Absolutely beautiful. It made me cry!
Wonderful characters. I love it when people take characters and give them a back story. And I thought that the mother narrating was a brilliant idea: It made everything so much more...poignant, I suppose.
Oh look, i'm crying
What an amazing story!! I love the way you have created the character from nothing into a masterpeice. The writing style is just beautiful and this story is truly wonderful. JKR would be proud:)
Ahh! This is so wonderful!
This was excellent! I really enjoyed this and the depth you've given Theo! It brings to light a lot things that weren't in the books about him, but I do have one question. Did Theo really die in the Battle, or is my memory failing me?
All in all, great story!
Hi Chante. It is so amazed that you made my tears flow (no, really; I cried) for a character who was not fleshed out in the books, a character that we know so little about...
Your story moved me. Great job! The best second-viewpoint story I have read on Mugglenet.
This story... blew my mind. It was so beautiful, and it made my heart ache for poor Theo. I think he's a very interesting character to work with, because we know so little about him, and you took advantage of that. You took it and ran with it, and the result was mind-blowingly beautiful. The was it was written was excellent, and I cried at the end. It was just so powerful; it was breath-taking and brilliant. I loved every second of it. I really look forward to reading more from you :)
First, I’ll start with the most obvious point: the use of second person. Generally, I am not a fan of second person. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Here, I thought that the use of second person was unnecessary. I don’t think it detracted from the story too much—I still enjoyed the fic—but I would prefer if you had used first or third person. I think part of the reason why you used it was to establish an immediate closeness between Theodore and the reader. However, I think that this cheapens the story. The writing is definitely strong enough on its own that second person seemed redundant. I would have felt the same intimacy with Theo with or without the point of view.
Furthermore, I think that this particular fic was too long for second person as well. And I’ll admit that scrolling down and realizing how long it was made me gulp. Fortunately, it’s a very absorbing read so it went by fairly quickly. Plus, I’m not quite sure how this would work broken up into chapters. I think that the flashbacks and jumping back and forth in time would have made it difficult to split up.
While the beginning pulled me in because of the immediate action, I do have a little problem with the beginning. At first, Theo’s character seems inconsistent. He talks about how he doesn’t join groups, but then we jump into the fact that he joined the Death Eaters. I didn’t like that the circumstances weren’t explained until much later, because when I first read that it took me out of the story. Foreshadowing that it would be explained would have been nice here, such as a line like, “He had no choice but to join the Death Eaters”.
The dynamic with his father was interesting and definitely added depth to his character. I really love that his characterization is far from black and white. He’s ambivalent about everything—right and wrong, good and evil, who he is and who he is not. He’s not even sure if he wants to please his father or if he is simply afraid of him. To further comment on characterization, I love that you continually established his personal qualities throughout. Even if it was just a little line or two, I think the consistency gave me a clear picture of Theodore Nott.
I also liked the going back and forth in time. It kept me interested in the story by creating unresolved tension through leaving the point of view of the battle and not knowing what happens next. However, at first I was confused by the italicized and non-italicized text. The italicized is flashback, but doesn’t always read like it because of use of “you”. Also, the non-italicized appeared to jump around a little too. Then again, maybe I was just slow on the uptake.
I also loved the scene where he is given the Dark Mark—it is tense and explains the reasoning behind Theodore being a part of the Death Eaters.
The writing of this piece was well done, and there were some memorable one-liners. I think my favorite was:
“Everyone wears masks, Theodore,” she says. “What matters is who we are when we take them off.”
I think that it works so well because it is both profound and simple.
Speaking of that particular line, I loved the masks motif. It was both interesting and introspective. It was a great way of explaining Theo’s character without having to say “Theo feels like many different people at the same time” over and over again.
I think that these lines also work in establishing Theo’s character really well. It’s clean and simple but still deep:
And you, Theodore, wear the most convincing mask at all. You wore one that changed to reflect back whatever anymore wanted to see. For your classmates, it was a powerful, pureblood Slytherin, so much cleverer than the rest. For Lisa, it was something better than what you really were. And for your father, you wore the mask of a Death Eater.
Continuing, I thought that the pay off of revealing the mother’s death was very good. Throughout the story I was kept on edge wondering what happened to the mother. Although it was easy to guess, the scene was so dramatic and poignant that the wait was worth it.
These lines really established my sympathy for Theo too:
Your world has ended three times, once when your mother died, once when Lisa Turpin fell, and now you are dying again—one last time. And each time it has ended with a flash of green. You see it now; it blinds you.
My heart definitely went out to him here.
