After reading Footprints in the Sand earlier today, I felt I ought to come back and refresh myself on the events of this.
I love the intricacy of your characterisation of Oliver, how you've gone so in depth into his insecurities without diverting from the Oliver we knew in canon. For me, the abuse was handled perfectly, without being too glazed over or becoming cliched.
The ending really hit me emotionally, as they discussed reuniting after Hogwarts, when we know that would never be able to happen. Incredibly powerful, and I liked how you didn't actually mention his death, just left it open ended, as we know what happens.
Wow. Really wow. I saw in Gmariam's review that you're working on a sequel, was that Footprints in the Sand or is it something else? I'd love to see Oliver post-Cedric and post-war if so!
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm working on a sequel to this but from Cedric's POV, but I'm stuck because I can't bear the fact that he's going to dieeeeeeee! Uh, basically, I have about 13k of it written but I want to finish it before I start posting. I did write another story called Misperceptions which focuses on Oliver and is compliant with my canon for him. It's set quite a few years later, though.
Glad you enjoyed this. It was the first SSP I ever wrote and I'm still astonished at the reaction it received and still receives. Cheers, Fenella. ~Carole~
I can't believe I haven't read this before. It's gorgeous, and I'm not just saying that because it's your birthday! I absolutely loved it. You are brilliant at these SSP stories. *hugs Monochrome* You know I prefer short stories, haha, but I wanted more of this, so I'm thrilled to know you're working on it! Yes!
I thought you did an amazing job with Oliver's character. I could feel his sadness--from his father's abuse to his closeted sexuality. It was heartbreaking. The saddest part was the end, when he told Cedric he was afraid - but for him. Hearing what happened to Danny and Oliver was awful. You really gave Oliver a sad past and a horrible father; I just glad you also gave him a loving mother, a lovely girlfriend, and Cedric. :)
You also really nailed Cedric. We totally get those glimpses of him wanting to be more for Hufflepuff in GoF, and you brought that out here wonderfully. And he was so confident but caring - damn, how could Oliver deny himself for so long! I wanted him too! LOL!
The way you worked the events of PoA into the whole story was great. Having read it, we didn't need to know everything that was going on with Harry and Co., but it grounded the story in something familiar without repeating anything we already knew. Lovely balance.
And the end! Guh! So, so heartbreaking (again) - and yet, also hopeful. Well, except for knowing what happens to Cedric. *sigh* I understand many of your status updates now. It must be hard, wanting to bring them together but damn Peter Pettigrew for interfering! Bloody rat!
Happy Birthday, Carole! This was a beautiful, well-crafted, well-written story, and I really look forward to the next one!
Author's Response: Thank you so very much, Gina. This was my first SSP and came about because I had this image of Oliver 'drowning himaelf in the showers' ... Somehow this nakedness - ha ha - affected me and I was thinking who I could pair him with, someone equally hot and totally unexpected. A handsome man enters, and we all know who he is - hee hee.
I think you know that I'm struggling a little with the sequel. It's far longer than 9k for one thing and I'm wondering how I managed to pare this down to one shot size when I'm struggling so much with Riptide (that's the title of the sequel). Ho hum, it will be finished, I think I'm on the home straight with it, just don't want to write sad things :( (Bloody rat!)
Thanks again for the lovely review. I really do appreciate it, especially for this story which is one of my favourites. ~Carole~
This was so beautiful. Brilliant writting!
Author's Response: Thank you. This is one of my favourites and one day I will write the follow up ... ~Carole~
Awh.... I actually never really.... gave much thought about Oliver's life after we saw him in GOF. But I think you did really good with this one :) So, you think Cedric actually did turn out to be straight, then? When he fell in love with Cho? And how do you think Oliver felt when he heard that Cedric died? Agh, my questions! But really, I love your one-shots, but you should really consider turning some of your stories into chaptered fics, they're so good! Enough of my nagging now.
