Reviewer: kumydabookworm
Date: 09/09/07 12:04
Chapter: The Birth of Bravery

I love the flow of words in this piece, Suzie. Rhythm is something you’ve mastered. There were a few spots where the rhyme was a bit forced – I’ll point them out as I go – and I really suggest investing in a rhyming dictionary if you can find a good one. I have an awesome one: The Penguin Rhyming Dictionary from Penguin Reference, and it really helps me with my poetry (and with expanding my vocabulary to include rhyming word sets). Heehee.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but to me, I feel like this is some sort of ballad. Why do I think so? Well, it tells a story, and a good one at that, and that is really what ballads do! I’m going to critique it as if it were a ballad – which means it should have all the literary elements of a story-plot…except in poetry and not in prose. :)

In the first stanza, I think I like your use of parentheses. I might have used dashes on both sides to set off that thought, but I think parentheses make less of a pause when you’re reading out loud, and therefore, they work better with the rhythm. I also think it’s a detail you don’t really NEED to know at this point (so it should be in parentheses) rather than an interrupting thought by the narrator (which would be set off in dashes). So, great choice there – I enjoyed that. The last line of this stanza is so descriptive and concise all at once. It makes you wince. That’s a very good thing when we’re talking about the Black brothers – it is a wince-worthy tale. *sigh*

The next stanza is something I would yell at in any other poem but a ballad. Because you’re telling a story – I’m picturing a wandering bard with a lyre at the moment – you do need the “I’m going to tell you a tale…,” something to draw the listeners in and make them stop in the road a while (and possibly throw some coins your way as well!). The word, “deed” also really added to the “olden language” feel of the poem…very suitable for a ballad-style work because ballads were told commonly way-back-when, and aren’t used now so much with books and movies for entertainment.

Regulus — a Lion’s heart,
He was (at first) not-brave,
Not brash, with no rebellious streak,
At home he duly gave.


This is the first stanza I can pick at just a little bit. Let me begin with, I loved the irony of “a Lion’s heart,” and loved that you capitalized it. That’s a wonderful use of your creative license as a poet to violate mechanics and it works very, very well. But, I cannot understand what the dash between not and brave adds to the line. To me, to set off not as it’s own word, rather than connecting it to brave, would make the difference between the brave (Sirius, Gryffindor, etc) and Regulus more evident. NOT. Rather than not-BRAVE. Oh! I see it now. When you read the line, it goes, “He WAS at FIRST not-BRAVE.” So the dash causes not to be an unaccented syllable. Ah, rhythm, rhythm. Well, I still suggest rewording this line so that the NOT can stand alone.

The other nitpick I had is that you say, “At home he duly gave.” Gave what? This isn’t clear, and I think it really needs to be in order to have the true impact that I think you were trying to convey.

In the stanza following the one I quoted, the rhyme between blood and grudge is forced. It’s not a true rhyme. While it works and doesn’t stick out as a sore thumb, if you ever come back to this, it’d be nice to work for a while and see if you couldn’t just squeeze perfection from that rhyme. ;) In the stanza after that, fail and prevailed don’t actually rhyme either – it’s more of an assonance than a rhyme. Again, it’s not horrid or wince-worthy, but something to work on if you revisit this piece.

(and hatred from his brother).

(Not pure! Not pure!)


Your next two uses of parentheses are just GUH. Hatred from his brother is almost an afterthought as though he cares more about his family’s praise than his brother’s hatred – as if he’s adopting his parents’ philosophy on Gryffindors and Sirius in general. The second one – just a perfect thought, and the use of parentheses emphasized how it was going on in the background, never spoken, but always present – not pure, not pure! In that stanza, though, (the ‘not pure’ one) your rhyme is entirely broken – kind and divides don’t rhyme at all. You should definitely look at this stanza and fix that rhyme scheme when you have the time. :) Same for the stanza after that with ‘lies’ and ‘behind.’

This darker world found Regulus
Alone and questioning —
What goodness could cruel deeds achieve?
(What light can darkness bring?)


