Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash

Go To
Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.

Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash is supposedly an additional book in the Harry Potter series… as written by Botnik Studios, who created it by feeding the seven original Harry Potter novels to a text-predicting keyboard and following its lunatic suggestion all the way.

Only Chapter Thirteen of the book, The Handsome One, actually exists — so far. As far as can be parsed, it features Harry, Ron and Hermione fighting off a group of not-that-threatening Death Eaters on top of Hogwarts Castle, and the celebration that follows. While this basic plot arc can more or less be followed, most of the story makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

And no, no portrait of what looks like a large pile of ash appears in "The Handsome One."

See also the unofficial sequels Harry Potter and the Rest of the Sentence and Harry Potter And No One In Particular; Welcome to Sand Hands, a Give Yourself Goosebumps parody also created by Botnik Studios, and Coveralls, a parody of The X-Files by Botnik Studios. ProZD reads the whole thing (in multiple character voices) here, and YouTuber Smashiell created an Animated Adaptation (and several sequel episodes) over here.


"The dark tropes better be worried, oh boy!":

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Ron is not particularly handsome in the books, but here he is temporarily the titular "handsome one".
  • Adaptational Dumbass:
    • The Ron from canon would know better than to throw his wand at an enemy. Possibly downplayed by the fact that it says a wand, rather than his wand, which he reaches for soon afterwards.
    • Hopefully, Harry from the books would also know better than to take out his eyes.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Ron begins eating Hermione's family by the end of the second paragraph.
    • Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce (possibly planning to eat her) and later gloats about Ron no longer being handsome.
  • Affably Evil: The Death Eaters, of all people, for all the narration says that they "looked bad". They behave the nicest out of anyone in the story and are actually kind of adorable, happily witnessing two shy members confessing their feelings for each other.
    Death Eater 1: I think it's okay if you like me.
    Death Eater 2: Thank you very much.
    The first Death Eater confidently leaned forward to plant a kiss on the cheek.
    Death Eater 2: Oh! Well done!
    All of the other Death Eaters clapped politely.
  • Advertisement:
  • Alien Sky: The sky outside is a black ceiling that's full of blood.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Harry mutters about Ron being handsome, while Canon Harry has had crushes on Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Ron's Ron shirt. Is it simply a weird way to say the shirt he is wearing, or is it a shirt depicting Ron himself? Or simply a shirt that says "Ron"?
    • It's never actually stated that the wand Ron threw was his, though most interpret it that way.
    • Similarly, Harry faces Voldemort, "rips out his eyes and throws them into the Forest". Harry's eyes, or Voldemort's eyes? The latter would make a little more sense for Harry to do (though it would raise the question of why Voldemort's only response was to raise an eyebrow), but the former is funnier, as a few sentences later it is mentioned that Harry "could not see anything at the moment", which becomes a hilarious Captain Obvious statement if he'd previously torn out his eyes. note 
    • Was "Harry's ghost", at which leathery sheets of rain lashed, the ghost of a temporarily-deceased Harry? A fanciful term for his soul? Or a ghost which belongs to Harry as a sort of pet? If the latter is true, is that ghost Mr. Staircase?
  • And That's Terrible:
    • There's a circle of Death Eaters who look bad.
    • Harry tells Voldemort that he's a very bad and mean wizard.
  • Animated Adaptation: This cartoon on YouTube.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Hagrid's furniture, which is capable of shrieking. Hogwarts also has some incredible moaning chandeliers.
  • Badass Boast: The closest it comes in this twisted universe is "I'm Harry Potter, the dark arts better be worried, oh boy!" Stated while Harry is tumbling down a flight of stairs.
  • Berserk Button: Dancing (or maybe forgetfulness?) for Hermione, apparently. Or possibly insulting her dance skills. Not "clumping happily" also seems to annoy her.
    "The tall Death Eater was wearing a shirt that said Hermione Has Forgotten How To Dance, so Hermione dipped his face in mud."
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Harry "savagely" tells Voldemort that he is "a very bad and mean wizard!".
  • Blow You Away: Hogwarts is surrounded by magically magnified wind.
  • Bond One-Liner: After Ron stupidly throws his wand at Voldemort, Harry makes the Death Eaters' heads explode with spells and utters "Not so handsome now", having thought about how handsome Ron was earlier.
  • Brainless Beauty: Possibly Ron, as Harry describes him as 'the handsome one', yet his course of action when facing the Dark Lord was to chuck his wand at him.
  • Buffy Speak: Contrasting the more complex language used in Rowling’s works, there is one moment when Harry thinks that magic is “very good”.
