Ah, what a delicious story about Albus Dumbledore. He is such a fascinating character, is he not? The man has so many quirks, oddities, and personality traits that I find him to be one of the most enjoyable characters to read (both in fanfiction and in the series) and write. This is why I was particularly intrigued when I read the summary of yours; I simply had to see how you interpreted and played with his character.
Speaking of the summary, it was extremely effective. Writing a good and catching summary without sounding over-the-top is a true art form. Yours did a very good job of introducing the characters – Dumbledore – and creating an interesting situation that made the reader want to read more. As much as I liked the summary, it made me a tad wary when I started reading and realized that the opening paragraphs of the story also functioned as the summary. Having the summary essentially repeated immediately is rather jarring for the reader, as we have the same words put immediately before us twice. If you do, though, want to use a quote like this (because it was an excellent quote), I would recommend putting it in the summary in either italics or quotation marks just so that it is clearer for the reader that you are, in fact, using a direct snippet of the story.
The most interesting thing for me to read in this was your interpretation of how Dumbledore chose James and Lily for the Head Girl/Boy positions. It almost seems as though he chose them as a bit of an inside joke with himself. Initially, I questioned his characterization (would Dumbledore really be so devious?), but then I remembered him telling Harry about why he wasn’t chosen as a Prefect. After I remembered that Dumbledore is, of course, free to choose any student for whatever reasons, that final scene made me smile. It’s almost as if you wrote the Lily/James ship as fate, no?
It was also very interesting to read about the Snape/Willow/Sirius incident from Dumbledore’s perspective. It, in fact, opened a lot of very interesting avenues of thought about how he might react to the other crazy antics of the students (especially the Marauders). There are so many stories that deal with this little episode from the point of view of one of the students, so it was really fresh to read about it from the point of view of Dumbledore.
Your writing, actually, was also quite fresh, overall. You didn’t overly describe things, but rather had a nice balance between description, dialogue, and action. One of the things that really stood out for me was your excellent use of italics throughout the story to emphasize key phrases. This made the dialogue seem a lot more real, as it was easier to imagine the inflection and emotion in the character’s voice with the italics, rather than a simple description of how they were speaking that happened to be thrown in at the end of the line. Also with regards to the dialogue, I liked how you were able to leave some of the lines without a “he said/she said” or a variation thereof at either the beginning or the end. Good dialogue should, in some cases, be able to express its own emotion. I’m not saying that every line should be left without a clarifying statement at the end, but a few lines here and there that can express their own emotion makes the work more powerful to the reader. It makes the reader feel as if they were actually involved in the scene, rather than just being a reader. So, excellent job with your dialogue!
The way that you characterized Albus Dumbledore was extremely interesting for me. I think that you really nailed his little quirky sense of humor that appears in rather unexpected places. This line really solidified that for me:
He was merely patiently waiting for two peoples’ conversation to be over with so that he would not interrupt by walking past them, and he just happened to be in a place where he could conveniently hear what was being said.
Ah, it makes me grin. The combination of humor and intelligence, along with the rather twisted logic that ensures that Dumbledore feels good about his decision, was extremely in character for him. One of the things that he does throughout the series is to twist things around in his mind so that he believes that he’ doing the right/appropriate thing. The entire issue over giving the entire truth to Harry about his eventual fate was a prime example of this. Dumbledore didn’t share very much about it because, in his head, he didn’t believe it was the right thing to do, as it might hurt Harry prematurely. Even though this line was supposed to be quite a bit lighter than the very serious matter of death, I think that it really exemplified Dumbledore and his personality.
One detail that threw me about Dumbledore was how he constantly referred to James Potter by his first name. I know that Dumbledore refers to Harry by his first name frequently, but I believe that he refers to the vast majority of the other students by their last names: Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, etc. Harry goes by his first name because he and Dumbledore have a fairly special relationship that exceeds the bounds of Headmaster/student. Personally, I believe that James doesn’t have that relationship with Dumbledore and I believe that he would have been referred to and addressed by his last name, simply as a formality.
To wrap up a bit, this was a really great insight into Dumbledore’s character. You really characterized him well and your writing style was excellent. A lovely read!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the amazing review, Kelly! I will definitely take into consideration your thoughs on the summary and the bit about James's name. I'm really glad you enjoyed this little fic, and that the characterization wasn't off. I hope you will take the time to check out my other one-shot as well! Thanks again :)
Haha, love it!
Author's Response: Thank you!! :)