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HP challenge idea? - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
HP challenge idea?
After a particularly horrendous American!Sue reported over at deleterius, I feel a need to see this done well--with respect to both countries and to canon. And since I'm sure Australians, Germans, Frenchmen, and Icelanders might also have some ideas on how witches and wizards from their country might behave...

Well, I was thinking about a Dumbledore's Foreign Legion challenge. (Or maybe "Dumbledore's Grid," to use a reference from a very well-titled but mediocre international coalition adventure miniseries, currently running on FX. I just like the sound of it.) Bring an OC from your home country (even home area) to Britain to help out somehow, and interact with canon characters as the AmeriSues always must. BUT...

  • The reason your OC has to come needs to make sense in terms of canon.
  • The character can't usurp anyone's prophetic role, or mimic anyone's canon role.
  • In all instances, both the U.K. and the home country need to be respected, or disrespect must carry negative consequences for the person committing it. (Eg, to use the example of horrendo-Sue from the other day, a character saying, "You people are so backward! No one talks like this anymore!" would not be rewarded by instant friendship from every canon character in sight. By the same token, she shouldn't be denigrating her home country, either.)
  • The characters can be on either side of the war, but, while they may know something, they shouldn't have a level of knowledge beyond what would be reasonable given the state of knowledge in the series's home territory.
  • Special talents should be within the realm of reason.

Does this sound like a fun challenge to anyone?
22 comments or Leave a comment
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: August 4th, 2004 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
It does, but I would be so tempted to make it into a crossover.
silverhill From: silverhill Date: August 4th, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a great idea. If I have time to do it, I will. Otherwise I'll just enjoy reading.

The problem with most Sue fics is not the cliche ideas. It's the cliche ideas executed badly. Even though JKR has said there won't be transfer students, I don't see the problem with having a transfer student in a fic. But there is a problem with a transfer student who has special powers, gets to wear Hot Topic instead of regulation robes, is the long-lost daughter of a canon character and has all the other canon characters falling all over her.
mafdet From: mafdet Date: August 4th, 2004 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
The problem with most Sue fics is not the cliche ideas. It's the cliche ideas executed badly.

I agree with you 100%. And this doesn't just go for Suefics, either. There are all kinds of fanon cliches around the canon characters - Sexy Draco, Werewolves Mate for Life etc. and they get a bad name because they get done badly. There's very few bad ideas in fiction; only poorly-executed ones. (Okay, so Weasleycest is IMO one of those bad-to-the-bone ideas. But most others merely suffer from being badly written.)
ashtur From: ashtur Date: August 4th, 2004 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm... a redneck Death Eater...

nah, that would only work in Parody...

Still though


Gives me something to think about as I drive tomorrow.
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: August 4th, 2004 05:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm... a redneck Death Eater...
Okay, now that just cracked me up.

Po' muggle trash?
mafdet From: mafdet Date: August 4th, 2004 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm... a redneck Death Eater...

ROFL! I'd love to see Lucius Malfoy meet Billy Bob...
ashtur From: ashtur Date: August 4th, 2004 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
*L* You best be careful... I am the creator of Billy Joe Bob Strife... the inbred redneck country cousin of Cloud Strife (from the game Final Fantasy VII)
From: magnolia_mama Date: August 4th, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
It does sound like a good idea, one in fact I've been working at slowly and steadily since last fall. I got so tired of the various pronouncements that one couldn't do a decent transfer student or American at Hogwarts fic that I vowed to prove them wrong. My fic includes students from Kenya, Egypt, Greece, Mongolia, Dominican Republic, Bulgaria, Russia and the US trading places with Hogwarts students (this gave me an excuse to send Hermione, who at the time I began the fic I didn't feel up to the task of writing well, off to India) with the intent of teaching a lesson about the global threat Voldemort poses. Some of the students were specifically chosen by Dumbledore because they can help Harry improve his skills in certain areas, but none will prove themselves to thoroughly outmatch him, and in the end--as I have it planned--it will actually be Ron who saves the day. :-)

Oh, and my American is a boy, raised on a north Texas horse ranch (with cowboy hat and boots to match), but Ginny will not fall for him. ;-D

hughroe From: hughroe Date: August 4th, 2004 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmmmm, sure enough it does sound like a good one. And after all, isn't Charlie recruiting foriegn wizards and witches in OotP?
From: lizbee Date: August 4th, 2004 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like fun! Are you setting rules and boundaries, or is this "come as you are"?

Recently, I had the odd experience of writing a character who refused to be English. Or in any way associated with England aside from working at Hogwarts. He was, I realised, Australian, but didn't use any slang or discuss his background ... he just has an Aussie accent.

