I do not know much about poetry, ballads, or limericks. However, I must say that I really liked this poem you wrote about the beginnings of Harry's ancestry. The fact that it rhymes so smoothly doesn't escape me; it is no wonder you won first place.
I think you have a flair with words, dear. I particularly liked this part:
The first in a long line of names
that would do wizards proud.
Her descendant will be the last;
his scar will draw a crowd.
I always knew that poetry could 'stories' like "The Iliad," but I've never believed it. Now, I can see I was wrong. =]
I might just give "The Odyssey" a crack.
~mugglemathdork/Knight of the Turnip Table
Author's Response: Thanks so much for the wonderful review! I also like that particular stanza, although wrangling the wording to make it work was a bit of a challenge. :)
You Knights of the Turnip Table are absolutely commendable. I'm so thankful for the review, and you should definitely take a crack at The Odyssey. :) Thanks again!
ZOMG! I was so excited that this poem won! It was so good when I read it over in your PM, and I knew that it had a decent chance - and just *sigh* it was lovely.
Anyway, I cannot beat the reviews currently posted, but I'm just going to share my thoughts. First, your connection to the Potters was just awesome. I loved to hear about their ancestors. :D
Also, you really made us feel for and believe in this girl. I think that was the strongest part of the poem for me - I felt so much.
Finally, as others have said, the style is so authentic, and it flows so naturally.
Great job, darling! Here's to many more amazing challenge entries in the future!
Author's Response: Thanks, Kumy! I can't believe how much it changed from start to finish, and what really helped it was you telling me it needed to be "deep." As someone who doesn't really *ever* write poetry, that wasn't something I had considered, but I took your advice and look what happened! :)
I'm so glad you like it! Goooo Gryffindor!
Wow! That was amazing! The flow was fantastic! Great job in the challenge!!!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! It really was a lot of fun, so I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)
Wonderful idea of how it all started! I'd be interested in learning more about Charlus and his relationship with the Founders, if you ever find yourself in the mood to write a sequel.
One thing I wondered was how the Potter name remained, if Grace was a girl and the only wizard in the family. Wouldn't she have taken her husband's surname?
If this is only "a snippet," as the beginning of the ballad claims, I would love to see more "snippets" in the future. You have a knack for balladry. (Is that a word? It should be.)
Doctor Phoenix of Ravenclaw, Knight of the Turnip Table
Author's Response: Thanks so much!! I was really intrigued as I wrote this ballad, and I found myself wanting to know a lot more about Charlus, too! I haven't ruled out the possbility of writing another ballad, or maybe even a story. Good to know there's an audience out there. :)
As for the surname, she would indeed take her husband's surname. It's a complicated situation; I guess that she could have an uncle or a secret brother or something along those lines who was also a wizard. I would have to work out that detail if I kept writing it.
Anyway, thanks again for the review and the message! They really made my day. I'll keep you posted about the literary future of Charlus and Grace!
I could try to write a constructive review for this, but I would fail abysmally, because I just love it. As a ballad, it succeeds on every count; as a challenge entry, it met all the criteria so perfectly. Every sentence, bar one (we'll come to that in a moment), is perfect. It has exactly the right rhythmn and flow that I had hoped to see in this challenge and I think you have recreated a period ballad perfectly.
Their dialogue is stunning, the word order always spot on. Getting good dialogue in prose is hard enough, but to see it put within a ballad structure so well made me a very happy woman when I read this! And if we set the structure aside, the plot is wonderful. I love the idea of Charlus and his daughter; it was unexpected and delightful. It weaves the Potters nicely into the fabric of Hogwarts history. The characerisation of them both is well done; Gryffindor is very gallant and wise and Grace is lovely. I'd like to see her in a story.
We'll do the one slightly mis-stepped sentence first:
She smiled then, smile of relief,
I don't know, but that comma in the middle breaks the flow because the hard sound of then coupled with the break creates a jump in the rythmn. Not that I could tell you how to fix it, because that's a tough line. It's the only place where I thought imporvement could have been made. Oh, and here:
She turned her eyes up toward him
I would either lose the up or lose the o in toward and replace it was an apostrophe.
So, considering the length of the ballad, with those two things being the only small glitches, I think this is as near perfect as we're going to get!
And my favourite lines:
Across a barren Scottish moor
beneath the cold trees’ pall
we find the story of a lass,
the girl who started all.
I LOVE the imagery here; the trees' pall in particular was a fantastic image. And the last line is relatively brave because most would have been tempted by an 'it' between started and all, which would, of coure, have killed the metre.
