Your expert penwork left me in tears. Never before have I enjoyed a dark/angsty so much. I thank you for submitting this and letting the world come to knowledge of Pomona's abandoned faith, Seamus' helplessness, Theo's forbidden sorrow and Hagrid's guilt.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. This story is one of my personal favourites although it took a fair bit out of me- especially the Hagrid part. I really appreciate your words. ~Carole~
Good story! I like the use of all of the different perspectives.
Author's Response: Thank you very much. This was quite hard to write, but it's one of my favourites. ~Carole~
Wow, very sad, but very good, as are the rest of your stories :) . So, you envisioned Seamus and Lavendar going out for awhile? Very nice, I never quite thought about it. And I also really like how you entwined the first 3 little stories with each other. The only thing that bothered me, however, is that I don't think that witches and wizards wouldn't be Christian. I think that they would be just like Muggles in their choice of religions. Just my opinion, though. Again, great job!
Author's Response: Thank you for reviewing. Mmm, religion is an oft discussed subject in HP and I'm still not sure about the answer. You see whilst we have evidence of religious magical people (The Fat Friar) and they observe customs like Christmas and Easter, the fact is that they also seem to venerate mythological deities too (Hermes, Minerva etc). Christianity, in particular, was particularly harsh on witchcraft, so I'm not sure a great many of them have a faith, as such, which was why I explored a witch having faith and then losing it. Muggleborns are probably more inclined to believe in a god (or gods if you look at the Patil twins who are of Hindi origin). Anyway, thanks for the review. ~Carole~
Carole, this just blew me away the first time I read it, and when I decided to reread it because it was so good, I was again almost heartbroken. Wow. Just wow. Your stories have always been excellent but I think The Golden Boy really brought out your amazingness. The fact that it only has four reviews does annoy me, though, because it's a truly wonderful and amazing and fabulous and moving and touching (and every other synonym you can think of) story and it deserves way more reviews than it has at the moment. I mean, two of the reviews are SPEW ones, which sort of compensates, but still!
You really deserved first place in the challenge. This was just wow in so many different ways and it's stories like these that I love the most because it was just so poignant and unique and lovely. I'm sorry I can't be more coherent than that but I really really loved it and I'd love to know what Oliver's reaction to Cedric's death was. Is that what Riptide is about?
~Soraya, who really should be revising~
Author's Response: Hi Soraya, thank you very much for the review. I'm rather fond of this story because I thought it was different from my usual style and it made me sad, too. Riptide, when I get the courage to write it, will be about Cedric and Oliver, but will be from Cedric's POV (mainly). It will pick up from where Drowning, not Waving, left off, so that's GOF onwards. ~Carole~
Carole, this is just wonderful! What inspired choices for your character POVs, particularly Seamus and Theo. Theo's was just heartbreaking, not just because of how much he loved Cedric, but because no one notices him at all, and his own concern that he will choose safety over bravery. When reading this bit, I thought he was hung up on Cho, and I thought, are you kidding? Is every boy in school really after that girl? ;) I'm glad it was not the case, as I would have found it supremely unlikely.
I think Hagrid's guilt over feeling relief that it was not Harry is absolutely appropriate. My heart just broke for him as he was tearing up the maze, and I love the Flitwick showed up with a similar need to do something helpful. The two of them working together through this is a nice image. Sorry my reviews are not spew-worthy... no crit from me as I just loved this completely. It was heartbreaking and beautiful. Well done.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Lori. This fic tore me up for a while because I get so sad thinking about Cedric's death, so I'm really pleased you appreciated it. I always had it in mind to write Seamus (this is the other side of one of my Lavender fics) and wanted Pomona because no one writes her. Then Theo decided to make an appearance. Hagrid was purely inspired by the prompt in the Great Hall, and I struggled with him 9as well as the blooming tense shifts) but I'm pleased with how he turned out. Thanks again ~Carole~
Ooh, Carole, this story is so interesting! Somehow, you managed to take four characters and paint four completely different and completely unique reactions to the death of Hogwarts ‘Golden Boy’. I thought the way you set up the story, as well as the character choice, was inspired. Each of the voices were clearly defined.
For Pomona, I suppose I never really thought about her being a person of faith. I don’t know if I even considered how the ‘Fat Friar’ became a friar in the first place. I love how you consider details like this in your writing and fill in the gaps, so to speak. I adored how you have her that one commonality with her House’s ghost, where not many would’ve been able to share Christianity with others at a school full of magical people who probably don’t share that belief.
I did pause at her being a Muggle-born, though. It has nothing to do with her characterisation so much as if she had been a Muggle-born, she never would’ve been allowed to teach at Hogwarts during Year Seven, just as no students were allowed to attend. I suppose it’s subjective, but it is something to consider. Personally, I like her in the story just the way she is; her story makes sense and just reeks of raw humanity.
