Lian, SPEW buddy! *loves* I read this last week sometime, just to let the story soak in before I had to review, and let me say that I loved it then. I remember when you were writing the second chapter of this – you were struggling with Hermione’s thoughts. Well, that certainly turned out perfectly! But wait … this is a review for the first chapter. *cough*
I don’t think I could critique this, since you’re a much more talented writer than I am, so I won’t try to find problems that don’t exist. I’ll just tell you what parts I loved and what parts didn’t quite work for me, but that’s just the opinion of one person.
Hermione is one of my favourite characters, and I’m loving that this is from her POV! So realistic. Hee, she’s re-copying … that means this is the third copy. Ha. And she has a runny nose, and she’s reviewing her third copy … Oh my heck, I love it! She’s trying so hard to stay focused, but she just can’t. Good job portraying that feeling – I totally know where she’s coming from. Although, she would never have stopped to take a bath if Ron had been there, would she? *grins*
And *squeeflail* for Snape! You have him perfectly here! Guh. He’s snarky, totally in control, and he’s being polite to her! *flails again* He gives her a handkerchief, and doesn’t take points, and lets her go to her bath! I freaking love it! And bwahaha, she meets him again after her bath. *smirk* And he gives her a potion … Lian, I am not a fan of Snape, but you just might convert me if you continue to write him in this utterly delicious way. Especially when he can give such a plausible explanation for his show of dislike for her. I had honestly never thought of that before – it had always just been that he couldn’t show any respect to a Mudblood or someone on Dumbledore’s side – but he’s giving her lower marks to protect her! I think you’ve killed me dead, Lian.
And here we come to the end of this delectable chapter, and there is nothing that didn’t work for me. After finishing DH, I can’t see Snape acting this way in canon, but it’s absolutely perfect here. In fact, who cares if it’s not canon? It’s utter love. Sorry I wasn’t very coherent in this review – you blew away with Snape. I love you for writing him this way. *hugs*
Author's Response: I've killed you dead? Oh no! I prefer my Abigail entirely alive. *sigh* I realize my Snape, at least as portrayed here, is not in canon with DH. I've decided that I like what I've started here and that I want to get it right, even if that means stopping and thinking about it for quite a while before continuing with it. Thank you for reviewing, and for being such a lovely SPEW buddy!
I like how you had Hermione trying to solve the puzzle. All her thoughts on it, I mean. Gives an insight into her head.
I love all of Hermione's observations. Very realistic, and funny, too. :D
That last thing is a perfect example of foreshadowing. Maybe Hermione did have the gist of the plan all along, but she never said anything.
Now that maeks me wonder. I'm not exactly like Hermione, but what have I missed while my head was in a book?
Author's Response: I'm glad that you liked this chapter – I was afraid people might be bored by it! Thanks for reviewing again. I intend to continue this at some point, but post-DH I'm struggling to get my thoughts about this story in order. I've decided that I'd rather write it right than write it now, if that makes sense. Thanks for reviewing!
I could really hear Snape in my head as I read this. You captured him very well. Hermione was good, too, but how you got Snape is what really got me.
I love how you ended it with a question. Now I can't wait to click the button and find the answer.
Is this sort of a character study? Are you exploring Snape's and Hermione's characters?
Well, anyway, very nice job. :D
Author's Response: I don't think I'm capable of writing anything that's not a character study at some level, so I do suppose it is one. Thanks for reviewing!
This is Nan, reporting in for reviewing duty! *salutes* You’d think that after three hours I wouldn’t have anything left to say, and yet, somehow I always do. You may have already heard bits of it, but since when has that stopped me?
There are two things I really love about this chapter: the way the writing mimics and sets out the logicality of Hermione’s arguments, and the way you (and she) resolutely pursue the overall theme. For the first, the question and answer style works perfectly. It took me a little while to get into, to be honest, because that’s really not how my mind works – I tend to ramble away from the questions, and can’t keep things straight unless they’re on paper. I love how this chapter serves as an illustration of Hermione’s mind, the way she sets out the questions and then the answer. And I love that it is to some extent this very process which is in question; Hermione believes that all questions ought to be answered, but Snape forces her to look at the price. It didn’t occur to me before, but it’s slightly ironic that Hermione’s response to the warning that knowledge comes with a price is to run out and gather as much knowledge as possible.
