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.