This piece was exactly what I needed to get me into a Christmassy mood today. It was so sweet and overall it made for very enjoyable reading.
One thing that I particularly enjoyed was your characterisation of the Marauders. From the opening line, I thought that James was very well written. To me, it seems just like him to sort of fall for Lily by accident. As a Gryffindor, I don’t think he’d tend to over think things, or really analyse much. I really liked how you showed his arrogance and cockiness, too. You managed to keep him likeable, while still making him recognisable as the person Harry saw in the Pensieve, especially at the end of the first section. I think it really helped that you gave explanations for his arrogance; the details about Sirius and his parents, in particular, helped me to make sense of him
While James was the stand out character (as expected when the story opens in his point of view) I thought that the others were very strong too. I especially liked your characterisation of Peter. You showed him really contributing something to the group, and I thought that the line “’…the question should be “who was he staring at?”’” was a very good one. I find that too many authors (myself included, on occasion) brush over him, biased by his later actions, and forget that he was a Marauder too. Your Peter couldn’t be forgotten.
Regarding the plot, I was very impressed with how you explained James’s change of attitude towards Lily. By referring to canon events at the end, you reduced the need for some sort of huge info-dump, but equally provided a more than adequate explanation for the way that James matured. Lily’s reaction to him on that say seems like it would really have been a wake-up call for him.
I think, though, that my favourite moment of the fic had to be the kiss at the end. The way you built up the tension and the awkwardness between them made it so clear that, finally, Lily reciprocated James’s feelings and I think that’s why I loved it so much. It wasn’t just a casual peck on the cheek; there’s no doubting that. It was a simple moment, but it represented so much in terms of their relationship. You could tell how much it meant to James, and that it was going to become significant.
The only issues I had with this story were a couple of little stylistic things. Me being a bit of a grammar obsessive, I couldn’t help but notice that there were a couple of run-on sentences in the story, for example, “She was bound to be impressed and flattered that he was singling her out, who wouldn’t be?” It’s not a major issue, but it’s definitely worth addressing.
Other than that, I thought that the story was well written. In particular, I liked your use of italics for emphasis. You didn’t overuse it, but it added a nice extra splash of colour and style to your writing. Another thing that struck me was your dialogue. The content of it was fabulous, of course, and made me giggle, but apart from that, it just seemed so natural. The nicknames you had the characters use, the informal language, the more lax grammatical constructions: it fitted perfectly with how I’d imagine the Marauders speaking.
This might “only” be a light-hearted Christmas piece, but I thought it was very well done. It has certainly put me in a great mood now! Happy Christmas :)
This was really sweet, Sarah! (In case you're wondering, it's Soraya. I have a different username on the archives for no apparent reason :P)
I've read my fair share of Lily/James fics, and I have to say that you did very well in ignoring the usual cliches. After I started beta'ing Walking Fine Lines and you told me it's a sequel to this, I had to see what it was about. I'm very glad I did, because some things make a bit more sense to me right now after reading it.
The guessing game and generally, the banter between the Marauders was well done. I'm so, so glad you didn't make Peter cliched, because that is my number one pet peeve, let me tell you. The number of times I feel like screaming because of the insertion of Loser!Peter or not even including Peter is just ridiculous. So yeah, you did great in that. And Sirius' threat was just so funny. I doubt he would've really told Lily, if James refused, but then again, this is Sirius we're talking about here.
I like the way you described James' ego, as something that began as pride and manifested itself due to his successes, which happened one after the other. This is a very plausible explanation to what happened to James, because I always wonder if one is always arrogant or if one becomes arrogant over the course of time. I think that if the latter is the case, then you're far more likely to overcome the arrogance.
The change in James' demeanour in seventh year, when he was Head Boy, was well done. I think this was the point when the Marauders realised that it wasn't always about messing around and whatever, and that there was always a time and place for seriousness and pranks.
The fact that SWM was a turning point for James is very plausible, because I refuse to believe that after what happened near the lake, James would continue to ask Lily out, at every opportunity. (I think he still would've hexed Snape, though, and the fact that Lily stopped talking to Snape sort of helped, but anyway...)
I really liked the ending scene. It was very well written -- well, the whole thing was, but I liked the bit at the end the best -- and I liked how Lily wasn't suddenly all over him, completely out of nowhere. This oneshot was done very well and I'm glad I read it :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review, Soraya! I'm glad you liked this. I wrote most of this years ago and decided to re-cycle it for the swap, and just stuck a bit on the end, so it's interesting you liked the ending best; it was a very last minute thing, so I'm happy it works! Thanks once again! Sarah x
I thought this was a really sweet one-shot... I was so into it, I sort of wished that it was longer!
Some of my favourite things about it were that James' attraction to Lily happened gradually and wasn't simply a physical thing, and that they were actually 'friends' of sorts when they were younger. I think that's quite realistic.
I also liked how you delved into James' character - the idea that he only really became arrogant after a Quidditch victory at the end of fourth year and then exacerbated the effect by trying to impress Lily, and then having it become a habit which he could hide behind was nice and unique. You've shown a mature side to James, without making him at all out of character.
I also liked that it was Lily who gave James a kiss on the cheek, and that at that point James didn't suddenly sweep her into a big romantic kiss... somehow it's much sweeter and more realistic this way. And I think it shows their emotional/mental connection, rather than just the physical side, which a lot of fanfictions tend to get caught up in.
So anyway, this was a nice fluffy one-shot but also with some nice characterisation and something a bit different. Oh yeah, good job with the other Marauders too!
Author's Response: Wow, thanks so much for the review! You've picked up on everything I hoped to convey, which is really great. I'm currently writing a chaptered fic that carries on where the first part of this fic left off and continues throughout their fifth year, which hopefully will explore the deteriation of their relationship a bit more, so it does continue. Sort of! Once, again, thank you so much for reviewing. Sarah x
He he he - I love this! My face oneshot on teh site! :)
Gina has said everything I wanted to say, so yeah ...
The ending is exactly like one of my drabbles ha ha. Great minds think alike (LOL JK I'm as dumb as a post and you're, well, not.)
Uh, this is about the stupidest review I've ever written. I guess I'll just say: I LOVE IT!
Author's Response: Thank you :) Great minds do think alike; we both did the same theme for the Brawl in the TTB last week as well. Spooky! Thanks for the review, and for favouriting. Sarah x
I, for one, really appreciate the idea that James wasn't in love with Lily from first year. I especially liked how your James gradually realized he liked her. That seems far more realistic. I also liked how the others teased him when they found out who he had a crush on, especially Peter. And lovely little kiss at the end!
Author's Response: Thanks so much, Gina! I'm really glad you liked it. Sarah x