Lian, I'm sure I'll leave a more coherent review, or even a spew review further down the track.
My chest hurts. It aches and it feels. The tears arn't in my eyes, or on my cheeks. They're private tears. This seems like the sort of story you hold within yourself; the true meaning, within yourself. I'm sad on the outside. I'm crying on the inside.
Author's Response: *hugs on the inside*
I must admit that this didn't read much like a story and it's not quite as well-written as your other one-shots, but the pure emotion ingrained in the text really makes this an amazing read. The structure of the story is very interesting. There's little description, but it's effective in that death is not thing we wish to speak of. Rather, it's a thought process, and there are no words or actions that can help to reverse it. It's so permanent, and the repetition hones in on that aspect.
Your characterization, as per usual, is almost flawless. Ginny and Hermione have both been emotionally shredded and put together again like a mosaic; never quite whole again.
Ginny's unusual attitude, though more read as an outsider's perspective, is one way to cope with loss, and I love that it reads as such. It seems that all we ever see a death portrayed as is with immense sobbing and defense mechanisms, when that's not always the case. Ginny may have come off as cold-hearted to some, but know that I believe it's coming from someone who's tired of the loss, of the pain associated with it, and all the prejudice and hate it stemmed from. In short, it's like she's numb.
I could write an essay as to Hermione's reaction and the complicated feelings she's experiencing, but I'm not going to, as it wouldn't do any justice to how she's written in this piece. There are no words for the complicated contemplations that take place in this situation, and it's not easily understood, and I adore her attempt to verbalize it to Ginny, because, as I stated, it's not easy.
Thank you for sharing this.
Author's Response: Kay. You know, your grasp for this story is incredible. Possibly even better than my own. You're right, now that I think about it. This isn't so much a story as it is a bundle of my own emotions and feelings. *hugs Kay tightly* Thank you. For understanding.
Colin died? Colin Creevey? He had such a cool name. Hermione's reaction makes perfect sense to me. That was terrible though. Bellatrix is has an ugly and evil soul, just like her name. I don't like the name, do you?
Honestly I found the dialogue hard to follow at some points. Maybe you shouldn't separate the paragraphs so frequently, and if you want a pause you could always write in a pause; just a suggestion. ;) Overall, I thought this was quite depressing, but well written of course!
Author's Response: Thank you for reading and taking the time to write a constructive review! I'm sorry you found the dialogue hard to follow. It just didn't seem right when I had it in long paragraphs -- and it needed to be broken up for the repetition to work. I guess this can be seen as a depressing story since it's about ambivalence and regret. I do write less depressing stories sometimes, but I think difficult emotions have to be explored -- for my own peace of mind if nothing else.
Wow! Lian, this is a really powerful story!
Even though this is a SPEW review, I fear it will not be very long. In any case ... *hugs SPEW buddy and starts with the review*
First, I like the way you start the story with a bang, and finish the little scene with an abrupt character death. That kind of fast-paced action is bound to keep a reader on tenterhooks.
Next, I really love Hermione's characterisation. Apart from the action, that seemed to be the strongest point of the story. You've done a great job in showing her compassionate and emotional side, along with telling about the stark constrast of her reaction when Colin dies. Her feelings of tolerance for Lavender are really powerful, despite the fact that they were not friends at all. Then again, as Hermione says, they weren't enemies either.
Lastly, the repetition. Normally, it bothers me, but in this case, I feel all the "Lavender Grey"s were very apt and moving. However, I didn't understand why the title of the fic is Grey Lavender and not Lavender Grey. Could you please elaborate on that aspect?
Overall, excellent and poignant story. I feel it can be moved to the Dark/Angsty category, even though it fits well in the General one.
Author's Response: When I wrote this story I honestly wasn't sure if it belonged in dark or in general. It works in either, I think. I'm not very good at writing action scenes, so I'm glad the opening worked for you.
Oh, wow...As this is a SPEWly review, I will refrain from gushing past this moment: OMG, that was incredible.
