Wow!!! This was such a bittersweet story... especially that last line, I was almost in tears. I loved how the article was personal but always stuck to its form. Andrew was a great character, I loved how much of him we got to see through this and how he shared his own life lessons.
And then of course Florean himself, who was characterised wonderfully. It's a pity we get such a small glimpse of him in canon, and you've created such a lovely story for him, I'm sure JKR would be proud :).
Basically I agree with what everyone else has said on this reviews page... this was an amazing fic (and original too), written beautifully and which leaves you thinking when you're finished about its ideas.
Author's Response: Florean, the ice-cream man. I was so shocked to learn in HBP that the Death eaters had taken him. But then, I came across JKR’s article, and voila! I had a story to tell. And yet, I could never get down to writing that story, you know. I couldn’t think of how to do it justice. It was only when this challenge was announced (these challenges!) that I had the idea of the nephew who wanted to tell the wizarding world of the hero that vanished. I love Andy! I intend to write more of him in future. I’ve another story on him on my page called ‘Being Muggle with Rooney’, if you’re interested. : ) Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! ~Natalie
You have really done a wonderful job with this story, and I enjoyed each and every bit of it. You have managed to flesh out Florean Fortescue, a character we know little about, given him a larger than life personality, and also worked a lot on the character of Andrew Carlton. The format, that of a newspaper article, is something you’ve stuck to throughout, but it’s not just that that impressed me- the article also has a personal touch which makes it a very good read. It isn’t just facts; Andrew Carlton knows how to weave his story into an interesting web of informal experiences and stories without veering away from the focus that is his uncle. Definitely, a very good job done on that count.
I loved the character of Andrew Carlton. Though written from a first-person point of view, we can discern a lot about his character by just reading the article; the style is something which reminds me of a jovial, shy, straight-forward, and determined person. We can see flashes of his childhood pranks in the beginning of the story which point to his fun-loving nature, and the fight that he pursued for ten long years definitely speak a lot about his determination.
Oh, and of course, I must talk about Florean himself - there’s so much added to the ice-cream man we knew from the books! You haven’t veered away from any thing which was mentioned in canon, but built such a solid story from the facts known that I was left floored. I enjoyed the mention to his knowledge in history, as well as his magnanimous heart which gave Harry free treats in the Prisoner of Azkaban.
There’s a mention to his Ravenclaw nature, however, which I question a little. I somehow feel that Hufflepuff seems more suited to his nature, but since this is not something which can be verified in canon, it is a matter of opinion. He seems like such a helpful, good-natured man in canon, and while I will not deny that he had knowledge(he did help Harry with his History of Magic homework), I just feel that the traits which dominate are those that are usually seen in Hufflepuffs.
Another thing I loved was the timeline you’ve incorporated- I see that this was written for a prompt for the Winter Snows, and distributing ice-creams on Christmas eve just seems so appropriate.
Also, there are nuggets of wisdom scattered in the article that touched me very much - Andrew, while not sounding like a preacher, has an almost Luna-esque ability to drive home simple truths which many of us choose to overlook in our lives. While speaking about his uncle, and things that he learned from him, I find that there are lots of things that I can learn as well. It’s something which, while not sounding drab or boring, has been brought out remarkably well. “Life, it seemed whenever I went to my Uncle’s shop, was to be savoured quickly before it melted.” “For him, it was never about the business of business; I suspect it was rather about the business of friendship. That made being around him the greatest pleasure on earth.” “But my definition and exemplification were wrong; these are fluid traits, and Houses cannot claim them for their own.” These are just some of the few that really jumped out at me when I read the story - there are many more, but then this review would just turn into a quoting of the entire story.
A great job, overall!
Author's Response: Hello!
Wow! Thank you for such an excellent review. I’ve to say I literally squee-ed when I saw this.
I am really happy you liked the ‘personal touch’ I added to Andrew’s article. I saw it like one of those articles in The Times of India/Hindustan Times where a well-known columnist steps out of the box and writes with a little bit of self-involvement, a little bit of nostalgia. (I cannot think of a specific example for this, though. Lol!)
Yes, Andrew is just as you described, and a bit more on the cheeky side, though that may not have come across in the story. You know, I actually debated for a minute whether I should put both uncle and nephew in Hufflepuff, because both of them have a lot of Hufflepuff traits – loyalty, determination, and diligence. But I had this agenda: I wanted to dilute the rigid structure of Hogwarts Houses. Neither of them possess any Slytherin qualities in them – they aren’t cunning or ambitious. Gryffindor was an absolute no-no, even though they both exhibit courage in their own way. In fact, being brave and not being Gryffindor was the whole point. And they aren’t reckless, of course. ;)
That left me with Ravenclaw. By saying this, I don’t mean that I picked Ravenclaw because it was the only choice left. I focused on their scholarly nature – both share a genuine love of learning, of gaining knowledge, of studying. Both are clever and resourceful in their own way, though, again, these traits are not explored fully in this story. Mea culpa! I can see where you’re coming from on this issue as I missed the mark by a few inches here.
Let’s just say the Sorting Hat had a hard time deciding whether to put them in Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. :D I did put the former Headmaster Dexter Fortescue in Hufflepuff, so that explains the Puff-like qualities in Florean. ;)
Thank you once again! This review made my day.
Author's Response: Thanks again! :D
What a touching story
Author's Response: Thank you for reading! :D
Ah, so now, I finally get around to reviewing...I fail, lol.
Of course, as you know, the thought, research, and care you put into this was stupendous. Andrew seems to come to life, as if he's reading this to us and we're not just reading it out of the Prophet.