The end part of her segment was just… *sniff*. It made me want to hug her when she felt so guilty for praying for a Triwizard victory when she felt she should’ve been praying for the safety of the participants. Would it have changed the outcome? No, but her faith would’ve given her comfort in that time of grief, but instead, it stood as a testament of how it had let her down.
The Fat Friar was another victory in this part. He was given a life, not just a name and the title of the Hufflepuff House ghost. He was emotive and honest, and his background felt so fitting for both the supporting role as well as for a Hufflepuff in general. I think he really made this segment one of my favourites.
There was something base and rudimentary about Seamus and Lavender in this. Not everyone deals with grief in the same way or for the same reasons, and having these two right after Pomona illustrates this point so well. While Sprout chose to blame herself, Seamus decided that a bit of denial was in order, and physical grief was Lavender’s choice.
By all rights, Seamus and Lavender barely knew Cedric at all, but having been that same age and lost a classmate, I know how it affects people. Everywhere you go, you notice something that you can associate with that person, even if it’s someone you hardly ever talked to. You might even hear a joke and wonder if said person would’ve laughed at it or thought it was stupid. I even remember being in JC Penney’s and seeing a message T-shirt that reminded me of the boy who died. I think you captured the relative… weirdness that it brings quite accurately, as well as the mental funk that surrounds the time when you find out about it. There’s the disbelief, then the confusion, and then the angst.
When they had sex, I felt bad for both of them. It was not a good idea at all, and you showed that when Lavender later dumped Seamus, but they didn’t know how to feel. Right then, neither of them wanted to think about Cedric lying on the ground mere feet away, knowing very well that, if Voldemort had indeed returned, that body could someday be them, taken in some dark place and brought back by a screaming bystander.
Overall, this segment was poignant in the sense of lost innocence. They hadn’t known death until this point — not really. Now they understood heartache, grief, and shame, and they started to become the Gryffindors that proudly signed their names on the Dumbledore’s Army roster.
I think Theo was the most heart-breaking of all. In a way, he has it worse than Cho in terms of losing the object of his affection. He never got to touch Cedric or to taste the lips that peppered his dreams. Theo never got to laugh at a joke or smile at something Cedric said. He never got that dance. Cho had memories, but all Theo would have was bitterness. I wanted to hug him tightly and point him in the direction of another of Cedric’s mourning admirers *coughOlivercough*.
It just wasn’t fair, and the way you had him listening in disgust at Seamus and Lavender’s lovemaking, convincing himself he was angry that they weren’t honouring Cedric properly and not that he was hurting because no one cared about him like that and he didn’t think anyone would. And when I read ‘No one ever did’, I wanted to steal him away and mother him, poor lad.
Hagrid, as we discussed in SBBC, is a very difficult character to get right, but I thought you did brilliantly. There was something so simple and earthy about him, about how he dealt with the tragedy and the imminence of Voldemort’s return. From the feelings of guilt he had over having created the maze to the simple act of tearing up the shrubs one by one. It was such an appropriate gesture for him, because it was one of the few things he could do to take his mind off of everything.
His brief bond with Flitwick felt right, as well. There are far fewer commonalities between the two than differences, yet they understood each other for that one moment. And them working together to erase the maze so no one else had to see it the next day and think of Cedric’s death, that the pitch could go back to its more innocent purpose as a place of fun and House unity. It was a major *eep* moment, as well as a cruel irony, when they finished and all they’d accomplished was to create a desolate expanse that mirrored the world that Cedric’s death had changed and the darker realm that his murder was going to bring with it.
Overall, this was an excellent story, and if you don’t win the challenge, I will abstain from chocolate for an entire month. This was so well written, with your signature style of fluid prose and touching characterisation. This fic was gorgeous and a great distraction from the bajillion other things I should be doing but don’t want to.
Oh, and good morning. :D
Author's Response: It has nothing to do with her characterisation so much as if she had been a Muggle-born, she never would’ve been allowed to teach at Hogwarts during Year Seven, just as no students were allowed to attend. Shit, I hadn;t thoight of that ... will now go and change this (she'll have a Muggle mother ... ha ha.)
Jess, thank you so much for pointing that out and also for giving me such a monstrously long and really rather poetical review.
I had the idea for this when I wrote the Hermione/Lavender story (Lavender's side of the shag with Seamus is there). I didn't want it to be just Seamus so wrote a long list of characters and thought about them. Pomona was always on there, Theo was at the end, and Hagrid only appeared because I needed his name in the prompt. I tell you the Hagrid bit caused the most problems - but I think has given me the most satisfaction, although I'm gagging to write more Theo now.
