I must admit, when I read fiction, I can usually broadly classify it into two categories-- one which is written for the purpose of entertainment, and another, which more or less deals with a moral. More often than not, I find that each category I mentioned above tends to be written within its own territory. In fanfiction, I see very few of the latter, or more correctly put, very few that are written well. It probably goes with the genre, I suppose, as the series wasn't written with the aim of spreading a message. This piece of utterly brilliant fanfiction, however, was a cut above all. It was entertaining to read, and there really was a message that you got across to me -- something that was so intricately woven in, yet so visible.
I liked the fact that you chose Charity for the role of the protagonist, as we know literally nothing about her but her name and her occupation. It was almost like you were building a character from scratch, fitting her into the mould of her occupation-- that of a Muggle Studies teacher. Really, I thought you did an great job in most aspects, though there might be just a one or two odd characteristics that I thought didn't fit right in there. I saw a vibrant and dynamic character in Charity Burbage- one that is bubbling with enthusiasm and curiousity. She really was a young idealist, as the title beautifully puts it. The fact that she thought outside the box was something that led to my liking towards the character portrayed. She doesn't feel bound by the rigid structure in the wizarding world, and is open to adapting to new things. One of the most obvious examples of that, of course, would be the fact that she lived in the Muggle world for a year without using magic.
When I read the part about Charity's interview, I was captivated by your characterisation of Dumbledore. It's so canonically accurate, and he still seems to have this mysterious and all-knowledgeable charm attached to him - something that I find difficult to capture in words. Hats off to you for getting his characterisation down on paper so brilliantly. Charity's nervousness and excitement was visible too, and the entire conversation just deserves a lot of praise. Her answer to his last question was something that just blew me off my feet, and I must quote: "I want to be a teacher because I believe every child can learn and grow. As a teacher I’m not a giver of knowledge but facilitator of learning. I want to inspire young people to want to learn and give them the tools and strategies they need to acquire knowledge. More specifically, I believe that witches and wizards – especially in these times – need to take an interest in learning who Muggles really are. The more they understand about the non-magical population, the better off our world will be." ♥ ♥
Also, as a fan of descriptive writing, I loved the attention that you paid to detail. More than that, though, I loved how each and every element described added to the plot. For example, I liked the way you roped in the description of the queer elements in Dumbledore's office to the conversation between Dumbledore and Charity, and how those tiny little instruments put across a clear message to Charity, as well as the reader.
Throughout the one-shot, the plot just flows so well. We see the evolution of Charity as a character-- from a nervous new wannabe attending her first interview, to her thoughts as a teacher. There is a change from nervousness and anxiety to excitement and a spirit of adventure. There is a a method to the madness somewhere within all of the excitement. We see her thoughts focussing on immediate goals, and then the fantasising about field trips to the Muggle world. We can see her wanting to be a professor making a difference, and what she intends to do about it. There's character growth in there, definitely.
A small thing that popped out to me while reading the one shot, that I must include here, is the contrast that you brought about the contrast between the ideology of Charity Burbage and Mr. Baumgartner. Just by changing the lettering on the wall, you put across a huge point there, and it was something that attracted me when I first read the story. A wonderful way of bringing about contrast, I felt.
Coming back to the characterisation, which is brought to focus again in the second half of the story, we can see Charity's involvement and dedication to her profession. We do see a little of her dedication in the form of examples in the first half, but the second half is what actually puts across that trait so strongly. Right from her rigourous planning of class schedules and her efforts to be 'different' in her methods of providing knowledge, to her wanting to involve the students and her modernistic thoughts which broke away from the normal mould, we see her sweating it out. She is so involved with her profession, and there's this love and passion that she carries, which comes across clearly to the reader. I loved how she was so intent on learning all about her students and involving them in the class.
The only thing that really didn't sit down well with me was the fact that she seemed too much like Hermione at certain points. You do justify it by mentioning that she wasn't really the normal child with normal views, but was more or less over and above such things, but then again, that sort of led me to believe in her as someone who isn't human; more superhuman. That probably was the only defect that I found.
Overall, though, there was something about this fic that set it a class apart. Maybe it has to do with the fact that this is one of the few really good fics that I read which contained a strong message, but certainly, I must admit that it has been a pleasure reading this wonderful one-shot. I hope to read more fics such as this one!
I really like this! It's nice to get into the mind of one of the minor characters, and I always thought that Jo could have done more with Charity Burbage, that she could've been an actual character instead of an opening casualty. Not to mention, as a HS student, I really wish I had more teachers like Charity! Great job!
Author's Response: Thank you, dear. :) Those were my thoughts exactly when I decided to write about a very minor character. We see a lot in regards to some other professors, but only see Charity in name and her tragic death in DH. She's based on me, so I'm glad you like her. :) Thanks for the review! ~GG
Hey, Ashley! I thought that I'd repay the favor of reviewing.
Here's one nitpick that I noticed:
Her aspirations of changing the lives of young witches and wizards was about to come true.
'Was' should be 'were' because aspirations is plural.
Nothing was more important than teaching understanding, tolerance, and acceptance.
I really like this line. I wish all teachers went into teaching with that additude. Actually, I wish teachers just had Charity's additude in general.
Mostly, Dumbledore hired her because he believed her heart was in the right place.
haha! This line made me laugh!
The moon was high in the sky by the time she finished...
I really like this way of saying that she was up late. It's a great description.
Thirteen days until Charity Burbage would become a real professor.
I really like this line too. It's a great last line.
I like how you showed her interview and her preperations. It's very creative. I really like how Dumbledore reacted to her. Great job and good luck!
Author's Response: Hi Mere! Thanks for the review, and thanks for pointing out that one sentence (because obviously I didn't catch it when I wrote it and my beta didn't catch it either). I'm glad you like Charity's character because, as a first year teacher myself, I really based her on me. :) And I love DD in this fic, too. He's such a fun character to write. I really appreciate the review! You know us challenge fic writers just don't get enough love. :D
I love this! A great one shot and the character is really intriging. *Favourites*
Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you like her, as she's really based on me and my experiences in being a first-year teacher this fall. O_o I'm tickled that you left a review...I've seen your posts around the forum (as I lurk there pretty much all day since I have too much time on my hands this summer) and I can't help but giggle every time I see your username. *loves and jealous I did not think of it first* Thanks again!
Author's Response: Thanks!! :) ~GG