I read this fic a while ago, but was unable to formulate a fully coherent review without sounding like a fangirl, so I’ve been taking my time composing this. However, I hope that my thoughts come out in the form of a proper review this time. :)
I must say, I like the concept of this story very, very much. It’s so different. I’ve never seen this version of Harry after the war, and hence, I may never have considered this a possible scenario. However, after reading your story, I can see why Harry would be in this state of mind. I can visualise his obsession towards catching all the Death Eaters and his infatuation to staying busy and working harder and harder. It’s just something Harry would do, and this is very good characterisation of him. Also, you managed to gain my sympathy for Harry without using Harry’s point of view to reflect his mental state. I think this is one of the things about the story that makes it brilliant.
Speaking of characterisation: I loved how every major and minor character in this story is kept in character. You have fleshed them all out crystal-clear and it’s so compliant with the book that it doesn’t seem like fanfiction at all. Minerva, Aberforth, and like I’ve mentioned above, Harry, take the cake here. Minerva’s concern for Harry is very like her, and Aberforth -- I really liked him, because he’s so positive. He seems uncaring, but, like Minerva observes, he really seems to care. So, honestly, I think one of your major strengths here is your characterisation and character development. It’s simply amazing.
I think this fic teaches us a good lesson too -- that all of us have our bad days, and those moments where we can’t seem to go on; but we finally do pick ourselves up and walk on. This cast a very bright light on the dark, bleak path that the story was taking until then. Also, we all know that Harry survived any such rough patches after the war, at least until Albus went to Hogwarts, yet, I couldn’t help but feel sad and anxious for him, just as Minerva and the others felt. This is another strength of your writing style -- it’s so powerful, that you have managed to manipulate the moods of the readers as well, despite them knowing how this all ends.
I think the one uplifting line in this fic is very powerful too. "Then so what if he needs to lie down and rest a bit," snapped Aberforth. "He's earned it. But mark my word: Potter will get up. It was the one thing in this world my brother was most sure of." This line just acted like a buoy -- it pulled me from the depths of despair, and I found myself smiling, because it’s so full of hope and positivity. It’s such a lovely line, and I’m so glad that it came.
Another brilliant thing about this story is how Harry is the main character here, without really being in the scene that you’ve portrayed. It could be tedious to just have characters refer to your main character of the story without him or her physically being there, as it becomes difficult to connect with one character from another character’s thought process, without the inclusion of dialogue, if that makes any sense. But here, it seemed like Harry was physically part of the scene, and not just a passive character. Also, there isn’t much dialogue in this story at all, and that struck me as very different and appealing. I think it added to the feel of the story.
All-in-all, this is a gem of a story, and I’m glad I read it. Your stories, especially your Marauder ones have been on my reading list for ages, and I promise to act upon this list soon, as soon as I control a certain addiction that you know well about. To sum it up, I think you’re a wonderful, powerful writer, and that you have a very strong grasp on characterisation. Your writing style is unique -- fantastic, even, and I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of this piece. So yes, I really, really adored this story. :)
Not sure I've ever left two reviews before, but wanted to comment on the other reviews now that I've read them. I understand the point that this may be very dark for Harry, and honestly, my head canon doesn't go this dark for him. But the truth is that we don't know. And it's impossible to think Harry would have gone through as much as he did, lost SO many people he loved, and not crash at some point. I think you have written this crash very well, and very believably. And it's not hopeless at all. There is much talk of his resiliance among the staff, and that is what will pull him through this. You can't be resiliant without first having some major, major setbacks (such as the "rock bottom" scenario here). So while this is a dark take on post-war Harry, I do think it believable. And I'm so glad you left it very hopeful, too. He will get up again, eventually, and be okay. Because it's Harry. :) Well done, Gina. (Sorry to leave two reviews. Well, I'm a little sorry. Hehe.)
Oh, Gina, this is so lovely! It's likely this sort of commemoration did happen among the staff, and I do think the whole scenario very believable. Your characterization is spot-on in every case. I love Minerva here, and even Abderforth, gruff but caring -- I like that description very much. The memory of Harry screaming at Dumbledore's portrait while Minerva looked on was just heartbreaking, but it does seem like the sort of thing Harry does when he is at his lowest. Really a beautiful piece you have here, friend. I fitting tribute... good luck with the competition!
