Throughout the time I’ve known you, I’ve always believed that your written English is more fluent than most English people’s. Your attention to detail and the way you express yourself, even in casual conversations, is far more eloquent than many. So, it really is a simple, logical step to look at your story and see the same fluent, mature tone to the narrative. You are very well read and that comes across in your writing through the descriptions you choose and your astute attention to detail. This story goes above the standards set down on MNff for teenage writers and I do truly believe that you have the talent to write a very successful chaptered story. You just need to tear yourself away from those very huggable doggies for a while, or sit down in the beautiful areas that you photograph and use them as your muse. Anyway, onto the story…
Rodolphus Lestrange resisted looking over his shoulder, knowing that he would only catch a silvery glimpse of a snake’s head.
You’re very good at establishing the characters’ personalities through the descriptions you provide them. Here, the idea of only seeing “a silvery glimpse of a snake’s head” not only gives the reader a physical description of Lucius Malfoy, but also depicts his cunning and unattractive nature. This whole story revolves around one lost soul surrounded by many corrupted ones, and through these pieces of detail you convey just how wicked the other characters are.
The teasing smells of fine wines and dark magic might be pleasant to the unaware, but he was constantly noticing the suffocating stink of sea water and rotting algae.
This particular description stuck out to me because it appeals to the senses and draws contrasts between the two scents in a very subtle way. Both are unattractive to Rodolphus, but the nature of the sea surrounding him is more so – perhaps a reflection of his entrapment there. I also like how the scents can be attractive, as it is often argued that a person is tempted, almost seduced, into the Dark Arts rather than sinisterly choosing to delve into them. It’s a good way of exposing their true nature.
She was simply standing there, sprung from the darkness without a sound. Her voice had been beyond icy and barely shown recognition of who he was.
This is a very strong description that was needed for the strong, dominant character as Bellatrix. Some authors struggle to express just how powerful she is, but you do so through very clear-cut descriptions such as these, reinforced through the unnerving reaction that Rodolphus receives. You manage to describe her behaviour effectively in a concise way, which is needed in order to create impact on your readers.
He gave the blazing sky a final look, and wondered if he would ever be lucky enough to come across something as beautiful again.
The conclusive paragraph is beautiful. It stands in stark contrast to the gloomy atmosphere that you have upheld throughout the rest of your story. By using the sun and sky to show the beauty of the world and how much he has become deprived of it, it softens the blow for his suicide. It gives your reader a glimmer of hope for Rodolphus at the end, which is needed after the cruelty of his life. It is highly poignant and makes for a definite, easy-to-remember end.
There is very little I can find to concrit your story with, Anna. Just a few odd phrases here and there that I think could be sharpened up. Neta pointed out quite a few of your typos, and I’ve picked up on a few nitpicky grammar things that I may not be right about. Your grammar and sentence structure is superb.
She did no longer, her existence had long since become wholly committed to the Dark Lord.
Whilst it isn’t incorrect as it is, I think this sentence would flow better with “She no longer did” as it’s a more commonly used phrase. I would also argue for a semi-colon rather than a comma.
When they had met all those years ago, back at Hogwarts, she had at least been somewhat interested in his person.
The phrase ‘in his person’ sounds a touch awkward to me. Perhaps say ‘him’ or describe precisely what she found interesting about Rodolphus.
“Malfoy,” his reply was but a grunt, and the nod could have been one of Goyle’s.
Seeing as the sentence following the dialogue works independently to it, you need to change the comma to a full stop and capitalise ‘his’
So, there is little else I can say to persuade you that you are a very talented writer. I am pleased to hear that you are going to be writing more this summer, and I have every confidence that you will do very well in the new SS challenge. Keep smiling, my lovely Swede. Huggles, chocolate, kisses from Sarah, and love from England. Laura xxxx
Wow. Your description is beautiful. I felt like I was there with him. I could see it all and feel it all.
Rodolphus has always been a character that I wondered about, this really sheds new light on him.
