I've been saying for months that I'd review one or the other of your epics, and seeing as how I stayed up until 3 am a week ago to catch up on this, I think the time has come.
I could go through the chapter and comb for small grammatical errors as I usually do when reviewing, but if I had any grammatical disagreements with you it would probably be about commas, and I doubt you want to hear about commas. My biggest quibble about anything is Draco thinking to himself that Eastwrithe is the perfect name for the village. Somehow it didn't seem to me a very Draco-like thought.But enough of quibbles. I've been following this plot for over fifty chapters by now, and I want to gush about it. The writing is beautiful. There is enough imagery to paint vivid pictures in my mind, but not so much that I get swamped in it. I love stories that manage to walk that fine line, and you've done an admirable job with it. Combine good writing with an excellent plot, and you already have me hooked. But that's not my favorite thing about this story.
What I love most about your stories are your characters. You write one of the most believable Dracos I have read. He is not a good person, but he is thoroughly believable. He looks out for himself above all else-quite the proper Slytherin! He has some attachment to his parents, but not a great deal. He has motives and motivations. He's not always incredibly smart or cunning, which is another pitfall I often see in Draco characterizations. In the context of the story, he is real.I also quite like your Voldemort. The idea that he hides himself away and lets almost no one access is both interesting and in keeping with what we know of him from canon. It's wonderful to see an author take a canon character and expand on what we know of him or her, and you do it beautifully.
Then, of course, there are Severus and Maeve. I'm a Snape fan (*gaspshockdie*), so I don't know whether it's that I read more Snape-centric fics or that the quality of writers who write Snape is better than average, but I've read several Snapes who are really quite excellent. Yours is certainly one of them. You write the best “Snape in love” I have read. I love reading your descriptions of his actions and mannerisms, and I constantly smile or even chuckle at the dialogue you write for him. Maeve is … Maeve. I don't think I can say more than that. I absolutely love how you write the interactions between the two of them. The tenderness is sweet, especially given Severus' acerbic personality. Their mutual frustration and worry makes their relationship real. When they interact, I feel like both of them are in the room with me (or maybe I'm in the room with both of them). They make me smile. They make me bite my lip in apprehension. And most concretely, they make me keep reading.This story (along with HPDL) is one of my favorite fan fictions. Thank you for sharing it with us!
I have always hoped, for some reason, that Draco could remove himself from his father's shadow and that he might even manage to break from the evils Voldemort imparts. I expect him to ultimately die for this, but I certainly wished that he might redeem himself, at least partially, before that messy end. Now, it seems that he will not do so and I admit myself to be disappointed. Not by anything you have done, however; don't misunderstand me. I am confident that Draco's emergence as Lucius' son has important and long-reaching ramifications. I learned in DoL to second-guess every apparent truth, just as I do with the books, but I never question the direction you take these characters. After all, you know how imperitive these personality transformations are and I can only speculate until they are revealed to me and the rest of us through the much anticipated updates. Thank-you very much for such a detailed, enthralling chapter (Severus' priority and Narcissa's revelation in particluar). Wonderful. ~Katie
This was real interesting. We've seen some Draco, but not this much, and I liked the darkness you've given to his character. I guess it makes perfect sense that he would want to come back after failing with Dumbledore. But poor Neville. Wonder how he's going to get to him. And sneaky Maeve and Snape, going to bed in the middle of the day! Great chapter, be good to see what goes on if they go to Grimmauld Place.
Very good chapter. I like the sympathetic Narcissa. I found it insightfule how Rodrick named himself as her Narcissa's friend. Snape showing his humanity only to his wife was wonderful. Actual understandable emotions and all. Keep up the good work.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving us back the real Ron. That was the highlight of the chapter for me, I'm afraid. (But I am biased.) There really was so much going on. I continue to adore any scene with Narcissa in it - so much scope for amusing jibes and cat fights. And Hermione has a little crush on my favourite man, does she? Lockhart with brains? Yes, I would say she's about right. I wonder where that will lead. Very enjoyable! Thank you.
Author's Response: I am guilty of making Ron rather immature in this so far...and it took Anne to point it out to me. So we're back to the Ron that appeared in DoL. *hangs head guiltily*
Ah, the eventful Chapter 14! What can a fan do but to love it?