I’m not quite sure what I think of the parallel to Lily/Severus, which is very apparent. The “mudblood” line seemed to walk right out of the books and into the story. While the story was absorbing and well-written and the character of Theo established beautifully, I think I would have liked the plot to be more original.
So, all in all I did enjoy it with some small qualms. It was a great “character study” of sorts, for sure! Keep up the good work :)
Greetings. :) I've just read this for SBBC, and want you to know I thought it was stunning and painful and brilliant and gorgeous. I will not get into everything, as I've just left my discussion in SBBC, but I loved this story. And that is saying something, as D/A is really not my thing. I will search out more of your work in the near future. Great job! ~Lori
So I’ve been meaning to read this for a while, ever since What Lies Behind was nominated for a QSQ and ever since I read (and beta’d) Say. I’m not normally into stories featuring Slytherins, particularly minor Slytherins who have virtually no characterisation in canon, because what it normally creates is an almost-OC, and most OCs are just Mary-Sues/Gary-Stus. Your Theodore Nott was NOT like that (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun :P) and I really enjoyed reading the backstory you created for him. I shall go through this section by section, since this is a rather long oneshot, although it didn’t drag or anything.
The use of second person in this story was very effective. I’ve become a big fan of second person lately; it gives me a personal insight into the main character’s mind, yet it doesn’t feel too personal, which first person can sometimes do, or too detached, like third person often feels. So yes, good choice of POV — it really worked here.
I love how you began this. The battle of Hogwarts — I felt like screaming at Pansy when she said she wanted to go, and when the Slytherins “evacuated” and then some of them returned to fight on Voldemort’s side. You displayed Theo’s uncertainty of loyalty here very well, especially by the references to how things were before the battle started in Hogwarts. The use of description in this first section is very well done, as is the comparison of life, of right and wrong, and of chess. I loved the chess reference especially because wizard chess is definitely a big thing in Potterverse, so it makes sense to have linked them.
As I read on to the next section, I have to say, your transition into flashback was very, very smoothly done.
Perhaps it is true what they say about your life flashing before your eyes before you die, because as you walk down the hall, you remember things you swore you never would.
The use of this paragraph was a very good idea, because then it made the flashback fit into the story well, and not seem sudden or anything. I love how the entire premise of the story is this thing of life flashing before your eyes when you know you might die — it’s so simple yet very original too, and I applaud you for that.
The first flashback is intriguing. Firstly, it made me understand partly why you wrote this in second person — a two-year-old’s first person POV must be really difficult to write, pretty much impossible since a two-year-old doesn’t have very developed thinking. Yet the way you painted his father here, Theo’s, already made me feel sorry for him. His father is horrible — all two-year-olds cry! Your portrayal of him as a not-quite-so-faithful Death Eater was really accurate, particularly because we only get a glimpse of how the Death Eaters gave up on Voldemort in the books. I think you wrote this part very well, and the mentions of the perfume and flowers make me think that the person holding Theo at the end of the section is his mum.
The next segment, when you went back to present (and again, the transition here was immaculately done) was intriguing and thought-provoking. I suppose to Death Eaters, jobs are meaningless, and you really brought that out here, especially in this line: your father wanted you to be nothing more than a Death Eater, wanted nothing more than for you to be a betrayer, torturer, murderer.
Those words really rang true for me — you emphasised the fact that at the end of the day, that’s what Death Eaters are, and the bluntness with which it is put gives the story a raw, real feel. As well as that, I wasn’t altogether surprised to see that Theo was named after his father — after all, he sounds like one of those guys who would do that.
The next flashback, at the end of Theo’s fourth year, was well-written, but I did think that there was an abrupt jump from Theo being two to being... fifteen? I thought it was rather sudden, and it might have been better to have another section in between here, because it made me wonder what went on in those thirteen years. That said, I do think that this point, Voldemort returning, was an important point of Theodore Nott Senior’s life, so I’m glad you did touch on that.
I liked the next section, about running away. It seems like a reasonable thing to do, given Theo’s circumstances, although as a reader, at this point, I didn’t know exactly what his family circumstances are. I’m guessing his mum is dead, or has ran away from his dad. I shall see as I read on.
I’ll admit it — I squee’d when I read that Theo was disappointed at Voldemort’s appearance, and that he thought Voldemort was worth mocking. This, I think, is a very realistic view of Voldemort, and the incredulity in this part was very well-conveyed, especially considering it’s in second person. I felt really sorry for Theo when he had to bow to Voldemort — it must have been difficult, considering he wanted to laugh at him just before. And then he swore his allegiance to Voldemort, and I really did feel for him there. I have always wondered how much it would hurt to have the Dark Mark burned onto your skin, and I think your use of description here showed this very well, while keeping Theo perfectly in character. I particularly liked the last sentence of this bit: And you are a slave.