I like how you described his marriage and relationship with Bellatrix, I have always thought of her as the dominate one.
You can make gorgeous banners and amazing stories...*bows in respect*
I thought your characterazation of Bellatrix was perfect. She seems to be easily bored with many things, except her beloved Dark Lord and I would assume it to be the same with men.
I liked how you had Voldemort torturing Roldolphus. He seemed to know just what to do to make Roldolphus mad. The small things that mean a lot.
I also liked the surprise in the end. Your vagueness about the knife was great because it let the reader's mind run free with possibilties. Yet, enough was implied that whatever the reader thinks of, will be close to what you were thinking of.
I love the ending line, about the beautiful sky. It adds to the thought that formed in my head throughout the story, 'Maybe, Lestrange isn't such a bad guy.'
He doesn't seem to like Voldemort, or Lucius. (Though who could?)
I enjoyed reading this story. It was a unique masterpiece.
Hey, great story... i hadn't realised you had a story on here, but i'm glad i found it... it was really interesting. i've never read any fics directly about Bellatrix or Rodolphus before and i'm glad yours was the one i started with.
*Looks at everyone's long reviews*
I am not good at leaving reviews....
Anyway, I think that your fic shows what it is like to be a Death Eater, and is perfect in doing so. I really liked the opening part where Malfoy and Rodolphus meet - it tells us so well that Malfoy is the superior of the two.
The knife is deadly, so deadly...it made me shiver. The last few sentences lingered in my mind, the whole sadness and angst of the fic flooded through me!
It was very good, and I hope you write more!
Excellent characterization of Bella!! You wrote her exactly as she should be- cruel, uncaring and completely devoted to the Dark Lord. You used very nice description as well. I actually kind of like Rodolphus in this fic, quite a difference from when I read the books, but you really had me sympathizing with him. The poor guy. Excellent job!
The description of the house he is in is wonderful. I quite adore the paradoxical nature of the place, especially as it seems pleasant and appealing at first glace, but is really rather unpleasant and uncomfortable once you see it properly. Could it be a parallel to the life of a Death Eater? We shall see if my inhaler has sent me ‘round the twist or if there is something to that assumption ^_0.
I noticed quite a few errors while reading the fic, mainly little insignificant comma and semi-colon/colon errors. Punctuation errors, in other words (goodness, I am tired; it took me half an age to think of the right word…*dies*). While they don’t take away from the reading pleasure of the story (as your diction is close to perfect) they did catch my eye and I thought you would appreciate knowing about them. I won’t go into my big grammar-Nazi rant though; you will be spared from that annoyingness, for now. ^__^
Bellatrix is love. She is perfect! Just how I imagined her; the madness is not only in her mind but in her looks as well. It’s squeee-worthy, but maybe that’s because I am a Bellatrix fangirl *headdesk*. She’s so mean to him…its brilliant! (ah, poor Rodolphus. But no one can take on Bella *waves flag*) And my favourite line describing Bellatrix would have to be “He who had, as she had so carefully put it, ‘at least shown enough will to get himself killed’. It’s just such an insult to poor Rodolphus. I also like how Bellatrix (*has slight obsession*) sort of teamed up with Voldemort to make his life a living hell. It seems very realistic of Bellatrix, who is very dedicated to her master, and Voldemort, who is just sadistic. It’s quite obvious that their relationship isn’t love, but something else that just helps them both annoy Rodolphus.
ZOMG I love the ending. It’s so emotional and very, very sad. I actually felt sorry for Rodolphus. Really sorry for him, actually. I don’t even know why, but the fact that Voldemort is sleeping around with his wife and then brought him the knife that would kill him is oh-so-ironic and just a kick in the teeth. Perfectly in-character and certainly one of my favourite aspects of the story. Great job, and a new fave for me, methinks.
