I'm sorry I haven't reviewed this chapter when it first came out, but I think I received the alert during my finals, & had to push it off, & then it got forgotten through the bustle of the summer. =)
Anyway, I loved it. It was very warm & light-hearted. I could feel relief oozing from every though that went through Lucas' mind.
Please update soon!
It's so comforting to slip into a chapter of V&V. Your writing style is so consistent, and the tone of V&V itself is unique, as though Lucas takes a little control of your narration. It's a strong point to your writing, in general, but it's also a wonderful aspect to providing a sense of coherence for V&V itself; it's something many fan-fictions (including mine), because of the fact they update chapter by chapter, tend to lack.
Something that has become more prominent in these later chapters is Lucas' gift, which has become more than a character trait or occasional plot device. It's become a theme for the story. As the chapters progress, through his gift, we see a variety of ever-changing emotions highlighted. Personally, it brings my attention to the range of emotions and how specific they are to each person. Also, because Lucas can sense them and this gives him so much insight, it shows how incredibly private people tend to be about so many of our their emotions, and how vulnerable we truly are when someone sees each one of them laid open. And there is also the fact that each person resonates an emotional climate that allows that Lucas can identify their presence and departure.
Lucas didn’t notice that Charlie wasn’t eating, until a clear whiff of affection made him pause over his meal.
It's not fair. How can you write such a deep, beautiful bond between two attractive men who are doomed to be separated by Fate. The emotion here is portrayed so simply, yet so vividly that I can feel Charlie's emotion just as Lucas can, and it takes my breath away.
“It’s not intuition,” Lucas sighed. “It’s more like… a defect. A mental defect.”
Sookie Stackhouse and Jasper Hale, meet your offspring. >.>
“Right behind you, Malory,” Charlie grinned.
*snickers* I bet he is.
Okay, so, Lucas finally reveals his gift to Charlie. I'm only slightly sad that this finalises the fact that Between Two Points of Seperation is not canon. But, it had to happen in V&V itself, so I'll get over it. This event is great not just for moving forward into the relationship between Charlie and Lucas, but it says a lot about both of their characters. Firstly, I love how Charlie's response is brimming with that Weasley sense of love and loyalty. Also, Lucas' fear about making the revelation says a lot about how insecure he is – which makes sense, as he's never had any very serious relationships with anyone outside of his own flesh and blood. But, it's more about the fact that he's scared to confess a secret about himself; it's about the fact that, even being able to sense Charlie's emotions, he is still so hesitant. His insecurity is enough to blind him to the friendship and dedication that radiates from Charlie's personality. It's sweet.
Katie seemed bemused as they went off alone again, but Ginny Weasley narrowed her eyes before they disappeared.
You make it impossible for me to leave a mature review, you know. On a serious note, however, Ginny's narrowed eyes are a good cause for arousing the reader's curiosity. Even at the end of the chapter, I'm not entirely sure for the cause behind this, or for her being "restless like a caged animal". I wonder if it's a combination of how the feelings she reveals about Lucas' presence (and his resemblance to Lucius) and more discomfort, or jealousy, that her big brother is spending all his time with him. Or if there's something else…?
The story about Lucas realising his ability was both interesting and enlightening. It didn't occur to me that he wouldn't have always known it was an "extra" talent, but of course how could a child know any different? The idea of his frustration with his family not responding to his emotions is both amusing and sad. I really love that you worked this in.
The contrast of Charlie's description of Lucius as a "Manipulative bastard,” with Lucas' point of view that "He was using what tools were available to him to make sure I would help him." I love how they can be two sides of a coin. And, I also love how grey Lucas' character is. Of course, those are my favourite characters – The one that befriends the heroes, but is sympathetic to the villains as well. I think the best thing about these characters is that they bring out the mid-tones amongst the blacks and whites. They humanise each side by bringing them even closer to the middle.
Ginny's characterisation at the end is wonderful. It's all the good things about Ginny, minus the irritating cliché or over-the-top bits about her – the Ginny as I think she should be written, and the Ginny I can usually get a long with. This line is both amusing with its bluntness and pure gold for the spot-on characterisation: “It has nothing to do with you, believe me, I know that. I’m just explaining to you why I’m avoiding you, why it’s so hard. It’s not that I hate you personally or anything.”
And the chapter closes with a sense of peaceful resolution, and I feel slightly jealous that they're all off to bed. Peaceful chapter endings are always to be suspected, because they're almost worse than cliff hangers. False security and all that ;) Something new must happen, but we just have no idea what to expect.
Your stories always give me so much to think over when I read them, especially each chapter of this story. I looked back to see when last I reviewed this fic, and last time I had so much to say about the strong, tangible characterization. I feel that still continues in this fic. It has been ages since I read any of it, so I went back a couple of chapters just to catch up on what was going on, but I didn’t feel like I’d really spent much time away from the characters of Lucas and Charlie and Katie. The way you portray them remains so strong and singular through every installment of the story. Lucas is like no other character in fan fiction because you have established him so richly as who he is by detailing how he responds to things, how he deals with his empathy powers, and by showing how he’s opening up and creating that bond with Charlie.
I really love the way this chapter plays out. Until nearly the end of the chapter, nothing really happens in the sense of plot, and I didn’t notice that until nearly the end because I was so engrossed in the conversations that Charlie and Lucas were having over the dueling practice. You took something so natural and routine for them and used it as a tool to further explore who they are and what they think, and then, at the end, you have lulled the reader into so much character study that the reveal of why Charlie killed someone, and who it was that he killed comes as such a surprise, which was awesome. I’ll come back to that last, but how about the other things first, yes?
