We are proud to present the third installment of the Prefect's mini-series on the Common Room Awards. This week we are featuring The Pride of Gryffindor Awards (or POGs). In addition to being featured, each winner has had the opportunity to answer a question or two in a miniature Q&A session! Enjoy!
Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by @Pixileanin!
1. Golden Girl (M) by @Crimson Quill
2. Parisian Scars (M) by @CrimsonQuill
3. Silence Cuts Loudest Through the Chaos (M) by @1917farmgirl
4. silence. death. (M) by @ poppunkpadfoot
5. Thin (M) by @ ShadowRose
TIE: Silence Cuts Loudest Through the Chaos (M) by @1917farmgirl
TIE: silence. death. (M) by @poppunkpadfoot
Question for 1917farmgirl: What was the most difficult part of portraying the dynamic of Arthur and Merlin’s relationship?
Answer: I usually don't have too much trouble with their relationship, as it's my favorite part of the show and writing the characters. I think for this particular story, two things come to mind. Very early in the story, Merlin and Arthur are rather at odds with each other. That was hard to write - these two boys on the outs with each other. I'm glad it didn't last long. And later in the fic, Merlin loses his ability to speak. And it's been a bit of a challenge to find ways for these two to communicate.
Question for poppunkpadfoot: What sort of steps did you have to take to write a story relating AIDS in the LGBTQ community to the HP-verse?
Answer: I guess my steps were basically: (1) Double-check timeline (2) Write. First I had to quickly sort out how exactly the timeline of the AIDS crisis related to the timeline of HP-verse and the First Wizarding War (which led to me abandoning my plans to write about Sirius and switching over to Remus instead :P) - obviously I knew there was some amount of overlap but I needed to make sure the specifics worked out. Then I quickly double-checked how the timeline and trajectory in the UK compared to in the US, which is more my area of expertise. And after that I just... wrote, I guess. The whole story flowed very naturally. Even the creation of OCs (Tracy and Oliver) just kind of happened as I went.
I should mention though that I've researched HIV/AIDS in the past, chose my current college program with the aim of going into HIV/AIDS advocacy as a career, and am starting a placement in September with an HIV/AIDS and Hep C outreach and advocacy organization. So while I'm very, VERY far from an expert, I did have enough background knowledge to just sit down and write without a whole bunch of pre-writing steps.
Best First Wizarding War
1. Behind the Curtain by @Cassius Alcindor
2. The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse
The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse
Question for Winner: How did you go about handling both Amelia and Fabian’s grief and translating it into the form of a relationship?
Answer: I guess I'll answer the latter question first--about how I translated their grief into a relationship. Let me start by saying that I have personally experienced the loss of a loved one, and it's an incredibly isolating experience. It's hard to feel heard when you're surrounded by people who don't know grief. When you are with someone else who is grieving, especially someone who is grieving the same life as you, the connection is inexplicable. It feels like coming home. It's magnetic. And for these two, it translated into romantic chemistry--well, sexual tension, at the very least. But despite them both grieving Edgar, they are grieving in different ways, as we all do. Amelia is very much retreating inward and blocking out the rest of the world while Fabian is both literally and figuratively shouting his way through grief.
1. Harry and Lily Luna Potter - Family in My Little Princess by @StarFeather
2. Leanne and Jonathan (OC) - Family and Leanne, Jonathan, and Katie Bell - Friendship in Dear Katie (M) by @nott theodore
TIE: Harry and Lily Luna Potter - Family in My Little Princess by @StarFeather
TIE: Leanne and Jonathan (OC) - Family and Leanne, Jonathan, and Katie Bell - Friendship in Dear Katie (M) by nott theodore
Question for StarFeather: The father/daughter dynamic between Harry and Lily is adorable -- what inspired you to write about them?
Answer: Just an image of Harry and his daughter popped up in my mind after I made up my mind to participate in Abbie's story challenge. And I feel my child growing up every day, so most of the plot was inspired by the fact.
Question for nott theodore: How did you handle establishing/showcasing the plot using epistolary format? Was it more difficult than it would have been if you had used a more traditional writing style?
