That was a lovely, short read, Sarah. I enjoyed it very much. It was like reading from one of JKR’s lost papers (lol here).
The thing that struck me the most is the flow of the story. It was really well written. The scenes flowed with each other, complimenting and taking the importance of the whole vibrancy of it. The detailed description of the first scene was very lovely. Harry’s mood was clear just by describing what formation he was in.
His hands were clutching his sore shins that still bore the throbbing, angry red marks that Aunt Marge’s walking stick had left.
That bit impressed me. I loved that bit; the incorporation of someone else’s involvement, especially from a canon character, was a wonderful flair.
The whole atmosphere was like a memory to me – like I’ve read this somewhere before. Aunt Petunia was too much in IC, especially when she remembered something about her childhood with Lily. Her reactions were powerful enough to influence the thoughts going through her mind, enacting her to say those cruel words. It was an excellent character study for Petunia Dursely.
Harry – he was incredibly well written. Every detail concerning his enviousness of Dudley, his innocence over Petunia’s burst of anger, and his wandering thoughts about his parents and ‘what if’s’ was, in my opinion, phenomenal. His childishness and the trait that made him ‘Harry’ was present, and ever more enhanced into much detail. I absolutely love it. The taunting of Dudley and his friends was a mere spot on the story, but it made the scenes more real. The party on the whole was never ignored, and that was very attentive of you to keep control on the characters on the scene.
The playing of the flowers was adorable, too. You didn’t forget about the whole point of Harry Potter – he’s a wizard. One with the unique abilities to perform magic, and this scene was an exceptional detail contributing to that. The story didn’t lose its ‘magical-ness’; the mood was just perfectly normal, suiting the plot.
Overall, the quality of the story was uniform all throughout. The style of the writing was superb – you kept it neat and clean, surpassing the border between ‘boredom’ and ‘creativity’. Everything was creative, original, and extremely in-tune with JKR’s own writing. You have a superb talent for writing, Sarah. Use it well. Remember, with great power comes with great responsibility. :D (I hated Spiderman 2). I hope you get to update your chaptered stories! :-)
Author's Response: Wow, thanks so much for the amazing review, Dinny! What a lovely thing to see in the morning when you're still feeling a little ill. Sarah x
Your story had me hooked right from the summary! I read it and thought “Wow, that’s so neat to have a story of Harry when he was little”. As you can tell, I haven’t come across many of these stories! It was intriguing to see Harry at such a young age and before he knew about magic and wizards. Sometimes I forget that there was a time when Harry knew nothing about his past.
The POV change was a little sudden and lost some effect of the story, but you picked it right back up again with the memories “She remembered, as if someone had plunged her heart into a bucket of ice, her own bitter disappointment at the absence of her own letter.” The same absent feeling that Harry felt a few paragraphs early, daydreaming about having a loving family, is nicely paralleled by his aunt with this sentence and it brings back the characters sinking tone of disappointment.
What I love the most about this story is that while the characters set themselves in a rather discouraged atmosphere, the story itself has a light heartened-ness to it. The setting itself is joyous; the summer season and the kids game at a birthday party actually put a smile on my face, even though it was sad with what happened to Harry. Also, the use of the flower brought encouragement and a bright outlook, I think, for the characters. It represents everything that Harry wants, and Petunia wanted; fantasy, belonging and being loved. The brokenness of the flower at the end, lying in “sad ruin” was tragic, but knowing what happens to Harry and the amount of love he gains, I only see the positive! : p
I really loved reading this story, even the second and third time! You wrote it so perfectly, it’s amazing. Awesome job!
-Your fellow Gryff, Sarah
Usually when I’m looking for a fic to review for SPEW, I choose authors that I know or fics that have been recc’ed to me, but occasionally I just scroll through the recently added page and pick something. I’m so glad I did that this month, because I stumbled upon this lovely little fic.