Hi Gina. I will play the Devil's Advocate and say that while it's possible that Harry would have reacted in this way, I think the odds are against it. Throughout the seven books he showed the quality of resilience (I imagined him identifying with the definition of the "resilient child"). We all collect psychological scars as we progress through life (survivors of major wars, natural disasters, the Holocaust, etc) but they generally don't progress the the point of serious PTSD (hallmarks: obsessive repetitive thoughts/flashbacks; hypervigilence; emotional numbness; avoidance of persons/sites/events associated with the original trauma), and mild PTSD, which is not that uncommon in the population, wears off after a couple of years, though of course our prior experiences are always a part of the definition of who we are. I believe that the majority of people who go through the fire manage to be functional afterwards. What makes your fic plausible is the element of self-medication substance abuse, always bad when it happens. Alcohol, medications or substances (and charms, in the wizarding world) are used to help us cope or get through some difficult patch, and pretty soon the "cure" has become a disease of its own, often worse than the original condition it was taken for. Given that this could happen to anyone (since no one intends to become strung out), we can believe that it could happen to Harry also.
Your prose is, as always, graceful and articulate. Thanks for writing. Vicki :)
Author's Response: First of all, thank you so much for reading this and leaving such a lovely review! I really appreciate your thoughts. One thing I enjoy so much about writing fanfiction is exploring the possibilities inherent in the characters and the story JKR has given us and making them plausible. Now, both the possibility of something actually happening in JKR's Potterverse and the plausibility of how it's presented are entirely subjective things, but it's a fun challenge to try and write something that you as an author might not necessarily believe happens in the context of what JKR may or may not have intended. Which is a convoluted way of saying - yes, I agree with you, that Harry probably would not have struggled so terribly much after the war, for the very reasons you cite: the incredible resilience demonstrated over the course of seven books. Yet at the same time, given his tragic history, his difficult years at Hogwarts, and the horrific events of the war, you almost have to wonder sometimes how he *doesn't* crack at some point. So I was really trying to go for a balance here. I don't see Harry going insane, or dark and murderous, or turning into a lecherous drunk, all of which you'll probably find out there somewhere. But could he have not had some sort of reaction? Could he really have just joined the Ministry, become Head Auror, married Ginny and had three kids and lived happily ever after? I do think he'd need to deal with the trauma at some point. So this seemed possible to me, that Harry would struggle in some manner in the years after the war, and then I set out to make it plausible, by not taking it too far and having him struggle with his trauma through work and addiction. So - I'm glad you found it plausible, perhaps even possible. And I'm blushing at the compliments to the prose. Thank you so much for reading this and leaving such a thoughtful and thought provoking review! ~Gina :)
Ah, it hurt my heart, but this was very good. Very plausible for Harry to end up this way. Everyone was so true to character. I especially enjoyed Aberforth uncharacteristically imparting wisdom while still referring to Albus as a 'righteous arsehole'. Ha-- it was very Aberforthy of him.
Very well done. And while it was sad, I also believe that Harry will always stand up again, so the end left me optimistic.That's always a good thing. :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! Yes, it's a bit sad, but then the end did what it was supposed to do, which was leave things a bit optimistic and hopeful. Glad you liked Aberforth, he's always fun to write. ;) But I'm glad you found it plausible, since a lot for post-war Harrys carry on just fine, or end up even worse. Hopefully I found a believable balance. Thank you so much for reading this, I appreciate the review! ~Gina :)
Depressing, but ends with hope.
Author's Response: I know, it is always sad to think of Harry this way! But he will be all right - Aberforth is right! Thank you for reading, I appreciate the review! ~Gina :)
Nice. Very touching, and I think astute of you to recognize that there's really no way Harry could just bounce into a happy, carefree person after the Battle - there would certainly be scars and demons aplenty to haunt him, and drag him down if not dealt with.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review! Yes, I usually think that there must have been some sort of repercussion in terms of everything Harry went through. I think he's got a pretty strong support system to keep him from falling to hard, but like you said - if it's not dealt with, it could drag him down. Certainly there are all sorts of angsty Harry stories out there, some of which take it a bit too far, so I'm glad this one seems to have worked for you. Thank you so much for reading it and for the lovely review! ~Gina :)