Hi Anna! I’m back after (finally) reading the second chapter of this story.
What’s interesting about this story is that it focuses on war, yet you make war seem so normal. Suddenly it becomes common to read about attacks in the paper and see pages of obituaries from people you used to know. War becomes typical life. This is such a different way of writing about a war because usually the wars in Harry Potter are filled with intense battle scenes, evil Death Eaters, and brave heroes. It’s nice to see what a war was like for someone that wasn’t the center of it, but merely a spectator on the sidelines. I like how you show how the sadness of the attacks and deaths slowly dulls for Gideon because he’s become so used to reading about them. You bring out an emotion that I think a person going through a war would feel – frustration. Gideon feels helpless and frustrated with what the wizarding world has become. This is something I don’t think a lot of authors tend to write in war stories, so I really loved your originality.
I can already tell that Elizabeth is a great character. She’s so passionate and spirited, someone who really cared about helping others. What I liked was how you slowly revealed information about her instead of cramming it all into a couple of paragraphs. It helped keep the interest and curiosity I had for her. Another thing I was wondering was what had happened between her and Gideon. You did mention that they dated and it’s clear that Gideon liked her, so I wonder if he ever did truly express the feelings he had for her and if that’s partly the reason he feels regretful. I liked how you made Gideon’s feelings for her very known to the readers, but it’s subtle and not overdone.
Fabian was great once again. We can really see how much he cares for Gideon and only wants to do what will best help him. But at the same time, he still stands up to Gideon and tries to snap him out of his bad moods. You can see that they have a strong bond and Fabian isn’t letting it slip away. Like the rest of his family, he’s very stubborn and is not about to give up on Gideon. =) His dialogue is also written well and he’s so amusing! I really like his personality in this story.
You had one typo near the beginning…
No, school-time visits to Hogsmeade and assorted dates in London do not a relationship make.
I think you mean ‘make a relationship’ at the end of this sentence.
This was another great chapter and it’ll be really interesting to see where you take it from here. Your characters are what make this story really amazing and you bring out their personalities and thoughts so naturally. It seems like you know them so well. You took your time developing and writing them and it shows. I really like your writing style. I’m off to read chapter three! =)
Author's Response: Hello Katty! Welcome back to the story. :)
I'm so glad you like descriptions of the war. It was very important to me to convey it this way. Gideon is detached from it, just like he's kind of detached from his own life at this point. He is not fighting in it, so he takes this really different view. I didn't want to include descriptions of heroics, because for Gideon at this point, there are no heroes. So I'm so floored that you appreciated it!
To be quite honest, I've forgotten a lot of things about this story. It was so short and written so long ago that I really need to go back and refresh myself. I hope that any lingering questions you have will be cleared up in the final chapter! I know that I didn't want to say too much about Elizabeth because I wanted the focus to be solely on Gideon and on his personal journey. But I did have to put some stuff about her in there because she is an integral part of his life.
I did really like writing Fabian. So many stories I've read have the two brothers so similar, so I wanted to do something different, and make them have individual personalities. I kind of want to write him in another story, so maybe inspiration will strike! I'm happy to know he has some fans out there. :)
That typo was actually deliberate; it's kind of a little stylistic device, but I can see how it might trip you up. I would probably change it if I ever go back and do edits to this story...
This was such a wonderful review, just like your last one. Reviews like this totally make my day, and I can't believe that you came back after five months! :) I hope that you like the last chapter and the story as a whole once the arc is completed. Maybe I'll hear from you again in January! :)
Thanks again so much for your incredibly kind words!!
The atmosphere you began with was so accurate. While it is discouraging, it feels realistic to me. Wars hit everyone hard, and I’m sure so many were frustrated like Gideon. His attitude is pessimistic, but in a way it’s refreshing to see. We read about so many characters like Harry or Ginny, who are so positive and hopeful, and while that’s nice, it’s in so many of the stories out there. Seeing a war from a different character’s point of view, with different opinions and thoughts was a really good idea.
But “normally” does not exist anymore. Is it wrong for him to think that this child should not be brought into this world? This world full of violence and horror and hate?
This was interesting and I really thought it stood out. It was a good point to bring up, and I can see how Gideon would not want another child to have to suffer danger and violence. I also liked the first sentence when you said how ‘normally’ didn’t exist anymore. The world had to be getting more and more dangerous at the point in time, and I’m sure anyone would be able to feel the ‘normal’ in their lives slowly slipping away.
I almost laughed when Fabian came into the story. Somehow I always picture him being a lot like Gideon, but the two were so completely different. Fabian is so cheerful and optimistic, and when you read his dialogue and characteristics, you feel as if nothing is wrong. It’s almost like there is no war when he’s around. But then reading about Gideon again, we can feel that same sense of despondency and his pessimistic attitude. I love the originality you put into both of these characters! It’s so interesting to see them so different from each other, and both of them are very well written.
I found just a couple of mistakes and constructive criticism I’d like to point out…
“Molly, I’m not trying to conjure a Patronus here.” He interrupts her.
The period after ‘here’ should be a comma. Also, ‘he’ does not need to be capitalized.
We’re all feeling it, little brother. It’s a terrible situation, and You Know Who is a monster.
‘You Know Who’ should be written as ‘You-Know-Who’.
I’m not sure if Arthur would be going on about taxicabs in that kind of situation. He is not oblivious to others’ feelings, and I think he would sense that Gideon was not in the mood for hearing about Muggle taxicabs. Instead, I think he would just be very quiet and solemn, maybe trying to say something encouraging or convincing Gideon to stay. If it was only mentioned once, I could see it, but I think it might have been just a bit overdone.
