Kind of sexy lamp test

St 06 prosince 2023

(another discussion on the nature of bashing by /u/Chocokuki1993)

It is not about bashing, it is always (as with everywhere in writing) about the plot. I would suggest something like the sexy lamp test: “What would happen to the plot if you remove this particular paragraph, chapter negatively portraying that character?” I see three possible outcomes, where only one is acceptable:

  • Plot breaks, because this character behaves exactly as the plot and their character development demands them to (see also Dorothy Sayers on the Trinity and art of writing, but it is a difficult book to read). That is the only acceptable outcome. I don’t like much story “Yule Ball Drama” by FurySerenity for other reasons, and I really don’t like the trope of Molly Weasley, the evil Potioneer, but if Molly, Ron, and Ginny Weasley don’t behave as they do in this story, its whole plot collapses and nothing remains.

  • Nothing happens. See for example “Thank You Ms Bones” by old-crow and these two paragraphs in the end of the story (which I find frankly unbelievable, that anybody can write anything like this; to get a context: Ron was captured by Death Eaters and then as a consequence of other events in the story left locked in his prison, where he starved to death):

    McGonagall persisted, “What about young Mr. Weasley?” She couldn’t imagine a worse fate than slow starvation for the young man.

    […] ‘If he’d ever bothered to learn anything from his brothers, rather than his endless obsession with chess, he would have picked the lock the first night that he was there and escaped. Instead he sat there playing with his pieces as he slowly starved to death.’ Personally, Crow couldn’t envision a more ironic fate for the always-hungry lad. He supposed that it was unfortunate that Weasley’s remains were never found.

    This is completely unnecessary, it brings absolutely nothing to the story, it is just kicking him while he is down. Perhaps the author compensated for his shame that he completely forgot about Ron and didn’t know how to finish the story.

    I won’t be listing another examples, there are too many of them, but every other non-Harmony and non-canonical story, where Ron & Hermione are part of the large paranoia-induced whole-world conspiracy against Harry (they usually pretend to be his friends for many years just for money and fame). Every other Harmony story, where there is absolutely nothing good in Ron Weasley, who ends up regularly unemployed, abusing poor Lavender (usually) and their children, or where he marries post-War Hermione and then physically (and otherwise) abuses her. There are so many of them.

  • Nothing happens, because there is no plot. See “A Different Halloween” by RobSt. It is a nice little ultra-super-teeth-rottening-sweet story of two and half chapters, which concludes rather surprisingly but otherwise organically in the middle of the third chapter. Then for the next seventeen-and-half chapters there is absolutely no plot going on, but fluff and shiny vacuum. Because the author heard somewhere that the easiest plot can be achieved with an antagonist he covered up a piece of vacuum and pretended it is Albus Dumbledore who is such an antagonist. If you remove him from the story, nothing changes, because there is nothing to be changed.

Category: literature Tagged: review harryPotter blogComment fromReddit