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The Incredible Snapecase, Part One

 In the remote chance that there are any of you on my flist who haven't been reading the amazing fic fest known as snapecase  that is going down in honor of our favorite potions master, I am here to flail at you to GO READ RIGHT NOW!!!  

Well, OK, you don't *have* to drop everything you are doing at this moment - the stories will be available for a goodly long time, but I'd hate to see any of you miss out another minute of the pleasure you could be having at reading some of the most extraordinary stories about our Severus ever written.  That may sound like hyperbole, but it isn't.  The quality of this fest is uniformly high.  There have only been one or two the whole month that I'd consider to be average and several which have been so jaw-droppingly well-written that I've been able to do nothing but flail in awe.  I'm going to rec the ones which spoke most to me, but you can consider this post a rec for the whole fest - it's that good.  Now, *everybody* sing:  theeese are a few of my faaavorite thiiinnggggs . . .  (yeah, yeah, I know.  As my daughter would say, 'Keep your day job, Mom')

Frostyworms and Rainbows:  This was the opening story and as soon as I read it I knew that if all of the rest of them were this good,  I was in for a delightful month.  This is a lovely story set  in Severus's pre-Hogwarts childhood, and is portrait of his friendship with Lily at age 10, exploring what they can of the magical world at that age.  But something seems to be coming between them, and Severus can't understand what's going on.  They're both such true-to-life children in this story, and the reason for Lily's distance is a real heart-tugger.   This fic is full of warmth, but bittersweet, because we know what's coming for them.

Step On:  Snapecase isn't just fic, it's art, too and this beautiful drawing pegged my 'guh' meter.  The way it's drawn just made me want to *touch*, as if by running my finger down the drawing I would feel smooth skin over the swell and hollows of muscle and bone and sinew.  It's gorgeous.

Mutability:  This was one of those fics where I just kept nodding my head up and down as I read, and where I ended up quoting half the fic back at the author in my comment.  Yep, I might a right fool of myself, but I couldn't help it.  The writing is amazing.  The story is set just after Tom Riddle's return at the end of GoF, and Severus is tasked by The Dark Lord with the seduction of Minerva McGonagall, a physical seduction that Riddle hope will eventually be one of the mind, bringing her to his cause. He decides to do this, but not for Voldemort's reasons, but as something he wants for himself.  We get an exploration of the dynamics of their current relationship and a very erotic consumation scene, where their evenly matched game of one-upmanship spills over into making each other burn.  The author has an astonishing command of Severus's many layers - how his life as a pariah and a pawn has stunted him, his insightfulness and self deception, his need and his all-encompassing disillusionment, that it just left me awe-struck.

Penultimate Acts:  Another gorgeously written jaw-dropper, and a masterful portrait of Severus's year as Headmaster.  He is very much in control of himself and handles the complexities of his position with finesse, a keen and penetrating intelligence and the occasional bit of gallows humor, like a flicker of sunlight escaping through the closed curtains of an utterly dark room.  I loved watching him here, even though I knew what was coming, and the author's take on familiar canon scenes - the duel sequence especially - were better done than the originals.  This is another one of those stories that epitomizes for me what the best of fan fiction is all about - taking what is familiar, and adding shading, depth, nuance so that it makes what (and who) we love about the originals all that much finer grained.  This kind of writing reminds me of a huge photograph taken by Ansel Adams of El Capitain.  It was taken from half a mile away, but was so deeply in focus that if you looked at the print through a magnifying glass, you could see the climbers on its face in perfect detail.  I'm sure that doesn't make much sense (it's getting late and I've miles to go ::g::), but that's what comes to mind.

A Return to Motherhood:  This one was another one which just left me speechless - I couldn't even indulge in my usual flail because I was too stunned and heart-bruised at its end.  Eileen Snape somehow gets access to a Time-Turner and tries to go back and correct the mistakes she made which so damaged her son.  That's the short synopsis, and that cannot under any circumstances convey the power and pain of this portrait of Severus's mother.  I have heard many stories of abused children who later said of their abusive parent, "She (or he) was like two different people."  In this story, Eileen seems to take that literally, swimming in denial by viewing her past self as some other person altogether, while her present self is the angel come to make up for all the pain Severus endured.  And even as she fails at what she's trying to do, she can't stop herself from coming back yet another time to try it again, with no discernible change.  Yet, in spite of her epic self-delusion, you still have empathy for her, she's obviously so damaged herself.  This is one to read more than once, though it breaks your heart, so you don't miss anything.

Forever Idyll:  I fell hard for this lovely story, which begins in Severus's later school years and continues beyond his death.  It all begins with sketch he makes while on a summer holiday at the Rosier Estate.  He has gone down to a lake on the grounds with Regulus and Rabastan LeStrange's Irish Setter and he makes a drawing of them and their surroundings while they are at play, their lives as yet untouched by the madness that is Tom Riddle.  Regulus joins him and notices that Severus has left himself out of picture, so Reg takes it upon himself to add him in.  After Voldemort's first fall he finds this picture, and to Severus's great joy, Regulus and the dog have awakened.  It's what he does with it afterward that forms the remainder of this sweet, short tale, and the author delivers on the ending you can't help but hope for as the story unfolds.

Well, it's 3 AM and I'm starting to fall asleep at my computer, so I guess it's time to carry myself off to bed.  I'll do my best to finish this tomorrow, as I have more flailing rec-ing to do from this amazing fest.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 30th, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
I just caught up on Snapecase reading last night, and you're right about the overall high quality. I think last year's fest (the birthday one) contained a higher proportion of "these are on my list of all-time best HP stories ever," but this year's has some powerful ones. I've enjoyed this fest thoroughly.

