Fabulous chapter. So eerie. You captured the atmosphere of the Afterlife - or possibly the pre-Afterlife (if I'm reading correctly because I think he needs to accept and remember before he can move on) incredibly well. I loved the memory of the Egypt holiday, especially when he remembered Ginny's name because I do think the Twins were close to Ginny - more than Ron or the others. Ginny seems to have their spirit (and I don;t think she was a Prefect, either) and you seem to have encapsulated that in this chapter and also the previous one.
Regarding your last review response - Yes, I do know how hard it is to finish things. I'm continually getting distracted by oneshots-that-turn-into-chaptered-fics - ha ha. Hope you continue with this, though, and I'm so sorry you lost all your notes. That must have been frustrating. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Hello Carole!
Thanks for your absolutely wonderful review! I'm so pleased to get feedback for this chapter, because it's very different from the past three chapters and I was worrying endlessly about it. Yep, I'm sort of trying to explore the concept of pre-Afterlife/Limbo, though the whole scene here is rather different from Harry's experience of King's Cross Station and all that. I was influenced by Dumbledore's words, "just because it's all happening in your head doesn't mean it isn't real" (or something along the lines of that!). There's certainly plenty of random disjointed images and memories which aren't really true and all. I was having a bit of fun with the Egypt trip in this chapter :P
And yes, arrrggaahh my notes. Tip: make backup copies of notes always. I guess losing my notes was part of the reason for the unexpected change in the story :) And hopefully everything will be for the best!
Thanks so much once again for this fab review, Carole! I hope you'll continue to follow this fic.
Taking a deep breath. Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to read all in one go, especially as I'm hooked and must now wait for the next chapter.
So incredibly moving. I will admit I was biting my lip a little because I thought you'd forgotten the old ear problem, so when he revealed himself to be Fred, I was relieved you hadn;t, but also horrified with George. But of course, that's what he would do. And everyone reacted in exactly the ways they would in canon. Percy so intent on things being correct - but not overdone. Bill and Charlie being responsible, Ron making a decent speech, but he can never be another Fred, and Ginny ... Ginny knowing what Fred would have liked. Finally, I loved the end. I loved him trying to engrave something on the headstone, and literally trampling on his grave.
The part where he took the drugs - wow, so powerful. It was so in keeping with the twins and how they were in the books, too. Because whilst I don;t think they'd have been abusers of substances, particularly, they were experimenters, and they did test things out.
Finally ... a shout out to Lee for taking over the care. Yes.
A little bird in the Mod department tells me the next chapter is in the queue, so I'm adding to favs now, and await chapter four eagerly. Fantastic stuff. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Hello again Carole!
I really felt incredibly uncomfortable, writing this chapter. I felt I was taking things on a level that was too personal and I did wonder if I was overstepping any boundaries :) But reading your reaction to this chapter gave me some relief because it sounds like I might have done something right after all :D I'm glad I was convincing enough. This chapter gave me a lot of grief to write. Actually, writing anything pretty much gives me a lot of grief :P
I completely agree with you that Fred and George wouldn't have been regular substance abusers, but certainly experimenters. I wanted to explore the slightly darker side to the twins (though in the novels and in many others' headcanons they probably don't become this dark and strange :P).
Ooh, inside information of the queue :P Yes, it's been there for some days now and I hope the chapter will go through; I took a lot of liberties with punctuation in this one, and I understand that mods can reject stuff like that!
A warning on the next chapter: it gets...really weird. It's a little bit out of order at the moment, but things are now generally starting to make less sense. OOOKKKKK.
Thank you so much for your lovely reviews! They've made my day, week, month, year, forever...and I do hope you'll continue to read and enjoy this story, my first ever HP fanfic :D
Jaw gaping open.
I shall try and compose myself here. I'm trying to work out what I'm most impressed with here. The change in styles, I suppose. The very beginning had me intrigued, the larger middle section when they're THE TWINS up to no good had me cheering, the segway to the Battle had me on the edge and half-praying you'd commit the cardinal sin of going AU to save a character, and then finally the end. The Death. Oh dear, tears welling - honestly.
I'm sorry, I'm really not very good at reviews because I type without thinking properly, but this is brilliant. You have managed to craft a story that uses elegance of style and wit to create a fiction that really is worth all praise, applause and cheers that can be pelted onto it.
