An idea I had for a fic (actually, this could be done with any work): the protagonist(s) is dangerously genre savvy to the point that they exploit tropes because they know they’re in a story and that how they work. Applied phlebotinum is replaced with applied narrativium.
- It’s almost midnight of his birthday, Harry and Dursleys are on an isolated island in the middle of the storm. So it’s no surprise when Hagrid shows up. Harry wants to hear everything and get started on his quest. He deduces immediately that Voldemort is still out there and must be defeated because of his scar and dead parents to avenge.
- Harry wants to take notes about everything he sees in Diagon Alley in case something turns out to be a Chekov’s Gun. This really puzzles Hagrid, who Harry refers to as Mr. Exposition.
- The first person his age Harry meets is Malfoy, so he knows this will be an important moment. Harry wonders if he will be nakama or nemesis, though it becomes pretty clear it’s the latter. How does Harry handle someone he knows will become a recurring villian? Also, from the conversation, Harry starts to get the gist of his quest.
- At Ollivander’s, which Harry calls the starting village item shop, he tries to buy the best wand but learns it doesn’t work like that. So, instead he asks for a wand that would help defeat Voldemort. Ollivander immediately gets him his holly/phoenix feather wand, muttering something about wandlore.
- Harry names his owl after an airbender because that’s the obvious thing to do.
- At Platform 9 3/4, Harry meets the Weasleys. He catches Ginny’s eye and wonders if its First Girl Wins. But when he realizes Ron is the one who is in his year, he starts thinking about the cast calculus. He wonders if it will an equal duo or a hero/sidekick thing. He wonders how he and Ron will be red oni / blue oni. He regrets Ron is not female, because UST might be fun.
SS, ch. 2 (The Vanishing Glass) – Orphan’s Ordeal. The story begins with Harry feeling put upon. Despite the signs (the symbolic scar from a mysterious past which left him parentless and that his relatives refuse to talk about), over the years it’s been beaten into him that there’s nothing special about him. He gets bossed around by his family and bullied by his cousin. At the zoo, when he realizes he can talk to snakes, Harry’s imagination is rekindled. This is further reinforced by the glass disappearing, though that wasn’t intentional on his part. His relatives drag him home, Harry arguing all the way. Vernon locks him in cupboard and shouts, “There’s no such thing as tropes!”
SS, ch. 3-4 (The Letters From No One, The Keeper of the Keys) – Tell Me About My Father. This chapter also begin in media res with Harry counting down toward midnight. The letters have tipped him off, and Uncle Vernon has been fighting a losing battle against passing this off as normal. In fact, the letters have forced Uncle Vernon into a Closed Circle on the eve of Harry’s birthday. Harry knows something is going to happen When The Clock Strikes Twelve, he just doesn’t know what. He wishes he had an improvised weapon in case there’s a murder or supernatural attack. But it’s just Hagrid knocking.
- Tell Me About My Father (and mother) – Harry wants to know about his parents
- In The Blood / Turn Out Like His Father (and mother) – That’s what the Dursley’s feared
- Locked Out Of The Loop – The way the Dursley’s tried to keep Harry ignorant
- Mysterious Part / Shrouded In Myth – Harry’s past
- Secret Legacy – Not quite. The Dursley don’t really care about Harry being the Chosen One, but being a wizard.
- You Killed My Father – This line of reasoning has Harry deduce his quest. He may learn that it’s more than It’s Personal
- Take Up My Sword – When Harry learns his parents died resisting Voldemort
- Generation Xerox – Starting with James’ hair and Lily’s eyes, Harry suspects this is how it will go. Also, going to Hogwarts, sorting into Gryffindor, and fighting Voldemort (see Take Up My Sword).
- Mr. Exposition – Hagrid is cast as this for the chapter, but his reluctance to spill everything indicates he won’t be this long-term.
- Gentle Giant – Harry sees in Hagrid’s eyes that he is this. Wonders if this means he’ll become The Big Guy.
SS, ch. 5 (Diagon Alley) – Chekhov’s Gun. Oh so many elements here. Hagrid continues his role as Mr. Exposition, explaining to Harry the rest of the wizarding world, not just his family and past.
- Recurring Extra: Harry remembers Dedalus Diggle bowing to him in a shop once, and now he happens to run into him on his first day in the wizarding world. This must mean something! This is an opportunity to promote Diggle out of Recurring Extra role, especially if Harry finds out that Diggle was in the Order of the Phoenix.
- School Teacher: As the 2nd Hogwarts staff and 1st faculty Harry meets, he wonders what role Quirrel will play. However, there does not seem to be a trope for a teacher who stutters. Harry doesn’t recognize that the stutter is Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Chekhov’s Gun: Harry tries to take in as much of Diagon Alley as possible. First out of wonder, then out of looking for anything important he needs on his quest.
- Tempting Fate: Hagrid says something like, “You’d be crazy to try to steal from Gringott’s,” making it almost a certainty Harry will have to at some point.
- Crimefighting With Cash: When Harry see his inheritance, his mind immediately leaps to this. However, he’s wrong. The money is mostly there to ensure Harry isn’t fettered by monetary problems.
- The Rival: As the first Hogwarts student Harry meets, in his year too, Draco obviously must be important. The question is what role will he fall into? This time, Harry does tell Draco who he is. Draco is openly supportive of blood-purity, which was one of Voldemort’s recruiting banners. Combined with Draco’s personality, Harry doesn’t think they’ll get along and puts him down as The Rival, though he might turn out to be the Lancer or some other member of the Nakama.
- Ambition is Evil: If this version of Draco talks about getting sorted, Harry will ask him about what traits define each house. Harry will read this into Slytherin. Draco will also denigrate Gryffindor.
- Hufflepuff House: The existance of a 4th house with no real defining trait puzzles Harry for a while. This will later lead him to think about the 4 classical elements or Four Element Ensemble or Four Temperment Ensemble.
- There Are No Coincidences: Obviously, the most important thing Harry gets today is his wand, a symbol of his magical abilities. At first, he tries to buy Olivander’s most powerful wand, but it is explained they don’t work like that. So Harry then suggests a wand that would help him defeat Voldemort. This causes Olivander to reach for the holly and phoenix feather wand. Sparks fly, the wand has chosen Harry. Olivander finds this very troubling.
- The Theory Or Narrative Causality: Hagrid buys Harry an owl. For a while, Harry consider naming her after some air elemental, or Narrativium, but decides on Esmeralda, or Esme for short.