Answer: I was quite lucky in this story, in that it's a retelling of my story Opals and Fire, which explores Katie's time in St. Mungo's - or rather, what she's experiencing when she's lying in hospital. I'd already (loosely) crafted the characters of Leanne (who admittedly is a very minor character from the books) and Jonathan for that story, so finding their voices was slightly easier than it might have been otherwise. I didn't find the epistolary format much more difficult than traditional prose, although I had to be careful not to ramble on too much (which I do when I write letters myself) so that I could keep moving the plot along. It's definitely something I'd like to explore writing again.
1. And Again (M) by @nott theodore
2. Pro Libertate by @TidalDragon
And Again (M) by @nott theodore
Questions for Winner: What inspired you to structure the story this way, with the number of times Dom tells people about her sexual preferences?
Answer: I think this story partly stemmed from reading a couple of books which have LGBTQA+ main characters, and also from conversations with friends. When you identify as anything other than straight or cisgender, you don't just get one coming out moment, and I felt like a lot of coming out stories tend to focus on the first time it happens, so I wanted to explore the reality of having to come out time and again, and all the different reactions that there might be to that.
Best Minor Character (HP)
1. Amelia Bones in The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse
2. Apollyon Pringle in What lies beneath by @melian
3. Fabian Prewett in The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse
4. Fenrir Greyback in Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by @Pixileanin
5. The Dumbledores in Prisoner (M) by @CrimsonQuill
The Dumbledores in Prisoner (M) by CrimsonQuill
Best Non-HP Story
1. Leftovers (M) by 1917farmgirl (CSI)
2. Some Things Are Meant to Be (M) by 1917farmgirl (Merlin)
3. Tragedy (M) by LooneyLizzie(OF)
TIE: Some Things Are Meant to Be (M) by 1917farmgirl (Merlin)
TIE: Tragedy (M) by @LooneyLizzie (OF)
Question for 1917farmgirl: What inspired you to write a Merlin AU piece? What was your favorite single moment or line in this piece?
Answer: Writing AU in the Merlin fandom is pretty much a given. EVERYONE does it. So it wasn't really a huge decision to chose to write this story. It just kinda...happened. It was interesting to write the characters in a modern instead of medieval setting, however.
I put a lot of my heart into this story, so there are quite a few places in it that I'm proud of and moments I like. I think my two favorite parts right off the top of my head, are when Merlin admits to Arthur he has nowhere to go. And when Arthur realizes this homeless boy who just lost everything, gave him his ONLY possessions to pay for a night of shelter.
1. Home (M) by adorably cute
2. Ignite (M) by Slide
Ignite (M) by @Slide
1. Becoming a Longbottom by Deeds
2. Letter to the Lost (M) by CrimsonQuill
3. Live and Be Well (M) by Pen2Paper
4. silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot
5. Thin (M) by ShadowRose
6. Thrill by nott theodore
silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot
Question for Winner: What was your favorite part about writing Remus Lupin. What was your least favorite?
Answer: Remus comes fairly easily to me at this point, so that was good - I didn't have to think too hard about characterization or anything. I was kind of amazed how well his wartime experiences and his characterization ended up aligning with the story that I wanted to tell. He really was the best choice for the story, and I'm actually really glad that Sirius didn't work out!
I wouldn't say this was my "least favourite" part of writing Remus, but I'd say the biggest challenge was drawing connections between Remus's experiences in the war/his feelings about those experiences and his experiences in the LGBTQ+ community/with HIV/AIDS, while simultaneously staying VERY far away from drawing connections between lycanthropy and HIV/AIDS, because I hate that allegory with a passion. It was less that I was like "oh no, I might accidentally use that allegory" and more that I wanted to make sure nothing could be misconstrued as using that allegory. But yeah, that was a bit of a challenge.
Best Original Character
1. Amie Bell in Amie Bell. Squib, Barista Auror. (M) by @Sleepingbagonthesofa
2. Carson Wood in Home (M) by @adorably cute
3. Cassiel Yaxley in Yaxley (M) by @sleepingbagonthesofa
TIE: Carson Wood in Home (M) by @adorably cute
TIE: Cassiel Yaxley in Yaxley (M) by @sleepingbagonthesofa
Question for adorably cute: What inspired Carson Wood’s characterization?
