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September 14th, 2012

“Hindsight” by Loralee (aka Loralee1)

Gioia’s Rec:
Time-Travel/Re-do fics are my favorite trope in the HP fandom.  In my opinion, stories in which the time traveler is someone other than Harry have the potential to be particularly good, as they neatly avoid most of the pitfalls of what has become a bit of a cliché for HP fanfic readers.  Loralee does a particularly brilliant job with this story in keeping it unique and fresh in spite of the surfeit of Re-do stories.

The story opens just prior to the events of The Philosopher’s Stone, when  Snape is startled at his home in Spinner’s End by the appearance of his future self.  With older-Snape’s warnings of all that is to come (and some extremely brilliant deductions on the part of the author, who began writing this story prior to DH and managed some amazingly accurate guesses in the early chapters of her fic, posted before DH’s release), and with some deep soul-searching and introspective moments on the part of younger-Snape, our antihero sets out to prevent things from getting as ugly as they did in canon when directed solely by Dumbledore and his vision of the Greater Good.

I love how Snape’s character development is a gradual thing.  He’s not thrilled with giving Harry a chance.  We get to see him unwillingly, grudgingly getting to know the boy, and slowly growing to understand that maybe it won’t be so bad helping out this child after all.  As a result of that mentor-like setup, this story could probably fall under the Sevitus category.  But mostly, it’s a story about one man earning his redemption in a way that allows him to maintain his own dignity, and empower Harry into bringing about his own salvation, all while preserving as much of the young boy’s innocence as possible.

As a mom, that issue of childhood innocence is a big deal to me.  I generally like Dumbledore in canon, but I’ll freely admit that the man was positively Machiavellian in his plots, as Book 7 made clear.  Additionally, his own twisted youth made Dumbledore incapable of understanding what it looked like when a child was neglected (remember Aberforth’s DH rant about Albus’ distracted care of Ariana?)  Therefore, Dumbledore’s canon idea of letting Harry hold onto his childhood as long as possible was, while a laudable idea, utterly mishandled by the oblivious Headmaster in JKR’s tale.  In “Hindsight,” we see a Snape who is better able to help Harry be as independent as is appropriate for a child who no longer wished to feel helpless or deceived, while Snape still bears the bulk of the burden on Harry’s behalf. It’s a delicate balance, but I think Snape is perfectly suited to understand how to achieve it, given how manipulated and neglected Snape has been for much of life.

Finally, I love that in this story we get to see Snape and Harry developing a friendship without the author needing to exaggerate canon details.  Loralee doesn’t make Snape out to be a saint, nor Harry out to be the most wretchedly abused child ever, nor Dumbledore a horrifically cruel and deliberately negligent puppet master.  This is a great story about flawed and damaged people trying their best, and about a few morons getting their comeuppance.  And while I’d love to see Loralee’s final chapter of “Hindsight” someday in order to learn the extent of that comeuppance, this story is essentially finished.  So, if you are phobic, like me, about reading MIA or WIP stories, be not afraid in this case. Whether or not Loralee returns with an epilogue, all is well.

One last thing:  Read the rest of Loralee’s stories. I’ve spent a week going through them on her LJ and FFN profile, and I think the poor author may have figured out by now that she has a new stalker fangirl.

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