Florean was another stroke of brilliance on your part; taking this small role from canon and making it a much larger part of the DH picture. There are so many unexplored facets in the tangled web of that book, so it's great to see one of them explored so beautifully.
Well, get well soon (thought maybe a review would cheer you up), and I shall bump into thee at a later time.
Author's Response: Hey, Jess!
I also need to thank you for your timely help here. I'm glad that everyone seems to like Andrew. As for Florean, I've been meaning to write something for him for a long time.
You're right! I'm feeling much better now after this review. :D Love ya!
Not that I've ever seen this before or anything (hehe) but I just had to mention how much I love it. I was in such a rush to get though Beta-ing, I didn't have time to stop and fangirl like I wanted to. I love love love love love this piece.
You've made Florean out to be the perfect Hero - a real man who was willing to do whatever it took to do the right thing. I love the narrative, it reads very easily, and I could just imagine Andrew sitting down and writing this one night.
But my definition and exemplification were wrong; these are fluid traits, and Houses cannot claim them for their own.
That is such a lovely line. I love it!
I also really like the way in which you used canon characters and plot lines to really add an element of realism, like the references to Dumbledore and the summers in Diagon Alley helping out.
So yea, WELL DONE!
Author's Response: Hey, Beta!
Thanks for the review. :D That was how I pictured Andrew writing it: the case on his Uncle's murder has been closed a few weeks back, the renovations of Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour are done, and he suddenle feels here's something missing - he has to tell the story of his Uncle, he has to let people know why he is doing this for him.
As for adding canon characters and plot lines, that's something I try to do in my fics. I love Rowling's world and the characters she created, and I can't not tie my stories to them as these tales are written to contribute something to that universe in whatever humble way I can, and to honour it.
Lovely story! What a great idea for the prompt. I really enjoyed reading about Florean and you did a great job connecting him to your OC's story (or the other way around, lol.) I especially liked the end, as it really nails the prompt and sends home the message. Good luck in the challenge! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Wow, thanks for your good wishes, Gina. This is the only one-shot which made me struggle for months, so I'm seriously glad that you found it lovely. The end was something that came to me much later on and I was a bit skeptical of it at first, but really, there was no other way the wizarding world could have paid their homage to him. I have a feeling Harry would be there with his family. :D
Thanks for the review.
Ummm, wow. Why is it I always feel that way after I've read one of your stories?
There was something so weird and bitter and tragic and shocking about Florean's death in DH (or was it HBP?)- it felt so unnecessary and abrupt. I think it helped to continue to add to those lost moments of Harry's innocennce as he remembered eating sundae's there during PoA, and Florean's ice cream parlour was such a staple to Diagon Alley. And he seemed like such an innocent man to attack - the ice cream man?!
Carole hit it right on the nose when she said that you've not only made his place greater in the HP world, but you've given Andrew breath and life through his telling of the story. I know now when I read of Harry eating sundae's, it will mean something:
"For him, it was never about the business of business; I suspect it was rather about the business of friendship. "
I think that line for me helped sum up his character better than anything else, and yet helped make his death more tragic. I have such a burning desire now to want to go to Diagon Alley and share in his memory with poor Andrew and eat some free ice cream.
I think it's brilliant the way that you incorporated the time line of the prompt in as well. I don't remember the prompt exactly, but as it's "Winter Snows", and it ends on Christmas Eve...you are a genius.
That is all. :) I love you.
Author's Response: I know about the reaction to Florean's death. Abrupt, and so cruel- and we never got to know why he died. So, I did some research and found out it had to do with the Elder Wand. Since that discovery, I've been wanting to write a one-shot on him. You know how I planned that for the Watching the Mirror final task, but...ah...fate intervened in the form of Merope Gaunt.
I'm proud of Andrew and his quirks. :D Seriously, he's the only OC of my creation that I can look back to with satisfaction. I'm thinking of featuring him in future works.
Yes, that line was meant to sum up Florean. That was the first impression I got when I read about him in POA, and I don't think it was just Harry. I rather have a feeling Florean was generally kind and generous. Something about ice-creams, right? And...can you imagine him in any other house but Ravenclaw? He seems to have been very knowledgeable and reserved about his sentiment. No one originally knew why he died, and so I thought he must have been a bit quiet about his opinions.
Thanks for the lovely review, Amanda. Your reviews always make me delve further into my story.
This is a gorgeous story, Natalie. You've taken a much underused character and given him a back story, plus you've created a fully-fleshed OC in the shape of Andrew Carlton.
But my definition and exemplification were wrong; these are fluid traits, and Houses cannot claim them for their own.
You never fail to have a line that makes me gasp and wish I'd written it. Pure brilliance, and so true. ~Carole~
Author's Response: I've decided to become Champion of Micro-Characters. lol! And I rather like Andrew Carlton as a character. In fact, I think he might just beat Dean to becoming Daphne's boyfriend.
That line was my favourite in the entire one-shot. :D Thank you so much for the review.
Oooh Natalie, that was a great story! Ah, curse you Puffs, you are too good, and too nice (I can't hate you for being so good, because I like you too much)...
You did a wonderful job here. Although I don't like Fortescue dying - He was such a great character! But then that's the war, I guess... I love it how you brought in the values of bravery and how it doesn't have to do with what house you're in... Very moving, I think you wrote exactly what the prompt was about!
Author's Response: YAY!
Thank you for noticing the part about houses and traits - that is one thing which I've been mulling over for ages. I didn't like Florean dying, but Rowling...well, we'll all find out in The Scottish Book. :D
Thanks for the review, Kara.
Author's Response: Thank you! :D