Author's Response: There will, one day, be a sequel to this. Trouble is, I'm too scared to write it because this was a well received story. Anyway, the sequel will be from Cedric's POV. Hmm, Cedric 'in love' with Cho. They dated for a few months, but I'm not sure he was necessarily in love with her. That's like saying Ron was in love with Lavender, when he patently wasn't. Anyway, I need to write that sequel, maybe I;'ll get it done on holiday. Thank you ~Carole~
Squeeeeeee!!!! Carole, this is the shortest review I've ever left you (I think) but I just wanted to say that I've been meaning to read this for ages, and I'm very, very glad I did. Nice job!!
Author's Response: Thank you. This is possibly my favourite story I've written. Not totally sure why, but I do remember me angsting over it. Glad you enjoyed the story, anyway. ~Carole~
Wow. Just, wow. Well, not just wow.
I loved the way you portrayed Oliver Wood. He was still the same Wood we knew from the books, but the background made so much more sense of him. The backstory of his father was good, although it seemed the slightest bit cliche at a few points. The OW/CD felt a little rushed, but I loved how you managed to wrap the concept of this story all up into a little bittersweet bow at the end.
Author's Response: Thank you for the review. The trouble I had with this story is that because it was written for a class, I had to keep it as a oneshot, so the backstory had to be kept as concise as possible - hence the cliche. I also had to speed up the relationship between Oliver and Cedric for the same reason. What I tried to do was to show that it was Oliver seeing Katie that sped things along for. If it hadn;t been a oneshot then I would have spread it over a few chapters. Thank you again for the review and the crit - it's much appreciated. ~Carole~
This is actually the first Slash HP story which I have ever read, if you can believe it. I've been meaning to get around to it for a while now, but couldn't decide on a pairing that I liked, mostly because I rarely caught a hint of any slash subtext in the books. Oliver/Cedric would NOT have been my first guess as a couple, but the way you wrote the two made me believe it. The line about Oliver drowning himself is one which has stuck with me the most from PoA. I always thought it was an odd one, but I loved the way you fleshed it out into a believable story, rather than just an off-handed joke.
The shower scene was potently emotional and gripped me right from the start. Now I'll confess, from my experience in much poorer slash from other fandoms, as soon as I saw running water I was expecting some full on action right then and there. I was very pleasantly surprised that you didn't take that route. Pacing the story out, instead of going for the quick impact, really added to the emotional appeal of the story, as well as the believability.
I've never been a big fan of characters who suddenly have an abusive parent who never heard about in canon. I usually find it distasteful and a bit of a cop-out. However, the way you seamlessly integrated it into a canon quality of Oliver's character, namely his Quidditch obsession, made it seem less out of the blue. I particularly liked the style of quote interjection you used with Oliver's memory to get across the events of the past, instead of simply having Oliver explain everything to the reader. Yes, there was some explanation, but much of the feeling was conveyed through those simple quotes, like "You're no son of mine!". Much more powerful than having Oliver think about how his father was ashamed of him.
Just quick, I'll say two quick critique things. I hate giving criticism, because I know I'm nowhere near the level of writing which you are, but an entirely complementary critique isn't terribly helpful in my experience, not that I'd ever complain about getting one :)
So, the first is very minor. Very minor. I didn't like the choice of the word 'bemused' in this line:
"...he could see a bemused expression on Cedric’s face."
For me, the scene was so emotionally charged that bemused was too light of a word. In my opinion, the word confused would have been better, just because of the plosive consonant sounds more... intense I suppose, fitting with the atmosphere at that point. As well, bemused was used just a paragraph or two before. Wow, that was a lot of writing just for one word. Yeah, really not a big deal, just something I noticed.
The only other thing that bothered me, and only slightly, was that I thought the abuse thing was taken a bit too far with the backstory of the beach. Don't get me wrong, I liked the abuse aspect of the story, it's just it got a little TOO angsty for my tastes. It was almost uncomfortable to read. That in itself is not a bad thing, I love it when an author makes you think about realities which you'd rather not acknowledge. Almost all my favourite fics come from that catagory but IMHO I think the story would have still had the same impact and been as believable had it not been taken to that extreme level of violence. I'm sure many would disagree with me, but that's how I felt while reading. I'd have to read this again to see if I still felt the same way (which I would do, had I not pressing homework which I've procrastinated against long enough).
