I’m not exactly sure what to think of this story. I was quite impressed at your depiction of Snape. Snape is a near impossible character to write well, and I give you a great deal of credit for managing to do it in first person.
I very much liked how most of the story was Snape’s thoughts, occasionally punctuated by what was happening in the story. Thoughts are often written as ramblings, so I thought it was wise of you to keep the story under 5,000 words. In fact, I think that there were a handful of paragraphs that could have been cut out. For example, the paragraph about the badges the Azkaban guards wear, it’s nice to know but not strictly necessary. In a story like this, I think you want every sentence to contribute to the characterization or the plot, and many of the sentence which were unnecessary actually (in my opinion) broke the flow of the story.
I also wasn’t a big fan of when you had Snape directly say something about himself. For example:
“While I have on occasion enjoyed putting on a show for mindless idiots, such as during Lockhart's amusing duelling club, I much prefer solitude.”
But, I did really like the amount of self-doubt he seemed to have as to whether he deserved to be put in Azkaban. I thought that having Snape asking himself whether he was evil was an excellent decision. Even though Snape is a textbook ‘shades of gray’ character, I can see him obsessing over the question of whether his behaviors were justified by his motives, and therefore ‘good’, or whether they were evil. Even though I’m sure if asked, (assuming he answered) he would use the ‘shades of gray’ argument, I really doubt that subconsciously Snape has let go of the idea of good and evil.
On a final note, I did greatly like your characterization of Harry. Harry is (in my opinion) a character who believes everything is either good or evil. And, again I thought you did a good job with that.
Author's Response: Thank you for your review. I think you're probably right about cutting -- I've always been a wordy writer. And your example is an example of telling, rather than showing. I'll definitely keep that in mind for future stories. Overall, though, I'm very glad you liked my characterisation of Snape and of Harry! Those were my main focuses. ~Vorona
Hello! Oh, nevermind. That's supposed to be your line.
I've been meaning to read this story for a while, and SPEW buddies has given me the chance (and requirement) to do so. As you know and we have discussed, I'm not what you'd call a fan of Severus Snape. I see him as a bully and a jerk, and even if he has done admirable things, he was not an admirable man. I suppose this precipitates me to judge fics centered around him more harshly, so bear with me, dear.
I like Book 7 Disregarded stories. I like that this story is a B7D story. I like this story in general. I'm not in love with it, but I like its structure, language, prose, and a majority of its characterisation.
I really dig your style in the story. It reads like streaming thought, but it is still educated and focused enough for me to associate it with Snape's brain. For instance, he spent all that time contemplating anything that could exonerate him and summarily dismissing them because of his perception of the relative intelligence of his would-be saviours. It just speaks so powerfully to me as how he would react in this situation.
I do have a concern with one thing, and that was the point when Snape was weighing whether he was evil or not. I just don't see him perceiving the world in such black and white terms, especially considering his role in the war as a double (or is it triple?) agent. He is the ultimate 'shade of grey' character, and categorising him as either evil or one of the good guys doesn't really do justice to the reality of his character to me.
Moving on, I really think you nailed Harry in this (and now my brain goes somewhere damnably wrong). He is just the right mix of righteously angry and sanctimonious. Before The Prince's Tale, Harry would have done anything to one-up Snape and make him look out to be a monster, as Harry had always thought him to be. It's just fitting that, in the world where that trip into the Pensieve was never made, this is how it would play out.
I'm on the fence about Draco. I don't think he would ever stand in front of the Wizengamot and speak for Snape. If anything, he would not do so out of sheer resentment. He was always angry every time Snape tried to 'help' with the mission to kill Dumbledore. But more than anything, whay was Draco walking free? He was a marked (literally) Death Eater. How was he not on trial himself for Death Eater activities charges? If he was cleared of these charges, then the mitigating circumstances would have become admissible evidence for Snape's case. It's not so much as a plothole as it is a curiosity.
Finally, Snape was so good in this. I could clearly hear his canon voice speaking through your words, and his actions and thoughts were so believable. Considering the type of piece this is--an extraordinarily introspective first person--that makes all the difference in the world. It makes me forget about the parts I had questions about and focus on what I did like, and that's as much a skill as grammar and plot construction, so very well done.