I adore the first conversation we see between them. It shows how they’ve fallen into being friends completely again, and you also are so clever in poking fun at the whole dragon keeper thing that is really kind of ridiculous, but so true in the fandom, and probably or undoubtedly true in the actual wizarding world. I just loved seeing Charlie be a bit exasperated about it, and then seeing Lucas’s amusement. But, as you pointed out in the narration, Lucas is feeling what friendship really is like for the first time, and that is what is significant about the seemingly insignificant conversation. We, as the readers, are feeling what it’s like for Lucas, and we’re learning more about him.
I loved how you then explored Lucas’s blooming connection to Harry Potter and how he feels curious about him since he’s connected to people that matter to Lucas, as opposed to before when he had no reason for interest. It’s such a true characteristic in real life, and the way you’ve illustrated it in the story gives Lucas just another layer, another way to jump off the computer screen and into brilliant life inside the reader’s head. You then teach us more about Lucas and give him more of a chance to grow in the conversation over girls and houses. Another conversation that was amusing, but also enlightening. You really do weigh everything you include in your stories, it seems, there is not an idle word or happenstance. Everything just adds more to the story, nothing is just for the sake of passing time. I mean, this entire chapter is a case in point. Yeah, they’ve got to find something to pass the time, so they’re practicing their dueling, and you’ve used it as an opportunity to enhance who they are and show us some of what they’re thinking.
The end scene of the chapter is powerful. You explore the concept of power and evil and good and the confusion and lack of understanding others motivations. It’s all very interesting. I appreciate that you don’t get into things too much and make it too heavy or tedious to read. You get into a topic just as much as you need to, and you leave room for the reader to ponder over the matter themselves without making up their minds for them, which is quite a powerful tactic for you as the author to have employed, especially in this scene.
I was very touched at how much the friendship between Lucas and Charlie just seems to grow, and they care about each other, and they’re working to understand any differences. Most of all, though, they have quite the bond of trust, now, and that is something that you’ve made very fascinating to watch. You didn’t just kind of snap your fingers and say, “Ta da, they’re best friends now, fyi,” but instead you’ve shown your audience the progression, and they’re still progressing, and you don’t neglect that at all. You don’t expect your readers to just buy into their friendship changing overnight, and I commend you for that. The chapter was wonderful, dear Anna.
Except… Oh, and this isn’t bad, in fact it’s so very good of you, but also very wicked. I want to know precisely what happened in the matter of Higgs and Ginny and you just didn’t give me enough details there. But good for you, keeping me dissatisfied because you did it so brilliantly.
I'm so glad you've decided to update this! Great chapter, and I'd like to applaud you once again for writing something here that's really fresh, involving, and completely awesome. Your writing is beautiful in itself, and your story is completely addictive. And thanks for the recap at the start. It made it that much easier to get back into the story.
Worth the wait! Nice update and I appreciated the summary!
Miss Anna, I do like this story. Very much I do. Mostly because you make me care about your characters. They’re very much alive, and that is just fascinating to read and to think about. It’s like when I read your story, it’s not over, it’s not a chapter I read. It’s like someone’s life is unfolding, and they’re a part of my life. It’s lovely to read. /gushing.
To the recent chapter. I shall only have a few nit-picky things, but I think they’re worth pointing out. To start with the lovely Katie. I love how you captured her, but I don’t think this sentence you have her say does her justice:
but that doesn’t stop me wishing I were home with my family, making moving gingerbread and decorating some silly tree.
As clever and fun as moving gingerbread is, I can’t help but wonder (if that’s normal for wizards/witches) if they would distinguish moving from non-moving. They refer to pictures as pictures even though they move because they expect them to move—it’s normal for them so they don’t have to mention it. Perhaps she would have made a more subtle remark to clue your readers into your brilliance… like someone in her family charms them really bad/good and they are envious or hopeless compared to other moving ginger. Or her mom had a special recipe to make them sing/something more than just scamper/dance. Just a detail thought…
Then there is the paragraph where Lucas is reflecting on all the decorations they were “forced” to put up and the “distress” of the house-elf when Charlie insisted on helping and though it was a “rather horrible-looking end result” they felt something “suspected to be holiday spirit.” There’s no more perfect way to describe that than I just love this. The details you flawlessly included were perfect. You didn’t show the entire scene, but we could feel the emotions from each character as vividly as if you had, or perhaps even more so because you allowed your readers to make connections in their own minds with similar situations. That paragraph was perfect. It’s an example of the kind of thing you put so easily into your writing all the time that makes it more tangible and more exciting to read.
An unnecessary action, as his hair never seemed to tangle.
Yes. –grins- I died laughing at this part. Not only because it was Lucas, but because I instantly associated it with Mr Lucius Malfoy as well. And it was awesome.
“Yes… they great, aren’t they, the Weasleys?”
It could be just me, but I don’t think Harry talks like this… >.> That’s all. Perhaps “they’re” or “they are great”? Sorry that was something so minute, but I couldn’t help but let you know.
As for this chapter, it was something once again, so different from the rest of the story, yet it fit perfectly. It was melancholy, Lucas is feeling very alone, yet rather than the chapter dragging, as authors so commonly do when characters are down, your chapter allowed us to feel vivid emotions and laugh and experience life even when Lucas didn’t understand his point to live.
