perfect! So good! Captures exactly what it means to be a Death Eater, and it is so well-written, the poem rolls off your tongue,...great job.
Author's Response: I appreciate the review. Hopefully soon I'll have more works for you to enjoy. (:
Dear Secret shadows –
This was a very interesting poem to read. I was particularly interested in your summary, where you stated that this poem was originally about government but then was applied to the Death Eaters. As a reader, I’m very curious as to whether or not this was edited in order for it to be applied. Or is this, perhaps, the original version? This is actually one of the things that I love most about poetry; the same words can be interpreted in so many different ways. If this is indeed the original version, being told what the current subject is and what the first subject was gives a very interesting and very different interpretation than if you’d simply stated that this was about Voldemort.
Also, on a rather related note, you say that this poem was originally about “government”. This poem actually seems to be more about politicians than actual government, although this is my personal interpretation. If this original poem had been about the government itself, I think that it would have been more easily transferred to the HP universe as a poem about the corrupt Ministry of Magic, rather than the Death Eaters themselves. Although, of course, it is important to realize at the same time that it was the Death Eaters running the MoM. But, on the other hand, it is the politicians who would have been running the government. Also, your title seems to suggest that this is about a group of people and the individuals therein contained rather than the group as a whole. What I wanted to do with this little explanation was really to explain why I started reading this poem. I was rather intrigued by the comparison you drew because it wasn’t quite what my mind expected – it isn’t wrong by any means – but it was unexpected and very thought provoking.
I really liked the way you used the concept of wearing masks in this poem. The Death Eaters, of course, wear literal masks, but it’s a nice parallel to suggest that they also wear figurative masks. It almost suggests a “Lucius-Malfoy-model” of the Death Eaters in which they’re not inherently evil, but have merely assumed the role and are hiding behind it. This is rather different from the way that I initially read the books, where I saw what seemed to be a clear divide between “good” and “evil”. I like this interpretation, though, as it makes them more human. It’s almost physically impossible to have such a sharp divide between the Death Eaters and other people; there has to be some sort of grey area.
That is not to say that what I drew from this poem was that Death Eaters were lovely, sweet, and caring people once they stepped out from behind their masks. Based on many of your lines – especially “Deep down we go into the abyss” and “We’ve lost ourselves to promise and pain” – it seems as though the Death Eaters have absorbed a part of their character that they assume behind their masks into their personalities. Or, perhaps, that human beings all have that evil somewhere within and the hiding behind those masks merely brought that piece of their nature into prominence.
Structurally, I find it very interesting that you open with a description of the Death Eaters: who they are, what they do, how they behave, etc. And then, half way through the poem, you switch to a cautionary tone and seem to offer a warning to others to not follow this path. I thought that this was a particularly powerful structural choice. The first half of the poem is fairly disturbing and I think is meant to be so. It makes the warning at the end of the poem just that much more meaningful. And, on that subject, the repetition of the first two lines paired with a new couplet in the last stanza was my absolute favorite part of this poem. It brought the poem in a full circle with the repetition, but managed to express a certain feel of regret on the part of the Death Eaters. In the first part of the poem, they seem to perversely enjoy what they do, but after the warning to others not do act as they have, they express this regret over the fact that they’ve been lost to this other world and it’s impossible to return again. I think that this impossibility of return exists on two levels. The first is that it may be physically impossible to rejoin the world after being a Death Eater because of the negative stigma attached or the fact that they may very well be imprisoned for life. The second is that that they’re mentally unable to rejoin the world because of all the things that they’ve done and witnessed. It would be impossible, I think, to put that completely behind them.
I wanted to quote a few lines:
Run, run, run
Out of the darkness,
Into the sun.
This would have been the first stanza in the “warning” part of your poem. I thought that the words themselves were particularly well-chosen. The concept of darkness is an excellent choice for describing any follower of the Dark Lord. I did wonder why you chose the word “Tiger”. It didn’t really appear anywhere else in the poem. Is this a reference to William Blake’s poem, The Tyger? Was it a purely stylistic choice? It generally fits in the poem and I liked it, but as a reader, I’m curious as to where it comes from.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this poem. It was extraordinarily complex – much more so than many poems that one finds here on this site. That complexity really lends itself to making the poem extremely thought provoking. I think you did a marvelous job in your portrayal of the Death Eaters. You characterize them extremely well, while managing to put a very interesting twist on their behavior. I hope that you continue to write and post poetry like this because this was a really enjoyable piece to read.
Author's Response: To my lovely reviewer indigoenigma, I greatly appreciate your time to read my latest Harry Potter related creation. Quite honestly, I just threw the summary together, but now looking back on it I realize that the vagueness of it, using only a comparison between government and death eaters, allows the reader to become intrigued by the concept on which this poem was written. This is indeed the original, although the only reasons it wasn’t accepted in the first place was A. I accidentally listed two categories instead of just poetry, and B. they suggested I use commas AND periods, not one or the other. Well yes, it does refer more to the politicians, but what I meant about government is how said politicians corrupt the whole ideal rather than just themselves being corrupt. It’s difficult to erase certain mistakes past leaders may or may not have made. I particularly enjoy the use of metaphors, similes, and symbolism because of this fact, that poetry is interpreted by the reader in many ways, as well as the fact it draws people in. Lucius Malfoy was a major inspiration actually for this particular piece of work. Personally, I would think if he wasn’t a Death Eater, his elegance might lead him towards being a white-collared criminal rather than the brute he became under Voldemort. I ADORE how you discovered the grey areas; that all humans have that bit of evil inside of them. It is a major point in this poem, and several of my others. I find it rather odd that of all the poems I enter to mugglenet, the dark ones are the ones that get accepted. I always seem to associate my darker poems with either more metaphors or literacy for some reason. You’ll come to find most all of my poems have what many call that ‘circle effect’ which brings the beginning to the end and relates as well as ties the poem together. Honestly again, tiger was just a stroke of luck from my muse. It intrigues the reader towards its meaning, not because it doesn’t fit, but because the initial choice is unknown. I myself do not know it, but isn’t that the beauty of poetry? You can relate it to most anything if you change the way you view other things. Thank you so much for your kind words, and I assure you I will be posting more often for dedicated viewers such as yourself! ~Secret Shadows