Ah, December- Christmas is coming, my finals are over with, and the first installment of The Hobbit has been released in theaters. In honor of these momentous events, let’s eviscerate one of the many, many fics which make a mockery of my most beloved fictional setting, Middle-earth- in this case, a bad Harry Potter crossover. This is “Saving Middle-earth” by Dream-Like-State (link here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ) a fic which came to me courtesy of Pottersues. Sporking with me once again will be Vin, heroine of the Mistborn trilogy. *Vin materializes in a theater seat behind the blurry outline of MasterGhandalf sprawled face-forward, as if she’d been in the middle of a leap before being pressed into sporking duty. Quickly righting herself and adjusting her cloak, she looks at her surroundings in distaste*Vin: You again. By the Forgotten Gods, was Karala not enough for you? I still feel a twitch of rage every time I hear the name *Sara*MasterGhandalf: Hey, I think you’ll get a kick out of this one. Anyway, let’s get this show on the road- first by meeting a badly sue-d up Hermione Granger…Chapter One
Chapter OneMasterGhandalf: The chapter number was so exciting, DLS had to tell it to us twice.
As Hermione granger stood alone, four Death Eaters surrounded her.MasterGhandalf: So shocking was this turn of events, she forget to capitalize her “g”.
Vin: If she’s surrounded by four opponents, she’s not exactly *alone*, now is she?
"You may have killed our master, Mudblood, but we still live. And now that we've finally found you,
you're going to die." One of them sneered at her.MasterGhandalf: Okay, Hermione helped defeat Voldemort, true, but Harry was the one who finished him off (if you want to get really technical, he finished himself off…) This fic was started in 08, the author should be aware of that.
Vin: Well, what do you expect from stock villains straight out of central casting?
It was true; they had defeated Voldemort. Only a year ago. Now, Hermione was an Auror. She had finished at Hogwarts and had taken up the job so she could hunt down the remainder of the Death Eaters who were still wreaking havoc in the wizarding world.MasterGhandalf: Hermione going back to finish her missed seventh year? I can totally buy it, and in fact, I’m pretty sure JKR confirmed it. Becoming an Auror on such short notice when the job requires several years of further training? Hermione’s good, but she’s not that good. Why’d she even want to be an auror, anyway? That was Harry’s dream- he’s the one who always throws himself straight into the fight and has, to quote Hermione herself, the “saving people thing”. Hermione’s more of a bookworm/social crusader who fights physically when she has too, which is why canonically she entered the Ministry as an adult and worked to reform it from within. Apparently, that just wasn’t badass enough.
Also, I’m pretty sure the Death Eaters as an organization disbanded after Voldie’s death, much like they did after his first defeat.
"It won't do you any good." She growled. "Killing an Auror isn't going to stop you from going to Azkaban." She spat.Vin: Yes it will. You’re the only auror here, they kill you, they escape. It’s basic logic- I thought you were supposed to be intelligent?
MasterGhandalf: With all the spitting and growling this Hermione’s doing, it’s safe to say she’s a good deal more feral than her canon counterpart.
One of them laughed, lunging forward, his wand pointed at her chest.
"Crucio!" He shouted and a searing hot pain shot through her body, tearing at her insides. She screamed and found that she couldn't reach the wand hidden in her robes.MasterGhandalf: Okay, here’s my biggest problem with this scene- Hermione, in canon, is very much a Badass Bookworm by the end of the series. Add on the rigorous, if time-compressed, auror training, and she should be that much more formidable. How are four bozos who don’t even merit names curbstomping her so badly? And why on Earth doesn’t she have her wand already out when fighting four Death Eaters?
This went on for several minutes as she writhed in pain. Finally they stopped the torture and laughed cruelly at her convulsing form.Vin: As opposed to friendly laughing?
It was at that moment a pendant showed itself, covering her heart, where the Avada kedavra was headed.Vin: What Avada Kedavra? They were using the Cruciatus!