I liked how you focused on the romance aspect of his life next. The fact that he obeyed pretty much every rule in the pureblood/Death Eater book was very, very good of him, particularly the pureblood girl rule — that must have been difficult. I liked how you moved on to the flashback again, starting with a game of chess — again, I’m loving the chess references here. And the girl was a Ravenclaw? Wow. This pairing, Lisa/Theo, is pretty unique. I’m a big fan of rarepairs, so I loved how you took two characters who are barely mentioned in the books and hardly characterised (definitely not, in the case of Lisa Turpin) and made them fully fleshed out characters in their own right, and then created a rarepair which I know I’ll love.
I loved how chess kind of bonded them together — that was really rather sweet, and romantic, but in a more unconventional way, which I really liked. And then when Lisa asks Theo the question I’ve been wondering... And I think I was right, considering Lisa’s comments about Thestrals. I loved how in character and Slytherin Theo remains throughout — the Mudblood comment is definitely Slythish, and by doing so, you stayed true to canon.
I do think it was a bit confusing, how you seemed to go back and forth in time, because I had to reread it. I think that’s just me, though, because I find it difficult to comprehend things since I am a bit sow sometimes.
I liked you portrayal of Draco here as well. It was in character and he stayed as selfish as he was in Potterverse, which I appreciated. And wow, I loved the elf’s dialogue too! That sounded like it was straight out of the book, so kudos to you for that.
And then the interaction between Lisa and Theo is so very believable. You’ve done a great job developing them as characters, so much so that I’m starting to think this is all canon. The same goes for Theo’s mum — she’s a perfect and solid OC, and I applaud you for making her so likeable, despite me only having a small glimpse of her in this story, in that flashback.
The whole premise of masks, too, was expertly interweaved into the story, and I thought it was a great, simple concept which you wrote incredibly well here. And then the confrontation between Theo and his dad... wow. Him wanting to protect Lisa, his hatred of his dad, all that was painted so believably, and I thought it was very emotional. And the flashback was amazing — it really explained Theo’s hatred of his dad, and why he missed his mum so much. I also loved the action scene that came after, and the little taste of romance I got as well. Very well done there.
And the last segment just blew me away! I loved how this was actually written entirely from Theo’s mum’s POV — that was ingenious, I tell you.
I did notice a few grammar errors here and there. They were nothing major, and in no way detracted how lovely this story was, but perhaps another read-through would iron those errors out? Also, there are a few Americanisms in this story, like “pants” being used instead of “trousers” (because “pants” in British English is underpants) so maybe you might want to find a Britpicker. As I say, though, they are only minor things, and overall, this story was stellar. Well done.
That was one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read on MNFF. I love how you've taken a character we know almost nothing about, yet make it sound crebible, as if Rowling could actually have meant for this to happen but just not revealed it. When it started in second person, I feared you could have ruined it, but you've pulled it off to perfection.
Definitely one of THE best fics I've ever read. This was so beautiful and dramatic, and I just love a happy ending. :) Well done!
Wow. I can barely type through the tears. That was stunning. Thank you.
Oh dear god I'm crying. Again. 4th time now.
Author's Response: Thank you for loving this story so much. Four times. Wow. I am very flattered.
ahhhhh! i love this!!!
Author's Response: Thank you!
I've always loved the name Theo... Maybe coz it sounded exotic and smart, and rhymed with Cleo - I dunno why.
But I'd always wondered if Theo Nott was NOT was he seemed to others - just another death-eater-wannabe... Harry, dear li'l Harry and Ron were convinced all Slytherins were up to no good ever, and here is a contradiction...
Wish I could be Lisa Turpin... Almost fits me - brown, messy hair, and glasses... though as much as I try, I cannot levitate a hair pin!
Author's Response: Yes, Slytherins do tend to carry a horrible stigma, thanks to Harry and Ron. But I've made it one of my missions and life to prove that wrong. Theo is one of those I use to prove it. I'm glad you liked the story so well and liked Lisa Turpin. Thanks for the review!
Oh, man, that was gorgeous. I love the emotional depth you put into this piece. I started crying and couldn't stop. Now, I have to go back and find out why.
I suppose I should start by saying that I'm a sucker for this kind of story, with a morally ambiguous main character. It's one of the reasons I like Snape so much, and Slytherins in general. You just know there's more to them than meets the eye: kids don't just "go bad" at age eleven. On the other hand, I don't normally like romance, and in particular, I dislike it when romance is the reason less than good people choose to do good things. But in your case, it was less Lisa and more Theodore's mom who inspired him. Well, it was actually both of them, but it was the maternal love that meant more to me. I really liked how you managed to have Lisa reflect the mother in a lot of ways.
