I have never read a fic describing the Harry Potter's death from the perspective of his children. And from this POV, I can understand the way everyone views him as a hero.
Utterly touching. Keep writing.
Author's Response: Thank you, Jane! Glad you liked it :)
Hi, Akay. When you left all those lovely reviews on Checkmate, I did tell myself that I was going to review one of your stories. And I am so, so glad I did. You're truly a talented author and I really like your writing style.
The premise of Harry Potter dying from natural causes -- or as natural as you can get, with smoking, anyway -- is one that I have never, ever come across in fanfiction. Never. So it pleasantly surprised me to see something more original being used in this oneshot, which isn't at all like ordinary Next Generation oneshots, in more ways than one.
Before I ladle on the praise, I have a question. When Harry says, "Never marry twice", and it's Hermione who's telling him off, does that mean they're married? Perhaps it's because I'm a bit sleepy today or because I'm completely knackered after such a long day, but I'm baffled, to be honest. I reread the first few paragraphs several times and it didn't really sink in, and by the end of the story it still hasn't sunk in, so if you want to tell me, I'd be glad to know what you meant.
OK, nitpick aside (and it's probably my fault about misunderstanding) I really loved Harry's characterisation. You've really bridged the time gap between this story and the epilogue, and I have to say that he hasn't changed much since the book. I thought that his manner was just Harry-like enough and not still adolescent, which is how many bad fanfiction writers portray an adult Harry. Well done on that, because I think, even though Harry's the central character, characterisation is made all the harder due to such firm foundations on his character, and especially years after the epilogue, which most Next Generation stories don't really deal with.
This story, really, was emotionally draining. The insertion of my least-favourite Next Gen ship, Lily/Scorpius, didn't deter me, and that, I think, is the mark of a good author. Even with things I don't like, you can get away with it, and keep me reading as well. I really like how you used that as a backdrop to Albus delivering the news of Harry's death, especially Albus noticing the little details like Lily's smile resembling Harry's.
Often, I'm not a big fan of first person, and especially not present tense. However, after reading this, I have to admit that you have converted me entirely, and that I will have to attempt that style at some point in the future. I mean, yeah, I use it in OF, but I find it so difficult to do so in fanfiction, purely because I don't think I know the character well enough and that I'm not really "in" the moment enough for me to be able to put myself in said character's shoes to write him/her properly. For you to pull this off so flawlessly is a great achievement. You're a great writer and commend you for this oneshot. It's one you should be proud of. Ta for writing. And ta for all your lovely reviews for Checkmate! (Are you still reading it? Or did you get bored?)
When Harry says, "Never marry twice" what he actually means is that Hermione is almost always on his case when he's smoking, and he feels like he has another wife in addition to Ginny. Somehow I see Ginny as just dealing with Harry smoking without trying to stop him much. At least not always. Hermione's concern and friendship and relationship with Harry is a different one. I think she'd always be full of reprimands. Harry takes it good naturedly as one would do with a friend of so many years. I hope that explains it.
I think Harry is a hard character to write about effectively. I'm glad that you liked how he came off in the story. My inspiration behind him are known personalities today, people who are celebrated for the work they do. I find it intriguing the way they come off in media and I often wonder whether they really are like that in real life. When I thought of this as I planned to write it, I'd remembered the quote I included by AurorKeefy who is a former member of the beta boards. I thought it summed my original idea very well. Keeping that in mind, I let myself in Grimmauld Place for a day and let the rest of the story write itself.
"Emotionally draining" is such a compliment. Thank you for that! I have given a thought to what you mention next, and I realised one time that my story was probably an amalgam of some ideas we usually come across in next-gen stories and some ideas which were entirely new. I think I just didn't want Albus (who is the narrator) to think about anything far too deeply besides the idea of how different people had viewed Harry throughout his life and viewed him now that he was gone.
It's interesting what you say about the present tense because people tell me that often. To realise that I have you converted is such an amazing surprise. Usually the present tense is the only tense I'm able to reasonably pull off. The reason I write so scarcely and with tonnes of trouble given to me by the characters in my stories is because, I find it hard at times also to get into their heads. Yet, I still love that with the present tense there's somehow a chance of taking myself away from the story entirely and let you connect with only the character in it. If I do it well, they tell you their story and I'm nowhere to be seen.
