Trouble in Paradise

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Fanfiction
Title: Trouble in Paradise
Author(s): Ebony, a.k.a. AngieJ
Date(s): December 2000 - July 2001
Length: ~260,000 words (12 chapters)
Genre: Drama, Het Romance
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: online at Remember Us? and and the updated site Remember Us

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Trouble in Paradise is an early Harry Potter fanfiction, written during the Three-Year Summer and thus compliant with canon only up to Goblet of Fire. It is a post-Hogwarts Harry/Hermione fic that is written in first-person from the point of view of Angelina Johnson, a minor character in canon who, in the fic, has married Fred Weasley.

The two stories were archived in 2004 or 2005 at Remember Us, a fiction archive that featured characters of color.

In 2006, Trouble in Paradise and its sequel, Paradise Lost, were taken off of Schnoogle, HP_Paradise, and Fanfiction.net by the author.

The Story

The story begins ten years after Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave Hogwarts. When it begins, Ron and Hermione are married, though it ultimately ends with Harry/Hermione and Ron/OFC.

Summary from Remember Us?: "Ron and Hermione have loved each other since their Hogwarts days. Now that they are married, mistakes and misunderstandings threaten to tear the very foundation of what they've built together apart. Can their love survive the ultimate test? 31-year old Daily Prophet reporter Angelina Johnson-Weasley narrates."

The summary from FictionAlley: "An adult H/H shipper's attempt to understand the other side. R/H marriage on the rocks, Angelina Johnson-Weasley narrates."[1]

The fic frequently compares its characters to characters of Arthurian Legend. Harry is Lancelot, Hermione is Guinevere, Ron is King Arthur, and Ron's son, Maury, is named after Arthur's son, Sir Mordred, "who is his undoing in most of the legends."[2] In addition, the story features the Sword of Rhydderch, one of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain that was said to be found by Lancelot on his quest for the Holy Grail.

Story Headers

This is the story header for chapters one and two for the story as it is posted on Remember Us?:

DISCLAIMER: All of the characters, settings, and major plot lines belong to J.K. Rowling. Any original characters, settings, or plot developments are only possible because of the foundation she’s provided. This teacher and aspiring writer is ever so grateful that she has allowed us to enter Harry’s world through her novels.

A/N: I’ve been around these parts since March 2000. After being the bridesmaid of Harry Potter fan fiction (always a reviewer, never an author), this is my very first fic in this fandom. Hope you enjoy! <g> Special thanks to Penny, Carole, Heidi, Pippin, Michelle, and Cassandra Claire for their beta reads, encouragement, and/or advice. Also thanks to my cyberbuds at the Harry Potter for Grownups e-group for their help with the Christmas dinner... Scott, Michelle, Neil, Penny, and many others contributed good advice.

WARNING: This fic begins on Christmas Day 2008, ten years after the Hogwarts canon is scheduled to end. All of the characters you recognize from the canon are now adults and will behave accordingly. That this fic contains adult themes goes without saying.

Also, this is not a shipper fic per se. While I do have a definite ship preference, this fic is not R/H or H/H or D/H or D/G or anything else... yet. This originated because I wanted to explore the other point of view, so to speak. I also have the unique handicap of not being able to write “happily ever after” stories... I like to explore everyday problems even in the midst of a jeweled fantasy. Flames are welcome (I have stock in asbestos), but are unlikely to sway me towards sugar-coating the issues in TIP.

You have been duly warned.  ;)

Chapters three through twelve have their own headers, including one for the controversial chapter six. As the chapter six header includes includes a disclaimer that mentions Zora Neale Hurston and Virginia Hamilton, it is likely that this header, at least, was later amended:

DISCLAIMER: I’m emphatically not JKR—she owns Harry and company, and the fact that I’m writing about them doesn’t mean that I want to infringe her copyright, it simply means that I’m obsessed with the fictional world she has created. Certain elements of this chapter were inspired by Virginia Hamilton’s award-winning folklore collection The People Could Fly and Zora Neale Hurston’s *excellent* anthropological study of magic, superstition, and voodoo in the Caribbean, Tell My Horse.

