Story Title: Forced Maturity
Author Name: pseudonym
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Author lists it as “R,” however I’d say this is appropriate for All Ages
Status: Completed (1st story in series is completed, covering Book 2. Nothing further has been written.)
Story Summary: What if everything that happened in Chamber of Secrets through Half-Blood Prince was all an elaborate dream? James and Lily Potter, watching their son from a distance, are convinced that he won’t live to see the end of his second year at Hogwarts, so they decide to help him in the only way they can: by sending him a dream that will change his life forever. This series begins with Harry’s second year and will continue through the end of the war.
This story’s premise initially struck me as crackish enough that, although I’m a big fan of crack!fic, I was a bit wary. However, the author executed this premise so beautifully, that I’m rather ashamed of ever having doubted pseudonym.
This story is similar in some ways to the redo or time-travel fics that I love, and I hope the author will forgive me for so tagging it, as I think that fans of those genres will also love this fic as much as I do. Harry’s maturity is very nicely handled here. He never feels out of character or too advanced for his age, particularly given the circumstances. His talents and abilities make perfect sense, as does his driving desire to protect Ginny. There are understandably a lot of echoes in this fic of Harry’s behavior at the end of Half-Blood Prince, when he broke up with Ginny, in part to keep her safe.
This is one of those fics for which I struggle to write a detailed rec, because there are major spoilers within all of those things which I loved the most, and thus want to praise loud and long. Aside from the stellar characterizations (and truly, the way the author kept them so canon-centric in spite of the major changes is remarkable), but it is that unique plot which really sells this story. This is not remotely a rehash of canon, nor is it so wildly AU that it makes no sense. It’s captivating yet familiar; utterly riveting but still in keeping with Jo’s series. Ginny/Harry shippers will be missing out on a real treat if they haven’t yet read this fantastic story.
Please note that although the author clearly planned this as a series that would cover all of books 2-7, only the first novel-length fic, covering Chamber of Secrets, appears to have been written. Don’t let that deter you from reading this, as the lack of a sequel has no impact in one’s ability to enjoy this self-contained story.