Fanfiction – Harry Potter and the Champion’s Champion

How about something that’s a guilty pleasure of mine and memorable for how well it pulls off a running fart joke, a comically Too Stupid To Live™ Ron Weasley, and a half-senile Dumbledore?

Harry Potter and the Champion’s Champion by DriftWood1965

Yes, this is a guilty pleasure. It focuses heavily on very low-brow humour, it bashes the most cartoonishly flanderized Ron Weasley you’ll ever see, the treatment of the Malfoys is excessive, and it freely uses caricatured parodies of secondary characters for comic effect… but I can’t help that it makes me laugh out loud at times. Because of that, I’ve re-read it several times in the many years since I discovered it. (Definitely a sign that it’s doing something right.)

When the story starts out, it’s pretty clear that the author knows how to write good Harry and Hermione characters for the romantic elements and the comedy clearly shows creativity, but, at the same time, the story quickly chooses to focus primarily on the cartoonish, low-brow comedy instead. (And, in what is clearly an intentional set up for said comedy, it sprinkles caricatures around liberally. Most notably, the change to Ron Weasley that I mentioned at the beginning.)

McGonagall stared at the ginger-topped Gryffindor as she pondered whether overeating could cause brain damage.

The basic plot is that Harry and Hermione discover a loophole which allows Harry to appoint a champion to go through the Triwizard Tournament on his behalf. They give it to Ron to try to curb his jealousy but, in the process, Harry has also realized that he’s attracted to Hermione and they start dating… something which also makes Ron jealous.

That’s where the running fart joke comes in, because Hermione, feeling vindictive at Ron’s behaviour and echoing her canon self’s idea for the DA, had worked up a magical contract for the champion substitution that included a punishment clause for jealous thoughts.

The punishment is flatulent, it can’t be cancelled until the contract runs its course because Hermione underestimated Ron’s capacity for jealousy, and a large part of the running gag has to do with the various inordinately amusing approaches taken over the course of the year to deal with the smell and their side-effects.

Of course, what really makes it is the author’s use of phrasing and imagery with lines like this:

Seeing them in the common room, he turned and stormed back up the steps with a minor “pbrrrrrp” trailing him, leaving an odorous barrier at the entry to the staircase.

…and this:

The mixture of Gillyweed, Canary Creams and Horntail Honey’s turned the fourth champion into a five and a half foot tall, fire-breathing duck which had to keep ducking its head under the water to breathe.

That said, it’s not purely limited to that and it attempts to broaden the scope of the humor around the first Triwizard task. (Personally, I think the task is memorable for its creative events but not really that funny. That said, it is a transitional period.) For example, that’s when Dumbledore starts to come into play and and we start to see Crouch Jr. driven mad by how stupid this Ron Weasley is.

Through the pain, only one thought emerged. ‘How can there be this much stupidity locked inside of a single mind?’

Ron watched his defense teacher slump to the ground and smiled. ‘He’s amazed at my ability to solve it without his help. He’ll never underestimate me again.’ He trotted off down the hallway headed for the kitchens while wondering what prospect tasted like.

As for the romance, when it’s actually focused on, DriftWood1965 does put the effort in. In the very first chapter, there’s some nicely satisfying interaction between Harry and Hermione and I especially like how readers get to see signs that the relationship has promise, with both Harry and Hermione demonstrating how well they already know each other when they decide to become a couple.

(To be honest, it reminds me of Ranma ½, where Season 1 of the anime and the portion of the manga it’s adapted from feel more romance-oriented than the later stuff. I’ve often mused on how the series might have unfolded if that had continued on.)

All in all, it’s a cracky comedy with some flaws and some legitimate romantic scenes and it’s one of those stories that you’ll either love or hate. If, like me, you’re willing to accept huge deviations from canon characterizations as long as the overall effect is entertaining, and you’re not above laughing at crude humour, then you’ll likely enjoy it as a well-done source of “cheap fun”. Otherwise, it won’t be your thing.

It’s 108,953 words, it’s complete, and, based on my overall experience of reading it, I’d rate it at 4.0 out of 5… though, given how much that relies on the humour connecting, you might rate it as low as 2.5 out of 5.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Fanfiction – Harry Potter and the Champion’s Champion by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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