Wow. That was amazing. You portrayed Bellatrix and all the insanity and evilness that is like an aura surronding her. It was also fascinating to see a perspective on her husband. JKR has him stuffed into the background by his controlling and charismatic wife. The language you displayed and the description was fantastic. I could easily feel his despair and see the dark scene through your use of rhetorical devices. Over all, this is a very unique and promising one-shot. I'm exceedingly glad I came across this story. Well done.
This was a beautifully written and intelligent portrayal of a Death Eater. You show incredible insight into what the various relationships might have been; (Rodolphus/Bellatrix, Bellatrix Voldemort etc.) and all the questions raised by JKR's portrayal are satisfactorily answered. It was so touching and yes, it made me feel sympathy for a man who I never believed could ever inspire that emotion in me!
There were some lovely details and descriptions all the way through, and I really felt that we were walking alongside him. The reference to Borgin and Burke's and the thought that this end was already mapped out for him was very well done.
A faultless performance! I look forward to reading more from you.
You’ve written a chilling, yet also sad look at what it means to be a DE, especially one who is really only there by association to another who is much more devoted (and important) to the cause. You make me feel almost sorry for Rodolphus; he feels so inadequate and in fact is. I don’t know that Voldemort would be quite so willing to dispose of one of his followers at this point, but if he were, I could see it happening in this way, by Rodolphus’ own wife even. The line about him following her orders without even realizing it—“Rodolphus, now convinced that he had walked all the way down there on her unspoken command, accepted it”—really emphasizes how out of his league this character is. It’s sad that he can still feel jealousy of this woman he finds so repulsive.
I did notice a couple grammatical errors, for example, in this little bit, “there was not a lot of flesh her bones, in fact, her whole appearance,” you need “on” between “flesh” and “her bones.” You also need a period or semi-colon before “in fact.” And you need a “he” before “had seen” in “The face, which together with her wax-coloured hands was all had seen of her body for years.” It should also be “began” instead of “begun” in “He begun to make his way back upstairs.” Finally, when you mention “the greying man,” I think the correct spelling is “graying.”
But enough of that! I want to end by saying how well I think you also capture Bellatrix’s personality. Two lines in particular stood out to me: “He had never been important to Bellatrix, who had always had other men who could do her bidding, faster and better than himself” & “Rabastan. He who had, as she had so carefully put it, ‘at least shown enough will to get himself killed’.” The latter really echoes Bella’s words in “Spinner’s End” when she admonishes Narcissa for not being willing to sacrifice her son to the cause. The former encourages me imagine why other men are so quick to do her bidding, esp. in her current disgusting state. Like Voldemort, she probably demands obedience and finds those who will give it to her, but she also (again, like Voldemort) cannot endure mediocrity and probably thrills in punishing it. I wonder if she thrills at being punished for it! (As she probably was after OotP.) Well, you’ve sure given me a lot to think about; excellent character study!
Oh my- I thought I'd never see anything creep its way onto your author's page! I was in so much longing to read something of yours that when I first saw it I couldn't believe it- but now, as I am typing on my computer, having just hada a delectable read, I am assured that you really did write it and that you are one to be lauded. It was absolutely wonderful.
For instance, you characterized Bellatrix very well. She wasn't her maniacal self as Harry has seen her, but truly a lost case, someone who's sanity had lef tthem long before, and has no hope of getting it back. You also give her entrances and exits a very fabulous, smooth, and intriguing way about it. "She was simply standing there, sprung from the darkness without a sound." What a wonderful way to introduce her. You keep true to her style with, "Without a word of goodbye she melted back into the shadows.". I must say, even though those lines clearly were some of the best lines there, the dialogue was the star of the scene (aside from our Bella, that is).
However, the character that is mainly focused on is Rodolphus, the skiving scoundrel who we have never met before. You introduce him with grace, and it just astounded me from the very first line, "In the last precious hours leading up to dawn, a man was escaping the coming light by walking swiftly down weathered staircases of stone.". Beautiful- he is a man of no secrets to us, but apparently he is to outsiders. " His gaze was eventually torn away from the scene of dawn, by the box he was holding. There was something familiar with the feel of it, and not because he was feeling reckless, but because he knew it was expected of him, he opened it." This illustrates that he wanted to not take a look at what was inside, but merely keep it out of mind.
