I am only linking it here because the site that used to host it, potionsmaster.net, is currently not working. It’s sad for a fic to disappear from the Internet because of an old site going down! Hopefully that’s okay. I will take down my link when it is hosted properly again.
Rating: Exceeds Expectations
The Basics: Phoenix Era, Romance, 150k
Warnings: Sexual Content, Non-Con (not SSHG), Torture, Violence, Pregnancy, Marriage Law, Original Characters
In the years after the fall of Voldemort, a new Marriage Law thrusts Hermione Granger into marriage with Severus Snape, setting off a chain of events that will shape the Wizarding World for generations to come.
This is one of those ‘legendary’ fics that I had heard about and seen mentioned over and over again before I finally read it (mostly because I couldn’t find a link to it anywhere.) I started the story with high expectations.
The timeline of this fic is sprawling; we follow Hermione and Snape from her last year at Hogwarts to the very twilight of their years. We see long narrative windows, and then the time jumps 10 years. Despite this unique construction, the words flow easily and the reading is page-turning and enjoyable. I also felt that the writing and characterizations grew stronger as the fic continued; I enjoyed the middle and end of the fic far more than the beginning, which hardly ever happens.
The characterizations are decent. It’s a Marriage Law fic, so they are romantic for the majority of the story. I often find that authors have a difficult time keeping Snape in character after the romance begins; they want to soften him and turn him into a considerate romantic hero. This story manages to keep him fairly in character up until the very end, which I very much appreciate. Hermione is fairly in character, although I found her to be a bit traditional and Molly Weasley-ish for my taste.
There are a ton of academic, literary, and historical references in this fic, which I usually appreciate, as I very much enjoy the cerebral nature of Snape and Hermione’s relationship. That said, somehow the overall tone of this fic is not intellectual or academic at all. I didn’t see a thirst for knowledge or research in either Snape or Hermione. For me, the dissonance between the academic references and their hobbies/priorities was very disappointing. Sure, Hermione reads constantly, and they speak poetry to each other sometimes, but the relentless academic thirst is missing in their actions and choices. For example, Snape cures lycanthropy in a few bored, off-scene sentences. What? Shouldn’t they be excitedly fussing over the cauldron and theorizing together? They don’t have measured, thoughtful, theoretical conversations. Rather, the tenor of their conversations is merely emotional and romantic. I think that’s where a lot of my lackluster feelings about this story are coming from; it didn’t feel like SSHG. It felt like SS + Molly Weasley.
Maybe my expectations were too high, but for me, the only exceptional quality of this fic was a Severus Snape who stays in character, post-romance, for decades. I might also give a gold star to the smut – I tend to skim over that, generally, but it was well-written enough in this one that it held my interest. The rest of the fic – romance, action, Snape family history – are only passable.
The bottom line: It’s a solid ‘Exceeds Expectations.’ Everything is well done, just not extraordinary. Read for a unique, slow-paced, ‘whole-lifetime’ story of SSHG romance that improves with each chapter. Skip if you’re in the mood for a slow-simmering courtship or well-crafted action plots.