Having gotten the gush out of the way, I love the repetition of Lavender with the various words after it. Hermione's emotions were so raw and vivid that it was almost painful to read.
I don't know that Ginny is truly that heartless or cold, which is my one thing that I get on a ton of people for. I just feel she was a bit too - what's the word - frigid and mean here. She's a warm loving person and she would most likely understand Hermione's emotions.
Having said that, it was a wonderful fic. I truly enjoyed it and I will definitely be looking for wonderful things from you in future.
Author's Response: I don't believe Ginny is heartless so much as tough and controlled. Toughness can often seem frigid in people we don't understand well. I think Ginny is emotionally tough -- we see it in her at the end of HBP. It's not so much that she doesn't care as that she doesn't allow herself to be controlled by it. Not necessarily the healthiest response in the world, but a potentially useful coping mechanism under the strain of war. Hope that makes some sense (and sorry it wasn't better expressed in the story).
The theme of grey as a color and a state of being and a moral shade all flow together in here. It interesting, Hermione's ability to mourn, admire, and dislike someone all at once. In a way it's easier to love your enemy after they're dead. There is something to be said for an enemy who will never harm you again, kiss your beloved or spite you. Soemthing about death makes you ashamed that you did bad things, and thought bad thoughts about this person that isn't magically remade wonderful, but has become sympathetic and harmless by passing on.
Random moment: I have a fic in the Trigun fandom titled, Black, White, and Lovely Shades of Lavender, and the point in here with the black white and lavender made me want to go look that fic up again *giggles*
And no comment on the inspiration :X I know and I see it.
Author's Response: You're right that it's easier to love your enemy after they're dead. It is. Literally and figuratively. And it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that you would hone in on that, even when I hadn't conciously thought about it. You tend to be wise and self-aware like that. And yes, you do understand the inspiration -- which makes your opinion on it worth even more to me.
*sniffles* Okay, Lian dear, I am going to do my best to leave a coherent review, but I suspect that I'll fail. In fact, considering it took me several minutes to even figure out how I wanted to begin (the *sniffles*, me at my most eloquent), I am almost certain I will. So bear with me.
I understand, to a point, what comes over Hermione here. It's almost guilt at her indifference towards Lavender, isn't it? (She had been neither happy nor sad that she was not closer to Lavender.) The two should, perhaps, have been friends, living together the way they did. But until Lavender became involved with Ron, Hermione didn't care about her one way or another. And maybe she should have. Ginny can't really see that, because she sort of gets along with everyone, or she has definite emotions about them. Hermione, like her descriptions of Lavender, isn't so black and white. I suppose it is to Ginny's credit that she does have to 'lock her own pain away.' I admit that the first time through, I missed that bit and was quite angry with Ginny for being so unfeeling.
I loved your use of repetition, and particularly the order it went in. From Not Brown, to Not White, Not Black, to Dead, to Grey. Hermione doesn't arrive at the grey until after she deals with the death. Just like Lavender's skin turns grey after her death. It gave me the shivers, but in the best possible way. Lavender was not black or white. She was not even brown, for the warmth of brown would have implied life. She was simply grey. Just...perfect. It conveys so much.
A random detail that made it a lot more real for me was Hermione's pillow. I like to hold on to things (frequently pillows) when I'm stressed. It's almost like an anchor. Seeing Hermione do the same makes her, to me, much more of a person.
So maybe this is the point where I admit I have nothing bad to say? I've tried, but every time I go through and attempt to use my critical eye, it gets all teared up. Hmph. So good for you, dear.
I wonder. Does Parvati's absence have something to do with Hermione's grief? I mean...if Parvati had been allowed to come to school, she would have been completely distraught about it and Hermione would have had to be the comforter, instead of the mourner. But since she's not there, Hermione doesn't have to be strong? Maybe. I dunno.
To sum up: wow. This was completely amazing. I'm so glad I read it!
Author's Response: Oh Lys, what a marvelous review! I'm almost not quite sure how to respond to it, except to get down on my knees and thank you and then jump up and huggle you for so clearly understanding what I was trying to convey. I'm glad the repetition and the pillow worked for you. Part of what I was trying to do with the pillow was make Hermione more human. The speech runs towards being too intellectual, and the pillow was my way of trying to make her feelings more concrete and real. Clutching a pillow is a very human gesture. I'm glad it worked for you.
You, my dear, have created in this short piece an amazing study of non-friends and the feelings we have for them. Does Hermione feel guilty for never really being friends with Lavendar? I don't think so, she just hurts that someone she knew to have dreams and ambitions should die. Perhaps it's easier to feel pain about someone slightly distanced from us, I don't know... but I do know that I really appreciated the wealth of emotion in this story. Even if I hadn't understood the premise, I still would have connected to Hermione's grief. 'Twas very well done of you.
Author's Response: MJ! *gasp* You didn't say you'd be leaving a review! I'm glad you read this, and gladder that you understood it. *hugs*
Hermione seems very upset at Lavender's death. I think Lavender was very stupid, because she was in love with Ron, and that was really horrible and disgusting. But Hermione's right, she was not evil, so she didn't deserve to die.
Author's Response: Is it stupid of Lavender to love Ron? Or is it just inconvenient for Hermione? Thank you for reading and reviewing!
I’ll confess right now that I read this story when it first came out and didn’t understand it at all. I was very much in Ginny’s position. However, I have been thinking about it lately and may have a handle on it. In the end you, through Hermione, finally made it clear to me, though I am vaguely curious who it was about – not enough to pester you, though, so have no fear.
You’re always so good at communicating emotion; I could clearly feel Hermione’s grief and Ginny’s bewilderment (possibly Ginny’s better, because I was so confused). When Hermione blazed out at Ginny, I could feel the heat from her eyes. Your choices of words in both description and dialogue were very good in this story.
Speaking of word choice, the repetition of the colors – brown, black, white, grey – was an interesting touch and did a really good job of showing how Hermione felt about Lavender. She wasn’t evil, she wasn’t good, not anymore than Hermione, being a human girl just the same, was evil or good. I liked that you made Hermione seem more human than we usually think of her.
This is a short review. I’m sorry. All I have more to offer you at this time is a nitpick that you may very well disagree with: I don’t think it’s "mousey" I think it’s "mousy." However, do with that what you will. I still think you’re a great writer and I like it when I see you’ve updated, because even before you were my SPEW Buddy (*huggle*) I read all your stories.
Author's Response: A "short review"? We SPEWers seem to have rather warped ideas of 'short'... almost as warped as college professors' :-P
Honestly, it really means something to me that you read this story and took the time to try to understand it. It deals with very conflicted emotions, and it's hard to grasp, whether due to my writing or to the subject matter, I'm not sure.I think you may be right about mousey/mousy; I'll have to go look it up. Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful review! *huggles*
Lian, Lian, Lian. I know what you're thinking. ;) Yes, I actually did read this fic! With Lavender dying and all! This has got to be one of the most touching of your oneshots [And I bawled like a baby with "For Padme's Sake"]. I love how every time I read, I'm sad -- I feel for whoever has pain... that special connection that you are able to write makes everything seem all to real. I also love the way you write, just because it's got that rhythmic feel when it needs to be poetic, and it is sudden and sharp when it needs to be painful. Lian. You can touch the coldest of hearts.