MasterGhandalf: Holy deus ex machine, Batman!
It hit the target and a bright golden light exploded and she was gone.Vin: She was gone? Is it over? Can I go?
MasterGhandalf: Alas, our torment has barely begun.
It was as if she was falling and she somehow wondered if this is what it was like to die. But it couldn't be… She could still feel pain and her pendant was burning against her skin.
She landed with a loud thud in fresh air.MasterGhandalf: She landed… with a thud… in the air… *brain breaks*
The air flooded her lungs and she found herself gasping for air, before promptly passing out.Vin: I promptly slunk out of the shadows, tied her up, and hauled her off. The real Hermione Granger was soon found, and canon was restored. What? A girl can dream.
"Gandalf, come quickly!" a voice said.MasterGhandalf: Thanks to the utter lack of scene change, it seems Hermione has developed the remarkable ability to continue narrating while unconscious.
Gandalf appeared. "What is it, Aragorn?"
"This girl… she just came out of nowhere. She's hurt." He said urgently.MasterGhandalf: “she just came out of nowhere” is such a Middle-earthian phrase, isn’t it?
Gandalf checked the girl for a pulse. "She's alive. Only just." He said, his voice solemn. "Summon Théoden's healers." He ordered.
Aragorn left quickly. He had just been smoking his pipe on the steps of Rohan after freeing King Théoden from Saruman's evil, when this girl crashed through a golden light. It was as if a… portal had been opened.Vin: Yes… that’s almost exactly what it was like, in fact…
MasterGhandalf: In addition to poor phrasing implying it was Aragorn, not Gandalf, who freed Theoden, this whole sequence is off. In the book, Theoden springs into action almost immediately upon being freed; in the movies, he stops long enough to bury his son, then refugees show up immediately afterwards and he springs into action. When exactly would Aragorn be having time to just sit around on the front porch smoking? Vin: *pulls out a map* Also, it looks like Rohan is a country. The steps you’re referring to are probably not the only ones there. They’re probably supposed to be the steps of Meduseld.
Gandalf laid the girl out. She looked to be about nineteen and not from this world. She did not wear what women were meant to wear.Vin: *splutters* WHAT? What women were meant to wear? I happen to wear men’s clothing most of the time, because I have a very rough job that requires a lot of fighting and agility that would be hard to do in a dress. I also happen to like to dress up and be pretty every now and again when time permits it. But that doesn’t mean my “skulking around dark alleys* clothing means I’m from another world!
MasterGhandalf: She’s probably wearing jeans or something, which would admittedly send the Middle-earth natives into perplexity, but I’d think the fact she appeared in flashing golden light is a much better sign that she’s from another world.
The healers came in and Gandalf watched as they worked quickly and assessed her injuries.
It turned out; she had broken her ribs and had few bruises, but nothing too serious. He waited for her to wake up.MasterGhandalf: When did this happen? Neither the Cruciatus nor Avada Kedavra causes physical damage, and based on the previous description I don’t think she fell from that great a height- probably enough for the bruises, but not the broken bones.
Three days passed, and Hermione's eyes fluttered open. The light blinded her. She closed her eyes tightly again and heard a merry chuckle from beside her.MasterGhandalf: Because with a war on and all, everyone has plenty of time to just stand around and wait for a stranger who isn’t that badly injured to get better…
"The light is a bit bright, if you've been sleeping for three days." The voice said, amused.
Finally, she opened her eyes again and they adjusted. She looked around. She was in a room, on a comfortable bed. There was a window on the other side, flanked by some curtains with horses all over it.Vin: Horses all over the curtains? Imagine the mess!
Sitting next to her bed, down near her feet, was an old man, a staff in his hands. He had long white hair, a beard to match and wore white robes. He seemed to shine an unearthly glow.
"W-who are you?" She croaked out.
"I am Gandalf The White. Also known as the White Wizard. Who, may I ask, are you?"
"Hermione Granger." She paused. "Where am I? Am I dead?"