For the first time while reading this piece, I don’t like your parentheses. To me, this isn’t a thought in the background – it’s as much in the forefront of his brain, as much troubling to him, as the line before it. Both of them should not be in parentheses, in my opinion. If you can explain why you have the last line in parentheses, though, by all means, keep it. :) I am only a reviewer; YOU are the author. *bows to fabulous poetess*

He had never been the type of boy
With strength to shift the hills,
Yet nor could he close-mind (close-heart)
Innocence. (He couldn’t kill.)

There came a day (deciding-time),
A thought entered his head,
How refreshing freedom seemed to be,
He was not afraid of death.


WHEE!!! To me, this is the place where the poem “turns,” and you can see that Regulus goes from weak, little follower, to a fighter breaking free. Your use of parentheses in the first stanza is beautifully hesitant and timid. To me, I would put the words ‘deciding-time’ in between two dashes instead of parentheses, though, because it’s such an important phrase that changes the tone of the poem; it’s bold! Again, hills and kill and head and death don’t exactly rhyme…in the following stanza, words and heard don’t truly rhyme as well…

This time, he found so difficult
To process what he knew,
He found himself soon wondering
What Sirius would do.


Oh. I love when Regulus has role-model thoughts of Sirius. *happy sigh* I think so, in the first line, should be ‘it.’ It works better when you read it aloud. In the next stanza, I loved the way you twisted the “Not pure! Not pure!” to “Not pure! Not true!” That was a really nice touch – I’m a huge fan of parallel structures. However, the last line of that stanza’s rhythm, in my ears, is a bit off. “to KEEP END-of-WORLD at BAY.” See the double-accented syllable – it breaks the nice alternating da-DUM, da-DUM that you have going for so long… Moving to the next stanza, “misty morn” is great alliteration, but again, I don’t feel like stone and home rhyme. Dark/sharp, and breath/depths are a little stretched as well in the next two stanzas.

Scarlet droplets splattered walls
As he sliced with silver-sharp.

A thousand faces drowning still,
Devoid of human breath.


The imagery here made me shudder and gasp. I love the assonance of the ‘s’ sounds in the first two lines, and I like the double-d sound in the latter two. You know, Poe used to use ‘d’ sounds a lot to convey darker moods – the hard “duh” of the d spilling forth is just perfect for the emotion you’re trying to build. Great job.

How hefty is the price of life?
Precious is the soul,
At end-of-soul lies end-of-life
But I will complete my goal.


I’m a bit confused about whether Regulus is talking about his own life – or Voldemort’s? I wish we could have a few more stanzas here to expand on his thoughts, because this could go two ways. He could view the destruction of the Horcrux (end-of-soul) as murder on his part…or he could be saying that he doomed himself to death by taking the Horcrux. I rather like the first thought better – it gives such lovely humanity to Regulus, that he would feel guilty for killing even a monster like Voldemort simply because murder is wrong, but it’s your choice. I’d just like to see expansion.

Also, in regards to “end-of-soul lies end-of-life”…What a lovely line – rhythm and meaning, both. I think end-of-life leads to end-of-soul, but I think it’s rather like “Which came first – the chicken or the egg?” so I’ll just leave that be. :P

I’m thinking you wrote about the Horcrux breaking before we saw how to destroy Horcruxes in DH. ;) But if you ever come back to this, it’d be interesting to see what thoughts show up for Regulus when the Horcrux appears, and it’d be really cool to see it in poetry! :) You, of all poets, could do it.

Overall, the desperation and rushing of the final parts of the poem were very fitting and I really liked the way it seemed to dash to the end, because that’s what an attempted escape is like! The last two stanzas again didn’t exactly rhyme.

I also liked the way Regulus became unafraid of death, but I feel as though you should portray his thoughts on why death was not something to be feared. It’d add to his transition from follower to fighter in his own right. Perhaps after “I’m not afraid to die,” you could toss in…why? *ooh, it rhymes!*

Our tale has woven tragedy
For the younger of the two,
He is brave at last — but at great a price
To pay for seeing Truth.