If the theme of the first chapter is that knowledge comes with a price, the theme of the second is that before you find the answer, you have to find the question. I love Hermione’s methodical search for the puzzle. Again, I love how this is mirrored in the question and answer format of her thoughts, and I love that the chapter ends with the discovery – but not the solution.
Perhaps my only critique of the chapter is one you’ve already heard, and while I know you’re not going to change it, I’m going to reiterate it as something to think about in future chapters. This chapter is, as you said, a transition, a connecting chapter; it’s admittedly a bit heavy on the philosophy and light on action – something which is not necessarily a bad thing. Nevertheless, I love your dialogue – you have the great ability of being able to catch some of JKR’s quirkiness, which makes it a lot of fun to read – and I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of it, perhaps in the middle as a transition between parts. As I’ve been reading fanfiction, I’ve come to dislike section dividers (which pepper the early chapters of my own story). Though sometimes they are used extremely stylistically, very often they’re merely used instead of transitions, and sometimes those transitions can really push a story forward. I completely understand not wanting to write the breakfast scene in the Great Hall, but the more I think about it, the more I want some sort of transition, a place for some movement and dialogue.
But despite that, this was an interesting and thought-provoking read, and I’m looking forward to the next one (as you very well know).
Author's Response: You know, rereading this is almost enough to get me out of my post-DH "I don't want to work on PoP anymore because now it's all AU" funk. I do tend to tie chapters together with themes. I wish I was slightly more subtle with them, but they are what they are. You use them too, you realize, just more subtly.
I know you wanted more dialogue in that transition, and I agree with you that the chapter would be better for it. But... I was too lazy and impatient. *hangs head* Thanks for the review!
*plops down in Lian’s review page*
First off, I love the opening. It made me smile a rueful sort of smile—teenage girls can be such jackals, though those two aren’t all that bad. It was a nice way to make the mood not quite so heavy.
What I found myself admiring with this chapter is the pacing; really, the plotting as a whole. I think it is evident in much of your writing, that careful ordering of thoughts and events, drawn out precisely as long as they need to be. You seem to me to be a writer that is very conscious of her audience, in a good way. The writing holds my attention all the way through.
The way the entire chapter is bound and made into a whole by the theme of puzzles is wonderful. The writing is easy to wrap your head around because of it; the purpose of the chapter becomes clear. I’ve already mentioned something to that effect in my review for Until the Dawn, but it hasn’t ceased to amaze me. I think this use of a unifying idea is partially what holds my attention so well. The last line brought everything together: “Sighing quietly, she settled back between the roots to resume thinking. Here at last was a puzzle worth pondering.”
Puzzles and Hermione go exceptionally well together, but her manner of thinking felt a little off to me. In the first half of the chapter, when considering what Snape wants her to do, she sounds so cold, even though she’s obviously not. She cares very deeply for SPEW, Ron and Harry, and her grades. Something that I think you could consider for future chapters is making her sound just a shade more natural when she’s thinking. When she was talking to Ron and Harry and observing while disillusioned, she was great. Her easy conversation was lovely, and her observations sharp and amusing. Hermione’s characterization is superb in this story; it just has room for polishing. The logical approach is entirely fitting, but try not to keep it so robotic, with little digression or emotion.
I’m definitely excited to see how this story unfolds. It’s very intriguing. And…you wrote it. : P
Author's Response: I have to admit that this chapter makes me cringe a little––it shows Hermione, but not a lot actually 'happens.' Most of what's there really does NEED to be there for what follows, yes, but it feels almost pedantic when I reread it.
I DO tend to bind chapters and stories together with themes and motifs. Puzzles are most strongly for this chapter, though they may pop up again later.
As to Hermione's emotions... Hermione strikes me as someone who thinks of herself as being very unemotional in her approaches to problems. Cool logic in the face of fire, as it were. Not that her emotions don't effect her, because they do, but they do it at a more subconcious level, driving what possibilities she even considers. Does that make sense? *hugs Ren for being Ren and wonderful (as well as wonder-full)*
Author's Response: Thanks for reading.
Brilliant, Lian! I remember reading the first part of this a while ago -- I didn't realise it was going to continue!
The opening conversation made me smile, not because it's funny, but because it's exactly the kind of drama that is so hideously common to teenagers. Ick.
Hermione's scientific approach to her problem amuses me; it's very logical in a very not-normal-teenager way, but it suits Hermione, whose thought process has never looked entirely like anyone else's.
