Unforgiven

unforgiven

She’d managed to develop this particular charm shortly after she’d married Justinian. Originally, she’d used it to encourage his sympathy for disadvantaged and abused women: he knew most of her past, though she’d managed to hide the more sordid details, and out of respect for her he’d thrown more of his weight behind laws to protect her sisters, literal and metaphorical. She’d had to help him along a few times, but she would be damned before she let another man take advantage of her again, and thrice-damned before she let it happen to her daughter.

This, however, would be the first time she’d used it in this powerful a form.

“I am Empress,” she whispered to herself. “I command.”

Imperio.

Harry Potter is a Within-World story.

As with doctor visits, half-dry paintings, and well-loved jeans, this has benefits and drawbacks in equal measures.

This is a story that takes advantage of an existing, complex world to bypass much story-establishing work. The author can rely on existing cultures and understandings, which help the reader comprehend the tale’s events, and their place relative to nonfictional locations and times.

This is a story that cannot reach beyond the limits of overarching history. No matter what happens within the fantasy narrative, from a larger standpoint, the events of history must pass in basically the same way they always have. If the author extends the story past the past, they risk extending the tale’s plausibility beyond their reader’s willingness to follow.

In short: this is a story that takes place within a world, a land with a larger history that the author need not go into. (An aside: this is not a ‘real’ term. There could be an actual term for this concept, but my impromptu one will have to do for now. But if the reader knows of such a term, let them not hesitate in calling me a fool for being so ignorant.) Most Within-World stories take place on Earth, and establish a society that exists unnoticed by the rest of the world’s population, usually with the aid of magic. Some examples include the Percy Jackson series, Fablehaven, and The Mortal Instruments.

As I said, Within-World tales come with an easy way to avoid exposition. So it is common for the author to only add to the narrative what events are explicitly required for the story line to make any kind of sense. And so it is rare for the author to issue bonus books, based on ideas vaguely mentioned within the original series. But this is what JK Rowling has done, and it is amazing. Because I am one of those fans that loves well-done, entirely unnecessary exposition. By the simple act of releasing such extracanon, this author has truly established a wizarding world, within the world of Earth. And when there is a book on the history of Quidditch, there must be a record somewhere of the history of the Unforgivable Curses. And if there is not, then a fanfiction writer must correct the error.

Such is the fanfiction I have the honor to present. Honestly, stories that act as a bridging narrative, that link one story to another, are my favorite kinds. I love crossovers. I love literary references. I love historical fanfictions. Naturally, when I came upon this fanfiction, it rocketed to the front of my Harry Potter fanfiction library. (I was particularly pleased when I recognized the second scenario; the experience was quite satisfying for my historian’s ego.) There is no fluff in this tale; the fanfiction operates quickly, concisely. Characters are not drenched in paragraphs; the author establishes their OCs’s backstories and thoughts thoughtfully, but without wasted words, a quality I admire and lack. There are surprisingly fewer doses of angst than one would expect of a story about the worst curses ever conceived by man. This is because the effects of the curses are left to the reader’s imagination and their understanding of the single italicized word that ends every scenario. Lastly, I shudder to think of the role the Unforgivable Curses would play in smut, but fortunately, the author has left such possibilities up to our imaginations, as well.

Fluff: +

Angst: ++++

Smut: +

Overall Rating: +++

Read it here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/437989

An excellent, quick read. Hopefully, just like this review. Please comment your thoughts on this fanfiction and on this fanfiction review below. I would love to hear your thoughts on the adaptation of history into modern fiction. Good examples? Bad examples? Does it augment the text, or detract from it?

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