Ok, not as fun stuff out of the way. Back to worshiping your awesome writing skills! Overall, I thought this story was amazing and I am thoroughly glad I had the opportunity to read it. The characterization was spot on, the style flowed nicely (did it really take me that long in this review to mention that fact? For shame!), it moved at a nice pace, the story was engaging. What else could I ask for!
Over and over again, I continue to be impressed out of my mind with everything I read of yours. So, I sign off like I do from pretty much every review, by saying I can't wait to see what you write next!
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you for such a well-thought out and cohesive review. Made my day, that has.
Let me get the crit first (and no I don't mind crit at all.) I do see what you mean about the word bemused, and I might change the earlier one to something else because I'm not keen on the repetition, but bemused here is I think better for Cedric because he's not really 'confused' about his sexuality or the situation, but is 'bemused' by Oliver's actions/words.
The back story bit on the beach, I can see that went a bit too far, but I needed a real threat that was uppermost in Oliver's mind if he ever thought about a relationship with anyone else. He was as scared for Cedric as he was for himself. But it was a bit violent - so good point.
I'm pleased you enjoyed the story and I really appreciate that you took time to write such a well-thought out review. This is one of my favourite stories ... and one day I'll write the sequel. -LOL Thanks again ~Carole~
So, here we are again, milady.
Sometimes, I gain insight on my own perspective of a character by reading someone else's portrayal. It gives me a chance to see various traits that I had not yet considered and how I see them playing out. And how many other fabulous character studies of Oliver are there, anyway?
I'd have to say that my favourite part of the whole story is the first scene in the showers. You took such a small and seemingly insignificant moment in canon and rebuilt an entire character around it. I never liked to think that Oliver cared more about losing the match than the fact that Harry could've died. Your version is much better. :D
Oh, and Merlin do I hate Oliver's dad. He needs to get hit by a bus, because Oliver deserves a shred of happiness after all of that. Ignorance is just...rawr.
Well, anyway, I shall cease rambling now. Good luck in the judging, because your story is fabulous.
Author's Response: Thank you, Jess. I have a great fondness for this story, probably because I had to work hard on it, and had E_X stabbing me with her Bardiche sword when I got it wrong. Interesting that you liked that first scene best because the whole story came into my mind after remembering Fred's line about Oliver 'drowning himself in the showers'. Then it occurred to me that other people could have been affected by the Dementors. Thanks for the review and good luck with your Oliver story and all your entries in QSQ's. ~Carole~
Oh wow Carole! That was astonishingly good! Wonderful writing, perfect characterization, a realistic situation. Just amazing all round. I literally don't have anything to say about it which isn't fangirling so I think i'll stop now lol.
Author's Response: Oh thank you Elene. I appreciate that especially because I didn't think you read slash fics. This is one of my favourites probably because I sweated blood over it - thanks to Emma - ha ha. Thanks again. Carole
A beautifully written story. I had never though of an Oliver/Cedric pairing but the way you connected the two was amazing.
The story was a perfect balance of happy light hearted moments with dark sad happenings. The relationship between Oliver and his father is one that many people could relate to. All in all, an amazing story. I only hope you could continue it!
Author's Response: Thank you very much. i do intend to write a follow up - probably from Cedric's POV - but it's finding time, and also I'm quite nervous about writing it. Glad you liked the story ~Carole~
I reall liekd this story. It was very serious but at the same time it had soem fun. I liek the Cedric and Oliver interaction. It was done in jsut the right way. Teh flashbackf realyl helped create the mood for waht Oliver was dealing with. And the details were exactly right. Everythign seemed to fall a little more into context. Lovely story.
