I was intrigued by your summary for this story and am very glad I clicked to read it. I liked the way you took two Slytherin characters, who we only ever see from Harry’s POV, and made them very realistic. I thought the first paragraph in particular gave a great insight into Daphne’s attitude to her sister and her family in general, without being too much ‘telling’. You used quite a simplistic sentence structure, which would have been boring had you used it throughout but as a first paragraph was very effective. One thing I questioned was the word “gotten” at the end of the first paragraph, because that sounds very American to me and therefore awkward within the first person narrative of an English narrator.
Your description of Pansy was also clever in that, whilst you don’t go against canon in claiming her to be a beautiful, intelligent witch (which, amazingly, some stories do), you show her through Daphne’s eyes, which despite her denials are very rose-tinted. I found, given how strong Daphne feels for Pansy, the fact that Pansy didn’t realise Daphne didn’t just want to not marry an ugly guy, but didn’t want to marry a guy full stop, slightly odd, though this does prefigure Pansy’s marriage, I think some development about this fracture would have been interesting. Having said that I loved th e idea that Daphne wanted to fall in love/ wanted to marry Blaise but knew it was pointless- the phrase “Her words yearned to reach my ears, struggling with all their might, but failed to get through and melted away resignedly into a puddle on the floor.” being particularly poignant.
I found the conversation between Daphne and her father slightly forced, although I did enjoy Astoria’s interjections and Daphne’s description of the ring on Astoria’s finger. I think its because it seems a bit abrupt- going from Pansy and her talking, and there doesn’t seem to be a particular trigger for them to have this conversation now, as opposed to after one of the other suitors, if that makes sense. I also thought a Slytherin like Daphne, even if she is in denial about her own feelings, would be more careful than to say “I will marry when Pansy no longer meets me for lunch” and the way you continue to characterise her does imply she’s careful, so it seemed a bit off.
A first kiss is so often wildly romanticised although in this case there has been enough of a build up for this to be somewhat justified. However I thought your acknowledgement and rejection of those cliches by saying “There were no fireworks. The world didn't stand still. Time didn't freeze, and things continued as they were. The universe moved on, but I didn't mind one bit. I was too busy kissing Pansy.” was very clever, and a beautiful piece of writing. The mention of the universe not standing still also somehow led in nicely to the short quick sections which follow, and the development of Pansy and Daphne’s relationship into being an almost entirely sexual one rather than that of friends or even, actually, a couple.
I sympathised throughout this story with Daphne, and found Pansy very hypocritical as she herself is married (I like the way you never state that, her husband just gets casually mentioned instead) and also her reaction an over-reaction. I think its realistic or someone who isn’t actually that nice, but found it a bit of a surprise. I did like the way its suddenly Pansy wanting a reconciliation rather than Daphne, as Daphne has always seemed- not the weaker but the less confident/ more immature member of the couple and this was an active decision on her part not to reconcile.
I loved the description “Rings are like leeches. They suck away more of your life the longer they are attached to your finger, and they encourage shocked stares from anybody who looks close enough. “ I think its images like this, and others which I’ve quoted earlier, which make this such a powerful story, and what will make me keep an eye out for any future stories you may write.
It was rather disingenuous for Daphne to blame her father for forcing her decision, even if she did accept that she was a coward she doesn’t really accept her own decisions which is rather sad. But the ending was very powerful. She’s always been a muted character except when with Pansy, and simultaneously denies her ability to feel love or pain, which made the penultimate sentence “I felt pain” all the more poignant. It’s a very visual and painful, almost self-punishment, way to kill herself, which I think fits with the self-loathing she obviously feels at the end. It’s a very sad, but fitting ending, to an excellent story I think more background, rather than just the acceptance of homosexuality being disapproved of, to that would have been interesting- as in whether families like the Weasleys/ Longbottoms are more accepting of homosexuality and whether within the wizarding world there was a possibility of Pansy and Daphne having a life together. But overall this was an excellent story which I thoroughly enjoyed. Alex
Author's Response: First of all, thank you so much for writing sucha comprehensive review! You know, this kind of feedback is every writer's dream. XD I can see what you're saying about the conversation between Daphne and her father being forced. Most of their interactions were difficult to write and I was never quite happy with the way they turned out. That also makes sense that Daphne wouldn't be so obvious about her relationship with Pansy, but at that point in they are only friends, so it wouldn't bring unwanted attention compared to if she had said it later into the story. Oh, yes, the kiss! I really do despise such cliches, and they make me rather irritated. I can't help myself, but when I read them, I can't help thinking, "Oh really? Does exploring your significant other's mouth honestly make the world disappear? I think that's 'cause you closed your eyes, buddy." Pansy does become rather hypocritical as the story goes on. To me, it's kind of a combination of her own personality and the simple selfishness of love. Thank you for the kind words about my phrases! They're quite a lot of fun to write. :) When it comes to the issue of homosexuality, I really just wanted to avoid that as much as possible. I think it really takes away from the story when the characters start going on about "being gay" rather than just loving who they do. And I'm sorry if this comes off as rude, but who cares what the Longbottoms think about homosexuality? There are simply two girls in love, why do we need to know everybody else's opinions? I don't think that everybody needs to have a stance on things, people just live. Once again, thank you for your *wonderful* review. I really do respect your opinions and evaluations, and I hope I didn't come off otherwise. ~Katie
I reveled while reading the poetry.
Author's Response: I found it quite mesmerizing myself.