Oh, very nice. I love seeing more original pairings – I really think you can only read Ron and Hermione so many ways, so many times. Great use of existing canon characters, and nice aspects of characterization, though I would def. love to see you develop them even further for your own future purposes ;) You might just have me shipping Jimmy/Demelza [though I admittedly ship tons of couples, many of which contradict one another, so don’t get too excited, hehe]
First paragraph. Nice intro – good imagery, good description, not only good establishment of the physical setting, but a nice tone for the political/social climate. I take a small issue with the first line where you have the word ‘just’ repeated very closely [three words separate the two]. Other than for purposes of creating rhythm, which isn’t the case here, it’s best not to repeat the same word so closely. I’d replace one of them, or else remove one completely [in the case of removal, I’d chop the first one and keep the second]. You also have a tense disagreement: ’the distant trees of the Forest seem to hide…’ “Seem” should be “seemed”. I might also reconstruct that last line of the paragraph to read: “But that he knew very well already” or “But that he already knew very well.”
My other nitpicks would be a tendency to use commas where they are not needed, or would do better without – “He was under the vague impression that he was being ignorant, by not knowing.”, for instance. And also, you make excessive use of ellipses […], which should only be used to show where information has been left out or perhaps in the case of dialogue to show slight pauses or areas where the person has trailed off. Try to keep it out of narration, and try to limit it’s use in the dialogue.
And you have a lot of fragments, which can often be used as part of an author’s artistic license. I don’t personally feel they fit the flow of this story, so I don’t know if you aware of them [such as the preceding sentence I mentioned “But he knew that very well already.”] – but make sure you know if you’re using incomplete sentences and fragments, so you can combine them with the appropriate independent clause or else format the narration so it creates that rhythm that fragments are often used for.
I like that chance you took with Jimmy’s perception of the war. When we tend to look at war from an outsider’s PoV, we usually don’t have perceive it with total comprehension which can cause (a) apathy and (b) overcompensation of not understanding. We imagine an inability to think of anything but the war, to be completely consumed in fear and sadness, etc; Which is not the case, and I think that many people who have been in any kind of traumatic situation can understand this perception: Boredom. It’s horrible to think that all those awful things are happening, but it becomes such a part of you that you forget to care and you just want something to happen. To you, perhaps. I thought that was very well pulled off on you part :)
'I'm bored,' he whispered, testing the words on his lips. My favourite line in the whole piece, I think. Very beautiful, very simple. Not only the poetry of ‘testing the words on his lips’, but just the idea of him saying it, testing it…. and then the ’look on his mother's face’ is an excellent addition, and again the reminder that they are in the ‘middle of a war.’ [Though I might suggest it would make more sense for her to ‘hear’ him utter the words rather than to ‘see’ him.]
'Well ... there's nothing to do ...’ I love the exploration of how he’s going to answer Demelza’s question, how he can explain his boredom. He’s being honest, but hesitant. [Though, those ellipses! Tsk, tsk.] And I loved that touch about him not wanting to deal with females -- such a perfect thought for a male, and esp. one of his age. First mother, now this. Cute, and accurate. *giggle*
'Would you rather,' she whispered, so that Jimmy had to lean forwards to listen, 'be here, right now, staring at snowflakes, or out there, fighting for your life?' Gorgeous line, what a way to really introduce your Demelza. And she definitely has that Gryffindor flare. What I really love is the imagery you get from combining the preceding description of Her expression was unreadable. Nice, definitely. It wasn’t a clichéd, heartfelt, teary-eyed plea. Unreadable… Oh, yes, I def. love it v. v. much. :)
Going to pull you up over something else now – ‘It’d be cool…’. I personally consider use of the word cool, as of Winter 1997 [which would be the year of this particularly fic, I’m assuming] an Americanism. American slang is starting to branch out more and more, and I think it would have been fairly common in the late 90’s in Britain… but not common enough. Not British enough, if you will. Jimmy would probably think of a lot more words before ‘cool’. I also tend to backtrack the wizarding world slang to being a bit less modern than Muggle slang, anyway, as they wouldn’t have TV and Movies and wouldn’t pick up on American terms quite so quickly. And to end that novel on the word ‘cool’, let me move on…
And while I’m making suggestions, I think that when Demelza and Jimmy really start to talk, the paragraphs and dialogue get a bit chunky and disorganised, like they should be broken up, cleaned up a little bit. It’s so much text together, and you have long descriptions in the middle of long segments of talking… it’s discouraging to the readers’ eye.
