I think, for sure, that it's Xeno's place to tell Luna what happened. He could probably get away with not telling her. He could probably tell her a slightly less horrible story about what happened--that she was exhausted and mixed up the two potions by accident. How many people have overdosed on one drug or another.
I don't know if her will tell her the truth, but I want to know what illness his wife had that couldn't be treated! Also, I feel like I'm missing something: this is the third fic that has put Lavender as a Werewolf or having been bitten by one- I don't remember that being in the books, but perhaps I missed it. If not, was it in a JKR interview?
Anyways, really well written. My only regret is that Snape did not speak at all! :D
Author's Response: Um, no, I haven't made her a werewolf - that's Neil. Lavender fell from the balcony and Greyback fell with her. He was about to savage her and possibly did claw her, or bite, and was then hit by Hermione and then Trelawney. She's not a werewolf in my story because she was attacked by one that wasn't transformed, (like Bill). Glad you liked the story. I wasn't sure what purpose Snape would have in the story which was why I didn;t include him. It was a Dumbledore McGonagall thing :)
I didn't want to go into details with Xanthe's illness, or make up something Magical, so I imagined that she had cancer or something similar.
Thank you for the review, and especially for this story which hasn#t had many reads or reviews. ~Carole~
Poor, poor Luna. I can't help but feel that her mother is a bit selfish, not really caring about Luna's childhood, and Luna was deprived of a mother.
Author's Response: well, in the story she didn't want Luna to suffer seeing her die slowly and painfully. And Luna turned out all right. But yes, it's very sad. Thank you for reviewing. ~Carole~
I just cannot explain to you how very talented you are.
I have yet to read anything of yours that just does not simply leave me speechless.
This story was beautifully, seamlessly written and it was very, very original.
I love how you balance the line between right and wrong here...
'suicide isn't a crime, but assisting one is.'
Or is it, when you're sparing a family pain?
Really made me think, right there..
I just don't think Xeno would ever tell Luna. For some reason, I just think that the lie is too deeply ingrained in him to ever admit the truth.
Author's Response: Thank you very much for the review and the kind words about the story and my writing. I found this difficult to write because Luna is so hard to characterise without turning her into a caricature. I think Xeno will tell her the truth now, but only because Lavender's made him face up to it. If he doesn't, then Luna will lose all faith in him and that would be so sad. But then again, he might tell her a version of the truth. Thanks again ~Carole~
I thought it was about time I gave you a review :) As usual for you, this was beautifully written, especially the first section from Xenophilius’ POV. There was something very said and very beautiful from the first sentence and the construction of ‘would’ (mind blank on proper names for tenses- sorry) gave a sense of how often this has happened, and that it will happen the next year. Sorry to quote a huge section but I think this sentence “The colour sparkled in the smeared glasses, reminding her of summer days, buttercup meadows and dancing hand-in-hand in the sunshine” is particularly gorgeous.
I liked the image of Luna growing up- as in she can make eggs properly (most of the time) but her father’s response to her question treats her as if she were a child still, even if he realises it.
I’ve always liked your portrayal of Lavender and here especially, regarding the change in her relationship with Luna as well as Lavender being mature enough, at the end, to admit that she treated Luna badly/ apathetically at school and that she was wrong to do so, especially when Luna was there to look after them all and keep them strong. I meant to go through this chronologically, but I particuraly liked how later you mentioned that it was the first time Lavender had seen tears in Luna’s eyes, and that throughout her time in Hogwarts, Luna was the strong one.
Your Luna is really good as well. I think people have a tendency to write her as the ‘weird friend’ stereotype from sitcoms etc but, partly because this story has more emotional depth, you avoid that, although still embrace her eccentricities. I am quite intrigued as to why she went to Lavender, though. I understand Lavender works for her father and that they grew closer during the war, but I’d be intrigued by Luna’s thought process in making that decision.
I also like the way, from quite early on, you explore the truth and manipulation of it. Obviously Xenophilius has lied to Luna all along by not telling her the truth, but also Lavender in speaking to Xenophilius, says “It wasn’t quite a lie, for Luna had talked about her mum during the quiet hours when they’d been hiding from the Carrows” and, when she decides not to tell Luna the truth, she becomes complicit in his lie as well.
I did find italicising of the flashback slightly unnecessary and I think it threw the story off. You make it very clear that this is happening in the past- pretty seamlessly. However, particularly having recently gone back to my old school, I found your characterisation of both McGonagall and Dumbledore (and the hint of Snape) excellent for most of the story. Lavender is there as an acquaintance/ friend but they were still once her teachers and so there’s the fear and awkwardness from that. I thought it was very McGonagall to want to speak to her Gryffindor alone, although I thought Luna’s walk was more interesting. But I do I love the fact Rita Skeeter has been immortalised as slang for a, presumably, cheap article which is mostly fiction. That was a nice touch.
I like Luna’s Romanticising of their search for the truth as a “quest”. It suited her somehow and whilst I liked Firenze as well as Hagrid’s dialogue, I did think his comment “ “Truth, eh?” Hagrid looked at her furtively. “Causes a whole lot o’ trouble.” ‘ was not very--Hagrid. I don’t know, I just think given that he was expelled because of a lie, and how furious he was when he heard the story the Dursleys told Harry, he would not say something like that. Even though I agree with that, I think that’s a far more Dumbledore, or maybe Firenze, thing to say. The use of the crystal ball, as well as Lavender’s reference to the Battle, did make me smile though.
