R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

Why I prefer R/H to H/H

I have to say, the April Fool's front page for SugarQuill is one of the funniest things I've seen in ages. Of course, it's ten times funnier if you're familiar with the standard FictionAlley front page, not to mention the differing attitudes of the two sites as to a) who Hermione ought to end up with romantically, Harry or Ron and b) whether Draco would look good in leather pants.

Fortunately, since I express no opinions on either issue in my fics, I'm free to archive my stories on both sites. But I have to confess my sympathies lean heavily toward the SugarQuill side on both counts. It's not so much that I care particularly about the romantic lives of Harry, Ron and Hermione; I figure JKR has her own ideas on that score and I'm perfectly content to wait and see what she has to say about it. And it's not that I have some personal investment in the idea that Draco is irredeemable and/or permanently consigned to unattractiveness. But although I've seen some very well-written H/H and Redeemed!Draco fics, with a fluid style and intriguing plot developments and considerable wit and inventiveness, there always seems to be something else about those stories that makes me want to run screaming in the opposite direction.

I think it's the characterization -- for some reason, every time I read a Harry/Hermione fic, whether it's set during Hogwarts or afterward, I just don't recognize the characters (especially Hermione, it seems) as being the same ones I know from canon. They're too sophisticated, too beautiful, too gifted with unusual powers and talents far beyond the common lot of wizards. And many times the whole atmosphere of the H/H stories isn't the same as JKR's, or even close to it. It just doesn't read like a Harry Potter story: instead, it's a soap opera, or a spy thriller, or a lost episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer... or some combination of all three. Not to mention that Ron is continually cast as the evil betrayer, or else an insensitive jerk who isn't worthy of Harry's friendship and gets pushed into the background to make room for Draco. (This latter plot development I just cannot foresee, myself. Draco will become Harry's best friend on the day that Millicent Bulstrode becomes Hermione's.)

By contrast, the best R/H stories I've read have seldom been quite as exciting or ambitious as the most famous H/H ones, and yet to me they ring far more true. They make me feel as though I'm really at the canonical Hogwarts, or at the Weasleys' house, or somewhere else in the wizarding world I recognize from JKR's books. The characters are lovingly and accurately portrayed in dialogue and narrative, with all their faults and foibles intact. I get the impression that the writers really enjoy JKR's work the way it is, and don't feel the need to improve it by bringing in elements from other fandoms, or by rearranging the dynamics of the characters in some radical way. I can read these stories and easily suspend my disbelief; I can actually imagine that the events described in them really happened to the Trio I know from the books, or might happen to them in the future. And that, to me, is more important than any number of bizarre plot twists and shocking character revelations.
Tags: essays, fan fiction, hp
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