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Recs from HoggyWartyXmas

For anyone who doesn’t know, HoggyWartyXmas is the Best Xmas Party of the Year™.

An exchange that’s been going since 2010, ably modded and co-modded by therealsnape and kellychambliss, HoggyWartyXmas is one of those fests that consistently attracts some of the best artists and writers in the fandom, and the mods make it extra-fun by emphasizing the festive aspects (the mod posts, written from the POV of various HP characters, are not to be missed.)

The hardest thing about the fest is picking just a few out of the yearly treasure trove of works to rec—truly, all the work is stellar and well worth your time. But needs must, so I’ve selected several stories and artses to highlight here.

This year’s fest was especially light-hearted, with a decided emphasis on fun and frolic—much appreciated in this especially trying year—but there were some more sober entries as well, so there’s something to delight everyone.

So, without further ado, here are my recs from the 2021 HoggyWartyFest:

Author: kellychambliss
Rating: PG
Word Count: 13,500
Characters: Minerva McGonagall, the Hogwarts staff, portrait!Albus, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Griselda Marchbanks, special guest stars
Summary: The war is over, the castle has been repaired, and life at Hogwarts is returning to normal — until mysterious letters start to arrive from “Lady Wandsdown.” Bridgerton meets HP.

Why You Should Read It:

This was my gift, and I couldn’t have been luckier than to have the brilliant kellychambliss writing for me.

The story, a mystery with a touch of Hogwarts-flavored Regency gossip at its center, is as satisfying and decadent as a mug of really good eggnog spiked with one’s favorite distilled beverage.

It features an unknown correspondent with a wry wit and keen powers of observation making matches and hay with my favorite characters’ quirks and secrets. Reading it was the most (legal) fun I could have had at the holidays.

The tone is cheeky and clever, and as an added bonus, there’s an elf with a self-improvement bent and hilariously expanded vocabulary, plus a helpfully unhelpful portrait!Albus, both of which give the fic just the right touch of whimsy and made me giggle like a drunken Christmas-tree  fairy.

I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by telling you the ending is a treat that contains one of my favorite tropes.

Author: delphipsmith
Rating: G
Word Count: 9,000
Characters: Severus Snape, Hermione Granger (with a soupçon of future SS/HG), Augusta Longbottom, Madam Pince, Portrait!Dobby, original characters
Summary: An ancient mystery and a modern one: do they hold one another’s answers?

Why You Should Read It:

I do love fics that probe wizarding lore, and this one takes a deep and nuanced look at house-elf history and how things came to be as they were.

It’s full of wonderful details and exquisitely drawn characters, and the gentle humor clothes some trenchant obeservations of wizarding society that ring true in today’s real world.

Author: themightyflynn
Rating: PG
Word Count: 6,368
Characters: Severus, Minerva, Rosmerta, Kingsley, Filius
Summary: A mishap with the Ministry filing system may turn into something more than just an annoyance for Severus. Especially if Minerva has anything to say about it.

Why You Should Read It:

This fun romp through the Ministry archives has Severus dealing with administrative headaches and banking bureaucracy and Minerva exercising her inner Slytherin.

It is, as one would expect, very funny, but it also contains some lovely character studies.

Author: therealsnape
Rating: PG
Word Count: 12,300
Characters: Mafalda Hopkirk and a large supporting cast
Summary: Mafalda Hopkirk has a Plan for Life. And then she has a disaster on her hands.

Why You Should Read It:

This wonderful fic gives us a strongly independent Mafalda Hopkirk looking for her place in the world and finding a family in some of canon’s more familiar characters.  Mafalda is perfectly voiced, and the story is the best kind of heartwarming — sweet and cozy with a little kick like whisky to add some complexity and nuance.

Author: lash_larue
Rating: G
Word Count: 4,750
Characters: Ollivander, Trelawney, various OC’s and cameos
Summary: They’ve looked at clouds from both sides now.

Why You Should Read It: 

This fic features an unusual connection between Trelawney and Ollivander that paints a rich portrait of each.