The opening scene completely belongs to Ron. I’m not his number one fan, but I still appreciate how you give him the credit of finding the locket, for being useful for once. His arguments about going back to Hogwarts might well be thought up because he wants to see Hermione again, but there’s nothing stupid about them at all. You show us the serious side of him, but also the humorous one: “Or round his wife’s grand, scrawny neck,” Ron laughed.’ as well as the part some would call silly, but which I think is adorable: ‘…his mind now drifting pleasantly to thoughts of Hermione.’
And then back to Carrowdore Cottage, to one of the best mornings I’ve come across. You know already how I adore the precious Snape/Snape pairing, and reading any closeness between the two is like eating Thornton’s Treacle Toffee to me. It seems like each time they touch is carefully planned and thought through at the same time as it’s natural and spontaneous. Earlier this year, I would never have thought that the line ‘…enjoying the heaviness of her against his body.’ concerning Snape would have touched my heart at all, and definitely not that I would have smiled happily about it. Although I suppose this is still true, because this is not simply Snape any longer. He’s Severus, and even if you will never hear me say that I adore him, I have certainly grown very fond of his character.
“I will never sleep in a cave like some mongrel with only rats for company,” he hissed.’ - I’m reminded of Sirius yet again, and I wonder if that’s also what Severus had in mind… I can’t remember if he knew of Sirius’ hiding place in canon, although I think he didn’t, but the word ‘mongrel’ is to me connected to the word ‘dog’, and through that to Sirius.
You’re trying to make all of your readers fall for Roderick, aren’t you? Why else would you write things like: ‘His hair wasn’t its usual well-combed self and Maeve couldn’t help thinking it made him look rather more attractive than normal.’, ‘…his half-undone shirt revealing a smooth chest that was almost, but not quite, unblemished.’ and “I promise. I will take the utmost care of my personal safety so that I can always be around to harass and generally infuriate you,” he said into her hair, breathing in the soft scent of her recently vacated bed.’ I wish I knew just when Roderick turned from someone amusing at the best but most often annoying, to someone I’d gladly snog at any time. You must have tricked me somewhere along the road, and now I can’t see a way back. *pretends to grumble* But seriously, you have really succeeded to turn his character from something great into something amazing.
“RAMPTON!” Severus’ voice roared down the stairs. “Stop trying to seduce my wife and get that Malfoy woman out of my house and to safety.” - *giggles madly*
‘Ron was sitting in the kitchen simultaneously eating a ham sandwich and playing Wizard’s Chess against the board.’ - I really like the detail of a self-playing chess board, it’s like Muggles playing against their (or our, I should perhaps say) computers, just that it runs by magic instead.
A bunker! I must say, even if it’s not very nice, that it really suits Severus. Or at least the Severus he was before Maeve returned to his life. Tidiness, lack of details, a place ready to be inspected by some official at any time. It’s feels colourless and empty, but then Maeve enters and in my mind I can see how her presence and red hair lights up the dull rooms, just as she did when she re-entered Severus’ life. There is a new reality to everything when they speak, and even if Maeve has to stay put it’s clear to me that she was meant to be beside her husband all along, and not hidden away at Hogwarts.
“I love you, Maeve,” he said, before hurrying from the room and closing the door behind him.’ - so powerful… It’s really amazing what holding back those words most of the time does to the times when they are spoken. And you don’t have to add that he said it with feeling or passion because we already know that if he does say it, it’s because he means it. I’m very glad that you let Maeve make the observation that his words would have been very suitable last ones, because as she did I’m less afraid that might be the case. I know we’re not exactly at a point in the story where Maeve or Severus would likely die, but that doesn’t stop me worrying for them, constantly.
The boys (yes, in a story where men like Remus, Roderick and Severus are so important, Harry and Ron seem like boys) returning to the castle feels better than I thought it would. In canon, I think I would be disappointed at such a plot development, but even if Harry has got a major part of this story, there are other characters I’d just as well like to read outside the walls of Hogwarts. Hermione is very good welcoming them back, and very nice of you to keep a bit of tension between her and Ron. And speaking of young romances, I’m very glad you decided to include a bit of Ginny. I had certainly fooled myself thinking I just wanted it there for things to be correct. Truth is that I’m shamelessly fond of the two together, and even if there are more interesting and original liaisons to be focusing on, a part of me is secretly hoping for things to turn out all right for Harry and Ginny.
