Phoenix Song, Phoenix Tears, and Phoenix Fire (Or: Hermione Granger and the HBP, DH, and EW)

Posted: June 12, 2017 in Fanfic Review, Harry Potter, Random Thoughts, Severus Snape/Hermione Granger
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Summary

  • When Professor Snape heals Hermione’s injuries after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, they are both surprised by what they learn. The two must work together to help Harry defeat Lord Voldemort.
  • Sequel to Phoenix Song or, Hermione Granger and the H-BP . By the time of Dumbledore’s death, Hermione and Snape had worked together for a whole year. Now, however, they both have very different and very difficult tasks ahead of them.
  • The battle against Voldemort is over, yet little has returned to normal. Once again, Severus Snape finds himself reluctantly cast as the protector of the wizarding world, with Hermione Granger his tireless ally.

Word Count: 100 839, 120 256, 195 399 (TOTAL WORDAGE: 416 949 – yes, almost half a million words.)

My Review:

This is a trilogy, and I’m reviewing them all together because I’m too lazy to write up a review for all three – and also because if you only read one, you are missing out on the full Phoenix experience. You should note that the first two books are fully compatible with HBP and DH, while the third one functions as a sequel.

Okay this is actually my second time reading this particular trilogy. I’m not, as a rule, much of a rereader – I can just about handle rereading some of my absolute faves once a year, but that’s it – and I read this fic, according to the review I left on ff.net, in May. Of this year. Of course in between I’ve read almost every SSHG fic over 100k words in the entire fandom (except for the ones that were rubbish) and I’d managed to conflate this fic with another one somehow – I was convinced that this was one of the ones where Snape and Hermione managed to stay in contact throughout DH, but then later I realised that I was probably thinking of Camarado, which I would reread, except it has a cliffhanger ending that frustrates me no end.

So, what can I tell you about this fic?

Well, first of all, if you like pining, you’ll like this. Snape and Hermione spend literally two and a half books pining for each other. He steals her hair! She keeps his hankie! (okay she also uses the hankie, which I’m pretty sure is not covered by the Rules of Romance, but still) I’m not even kidding, guys, this is Sherlock-level pining. No, scratch that, Sherlock‘s got nothing on this. At one point, right, he has to massage her hands to help her magic recover, and he has completely inappropriate thoughts and feelings about the whole business, and feels like a disgusting creep about it all because she’s his student and he’s supposed to be helping her, not lusting after her like some kind of pervert! And meanwhile Hermione is over there basically chewing off her lip trying to stop herself from moaning his name, and feeling like an utter creep because he’s her professor, dammit, and he doesn’t feel about her like that, and how disgusting is she that she’s getting this worked up just because he’s trying to help her.

If, by this brief description, you come to the conclusion that they’re both kind of stupid about each other, you wouldn’t be far wrong. The romance is beautifully done and comes to a glorious finale where everyone confesses their love for everyone else, and Cornelius Fudge looks like a tit. It’s long as balls though, so if you’re looking for them to be confessing their love by the second chapter you’re doomed to disappointment. The romance is about 90% desperately unspoken mutual pining, 5% ‘I know you love me and I love you, but I don’t think you know I love you back and this is a problem’ and 5% ‘I’m so noble I’m never going to say anything about my feelings, because they’ll never feel the same way about me’.

The plot is excellent as well. I mean, basically the plot of this fic is completely compatible with both DH and HBP, so there’s no reason why you couldn’t just decide that this is what was going on in the background during the last two books.

The Arithmancy in this fic is magnificent – it’s beautifully done and excellently used – it never becomes a crutch for the story but serves, almost always, to clarify something the characters should already have known.

AND NOW, THE STAR OF THE SHOW: Joscelin.

I do not, as a rule, like OCs much. I’m not, you might say, a fan of the theory. But this character? Her I love. First introduced as a blank-faced Slytherin first-year, Joscelin comes properly to Snape’s attention when he discovers that she’s blocking her magic, and Poppy gives him two weeks to solve the problem before Poppy will be forced to send her to St. Mungo’s. I’m not going to tell you much more about her, except that she’s clever, funny, interesting, and an utter badass. She could be a Mary Sue, but I love her too much.

I have a few minor quibbles with the fic, but those are mostly stylistic. I feel, for example, that once Hermione has shifted to calling Snape by his first name, the only reason she would revert to calling him Snape or Professor, would be if she was angry at him. The name thing is one of the few real issues I have with this author – and oddly enough, she only does it with Snape’s name. Snape’s usage of Hermione/Miss Granger/Granger follows a clear pattern – he uses Miss Granger when trying to distance himself, Granger when they’re being casual and relaxed, and Hermione at moments of great emotion. Hermione’s use of his name, however, has no pattern. She calls him Snape in her head sometimes, and Severus out loud sometimes…it’s terribly confusing.

The author also occasionally refers to ‘Snape’ when writing from SS’s point of view. This may be a matter of opinion, but I’ve always felt that, when writing from a character’s point of view, it establishes a vital empathy with that character when you refer to them by their first name. So when you refer to Snape as Snape when writing from his POV, you’re creating a sense of distance – which I don’t think the author was trying to do here.

NOTE: The author promised an Epilogue to Hermione Granger and the Elder Wand back in 2013, which has not materialised. I don’t feel that its lack really affects the story – it feels beautifully complete to me, but ymmv.

Verdict: Why are you here, reading this, instead of over there somewhere, reading that? Go, go, GO!

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