the phoenix lament

Reading the HP, “Fandom-Specific Plot” page on TV Tropes is such a doozy

The ridiculous thing is, some of the things here that sound like crack fic salad with a side of, “WTF” could actually be really cool ideas…… if not for some glaring issue in how they’re usually executed

Like, okay, there is the old, “Albus Dumbledore plays matchmaker to the author’s OTP because of reasons” trope, which sounds patently silly because he can’t even be bothered to talk about politics with the Minister…… but Dumbledore is canonically known to meddle in the lives of, “the little people” on a semi-regular basis, through several different techniques, such as:

  • actively manipulating different situations (e.g., every time when he makes Harry +/- Ron and/or Hermione go do his dirty work for him);
  • manipulating other characters’ backstories and/or personality traits (e.g., playing on how Remus feels he’s perpetually in Dumbledore’s debt to make him go spy on the Team Greyback werewolves, using Harry to manipulate Horace into coming back to Hogwarts, and pretty much everything Albus ever does with Severus);
  • and doing fuck-all nothing when he CAN and arguably SHOULD, if he actually wants a moral or ethical high-ground (e.g., ditching Harry with the Dursleys and leaving him there throughout an atrocious, abusive childhood, and forcing Sirius to be essentially on house arrest at Grimmauld Place)

—and it bears remembering that it was Albus, not Gellert, who originally coined, “for the greater good” (and then continued basically using that rationale as his justification for everything he did without an ounce of self-reflection, even after his boyfriend used it to justify what was either a failed war of conquest or an attempted genocide, depending on how you read canon).

So, the idea of Albus playing matchmaker if he thought it was, “for the greater good” is not actually outside the realm of Things That He Would Do.

It’s a little less plausible than some of these fics’ authors would like, because Albus’s canon attitude toward romance is usually pretty dismissive. Considering what happened with him and Gellert, it makes sense, but for all he talks up the power of love in all its forms, Albus’s attitude toward romance specifically is usually like, “That’s nice, Harry. Now, get your head out of your imaginary versions of Cho’s or Ginny’s boobs, and let’s get back to the REAL issues here.”

But Albus could also justify all of the shit he put Harry, Remus, Severus, and everyone else through, despite him allegedly feeling bad about some of it and feeling some of it fell into the realm of, “necessary evils” — so, if someone came up with an actual reason that Dumbledore could use to justify playing matchmaker with his students or the Order members or whoever, and dealt with the creepiness and consent issues of anybody playing matchmaker like the Albuses (Albii?) of these fics tend to do, this idea could work and be a really neat exploration of the world, the characters, etc.

—instead, the trope usually handwaves all of this and gives Albus more of a pass on his shit than JKR does (which says a lot, because JKR still tries to claim that Albus should be seen as the, “moral centre” of the series, when……… uhhh. If it’s all the same to you, Mum? I’d rather not), and his judgment on everything is treated as sacrosanct and above reproach Because He Is Dumbledore, Fuck You, That’s Why

And this is only one of the tropes that falls into this whole, “This idea could be so cool, but alas…” pattern, and…… *sighs dramatically over all the wasted potential in so many of these ideas and continues wishing the HP fandom were better than we so often are*