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Reviews For After the War

Name: Oregonian (Signed) · Date: 04/14/13 5:55 · For: Sense
This story is just a snapshot, a moment in time. Nothing much occurs in the way of action. It simply illustrates how circumstances have changed.

I am reminded of the Shakespearean-age world view: society is like a giant wheel, with some people on the top and others on the bottom. At seemingly random times for random reasons the wheel turns. Those on top become on the bottom, and vice versa. The rise and fall are not connected to virtue or vice; they just happen.

This image of the wheel of fate comes strongly to mind while I read this piece. The first two paragraphs clearly lay out Draco's former status as the one on the top: rank, power, privilege, wealth, entitlement, superiority, an assured future. Then the whole wheel makes a 180-degree turn and he is on the bottom: disgraced, despised, lacking in opportunities, a very clouded and ill-defined future. How much of this outcome is due to his own sins and those of his compatriots, and how much is simply due to being one of the losers instead of one of the winners? After all, history is written by the winners, and the losers never fare well in that tale.

The Draco we see in this piece is notably more introspective than the Draco we met in the seven books. Not only is his personal world turned topsy-turvy, but his bedrock beliefs have been cast into serious doubt or even refuted. Voldemort was not a savior, despite what Draco's father said. The means can become so dreadful that they are no longer even remotely justified by the ends. One is forced to accept assistance from one's erstwhile enemies, so that the question of who is friend and who is enemy becomes confused, and the line between the good guys and the bad guys is all blurred. The only thing he knows for sure now is that the path before him is unknowable.

Pansy is portrayed more sympathetically than she often is in other stories. Draco considers her pretty, a fit consort for the Slytherin King, not merely a handy lay. She is described as tough and strong, a natural leader, but not coarse or crude. And because her involvement in the war and the events leading up to it was so much more peripheral than his, she does not comprehend the monumental changes in values so keenly as he does. For her the changes are merely inconvenient -- her father lost his job but her mother is still working. So Draco has moved far beyond Pansy, and how could she ever catch up? There is not another war to teach her the things she failed to learn in this one.

A neat detail: Draco picks some meadow flowers and asks if they are pansies. How could he not know whether or not they are pansies.? Perhaps it is because in his former life he never had to pay heed to the beautifully landscaped gardens around Malfoy Manor. Hired gardeners did all the planting and tending; they had to be the ones to know the names of what they had planted. One more symbol of what he has lost.

The author has achieved something I don't very often see in these archives: a non-action piece that avoids being merely an extended rehash of someone's emotions. The carefully chosen details of Draco's and Pansy's recent history, with (and this is a biggie) no unnecessary words, spell out perfectly the points that the author wants to make. A very enjoyable read.

Name: Trucker (Signed) · Date: 07/01/12 4:25 · For: Sense
It's hard for me to imagine Draco's or Pansy's POV (in real life I'm much too straightforward in my ways which made me a reliable trucker)... but I think you've done a fantastic job.

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