In the wake of Cursed Child and everything that entailed, I thought it might be fun to do a fanfic recommendations and discussion thread. Let’s share recommendations for post-canon/next-generation Harry Potter fanfics that put Cursed Child (and the original series for that matter) to shame, and maybe some time travel stories done right. I’ve got a fair number of these but I’d love to find more, so please post them in the comments if you have any.
Let’s get this out of the way first, obviously there’s Loten’s stuff, though I suspect if you’re reading us there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with it. I’m utterly incapable of being objective here; these stories literally changed my life because I’d never have met her without them. I love all of her fics but to stay on the theme of post-canon, Post Tenebras Lux is the obvious one (SS/HG, sexually explicit), Picture Perfect (the PTL epilogue I made her write), and a shorter, unconnected one called Here I Am Not.
“The Golden Age” by Arsinoe de Blassenville. This is the quintessential cynical “reality ensues” post-canon fic, it’s well-written and realistic while still being a very pointed criticism of canon and “all was well”. I will say, however, to stay away if you are a fan of Hermione because this story is very hard on her and deliberately explores the consequences of her worst acts in canon (and bases her characterisation on those). I can’t say it’s wrong about later books’ canon Hermione, though, and it’s thought-provoking and a good criticism even if you prefer to interpret her character differently.
The works of Vera Rozalsky. My personal favourite of hers is “In Which the Princess Rescues the Dragon“, which is a long and nuanced story written from the rare perspective of Andromeda Tonks. It’s actually an alternate perspective of her other long story “Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation“, but I think it’s the stronger and more interesting one, and her Andromeda is a fascinating and well-rounded character with a unique perspective. She does have ships, “Amends” is Hermione/Neville and Hermione/Neville/Draco, which are not ships I’m normally interested in but she makes it work (and it’s largely out of view in “Princess” anyway). “Princess” also has a subtheme deconstructing love potions and dealing with their consequences. “Four o’clock in the morning” is also quite good, a shorter story not in the same continuity as the other two focusing primarily on the mental-health consequences the canon events should have had (also Hermione/Neville but it’s primarily Hermione-Draco friendship).
“Questions and Answers” by little0bird. This is a very long-running next-generation fic. I hesitate to recommend/endorse this one because it’s epilogue-compliant and very much within Rowling’s value system (family uber-alles, it focuses on the characters as parents and the children’s growing up and eventually finding their way into heteronormative relationships, and does not address the Potterverse’s dystopian elements), but for what it is it’s very well-written and I think it’s probably as good as such a thing can be. Very much YMMV though (I do not agree with or endorse messages or characterisation that show up in this). I will also add that I had to hold my nose through every scene Hermione was in because Ron/Hermione squicks me and this fic is canon ships all the way (except, for some reason, pairing Draco with Daphne instead of Astoria).
“Silence” by mortenavida. This is a short piece (and Dudley/Daphne) but manages to be surprisingly nuanced and interesting IMO.
The “Backward With Purpose” series by Deadwoodpecker. This is another one that I hesitate to recommend and will not endorse, but it is very well done for what it is. It’s a time travel story, Part 1 has Harry, Ron and Ginny travelling back from a bad timeline to try to create a better outcome, Part 2 stars Albus as time-traveller trying to prevent Harry dying an early death, and Part 3 (incomplete) I don’t think I’ve read because I got sick of it before then. I’m mainly mentioning this because it’s a well-crafted story that featured time-travelling Albus long before Cursed Child became a thing; this is another story that’s invested in canon ships (including a truly creepy version of Ron/Hermione that made my skin crawl far beyond what that ship usually does) and Rowling’s value system, but at least the time travel mechanics are well-thought-out and it did some interesting things.
Just because I like the genre, I’ll throw in a couple of other time travel stories. “Arachne” by sylvanawood and “The Traveller” by Somigliana are my favourite SS/HG time travel stories, and “The Apprentice” by Deborah Peters (though sadly unfinished and unlikely to ever be so) is by far the best of the “Snape is forced to relive his childhood” genre (it’s one of the only portrayals of Severus/Lily I can still tolerate, its portrayal of magical acadaemia is a thing of beauty, and it has truly memorable and compelling OCs. Seriously, when I reread this I do it more for the OCs than anything else, they’re fantastic). These three come highly recommended by me, and are relatively short if you’re turned off by massive novel-length monstrosities.
[Loten here, more to confirm that I’m still alive than anything else. I can’t contribute much to this one, Mitchell reads more fanfic than I do – the more of my own stuff I write, the more concrete my headcanons have become, and the harder it is for me to enjoy someone else’s vision. I also personally don’t like time travel as a genre, though Mitchell’s talked about some of these to me and they do sound pretty good. (Also some of my plotbunnies are post-canon, I really need to get back into writing again…)]
Add your own in the comments! Let’s be fanfic connoisseurs together and purge the taste of Cursed Child from our brains.