That was amazing! Vindictus, you are by far my favorite fanfiction writer, and I mean that sincerely. McGonagall is one of my favorite characters, and in your writing, you characterize her perfectly! It is so great that I can read about all my favorite characters again!
Wow! Absolutely beautiful.
And again: perfect. You manage to always avoid the maudlin or sentimental, which, of course, makes it all so much more poignant. Excellent!
Sigh, just as I fear. Severus is gonna die. Hopefully, he'll at least get to hang out with Dumbledore on the next big adventure :)
Oh, I liked that one! I like any well-written story about these two, but this one is especially good - I, too, have always suspected that Severus must have been Minerva's chess partner, and that they deeply respect each other.
It's good to see them in such a well written angsty fic, the darkness that surrounds them is so real.
Author's Response: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
Oh, poor Severus! I hope he lives...
I really like how the motive for killing Dumbledore was revealed through the chess game, and I love how much Minerva trusted Severus. She wasn't afraid to walk into his house, and just suggest a game of chess; how every brave, or maybe she just knew Severus better than most...?
Anyway, I've gotten off topic... This was a great one-shot, and both Minerva and Severus were wonderfully IC! Also, as usual of course, this was brilliantly written! Great fic!
Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. Minerva probably does know Severus just a bit better than the rest of us do, or at least for a lot longer than most.
I really loved your characterization of both McGonagall and Snape.
I loved how McGonagall was the one to reach out to Snape. It is in her character because even though she may seem very strict on the outside, inside she's a softy. You potrayed this side of her very well.
I also loved your characterization of Snape. You capture his personality through his words and actions. I thought that this line particularly described him well. He turned to face her, his eyes glittering with pain and anger. "Hope -- that when the Dark Lord at last faces his enemy, I will again be worthy to stand by his side. And that my master -- " He snarled the word. " -- will find it difficult to focus his attention with a potion-maker's silver knife between his ribs." It captured his hate and rage. I also loved this line also. Minerva gave herself a few mental kicks. She had not had a real opponent in months, and had also somehow forgotten two crucial things about Severus. One was that his game was rarely what it seemed. The other was that his glare was the closest thing he had to a friendly expression, and that if he truly minded losing pieces he would have sneered.
Overall, I loved your characterization of both characters.
Author's Response: Thanks! Without the winter challenges Magical Maeve set last year, I never would have dreamed this one up -- she tosses out good bunnies. Somehow these two characters have a good chemistry, I think. They're different enough to be interesting, with just enough in common to mostly understand each other.
I also had to say, I constantly find myself wondering what Dumbledore's portrait will be like, if we'll see it much in Book 7. That he would be the normal dozy-head fits perfectly, and is how JKR showed him... but she's tricky. I do agree that Dumbledore's portrait wouldn't give away all the answers...
Rather than blab about all the intelligent writing, I shall summarize: I love your Professor McGonagall. Well really I mean you're just so excellent I love everything. But now I'm nearing stalker-level adoration, so I'll just say I hope your muse never abbandons you, and that the plotbunny never deserts you.
Author's Response: The plotbunnies seem to be eating up a lot of salad and sitting on their fat bunny bums lately, but I'm sure they'll boing again. I'm glad to know there's someone looking forward to that! Thanks again for reviewing!
This has to be my best favourite read all summer, and I read a LOT of GOOD books this summer. *sigh* I guess I just can't resist an excellent Snapefic by VV. The informal Minerva McGonagall at the beginning, the CONCLUSION! the signature clever repartee and characterisations, ooo and the chess game!?! Brilliant. I think you need a golden shrine, with funky dim lighting and mouldy dungeon-like walls of course, to remind everyone why you're the best.
Author's Response: Wow! Now that's some review. I'm glad you enjoyed this one; it was one of the harder ones to write, especially since I hadn't tried on Minerva's POV before. Thanks!
That was great!
Author's Response: Thanks!
Just a note: This review will be shockingly sweet. Actually, I don't believe I criticized one thing. If I make you a bit sick from overdosing on sugar, my apologies. :p
Your characterization of Snape is brilliant. I've never dwelled much on him - he is just too much of a mystery for my simple mind to comprehend, but you've interpreted him beautifuly.
You use dialogue, actions, and description to artfully portray him. Certain lines just clinch the character for me.
Your description of his physical appearance, or rather, his facial expressions, provides the first insight into his character.
The other was that his glare was the closest thing he had to a friendly expression, and that if he truly minded losing pieces he would have sneered.