He chuckled again. "No, no, you are not dead. You are in Rohan."
"And where exactly is Rohan?"
"Middle Earth." He said simply. "I know you are not from our world. I have seen your clothing. Tell me, where exactly are you from?"MasterGhandalf: I love how casual Gandalf is about this. Interdimensional travel doesn’t exist in Middle-earth, you know.
"I'm from Earth, more specifically, England."
He chuckled again. "I thought you might be from there." He paused, thinking, a long finger tapping his chin. "Do you know Albus Dumbledore?"
Her eyes widened. "Y-yes. But he's been d-dead for some time now…" She looked away from the man's shocked and saddened expression.
"It's very sad to hear that." He said slowly. "Albus was a good friend of mine."Vin: How, exactly? Did he just pop across dimensions for tea?
MasterGhandalf: Obviously they met at “Mentors who die but can’t help still messing around anonymous”. Obi-wan Kenobi brought the drinks.
"He was my headmaster."
"How did he die?"
"A dark Lord killed him. His name was Voldemort."Vin: I was under the impression Albus Dumbledore was killed by one Severus Snape on his own instructions?
MasterGhandalf: And by now, Hermione should know all the details. And why is “Lord” capitalized but “dark” isn’t?
"Ah, I see." His blue eyes shone with tears.
"I'm sorry for your loss."
"And I am sorry for yours." He replied. "Anyway, so you're from Earth." He stated.Vin: As casually as if he was discussing the weather.
"Yes, I don't even know how I got here… I was under attack one minute… and the next, I'm falling and I wake up here."
"Under attack? But surely no one would attack you? You look as if you're only nineteen."MasterGhandalf: Because Middle-earth is such a happy, cheery place where everyone always gets along and the concept of violence based on greed or hatred is completely unknown… wait a minute…
She let out a bitter laugh. "That would never stop Voldemort. I'm a muggleborn witch. A mudblood." She spat at no one in particular. "He wants me, and people like me, dead."
"Mudblood? What is this about mud in the blood?"MasterGhandalf: Gandalf is supposed to be highly intelligent. I think he’d understand from context that “mudblood” is a slur.
"They say that if a witch is born to two muggles, their blood is dirty. We aren't pure like them."
"I see. However, from what I feel radiating off you, you are powerful. Be you pure, or not."Vin: I don’t think you can just sense magical power in either Middle-earth or the Potterverse *flips through Rings* yes, it would appear that Gandalf himself normally conceals what he’s capable of, so he should know that full well.
She laughed bitterly again. "That doesn't matter to them. All that matters is pure blood. They believe we don't deserve magic, if we have non-magical parents."
"Well you won't find any prejudice here, Hermione." He bowed his head.MasterGhandalf: *glances up at his comment two previously and hums nonchalantly*
"Good. In fact, I'm glad I can take a break from such dark times. Voldemort may have been defeated, but now they want revenge."
He froze. A break from the dark times? Oh dear… "Hermione, I don't know how to put it, but… I'm afraid you won't be getting a break from darkness."Vin: *as Gandalf*: All that I said earlier about prejudice being unknown and not understanding why anyone would attack you? Tough luck, kid…
He waited for her reaction. When she was silent, he continued. "You see…" He began to tell the story of the ring.MasterGhandalf: Gah! That’s a metric ton of exposition to just drop on someone! He didn’t even tell the whole story to Frodo, who had the damn Ring (which should be capitalized) until Rivendell! ‘Course, if this was canon Hermione, she’d just eat it up.
When the story had come to where they were, in Rohan, Hermione had paled considerably. "So, two of these… Hobbits, or whatever they are, are on their way, alone, to a place called Mordor to destroy an evil ring?"
"Yes, that's right."Vin: I see you have a keen grasp of the obvious.
"How did they get separated from the rest of the fellowship?"MasterGhandalf: Apparently that bit of key information wasn’t part of the story of the Ring.