One of the things that worked really well for me was your use of repetition. The constant question, "Do you remember, Theodore?" and the refrain for Lisa "She is so very, very smart," gave the whole piece a kind of poetic cadence, drawing me deeper and deeper into the story. I liked the structure, too -- the way you alternated between regular typeset and italics. It worked really well to have not only the alternation between the past and the present but also a visual cue that the alternation was happening. And your point of view . . . it was absolutely spot on. There were times, near the very beginning, where I doubted it, where I wondered why you were writing in second person. It didn't seem to fit. But then, when it turned out to actually be in first person, through the voice of the mother, it was so powerful. It was like a light went on in my head, and I could just think, "Wow, she was really there the whole time." This, too, worked with the poetics and the italics, making a kind of ghostly atmosphere. It gave me shivers when I realized she was the narrator. Now, I want to read it again, knowing she's back there. That's the hallmark of a great piece of writing: that you can read it again and again and always get something new out of it.
As you know, I liked the fluidity of time. I also liked your use of setting and characterisation. I loved the line about masks, and Theodore's constant struggle to stay that mirror . . . until he realizes it's not serving him.
The only real problem I had was that your grammar failed you at times -- grammar and spelling, actually. For example, on at least two occasions, you used the possessive "father's" when you meant the plural: "Most father’s threw their sons a party . . . " should be "Most fathers . . ." Shortly after that, you have the sentences: "For someone who never wanted to live up to anyone’s expectations, you did, Theodore. You lived up to everyone of them." I think you meant "You lived up to every one of them" (i.e. every expectation, not all the people). Then, later, you write "She had only ever been what was expected of you." She had been what was expected of you? Finally, about three fourths through the story, you use the expression "put much stalk in" and it should be "put much stock in."
Your story was still beautiful and moving; it still made me cry, but the technical problems did get in the way, making the story seem not as polished as it could be. The mistakes at time did pull me out of the wonderful dream you were weaving. Luckily, those things are also the easiest to fix -- both in editing and when writing new stories. It's the emotion, the character, the plot, the conflict, the tension . . . this is what is hard about writing, and you absolutely nailed it. Brava!
Author's Response: First thank you so much for a long detailed review.
I'm glad you share my love for the morally ambiguous characters. I, too, love Snape and Slytherins, and that's probably one of the reasons (though I didn't really put it into those terms til now. Thank you for how you put that). I don't really see Lisa as the one who changed him. As you said it was more Theo's mum. I think Theo was already on the verge, but Lisa was the catalyst in his life that made him choose. Made him realize he actually HAD to choose. But she wasn't the one reason, no more than she was the only reason. A person changing is much more complicated than that.I'm glad that you liked the repetition and such. People keep pointing little things like that out to me, and it makes me wonder if I planned it to have the effect it did. When I look back though, I don't think I actually intended for this story to have all the layers of depth it does. To me, it was just the way the story had to be written. Perhaps that's why I'm so proud of this story, because it really too me by surprise.
I apologize for the grammar issues. You'll be happy to know I sent it to a beta to have it cleaned up and I will get around to make those changes as soon as I can.Thank you again for the review and for all your compliments. I really appreciate it.
I love love love love love love this story. The emotions, the reasons, the fear, the pain, it's all so real the way you write it. When the last line came I was praying it wasn't over. :D
Author's Response: Thank you so much!
Wow. This is utterly amazing. You completely capture the emotions of the characters and the climate of the war around them. I imagine many of the young Slytherins were facing this, pressure from parents, from social expectations. I cried reading the end of this. It was great. I love this beyond belief. Bloody brilliant.
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked the stories. I really don't think as many of the Slytherins faced this problem as you might. Not all of them had Death Eaters as parents, though that seems to be the stereotype. But Death Eater parents or not, I can't imagine that being Slytherin at this time was easy. I'm not sure whether to apologize for making you cry. I know when writing a story that is very sad, it's a compliment that I manage to bring tears, and yet, I don't like making people cry. But thank you for loving the story, and thank you for the review.
OMG!!! This is one of the first stories I read after joining and it is definitely my fave so far!!! Your use of the second person works really well, and it made me think much more about Theodore Nott - I never really noticed him in the book! :)
Author's Response: Yes, Theodore Nott is sadly overlooked. But then, he was only in about two sentences, and we knew very little. However, Theodore Nott is a character I adore. I'm glad you liked the story so well. Thank you for the review!
Wow! This was incredible! I am so glad i clicked the link to read this story. Everything about it was beautiful, and by the end I definitely had tears. Thank you for an amazing story!
Author's Response: Thank you so much!