The First Chapter: Announcement and Acknowledgments

The first chapter was posted to FanFiction.net on December 17, 2000. [3]

Ebony posted on Harry Potter for Grownups on December 17, 2000:

After months of shameless plugs for just about every author of note in the fandom... Penny's given me permission to post a shameless plug of my own. The first chapter of my fic "Trouble in Paradise" is now archived at fanfiction.net. It's listed as "Trouble in Paradise 01 - Christmas With The Weasleys." The genre is romance. My name over there is AngieJ. Persons acknowledged here and in the author's not include my phenomenal betas (Penny, Carole, Michelle, Heidi, and Pippin), a famous author in the fandom who offered encouragement when I didn't think I could do it (Cassandra Claire), and the entire HP4GU group for the Christmas dinner -- with special shouts out in the a/n to Scott, Michelle, Neil, and Penny. In this case, it took a village to raise the child... if the first chapter of this fic can be considered a kid. :) [4]

Chapter Titles

  • Christmas With The Weasleys
  • From Bad To Worse
  • Boxing Day
  • For Auld Lang Syne
  • Flipping the Script
  • Curiouser and Curiouser
  • The Reconciliation
  • Sorrow’s Kitchen
  • Lady Marmalade
  • A Sleep and a Forgetting
  • Serpentine Fire
  • Evening, Morning, Night

Notability in Fandom

Trouble in Paradise was well-known among a variety of fans, not exclusively Harry/Hermione shippers. Co-founder of the Sugar Quill (and Ron/Hermione shipper) Zsenya included a referenced the work in her fandom history filk "We Didn't Start the Fandom."

The fic contained various original characters named after Big Name Fans (as well as lesser-known fans) in the Harry Potter fandom, including Cassandra Claire. Maureen "Mo" Ludlam, the original character who turned out to be the mother of Ron's child, was based on the Sugar Quill mod Moey. Ebony described it as "a challenge to see how many fandom people [she could] fit in [the story]."[5]

Sequel & Cookies

Paradise Lost was a sequel to TiP, written from 2001 to 2004. Summary: "The sequel to Trouble in Paradise - Political upheaval and plagues and passion… oh my! In the year 2012, the wizarding world faces the threat of genocide amidst a time of turbulence and terrible prejudice towards Muggles and their magical progeny. The only one who might be able to erase this threat is the most famous Muggle-born witch of all, Dr. Hermione Granger… that is, if she and her friends can figure out this most diabolical of puzzles before she is erased."

Ebony also posted "ficlets and cookies from the 'Trouble in Paradise' universe" on FictionAlley as From The Paradise Files. It comprised:[6]

  • Eres Todo En Mí - May, 1998. Alternate seventh-year scenario from the Paradise Files. In Tartarus, a badly injured Harry needs a healing touch that only Hermione can provide. (21 December 2001)
  • Indecision - February, 2001. Morning after scenario -- Harry finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. (01 August 2001)
  • Rules Of Engagement - March, 2001. It’s the day of Fred Weasley and Angelina Johnson’s wedding... and there is a race against the clock that Hermione knows nothing about. (01 September 2001)

Allegations of Plagiarism

In mid-2006, Ebony was accused of plagiarizing a section of Chapter 6, "Curiouser and Curiouser," where she described an African American folktale about a tribe of people who had wings. The passage describing the folktale, included in the fic in the context of a character telling the story to her daughter, was adapted from Virginia Hamilton's 1985 book "The People Could Fly," and was not explicitly credited in the fic.

Ebony issued a formal apology on both her Yahoo! Group and LiveJournal on August 16, 2006.[7]

In retrospect, I absolutely should have directly quoted the text from Hamilton in words and ways to establish without a doubt that those words were hers. I can only imagine how this must look to readers who do not know me and do not know the context in which this chapter was written. Looking at bolded texts from Paradise next to bolded texts from Hamilton’s book, I can understand, although am deeply saddened, that fandomers would jump to the conclusion that I am a shameless plagiarist. Was I wrong to use Hamilton’s words without attribution? In retrospect, absolutely. But I hope that I have clarified that my intent was never to pass off her words as my own, and in fact, I discussed openly with many of my first readers that this section (and the whole subplot about the Flying People) was inspired by her work.[7] [8]
More comments by Ebony, also on August 16, 2006:
Posting Trouble in Paradise in the early days of fandom was, for lack of a better comparison, like sitting down and telling bedtime stories to my sisters, cousins, niece and nephew. To be honest, I was a really lazy writer back then, more concerned with getting out the story than with the necessary mechanics of attribution and formatting. I took care with my original fiction and of course my academic work was cited in MLA or APA format, but at the time, I thought that all fanfiction was plagiarism, anyway... and my biggest concern at the time was that someone would send this R-rated Harry Potter fanfiction to the school district where I taught fifth grade. Fate, it seems, has a sense of irony. [9] [10]

See also: Plagiarism in Trouble in Paradise - Another Example at Bad Penny

Removal of Work

Both stories were uploaded in 2004 or 2005 to Remember Us, a fanfic archive that featured characters of color.