"Frodo decided it would be best if he were to go out on his own."MasterGhandalf: Well that, and Boromir’s corruption (and redemption, though Frodo didn’t stick around for that part), and the orc attack…
"Well, are we going to find them?" She said expectantly.
"No, Frodo and Sam have my complete faith. Besides, we are needed here. I can feel Saruman's forces growing."Vin: Makes it sound like Saruman is a tumor.
MasterGhandalf: And I’m sure Saruman’s forces have been growing immensely while you all have been sitting on your butts for three days doing nothing!
"So what are we doing?"Vin: Quick to consider herself part of the “we”, isn’t she?
"Well, I am trying to convince King Théoden to meet them in battle. But he has toher plans. He wished to take everyone to Helm's Deep."
"Helm's Deep? Where's that?"
"Over in the mountains… it's their defence fortress."Vin: I’ve always been rather fond of offense fortresses, myself.
"Oh, well that seems like a good idea." She said optimistically.
"No, we need to take a stand. Going to Helm's deep will only egg them on." He said angrily. "However, it is the King's wish, and I will not force him to go against it."
She nodded. "Are they planning the defences yet?"
"Not yet; they're going to wait until they get to Helm's deep."MasterGhandalf: Because it’s not like the Rohirrim haven’t used Helm’s Deep before and already know how to defend it or anything.
"Oh good. I can help."
"Absolutely not!" He exclaimed.
"What? Why not?"
"Because I will not see a woman fighting in a dangerous war."MasterGhandalf: Okay… look, author. I know what you’re doing, and if it had been Theoden or another human character doing the infodumping here, I wouldn’t have worried about it. The Rohirrim- and from what we can see, the men of Gondor as well- aren’t exactly in favor of women going to war, as Eowyn can attest. However, Gandalf is not Rohirric; he’s an immortal semi-divine messenger in human form, sent to rally the people against Sauron. He’s a firm believer in true courage coming from unforeseen and unlikely places, which is why he was always a firm believer in the hobbits. One of his closest allies is Galadriel, who is an immortal, magically-powerful, extremely formidable woman (and various external sources indicate she was something of an Action Girl in her youth). Long story short, if someone wants to fight against the Enemy, Gandalf is not someone who’ll turn them away for something as flimsy as gender prejudice.
"But I can fight! I come from a place plagued with war, and I'm a witch! I can help. I can also put up defensive spells on the fortress!" She protested.MasterGhandalf: You know, calling herself a witch isn’t going to help her case. In the Potterverse, a witch is simply a female wizard. In Middle-earth- well, does “the Witch-king of Angmar” ring any bells? Furthermore, that does bring me to an interesting question. The Potterverse is basically our world, with a secret society of wizards alongside it. Hermione is a British nerd. Even if the LOTR movies wouldn’t be out by the time the Potter books take place, surely she’d have heard of the books, or at least read The Hobbit as a child?
"You can help plan the defensives if the King will let you. But I'll not let you fight. It's much too dangerous."
"I've faced much worse. I've com\e face to face with men who want to kill me with magic!"Vin: Which is impressive, but an entirely different beast from facing orcs who want to kill you with sharp pieces of metal. MasterGhandalf: And why is she so determined to get into the thick of things, anyway? Helping plan the defenses honestly seems much more up Hermione’s alley. Determination to get into the physical fighting is something I’d associate more with Ginny or Tonks.
"We'll put it to King Théoden. He shall decide." He sighed.
Hermione stood in the hall, her face was flustered and her throat was sore. "I can fight!"Vin: She was flustered because of the fact that, owing to the lack of scene-change, she was randomly teleported into the King’s hall without warning.
"You are a woman!" The dwarf, Gimli, boomed.MasterGhandalf: Alas, poor Gimli. Apparently with Boromir already dead someone had to be the “sexist idiot” of the Fellowship and it looks like you got stuck with the job.