And so this is where it ends -- with Dumbledore and Snape arguing about Something. I wonder what! :)
I am excited to see the rest of this!
Author's Response: Well, when I posted the first chapter I didn't even know if I was going to add to it, so you're certainly not alone. I'm glad you liked Hermione's thought process, and I hope you enjoy the chapters to come.
The point of this story is completely marvelous. You do a wonderful job of pointing out how Hermione, though incredibly bright, can still miss some things which are incredibly important and pointed out to her by others.
Of course, the fact that it is Snape who points out the fact that book smarts are not always the answer to everything may explain part of the reason Hermione is not able to comprehend the message he is trying to tell her. There is the sense that had he been any one of the other professors telling her the same thing, he might have gotten through to her. But, since it was Snape, her perception of him kept her from really giving much credence to what he was telling her.
Both of the characters are written very well in your story and are true to their characters in the books. Snape is as snarky as ever and Hermione remains the know-it-all who focuses solely on learning to the exclusion of even the consideration of her own health.
The only real thing I noticed with your chapter was in the following:
There, finished. Well, better reread it, she thought.
The 'she thought' in that passage should not be in italics, unless Hermione was actually thinking those words as well.
Other than that tiny little spot, I think this story was a great little missing moment that explores the motivation of both characters as well as their dynamic with each other. Very enjoyable!
Author's Response: Thanks for catching the italics issue, Karin! I'll fix that next time I go through and edit (which is a pain, given coding issues, as you know). I'm glad you enjoyed this story. It's great to read your review because you understand their conversation from a totally different angle than what was written, and yet I can't say that I didn't mean it that way, because it's certainly an implicit aspect of what I've written. Thanks for the review!
What a really, really cool idea. HErmione really needed to learn that lesson! I have friends who do that- the staying-up-too late just for school, not the Death Eater underestimating thing obviously. Anyway, I really really like this, and I assume you are a Snape-is-good supporter, and you do a really great job of writing him. In character, too, while exploring further as well. This also applies to Hermione. Excellent job overall.
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked this so much! I have to confess I had so much fun writing it that it's turned into a chaptered fic. Chapter 2 is with the betas, in fact. Thanks so much for leaving a review!
Well, you already know most of my thoughts on the story, so this is mostly going to be me mentioning my favorite parts. You don’t mind, do you?
Twenty minutes later Hermione had removed an apostrophe, changed one comma to a semi-colon, and finished going over her translation. Her nose was most decidedly running.
This line made me smile – it’s Hermione personified; she goes over the entire translation and only ends up changing the punctuation around. Also, I love the way the references to her health are so abrupt and brusque – she is so determined to compartmentalize, and her annoyance with her symptoms comes out perfectly.
…down to the sixth floor by way of an unremarkable staircase that was never there on Tuesdays.
I know I already mentioned this to you, but I love the way you include tiny details like this that make the magic world come alive. You throw them out casually, rather than drawing attention to them, and it just makes the story that much better.
“Tell me, Miss Granger, has it ever occurred to you or your friends that wandering the castle at night might be unsafe? Not to mention detrimental to your health?”
There wasn’t really anything she could say to that. Hermione blew her nose.
This just occurred to me now, but Snape’s question doesn’t strike me as particularly unanswerable. I’m surprised by Hermione’s failure to respond, excuse her behavior, because she does believe that her midnight wanderings are justifiable (she only breaks rules when she has a justifiable reason) and there are all sorts of rationalizations she might use to defend herself. On the other hand, she’s sick, and might not be as secure in her justification of this particular instance, and might just not feel like arguing. Just thought I’d point that out, though.
I love your Snape dialogue. I find Snape a very difficult voice to write (to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever written him, but I have no idea where I’d even start). He’s so brusque and superior and there’s always something underneath his words. He never, ever says everything he thinks – whatever his says, there are always layers and layers underneath it. I think Hermione is like him in this sense – she’s not one to blurt out what’s on the tip of her tongue – and this is what makes them such an interesting pair, because there’s always a deeper conversation going on underneath what they actually say. You did a really good job in capturing this – I really, really like their conversation. Can’t wait to see chapter two!
Author's Response: Nan! *pounces*
As to why Hermione doesn't answer: there are many possible ways she could defend herself, but by sixth year she knows Snape well enough to know that none of them are likely to help her. I guess I see her ability to (occasionally) keep her mouth shut as part of her growing up.
