A Lot to Be Upset About
|Title:||A Lot to Be Upset About|
|Date(s):||15 July 2003|
|Length:||6,433 words (one-shot)|
|Genre:||romance, humour, parody|
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A Lot to Be Upset About is a Draco/Ginny humour fic by Cassandra Claire. It was posted shortly after the publication of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and parodies OotP events and characterisations, as well as fanon and tropes that emerged in post-OotP fanfiction and meta.
Author's summary: "Draco loves Ginny. Ginny loves everyone else but him. Snape suggests spanking, the butterbeer is tainted, and Harry tries to blow up the school. Not your typical D/G fic."
The story is no longer online.
The story was first posted to Cassandra Claire's LiveJournal ("epicyclical" at the time) on July 15, 2003, roughly three weeks after the publication of Order of the Pheonix.
It was posted to FictionAlley's Astronomy Tower on October 16, 2003. The category was given as "Romance" with "Humor" as a sub-category. Although the author's note asserted that the fic is "probably PG-13", it was given a PG rating on FictionAlley. Cassie's original rating is probably the more accurate, due to language and implied sexuality.
Cassie made the story temporarily available for download as a PDF file, along with The Draco Trilogy and Something Impossible, from August 2006 through March 2007. Like her other stories, A Lot to Be Upset About has since been frequently uploaded or re-posted online without Cassie's permission.
This is when happens when you sit through many many panels at Readercon with a stack of papers on your knees, thinking to yourself, Wouldn't it be kind of funny if...?
So I wrote this fic out in longhand, on the backs of about 35 flyers. It is silly, it is nonsensical, it is extremely meta. It is, as Josh said, "like taking Mr. Toad's Wild Ride through the fandom side of your psyche." The idea was Holly's, the inspiration was both Harry's angry characterization in OOtP and reaction to it, especially as regards his speaking in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. The pairing is Ginny/Draco (with vague mentions of Snape/Draco and Ron/Ginny and about sixty other Ginny ships) the rating is probably PG-13, and there is no great and t00by love between Harry and Draco whatsoever. None. I'll come back to How to Disappear shortly, when I need to depress myself again. For now I needed to write something that could not possibly be taken seriously.
The author's note at FictionAlley was a shorter version of the above.
The title refers to a recurring motif of other characters excusing Harry's unhinged behavior by saying that he's "got a lot to be upset about".
The following tropes are a directly inspired by Order of the Phoenix and fan reactions to it:
- CAPSLOCK!Harry—In OotP, Harry was much angrier and angstier than we had seen him in previous books. Fans took to calling this version of Harry "CAPSLOCK!Harry" due to his repeatedly shouting in all capital letters, particularly his tirades at Ron and Hermione at the beginning of the book and Dumbledore at the end. Some fans found Harry's behaviour over-the-top or childish. Cassie's exaggerated version of this trope is a Harry who is perpetually angry and speaks almost entirely in capital letters. He also repeatedly performs delinquent or destructive acts, which are excused or ignored by other characters because Harry has "a lot to be upset about".
- promiscuous!Ginny—This trope is especially prevalent amongst Ginny-bashers and often derogatorily called slut!Ginny. Though in OotP Ginny had been dating a single person for over a year, some interpreted the fact that Ginny "ditched" Michael Corner and moved on to Dean Thomas at the end of the book as evidence that Ginny was or would become involved with numerous men. Cassie uses this as a basis for her depiction of Ginny:
Cassie also alludes to another criticism leveled against Ginny in OotP: that her personality was sudden and poorly-developed. She says through Draco that Ginny had "always been a vague redheaded blur" that "he'd never thought about ... before this term," but "suddenly, she was everywhere he went."Ginny Weasley seemed to have made it her goal to date every male student at Hogwarts. First she'd worked her way through the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws, moving from Dean Thomas to Seamus Finnigan to Terry Boot with astonishing speed. Then she'd descended on the Hufflepuffs, causing no end of bad blood between the Houses and provoking a dramatic tabletop library duel between Justin Finch-Fletchley and Ernie McMillan.
- Azkaban-addled!Lucius—At the end of OotP, Lucius Malfoy is proven to be a Death Eater and arrested. Some fans suspected that Lucius was used to a high standard of living and wouldn't fare well in Azkaban, and so the experience might traumatise him. This trope usually appears in humour works like this one; Makani's fanart portrayals is another example. In this story, Lucius is confused, on antidepressants, and "now faint[s] at the least provocation" after his stint in Azkaban.
The story also features a number of more general character tropes, existing before the publication of OotP:
- unknown-gender!Blaise—Blaise Zabini's gender was not officially confirmed until 2004 (a year after this story was written), and up until then there were numerous debates about whether Blaise was male or female. Cassandra Claire depicted Blaise as a girl in her Draco Trilogy (starting with Draco Sinister in 2001); she may have, like Draco, assumed Blaise was female because of his "very girly name":
"[Ginny] asked me out for next Hogsmeade weekend. Boy, was I floored. I didn't even know she knew who I was."
Draco was enraged. "But you're a girl!"
Blaise looked injured. "I am not!"
Draco looked more closely. Up close, he had to admit that Blaise was indeed not a girl. If the beard hadn't given it away, the luxurious moustache would have certainly torn it. "Well," Draco said, "You have a very girly name."
"You mean to say," sputtered Blaise, "that we've been going to school together for six years now and you never knew if I was a boy or a girl?"