Now, I must comment on Lucius. Why was he there in the first place? Well, I investigated that and have cme up with a conclusion. However, I must comment on just... Lucius first. "It did not make matters better when he recognised the face of his brother-in-law, framed by the unnaturally well-kept hair and displaying its usual arrogant expression." It gives a great example of how he acts- and exactly rigid with the books. And that's hard to do. I would also like to say that my conclusion is probably me overthinking things again, but here it is: I bet he was a sidetrack so that Bellatrix's sudden appearance would be even more shocking and sudden. And I simply love you for doing that. He wasn't needed, but it added so much to your fic.
I have only a few more things to say before wrapping my review up. Arranged marraiges are becoming a popular way to describe how people such as these two got together. However, you used it to its max potential and showered us with angry!Bella. *fanboy of angry!Bella* Anyways. I love the quote you used in the summary- so fitting, and the way you wrapped this up was excellent as well. "The decision was not difficult for him. He had no significance, and he would not be missed." You used so many lines like this one to impact the reader.
Some examples: "The surroundings might look nice to anyone walking past in a hurry, but all he saw were the slimy walls and cold that lay beneath the magic." Sort of like Voldemort to his followers, I'm guessing? "Rodolphus, now convinced that he had walked all the way down there on her unspoken command, accepted it." and "Lesser followers were harboured higher up, closer to the stinging light and unwelcome guests that might have to be taken care of." were my favourite lines in your fic, without question.
I assume I rambled on for far too long. I leave you at peace. Just remember that I am looking foward to visiting your author's page again to maybe, possibly have another Fantasium fic there. Your writing is truly wonderful.
“In the last precious hours leading up to dawn, a man was escaping the coming light by walking swiftly down weathered staircases of stone.”
I’m at loss as to how to start this review, so I decided to steal you opening line – it’s a good one ;) It’s brilliant, actually. Such a simple statement that could have been worded so plainly, but you write it poetically. I especially love the ‘escaping the coming light’, and the description of the staircases as ‘weathered’. And, throughout the rest of the piece, you continue to narrate and describe with the same style: words that are more than words. You find new ways to say ordinary things, and make them breathtaking in the process. It’s an ability few people possess: to be able to find a new, better way of saying something. To say something without even really saying it at all.
Lucius. *sigh* I must comment on his presence, because it makes me so very happy. His ‘unnaturally well-kept hair’ and that prominent smirk. You describe him perfectly, dear :) In fact, I’ll even choose to ignore ”he would only catch a silvery glimpse of a snake’s head.” *averts eyes* I’m assuming you know how I feel on the matter of this particular object, so I shall say no more. I won’t even mention that he only has it in the movies ;)
Bellatrix. Her presence is very powerful in this piece. I wouldn’t even question characterisation of any of the characters you’ve written here – but Bellatrix surpasses all of them. She is rotting, body and soul. Her appearance is terrifying, yet there is a ghost of beauty still haunting her features. ” With one of her bone-chilling smiles” – this line really does chill my bones… *shudders* Excellent. Equally excellent is the dynamic referred to between Bella & Voldemort, and very true. Nothing could separate her from her Dark Lord.
“It’s an item of risk that has no purpose. It’s for… disposal.” Knowing how the piece ends, this is a perfectly placed line. Applying these words to Rodolphus, I feel sympathetic to him [married to a witch like Bellatrix, how could I not?].