“Suspected it? I did, but thought
for sure it was not true.
I’m glad, but in a quandary,
I know not what to do.”
This is just a perfect example of the great dialogue and the way you ordered the words. It reads so well that the ballad gallops past, as ballads should do.
I'm reading a lot of Alexander Pope at the moment, and this makes me as happy as some of his work, just because it's a lovely example of what it is and it works on every level. This was a deserved first place; you have a great way with words. I'm hoping to see more from you in other challenges. Well done! :-)
Author's Response: WOW! I don't even know where to begin. This is, by far, the finest review I've ever received. To be mentioned in the same sentence as Alexander Pope!!! There's not too much more I could wish for on a Friday morning. I study medieval history, so I've read a ballad or two in my day, which probably helped with the meter. That, and an obsessive attention to get it right. My roommates probably thought I was crazy sitting at my desk tapping my fingers as I read the poem: duh-DUH duh-DUH duh-DUH. But it was such good mind-exercise to say, "No, that doesn't work. Let's try it another way." As for the kinks, yeah, those are rough. The problem was that I'm from the American Midwest, so I say "smile" in one syllable, whereas some say it in two. Same with "toward." I hadn't even thought of writing t'ward instead! That would have been great. Never having written poetry before (especially not in an "older" style), I was a little wary of poetic abbreviations. i.e. I had to look up the difference between e'er and ere! :) But thanks for pointing those lines out. The two stanzas you mentioned are some of my favorites, too. I knew I wanted to call Grace "the girl who started (it) all," so I ran through the entire alphabet in my head thinking of words that rhymed. "had a ball?" No. "Took the call?" Certainly not. When I hit on "pall," I knew I had it. I wanted the moor to be eerie and mystical. Grace is lost and alone, and the landscape reflects her mental state. And then Gallant Gryffindor comes in to save the day. Hooray! The "suspected it?" stanza was difficult. I initially had it ending with "... did not suspect it," but that was totally wrong for the meter. So I sat and I stared and I finally found a way to reorganize it. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I'm also glad that you appreciate the subject matter. I wanted the ballad to be truly in the style of old, which meant taking it way back to the year 1000 or so. Troubled ladies and gallant lads and all that sort. I think the biggest compliment you paid me in this wonderful review is that you like Grace and that you'd like to see her in a story. I am of exactly the same mind. As I was writing, I had this whole spinoff planned in my head. Uh-oh. But would I write it all in ballad form? Should I write it at all? These are the questions that keep me up at night. :) But I, too, love the idea that the Potters were there from the beginning. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out that Harry is related to Gryffindor. Hmm... perhaps through Grace? Man, now I *really* want to write it! I've said this before, but I'll say it again: thank you so much for putting on these challenges. I've never entered any before, but I'm having so much fun! My poor primary story is suffering but my mind has never been so active. School? What school! I'm going to go write a ballad... This was perhaps more than you wanted in a response, but I was just so thrilled by this review. You certainly made my day. :-)
Author's Response: Wow, apologies for the giant block of text. I forgot to format it, I suppose... But the sentiment remains!
Hee hee - I reviewed already, I know. I just wanted to say congrats on first place, this ballad was wonderful!
Oh, and this is not spam. Really.
~Tyger, tyger, burning bright - Euphrates
Author's Response: Well, thanks again! And congratulations to you, too!!
Oh wow, that was wonderful! The rhythm flowed musically, the story was touching and well-written, and I loved the introduction stanzas. And I can't imagine how much work it must have been to make it so long, too! Congratulations on the win; you did a great job!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the compliments! It was really fun to write, although some stanzas nearly killed me. :) And congratulations to you, too!!
Great beat and rhyming! Wonderful. I love the ending, too. Such a sad tale, in a way, but very interesting to know the past of the Potters, at least in part. Wonderful idea! So, was Grace the first student of the school...? That would be cool. :-)
My fave line:
The Potters surely would become
great pillars of their race.
And he knew that it started here,
with Charlus and his Grace.
How prophetic! *winks*
Wonderful job! I hope you do great in the challenge!
~Tyger, tyger, burning bright - Euphrates
Author's Response: Thanks so much! I had a lot of fun writing it. I don't think Grace is the first one at the school, but I think she's definitely one of the earliest, and certainly the first "outstanding" witch. Although, who knows how her story will turn out... :) Good luck to you, too!
Wonderful job! This is a great ballad. The rhyme and rhythm flow very nicely and the story is lovely. Good luck in the challenge! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thanks so much! I'm glad you like it. And good luck to you, too!