Reviews For A Dying Flame
Reviewer: Colores
Date: 06/10/07 18:06
Chapter: A Dying Flame

Wow. That was ever so dark. The mood that you set from the first words on the page continued throughout the entire piece. I really felt the lyrics used as the beginning were an asset to your moving piece.

The exploration that you conducted into Draco's mind was brilliant. I felt like I could connect to him, and that I could really understand his pain. Your analysis really helped to complete the picture and offered an argument to justify all of Draco's actions. It is perhaps the discovery of that truth, or what really goes on in Draco's mind, that is the tragedy of the story.

The setting you set, the character you develop, all of it ties back to the dark/angst theme that you established right from the beginning with those lyrics. Well done and wonderful work!

Reviewer: Nyruserra
Date: 02/21/07 15:18
Chapter: A Dying Flame


Some of the sentence structure is a little awkward in places, mainly in the first paragraph, but most of it is forgivable stylistically for the wonderfully dark and emotive mood you’ve set. I’m not sure if you corrected it, if it would be as effective. There are infrequent punctuation errors and a couple of awkward phrases, but overall, this is very well done.

Those of the Wizarding World were well aware of Voldemort’s rapid rise to power once more and had begun to fear the worst, for the enlisted help of the man who once posed the biggest threat (excluding, of course, the luck of Harry Potter) to Voldemort had now gone.

I wanted to point out this one sentence – it’s very long, and tends to lose the reader part way through. You may consider splitting it up, something like: ‘Those of the Wizarding World were well aware of Voldemort’s rapid rise to power once more, and had begun to fear for the worst. The man who had posed the biggest threat to his regime, next to the luck of Harry Potter, was now gone.’

I’m really not a fan of the ‘Draco is really a nice bloke under it all’ stories that are so prevalent when reading character pieces of our favourite ferret.

Thank you for not making it one of those! Draco’s regret is genuine and hard won. It is not the product of being beaten by his father, or brainwashed by his mother or anything else that would increase our sympathy for him, and make his life choices more likable to our eyes, as is sometimes used and usually leaves this complex character cheapened.

Yet you write him with sympathy. He is the same spoilt and arrogant boy that tormented Harry during Hogwarts, but he’s endured. He’s become someone pitiable, thought that would be an anathema to him.

There was at least an inch of water pooling into a lake at his feet, sometimes sent into splashing ripples by the occasional rat traipsing past his toes. His shoes were soaked, his socks clinging wetly to his toes. And how his feet itched…he knew they had swollen from pruning, his open pores causing bloating. If he could drown through his feet, he surely would have by now.

This is just so gruesomely macabre, and you use it wonderfully to really draw us into Draco’s plight. You’ve written this image so well, your reader can’t help but imagine it, and feel the dampness and the discomfort with delightful chills. *grin*

He was not ready to die.

So simple, yet so evocative – this really summed up the moment and perfectly portrayed the reduction of Draco’s thought process as he realized the multitude of consequences for his failure. He would never go back to Hogwarts, and even if he did he would be a pariah, his father’s disappointment and dismissal, and his own likely torture and punishment.

The torch had burned out.

An absolutely brilliantly poignant ending.

Lovely piece – and a wonderful look at the possible consequences of Draco’s actions during HBP.

Reviewer: Lurid
Date: 01/16/07 6:56
Chapter: A Dying Flame

So, this was recommended to me by someone who spoke very highly of it. See, usually when someone close to me tells me of a story they really loved, my tastes are a little different to theirs, but she was spot on – I loved it. It was really well put together.

Lightening flashed far more frequently and far brighter than the sun had done as of late, incinerating countless numbers of trees and causing the streets to look bare. Dare say it–dead.
I love the images I get from this. Just the power of the lightening and the relation to the hiding sun was good. I think it quickly describes the mood and makes me shiver. I guess some people are scared of lightening, but I love it. It makes me shiver with anticipation! But, with the sentence structure it’s a little awkward. I’d change the period after ‘bare’ to a comma, so it reads "… streets to look dare, dare say it – dead." I think it reads a little more fluidly, and it’s more run-on, like a thought. But all the same, a very powerful sentence!