- Draco in Leather Pants, literally and figuratively
- manly, chaps-owning!Millicent
Translations were endorsed by Cassandra Claire, and A Lot to Be Upset About was her most-translated fic after the Draco Trilogy. The Spanish, Swedish, Estonian, and eonen's Russian translation were all linked to from the sidebar of Cassie's LiveJournal.
- Estonian: Palju mille pärast endast väljas olla, translated by Vilbur (2005)
- Hungarian: Épp elég baj, translated by Sphinx (2006 or before)
- Spanish: Mucho por lo que enfadarse, translated by K.C. Parker (Sept 2004)
- Swedish: Translation by juicephine, now friendslocked (2005)
- Russian: МИЛЛИОН ПРИЧИН ДЛЯ РАССТРОЙСТВА, translated by julianna (2003 or 2004)
- Russian: Есть о чем горевать., translated by eonen (April 2004) (archived link)
Reception & Legacy
The story was well received at the time of its posting, though, like all of Cassie's fics, received its fair share of criticism and troll comments. The LiveJournal post received at least ten pages of comments, and the FictionAlley story received around 8,000 hits.
A Lot to Be Upset About has remained one of Cassandra Claire's most popular stories even several years after it was removed from the web. It is often advertised as a fic that is universally enjoyable regardless of one's fanfiction preferences, and has been recommended to and by fans who are generally not fans of Draco/Ginny, Cassie's other work, or even Harry Potter in general.
In the 2004 article "The Amazing World of Harry Potter Fan Fiction" written by Heidi Tandy, A Lot to Be Upset About was listed as an "excellent [introduction] to Harry Potter fanfic". The article states:
Cassie is probably better known for her thousands-of-pages-long-and-three-years-in-the-writing epic Draco Trilogy, but this post-Order of the Phoenix fanfic is a well-characterized and humorous take on Ginny, Draco and Harry a few months after Sirius's death. The tale features Very!Angry!Harry, an angsty Draco and a serial-dating Ginny, which makes sense, as she’s one of the only two characters to have more than one boyfriend during The Order of the Phoenix.
Fan art for A Lot to Be Upset About is not as common as for other of Cassandra Claire's fics. One rare example of art still online is Malfoy PJ's by bandeau, a 2006 illustration of Draco in pajamas eating chocolate mice. There were also a handful of icons created based on the story and containing quotes from it, though they are now mostly offline.
- Cassandra Claire's author page at FictionAlley's Astronomy Tower. (Archived 01 March 2007 by the Wayback Machine; WebCite.)
- The author's note on FictionAlley stated: "So I wrote this fic out in longhand, on the backs of about 35 flyers. It is silly, it is nonsensical, it is extremely meta. The idea was Holly's, the inspiration was both Harry's angry characterization in OOtP and reaction to it, especially as regards his speaking in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. The pairing is Ginny/Draco (with vague mentions of Snape/Draco and Ron/Ginny and about sixty other Ginny ships) the rating is probably PG-13, and there is no great and t00by love between Harry and Draco whatsoever. Enjoy." (Archived 08 April 2004.)
- When documenting Ginny-hate in 2006, mrs_bombastic quoted a Portkey.org thread "from when right after OotP comes out" in which a fan called Ginny a "man-hunter" and criticised her because "she and Michael Corner just broke up over a Quidditch Match, and then she went out with like, the next guy she saw." (Quoted by mrs_bombastic at Journalfen, 26 May 2006.)
- Cassie herself wrote in June 2003 that OotP read "as if JKR realized that in fact she had so far completely failed to characterize Ginny in any meaningful way and is info-dumping on us through her characters in a desperate attempt to show us that Ginny Really Was Secretly Cool All Along." (Posted 21 June 2003, archived 14 August 2003 by the Wayback Machine. WebCite.)
- See for example this comment thread on the LiveJournal fic post. (Archived 16 March 2004 by the Wayback Machine; WebCite.)
- mousapelli at Dreamwidth. must...work...damn....internet..... 13 August 2003. (Accessed 15 October 2014.)
- "I think i have now read 'A Lot To be Upset About' nearly a hundred times and it never gets less funny. I think it might be my favorite fic of all time, even transcending my usual disdain for D/G."
- amphitrite at Harry Potter's Realm of Wizardry Forum. Topic: A Lot to Be Upset About. 27 February 2004. (Accessed 15 October 2014.)
- "OK, before people start throwing flaming pitchforks, I DO have a reason for reccing this fic. I've read a teensy bit of Cassie's other stuff, and no, I don't think she's the greatest writer ever, by far. Her characterizations are pretty bad and her plots are way too surreal and contrived, but there is one thing that's she's very good at: HUMOR. This fic is absolutely hilarious. It features excessive amounts of capslock!Harry, which I find extremely funny, as mean as it is to make fun of him (after all, he's got a lot to be upset about, doesn't he? Heh). So before you pass judgement because of the author, just take a look at it, because, I assure you, this is some quality humor." Archived August 4, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- nancylebov at Dreamwidth. Short fiction and fan fiction: links, theory, question. 06 December 2004. (Accessed 15 October 2014.)
- This is simply the funniest thing I've read in quite a while. I think it would even amuse people who haven't read Harry Potter books or don't like them. This story is by Cassie Claire, who's also the author of the famed Very Secret Diaries, a combination of scurrilous slash and well-thought out non-slash silliness about the LOTR movies.