I loved this story. I think it was neat that you chose to use Percy instead of the other more common characters.
Honest reaction to the first two paragraphs?: lmfao. I mean, really. Right off the bat (no characterisation pun intended), you have Severus Snape characterised perfectly. The snarky, arrogant sense of complete irritation with the fact that he is cursed to be more intelligent and more competent than everyone else in existence, and the witty delicacy with which he forms every snide remark and insult. Whee!
And the perfection of characterisation with which you present Severus to the reader only strengthens the central issue of the story. It makes it more believable, for one, as though in a way you've proved to us this is Snape, so now we're more likely to accept the parts of him you present that we haven't seen in canon.
When had a pledge of universal honesty become a practice of universal derision?. And I like this line. It sort of serves as a thesis statement for the concept of the story, and at the same time, it doesn't feel contrived and purposeful. It is a simple concise statement of what is the basic conflict for Severus, a big part of who he is: what he intended, and what he becomes.
A personal comment on the story: I felt that it made sense for Severus to realise his guilt after attacking Percy because he saw a bit of himself in him. It's not like Harry, who represents James, or Charlie or Bill, who we know to have been successful and popular at school. Percy is an awkward sort of over achiever, trying to prove himself to others by being successful. Snape, while not quite the same, had similar traits and experiences. Not well liked or popular, the target of ridicule, but he felt (or knew) that he was intelligent and competent and he felt that people owed him respect for that. Snape's worry of Percy losing all interest in the subject also strengthens this feeling for me. Whether or not you intended that, I think that my showing that Snape was seeing Percy as an person and not just an incompetent student was a very powerful statement.
If nothing else, it humanised him. Which you don't really see with Snape. Usually people garner pity for him, trying to explain why he is the way he is. But you've actually had him realise his own faults and hate himself, which ... realistically, is something that he has to go through sometimes.
I like the touch at the end, with his mother, an then Lily. The idea of her being brilliant and potions and him being aware of that and measuring everyone up to her is... very Severus. And of course, the feeling of disappointing her. You could have gone without it and still had this charactersation be believable, but it really just seals the deal by ending the story with it.
I almost want to give him a hug.
Sorry, not criticism. It's short, but I like short pieces and I think making this longer would be dragging it out for the sake of word count. I think the story is very well done and I see no reason to make 'improvements' to it.
Wow... Poor Percy... I liked the way it all turned out to be about Lily, that's for sure. I was uncertain as to where it was headed. Very enjoyable read!
I just put my hand over my mouth and made a sad little gaspy noise. So, so SWEET! And sad and touching, and amazingly prescient. :) Great job with Snape's character in such a short fic. I love his teaching philosophy, the fact that he's honestly trying to do them a service by being hard on them, but at the same time he can't control his disdain for them for not giving back enough. I particularly liked "It would almost have been impressive, had they any intention of producing such an astounding array of results." I'm not sure how much you meant that to be sarcastic, but I think that Snape really would have preferred them to take a chance and at least fail by trying rather than fail by cowering. It's true to his values of knowledge and bravery. In fact, that's what impressed me so much. Everything in the fic, all his conflicting emotions, made perfect sense for his character as we know it. But then when you added Lily to the end, they suddenly made sense in an entirely different way too. Brilliant layering there! If I had to concrit, which is hard to do, I'd say that some sentences were a little bit difficult to read. Your writing style tends toward longer, sometimes complicated sentences. I'm not sure that's really bad though, because the sentences are always worth the second read to figure them out. So... don't change it, I guess? :) I wouldn't want you to sacrifice well-crafted sentences for easier reading, but it does make it slightly less accessible. Just something to be aware of. But really, this fic was fantastic. Truly. No sugar-coating. I want you to write lots and lots of Snape fic because I really think you've got an insight into his character. (Must be your analytical minds.) ;)
Aw, poor Severus. I liked this the first time through, Lian, but I like it even more the second (whether or not it has something to do with having read DH, I do not know). The characterizations are perfect, the tone sufficiently biting and sophisticated. That said, a few nitpicks to start out with (because you know I can’t resist the chance to nitpick):
“Oh, the botched potions of first years.” Considering the elegance of much of the narration, this seems strangely clunky to me, especially as a first line. I’m not quite sure what I’d suggest as a change; perhaps replace ‘of’ with ‘produced by’, or something of the sort, or perhaps rework it a little.
It required only diced lovage, ground nettles, and Water of Lethe–which was, of course, already bottled… It’s initially unclear whether the ‘which’ is referring to all of them, or to just the last – perhaps you could specify? “The last of which was, of course…”
the possible consequences of an incorrect number of stirs in potion-making. This was a slightly awkward wording, considering that it’s spoken. “The possible consequences of incorrect stirring,” perhaps?
Snape’s voice is, as always, exactly on. Their ruined potions attested to their collective imprudence on a disturbingly frequent basis. *giggles* Also, I really enjoyed your characterization of Percy as a quivering, insecure first-year. And it’s not just because I have a soft spot for him, either.
It’s a fascinating theme you’ve chosen – when honesty stops being beneficial, and starts being mere derision – and you brought it across very well. My one non-nitpicky suggestion would be to give us a bit more explanation – exactly what triggers Severus’ realization? He cuts off so suddenly in the middle of a very typical sentence; what made him realize at this moment, rather than a different one? Is it mere coincidence, or did something cause it?
I love what you did in the second to last paragraph – the insinuation that his standards were set by Lily, and at least part of his resentment springs from the fact that he can’t find anyone like her. I didn’t catch the implications of that the first time through, and it makes for a great conclusion.
Great job as usual, and now I’m waiting for post-DH stories from you, Lian dear!
Author's Response: *squish* I was feeling rather sad about you being an entire continent away, but this review made that seem slightly less sad. And really, it would be horrid of me to grudge you Sweden, or England. You're right about the sentences you noted as being rough; I'll have to go back to them at some point.
As for why that moment? I'm not sure at the moment. And never fear, more post-DH stories will be coming. Eventually. And technically... this one isn't post-DH at all. ;-)
Great story. I don't know if Snape would have ever dismissed the class early, but the sentiment really pulls through. Cyns
Author's Response: In my mind it was already close to the end of class, so it didn't really occur to me that he was being too nice. At that point, he just wanted them gone.Thanks for the review, Cyns!
That was lovely, Lian! This look on Severus seems both wonderfully written, and very accurate. I love the way you justified Severus' derision towards the students and himself. The fact that his driving motive was Lily was spot-on, and made a lot of sense in the context of this story.
Blasted impatient, incompetent, imprudent children! Hee! I loved this line. I find it very likely that Severus has these sorts of thoughts towards students. I've never regarded him as someone who particularly enjoys teaching.
The dialogue exchange between Percy and Severus was amazing - I felt like I was reading straight from the books. I actually thought the conversation was with Ron for a minute, and I actually DID think that you took an excerpt from one of the books. *looks around shiftily* I think it was a great idea to show the relationship of Severus and one of the brighter students - this justified Severus' thoughts of failing his students - even the smarter ones - wonderfully. o.O Not sure how much sense that last sentence made. *shifty eyes*
The last paragraph was beautiful. I love how you made it clear that he still loved Lily. As I mentioned above, it was a great way to justify his derision towards students - that they could never match her brilliance. That's such an interesting thought, and I find it very likely in canon.
All in all, a beautiful one-shot, Lian!
Author's Response: That sentence that you don't think makes sense makes plenty of sense, somehow. I'm glad you found my Severus, his motivations, and his interactions believable.