I forgot to mention in the review for the previous chapter, that I liked the different voices you used for characters like Lee Jordan, for instance, because so many people write dialogue in the same way for everyone, so they all sound the same. But Lee had a different manner of speaking that suited him.
I'll stop waffling now. :D ~Carole~
Author's Response: mmmmmmmppphhhhffmmmmmmm just thinking about how to respond to this review without being too silly asjdghlhljljljjklljk
oh, so so happy you liked the stylistic changes. but ah, I'll be a bit honest here, but this is going to change because of the latest chapter I wrote, now in the queue, and I'll have to tone things down a little here to make the narrative a bit more consistent. Also, I'll have to rewrite the whole thing. This story is kinda under renovation, even as it is being written because well, I've never attempted anything like this :P And I'm generally bad at planning something so experimental out :) That being said, I will of course try to keep certain elements of this chapter! certain stylistic elements :) I'm quite fond of the space thing.
And...your words "a fiction that really is worth all praise, applause and cheers that can be pelted onto it" just turned my brain to porridge and now I'm a zombie who got overpraised :O OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH. *teary*
gaaaah I hope you'll continue to like the story as I post more chapters up (at a rather slow rate :P since I get way too distracted by one-shot ideas :P)
This is fantastic. You have created so many powerful images in this first chapter. So powerful, that I really think I'm there, which is ridiculous because it's a book and I'm not magic (sadly).
They were an ugly sort of tears â“ the kind that leak down your face in shapeless trails and some of them slide off the backs of your eyeballs and down your throat, choking you.
This blew me away. Tears falling, people choked by grief is a common occurance in battle fics, but this image felt so very real.
Excellent start. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Hello Carole :D
Thank you so so so much for this wonderful review :) I'm so happy you liked this chapter and the voices in it. It's such a compliment, especially when readers notice characters in the background e.g. Lee Jordan. I'm glad you thought there was variation in the voices :D It really means heaps to me, as this is my first HP fanfic, well, first fanfic in years and years and years, actually :D
I'm so happy you enjoyed this!
Wow. I love Fred's voice in this. The detached beginning is a perfect way to start before going back to his earthly experiences. As I said, I love Fred's voice because it feels so right. There is something quite matter of fact about it but light, which is odd because we know what is coming, we know he is already dead - the whole chapter is weighted by this knowledge and yet we have Fred talking about one of his and George's many rebellious moments as if he's still there and as if there is the possibility for more mischief.
And then the ending. The way you retell the scene that we see in the book from Harry's perspective is just so so poignant. You retain that same voice while tying it back to the otherworldly beginning of the chapter. I love the way you structured it and I love the final two lines.
I am being very inarticulate tonight, sorry.
This fic is amazing.
Author's Response: Aww...thanks so much for another absolutely lovely review! aljsdhljafshll I'm probably going to get all silly and teary again kjfa;slkjgphoi[ogjm/....Fred is giving me a bit of grief to write, and I'm so so glad you thought his voice was consistent throughout all the structural mayhem of this chapter :) I'm actually planning to rewrite this chapter to make it a little more consistent (stylistically and in terms of narrative voice) with Chapter 4, which is now in the queue :D
But thank you once again for your two utterly wonderful and completely unexpected reviews!
Your writing is beautiful. You have such a command over words and characters. Like you captured Merope in 'Growth' I feel like you have truly captured George in this. I have a lot of trouble reading fics which deal with death and grief because while I find them compelling for various reasons (and write them myself) I find myself disappointed half the time because they can be so trite and forced. This fic made my heart ache with its authenticity. This line in particular made me pause at its succinct description of the guilt that comes to those who are left behind: I might have clapped my palm over his mouth â“ I might have forced that last breath back in.
Author's Response: Julia, that's such an amazing compliment I don't even T_T (I'm not really sad, just a little teary at all the praise :P ) It really means a lot, coming from you; I really love /your/ writing, especially since coming across that zombie fic of yours :)
And I know what you mean about reading grief and character death fics. Things like these are not always handled sensitively enough and there's always the potential for things to get a bit overly sentimental and dramatic. I'm so glad you enjoyed this and did not find it trite, forced, or sentimental :D Thanks again *hugs*
I found this quite disturbing to read. Different.
Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing :)
Words donât do enough to express the beauty of this story. If I could take your words, fill my brain with them and swim in them for the rest of my life, I would be happy. Seriously, this has got to be the best story Iâve read on this website. Your command of language is exquisite and your grasp of the connection between Fred and George is perfect and poignant.
