FINALLY I can review this story!
Alex, I thought this piece was absolutely beautiful. It's just... magical, in a very special sort of way. It all seemed so unreal, and yet at the same time painfully realistic. This is, in my opinion, some of your most lyrical writing (even if I'm not an expert). I couldn't stop reading because it was all so trance-y.
It's strange - in one of our review responses I just saw that you said you wanted there to be a slight chance for them to survive. In my hopelessly naïve and simple view, I was completely optimistic and didn't doubt for a moment that they would survive. I could actually see the world crashing around them, but them sitting there solid and protected.
Somehow, when in the battle all the turmoil and the screaming that was raging inside her is transported to the battlefield, I oddly feel that after this, she can find peace. They can find peace together, somehow, somewhere quiet.
To me, this was a very hopeful story. Again, maybe I'm being naïve, but that's the way I read it, and I thought it was beautiful in its darkness.
To have taken so much care to set up Terry's dilemma, then not to resolve the plot is somewhat anti-climatic, isn't it? He and Tracey are in the Owlry...above, but not exempt, from the flying curses. When Terry covered Tracey's eyes, I expected to read how the stones exploded, the floor collapsed, and last thoughts of free-falling into eternity together...something dramatic. Your ending does not satisfy the angst of your characterizations. Sadly, a missed opportunity.
Author's Response: The ending is intentionally left open. I do know exactly what happens immediately afterwards, but I wanted the possibility of Terry and Tracey surviving, however slight, to be there. The purpose of the story was not to show what happens during the battle, but to show the events that led to a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw being there in the first place. Also, personally, I feel annoyed if a story conforms to my expectations. If I guess that something will happen, and then it does, I feel deeply dissatisfied as a reader, and therefore I try to make it surprising. Ithink the image of two people trapped on the edge of death is dramatic enough in itself, without me having to resolve it for you. It also serves the purpose of satisfying those who wish to believe they lived happily ever after, and people like yourself, who think that they were both dramatically killed. So I do not see this story as a missed opportunity, but just one that does not meet what you expected it to do. Alex
I really like your story :) it's so sweet but confusing and with a bit of taylor swift too
After a month of promising, I’m finally giving you the SPEW review this piece deserves, Alex. :)
This piece was just beautifully dark. I loved how well it fit the song. I love Safe and Sound, and you managed to capture the mood and style perfectly without ever using the lyrics directly. I saw Terry as the voice (perspective?) in the song because, in the end, he just wanted to protect Tracey, and I could just picture them in the Owlery during the chorus of the song, which I was listening to when I typed this. I did love how you used the title at the very end; it brought closure to the song. Well done with that.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was the ship. It was unique, using two minor characters, and even then you put a twist on it. As I said before, the story fit the song well, (or was it the other way around?) and I really liked how you developed Terry and Tracey’s relationship. It evolved easily; there were no sudden changes. From merely students in the same school, to meeting, to some sort of friendship, to more; it just flowed effortlessly. I personally struggle with the development of relationships, so I loved reading this. The romance, for lack of a better word, was just stunning. Brilliant job. :)
Another thing that made this piece so phenomenal was the characterization. Though we didn’t know much about Terry from the books, I think you wrote him really well. The reader could tell he was a Ravenclaw by the way he was able to read Tracey, but he was so much deeper. I loved how fiercely loyal and protective you made him of Tracey, and how he interacted with her. He didn’t treat her as though she was a small child; Tracey was still an equal to Terry, though he knew what was going on with her. Overall, just a great job, but Tracey really stole the show.
It was a sensitive topic, bringing in mental disorders, but I thought you handled it delicately and beautifully. I loved how you showed Tracey in the beginning, before the reader knew exactly what was wrong. Soft and delicate, as though she was a second away from breaking. From there, you revealed how true the initial impression was. It was hard to comment on her character, because of her mental state, but I think you did an amazing job, balancing her mental problems with the moments the other part of her shone through. One of the best moments, for me, was when she was talking to Terry after he confronted her about the cuts on her arm. It showed how loyal she was to him, and I really liked that. (Not that she cut herself, but how it showed how she felt about Terry).
There was one thing I did have a slight nitpick with, though. I enjoyed Terry’s background, talking about the divorce, but I felt it kind of cluttered up the piece a bit sometimes. The story could definitely survive without it, and it kind of seemed a little … much sometimes.
