.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Just like in the original movie! Although this time dream sand is involved.
  • An Ice Person: In addition to the already established Jack Frost, there is Pitch who saps off Jack's powers.
  • Berserk Button: Do not mess with the Guardians' children. This extends to Jack as well, especially for North.
  • Big Brother Instinct: As in canon, Jack for Jamie.
  • Break the Cutie: Jack's already pretty broken, but after Pitch makes him think he killed North things get much worse.
  • Darker and Edgier: Slightly. Pitch’s abuse and other details scattered throughout set it a shade or two blacker than the movie, but it certainly doesn’t go to the same extreme as certain other Dark Fic(s).
  • Domestic Abuse: Pitch to Jack. In early chapters, their relationship is similar to that of Mother Gothel and Rapunzel from Tangled. It escalates sharply in Chapter Nine, when Pitch works out his anger at the events of the previous chapter by beating the heck out of the kid, repeatedly slamming into walls and tossing him around like a ragdoll before turning it all around to make Jack believe that he’s the one in the wrong.
    • Though not stated explicitly, it’s mentioned that the Guardians have seen this pattern of abuse repeated many times before with children they, “could not save.”
  • Eldritch Location: “The Realm,” Pitch’s lair where he and Jack live. May also be a Genius Loci, if the hints about it craving dark emotions and resisting any change it doesn’t initiate are any indication.
  • For Want of a Nail: Pitch steps in at the very beginning of Jack’s life as a spirit and turns the entire thing on its head.
  • Genius Loci: Pitch's lair is hinted to be one.
  • Girl in the Tower: Inverted in more ways than one. Having been locked away his entire life, Jack serves as the Boy in the Tower for both the narrative and the Guardians. Meanwhile, the main room of “The Realm” where Jack spends most of his time is repeatedly described as “tower-like” in spite of being underground.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Several things happen in this fic that also happen in the movie, albeit in different ways and different order.
  • Living Battery: Jack, to Pitch.
  • Love Martyr: A familial example. Jack definitely cares for Pitch, and doesn't want to betray him no matter how hard he abuses him. Although it is implied to change in the chapter 23 when he is ready to leave the lair after having seen his memories.
  • Mama Bear: Toothiana to her Toothfairies. They're even called her children.
  • Noodle Incident: Courtesy of North.
    North: "I have not seen yetis so lively since elves got into raw sugar."
  • No Sense of Personal Space: When he doesn't abuse him, Pitch likes touching Jack almost everywhere.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: A meta example, this Jack Frost is a nervous wreck compared to Jack Frost from the movie. Because of the nail in this fic it seems that Jack has always been like this.
  • Papa Wolf: North for Jack. Pitch can be viewed as one...if you think he genuinely cares for Jack.
  • Pet the Dog: In spite of Pitch tossing Jack around like a ragdoll in a previous chapter, Pitch genuinely likes to see Jack happy. In the previous chapter, Pitch resumes every actions he did for Jack's sake, like caring about him when he was ill, giving everything he wanted, and offering his companionship and "love". However, such as Mother Gothel does, these actions may be not without any interest as Jack is his Living Battery
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Jack at the North Pole.
    Jack: "So leave. Me. Alone!"
  • The Stations of the Canon: So far the story’s covered a number of scenes that run parallel to the movie, like Jack being born from the lake, Pitch appearing on North’s globe, and the Moon nominating Jack as a new Guardian. However, the scenes are often in a different order, broken up by new ones or run presented under different circumstances that make them feel fresh. For example, Jamie’s sled-ride from the movie becomes a chase scene with Jack trying to get him and Sophie away from angry Nightmares.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Jack to Pitch, at least on a familial level. 300 years alone together will do that to a guy.
  • The Svengali: Pitch, though his exploitation comes through methods more direct than mundane.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Used throughout the first several chapters going between Jack and the Guardians, and to particularly good affect in the concurrent battle sequences of Chapter Nine.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Pitch pulls this out on Jack, twisting everything bad that happens to them around so Jack thinks he’s the one to blame.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Nightmares.

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