"That doesn't matter! It shouldn't matter! I have magic!"Vin: Mind demonstrating? I happen to be a woman from a society where women aren’t normally fighters, but I got trained as a warrior because I have powers most people don’t, and that makes me a very valuable asset. You want these people to take you seriously? Conjure a fire, turn someone’s sword into a parakeet, levitate Gimli- show them you have powerful magic rather than just talking about it!
"That doesn't count as combat!" He boomed again.
"Yes it does! Besides, I've trained with a sword before!"MasterGhandalf: Since when? Last I checked, the only significant sword in the Potterverse is Gryffindor’s, and nobody really trains with it. Hogwarts doesn’t offer a fencing class and aurors don’t use swords, so I have no idea where Hermione picked this skill up.
"Tha' Doesn'a matter! You are a woman and will only slow us down!"
"Eugh! You are infuriating!" She yelled at him.Vin:… our supposedly professional, badass auror, people.
"Enough!" Came the voice of the one called Aragorn. "We shouldn't fight about this."
"Exactly, she shouldn't fight at all!"
"Oh come on! I can use a sword! I've had practice with one of our most skilled swordsmen back home! I also have magic."MasterGhandalf: Again, what swordsmen?
"As soon as she comes face-to-face with an orc she'll run away screaming!" He exclaimed, throwing his stubby arms around.
"I've faced things that have resurrected themselves! Voldemort is more snake than human! And he uses a wand!"
A few men in the hall shuddered.Vin: Yes, because this person they’ve never heard of using a weapon the capabilities of which they have no knowledge of is just so horrifying to this warrior culture.
"ENOUGH!" Aragorn bellowed. "Stop fighting. King Théoden, what is your say on this matter?"
The king in question looked on, thoroughly amused. "I think we should allow her to help us. And, if it comes to it, she can fight if she likes." He paused, thinking. "However, she will need to freshen up her skills with a sword."MasterGhandalf: Wait, Theoden, who was opposed to his niece riding to war (though he didn’t seem to mind her being a warrior- in the books at least, she’s openly armed and armored around him at various points and he doesn’t seem to care; it’s only when she wants to fight at the Pelennor Fields that he puts his foot down) is just okay with this girl who inexplicably materialized on his front porch doing it? Honestly, it would make more sense for Hermione to convince Gandalf, then have Gandalf convince the king.
"But she's a woman!" Gimli bellowed.MasterGhandalf: Someone adjust the dwarf; I think he’s glitched. He’s just repeating himself over and over again.
"Woman or no woman, we need all the help we can get." Aragorn said calmly.Vin: Finally, someone seems to be reasonably in-character.
Gimli spluttered indignantly.
"Right, it's settled then. We leave in the morning."
Hermione smirked at the dwarf. He grumbled in reply.
She walked out of the hall and onto the steps that led to the hall. She found Eowyn sitting down and seated herself next to her.
"Are you alright?" She asked.
"Yes, I'm fine." Eowyn replied.
They sat in silence for moment. The silence was interrupted when Théoden took Eowyn aside.Vin: Well, that was pointless. MasterGhandalf: Looks like the point was to establish Eowyn as jealous of Hermione-sue. Of course, considering that Hermione is being allowed to fight when Eowyn isn’t for no clear reason (for all that she won’t shut up about her magic, she hasn’t actually demonstrated said magic to anyone) so I entirely sympathize with Eowyn for thinking this whole situation is completely unfair.
Hermione sighed and got up. She walked down the stone steps, her new skirts swishing with every step; she went out the gates and came to the edges of a forest.
Here, she sat on a large rock, watching as people moved about, getting their things ready for the journey of the next day.
She thought of home; how the Death Eaters were seeking revenge, how Luna was getting married to Ron.Vin: Wait… I thought Ron and Hermione were…?MasterGhandalf: In canon, yes. Here? Not so much- you’ll see what’s coming in Hermione’s love-life shortly.
Her heart wrenched. What if she couldn't make it home for the wedding?
