(I do hope it is alright if I call you by your first name!) I have read two of your fics. The first one was 'Across the Pumpkin.' I remember telling you that one of the beauties of fanfiction is that you can take a small moment and turn it into something worth reading. Well, here again, this stands true. I'm learning to like this alot.
You take a small moment and made it something worth reviewing; something worth telling you how much I enjoyed it. This fic was short yet sweet, and how I adored it.
As I've no clue where you received your inspiration for your main them, 'Hope shall die last', I simply fell in love with it. It is so like something Albus would say, is it not? And oh, how it is true. You turned this little eight hundred word fic into inspiration. And not many can achieve this.
You know, I always expected Minerva and Albus to be almost the best of friends. They seem so alike, in certain ways. They way you portrayed them here is outstanding. Albus - hopeful, pacing, warm. Minerva - strong, but worried, scared for the safety of those she loves. Truly remarkable, if I do say so myself.
Fawkes. Why, look at my penname! How I love Fawkes! Not many write about this extraordinary creature, so it was a joy when you did! Warmed my heart, it did.
One thing I feel I need to comment on is the usage of "the man." When most visualize a "man", what do they think of? Do they think of a nineteen year old with a six pack and a cigarette? Do they think of a business man with some nasal spray? Most would not think of someone like Dumbledore as a "man." They would probably picture a man to be much younger, or something like that. But Dumbledore is a man, a man if I've ever heard of one. Why, what qualities of a man does Dumbledore not possess? Dumbledore is most definitely a man, and you bring tears to my eyes at the beauty of this. Well done, well done.
"What are you planning, Tom?" Could you get any more like Dumbledore? This was the moment I could picture most in my mind. In fact, I think this is so outrageously canon that Jo should add this instant in her books! Haha, maybe not, but do you see what I'm getting at? I was blown away by the emotion and power in this moment here. A fine job, indeed.
Why, this was most entertaining. Thank you for giving me something to do. And I do hope that you enjoy your day, and keep writing. Please.
Author's Response: Wow. I'm absolutely speechless. This was such a wonderful review. I haven't received that much praise, and praise in general for quite a while. Like my story warmed your heart, your review warmed mine. Thank you so much for making my day. It's been a beautiful surprise to receive that review.
And of course you may call me Bine. Thank you again, so very much. *hugs*
Ooh, Bine, what an interesting take on a prologue to the series, and congratulations on your first place! This short one-shot definitely had all the elements that a good prologue should have; it raised plenty of questions, rather than answering them and made the reader want to know so more about the situation. I can imagine myself as a reader never having read the books, being very intrigued by this story and wanting to immediately go out and buy the books!
I felt as if you had thought very carefully about the fact that this was a prologue and therefore perhaps aimed more at people who hadn’t yet read the books and so don’t have a lot of prior knowledge of the series. Referring to Dumbledore as ‘the man’ throughout, rather than using the more casual ‘Dumbledore’, familiar to most readers was very effective. It built the suspense, making the reader wonder who this man could be and created a slightly mysterious atmosphere. The subtle insertions of magic, such as the behaviour of Fawkes, and the single mention of the word ‘wizarding’ at the end were also effective as they helped to set the scene and prepare the reader for the world they had entered.
To the experienced reader, Dumbledore’s character was immediately obvious due to the strength of his characterisation, even without being named. This line in particular caught my attention: he held his pacing line short, counting it to twenty steps in either direction as it seemed very in character for Dumbledore to be very precise about his pacing, counting the exact number of steps each way and not straying from his pattern, almost as if he had some specific purpose for his actions. The other hints – the metal instruments, Fawkes, his twinkling blue eyes, his ability to read McGonagall’s true purpose – all pointed instantly to Dumbledore and you kept him completely in character throughout, not always an easy task with Dumbledore in particular.
McGonagall’s characterisation was also spot-on and it was so typical of her to want to know what is happening but attempting to hide her curiosity by appearing to come on other business, but then pushing for more once she is given an opening to. However, it was also in character for her to be accepting of Albus’ word that she can not be told what is happening, as she has always been seen to respect his decisions and actions.
