I've been meaning to read one of your stories for a while but most of them seemed a bit--optimistic for my tastes at the moment. However when I opened this one I was slightly put off by the lack of breaks. I'm sure you would have put some in so it's probably something wrong with MNFF rather than you, but just in case you hadn't realised then, yep, you need to edit in some page breaks
Firstly I really like the voice you use here. It's oddly detached and very obviously a Muggle view of what the Lovegood household would be like. I also loved your description of Luna's mother. For a character who we never see, but who both Luna and Xenophilius obviously both adored, you make her immediately jump off the page. I also like the way Xenophilius is the more normal one in their relationship. Also- I always thought the Trio gave him a hard time for betraying them, I mean they had his daughter for crying out loud, so I like the way that you emphasise his concern for Luna. I do think the Xenophilius we meet in DH would not really think about them in relation to the outside world, but I suppose there is the possibility that his wife's death drove him further from society in general.
I also like the way he left Luna. I mean it's cruel but very realistic in a moment like that. I did find the comment about Aloca that "once she had been taken in for testing" a bit jarring though. I mean, you're dead or you're alive--it wouldn't take them that long to work out.
And I adored your characterisation of Luna. It's not as -far out as some people have her, but I think you're way is more realistic. The jump for the reader is a bit of a shock, in a good way though, going from her father's emotions at her mother's death, to her own. I also think it's realistic that the prospect of the afterlife comforted her as a teenager more than as an adult. I think teenagers think about death (well, maybe just me) more than people think and that would be a comfort, but she'd grow more cynical - not about the afterlife but about the possibility of this as comfort- as she grows older. The line "She wanted to be a little girl again. She wanted Mummy and Daddy." was very simplistic, but also very realistic and poignant, particularly with the child like repetition of wanted.
When Harry and Ginny arrive you say "leaving a dark-haired man wearing glasses and two children in her living room," so I didn't think Ginny was there until you say that she is speaking. That was a bit confusing. But I loved the way that listening to stories of the Weasley-Potter clan and essentially "life" made her feel more accepting of her father's death. The conclusion you come to about Luna realising friends are important, which she knew when she was sixteen (?), was a nice touch. It felt slightly OOC at first but then I thought that actually the conclusions we come to as adolescents probably change/ are forgotten as life/ work gets in the way. So actually I thought it was really nice. Anyway this was a lovely short piece and, although the hint about Rolf at the end was slightly heavy handed for me, I do think you ended it sweetly. Alex
Author's Response: Thanks so much for this long review, Alex! Yes, my stories do tend to be rather optimistic, even when I'm dealing with death and that sort of thing... anyway, thanks for reading this and telling me what you thought. And sorry about the page breaks... I'm pretty sure they were there when I submitted the story, so not sure what happened there... I've fixed it up now.
I'm glad you liked the voice I used... I can't remember particularly why I chose it, I think it just flowed that way for me. I'm glad you liked Luna's mother... I did worry a bit that I made her too much of an "older version of Luna" sort of character. In my mind, as you said, after his wife's death, Xenophilius drew away from society, and probably became "weirder" for want of a better word. It almost feels like he drew into his imagintion - the Snorkacks etc which don't actually exist. I also made him more "normal" because his name means lover of strange things and hers is derived from the Spanish word for crazy (unfortunately strange is "extranjero", which is a little hard to make a name from...). Anway, I'm going on rather here... I think Luna meant everything to Xenophilius - in my mind, it was because of her that he published all those articles supportive of Harry in "The Quibbler", so he was willing to do a lot for her, which means he would do a lot to get her back.
Thanks for the comment about the testing - I think in my mind it was something like an autopsy... but her death wasn't doubtful, so I can't imagine why they would need that. So it's now been deleted. I know, it is a little cruel how he left Luna, but I think of him as rather single-minded, and at that moment his grief for his wife was over-powering.