In other words, I really, really enjoyed this chapter. I love your characters, and it was, once again, a fantastic read. –grin-
Heehee. Even looking at the opening of this chapter has me smirking, because I keep thinking about Between Two Points of Seperation.
Anyway. Do you know I like it when chapters/stories open with letters? I do. I mean, obviously it can't be done all the time, and if it was, it probably wouldn't have the same effect - but it is wonderful on occasion. And I do like that Lucas signs his letter "Love..."; it's a nice insight to the Maximillian-Lucas relationship.
I do love Katie in this story. I have a constant urge to hug her. How could anyone ever choose Ginny over her? *sighs and shakes head* Though, the Charlie-Ginny moment was really lovely.
..a stunning woman who must be the French wife Charlie had told him about, Fleur. *smirk* You know what would be interesting? Lucas/Charlie/Fleur.
Speaking of Fleur, her dialogue is excellent! ;)
But her restlessness was different, her heart a little harder, and he found himself wondering why that was. I'm wondering, too. *raises eyebrow*
*sigh* And now we come to the depressing part. Poor Lucas. The truth is that I can really relate to how he feels when the Weasley's arrive and everyone is a group of friends or family. Obviously, he has a rather rough go of it, because he an feel the glow within them, but - I still understand that outsider feeling. And then there's this: He lay on the crumpled covers for another endless stretch of time, wishing… not to be dead, because he wouldn’t want to cause Maximilian the grief of losing another family member. No, he rather wished that he could erase his very existence. Yes, poor Lucas. The whole passage really does dampen the spirit.
the mistrusting and not-so-discrete staring of Charlie’s brother. Not-so-discrete, what a way to define Ron in a nutshell. XD
And now back to Harry and Katie, and Lucas's emotional eavesdropping. It's really hard to be very exuberant in this review when so much of the chapter is so incredibly depressing x.x I think it's a good point to have brought up. I mean, we know that Lucas is not used to having company; and the company he is used to he's, well, used to. Now he's found himself among an entirely new set of people, with completely new emotions, and on top of that, rather fierce ones, made even fiercer by the effects of war.
So, of course he's intrigued and overwhelmed, and this sudden surge of emotion between Harry and Katie drew him. I mean, he berates himself, for being a parasite - but it's not as if he behaves that way all the time. He's just not used to the amount of emotions that have been thrust upon him. And, of course, in that moment when he realises what he's doing - sigh. Poor Lucas. It really begins to make perfect sense that he's a loner; there are many factors of course, but I can see him having trouble forming social circles and being with friends, always aware of what they're feeling, and in danger of feeling like a parasite when he inadvertently eavesdrops on private emotions.
And of course, the closing scene. *sigh* Harry. How we love Harry. I like that that Lucas shares that moment with him, and it gives me a surge of affection for Lucas that he sees the sort of person Harry is. I like Harry-supporters :) And I think that Lucas's common bond with Harry in the end really makes this wonderful in a fan-fic sort of way. You haven't made them best friends or anything, but there's our hero, and he's connecting with Lucas, and it just... I don' know. It's very lovely.
And I am, of course, anxious to find out what Lucius has done to get himself on the cover of the Prophet ;)
I loved the chapter! Though the cliffie wasn't so nice! We don't even know why Lucius is in the papers! Could he have escaped already? Oh, well, he dos escape in canon around this time in the story, right?
Anyway, please update soon! & sorry I couldn't revieww sooner. My email is a huge jungle. =D
The other Malfoy boy.
I loved his conception, the 'courting' Grace and Lucius shared (with Lydia's instigation). It was so inherently Veela. Grace was the dominant female, and Lucius was putty in her hands. You also painted the society they moved in through their dialogue and through Grace's disdain. It was heady; I couldn't help but be drawn in. As early as with Lucas's parents, the story's title was applied. Grace being Volition and Lucius being Vacillation. Of course it was the former that held sway. No blame on Lucius. He was as thread to needle. Though, he still deserved looking on from afar at his better son, instead of being beside him.Now, Lucas. I wonder, if I live with you and Jenna, would your abilities to craft such vivid characters rub off on me? I wish.
I love his love for his mother and grandfather and I love his dignity and grace. His vacillation stems from these latter two, ingrained deeply in his character by his mother. Dignity is what made him beautiful in Lucius's eyes. Grace, in every sense of the word, is what made him come to Lucius. Dignity and grace is what made him conflicted after his talk with his father. Would he remain untainted, or would he ignore the 'woman and her child' mentioned by Lucius? That was it, wasn't it, because he certainly didn't owe, nor was he raised with, allegiance to his Malfoy heritage.This power he has, wow. I'll keep an eye on it. I wonder how you will incorporate that into the plot. And speaking of the plot, who is the woman and child? And how are they doing while Lucas is happily abducted? It's the ace you plan on playing with a flourish, isn't it?
Enter Charlie. Classic complementing of characters. He and Lucas does each other good. Charlie is the one Weasley brother I've only encountered fleetingly. How you've fleshed him out is so natural, Anna. It's also endearing the way Aunt Muriel dotes on him and vice-versa. Which brings me to: like the pureblood elitists' circle, you've drawn the Prewett farm and it's tranquility and charm distinctly, leaving nothing to be desired.As an overall review for now, I can't rave over each chapter's details right now, but I like Charlie and Tonks's slight argument. "I was thinking about how sad it is that it’s our closest relationships that seem to hurt us the most. Put us through the hardest struggles." Aside from the subtle veer of the spotlight to Tonks and Remus's, and everyone's loves, is there a small foreshadowing there, regarding a nipping that would come later on Charlie and Lucas's budding friendship?
