I got sick recently and to make my situation tolerable, I wandered into the Harry Potter fandom and updated myself on the latest fanfiction swimming around the web-verse. Harry Potter is the first fandom I ever got involved in, starting from when I was 12 and my mother got me a copy of Chamber of Secrets. Although I’ve entertained other loves in recent years, it’s something I’ll never be able to get out of my system even though the canon universe is as good as concluded. This is mainly due to excellent fanfiction that have been popping up every time I’m distracted with other fantasies.
Below I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Harry Potter fanfiction. When I was browsing for good stuff to read I couldn’t find many lists of recommendations – although perhaps I’m just not very talented at Google Search. I can’t say this list is comprehensive, because it’s based solely on my preferences and the extent of what I’ve read, but I do guarantee that these stories are top among the fanfiction that have stuck with me over the years.
Note: My focus in this fandom is mainly in the Marauder Era. Regulus Black is my favorite character, and his brother Sirius comes in at a far second.
5. Symphony for Quartet by Tinn Tam
Starting with the first meeting between Sirius Black and James Potter, this fanfic details the developing friendship between the four Marauders.
I assume the writer of this had no choice but to abandon this story due to personal reasons. Still, what little of it has been written is good enough to generate interest in its style and the characterization of the Marauders. Conveniently enough, none of the details in this story go against the HP canon, which makes it an even more convenient read. My favorite aspect of ‘Symphony for Quartet’ though is the nuance in the personalities of its four leads, as well as the author’s ability to make the scenes of her story come to life. It’s a shame this story was not finished – and looks like it will not be finished – because its synopsis suggests that the bulk of the story’s drama has not even been written yet. You might also want to read other stories by this author, because his/her style is elegant enough to merit a peek.
Status: In-Progress at 13 chapters (80,165 words).
Themes: Sirius and James as spoiled pureblood kids with differing degrees of angst; Remus as a very stressed, insecure and sensitive bookworm; Peter as someone who *gasp* might actually be able to make brave decisions on his own; and, Lily as a charming and lovable kid, with Snape figuring into the story once in a while.
4. Bottle-Specs by takethefirewhiskyandrun
Four-eyed and odd Euphemia ‘Effie’ Savage has somehow caught the attention of Hogwarts’ hottest student Sirius Black, whom she has silently loved from a distance for a time now. His younger brother Regulus, who is as different from Sirius as can be, complicates matters, as Effie is stuck in a love triangle between two boys she would never have imagined herself to be involved with.
The last chapter of this story had me catatonic for days. Despite my utter disappointment with the ending though, ‘Bottle-Specs’ is still a great read. The dynamic between Sirius and Regulus is believable despite being ambivalent, and for all her shortcomings, Effie is a very relatable character. I appreciate how she is given a proper back story here, as well as leeway – in the form of a very insightful first-person perspective – to explain her world. The plot, while predictable towards the latter quarter of the story, is complicated enough to be real. The language is very engaging as well. Another story by the author, ‘You’d date Remus Lupin, right?’ is even more alive in terms of style and sarcasm, although the plot of that one is a bit too circular for its own good.
Status: Complete at 50 chapters (135,014 words).
Themes: OC as a clueless ugly duckling; Sirius as the smug heartthrob with remarkable sensitivity; Regulus as the troubled, brooding brother; and, the supporting cast, including the Marauders, as members of the cool crowd who happen to be loyal and good friends as well.
3. Oblivious by Jess Pallas
Remus Lupin had always believed that his bite was an accident. When he’s forced to go undercover among werewolves as an agent for the Order of the Phoenix, however, he realizes his condition was not unintentional. Rather, it is the revenge of a werewolf with ties uncomfortably close to home.
This is probably the first fanfic in any fandom that I fell in love with. The author takes a lot of liberty with the limits of JK Rowling’s universe, and uses these freedoms so well one might just go ahead and consider some details of her universe as head-canon. The characterization is layered without being overly nit-picky or long-winded, and there are enough action scenes to keep one rushing into the next chapter. Definitely a must-read for Remus-Tonks fans together with ‘A Little More Time’ by the same author.
Status: Complete at 43 chapters (180,462 words).
Themes: Remus as a dutiful son; Remus and Tonks as comrades-in-arms and partners-in-crime; Remus as a werewolf professor in Hogwarts; and, Remus as the (literally) oblivious target of a very ill-meaning and powerful nemesis, who is in cahoots with Voldemort.
2. Growing Up Black by Elvendork Nigellus
At age six, Harry Potter is rescued from the Dursleys and adopted into the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Under the name Aries Sirius Black, he is drilled into the duties and privileges of being pureblood while his relatives anticipate his rise as the next Dark Lord.
The Blacks are probably my favorite characters in this entire fandom, if only because they present a stark contrast against each other and against the rest of the wizarding world. This fanfic highlights these differences. Written in a straightforward manner that showcases the battle between Harry/Aries and Voldemort as well as the subtleties of ritualized daily living in the House of Black, ‘Growing Up Black’ makes Sirius’ relatives relatable and very human. What I like best about this story is that the characters may seem malicious to outsiders, but they are fiercely loyal to each other. They remind me of a mafia family – blood here being thicker than anything – only with wands, powerful magic, and aristocratic style.
Status: In-Progress at 69 chapters (234,225 words).
Themes: Sirius and Harry as father and son with the memory of James hanging over them; Draco and Harry as best friends; spoiled, pampered, and snobbish Harry gets away with everything because he’s brilliant, rich and good-looking; and, the infamous Blacks actually have a heart.
1. Delenda Est by Lord Silvere
A war veteran at the age of twenty, Harry Potter is imprisoned by Voldemort during the final days of the Lost War. Forced to share a prison cell with Bellatrix Lestrange, who has been shunned by her comrades now that they are winning and no longer have any use for her, Harry finds himself thrown back in time by her family’s heirloom. Now in the seventies, he meets a younger, enigmatic Bellatrix Black, who is still untainted by the Dark Lord’s influence. Harry has no choice but to enlist the help of Bellatrix, who takes it upon herself to help Harry defend her world and her time against Voldemort.
Possibly the longest and most exciting fanfiction I’ve ever read, ‘Delenda Est’ seems to be the product of multiple brilliant minds – although the bulk of the actual writing seems to have been done by Lord Silvere. If you read the story in one go, you’ll notice the differences in writing. During the beginning, the narrative takes its time in explaining the politics and economics of the new wizarding world that Harry has found himself in, but towards the end the pace picks up and the style focuses more on action instead of philosophy, nevertheless being propelled forward by crafty political maneuvering on the part of the people around Harry. The lead character, for his part, is never short of action-packed battle scenes, which are among the best I’ve read because they don’t over-detail. The relationship between Harry and Bellatrix is of course a central theme of the story, and I fully appreciate how the author took the time to let their dynamics develop on their own. Nothing was rushed, and the wait was worth it. The sequel of this story, ‘Para Bellum’ is excellent as well, only it’s much more complicated than this one – and not in an entire beneficial way.
Status: Complete at 46 chapters (392,449 words).
Themes: Harry as an extremely powerful wizard who knows close to nothing about politics but is excellent at dueling anyway so who cares; Bellatrix as still being prone to insanity although in this timeline she is offered a healthier, more productive way of managing her ambition; the wizarding world being similar to the Muggle world in the sense that it’s also being run by a handful of politicians who are mainly out to protect their own interests; and, Hogwarts as being a school for both innocent children who don’t realize that a war is brewing, as well as misguided teenagers who play a key role in starting the war.