I'm still reading Checkmate, but exams are chugging forth like Hogwarts Express on the first of September and that's why I haven't been there much. The first few chapters are the most important ones for any author, so I wanted to let you know that you were doing brilliantly with it. Those reviews I delivered. Will drop by as I get time.
Thank you for taking the time to review this, Soraya – Akay
I can either sit here and tell you how fine this is or just write it. Well, first off, you’ve made me, for the second time, fall in love with Next Generation. You have a board of characters, here who are, in effect, a new cast, and you weep them together. This is the type of noble epilogue that should have been in the books. I am amazed that you’ve taken Harry and shown a completely different side that is plausible after a fall from fame. Oddly, though, it doesn’t seem to bother him, which shows his character. Dumbledore had said that Harry works from a humane element that many lack.
The fact that his kids worship him, even though, they, like Aberforth, lived under a shadow of the fame. The only thing that I have a hard time believing, and this is because I know smokers, is that Harry would have fallen that quickly. As a behavior, smoking starts at a younger age. Or, at least, it takes longer time to mold. Especially if he’s a chain smoker. The line about not marrying twice, now that I get it, is hilarious! Yeah, I imagine she would be another ‘Molly’. I love the way that you have Ginny say good-bye. That line about not waiting too long is creative. You probably know that folks who are married a long time statistically don’t last without their other half after she or she passes. The way that you have the whole family together is done really well, too.
James is suspended in quite a standstill, which locks him in that view, but I like that the scenery changes. Lily locking herself in the bedroom reminds me of ‘Prudence’ and that’s a usual reaction, too. I like the way that even though he was an orphan, Harry gave his life wholeheartedly to his children and the godson. It is those little things that you pick at when you’re confused. The dinner with Teddy, an everyday thing, is done well to show James’s emotion and detachment. And Albus. I read this, I swear, so forgive me if I can’t find the line.
The funeral is just so reminiscent of Dumbledore’s. The way you take that paragraph by paragraph, group by group, is amazing. I mean, you would think, and forgive me for the comparison, but Harry Potter’s funeral would be like the Michael Jackson death of the Wizarding World. Nodding to the reporters, who was his problem for so long helps to reseat and confirm the canon. I keep thinking that good, old, ancient Rita will just be standing alongside. You van picture the whole stadium of people, people, people as you go along. And Dudley’s there? What a nod to that thing about Rowling saying that the two found a mutual ground!
I loved this, Akay. Thank you for writing it. It’s the capstone. My version of an epilogue, and a nice, coherent one at that. You made me tear up. GAH.
Well done, my friend.
Floored it! *highfive*
Very fascinating first-person perspective. Knowing Harry succumbed to the same evil millions of other people do is both disheartening and strengthening.
I can really appreciate the fact that Albus didn't consider his father a hero, because I have always thought that hero worship is damaging and counterproductive. Heroes are false idols who do things some of us cannot, soaking up the adulation from the have-nots. I would rather be an inspiration, someone who inspires another to take the best of themselves and put it to work for the greater good.
Thank you for writing this :) I actually found this when I checked your profile while reading other reviews of gmariam's "Lost"
really, very well written. i love this
Author's Response: Thank you for reading!
Will a sad face suffice? Or an exclamation point? So like . . . :(! Really, I tried making mental notes throughout this to bring up, but I'm just . . . blown away. And very sad.
The character development throughout this was wonderfully done (very awkward to use a positive word when I'm still sniffling). What I find exceedingly odd is that the characters outside of Albus were the ones I saw most clearly—'felt' much more personally. Not to say that his narrations were uninteresting or not absolutely touching and heartbreaking, but I felt that you really shinned when you were describing the actions of other's, the looks on their faces, and Albus' interpretation of how they were feeling. I'm also very impressed by how nothing was confusing; with the whole of the Weasley clan and even more characters, keeping up with who's who and the like is difficult, and especially difficult to keep the reader attuned to who you're speaking of, and I think you really did well there.