And as to this budding friendship, you have made Lucas and Charlie intelligent and compelling men. I can't wait for the next chapters. I wonder what they'll say to each other next. Their banter and the friction before their camaraderie was established is as riveting as the storyline. Kudos and kudos, Anna.
Well, after Kasey deemed this required SPEW reading, I thought I ought to dip into it. So I settled myself down with a few spare minutes and a cup of coffee, and I’m so glad I did, Anna. One chapter has me utterly captivated.
I really like the way that initially we have everything we would expect of Lucius, given the older man we later know, but that you gradually lead us away from that. Initially, everything about him is so calculated and dignified and calm. He is the perfect host, proud of the occasion but detached, and he has that same distant pride in Narcissa. And yet, you start to drop hints early on that perhaps his composure, and his attachment to his fiancée, isn’t much more than skin deep.
Lucius followed in his tracks, enjoying the childish pleasure of standing taller than his father on the stairs
I adore this line, because suddenly in half a sentence, you sweep away all of his carefully constructed dignity and leave him a silly young man, who can then so easily be entranced by Grace.
He was struck by the feeling that she was in fact guiding him, and did not quite agree with the idea.
And yet, he does nothing to stop it…
I love the way that in one chapter you’ve completely turned my patriarchal expectations of the wizarding world on their head. I’ve always assumed that, given the old-fashioned-seeming values of Pureblood society, the men would have affairs and the women would, as they always had, pretend it wasn’t happening. So, I find it wonderful that in Lydia and Grace you’ve created two strong-willed women who can change this view utterly. It’s Lydia, and not Abraxus, who encourages Lucius, and presumably after whom he takes in his views, and Grace has the power to leave our usually suave Mr Malfoy a disconcerted, all-but-stuttering wreck, whilst she has utter control of the encounter.
She thanked him not with words, but with the sight of her lips touching the silver.
So subtle, so restrained and yet hinting at so much (just as Grace would intend, I assume).
Are you in pursuit of a husband?
I couldn’t help but giggle at this because something in the phrasing led me inexorably to Pride and Prejudice, and there’s a certain parallel in this ball to the Regency balls, and yet Grace’s forwardness and couldn’t be more incongruous with that. And of course, the last thing this single woman in possession of a good fortune is in want of is a husband!
“Are you planning on escorting me to somewhere more private? Or are we to risk a scandal behind one of your draperies?”
Oh, Grace is simply wonderful! The sheer audacity to be able to utter such a line has just made me adore her character completely!
Great chapter, despite the fact that nothing really HAPPENED. The dialog is wonderfully written so that I'm on the edge of my seat between lines. Charlie and Lucas are so easy to relate to, and their entire situation is intriguing and exciting. You have great flow in your writing. I look forward to next chapter!
I know that I've said this to you before, but I find it adorable that Lucas is so adorable and has no idea. I wanted to -squish- him the entire chapter. He's good at appreciating the good qualities of people – like when he remarked that Katie is a true Gryffindor, in the best way – and he demonstrates a very devoted and understanding love towards Charlie. He's reserved and not demonstrative of his affections, and yet we can tell from his playful banter, thoughtfulness, and musings that he cares deeply.
My favorite part of the chapter had to be when Charlie said, “Perhaps that’s the point, that people like you and I aren’t supposed to understand. If we did, maybe we’d be like them.” I thought it was very wise. I'm wondering if maybe that idea will come into play later in the story, if Lucas has more encounters with Death Eaters. There's a certain moral ambiguity to his character, though I can't imagine him ever supporting Voldemort's methods.
Another point that I found interesting was“I find it interesting that someone who is so aware of other people’s feelings can seem so empty of emotions himself.” It struck close to home. I know exactly what he meant, because although I find it very easy to understand where other people are coming from and feel empathy, I often don't show it. There's a certain amount of trust involved in showing emotion to other people that I find difficulty to give, and perhaps that's part of why Lucas doesn't show emotion.
This was a very enjoyable chapter, what with the companionship between Charlie and Lucas and the ideas that you gave us to ponder, but I was hoping for more plot. It felt like more of a filler chapter, especially because it's so short. Hopefully we'll see some interesting developments next time, but I look forward to reading it in any case
Charlie, while by no means a bad dueller, was more of a hands-on man... - *giggles* Is he really? My dear, I almost wish to to challenge you to write a whole chapter of V&V with nothing to inspire the imaginations of us Charlie/Lucas shippers. Just to see if it's possible. I don't think it really can be done, considering how little it takes to catch the attention of my imagination.
Nowadays, he didn’t have to make an effort to be aware of even the slightest shift in his friend’s emotions... - I read that, and had to stop and think. It suddenly seemed so familiar, like it reminded me of someone else. And, then, !, I realised - JASPER! It's not quite the same thing, of course, but it's so very similiar. Hee.
...the whole wizarding world was still obsessed with learning about his whereabouts. Oh, an opportunity for me to be useful in this review. The use of 'about' and 'whereabouts' so close together makes for some awkward repetition. Here, it might have been better to say '...with learning of his whereabouts,' or '...with discovering his whereabouts.' There's always more than one way to say things.'
