HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH is a piece of Harry Potter fan fiction: an amateur writer's story that's based on an existing work. Fan fiction is abundant on the Internet and can provide cutting insight, or bring new depth to the characters and setting of the original. It almost never does. Yet I find myself coming back to this one, and it's a delight every time.

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH is about how Harry might have turned out if he'd grown up differently, if he'd been exposed to different things. The story is told as a series of short, self-contained moments in the new Potter's life. Roughly the first half are light, action-packed fun that establish his character and abilities. The second half are more contemplative and psychological, they explore him at his lows. HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH's character-driven nature means that to properly appreciate the changes, the reader should have read or seen at least Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets. Readers who are well-versed in the setting may find some aspects of Dumbledore's characterization to be prescient.

What sets HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH apart from the rest of its kind is the author's knack for the English language. The light, quickly-read prose carries the momentum of action scenes very well. Where more extravagant metaphors and word choices are employed, HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH's events become more vivid than those in the original book series. One weakness is that later chapters are entirely disconnected, whereas early chapters flow into each other in a natural way. Disjointedness is perhaps inevitable in a story written over the larger part of a decade, but further editing might have mitigated the problem. Harry's characterization still stays constant throughout: no mean feat since the entire story reads like it had been thought up by a deranged thirteen-year-old boy.

I heartily recommend HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH to anyone who's familiar with Harry Potter and can appreciate its style. The first few paragraphs should be a good way to tell:

Dobby relished his groinsaw's roar as he withdrew the flesh-choked blade from the astronaut's ruined skull. He turned to Harry, thrusting his bloody, retina-covered pelvis with elfin fervor.

"How does Ronnie Ron taste, master?"

Harry spat out an eyeball. "Like some kid with eyes."

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH contains some foul language and mature themes.




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