Other than that, though, I really just loved this piece. And though it is almost impossible to choose my favorite part, it had to be the ending. As I said in the first bit, I could just picture them in the Owlery, and it was the moment that connected with the song the most. It was also just beautiful. Terry, who was always slightly unsure in the piece until then, finally realized what was clear. The last paragraph was just … beautiful. It also brought the dark piece to a sweet ending. That everything would be okay for them, because the reader knew Harry would win. :) It was just perfect. If Soraya hadn’t beaten me to the punch, I would have nominated it for the QSQs. I really hope it wins. If you ever decide to write more of their story … I’ll definitely read it. Brilliant job!
Alex, this was very good! Once again I marvel at my flist's ability to mold these minor characters so well--and in this case, so uniquely and completely. I loved Jess's Terry in The Healer's Heart, but I loved yours just as much, since they both seem so very plausible. But Tracey just really leaps off the page as something so unique. Curious question: why do you think this Tracey was Sorted into Slytherin? I thought you did a great job with her mental illness, although I don't know that much about it. I certainly felt bad for her, though.
Also, I thought this story flowed well. I sometimes find the non-linear style to jump around too much for my tastes, but this story just went back the one time, very smoothly, and then came back to the battle very smoothly. I thought that was well done, and it gave their relationship the history and depth we needed to know to really understand the scene in the Owlery. What do you suppose happens next?
Great job, and another belated birthday to Jess!
Author's Response: I have problems with major characters (except Draco ;) ) and am delighted you found Terry's characterisation realistic and vivid. I was concerned Tracey might seem a bit stereotypical mad girl, so am so pleased you found her unique. That's not a curious question, and one I thought about a lot. I think Tracey is in Slytherin because she's a survivor. She's managed to get to the age of eighteen because she is able, just about and with difficulty, to disappear and get by without being noticed. She's not respected or liked by anyone, but neither is she bullied, which shows, I think, a Slytherin ability to manage people. Does that make sense?
This is very simplistically non-linear, by my standards, ha, and I think it does work a lot better than some of my other non-linear narratives. It's also rather short, by my standards, so I'm glad you found it provided history and depth in the short amount of words.
I know exactly what happens next. But possibly in the interests of allowing Carole to cling to her smattering of hope (and, ha, because I AM going to write a sort of sequel to this) I will not say--if you want to poke me about it though, feel free :)
Thanks for your review, and I'm delighted you think it's worthy of Jess. Alex
Alex, this is perfect. Like, seriously, it's perfect. I remember this as a drabble, and it was powerful even then, but now... these two are brilliant, just brilliant, under your characterization. The description is breathtaking, Terry's confusion and love and friendship and sacrifice... just... I'm pretty much blown away by this. Amazing, amazing work. I would nominate it for a QSQ but I believe someone beat me to it. Clearly, I must troll your author page at my earliest convenience.
Author's Response: I think there are several things wrong with this story, so while I am honoured and flattered that the flist think so highly of it, I am also kind of confused. But thank you so much for your kind words--and the fact that more than one person thinks it's QSQ-worthy is kind of astonishing to me, and the highest compliment. Thanks so much for your review, Alex
ALEXXXXXXXXX - whoa. Brilliant. this is so dark and intense. I felt very claustrophobic in that Owlery with them. Um, sorry, very bad start to a review.
backs up and starts again. The beginning of this was excellent, I loved the way his attention was focused not on the Battle but on finding Tracey. She's so vulnerable and yet I can see exactly why he wants to take care of her. he's so desperate to fix someone having failed to fix his parents (that was so sad the guilt he felt for that).
I shuddered at the deal with Alecto. I'm imagining all sorts of horrors for Terry and don;t think I'm wrong in exactly what she liked about young handsome men - shudderrrrrringgggggg -.
You imbued this story with the right amount of darkness and yet also a smattering of hope that they can get through this.
Well done. I can see Jess is thrilled, and I'm not surprised. I think you wrote her the perfect story! ~Carole~
Author's Response: I'm so glad Terry's motivations seemed realistic to you, and you thought so highly of it. The balance between darkness and hope was intentional, at least for this story, so I'm delighted you noticed that. The thing with Alecto was implied in the drabble, though in a kind of blink and you'll miss it way, but I think given I doubt Tracey could have survived the Carrow regime otherwise, there had to be some sort of deal, however horrible, made.
Thanks so much for your lovely review, and your congratulations and compliments. I really appreciate it--Alex
I will review properly at some point, but oh my Prongs, this is just amazing. It's dark and uncouth and horrible and ugly and beautiful and just kind of perfect. None of that makes sense, but I don't know what else to say. :3
Thank you so much for this. It was a brilliant drabble, but this is by far richer and darker and so much fuller. You are divine.
Author's Response: I'm so glad you liked it :) I was amazed at how highly you thought of the drabble, and so am delighted you thought the expanded version was a story which brightened (or not, given the content...) your birthday week! Thanks for the review, and your squeeing is lovely- Alex