Part I: The Games of Summer

By TheSinisterMan

Status: Complete, Word Count: 152,500, Pairing: Bill Weasley/Delphini White, Jim Potter/Padma Patil

Read the Fic Here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/26238679/chapters/63864670

Author’s Summary: As the newly renamed Harry Black enters his 4th Year at Hogwarts, he seems to have the world at his feet. By his Third Year’s ending, he has become wealthy, influential, and popular. And perhaps best of all, he has revenged himself on the parents who abandoned him as a baby. But beneath the surface, troubles lurk. Powerful supernatural forces continue to drive a wedge between Harry and his twin brother Jim (the Boy-Who-Lived) while prophecies swirl around both boys that threaten everything Harry and his friends have built. And beneath the veneer of a friendly academic competition between Hogwarts and rival schools, Lord Voldemort and his Inner Circle prepare for a final confrontation that will change everything.

My Thoughts: So out of the gate, let me explain. These will not be full reviews, it is more me marking down my opinions of the fic at the end of each section. These opinions are subject to change as I am given more context, but they will stay up as part of the overall Prince of Slytherin review pages, because I think it’s interesting to see how each section of year four stands on its own. So….let’s get into it. Now, the major thing about The Games of Summer is that it’s very, very long, and that does not feel entirely justified to me. I’ve defended Prince of Slytherin’s length before, particularly when it comes to The Death Eater Menace, but this is probably pushing it, and there are definitely some things that could be tightened up and cut out. Now, that’s not to say that TheSinisterMan’s understanding of setup and payoff has weakened at all, it’s just that not all of the subplots and scenes, especially in the first few chapters, felt like they were justified by the end of the section. Now, is it very possible that this will change in the future? Yes it is, that’s why this isn’t a full review.

Now, as a result of the length, my feelings on the overall plot are a bit mixed overall, however I do have to give credit to the fic for a few scenes and payoffs that I thought were excellent. The first one is the scene when Harry finally comes clean to his close friends and allies on all the little secrets he’s been hiding over the last few books. All of the characters were really strong and interesting throughout that scene, and seeing everyone’s reaction to certain information was honestly a blast. It was a great little early year four scene, and it was honestly the first scene in year four that I felt properly popped and stood out. Now, is it a shame that I had to wait 50,000 words to get to this scene? Yes, yes it is, but that doesn’t really take away from my enjoyment of it.

Another thing that I really liked from early on in the fic is seeing the ruins of Arcturus’ home, learning more about him, and seeing his grandchildren react to that information. It’s a great weaving of plot and characterization—something that Prince of Slytherin has always been quite good at—and it hit pretty hard. Now, after the set of tense conversations chapters, this is when the fic finally kicks into gear for me. Because immediately after that we get another Horcrux hunting chapter—which was fucking amazing (not quite as good as the destruction of the cup or the locket, but still insanely fun)—and then the Quidditch World Cup arc. So what I loved about the Little Hangleton chapter was the inventive magic we got to see, as well as the way Fiendfyre was used as both an exciting action/adventure tool and a really fun character moment for Harry.

And then we get into the Quidditch World Cup. Now, look. I get that this arc is long, and I get that it is a slow build, but I honestly don’t give a fuck because it’s all amazing. TSM packs so much into those six chapters, and I genuinely feel like it’s some of the best writing in the fic so far. We get our first taste of romantic development in the story with Jim and Padma as well as Bill and Delphini, and if this is what the romance will be like going forward then count me the fuck in, and we just get this amazing build over six chapters where things just get more and more tense, and thing after thing is built up until, in the finale, we have 50,000 words worth of dominos set up, and we get to watch them all fall one by one. It’s honestly a fantastic experience—especially reading it all in one go—and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about it. It has payoff after payoff, it has new and interesting magic, it has tense and exciting action, and it’s just…..god, I love it so much.

You know, as they were rolling out, I was genuinely a bit concerned about the Quidditch World Cup chapters, but after reading them, yeah the insane length is worth it just for that. So yeah, at the end of the day…..this part is, so far, lower quality than years two and three. It has some of the series’ most obvious bloat yet in the beginning few chapters and it wanders a bit here and there, but the combined weight of the Little Hangleton chapter and the Quidditch World Cup arc are more than enough to make me forgive that. At the end of the day, it is really unsurprising that Prince of Slytherin is continuing to blindside and surprise me, and yeah, I still love it—flaws and all.

Tier: Great Tier

Written on 06/22/2021

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