Severus grinned, showing an unexpected flash of his seventeen-year-old self, and stood from the game, facing the fire.
Both of these lines show through the facial expressions different sides of Severus. The first lines show a side we all know - his reserved, even solitary nature. The second line shows how he has changed over the years, and proves that he was not always the cynical, guarded man he is today. In fact, it shows a side that we have never seen in canon, and yet that side adds so much to the conflict of his character.
"How many ways could you attack me from that position?"
He tensed momentarily, then allowed the ghost of a smile. "Four. Rather fewer than the previous position, you must admit."
This dialogue shows his character perfectly. He is, on the surface, surrendering, but inside he fights on as valiantly as he can - despite the fact that he will most likely lose, anyway. It also shows his feral, dangerous, trapped side - the side that has lost most hope and will go to desperate measures to achieve its means.
She quelled her astonishment. “Good night, Severus. May the new year bring you what you desire.”
His expression was blank. “It cannot. I would settle for vengeance.”
This dialogue, again, shows Snape's utter desperation - and yet, continuing battle for what he wants in life. He retains some modicum of spirit. Whether it is brought on by desperation, or simply an inherent trait, I do not know, but you show us this spirit very well.
The wand moved and disappeared; she could not say for certain whether it had gone into his pocket or up his sleeve.
This action reminds the readers that though Snape has not killed Minerva, he still could - that he is very dangerous.
You manage to balance the danger in Snape with the righteous, spirited side of him, and that is what truly brings out his character in this piece.
"Hope -- that when the Dark Lord at last faces his enemy, I will again be worthy to stand by his side. And that my master -- " He snarled the word. " -- will find it difficult to focus his attention with a potion-maker's silver knife between his ribs."
Though this is dialogue, I like to think of it more as a revelation to Snape's thoughts. This insight into Snape's true agenda really brings out his characterization because it shows you that he is, in the end, both condemned to the Dark Side, and ever loyal to the Order.
It brings out the conflict that Snape has always felt between what he wants and what he needs to do.
Throughout the piece, you also use Minerva's reactions to gauge Severus. She shivers when he speaks of never returning - this shows the dark side of the man. She quells her astonishment when he kisses her hand - this shows that you can never predict what he will do.
The character of Severus Snape is an enigma, but you search through the darkened corners to reveal the man - the conflict - that he truly embodies.
Masterful piece, VV. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Author's Response: Woah. Big review. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and that you said so here as well as in the forums. And now I have to send you delving into the rest of my stories to see where I really think his loyalties lie -- not the Order, exactly, but certainly not with the Dark Lord. "Four" was also a reference to his original training in the art of defence: the Marauders, who didn't necessarily let him into normal combat positions when they pounced. Minerva remembers the Half Blood Prince, though not by that name, as the person who kept her life, and others, discreetly colourful for seven years. Now all his colour has blurred into black.
Though I was just supposed to read this for DADA: First Years, I couldn't read such a wonderful piece without letting the author know how truly incredible I thought it was. Well done!
Author's Response: Thanks! I appreciate that, and have had fun watching the posts in the class.
Wow. This is beautiful.
Author's Response: Thanks! I was sure you'd been here before. Pat your computer on the head for working properly!
...I...Wow...Just wow... It's such a lovely and twisted shade of dark and sinister. I love the subtle way Severus and Minerva talked, not really out right saying anything and yet making complete sense. Wonderful, just wonderful.
Author's Response: Thanks! You're reading this for ProfPosky's class, aren't you? The review is appreciated greatly. It occured to me before writing this that the two of them had known each other for a very long time -- since Severus was eleven, in fact. Then I had to wonder about their relationship, because it certainly didn't seem that Slughorn, for instance, had been Severus' favorite teacher, and what it would be like to then have to be Minerva's colleague. In the relationship, the story itself took shape.
This is a very strange fic, but it's also very emotionally deep. . .I like it! It's very well-written and you had an awesome interpretation on both of their personalities! Good job!
Author's Response: Thanks you! I'm oddly delighted by the "strange" comment; it's nice to stand out a bit. I'm very glad you liked this so much.
I loved it. I especially liked this line:
"if she did not return, it would not be because she wanted rescuing. She would return, or she would die tidily."
That was a really good line and it really sums up Minerva's character.
The chess game was a stroke of brilliance. "She had merely sacrificed the queen to protect the king..."
That line completely described everything that went on that fateful night in the Astronomy Tower.
The relationship between Minerva and Severus was right on the line too. Both of them were very well written and very 'in character'. I love the interaction between them.
