This is an incredibly, amazingly beautiful story. I can feel, smell, see, and taste everything that you describe. You are an amazing, talented writer...absolutely the best I've seen on MNFF. This story is beautiful, lyrical, descriptive, poetic, and...pretty much all I could ask for in a story.
Please excuse my incoherence, by the way...I'll get better at reviews, I promise!
I'm sorry I can not write you a fantastic review like the others you have recieve...but know that I loved this story. It is beautiful, and poetic. The kind of thing that reminds people why they are human. Lol, that might have sounded strange, but that's how I felt about it. I liked the imperfection of it, the mystery. The way everything was linked. Sorry, that's the best I can do.
But it is truly spectacular, and you should publish. :-)
I love your wording, and I love your angst, dear Ennalee. *and I don't know your name, I'm sorry.*
Anyway, I'm going to name a few things. I love that Rowena talks about how she never found the answer in all her scrolls. OBVIOUSLY, I absolutely ADORE your moonbeams/darkness imagery. 'Tis beautiful.
Let me continue with the fact that I enjoyed the fact that you showed that Salazar isn't the only dark one. Rowena's taken on part of it for herself - in fact, she now has blood on her hand.
It's poetic irony in a way, and at least, Salazar doesn't get ALL the heat. There's no way each Founder was perfect except for him, and you show that. You also show how love that deep can change your character for better or worse.
Absolutely lovely. Thank you so much!
Author's Response: Thank you! Yeah, I think poor Salazar does get a lot of the brunt of the blame, even though he was Gryffindor's best friend (an idea I'd love to explore someday). I think Gryffindor and Hufflepuff came out as perhaps more golden than they really were in this story, just because I was going for the imagery of gold versus darkness, day versus night, but I'm glad the ambiguity of Rowena's situation came out - that was definitely something I was shooting for.
Hmmmm, I've always been a Helga/Salazar-er (I like the idea of the house known for loyalty being paired with the house known for, well, you know...) but this still worked perfectly.
Salazar's style of speech in this story suits him perfectly. I can really hear his voice in my head when I read his lines. I'm not sure how that's possible, and I'm beginning to worry about that now. But let's not dwell on that, shall we?
With a single touch he teaches her of colors, and life seems fresh and new in a vibrant world that is still young.
I think it's so interesting that the tragic heroine of this story is the one known for wisdom and logic, and yet she's still so innocent and truly naive about love at the beginning of the story. Very interesting characterization there.
This is the darkest, most powerful, and most emotional story you've written. I did not expect the ending to occur like it did. And, you know, you did a very good job of depicting Rowena's love for this man. Because although I know he's evil and I shouldn't like him, I do. Your characterization of Salazar is the most intriguing I've seen so far.
You're definitely one of the most talented authors on MNFF. You like Shakespeare, don't you? I know that your story about Alice Longbottom borrowed from Hamlet (my favourite Shakespeare play!), and the tone and plot of this story seems to scream "Shakespearean tragedy!" Maybe it's the time period that does it.
But this story is beautiful in a dark and frightening way. Like Salazar's eyes.
Author's Response: I was rather surprised by how dark this story turned out, even though the ending was one of the first things I figured out. Thank you for all your compliments - yes, I am a big Shakespeare fan - and for the lovely review.
Oh, wow. This is just amazing. So dark, so beautiful, so powerful! The descriptions just pulled me right in from the beginning. You were able to convey so much emotion without speech, which I found so intriguing. I've never been sucked in by prose that way before.
I loved the way you portrayed the Founders, Salazar especially. He was captivating, and I could see why Rowena would fall in love with him. He was nearly intoxicating – but to the point of death, almost. It was so clear to me that Rowena had to kill him. She had to – she had to do it to save herself from drowning in his darkness, and to save him from himself. It was so powerful.
I also was swept away by the short sections. Less really is more! It was just incredible how much you told us in those small paragraphs. And the imagery of the silver all the way through ... wow. It's just incredible, and I'm running out of words to tell you how moved I was and how amazing this is. Well done.
Author's Response: Thank you! It's funny - when I'm trying to capture strong emotion, I find myself using either very little dialogue, or almost all dialogue. I have yet to find a nice in between balance. That said, I'm delighted that you found the prose so powerful! As for Salazar being intoxicating, that's exactly the feeling I wanted him to have - that exact word! I'm very glad you thought so!
Well done, Nan! This is the first fic that I have read by you, and I think that it is masterfully done!
