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Thread: Pairing Dynamics

  1. #1

    Pairing Dynamics

    This is a collection of essays that concern the dynamics of various fan-fiction pairings, and how to/how not to write them.

    This is a guide for anyone approaching the writing of a certain pairing - the authors of these essays have been hand-selected and approved to write these essays. They've proven that they have an idea what they're talking about.

    If you have an essay to submit, please submit it to Marauder by Midnight via PM. Not all submissions will be approved. All essays should address the pairing from a fan-fiction standpoint and include points of characterisation, cliches and common mistakes. They should also be as objective as possible. They should also be free of technical errors.

    Of particular interest are essays pertaining to pairings with their own categories on MNFF [Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Harry/Hermione, etc], as well as other canon pairings [Bill/Fleur, Molly/Arthur]. All other pairings are welcome, with the exclusion of pairings that would not be allowed on MNFF [ie, pairings that include incest or beastiality] .

    Current Collection of Essays:

    Draco/Ginny, by AlexisTaylor
    Ron/Luna by TheVanishingAct
    Draco/Hermione by coppercurls
    James/Lily by ElectronicQuillster
    Lucius/Narcissa by MorganRay

  2. #2

    Draco/Ginny, by AlexisTaylor

    Draco/Ginny Fictions by AlexisTaylor

    So you’ve decided that your muse calls for a story based on the love of Draco and Ginny. That’s quite an ambitious project. If you do not agree, you may be in for a rejection. This ship is one of the most unexpected and, therefore, difficult to force relationships. Ginny Weasley hates Draco Malfoy for a plethora of reasons, all quite obvious to the reader. Draco Malfoy has not only shown no interest in the young redhead, but hates her entire family.

    That’s not to say it’s impossible. It’s just unlikely. There are many, many fictions already up on MNFF that passed the test, and if you read them, you can get a clear idea of how many authors force the two together. The following are some clichés within the love match:

    - Draco and Ginny actually live right near one another, grew up in one another’s presence and have a secret, deep friendship. Why this doesn’t work: Ginny was born in the midst of Death Eater trials and uncertainty. Lucius Malfoy was quite obviously suspiciously Death Eater-like. Can you imagine Molly allowing Ginny to go over and play at their house, or inviting their son over to the Burrow? Don’t you think he would have less loathing for their poor family if he spent his childhood there? Aside from his father, what motivation would Draco have for ‘hiding’ his affection for them? Yes, unfortunately, Draco and Ginny are not secret friends.

    - Draco confesses his undying love in the face of her grand beauty. Why this isn’t true: Ginny’s always been a bit on the cute side. Why would he up and discover her beauty randomly? She’s been popular for ages, but only has influence where the Boy Wonder is concerned – and we know Draco doesn’t need any favors from Wonder Boy. The most you can get from this is that he lusts for her, but denies it to himself. Yes, he would deny it instead of nourishing it inwardly, because there’s something Draco equates with Muggles and the baseness of humanity – poverty. He would rather perish than be associated with it, or be caught desiring someone from that background.

    - Through nonconsensual sex, Ginny begins to fall in love with Draco. Why this is a mistake of Trojan proportions: Rape is never a subject to be dealt with lightly. It is the responsibility of the writer to not use such a terrible act as a tool to push two characters together. It’s vile. What’s more is that it’s terribly unlikely. Do you think the portraits are everywhere for no reason at all? Someone always sees everything that goes on in that castle. If the act was able to occur, Draco would not get away with it, and Ginny wouldn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a normal fantasy, but to portray it so rosily in fan fiction is a crime against literature and common sense.

    - Harry is accepting of Ginny’s choice after only a feeble argument. Why not: Harry has grown a lot in the span of just one year…but he’s not un-Harry-like. He gets very angry, he’s vengeful, and he’s incredibly lucky. Harry obviously has a great love for his one-time girlfriend and will undoubtedly continue to feel strongly for her. If Ginny announced her joining with Draco, Harry would never allow the matter to rest until the images are out of his head and the two have split up in one way or another.

