La Reine Noire (lareinenoire) wrote in twh_diaries,
La Reine Noire

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Rundown while waiting for a flight

Writing this in the computer lab at MIT, as my flight has now been delayed three times, and my laptop chose Friday to stop working. ::pouts:: Outside of such petty annoyances, the past four days were an absolute whirlwind of fun. It's the most nonstop activity I've had since leaving Cambridge, and a wonderful break from lethargy, unemployment, and general feelings of uselessness.

Thursday, 6 October 2005

adelynne and I left for Salem at 6;30 PM, which should have allowed us to arrive, register, and still make it on time for the Welcome Feast. We arrived in the outskirts of Salem at 7:15 PM. Then, we spent the next nearly two hours stuck in traffic, or getting lost trying to find the mysterious Sheraton Ferncroft which wasn't in fact in Salem.

Thankfully, we did find it eventually, and strolled into the Welcome Feast around nine. I was sorted into Gryffindor (which is the one House I've *never* been sorted into on quizzes and the like), and adelynne went into Hufflepuff (to her very great surprise).

The 'Tom and Harry: From Similar Backgrounds?' panel started at ten. This panel was fun, but somewhat disorganised, in that the two groups were 'borged' together (by none other than kitsune13, a blast from my past if ever there was one ::grin::) and the other group had far more extensive structure than we did. There were only three of us, so we'd planned to set up five or six salient points and get through as many of them as we could, while allowing the discussion to flow as it chose. The other group actually had questions and answers set up, so the three of us settled for interjecting where we felt it was appropriate. The discussion was a good one, I though, though there were lots of points brought up in later panels that I'd have loved to incorporate into that first one.

Friday, 7 October 2005

We'd initially planned to go to one of the 9AM panels, but overslept instead, and appeared in Salem at ten. The first panel we attended was 'Authoring Fiction: Does the Reality Match the Fantasy?'. Lots of discussion of balancing writing with real life (especially if one has a family), and everyone made very salient points. We left early, as there was the Marauder roundtable just down the street, and I knew I -- being a writer of Marauder-Era fic -- had to attend that one at least.

'Mapping the Marauders' was...large. Well, technically, it was a large group of people stuffed into a very small room. Sadly, we only managed to get through Remus and Peter, and a bit into Sirius. Poor James was abandoned. Interesting points about Remus' mysterious scars that show up in fanart and fanfic, but not in canon. Most people seemed to agree that it that can be traced back to the third film, and I'm inclined to agree, since one would assume that Harry might notice large scars on Remus' face, and remark upon them. Then we came to the Peter discussion, which quite openly split the room. I, of course, sided with those who didn't believe Peter to be evil, so much as chronically misguided with a chance for redemption.

Lunch break included a stop at the Gryffindor Room of Requirement, and the FictionAlley one as well, though only for a short while before dashing off to the 'Sorted Lives' panel. I have so many notes from there, all of which are sadly on my currently ailing laptop. Le sigh. Fascinating points made about Ravenclaw in particular; the way their emphasis on academic achievement points to a value placed more on individual success than on the collective group. Of the four Houses, they are the least likely to band together.

Again, we had to leave that one early, so we could run across town to the Tabernacle Church for the 'Unbreakable Vows' roundtable, easily the rowdiest Snape discussion I attended this weekend. Large room, filled to the brim with people. I felt rather bad for the poor moderator! At one point, someone remarked that Voldemort probably won't be terribly happy with Snape having killed Dumbledore, because it implies that Snape succeeded where Voldemort failed, and Snape is not a sixteen-year-old boy whose success could be ascribed to beginner's luck. Poor Snape. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. adelynne also brought up a very good point that Snape willingly shows Cornelius Fudge the Dark Mark on his arm, to corroborate Dumbledore's statement at the end of GoF. Why would he do this, if he wasn't fighting for Dumbledore? It would surely be a better plan to remain incognito, but he doesn't do it. It was during this panel that my computer started misbehaving.

We shot back to 'From Scribbles to Autographs' at the Sheraton. Brilliant panel, that. Patricia McKillip in particular made an impression, as she started off in graduate school, studying English, and got herself published while working on her master's degree. That, and her first story was about a prince who saw his true love's reflection in an emerald. rosamund, feel free to snicker. Lots. For those who don't know, that was the original concept for my novel, except that it was the lady who saw the reflection, and the stone was a ruby. It has since changed a lot.