What interested him was to know what he was like, the young man whom Katie Bell had found worthy of her time and affection. I really like this line. It gives me a sudden rush of Katie's feelings for Harry. But, more importantly, it's an interesting way of characterising Lucas, as well as showing us who Harry Potter is in the PoV we're looking through. He's not The Boy Who Lived or The Chosen One, but someone who is of personal importance to the new people in Lucas' life. And, the phrasing shows a high esteem for Katie, which makes me happy.
Thinking it would be sad to see Charlie with a sore back... - *giggles again* No. We wouldn't want that, would we? >.>
"...someone who knows to appreciate the good things in life.” - Am I allowed point out that this is not a trait anyway connected with the Hufflepuff house and is utterly random and seems to be a reference to a certain Hufflepuff I know. *ahem*
"...I wonder who would bore the other to death first?" - This line makes me laugh out loud. There are some other good ones, but this is hilarious. :D
“Not necessarily, I don’t think. I can understand motivation, and I can understand doing everything in your power for a cause, or a person. What I don’t get are the things that motivate them.” - Oooh, I think this is my favourite part in the chapter. It really says something. I would have liked to have seen them talk about it more. Though, I think that would have been hard to do, since it directly leads into the Charlie's explaination about the man he killed. But, still, I'd have liked to seen more of their contemplation of this. I definitely agree with Charlie, and I think the way you put this was perfect. *applauds*
This chapter was very interesting and unexpected. It sort of seems like an interlude because it has such a distinct style that is so seperate from the other chapters. I really love dialogue, and I imagine a lot of people feel the same way. It was a great way of giving us information, and characterisation, as well as developing the Charlie-Lucas dynamic. (Look, I even used a hyphen instead of a slash!) I like that nothing actually happens, but it's still interesting and it still drives the reader to get to the end, because the conversation is so wonderful. It's sort of like a conversation from His Dark Materials or The Republic; something that goes into ideas and does more than just relay information important to the plot.
I would have preferred it longer (most things are better longer, after all!), but it was quite enjoyable anyway. I am admittedly completely ready for some rising action, now. (Oh, dear, I've gone and put my mind totally in the gutter, because I've considered that phrase several times while writing this paragraph and that's the first time I gave a little snicker.) *ahem* Anyway. Lovely chapter, and I'm really going to try and make my next review smut free. >.>
Here’s a nice SPEW Buddy review for you, Anna.
First of all, this story is so unique. I have never come across a fanfic featuring an illegitimate child before, and you’ve managed to tie it into the Potterverse so well, despite the nature of the books. Lucius is the ideal character for this story, and you’ve kept him really IC. The setting of this story, in a perfect, pureblood household, is just perfect. It’s a collision waiting to happen.
I really like the title of your fic. It just grabs your eye immediately. I really envy people who can think up such great titles for things, because mine are always appalling. :]
Grace is such a fabulous character. In the first part of the prologue, she seemed so mysterious and elusive, but in this chapter she seems to have let her guard down, and she has a nicer, motherly side to her. It’s actually very like full Veelas, but I don’t know if you did that on purpose or not.
You have a very interesting way of writing. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s just so different to what you normally see. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though. It’s wonderful, and you capture the scene and the characters really well. If I didn’t know, I would never have been able to tell that English wasn’t your first language.
An odd, most unfamiliar, feeling of gloom came upon him as he watched the scroll blacken, crumple and disappear.
This is what I mean. You describe everything so vividly, and it makes your writing amazing. I loved this line. It’s the little details like this that draw me into a story, and make me want to read on.
I’m really interested to see where this fic is headed. I want to know what you’re going to do with Lucas. I can’t imagine someone never knowing their father, and then not having any interest at all in seeing him. It doesn’t seem like Grace has badmouthed Lucius or anything, so surely Lucas would want to meet him? I know I would. Then again, with Lucius and Grace as his parents, he’s going to be a very unusual character.
Anyway, this is an amazing story so far, Anna, and I don’t have a word of criticism. At least now I’m not the only SPEWer left who hasn’t read this fic! :]
I know you have a million reviews, and many of them are lovely SPEW reviews which have probably already told you the same thing, but it can’t hurt to hear my opinion as well, eh? I thought not. And I’m also well aware that this is not your most recent chapter, but this chapter just begged for me to respond to it, so here goes…
Bwahahaha!!! Anna! This is AMAZING! Yes, That was my completely honest first reaction to your story. So, now on to the why because that’s the part that will give you warm fuzzies (I hope) and lets you know why I’m beyond thrilled to have finally read this whole story.
First, I must confess one thing I always notice on stories is how people portray characters. Particularly minor characters — it’s like a magnet for my attention. And, oh my, how I love your interpretation of Aunt Muriel. The detail of the Healers Carriage bringing her home, and the quite impish attitude she has toward everyone there is perfect! It’s an excellent interpretation of the only explanation we get about auntie Muriel and her kisses. How lovely of you to show this to us in such a brilliant way.
Also, I love how absurdly tender and underlying the loving relationship is between Charlie and Muriel. How she always refers to him as Charles. And even though she drives him crazy, he cares for her, and though you don’t say it, it may be one of the few reasons she’s still alive.
I thought this chapter was beautifully written. And what an excellent comic relief it was for your emotionally driven story. But the amazing part is you pull us right back in to the heat of the moment so subtly and effortlessly like you always do when you write.