I loved the personalities you brought to Gideon and Fabian. They are not at all what I expected, but they are both so well written. You’ve developed their characters fantastically, and you’ve brought so much personality to them both. Molly was also just such an amazingly written character. She is just how I would picture her at that age. What she said to Gideon to try to convince him not to give up was perfect! Leaving off with a bit of mystery was also good, and I’m really curious to know who Elizabeth is. I’m really looking forward to reading the next chapter of this. Great work!
Katty – Knight of the Turnip Table
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much for this review! It was wonderful, and I'm thrilled you liked the story. It was certainly different than anything I've ever written before, and it's a nice validation to see my new ideas and styles well-received, so I thank you! :)
I've read so many stories where Gideon and Fabian are treated a lot like George and Fred (G&F, G&F, so maybe there's some validity), but I thought that more often than not (at least in my family), brothers aren't *exactly* like one another. Making Gideon in such stark contrast to Fabian really helps to drive home his depression, I hope, so I'm thrilled you appreciated the difference!
Gideon's emotions in the story were hard to write sometimes. You never want to be the one thinking, "Oh, I can't believe my sister is pregnant again, the world doesn't need to see another child suffer," etc. etc., but I'm sure that some people do feel that. Unfortunately, it's a valid point for Gideon in this situation!
Thank you for pointing out the mistakes. I slip up with the comma at the end of dialogue every so often, and sometimes I try to pass it off as a stylistic device (short sentences, terse dialogue, etc.), but it's most likely just a genuine mistake. ;) And I never know whether to do You-Know-Who with dashes or not, so I'm grateful to you for setting me straight!
As for Arthur, I agree with you about the taxicabs. I'll be honest and say that I really didn't have a great handle on his character, compared to the Prewetts, so I just threw in the Arthur we all know and love without really taking the situation and circumstances into consideration, so you're very right to make that criticism. :)
Anyway, I'm so glad that you like the way I wrote the characters; that's always the thing that makes me happiest. They're not my characters, after all, so I just try to do JKR's work some justice! Read on and find out who Elizabeth is!
Thanks again to you and to Ravenclaw House (I presume) for this fabulous review!!!
Wow. This is almost always the one word to start a review, but I really do mean it. Your writing pulls the reader in immediately. I usually don't read minor character stories and such, because most of the time, they are not written masterfully. But your story is most definitely not one of them.
It's an interesting choice to use present tense for this story. Since it's about Gideon, whom we'd consider a "historical" character in fandom, and the first war, I would expect the use of plain old past tense. I mean, that feels right. But, you pull the present tense off so masterfully that rather than ruining the story, you give it a totally refreshing, kind of exotic taste. I'm in awe how you can blend the past tense of flashbacks and previous events into the present tense narrative.
The story's increadibly moving. I especially love how you make Gideon's feelings and thoughts so real. Would I be wrong if I presume you sometimes write what you personally feel / think by converting them to fit the story and character? I mean, if you just come up with them, not actually experience them, would these still be as effective and moving? If yes, you are absolutely a genius, my friend. If no, you're a wonderful writer ;)
It is a society that is on the verge of becoming completely numb to the news of more attacks, more casualties. They’ve all felt it, Gideon included; the feeling you get when you read the newspaper and are not moved by the description of the war. Does that make you a bad person? He wonders this. He wonders about a society that increasingly cannot even muster emotion for those they have lost.
So true. I felt like I was reading something about all the ongoing wars in the world right now. This is something looked over in fanfiction, I think. I mean, to connect the real wars to the first war in the Wizarding world. It does help it seem much more realistic, like you did. And it also touches the reader, leading them to actually think about war.
To be a bit more specific about the story, I wonder if the reason why Gideon can't do magic is his despair and disappointment in the magical world? It feels like loss of hope leads to loss of belief, and vice versa. A very true message.
Okay, I'm ending my ramble here. Sorry to give you a headache ;) But I'm very curious about the next chapter.
Best of luck in the challenge!
Author's Response: Ayse,
Thank you for the incredible review! Without a doubt one of the kindest I've ever received. I'm *so* glad that you like the story! It's been both a challenge and a joy to write.
The choice to write in present tense stemmed from my desire for the readers to really connect with Gideon. I want you to feel what he's feeling, to see what he's seeing. Basically, to experience all the things that he is experiencing. Since the time and topic are so far removed, I really needed something to connect you to his world. I'm glad the gamble paid off, in your opinon!
I can't say I feel *exactly* what Gideon is feeling, but I do try to place myself in his shoes. It helps, as you point out, that there is a parallel between the wars in the world right now and the Wizarding World's War. It's not impossible for me to relate the emotion of being numb to the news of the war, because it's a feeling I think many people are struggling with right now. It's incredibly powerful and important, and I hope I'm getting it across well!
I think you're on the right track with loss of hope and loss of belief being coupled together. It's not something I've tangibly spelled out, but it seems like the two would go hand-in-hand. Just this downward spiral of remorse and anguish and all sorts of bad things. Guilt, too, that he feels over Elizabeth plays a big role for Gideon.
Anyway, I should go finish up the final chapter before the deadline. Eek! Thank you again for the WONDERFUL review. It really made my day to see such nice words from a friend. :)
Talk to you later!
Hmm... Now I want to know who Elizabeth is.
Author's Response: All will be revealed shortly... :) Thanks for the review!