Story Title: Snape’s Memories
Author Name: paganaidd
Story url: Story Link
Content Rating: Teen
Length: 72,134 words
Story Summary: Sort of a sequel and a companion piece to Dudley’s Memories. Harry is finding a healthy outlet for his “saving people thing” in the form of one damaged little boy. In doing so he finds himself thinking about his old teacher, quite a bit.
Every fic that I have recommended on my blog is a fic that I’m nuts about. But sometimes I run across a story which I don’t simply want to recommend, I want to pimp it to everyone I know, as loudly and frequently as possible. This is one of those moments. This is one of those fics which I’m so convinced that absolutely everyone will love, that I’m reminded again of why I started this blog to begin with. Because, truly, I think everyone who reads Harry Potter fanfiction, or has ever considered reading HP fanfic, would love this story. Fans of canon couples, such as Harry/Ginny? You’ll love this. Fans of unconventional couples? Fans of Snape? You’ll love this. Fans of angst? Fans of fluff? Fans of action, drama, adventure, romance..? You’ll love this. It’s one of the most perfect narratives I’ve ever encountered, capable of capturing anyone’s imagination, because the story is built upon a foundation of universal truths and elements which we all hold dear.
The symmetry of this story, the perfect balance to it, is just mind-boggling. Either Paganaidd is one of those authors who plots her stories out meticulously beforehand, outlining ever chapter and planning every thread before ever posting Chapter One, or she is a brilliant fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants writer who got damn lucky. I’m betting on the former. This story is just too perfectly woven together to have been thrown together without careful planning. Even the title of the story – Wow. At first, I thought I understood where the title came from. Later, I began to wonder if the author simply chose it in order to connect the story to “Dudley’s Memories.” But then, at the end… Did I say wow? Yes? Well, I’ll say it again. Wow. It all made so much sense, but not in a way I ever could have predicted (so don’t try). Yet in retrospect, I can see that the clues were there from the very beginning. I was just too much of a dunderhead to figure out the mystery, because I didn’t even realize there was a mystery in place beyond what seemed obvious to me.
The story picks up immediately where “Dudley’s Memories” left off. Harry and his cousin have reconciled, but by so doing, Harry has opened up his post-Epilogue (consistent with all of Deathly Hallows) life to a lot of amazing changes. All is certainly well, but that doesn’t mean it’s dull. The story continues with some of the themes discussed in “Dudley’s Memories;” specifically, how a child recovers from an abusive home situation. However, the story is being told from a different angle now, as Harry finds himself on the other side of things. No longer the victim, now he’s the adult trying to help another child pick up the pieces and accept the love he is being offered. Harry’s own journey comes full circle, as a result, and that’s just one example of the symmetry I mentioned above. The story ends up feeling like circles within circles, layers within layers, with this beautiful example of how the victim can choose to become the healer. As mentioned in my rec for “Dudley’s Memories,” the author’s professional expertise as a social worker is very evident in this story, adding a level of authenticity to the already “real life” tone created by her extremely canon-centric characterizations.
The story was so profoundly moving and yet so exciting and action-packed, that I suspect I’ll be passing this one on to my teenager, something I almost never do. But knowing his heart for kids from troubled backgrounds, I suspect this story is going to be an instrument of real growth and inspiration for my son, just as it was for me.
Please Note (Vaguely-spoilery explanation about the tags): The two violence tags are for situations alluded to, but either never shown at all, or else quickly resolved. There actually is no sexual abuse which occurs in this fic – just the mistakenly perceived (but not real) threat of such, during one brief, retrospective scene. There are references made to the abuse of a child in the past, but there is only one short, immediately resolved “on-screen” moment of physical violence (a slap) involving a child. In the very few potentially troubling situations, we readers are viewing things from an outside perspective, aware that there is either no actual danger (in the case of the scene which prompted the “Violence or Abuse-Sexual” tag) or that it is about to be resolved (in the case of the main scene which prompted the “Violence or Abuse-Non-Sexual” tag).
Based on my real, but limited experience, I think that anyone who has been subjected to abuse (as either a victim or observer) in their past will be less likely to be troubled by the overtly shown scenes than by the longer conversations or inner musings which are peppered throughout the story. For example, Chapter 20 is almost entirely about a conversation between Harry and Dudley, in which they so bluntly address the worst of Harry’s abuse, as well as Dudley’s, that they end up agreeing to continue the discussion in a joint therapy session, While their conversation ends on a hilarious note, and is cathartic for both them and for readers, it does raise issues that are very hard for even those two middle-aged men to properly address without guidance.