    What is right with a good Ginny/Draco fiction:

    - The timing is slow. They aren’t rushed to be put together. They’re reluctant and they’ll fight and are angry with each other and bicker until one slowly gives way and then the other. A slowly developed romance is the best for this category.

    - Impeccable characterization. Ginny hasn’t lost any of her fire, or her feelings on any matter. Neither has Draco. He doesn’t become a romantic, simpering, sensitive soul and she doesn’t become a damsel in distress. Working with the way the characters are – not the way you need them to be for an easy romance – is the best route to a fiction worthy of applause….and many reviews.

    - New perspectives. You can transplant them into another area entirely or you can simply give them an occasion that would change anyone’s mind. I do not mean Draco’s dad dying, or Ginny seeing that Purebloods aren’t all that bad. I do mean give them an opportunity to begin to change. Offer up an occasion that isn’t in any of the books. Add to JKR’s world, do not rehash the same places and events.

    Most importantly, make your fiction original. Let it stand out among the many other fictions that have the exact same goal as you do. Do not rely on the theory of ‘opposites attract’. Instead, invent new places, new scenarios, and realistic ways for people to change. People do change, but they do not change who they were either. Give the characters a new path, but do not change who they are or where they came from.

    Give them a chance at a love that could really work for them, without compromising JKR’s hard work.

  3. #3

    Ron/Luna by TheVanishingAct

    Ron/Luna by TheVanishingAct

    Ron/Luna was known as the ship that went along with Harry/Hermione -- no one really respected it as a true way to create fics. However, this dynamic ship has many ways of being beautiful -- and is catching up as one of the most popular ships in the fandom. It is a difficult ship to write -- so how does one do it? There are two key factors that need to be addressed or shown in a Ron/Luna pairing.


    Luna is known for her quirky ways of looking at the world and people in general. This should be applied if it is a Luna POV fic, or any description in how Luna describes Ron. Also, how would she talk to him? Would she just say “I love you”? Luna would have something else odd to remark on, which Ron would take the wrong way, most of the time. But Luna won’t be aware on why Ron is mad, confused, weirded-out, etc.. She’s just being herself.


    Timing for the start of a relationship, the height, and possibly the end is everything. Planning on a “summer fling” thing after the war is over? Then try and find away for the more canon-fit pairings to not work, pr have something that brings them to together. Are you seeing a more heavy, has-to-be fic? Then use death as an overtone, and have one comfort the other.

    Remember, the key to an excellent Ron/Luna pairing isn’t overloading the reader with “they are together forever-ever-ever” sort of description. Give the reader a look into your thoughts on how they could be!

  4. #4

    Draco/Hermione by coppercurls

    Draco/Hermione by coppercurls

    There is one pairing that you either love or you hate, you deem it to be impossible or you cherish it for all of its possibilities. I am, of course, speaking of Draco/ Hermione. So often misconstrued, this is one of my favorite pairings because it has its trials and tribulations much like any real relationship would. The most common error writers experience with this pairing is the attempt to force it, to make the new sweet Draco, or the bad girl Hermione. But you do not need to change the character’s personalities for them to work. And of course there is the ever present Yule Ball fic, the masquerade, the unknown love. But again, you don’t need to hide who is falling in love with whom for a good story.

    So they fight like cats and dogs when they are together. Let them. Above all you have to let the characters be themselves. Have you ever noticed how many great romances come out of fighting? There is Katherine and Petruchio (Taming of the Shrew), Mr. Darcy and Elisabeth (Pride and Prejudice), and even Princess Leia and Han Solo (although I grant you that may be stretching it a bit). At least the entire time they are fighting, they are speaking to each other, albeit loudly. And then, in time, they begin to shout a little less, and run out of insults they haven’t used a hundred times before. And after that they may even begin to listen to each other, if for no other reason than to generate new insults, and eventually the listening will turn to understanding. Yes it is a painfully slow process- but it works. (And on a side note, most people aren’t reflecting on how “cute” their opponent is when they are verbally sparring.)

