Heart Over Mind – by Regann

Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1215092/1/Heart-over-Mind

Rating: Outstanding

The Basics: Classic Era (compliant to GoF and some references to later books), Romance, 180k

Warnings: None. PG Rated

Professor Snape’s seventh-year Potions class brews and imbibes an ancient love potion, the hayam, that causes the drinker to fall superficially in love with the other drinker.  Hermione Granger, however, seems unaffected by the potion – a rare occurrence that has not been seen in decades.  The only way to be unaffected by the potion is to already be deeply in love with one’s soulmate.  Hermione is shocked to realize the implications; that her schoolgirl crush on Professor Snape is actually much, much more.

Wow, what a wonderful story.  I had very strong deja-vu from the first few chapters – I definitely had read those chapters before.  My guess is that I originally stumbled upon it while it was still a work-in-progress, and when I realized that, I stopped.  I had completely forgotten about the fic and I am so glad I re-disovered it in this process.  This is definitely one of the best, if not the best, SSHG fic I have ever read.  So beautiful, so whimsical, so witty and funny, and so painfully in character.

One of my top complaints in SSHG fanfiction is that the romance moves too quickly.  Snape is a very private man and it would take A LOT to get him involved with a former student.  Even if he had extremely strong feelings, he would likely never act on them without certainty of reciprocation and no hint of impropriety.  This fic fully appreciates that, almost to a fault, and as a result the relationship feels quite natural and the romance is drawn out tantalizingly over an excruciatingly long period of time.  There is a particularly wonderful section in the story that involves gathering potion ingredients late at night and a Midsummer festival.  Reading that section, I felt incredibly giddy and heady with romantic intoxication, far more than I usually do with these stories.  It was just beautifully written.  We all read fan-fiction for those rare moments, and believe me, this fic delivers.

Another strength of the story is the witty banter.  There is a cauldron full of raised eyebrows, quirking lips, sideways glances, and generally hilarious and intelligent conversation.  This is SO important in SSHG fics; their sharp tongues are one of the most important things they have in common.  Witty banter has been sorely lacking in the last few fics I had read and I was so glad to stumble across an author who could really write it, again.

There are a few issues with the fic, however.  For one, there is no sex.  None.  The relationship fully matures and there is a small amount of physical payoff (if beautifully written kisses will satisfy you – they sure worked for me!) but there is no smut or consummation within the story’s pages.  My second issue with the fic is that the story sagged a little in the last quarter and the ending was not totally satisfying.  For me, the author seemed to be doggedly determined to finish the fic even though she had run out of ideas and interest.  There is a slight lack of creativity/beauty in the last the quarter, as compared to the rest of the fic – it definitely feels like we are barreling towards an inevitable conclusion and eliminating plot points, even if it is being done very well.

My biggest pet peeve with the fic is VERY small, but it annoyed me enough that I decided to write a whole paragraph about it.  It’s an occasionally out-of-character personality quirk for Hermione – she is incredibly DENSE.  There is a gentleman with interest in her while she is away at college, who goes out to eat with her every week, yet it never even *enters her mind* that he is romantically interested.  Even when he’s trying to explain it to her, she can’t even conceive of what he’s saying until he spells it out.  What?  Another example – Harry and Ron show up completely irate on her parents’ doorstep over Christmas, and she has *no idea* what they could possibly be upset about (how about the fact that Molly Weasley might have finally told them about her relationship with Snape, which she had been threatening to do for 4 chapters?)  Lastly, she agonizes over how to tell her parents/friends about her relationship with Snape, where there is a simple solution – the hayam potion!  Everyone in the school knew that Hermione Granger was in love with her soulmate but she wouldn’t tell anyone who.  Wouldn’t saying, ‘Hey remember the hayam potion?  I want to tell you the whole story from the beginning to now.   You will understand why I agonized over it, why I wouldn’t tell anyone, and why it is so hard for me to tell you, even now.’  Instead, she blurts out half-explanations that are obviously going to make them angry.  I just didn’t get it, and it made me very annoyed.

The bottom line: Any fan of the SSHG should read this.  It is especially strong in intelligent banter, whimsically lovely romantic moments, creative academia-based plot devices, and overall strong characters.  It has a few problems, but they pale in comparison to its qualities.  The beautiful tantalizing watercolor scenes the author paints during Midsummer are perhaps my favorite SSHG scenes ever written.

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11 thoughts on “Heart Over Mind – by Regann

  1. I read your review once before reading ‘Heart over mind’ and once after. Oh, you’re good! I sincerely wish and hope you continue to write more reviews. There is so much wonderful literature out there that sometimes i think the fanfics are way better than the 7 books 🙂 Please continue to review.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! My SSHG reading tends to go in cycles; I overdose for a month or two and then take a break for six months until I start to crave it again. I’ve been on this cycle for 10 years now so I’m sure there will be more reviews soon. 🙂

  2. I’m happy to see your site is still up and provided links to older stories who’s hosting sites are gone! When I first started reading this ship back in the early 2000s, my introduction was through witchfics. A few months ago I tried to access it, and panicked when I saw it was gone. But you have given me hope to see you’ve saved some of them! Sad that the ship is dying out. I really need to start archiving some of the older stories before they become hard to find. If I ever come across fics that I can no longer find, mind if I esquire if you have the story to share?