His eyes are closed also. His face is bare, wiped clean of things he didn’t want people to see, except all what is explicitly visible there – the skin that juts over the cheekbones of his thin face, the stubble on his chin that is at least a week old. The wrinkles that come alive when he talks, smiles, expresses frustration and anger are all smoothed away, and his face is like a beach after a high tide.
:(! Among the other breathtaking descriptions, this one definitely stands out. It's so . . . melancholy, but beautiful. Even out of context, if the reader just thought it was describing someone who was sleeping, there's a pang of sadness to the description, something in the way it gives a brilliantly vibrant image of his 'lively' expressions compared so starkly to the impassiveness of his face as Albus sees it presently. Just . . . :(!
The scene with Percy was a wonderful inclusion. The entire character dynamic there just didn't feel like a 'scene', it didn't feel . . . structured, like most passages do. It flowed exceptionally well and even though there were so many characters involved, some slightly unfamiliar, there wasn't any confusion. Even though James and Percy were the main focal points here I think the exchanges between Ron and James were much more . . . touching. Vibrant. Something. I don't know why but I always imagine the entire Weasley clan as a happy, joyous, sunshine and rainbows family, and the way you've written their interactions is just touching and realistic.
The ending felt slightly rushed. Or not rushed, but sudden. There's so much emotion swimming around, so much imagery of the field and the guests, and then bam (not really BAM but bam), it's over. It wasn't really disappointing; I can see exactly why it needed to end there, and the last few bits of dialog were wonderful, but perhaps a bit more of a transition could have been given. A better lead off from "here's where you can start crying your eyes out" (coughIsodidn'tcry) to the overwhelming sense of pride that's emanating off Albus (and into the reader—may I abuse 'wonderful' one more time and say that was . . . wonderful).
I sincerely enjoyed this story. It's very sad, but more touching sad. Not really depressing, but the premise of it could make any decade-long HP fan weep for the loss. Oh, but, before I forget. The little details you included were (cough) wonderful. Great. Interesting. (I lost my thesaurus). Lily's allergies and Dominique's closeness with Harry; things we don't need to know, but knowing them added so much with so little the dynamic of the story. It really made it feel complete.
I'm glad you liked the scene with Percy and James. And it's interesting what you say about the Weasley clan being a big happy family. I like to think so too, but then it's just more fun to write that they had their share of clashes too. There were a few relationship and characteristic dynamics which I wanted to explore through that scene. Does Percy appear to you as the power-loving Ministry dog? In reality, I wrote this exchange to actually deliver something more than this inital impression that we all keep of Percy and enjoy the silly-evilness of his character. My idea is that Percy really respects Harry a lot in the later years after the war, and he wants Harry's family to acknowledge that Harry deserves some monumental or sort of an event of a funeral where everybody would be in attendence as they bade farewell to a hero. He's again one of those Albus refers to later on who look at Harry with hero-ship and view him as an ideal. So, this is Percy in later years, someone who has changed but people tend to keep a stereotypical view of certain personalities and Percy ends up being the victim of same. He has some old-Percy moments but after the war, and till many years after, his family just was not able to get past the pompous behaviour of his. I wanted to say how we can be wrong sometimes in judging what we see on the surface. Harry seemingly did (like we see the hint of it in the Epilogue) and James probably did as well.
James and Ron on the other hand, are close in a way that suggests that Ron was most likely James' godfather as well. There is a relationship of respect and understanding. I'm happy you commented on that. You also noted that the other character's came through as more animated than Albus' own feeling. I'm glad that was picked up because it was intended to be this way. I put in Albus' own feelings at the beginning and in the scene with Ginny but generally, I wanted his feelings to come through the others - for his feeling to live through the others in a way. That is, I use first person as a tool. Albus notes specifically those emotions and people that in a way reflect how he feels. I see that as an advantage of the first person - it gives me the space to write the character on a very personal level. I have got so used to it, I actually find trouble writing others :)
About the ending :( I know! Azhure told me that it was sudden and I thought and thought but couldn't find a way around it. As I said, this is the first thing I have properly written in a while and I was bound to mess it up somewhere *weak smile* But I needed my practise for the Lily/James chaptered-Marauder Era that is coming soon now.
