FimFiction Link - Short ID: 437266/the-gate
Published: Apr '19 — Feb '20
Some call The Gate "Hailey Potter 1.0". This is because, depending on how you count it, it's been re-written 3-5 times. Naturally, the author admits that it's a failure. To them, the fic failed for two reasons. Firstly, if you retroactively convert the fic in to an outline, it looks like a list of bullet points rather than a set of arcs and it therefore reads like a bunch of incoherent events tied together with nothing but slice of life content. Secondly, most arcs last two or three chapters at most. The only real exception is the first arc.
You might expect that I read this fic because it would be "so bad it's good". That's partly right, but a major factor is that the short arcs make it extremely easy reading. Although, that's not to say that it's not a crack fic. It's a Harry Potter crossover where Hogwarts takes in thousands and thousands of ponies as new first-year students. Many of these students are Equestrian Secret Service. This leads to scenes like Fluttershy filling Scabbers full of lead, a Hermionie rainboom, and Lyra deploying a WMD. It's anything but predictable.
The author is right about most of what went wrong, but there's a lot more where that came from:
>Very militaristic ponies. Radio contact and phonetic alphabet code-speak are commonplace.
>Poor pacing. The first HP book's word count is about 80,000. In this fic, 15,000 is the end of the Sorting Ceremony and 45,000 is the end of the second day of term.
>The fic lacks any planning whatsoever. Chapters were often released daily and some decisions were even left up to the commenters.
>From the very start, it's clear that the ponies are dramatically overpowered. They're high-tech, mature, organised, and far beyond HP magic. The ponies find The Stone extremely early on.
>The general plot outline after finding The Stone is "Follow Rowling's lead, but go very slowly and make people become ponies and deal with the fallout of that".
>The Papa Tango, a method for turning humans in to ponies, makes the PT pony more powerful than an alicorn. Normal ponies were already overpowered relative to HP, so you can imagine how nuts this gets. It gets even worse when the PT ponies ascend. Hermionie and Draco kick Quirrelmort's ass in the forest. Starting to see a power level problem?
>Some plot blunders that even the author admits to. Despite what I've just described, the Philosopher's Stone plot continues without comment. Quirrelmort goes for The Stone two chapters later. The overpowered ponies seemingly do very little (where is Lyra? Luna? Anyone else?), but Hermionie, Harry, and Draco kick his ass (again, PT pony outranks alicorn).
>Arcs just come out of fucking nowhere. I don't have any better way to describe this problem. It's like there's nothing driving them.
>The viewpoint character changes consistently. I honestly couldn't tell you who the main character is.
And that's just Philosopher's Stone bit! CoS is worse... character limit.
As for the Chamber of Secrets plot, that's where it certainly crosses over to "so bad it's good". I'll just rush these points:
>Harry Potter has an Amazon Alexa.
>Dumbledore and his staff find the Papa Tango. Somehow, merely finding it is enough to transform them all in to ponies. It took 12 fucking hours to prepare the spell for Harry and friends. For Dumbledore, it just took breaking in to a room.
>Reckless use of Lyra's magic becomes such a theme that the author retroactively claims that the titular gate is magically making the ponies immature.
>The ponies aren't just too powerful magically; They're also too intelligent. Chapter 51 has Lyra find pretty much all of the leads in the Chamber of Secrets plot in the same scene where the first attack is discovered. She figures out: Myrtle's relevance, the beast's means of attack, the relevance of the water, the cure for the petrification, that it's a snake, that Harry can talk to snake, and that the beast can harm ghosts.
>They start turning S.H.I.E.L.D Agents in to Wizards. That's right, after about 100,000 words, the fic suddenly becomes a Marvel crossover. Anyway, a pony walks up to the agents and nonchalantly makes them Wizards.
>Sorry, did you think that previous point was a big deal? The author seemly didn't. The fic immediately timeskips to the new trans Draco plot where they infodump state secrets on Madam Malkin.
>No real surprises in the final few chapters. A changeling gets introduced and this magically wins the basilisk fight.
So, can I recommend it? Fuck no, but it's such easy reading that I might read the re-write anyway. These sort of (presumably unintentional) crack fics always wow you with their insanity. It's been a long time since a fic has left me stunned, but turning S.H.I.E.L.D Agents in to Wizards sure did it.
Note: This is a general review of all of "Hailey Potter". If you want specific reviews, look elsewhere.
There's six stories that comprise "Hailey Potter". They fall in to three lineages. Aside from their titles, all names are fan terms.
The first lineage comprises The Gate, On the Implications of Parallel Worlds, and The Accidental Invasion. Due to their release dates, we call them "Hailey Potter 1.0", "Hailey Potter 2.0", and "Hailey Potter 4.0". Each is a re-write of the previous (except for The Gate). Their general focus is Draco Malfoy (and later Harry Potter) transgenderism, putting thousands of MLP characters in Hogwarts, and Harry Potter's cast gaining MLP powers.
The author cancelled 1.0 because it had no outline and few arcs lasted more than three chapters. I found it the most enjoyable fic of the lot because it was both a great crack fic and extremely easy reading. There's less information on why the re-write, 2.0, was cancelled but signs point to "the author didn't follow their outline so they ended up with a lot of scenes that they wanted to happen but couldn't justify, resulting in crippling writer's block". I'd say that it was a lot worse than the original fic. It hyper-focuses on one character arc at a time, robbing it of 1.0's fun insanity and replacing it with unremarkable TF/TG. The next re-write, 4.0, makes a mostly similar mistake. It largely keeps the most overpowered character as the viewpoint character, meaning that a lot of conflicts can't happen. There's no story without a conflict, so that ruins a lot of the fic. However, that's not actually what killed the fic. The fic massively improves around chapter 55, possibly due to eventually changing viewpoint character, but the author thought that chapter 78 (which I loved!) killed the fic. Among all of these fics, and indeed among all of Hailey Potter, I can't recommend any of them, but if I had to recommend one it would be The Gate.
The other three Hailey fics all make similar mistakes to 4.0 (i.e. making the cast so overpowered that conflicts can't happen), so from now on I'll say less about where I thought the author fucked up.
The second lineage is The Boy Who Disappeared (3.0) and Gift of Divinity (5.0). I think that 3.0 was actually the first fic to feature Hailey. The author admits that they gave out powers too quickly in 3.0, so I don't know how they made that mistake three more times. In fact, that one sentence describes both 3.0 and 5.0. They give HP characters more powers until the story breaks. At least both fics manage to do interesting things in their MLP character's few scenes.
The final lineage is just 6.0, The Girl who Didn't Just Live. It features overpowered Hailey and Ginnymort from virtually day one. The author thinks that it needs a re-write to add more character interactions. The truth is "OP cast = no story".
My recommendation is to read none of these. If you must read one, make it 1.0.