“Harry Potter and the Natural Twenty” By Sir Poley

Happy Tax Day, for all of you American readers out there. Don’t forget to thank a public employee for all of the hard work that they do for you. Anyway, on to the review for Harry Potter and the Natural Twenty by Sir Poley.

Ah, fanfiction. Commonly used for up-and-coming authors to get their voices heard without going through the rigmarole of original worldbuilding. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this meta genre, though I recognize how useful it can be. This is nowhere more true than in crossfiction (crossover fanfiction is where two disparate literary universes meet in someway). Or so I thought.

Lately, though, I’ve found that a well-written fanfiction piece can be every bit as good as an original piece. Take Harry Potter and the Natural Twenty. As the title would suggest, it’s a crossover between J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeon and Dragons games.

The Natural Twenty is something of a parody on D&D: Milo, an eleven year old adventurer who took the Wizard class is somehow summoned into the home of a Deatheater living near Hogsmeade. Milo has to adjust to a world where the very rules of the universe are different from what he’s used to (though he still uses his original rules)–and Hogwarts has to adjust to him.

If, like me, you are only vaguely aware of D&D’s mechanics and lore, don’t worry. This story is still mostly understandable. The only thing that took me back is realizing that something like 1d6 means rolling a six sided die. Otherwise, Sir Poley does a decent job of explaining the rules and his tongue-in-cheek humor will make the explanations fun.

The Natural Twenty stands at thirty-four chapters and, according to the author, is twice as long as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), which this fanfiction follows.

I highly recommend reading the Harry Potter series before reading this, however. As a fanfiction, this story does not enjoy the same level of world immersion that enriches the original.


One comment on ““Harry Potter and the Natural Twenty” By Sir Poley

  1. Someone sent me an e-mail, asking that I clarify a point I made in my review. I thought I’d share it here:

    “I didn’t quite understand how Milo has to “adjust” to the Harry Potter world but still uses his own original rules. Maybe I just have to read it, but it sounded a little contradictory.”

    It’s a good question. After all, we have only experienced a single reality; the laws governing the universe does not change no matter where we are. So an explanation is in order.

    In this story, Milo exists in his own bubble of reality, if you will: he heals after eight hours of rest no matter how grievous his wounds, he still gets experience points for defeating monsters and going on quests, and so on. This is contrast to the way that Harry Potter’s world (and ours) operate: people who are hurt will stay hurt until something is done about their injury, people can be taught skills and can then use those skills immediately (no level up system in real life) and no-one has numbers flashing into their minds telling them about experience gains.

    Milo has to adjust to this idea. It’s as if he’s among people who look human but are actually aliens. Worse, the world more or less functions the way that he expects it to, making it more jarring when it doesn’t.

    Maybe I can sum it up more succinctly with an example: Milo hears the dice rolling in his head when he’s trying to do something dicey. He’s so sure that that is how this universe works that he is dumbfounded when he finds out that nobody else can hear the dice and he still hasn’t worked out the fact that there are no dice involved here. Especially since they still roll for him.

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