Reviews For Pieces
Reviewer: BrokenPromise
Date: 08/11/12 9:21
Chapter: Grass

This story definitely deserved its honourable mention in the contest! I’m shocked that it hasn’t been reviewed yet! You really got inside Albus’ head and showed his emotions, especially that corrosive guilt.

I like this story because it gives an insight into the things that torment Albus throughout the rest of his life. You showed us lots of things about Albus and his life that we already know, but you build on them well and show us more than we were told by JKR. You stay focused on the story, but you don’t lack in detail.

I like the way you used repetition to emphasise that things are monotonous, dull and painful for Albus. I think it also showed that since everything that could possibly change has changed, and so everything will now stay the same. The repetition of ‘all lightness, all gentleness’ describing Ariana was beautiful. It was touching that Albus thought this, especially as he could’ve been bitter: Ariana’s passing away and Gellert’s leaving was the end of all his happiness. The use of the tricolon, in the first couple of paragraphs was also very effective at showing the repetition and monotony of Albus’ life because it shows him making lists, which are usually associated with chores.

The way you narrated the timeline was brilliant. Using descriptions of Albus’ pain showed that each day was painful, and that he never forgot, because the pain never lessened throughout the whole week. The consistency again illustrated the constant pain, and yet the different descriptions showed that even if he forgot one thing, something else was there in his conscience. My favourite was the last one: ‘reduced to a pair of brothers’. I suppose this really put Ariana’s death in perspective for me. It really hit me then that Albus and Aberforth should’ve been together, but that they weren’t and that they were never going to make up.

The grass metaphor was very well presented. I thought it was interesting that he immediately thought of Ariana, but the grass truly reminded him of Gellert, who meant far more to him. I think that this really worked because it was so true of Albus “ although his family was important to him, Gellert came along and changed his whole life. The grass changing was also effective in representing Gellert: not only has he gone, but he is not what he used to be to Albus.

I thought your characterisation of Albus was fantastic. You clearly know the character very well. His guilt was so clear, especially in sentences like “He should have considered Aberforth’s feelings.” This sentence especially caught me because it was at a point when Albus was trying to reconcile everyone and everything-- others, living and dead, and himself. Another strong example was the sentence “There is nothing he can say that will ever make up for Ariana’s death, so he stays silent instead”, which showed his strong sense of honour because you made him so aware of himself and what he’s done. Albus’ inability to cry was an interesting image to demonstrate the loss of his lover and his sister. I found it more difficult to understand than his haunted sleep because tears are associated with sadness, therefore it seemed to show a lack of emotion, when in reality, he was grieving deeply for many things. He went through many stages of grief “ his OCD book arranging, his nightmares “ but I felt this one stood out because it emphasised that emptiness that Albus felt throughout.

In the third paragraph, I like how you also demonstrated Aberforth’s care for Ariana, which we know to be a characteristic that shaped his life. The way he knows everything his sister liked, and that he decides rather than Albus really shows a deep love. Albus knew that Aberforth will never forgive him, and he knew that it’s mainly because he neglected Ariana. When Aberforth threw a pillow at Albus, though, it seemed childish and angry, which seems, to me, a little bit less in character.

I did find a few typos and Americanisms, though. However, there is one Americanism that I think worked really well, despite being an Americanism, because it has a double meaning. When Albus is planning on returning to Hogwarts in ‘the fall’, which in British English would be ‘the autumn’ or just ‘September’, I like how the word ‘fall’ contains a double meaning of the autumn and Albus’ fall from grace and love.

My favourite line was “Maybe it’s his guilt that is weighing him down” while he carries Ariana’s coffin. I really liked how this line used a physical object to convey the extent of his guilt. It felt very realistic and in character.

I really liked this. I thought that your use of repetition was very effective. You encapsulate Albus Dumbledore’s character brilliantly, especially in the way you convey his pain. Congratulations on winning a honourable mention: this story definitely deserved it.

-BP

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