Author's Response: Thank you very much for the review. I'm glad you saw some humour in the story too. I thought they were reasonably light-hearted at the end, too. ~Carole~
I think that you have got one of the best stories i've read here. it has background for the characters, but i didn't get snowed under at the start that was good! it like the way you have expanded with minor characters in the potter world i always liked wood as a character and i was sad that cedric didn't play a bigger role in the books. i enjoyed the way you had flash backs, and i thought they were in the right places. sometimes flash backs kind of just leap out at you, but with this story they correspond with the way wood is feeling and so they don't jolt the story but add to it! anyway thanks for the great read, you can tell i loved it cos it's 11.50 and i writing you a review because i wanted you to know this was a great story! thanks again =) please keep writing.
Author's Response: Thank you very much. I shall respond immedietly, but you might be in bed. I'm very pleased that you liked the story and that you wrote a review - it's much appreciated. I will keep writing - I actually can't seem to stop! ~Carole~
The first thing that catches my attention about this fic is how well it is weaved in with PoA. Many stories that are concurrent with the books do a very good job of fitting their story in between canon events and details; you go beyond this, though. You manage to wrap those events and details into your story so that they have a greater significance; from the very opening with Oliver in the shower. I never gave much thought to that, but here you present the idea that he's so preoccupied he actually remained behind in the shower rather than visiting Harry, and sets up the conflict for the story.
The conflict which is, of course, Oliver's abusive father putting the pressure on him to perform well in Quidditch. I'm of two minds about this; first, there's a part of me reserving belief because the books sort put Wood across as being manic and obsessive in a humorous way and I doubt there's such a dark explanation behind it. You do, however, write it extremely well and therefore it's a lot easier to try and suspend that disbelief. Which leads to my second opinion about Quidditch-pressure, which is how I really love how it works with the sexuality aspect, and how seamlessly the two issues interplay.
For instance, the way Wood's obsessive approach to Quidditch is not only an attempt to please his father, but also a way of distracting himself from his personal desires. He's using Quidditch as a tool against not only his feelings themselves, but on the effect they've had on his father's expectations. There's also the added level that sports are genuinely seen as masculine and hetereosexually-affirming.
Which reminds me of the absolutely beautiful irony at work here. Clearly, his father has a fixation with Quidditch as it is, but it's clear he sees it as an additional testament to Oliver being straight (moreso, almost, than Oliver's relationship with Katie, as we can see when he chastises him for not getting up on his first day of holidays, "You sat on a bloody train with your girlfriend all day yesterday. How knackered can you be"); yet, in spite of this rather ignorant generalisation, at the centre of this fic you have two top Quidditch players who are gay/bisexual. So, yes, whether intentional or not, you both highlight the stereotype that gay men are "nancy boys" while simultaneously showing that they aren't.
One thing that did occur to me as slightly off was Oliver on the subject of Katie and sex. It just struck me as peculiar that a teenage boy would imply to his girlfriend, or to others, that he wasn't thinking of her sexually because she's "only fifteen". I remember being around that age, and it doesn't feel like you're "just fifteen". And to a seventeen-year-old boy, it would likely be the same. If a girl is physically mature enough (which many fifteen-year-old girls are), many of them aren't going to think of it as inappropriate. At any rate, if a seventeen-year-old is willing to date a fifteen-year-old, they're usually just as willing to have sex with them. I find it's not until you get a bit older that the idea of fifteen-year-olds having sex starts to seem terribly wrong. My point being – I can imagine Oliver saying to Katie that he respects her and wouldn't make her want to do something she's not ready; or saying she's younger than he is and he understands that it's not something she's willing to do yet. But, I have a hard time imagine any teenage boy telling his girlfriend that he wouldn't think of it, because she's not yet sixteen. (Even, or especially, if he's secretly gay, because it would seem really suspicious.)
