Reviews For Candles Burn
Reviewer: MorganRay
Date: 12/28/08 19:44
Chapter: Candles Burn

She has always listened to the solemn tune of the silence, forever reverberating through the darkness; calling out in its loneliness.

I think I read this line about five times. I really loved it because the wording was so interesting, and the entire sentence just feels lonely to me. When I got over that one sentence, I really liked how you wrote i. By making the sentences get shorter, you sped up the pace and created a climax simply by how you wrote.

Your second part seems less dramatic and descriptive than i. I liked that it focused more on Hermione, but i really sets the tone for the entire story. The parts build nicely, though, and part ii and iii go together very well, and it seems appropriate to introduce the reason for Hermione’s distress after you’ve introduced how she feels. The part about Ron (iv) moves the plot into v, and I like how you’re moving the plot in little chunks. This doesn’t always work, but you have a plot while also focusing on Hermione’s emotions. I usually don’t like suicide stories, but this one was done very well. It seemed like a situation Hermione could find herself in if Voldemort had won. In canon, I often get the feeling that Hermione feels less brave sometimes (or thinks she is less brave) than Ron or Harry.

Author's Response: Thank you so much, Morgan! I really appreciate your feedback, and I'm glad that you found this story believable. Sometimes I wonder if it strays a bit too far from canon!Hermione, but I agree - I think that Hermione perceives herself as less brave than Harry and Ron at times. Not that she necessarily is, but because she looks at herself that way, I can see her reacting like this to a situation where Voldemort wins. And I'm glad you liked that one line - it's probably one of my favourites in this story. Thanks again! :D

Reviewer: Chaser47
Date: 09/29/07 13:36
Chapter: Candles Burn

Hey Rachel! It's time for SPEWly reviews and you have a 007 that I've wanted to read. Ok here we go. Review:

I really like how you added the italicized words in paranthesis- to your paragraph-- it adds a lot of interest and emphasis The first paragraph also does a great job of introducing the darkness of the piece. I also like the Roman numerals. They also incorporate your prompt of "seven" without being overt.

I was just going to suggest to add a bit more HP-related aspects to the piece, but then I got to the third paragraph where you do. This is good. Sometimes, fics get too emotion-centric and neglect to mention much HP (this happens to me sometimes). But you did a nice job of tying in the HP world to your fic that is almost a character study.

The only thing I can suggest, Rachel, is to add that it is Hermione that your are talking about. I think the name adds a lot about her identity, which is what she is struggling with throughout the fic. Maybe you could bring it in by saying how she no longer identifies with it or something like that.

I love how you tied everything in at the ending-- with the candles, her past, her emotions. It gave a very complete ending (what with her death and everything) that I always like.

Really nice job, Rachel. Now I'm off to my other reviews!

--Hanna


Author's Response: Thank you so much, Hanna! *huggles* You know, at first this piece wasn't very Potterish at all, but I figured that wouldn't do at all so it had to undergo much revision. I actually really like that idea about Hermione's character - I'll have to play around with it! Thanks again for the awesome review!

Reviewer: whatapotter
Date: 09/05/07 6:44
Chapter: Candles Burn

This was a stunning fic, Rachel. Your writing is superb, and the imagery and symbolism you use throughout the entire fic is simply wonderful.



I love the fact that this is written in 2nd person. It’s more impersonal than 1st – rather like Hermione is detached from herself, unable to connect any more. Yet at the same time, I find it a lot more personal than 3rd person – so the reader feels with Hermione a lot more, giving the story a greater emotional impact and poignancy.



The fic was extremely powerful, and beautifully written. I could feel her pain, her despair, and her heartache. I’m sorry to say, that however beautifully written it was, I remain slightly unconvinced that Hermione would ever go dark. Yet, the way you described her as the fic progressed did make it believable. Hermione has always been insecure about herself, and I think with Harry and Ron gone, those insecurities would snowball. I love how she doubted herself, and how she hated herself for not being strong enough. Ironically, (or perhaps not – I’ve never been particularly good at picking out irony, lol), if she had stopped doubting herself and just acted, then she probably would have been strong enough.



"She doesn’t want to be any different. But she knows, in the back of her mind, that she is weak."


^ See, she isn’t weak, not really. But by thinking she is, she makes herself weak. It’s a whole, nasty, downhill spiral of depression really – but you write it so beautifully as to make it truly believable.



