Sorry that I havenít had chance to review each chapter of this amazing story as I read it, but if Iím honest I probably shouldnít have been spending the time reading let alone reviewing Ė but I couldnít help it! Iíve been using this story as revision bribery Ė an hour of contract law and then treat myself to another chapter.
I donít even know where to start saying everything I want to say about this story, itís just so fabulous. I think itís probably the best thing Iíve read on Mugglenet (and thatís definitely saying something as there as so many good stories here). Itís beautifully written, carefully characterised and the plot is so subtly woven with canon and striking originality. Iím having a really hard time keeping this separate in my head from canon. Normally I mostly manage to keep fanfiction well separated from canon but this has just so utterly become Snapeís back-story for me that if anything in DH counteracts it then Iíll be utterly confused!
For the first time, youíve managed to turn Severus Snape into a real person for me. My character analysis of him had never previous gone beyond: sullen; hates Harry and probably not actually evil. But youíve actually got me interested in him and somewhat shockingly left me having a great deal of sympathy for him. There were so many points where his future seemed to hang in the balance and one push in the right direction would have saved him that I could forget while I was reading it that we already know how badly things would end for him and so many points where I just wanted to save him and give him a hug (I hate to think of the look on Severusí face at that comment Ė canít imagine heíd take kindly to such a sentiment!). You do such a fabulous job of drawing out all the good things about him that Harryís point of view never shows us that he has become someone Iíd actually quite like to be able to sit down over a cup of tea with and discuss the finer points of the application of modern chemistry to potions (the chemistry graduate in me absolutely adored the fume-cupboard and chromatography use and got a little hyper during that chapter!).
There is some wonderful subtle humour throughout that matches Severusí dry, sardonic style and complements the dark bits perfectly Ė and my goodness are the darker parts dark! My hatred of Lucius Malfoy now knows no bounds, I think, and the whole Hadrian plotline broke my heart, as did Severusí realisation that it was his fault that Lily died. As for the ending, well, floods of tears Ė it was just so cruel that Severus and Harry could have had a friendship that they both so desperately needed if it hadnít been for one initial unfortunate eye contact.
Actually, whilst Iím on the subject of Lily, I thought your portrayal of her was brilliant Ė the ĎSaintí joke was such a nice nod to the usual way she is portrayed yet you captured that cheekiness about her that she is supposed to have and made her a lot of fun.
Ok, I think Iíve run out of superlatives now and Iím beginning to sound like a hopeless fangirl, so Iíll leave this here but in case you havenít yet gathered Ė I loved this story!
Author's Response: Wow! Thanks! I hope the revision went well. I spent a good bit of time in chemistry and biology laboratories, which may have something to do with my Severus-fanship. And DH is probably going to confound me utterly; I'm almost scared to read it. I'm glad you enjoyed this, and appreciate the lovely long review!
One of the most incredible Snape-the-early years I've ever read.
Author's Response: Thanks!
Little note: Snape's birthday is in January.
Author's Response: I knew this would come up someday. Canon is constantly growing; when I wrote the darned story, there were some idle guesses that his birthday might be St. Severinus' Day but nothing confirmed. Lots of people's birthdays have nothing to do with their saint's day, so I went with what worked for my plot. Naturally, JKR confirmed it shortly after I posted otherwise. A few months later she went and put up the Black family tree, if you really want to pounce on canon errors! But thanks. Really, I do know my canon once it's canon.
I loved this story and it just had me caught up
I've decided to leave short reviews every three chapters rather than for every chapter, so here we go. First of all, before I forget to mention it, I love your use of names! Who names their kid Hemlock, for heaven's sake?! *hee hee* Brainbox Avery was another favorite, and I nearly fell off my chair with "Pirelli's Elixir!" I am a dyed-in-the-wool Sondheim fan, and my favorite is Sweeny Todd. That little nod made my night!
Going back to the last chapter, I enjoyed how you handled the first meeting between the future-Marauders and Severus. My favorite thing was the idea that Severus recognized he was at a turning point, that he could sway the boys to be his friends or his enemies. I also loved that he didn't quite know what to do. Being a member of the "Snape and Lily were in love" club, I also enjoyed the first meeting of these two characters. From reading the Duelling posts on the Forums, I know that there will probably be some nice moments between those two in the future. I look forward to that.
*Looks back at everything she's written* Hmm. And I said this was going to be a short review! HA! Anyway, getting back to this chapter, the main thing I enjoyed was seeing Severus as an actual person - as a boy who was nervous about making friends, fitting in, not looking a fool, and adjusting to a new place. The bits of advice from Malfoy are priceless, by the way. I look forward to reading more. Ciao!
Author's Response: It would have to be the original Pirelli, of course, as I think the Sondheim Pirelli is a bit of an anachronism, but I just loved the idea that he'd been real and sort of a Mundungus Fletcher type. And I'm so tickled you spotted that!
I look forward to your future reviews! It's always nice to hear from someone who likes the idea that Severus and Lily were connected, and for that matter who likes the idea that Severus was a kid pretty much like anyone else at some point. Thanks!
Well, I've finished my second read. What can I say? It was just as moving and generally wonderful as the first time through. And--what's this--people are pilgrimaging to read it?!
