While I was looking up Harry Potter & the Curse’s Cure, I also ran into the other Harry Potter harem fic I first encountered around the same time, so why not a review for that too?
Harry Potter and the Price of Being Noble by DriftWood1965
The major problem with this story is that, while the story starts out reasonably strong, it has a major dip in quality near the beginning that can drive people away before it rebounds.
As far as the plot goes, the story diverges from canon at dinner, before the selection of the Triwizard champions, when one of Fleur’s schoolmates takes the last of the bouillabaisse to spite her, and she comes over to the Gryffindor table to ask if she can take theirs. In doing so, she takes notice of Harry (and his non-reaction to her allure) and all of the rest of the differences ripple (subtly or obviously) from that point.
The story then follows Fleur until the second task, as her opinion of Harry develops from liar, to honestly not wanting to be in the tournament, to both noble and impressive beyond his years, to finding him appealing despite knowing that he’s too young.
It’s during their ascent after recovering their hostages that the main portion of the story begins, with Gabrielle undergoing a truly magical growth spurt at the worst possible time. Harry winds up being instrumental in saving Gabrielle’s life, while risking his own, and both Fleur and Gabrielle wind up impulsively naming Harry their bondmate.
(Bear in mind that, through the magic of long chapters and an abridged retelling of canon events, this is all within the first three chapters of this 52 chapter story.)
Unfortunately, like Harry Potter & the Curse’s Cure, this story requires you to bear with some less-than-ideal writing while it’s setting up the main conflict. However, in this case, it’s especially noticeable because it represents a drop in quality from the Fleur scenes which preceded it.
When the story’s perspective switches from Fleur to Harry, it’s just in time to receive an exposition dump. The writing quality drops significantly, with the exposition seeming so rough and formulaic that the the nature and legal status of the bond feel somewhat contrived and copy-pasted from a story of much lower quality. Give it a little time to find its feet there. However, like Curse’s Cure, it does improve if you either skim or soldier through those bits.
I should also mention that circumstances later result in Hermione being added to the group.
As far as problems go, the only one which really comes to mind is the aforementioned dip in quality… but roughly half a dozen chapters where the quality has dipped to 3.5 out of 5 (+0.5 on a scale from -2 to +2) and is trying to climb back up are nothing to sneeze at… especially when you’ve had a much better first impression to compare them to.
On the plus side, while the story is no “Effects and Side Effects”, it does start to provide a steady stream of original-feeling elements and around chapter 11. Examples of this include:
- I’m not sure I’ve seen any other stories where, upon discovering Harry’s childhood, Dumbledore seeks to improve Harry’s opinion of him by proposing that Sirius and Remus enact harmless pranks on the Dursleys in retribution.
- Dumbledore freely admits to keeping Harry’s inheritance tied up in the courts because there were problems (of an interesting nature) when James and Lily’s wills were unsealed and, if Harry gets his inheritance before his age of majority, the Dursleys have to be notified and might get control of it.
- Fleur gives Hermione one of the best explanations of the house elf perspective that I’ve ever read.
- The plethora of alternative interpretations for the prophecy is pruned away with one simple piece of information from Dumbledore: It is a known fact that prophecies are always given using the language and cultural context the seer is most familiar with.
- Taking inspiration from what became of Bertha Jorkins, Amelia Bones takes the opportunity to leave Lucius Malfoy in a room alone for 20 minutes, then obliviates that time in the hope that Voldemort will assume it must be a false memory.
As in Effects and Side Effects, it has Harry selling the Basilisk’s corpse though, in this case, it’s at Dumbledore’s urging since, if Harry doesn’t accept the money, it’s likely to be embezzled away by Voldemort’s allies.
All in all, I’d say that, once you get over that initial hump, the story is definitely a 4 out of 5 and worth a read. (If you have trouble with the low-quality chapters once it switches away from Fleur’s perspective, try reading the recap in chapter 14 and then skipping to chapter 10 or 11.)