The imagery and symbolism you use is truly amazing. The tiny candle represents Hermione’s last little bit of hope. She lights a new one each day – to me, that is because at the end of the day, night gathers in and brings the darkness. As daylight fades, the darkness draws in and extinguishes her little candle. Every day, with the new daylight, she lights a new one, to try and regain some hope - but every day that light will flicker and die, getting smaller and smaller until there is none left.


So, I don’t agree with you that Hermione would turn to the darkness, but I do commend you for writing it so well and making it completely believable.



The simple imagery of the candle was lovely – a tiny flame, which on its own seems tiny, insignificant. How is a candle supposed to light up the darkness with its one tiny flame? It seems hopeless, pointless – just like how she perceives her situation. Rachel, this was really stunning work.



I adored the roman numerals you used to mark the days. To me, it highlights the battle between light and dark. I’m sorry, please excuse me hun, but this is going to sound slightly insane: The roman numerals remind me of olden days, where the great battles were fought. I associate them with legendary heroes and the conquering of evil. You don’t see roman numerals in today’s society with all its modern gadgetry and technology. There’s something much more, oh I don’t know, mystical, romantic I suppose about them. I see olden times and figures of history; gladiators fighting for their lives in the ring, and ferocious battles being fought. To me, this accentuates Hermione’s struggle. It makes her battle much more powerful. She loses, in the end, but it makes me think that she fought hard before she lost.



I don’t know if that made any sense at all – so I’ll move on! Hehe, apart from that, they also make the fic look very nice, and well laid out. They seem more in keeping with the style of the fic, rather than a normal 1, 2, 3 would. The passing of the days also serves to heighten the reader’s sense of almost approaching doom – we know a decision must be reached, and the tension heightens with every number and associated day that passes.



I wasn’t sure about your use of brackets. In places, I thought it really served to accentuate what Hermione was thinking and feeling, and fitted the fic perfectly, and in others I was just a little unsure what effect you were meaning to create. Perhaps it was because I didn’t completely understand what the bracketed words were supposed to represent – was it Hermione’s inner voice, or the truth bringing a clarity to the way her feelings were spilling everywhere?



There was one paragraph that I thought was a little overdone with dashes, my dear.
“She isn’t afraid of dying — she’s more afraid of losing herself. But she isn’t sure if she can afford to hold on — it’s too late for that. She tries to defy the darkness — tries to focus on the silence — (tries to focus on the light). She knows that she doesn’t have time left to decide — with every second spent thinking, another moment of her life is wasted.”
It was beautifully written, and the dashes did accentuate the meaning you wanted to portray. I just thought it was a little dash-heavy. Taking out even one of them would make it easier to read, and increase the flow of the story I think.



Lastly, I have to say the suicide at the end took me completely by surprise. I had been thinking throughout the entire fic that Hermione’s choice was to join the Dark Lord – and that the darkness / light imagery was merely accentuating the conflict within herself of which side to fight for. At the end, I realized it had been something far more complicated, and that she wasn’t deciding between joining the Dark Lord, but deciding whether she could live anymore, constantly fighting the darkness and the darkness of her own thoughts.



I was surprised, but happy, I have to admit. Hermione taking her own life to stop herself joining the Dark side seems much better than her abandoning all her beliefs and values to join the Dark Lord. Suicide is still a major weakness – (one I don’t believe canon Hermione would have) – but from her position, it’s the strongest decision she could make.



In some ways she takes the easy way out – she kills herself to stop the constant fight she has with the darkness. She gives in, and lets it win. However, on the other hand, she ignores the call of the darkness, and kills herself to stop herself being seduced or converted, and therefore, stops the potential for herself to hurt anybody else. From this light, it’s a very brave decision indeed. I don’t particularly know if I’m making any sense here – I know what I want to say, *giggles* - does that count?



I will admit to being a little confused at one point.


“She expects the Dark Lord to be skeptical of her loyalty.”
Did she actually join the Dark Lord, and then commit suicide when she couldn’t take it anymore? Or is this more a continuation of your imagery – the Dark Lord is skeptical of her seduction by the darkness? In a way, she flirts with the darkness – she never pushes it away, it is always there surrounding her. This could be seen as loyalty to it.
Could you clear this up for me, my dear?



That was the only point I was confused about. Other than that, it is a truly lovely one-shot. It’s so well written, very emotional and poignant. It’s full of hopelessness, and highlights the destruction that war can wrought – not just upon a country and its people, but upon a single person. Hermione’s struggle seems to symbolize the rest of the country and the Order. Do they fight, when they are constantly surrounded by this darkness? Do they continue to struggle against it when it seems there is no hope left? Or do they give up, let the light be extinguished and let the darkness win? I hope they find it in themselves to fight.