I like this. Wow. The great price idea is just lovely. However, the mechanics sound a bit off when I read it aloud. Perhaps something like: “Our tale has woven tragedy//For the younger of the two//Brave at last, he paid the price—//so great, to see the Truth.”

Excellent work, Suzie! Worth a goblin and a Galleon in my book! :) I really enjoyed it and I hope my review does it justice and wasn’t TOO nitpicky. Your characterization of Regulus and the journey he went through as a character in this poem is impeccable. The fact that you did it WHILE following a meter and rhyme pattern is just…*applause* I’m quite inspired by your poetry to better my own. :) Very few pieces I read can get me off my lazy butt, you know, so it really is a credit to your work! :P

Hugs!

Kumy

Reviewer: Lalalalatina
Date: 04/13/07 20:41
Chapter: The Birth of Bravery

Wonderful poem. I like the length and your choice of words. And I liked how u used the (parantheses). It really added something to the poem. Good job. ^_^

Author's Response: See below :p

Reviewer: Lalalalatina
Date: 04/13/07 20:40
Chapter: The Birth of Bravery

Wonderful poem. I like the length and your choice of words. And I liked how u used the (parantheses). It really added something to the poem. Good job. ^_^

Author's Response: Thank you! :) I'm glad you liked the poem and the parentheses.

Reviewer: Gmariam
Date: 02/20/07 16:41
Chapter: The Birth of Bravery

Suzie, I really think this is brilliant. =) You tweaked it well and the new stanza works great to connect the ones previous and following. I read this with a very steady, easy rhythm, with very few exceptions. I think the rhyming is excellent, because it's never forced: it flows from the story, and makes sense.
The story itself is wonderful. You've written a tremendous ballad about this single character and his journey, focusing on the one defining moment in Regulus's life when he steps up to do the right thing. From the very beginning you portray him well, but particularly toward the end when you include his thoughts I felt that you did a wonderful job showing his evolution from Death Eater to exhibiting true bravery.
The overall form of the poem flows very nicely, from a strong introduction to a conclusion that ties it all together. Your word choices always seemed spot on. If it was challenging to write, it doesn't show. I'm glad I could help the little that I did. I really love this ballad. I think you are a very talented writer - keep up the great work!!
~Gina :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review Gina! *squees and hugs* I'm glad you liked the extra stanza...I wrote it at school just before I was submitting it. *hides*
I love writing about characters such as Regulus - we know next to nothing about him in canon but he seems so important all the same.
Thank you for all the lovely things you've said. And WELL DONE for placing in the Ballad Challenge! You thoroughly deserved it!
Suzie

Reviewer: Heiress_of_Insanity_
Date: 02/19/07 19:24
Chapter: The Birth of Bravery

Great ballad! 10/10!~H_o_I_


Author's Response: Thank you! :)

Reviewer: Hermione_Rocks
Date: 02/15/07 18:56
Chapter: The Birth of Bravery

Wow! That was really great. You kept the rhythm consistant, and told the story wonderfully. I loved how you showed that the brothers' stories started out together, veered off differently, and then in the end came together again. Good luck in the competition! :)

Author's Response: Thanks for the review Anna! I'm glad you liked it! *huggles* ~Suzie

Reviewer: lisa_lovegood
Date: 02/15/07 7:18
Chapter: The Birth of Bravery

Suzie... That was...amazing. I loved it! i love how you can see how two brothers who started so different, and took such different paths, could die for the same cause, in the end. I got the really bad urge to speak this one out loud, I don't know why...lol. I think hearing the expression brought it to life. It told the tale of Regulus Black so completely in just one poem... It makes me wish I could write poetry (have tried, and failed, and wil never do it again. haha).

All-in-all, another fantastic poem from you and, in my opinion, your best! 10/10.

Lisa xxx

Author's Response: Heh. When I was writing it I kept having to say it aloud too - it's what you get when the rhythm is strong... Thank you for all the lovely compliments *huggles* I'm sure you can write poetry! Give it another go! :p

~Suzie

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