Thanks for saying you liked Luna - I found her quite difficult to write, because I didn't want to make her too airy fairy or too 'normal'. Yes, I agree, I think she would stop seeing the afterlife as comforting - there's something wonderfully naive yet wise about Luna in the books, and I think she would partially have grown out of that. Particularly because after her mother's death, she still had her father, whereas now she has no-one.
When Harry and Ginny arrived, I've actually written "At that precise moment, the fireplace flashed green and a redheaded witch of approximately Luna’s age stepped into the dark room. It flashed three more times in quick succession, leaving a dark-haired man wearing glasses and two children in her living room." So maybe you just missed the line about Ginny...
I can understand that it seemed OOC that she would only realise in her mid thirties that friendship is important, because clearly she understands that as a teenager. This actually had more backstory which I ended up cutting out... I think after the Battle, Luna would have initially seemed to hold up well and be with her friends whilst throwing herself more and more into her work, which would gradually take her overseas. As her friends got married and had kids etc she would have felt somewhat lonely and drawn further into her work, and forgotten what she knew so clearly as a teenager.
Yes I suppose the hint about Rolf was a little heavy-handed and not particularly necessary to this story, which is, after all, about friendship. So I'm thinking about cutting that out.
Anyway, thanks so much for this review! Also, if you're looking for something less optimistic of mine to read, I suggest you try "The Wrong Secret" or "Curiosity".
This was very good. Just a couple of nitpicks--"Weasley's" doesn't need the apostrophe to pluralise it, so it should be "Weasleys". I liked your characterisation of Luna's mum and dad. I think only Luna's dad could've passed off leaving his daughter behind to be with his wife.
That said, I do have a bit of an issue with how you ended it, because I think you left it a bit too open if you know what I mean. You left the ends too loose. And usually it's not much of a problem and adds suspense as a cliffhanger or whatever, but...hmm. I don't know. I can't put my finger on it, but I just think you could have ended it a bit better. As well as that, you didn't exactly explain why Luna has been out of contact with Harry and co since Ron and Hermione's wedding, because they seemed pretty good friends and it would be quite strange for them not to at least stay in touch, you know? Anyway, that's all from me. I just think I owed you a couple of reviews after all your lovely ones, but it was only now that I had the time, so apologies that it was so overdue. Keep it up!
Author's Response: Thanks for another review of one of my fics! Just by the way... your reviews are really nice and quite detailed and I find them really helpful. Thanks for the apostrophe nitpick... I'll fix that straight away. And I'm glad you liked my characterisation of Luna's parents. When I started this fic it was going to mostly be about Luna's mum, because I thought that wasn't talked about much in the books, but it sort of ended up going somewhere else. As to the ending - I can see why you think it's a bit open ended - endings are something I often struggle with a little, and I really wanted it to focus on her re-gaining her friendship with the trio and co. I might have a look at it, but I don't know that I'll change it much... to be honest I wrote this a while ago and I think I'll focus more on newer stuff. As to why Luna didn't keep up with the trio - I know I didn't explain it enough in the fic, I did try to put it in a bit but it didn't work so well. Basically it was that Luna's way of dealing with her grief from the Battle was initially to suppress it and then later just to run away from it, so she became absorbed in her travels with her dad for The Quibbler and left everything else behind. Anyway, thanks for the review, it was really helpful and I'll have a look at some of those things you mentioned.
This was very sweet. :) I don't normally read Luna fics, but I'm glad I checked this one out! For some reason, having the story take place when the characters are in their thirties, instead of directly after the war, made everything even sweeter, as they had been apart for so many years before reconnecting. Well done :)
Author's Response: Thanks again for reviewing. I made them reconnect later because I liked the idea that Luna felt like she lost Harry and Co's friendship. After the war, they would have been celebrated as heroes, and I couldn't see Luna fitting in with that. So instead, she went off on extended trips with her father and became involved in "The Quibbler" to cope with her own feelings and sense of loss after the war.
excellent! so believable, so Luna!
Author's Response: Thanks! I wasn't sure if I got the characterisation quite right, so great to hear you liked it.