I have actually never read a Rowena/Salazar fic before (or any Founders' fics, if I recall correctly) and I think that this story is a wonderful introduction. I would like to say that I feel that even though this is prose (I'm referring to this meaning: ordinary writing as distinguished from verse), it is also significantly poetic, which I believe fits both the characters and the era. I also think that the way in which the story is told is also very true to the era.
But, what I would say, is that I do not fully understand why Salazar is, I believe, either killing or seriously injuring other humans in the area. I can only infer that is is because he is trying to purge the school, and by connection, the surrounding area of half-bloods and Muggle-borns.
Following on to Rowena: I love the way that is is portrayed as someone who knows that if she doesn't do something, she is falling to her doom. I also love, love, love the way that, I believe, she "murders" Salazar. I think that it would be very fitting for both characters. I also think that the way that she covers her deed with the comforting of Godric and Helga and the way she has almost dipped to the point of darkness.
To wrap it up, I feel that this story portrays the characters, setting, and era tremendously well. All I could reccommend is to explain Salazar's actions a little bit more!
Author's Response: You're definitely right to point out that Salazar's motivations are extremely unclear. To tell you the truth, I'm surprised that you were the first person to mention it! I was very unsecure about this story for just that reason, but I couldn't seem to work in a more explicit description of just what was going on. In my head, Salazar is performing some sort of spell requiring sacrifices, that will make him more powerful or purge the world of muggleborns, or something, but I never really thought it out all the way, which is probably the biggest flaw in this story. I was hoping that I could leave it as implicit, but I think you're right - if I ever come back and give the story a work-over, I'll definitely try and make it more explicit.
I just can't tell you how excited I am to have come across this fic! I was absolutely blown away by the poetic quality of your writing. The imagery, characterization, the sound, even, of the words read aloud just really impressed me. Very few authors (professional or no) have struck me in such a way.
Anyway, what I love so much about this story is that you don't characterize either Rowena or Salazar as entirely good or evil. It chills me equally that Rowena poisoned Salazar, and that Salazar was the one who taught Rowena how to love ("He teaches her to love with whispered words and soft caresses..."). I thought your portrayal of both characters was remarkably realistic, as no one person is always good or always bad. I think it's interesting, then, how haphazard our antagonist/protagonist ideas usually are. I mean, I sympathized with both Rowena and Salazar, and I think that's entirely as it should be.
Again, you did a wonderful job, as you are a wonderful writer. I look forward to reading more from you!
Author's Response: Wow. Thank you! As I was writing this, I was focusing a lot on the actual sounds of the words, so I'm glad you liked them! The greyness of characters is something that has always fascinated me, and all my favorite stories have characters that can at any point go either way - they might work for evil, they might work for good - and you don't know which they'll choose. I'm relieved to hear that you think that came across - I was afraid I had made Salazar too dark, not giving enough reasons to make Rowena's love understandable. Thank you!
Nan, this was a wonderful read. I was struck by the feeling of the short sections written the way you did. But honestly, it’s all too beautiful for lame review words.
The first paragraph just feels...infinite. Is that possible for a description? It just makes my imagination spin with the lucious description and imagery. Seriously. I could eat that paragraph. The moonbeams and sunlight contrast between Rowena and Helga is great. I should probably stop this review because as I’m rereading, I’m remembering how incoherent my love for this is. Section two is just as beautiful as secion one, but it has a completely different element, obviously.
Perhaps she is falling already. She thinks she is enchanted by the moonbeams, but her traitorous mind asks her if it is not the darkness itself that she is in love with.
I think this thought process is just as complex for me as it is for Rowena. I love the way you expressed that. The darkness of the rest of the fic from this point onward is spun so well. I really don’t know exactly what to say about it. I’m just so glad to have received this exquisitely crafted fic from you. The dark secrets and mystery feel so original/new in the fandom. The creativity is so great. The end is just...I sort of felt numb like Rowena. She loves him, and yet, she sort of cuts the dark and evil Salazar out of her heart and only keeps the memory of her good Salazar with her when she kills him. It’s a powerful story, Nan. Brava!
Author's Response: Thank you for reviewing - I very much hoped that you would like this, since it was, of course, written for you! I was afraid that it was too dark for a Christmas story, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. (As for creativity, the more I think about it the more I think that the end was probably influenced by the end of PotC, though I didn't realize it at the time. Make of that what you will!)
Noooooo! People reviewed this before me! *cries* *fails at life*
Ooh, you’re such a poet, Nan! I’d love to ramble on about how you used moonbeams so much, but I think that’s pretty obvious to you anyway, and I’ve just done 3 pages of annoying homework on metaphors anyway! You can really captivate! There was a split second there when I got really annoyed that I don’t feel that way about anyone! You made me jealous of a fictional character! Aaagh, I can’t get over hoe good your writing is!