Like I said before, Luna and Lavender’s relationship was really strong and it was nice that Lavender was willing to watch Luna’s memory when Luna could not. I think (again, here I am quoting) the paragraph “She had to recover, could not let Luna see whatever emotions were wrought on her face. It didn’t matter if Luna saw sadness, but anything else would not be right, not yet. As she pulled herself back to the headmistresses study, she forced her features into an expression of tenderness, and held Luna close.” described that perfectly. It’s something that annoyed me in OOTP/ HBP just how precise the memories were but that is how they are described. The part of the memory scene I liked best though was the grown up Luna actively remembering the memory as she was inside it, if that makes sense.
The last scene was a good way to end it. Although I think the ‘right’ thing to do would be for Lavender to tell Luna, because I think Luna’s made it very clear that she wants the truth, whatever that may be, it is a difficult decision and one which I think Lavender would want to talk over with a non-biased person who probably doesn’t see Luna much (like McGonagall and Dumbledore). I personally think that McGonagall though would probably think Lavender should tell the truth, but that’s a pretty moot point. One thing I did really like was Lavender’s characterisation of Luna as someone who ”retained an innocence that the rest of us lost a long time ago”. That’s very realistic, I think. And also McGonagall’s characterisation of Lavender as a student, and, like I said earlier, Lavender being able to admit that was what she was like.
I didn’t like the last line, at first, until Lavender justified it by saying “not in the world of The Quibbler.” Because as long as you can fool yourself that you don’t have to do something, or that it’s not impossible/ you’ve done the right thing, it isn’t until reality sets in, but Xenophilius doesn’t exactly live in reality. I think Xanthe was probably a more grounded person than he is- deciding to kill yourself rather than have a long drawn out illness (this wasn’t inspired in any way by the recent (excellent in my opinion) Terry Pratchett documentary) is something I’m not sure Xenophilius would be brave enough to accept, and it’s a mark of how much he loved his wife and daughter that he let her do it.
Anyway this was a really interesting, thought-provoking story and while I think the writing did, very, very rarely, drag slightly (which I’ve never read in any of your other stories) I think this must have been a difficult story to get right, and you did a brilliant job. Alex
Author's Response: Thank you, Alex. Wow, that's quite a review! Okay, point by point ...
I’d be intrigued by Luna’s thought process in making that decision.
Her thought process was along these lines. Lavender works for her dad and has a good relationship with him. She's also a journalist and investigates things. I think Luna knows that if she'd asked Hermione or Harry, then they'd say no. Hermione tends not to want to upset the applecart. It's possible that Ginny would have helped her, but Lavender is a bit more unscrupulous - in my mind. Anyway, because Lavender in my personal canon is a journalist, I thought she was the best person, but I can see why she wouldn't be the first choice as Luna's confidant.
I do disagree about Hagrid. To me he seems to spend a lot of time avoiding truth even though he does know that in the end it's for the best. He hides so many things - Aragog, Norbert, Grawp - and somehow I think he will continue to do that.
Should Lavender have told Luna? I'm not sure. She wants Luna to know the truth, as does McGonagall, but she wants Xenophilius to tell her. Luna is strong enough to face her mother's death, but not necessarily strong enough to face up to the fact that her dad has not been telling her the truth. If you look at the Erumpet Horn incident, she still refuses to believe Hermione's version that the horn exploded. She believes her dad's story that the horn is a Snorkack and that it will mend. If Xeno does tell her the truth, she'll accept that, but not if she has to hear it from someone else.
I agree that it dragged in places. Fact was, I found this blooming difficult to write. Luna makes me want to tear my hair out in frustration - ha ha - I was very close to scrapping the whole lot at 3k, but something kept me writing. (I think it was bringing the teachers in; I always like writing McG and Dumbles)
Ha - the last line. I wretled with that and you seem to have read things into it that I didn't see. Basically I wanted to have a dig at Meyer and her sparkly vamps. But there is a subtext here, I suppose, in that Xenophilius has always struck me as someone far more fanciful after his wife died. So, he helped kill her and then had to invent fantastical things to believe in. The reality of life for him was horrible, so he created an escape for him and Luna. Hmm, I'm getting all deep now. I would write some more, but Luna drives me nuts. Give me Lavender and Blaise anyday.
Thank you very very much for the in-depth review. Much appreciated. ~Carole~
I'm not sure if I totally agree that Lavender shouldn't have told Luna, but I will acknowledge that Luna by not staying in the Pensieve gave Lavender the right to make the decision. Very thoughtful story. Didn't Dumbledore say how the truth can be powerful and dangerous thing?
Did Luna know what the Auror's report said? I got the impression that she didn't know the relevant details of the report?--that the heel broke on her shoe and she hit her head and passed out. I suppose if she was too uneasy to look this up, she wasn't ready.
Author's Response: I'm not sure Lavender made the right decision, either. However, Lavender, doesn't want to break that trust between Luna and Xenophilius, so she wants Xeno to tell Luna himself. She realises, I think, that if Luna finds out from another source that Xeno has been hiding the truth from her, then she'll lose her faith in everything else he's told her. Luna without her Nargles and Crumple Horned Snorkacks would be very sad.
Does Luna know about the Auror report? No, she's not looked at the details. She's also not someone who believes the 'official line', preferring to trust people.
Thank you for the review. I'm glad it made you think because I struggled for some time with this. ~Carole~