Thank you again and also for pointing out the idiocy of Pomona being a Muggle born - Ack! Dumb, dumb error. ~Carole~
What sprung to mind immediately after I read this story is how well put together it is. When writing a story with multiple perspectives, it is usually difficult to unite the separate pieces so that the story feels complete and whole, but I thought you did this flawlessly — so much so that it didn’t even read like four separate parts, but rather as one unified story.
Pomona Sprout’s side was heartbreaking, yet so true to her character. I love how you gave her grief a back-story, and a very realistic one at that. After facing a particularly difficult death, it follows that she would question whether her faith in god was well-placed and whether it had actually benefited anyone in the equation. Her sorrow was not overdone or dramatized but spot-on for a teacher who is mourning the loss of one of her better students — a student whom she had hoped would make a name for her house during a time when Harry Potter was all anyone could talk about. I liked her friendship with the Friar, as well. In the books, we don’t see a lot of interaction between the Heads of House and the ghosts, and I thought it was interesting that you chose to give them some sort of close relationship. It really emphasizes how close the entire House was — not just the students, but the Hufflepuff staff and ghosts as well — making it all the more tragic that one of their own had died at such a young age.
I appreciated Seamus’s perspective on the tragedy, after reading Lavender’s side of it in ‘Close Your Eyes.’ I liked how you juxtaposed his reaction to Cedric’s death with Pomona’s — how Seamus had been rooting for Harry wholeheartedly and never cared about Cedric as much as Pomona had, yet he too shared in the grief in his own way. He is such an adolescent boy in the way he deals with his feelings…how he is there to comfort Lavender but isn’t using their physical closeness as a way to get through his grief as much as she is. We know he is not being entirely honorable in this when you point out that he subconsciously realizes that Lavender needed their closeness to feel something and didn’t necessarily want to go all the way. And yet, it is impossible to resent him for this because we see how much he does care about her. You wrote him so well in this scene; his characterization is wonderful in how he pities Harry for believing that Voldemort has returned and doesn’t accept it himself. I loved his side of the story the most. Brilliant job here.
When I saw the slash warning on the story, I immediately thought you were going to write Oliver and his reaction to Cedric’s death. I was only a little disappointed when you didn’t, because I think the story would have been almost too depressing with that scene. However, I liked Theo’s part a lot. He’s a character that we don’t know much about, which makes him so interesting to read as it’s unpredictable how he will be written. I thought your Theo was very intriguing. You set him apart from the other Slytherins and made him unique, and yet he is still very recognizably a Slytherin. His reaction to finding out that he is gay and his control over his feelings for Cedric were very well-written, and reflect his age and maturity. I thought it was sad that he sees himself as the one who is always overlooked, but it really does represent how we see him in canon. He is likable, in his own way, especially how he resents Seamus and Lavender for marring Cedric’s death — but still true to his Slytherin side in how he realizes that if the time comes, his choice will be to side with his family and not his own beliefs.
I know Hagrid was one of the words that had to be mentioned in the story at some point, but once I got to his POV it really didn’t feel as though he had been added for that purpose. I thought he was a great way to end this story, as his relationship to Cedric was similar to Pomona’s but in a much lesser degree, so it felt as though the story had come full-circle. He is also the only one beside her to feel personal guilt at Cedric’s death. The way he and Flitwick worked together to dismantle the maze was lovely. It was a simple but elegant way to end the story.
I hadn’t realized you used present tense until I reread the story to write this review. It goes to show how seamlessly you were able to use a difficult tense to fit the story. And it does fit beautifully, as they are all in the same moment, all experiencing the loss of Cedric in their own way. Beautiful writing, Carole. This was a wonderful read.
Author's Response: Ariana, thank you so much for such a beautiful review. It is truly appreciated.
I had the idea for this story when I wrote 'Close Your Eyes' because I wanted to write Seamus' side. then I thought about writing other characters. The fact that the GH prompt came up made me focus on the idea. Hagrid was only added because the prompt asked for him. I rarely write Hagrid, but I thought he juxtaposed Sprout and Flitwick because he has a very simplistic wisdom. Theo Nott was going to be Ernie ... but Ernie was boring (poor boy). Theo is more intriguing because we know so little about him. Pomona was always someone I wanted to write and I had this idea about religion because the Fat Friar had to have been religious so it went from there.
I did wonder if people thought I'd be writing Oliver. I hesitated about using the slash warning because of that. There is no SSP in this story, after all, just wistful longing on Theo's part.
Thanks again. ~Carole~
This was a really interesting one-shot, I loved how you took characters that typically aren't focused on, and gave them their own unique traits/reactions to Cedric's death. Well done :)
Author's Response: Thank you very much. The idea came when I wrote a oneshot about Lavender, and wanted to write Seamus POV of that night. But I needed other characters. Pomona because she's his HoH, Theo because I wanted a Slytherin and he's unusual. Hagrid was included because he's part of the prompt, but in the end I was pleased with how his part came out . ~Carole~