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November 2020 Recs

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This month’s crop of recs comes from a pair of fests focussing on short works, HP_Halloween on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, and Minvember on Tumblr.

 In between shopping, decorating, baking, and other holiday deeds, give yourself a few small treats and read these.

Story ratings range from G to PG-13.

I was late to the HP Halloween Party, but, as usual, it was filled with little treats for HP tricksters.

HP_Halloween has been running on LiveJournal (and now on Dreamwidth too) since 2004, created by McHoneygoose and since 2009 overseen by Shadowycat, Lore and Starduchess. It’s a wonderful little fest for Halloween-themed HP drabbles by some of the fandom’s best writers.

This year saw a total of 45 drabbles, and all were wonderful, but I’m singling out some of my favorites here:

Halloween and the Headmistress by iselima is a bittersweet glimpse of Minerva’s first Halloween as Headmistress of Hogwarts after the war.

Only Right by kellychambliss is an appropriately chilling little tale of revenge featuring everyone’s favorite pink horror, Dolores Umbridge.

Hallowe’en Vigil by shadowycat has Headmistress McGonagall using lore from her Scottish heritage to provide a little extra protection for her students, with some help and comfort from the castle.

The author gives no summaries or ratings, but I’d put the stories at a PG-13, generally, with the occasional foray into hard R-rated territory in “How do you like your blue-eyed boys?”

It begins with “Thy Kingdom Come,” which gives us glances into Minerva’s early relationships with Albus Dumbledore and Tom Riddle during her school years, when the “Monster of Slytherin” first hunted the corridors of Hogwarts, and shortly thereafter, as she gets an education on the darkness hidden within people’s souls.

“I, Alastor” shows us Minerva through Moody’s eyes. The perceptive Alastor sees a great deal about Tom Riddle and the rivalries that govern Hogwarts, but he can’t quite draw a bead on Minerva at first. What he learns over the years, about her and about himself, isn’t comfortable, but it leads him to acceptance.

“How do you like your blue-eyed boys?” takes us back to Minerva’s POV in the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts, as she tries to reconcile herself to what Dumbledore and Snape have been to her, and the fact that the only person who has really understood her is a madman. She in, turn, offers understanding to Harry that no one else seems to be able to, and receives some surprising comfort of her own from an unexpected source.

“O Gentle Faustus” returns us to the first-person narrative of Minerva’s schooldays and her observations of young Tom Riddle, who sees what others do not. Minerva, in turn, observes the effects of obsession in others through the years, and of her own.

Minvember

Stories range from G to PG-13.

Minvember is the brainchild of mmad-lover, who organized the little Minerva-centric fest to fill some of the void left by the end of the wonderful Minerva Fest, which ran between 2010 and 2015 on LiveJournal and produced some of the finest fic and art anywhere.

For Minvember, Minerva fans were encouraged to create fanwork—fic, art, headcanons, photo aesthtics—based on a daily prompt.

There were lots of great pieces, mostly MM/AD-focussed, and I haven’t yet seen them all (I contributed a short fic, One to Keep an Eye On, about Minerva’s first Transfiguration class), but these are are some of the best I’ve seen so far:

Mmad-lover made a fun bit of art based on the prompt “Transfiguration.” I won’t spoil it here, but let’s just say it shows Minerva’s sense of whimsy when it comes to Albus (totally safe for work).

Professor SS19 produced three short fics for the fest, the first, a missing moment fic for the prompt “Worried,” shows us an angsty discussion between Minerva and Albus after the Battle in the Department of Mysteries and Minerva’s Stunning that provides an opportunity for a tender moment between them.

In their response to the “Transfiguration” prompt, Professor SS19 shows us brilliant academic Minerva, thrilling at the prospect of creating an obstacle to guard the Philosopher’s Stone, with an unwitting assist from Severus.

The “Love and Loss” prompt yielded a lyrical reflection by Professor SS19 on Minerva and Albus’s feelings for one another, inspired by Lana del Rey’s song “Young and Beautiful.”