I loved the format of this. That I loved it is all I can say about it though.
Nan, your writing style is incredible; I feel guilty reading your stories, like I should have paid for them or something, but instead I’ve got free access on the internet. With a single touch he teaches her of colors... *sigh*
I know I’m supposed to be constructive, but I’ve got nothing to say! I’d just feel terrible if I didn’t comment on such a beautiful story! Everything ties together so bitter-sweetly, and it’s written in a way that’s impossible not to be able to feel.
*stops unconstructive rambling*
Author's Response: *hugs* You don't fail. You're one of my most constant reviewers - therefore I can huggle and thank you, and tell you not to be silly. And you always manage to make me feel that I'm not totally off-base in my wild imaginations of being published someday. (As for being jealous of a fictional character - I don't feel that way about anyone, either. I'm glad it appears realistic to you!) Thank you for your lovely (if perhaps somewhat unmerited) compliments!
This is AMAZING. This is probrably the most poetic and beautiful romance fics I've ever read.
Author's Response: Thank you!
Hey, Nan! I remember coming across this fic while I was modding, and, wow. This is the first piece that I’ve read by you, and I just had to come back to review it. And as much as I try to come up with anything intelligent to say, excuse my fangirl squeeing. *grins*
Every single word of this is just…beautiful. The description alone is just plain guh. From the first sentence, you had me hooked. He meets her where the silver branches glide against the sky, and the touch of the moonbeams falls soft and sensuous on her skin. The mood you set is so delicate—so romantic. None of this seems real, in that sense—at first it just seems like a fantasy; idealistic and perfect. What makes this such a brilliant fic is the way you maintain that fantasy-like state, and yet the way you describe Rowena’s emotions is so…real. The way you constantly refer back to the refrain of ‘I love him’, we as readers can really understand how she feels. That just gives us a better sense of her heartbreak when she finds out about Salazar’s darkness.
Love, his eyes promise, forever love. For years in dusty volumes she has read of love — it strengthens the heroes beyond the lot of their mortality, that they may pluck the apples of the sun and of the moon — but she never thought it could be like this, this passionate awakening sometimes silver, sometimes scarlet. Guh. I’ve read and reread this line, and all I can come up with is guh. I love the way that you put an image to love in this story. That only adds to the beautiful, fantasy-like way that you describe Rowena’s love—adding a tangible aspect to it. Aside from beautiful imagery, it really adds to our understanding of how she loves Salazar.
The silence is comforting; she can no longer tell his lies from truth — could she ever? her thoughts whisper — and she does not know if love can still exist in a world of silver lies where stones gleam with the light of the moon and every step is marked in blood. This line is so powerful. We can really see the change from the beginning of this fic, where all we saw was Rowena’s adoration for Salazar. I can tell, from this line, how she wants to hold on to that love, but knows that she can’t. Rowena has a lot of maturity, in that case—willing to give up the one person she loved because she knew it was right. It was so heartbreaking—to see her having to give up that fantasy-like love that we saw in the beginning of this. Even though we can really tell that she’s hurting, your writing and description really manages to hold on to that flawless, romantic mood that you established early on.
I adored the last line, and how you changed ‘love’ to ‘loved’. That really shows how much she had changed, however unintentionally. It really shows how she knew that she had to make the choice between the one person she loved, and everyone else she cared about.
Really, the emotion that went into every word of this simply astounded me. I really enjoyed reading this, if you hadn’t been able to tell, and I look forward to reading more by you very soon.
Author's Response: Of all the stories I've written, I think this is the one I felt most distant from, emotionally speaking - so I'm really glad you felt that there was emotion in it, because I wasn't sure whether or not anything would come across. I did have a lot of fun with the wording, so I'm glad you liked the fantasy-like tone. As for the last line, I can't tell you how long I sat there, debating whether to write 'love' or 'loved.' I had a ton of reasons to go each way, and I kept on deciding on one and then going back and changing it. I finally decided on loved for the very reason you mentioned - I wanted her to have changed, and even if she kept on loving him because she couldn't help it, it was a different sort of love.
Oh...that is so beautiful and sad. I would be crying if I hadn't been interrupted. You are an amazing writer.
Author's Response: Thank you, both for the compliments and for your many reviews!
Oh, I absolutely loved it! Very angsty way of portraying a hidden love! Great job! ♥
Author's Response: Thank you!