    One of the main reasons that the Draco/ Hermione pairing works so well is that the characters themselves are so similar. Let’s be honest. We all know that Draco is proud, arrogant, and something of a jerk. But we tend to forget that he is also intelligent, sensitive- he cares what other people think about him, and on occasion he has even had to admit that he can’t do everything by himself. He is charismatic, look at all his Slytherin followers, and able to lead them because he understands what effectively motivates people, even those of questionable honesty or ethics.

    Hermione is smart, rule abiding (although she has loosened up some), and an organizer, capable of planning things through to the bitter end. But she is also stubborn, willing to sit through or fight through anything if she thinks it will get her to her goal. While sensitive, she is able to put up with a fair amount of insults to herself, she even restrains Ron or Harry on occasion to prevent them from trying to protect her. However, if the insult is delivered to her friends she is willing to fight viscously. Hermione also tries to think the best about people. She has trouble coming to terms with the fact that Snape is evil, staunchly defending him through much of the first five books. One of Hermione’s main flaws is that she is not a people person. She can intimidate and pressure people into listening to her, but she does not have a magnetic personality and can at times be dreadfully hard to get along with.

    It is all these characteristics which make Draco and Hermione so perfect for each other. First, for them just to work as a team, Hermione has all the talent for planning out and preparing for an idea, as well as finding simple mistakes. Draco adds the impromptu and flexibility to the plan while also providing a figurehead and leadership position that people would follow. Using these skills they can at least start off as a team and work into a comfortable relationship from there. Both of them are proud, unwilling to ask help, and as such will butt heads over trivial issues. Both of them will have original prejudices which they have to work out- harsh words don’t just disappear; it will take a while to clear the air. Also, both Draco and Hermione are intelligent. Because of this, they will be able to keep up with one another mentally, which really is an important factor in a relationship. Neither of them would be happy with the prospect of always having to talk down to their partner, having to limit their intellect to that of another’s.

    One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to write a Draco/ Hermione is trying to force them together, particularly with a clichéd plot line. There was only ever one ball at Hogwarts, and that was during the Triwizard tournament. This did not become an annual event. Also, even if both Hermione and Draco were masked, they still wouldn’t be too hard to recognize. Both have distinctive hair for starters. Also, Hogwarts just isn’t big enough to have this kind of mystery; everyone in their years will know each other by sight, height, and probably voice. The ball is just too clichéd and has too many flaws. Another idea to avoid is the Head Dormitory syndrome. JK has never mentioned that the Head Boy and Girl share a dormitory, and as such, the likelihood of its sudden appearance or instatement is ridiculous. If you must have a room for them, a common room or study of some sort would not only be more likely, but it would eliminate Draco/Hermione catching the other in their pajamas, thus creating a five minute reflection on how hot/fit/cute they got over the summer. There is a better way, guys.

    If you do want to show signs of physical attraction make them small. Detail is key. Maybe Draco will notice the way the light bounces off her frizzy hair making it look like a halo, or the way she has five distinct smiles, or three types of laugh. Maybe Hermione will notice the way his hair falls out from behind his ear to just brush his temple, or the way his brow furrows just so when he is reading, or how his eyes light up when he is talking about quidditch. The subtly of these revelations is much more intimate, and also shows that the characters have been observing each other or around each other for some time. Hermione and Draco are certainly not strangers.

    I think I have covered just about everything, but remember above all, keep the characters true to themselves! If you want to read some really great Draco/ Hermione stories, you should check out Sags Like a Heavy Load or Red Summer of 19 by bk at Also here on mugglenet I recommend Square One by sinktheships, Last Flicker of Light by Susan05, On Edge by Eilime, and Security by IceHeart161. All of these do a fantastic job of breaking the mould and showing what can be done with this pairing. Also, feel free to check out the Dramione awards for more suggestions.

  5. #5

    James/Lily by ElectronicQuillster

    James/Lily by ElectronicQuillster

    James and Lily are one of the most solid canon chips in the Harry Potter universe. As such, there’ve been many clichés solidified in the fanon world about how they got together and spent the rest of their short lives until that fateful Halloween. If written badly, a reader nearly feels compelled to cheer on Voldemort so that the story can be put out of its’ misery.

