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Harry & Ginny
11th-Feb-2012 08:55 am
I'm not sure how "on topic" this is, and if it's not I'm fine with the mods deleting this post, but I've been wondering about the characterization of Harry and Ginny that you often see in nextgen stories. I don't know if many of you read stories about other pairings, but sometimes I really like reading about the Potter/Weasley children, and there are a few trends I've noticed that I don't totally understand.

Mostly what I don't get is the often-used plot device of Harry and Ginny being divorced, which I guess is a way to make James/Al/Lily's life less than perfect and therefore more relatable to readers. I'm just wondering what you guys think about this? I'm not claiming anything positive or negative in regards to this storyline, I just don't "see" it as easily as some other readers.

I'm sure there are some great fics that follow this idea, and if anyone would like to recommend/explain this then I'd definitely be open to it. I'm just trying to get a feel for what other readers think, so please leave your thoughts in the comments : )
11th-Feb-2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
I haven't read much, but I like reading about the kids too. I haven't seen much of that because I wouldn't read it. It doesn't seem real to me so I can't buy it enough to read it.
11th-Feb-2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I definitely feel that way. It can really put me off someone's work, although if the author can really "sell" it to me then I can sometimes suspend my disbelief.
11th-Feb-2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
I went looking for a good one, found nothing and started writing my own because I wanted to write something that appealed to me but while I like it, I quickly ran into the realization that it would be insane to try to make an actual plot out of anything that would be believable. :-/ So then I was less annoyed by the lack of good nextgen stuff
11th-Feb-2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, keep going! I'd be interested in reading it :D
12th-Feb-2012 12:54 am (UTC)
I know stories that will work... this one won't, trust me. I may never finish it honestly.
12th-Feb-2012 02:40 am (UTC)
Sometimes I get that feeling with fics. I wonder if I'll ever see what I saw in it in the beginning, and sometimes I just don't. But there have been pieces that sit around on my hard drive forever and then I finish them six months later. You never know.
12th-Feb-2012 03:17 am (UTC)
eh, every other story I started I've finished and 1 or 2 and thought they weren't going to fly and the reaction was about what I expected, but the vast majority did okay. It's kind of insane, though. I'm on the first section of the story and it's already over 25,000 words.
11th-Feb-2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
It's interesting that you left this comment because I was just thinking of this issue. There have been a number of nextgen stories that portray Harry and Ginny out of character in order to provide the kids with some sort of legitimate trauma. The unbelievable characterization has Harry as an absent father who is distant from his kids because he works all the time or a social climbing Ginny who only cares about appearances and money or (the worst of all) a cheating Harry who is either in love with Hermione or Draco Malfoy. I think it's lazy writing to portray Harry and Ginny like this although I'm sure some authors actually believe they're writing "in-character" Harry and Ginny. Ultimately it shows a lack of imagination on behalf of the writer. They can't think of other ways to add conflict to the story. There may be a good way to write a divorced Harry and Ginny but I can't think of one that doesn't involve writing them out of character.
11th-Feb-2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
I agree with so much of this. In a lot of As/S fics authors will try to write Harry as secretly in love with Draco for like, 20+ years, which seems weird to me.
11th-Feb-2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
This is a very interesting subject. While I haven't read a lot of fan fiction with a divorced Harry & Ginny (although I haven't read much lately period), I do find that to be the trend. Speaking for myself, I believe that Harry & Ginny don't have to necessarily be divorced for their children to have a dysfunctional, less-than-perfect upbringing. Harry and Ginny love each other despite each other's failings, and while nothing is impossible, I honestly believe that they wouldn't ever reach a point where they would give up on each other. (Not entirely related, but I also can't bring myself to ever believe that they would cheat on each other, so I rarely if ever will read infidelity fics with this pairing. And I won't write them. But again, that's just my own personal quirk.)

Sometimes I wonder why I have such strong opinions about a pair of fictional characters, and how to portray them in fan fiction, where anything can happen. But I suppose when a series has affected me so much, I tend to get personal about it. Thanks for introducing this topic. :)

Edited at 2012-02-11 05:57 pm (UTC)
11th-Feb-2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
I agree when it comes to their children. There are plenty of ways for people to struggle through something while still having a good relationship within their family, so I guess writing in divorce is just an easy way to portray jaded teenagers. Honestly, I see H/G as one of the most likely couples to stay together in HP, but that's a whole separate argument. I could probably buy the whole "dysfunctional background" thing much more easily if it were about characters that we know less about, but it's hard to sell me on it when it comes to cannon couples.

I know what you mean about the portrayals. There are times when I'll read something and be like, they wouldn't say/do/think that way, and it's like my own ideas for the characters are more ingrained than the story the author is trying to tell.
12th-Feb-2012 01:47 am (UTC) -
I think there are two things going on in the fics you mentioned -- I've read a couple myself.

First of all, there are a lot of people who just don't like the idea of Harry and Ginny marrying. That's old news and not likely to go away entirely ever.

Also, there's the narrative perspective. As an old theater teacher of mine used to say, "Good marriages make bad plays." Same goes true for narrative fiction. Having a happy family life gives you less to work with story-wise...