Writing Snape is fun for me because it gives me an outlet for snarkiness that I generally shut off. I think you lack that kind of vicious nastiness, my dear.
As to chapter 2, you'll be seeing it before anyone else does, as you well know ;-)
Oooh. Very interesting fic. I really liked the idea of this and Snape's reasoning for the way he grades. I also liked how he keeps suggesting that she needs to think more often and I love it when she actually admits that he might be right...
But it’s hard, I suppose, to find time to really consider everything. Homework and studying take up so much of my time…”
And you write Snape really well. The ending is perfect, how he insists on getting that message through to Hermione.
I really don't know what more to say, except thanks for a great read and keep writing!
Author's Response: I'm glad you like my Snape. It's really interesting how different people understand and interpret him differently. Nothing like reading the reviews I've been getting (on this and other sites) to make that clear to me! Thanks for reviewing.
Verrry interesting! And a good lesson for us all! (Not neglecting our studies or under-grading, I mean, the everything has a price part). Good story, very well-written. :)
Author's Response: I'm glad you were interested! Thanks for reading and reviewing.
Interesting. Yes, I agree that you've got Snape IC. I have to wonder, though, whether this is more fanfiction or autobiography?
Author's Response: Hermione's pushing herself in school is certainly taken from RL (and you know me well enough that I can't pretend otherwise), but beyond that... it's more story than most of my other work! Thanks for the review, Mandy!
This is a very different story. I think I find Snape a little OOC, but it was still a nice read. Hermione was really in character, other then I think she would have had the work done days in advance, instead of running behind. hehe. I love the message that Snape is trying to get across to Hermione, however, and I think it is very good. :) Thanks for the fun read. Cyns
Author's Response: You know, I'm really fascinated by how different people view Snape. He IS being unusually kind here, which may seem OOC. However, he's doing it for a strategic purpose, to help get across a point which will be very important for him. I may have to write a second chapter of this to make that point clear.
With Hermione getting behind –– sometimes people get behind simply because they're putting in SO MUCH effort. I think that might happen to her sometimes.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. It's lovely to have a few readers who I can count on for reviews!
i do like that story, i can see the point you are trying to make. I mean how far do you need to go in order to achieve perfection? Its an interesting idea... i like the way you used Snape to try and teach that particular lesson to Hermione, seems ironic somehow...
Keep Writing!!! You Rock!!! =]
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked the story; I've been questioning lately whether perfection is a reasonable and worthy goal, so I guess it's not surprising that it worked its way into my writing.
ok i'm really quite confused
is it that if all her work gets O's and E's then the enemy will know what she can achieve according to a teacher.
OK i might just be tired anyway you wrote snape perfectly well done
Author's Response: The idea is that if Snape wants the other Death Eaters to underestimate Hermione's abilities –– which would make her safer, because they wouldn't be expecting her to know a lot about defense –– he can't give her good grades. Not the simplest idea, I know, but I think that's how he thingks. I'm glad you liked the characterization!
What a very nice story! It really made me think. Why DOES Hermione need so badly to be first at everything? She comes up with marvelous spells - is she the one who figures out ho to use them (I thought she was, now I have to go look and think about it), or is that usually Harry? I hadn't thought she was lacking in critical thinking, at least in real life - I recall in particular the explanaiton she gave Harry about what Cho was feeling - but perhaps I missed something.
One thing is rather interesting - her contention that a Teacher's first duty is the welfare of his students... In 20 years of teaching no one ever said such a thing to me, and yet I think it was clearly how better people approached their teaching. I HAVE heard the saying that there are two kinds of teachers - those that teach their subject, and those that teach their students...I never would have put Snape in the second category, and yet that is where you have him, and very believably.
I would not normally nit-pick, but somehow I think you'd rather know - you seem to have left out a word. I think you mean "it is more important that your enemies..." but you have written "it is important."
A very nice story. I really enjoyed it.
Author's Response: Hi there! I'm so flattered that you took the time to read and review this! I came up with the bunny for this story towards the end of November when I was feeling really overwhelmed by school and perfectionsim and starting to wonder if being perfect was really a laudable goal and think about what it cost me. The "first duty of a teacher" thing is probably because my dad always used to tell me that "the first responsibility of a parent is to keep ther child safe" when I was little.