Anna, you, I have decided from reading this story, are the master of subtleness. The tiny details you think to throw in do not distract the reader from anything. Everything you choose to put in your story only enhances it and brings out some amazing concoction you’ve brewed in your head to share with the rest of us. For example:
“Who?” Lucas had asked, thinking for a moment that Charlie was referring to Tonks.
-giggles- This is perfect. She’s not even in the scene and it’s funny, but not distracting. :) How lovely.
“They decided this would be a good place for him, while they’re off doing… whatever they’re doing.”
Again, you brought us Crookshanks. How entirely delightful. But at the same time, it’s an excellent subtle reminder of the big picture — what’s actually happening in the world at this time.
But the hour was too early and the sheets were too soft for crucial discoveries
What a fantastic description. Not only does this make you understand what it’s like; I can actually feel inside myself what it means to be wrapped in soft sheets, unable to really grasp whatever it is my brain will eventually discover. I love it when something tangible makes me move in a way I can’t explain. Congratulations for making me connect it so perfectly in my body that I have to move and shift under those sheets.
“INSIDE, Charles!” Muriel commanded, and with an ill-concealed grin Charlie winked at the Healer and began to climb the stairs.
I’m not sure I can say anything more about this scene other than I loved it immensely. And the whole scene, not just this line, is on my personal top ten favorites list of perfect scenes. :D
Gah! I’m going to end up quoting your entire chapter if I keep picking out lines/refinding lines I loved and missed. That’s how masterful your use of subtleness is my dear Anna. I just cannot reiterate how enthralled I am by this story. And it’s all due to your expertness at commanding things. Excellent work my dear.
>.> I know you have a million reviews, and many of them are lovely SPEW reviews which have probably already told you the same thing, but it can’t hurt to hear my opinion as well, eh? I thought not. And I’m also well aware that this is not your most recent chapter, but this chapter just begged for me to respond to it, so here goes…
Bwahahaha!!! Anna! This is AMAZING!
Okay. *glances at word document full of quotes from the chapter* This might go more like a running commentary than an actual review. >.>
“It flapped a little on the table, caught by the October breeze, so he put the black bottle on top.” I really like this little bit of description; it’s yet another bit of lovely imagery that you provide, but that phrase ‘October breeze’ is just a fabulous little way of letting the reader know or reminding them the setting. I love things like that :)
Unaware of doing so, he instantly assumed his writing position, with chin resting against his left hand, and the tip of the feather quill brushing pensively back and forth over his lips. *grins* What a lovely little quirk. It seems so… familiar ;) But, also, I think it sets a lovely picture, particularly with the quill brushing his lips. I’m admittedly more of a Lucas/Charlie shipper than Jenna/Lucas, but I still appreciate the slight sensuality, because I think it allows me not just the read and imagine, but also to feel.
Another rush of wind whirled through his hair and thoughts. I mainly just really liked this line; but also, I love how you emphasise the weight of his thoughts by mixing them with reality; you have a tangible element of nature mixing with a tangible part of Lucas, as well as the abstract part of his thoughts… it would be different if it was just the ‘wind whirled through his thoughts’; the inclusion of the ‘hair’ really ties it into the physical world.
As it was, he felt like an intruder, a burden, like some evil that Charlie and his aunt were forced to keep in their house even though they would much rather not. I really relate to Lucas here. I’ve felt this many times in my life. Like I’m somewhere I don’t belong, where I’m not wanted. It’s very uncomfortable and it makes you feel horribly self-aware. So, I definitely connect with him here and it makes me feel sort of sad that he should feel that. His problems aren’t overwhelming, but it isn’t good to feel discomfited in your current circumstances. Which leads to…
Xerxes hooted then, and Lucas opened his eyes. No, of course that wouldn’t work. Once he had helped a convicted criminal to escape, he would be inevitably connected with and tied to that person. Another nice touch, because I think it must ring true for most people. We get so carried away with the solutions in our mind, sometimes we need someone to hoot at us drag us back to reality and say ‘No, that’s really not any better.’
Not the very best one, of course, but we can’t all be Gryffindors like Charles and myself here, can we?” Sort of amused me that you included the tidbit of her being a Gryff. My first thought was to be doubtful; and, I tried to sort her myself. But, unfortunately, the house for ‘brittle’, stubborn, closed-minded, self-centred people doesn’t actually exist, which is a shame because I can never seem to fit them into any of the other four. I did resign myself to thinking that perhaps she has a bit of braveness to her; she is, after all, allowing the Order to make significant use of her home.
Lucas, filled with Charlie’s embarrassment, could barely contain his amusement. For a moment he felt close to the red-head again, and dared to look straight at him. It was a mistake. The brown eyes met Lucas’ grey, opening up a wide passageway for the doubt, suspicion and disappointment that filled Charlie. Lucas’ mood shifted at once from reasonably good to thoroughly miserable. Charlie, severing the connection, turned to Muriel. *covers eyes* How can someone so tortured by awkward, uncomfortable situations right something so PAINFUL? Agh! But, *applauds*, because also so realistic and full of unresolved sexual tension.
