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 Every so often, it is all right to go back and look at the Classic Sues. They are fun to read, because you know they are Mary Sues. I am going to go and take a short break from the Eliza Trilogy, and read some of the Draco Trilogy.

 

Chapter 1:

The first thing that catches my attention when I go into chapter one, is this line. “... he lifted a beaker of glutinous brown liquid high into the air so they could all get a gander at it.” The word 'glutinous' is problematic. For one thing, for the reader with a limited vocabulary or a reading disability with mixing up words, they may mistake the word for 'gluttonous', which means 'given to or marked by gluttony', which isn't something you would describe a liquid as, unless the liquid I really a monster. What glutinous really means is 'having the quality of glue'. This is used to describe the polyjuice potion. While the potion was hard to swallow, it likely was not the consistency of glue, but something that was easier to chug down.

The second thing that bothered me, was the fact that the students were learning to make a polyjuice potion in Potions class. I say that this would not have happened. It was not once taught during the years that Harry Potter was in school. However, some might argue the fact that the Draco Trilogy was written way before the later books came out, and could be chocked up to being made a non-canon fact later on. There is still an argument that can be made, that someone could logically base an argument on, that the polyjuice potion would not have been taught in class. There is the fact that Hermione Granger had to go to the restricted section to gain the spell. Why would they teach such a spell to the students? It is illogical. Not to mention, the potion can have problematic side effects, as seen by the first use of it in the series. There is also the fact that people are going to be of different sizes and shapes.

Going on, the next sentence that bothered me was this one. “..only picked up the vial and began dispensing measured amounts into small paper cups.” I would have thought paper cups to be something  of Muggle design, not Wizarding. So, I went and looked up some information. The first paper cups were used in 1917 for the railroad. So, it is possible that the technologically backward wizarding world would have used paper cups. However, they weren't as concerned about sanitary issues, due to being able to use magic, unlike Muggles. So, with this logic, it is an either or. However, there is another problem with paper cups. They are not necessarily the best kind of cup to hold think liquids in. And the thing is, just a little earlier on in the reading, polyjuice potion was described of having the constancy of glue.

I also find the fact that Snape saying to Miss Brown, “... no, you don't have to swallow the hair...” funny. Why? Well, I find it hard to believe that Snape would ever want to pander to calming down his students fears. Particularly when he thinks the student is being simply over dramatic, or for a Gryffindor. Also, there is the fact you are likely to swallow the hair under normal circumstances. But we aren't talking about normal circumstances. We are talking about a thick liquid, the consistency of glue, not to mention the fact that it was placed into a paper cup, of all things. Both of these up the odds of swallowing the hair.

We later on get to the first off characterization. Draco says “I was just thinking that I really am astonishingly handsome.” Not once in the books does Draco say anything about his looks. All his talk and gloating is about his pureblood status and belittling other people. Many fanfic authors slide Draco over to being egotistical about his looks. Why? Part of it is because it is stereotyped that people who are egotistical about one thing, are egotistical about everything. However, the truth is, this is not so. Only a very select few people are actually narcissistic like that. Draco's behavior in the book series is not narcissistic. It continues to him actually having a decent conversation with Potter.

We then come to the fact that Potter and Draco are the only ones not changing back from the potion. Yes, Snape said that tomorrow when they make the potion, they might mess up, but this was from a batch he created. There should not have been any oddities that came about. In other words, both Potter and Draco should have changed back to their selves. Perchance there is a reason later on in the fanfic. However, at this point, I have to constitute this an error on the author's part. What makes this worse, is the fact this whole thing is important to the plot of the fanfic series.

The errors continue. Draco, whose knocked out Harry, is completely shocked that Hermione thinks that he is Harry Potter. Yet, he was just looking at the person he just knocked out. Harry should have still looked like him, which should have clued him into the fact that he still looks like Potter. This is something that would be common logic for pretty much anyone. Yet Draco seems to have it slip his mind rather easily. Yet, again this is important for the plot line for the story, as it leads to the confusion involved.

I then come across the author using yet another bit of word usage to amp up the writing. “This wore off quickly, however, as Snape jabbed a finger into his solar plexus.” Why use such a complex word, that most people aren't going to know? Some readers are going to think that it is the forehead, others the chest. I went and looked at pictures of where this is located, and the truth is, this is not a spot that someone would poke another person. I always say, avoid using words describing physical parts of the body, unless you actually know where these parts are.

