I love what you’ve done with this; totally apart from the content, the form and language are beautiful. The beginning is lovely, with the repetition of what he is used to, followed by the one thing which is new in his life. In fact, the entire thing is lovely. “The lie is that he doesn’t care, that none of it matters; all of this is simply a means to that ultimate end, and he can endure anything, everything, all of it.” He has built up such an elaborate wall, and you describe it beautifully. I don’t even know where to begin telling you what you’ve done well; I feel like I should just quote your own words back at you and let them speak for themselves. Really good writing doesn’t need to be analyzed; it’s beautiful, and that’s all I need to say about it.
Just a few nitpicks that disrupted the flow of the writing:
”…used to carrying things through he swore he never would.” At first glance, I thought that ‘through’ was a typo for ‘though,’ but after rereading it a few times I realized that you probably did mean through. Nevertheless, it doesn’t quite make sense to me; if you mean carrying things through in the sense of doing them, it would be clearer if you just said “used to doing things he swore…” because otherwise I find myself getting lost in the clause.
“But grief is new, different; it stands out from the truths and lies that converge one upon the other, forming themselves into an almost tangible mass of the rather indefinable thing that is his life.” ‘Forming’ here appears at first to describe the subject, which is ‘it,’ his grief. Again, upon a closer look your meaning is obvious, but it forces the reader to stop and unentangle the sentence, disrupting the otherwise beautiful flow of your words. Taking out the comma and replacing ‘forming’ with ‘and form’ might be a possible way of clarifying this.
The repetition in this is beautiful; it is so easy to overdo repetition, but you’ve found a perfect balance. “he vowed to himself, all those years ago, that the ultimate good would take precedence over all: it’s the one vow he hasn’t broken, the one vow he’ll never break: this has become his routine.” How do you manage to include so many sentences that make me shiver? “Grief is new, and it refuses to be buried or drowned or stuffed into routine.” Here’s another, and I find myself once again degenerating into listing my favorite quotes, so I’ll stop rambling…lovely, lovely story, and I hope to read more of your writing.
Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much. I really don't know what else to say, other than that I really appreciated your comment. And I really appreciated the concrit as well -- it can be so easy to forget that not everyone is inside my mind and knows exactly what I want to say. So thank you for that... and everything.
Hmmm... I like. Interesting take on Machiavelli, for one. The Prince, Half-Blood Prince, very cute. I need to go reread it, it does strike me as the kind of thing Snape would like. Very good use of character perspective. I liked it a lot. :)
Author's Response: Thank you! Machiavelli fascinates me, in part because I think he's somewhat incorrectly claimed by Realism; I see him as much more of an Idealist, but that is neither here nor there. I don't suppose you'll believe me if I tell you I didn't even make that connection about The Prince & the Half-Blood Prince until you brought it up? (I didn't though. *grins*)
I *adore* this! It captures the emotions and the lack of emotions perfectly! I read, I loved.
Author's Response: Thank you; that means a lot coming from you. :)