Beautifully, hauntingly, written my dear. Your use of symbolism and imagery is truly fabulous. Hermione’s thoughts are clarified by your writing so that she doesn’t seem OOC, even though something like suicide could be. I absolutely loved this- you are a tremendous writer, Rachel dear.



*Has just looked at review.* Er, hope you don’t mind the length of this – I think I had a minor debate with myself, lol. Take it as a compliment that your story inspired so much thought and argument inside of my (slightly insane) head!



*Huggles and loves*



~Rhi
xx


Author's Response: RHI. The length of this review alone kills my brain. Give me a few minutes to recover and read it in further detail. *does so*

Okay. Good. So first off... I wrote this in second person? o.O I actually think I wrote it in third... but I tried to make it so that the reader could connect to it and it wasn't Hermione's story alone, which is the sort of second-persony effect. In fact, the only reason I chose Hermione as a character was that she was my SPEW 007 character, and this was a random idea that popped into my head. I agree that Hermione isn't the best character for this story, and I also agree in that she wouldn't go to the darkness. *shrugs* Again, twas a random idea that I was just trying out. After writing it though, I agree, it doesn't seem all too Hermioneish. Everything that you were sceptical about, I was admittedly sceptical about as well. *nods* This isn't my best piece characterization-wise, I don't think.

You articulated Hermione's thoughts perfectly with that 'flirting with the darkness' line. That's exactly it. And *nods* She did intend to join Voldemort. She thought it was her only option and she didn't want all of her hopes of making it out of the war to be lost. But as you said, she'd been struggling with herself and making herself weak, and the combination of that and the remaining good in her was what drove her to the suicide.

And just... THANK YOU! This review deserves something shiny. *gives Rhi gold star* Now then! I agree about the roman numerals... they're just... prettier. *nods* And thank you so much for all of your compliments! *smiles* And OMFGLOL, I just read that paragraph with the dashes and am headdesking to myself. I have a slight dash obsession. Which you may or may not have noticed. *looks around shiftily* Will do something about that.

Thank you SO MUCH for this review, dear! *huggles and loves back*

Reviewer: BlackClaude
Date: 08/26/07 1:31
Chapter: Candles Burn

I'm almost too depressed now to review, but I'll do my best. That was incredibly emotional; the first time I read through I was mostly trying to figure out who it was, but the second time I was really able to get into Hermione's mind. The hurt and despair rang so true, and it was all so beautifully written and captivating. I'm afraid I still wasn't quite convinced that Hermione would ever be tempted by the dark side, but I found this quite in character: "She doesn’t want to be any different. But she knows, in the back of her mind, that she is weak." Hermione is always so hard on herself, and she's never felt that she's good enough, no matter what she accomplishes. So it makes sense that even if she didn't really want to go to the dark side, that she would be so horrified by her own perceived temptations that she would feel more tempted than she actually was. But then again, I have the distinct impression I might just be talking crazy. :) In any case, whether or not Hermione would actually go dark, her despair that leads to her suicide is vivid and heartbreaking. All of her powerful emotions are quite believable; I would just suggest adding a bit more analysis and reason to make it more Hermioney. As it is, it could be anyone's story from the war. Of course, she's kind of beyond the point of logic being this far gone, but maybe a memory of her past thought processes and her feeling removed from them now would help solidify her character. Other than that, I can't think of anything else to suggest because this piece is so lovely and well-rounded. Beautiful work!

Author's Response: Thank you so incredibly much for this detailed review, BC! *huggles*

*nods* I totally agree with you about Hermione being not so... Hermioneish, but you're absolutely right when you said: "As it is, it could be anyone's story from the war." That's what I was going for when I was writing this. Characterization's always a weak spot for me when I'm writing, so I pretty much figured this could be anyone's story. I just made it Hermione because she was my SPEW 007 character. *shifty eyes* Your analysis was really accurate - that's exactly what I was going for! *huggles* Thanks again!

Reviewer: slytherin_princess_9
Date: 06/17/07 12:46
Chapter: Candles Burn

Oh, wow. This story was amazing. It's very dark and actually gave me chills. The writing style is perfect, too. Wonderful job.

Author's Response: thank you! I'm so glad you liked it!

