We’ve all gotta go some time. The question is will you gently float into that good night sated and satisfied with everything you did in your life or will you shuffle off this mortal coil drowning in a sea of regrets?
…Okay nobody can answer that for you. You’re on your own.
But – you can make sure you’ve squeezed all of the goodness out of the fanfic universe that you can. So, when you put together your bucket list, here are
Few fanfics surpass this one, especially if you’re a Severus Snape fan. While most fanfic author’s work tends to fall flat when writing a Snape/Original Character romance, this one soars head and shoulders above the majority.
It offers you a strong, fully fleshed out, utterly non-Mary Sue character in (of age) Gryffindor student Sarah Darkglass. And it uses superbly polished prose and a rock-solid sense of the realities of human nature to write a story that truly is magical.
The Severitus sub-genre (in which Severus Snape becomes or is revealed as Harry Potter’s father in some way shape or form) will never run dry and thankfully it’s because of stories like this one.
Severitus stories always run the risk of looking ridiculous. Their effectiveness depends on how inventive the writer can be in creating a rational for Severus’ relation to Harry without crossing the line into absurdity.
This story however is deadly, heartbreakingly serious, and you’ll believe every word of it. When a student’s death turns out to have been the result of abuse, all students must take a physical exam to ensure no one else is victimized.
Thanks to the Dursleys, this is one exam Harry can never pass and he does his best to avoid it until Snape finally catches up with him. His exam results not only shock Snape, it forces him to reveal a secret relationship with the boy that will permanently turn his and everyone else’s world upside down.
This is a brilliantly written Draco/Hermione romance (or Dramione) with chilling undertones that will leave you unsettled long after you read it. There have been saccharine Dramiones and scary Dramiones but few have been so sordid.
That’s not a critique of the writing or characterizations, which are both spot on. It’s a realization that few stories bring home just how deep of a violation it is to use a love spell or potion on another person as effectively as this story does.
The post-war wizard world brings not peace but banishment for Muggleborns like Hermione, who must be obliviated before they return to Muggle life. To prevent the politically if not militarily triumphant purebloods from attacking or killing Muggleborns stripped of all knowledge of magic, each pureblood ex-Death Eater must make an Unbreakable Vow with a Muggleborn to look after them and do them no harm.
Of course, a sneaky Slytherin like Draco can still find a loophole. And when it turns out the deceased Dark Lord cursed his pureblood followers to be unable to reproduce except by mating with a Muggleborn, Draco suddenly sees his responsibility to watch over Hermione in a sinister new light.
This is a particularly inventive Draco/Harry (or Drarry) romance based on the Groundhog Day trope. When Harry publicly walks out on Draco’s post-war reconciliation speech, the enraged Slytherin makes use of a badly repaired time turner to restart the day in order to give himself a chance to make Harry stay.
As a result, Draco traps himself in a time loop that forces him to replay the day over and over until he finds a way to break the loop. Of course, in the best examples of these types of stories, the solution is always psychological.
The personal evolution this cycle forces upon Draco pushed him to reconnect with the boy he once was, the one still innocent enough to offer Harry Potter his hand in friendship. As the loop continues, it forces Draco to realize that now, as an adult, he’d actually like to offer Harry much, much more – a realization that forces him to choose between who his father wants him to be and his own desires.
This lovely slow-burn Snape/Hermione (or Snermione) romance is also a brilliant character study of the Gryffindors’ resident brain. When she accidentally overhears some unsettling information about the potions master, she slowly starts to realize just how unprotected one of Dumbledore’s main war assets actually is.
As a result, she tries to quietly redress the balance by figuring out how to aid the deadly Head of Slytherin without getting hexed by the man. Along the way, however, she starts to realize that the demands of the war and life itself are far more complex than her adolescent self could ever imagine.
The knowledge opens a gulf between herself and Ron and Harry who still prefer to see the world in black and white moral certainties. Hermione, however, finds herself more and more drawn to the subtly shifting shades of gray that color Snape’s world – and soon finds herself sucked into the same moral quagmire.
Many have tried but few have succeeded in executing such a perfectly realized Slytherin sorted Hermione. Like canon Hermione, this Slytherin version is bookish and socially insecure.
However, the values of Slytherin House allow her to take the brakes off the ambition and ruthlessness that was soft-pedaled in J.K. Rowling’s series. The result is a devastatingly effective Hermione who develops a deadly accurate knack for political maneuvering that would have gone a long way toward ending the war sooner for the canon version.
