I read this story about a week ago but wanted the time to give you a review worthy of it. Peter is so difficult to get right and yet you explain his motivations and why he did what he did perfectly.
In Winter 77/8 I like the way you establish the Marauder dynamics, with James and Sirius being closer than Peter and Remus, without it seeming clumsy. And yet, as the next section proves, Peter whilst seeming like a perfectly good friend, cannot quite accept the change in James. It was an original way of showing the beginning of Peter's change, when his friends are growing up faster than he is, with his inability to accept the new role Lily plays in James' life.
Just Peter, who now felt like an outsider in his own circle of friends. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs was fast becoming Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, Lily, and oh, yeah, Wormtail, too.
I thought this was a really good way of putting it. It's concise but shows the beginnings of his estrangement from them
I loved your characterisation of everyone in the next section. Lily's sense of humour, and Sirius' comfort with his friend's relationship whereas Peter clearly isn't, was well shown. The one thing I found a bit strange- I thought Dumbledore was a bit sudden. I think he would have led up to asking them to join the Order a bit more. I also think he would be clever enough to note that Peter hadn't replied. It would be more interesting if Peter had been quick enough to reply with the others, showing his ability to lie and just fit in with the prevailing mood.
Saying Fall through me off the second time reading this. I mean, I know what you mean, but I just think "Autumn" would have fitted in better (that's a very, very minor quibble though). I did enjoy the wedding scene and the growing impression of things going wrong elsewhere. I like the way you establish Peter's belief that they had owned Hogwarts, and then continue this need to have power in the next section, as well as showing his need for approval. You don't just produce a Peter, you slowly peel away different layers to his personality, which is really well done. When Marlene dies the way you show the distance between him not being able to feel their happiness, as well as their pain, is really realistic. As was him saying "My mother—what would my mother do? My friends? So soon after Marlene?" and framing his desperate desire to survive as thinking for his friends.
"The bastard. For the first time in his life, Peter felt vital. He felt necessary, important. He had power—at his signal he could have Malfoy here in an instant, who would just love to bring his wife’s traitorous cousin down." I think that phrase shows a fundamental change in his character. He now sees himself as Voldemort's and not his friends'.
"Peter felt like an imposter." I like the way this is framed in it's own paragraph (my spell check is telling me it should be "impostor" though- but I don't know) and that his feelings for Lily are now entirely resentment. Remus is a bit absent from the last section which is slightly odd. Also the realisation that he led to the Prewetts death- that was a bit of a shock. I think his discomfort with this slightly contradicts his statement that he is not upset by their deaths. In the third last paragraph- sometimes repeating words sounds off, but the repetition of "Hated" sounds really good, as well as showing what a small-minded person Peter really is, but nevertheless allowing the reader to empathise with him. I love the image you end on but I do feel your story doesn't quite back this up. It seems that Peter has played his part perfectly, giving no hint to his friends of his discomfort, so as beautiful as the last image is, it doesn't quite feel accurate, unless that's precisely what Peter is telling himself, even though it's not true. In which case- wow.
I'm sorry if this review was fan-girly rather than helpful, but it was such a good story that all my nit-picks were pretty minor. I really enjoyed reading it and will read and review more of your stories once my exams are done. Spew hugs for now! Alex x
Author's Response: Oh, wow, Alex! I really don't know what to say. Thank you so much for this review! I've been feeling not so great about this story lately and this review makes me glad that I did go ahead and post it. There are so many things that you caught that I wasn't sure if anyone would get, so that makes me really happy. :D re: Fall vs autumn: I believe autumn is more British and fall is American. So, while, technically you're right, I should have it as autumn if I want my writing to be as British as possible, fall is just more natural to me. *shrugs* As for Peter's discomfort over the Prewetts' death, I was hoping it would come off as he was telling himself he wasn't upset, but, in truth, he was a bit shaken. I guess I probably need to flesh that out a bit more, along with most other things in this fic. Thank you again so much for this review. Sometimes fangirly reviews are just what I need, haha. *SPEW hugs* <3Mere
I think you've done a very good job exploring Peter's character here. You've really hit on the isolation and resentment he must have felt in order to betray his friends so completely. And not only his isolation, but his desperate need to survive it. Everyone wonders what pushed him to turn, and fear for his life is certainly a valid reason. It makes you wonder why he was a Gryffindor, though, doesn't it?
I thought the first part was fantastic. Writing the Potters' death that way was extremely effective and sad. I actually wanted to read more of that! It set the tone for a sad, dark story in which Peter started growing apart from his friends more and more because things just began to change too much for them all.
The second part exploring Lily's effect on the Marauder's dynamic was also well done. I have no idea how Peter might have got along with her, but the idea of him resenting her is certainly a very valid one. I'm sure it happens to close friends frequently.
The third section seemed a bit rushed. I see how you were trying to establish that Peter didn't want to join the Order, but his friends did, yet the way Dumbledore entered, asked them to join the Order with no discussion, and then left seemed far too quick. I know each section was meant to be short, a glimpse into Peter at that moment, but it was just too short to seem realistic. I think there was far more to them joining the Order than a simple yes.
I liked the wedding, because this certainly would have been a major event for everyone. And the next scene was interesting. It established Peter as feeling something besides isolation and resentment – power and control. I definitely see this as part of the reason that he turned. It gave him power, control, a sense of belonging and need. Yes, fear was a big motivation too, but I do think he was selfish and craved these other things as well.
The scene where Marlene died was good. It established that people were dying in this war. I only would have liked to see a bit more of how it affected Peter and his double-crossing, not just the others. It would set up the next part nicely.