    The most successful stories in the genre that I’ve seen start in original ways. Don’t begin the story on the first day of seventh year. That’s how 99% of them begin. There are other days that exist in the lives of James and Lily. Did you fall in love with someone on the first day of school? Not so likely.

    In OotP, we’re given a glimpse right into the lives of Harry’s parents. James was spending time with his friends while eyeing a group of girls down by the lake. My logic screams that they had groups of friends. It doesn’t mean that all of Lily’s friends fell passionately in love with Sirius, Remus and Peter, it just means that Lily and James have friends that roll in and out of the picture.

    So what drew these two together? What made them compatible? How did they fall in love? We know from the MuggleNet/TLC interview with JK Rowling that Lily didn’t hate James. It was more of that “hate.” That’s actually one of the great things about this pairing. There is so much left to interpretation. We know that Lily and James weren’t one of those couples that were together for their entire lives. We know that James had a big head and had to tone it down. We know that Lily was a pretty popular girl that a lot of people were fond of.

    For me, when writing ANY relationship in fiction, I like to draw on examples either from my own life or from existing media. Every story is different, but there are common themes in humanity. Sometimes you’ve got to swallow your pride and admit your true feelings for someone. Each love story is different, so that’s what you’ve got to remember. The only real guidelines you’ve got to stick by are the general personality traits we’ve been given by JKR as well as the timelines she’s set. James and Lily started going out in their seventh year at Hogwarts. They married sometime in the next two years. Their son was born on July 31, 1980. The key is originality within the boundaries.

    For the end of this essay, I’d just like to say that I’m leading by example with this essay. It isn't long. You can write a short romance about James and Lily. You don’t need to write a romance that spans from September 1, 1971 until Halloween 1981. People falling in love is not a plot. Falling in love is something that happens while other things are going on in your life. James and Lily were a vibrant couple, and we honor their memory with fond tales.

  6. #6

    Lucius/Narcissa by MorganRay

    Lucius and Narcissa By MorganRay

    The most difficult aspect of Lucius and Narcissa’s relationship is that we’ve never had a scene where they’ve spoken to each other in any of the books. Therefore, the relationship between the two has to be derived from other sources, and this leads to a wide variety of interpretations on how these two are as a couple. The nature of their relationship can be perceived in several ways depending on how the canon is viewed.

    When writing fanfiction, most people immediately conjure up the image of Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. However, relying on the book rather than the movie is a must when writing this couple, and movie Lucius, with his “pimp cane,” should not be the sole source of interpretation for his character. He is described as having "the same pale, pointed face and identical cold, gray eyes" (CS4) as Draco does. The visual interpretation of Lucius in the movies by Isaacs provides a decent picture of Malfoy, but to really find the nature of his relationship with Narcissa, several circumstances must be considered.

    Image: Public verses Private

    Narcissa Malfoy has shown that she wears two faces. Her public face was seen when she refused to speak to other people at the Quidditch World Cup and sneered at them instead. She is also very hostile to Harry whenever she meets him in Diagon Alley. However, in “Spinners End” we see Narcissa weeping and begging Snape to help her son. This is the first real emotion other than disdain we’ve seen from Narcissa, and it hints that possibly, behind all the snobbery, there is something that resembles a moderately caring family in the Malfoys. At least on Narcissa’s part, she loves her son, which could infer that she also has some affection for her husband when circumstances are dire.

    However, this assumption cannot be absolute. A larger mystery to unravel with the Malfoys is Lucius. Does he have the same private and public face, or does he have more emotion when it comes to his family? J.K. Rowling commented on Lucius: “As far as somebody like Lucius Malfoy is concerned, for instance, a Muggle-born is as 'bad' as a Muggle.” This is most definitely Lucius’s views, as we’ve read, and this summarizes the public face he has. He also is known to be well connected at the Ministry. He is, though, much more timid around Voldamort, and this is the only time we’ve read that Lucius isn’t his usual, haughty self. He, too, like Narcissa, puts on a very effective public image of wealth and influence, but he, too, is terrified of Voldamort. However, like Narcissa, Lucius may take a different attitude when it comes to his family, but there is nothing conclusive to suggest that Lucius, like Narcissa, has a public and private face.