I was surprised when I realised when you had chosen to set it. My initial thought was that you were writing the morning of the Potter’s death but on reflection I realise the story and the events make much more sense set when they are. I think it was a good choice as it could be argued that it is at this point, just as the Potters are about to go into hiding, that Harry’s story really begins. The last line was a very powerful one and worked wonderfully at the end of this prologue. It was so in keeping with Dumbledore’s character and his constant, unwavering belief that dark could ultimately be defeated. It gave some optimism at the end of a story which sets up for something bad to be about to happen and goes some way to relieve the reader’s trepidation at what could be about to happen to the Potters, and that even with McGonagall’s worries there is still hope.
Overall this was a great story and a very appropriate prologue to the beginning of the Harry Potter series.
Author's Response: Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a lovely review, Hannah. It was a very pleasant surprise and made me smile. *hugs tight* I'm so very happy that you liked the story.
As for the point this story is set: Well, I still clearly remember the mod (Julie, myownmuggle) answering a question with "How would you introduce the Harry Potter books to someone who hasn't yet read them?" I wrote this short one-shot according to that and I'm glad I did. :D
Thank you, again, for writing me another fabulous review. Love you, hon.
Hello, Bine! =)
I loved this short story. I found that this incident did shed a lot of light on Albus Dumbledore's thinking and revealed a more human side to his character. He is portrayed as a rather worried person, contradictory to what we get to see of him in canon, where he's mostly calm and aloof. I liked seeing this side of him, somehow.
The personification of silence at the beginning of the story had a nice effect on the description in the story. It stood out, and his actions seemed to have more of an effect on me as a reader because of the well-written description, which is neither too over-the-top, nor too little too subtle to understand.
I wonder how you envision the role of the apparatus that Albus used over here. I know it's portrayed as a communications device, but hm, what exactly does it do? ' ‘What are you planning, Tom?’ Very intriguing line, that one. It makes me wonder if it's some sort of a mind reader or something. >.>
The one thing that I didn't like at first was the time taken to reveal the protagonist's name. It felt as if it took a little too long for 'old man' to be referred to as 'Albus Dumbledore'. I'm all for some initial suspense, don't get me wrong, but I did feel that the revealation of Albus' name a little earlier would've had more of an effect.
The appearance of Fawkes and his role in the story, though a little insignificant, added a nice touch to the entire thing. It also aided in developing Dumbledore's character a little- his love and compassion for the bird is signified by his stroking the bird's feathers. I also thought that he found Fawkes as a good companion to share his thoughts- thoughts that he couldn't afford to share with many.
Minerva McGonagall's appearance surprised me, though. I didn't expect it, but found it quite enjoyable. Oh, and I simply must mention how much I loved this line: ‘Oh? Well then, let’s hope it’s safe.’ His blue eyes blinked amusedly but morphed back to seriousness an instant later. Brilliant characterisation of Dumbledore there.
Also, the fear and anxiety in Minerva's heart was very well portrayed. The last line, however, made for an amazing ending. It's perhaps my most favourite line in the whole story, and the fact that it affirms is so true - not just in the context of this story, but in life, too.
Author's Response: Years later, and I finally get to reply. Thank you for such a lovely review, Shar. I smiled the entire time I read it.
The revealing about Dumbledore's name: Well, let's just say it's always a dance on the knife's edge when deciding when exactly I reveal a character's name in such a kind of story. Too early would take the suspence, too late will make it drag. But then it also depends a lot on the reader whether they see the name revelation as too early and too late. *shrugs*
Anyway, thanks again for such a wonderful review.
That was really well-done! Congrats on first place. You've done a great job with Dumbledore's character, and wrote a perfect interaction between him and McGonagall. What was really neat was that I was trying to figure out what it might be a prologue for, and then at the end when McGonagall says "Just get the Potters to safety." it clicked - how original! I was thinking it was after OotP and yet it was really set long before that - which goes to show how similar the two wars with Voldemort were. Nice writing to be able to throw that twist at the end. This would be a great prologue to a story about getting the Potters to safety that year. Nice job! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Gina. What a lovely review. :)