Beautiful! Wonderful! I can relate to it. It's so great.
That was so beautiful, Seren! You really captured the essence of racism and the connection it had to the world of Harry Potter. I also loved how you used Blaise instead of Malfoy because it made the one-shot more unique and less predictable. Your use of words was amazing and it was very well-written. Excellent Job!
I’ve never reviewed one of your stories before, Seren, because I’ve always found myself intimidated both my your reputation and the quality of your stories. Each story stands alone by itself – what does it leave for me to say? This story, however, asked an inherent question and seemed to require a response. "The only question that remains for us now," she says resolutely, and Blaise feels the fierce heat dancing in her voice, "is whether we wish to wear masks, or not. I," she continues, "do not." First of all, to be merely technical, I have to comment on the wording. It’s amazing what syntax can do to change the way we read a sentence, and I love the way you chose to break up the quotations here. Pausing after “now” forces us to anticipate what is coming, and leads up to the key question of the piece. Likewise, the break after “I” allows us to hear the heaviness of her words, the choice she is making. “I do not,” can be casual, flippant, hurried, unconsidered. “I…do not,” on the other hand, gives weightiness. She is thinking about the problem, and she has made a decision. It’s not something to be made lightly, but she has thought about it and she has chosen. I know this is a mere technicality, and being a very technically proficient writer you’re probably more interested in other things, but I thought I’d comment because you used syntax so well throughout the story.
I am always fascinated by titles. They are (obviously) the first thing we see when we start a story, and I am constantly trying to relate the story back to them as I read. I thought I had yours figured out when I came to the comparision between the Death Eaters and the KKK: "And the funny thing is, they wear masks too." I paused for a while, and thought through it, and anticipated the rest of the story. Your point was going to be, of course, that though some people hide their faces as they commit despicable acts, whether or not we wear masks and torment others, our prejudice is still despicable. Mask it though we will, it is nevertheless something that eats away at us and others, and must be rectified. That sort of thing – I thought I knew exactly where you were going. But you didn’t.
"The only question that remains for us now," she says resolutely, and Blaise feels the fierce heat dancing in her voice, "is whether we wish to wear masks, or not. I," she continues, "do not." You tell us, instead, that we can choose whether or not to be prejudiced, or to act upon our prejudices. We can choose to make a difference, instead of going along with the nameless masked ones. We can choose. Then, to make things even more interesting, I noticed that the title does not reiterate the question. The question is whether or not we wish to wear masks. The title seems to go a bit farther, asking only whether or not we wear masks. It implies that perhaps we do wear masks, without knowing it. Perhaps we allow our judgments to clothe us, to hide us, to keep us protected by putting up barriers between ourselves and our victims. That we must make our choice not only about the masks made of cloth, but about those more insubstantial but no less real ones which we make ourselves. Or alternatively the title makes a statement – whether or not we wear masks does not matter. We are, as Hermione taught Blaise, all the same.
Um. Sorry, I didn’t mean to go overboard with that one point about the title. I’m in analytical mode right now, because I’ve just come from writing a paper. I’m not sure how helpful a review that was, because I just sort of rambled along, but I really don’t have any criticism to make, so I thought I’d just give a reaction and tell you how I felt about what you wrote. All in all, I think it was wonderful. I love the idea of teaching about racism by comparing the two cultures. "Over something he had no control over," she says neutrally. "His parentage." I also love the way you’ve shown Blaise as being delicate and sensitive. For all his assurances that he’d be proud to be a Death Eater, a single comment from Hermione sets his mind reeling. He cares about the truth, and he cares about people. Looking at the pictures makes him physically sick. In such a short story, you’ve given him a real and definite personality, of someone who pretends to be tough – who thinks himself to be tough – and yet is so immersed in life, so innately caring, that he cannot help but react to the mention of prejudice when he sees it in new forms.
It was Blaise’s sensitivity that made the last point come through. For someone as empathetic as himself to prejudice and cruelty, it is astonishing that he could be so callous about his original prejudice. Yet it is believable; he has been taught this prejudice from birth, and so he has never thought about it. He has always assumed that the Muggleborns are less human, are innately different. And because of his sensitivity, the moment he sees his prejudice from a new light, the moment he realizes that his prejudice depends on percieved differences rather than real ones, he reacts with all of his self, both mind and body.
It’s a wonderful story, Seren, and it really made me stop and think. As you can probably see from the amount of wandering my thoughts did above. I love your writing style and technique, but even more the points you make. Thanks.
That story was truly amazing. It really brought home rasicm in its worst form, in the wizarding world and the muggle. I can't express in words how much this story has effected me, not in a bad way, but it has made me see so much of the world. I love the way you made a comparison from a story to the real world. 10/10