On August 18, 2006, as a result of the plagiarism controversy, Ebony removed Trouble in Paradise and its sequel, Paradise Lost, from Schnoogle, Yahoo! Group (HP_Paradise), and Fanfiction.net with the intention of revising the controversial section and editing the fic as a whole, but offered to email the fic to whoever wanted before it was put back up.[11]

On October 30, 2006, Ebony posted a update on HP_Paradise saying that she would no longer be emailing the unedited version of the fics. She explained that she had been recently appointed as a group leader at her children's ministry as was therefore uncomfortable with some of the "themes and content" in Paradise Lost, which was R-rated.[12] She encouraged fans to share the works among themselves if they wished.[12]

This Story in Context: Some Powerhouse Harry Potter Fics of Early 2000s

In the early 2000s, Harry Potter fandom was still quite new, and fans were clustering and swarming in many ways that would define much of the fandom later. One of these gathering points were a group of highly admired stories by a group of well-known Harry Potter writers. These stories, posted as serials, had many fans at the edge of their seats waiting for installments.

A fan wrote in 2001:
... I went and read through the files and I found one that has all these posts that our Idols, the Goddesses Lori, Cassie, Penny, Carole and Queen Ebony wrote early in their FanFiction Careers. It was so cool. I've been feeling a bit inferior because I have major writer's block and I just read all this wonderful stuff by our pantheon so.... But Like it has a message that Cassie wrote about posting her first story and she was worried that it wasn't that good or something (never think that Cassie, you're wonderful) And I realized (sorry Goddesses) that they're all human too. I just had to laugh at some of the original ship preferences and ideas and the ideas that were born and then incorperated into their stories. [13]

The Fics

  • The Trouble in Paradise Series by Ebony Thomas
    • Trouble in Paradise (December 2000-July 2001)
    • Paradise Lost (August 2001-August 2004)
    • ficlets and cookies: Eres Todo En Mí (December 2001), Indecision (August 2001), Rules Of Engagement(September 2001)
  • The Sirius Stories

Reception & Reviews

AngieJ pretty much throws the book at [the Ron/Hermione pairing] -- you've got your basic communication issues, followed up by cheating, lying, illegitimate impregnating, friends and family dragged into the secret-keeping conspiracy, memory charms to cover up even more cheating, unrequited (and yet, not-so-unrequited) love, revelations of all of the above in front of said friends and family, and finally, a big confusing battle with something nasty and evil which I probably should have thought was cool. And oh yeah, a wedding.

If you like that sort of thing, you have to give the author kudos for building it all up and then not just knocking it down, but freaking aiming a nuclear warhead at it and blowing it to kingdom come. If you don't like that sort of thing, well, you still kind of have to give her kudos. Because there's such a thing as plot, and then there's PLOT. This one was obviously pretty carefully planned out, such that all the clues were (probably, if you were a more attentive reader than me) there, and I appreciate that in a serial work-in-progress.[14]

References

  1. Schnoogle: AngieJ at FictionAlley, archived by the Wayback Machine 16 July 2006. WebCite.
  2. Ebony, a.k.a. AngieJ. Trouble in Paradise, Chapter 10 Author's Note/Reviewers' Thanks. Circa June 2001.
  3. The fifth chapter was posted in January 2001, the seventh chapter was posted February 2001, the final chapter was posted in July 2001.
  4. Ebony's comment at Harry Potter for Grownups, December 17, 2000
  5. Ebony, a.k.a. AngieJ. Trouble in Paradise, Chapter 9 Author's Note/Reviewers' Thanks. Cerca June 2001.
  6. From The Paradise Files by AngieJ at FictionAlley's Astronomy Tower, archived by the Wayback Machine 20 April 2002. WebCite.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ebony (AngieJ). General Public Statement to the Latter-Day HP Fandom. 16 August 2006. (Accessed 1 March 2011.)
  8. WebCite
  9. General Public Statement to the Latter-Day HP Fandom; archive link by Ebony Elizabeth, August 16, 2006
  10. Previously, Ebony commented on the subject of plagiarism on September 5, 2000 at Harry Potter for Grownups, a little less than a year before Cassandra Claire was banned from FanFiction.Net for plagiarism: "For those of us who are men and women of letters, plagiarism is what horse theft was to the settlers of the Old West. It's a sin I despise in my students, in my colleagues, and in fellow writers."
  11. Ebony. HP_Paradise Yahoo! Group. Message #7192: Thanks/Temporary Deletion of TiP and PL. 18 August 2006. (Membership required, unmoderated.)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ebony. HP_Paradise Yahoo! Group. Message #7211: An update. 30 October 2006. (Membership required, unmoderated.)
  13. Corinne:untitled post, June 29, 2001, a day after Cassandra Claire was banned from Fanfiction.net for plagiarism
  14. hpcritique. Trouble in Paradise Review. 1 April 2003. (Accessed 1 March 2011.)