Moving on, I love all the threads of the story working together. The on-going strides for the Quidditch Cup, the relationship with Katie, the revelations about Oliver's home life and relationship with his father, the run-ins with Cedric and how they draw all of these things together. It makes the story very daunting to review just because it's so intricate and complex; just one example, how Cedric brings up Katie as a way to protect her, but it also involves getting closer to Oliver, and revealing part of himself to Oliver. I don't doubt that Cedric is really being protective of Katie, but the way he knows he has to protect her because he realises Oliver can't like her the way she likes him, and the way he kisses Oliver to convey that point – it all just runs together very beautifully. I can imagine how these various points could seem very contrived and purposeful, but in this story, everything simply is as it is.
Aside from how well you work the multiple angles of the story, your characters really enforce the weight of the feelings because they are all very solid and consistent. I can feel Oliver's frustration and resilience, I can see Cedric's honest strides to get Oliver to connect with him (and I see him as the boy that Dumbledore remembered in his speech at the end of Goblet of Fire), and there's Katie's earnestness and vulnerability; she is so clearly a young, life-loving girl, and I can really feel her pain when Oliver ends the relationship.
Because of the strength in your characterisation, I feel that the final two parts are all that more powerful. I'm really hooked into Oliver, and into Cedric, so the dialogue in which Oliver opens up properly and we see the two fully connecting, I feel like I'm resolving something, that I need to read this scene to feel better.
And speaking of that particular part, guh; the physical aspect between Oliver and Cedric is so beautifully sensual, it's absolutely breathtaking. Like everything else, it just feels incredibly real and organic, and not contrived in an attempt to make it seem as physical and hot-and-heavy as possible to the reader.
The very end is terribly sad. I think it's actually a fantastic ending, couldn't have asked for a more real, but (almost) more promising one. And, it closes everything up fairly neatly. But of course, we know what happens to Cedric, which is sadly out of your control, and instead of the end being truly promising, it's incredibly bittersweet. (This is where I vow to stop reading stories with Cedric in them; they're always terribly depressing in that sense.)
I see that this was written as part of a Characterisation class on the forums; I must point again to my paragraph concerning characterisation and say that I really, truly think that your characterisation in this is very well done and is an incredible strength to this story. While the Cedric/Oliver aspect to it is wonderful, I can feel that it's not so much a Cedric/Oliver romance as it is a story about Cedric, Cedric's conflicts, and the ways in which he has to deal with and overcome those conflicts. And I can see all that happening in the story, and it's very real, and very beautiful, and you can really see the Gryffindor in him, and how his mother's support and his experience with Cedric reinforced that growth. I don't suppose you have any more stories based on this Oliver, later in life, after Cedric's death, or after school? Because I would love to read more.
Wonderful story, really, one of the best I have read in a very long time. :)
Author's Response: Wow! How do I respond to that? First of all thank you for reviewing again, especially as you'd already dropped me a line. I'm very pleased you enjoyed the story, it was one that had been buzzing around my head for a long time, but because it's lead characters are perceived as so hetrosexual in the books, I was wary about writing it because I feared it wouldn't be believable. Fortunately I had a wonderful beta as well.
Your point about Katie being fifteen, and Oliver putting her off is a valid one. To be honest, it hadn't occurred to me that it was an odd excuse, but now I think of it, Katie should have pressed him furthur. For Oliver, the fact that she was only fifteen gave him an opt out of having to take their relationship to the next stage, but on reflection I should have had him making other excuses as well. I do see Katie as being quite naive as well, so maybe she'd have fallen for his 'gentlemanly' attitude.
Sequel? Follow up? Very possibly. I have an idea about Cedric that I want to pursue, and Oliver would feature in that ... plus Oliver comes back for the battle. I feel the same way about Cedric stories, there's always that horrible poignancy because you know he's on borrowed time.
Thank you, again. for such a comprehensive review. It means a great deal. ~Carole~
Reading about Cedric always makes Robert Pattinson pop into my mind...sigh...
Interesting character portrayal for both Cedric and Oliver. My guess is that when Oliver left school, he tried to block himself from his true personal nature, and Cedric just dated Cho because she was there.