I still don't see it happening, myself. But hey. That's me. ;-)
12th-Feb-2012 02:38 am (UTC) - Re:
I know what you mean. I guess that's part of the challenge. The part that makes me less inclined to enjoy this kind of fiction has to do with the nature of conflict and character development. There are so many ways to create interesting, complex characters (even teenagers) and it disappoints me when authors go for an option that I see as easy/unlikely. I've only written one "true" nextgen fic (focusing on Al and not H/G during that time period) and it took a lot of character planning to get him where I wanted for the sake of the plot--much more than what I was used to doing for other pairings/time periods. Which is probably why I've only written one fic like that :D

But you can see the same phenomenon in fics where Harry/Draco/Snape/Remus are portrayed as gay (which is fine, I read plenty of slash) and the author comes up with a flimsy excuse for the women in the character's life. Maybe I'm expecting too much. I really love to see unique but believable explanations, or I'd prefer they not go into it at all. But that's just me.
(Deleted comment)
13th-Feb-2012 04:40 am (UTC)
It is a shame that certain writers have to break-up Harry and Ginny just to feel like they have some kind of conflict to work with. I would think that just being Harry and Ginny Potter's kid would be enough to drive a teenager crazy, and create enough drama or angst to make a readable fic without breaking up our favourite couple.
13th-Feb-2012 04:53 am (UTC)
I know what you mean. Some people just don't like the pairing, which I get, there are some pairings I just don't like, but if we're just talking about conflict then I definitely agree with you. When I read the epilogue I got the impression that the nextgen kids (at least the Potters and the Ron/Hermione branch of the Weasleys) didn't totally realize how famous they were, so I'm sure issues like the one you mentioned would definitely come up.
16th-Feb-2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
I assume that Harry/Ginny being divorced is so to facilitate another pairing with one or both of the characters? Some people really don't like reading/writing infidelity. I don't think I've ever read a nextgen story where Harry and Ginny are broken up for a non-shippy reason, just to provide trauma for the children, so I can't comment on that. Though I suppose a lot of people are children of single-parent families, and they might want to explore that dynamic as the background for a nextgen story.

Saw something you wrote upthread - personally, Ginny as a bad mother would have to really be sold to me with some truly excellent writing otherwise it would just feel like redundant character-bashing to me, but I do not find Harry as an absent/workaholic/uncomfortable father at all difficult to see. It's not what I like in my head canon, of course, but it's plausible to me in a fic (and I've seen it done very well).

This comment is really grammatically bad, sorry :s
16th-Feb-2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
I think the single-parent thing probably has something to do with it. I don't mean that in a negative way, just that we draw from what we know, and for a lot of people (especially in the US) what they grew up with is a single-parent family. Not that there's anything wrong with that in itself, it just throws me sometimes if I don't feel like there's a plausible explanation for how character A ended up behaving this way with character B.

I've read fic where divorce becomes a plot point, and a lot of the time the substitute ship is Harry/Draco, which isn't all that surprising when you consider how many H/D shippers there are in fandom.

If the author did a good job of "selling me" on the idea of Harry as a workaholic parent, then I'd be willing to suspend my disbelief, but then another part of me has trouble reconciling that with this image in my head of Harry desperately wanting a family. I suppose I could go either way. It really just depends on the story the person is trying to tell, although my personal ideas are more along the lines of Harry wanting a wife/children more than anything, since he never had a family of his own, etc. I definitely see what you're saying though.
17th-Feb-2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
Yep I think that's got to be a part of it when it's not for a shippy reason; I know I've thrown elements of my life into hp fic before.

Indeed: I can't really see myself ever buying the idea of Harry as someone who doesn't want a partner and children, no matter how well a story is written. The fact that the epilogue shows that he is happy and married with kids but deliberately didn't mention his (or anyone else's) job made it very clear: the ordinary family is what he always wanted and is what he got. HOWEVER what I can buy is that Harry wanted to be a father but wasn't very good at it - is uncomfortable with the babies, doesn't know how to play with them, etc. Like I said, this is not my head-canon, but I can buy (and be broken by!!) that dynamic if it's done well.

To get back to the point - divorced!h/g as a plot point does not put me off a story on its own; it puts me off when it includes an element of character-bashing as an explanation, the explanation for the divorce being "Hermione divorced Ron because she realised he isn't good enough for her" or "Harry divorced Ginny because he is secretly gay" and that's it...it's lazy and an easy way to alienate potential readers! If the explanation has some respect for all the characters involved (not love or even like necessarily, but respect) then divorce doesn't bother me. What are your feelings on it, does it bother you more often than that?
18th-Feb-2012 02:20 am (UTC)
Exactly! I guess what bothers me is the lack of explanation. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a good fic, but a lot of the time there's little build up or developed explanation for why things didn't work--that bother me. You definitely see it with Ron/Hermione too.

I could see Harry being freaked out by kids...but I want him to be happy, so I never write it that way in my fics. Although, I wouldn't not read something if that were the storyline. I can enjoy stories like that if the writing is good.
18th-Feb-2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
Harry should always be happy ~squishes
29th-Apr-2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
One of my fave writers' is littleObird. She wrote excellent interesting H/G stories. H/G are happily married w/ children but her stories are not boring because of the storylines - they have conflicts too but they make their marriage work.


I especially love her "Making Mistakes".

For next gen - she's got WIP "Questions & Answers".

Thank Merlin she's not a lazy writer :D

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