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Day 7/7: Not young, not thin, not pretty

As therealsnape recently pointed out, the standards for conventionally attractive characters mean that they're often young, thin, and pretty. Let's finish the week by brainstorming all the other qualities that might make our Beholder characters attractive--physical or otherwise, to us personally, or to the characters we create. Do you (or your characters) like Krum's hooked nose, or Minerva's combination of gravitas and dry humor, or Arabella's sense of whimsy, or a face with character, or a stocky frame? Let us know!

Day 6/7: The books and the movies

A more nebulous question for you today, folks: what kind of impact have the films have on your relationship with specific Beholder characters and the attractiveness (to us!) of unconventionally attractive characters? I ask because: 1) a couple of you have mentioned that a specific actor has drawn you to a character (I'm thinking about you and Yaxley, for instance,selmak)--and 2) the films have often prettified and sanitized characters who were more unconventionally attractive in the books (woldy recently mentioned canonically grey-haired, monocled, square-jawed Amelia Bones, who appears much more conventionally attractive in the films). (Or have the movies increased the Beholder quotient for anyone? I can't think of any examples immediately, but that's a possibility, too.) Any specific incidences in which the films have caused you think about things differently?

Day 5/7: Beholder outside HP fandom

Following on yesterday's question: who are the Beholder characters you've run across outside HP canon and fandom? Are there other books/shows/sources of unconventionally attractive characters as rich as the HP universe?

Day 4/7: Beholder in HP fandom

I'm curious about the way that Beholder fits into the larger HP fandom. Does this fest attract you to characters or pairings you wouldn't otherwise read/write/draw? Either as a creator or a consumer of fanworks, do you feel as if you're doing something different at the fest, something you don't do in other fest or exchanges? Creators, without revealing too much about your own still-anonymous contributions, please, how does Beholder fit into your larger fannish life? Has it affected your other output?

Bonus meta

therealsnape has written some meta you want to check out!

Today's question was, "who is your ultimate beholder character".

It took me five seconds to answer.

It took me the rest of the day, with lots of research and thinkety thoughts, to come up with some proper reasons and an analysis.

Day 3/7: Pairings

Following up on yesterday's question: surely you've all got some ideas about the quintessential Beholder character, right? Nominations so far for Filius Flitwick, Marietta Edgecombe, Alice Longbottom, Alator Moody, and Dudley Dursley, with folks noting their lack of depth or ill-treatment in the books, the sheer banged-up-ness of Moody, mentally and physically, or a feeling that "there's just so much more to him." Go follow up with a +1 or nominate your own!

For today, I'm going to put out a highly subjective impression and you tell me if you agree or have theories as to why it might be the case:

As Beholder creators, we seem to pair like with like.

I remember first reading the guidelines for Beholder and noting the requirement that only one of the two (or more) characters involved romantically had to be on the Beholder list. I'd certainly opt for two characters from the list, I thought, but I wonder if everyone else would?

On the whole, I think we have, and I'm curious about that.

If it helps to think about our pairing patterns, here's a list of this year's pairings.

PairingsCollapse )

Does it have more to do with our tendency to pair characters of the same generation, and the fact that so many of the older generation are on the approved list? Does it have something to do with what we're looking for in this fest--an emphasis on rare or underdeveloped characters in general? Do "unconventionally attractive" characters just belong with other "unconventionally attractive characters?" What other possibilities are there?

Please remember:

1) We're talking about the fest as a whole, rather than individual fics or art. Leave all love (and constructive criticism) for individual fanworks at the fest itself and enjoy the meta here.

2) Let's concentrate on analyzing what's going on with this fest, and why, and to what end, rather than praising or criticizing. Thanks, all!

Day 2/7: Characters, take two

(Sorry for the belated post, folks--travel and unreliable internet access have conspired against me. We'll be back on track as of tomorrow.)

Some interesting themes and ideas to come up in discussion yesterday:

- Redemption has been a theme for a number of this year’s recurring characters: Dudley, Marietta.

- Are we watching fandom evolve in the developing list of Beholder characters, as artists and authors explore the boundaries of the universe of characters we know and feel comfortable creating fanworks about?

- Is it true that there are more new writers at Beholder this year, and that new writers are behind the rise of younger-generation characters? (In an excellent comment that qualifies as meta in its own right, kellychambliss points out that younger-generations characters (Trio, rather than next gen) have been more prominent in recent years.)

- Is there a creative “sweet spot” between writing major canon characters--familiar to all and well-developed--and writing name-only characters? (And artists, your situation must be somewhat different--does the fact that we’ve seen many of these minor characters in the films affect your interest in them?)

Check out kellychambliss’s analysis of previous years’ character trends! This comment deserves a post of its own...