Thanks for the nitpick –– there had been a "more" there, but was accidentally deleted during editing. Thanks for catching it (already changed). *hugs*
I have recently discovered a most mysterious pattern: When Lian post, Patrick reviews. I don’t know what could possibly cause this phenomenon, but it obviously works in BOTH of our benefit. For one, you get another review. For me, I can write another review. Quite a great deal, isn’t it? ;) Anyway, to the story. I think I’m going to go ahead and just mention the power that a title has. While I was reading, I had the title subconsciously in the back of my head, ready to have an AHA! Moment of why it’s called that. I think that it suits the piece so well. Hermione is always on the search for perfection, and I *love* what Snape said about how everything has it’s price.
What was it he said again? "Everything has a price, Miss Granger. Do not fool yourself." Not only is this extremely in character [I’ll go into that in a minute], it is what I presume to be the AHA! Moment of the fic. It really is a double-meaning type statement, and you could have easily made it one or the other, but in deciding to add both, it makes the whole piece more engaging and it achieves in creating a whole new level of intellectual …something. Dangit, I knew I couldn’t manage to sound formal for too long. XD Well, I’ll try for a little bit longer. It not only means her literal health, but her safety. It’s incredibly…amazing. Yes.
Now, I typically do not like Snape. I really can’t stand having to read him either, because he’s either unbearably out of character or way too in character [read as: taking him to extremes] that it’s hard to like him in fandom. With that said, you find the perfect balance. He’s strictly in character, not going out on a limb and not exploding in the “emo!ihateyousomuch”. I really like him here, too. You made him a good guy, and that is quite hard to do. Then there was Hermione. Once again, you strike the right path with her: She’s typically way under character or way too over-the-top. Her desire to take a bubble bath over her homework because she’s sick? Very well done and thought out. : )
Now, you are the most thorough person in the whole entire universe. So is your beta. So, when doing a SPEW review, it’s very hard to find anything to nitpick. However, I found something. You already know what it is, and you are probably going to see it coming a mile away. Yes, we either love them or hate them: The ellipses! "Correct. And do you really believe it would be in your best interest for my... colleagues... to know the extent of your knowledge of Defense Against the Dark Arts?" Like I said earlier, while I understand what you are trying to do and what it is trying to communicate, it seems rather amateurish use of them. I have come up with SEVERAL ways of correcting them. Shall I go ahead and list them? Now remember, this is all because I love you.
First: There is an easy way to eliminate an ellipse without losing the sense of a pause. “Correct. And do you really believe it would be in your best interest for my…” He paused. “colleagues to know the extent of your knowledge of Defense Against the Dark Arts?” This isn’t exactly the best way to solve it, but it comes out and directly states it. Another way: “Correct. And do you really believe it would be in your best interest for my… colleagues to know the extent of your knowledge of Defense Against the Dark Arts?” By using a combination of italics and the ellipse, you still get the same pause but you also get the emphasis of the word colleagues which is what you are attempting to do in the first place. I’ll spare you the other one. I don’t want to spend too much time on these… things. XD
I also have to mention, but I really don’t have to, the fact that you use words to your advantage. You can manipulate the world around you in such a way that it just enhances the whole experience about this moment you are portraying. One example, Twenty minutes later Hermione emerged from the steaming water of the prefect’s bath with noticeably clearer sinuses but an even more noticeably running nose. Much to her consternation, she had to stop and make use of the handkerchief several times while performing a drying charm on her hair. I LOVE this. It just shows Hermione being herself. I also heart the word “consternation”.
As usual, brilliant. Lian, do you really need me to tell you this every time you post something new? No, no you don’t. But I like telling you anyway. : ) I loved it.
Author's Response: Part of the idea here was that Severus is trying to plant a seed in Hermione's mind, so that she'll figure out the truth after he has to kill Dumbledore. I know you don't like Snape, but I think he is fundamentally good. Nasty, yes. Even vicious. But not fundamentally bad. I'm glad I not only got you to read Snape, but even to enjoy him. On the subject of the ellipses (of DOOM, as you called them), I'll think about it. We'll see. ;-) *hugs Patrick* Thank you so much for the lovely review!
This has got to be the most accurate representation of Snape and Hermione that I've read in fanfiction. I really like your story for the fact that it wasn't about anything in particular, yet could tell a lot about the two.
Author's Response: I really don't know about "most accurate," because I've seen many different characterizations of both of them, and many of them are quite good. I did try to portray them both believably, though, and I'm glad you enjoyed the result.