That was really interesting in a good way, of course!!!(:
I found your story in the Cat Patrol at SPEW. So I was led directly to the text, no summary to hint at what I would find. The voice you've given your narrator is quaintly smart. I thought Hermione or Lily or Dumbledore. The title should have clued me in, but only when you mentioned Petunia did I know it's Lily. What a Lily.Your first line is a little misleading. It implies that now the narrator no longer believes in magic. Perhaps you can tweak that a little, to match the overall sentiment of the story. Since I was a very young child, I've already believed in magic. Who doesn't at that age? Aside from this, the opening paragraph is nostalgic, at once philosophical and wistful. I liked it a lot.
It's rare for me to invest time in expository fics. I prefer dialogue-wheels. But I'm discovering quite a number of gems written in this reflective style. Where Lilies Grow is one of them.This line, especially, is very lyrical: She sent me a letter that night, telling me that school was simply grand. I threw the letter out the window, watched it flutter, watched it land.
Although your narrative doesn't leave much else to be desired, I'm conflicted whether to praise your story or not. I'm torn. Much the same way your Lily here feels. Torn between two worlds. One in which she belongs, and the other in which she wishes she belongs together with her sister.What pulls me back from all out commendation is my discomfort with the way Petunia and Lily switched witch-skins. While the voice you used is very Lily, her bitterness and spitefulness, though small and less vindictive, is too Petunia.
I'm not even a Lily-connoisseur, but I've always had the impression that she's a favorite because of her happy disposition. You demonstrated this well, with Lily clinging to faith right up to September 1st, but later, her locking herself up in her room and not talking to Petunia don't click as Lily-ish.
Change names and make some of the reflections pettier and angstier and this can be moved away from AU. Oh, right, it's AU. My thumb is up, then. Way up. ^_^
Wow, this was a powerful little one-shot. I loved the switching of the roles, and the way Lily resented Petunia, not in the way Petunia really resented Lily, but in a subtle way.
The idea of the lilies was simply beautiful. I also really liked the way that Lily came to the realization that magic isn't always good and great, but can be dangerous and cruel.
This was a well-written and thought provoking story, and I must say that you have opened my eyes to more "what ifs" than I could have imagined.
Oh my stars. This story is gorgeous, and much more than I expected! You have such a wonderful way with words and an articulate understanding of the relationship of two sisters.
I loved the way you took the Lily/Petunia roles and reversed them. I think for the two of them, you kept them in character of their personalities. It was beautiful to see the personalities we’ve come to know as adults, but with their magical properties opposite of our expectations. Lovely job with this.
I do want to tell you that your opening paragraph is beautiful! It pulled me into the story. But, I do have two small things. First: was a very young child would be prettier if you got rid of the ‘very.’ There’s not much difference between a ‘young child’ and a ‘very young child.’ You’re either young, or your not.
And then, there’s this sentence: There are so many things that cannot be comprehended by a small kid and the universe is just one of them. First, you need a comma before the and. Minor grammar detail. Second, ‘cannot be comprehended by a small kid.’ Yes, we don’t want to use the word ‘child’ too much, but ‘kid’ is a bit to slang for the rest of the words you’ve chosen to use in your story — it breaks the tone — and right at the beginning of your story, you need your tone to be consistent. And overall that phrase, the words are a little awkward together. I like the feeling it evokes, but perhaps if you change a couple of the words, it would sit nicer. Third, ‘just’ by the word universe can also be omitted. It would be getting rid of a superfluous word, and make your opening paragraph that much more powerful.
And other than that, I have nothing else to say but praise for the lovely flow and style of your writing. As I said earlier, I love the relationship, and I love the development of Lily as she grows up. It fits nicely with everything in the story and the HP universe we know it.
I particularly loved the gift Petunia gave to her sister — it was something that touched both of them. But I like that you allowed Lily to be more accepting than her sister was of her. That is something I believe wholeheartedly would have happened had Petunia, and not Lily, been the witch.
Your last two paragraphs are particularly poignant and touching. They brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Thank you for sharing this lovely perspective of sisterly love. It raises the question for everyone who reads it, “What if…” It was beautifully written. Thank you.
Your story was very well done. I liked the fact that even though Lily and Petunia changed spots regarding Hogwarts, Lily was still Smarter, and Petunia was still nosy.
"She sent me a letter that night, telling me that school was simply grand. I threw the letter out the window, watched it flutter, watched it land. I didn’t need to hear that. It might make me sound like a horrible sister, but I wished that she was having a horrid time, so she could be as miserable as I was." I liked this part because it showed Lily being human, and jealous in her misery, which we traits we rarely see of Lily in fan fiction. It also made Petunia seem a bit rotten, since I can't see Liliy sending a letter to her sister rubbing in her misery.
"“I always knew your favourite magic trick was the time I made those lilies bloom, so I thought that maybe…you know.” She shrugged, her cheeks a pale pink.
I looked at the lilies. They were beautiful, the most perfect flowers I had ever seen." It was sweet that Petunia remembered this part of their childhood and shared a bit of her magic with Lily.
"She was right. In the end she was murdered by an evil wizard whose name I never knew. It made sense; in a fairy-tale world where things could happen with the flick of a wand, there had to be evil to counterbalance the greatness of magic. But I have since remembered an important lesson, one I wish I hadn’t forgotten a long time ago: that real magic isn’t the swish of a wand, or muttered Latin spells."
The end counterbalances the loss Lily felt at the beginning of being denied a place in the magical world. Her having to grow up and accept the real world, and then losing Petunia so young because she had been accepted into that world was poignant.
You know, I've been seeing a lot of 'Petunia was the witch' stories lately, and I'm really liking them.
It really shows you what Petunia might have felt about the whole thing with Lily, you know.
I do love the last line as well.
Author's Response: Thanks, Stubby. I'm glad you liked the story. :)
Hi Tash, I want you to know you had tears forming in my eyes. That doesn’t happen to me often in fanfics.
I liked the switching of the sisters and the envy. You didn’t have Lily take the envy to the same lengths JKR did, but you did just enough to get the point across. I prefer yours.
Having Petunia make her a field of Lilies was so sweet. And it gave them a chance to ‘mend the fences’.
Turning the envy into a wish to not be and a fear of being a witch was superbly done. Not knowing the name of the evil wizard who killed her had to be hard. But realizing what the real magic is was what made it worth it.
Excellent writing, characterisation, and plot. I enjoyed it immensely. Keep up the great work, and I think I will see you soon in the reviews of your WIP.
that is simply beautiful interesting plot line as well good job :)
Author's Response: Thank you. :) I'm glad you liked it.