Today’s question:

Who, for you, is the quintessential Beholder character--and why? Nominate one in comments below!

Please remember:

1) We're talking about the fest as a whole, rather than individual fics or art. Leave all love (and constructive criticism) for individual fanworks at the fest itself and enjoy the meta here.

2) Let's concentrate on analyzing what's going on with this fest, and why, and to what end, rather than praising or criticizing. Thanks, all!

Day 1/7: Characters

Welcome to day one, folks! Let's start with the characters, shall we?

I've done just a bit of number crunching to get us started. This year, we saw 60 characters appearing in 49 fanworks (5 works of art and 44 fics), with more than half (33 characters) appearing only once. Eight characters (Minerva McGonagall, Dudley Dursley, Millicent Bulstrode, Severus Snape, Marietta Edgecombe, Firenze, Pomona Sprout, and Yaxley) appeared three times or more. Minerva McGonagall was by far the most popular, with appearances in 12 fanworks, almost twice as many as the next most popular character, Dudley Dusley, with seven.

List of characters, with the number of appearancesCollapse )

As usual, the sheer variety of characters is almost overwhelming. What do you see beneath the diversity, though? Any common threads--types or archetypes appearing more often than others? Do the most frequent appearances (Minerva, Dudley, Millicent) tell us anything about the fest as a whole?

How about subjective impressions: any characters or pairings stand out for you? (Unexpected appearances, new or otherwise remarkable characterizations, characters you had expected to see this year who didn't appear?) Were there any "breakout" characters this year?

I've only looked at characters featured in the main pairings here. What about minor or supporting characters? Any stand out for you?

I haven't had a chance to look at lists from previous years very carefully yet, but what about changes from one year to next?

Master lists from previous years (I believe Beth tallied character appearances from 2010 on):
[2012] [2011] [2010] [2009] [2008]

Please remember:

1) We're talking about the fest as a whole, rather than individual fics or art. Leave all love (and constructive criticism) for individual fanworks at the fest itself and enjoy the meta here.

2) Let's concentrate on analyzing what's going on with this fest, and why, and to what end, rather than praising or criticizing. Thanks, all!

Day 0/7:Brainstorming

I'm going to do some thinking aloud here so you folks can chime in....

Potential discussion topics:

Who showed up this year: Characters? Pairings? Minor or supporting characters? Different from previous years? Were there "breakout" characters this year? Subjective interpretations as well as counting character appearances.

Any dominant/new/interesting themes?

Impact of other fests, fandom events (Hoggywarty really cementing the teachers as a social group for me; Dudley Redeemed doing something important for that character)

What does it mean to be a Beholder character? Unattractive or unconventionally attractive? Just minor or unloved? Does Beholder match like with like? (Because theoretically we could be pairing Harry or Draco or Hermione with any of these characters, right?)

What is "unconventionally attractive?" Age; body size and type; disfigurement (Marietta, Moody); physical signs of mixed-species heritage (like Flitwick or Hagrid); what else?

What else? Ideas welcome below!

I'll try to put a discussion question up every morning by noon US ET from Saturday to Friday.

Introductory post


This is a comm for fans of HP_Beholder and a place for folks to chat about fest themes and characters or the challenges and joys of writing unconventionally attractive characters in general.

Note: we're not connected to the fest officially. This comm is the brainchild of one fan who loves the inclusive and subversive vibe of this fest and thought putting out the digital welcome mat might draw other folks who enjoy the fest and wanted to talk more about it.

The game plan:

Beholder just posted its anonymous master list, and so we have a week to finish reading and viewing before reveals on Saturday, May 25. I thought I'd post a general discussion question per day this week, and then after reveals folks who want to talk about their own fics or about their creative process can do so.

Suggestions for discussion topics warmly welcome! Please leave any ideas in comments. (Please do! Anything that strikes your fancy. I don't have an agenda--or even more than one or two ideas.)

There are only two rules here:

1. Please show fellow fest participants and watchers the utmost respect--and that means avoiding bashing or shaming in all forms. Please keep in mind that part of the reason we're here is a recognition that one person's cuppa isn't necessarily anyone else's.

2. We're going to try to keep the conversation focused on the fest and issues raised by the fest rather than on any particular fic or work of art. This is NOT the location for evaluations of individual fanworks. The best place for both praise or criticism of an individual fanwork is in comments at the comm itself, where an author or artist can enjoy them and address them directly.

As your mod, I want to establish a space of openness and mutual respect. I'll delete any comment that seems to lack respect or more properly belong over at Beholder.

Sound good? I'm making this up as we go along, so chime in if you have any suggestions or comments.


First discussion post: Saturday, May 18.

Post something in your journals to help us get the word out?