Fanfiction Fridays: Light in Oblivion by TheSlytherinRose

narcissa-malfoyOver the years, I’ve developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Harry Potter series, in no small part due to the fact that I think just about every character in it is a raging asshole. Despite this, I’ve always been drawn to villains. One antagonist that I’ve neglected in my fanfiction, though, is Narcissa. This is a shame, because without a doubt, the last book turned her into one of my favorite characters. Sadly, there’s nowhere near the number of fics about her as I had hoped, but that doesn’t mean that what’s there isn’t good.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon the multi-chaptered story Light in Oblivion by TheSlytherinRose. Although Light in Oblivion is nowhere near finished, it has not been abandoned, and it’s also a good enough story thus far that it definitely deserves a recommendation.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Motherhood vs. Fatherhood in Geek Media

I don’t know if I would say that Saga is my favorite comic, but that’s probably because it’s just so good, and so consistently so, that it’d be like saying that I like breathing air. I take it for granted that Saga is going to be one of the best comics out there every time I pick up a trade. The fifth trade collection just debuted this week and it got me thinking about motherhood and characterization. The main characters of the story are Alana and Marko, the parents of our narrator, Hazel. Alana and Marko are from Landfall and Wreath, respectively, a planet and its moon that have been at war for as long as anyone can remember. The fact that they’ve fallen in love and had a baby has put them at the top of both their homelands’ hit lists, and they’ve been on the run for the entirety of the story, trying (and failing spectacularly) to find somewhere safe to raise their child.

Alana-Saga One of the things that I love about Alana is that, while she is absolutely and fiercely dedicated to her daughter, it shows in a way that is consistent with her character. She will fuck up anyone who threatens to lay a hand on Hazel, but she’s not the best at motherhood or at being a decent person, and her best-laid plans too often go awry. She’s also still got interests and desires outside of simply raising her daughter; she didn’t stop being a person when she started being a mother. She loves the trashy romance novels that helped her bond with Marko when they first met. She developed a drug problem while trying to support her family on the run. She felt miserable and unsexy when she and Marko tried to have sex while she was pregnant. She can fire a rifle and curse a blue streak but still struggles to get along with her in-laws. In fact, Alana as a character is more in line with what we usually see of fathers in pop culture.

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Fanfiction Fridays: The Death of Narcissa Black

Today I bring you a story of magic. Of witches. Of a great evil and uncertainty. Or, in other words, a Harry Potter fanfic. It’s about as close to a Halloween fic as I could muster and after I just remembered it, I had to share it. It’s my favorite HP fic I’ve read and explores one of my favorite characters, Narcissa Black. In particular, The Death of Narcissa Black as author, Massicot, leads us through the dramatic change from Black to Malfoy.

The most striking thing about this fanfic is that it’s actually comprised of several screens of watercolor paintings, so it’s more of a picture book rather than a several thousand word epic. This lends itself to the story so much, though. The limited color palette of reds and blues creates a feeling of melancholy and hopelessness which very much mirror Narcissa’s descent down a path she knows she can never return from. While some pages are blank, either mostly or entirely, the pacing of this story is great in that no one part is spent too long on. I also like that nothing is too explicitly stated: there is an expectation that you have read the actual books and know the characters.

Beyond this, the story is a simple one. Narcissa and her sisters, Andromeda and Bellatrix, must worry about upholding the Black bloodline as the pot for pureblood intermarriage becomes smaller and smaller. However, Narcissa has no desire to settle down and live domestically; she has dreams of becoming Minister for Magic. Her mother has no problem with this desire—in fact, she supports it as having a Black in a higher level of politics would be beneficial for the family name—but this puts all the pressure on Narcissa’s sisters to continue the family line. As to be expected, things do not go according to plan.

What I loved most about canon Narcissa is her undying love for her family and that her morality is so grey that everyone is able to form their own thoughts about her and her motivations, but, to be honest, there isn’t much to characterize her by. Sure, she makes an unbreakable vow with Snape for Draco and is a total jerk to Hermione and Harry when they run across each other in Diagon Alley, but there’s so much more behind that. So much more to the members of the Black family. Massicot does a fantastic job of not only characterizing and humanizing these easily hated purebloods, but also extrapolating from the scarce knowledge we get in canon and creating a background that not only makes sense, but is also compelling.

I will warn you, however, that some of the images are NSFW, so you may want to think about where you read this. Other than that, I really do recommend taking in this piece of art: not only is it visually striking, but you may form a couple new headcanons from it.