I had my suspicions that this was Merope, but I think it was genius to not use names until the very end. Great job! I enjoyed it, even if it was a sorrowful ending.
Nikki! I donít know why Iíve never read anything of yours before. So when I was deciding which fics to review for SPEW this month, I thought Iíd stop by your authorís page and pick something. Iím glad I did Ė I really enjoyed this. =)
I havenít read much about Merope and Tom, though itís always been a relationship Iíve wanted to read about. It just seems very interesting to me; thereís so much you can do with them, so much open to interpretation. I think itíd be really easy to make Merope and Tom somewhat flat characters. Itíd be easy to make Merope seem pathetic and lovesick, and to portray Tom as her (mildly) innocent victim. I donít think you did that here. I really like the characterization in this, actually.
Merope reminds me of likeÖall girls, lol. I mean, every girl who has a crush or thinks sheís in love is going to feel a bit insecure, isnít she? I think Merope was insecure about a lot of other things in her life Ė she wasnít a very talented witch, and her family wasnít exactly nice to her, so she seems more insecure than some other girls might be. You conveyed that really well here, especially with Meropeís conversation with her friend, Beth. I liked that part. Itís great to see another person in this fic, to bring in another opinion about Merope and Tomís relationship. Beth acts like I think any best friend would Ė reassuring Merope that Tom really does love her. Itís somewhat quixotic of them both, butÖwell, thatís how girls can be sometimes. Silly us.
A word of constructive criticism, though. The conversation between Merope and Beth ends really abruptly. I wouldnít love him if he hated me. Well, thank you for listening. I feel like there needs to be some description or something in between Meropeís dialogue. Why not describe how she looks, what sheís feeling, etc.? Give us a picture.
The part with Tom at the bar is interesting. HeísÖappropriately confused. I think you handled how Tom would have felt really well. Itís like he has some kind of amnesia, but he doesnít know why or how. I like the bartenderís role in this as well. Again, brining in that outside view, which in this case isÖconfusion. It works, because the relationship between Merope and Tom is pretty unconventional. The bartender acts as a kind of foil to Beth, who seems to believe everything will work out fine between the couple; the bartender, on the other hand, is more skeptical and seems to think these people are crazy, lol.
I think maybe the confrontation between Merope and Tom could have been a little longer. I would have liked to see more of Tomís side of things. But I love this: I still love you, isnít that enough? Itís so perfect. Poor Merope, though. I feel bad for her, even though she did force Tom to love her. But still. Itís an unrequited love, and itís sad. -allows self to feel sorry for mother of Voldemort-
Overall, I really liked it. Great job, Nikki! -squishes-
Author's Response: *squishes Leanne* I already told you this, but I love you. You are teh awesome. Thank you.
Aw, Nikki that was wonderful! I really liked how you portrayed the two characters - you didn't make either of them seem overly cruel, or the 'evil' party. The reader could feel sympathy for both of them at the same time, which makes this fic really lovely. They were both very real characters as well. We hardly know anything about either of them in the books but the way you've portrayed them makes them seem very realistic. Tom I liked especially because he seemed humane. I've always had the impression from the books that he was very cruel to Merope - and very heartless when he found out the truth. The conversation you portray with the barman, however, shows that he has a much more sensitive side. He wants to do what is right for his wife, and for his unborn child, and also, at the same time, for himself. It gives a depth to his character that I've never seen before.
Your description was also very nice and I could feel the intense emotions that Merope was going through. It really added to the feeling of the story.
I also really like the POV change. Many authors can't manage to switch POV very smoothly, but you do it in a way that shows clearly who you're talking about, while at the same time being clean and swift.
There's just a few small things that I think could add to the story - mainly the conversation Merope has with her friend. I seemed a little stilted at times, as if this was the part you'd had the most trouble writing.
The part that caught my attention the most was:
I wouldnít love him if he hated me. Well, thank you for listening.
The change from her discussing her problem to saying thank you was very abrupt. It took me by surprise that the conversation was over. I think if you wound the conversation down a little slower, it would just make things run a little smoother.