  • Character Exaggeration: Because POWLLALPOA is based on the actual novels, it gives a heavily exaggerated rendition of all the characters.
    • Canon Ron is The McCoy, occasionally boorish, and worries about not keeping up with his friends; this Ron has bizarre Outside Context Magic that makes Harry dislike him and constantly does stupid things like throwing a wand at Voldemort. He also becomes covered in spiders for no clear reason, and seems relatively calm about it, while Canon Ron is terrified of spiders.
    • Canon Hermione is hyper-intelligent, very composed, and insecure about not being a perfect genius; this Hermione is calm and composed even after Ron eats her family and apparently holds no grudge against Harry for dipping her in hot sauce, but gets very angry when a Death Eater's shirt claims that she's forgotten how to dance.
    • Canon Harry is a bit hotheaded and very concerned with doing the right thing as The Chosen One; this Harry (alongside Ron) is implied to outright kill a few Death Eaters and insists "the Dark Arts better be worried" even as he spends a whole summer falling down a flight of stairs.
    • Even the castle itself gets exaggerated, its usual mystical quirkiness escalated to full Eldritch Location status with "leathery" rain, "snarling" wind, furniture that sounds like it's in pain, and a lightless sky full of blood. Harry thinks it's pretty swell though.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Voldemort suffers from this mid-scene. He appears for a grand total of three paragraphs, then Ron throws a wand at him and he's never mentioned again. This is despite being the Big Bad of the entire series. (Unless, as some people have interpreted, he was the "tall Death Eater" wearing the Hermione shirt.)
  • Crack Fic: Obviously, from the random OOC-ness of, well, everyone to the utterly improbable magical events surrounding Hogwarts (sheets of leathery rain, Ron "being spiders").
  • De-Power: The Death Eaters are plotting to get rid of Harry's magic.
  • Eye Scream: Harry tears out his eyes and throws them into the forest when he realizes Voldemort is behind him.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Voldemort's response to Harry tearing out his eyes and throwing them into the forest.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ron, who's deadly afraid of spiders in canon, was going to be spiders. "He just was."
  • Foregone Conclusion: Ron is going to end up covered in spiders at the end of the adventure.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Ron. Harry keeps thinking mean things about him, being jealous that he's handsome.
  • Fruit of the Loon: Several long pumpkins fall out of McGonagall for some reason. (In one animatic, this is rendered as "McGonagall" actually being a scarecrow stuffed with pumpkins, which everyone just pretends is a real professor.)
  • Fun T-Shirt:
    • A tall Death Eater (possibly Voldemort) for some reason wears a shirt that says "Hermione has forgotten how to dance". It annoys Hermione enough for her to dip the Death Eater's face in mud.
    • Also "Ron's Ron shirt", which most fans interpret as having his own face on it.
  • The Ghost: The Dursleys, who are mentioned in one scene but never appear. Justified, since we only see one chapter of the book which takes place at Hogwarts, and, as the narrator is keen to mention, the Dursleys have never been to the Hogwarts castle, and have no intention of going there.
  • Gratuitous Animal Sidekick: The pig of Hufflepuff, which Dumbledore declares is the new Hagrid.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Harry is apparently very jealous of Ron's good looks.
  • Hammerspace: Several long pumpkins fall out of McGonagall.
  • I Fell for Hours: Harry falls down a spiral staircase for "the rest of the summer".
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Ron and Harry, apparently:
    • One of the first and most oft-quoted sentences is: "[Ron] saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione's family."
    • Later, when celebrating his victory against Voldemort, Harry begins "to dip Hermione in hot sauce" while the narration remarks that he is getting quite hungry. Evidently he didn't follow through on it, however, as she's back in the next paragraph.
  • In Medias Res: It starts on Chapter Thirteen.
  • Informed Attribute: The narration tells us that the death eaters “looked bad”, but they’re the kindest characters in the story. The worst things they do are try to get rid of Harry’s magic (which, based on his actions, may not be a bad idea) and wear shirts that insult Hermione’s dancing.
  • It's X. I Hate X.: To Harry, Ron was a loud, slow, and soft bird. Harry did not like to think about birds.
  • Legacy Character: The pig of Hufflepuff becomes the new Hagrid.
  • Made of Explodium: Random mountains of mice explode at one point for no discernible reason.
  • Narrating the Obvious: The narrator, who helpfully points out that Harry "couldn't see anything at the moment" after he TEARS OUT HIS OWN EYES. The narrator also feels it necessary to explain that this was "a great overreaction" on Harry's part.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Very likely Harry, considering he feels right at home at Hogwarts despite its many outright horrifying elements (sky full of blood, shrieking furniture, etc.)