“Yes, of course, Auntie. Blood is thicker than water, you know. Or what do you think, Mr Malory?” /“Perhaps blood is thicker than water, but as far as I’m aware, a wizard needs both to live.” The first line: ouch. But it’s full of that Weasley icy ferocity that some of them seem to possess at times. And, Lucas’ response WINS. I just… I hate it when people simply accept idiomatic expressions or proverbs or well-know quotes by successful, intelligent people. I mean, if you’ve given thought to it and agree with it, fine; but I lovelovelove Lucas for standing up for himself here, and arguing with that. And so well, too! I think it’s an excellent point, and rather Ravenclaw of him.
Though, then you go on to say ‘Lucas didn’t exactly agree with her’ and for me, that… I don’t know. It seemed rather Lucasesque, but it also reminded me strongly of you and how you sometimes say clever things, but then try to point out that you don’t think they’re clever. I’m sure most readers wouldn’t pick up on this, and they’d just see it as a character thing. I think that a big aspect of Lucas character is shaped by the part of you that doesn’t like to own to be being clever very often. Because he is, after all, a Ravenclaw, and he is an intelligent sort of fellow, but the more I read of him, the more I feel that his modesty is mingled with assertiveness. And, he could just be a complex sort of fellow, but it’s hard to make out what he is, or what you intend him to be. I don’t know if you seekritly want to make him complex in that way, or if he’s naturally that way; or if perhaps you’re intentions for him are being held back by your own apprehension of owning up to cleverness. As a reader, I’d like to gain a better idea of Lucas’ acknowledgement – or lack thereof – of his own intellect. I can’t be sure if this is praise or criticism I’m offering; I think it’s just an observation of the character and the author and you can do with it what you will? Yes. I think so.
Calmly, as if about to light a fire for tea water. This caught my eye because I was thinking, ooh, I’d like to heat tea water by fire. Just for the lovely novelty of it, I think. Though, once I’d stopped to think about it, I started to wonder if wizards would use fire to boil water for tea? Now and then, Lucas seems to be more aware of Muggles than one would expect him to be. But, after that fleeting thought, I continued to wonder about what methods and spells wizards might use in their tea-making. I’m hopeless, really.
“Mr Malory! What in Mungo’s name are you of all people doing here?” I LOVE wizardisms; well-done wizardisms, that is. And this is lovely; and so Madam Pomfrey. Not just the ‘What in Mungo’s name’ bit, but the whole reaction is fabulous and so very Poppy :D
I’m actually going to skip forward with a couple of quotes and thoughts before leading into my last little reader-response thing (because I assure you, the last thing I have to say is a show stopper and can’t actually be followed by anything.) First: Charlie was fervently chopping away at large pieces of wood, shirtless in spite of the bitter wind. /“All right, all right, I think I see your point. But I had some pent up energy that just had to be released.” *snort* Totally shameless, älskling. Is there any need for him to be shirtless? Really? Are you honestly telling me that the Charlie/Lucas is all unconscious on your part? I’ll pretend I believe you.
Also, one thing that occurred to me when reading was – where’s Harry? I mean, I just realised it was really strange that Katie was that close to death and Harry’s absence wasn’t even wasn’t explained. Anyone who knows Harry knows he would have wanted to be there unless something was preventing him. And though Lucas doesn’t know him, I think it would still occur to him that a person would be concerned if their loved one was in mortal peril, and he might wonder or ask for an explanation, or perhaps overhear a snipped of someone wondering if Harry should be reached and either that it was not possible or that someone might try and contact him, or maybe the just didn’t want to worry him, or something along those lines. I guess it’s not overly important; but, to me, it feels like it’s worth a mention; if not just to add a bit to the situation, than to catch the reader’s eye with a hint of Harry’s absence.
Continuing on with Katie (who I do adore even in the brief glimpses of her this chapter), the description of the injury is just perfect. It wasn’t overdone, like ‘blood blood everywhere oh noes!’ but it was just enough to make me worry and realise how terrifying it must me and make my stomach turn a little.
Now, that one last thing?
“Well, let me tell you something. Life isn’t that simple! We don’t choose who to have close relationships with — it just happens.” Okay. This may possibly be the biggest compliment anyone will ever receive from Jenna in a fan-fiction review, but: I love Tonks. I love her! Love. Yes, I said it. I said ‘I love Tonks.’ On one hand, yes, your Tonks. But, I don’t want to just say that, because I don’t feel like you just took a character I despise and turned her into a character I love. What you did was take a character I despise and emphasise actual existing traits in her to make me love her. This is the Tonks I appreciate – the one who wouldn’t let Remus turn away from love just because he thought he was ‘too old, too poor, too dangerous’. The Tonks that believes in love and accepts it and commits to it and won’t make excuses for it. And the Tonks that doesn’t wonder about whether to speak up, but who turns around and doesn’t waste any time saying exactly what she feels. And, ah! You know what? I want you to write more of her! I’m looking forward to her presence in this story, I’m looking forward to her and Remus. Oh, *hugs them*.
Yes, I think I’ve outdone myself. This is a long review, in which I’ve made a couple attempts at helpful feedback, as well as announced love for Tonks and an express desire to see more of her and the Remus/Tonks pairing. Perhaps this is just a dream… >.> But no, I assure you that despite the hour, my brain is working perfectly. ;) Am looking forward to more V&V, dear.
Great chapter! It's been a long time in coming, but the wait was definitely worth it. Lucas Mallory definitely is a very interesting character, and you've got a dynamic and absorbing plot. I can't wait to find out what happens next! (I adore Muriel, by the way. You've drawn a perfect portrait of the regal old bat who for some reason gets her way no matter what.) You mention your "Swedishness" in the AN. I've just got to say; you write better English than more people who speak no other language. I'd never had guessed it if you hadn't mentioned it. I'm impressed. Great writing, great story. AU is delicious.