While technically a Dramione tale, this story also finds our Green Girl building much stronger ties with Snape, unexpectedly warm ties with the Malfoys and a truly terrifying mentor relationship with the Dark Lord himself. Yet it all works, brilliantly.
If you read no other Slytherin Hermione fanfic, read this one. You won’t regret it.
Believe it or not, Petunia Dursley does have sympathizers within the Harry Potter fanbase. And although they could be seen as something of a contrarian lot, it’s hard to blame them if they’re reading stories like this.
What do you get when you don’t have a Petunia who’s eaten alive by fear of and jealousy over her sister and nephew’s magical powers? You get an actually decent human being with enough moxie to put Vernon Dursley in check.
This is such a satisfying wish-fulfillment story that you find yourself wishing you could make J.K. Rowling endorse it. But, as the story itself shows, a loving Petunia determined to protect Harry from becoming some wizard’s weapon would result in a critically weakened war effort.
So, while we have to concede that clearly Rowling knew what she was doing, this story will still leave you yearning for what might have been, no matter how many battles are lost.
This was a long-running innovative fanfic that was one of the first to tell a story through a multi-media collage. Through handwritten letters, original artwork, prose, photos and other items, the narrative recounts the ebb and flow of the famous friendship among the Marauders.
Especially emphasized are the romantic relationships between Remus and Sirius as well as James and Lily. The story captures the couples’ evolution through objects that create a visceral connection to their thoughts, emotions, and conflicts over the years as they head toward their tragic fate.
Although this fanfic inspires both enthusiasm and antipathy among Harry Potter fans it remains a legend of the genre. Started by a writer who only read up to Prisoner of Azkaban, the story serves as a platform for the author’s exploration of philosophical rationality.
If that sounds a bit…abstract, you wouldn’t be far wrong. The author’s philosophical debates take centerstage here, resulting in an 11-year-old Harry discussing great thinkers that most 11-year-olds wouldn’t know.
Some readers love that. Others give it a pass. But you might want to check it out for a truly original take on the Harry Potter universe.
More than a few fanfics go off the rails but none have done it with such improvement on a prequel!
This story started as a sequel to Harry’s First Detention, a grim little tale in which Harry accidentally triggers Severus Snape’s memory of the Marauders’ torment of him. In reaction he strikes Harry, knocking the poor boy over.
Although, the horrified potions master comes to his senses and apologizes, the real horror is that Harry doesn’t see it as anything out of the ordinary. A few judicious inquiries with the Dursley and it becomes clear Harry that needs a change of living situation.
Cut to Harry’s New Home, which picks up almost immediately after Harry’s First Detention. Although a bit off the prequel’s grim tone follows in the first chapter, it quickly collapses into a delightful froth powered a ditzy Dumbledore and a discombobulated Snape.
Why? Well Harry’s new home is with Snape. In the dungeons. Yeah.
And from there we’re off and running.
This story isn’t just laugh out loud funny, at some point you are guaranteed to find yourself on the floor with tears running down your face. It is HILARIOUS!
Standout features include a kickass little Hermione who learns that being a dentist’s daughter is tantamount to being the child of the torturer in chief, and original character Davidella Jones, a deadly Slytherin prefect who’s got a lovestruck Percy Weasley wrapped around her little finger.
Another fun tidbit is an attack on Harry that practically turns into an all-out riot with Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Slytherins hunting down his attackers. Yeah it was the Ravenclaws; go figure!
Anyhoo, don’t assume this is a train wreck of a story – it’s the total opposite.
Yes, Snape is out of character and downright squishy and sentimental in places. Yes, the author has ratcheted up Dumbledore’s delirium to 11.
And yes, there’s no way in heck the Slytherins and Gryffindors would ever team up in the canon universe.
But it all holds together.
The plot never disappears and in fact is well-developed and speeds along at a nice clip. The characters are a bit crack-y but they remain clearly defined and never disintegrate into sheer absurdity.
You cannot ask for a sweeter and funnier Harry Potter fanfic (Severitus version).
What ever happened to Dudley after he shook Harry’s hand good-bye before the Dursleys went into hiding? You’ll find the answers here in this poignant little tale.
The tacit – and reasonable – assumption after the war was over, was that the Dursleys would go on being the horrible people they’d always been. This Dudley, however, actually learned from his encounter with the Dementors, retained the lesson and paid it forward.