“Although he did say something about a family crest stitched to the person’s undergarments.” - *snorts* Excellent! You know, the world of fandom has its advantages sometimes. :) I’m glad that Hermione has decided to stick to what she found out about R.A.B. even if Maeve wasn’t very encouraging. I’m sort of hoping for a secret visit to the cemetery, but of course not until we’ve had to live through another encounter with Filch…
Draco is sooooo stupid!! He doesn't realize the sacrifices that so many people have made for him. He is truly his Father's son! I hope that he gets a wake up call before it is too late. He doesn't even show his mother any respect! SIGH Oh well. I think you write him very well though. I'm glad that Maeve is going back to Grimauld Place. That way the Order can reach her if needed. My only question, is how will Severus be able to get there if Harry is secret keeper....Harry hasn't given him permission to be there. Only Maeve. It will be interesting to see how Snape gets Filch to help Harry. :) It is very interesting to see Snape help from the back ground, even though no one believes in him, except Maeve and Remus. I can't wait to see Remus when he resurfaces!!! That should be fun.
draco is such a git. he's really putting his mother through it, and when she's sad over lucius too. And maeve's going back to grimmauld place,Yay!
They finally found the locket! all they've gotta do now is figure out what to do with it. i like snape and maeves new hiding place, the bunker sounds pretty secure for both of them. it feels like things are really starting to move along now.
YES! First again. Rats, I really hoped Draco was going to behave himself better...oh well. I really like how Daco almost got himself beat up by bunch of muggles. the possiblity being there was quite funny.
I like how Ron has come back into the story a bit, I thought hed been a bit absent lately. Roderick and maeve were real sweet with each other. I think that relationship has really developed in this fic. But the best bit was Snape and Maeve going on the run together. The bunker was interesting, wonder how long theyll be safe there.
Yipes! I was glancing back through the reviews (a frustrating and dangerous task lately, but I digress) and found that I hadn't reviewed in 4 chapters! I had no idea it had been so long and I am so sorry, Jan! Your work deserves so much better! ~Katie
Well, well, well. A very good chapter, excellent, quite like the last one (except this time I managed to read it through all at once. I became so infuriated with Narcissa in the last chapter that I had to stop reading immediately and snapped at no less than five people in a single hour.) It's amazing your how writing affects my moods. But I did manage to finish today, after a particularly grueling dance production week and was thrilled to be able to read on. I am extremely glad Harry and Ron are back (at least for the relationships I foresee developing as I can be a hopeless romantic at heart). I'm also extremely glad Ron found the locket because I had been wondering if and when it might emerge. Roderick is simply insufferable but I expected nothing less. As for my dear friend, Remus, I'm curious as to which woman he proposed to. I think I know, but with every twist is a corresponding leap from one assumed plot line to another and I'm a bit lost as to which I'm expected for my friend. I will confess, though, that I am extremely impressed with Filch and did not expect him to be a source of imformation at all, but now I cannot see how his darker knowledge cannot be useful. Wonderful! I eagerly await the next chapter! ~Katie
Loved Rampton and Maeve's relationship and Snape's reaction to it- very in character though Rampton is still a puzzle. Glad Harry's back at Hogwarts and look forward a little HG, HR romance. Would've liked to have seen Remus though!
Everyone is really moving around! I hope that Draco doesn't cause too much trouble for everyone. I like Rampton more and more. He is definitely two sided, but it makes things very interesting. He is still very likable. Hedwig can find someone anywhere! LOL :)
Yay, first one. I knew there had to be some reward for staying up all night! I really loved this chapter, Maeve. Its amazing you can write two fics at once and do such a good job on both of them.
I'm speechless. How unexpected was that??? Remus finally gets a grip. That should be fun, when he brings her back and gives everyone the good news. Loved, loved, loved Snape and Maeve's scenes, they're such a perfect match for each other. And Roderick is getting more attractive by the chapter. Great again. We've got so many things to think about.
SQUEEE! *throws arms around Jan, then around Remus and Felicia* After this chapter, I shall die as a happy woman. I could just stop reading Severed Souls now, and rest assured that everything will turn out all right. Not that I will, of course, but I could! *does a little happy dance before settling down to review*
Right, I’ll restrain myself for a bit and start at the beginning.
