Ooh, Carole, this story is so interesting! Somehow, you managed to take four characters and paint four completely different and completely unique reactions to the death of Hogwarts ‘Golden Boy’. I thought the way you set up the story, as well as the character choice, was inspired. Each of the voices were clearly defined.
For Pomona, I suppose I never really thought about her being a person of faith. I don’t know if I even considered how the ‘Fat Friar’ became a friar in the first place. I love how you consider details like this in your writing and fill in the gaps, so to speak. I adored how you have her that one commonality with her House’s ghost, where not many would’ve been able to share Christianity with others at a school full of magical people who probably don’t share that belief.
I did pause at her being a Muggle-born, though. It has nothing to do with her characterisation so much as if she had been a Muggle-born, she never would’ve been allowed to teach at Hogwarts during Year Seven, just as no students were allowed to attend. I suppose it’s subjective, but it is something to consider. Personally, I like her in the story just the way she is; her story makes sense and just reeks of raw humanity.
The end part of her segment was just… *sniff*. It made me want to hug her when she felt so guilty for praying for a Triwizard victory when she felt she should’ve been praying for the safety of the participants. Would it have changed the outcome? No, but her faith would’ve given her comfort in that time of grief, but instead, it stood as a testament of how it had let her down.
The Fat Friar was another victory in this part. He was given a life, not just a name and the title of the Hufflepuff House ghost. He was emotive and honest, and his background felt so fitting for both the supporting role as well as for a Hufflepuff in general. I think he really made this segment one of my favourites.
There was something base and rudimentary about Seamus and Lavender in this. Not everyone deals with grief in the same way or for the same reasons, and having these two right after Pomona illustrates this point so well. While Sprout chose to blame herself, Seamus decided that a bit of denial was in order, and physical grief was Lavender’s choice.
By all rights, Seamus and Lavender barely knew Cedric at all, but having been that same age and lost a classmate, I know how it affects people. Everywhere you go, you notice something that you can associate with that person, even if it’s someone you hardly ever talked to. You might even hear a joke and wonder if said person would’ve laughed at it or thought it was stupid. I even remember being in JC Penney’s and seeing a message T-shirt that reminded me of the boy who died. I think you captured the relative… weirdness that it brings quite accurately, as well as the mental funk that surrounds the time when you find out about it. There’s the disbelief, then the confusion, and then the angst.
When they had sex, I felt bad for both of them. It was not a good idea at all, and you showed that when Lavender later dumped Seamus, but they didn’t know how to feel. Right then, neither of them wanted to think about Cedric lying on the ground mere feet away, knowing very well that, if Voldemort had indeed returned, that body could someday be them, taken in some dark place and brought back by a screaming bystander.
Overall, this segment was poignant in the sense of lost innocence. They hadn’t known death until this point — not really. Now they understood heartache, grief, and shame, and they started to become the Gryffindors that proudly signed their names on the Dumbledore’s Army roster.
I think Theo was the most heart-breaking of all. In a way, he has it worse than Cho in terms of losing the object of his affection. He never got to touch Cedric or to taste the lips that peppered his dreams. Theo never got to laugh at a joke or smile at something Cedric said. He never got that dance. Cho had memories, but all Theo would have was bitterness. I wanted to hug him tightly and point him in the direction of another of Cedric’s mourning admirers *coughOlivercough*.
It just wasn’t fair, and the way you had him listening in disgust at Seamus and Lavender’s lovemaking, convincing himself he was angry that they weren’t honouring Cedric properly and not that he was hurting because no one cared about him like that and he didn’t think anyone would. And when I read ‘No one ever did’, I wanted to steal him away and mother him, poor lad.
Hagrid, as we discussed in SBBC, is a very difficult character to get right, but I thought you did brilliantly. There was something so simple and earthy about him, about how he dealt with the tragedy and the imminence of Voldemort’s return. From the feelings of guilt he had over having created the maze to the simple act of tearing up the shrubs one by one. It was such an appropriate gesture for him, because it was one of the few things he could do to take his mind off of everything.
His brief bond with Flitwick felt right, as well. There are far fewer commonalities between the two than differences, yet they understood each other for that one moment. And them working together to erase the maze so no one else had to see it the next day and think of Cedric’s death, that the pitch could go back to its more innocent purpose as a place of fun and House unity. It was a major *eep* moment, as well as a cruel irony, when they finished and all they’d accomplished was to create a desolate expanse that mirrored the world that Cedric’s death had changed and the darker realm that his murder was going to bring with it.
Overall, this was an excellent story, and if you don’t win the challenge, I will abstain from chocolate for an entire month. This was so well written, with your signature style of fluid prose and touching characterisation. This fic was gorgeous and a great distraction from the bajillion other things I should be doing but don’t want to.
Oh, and good morning. :D
Author's Response: It has nothing to do with her characterisation so much as if she had been a Muggle-born, she never would’ve been allowed to teach at Hogwarts during Year Seven, just as no students were allowed to attend. Shit, I hadn;t thoight of that ... will now go and change this (she'll have a Muggle mother ... ha ha.)
Jess, thank you so much for pointing that out and also for giving me such a monstrously long and really rather poetical review.
I had the idea for this when I wrote the Hermione/Lavender story (Lavender's side of the shag with Seamus is there). I didn't want it to be just Seamus so wrote a long list of characters and thought about them. Pomona was always on there, Theo was at the end, and Hagrid only appeared because I needed his name in the prompt. I tell you the Hagrid bit caused the most problems - but I think has given me the most satisfaction, although I'm gagging to write more Theo now.
Thank you again and also for pointing out the idiocy of Pomona being a Muggle born - Ack! Dumb, dumb error. ~Carole~