…and another one that’s worth a review on the first read.
Wind Shear by Chilord (complete at 126,280 words long)
This is a well done “Harry Potter in the past” fic. Specifically, this is one of those post-canon stories where Harry has become a competent auror or hitwizard before he gets thrown back to 1970. It’s also a well-done Harry-Bellatrix pairing.
Yes, the concept has been done many times before and, yes, doing this does make Harry a bit of an OC but, when you’re in the mood for something like this, it’s nice to have something good on hand when you’re not up for re-reading Delenda Est.
What made me decide to review this wasn’t any one specific detail, but, rather, the writing in general.
For Harry himself, Chilord has a good grasp on how to write a post-canon Harry so that his James Bond-esque blend of professionalism and wit in combat is entertaining, yet he still has his canon blend of wanting to be a nobody, having a “saving people thing”, and having trouble decide to occur in his vicinity. (I especially enjoy his reaction when he discovers that he’s accidentally set himself on the path to being the leader of a third side in the impending civil war.)
At the same time, it also features a Bellatrix Black pairing that, surprisingly enough, comes across as plausible. When her initiation into the Knights of Walpurgis happens to pick the same tavern Harry is trying to get drunk in, Harry leaves her alive as the messenger, not realizing that she was originally drawn to Voldemort by the same terrifying blend of skill and power that Harry used to cut down her companions… and that young Bellatrix was much more receptive than Bellatrix Lestrange would be to his advice (with object lesson) on blood-status and power.
Furthermore, it doesn’t focus excessively on Harry, which is a flaw in many of the poorer stories of this type. Rather, it spends plenty of time on Voldemort and at least as much time with the Black and Potter family members as with Harry… something I actually wish Delenda Est’s plot had more room for.
While the older generations were a lot of fun in Delenda Est, this story one-ups it. Not only does it spend more time on the older generations, it shows off a wider range of characters and their interactions with each other and with Harry are a lot of fun. (Or, in the case of Dumbledore, a view of an idealist who is set-in-his-ways that feels much more realistic than most.)
It also gives Bellatrix a lot more freedom to show off her character, which is nice. In Delenda Est, while the story is plausible enough, it is quite focused on the conflict, with Bellatrix and Harry becoming allies from the beginning, then growing and developing within that. Here, Bellatrix grows and changes before she can form a connection with Harry. (and I do enjoy seeing Bellatrix discovering Andromeda’s muggle clothing and asking Andi to teach her how to “go muggle”.)
Heck, even the references in passing are fun, such as when mention of the Lovegoods enters a conversation.
Of course, the cherry on top is that Chilord recognizes that Voldemort is secondary and Bellatrix’s story arc is primary. When Voldemort is defeated, it feels like its main relevance to the story isn’t for its own sake, but for what it does as part of Bellatrix’s character arc.
Now, personally, I wish it had a few more chapters after that, to further distance the resolution of her character arc from it, but it’s complete and it worked well nonetheless. In fact, that distances it from Delenda Est, because Delenda Est followed them as they grew close, while this follows them reaching a point where becoming a couple is even possible, then jumps to the epilogue.
I’d give the story 4.6 out of 5. It’s a little better than what I’d typically call a 4.5 out of 5, but I’m not getting the strong indecision between 4.5 and 5.0 that I normally use to decide on 4.7.
Fanfiction – Wind Shear by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.