Answer: Ahh, first I am blown away about this PoG and honored to share the win with Deni (sleepingbagonasofa)! Thanks everyone! A lot of Carson’s characterization comes from personal experiences- like, her sass comes easily to me because I’m a lot like that myself! And then some of the characterization just comes from where she is in life. She’s a 17 year old who’s at a point in her life where she doesn’t know what she wants to do and is trying to make the most of things before she has to become a real person with a real job. So between all that, and the way I built her childhood growing up between her two parents, she just came together into this sassy, stubborn, kind of awkward human who likes Quidditch and numbers!
Question for sleepingbagonthesofa: What was the most difficult part about writing your OC, Cassiel Yaxley?
Answer: Writing Cassiel, or Cass, was surprisingly easy at first. In a lot of ways she's similar to me- overdramatic, grumpy, stubborn and some good things too (hopefully)- although her personality is exaggerated quite a bit. The most difficult thing about writing her has started to appear as the story has gone on, whenever I want her to do something unpleasant (or just anything she wouldn't want to do) yet plot-driving aaand she wont. The words will not appear. I end up going of in a completely different direction and it makes sticking to the plot almost impossible. Having said that, characters that become that real are one of my favourite things about writing, even when I end up staring at a blank screen for hours. My stubborn little baby has taken on a life of her own!
Also, it was such a shock to be nominated for a POG in the first place and incredible to win alongside Sarah! Thank you so much everyone!
Best Portrayal of a Gryffindor
1. Bill Weasley in The Fox by @StarFeather
2. James Potter (I) in Live and Be Well (M) by @Pen2Paper
3. Neville Longbottom in Year of the snake (M) by @melian
Neville Longbottom in Year of the snake (M) by @melian
Question for Winner: What inspired you to write about Neville during this time period? What was your most difficult scene to write?
Answer: I write the stories that I want to read. This is particularly the case with novels – How to tame a Marauder was a direct result of me not being able to find a canon-compliant Marauders novel that showed the characters the way that I saw them, for example. For Year of the Snake, well I just really wanted to know what Neville’s experiences from that year were like, and how he got to the point he did where he just shrugged off evidence of torture as an everyday occurrence. Unlike when I was reading stuff for HTM, though, I didn’t actually look at what else was out there for this story. I just decided to write one myself.
I will say though that it’s been a much harder process. Part of that is because I naturally write romance, and this is most definitely NOT a romantic story. But I suspect that part of it is also that I’m not drawn to the year of Deathly Hallows as much as I am the Marauder era. I want to write Neville’s story because I think he deserves to be written (I won’t say by me because that sounds really egotistical, but hey, I’m better at writing than I am most other things), but it really is a horrible story. I’m writing about children being tortured and kidnapped and forced to do really terrible things to each other in order to survive, and it’s not pleasant. (Most difficult scenes, right there.) So that might have something to do with my struggles here. In any case, this is taking MUCH longer to write than it should, and than I thought it would.
1. "Sometimes I think I'd give up the Egyptian silk for some genuine interest in my life." from Complicated (M) by ShadowRose
2. " 'It's not the power inside the bike we have to worry about,' Sirius said, looking straight at Peter. 'It's the people we give it to.' " fromThrillseekers: Marauders with Machines by Pixileanin
3. "...because death seemed to linger around the
The Possibility of After (M) by Unwritten CurseBoneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree." from
4. "Dad and Alicia have three other kids in addition to me, their part-time-turned-full-time child." from Home (M) by adorably cute
5. " 'Remus are you gay?' You were expecting a denial, or confusion.
What you weren't expecting is for him to blink slowly and say, 'Only at the full moon.' " from perilune by poppunkpadfoot
6. "The full moon that month was almost a relief. The wolf doesn't care about Oliver - the wolf doesn't care about anybody. For one night, he can stop [expletive] thinking, stop feeling anything besides the physical pain as he tears himself apart.
The next morning, he waits longer than he should to treat his wounds. He lies there on the floor and stares at the blood oozing out of his body, pooling on the floor, and he wonders idly if, after everything, it will be his own blood that kills him." from silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot
Winner:"...because death seemed to linger around the Boneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree." from The Possibility of After (M) by Unwritten Curse
Question for Winner: What impact does this quote have on your character and/or plot in this piece?
