A nice balance between angst and hope. You really can write.
Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing again! I'm glad you think I got the balance right. Thank you :)
Having thoroughly enjoyed modding your chaptered Romione story, Seven Simple Years, I thought it was about time I visited your author page, and I am so glad I did, because this story was so powerful and well-written. It’s a shame it only has two reviews, really, because it certainly deserves more than that. You write angst beautifully, and there’s a real honesty and lyricism to your writing style that shone in this story.
As the central character of the story, I think you nailed Ron here during two moments in his life when I’m sure he felt the worst. The first, when he left Harry and Hermione in the tent, was so emotionally explosive: the guilt, desperation and the voices of doubt inside his head were all done very well. I could see how deeply Ron regretted doubting Harry and ignoring Hermione, especially when he was crying, something I can barely remember him doing in canon and yet something that fitted in perfectly in that moment. And the second, after they returned from Malfoy Manor, was also packed with emotion, but I could see the difference between the two sections -- there was far more hope in the latter section, and I think you showed Ron’s transformation perfectly. He was still scared, yes, but that fear was for Hermione, and there was no guilt this time, and the change in Ron’s character was so subtle and yet so effective.
When I read your author’s notes, I was a little unsure, I’ll admit, about the plot, mostly because I’ve never read a Ron fic where he contemplates suicide. I wasn’t sure how in character it would be, but I needn’t have doubted, because I think you did a fabulous job of exploring Ron’s emotions and yet always retaining his characterisation. The backdrop of the war is never forgotten in this fic; I like how it’s not just the thought of Hermione, or Harry, that stops Ron from killing himself; it’s more about Ron himself and what he meant to his family, too particularly in this line: “People cared about him. People missed him. Above all, he knew he could be better than what he was currently. He may be beaten, lost and barely recognisable now, but the real him and the person he could be, were still there somewhere.” I felt like I really identified with Ron there, and I understood why he was thinking about suicide, because he doubted his own loyalty so much. But I also understood why he stopped himself: for his own self-worth and for the people he loved. I thought you dealt with what is a very sensitive subject with due respect, in that it was realistically handled, justified and never glorified, which is what I think is of utmost importance with D/A fics.
Even though the story wasn’t particularly plotty, I was engrossed from beginning to end because of your style, which was poetic with some great turns of phrase. The one that stayed with me the longest was “The sibilance could have been from a hot iron, branding words like 'failure' and 'traitor' into his skin where they belonged”, because again, I sympathised so much with Ron in that moment. I did think, at times, that the use of “thirty hours” was a little too repetitive, even if it is the title. The symmetry of it is good, and I liked how this motif in the story linked the two scenes together, but perhaps it would have been more effective if it was used slightly more sparingly (so instead of using the phrase in the first three paragraphs, it might have been more effective if the phrase was only repeated in one paragraph). However, this is quite a minor point, and in no way did it hinder my enjoyment of the story, especially as the simplicity and lyricism of your writing style is what brought the story alive.
In terms of structure, I thought the length was perfect for a concise, well-told story, and the full-circle elements -- the fact that he was at the cliff during both sections -- really helped in proving what a u-turn Ron as a character had made. And while I generally like stories with dialogue in it, I barely noticed the lack of dialogue in this story, because it read almost like Ron’s internal monologue. The fact that it was all narrative intensified the tension of Ron’s situation as well as highlighted the fact that Ron was alone, at least in the first part. The absence of speech also made the story so much more introspective, which worked really well in exploring Ron’s emotions. Hermione’s two sole words of speech, therefore, were so full of optimism and hope, and I liked that you retained that introspective feel of the story by italicising speech instead of using speech marks.
Above all, I thought both sections were great missing moments in really showing what Ron felt, because that was one side of the story that I didn’t really see so much in DH. I enjoyed reading it especially because of the new material you brought in, rather than just rehashing what we already know in canon; the missing moment was brought alive and the story carried forward by your lovely writing style and, ultimately, your excellent characterisation.
Keep up the good work, and I hope to read more from you soon!
Author's Response: Hi! Thank you for reading, reviewing and modding SSY as well - it is all very much appreciated :) Ron crying is always a hard thing to put into a story because he only cries about three times in canon, but I'm really glad that you think it worked here. I was trying to show how much he had changed, as well as that although they were stood in the same place, Ron and Hermione felt very different things. The first moment is definitely the low point in the books for Ron and I think I just took that idea and ran with it. Despite all this though, he still a strong person so I felt it was important to have him not go through with it for himself. I was really worried about that line about the branding so it's nice to hear that it worked. This whole story started because I wanted to write something without dialogue actually. I thought those two words being italicised would be cheating! Anyway, thank you so much for this detailed review :)
Really beautiful. I was not expecting it to end that way, but I'm inexpressibly happy that it did.
Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing in various places all over the internet :) It was just to show the contrast of how the two of them were feeling at those points, as well as how much Ron had grown. Besides, at the end, Ron needed a hug :)
I am so glad you ended this the way you did.
Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing :) Yeah, I had to give this a positive ending to show how much Ron had grown. Plus I love Ron too much to do that to him.