Status: Complete, Word Count: 316,000, Pairing: Harry Potter/Nymphadora Tonks, Genre: Drama/Family
Read the Fic Here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12886674/1/The-Green-in-the-Grey
Author’s Summary: A prophecy left unfulfilled, a family torn apart by repercussions of war and one child left to a life of neglect. But there were those not content to allow this to pass. Harry Potter may have been abandoned at the end of the war but he will rise to be more than any could have imagined. Minimal bashing, rated M for violence etc. Harry/Tonks, James/Lily Main plot begins GOF
Characterization: This fic’s strongest character is, by far, Charlie Potter. He is easily the most fleshed character in the fic, and I think his dynamic with Harry is absolutely fantastic. Harry is at his strongest when he’s interacting with Charlie, and Charlie is honestly at his strongest when interacting with Harry. Their relationship is the heart and soul of this story, and the fic absolutely shines when it’s the focus. Unfortunately, this means that other, lesser characters are even more noticeable when they’re the focus, because they’re taking time away from Harry and Charlie’s relationship. Lily and James are fine, Arcturus and Cassiopeia are fine, and most of the other characters from canon (Ron, Hermione, etc.) are just fine. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s an enormous shame that an author who I know to be capable of writing fantastic characters, repeatedly squander his potential and settle for passable and borderline mediocre ones. Speaking of mediocrity, Tonks is insanely bland in this fic. She doesn’t really have a character arc, and her character traits are shockingly boring and two dimensional. Overall she’s an enormous disappointment, but even she’s not as bad as Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s decisions make no fucking sense in this fic. I often say that it’s fine to play him off as an antagonist as long as his actions make sense, but I never thought I’d see an author attempt to justify and explain his actions and just…fail. In the end, it feels like his character is constantly flipping back and forth between being bashed and being more generally poorly written, and it just does not work. However, I really feel like I have to emphasize the fact that Harry and Charlie are both fantastic, and they’re even better when they’re interacting with each other. So overall, I have to say that this fic’s characterization is fairly average and mediocre, even though this is the result of an equally large number of very high highs and very low lows.
Romance: The romance in this fic, to put it mildly, leaves a lot to be desired. The primary issue is an extension of the issue with Tonks’ character as a whole: she doesn’t fucking have one. Sure, we get to explore her school days a little bit near the beginning of the fic, and we find out that she’s very nervous about people taking advantage of her, but…that’s it. There’s nothing else to work with, and it feels like her character just kind of adapts to whatever Lee needs her to be for a specific scene. This makes it virtually impossible for there to be any sort of cohesive romance at all. While there are definitely sparks of brilliance, and some excellent moments sprinkled throughout the fic, it is, overall, exceedingly mediocre and it’s a crying shame that an author as talented as Lee missed the mark so completely here, because I’ve seen that he’s capable of writing a fantastic romance in Stepping Back. It breaks my heart to say this, but the romance is also fairly mediocre and not especially memorable. Another section of average quality, unfortunately.
Plot and Action: As this is a TBR story, it is unsurprising that the action is as engaging and entertaining as ever, as is the plot! I think a lot of the stuff with the Black family dynamics is rather interesting, and I really enjoy all of the time Lee spends fleshing out Harry’s home life with the Blacks. That’s not to say that I necessarily buy into Arcturus being a brilliant politician—cause I don’t—but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s an entertaining character, because I absolutely do. This version of Arcturus is still far superior to his character in Honour Thy Blood, and I think he functions within the story far better as well. I also love how personal Harry’s conflict with Voldemort is this time around. Of TBR’s four current fics, Harry’s conflict with Voldemort is easily the most interesting to read about in this one, because of how much of a stake Harry has in Voldemort’s ultimate downfall. I’m also a big fan of the way the horcrux is removed from Harry, even if it was a bit of an Ex Machina, it was a cool idea. Overall, I think the plot is great, and I’d have probably have stopped reading without it.
Dialogue: The dialogue is great. While it doesn’t flow nearly as well as it did in Stepping Back, it also lacks the clunky, awkward style that cluttered Honour Thy Blood. The Green in the Grey falls into a lovely middle ground that can best be described as plain old good.
Writing Mechanics: Lee is a very talented author, and just like most of his other fics, this fic is very mechanically sound. The grammar’s mostly accurate, the spelling’s all correct, there isn’t anything wrong with the punctuation or anything like that, so this section gets the usual verdict of good, but who really gives a shit that it isn’t better?
Overall: The Green in the Grey is really good! It’s a Wrong Boy-Who-Lived story, and it’s one of the better ones that I’ve come across. The heart and soul of this story is the relationship between Harry and his younger brother Charlie. Every scene with them together is at least 25% better than the rest of the story. However, the rest of it leaves a lot to be desired. The relationship with Harry and Tonks is an enormous letdown, mostly because of Tonks’ distinct lack of character development. Luckily, the action is very engaging, but even it doesn’t measure up to the thing that absolutely fucking carries this fic, which is is the dynamic between Harry and Charlie.
Final Thoughts: If you like well written action, this fic is for you. If you like well written sibling relationships, then this fic is also for you. If you like Honks, this fic might be for you, but you’ll need to go in with fairly low expectations. Overall, this fic pretty much embodies a standard great tier fic. It does some things great, it does some things quite poorly, and this all averages out to a fairly standard fic within this tier. Like, yeah it’s good, and I enjoyed reading it. What more is there to really say, at the end of the day?
Tier: Great Tier
Written in 05/20/2021