I then come across the fact that Fred and George took a year off from school so that they could work on their joke shop. Mind you, this series was written back in 2000, way before some of the later books came out. I believe only the third and forth book would have been out at the time of writing this. However, again... here is where logical thought should have come into play. The truth of the matter is, their mother would not let them take a year off from school. This hints that the fanfic may have been written after the forth book, as it is after this book that they got the money to start the business. However, this would bring up another contradiction. If the money they got was from the Twiwizard Tournament, then that would indicate that this was their sixth year. However, via another statement, that the golden trio “[remember] the afternoon three years ago”. That would make this their fifth year.

Draco then begins to drop some major clues, that would tell pretty much anyone, he wasn't Harry Potter. While subtle clues are going to not be noticed by most people, there is someone in the room who should be picking up more on the misfires of Draco's mouth, and that is Hermione Granger. However, she doesn't once pick up on these clues. It goes back to when Draco was turned OoC, where the author doesn't quite understand how people act. They went with what was is thought typical and normal, instead of what is most accurate and most likely.

Moving on, we come to Hermione up in the dorms, reading a self help book, which seems a bit out of character for her. There is another indication that this fanfic was written after the forth book. “[Harry] told [Hermione] how he felt about Cho.” Harry didn't start noticing that Cho until his forth year. In other words, this definitely was written after the forth book. Which leads to more problems, with this line. “It wasn't exactly true anymore that Harry didn't notice she loved him, she'd told him so last month, when she couldn't stand it any more...” This is the author shoving their favored pairing in rather bluntly. The forth book has clear indicators that Hermione likes Ron, not Harry. She believes that he may be thinking differently about her now, because of the way he acted in the dorm.

We then come to the amazing scene with the class Hagrid teaches. It is pretty awesome, until you realize that more clues that Harry are dropped. Yet Hermione doesn't notice Harry, who is obviously sniggering at Nevile's plight and say something about that, chiding him for his actions. Instead, she implores him to help, which goads Draco, who is still Harry, into acting. Perhaps her not noticing can be explained away by her being in love with Harry. However, there are two facts. First, is the fact that the canon already at this point hints at Ron/Hermione. Second, there is the fact that the idea that love can drastically change a persons personality is inaccurate. It only works when one is rabid. Otherwise, it simply brings out parts of the personality that are hidden. Hidden things don't contradict parts of the personality already know.

The end of the chapter, we have Pomfrey wanting to send Harry back to Malfoy manor. If one doesn't take into consideration the errors above, truth of the matter is, the chapter had a story line that was riveting, and the emotional level was nice. However, the characterization problems take away from this, not to mention the blatant pushing of a pairing with no development towards making the pairing believable, just simple hearsay. Not to mention, there are consistency errors within the first chapter, for example, what year they are in. To quote the webmistress of “The Draco Trilogy” site, “ Cassandra Claire merely writes as she thinks the series should end.” I am going to have to disagree with this statement. I believe the author wrote the fanfic series because it was her version of the Harry Potter series, and it was what she wanted. The blunt pairing and consistency errors are indicators of this, but not definite signs.

Chapter 2:

We start the chapter off with Cho approaching Harry, not realizing he really is Draco. Some of Draco's comments should have been clear indicators to her that Harry wasn't acting like himself. However, we come to canon problems in here too. As I said before, Harry showed no interest in Cho until his forth year. The thing was, Cho turned Harry down the year before, and went out with Cedric, who happened to have died. He would have still been reeling from this encounter, so her statement that he would be hounding her for a date is inaccurate. Not to mention the fact that he would not have asked her out, after Cedric died. There are boundaries here, that are being broached.

We then come to the fact that Harry is being taken to the manor in an invisible carriage. Yes, of all things, an invisible carriage. I can understand why the steeds are invisible, but the carriage? That is a huge thing to have to hide with magic. Not to mention, something that is invisible is going to be bumped into. Sure, “Madam Pomfrey wouldn't let Lucius Disapparate with his son while the boy was unconscious.” However, there is the fact that you can't Disapparte from Hogwarts in the first place. You can also travel by floo powder, or a portkey. If his son was not well enough to travel while unconscious, she would have felt as a doctor, that it was better to have the boy stay where he was, while still informing Lucius. Actually, the father would have been contacted if it really was a serious injury that she couldn't take care of.