Their camaraderie was powerful, and sometimes, it seemed as if I could see it all happening in my mind, and it's remarkably believable.
Author's Response: Hmm, I think Oliver is probably more open now, although it will be tougher in the outside world. Cedric ... ah, well, when I get around to writing the sequel, you shall find ound. Thanks for the review ~Carole~
I must make a mental note to review this properly at some point. In fact, if you don't get another review from me before the end of the month, I demand you PM me on the forums to ask where your review has run off to.
For now, I must say that this story is one of the most profoundly captivating and beautiful "romance" fics I've ever read. (I put romance in quotes because it seems too light and trivial and gushy a word to use for this). It's just so sincere and real and -- gorgeous. ♥
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much. I'm a huge fan of your Lily/Narcissa stories so this has made my evening. I'm glad you found it believable as I wasn't sure it would be when I first had the idea. Thanks again ~Carole~
Best story I've read in a while... great character development, and it was really interesting to read about a new and very possible ship... amazing job!
Author's Response: Thank you very much for your review. I'm hoping to write a follow up possibly from Cedric's point of view. Thanks again. ~Carole~
As in, I love this so much.
Author's Response: THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK YOU!
Seriously, I'm glad you enjoyed it. My first slash fic so I was anxious to get it right.
Carole, I really enjoyed this. I've actually been stalking your character class for a while now, so I couldn't miss the chance to review this.
I absolutley adore the relationship you have written between Oliver and Cedric. The way you wrote it made it quite believable. (Hmm... this sounds strangely like the comments you have recieved in class.) I also love the tiny inserts with his father, it explains Oliver's passion for Quidditch, while at the same time gives him a reason for his (for lack of a better word) obsession.
There was one spot where you wrote the twins as they trudged out of the Gryffindor Changing room. Should it not be changing room? I might be wrong, but I never thought 'Changing' was capitalized before.
Anyways, I think you ended it perfectly. You had a solid beginning, middle, and end with a good plot in between. You've done an amazing job with the character, and I would love to see you write more Oliver. (*Wink wink, nudge nudge)
Author's Response: Thanks Sarah, I appreciate the review and I'm glad you enjoyed the story. As this was for characterisation class, I'm very pleased you thought Oliver was well portrayed. I do want to write a follow up - possibly from Cedric's POV. And you're right about Changing room so I shall change that now. ta lots ~Carole~
Recommended to me by Russia-Snow, absolutely loved it! Excellent characterisation, i believe I love Oliver a little bit now...
Author's Response: Thank you for reading and reviewing. I do appreciate it. Ah, Oliver - he's lovely isn't he. Carole xxx
Oh my godric! Well what can I say? I LOVED it! If it was written by anyone else, i wouldn’t have read it (You know what with it having my gay!husband in it) But you pulled it off beautifully!
I have never seen either of these characters as gay, (obviously) but you wrote it so convincingly! (Darn you! Lol) Right Oliver. His characterisation was superb (I take it that was what you were aiming for? >..< I shall have to start reverting to my foreign languages soon!
I cannot finish this review (Which has taken me a good 4/5 hours... I get so easily distracted!) without mentioning this line:
His last coherent thought, before he surrendered to bliss, was the feeling that now he could truly fly.
This has got to be one of the most inspired lines I have ever read. I am officially in love with this line. I know I have already told you this lol but I truly love that line. I am just going to sit here and read it over and over again...
I think I should maybe end this review now? Sorry it has taken me this long to post! But I really do love this story! *adds to favourites*
Keep up the formidable writing! (see? French :p) lol Congrats on the story, it was brilliant!
Author's Response: Thank you very much for the review, Russia. You know something, I struggled with that line because in the earlier versions it either sounded too flippant or too smutty - so thank you for liking it! Tarnation! I want to use it about someone else now - LOL.
Thanks again and I'm glad you enjoyed the story despite Cedric not snogging a Gryff girl, and being - well - gay. ~Carole~