The fic posted yesterday, though, is in a class by itself. Sometimes I read a story that I love and that is well-written, and I feel equal to it ("This isn't my style/approach, but my skills, though different, are on the same level.") Sometimes I read one that's so well-done that I both adore it and feel limited at the same time ("I can never write like this, wah!") But sometimes, there's a story so far beyond anything I could ever dream of writing that there's no point in even feeling bad. It's in a different universe, and all you can do is admire it. And that's where "Infinite Remorse of Soul" fits. I still haven't scraped my jaw off the floor. Of course I have a couple of quibbles (occupational hazard for a literary critic), but overall, I'm reduced to incoherence by it.

(And now I've got that horrid song in my head!!)
Jan. 30th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
Oops -- I see that you already commented on "Infinite Remorse"; I hadn't noticed that when I sent this message. But I didn't want to take the risk that you might not get to that story. I think it's altogether too good to miss.
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
(And now I've got that horrid song in my head!!) ::shifty eyes:: Every cue a song cue, as my dear husband would say (usually through gritted teeth)! There are worse songs you could have stuck on an endless loop in your head. I generally like contemporary pop, but that new song by Rhianna (What's My Name) makes me want to shoot my speakers, and then take an auger to my brain to get rid of it. It's gotten so that I know the first note and the radio goes OFF for a full 5 minutes, just so that I can be sure it's really and truly gone. I'll take R&H (even the insipid stuff) over that any day! I enjoy being a giiirrrrlllllll

As for In Infinite Remorse . . ., your comment about it being in a different universe is so true. I can't even begin to fathom where such talent comes from, but I guess one doesn't have to know in order to benevolently envy and deeply admire same. Whoever that is, I'm going to stalk friend them so I can read everything they've ever written.

Edited at 2011-02-06 06:43 pm (UTC)
Jan. 30th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
I don't need to add to my inferiority complex, so maybe I'll skip these.

I come bearing advice on the stuck song.

Try "Don't Worry, Be Happy" or "Who Let the Dogs Out". no better, but different.
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Lash. Now I have the mix tape from Hell going on in my head. :-P
Jan. 30th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
*hands on hips* Lark, I beg you, if you love your friends, please never, ever mention that song again. Gah. Earplugs won't save me, because it's inside my head, and I'm not good at mental blocking.

*turns Show of Hands CD waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up*

I agree; I love this fest. Alas, the size of my love is inversely proportional to the amount of feedback I've managed to leave so far. *sigh* At least it's my weekend now, and I hope to play catch-up.

I feel badly that I didn't love "Forever Idyll" as much as it deserves, but I have to admit I didn't really recognize Severus in this piece. I think my own version or adherence to a certain character outline gets in the way.

Wah. The fest is about to end, and I'm in denial. I'll miss it! At least hp_beholder sign-ups have started, which promises another fabulous crop of fics to look forward to in the not-so-distant future.
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
Would I be so ebil?? ::g:: (Don't answer that)

*turns Show of Hands CD waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up* That's a duo I hadn't had out of my CD cabinet in ages, thanks for bringing them back to mind!!

I feel badly that I didn't love "Forever Idyll" as much as it deserves, but I have to admit I didn't really recognize Severus in this piece. I think my own version or adherence to a certain character outline gets in the way. Yes, I would say that he's somewhat out of character, but I was so enchanted with the idea that it didn't matter. Sometimes I can't help but love a fic in spite of its flaws.
Feb. 3rd, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
At least hp_beholder sign-ups have started, which promises another fabulous crop of fics to look forward to in the not-so-distant future.

And Vissy! Vissy has signed up! *swoons*

(Lark, you should read every word Vissy has written. Her 2009 Beholder fic is incomparable, and the one from 2008 is almost its equal.)
Feb. 5th, 2011 05:51 am (UTC)

Excuse me for shrieking in your ear, but I'm so excited! I'll try to keep it down to a dull roar; the temptation to do the crazed-fangirl thing is strong because, OMG, look, GIRL-TARTE SIGNED UP, TOO! *fists of glee* Fabulosity, thy name is Beholder! I'm fluttering over these two in particular because they've been away from HP for so long and I adore them, but there are at least a dozen writers, yourself included, whose presence is making me do the interpretive dance of readerly joy. (Be glad you are spared the sight. I know I am.)
Feb. 5th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
It's truly going to be a great fest. I'm not familiar with Girl-Tarte, but I'll check her out.

the interpretive dance of readerly joy

Ha! I can well imagine it. (Like that cartoonist -- Jules Ffeiffer, was it? something like that.)
Feb. 6th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
there are at least a dozen writers, yourself included, whose presence is making me do the interpretive dance of readerly joy.

::joins you in the dance and hopes no one's looking through the windows::
Feb. 6th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
I rec-ed The Sword of Slytherin in my Fangirl Tour, but I will confess that I didn't read her 2009 offering because the warnings about incest and dub-con made me hit the back button before I began to read. I'll bookmark it and read it after I've made my dysfuncentine deadline.
Feb. 6th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
I rec-ed The Sword of Slytherin in my Fangirl Tour

Right, I'd forgotten that. I'm glad Vissy is known!

And I understand your reluctance to read incest stories, but I don't think you'll be sorry if you read this one.

*runs back to Dysfuncentine draft*
Feb. 7th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)

I wanted to stop by and say THANK YOU for the rec! I don't get recced often, so whenever I do, I squeal with happiness.

Thank you, thank you, thank youuuuuuuuu :D
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )