I really liked this, especially the thoughts on occlumency, it's such a mysterious branch of magic and we know so little about it that everyones descriptions are varied yet plausible. Is there more to this story? Who is Hermione's spy? Who at Hogwarts told the dementors where to find Professor McGonagall? And the idea of Hogwarts failing due to a lack of magical presence is terrifying and fascinating and would make for a great fic on it's own. i'm adding you to my favourites.
You have the most brilliant control of words I have ever seen, Mask darlink. *hugs* The use of personification in the first paragraph is just…wonderful. It’s interesting and a great way to draw your reader in. The quality of the beginning just promises an awesome story, you know? :) The imagery and the vision I form in my head with your words flowing through my mind is divine. It just comes to me; I don’t have to think about it – and it’s your language that does that for me.
Bleargh! Does your personification skill never end? The little rodent feet of Fear made goosebumps trickle up my arms! It’s such a vivid way to describe the emotion, and so realistic as well! Now…I must comment on this again. Your Occlumency comment – rather Minerva’s – is vague and beautiful. Minerva is rational, practical and blunt. Even when under the influence of dementors…I doubt the personality of a person changes – only physical and emotional strength. I think that this Occlumency comment sounds like something Luna would say, rather than Minerva. Beautiful and nonsensical…shadows and light…just not McGonagall.
I love the way you portray Minerva. In the next few paragraphs, she snaps at herself to pull it together, and berates herself for her failures and times when she couldn’t pull it together. This part, I think, shows the side of her we know very well. The side – strong, perfectionist, rules-follower, strict and fair. Even towards herself, she shows no mercy. I enjoyed this – you have her canon characterization down-pat and it’s great to read.
It’s quite an interesting concept you have here, of students’ own magic providing the fuel for the school to run. It makes sense because there’s so many of them (in times of peace) that it wouldn’t drain them of much energy… I wonder if the students at Hogwarts when there’s only a few left get physically drained because the school’s taking so much magic from each of them in order to keep running at least some rooms? Well, anyway, pulling it back on-topic *pokes self*, I feel like this idea is novel and intriguing. I do hope you go into it in more detail at some point.
Then, we move onto a side of Minerva that is both heartbreaking and unnerving. We have never seen her emotionally vulnerable and it took us five books (until she was Stunned multiple times during Harry’s Astronomy OWL) to see her physically vulnerable. It’s rather a shock to hear about her crying to Rosmerta, or not showing the trademark Gryffindor courage that has her backbone so stiff and proud in canon.
However, to me, it also brings out another idea – so vividly that the readers can’t forget. It shows us the desperation individuals feel in war. When a failure is happening that they have no control over, when the future is uncertain, when the very walls are crumbling (or lights are going out) around you…it can change a person. It can turn their legs into jelly and their guts into stone – and it’s brutally honest to see it happening to Minerva. The one who holds all the responsibility also fares the worst in times of trouble, as you well know. The contrast between peace and war, strength and vulnerability in Minerva parallel smoothly and subtly and build into the overall emotion and mood of the piece in ways that…I cannot even describe. It’s a wonderful technique. *applause*
Oh, oh, oh. *eyes phrase and squints* “Expecto Patronum!” she said again, the smoke holding the voices and the images back, names of deaths, faces of killers, students and friends, and Tom, Tom who ruled the madness and laughed. Am I wrong to say that this feels like Minerva once cared for Tom Riddle? I see implied background and I’m quite intrigued. I must say, I would love to see you write a Tom/Minerva, and you did really like mine (Strength, remember?) so…*hinthint* I see a story. I think your image of Voldemort in the “ruled the madness and laughed” is stark and scary and wonderfully raw-true. Again, your control over words is your greatest strength, dear, and you do use it to your advantage. *hugs Mask*
I love your portrayal of the Trio – they really are a beacon of happiness, hope and light in this story. To me, the most emotive image in this whole story was: The Dementors were fleeing now, and the stag and the terrier ran after them, the terrier dodging between the stag’s feet playfully. That epitomizes Ron and Harry’s relationship! It’s fabulous!
My only question/problem in this whole story is that the Trio is so happy. How and why are they so? They have been hunting after Horcruxes, have been hiding from Death Eaters, have held secrets, been in battles and so on? They should show some evidence of fatigue – if not in voice, at least physically. They should show some not-so-cheerful thoughts as well. After all, while Minerva has been at the school, they have been at the crosshairs of the conflict between the magical world at large and Voldemort himself. That can’t be a comfortable place to be, you know?
I absolutely loved the mention of stealing Christmas chocolate. I’m wondering how they bought it if they’re hunting and don’t want to be found out by Death Eaters, but I really loved the banter between them. You have their friendship dynamics perfectly in this story, and it was fun to read.
Finally, Minerva’s slightly acerbic comment about paying for chocolate, and the idea that you ended with chocolate just as Lupin gave Harry was a sweet and very soothing ending. We see Minerva return to herself and a nice remembrance of the great professor Remus Lupin. *sniffles*
I feel like the emotions in this piece and the beautiful wording make it a unforgettable story. You’re subtle with your telling of the tale, and nothing is ever spelled out. I’m always thinking about meanings when I read your stories, and I think that’s my favorite part. It’s also what you do best – you know how much information to give, and how much to leave out.
Awesome writing as always, Mask. Few suggestions here and there, but you know that I loved it. *fangirls*
That was great! I loved the imagery of the winter streets at the start, all the description was very intense, which made the scene with Dementors even more powerful. You have so much talent in writing!! McGonagall's thoughts were also clear to follow, and I liked the way that she begins to think of her students and staff, even the regret about Trelawney.
Ending: mmmm chocolate... *scoff* I do love your lightened endings. A great story, well done!
Author's Response: Thank you very much for the review :) I figured a miracle needed a happy ending, and the fact is I'm a secret fluff lover. >.> But don't tell anyone.
Awesome! I liked your Minerva and you do a great job of giving us so much info about the school and what's happened since HBP in so few words. The thing about the magic of the school was great, I've never seen anything like that so it's very original...Thanks for a lovely read!
Author's Response: :) Thank you! I'm glad you liked Minerva - I like her too. The school and the magic... well, half of it is stolen from various fics, and half of it is my take on the theory. I can't remember the name of the fic that inspired it... it's a Snape/Hermione posted somewhere else.
That was very nice! You did a great job with McGonagall's character, and I loved seeing the trio come to help her with their Patronuses. Great job with canon! You write with wonderful description, I really enjoyed reading this. Good luck in the challenge! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thank you :) I have fun with Minerva. Good luck with your own challenges - I saw you had a couple.
Author's Response: Thank you!