Remus looked down at the scratched and stained table, wishing someone else could do all the lying and persuading for a change. - how suitable to start off with making me feel the usual sorrow for Mr Lupin. He has just failed to make Maeve stay at Hogwarts, and now he’s not doing so well in getting Harry to go back there. Plus, this time he’s not just doing this because he feels like he should, no, he’s also got Severus breathing down his neck. In a way, I come to think about Roderick in the last chapter, about how Remus is also expected to be a Mr Fix-it. When he gets angry with Harry it’s easy enough to understand why and it’s anger well justified even if some of it was due to frustration. What I found most interesting was Remus’ last line in the scene: “Use your head, not your heart!” - this could just as well have been spoken to Remus himself, by Severus. There’s nothing hypocritical about it though, nor does it feel like Remus has been affected by Severus’ ways. No, I guess what I’m looking at here are just different levels of maturity and logical thinking. Remus accuses Harry of acting like a young Sirius, which leads me not to think about the differences between Harry and Remus, but between Sirius and Severus. Such different men, yet in such similar situations. It’s an interesting thought, that Severus who actually did kill Dumbledore, has more people on his side than Sirius had, even though he was innocent. I keep waiting for someone to draw the parallel to Harry, but I suppose that if it happens, it will be at a well picked moment. :) I like the fact that Harry is not giving in, he’s perfectly in character, and as is Ron. *resists urge to roll eyes at Ron*
Detail picked up from the first scene:
Tom chose that moment to shuffle across. He had been inching ever closer to them in the hope of finding out what they were talking about but as soon as they noticed him they fell silent. - why, I wonder why? Is he just interested in any old gossip, or…?
Some truly delicious Maeve/Narcissa in this chapter. I don’t think I will ever get tired of reading the two of them together, with that dialogue. But although that is interesting, it gets truly exciting when the nightly visitor arrives. It’s such a typical mark of your excellent writing, how you don’t give his identity away at once, but hold back a little to make us wonder. The Jan-descriptions are there as well, as always: The beckoning chill of the heady night swirled in on robes that were black as the darkness they had just left. and Moving with all the grace and furtiveness of a night time hunter…
After Severus looks at Narcissa, I found this part to be worth an extra thought: He found it painful to tear his eyes away and look to the other woman on the opposite side of the room. - painful? Because he’s feeling sorry for her? Or because he remembers their past together, never mind what it was like?
And, the Severus/Maeve… *sighs* They are reason enough to cherish this chapter, from disagreements to understanding, from Severus’ threatening behaviour to their sparkling love. There is so much to appreciate with their interaction, and I can’t quote all of it. I’m just reminded of why, when people talk about their one-true-pairings, Mr and Mrs Snape always come to my mind.
Narcissa’s interruption had me making squeeign noises of protest, and I covered my eyes as if it were a film playing before my eyes – that is how alive and vivid all of your writing is, you know, it turns into detailed settings and real people in my mind. Narcissa is excellent in her distress, irrational and almost panicking she reminds me of some wild animal. I’m glad Maeve stopped her husband, and that she found strength in herself to care for Narcissa when she deserved it the least.
And then, *snogs*, my Roderick appears with his witty words and once-again so merry personality to aid Maeve. What can I do but to love him endlessly? And as if his mere presence wasn’t enough, you give sudden light and hope to my ship: “They’re never too old, my darling, only too penniless.” *grins madly*
Remus! Felicia! *dies repeatedly* Dear God, I’m just such a sucker for love and happiness – it’s really rather pathetic. ;) But even if it was a tad unexpected (I’m still pretending I wasn’t shocked and dumbstruck when I read it the first time), it was not random at all. Yes, I might be a bit weak for happiness, but I appreciate it more when it follows difficulties and tough days, and the most when it’s a pause in times of trouble. I certainly don’t see a safe and secure future for anyone in this story, and love is yet another reason to worry. I used to feel rather confident about Severus/Maeve, but with other couples around I can’t really expect them all to have a happy ending. Well, whatever’s waiting around the corner for all of these marvellously written characters, I know it will be a thrilling read – because it always is when you write, Jan. :)
Right, I won’t be grumbling about the early hour, but instead I’ll get on with reviewing. :)
A chapter with lots of interesting things, but most important to me is Albert. Yes, I’m still ignoring any previous discussions about him, and simply letting myself enjoy things as they come. I agree with other reviewers that his knowledge of the Wizarding world is very suspicious. Not only does he know where to find Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, that I could accept without further thought, but how on earth does he know the way to the Gryffindor common room, to lead Neville there? And, “normal” Muggles, or Squibs even, don’t usually tend to take command amongst Wizard folk, do they? But, in the end, what I find most interesting is Albert’s lost son. Oooh, Jan, it’s all so exciting!