Author's Response: Thanks! Glad to hear it's worth a second full read!
This was a brilliant work of fanfiction! I stayed up far past my usual bedtime to read this story. I couldn't get enough. Though I've always rather detested Snape, I think you did a great job with this story. It was definitely intriguing to see things from his POV. I can just picture the young Severus Snape in the way you presented him and I can see how this view of Snape would fit in with what JKR has to say about him. I also think you did a wonderful job describing Lily. You presented her in a way that I've always pictured her. Strong, witty, and kind. And (I know I'm doting a bit) I loved how you presented the four Mauraders. I've always pictured James in just this way. Sirius too. I am very very impressed! Thank you for writing this story!
Author's Response: Sorry to mess with bedtime -- but how flattering! Especially if you usually 'detest' Severus, poor fellow. He and Lily were both a real experience to write. Thanks for reviewing!
Man...Sirius is so mean to him
Author's Response: Oh, definitely. And he never really outgrew it, either!
I feel sorta sorry for Snape...
Author's Response: Well, good; it's working! Thanks!
Half way through and loving this story!
Author's Response: Thanks!
I have to say that this is the best piece of Snape fanfiction I've read so far (and why aren't there more Snapefics out there? I thought it was obvious that the whole series was secretly about Snape!). I'm going to make two remarks which I hope you'll take as constructive criticism, and then I'll get on with the praise, so you won't hate me at the end.
The only complaint I can make is that after reading what JK has said about him, I think you've been rather too generous with Snape. For example, I don't think it's necessary for him to be coerced into joining the Death Eaters at first; I think it more likely that he thought they could give him something he wanted out of life (respect, wealth, I don't know) and found out the hard way that they couldn't.
My other bit of criticism is that at the end of your fiction, I kind of felt like "stringing Malfoy along until he slips up" was a good excuse to remain friends with him in the short term, but not for ten years. It seemed like he was still a little scared of Lucius and, from your story, I couldn't see him remaining in contact with him unless he was getting something from it. I have a theory that there's canon evidence for him being genuinely fond of Draco, so maybe that would work.
Okay, now on with the slobbering praise. I think this was a beautiful piece of fiction from start to finish; the characters were believable and touching throughout; you treated a difficult subject with a lot of expertise; and as noted by other reviewers, there are bits of this story which I'm going to have trouble remembering aren't actually canon (Saint Lily, for example).
I read for relationships between characters, and I love all of the ones you represent here. The one between Snape and Lily, of course, is perfect, but I also find your Snape/Pomfrey and Snape/McGonagall really touching.
Lucius Malfoy was absolutely terrifying in this story, but I think my favorite thing is how you characterize James Potter. He is charming and brutal in turns, and you have perfectly harmonized the two completely different visions of him that Rowling gives us. It makes perfect sense that Severus would hate him while other characters would love him.
Sirius Black is another great portrayal. I'm rather fond of Sirius myself, but the way you write him is just the way he would look from Snape's eyes.
Okay, I'll stop before I write the longest review ever (though it's all that you deserve after writing such a long fiction), but I'll close by saying that I would love to read any non-Potterverse fiction you've written.
Thanks for this great contribution to the Snapeverse. :)
Author's Response: Thanks! Yes, I agree completely -- Harry is just a convenient foil in the series. It's really all about Severus.
As for the concrit -- well, some of it is POV. Nobody is ever as horrid in his own as he would be in that of his greatest mutual annoyance (See "Potter" in my collection, for instance.) Some of it is most likely the VV bias as well. I was quite taken with the Half Blood Prince right about the time Harry learned the toenail-hexing spell. I want to be able to cast that one.
As for waiting for Lucius to slip up, when Lucius is 'slippery' even by the Dark Lord's standards, well, perhaps Severus wasn't signing on for ten years, but that was what he ended up with. There may be some cognitive dissonance there, as well. If you act like someone's friend long enough, eventually you start to believe it yourself. At any rate, Severus doesn't seem too worried about his alleged best friend's arrest at the end of OotP; in fact, he looks to be in something of a good mood. Or at least as good a mood as he's ever going to indulge in front of Harry. But anyway -- I'm glad you enjoyed this!
I really really really REALLY love this fic, it's truly amazing...your portrayal of Severus is fantastic, especially his relationship with James, Lily (you do an excellent job on thier interactions together and really explain alot about Snapey and his feelings towards Harry) and your Narcissa/Bella/Andy work is fantastical. Please consider expanding on severus and Dumbledore, I think youd be really good at that...as for ink, and his representation as Snape's mirror image, excellent...I also enjoy the scenes in which you pay Lucius, you do so very delicatly and quit well, it explains alot about his troubles with Draco...as for Hadrien, that was a truly touching scene...*sniffle*...I cried for hours. Keep up the GREAT work!
~The Tainted One
Author's Response: Thanks for reviewing (a lot, at that)! Still writing away; it seems to be a compulsion of sorts. I hope you keep enjoying it!