I’m just going to dive right in with a bit that I particularly liked: Her favourite bulldog, Ripper, was snoozing in her shadow, one small beady eye half open as if he was scanning for trouble makers. I like this line for a couple of reasons. First, the casual mention of Ripper is a great way to incorporate canon without being obvious about it; it’s a nice way to bring us more fully into the setting, because we know little details like this. I also like the image of Ripper sleeping with one eye half open, because it’s humorous and slightly frightening at the same time, and for some reason I can totally see this dog doing that. And finally, and this is something I’ll get to in a bit, it’s just written well. The use of ‘snoozing’ instead of the more common ‘sleeping’ caught my eye for some reason. It just stood out to me as en example of what is clearly a wide vocabulary, and shows that you’re thinking about the words you put in a sentence.
I love the idea of this fic. Young Harry isn’t something I’ve read often, so admittedly I don’t have much to compare this to, but I still think this is just a wonderful look into his life before we meet him at eleven years old. It fits perfectly into canon and could very well have happened. I mean, we did learn about the musical statues thing from canon, but the way you’ve built around such a small mention is great. That’s what I love about fan fiction – you can fill in missing moments and still have them work within the established world. In this fic, you simply did a great job writing your own story, but keeping it in line with what we already know.
He watched as the thin petals opened and closed like the wings of a butterfly, unaware that many years ago, his own mother had sat like this, charming the flowers in the exact same way. This is just a lovely line. I love imagining young Lily sitting there like young Harry; it creates such a nice parallel. It’s a bit sad at the same time, but in a good way, you know? I just love it. And the imagery of the petals like the wings of a butterfly is, again, simply good writing.
The second half of this, with Petunia, is great. I have never been a fan of Petunia, not even when we learned more about her in the later books, but the insight here was really good. The idea of splitting this short scene between Harry and Petunia is in itself great, but the way you wrote Petunia was also just spot-on. Her discomfort at Harry doing magic, her attempts not to think about her sister – they were very in-character. Again, fits perfectly with the Petunia we know from canon. I also loved Harry’s little, “It’s not hurting you.” I can so picture him saying that, and his simple defiance of her and her absurd hatred of all things different.
Overall, I think this fic displays a really strong grasp of language and writing. I mentioned the ‘snoozing’ thing before, but that wasn’t the only part that stood out to me. Just your word choice in general, I think, shows a mastery of language. It’s clear from this fic that you know how to write. The story flowed really well and is just, well, good. Keep up the great work, and thanks for such a lovely read!
Author's Response: Oh my goodness! I think this might be the best review I've ever had! Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments, they really mean a lot! Thank you!
OOOh, that so sad and sweet. I really felt for both Harry and Petunia there - which shows your skill as I usually loathe Petunia.I did like how you took a canon moment - a brief snapshot - and fleshed it out to a full picture. Great story, Sarah. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Thank you Carole :)
That was a really nice connection you made to the scene with Lily and Petunia in DH! Poor Harry, your story really makes the reader feel bad for his terrible childhood. Nice job! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thanks very much for reviewing :) I'm glad you liked it. Sarah x
Awwww, poor harry!
Author's Response: Thanks very much for reviewing :)
This piece is so reminscient of that scene in 'A Prince's Tale' that it's almost eerie. In a good way, of course, you've taken a flash memory, well, two, really, and combined them in such a fascinating. I was going to point out that he was too young to show signs of magic at this age. Especially if he showed that he did this many years before, but forget canon. It's a slight detail.
I think that you captured the view of a five-year old well. At this age, Harry would focus on those things and have nothing to do but a simple task. Dandilions show that he is occupied with something while being effectively shoved off to the side. Well done with the simplicity.
For Petunia, I think this was a wonderful switch in POV, I don't usually like that, but it fits here. I can go on and on, but that DH scene just played back inn my mind. The mirroring is incredile. And the spin? I love that it is Petunia because I wan't expecting that.
The sympathy that she shows toward Harry is just interesting. At this age, obviously Harry wouldn't really hate them.. I like how you ahowed that Petunia saw him as a bother, but she doesn't hate him. You don't show that she hates Lily, which puts her in a better light. What an impressive move. All she was fueled by is jealousy. I like that she misses that part of her sister.
What else? Oh, you didn't put Harry is that 'beat you over the head' poor Harry, poor Harry situation. And the power of him handing her her flower. Well, trying to hand it to her is awesome.
A one-shot that fits into canon. Insightful. It makes you think. Beautifully written.
Author's Response: Wow. Thank you so much, Kuri!