Even the Muggles had noticed a sense of foreboding, though not being able to understand the concept in full.
Oddly enough, I’m thinking of the Muggles as dogs right now. Your sentence just conveys that not so blissful ignorance. It’s kinda of like knowing something is bad, but not knowing exactly what, and I think you’ve really gotten it across in this sentence that the wars are no longer private things. I know they haven’t been “private” since HBP, but before that it was just sort of… localized and now it seems it’s spread. Aww, I feel for the poor Muggles! I feel like an English teacher by saying, “eliciting an emotional response” >.> so I’ll just stick with my efforts to Save The Muggles =D.

Others tried to remain optimistic, hoping for a hidden cavalry to come charging into battle when Voldemort was vulnerable.
Aha! See, they all expect the hero to suddenly come booming down. I think that you’re building up to something good here, like by including all the “clichés” of war you’re going to slaughter them. As you should. I just… heart the imagery of this entire piece, it’s great. It’s giving me as a reader such anticipation (And I didn’t expect what came next, that’s for sure!) and then it’s like BOOM storyline! I sat there sort of open mouthed at the description of Draco because although I didn’t like him after HBP, you made me pity him, so that was fantastic! I just... guh. LOVE the build up sequence you had.

Draco often used this flame as a metaphor of comparison to his current state.
I love this. Because you, sneakily, have just told me, the reader, exactly the picture you had in your head. Some people fiddle around trying to make it sound as though the character wasn’t a marionette with an author behind the scenes, trying to make it sound artistically eloquent when all they really needed was to open their silly mouths and say what they mean. You say it’s a metaphor for the flame, and hot diggity dog, why yes it is! It fits it perfectly! It gives Draco’s emotions so many more levels, as well as I start to relate him more to the flame than the flame to him. A good technique, actually! In addition, I adore how you carry it on to the end with the fizzling and the hissing and... Squee fire! I love when authors use fire because it’s so powerful yet so... helpless.

He was not ready to die.
He’s smart. Most people are like “Oh yeah, I’m going to die so go out thunderously,” but Draco’s not an idiot. He knows when it’s time to be all sobered up and scared like a little boy. Because he’s such a little boy at heart :). I just liked the comparison that you made between this scared teenager and the wiser, older seeming Draco right before Wormtail *spits* killed him. And I also thought that I’d mention the transition between the tenses was handled VERY well. I almost didn’t notice until... I realised that the dialogue… and I was like… WOW. Skillz bro. But it was very smooth and the positioning of the flashback was great. I’m sounding like a gushy little fangurl, but believe me, I won’t up and leave you when you cut your hair or change your wardrobe, because this? This is great writing.

“But those were my father’s thoughts instilled in me. They were not my own.”
Ah, the old prejudice. I have honestly been waiting for Draco to say this in every single book since GoF. I mean, come on boy. We know you’re a little power hungry ferret. But he’s also a little cowardly and a little brave at the same time, so I think you captured all of him in this admittance.

The torch had burned out. Little Fangurly squees at this. I’m going to check out the rest of your stories and review if I can… I love your style of writing. It’s very productive and ensnaring. And yes, I needed to use that word ensnaring, because I couldn’t click off until I was done. I was… held in place. Wow.

Reviewer: hogwartsduchess
Date: 01/11/07 11:48
Chapter: A Dying Flame

I adore how you’ve set the mood in this fic from the very beginning. You build up the environment beautifully, creating a tension and depression of spirit around the reader, making it entirely too easy to believe what you are telling them.

You tell a story of a world where Voldemort and his Death Eaters are winning, and you do it in a convincing manner, aptly displaying your knowledge of the effects of a war on a community. The very opening of the fic reminds me of a lesson I had in high school, many years ago, on the different ways to create a POV. You started with the country as a whole, then zoomed in, until you showed us the focus of the story.