What a tragic, and yet probably very realistic portrayal of Snape's life! I like the relationship he had with Lily, how they were friends, but Severus was too scared of hurting her to become more. Actually, all of his relationships with canon characters made sense, and everyone was delightfully IC and yet originally portrayed. Also, the plot was clever and well-thought out. I like how Severus' character and life progressed using canon events as well as made-up ones, which were just as effective! Lastly, the writing in this fic is great! Small things, like Lily changing from saying "Potter and Black" to "James and Sirius" and the realistic and heart-wrenching descriptions of Severus' feelings, while never getting to "mushy" to be OOC combined to make this a very worthwhile read!
Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. This was a monster amount of work and my beta was a huge help on saying "This needs more." Apparently she said it in the right places!
:D That conversation on the parchment was hilarious! I wish I could do that spell...
I really like the blossoming friendship between Lily and Severus! Don't really know what else to say, but great chapter and cool story so far! I love the celings!
Author's Response: Wouldn't that be a good spell to have? The note-passing AND the ceiling one? Thanks for reviewing!
Wow. That was amazing.
I'm here via the recommendation of an RL friend. She told me this was her favourite Snape story, and I can see why. (I've hardly read any HP fanfic myself; I'm active mostly in Buffy the Vampire Slayer circles.)
Your writing is gorgeous, and your Snape is wonderful: flawed, many-faceted, courageous and broken and afraid in just the right proportions. I want this to be canon. I'm almost afraid to read book 7 now, lest JKR doesn't manage to finish Snape's arc in a way that feels satisfying to me after reading your story!
There were so many things to love; I should have commented at every chapter for thoroughness, but I didn't have enough restraint to stop from clicking on 'next chapter' right away!
I loved the close parallels in the beginning of Snape's story and in the beginning of Harry's. The encounter in the Hogwarts train that will shape everything to come; the Sorting Hat hesitating between Gryffindor and Slytherin, and each time letting the boy influence the choice based on a recent unpleasant encounter. Even the first question asked in Potions class! (I suppose Snape took that one straight from Slughorn.)
I love your Lily, and her friendship with Snape. In fact I love the whole delicate dance of Snape's relationship with all the Marauders; how he could be enemies with them and yet sort-of-kind-of friends and allies at times, too. You make them feel like real people, not just pawns in a story.
The last chapters are of course freshest in my mind right now, and I have to say that my sympathies are very much with Snape. I'm a young teacher myself, and I found the description of his struggles to actually do his *job* in that first year at Hogwarts very realistic. As the poor guy points out himself more than once, he's not particularly suitable for a teacher!
This story is definitely going to stay in my head for a long time to come. Thank you so much for sharing it!
Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed this -- and one big review at the end is fine, really! I'm a HUGE Joss Wheedon fan, so there's a possible explanation for why you liked this fic. He's my role model for making good, interesting, realistic characters. I'm also married to a professor, the daughter of a professor, the friend to several professors, and was beta-read on those chapters by a professor, so those first lines of essays had good sources and research. I'm not sure whether to be glad or sorry they sounded familiar; my condolences! Thanks for reading and reviewing!
I really like how Andromeda is part of the Black Sister thing! After all, she can still be "on the good side" and still be a Slytherin and care about her sisters!
And that image/memory was creepy! So is Bella, but in a very intersting way... And Malfoy is getting weirder and weirder! So much suspense! Great chapter!
Author's Response: We know she had to be a Slytherin, since Sirius was the one who kept Slughorn from having 'the set.' So she had to be pretty interesting, to be a Black and to be Tonks' mother. Thanks!
Poor Severus, once again! I can't imagine having to live with Lucius...
Luciucs' character seems to be very odd, and I can't wait to find out more, though! After all, he helped look for Ink and made a gravestone and then he beat Severus senseless... Somehow, things aren't adding up...
Hmm. But it just adds to the story and the great writing! I can't wait to find out more! Off to read the next chapter...
Author's Response: I'd hate to live with Lucius, frankly. He wants the upper hand, and he'll do whatever he has to. I suspect the adult Narcissa might just be a match for him, of course. Enjoy the read!
It's great how each of the Marauders and Severus and Lily have their own distinct (and IC) characters. Sirius really does have a problem with this "dark wizard paranoia..." and to think, Severus was that close to having friends already. Poor kid! But I really enjoyed Lily and her toad! :D A really well-written chapter, too, of course!
Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you found them all IC. Sirius is entitled to it, I think, but yeah, poor kid! Sometimes five people just don't add up well.
I like the different sides of Eileen - she's a stubborn woman, who made a huge mistake, I suppose, and she's too stubborn to get out, and too stubborn to accept the consequences (like her son...) and deal with them the right way...
But anyway, I suppose this story isn't about Eileen, really, but about Severus. I really like your portrayal not only of his family and home (also from earlier fics in this series) but also of his character. He's written as IC as possible, as we really know nothing about his childhood, and your take on his developments are realistic and interesting! I look forward to reading this fic!
Author's Response: Glad to have you here! "All happy families are alike, but unhappy ones are all unhappy in their own unique ways," I belive is the Tolstoy quote. The Snapes gave me lots of material.
I loved it so far keep writing!
Author's Response: Thanks! You may have spotted a few more writings about; they just keep happening.