Reviewer: crazyabouthermione95
Date: 05/13/07 19:12
Chapter: Candles Burn

Alright, I have to admit that at first I was a little skeptical about Hermione and falling for the darkness and all but I really enjoyed this fic. It was really deep. I could tell you put a lot into this. I could fell Hermione's angst and how how her life is slowly diminishing. It was really depressing (in a good way). I think this is one of the deepest fics I have ever read. I was AH-MAZED by this powerful and unique fic. Oh yeah, it was very unique. In simpler terms, I LOVED (L-O-V-E-D TO DA MAXX) IT!!!!!!!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!

Author's Response: *giggles* Thank you so much for the review! I'm glad you liked it. :D

Reviewer: TheVanishingAct
Date: 04/22/07 21:45
Chapter: Candles Burn

Rachel! Yes, I know, this review was promised to you two months ago. Yes, I know, I’m late again. Yes, I know, I’m a horrible person for being late. Yes, I know, you’re tired of me saying “Yes, I know.” So, shall I stop all this blibber blabber whatever and get to the actual review? I’d like to, but first, I’d like to declare my undying love of darkfics and the fact this fic is so dark it makes Dracula look like Hello Kitty with ketchup smudges on its mouth. Which, you know, I flock to like a geese does water. NOW I have my blabber fill. Onwards!


First off, I must go into how much I absolutely heart the way you formatted and presented your story. Where shall I begin? The non-capitalized roman numerals are very aesthetically pleasing, and the way they mark each day makes on feel like you’re getting closer and closer to the ending and you can’t wait to see what shall happen on that last, and what turns out to be fateful, day. I also enjoyed the little bubbles of thought marked by the parenthesis. It was a perfect accessory for a fabulous dark fic.


I love the dark tones that you used in the fic - the sudden down spiral of Hermione’s “light” makes the fic even darker. It seems so real, and it carries itself all the way through, all the way until Hermione kills herself. It was done very, very well, might I add. I enjoyed everything about this fic, and I did not find a single nitpick.


I know my review is short, but my adoration of this fic is not: Brilliant!



Author's Response: Patrick! *squee!* I love your on crack!reviews. XD And that you liked my fic. Yayness! Thanks for the slightly spastic and Hello Kitty-filled review! :D

Reviewer: Mind Games
Date: 03/25/07 13:07
Chapter: Candles Burn

*Tackles SPEW buddy Rachel*

This is simply amazing writing! The poetic flow you have just draws my interest straight into the story. Every word grabs my attention from the beginning to the end. The setting is just magnificent! You describe the silence in so many different ways, yet it doesn’t seem boring or over the top at all. I loved how you kept referring to the silence and compared it with so many different things, such as the whispering and how it seemed to be calling out in its loneliness.

She knows what must be done, she tells the silence.

It’s interesting how you seemed to have Hermione communicating with the silence, telling it bits of her life and what she must do. Silence is the only company she has left and the only one she can turn to with her fears. Silence is the only thing listening. I think by having her confiding in only the silence, you explain so much in such a creative way. Instead of two long and boring paragraphs on what has gone on in the past and how so many of the characters fought bravely and died, you let something as simple as silence do the job. Incredibly haunting as well as creative!

She tries not to listen — to block it out with the silence.

I already mentioned how much I loved the silence, but I especially loved it here! She’s trying to focus only on the silence and ignore the darkness’ call. The silence is the one thing she can count on, the one thing she has to rely on. It’s hard to ignore the loud call of silence, but it’s harder to ignore the even louder call of darkness. She’s trying so hard to not slip away from the silence, but the darkness is just too hard to ignore. I loved how you tied the darkness in with the silence. You made them both stand out and they flowed together just beautifully!

She isn’t afraid of dying — she’s more afraid of losing herself.

This was really in-character for Hermione. We know she’s never been afraid of death, but her beliefs are important to her, and I think she would be afraid if she was close to losing them. You give us such an accurate glimpse of how the war could affect someone. Even Hermione could lose herself during all those times of tragedy, especially if the dark side was gaining power. She’s lost so much, and now she’s coming close to losing herself. It was just heartbreaking to read this paragraph! Watching Hermione struggle with her fight against darkness was incredibly sad, but I love how realistic you’ve made her character.

The silence tries to speak to her (tries to remind her of who she is), but she stops listening.