Now, he‘s in a same-sex relation with a lovely male partner and they just happen to have a daughter who has a knack for making unexplained things happen…
The story is mainly a setup for its sequel, Snape’s Memories. But it offers a quietly affecting explanation of why Dudley went along with his parents’ abuse of Harry, while showing how he works now to help others in the same situation.
The result is a quiet sense of closure that leaves you with a sense of peace that at least one of Harry’s Muggle family relationships is healed.
This is an odd little duck of a post-war Drarry story. The casting of an atmospheric charm goes wrong, leaving Draco with his own personal rain cloud steadily pour rain down on his head.
None of Poppy’s potions or spells can fix it so the dejected Slytherin resigns himself to being wet for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the rain isn’t steady but fluctuates with Draco’s mood.
When he overdoses on Dreamless Sleep and triggers a lightning, thunder and a near flood in his dorm, he’s willing to try anything. Enter Harry Potter.
The Gryffindor convinces the Slytherin to let him try something. The something turns out to be a kiss.
And the rain stops.
This is a delicately balanced little story with a surprisingly emotive as well as effective plot device. It manages to be melancholy, sweet, poignant and almost effervescent all at the same time.
Whether you love the Marauders or loathe them, you will nevertheless find yourself riveted by this engrossing tale that explores the cracks in their relationships – especially between Sirius and Remus, and Remus and everyone else – before it all falls apart.
When Peter urges the others to keep an eye on Remus, Sirius volunteers to spend Christmas in 1979 with Remus and his ailing father. Padfoot’s humor and energy lightens Remus’ bleak home, and Remus as well, leading to a painful misunderstanding that will only drive the cracks – and them – further apart.
In a departure from the typical tale, this story skips the drama and vitriol of Harry and Snape discovering they are father and son and goes right to the aftermath.
This is the Harry of 19 years later – married to Ginny and father of James, Albus Severus, and Lily. In this version however, Snape survives the last battle and lives to serve as deputy headmaster of a Hogwarts already playing host to his two grandsons.
The Potters have invited Snape to Christmas dinner at the Weasleys, a date he was planning to miss until he got waylaid by his youngest grandson. The scenario is as touching as it sounds especially because it eschews any sentimentality.
Snape is still his snarky self although his grandchildren have worn down some of those sharp edges. And he’s still tough enough to tell Harry to grow up when Potter even thinks of trying to whine about growing without a father.
But the moment isn’t so much harsh as it is healing. It’s just real, a clear-eyed acceptance of what is and what can never be changed without being crushed or alienated by it.
As a result, this tender Severitus story will stay with you long after most other examples of the sub-genre have come and gone.
This is a deeply dark tale of erotic romance and suspense. Before there was Fifty Shades of Grey, there was this – a seductive and sadistic Snape preying on a former student fallen on hard times.
Fair warning: there are some quite explicit sex scenes as well as some non-gory but sadistic scenes of violence, so you may want to steer clear. If you don’t however, you’ll be treated to the unforgettable original character of Celia Graham, a former Hufflepuff leading a hardscrabble life as a lady of the evening.
Snape scoops her up in Knockturn Alley and becomes addicted to her company after enjoying her favors. Don’t be misled, however; he remains firmly in the driver’s seat with Celia hanging on for dear life.
How she survives this relationship with her own personal Death Eater is actually the heart of the story which also gives you a look at how hard life can be for wizards with minimal magic and an inability to succeed at Hogwarts. Celia’s struggles to overcome her disadvantages and Snape’s surprising efforts to help her will stay with you long after you’ve read the last sentence.
This clever little tale recounts the entirety of Draco Malfoy’s career at Hogwarts by counting the items in his school satchel and tracking how they change through the years.
It’s a quiet, contemplative character study that hits you hard as you note how he obsesses on his broom polishing kit starting in second year when makes the quidditch team and years later replaces it with Dreamless Sleep as he struggles to fix the vanishing cabinet in sixth year.
It all adds up to a devastating portrait of a young man whose life – or perhaps his psyche – cracks under the pressure of living up to his family evolving expectations.
Finally, here’s a bit of snarky fluff that for once gives the members of Hogwarts’ hardest working house their due.
Admittedly it is a bit hard to take seriously a house that seems to be named after breakfast cereal (“Pass the Hufflepuffs!”). But fair is fair and the Hufflepuffs deserve their time in the spotlight too – a point they make devastatingly clear here.
You’ll only wish there was a sequel or three to follow-up on the charming – and oh so courteous – mayhem they wreak here.
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