Which brings me to Draco. Very, very rarely does one see Draco in repentance portrayed so well. Very rarely does one feel this empathy for Draco, this wish for Harry and company to come and rescue him – forgive him his former transgressions. Very rarely does one feel pity for Draco Malfoy, but you have invoked that response perfectly.

And how his feet itched…he knew they had swollen from pruning, his open pores causing bloating. If he could drown through his feet, he surely would have by now. This line was brilliantly done. Heartbreakingly real, yet a touch of humour to lighten the mood slightly, even if it is a grotesque, desperate sort of humour.

The enactment of the scene on the Astronomy Tower from Draco’s perspective is very realistic. I must commend you your characterisation of Draco throughout this piece. You’ve brought him OOC in a good way – what the concept of OOC was supposed to be about. You’ve had a life-changing experience alter Draco for the better, shown us a side to him that makes it impossible for me to regard him the same way I have been used to doing.

I’m a very stubborn woman – I have my opinions and I stick to them, but you’ve swayed me on Draco, and I am inclined to write him in a more favourable light now, based solely on what I’ve read from this fic.

The events leading up to the ending were done very well. Your dialogue is believable, your characterisation of Wormtail may be a bit harsh, but I do not feel that you have him OOC at all. The rat references throughout were clever. You’ve described the thoughts and emotions of a dying man very well and I applaud you. Draco’s acceptance, his wilful defiance are all masterful.

Your symbolism of the torch was done fantastically. The tale is told with such emotion and – gah! I’m speechless. I have run out of words to describe this fic. Know only that I adore it, and I think you have a very good chance of writing more beautifully dark fics in the future.

~Kasey


Author's Response: The depth of your review is astounding--and I thank you so much! It is because of people like you, who took an extra three minutes to give me some insight, that I am strengthened. I appreciate both constructive criticism and praise, but when you receive neither (I have posted this on FF.net and, despite the 21 people who have viewed it, did not receive ONE review) you feel as though you have not touched anybody in the slightest. That it was boring--or that somebody didn't find it believable. I thank you for the appreciation of my vast descriptions. I love to set a mood, but I have been told it is "lengthy" and "boring." Yet, you find these three-paragraph fan fictions that consist of a climax ONLY, and they are applauded. I feel cheated for that, simply because I do pour my heart and soul into what I write and I am frustrated by those who took out five minutes to write six lines of argument between Ron and Hermione and in the third paragraph they fall madly in love. It does depress me, indeed. I do love setting a scene, though, because I feel the emotions portrayed are only effective if the reader can VISUALIZE the surroundings. And I am so appreciative of you for noticing my intentions! I have to be honest--I did not like Draco in the slightest until I read the sixth book and, at the very end seeing his humane side, I suddenly changed my tune. In the blink of an eye. And I felt the pressing urge to flesh out the idea that played in my mind immediately following the conclusion of HBP. I agree with you--I am stubborn as well! Such as having a profusely hard time reading D/Hr or H/Hr fan fictions. I am very certain of R/Hr (and now, after HBP, I think everybody is forced to face it) and I feel that any other pairing for Hermione grows intensely out of character. However, I have come across some amazingly convincing novel-length stories and am stood corrected. A couple lovely examples are "Without Rain" by Zelle (D/Hr) and "Back To The Future" by Sirius (H/Hr). They play out magnificently. Yes, I do agree that my portrayal of Wormtail may have been a bit harsh--but the way I see it, he seems to be a drifter in a sense. Well, that doesn't quite fit the mold...hmm...I guess the best way to say it is that his confidence level changes based on his status. When Voldemort appears to be winning, Wormtail is as maniacal as ever. When Voldemort's powers are in recession, Wormtail seems unsure of himself and his standing. I just envisioned his cruelty coming out ten-fold in the event of a Death Eater victory. That's just my take, though :-) All in all, I am so grateful for your review! I thank you from the bottom of my heart, as you have just made my day worth smiling about. Thank you once again!

Author's Response: Apparently my paragraphs did not carry through to the actual response...

Oh well.

Author's Response: And I think I just figured out the catch to making paragraphs appear. Darn HTML.

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