Reviewer: The owl
Date: 08/17/13 7:15
Chapter: Chapter 1

Hey Natalie :)

When I'm in the mood to read poetry on MNFF, you're one of the authors I tend to turn to, as I know I can count on you to produce consistently high-quality poems. This one, of course, lived up to my expectations brilliantly.

I suppose the most important aspect of this poem is your characterisation of Minerva. I've not really thought about how she would have felt during the battle “ I'm generally more concerned for her students “ but I was really convinced by your interpretation. Her sharpness and wit and strength fit in so much better with the idea of her being bird-like than with the constant cat comparisons; she felt absolutely herself when you described her as an eagle.

Then there was the idea of her turning back into a witch after the Battle. I found that kind of upsetting, knowing of all the horrors she must have witnessed and understanding how flat she must feel after all of the adrenaline had worn off. It's like she came alive in the pressure and fear of battle, but afterwards, it all feels like a dream and she comes crashing back to reality. When I think of it like that, I just want to go and hug her! The line about “an ageing witch” made me painfully aware of her frailty, her humanity, something which I find easy to forget about when seeing her from the point of view of her students. I really liked that you made me consider her from a new angle, and in so much more depth than before.

Technically, the poem was, of course, flawless. I very much liked the free structure you used; I suppose it fits with the chaos of battle, the uncertainty and fear. Within that, you used so many smaller patterns though, which I found really drew me in. I particularly liked the last stanza, with the repeated structure of “from … to … ”. It made me think of how everything is starting afresh, but also somehow going back to normal with the mundane idea of “a witch with a staff”. I thought that was a really lovely image, to see things healing, both for Minerva and for the school.

Another thing I really appreciated was the gorgeous sound of this poem. It was subtly done, I thought, helped by the non-standard structure, but when I read it aloud, I couldn't help but smile at the sound. A favourite line of mine, phonoogically, was “a flick of the wrist, a stab of the hand,” with the two different bits of assonance. And then there were things like the sort of rhyme in “from moth to light, / from flight to feet” “ my inner poetry geek is delighted by little things like that!

Overall, while this poem made me really rather sad to read, I took a lot of pleasure from it, from the idea of Hogwarts being rebuilt and from how well written it was. I just wish I could make everything easier for Minerva now!

~Sophie

Author's Response: Heyyyy!

This was one of the poems I really worked hard on. Minerva is one of my favourite characters, but I have never been able to write her. Doing it in the form of verse was even more frightening! On top of that, I was writing this for Minna, whose poetry I am a big fan of. SO THIS WAS HARD TO DO.

I am thrilled to receive such a detailed study from you. Thank you for commenting on the form and the exploration of the theme. I was trying to show her humanity, as you pointed out, and do it without being maudlin or stoic.

Thank you for the fab Spreview, Sophie! :)

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