So, knowing that Lavender was going to die [and the fact that I had a stuffy nose], I brought a box of tissues and set them neatly on my desk. After I started the first sentence, I knew what was about to occur. I nearly turned back, but I refrained, and I managed to get through Lavender's death [though the tissues are all over the floor... mixture of sickness and tears]. It was really painful, but I got through it! That's how well you write. You touched me so much. Through my favourite character. *sighs* *sniffle*
So, I started to cry again when Parvati wouldn't be coming back. I don't know why. It just... soaked in, that my favourite duo of Hogwarts, was gone forever. Oh Lord, I'm crying again. Excuse me for a moment. *wails into three or four tissues* Now. Onwards. Hermione had watched as the train came in, sat transfixed in horror as curses flew amid the crowd, held her breath when she saw the flash of bright green light. This kept me bawling, because I knew that Hermione saw Lavender die -- yet she hadn't an earthly clue that she died. Oh no... you'll have to excuse me again. *goes to get more tissues*
I love how you managed to involve the Horcrux hunt, and that McGonagall knew the importance of this, and arranged for the trio to leave -- that was key. McGonagall knew Harry couldn't do this alone, and... well, it shows a lot of McGonagall's character. And then the silence. Oh Lord, the tension had me reeling -- What was Ginny going to say? Or was Hermione going to ask the details? Who had died? How many? And then, you have Ginny speak. Ginny opened her mouth, her eyes damp but her voice hardened and steady. “It was Lavender. Bellatrix Lestrange got her. As she was running towards the school.” This, to me, had me crying so hard I nearly had to get my blanket to mop up the tears. It set in, and I wasn't ready to believe it... you made it real. Very real.
Out of my rereading, so I could get the minor details of the fic to soak, I found only one nitpick, and it's more of a styling issue than a real problem. Once, perhaps, this might have seemed a natural reaction. But war had hardened them all. I'd combine the two sentences, but that's just me. I couldn't find much else.
Lavender was not black or white. She was not even brown, for the warmth of brown would have implied life. She was simply grey. I think this says so much about how Hermione felt about Lavender, and how Lavender's character is. You hit the nail on the head. Lavender isn't very warm, like Mrs. Weasley, she's not pure, such as Fawkes, and she's not evil, like Voldemort. She's somewhat a mix of purity and dark. She does mean well with whatever she did, and she had her moments where her true character came through. However, she's harsh, and she's not able to really tell if she should lighten up or not. You know this character. You know her. I'm very proud. :) *sniffles*
I hate Ginny. Point blank. This fic didn't do much to change my opinion of her either. “Then why are you so upset?” I could have strangled her at that point, just let Hermione mourn, comfort her. She might have gotten upset if someone else died... like Daphne Greengrass. She doesn't know her, but Ginny, what if? [Sorry, my hatred of her is reaching maximum. That little comment was a bit... odd. Sorry, still caught up in the emotional aspects. Won't happen again, I promise. ;)
This is touching -- and not just because it involves my favourite character dying, I probably would have wailed if it would have been Parvati, Ginny, or anybody. It was touching because I felt it. I felt the pain. I fanboy you extremely now. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by excellent writers such as yourself. *huggles*
Author's Response: How can I respond to a review like this? Except offering you more tissues, of course.
:: offers more tissues ::I'll think about combining those two sentences, but I kind of like the dramatic pause the period creates. I'm glad you like how I've done Lavender's character. You are one of the few Lavender experts around, so your opinion on her is really important to me.
Thank you so much for leaving such an excellent review!
That was a very interesting story. I can see why Hermione would be upset, but to be more upset about Lavender then Colin? I don't know if I could see that. I can see where you were going with all the colors. It was a very interesting read. :)
Author's Response: The reason Hermione is so much more upset about Lavender than about Colin is that her feelings about Lavender are so conflicted. Her feelings for Colin are relatively simple -- he's an acquaintance/friend, but not so close a friend that their relationship is very complex. Hermione may not have liked Lavender a lot, but their relationship was complicated, especially for Hermione. Hermione feels grief at Colin's death, but it's straightforward. She's not quite sure how she feels about Lavender dying, at least at first. She feels guilty, and that's what causes her to be so upset. Hopefully that explains the her reactions... even if you may not agree.