That led me to buy a copy of McKillip's The Tower of Stony Wood at the book fair, before we headed back toward Salem proper. Unfortunately for her, adelynne realised she'd left her tickets to the Keynote Dinner back at her place in Boston. So I was despatched to hold a seat, and hopefully food, for her until she got back.

The 'Moral Twilight' Keynote Dinner was also very nice. The food was lovely, and the topic was fascinating, as I expected it to be. Of course, someone brought up Snape, and it was discovered that Charles de Lint hadn't read Book Six. adelynne did arrive eventually, and even managed to talk to Holly Black afterward, while I met with two of the other people on my Snape panel, one of whom -- Professor S -- had written a fantastic essay on how Snape was not 'ambiguous'. We managed to come up with some sort of plan, which, seeing as this is me, was really not much of a plan, before adelynne and I headed off to listen to Tamora Pierce for a bit, and then pop into the pre-OotP fic panel.

The latter featured a series of fics that I'd actually never read. I did remember coming across Barb's 'Lost Generation', though when I tried to read it, I realised I really had to read the rest of her fics first, and simply didn't have the time. I did run into an author I really liked on our way out (Thecurmudgeons, on FA, for those curious), although I acted like a silly fangirl and just told her I loved her stuff without saying anything of actual substance, like asking her if she ever planned to post the sequel.

Saturday, 8 October 2005

Again oversleeping, we walked in on the very end of the 'Slash Fandom in Context' panel, that came just before the 'Mystery of Being Snape', which I was moderating. Thankfully, I think only adelynne was aware of just how nervous I was, and how the caffeine was probably not helping me keep my hands still. Now, in retrospect, I can say for certain that the panel went extremely well. I had three brilliant panelists, and all I really needed to do was keep supplying transitions, something I'm normally terrible at, but I don't think anyone noticed. Professor S's brilliant conclusion went over beautifully (something her perfect Snape costume probably didn't hurt), and while we had questions, they were all nice and incisive. Then, on the way out, I heard a woman talking on her mobile phone, and saying '...I think I may need to revise my opinion of Snape.' Score one for the pro-Snape platform!

The next presentation was relaxing after my rather jittery state during the panel. 'We Don't Need No Stinkin' Pumpkins' with Tamora Pierce. Again, managed to make a comment that caught someone else's attention -- Tamora was asking for examples of powerful female villains in fantasy lit, and I supplied the sorceress from Delia Sherman's Through a Brazen Mirror. And TP referenced Libba Bray! Squee!

We ran to Borders during lunch, hoping to find one of Ellen Datlow's fairy tale anthologies, but with no such luck. Instead, I did manage to retrieve a copy of Debbie Vigiue's Midnight Pearls, which I've been trying to find for some time.

adelynne and I split up at that point. She went to the panel on editing fantasy lit, and I ended up at the 'Draco Malfoy: More than a Coward?' roundtable if only because it was in the same room as the Bellatrix and Narcissa panel I *really* wanted to attend. There, we had a great deal of conjecturing and very little fact, because -- let's face it -- we don't know anything about Narcissa. Certain things can be extrapolated from the Spinners End scene, but really not very much. I tried to point out that Narcissa, being a Slytherin, would want to concentrate on things she could theoretically change (i.e. Draco) rather than ones that were beyond her control (Lucius' incarceration), and that you couldn't make assumptions about her feelings for her husband based on that. Not sure if anyone really took it seriously. Of course, I'm more than biased, given the way I've been writing them in 'Be All My Secrets Remembered'.

People kept periodically stopping me and telling me how much they enjoyed the Snape panel. Mmm, warm and fuzzy. Of course, it did make me worry a bit about the villains presentation, but still very warm and fuzzy. Retrieved adelynne at the uproariously amusing 'Fanfic v. Original Fic' panel, where I got to meet fernwithy and gush about how much I loved 'Shifts'. She probably thinks I'm very silly.

We then wandered to the Hawthorne Library to beg Ellen Datlow for signatures. We ended up in a lovely discussion about the mechanics of publication, such as length of stories, and rules that existed for genre fiction, as opposed to non-genre fiction (much as I hate that distinction with the fiery passion of a thousand suns). We stayed after, and had the chance to hear Barb read a bit of 'Harry Potter and the Triangle Prophecy'. I kept stumbling on things that had happened in previous fics, yet again, but the story certainly seems very interesting.