    That being said, thank you for allowing myself, and others, to revisit the great classics of SSHG ship. I nearly forgot the beautifully written Heart over Mind. I agree, there were so many things I wanted to know, so many characters I wanted to get to know. Almost seems a bit unfinished and rushed in those last few chapters. Alas, I wouldn’t trade the minor ‘what-ifs’ for the quality writing.

    I know you come and go with reading splurges, but any hidden HGSS fics out there you will review in the future or would recommend? Harder to find quality anymore.

    Thank you again!

    -wyoh

    • Thank you for this kind comment!

      Most of my favorite fics are listed on this site, but you are right that there are a few mis-categorized stragglers that are not posted yet. Dyce’s ‘Survivors’ because it is too short. A few of LadyoftheMasque’s shorter fics (the names of which escape me right now.) A fic called ‘Phantom of Hogwarts’ that I remember enjoying, though my memory tells me that it was messy, niche, and overly long. I also read it a very long time ago, so I’m a bit nervous that it might be terrible upon re-read! I also had one of my commenters tell me that Loten’s ‘Chasing the Sun’ is excellent, though I have not read it yet and I don’t know anything about it. Maybe you will find a gem in that pile! I hope so.

      I’m just about ready to start reading again – I always feel like reading in October! According to my posting history, it’s the one month that I’ve consistently posted reviews each year since I started the site in 2012. Thank you for this bit of encouragement…maybe I’ll try to finish the fic I’m currently stuck on and post a review in the next few days. 🙂

      • I recall reading ‘Phantom of Hogwarts’ when it was still a work in progress. I don’t think I’ve picked it back up. Maybe I need to head to Ashwinder and give it a go. ‘Chasing the Sun,’ as I recall, was good, but it has been a while and may be worth the re-read. Loten’s ‘Post Tenebras, Lux,’ was one I tried to revisit, and something about it made me stop.

        So I just realized that, in your rating system, your story reviews continue with older posts. Here I thought what I was seeing on the individual pages was the extent of your work! All these familiar fics I never thought I’d get to read again. 🙂 Well, I’ve just been spoiled.

        Thank you for the reply! If I come across any promising fics, that are relatively new , I’ll be sure to send it your way. Looking forward to your next review.

  3. I find it heartbreaking that I can’t quite get into this story, because I WANT to like it (partly that may be desperation because I feel like I’m running out of fic to read) but I just can’t. I find the writing flat and uninspired and I’m not sure why. I get about 20k words in and then I get stuck, it’s terribly frustrating.

    I’m having the same problem with Before the Dawn (snarkyroxy) but I think that may be because both characters spend an awful lot of time whining in that one.

    Have I mentioned thank you for doing this? I haven’t been actively reading fic in the past (many many) years, so your guide has been a true lifesaver – especially since you do these lovely epic-lengths that take me most of a day to read!

    • Perhaps this is one that I should re-read and review again. When I started this site, I had mostly read only very, very old fics and as a result I was wowed by some early fics that I maybe should not have been. I think the average quality of fics rises a bit each year as the ship matures and evolves, and as the fandom ages. the more I read, the worse these very old fics get. For me, I still enjoy the charm of really old fics an don’t mind the musty smell (see Lioness Prophecies for a good example of this) but a lot of my modern readers are really put off by these old fics. They’re definitely showing their age. Thank you for your thoughts!

      PS: Try harmony_bites’ SSHG guides for more fics, if you haven’t already. This is how I make sure I don’t miss anything! I do wish she had continued it past 2010-ish, though. I suppose I will have to pick up the gauntlet myself when I get that far in my chronological reading. ( http://harmony-bites.livejournal.com/profile )

      • Oh but some of those older fics are still really great! I wouldn’t have persisted with Lioness Prophecies if you hadn’t said it was amazing and once I got away from Dumbledore’s point of view, it really was. You may be right about the fandom aging though – I’ve been looking at some of the things I read (and, dear god, wrote) fifteen years ago and…eeeuurgh. Some of it is really, really bad. Some of it, of course (Tea Series, cough cough) is actually good in ways I wasn’t equipped to understand when I was fifteen, but some of it I would really like the opportunity to scrub out of my brain.

        I’ve been reading some stories off harmony_bites’ lists, but I haven’t had many good results. I’m sadly lacking in patience with bad writing (I can’t imagine having to wade through some of the things you’ve reviewed on here – I’ve checked out some of the Poor ratings out of morbid curiosity and came away with a headache)

    • Oops, that’s a good point, isn’t it? It’s a bit silly for me to recommend her lists to you when I’ve already reviewed almost everything on them, save for the two Deathly Hallows sections.

      • I’ve read quite a lot of what’s in the DH section already :p

        My personal favourite off the DH lists is Phoenix Song (Hermione Granger and the HBP) which has two fantastic sequels that I also adored. In fact, I might just go reread them :p

  4. It was always strange for me how the Midsummer festival in this story, made me feel warm and happy. Even after reading so many fanfictions over the years with this specific pairing, Heart over mind holds a special place in my heart. It is nice to know the feeling is mutual between readers of that story. 🙂

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