We are then faced with a romantic scene, as Draco... who everyone still thinks is Harry, practices being Seeker. He apparently received Harry's natural skill at being Seeker. This is dubious, but not necessarily an error. The fact that he is flirting with Hermione Granger seems rather OoC, he couldn't have fallen for her that fast. More comes out when “Hermione dissolved into giggles.” Hermione is not some girl who falls head over heals for just any boy she meets. The whole scene suddenly becomes awkward, not to mention unrealistic. While some people would jump all over the kiss, and have a drool-fest, the truth of the matter is, it moves to fast. Draco apparently blames it on the Polyjuice potion.

There comes another problem. Ron makes the comment, “I can't believe I missed Care of magical Creatures! I heard you totally destroyed Goyale.” When this was said, I had to go back and double check, as I didn't remember reading anything about him being missing. However, in going back, I also notice he simply isn't mentioned. Nothing about him not being there. The question crops up, why he wasn't there, and simply, there is no reason given. This is adds another awkward moment. If the author did it because Ron wasn't mentioned, she could have simply passed it off as him not being mentioned, not that he wasn't there.

We're then swamped by Hermione being characterized as a stereotypical girl with a crush. She comments on the fact that he smells differently. She tells herself, “so what if he changed his cologne?” The thing is, it has been a whole night since he changed. He's also showered, and would have washed any of his cologne away. As for the idea that different people have different scents naturally, there needs to be the fact, the Polyjuice potion was used. Draco should still smell like Harry. Another thing that is problematic...  how would Harry Potter, who is raised by the Dursley's, come to have cologne? He isn't exactly raised in a household that would explain these things to him, and the Weasly family are too poor to be of any help in this situation. Things again don't fit.

I also have come across a sentence that always bothers me when I read it. “ 'All, right, Gather,' ” said Harry, striving for Draco's drawling tones. To quote what it currently says on Wikipedia, “a drawl is a perceived feature of some varieties of spoken English, and generally indicates longer vowel sounds and/or diphthongs. Varieties of English which are said to feature pronounced drawls include Southern American English, Californian English and Australian English, especially Broad Australian English.”  Just because the British English sounds different from our American English, doesn't mean that British English is drawled out. It in fact isn't. If one wants to talk about a character drawling their speech, that would be Ronald Weasly, not Draco Malfoy, as his speech would be more controlled, more sophisticated. I see this a good deal of times in Harry Potter fanfics, authors who describe him as having a drawl, when in fact he shouldn't. I wonder if this is where this trend started.

There are more problematic things. “Harry [found] himself nearly running to keep up with Lucius Malfoy as he staled down a long corridor lined with Malfoy family portraits. There were a few hags, some very pretty women who were definitely veela – which was probably where Malfoy got his fair hair – some rather pale men who were probably where vampires...” This contradicts the Malfoy attitude of being Purebloods. They would not have anything that indicated otherwise on their walls, where people can see them.

We end with Harry making a snark comment that amazingly went unnoticed by the two Death Eaters around him. Again, I say that the author was not writing Harry Potter the way she thought it would end. She was writing her version of Harry Potter. There is a major lack of attention to the details in canon. While some of the errors are minor and don't take away from the story, we already some some in the first chapter. In this chapter, the problem more lies in poor characterization, and the fact that Draco and Hermione are both OoC. If Rowling had made these mistakes for book five, she would have been crucified alive. Which is ironic, because there are some fans who claim that this author would have written a much better ending to the series.

Chapter 3:

Again, no one catches on, when they should. When Lucius comments on Harry beating Draco at Quidditch, “Harry couldn't restrain a broad grin, 'Yes he has!' ” In the fanfic, this is simply brushed off. Mr. Malfoy and McNair don't think that Malfoy is off his rocker. Simply put, Draco's reaction would be different then the one Harry gave. It is a dead give away that something is wrong.

More problems crop up. Apparently there was a “scheme to kill off Harry by sending him a poisoned birthday present at his relatives' house...” and  “all that happened was that his cousin Dudley wound up eating the chocolates and vomited out the window on the Death Eaters who'd come to collect Harry's body.”  The other three plots are just as lame, and would have brought way too much attention to the Death Eaters. I personally doubt they were this stupid, to do things that would get them so easily caught. Even the fact that they know who the Arsenals are pushes things, as the wizards would have been against anything Muggle, defeating the whole point of even researching the name.  The idea that they can easily get Sirus Black is problematic too. And later on, it appears to simplistic, to easy.

We then come to another OoC element. Ronald Weasly is reading. Sure, it is something that might interest him, but he isn't likely to get far enough into it, to even become interested. I also can't figure out what was meant by “a grimlooking tome”. If the author meant a big read, it makes it even more out of character for Ron. However, it doesn't mean this.