The last event for the day was Holly Black's reading. I still haven't finished Tithe, but after hearing the snippets she read from Valiant and Ironside, I plan to do so as soon as possible. She's also very down to earth, which I liked a lot. I feel very silly, thinking that actual published authors whose books I enjoy exist on a higher plane of existence, but in my head, they do. And actually seeing them and talking to them is a surreal experience. The auction before it ran a bit long, so I had the chance to hang around with kitsune13, and meet bethbethbeth, who I'd previously run into on random essay posts.

Sunday, 9 October 2005

The computer woke up long enough for me to actually finish and print out my presentation -- thank goodness -- and we made it to the Hawthorne Library with about fifteen minutes to spare. There were far more people than I'd ever expected to show up, seeing as it was a presentation and not a panel. Including the three infamous Malfoys, dressed to the hilt, and sitting in the front row, offering up expressions of appropriate horror, guilt, or amusement whenever I mentioned any of them in the paper. I'm just relieved that it came out coherently and people seemed to like it. One person even asked me for a rec list, which I have, but unfortunately cannot provide until my computer is fixed.

Afterward, unwilling to move out of relief that I hadn't made a fool of myself, we stayed for the Snape/Hermione presentation. Lots of mentions of zoepaleologa between the two presentations, which isn't at all surprising, given that she's one of the best Snape-writers I know.

We tried to get into the 'Finish the Freaking Thing Already' workshop, but it was sadly full. So we managed to attend the entire slash panel, which turned out to be much fun. Lots of discussions of various pairings, especially those involving the Giand Squid (although I'm not sure how slashy that is, given that we haven't been told whether the Giant Squid is male or female). Lots of H/D and R/S shippers in there, and someone finally brought up the question of why there don't seem to be any bisexuals in fanfic. Woohoo! Of course, nobody really knew the answer, but at least the question is now out there.

Note to rosamund: Apparently very few people, if any, have written fiction about gay romance (emphasis on the romance, rather than the fact that it's homosexual), which means that you've now got an obligation to finish a certain novel. ;)

In spite of wanting to attend the Horcrux roundtable, and my fellow Snape panelist's 'Severus, Meet Sherlock' presentation, we were both starving, so we took a detour to find food before the Tom Riddle roundtable later in the afternoon. Again, very interesting. Lots of discussion about differences between Harry and Tom -- only some of which we'd managed to cover in the Thursday panel -- but it was brought up that we again only have part of the story. Nobody knows how Tom was treated at the orphanage, after all. Not that it excuses him, but it might have allowed him for slightly more sympathetic treatment from Dumbledore...

Attended the Patricia McKillip reading, which was quite lovely, and then ducked into the Hawthorne restroom to get dressed for the Hallowe'en Ball. Lacing adelynne into what is now an at least somewhat famous corset was its own brand of fun, but we both garnered our share of interesting looks, walking to the museum.

The Ball itself was much fun. You haven't lived until you've seen Professor S -- in full Snape getup -- grooving to ABBA's 'Dancing Queen'. I now have a crackfic plotbunny stewing away in my brain involving Snape's secret nocturnal disco-related activities.

We left a bit early to join the mad crowd trying to reenact bits of Books Five and Six. It was all very silly, but very fun, and culminated in a 'preview' for Book Seven, 'Harry Potter and the Voldemort Dance Party'.

Monday, 10 October 2005

We almost didn't go to the Leaving Banquet, as both of us were exhausted beyond belief. But we managed to show up late, and it was a good time. The 'Riddle to Voldemort' panel was fascinating. The point that stuck with me -- that I want to play with in BAMSR -- is that when Voldemort gives Lily the choice to save her own life, he's expecting her to follow his mother, and abandon Harry by dying. Then, of course, she doesn't do it. And that scares him, because he cannot possibly understand it.

I'm utterly exhausted, but it was a great time. Now I'm just annoyed with AirTran. If they'd tell me about these flight delays a bit more in advance, I could theoretically get something useful done in the interim. But, as it stands, they do not. At least I've borrowed Trickster's Choice from adelynne, so that's nice and distracting. Although I'm still chronically sleepy...

In all, a wonderful symposium.

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