For me, Fredâs death is by far the most upsetting out of the many deaths throughout the series, and tears were welling in my eyes before Iâd even started reading this. However, I loved the way that you focused on the pain and loss of Fredâs death in the first chapter and balanced it out in the second by providing us with Fredâs memory. Although it was tinged with death, it gave us a positive image of the two together after just having seen a broken George, and this created a nostalgic tone which in a way softened the blow of his death.
Injecting humour in parentheses, for example â(During our time in Hogwarts we had a seven-year action plan called the âAggravate Argus Filch Arrangementâ)â, helped to lighten the tone, and of course kept Fred in character. I loved the tiny details you inserted into his recollections: the way they âmeant to grow into tottering old men with long waist-length beards like Dumbledoreâs, which weâd loop and knot round our robes like sashesâ brought Fred alive in my mind and added to the quality of the story.
Your portrayal of Fred and George was uncannily perfect. I think the line, âFred is dead and I am George. George is gone and I am Fred. Forge George. Dead Fredâ excellently highlighted the interchangeable nature of the two of them, and the moment when Lee mistakes George for Fred and George pretends to be him was both heart-breaking and completely believable. When he begins to âblink with Fredâs eyes,â you really evoked the utter desolation George feels, and I found it incredibly touching. Likewise, Fredâs slightly more uplifting portrayal never wavers from character. I particularly loved his direct narration to the audience: how he says, âor whatever, yâknowâ, and addresses his relationship with us. It keeps the informality of his personality, and yet doesnât jar with the beauty of the language.
Incidentally, the language used in this was astoundingly wonderful. I would quote the entire thing back to you, but I think youâd get the point quite quickly! You had such an original way of describing things, for example the âchuffing syllable of my name sat like a fat slug on my tongueâ, Umbridgeâs words being made of âsuds of pink lipstickâ, and how the twins used to hang onto âthe underhanded edge of lightnessâ. Some of these passages were so profoundly beautiful that I had to stop and admire them. Yet they werenât like those heavy metaphors that take you out of a narrative as you try to work out their relevance: they merely suspended you in the air for a moment before continuing to whisk you further off into the story.
A lot of the language was very evocative: the simple sentence, âHogwarts was all torn upâ seemed to me powerful because it reflected Georgeâs feelings. The fact that you left it there and didnât over-analyse it made it far more effective. The use of repetition also served to emphasise Georgeâs breakdown. When he says âand the dust and the dust and the dustâ, it feels as though heâs stuck on it, that he canât break through this minor observation. As though he doesnât want to see whatâs beyond the dust because he knows whatâs coming.
My effusions of love for this story could allow me to write an essay on it. Instead, Iâll just say that I think youâre an incredible writer. Your language is intensely wonderful and this story was moving, humorous, intelligent and thought-provoking. I canât wait to see what else you write.
Author's Response: Oh my god :D I leave this site for several days and feel disheartened about the way my story is going and so I rewrite my first chapter and then I come back to post an updated version...and I see this wonderful review! Thank you! Thank you so much :D You've no idea how much your lovely words meant to me! I'm so glad you like the characterisation of Fred and George. It's one of my biggest concerns because they're so hard to pin down as characters! In the books they're always joking and their two-ness makes them appear to be pretty much invulnerable. I keep hoping that the way I write them sounds believable without being too melodramatic. George must have felt incredibly devastated with Fred's death but the books don't show any of his reactions. Fred's death was really sad for me, too. I kept re-reading that part over and over again, just looking for more, looking for some sort of well...I dunno...some sort of consolation or closure that Rowling might have left behind for her readers. But of course there was none. You mentioned liking certain phrases which I use e.g. "and the dust and the dust etc." Unfortunately I removed that from my fic (a reader told me the repetition was a bit melodramatic and feminine). Anyway, I pretty much rewrote most of the first chapter and hopefully it sounds even better and more George-like now :D Also, thank you so so much once again for your amazing review and feedback! I hope you continue to read this story; I am currently editing my third chapter :D You've completely made my night!!!
Really interesting! This is an almost poetic exploration of George's emotional state in the aftermath. Can't wait to read the rest.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I'm hoping this story will actually go somewhere! I'm planning things out and I'll be uploading the next chapter soon =) Thanks again.
Interesting and emotional.
Author's Response: thank you so much for reading!