The only other part I have suggestions on would be the end. I think you could get a few more emotions into this piece - have them argue a little more. It seems that Merope gives a big speech and then Tom just decided straight away. You've built his character up beautifully throughout the fic as being quite reasonable and wanting to do the right thing, but I don't really get a sense of that in the ending. If you just add a few more lines to the ending about them discussing or arguing the situation I think it would be perfect - perhaps bring up the baby issue, as this would give you more scope for his indecision. Should he have a reason to stay for his child?
Overall, beautifully written fic, darling! I really, really enjoyed it! *huggles* muchos love! xxx
Author's Response: *huggles Rhi* Thank you for reviewing and all your helpfulness. To be honest, I kind of rushed with this fic. I procrastinated and then hurried to get it in on time to make the challenge deadline. I would like to extend it and edit it in the future, so thank you for your constructive criticism!
A very sad telling. Your description is very vivid, and Merope's pain is articulated very well. The suspense mounted well. A few comments to add, though: I do think that this story could have been greatly drawn out. Her conversation with Beth seemed a bit stilted towards the end. I found myself wanting to see more of the women's conversation and to have more of a basis for a friendship laid. Obviously they've known each other for a very long time, and the dialogue you wrote effectively showed their bond. I would love to see another chapter as a 'flashback' of sorts - perhaps with conversations between Beth and Merope, and some of the memories that Tom Riddle cannot remember. :)
Your take on Tom Riddle was very interesting. While many writers write him off as a bastard (essentially) who leaves her in disgust automatically, you've given him some heart. His interaction with the barman showed that he does have a sensitive side, and that he is very divided on the issue of his wife. Your description presents the possibility that Tom Riddle may have stayed with Merope Gaunt - a fascinating possibility indeed! :) The fact that you gave him humane characteristics greatly assisted the buildup of the story. However, the buildup with Tom's internal turmoil seemed cut short by the ending. Their 'fight' seemed to beg for more dialogue and interaction. His obviously divided heart decided a bit too quickly for the reader's ultimate satisfaction.
Should you choose to continue writing the story, you have a lot of material to work with. You characterize both Merope and Tom very well. They are human, they have hearts, they have divided emotions - the emotions were well done and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.
Author's Response: Thank you! I do not intend to make this longer, but I will consider it. As I said in response to Rhi's review I rushed a bit with this and I do plan on editing and extending it. The argument is one thing I would especially like to extend. The characterization was tough, so I'm glad you liked it. I don't see either of these characters as evil, so I didn't write them that way.
Wow! Nice work. Just a couple of comments. I like the way you don't reveal the identities of the characters until the end, as it prevents the reader from making judgements without considereing the situation. However I'm not sure about Tom Riddle Snr's reaction to discovering his wife is a witch and that he never really loved her. I think he would be more upset about the fact that she is a witch, which seems abhorrent to his nature as I imagine it, rather than an emotion such as love. Also, maybe a little more time and contemplation is required to have a greater impact on the reader. By extending the anguish Tom Riddle Snr feels, you could really make the story believable. Otherwise well done!
What an excellent story! I really enjoyed the way you described her feelings of anguish through her talk with her friend, and his confusion through his conversation with the bartender. You really made me feel for her right at the end - it was heart-wrenching. Well done!
Author's Response: Thank you! I felt bad for her while writing this. It's odd feeling bad for Voldemort's mom, isn't it? It was hard finding someone for Tom to confide in because I don't think he would have made very many friends while under the influence of a love potion. I'm really glad you liked it!
good story!! i've been waiting for a merope/tom fic since HBP came out and you did a really good job of this rather complex relationship!!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it. I appreciate you taking time to read this story and review.
This is very good! I have never read a Merope/Tom fic before, and change is nice. I like how you describe how Tom feels, and how you never really know who the characters are until the end. But, even though you did write it that way, you can still kind of tell you they are. Didn't it say in HBP that Merope couldn't do a lot of magic? I'm not sure, but you might want to check.
Author's Response: Thank you for your comments. I did intentionally through in a few hints to who they were. There aren't many love potion pairings in canon, so I think that was a big hint. I think Merope wasn't a very good witch and struggled with her magical abilities. I tried to add that in and that is why I made her tell Tom she wasn't a very good witch. Also, you might've noticed that getting rid of the potion took her two tries. Merope also mentioned how Beth helped her make the potion. Thank you for the review though. This was the first Tom/Merope fic I ever wrote or read, and I thought it was a nice change from my usual James/Lily. The plot just came into my head while reading HBP.