The little details are what I worked on the most. And the writing I had been holding inside for too long now just seemed to come out in my favour. Lily's allergies as you called it weren't so much as an allergy than something that would make a pregnant woman puke. But I'm glad you liked all that. I needed you to know the characters on a emotional level so you could feel sad with and for them.
I'm wondering though - did ANYBODY pick up on the global warming details I put in there?!? I'm sort of an obsessive environmentalist, and this was one of the themes behind the one-shot :D
Thank you, Ari for leaving a review. It didn't fail to remind me of the highly energetic individual I know on the forums *hugs back*
Hi! I think you've done a great job with this story, I'm glad I read it! It is very poignant, starting with Harry's death. You've taken his character in a really interesting direction with his addiction to smoking; it could be awkward (Harry Potter smoke? Never!) except you set it up and flesh it out a bit and make it believable in the context of your story. I only wonder why he started after Lily left - empty nest syndrome? :)
There is so much packed into this, but it is clear and adds a depth to the story that makes the reader want to know more about your version of these characters and their experiences. You do a really good job of introducing your original character without just saying "And Lisa, James' wife, came in." The only rather confusing bit - and pardon me if I missed something or am forgetting a bit of canon you are referencing - was something Hermione says to Ron:
And she still blames me for it… Doesn’t she? She thinks it was my fault.
I wasn't sure what that was about but it was one small thing.
I really liked reading your character of Albus Potter, he was a good choice for the POV and you did well with that. I especially liked meeting Lily. You did a good job with everyone, really. The row with Percy showed he hasn't changed much, has he?
The last line, "Dad was too good, too right, to be a hero." is fascinating! It sort of makes me want to tip that statement on it's head. ;) It was a good ending, the funeral and Albus's final statement. The paragraph about the reporters was especially good and seemed true.
Overall, I think you did a wonderful with this story. It was original and very touching. Good luck with your next one! :)
It wasn't awkward?! Thank goodness. This was meant to be my comeback fiction and I thought at one point I'd taken a long shot what with something so debatable like an addicted Harry Potter. I still think I could have done with a little more at the explanation but then that would have threatened to take the focus away. I also tend to find it hard to stop when I get going, so it was just better to stick with what I'd already written. Hmm. Why did he start after Lily left for Hogwarts? Perhaps he was smoking even before she left but did it secretly given the hazards. So he cared enough to wait in a way, but the temptation and the pressure which he was probably was under as part of his job and position made it hard for him. I didn't think about this too much, but it could be one of the above.
I'm glad the story was slow enough to come across as clearly expressed. I often find that although I have all of my story in my head, I forget the distinction between that and what my reader does and does not know. You surely know this too well ;) Thankfully, here I didn't struggle with that much. About that thing Hermione says, well like I said to Ari, I wanted something to suggest that not all was good between these families all the time. The very defensive and rude stance that James takes with Percy hints at previous confrontations too. Ginny's comment about 'getting the obvious wrong' suggests that the two may have ended up on the wrong side of each other before now. So that's something in the background, something that is still a raw memory for Ginny and Hermione and that which involves Harry. Perhaps it is regarding work. I'm not sure. Maybe this wasn't THE best way to try about this intent, but ah well.
Regarding Percy, you must read my response to Ari. He hasn't changed much on the surface so to say - but I tried to show that there's more to him than that. While James' views his father on a more personal level, Percy takes an outsider's view. It's just our perspective sometimes, it is not always bad.
Thank you for your words of encouragment, Gina! They mean a lot. Thank you for the lovely review.
I really love this story. The ending is amazing. I love what Luna said in he speech. It made me a bit sad.
Author's Response: Thank you, ron lover. I feel I had the space to make the ending better but I was out of ideas. I'm glad you liked Luna's quote, it was something that came to mind as soon as I thought she was going to make a speech. Thanks for reading!