Answer: This quote ("death seemed to linger around the Boneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree") reflects Amelia's perception of her place in her family now that it has been so ravaged by death. Her parents and eldest brother (along with his wife and children) have all died as a result of the war, and now it's just her brother, Michael; his wife; and herself that remain. She senses acutely, now, her duty to her brother and her duty to survive. In the chapter wherein this quote appears, Amelia has just had a fainting spell out of nowhere, and she won't let herself dwell on it because the possibilities are too scary. So she shrugs it off as a minor annoyance versus letting her thoughts spiral. It's kind of ironic, as well, because her fainting spell is connected with the theme of the story and is quite literally the opposite of what she fears (i.e. adding to the family rather than subtracting from it).
1. After Destiny (M) by cambangst
2. Amie Bell. Squid, Barista, Auror. (M) by sleepingonthesofa
3. Fix You by TidalDragon
After Destiny (M) by @CambAngst
Question for Winner: What was the moment you struggled the most with this story? What was your favorite moment?
Answer: It's hard to pick a single moment. The biggest struggle throughout the story has been to hit the right balance in portraying characters who have been forced to be mature beyond their years in some respects while not losing sight of the fact that they're only 17 years old, or 16 in Ginny's case. Harry is the prime example. He's had to make choices that led -- unavoidably -- to people being hurt and killed. At the same time, he's baffled when it comes to managing his day-to-day life and especially his relationship with Ginny. There's a temptation to treat these characters as super-human because of what they've survived and accomplished. But the reality is that they're only human and they're only beginning to come to terms with their experiences.
1. Jigsaw (M) by nott theodore
2. Lucky Strike by TidalDragon
3. Not Fade Away (M) by Slide
4. Project Azkaban (M) by Unwritten Curse
Project Azkaban (M) by Unwritten Curse
Question for Winner: What inspired you to write Project Azkaban? Did you intend for it to be so dark when you first began writing it or did that happen naturally due to the content?
Answer: The inspiration was twofold. I had a nagging question regarding Azkaban prison post-Voldemort, seeing as the guards of Azkaban (the dementors) had joined the Dark Side. They presumably could not be trusted to guard the evildoers of the wizarding world any longer, so I wondered... what's next? Project Azkaban or Azkaban 2.0 was my solution to that problem. Then, in the midst of my dreaming up what this new prison would look like, I had a dream that I was inside the prison and broke free. The prison break entailed a lot of deadly obstacles that felt kind of like a puzzle and I was at the mercy of my comrades to help me survive *cough cough*. As far as the piece being so dark... well, that was intentional. It has a lot to do with the construction of the prison and that's all I will say.
Most Addictive Story
1. Breathe (M) by @poppunkpadfoot
2. Complicated (M) by @ShadowRose
3. Home (M) by @adorably cute
Complicated (M) by ShadowRose
Question for Winner: What was your motive for purposefully making the characters ‘unlikeable’ at first?
Answer: Ok, so when I started writing Complicated, I knew it was going to be a James/OC romance but I wanted it to be more than that too, you know? So in addition to being a romance, it’s designed to show how this one girl - the main character Abby - is shaped by the experiences of her seventh year and how they serve to turn her into a more mature and generally kinder person. So she starts off as this stuck-up Queen Bee character because there’s just so much room for character growth there. I think I’d also just finished binge-watching Gossip Girl when I started writing this story, so that may have also been a contributing factor.
And as for James, he himself isn’t exactly unlikable; he’s only made unlikable through the narrator’s voice. The story is told from Abby’s first-person POV, and she doesnt like him, so the reader only hears about his worst traits at the start of the story because they’re the only things Abby notices.
Most Original Story
1. Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by Pixileanin
2. Golden Girl (M) by Crimson Quill
3. Sentience by TreacleTart
4. That Post is a Keeper by Pixileanin
5. The Northern Tales (M) by nott theodore
TIE: Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by Pixileanin
TIE: The Northern Tales (M) by nott theodore
Question for nott theodore: What did your draw inspiration from to weave these awesome, imaginative tales?
Answer: For the two tales I've written so far, I wanted to create a magical backstory/legend to places that are pretty well-known and already have associations with magic. I've written stories like that before, picking out an historical event and shaping it into the Harry Potter world, but this was fun because I used the magical world - creatures and legends - included in the books to write the stories, more than anything. There are a couple more I'd like to write based on local legends from the North of England, but I think the places themselves were probably the biggest inspiration.