I'm glad you liked what I did with the colors. Lavender Brown's name is two colors, and so I thought grey would be a good symbol for complexity and ambivalence.Thank you for reading and reviewing!
Lian. I love you. I truly do. And next week, I will be crowning you queen of touching one shots, mmkay? We're going to have a coronation ceremony and everything.
I know you wrote this with express purpose in mind, and I know what it was...and although I knew of it, it automatically brought something else to mind, something I'm sure you didn't think of. Very recently (two weekends ago, actually), there was a car accident around here, and two teenagers died. I'd never met either of them...but the amount of people surrounding me that actually did know them, and love them was so overwhelming that it made the week tragic, even for me. I couldn't get it out of my head--people that I'd heard mentioned vaguely throughout my entire life ("Do you know So And So? Well, I hung out with him the other day, and he said...") but never met...and suddenly, they don't exist anymore. Not even aquaintances, but suddenly...it all just seemed very final. And so I don't think this story could have come at a more appropriate time for me, because I appreciate it now, a lot. More than I would have if I read it a month ago. Spending time around people who've just lost someone suddenly like that--you can't go through it and not be affected, whether you personally knew or liked the person or not. Hermione was very right.
Alright, away from real life, and onto fanfiction. I think that you get a general sense of how much I love it, huh? :) It really was touching. And, as always, you manage to pull off your signature repetitions without going overboard, but still making your point. I loved the bits of "Not black, not white, not brown." And then, of course, the green of the flash connected too.
I would advise you that Hermione's talk does seem, not scripted or rehearsed, per say, but rather grave. I mean, Hermione is definetly not the person to go into hysterics--at all--and everything that she said was brilliantly in character for thinks-before-she-speaks Hermione, but even for her, it was very formal. I'm guessing that it was intentional however, and if it was--it did work, just as well. The words gave me goosebumps.
The one real suggestion I'd make? In the sentence "Although she hurt me, it was not with malice," I would suggest changing "it was not" to "it wasn't." IMO (and you can ignore it if you want), it takes away a bit of the formality of the sentence without losing the power of what she's saying. But, of course, as I said...it's just as powerful, with or without such a change. And, it's entirely possible that you wanted it that way--you always write with purpose. :)
And while they still cried sometimes, it wasn't often that they let themselves. The pain of the deaths was put aside and locked away.
That's one of the scariest parts of pain and death, isn't it? It effects me, sure enough, and almost everyone I know.
So, now that you've reduced me to tears...thank you again for another wonderful story Lian. I applaud you, and worship you, and I admire you. I really do.
Author's Response: *huggles Mala very tight* Very recently, a close friend of a close friend was mistakenly shot and killed by a gang member who thought he was a member of a rival gang. He wasn't. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think hearing about that was what gave me the impetus to finish this story. Though yes, I did write this story because of something specific, and the death is entirely symbolic.
I think I will go and change the dialogue where you suggested, and I may add some stutters too, to make it more realistic.While I appreciate your praise, I submit that Seren is the Queen of Oneshots, not me. And, well... I was blushing as I read your review. Thanks for leaving such a sweet review. I can't tell you how much it means to me.
:: lots of huggles ::
This was very sweet and touching and I liked your idea that Hermione admired parts of Lavender regardless of whether they were friends or not. Its sad to think that the seventh year girls dorm will be empty except for Hermione. The only little tidbit that I thought was off was that it seemed like sometimes Hermione sounded too proper for someone in grief, she skipped a few contractions that would've made speech a bit more teenage like. It was still excellently done and I liked your dedication at the beginning.
Author's Response: Thanks for taking the time to read and review! I know Hermione is a bit speech-y. It's something I was aware of when I submitted it. I left it as it was because I didn't want to dilute the message. Thanks for telling me how it came off to you, though. The feedback is helpful and I might go tweak it a bit.
This is the first general fic I've read, I usually read Humour, and I am glad I read this. Good job!
Author's Response: I'm glad you read it too. Thank you for taking the time to review as well!