I have to say this is one of the best fanfic characterizations of Harry and Hermione's relationship that I've ever read. You've done a masterful job of bringing out the subtleties of everything that they have been through.
Along with the line about Ron's leaving and the coffee, one of my favorites was where Hermione tells Harry to stop staring. It reminded me so much of the young Hermione, always having to be the sensible one, etc. Obviously here they are much more mature, but for me this sort of connected them back to the kids we know from the books. Lovely story!
Now this trick, it involves the other couple doesn't it?
Author's Response: The more I think about it, the more I like the way Harry and Hermione interact. Even with their deep friendship, it's not the kind of relationship I could ever see transitioning over smoothly to something 'more than friends', like so many close friendships could - yet they are more than friends, so there still can be a constant interesting tension there to play with.
That's an interesting way of phrasing things, I think - the way Harry and Hermione both react and how to connects back to when they were kids. The whole story is a bit of misdirection, I suppose that's where the heart of the trick is - the other couple are kind of a thread to follow, a light to light the way.
I clicked on this fic because the summary intrigued me, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this by the time I finished.
There’s a general feeling of vagueness here that I really love. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but I think you probably know what I mean because I think you intended it to be that way. We know these two characters so well – better than almost any other characters in the series – and yet this meeting between them feels just a little bit mysterious. I think part of this has to do with the undertones of romantic feelings you create here.
I’m not a Harry/Hermione shipper, but I still appreciated what you did here. It wasn’t an overtly Harry/Hermione fic, though. It gave these hints of romantic feelings between them while still confirming their relationship as friends. That’s difficult to do, I think, but you pulled it off here. The little things were what made this so fascinating – the way Harry thinks about the color brown, or the way he remembers what was supposed to be their seventh year. And simply the way they talk to each other; they’ve each clearly grown and becomes these adults, but we still recognize them as our Harry and our Hermione.
It had rained like this, after Ron left - non-stop rain, drumming outside their tent, broken only by restless thunder. Aside from the wonderful imagery of this line, I love the way you use flashbacks in this fic. I hesitate to actually call them ‘flashbacks,’ since it’s really just Harry remembering little things like this, but flashbacks they shall be. They bring us out of the present time just briefly, just for a moment, and then we’re back to Harry and Hermione in this coffee shop. It’s a really nice way to examine their relationship and bring up some potential romantic feelings, but at the same time you’re still just sort of saying that hey look, they’re friends.
Overall, I really liked this fic and thought you did a great job with these two characters. Keep it up!
Author's Response: I'm not a Harry/Hermione 'shipper either - not a 'shipper of anything, really, because it often leads to putting the characters in neat little binary boxes and proceeding to write a romance that could be between any two people. It's like there's a little switch an author is supposed to toggle on their characters - it reads 'In Love' and 'Just Friends' - in order to define relationships, but there's such a range of how one person can feel about another. Harry and Hermione are a great example - they don't just have being friends to bind them together, they were in classes together for six years, they ran a rebellion against Umbridge, went out into the wild alone to hunt down the Horcruxes, and so on and so forth. There's dozens of different levels that they're able to relate to each other on, and the difference between (and sometimes even presence of) the levels is a subtle thing indeed, so to just... ignore all of that and say, 'Okay, they're in love,' and not have them relate to each other in any other way is a betrayal of character and of all that history they've got. To use the 'shipping terms implies they're together and to not use them inplies they're not, and there's this huge, unexplored gulf between those two extremes - that's the reason I say I don't 'ship anybody to anyone else.
Writing the not-flashbacks was fun, too, and links in nicely with wanting to dig around in grey areas of relationships. I mean, it would be easy to write about the night of misplaced passion Harry and Hermione share at some point while Ron is missing, and then the guilt-stained argument that follows, and finish with them both looking off into the distance and wondering how they'll go on, but... that doesn't actually provide any answers about how they do go on. People are very capable of suppressing the past and moving on with their lives - I'm interested in when the murky past comes up to the surface to look around for a bit but doesn't actually stick its head above the water. Maybe it will never come up completely, or maybe one day it will and then comes the argument and distance-looking, but that part we can all easily imagine because that's what always happens - I'd rather take a longer look at the murky ambiguous times inbetween that are often overlooked but are just as important and just as telling.
Thanks for the review - it's good to know it looks interesting enough on the outside to some people, although maybe it would get more notice if I maked it as Harry/Hermione.
Author's Response: Awesome!
Awww, I love this! Especially the quote, or whatever it is, at the beginning.
This might be my favorite post-Hogwarts fic I've read yet.
I like to attribute all quotations in an equally vague way, so that great long-dead thinkers get to stand shoulder to shoulder with pop singers.
It's very nice to know my work is being enjoyed.