I love Demelza’s use of ‘Ignorance is bliss.’ Yet another concept very true to what’s going on, and worked in very well.
As for the moment they share – between Jimmy’s boyish but valiant efforts to comfort her and the quick kiss she gives him afterwards. Very sweet, very believable, it had a lovely touch of realism about it, and it was adorable. And that last line ‘Sure’. Again, nice, it’s not a sweeping romance where barely-teens suddenly realize they’re meant for eachother… it’s sweet, and it’s to be expected given their age and given what they’ve shared, what they’re living through together. It’s a very nice dynamic.
Overall, I think this is a great piece. It’s a good war-time story, a realistic perspective, and a warm touch. And I definitely preferred seeing Jimmy and Demelza and their perspectives as opposed to seeing major characters who we already know, whose feelings we should be familiar with. I’d love to see you explore this pairing more in the future :)
Author's Response: Oh my gosh, thank you! I nearly fell out of my chair when I noticed that you reviewed. Anyway, after reading this, I read the fic again, and I've just realised just how often I use commas. :embarrased: And as for the use of the word 'cool', I guess it was my slang-speaking self taking over. It gets confusing for me trying to tell the difference between American and British terms, since that I'm not native to either countries. Anyhoo, a million 'thank you's to you! =D
Oh, dear. I'm not very good at finding grammar mistakes, so submitting a review after someone that is can be slightly embarrasing for me. I really liked your story. Jimmy and Demelza (oh dear, I'm not sure if that was spelled correctly) both were extremely realistic characters, as were their reactions to the war and each other. I loved reading your story and it left me smiling...which is definitely a good thing.
Author's Response: Thanks! Yeah, you spelled 'Demelza' right. And don't worry, I feel like that all the time when I'm reviewing a story! I'm not a very good reviewer, sadly. I'm glad that it left you smiling. Thanks again!
In a very short time, you’ve developed your characters wonderfully; you have an obvious talent for characterization. I’m finding myself quite attached to Jimmy and Demelza, despite the length of time we spend with them. Demelza’s fear and realistic attitude make a nice contrast with Jimmy’s idealism and eagerness – they are both realistic and easy to identify with, and you’ve done a beautiful job in building a story around their interaction.
Just a few typos, which weren’t serious problems at all: …a letter clamped in it's beak. ‘It’s’ should be ‘its,’ since it is showing possession, not a contraction. many families insisted that their children come home for the holidays. Very few actually decided to stay. ‘Many’ should be capitalized. Also, you might consider replacing the period after ‘holidays’ with a semicolon – it’s not grammatically necessary, but it might flow better. A small number, yet, Jimmy had no idea who they were. The comma after ‘yet’ is unnecessary. He was under the vague impression that he was being ignorant, not knowing. I think you could clarify this by saying ‘by not knowing’ or ‘by not attempting to find out.’ …since that I'm locked up… The ‘that’ seems to have crept in somehow, but it’s not necessary.
You do a wonderful job of characterizing Jimmy in the beginning. He’s the bored teen, looking for some outlet for his bravery, looking for something to do and some way to prove himself. He feels rebellious for feeling bored during a war, but he can’t help it. You’ve really caught a piece of human nature here, in the conflict between what he feels and what he feels that he ought to feel – good job! The way Jimmy and Demelza speak almost reverently of Harry is very well done as well.
You touch on a very interesting subject when Jimmy and Demelza discuss whether it’s better to know or to live in oblivion. Demelza’s longing to go back to a time when she knew nothing is perfectly understandable, given the circumstances. The kiss was very sweet as well, and realistic. I could just see it, neither of them really expecting it, and both shocked; it was the perfect mix of not being too serious, but still meaning something. Jimmy’s response is wonderful: 'Well,' said Jimmy, sitting straighter, 'if you were a Muggle, that wouldn't have happened either.' You’ve managed to tie together the good parts and the bad parts of their lives as wizards, and shown us that the pleasure and the pain go hand in hand. It was a very enjoyable read, and I hope to see more of your stuff!
Author's Response: First off, thank you! You've made me feel so happy inside! And another thank you for pointing out my mistakes ... I'll correct them as soon as possible. Once again, thank you so much for the wonderful review!