And then Peter is captured. Fascinating! You've set it up that he doesn't want to die, so him doing anything to save his life makes sense. You've also set it up that he resents his friends more and more and feels distant from them, so again, it seems plausible that he would do this. I definitely think he was forced into it – he didn't go seek out the other side, but for whatever reason had to turn. Saving his own skin could certainly have been that reason. Again – it makes you wonder why he was in Gryffindor. I suppose it might have been interesting to add some internal thoughts on his part about that. Next time, right? ;)
The part where Lily announces her pregnancy was good. This line: "They were bringing new life into a world he was certain each day would bring his death." was especially well done. So true! Plus he's already betraying them so his guilt probably compounds now. I wrote a similar reaction once.
I liked that you had Peter as a spy first and only meeting Voldemort directly later on. I wonder about revealing his nickname. Obviously Voldemort knows it in GoF, I just wonder if he found out before or after he lost his body.
I'm not sure about the scene with Sirius. I'm just not sure Sirius would have been so vocal about his doubts over Remus. Or maybe, I just needed to hear more of his reasons. He didn't give Peter many other than Remus being distant, and that could be for any other number of reasons. And of course, it begs the question – and not just of you, but of JKR – how did they not notice Peter at this time?? In your story he is pulling away and distancing himself, which seems very likely to me. Yet Sirius wonders about Remus? Peter must be more clever than we all thought to be able to pull it off. It's one of the things that makes me want JKR to write us a prequel, but then what would us fanfic writers have to write about? ;)
The baby scene was good because it really put more distance between Peter and the Potters. I wonder about the Prewett scene, though. I like that Peter has set someone up and is pushing aside his guilt. It's just that the timeline might be off, because I've always thought that the Prewetts were killed closer to October 31, 1981 due to that photo Moody shows Harry and various comments made about it. It's complicated, though, so it's just a detail only canon freaks pick up on. ;)
And that leaves the end:
"He was pulling away from them. He’d left signs of who he was, what he’d done. He was drifting away, on purpose, but he’d left a rope, dragging in the water as he was carried away from the dock by the tide.
No one had tried to grab it."
Brilliant last lines! Just a wonderful way to conclude it. It really brings home Peter's isolation, guilt, and the inevitable cold fact of his betrayal. We all know it happened, but now we know a bit about how it could have happened and why, and how he felt about it.
I was impressed with how you wove in the required words, especially blue. I also liked how you explored Peter throughout the seasons, I thought that was a good unifying touch. He was well done, and I think you've written a strong story about a character people don't really understand or enjoy. Good luck in the challenge!!
Author's Response: I think my jaw may have actually dropped while I was reading this. I just. Thank you so much. I'm not particularly happy with this story--I know a lot of it is rushed or kind of lacks explanation. I didn't edit it very much...or at all, really (>.>) because I just so relieved that it was done and devoid of all energy and brainpower (and I didn't realise the deadline for the challenge had been moved back...). I almost didn't submit it, but I'm too proud of that last bit that you pointed out. :P So I'm especially grateful for this review because you pointed out it's weaker moments but also made me realise that it isn't complete shit. I guess I always thought that Peter wasn't suspected because Sirius (or anyone else) wouldn't think him capable of being a double agent or deceiving them. Does that make sense? I felt that Sirius was telling Peter mostly because he wanted someone to agree with him or to produce cold, hard facts that said Remus wasn't the spy. I probably should have spent more time on that section. *sigh* I feel like I could take each section of this story and make a one-shot of it. Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful review. You've more than made my day with it. <3Mere
I don't think I've ever read such a comprehensive story about Peter's descent into betrayal... using the seasons was a beautiful idea and shows that this was a gradual process - he didn't just decide to become a Death Eater one day without reason.
I really liked how you used small scenes to show this change, rather than having a long inner monologue from Peter, so we as readers really get to see why he feels left out amongst his friends.
I think Peter stories always have that tragic element, because we already know his fate, and you really wrote this well by creating empathy and (dare I say it) almost a liking for Peter, which makes his betrayal all the more sad (because if no-one cared about Peter, there wouldn't be any tragedy).
What comes across to me in this story is the idea about choice (although that could be because it's my personal belief and I see it in a lot of stories...). As in, there is a reason that Peter did what he did, but he could have chosen not to do it. He always believed that he was left out, but that's partially his attitude and if you have that attitude, it will always feel like you're left out. I think this idea is something that JKR explores a lot in canon, as Harry and Voldemort are set up having similar and terrible childhoods, and yet they become so opposite. Anyway, I hope I'm not just rambling here and I make sense...
The last line of this story was just haunting... it made me want to reach out to Peter, which is an achievement, because I think what he did was abominable. So that shows that you're an excellent author. Well done :).
Author's Response: Thank you for such a wonderful review! I was trying to create some empathy for Peter and I'm so glad it worked. I definitely agree with you about choice. It is something that JKR really spends time exploring--"It is our choices, Harry, far more than our abilities that determine who we really are"? I was also hoping that that theme would come across in this story. Peter chose to have a certain attitude and that affected what happened to his life. Ahh, you've made me blush. Thank you so much again. <3Mere
this story was really interesting! its different reading something from peter's point of view because not many people write that way but i think you did a good job. you can really figure out how his life is and how he feels rather than just get mad at him for ruining everyone's lives... i thought the story was really great. the only thing i didn't like was that sirius accused remus of being the rat. in my head james or sirius would never do that but other than that it was really good!
Author's Response: Thank you! I was trying to do something different with this story. I always felt more bad for Peter than I hated him. Unfortunately, though, Sirius believing Remus was the spy is canon. :( I think it's a sign of just how bad things were. Thank you again for reviewing! <3Mere