All in all, this was one of the best fan fictions i have read and i have to say it's definitely got a place on my 'Favourites' list.
I'm looking forward for anymore Minerva ând Severus stories from you. *Hint Hint*
Author's Response: "*hint hint*"? Hmm. How about Minerva OR Severus stories while you wait on the next bunny? These little nose-twitching critters are eating me out of house and home. Thanks for the review! I appreciate the character remarks particularly; that's the part that always seems both most difficult and most rewarding.
This is a great story. I love the detailed and beautifully written descriptions. They're wonderful. I also like the relationship you have between Minerva and Snape. It is a very intimate friendship, where it is very possible one might secretly love the other.
My only nitpick is where you say "they played chess in silence" or something along those lines. I don't believe that you can play wizards chess in silence. Don't you always say "knight to A4!" and other things like that?
But really, that's such a minor detail that it hardly matters! Great job, I simply love this story so much!
Author's Response: Thanks! I think they probably are friends -- at least, judging by how little they like getting Trelawney placed between them at dinner, there are certainly people they dislike more. Perhaps not close friends. Secretly love? That might be even more awkward than their certain teacher/former-student situation. But there's certainly room for it... I agree that wizard chess is usually noisy, but these two have been playing with this set for a long time. Quite possibly they are only pointing and tapping the board for the pieces, and even if they do have to issue the orders that isn't really a conversation. I'll ponder whether the silence is something I should modify, though; that's very alert of you. Thanks again!
I always get around to reviews eventually. At this rate I'll have returned to reviewing ItEoO by 2010!
So we return to my favourite Severus, and he's cooped up with Peter, poor man. It is interesting to put McGonagall and Severus together like this, with mutual understanding on both their parts. I find the interaction between them both convincing and touching, and, of course, you keep them both entirely in character throughout the story. Severus is dry, as always, and yet there are touches of warmth between them, and remembrances of better times. The coffee and the fire were both lovely touches in a life so completely darkened. I particularly enjoyed the reference to Cyanide in the coffee! Shades of Agatha Christie. As always, your descriptions are tightly writen and evocative, from the overview of the industrial wasteland where Severus lives -- although I do wonder how much McGonagall has protected Severus. One would imagine the Ministry could find him at that address if they so chose. -- to the descriptions of the characters.
"She would return, or she would die tidily."
The ability to sum up a character so well is a rare gift and one that is a delight to read. One thing I did find, however, was several repetitions of the concept that something minimal from Severus was something of magnitude from someone else. I think you could have made that more effective by only using it once. But I'm reaching to find something to crit now, and having to reach far! His reasoning, via you, is always impeccable. I found his analysis of who Dumbledore was with that night compelling and very Severus-like. And the line that made shivers run down my spine...
He met her eyes for a long moment, expressionless. "I would appreciate that more than you could possibly imagine."
Another lovely ploy bunny beautifully brought to life.
Author's Response: And in 2010 I will still be delighted to get your thorough, and thoroughly lovely, reviews. Thanks! One would imagine the Ministry would be smart enough to figure out Stan Shunpike, too, no? I think I probably repeated the minimal/magnitude matter just because there is so much about Severus that is too subtle for Harry to catch, and the reader might not be in the habit of noticing either. Better safely repetitive than obscure -- or maybe not.
This didn't seem as dark as I thought it might be when I read the summary. Ah well. It was still excellently written. It would make sense that, if he and Minerva were close enough to play the occasional game of chess, he would allow some of his humor to come through to her. The chess game itself was a nice symbolism, too. Well done.
Author's Response: Thank you for the review! I always wondered how Minerva and Severus agreed with each other when their students were not looking, and with our added views of the younger Severus I started wondering which of his Hogwarts teachers he might have liked or respected. And suddenly he and Minerva were playing chess -- not just on the board, but with their Houses as well. Both Gryffindors and Slytherins seem to need a reason to focus their energies into competition, and their respective Heads of House seem to have made a good game of it.
McGonagall and Snape are my favourite characters after Dumbledore, so I've enjoyed this tremendously. I liked the chess game idea very much. Your writing style is very sophisticated. Ma favourite line: “If such a bond existed, Potter and I should now be not merely bonded, but conjoined – which would suit neither of us.” So Snape! *hehe*
Author's Response: In fact, I'm not sure which of them would be unhappier with that situation -- and you pulled the bunny line right out of the story. I had that and the chess game, and it grew from there. Thanks for reviewing!