This is also Roderick’s chapter. To begin with, I’m all too relieved that it wasn’t him the Death Eaters got in Hogsmeade. Then it’s the identity of his lady friend. I had sensed Jenny Fitzwilliam around the edges of the story, but I certainly didn’t expect to find her in Roderick’s company! I still think that she’s got something to do with that claiming of Darkacre, and now I wonder if Roderick has got anything to do with that business – after all, he did advise Maeve to just give it away…
From certain sources, I happen to know that Roderick might be about to be shipped. If this should happen to be accurate information, I think it’s very clever of you to present another woman who might be of interest to him. This is especially interesting if they have any other secret dealings together, but… No, I shall continue to support the idea of Narcissa and Roderick. :)
In his first appearance in the chapter, Roderick is his usual, teasing self, and yes – you’re going to have to bear with me while I once again quote some favourite lines.
“Oh, fabulous,” he breathed. “My glittering icicle is jealous. You’re too divine for words sometimes, cherub.”
“You know how to wound a man,” he groaned. “But seriously, gorgeous, can’t it wait?”
“Going to ravish me, are you?” he grinned, softly closing the door behind him. “Can’t wait.”
- this is Roderick! His dialogue is as brilliant as ever, I can see his face expression accompanying them in my mind. But, then you surprise me, because this is new, but this is also Roderick:
“Unfair or not, it’s true. What am I, some Mr Fix-it?”
“Of course I’ll help you, that’s inevitable, but sometimes it feels as if you only ever come to me when you are in trouble.”
“I don’t know what I want.” He gave her a cracked smile that was filled with a surprising amount of self-doubt and insecurity.
- all of a sudden, you’ve added another dimension to a character I already thought was complete. And the result? Well, looking aside Maeve’s reaction in the fic, I so badly want to snog the man right now… >.>
So, now I have stated that Albert was most important, but that the chapter was also Roderick’s. Let’s confuse things a bit further by saying this was also a very important chapter for Maeve. Yes, all that is sensible within me keeps shaking its head and wondering how on earth she can be so irrational. But at the same time, her actions make my heart beat so hard, I’m proud and I almost feel like shouting “Go, Maeve!”, although there hardly is an appropriate place to do so. You didn’t create a character to sit around, not even to play a lesser part, no, Maeve was always too much of a woman, wife and witch to sit safe within the walls of Hogwarts. Also, no matter who Albert might be, for some reason I trust his judgement and if he advises Maeve to join Severus, that’s another excellent reason to do so.
Narcissa can’t go without mentioning. I know I’m repeating a quote again, but this is where I finally felt thoroughly sorry for her:
It was cold, colder than the grave that Lucius would soon be occupying, as Narcissa walked slowly through the centre of the town.
- my feelings weren’t mixed here, for a while she was just Narcissa, I forgot all about who she was and I only saw someone who was cold, and who had just lost her husband. Her complete character comes back to me after that, but you keep tormenting her – the Knight Bus ride in itself, what a disaster for the poor woman. And then, Draco’s appearance… Oh, how well written it was! His behaviour towards Eric Shunpike totally matched his canon acting towards people like Madam Malkin and Mr Borgin. I found it fascinating to read Narcissa’s thoughts and emotions concerning her son, and it’s possible that I felt a bit sorry for her again…
No, I’m going to be naughty and not mention Remus – but simply because I know there will be something major Remus:ish to squee my head off about in the next chapter. Amazing work here Jan, as always!
Wow. I can't believe remus finally did what he did! Go remus!! Some really good things happened in this chapter and roderick was great. I liked seeing maeve and snape back together again, I hope they stay together now. I wonder what they're going to about draco though.