I am currently incredibly jealous of your ability to well and truly master characterisation! Dumbledore is one of the hardest characters to truly get inside the mind of, but as I read this, I thought I was actually reading his thoughts. The use of third person combined with the italicised first person thoughts was particularly effective as it allowed the reader to see the scene both externally and from inside Dumbledore’s mind, giving a greater understanding of all his thoughts and feelings as he wrote. The tone and language were both perfectly in character, showing an obvious understanding of Dumbledore’s character and the way his mind works.
I like that you showed the more cool and calculating side of Dumbledore, and this line: I may have a certain control over my emotions, was a beautiful summing up of the way we have seen Dumbledore throughout the books – always controlling his emotions and never giving anything away. This short scene showed how early on he began to do everything possible to protect Harry, and I think this part of his thoughts: People who would spoil him. People who couldn’t protect him. is excellent as it shows that Dumbledore knew that he was having to make a choice between giving Harry a childhood where he is loved and happy, and giving him one where he is protected, and that the part of him that is so focused on his future plans ultimately makes the choice that Harry needs to be kept safe, even if this means sacrificing his happiness.
I loved the opening line of this one-shot and the way it so neatly tied into the title. I am a great fan of the ‘power of three’ rule and here I think you use it well to open the story and introduce Dumbledore’s great task. The repetitiveness of the word ‘usual’ is slightly ironic as it makes the letter seem ordinary, or mundane, while the reader knows there is certainly nothing ‘usual’ about the letter Dumbledore is about to write, as you later show through the way in which every element of the letter is chosen, from the paper, to the type of ink, to the method of transportation, with the utmost care and as if each small individual decision could be responsible for ruining any hope of protecting Harry. The return of the opening line, albeit slightly altered, near the end: “Muggle ink, good thick paper and the usual quill, then, Fawkes.”was great as it ‘book ended’ the story and showed the final result of Dumbledore’s thoughts and decision making throughout the chapter, compared to his opinion at the beginning.
You also effectively portrayed Dumbledore’s loneliness – another important aspect of his character – through his conversations with Fawkes and the Portraits, the only people he has to talk to about the decisions regarding Harry. His moments of dialogue with Fawkes were touching, and particularly the appearance of the quill at the end showed the extent of Fawkes’ intelligence and his intuitiveness to Dumbledore’s thoughts and feelings.
The story was also impeccably written, and I have to say that I loved the use of the word Muggleness – for some reason it really made me smile! Even though the plot was simple, it was interesting and I, like so many others have often wondered how or what Dumbledore wrote in his letter to Petunia, and you showed us a very believable version of the story behind the letter.
interesting. I have long wondered what was in the " remember my last" letter...
Wow. This is really amazing. It shows a side of Dumbledore that isn't very often shown. Good for you! I loved Fawkes' role in this story too. I think you finally show the close relationship Dumbledore has with his phoenix. I really liked your story!
Author's Response: I am so glad you liked it! Thank you for your review! I think there are some things ONLY fawkes really understands...I'm glad you liked how I portrayed that in this story. Thanks again for your review!
I can really imagine how hard it would be to write the letter he has to write. We haven't seen him indecisive very often, so it is very interesting to see him in that state right now. :) I loved when Fawkes gave him the new quill! :) That was a great touch. Good story! Good luck with the challenge! Cyns
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! I knew Fawkes would want to support him in an angsty moment. I think it must have been a very hard day for Dumbledore - he had his reservations, and yet everyone else was high on the win and he couldn't take them down. Thanks for the review and kind wishes!