Great story, and have a wonderful evening.
Author's Response: Thank you very much for a lovely crit! As for the evil thing . . . I think all people wonder that at some time or another, even if *they* don't usually think in black/white terms . . . because they know a good section of society does think that way. But I understand your point, too. I also think that Harry has a lot of power in this world, and he ended up deciding that Malfoy was one of the "good guys". As far as we know, after Book 6, Malfoy had never used an Unforgivable or actually killed anyone, and I figured Harry, despite disliking Draco, would have convinced the Wizarding World that Draco wasn't to be blamed. As far as speaking for Snape, I was thinking of powerful famiiles and their notions of favors/debt. I figured Draco would have wanted to wash his hands of Snape as soon as possible, and speaking for him at the trial would allow him to do that. Maybe Narcissa even had something to do with it. I agree that he wouldn't just do it out of a desire to help Snape---I think there were other pressures working on him, and in a first-person narrative, we don't really see those. Maybe I'll have to have him glowering and sitting next to Narcissa or something in the trial. Thanks for bringing that up! I'm really glad you thought Snape was done well. Thanks again for the wonderful review!
I love the premise of the story—what might have happened if Snape hadn’t died and given Harry his memories. I’ve been wanting to read this story for a while (I kept seeing the banner and clicking on it but never got the time to actually sit in read it). I’m so glad I finally got to.
I found a few minor faults.
In the first few paragraphs, you use the words ‘of course’ a few times during the narrative. This isn’t technically wrong if used correctly, to go from one thought to one that sort of contradicts it. It, however, didn’t seem to work as both times it interrupted the flow of your words and pulled me from the story.
Another problem was that you repeated the same thought twice a few paragraphs later. “My choices are reduced to what, if anything, I will say in my defence.” Severus thinks this, then goes onto think about other things, and then a few paragraphs later you had an almost identical sentence: “The only choice I have left: what, if anything, to say in my defence.” I understand you were simply trying to get back to a previous thought that was important, but this was so identical to the previous sentence I got confused. I honestly had to stop reading to make sure that I hadn’t somehow got lost and was rereading what I’d already read. My recommendation would have been to either remove what was between these two sentences, or to write the second phrase in a way that was different.
You never mention Lily, which was Severus’ main reason of doing all he. But you did say this was compliant of DH, so I suppose that was your reason for leaving her out, so I suppose that’s perfectly all right.
But there were much more that I loved about this story.
I love how you have Severus considering whether or not he is evil. So many people have thought of him as such, it’s only natural he would really begin to wonder. Not to mention, having him wonder if that’s what Albus thought. I think many people don’t realize how much Severus respected Albus, and how it MUST have hurt when Albus chose Draco’s soul over Severus. Even in DH, he demands: “What about my soul?” I can only imagine how much that hurt. Thanks for showing that in this story.
I like pretty much everything else. This story was so very good. It was well-written and beautiful, and gave a different portrait of Snape, who I adore. I also loved how I didn’t end how I thought it would be. I pictured a heart-felt speech that would convince Harry of his innocence, but you didn’t go down that road at all. As much I love Snape and wish for him a better ending, I’m also a sucker for sad endings. And for him to heroic face his punishment – wow. My heart just broke for him.
Keep writing. You’re very talented.
Author's Response: Thank you for the wonderful review! You're absolutely right about the "of course"s and the same line. I didn't notice that at all. I certainly agree that it's overly repetitive. As for Lily, yes, it was not DH compliant, and I actually really dislike the idea that she's the reason he did everything. It's the major problem I have with the last book . . . but I wrote this story before that one came out and although some people were suggesting it as a reason, I thought that his relationship with Dumbledore was much more powerful, so that's what I went with. If I was writing the story now, I'm not sure where I would go with it. I'm really glad you liked the story overall.
No one's reviewed this? I thought it was a brilliant portrayal of what could have happened. Excellent writing, and portrayal of characterization. I suppose the only complaint I have was that it was so tightly written I'm wanting more, but that's hardly a complaint. : )
Author's Response: Whoops - I accidentally made a new review when trying to respond to you. What I meant to say is thank you very much! I'm very glad you liked it!