At the beginning of the story we saw Hermione listening to the silence, and we see her almost talking to it and telling it what she must do. The darkness is calling her, but she is trying so hard to ignore it and continue listening to the silence. But throughout the story we keep seeing her lose herself to the darkness, slowly letting the silence slip away. When I read it, it seemed to be so many different things at once. It was sad to see Hermione losing herself and nearly giving up; it was beautiful to read such vivid descriptions of silence and darkness; and it was just so deep and powerful all together. I love how you gradually get her to the point of almost wanting to give in to the darkness and let it overtake her. You don’t seem to rush it, and you weave in important details throughout the story, telling us how she got to the point of wanting to give up. Great work!

As always, candles burn in the background (light — warmth). She blows them out.

The symbolism you have here with the candles representing Hermione’s last bit of hope and light was really amazing! You’ve kept the candles lit, along with Hermione’s slight hope, all throughout the story. They’ve always been glowing in the distance, but I don’t think we really see what they stand for until this line. And then it all makes perfect sense. I love how you left us wondering about it until close to the end, and then revealed the true meaning with this one line. It was extremely powerful as well as poignant. This had to be one of my favorite parts of the story.

The last thing she hears is the silence — the last thing she sees is the light. As the last candle burns out, she falls to the floor.

The way you ended it was just perfect! I love how you used the silence, the light, and the candles to finish with. They flow so nicely together throughout the story, and you ended with them all together. They all represent so much. The silence is her last determined thought inside, calling for her; the light is what she wants to find; and the candles are the last flicker of hope that she has. They are all amazing together, what they are as well as what they stand for. And as Hermione dies, they all seem to extinguish. As I’ve said multiple times, the flow and the symbolism is really what makes this story so great. Its beauty, its sadness, and its rhythm.


I only found a couple of small nitpicks…

Throughout her entire life, she had been fighting for one thing. (Light.)

I don’t believe you would need a period after ‘light’ here.

She has always wanted to do good, no matter the cost.

‘Good’ didn’t sound quite right in this sentence. While I don’t think it’s incorrect (since you’re referring to ‘good’ as in the good side), it sounds like it is. I would suggest changing it to ‘She had always wanted to do the right thing’ or something similar.


Your writing is remarkable, Rachel. Your descriptions sound like poetry! I’m so glad I read and reviewed this. It’s poignant and lingering, real and so sad. At first I wondered if Hermione giving up like that would be OCC, but I don’t think it is at all. You showed the effects the war could have on someone, even someone like Hermione. This was a great one shot. I can’t wait to read more from you! *Hugs*

~ Katty


Author's Response: OHMIGODKATTY. Have I told you how AMAZING you are? Siriusly. I - SQUEE - *DIES*. This has to be the awesomest SPEW buddy review in all the world! :D:D:D You know what I realised from those excerpts you picked out? I use dashes. A LOT. Yes, this seems odd that I'm just noticing it, but, well, yeah. *shifty eyes* Thanks for the nitpicks as well - I'll have to look at those bits more closely. Thanks again for the totally AWESMOE review, and I am sosososososo glad you liked the story! *SQUISHES*

Reviewer: helgaandgodric
Date: 03/12/07 19:02
Chapter: Candles Burn

That was so deep. I mean deep like you can almost feel where that feeling is coming from in Hermione, you feel like her, understand her. It's an interesting style; is there a name for it? (Like all the paranthesis and Roman numerals)

Rachel it's fantastically written, albiet sad, but beautifully written. *huggles*

Kate

Author's Response: Thanks so much for the review! *endless squishes* (I don't think there's a name for this style... and I don't think the parentheses and Roman numerals necessarily go together. Twas a results of Rachel messing around with her style. XD) Thanks again for the lovely review! ♥

Reviewer: Sly Severus
Date: 03/11/07 12:17
Chapter: Candles Burn

I really enjoyed this. It's not at all what I would have expected from Hermione, but it's totally believable all the same. Her anguish and loss was clear. This was really well done.


I did notice this line: ...although she does she wonder why. There's an extra she in there. ;) I do that a lot.


Anyway, again, very well done.

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'll fix that right away. ;) Thanks again for the review!

Reviewer: Oliver_Wood
Date: 03/10/07 17:32
Chapter: Candles Burn

I love it! Its so amazing! I especially like the (these things). It was so good. I like the writing in it. How do you fell about this amazing story?

*hugs* Emilky

Author's Response: I thought you left MNFF. And thank you. =D How do I fell about it? Well, I try to stand up relatively straight, if that's what you mean.

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