I'll actually be curious to see if readers spot this, or if he seems English to them...
mafdet From: mafdet Date: August 4th, 2004 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
This sounds interesting! I can't promise I'd have time for a finished fic but I'd be interested in at least reading the results.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: August 4th, 2004 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uh... It would be awfully easy to slip into sterotypes; just to differenciate the character from the regular cast. A 'valley girl' or 'Steve Irwin' type comes to Hogwarts. *shudder* (although Hagrid would probably get on well with the 'Steve Irwin' type! ;~) )
And showing the 'differences' of the foreign character would just seem so contrived. Honestly, I think you'd be better off setting it in the foreign school. Maybe have one or two of the Brit characters go there. Could be interesting to see how the world outside Europe is being affected by Voldemort.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: August 4th, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
ARGH! Now I've been hit by a MAJOR plot bunny! BUGGER. *shakes fist at FernWithy* I need to be drawing!! bugger...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2004 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think for form's sake that it should be somewhere in the UK, but it doesn't have to be at Hogwarts.

But that's why I was thinking of having people do their own countries and hometowns. A Boston outsider might have a Boston witch at one of the colleges, or talking like Charles Emerson Winchester from M*A*S*H. As a local, I could talk about, I dunno, the weird guy who wanted to get us out of Cuba by the judicious use of smart sex (while that one happens to stand out because I haven't figured out the connection yet, the "type" is very common). Using a place you actually know, instead of knowing about really would help avoid stereotypes.
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: August 4th, 2004 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like a really fun idea, but as someone who has spent all summer trying to see if she can make a MarySue fic work, and has so far failed trying, I'll pass. I would definitely read whatever comes out of this.
purplerebecca From: purplerebecca Date: August 4th, 2004 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want to read them. :)
calico321 From: calico321 Date: August 5th, 2004 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I always love a challenge :)
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: August 5th, 2004 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
is it ok to snitch this (as in plug this postothe <lj user='daily_snitch"> because MAN I'm going through the "review board\thedarkarts\astronomytower\riddikulus LISTS OF FICS BY AUTHOR A-Z ADN IF i SE OEN MORE TRANSFER STUDENT/EXCHANGE STUDENT ora fiftene year odl muggle joinig the trio because she suddenly is a witch...I WILL write that manifesto I planned to write with guidelines fro mthe great popualr characters themselve on how to use the wizardign world and it's inhabitants and how toavoid abusign it. Which means I'd lvoe to take part in this challenge...I'll put it in my notes and see what I can come up with. and yes there have been mometns of "This is posted on FA!!!" in fact. becasue i need to remidn myself that it's goignto be posted if it has good spelling, good grammar and perhaps if it's a real story. Which basicaly means if you have story ideas and can write yo uget achance. Which I love but something that might depend on taste orrefined tastes or what jsut makes me boggle over some plots I see.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 5th, 2004 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it would be a good idea to wait to "snitch" it until I put the actual challenge together. (I have no idea how to run a challenge!)
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: August 5th, 2004 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh do give me a shout-out when you need something .And look at other chalenges if yo uwantto know how to write it up.
I'vej sut already ben thinkingand wibbling in my head because man, i've doen selfinsertionofdoom! meaning ablind girl comign to hogwarts makign me able to write ootp fro ma special1new1firstyear pov. plsu her friend is all and al lgryffindor character-wise but getssorted in slytherin (I knowl I shouldn't have putthose two ideas together0.
and i halted after the the first feast is o nthe way. I twas formelry sixth-year until I'd finished the whole of ootp and thought it'd be agood kidn of therapy to write in that year. Butthat means Umbridge, and gloomy moodswings i nall of hogwarts castle. and I can't do that ver ywell. adn I dread the slight sue-ness of my OC's.
SO I'ddefinitl ywanta way to try and pull the horrid foreign sue plotline in a godo way. and utni then I'll have m yescapeand write sirius-centric fics for an ychalenge I can fit hi min. :P
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: August 6th, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, such an idea tickles this long-thought-out thing I have going in my own Notepads: a witch named Anna Rosina Ortmann who lives on a farm in South Dakota, a member of a colony of German wizards who've been there for a couple hundred years. In fact, her first language would be German. For there'd be no need to switch to English if they were a self-contained colony.

(inspired by my grandparents, who, though they and their ancestors have been in North America since the early 1800's, learned German as their first language.)

Any American OC done well would be awesome.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: August 7th, 2004 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, dear... I've had a plot bunny nibbling carrots in the back of my mind for some time now about an American witch who moves to England with her family and becomes a love interest for George Weasley. I suppose she could be from Ohio, as she's supposed to be fairly plain girl with big dreams. (No, she doesn't want to single-handedly defeat Voldemort, but she does develope the burning desire to be an Auror.) Hmmm... perhaps. But I should really work on the 87 million other stories waiting to be written first. :P
22 comments or Leave a comment