Iris is the title of the song which the opening and closing quotations come from, is the easy answer.
I'm no expert at interpretations of lyrics, but this one seems to fit rather nicely to your one-shot.
So, there's something to look for, behind all the nice dialogue.
This is intriguing. Especially considering your response to jabantik. I did pick up the chemistry between Harry and Hermione and that certainly is 90% of the reason it engaged me the way it did. So in a way I am the 'sentimental' the songwriter refers to because I believe it is love too. You do say they finish their cake just as friends, but they aren't just friends. Hmm. You explore a very interesting subject. Wow. Uh - reflecting on your fiction raises so much possibility in their platonic relationship. Canonically we only got to see 19 years ahead. But this - this side of the two you show is to be expected after Ron's absence in DH. Jo's plot became very thrill-centric from then on. At the same time Harry and Hermione' transcended on a different level of friendship, which was unexplored in the novels for obvious reasons.
Hermione subjected herself to Harry's aid like Ron never managed to. And Harry calls her 'sister'. Your portryal of their extended canon characters is brilliant.
She reached up to brush the droplet away, and again an old memory threatened to surface, so he squashed it by changing the subject.
This indicates history.
He was genuinely puzzled. "You were in the Prophet the other week, it was shorter in the picture."
You have written Harry very well. He seems grown from the person we read about in the novels and more towards someone he became in the last pages in Dumbledore's office. But again mature, more observant.
Hermione dropped her eyes to read something on the menu, and Harry could hazard a guess at what she was thinking, having caught what she said.
*smiles frustrated* This is not fair! I sense here Hermione's weak affilation with dressing up in general. And is Ron's name being deliberately ignored here.
Today was the one day of the year he thought the most of what should have been their last year in school, but instead they spent the days aimless and scared, alone all across the countryside. It had rained like this, after Ron left - non-stop rain, drumming outside their tent, broken only by restless thunder.
Ah. Here it is.
My favourite line. Because the narration is unbelievably poignant and touching.
For a very brief second he could see the milk being stirred into the dark liquid in his mug, turning it a deep brown (like eyes, at a very close distance) and then to tan (like the skin of a tanned shoulder), but he pushed those thoughts from his mind.
I'm determined to think this is Hermione's eyes and her shoulder. But I could be wrong...
A touching piece, really. Unique and well expressed. I'd love to see a prequel to this, something that explains the unspoken words.
Quite a fine line between a writer and a magician. Hmm.
Harry and Hermione have such an complex relationship - as do any two people with such a strong familial bond that aren't family, I would think - and its depth is a subject that interests me a great deal.
It's interesting you like the lines about the rain and the thunder so much, since I wrote and re-wrote those over and over to get it exactly right (and I'm still not completely sure I managed it), and then you go to make mention of my favourite line (about the milk in the coffee). You would be right about whose eyes and shoulder is being thought of there, too.
I think there's an explanation of what happened, but it doesn't need a prequel to bring it out. I really like this magician idea - through careful omission, subtle symbolism, and partially-completed thoughts, a writer can make the elephant in the room disappear.
There were things about this one-shot that I understood and a couple that I didn't.
I'll tell you what I didn't get and then after your reponse, I'll post a proper review. So, here it is:
What was the significance of Iris as your title?
If I read it again, and most certainly will, but for now, this one-shot is situated a few years post-DH, right?
If you watch closely, you can see how the trick is performed. Explain. Or is it just something from the back of your mind.
Shortly for now: I am in love with this. It was so engaging, when I'd scrolled down enough to see your End Note, I groaned, because I didn't want it to end. Definitely a favourite. Never read a one-shot written on something that simple for the concept of fanfiction to actually start making sense.
Author's Response: What was the significance of Iris as your title? It's as simple or as multi-layered as you want it to be. Iris is the title of the song which the opening and closing quotations come from, is the easy answer. If I read it again, and most certainly will, but for now, this one-shot is situated a few years post-DH, right? It is. After Hermione marries Ron but before any of the Trio has any kids, so however many years that spans. If you watch closely, you can see how the trick is performed. Explain. Or is it just something from the back of your mind. Well, how does a magician does their tricks? It's mostly through misdirection - they make you watch their right hand so you don't notice what the left is doing - but if you watch closely, you can sometimes catch the left hand when it slips the coin into the magician's sleeve. So, there's something to look for, behind all the nice dialogue. I'm quite interested to see the full review.
this is the sort of post-war encounter i imagine harry and hermione to have. sorta like seinfield meeting elaine for lunch.
Author's Response: Interesting comparison, given Jerry and Elaine's history. I think I like the image of Harry and Hermione knowing each other well enough to be like the two magicians trying to trick each other and being unable to - "Why don't we just saw each other in half and call it a night?", that bit.