I find it ironic that the chapter is named after Narcissa, yet she plays no part in developing the plot. The whole scene between her and Draco should have been blaring clues that her son was not her son, as Harry's reactions would very well, not be the same as Draco. Narcissa would have quickly picked up on this, however, she didn't.

We then come to Cho showing up again, and again the whole thing is contradictory. She is presented as a girl who is very promiscuous one might say. How she knew where to find Draco... wait, Harry, I don't know. Then again, how Draco was able to get a book from the restricted section is another question. It took Hermione this long to figure out that Harry isn't Harry. It took Draco bluntly acting like himself for her to notice. Thing is, this blunt, Cho should have picked up on it too. While the story is one that draws you in, it is poorly implemented plot wise.

Chapter 4:

Hermione almost becomes herself, with her normal spark, despite the fact that Draco is still OoC. She says “[Draco] can't have killed him, [because Draco needs] him to keep making Polyjuice Potion.” However, logic dictates that the potion is complex to make, and there is the fact that Draco would need the potion, before he could use it. Considering it takes a month to make, Hermione should have known something was off.

It then moves onto the fact that Draco tells Hermione a spell that will get him to tell the truth. What if he lied about the spell? Logic would dictate that this could be a possibility. However, Hermione doesn't even think about it. It also goes against her normal logic, when she uses a spell that is considered dark arts. Truth of the matter is, the spell is a 'deus ex machina', one that is awkwardly used.

When Hermione asks how Draco knows Harry is all right, he says “[he didn't realize that's what it was until [then]... It's like Harry's scar. He and Voldemort are connected by the curse that failed; now I'm connected to Harry by the failed spell of the potion.” I am having to ask myself, how did Draco know that detail about Voldemort and Harry? It shouldn't have been known. I may have missed it when it was written, but this is not something that should have been known. Nor should Draco have figured out this that easily. There was no build up.

Anyways, I am pretty much at the limit of what I can handle of bad plot.  I glanced through the rest of the forth chapter, and some of the fifth.  The fanfic is filled with major plot holes, rushed plot line, canon contradictions, albeit minor.

I keep thinking about the fans who preferred this fanfic, to canon, to the point of wanting to the author of said fanfic to have finished the Harry Potter series. I have to say, I find myself glad she didn't write the end of Harry Potter. Plagiarism issues aside, I now have to wonder even more, how she came to be a published author, particularly since some of her former fans have compared her first piece of work to this trilogy.

Some people question, why is it that this kind of fanfic appealed to readers. The fact is, I have to say, Cassandra Claire was a rabid fan, writing for the rabid fanbase. When that happens, you get tons of reviews and popularity, despite actually not being written that well. I've seen the same thing in the Bleach fandom, with the hype some Toshiro/Momo fans go to, despite the fact that the canon points away from their disillusions.

Which brings me to the reason why people thought, and may still feel she should have written the end of the Harry Potter series. It was because she played into the readers ideal, while Rowling brings it crashing down. The fact though, is the ideal they hold, contradicts the canon that is obviously there. They also misinterpret the canon, to suit their desires. I much prefer the fan who can accept that something they want is not canon, rather then the one that can't.

That aside, I am an avid writer in the Bleach fandom for “Isshin being the taicho of Hitsugaya Toshiro” and “Hitsugaya Toshiro being the son of Ran and Gin”. What am I going to do if it is proven to not be canon. Simply shrug it off and continue writing. Part of the fun of writing the fanfics I do, is the theoretical side of things.

 


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
nico1908
Jan. 10th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
Not sure whom you consider a "Classic Sue" in the Draco Trilogy, but I agree with most of your criticism. In spite of that, I enjoyed re-reading Draco Dormiens yesterday. It doesn't take itself seriously and is obviously meant to be a light, fun story. I liked it when I first read it five or six years ago, and I still like it.
yemi_hikari
Jan. 11th, 2012 10:44 am (UTC)
There are two definitions of "Classic Sue" that can be used. There is "Mary Sue Classic" which is the Mary Sue most people have heard about, the Star Trek one. There is also the ones that are considered classics for their age. "The Eliza Trilogy", "My Immortal", "Pawn To Queen" are some of the other old timers.

Anyways, there is nothing wrong with liking something that isn't that well written. While I personally disliked what I've read of the Draco Trilogy I actually do like what I've read of "The Eliza Trilogy".
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