Hello, my dear Anna. I'm inforgiveably late reviewing this latest chapter, because it's really wonderful. My congratulations to you and Lucas on the QSQ, once again; you really deserved it. He's a truly complex character. With too many characters in stories, I sometimes feel as though I know everything about them after only a few paragraphs, but Lucas constantly reveals new layers. He's reserved, but he has a remarkable gift for empathy. He's very quiet and formal, but he can be very cleverly witty (“Perhaps blood is thicker than water, but as far as I’m aware, a wizard needs both to live.”), and he obviously cares deeply about others. Sometimes, I have to admit that he puzzles me. He seems so unlike his mother and his father, for instance. I also paused a moment when he signed the letter to his grandfather with “love” instead of something akin to “yours,” because he seems to reserved. However, he's intriguing and I think I'm starting to feel a kind of tenderness toward him. I'm definitely looking forward to getting to know him better as the story progresses.
It was also lovely to see Katie. I really love your characterization, and I'm also eager to see more of her.
Something that I've noticed about your writing is that it icludes a lot of details. As Laurence Sterne once: “digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine, the life, the soul of reading!” However, sometimes it becomes just a little bit tedious. It's just something to watch out for in excess, because on the whole it's quite enjoyable. I loved your description of the dining room because it made it gave the scene a somehow more comfortable and tangible atmosphere. It reminded me of something that I once read Jo quoted as saying, that in one of her favorite books as a child she always found it very satisfying that the author would describe what her characters were eating, and that's why she did as well.
Your writing is also detailed in the sense that you obviously put a lot of effort into every aspect and detail of the story. I loved that Madame Pomfrey said “what in Mungo's name!” It makes for a very rich and enjoyable reading experience.
Sometimes I feel like you're telling instead of showing what a charctar is feeling, but not that often. You indirectly showed Maximilian's concern very subtly and perfectly. Again, just something to keep an eye out, but not really to worry about.
And for a rather inadequate conlcusion, I'd like to point out a small error: “All the doubt and ill feelings for Lucas temporarily from his mind, it was easy to single out regret, anxiousness, guilt, sadness, worry.” I think “anxiousness” should be “anxiety.”
A great chapter, Anna. I can't wait to read the next! *loves*
You know, I think that Maximillian and Lucas are amazing pillars among men. Lucas is still very young, but he just feels unlike most of those around him, and though he is a bit unsure now and then, I respect him very much. I also mention Maximillian because of the letter exchange between he and Lucas. Though his grandfather is a strong, respectable men, not one to wear his heart on his sleeve, it is obvious again in just this small note - as it has been whenever he shows up in the story - that he loves his family very much, especially young Lucas. He'd do anything to protect them. This fact is so tangible, and yet you haven't spent paragraphs and paragraphs dwelling on it. You effectively show us, without over-showing us.
This is such a chapter of character. That is what I will continue to focus my review on.
There was no reason for you and Lucas NOT to win the award for the best original male character. His sense of duty, of love, of loyalty, and of logic combine to make him one of those amazing pillars, as I mentioned before. He's so concerned for his grandfather, and for his friendship with Charlie. I love that about him. He's not a Hufflepuff, but he has such a very good heart. He's very dear to me, as a reader, and I know I'm not alone. I love finding characters like Lucas. And maybe this may seem repetitive or a bit ridiculous to say after the seventh installment, after this story has been up since last spring, but the new chapter reminded me of it, and I feel for him more each time I read a little more of his story. This is undoubtedly a compliment to you and your writing, because maybe any writer could come up with a story like this, but only you could write about Lucas, and only you could do it in this way.
The tension between Charlie and Lucas is as painful to me as it was to Lucas. To watch the suffering of this friendship was painful. The scene of reconciliation was such blissful relief! I was so happy!
The interactions with all of the characters in this chapter was great to read. The emotions always feel very real, there's nothing fake about them. Well, I mean, there is Muriel who has her acts, but that is genuine Muriel, not fake Muriel. -giggles- Oh, she's such a horrid dear. She reminds me vaguely of my maternal grandmother and of bits I know and have heard about her own mother.
I find Lucas's empathetic abilities so fascinating. That's all.
The scene where Katie is brought in is so good. There's so much tension and worry that leaks off the screen, as it were. I would like to hear more about what the situation was that led to the desperate escape and tending to her nearly fatal wounds.
Katie, as a character, is already such a dear in this story, but I would say that my only piece of constructive criticism is that I really felt like the scene she was in was so very short, and only just mildly relevant to what is going on. Of course, you're the masterful author of this story, so I don't really question what you do and don't include, but I, as a reader, would've liked a little more from her in this chapter. Hopefully in the next, then.
The last thing I wanted to commend you on was the conversation after Katie has been stabilized. You make such a valid point through the words of Charlie. It is the relationships that we hold most dear that can hurt us most, and I love being able to read philosophies and truisms like this in fan fiction, because they're important to life, and why would we read something that didn't speak to us? Why would we write something that isn't important or true to us? You never fail to write meaningful things, and that is why this story stands out from so many others, Anna dear. I can't wait to read more. I long for the next installment. And in the meantime, I do believe I shall treat myself to a reread over the next week. And then wait as patiently as I can after that.