This was a sweet little piece. I’m a big fan of missing moments such as these…although since the book ended before this interaction could have taken place I’m not sure this counts as one. Still, I love dreaming up small emotional fics like these. It gives us Harry Potter fans closure.
Before the seventh book, I never gave much thought to Harry and McGonagall’s relationship. I think the seventh book in general opened my eyes to many characters I’ve never given much though too or simply disliked. And I think you’ll probably agree with me that Harry’s attack on one of the Carrows for insulting Minerva really added a new dimension to their relationship. When you typically think of a teacher/student relationship, Dumbledore and Harry first come to mind. However, I think McGonagall deserves a lot of recognition for her bravery in protecting the students. I’m very glad that Jo showed us that Harry obviously does think a lot of his old professor.
That was my roundabout way of saying that I really appreciate what you were going for in this fic. Unhappily however, I do have a few critiques.
The first would be the opening paragraph. Personally, it didn’t grab me. It was too much exposition and not enough movement or emotion. Basically, it felt too much like “McGonagall did this” and “McGonagall did that”. It was too plain for me. I know McGonagall isn’t one to get emotional, but I felt like it could have been phrased better.
To be specific, there are a few sentences that seem quite awkward and appear to have comma splices. For example:
No one could read the cat's face clearly enough to guess her thoughts so she was free finally, to allow herself to feel.
I’m certainly not a grammar expert, but the placement of the comma seems quite awkward. I think the sentence would work better if it was phrased like this:
No one could read the cat’s face clearly enough to guess her thoughts so she was finally free to allow herself to feel.
Also, this sentence stuck out to me too:
She knew the title would likely follow him for as long as he did live, which struck her as odd now as she considered that he'd never really gotten the chance to be a boy at all, but somehow a full grown man even as an eleven year old.
As I said I’m no expert in grammar, but this sentence feels awkwardly long. I had to read it twice to make full sense of it. I think it would be better if you made “ She knew the title would likely follow him for as long as he did live,” its own sentence instead of putting it with “which struck her as odd now as she considered that he'd never really gotten the chance to be a boy at all, but somehow a full grown man even as an eleven year old.” I’m not sure if you used a Beta on this fic, but I’d like to throw in that they’re very good with this sort of thing. I know that none of my writing would be validated if it weren’t for the help of my Betas!
Moving on, I did enjoy the second paragraph much more. It was only a few sentences but it was very well written. The imagery was beautiful and made me interested in the fic again.
Overall, the writing style of this piece wasn’t my favorite part about it. While it’s still an emotional fic, I think that some tweaks to the writing (such as removing certain commas to give it better flow or adding more imagery) would have added to it.
Next, I thought your characterization was well done. McGonagall was her stalwart self. I like that you didn’t let her dissolve into a little weepy mess when she talked to Harry. It would be easy to give in to cheesiness such as that, but you did a great job staying away from it. I have almost no complaints about Harry’s characterization either. The one critique I do have is the “Minerva”. I’ve read your response to Gina’s review and I understand your logic behind it. I’m sure it would be feasible that Harry would call her Minerva one day. However, it didn’t jibe well with me. I think it’s a very significant moment in DH when he still calls her professor, even though the teacher/student relationship between them no longer exists. I can’t picture him calling her Minerva so soon. Sorry to rehash this, but it bothered me a little bit. It didn’t really detract from the fic overall though.
I also wanted to add that I liked your little insertion of:
"I'm not worried, Harry," she said simply. She smiled and looked over at him, and knew that he could see the mist in her eyes, "I'm with you."
It was a sweet touch. I’m glad that you didn’t dwell on it, as then I think it would have become sappy. This way it hits you just the right way. Good job on adding that one in there.
Wrapping it up now, my final comment is that I thought it ended too soon. It’s quite a short fic. I also felt like the conversation between the two was too brief—I felt like I had only seen the beginning. I would have really liked to read more of this but I was disappointed that it ended so quickly.
Anyway, this was a sweet little piece and I did enjoy it. The closure it gave me (and I’m sure others who have read it) was wonderful. But I won’t dull you with a further rehash of my review :) Hope you found it helpful!
Author's Response: Thank you for such a detailed review, and my apologies for my delay in responding to it. I agree with you about the depth the scene of Harry protecting McGonagall added to thier relationship, and I was immensely sorry it was not included on film :( I appreciate your comments about the writing. No, I did not use a beta for this piece, as it was a plot bunny I adopted and hurried to get on the boards. I wondered if some of the comma usage was the best way to go but did not see how better to phrase it, so thanks for your suggestions. I will make corrections. After hearing your response to Harry's use of her given name, as well as Gina's, I admit that part may be too rushed for this scene. I will redo it to correct it so that it flows more gracefully to more readers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. On hearing how much it is liked, and that more may be desired, I am looking over the piece with the eye of expanding it some more. Thanks to everyone who has shared their input, and please stay tuned for updates :)
This was awesome!!
Author's Response: Thank you :)
Beautiful story, simple and elegant in its own right.
Author's Response: Thank you, I am so glad you enjoyed it :)
I love it. Thank you so much for doing the plot bunny. It's heartfelt and it shows a different side of Minerva, and I like that a lot. Now I want to go read your other fics! Thanks!
Author's Response: I am very glad you liked it :) I really enjoyed writing it. Yes, read my stuff. I'd love your thoughts :)
I really like the idea of Harry and McGonagall having a moment like this after the battle. Having her say what Dumbledore said to Harry was very poignant. Harry came across well here--appropriately battle weary. I wonder about him putting the wand back, though, and if he might have needed magical help. And I was a little thrown when he used McGonagall's first name. He hasn't seen her all year, after all, and to go from Professor to first name basis felt a little weird. Those are minor nitpicks, though, since I enjoyed this look into McGonall's thoughts and would only have wanted a bit more-especially after how amazing she was in the film! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: I am glad you liked my story.Unless I'm misremembering, in the book Harry says his intent is for the wand to be put back with Dumbledore, where he intends it to lie undisturbed until the end of his life and its extraordinary powers to die with him, since the master of the wand will never have been defeated. I wondered at this logic myself, since it would not necessarily be well guarded there, but perhaps very few realized he did not keep the wand... only Ron, Hermione, and now in this story, McGonagall... all trusted by Harry with the knowledge. Harry uses the wand to fix his old wand, which is what he chooses to use. Dumbledore's tomb and any magical defenses it may have had were penetrated by Voldemort when he retrieved the elder wand, so Harry would not have difficulty replacing the wand there, and I'm sure he would want to restore Dumbledore's tomb to its respectful state, just as McGonagall would. About Harry calling her MInerva, I myself hesitated before writing that line, and I admit it felt a bit strange to me as well. I chose to go with it on purpose because it was sort of a "transitional" moment. This whole piece involved both McGonagall and Harry realizing that in many ways he had grown beyond his teachers in some aspects, and that line was included as Harry's coming to terms with it a bit. It was not intended as him showing disrespect to her in any way, but to acknowledge that he was seeing her as an individual now, not just the instructor she had been to him. He also saw how she needed some reassurance, almost in a child like fashion, about Dumbledore, who they both loved. I hope that explains it a bit better.