Most Versatile Author
Question for Winner: Is writing different types of pieces a challenge for you or does it come naturally? What’s the most difficult story you’ve written?
Answer: Oh, it’s a challenge. But a one-shot doesn’t have to be very long and really, it doesn’t even really have to have a story. Drabbles even less so. So long as you convey a mood and show a scene, then that’s all that really matters. You’re showing a snapshot of something that people can extrapolate further themselves if they want to, but that’s their job, not mine. The thing is, I like to challenge myself. I’ve managed to make Ron/Pansy and Draco/Luna both fit canon (both written for challenges) and I even managed a Dramione, which for someone who pretty much ONLY writes canon was definitely a stretch. Again, not sure it’s any good, but I wrote it.
Hardest story I’ve written? I’ve already touched on Year of the Snake being a struggle for me, but I will also say that I fought with a number of others. People in Gryffindor will tell you I can write very quickly when I need to (if it’s a one-shot, of course!!! Like I said before, I often don’t really need to tell a proper story then) but that doesn’t mean what comes out is any good. Breathe was difficult, probably because it was from the point of view of a Mandrake and I have no idea what their thought processes might be, or if they even have them. Twelve Years I struggled with, because while I had the idea in my head it just wasn’t coming out on the page for me. Though, the fact I was writing it on a plane probably didn’t help. The Arthur Weasley story in The Battle of Hogwarts (Paladin) was also one that I wrestled with for quite a while before it started to come together.
Question for Winner: Do you have any advice for aspiring graphic artists?
Answer: Yes! Definitely do seek out and accept critique - it will be really helpful for improving your art! However, I have sometimes noticed there's a tendency to actually be over-critical of new artists, and that it can become really discouraging really fast. So I would say to be careful not to define yourself or your art by the critique you receive. Practice looking at each piece you make, even when it has flaws that you can see, and saying "here is what I like about this piece, here's what I'm proud of about this piece, and here's what I learned or applied from recent learning while making this piece". Also, make friends with other newbie artists and be supportive of each other! IMO, that's about as important as seeking out critique.
The Record-Setting CTF Win vs. Ravenclaw
Question: Do you have anything to say about Gryffindor beating Ravenclaw in a record-setting CTF round?
poppunkpadfoot: It was such a great moment! We were all extremely nervous to face Ravenclaw because they'd basically been sweeping everyone they went up against; if I recall correctly, we were basically unanimous in being most worried about that match. I think we were kind of expecting to get our butts kicked, ahaha. When we were told we'd found the flag, we really could not believe it. We were all so excited and completely freaking out. It was such an awesome team spirit moment! It was definitely a highlight of the House Cup and it really bolstered our team's confidence for the rest of CTF.
I also think it's pretty much hilarious that this won Best Moment, because it was up against Gryffindor literally winning the whole House Cup. Like, you'd think that would've been a shoe-in, but no, the CTF win won by a landslide. Which I think is SO Gryffindor
(Also... we love you, Claws! )
StarFeather: Lions are the earnest participants at House Cup, especially :Gryffindor: for CTF, the event was invented by our king lion, Kevin. Who could ignore it? We had to win for Kevin and our house, Gryffindor. So I tried doing what I could at that moment.
nott theodore: Only that I still don't think I've recovered properly from that month of CTF! Every house seemed to really have it together when we were playing them, with their formidable spreadsheets and well-planned attack, and we... were very Gryffindor, and didn't. It was only in the final round against Ravenclaw (which we'd all been dreading) that we managed any semblance of a plan, and to actually get a win that quickly, after they'd won our first game with some incredible magic and skill (I think they got our flag in a 100+ chapter story after 3 chapters, maybe?), was a pretty amazing feeling.
melian: That was amazing, wasn’t it? I admit we did have a plan of attack, and the stars aligned in our favour in that we found the Flag author almost immediately, thanks in no small part to Ysh and her magnificent spreadsheet. But I won’t say too much in case it gives our strategy away. I felt kind of bad for Ravenclaw because they were doing SUCH a good job with their other Flag battles, but it was also incredibly satisfying when things worked out like they did.
Huge congratulations to all Lions who were nominated and who won! Next week we will be taking a look at the Hufflepuff House awards.
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