May. 24th, 2010

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Every year, I plan early on to rec fics as they are posted, so that I will not become completely overawed by the awesome and then post none. And guess what? Every year I don't get around to it until right at the end, and then sometimes I totally miss reveals and have to post them after. And this year is no exception. Only this year I haven't missed reveals, so yay.

Anyway, here are a handful of Beholder recs. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the things I loved, either. If you haven't yet, I encourage everyone to check out the Anonymous Masterlist and be a bit adventurous. There are some fantastic stories this year (as there are every year), and one of the things I find most enjoyable about Beholder is the chance to see so many characters and pairings I love represented, but also the chance to step outside my comfort zone a little. I reckon everyone should read one story they wouldn't normally for every two they would. I'll do my recs the same way.

Two I Would:

The News Today (Morning Edition)
Rating: PG-13/light R
Pairings: Molly Weasley/Arthur Weasley, Minerva McGonagall/Arabella Figg, Augusta Longbottom/Alastor Moody
Word Count: 6,900
Summary: Tell it as you see it. Expose the bastards for what they are and if everyone, on every side, hates you, you are probably doing a fine job.

Three very different pairings, three separate stories, all tied together beautifully with the theme of a news story and the feel of world stretched taut with the feel of war. Each of these pairings is beautifully done, and there is a marvellous cast of supporting characters to enjoy as well. Rich, sensual and beautiful.

Steps to the Lightening Struck Tower
Rating: R
Pairing: Severus Snape/Sybill Trelawney
Word Count: ~ 9,270 words
Warnings: None
Summary: Everybody meant well, even Dumbledore, in opposing Voldemort's schemes, but Fate is a malicious entity and Divination its ally.

I think I've only seen this pairing once before, and in that instance it was 'Severus and Sybill are about to die so decide to sleep together because why not'. That fic was fun, but oh, this one is magnificent. It treats Sybill with such dignity and respect, making her not a laughable figure but a fully realised, intelligent woman who simple lacks belief in her own abilities. It explores, too, the idea I have had of Sybill for a long time that she is not a fraud at all, she simply can't see past the big, dark, dramatic things in her predictions to grasp the subtleties. And Snape is brilliant. Clever and analytical and fully aware that he is being used by Dumbledore as thoroughly as he is being used by Voldemort. Also features a depiction of manipulative Dumbledore in a way that is scarily canon.

One I Wouldn't:

The Conjugal State
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Argus Filch/Severus Snape
Word Count: ~6700
Warnings: V. mild dub-con (forced bonding, magical compulsion), Domesticity
Summary: In which Albus Dumbledore makes an error, Severus Snape is certainly not married, and Argus Filch is the happiest man in the world.

I very nearly skipped this one. Forced-bonding is such a tired fandom cliche, and the pairing didn't interest me terribly. And then I read a rec myself and went off to read it, and boy, I am so glad I did. This fic takes something that has become a tired fandom cliche and turns it on its head, makes it hilarious and, although you'd never imagine it from the pairing, even sweet. All while keeping the characters completely IC. As an added bonus, Filch's attempts at being a good 'wife' - including abominable cooking - reminded me a little bit of Baldrick of Blackadder fame, which, combined with Snape's snarkiness, added an extra layer of awesome to an already funny, clever story.

Two I Would:

Rating: General
Pairings: Irma/Sinistra, Pansy/Luna.
Summary: One fine summer everything falls into place.

This is a stunning piece of art. Really, it blew my mind. I spent ages looking at it, and every time I click back there I do it all over again, just to take in the details all over again. This is everything art should be. Stunningly beautiful, full of rich detail and also so full of character. I can really tell who these women are when I look at this picture, and that is the best sort of fanart, IMO.

But Can She Do Maths?
Rating: R
Pairings: Minerva McGonagall/Viktor Krum
Word Count: Around 5700
Warnings: Nerdy math references!
Summary: Viktor Krum needs a date. Where's Hermione Granger when you need her?

God, I love me some older woman/younger man, and this scratched the itch brilliantly. Nevermind that Viktor is nearly forty in this. Actually, I think that made it even better. Viktor is wonderfully cerebral and socially awkward, and Minerva decidedly less so, but the coming together of minds and bodies in this story is marvellous. Add in an absolutely perfect Myrtle, and you have a fic that is a thorough joy to read!

One I Wouldn't:

The rest of the mornings in the world
Rating: R
Pairings: Horace Slughorn/Cornelius Fudge
Word Count: ~5,500
Summary: After the Battle of Hogwarts, Horace finds an opportunity to repay a favour to an old friend.

I never would have thought I could feel sympathy for Cornelius Fudge. Never would have thought I could be brought to care for him. But wow, did I do both, reading this fic. This is everything that I love about Beholder - not just that it's a celebration of the characters I usually love but the rest of fandom doesn't so much, but that it can make me see characters I never thought twice about in completely new ways. This is a beautiful story of two wounded old men, and how they make each other whole again.


So yes. A handful, plus one. In the nick of time before the reveals. If you haven't yet, seriously, go and have a read. It's truly an amazing fest.


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