I love that this Sybill is no figure of fun, but a wry-witted woman with a true talent that comes at a cost, as does Ollivander’s.

The inventive look at magic is peppered with fascinating observations of the skills (and sacrifices) talented wizards and witches must make to wield their power.

Author: milotziherself
Rating: PG
Word Count: 8,441
Characters: Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, with guest appearances by Albus Dumbledore, Poppy Pomfrey, Neville Longbottom, Rolanda Hooch and Cuthbert Binns
Summary: Sometimes the perfect gift is the perfect storm. Severus Snape is a spy, so when he eavesdrops on a conversation he knows that a Yuletide present he will give to an old friend will be a different one this year from the usual book – but he does not know what he lets himself in for. Thank Merlin for Minerva, who ensures that all is well that ends well

Why You Should Read It: 

A whirlwind of a fic that ensnares the reader as the magic within ensnares the characters.

The magic is surprising and inventive, and the characters are very much themselves, but also surprising in their own ways.

Author: shiv5468
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 4,500
Characters: McGonagall, Flitwick, Snape, House Elves, Filch, Umbridge
Summary: Once upon a time, far far away, Fairy Godmothers happen.

Why You Should Read It: 

This is one of the funniest fics I’ve ever read, with one of the strongest OC voices.

It upends all the fairy tale tropes about fairy godmothers and melds them perfectly with HP tropes to make a lovely, hilarious romp through a holiday at Hogwarts with Umbridge.

Author: eldritcher
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 16,000
Characters: Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Madam Rosmerta, others
Summary: Their canticles of now and once and after.

Why You Should Read It: 

This poetic fic is erotic without being smutty, and gives the reader beautiful, determined, but damaged characters muddling along as best they can in the aftermath of the war.

Eldritcher weaves a spell that is much like the poetry they use to frame the fic: evocative and dreamlike, with a heightened reality that brings the characters into focus in a way that plain prose can’t.

Author: cabepfir
Rating: G
Characters: Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, Wispy
Summary: Professor Snape owns everything he needs.

Why You Should Check It Out: 

Cabepfir compares and contrasts the distinctly different styles of two headmasters, and brings a bit of fun to Severus’s otherwise somewhat monotonous wardrobe.

Author: sigune
Rating: G
Characters: Severus Snape, Filius Flitwick, Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank, Pomona Sprout, and Special Guest: Minerva McGonagall
Summary: Minerva is back! There’s a tea and chocolate muffin celebration in Greenhouse One. If the plants are fine with it.

Why You Should Check It Out: 

This piece is such good fun, perfectly capturing the air of a Hogwarts-flavored celebration with our favorite Hogwartians and some very naughty plants. Don’t miss the little details like the snake-shaped root.

Author: mywitch
Rating: G
Characters: Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Poppy Pomfrey, Rubeus Hagrid, Pomona Sprout, Irma Pince, Horace Slughorn, Filius Flitwick, Argus Filch, Mrs. Norris, Neville Longbottom, Millicent Bulstrode, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger
Summary: Inspired by the 2016 hoggywartyxmas fic by rayvyn2k: Reawakening – A Christmas Tale, which many of you may remember! If not, do yourself a favor and check it out! 😀

Why You Should Check It Out: 

This is art as narrative, and a more compelling (and hopeful) one you won’t find. Mywitch captures the essence of each of the many characters that move through the piece, peppering it with little details and touches that will make you squee with delight, if you’re anything like me.

Author: mywitch
Rating: G
Characters: Albus Dumbledore, Xenophilius Lovegood
Summary: It’s 1946, and the Wizarding world is emerging from the shadow of Prussia. For Xenophilius, there could be no more exciting time to study further at L’Académie de Beauxbatons—especially when his life is lit up by one very special visitor.

Why You Should Check It Out: 

In a very different style from the previous rec, mywitch did this gorgeous piece, which is even more astounding when you find out it was a pinch-hit. It perfectly captures two fascinating characters—both peacocks in their own ways—and incorporates a bit of “science” in a way that warms my little Ravenclaw heart.