"It is beautiful out here, is it not?" A soft, silky voice bought her back to earth – well, Middle Earth.
"Y-yes, it is." She said, gazing at the one they called Legolas. He had dark brown eyes that looked sharp and assertive and long blonde hair that went just past his shoulders.
"You wish to fight. Why?" He asked taking a seat next to her.
"Back in my world, there was a war waging. It still is. It started when this wizard became evil. He called himself Lord Voldemort." She paused, letting it sink in. "Soon, he started gathering followers who called themselves Death Eaters. They began to wreak havoc on the wizarding world. I wasn't even alive when this happened.
"My friend Harry Potter, his parents were killed by Lord Voldemort, he tried to stop a prophecy. But when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, who was only one at the time, he failed and his powers were drained from him." She stopped, looking to make sure Legolas was listening.Vin: Okay, so we skip over the Lord of the Rings infodump, which will be plot relevant, but get the Harry Potter dump in full, even though it’s in all probability not going to be? Where is the sense here?
"Everyone though he had gone for good and even his name was bad to speak. Everyone feared his return. He did return, but in small forms and when Harry, myself and our friend Ron were eleven, Harry battled him for the first time since the night his parents were killed.
"He didn't fully return until our forth year, Harry had been in this competition type thing, when he was transported to a graveyard with another student. The other student was killed." Tears were welling up in her eyes. "That was the night he resurrected himself. That was the night the war began again."
"It sounds like you come from hard times. But that still doesn't answer my question."
"I fight because nobody deserves to go through any of that. I know you've already had a war over the ring and it has come again, and I can't help but hope that if I fight, I'm making sure at least one other child never has to experience something like that. Ever." She said, her voice cracking with passion.MasterGhandalf: You know, that honestly sounds more like something Harry would say. He was the one who lost his family and was determined to fight on a personal level for personal reasons, and tended to get the most outraged at injustice on a personal level. Hermione, by contrast, was a target not for personal reasons but because she was part of a group (Muggle-borns) the Death Eaters hated. She’s also someone who hates institutionalized injustice in general, as we see with her determination to free the house-elves. I’m not saying she doesn’t care about how wars hurt people personally- her best friend is Harry Potter, after all- but I think she’d be more likely to talk about how wars hurt people on a larger scale and why what the Dark Lord (Sauron or Voldemort) does is wrong.
"For someone so young, you speak wise words."
"I am not young."
"How old are you, then?"
"Nineteen, nearly twenty."
"You are young. Enjoy that you won't always be young."
"What makes you say that?"
"I don't age like the men in this world. I will not grow old. I am an immortal Elf."Vin: And men in other worlds don’t age, apparently?
"Isn't that supposed to be a good thing?"
He chuckled. "Not always. Come, we had best get ready to leave. I'll walk you back."MasterGhandalf: The good news- the author seems to acknowledge that immortality isn’t all it’s made out to be, something that actually fits the themes of both Potter and Rings. The bad news? It looks like we’re being set up for Hermione/Legolas shipping (having read ahead, we are indeed). WHY? Well, overall, this is allegedly a Potter crossover, but really doesn’t feel like it. Hermione has had her personality scooped out and been turned into a generic action girl sue rather than the social crusading badass bookworm from the novels and badly shoehorned into Middle-Earth by means that make no sense for either world. Aragorn is the only Rings character who really seems like himself, and that’s more because he hasn’t had a whole lot to do yet; Gandalf is less accepting of Warrior!Hermione that he should be and Theoden more, while Gimli sounds like a broken sexist record (why he even cares about one human woman fighting is never made clear), Legolas is being set up for sue-shipping (what else is new?) and Eowyn must really be feeling that the universe hates her. Oh, and the author appears allergic to scene-changes. Vin: Next time on “Saving Middle-Earth”, we’ll have the Battle of the Hornburg. I can barely contain my enthusiasm.
MasterGhandalf: Look on the bright side- at least it’s not Karala.
Vin: It’s five times as long. I’m not reassured.