Now, as I comb through your story, I find one minor criticism. The paragraph that begins “Without a word of goodbye she melted…” and ends “No, nothing stood between the two of them, least of all himself.” – Now, it appears that you intended to have a paragraph break here, but that you only hit return once instead of twice – but even with that taken into account, it’s a very long chunk. It’s length isn’t consistent with your other paragraphs, it breaks the rhythm and becomes discouraging to the readers eye. Again, minor criticism ;) I just think you should format a break. As for the paragraph’s content itself, well… *grin*. I think its very fitting for the characters in question and the world they belong to, and I think you recounted their history very nicely. [And of course, you mention Lucius again: and who wouldn’t prefer him as a husband? *giggles*].
“other men who could do her bidding, faster and better than himself.” Oh, really? *more giggling*
The unexpected ending of this piece, and the end of Rodolphus’ life [and his small victory – wonderfully and subtly written – it reminds me strongly of the end of ‘The Awakening’] and the fact that is set against the ‘blazing light’ of dawn… just sents me into squeals of literary ecstasy. That’s really all I can say about that.
I’m delighted that you’ve finally submitted this to MNFF [though I’m wondering why you haven’t given SPEW a link. The Updates thread exists for a reason, dear] – it’s superb and the fan-fiction world deserves to know it. It is among my favourite one-shots (though I can think of any other favourites at all, at this moment) – and it has a tone of finality and completion to it, unlike stories like ‘Sins’ and ‘Blood Debt’ that are still carving themselves out, Belonging to Bellatrix has made it’s mark. *standing ovation*
This response is one that has been due for a while now. But do you know something? It makes me just as happy when I come back and read it now, as it did when I first spotted it and it tripped me off my Swedish feet.
*giggles* On the matter of that particular object, well, I was aware of your opinion on it already when I wrote this last summer, and when editing the story before posting it on MNFF, I did consider removing it. But in the end I decided not to, at the time I didn't know why, but when I saw your review and sniggered at those particular words I knew exactly why I had kept it. And no worries, I'm fully aware it's only a movie phenomenon. ;)
Thank you for point out the formatting error - first-time-submitter had put paragraph tags on everything, before discovering she shouldn't do so. *headdesk* Anyway, I sorted it out as soon as you told me. As for the rest of the review, well, I think I might just be glowing more than you ever have. ;) I almost doubt that the wonderful words are true, but I have never known Jenna to lie, so I will believe it. Thank you, dear. Thank you!
"Would you like to submit a review?"
Ummm YES, yes I would. Anna, dear, you are brilliant. I wish it had not taken you so long to post this, but I am so incredibly glad you did. Something this wonderful deserves to be seen, not hidden in a wittle LJ post to be viewed by only a select chosen few.
This is beautifully, beautifully written, wrought with wonderful imagery and descriptions. You're exceptionally good at this angsty suspence. The first time I read this, I was so wrapped up in your plot that I hardly noticed any of these so-called swedish-to-english errors. I'm serious, doll – you write so much better than most Americans I know.
You have this knack with words... you combine them in ways that are truly wonderful. You're good weaving sentences and finding interesting ways to convey what you're trying to say. I commend you for this.
Like I said before, your plot is flawless. Anna, you've got some really good ideas here. I've seen so many versions of Voldemort's hidaway – but what you have here strikes me as one of the most believable. The idea of how the darkest and lowest dungeons are reserved for the highest of Voldemort's command is so intriguing. I could truly see this being so.
Oh Anna, I have so much more to say... and for that reason, I may review again. But I needed to get this out now, and I needed also to tell you how proud I am of you for getting this up! You're a wonderful reviewer, a wonderful friend, and now we see that you are a wonderful writer as well. Go Anna!
Author's Response: So, here I am, finally sitting down and responding to reviews. And this, *looks at review from Haley*, is my first "real" one, ever. I'm smiling like a lunatic when reading it again (as I have done every time I've come back to look at it), from the very beginning to the end. But Haley, I don't just want to thank you for this lovely, spurring and thoughtful review, but also for your help getting this little story to the highly comfortable place it's in now. The time you devoted really made me realise what I already should have known was true - great advice from a great friend is one of the best ways one can improve. *huggles* So, thank you. For everything. :)