  • Non-Indicative Title: No portrait of what appears to be a large pile of ash is actually featured in the story we see, though perhaps the rest of the supposed story might have included it. As is, it's just a cover art detail used for a ridiculous title.
  • Only Sane Man: Of the main trio, Hermione is the only one who doesn't do absurd things like throwing wands at Voldemort or tearing out their own eyes. Lampshaded when she's introduced as "the reasonable Hermione". Additionally, Voldemort alone raises his eyebrows at Harry's "overreaction".
  • Original Character: Mr. Staircase, the Shabby-Robed Ghost, who appears for all of one sentence, though everyone behaves like he's been there all along.
  • Outside Context Magic: Ron suggests the use of what he calls "Ron Magic," though it's never clarified exactly what that is or what it does.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": "The password was 'BEEF WOMEN,' Hermione cried."
  • Plot Armor: Lampshaded. Harry, Hermione, and Ron, in chorus, sing "We're the only people who matter. He's never going to get rid of us!"
  • Prehensile Hair: Dumbledore seems to have outright autonomous hair, which goes to sit by the gang before Dumbledore enters the room.
  • Refusal of the Call: The Dursleys are mentioned in one sentence, and text explicitly states they wouldn’t be going to Hogwarts in the book.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Hagrid apparently got a bridge dropped on him, because Dumbledore ceremoniously knights a pig with these words: "You are Hagrid now."
  • Right Behind Me: Harry realizes that Voldemort has come up behind him while he's spying on the Death Eaters, which prompts Harry to tear out his own eyes.
  • Staircase Tumble: Harry spends the entire rest of the summer falling down a spiral staircase.
  • Surreal Humor: You can say that again! The effect of the predictive software turns the writing into the literary equivalent of YouTube Poop.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The three "complete friends" do make a pretty effective team, whenever they're not being passive aggressive or trying to eat each other.
  • Throwing Your Wand Always Works: Attempted by Ron on Voldemort.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Ron somehow already knows that he is going to end up covered in spiders by the end of the adventure. He has made peace with the idea, but doesn't mean he is going to like it.
  • Title Drop: The chapter's title, "The Handsome One," is also how Harry describes Ron... right before saying he's "not so handsome now" in the very next paragraph. Presumably, whatever spell he used on the Death Eaters between those two remarks also did something to Ron, such as disfigurement.
    • The title of the book as a whole gets dropped near the end... in a line saying the Dursleys will not be appearing in a story of that title.
  • Too Dumb to Live: "Ron threw a wand at Voldemort and everybody applauded. Ron smiled. Ron reached for his wand slowly." Maybe throwing your only magical weapon against an enemy wizard isn't a bright idea. Though, since everyone (even Voldemort and the Death Eaters?) applauds, this could simply be part of his "Ron Magic". After all, Voldemort disappears from the story after he throws the wand. There's also the fact that it says he threw a wand, rather than his wand, and then reached for his wand, meaning he may have thrown someone else's wand.
  • Understatement: The third page off-handedly mentions that Harry "could not see anything at the moment" immediately after he tears out his own eyes and throws them away. (Unless those were the eyes of Voldemort, but that's much less fun.)
  • Unexplained Recovery: Harry is a ghost for one sentence near the beginning. Then he isn't. Or is he? "Harry's ghost", in at least one animatic, ends up referring to a "pet ghost" Harry has on a leash.
  • Un-Installment: The only available chapter is the thirteenth one.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Everyone seems to take the strange events of the book in stride, even as ghosts appear out of nowhere to scream at random doors. The closest anyone comes to actual surprise or confusion is Voldemort raising an eyebrow after Harry rips out his own eyes.
  • Villain Has a Point: Considering the fact that Harry and Ron are both cannibals and that Harry is so jealous of Ron that he's happy when something happens that makes Ron not handsome, the Death Eaters wanting to get rid of Harry's magic isn't necessarily evil...
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Dumbledore names a pig Hagrid.
  • Wham Line: Of a sort. Up until the line "He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione's family," most of the story's weirdness can be dismissed as merely an odd choice of language, poetic or otherwise.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Harry does not like to think about birds.
  • With Catlike Tread: Harry, Ron, and Hermione scream at a locked door while they're trying to sneak into Hogwarts to spy on the Death Eaters. The Death Eaters don't seem to notice.
  • Word-Salad Humor: The premise and appeal of this work is the AI that cobbled together a vague story arc out of random words and events.
  • Your Head Asplode: "They cast a spell or two, and jets of green light shot out of the Death Eaters' heads".

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: