We're doing a Scavenger Hunt on the Forums, where the challenge was to find a story with the proper R.A.B. I immediately thought of you and your ever-glowing, ever-growing love for Regulus Black.
In this piece, there is the usual lyricalness of your writing, where sesquipedalian sentences are mixed with short, acute observations on the human soul (in this case: Regulus, his movements and his thoughts),
Thanks a lot for the read.
Hey hon … I thought it was high time that I reviewed one of your awesome fics! This one has been a favourite for quite a while now so … *giggle*
Well first of all, I have to say that I totally love your style of writing! The way that you split this story up into small (and readable) chunks works brilliantly, and makes the whole narrative so much more intense. I love your poetic tone and your way of story telling; I could tell that each word has been carefully chosen and fits perfectly within the structure of the story.
Regulus Black had spent most of his life listening at keyholes
I really like the way that this small statement jumps straight into the story and tells us both about the present and about the past. It also seems to give emphasis to how small childhood activities can sometimes (and surprisingly) come in useful later in life; something that we appreciate in RL too. This opening caught my attention immediately and kept me reading, well done!
… and it had a sibilant, hissing undertone, which sounded somehow green and slithering and made Regulus think of snakes.
This comparison is really quite intriguing! It’s understandable, given Voldemort’s associations with snakes and his ability to speak Parseltongue, that even his voice sounds snake-like. Similarly for me, this emphasised the fact that what Voldemort was saying to Snape was something very secret that others weren’t not meant to know, and that Regulus was no meant to be caught eavesdropping on. Wow ..
— it would not do to have weeks of careful planning ruined by mis-timed exhalation
I love this, love it! It’s great to see the imperfect side of the situation – how sometimes plans don’t go accordingly as a result of something really quite trivial like this. Love the dry humour of it!
He listened, and planned, and waited, and wondered about Gryffindors.
The sentence kind of made me think … the listening, the planning and the waiting parts all seem decidedly Slytherin – the ambitious and cunning aspects etc. Then the wondering about Gryffindors … is Regulus wondering about a particular Gryffindor (Sirius), or about the qualities that Gryffindors possess such as extreme bravery, which oddly enough Regulus is actually exhibiting? Is he wondering whether he would have made a good Gryffindor? I also like how this carries on into the next part of the piece, very nicely done. :)
(He could not bear, now, even to look for long at her snapping black eyes, lest she discern his feelings about his 'noble cause', or the plans he was making to rid himself of it.)
This is one of my favourite lines. You’ve done a great job with Regulus’ characterisation through this story. Here, I like the way that you’ve portrayed his steady change of attitude towards his mother as well as his mother’s own changes in personality. I can picture quite clearly a younger Regulus, full of respect for the mother who would tell him all about his pure-blood status and his ‘noble cause’. This contrasts so well with his now almost ‘forbidden’ feelings against this cause – though I like the way that Regulus still expresses fear towards his mother, which is both realistic and understandable.
… he would whisper to himself, when no one was about (for Sirius would laugh in that way of his, and his parents would not understand), that the Heart of the Lion would prevail.
I love this idea of “Heart of the Lion”; it seems to suggest that Regulus might be ‘destined’ for Gryffindor. It gives us a deeper insight into his character, in that he seems to believe that Gryffindor is almost a right/almost inevitable, given how he has been named.
I felt that this part of the story in particular, is extremely well written. This blunt statement of “ He was Sorted into Slytherin” provides such a sharp contrast/plunge into reality against Regulus’ blind hope that one can discern a powerful, tangible disappointment coming from him.
The look on Sirius' face was enough of a cross to bear
This line especially, gives greater emphasis on the ‘unfairness’ of the situation. Regulus, who secretly hoped so much to be Sorted into the same house as his brother, who never though that his brother would understand his hopes – this conjures regret and really powerful emotions. Great work. :)
… in the tension that stretched, almost tangible, in every room, and snapped taut like a wire when anyone spoke.
The analogy of ‘taut like wire’ here is amazing. I love your descriptions and poetic tones! This gives a sense of everything in the household being ‘on the edge’ – with a possibility that the slightest comment could be the one that snaps this wire and creates conflict.
'The Most Modern and Ignoble House of Sirius Black, Toujours Poor'
I love this – the truth and humour behind it is awesome. It seems as if Regulus is seeing (almost wistfully), what it is like to be Sirius, to be free and laugh about one’s situation even when away from family. It also feels like Regulus is somewhat too late; he is laughing like Sirius does but there is no one there to hear him or appreciate it.
One of my favourite aspects within this story is its transgression between scenes. I love the arrangement of memories here; you’ve picked out some very important ones for Regulus. This first scene of Regulus torturing a Muggleborn indicates a pivotal change in his life, and yet at the same time, this change is not as certain. You’ve made a very sharp contrast between Regulus – who is still unsure about things and is in essence goaded into torture by Bellatrix, and Bellatrix herself who appears much more cruel from an earlier age.
The only thing in this story that I am slightly uncertain about is your description of the Muggleborn girl. Although the description of the eyes (almost in a completely different place to the rest of the scene/story) is effectively compelling, it seems a bit too much or over emphasised. I think that a little less description f the eyes here might improve the flow of the prose slightly.
Again, I will reiterate, your characterisation of Regulus in this story is superb. His uncertainty throughout the piece has shone through both powerful and realistic. It seems to me as if Regulus is ‘stuck’; in between both worlds of the light and dark, never truly accepted into either, which is such a disappointment. He is not cruel enough to be a proper Death Eater, and yet his fear at the end of the story: trembling, uncertainly… seems to suggest that even here there is doubt at whether what he is doing, what he has planned for so long, is correct.
And of course, there is still this fantastic line:
Sirius, he thought. He grinned, wide. Top this.
Having been in Sirius’ shadow for so much of life, I felt comforted on seeing Regulus finally step out of it. And here also, it seems that this story has turned full circle. Just as his childhood experiences in eavesdropping help to aid the downfall of Voldemort in this final line Regulus again seems to regress back to childhood, as if all of this is some competition in daring and bravery with Sirius.
This story is exceptionally well written with powerful scenes and vivid gems of memories! You’ve done a great job; your tone of writing has really shone through. Well done!
&& just in case you’re wondering why this review is so long and rambly … I’m currently on a bioscience research placement. It just so happened today that there was nobody to guide me in what I was doing, so basically from about nine to half five, I had a six page paper to read and that was it. For the whole day. *facepalms and dies of boredom* So I sat and wrote you a review by hand. :D *dies* Hope some of it made sense anyway. :)
In reading this story, I found this passage about Regulus to be the one that really drew me into his world:
"When Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor, he wondered if it might be an omen of sorts. When his turn was coming, it was all that kept his spirits up — he would whisper to himself, when no one was about (for Sirius would laugh in that way of his, and his parents would not understand), that the Heart of the Lion would prevail.
He was Sorted into Slytherin."
That, and the line "less-favoured younger son" just really grabbed my attention and broke my heart all at the same time.
For a character of whom so little is known, I think you did an amazing job of filling in the missing pieces. You created a very plausible backstory for Regulus and I think it was very well written.
I'll just start with a little letter of my own (as cliché as it is for an RAB fic):
Every time I read one of your stories, I'm left speechless at the sheer brilliance of it.
Okay, enough with my lameness. The way you string simple words together is somewhat like a spiderweb to me. It's beautiful, and it's complicated and simple at the same time. It's also something that catches the reader and doesn't let them go. And then, the end of the story is almost as disappointing as being eaten by a story. Because it's just over.
I love your portrayal of Regulus. This line in particular: "Oh, he would be found out. Most certainly he would. But not before he wished it." It's fabulous because it shows that streak of arrogance and self-satisfaction that we see in Sirius, and I think it's natural that the two brothers would share that trait.
That brings me to the relationship you illustrate between Regulus and Sirius. I love the Heart of the Lion anecdote. I love that Sirius gave him a terrible look upon being sorted into Slytherin, I love that they kept up at least some correspondence. I just love that they're brothers.
The section where he tortures the Ravenclaw girl is just as painful to read as it was for Regulus to execute, and for the girl to endure. I love that they all coincide, seeing as it is the Cruciatus Curse employed there. Brilliant tactic!
The end is perfect. Well, mostly. I don't want him to die, of course, but I love his last thought. "Top this."
Noldo, you are genius. I fangirl you. The end.
I'm curious, Noldo--would you happen to be a second child yourself? You've captured Regulus' attempts at trying to live up to his brother excellently: desiring to be sorted into Gryffindor, feeling pleased and laughing wildly when Sirius sent him that ridiculous letter (loved the "Toujours Poor" part!), and daring Sirius to top his "achievement" at obtaining Lord Voldemort's locket.
Perhaps the one thing lacking in your story is the reason why Regulus became a Death Eater--we see very clearly in Part IV that he is reluctant to torture Muggleborns--and how it is that he found the courage to betray Lord Voldemort. Apart from that, I found this a wonderful insight into Regulus' character. Well done!
LOVED IT!! Your descriptions are lovely and the flow in your writing makes this so enjoyable to read. Wonderful job, I really felt the emotion, the tension and hidden compassion between brothers. I'm adding this to favorites :)
Again, another depressing tale of Regulus Black but I like this one better than Seven :)
Aaaw.. I loved it! I never thought of Regulus as the guy who considered Sirius some sort of a role-model, even though I believed he is indeed RAB. I believe he loved Sirius, & that Sirius had loved him back too. But I never looked deeply into it.. Superb!
Okay, my last review is from back when I was an idiot who knew nobody, so I'm going to do a little better with this one.
Regulus, as a character whom we know absolutely nothing about, is characterized brilliantly. You'd think he lived next door to you. (He doesn't, does he? Because that would be unfair to the tenth power.)
You portray him very well, as an unloved younger son who tried to please people but ended up doing something for himself. Most people think he and Sirius hated each other, but I like to explore the possibility that they, perhaps, loved each other. I love the line "The look on Sirius's face was enough of a cross to bear." Poor kid. You really had them portrayed as brothers here, and I liked that for it's uniqueness (uniquity?).
The scene with the Unforgivable Curse was really...heartbreaking. It was someone he never had any malice for...but he did it anyways. You write "The Reluctant Death Eater" very well, you know that?
He's a bit mad, isn't he? Regulus, I mean. It'd be interesting to explore that. Possibly it was caused by his experiences.
All right, I'm babbling. Great job, as usual--constructive crit, you might want to look to someone else, as I can rarely find flaws in your work. Perhaps it would have been interesting to have a small segment about why he joined the Death Eaters in the first place, and how he felt about it when he joined (since he couldn't bear being one, what was the thing that made he do it in the first place?). But it would have ruined the pacing, so I suppose it's a story for another time.
This was great! I particularly liked the line "Sirius, Top this." I always thought that maybe Regulus was a little bit jealous of his older brother. Very good story.
I'd always doubted Regulus's being RAB, you know, but you seem to convince me here. I can't get over his characterization. Simply amazing. There are absolutely no words to describe this. I love the way you portray Regulus, and it would be a crime to characterize him in any other way. I adore every single line. 10/10!
Words are simply not enough to describe this fic, or to describe the way I'm feeling about Regulus now. Brilliant! I might submit another review when I've sorted out my thoughts. ;) Just know this, I loved how you portrayed Regulus and Sirius' relationship. Rating-10.
Regulus is one character that I never get tired of exploring, whether it be in my own writing or in others'. I must say that you have written him wonderfully here. Another one of your pieces that's going on my favorites list.
He listened, and planned, and waited, and wondered about Gryffindors. I really liked this line. I think it just captures Regulus really well. Something about it tells me that he has never forgotten his brother, and has always wished that he could have been more like him. And it goes with the next part about what his name means, and how he wasn't sorted into Gryffindor. I think Regulus probably would have torn up his letter of congratulations from his parents. So...yeah.
he threw back his head and laughed wildly, like Sirius would have done. I love that he does it as Sirius would have done. That, to me, just says again how much he looked up to and admired Sirius. Sirius was someone Regulus never was, which is illustrated very nicely here. Especially later, when he thinks for Sirius to top this. It's like he's just trying to live up to his older brother.
The part about not being to look when he performs the Cruciatus Curse was great. Really sad, but really accurate, I think. I like the Bellatrix is there too. I included her in both my Regulus fics. It just seems like she would have had a role in Regulus's Death Eater life. Your ending part about the locket was really good. I'm kind of glad that you didn't include when he actually gets the locket, because I don't feel like that's the important part. What's important, I think, is Regulus is still thinking, even as he places a Horcrux in an old cabinet, about Sirius. It just shows how much of an influence Sirius was in Regulus's life. And the last line was wonderful. It really ended the fic in a great way. Once again, awesome job! 10/10
When I read Elysium I had to go in search of some more of your work. I would say that this one-shot isn't as good as Elysium, but it is excellent all the same. You definitely have a very original style of writing that I have not seen anywhere else, and you have excellent potential as an author if that was what you ever decided to do. 10/10 for an excellent piece of work.
~Ermine the One
Very poetic. I loved it. Regulus is a mysterious character, and I think you captured his motives and feelings perfectly. There's that little touch of insanity that just makes him such a wonderful character. Sirius was characterized perfectly, as well. Great.
And when Sirius sent him a letter, emblazoned jauntily across the top with 'The Most Modern and Ignoble House of Sirius Black, Toujours Poor', he threw back his head and laughed wildly, like Sirius would have done. I loved your work here, it is so succinct. Your strength is definitely description. A poetic description. Your excellent use of metaphor. I can see through this story...the first I've read that concentrated more on plot, that your plots are very, very character driven. You have backstory (excellent!) and you lead your character to the ending. One thing I felt in reading this fic is your tendency to rush to the climax. It's a one-shot, and rushing is rather important. Plus, it makes the whole thing more interesting. I know that for me at least it's so difficult to not say what the plot is all about right at once. And since I usually have quite a bit of information on my stories it's difficult to stuff everything in. All your stories are very sensory and very psychological. I would recommend for your own improvement to try and work with a long plot, as well, guide a character so that it's not just an idea that is put out, but an entire person/s. I hope I'm making sense here. Or maybe not, take it or leave it, wherever you want to go with your writing. (Got my beta hat on baby, but I always could accessorize.)
It's fantastic. And I also think R.A.B. is Regulus.
Best story I've read yet!!! Must have more Regules fics, the story of the untold Black brother, boy this is good!!!!! 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10...
Ooh, that was good! I was sad when it ended, lol. Excellent writing style and story!
WOW, I repeat, WOW. I was a supporter of the RAB being Regulus even before this, but WOW!!! Bit short, but as much as I would have loved for it to last longer I think you put in just the right amount of detail......one thousand out of ten for you....Great Job really!!! Oh- and I love how he never exapected anyone to applaud him for what he did, just dort of did what he had to do and was satisfied with that....=)