I felt like the most appropriate date to post this was Harry Potter's birthday, which I still sometimes celebrate. This year, I thought I would celebrate by sharing some of my favorite fanfiction.
This is the beginning of a completely epic fanfic series.
I mean epic in pretty much all of its meanings, here. It is an epic battle of good and evil, complete with a prophecy that can be twisted to mean all sorts of different things. It is epic in that I thought it was totally awesome and full of action. It is also epic in terms of size: the full series is longer than the (currently published) A Song of Ice and Fire books in terms of word count, which is a pretty phenomenal achievement just in and of itself.
The basic concepts are not unusual in Harry Potter fanfiction (though how many people read it as compulsively as I used to I don't know): Harry has a brother that is assumed to be the chosen one, and Harry ends up in Slytherin.
What is done with this basic outline is nothing short of extraordinary.
Lightning on the Wave can write. I know fanfiction gets a bad reputation from a lot of people, and it is often a deserved reputation. Then we have these horrifying outliers like 50 Shades of Gray, which is published fanfiction of the worst quality and gives everything else out there a bad name for multiple reasons. But this is the sort of story that reminds me why I spent so many hours of my teenage years reading fanfiction. This is a new universe with familiar characters. This feels like the fairy tale retellings I love so much, which twist the universe around and although you can see the basic plotline resurfacing in bits and pieces, they feel new and fresh if they are done well.
This is done well.
Harry shines as a character who is what he was taught to be, but somehow retains what makes him "Harry" from the books. We get a new and interesting view of Draco and of the Malfoy family because of the Slytherin angle. Harry's parents and his brother are intriguing and sometimes annoying, but interesting and fleshed out and full of a passion and drive and humanity that is hard to fake.
This is dark fantasy. Much, much darker than the source material, and it gets darker the longer the series goes along. Characters are twisted, their motives are changed just slightly to make everything seem to be shades of gray instead of the black and white, or at least black, white, and gray, that we get in the original Harry Potter books.
If you're interested in picking up a much darker retelling of Harry Potter, this is a pretty great place to start.