    Private and public image is important when speculating on Lucius and Narcissa’s relationship. If their attitudes in public were inferred to be their attitudes in private, the relationship would be a cold, loveless affair. This would also probably suggest an arranged marriage, and at best, some former lustful attraction that grew stale. However, if one considers that this pair may have affections that they don’t express openly, their relationship could be something more of a partnership, yet, it may not contain a lot of genuine love.


    The way parents treat their children often reflect how they feel about each other or reveal something about their relationship. Draco is Lucius and Narcissa’s only child, and it is obvious both parents focus a lot of attention on him. Draco, as Narcissa’s only child, is often doted upon by his mother, and this suggests an over-fondness for her son. It is possible that some of that fondness comes from Draco being Lucius’s child, but it is also equally plausible Narcissa loves Draco solely because he is her only offspring. Her feelings for Draco may reflect a cooled love for the father, or she may just love Draco simply because he is her only son.

    Narcissa’s intense, paternal love for Draco becomes apparent in the chapter “Spinner’s End” when she makes the second major point of the Unbreakable Vow “protect him from harm.” The vow is essentially about Draco, but if Draco fails, Voldamort will kill his entire family. So, in getting aid for Draco to complete his task, Narcissa is essentially protecting her entire family, not just her son. This speaks, also, of Narcissa's private affection for her family that the readers were unable to truly know until “Spinner’s End.”

    Lucius, on the other hand, is very stern with Draco. He will publicly criticize him, like he did in Borgin and Burkes, and he isn’t satisfied with his grades. Lucius’s sternness with his son is possibly because Draco is his heir that will carry on the Malfoy name. Lucius is proud of his heritage, and he is trying to instill that pride in Draco. Lucius’s pureblood pride points to some pride in his family, but this doesn’t diminish his expectations for Draco. Lucius’s high expectations probably apply to Narcissa, also. She is already gorgeous and pureblood, but it could be assumed their relationship is a cold one because Lucius may be very aloof. However, even though he beat Dobby, it is strictly a fanon misconception that he beats Narcissa. We’ve never heard of him beating Draco, and he holds purebloods in more esteem than a house elf. Also, it doesn’t make sense for Lucius to maim the two people who he is concerned present a perfect public face.

    Despite his criticisms of his son, Lucius makes an effort to procure Draco every advantage in life. He initially wants to enroll him in Durmstrang so he can learn the Dark Arts because he loathes Dumbledore. Consequently, Lucius has Dumbledore removed during Draco’s second year at Hogwarts by forcing the other governors to suspend him. It should also be dually noted that Narcissa was able to overrule Lucius’s decision to send Draco to Durmstrang, and this seems to suggest where the power really is in the Mafoy’s relationship. When Draco was attacked by Buckbeak, Lucius used his influence to get the Hippogriff condemned to death, and it can be assumed that Lucius did this for Draco. He throws around his weight in politics to procure these benefits for his family. Since Lucius’s family does reflect on him, though, it can also be inferred that his motives are selfish. He could value Narcissa and Draco like he would precious jewels and have no emotional attachment to them. However, underneath his aloof attitude may be some genuine affection for his family. That affection may take on a warped form, but it could be genuine all the same. With respect to his relationship with Narcissa, Lucius’s treatment of Draco seems to either suggest a very cold relationship where Lucius is criticizing and aloof. Despite this assumption, the pair could have hidden affections that may have not have come to light yet, and Draco may be the result of two people who had some type of attraction for each other. A middle ground may also be viewed where Lucius and Narcissa’s relationship is viewed as something of a business partnership, but until we have a scene where they interaction together, it is a true mystery what the true relationship is behind this enigmatic couple.[/

  7. #7
    Marauder by Midnight
    Just a little nudge that we could always use some essays, pairing essays or otherwise, for our lovely clinic to tack on the wall

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