Reviewer: Oregonian
Date: 04/20/14 2:03
Chapter: The Silver Doe/The Silver Stag

Hi, Nagini,

I am constantly amazed by the number and variety of the little things, tiny bits of the Harry Potter world, that you can think of, to write poems about. It is always enjoyable to see what you come up with.

This poem is an interesting contrast between the two Patronuses (Patroni?) of James and Lily, as you envision their natures. The stag is obviously powerful, assertive, ready for combat against evil, a masculine image, while the doe is gentle in demeanor, a feminine figure, but we must remember that as a Patronus she is equally effective at repelling dementors. I’m sure that it’s no coincidence that that the Patronus of James and the Patronus of Lily are male and female of the same species.

Since you have paired them in one poem, it raises the question of whether they have any independent existence outside of being summoned. Is there some invisible “Patronus Land” where they Iive? Do they ever interact? (You see, I can be almost as imaginative as you if I try hard.) And how does the masculine Professor Snape with his female doe Patronus figure in? Why does Harry have the same Patronus as his father? Are they inherited?

Your description of the two animals is vivid and active. But I wondered why the lilies have drowned. Of course you needed the rhyme, but what is the word’s inner meaning? Does it simply mean that Lily is dead now?

A couple of suggestions. Lines two, four, six, and eight of each poem have six beats (three iambic feet). (I read the last line of The Silver Stag this way also, by combining while-the into one beat and e-vil into one beat; there’s probably a technical name for this, but I don’t know it. Some of the other thus-designated lines also need a little compression: Yet-the, ant-lers, And-a.) Lines one, three, five and seven are essentially four iambs each, with a few stray compressions and silent beats. All these things don’t bother my ear at all. The one thing that does bother my ear is line seven of the second verse: it is lacking two beats (one iamb).

As written, we have “His prowess does astound..” but we could add the missing iamb by inserting a two-syllable adjective before “prowess” (“His daring prowess does astound…”) or an adverb (His prowess greatly does astound…”) or a direct object (“His prowess does all men astound…”). With your creative use of language, I’m sure you could think of two better syllables than any of my examples.

The other suggestion has to do with the use of the emphatic verb form. In poetry we sometimes change a simple present tense (“His prowess astounds…”) to an emphatic present tense (“His prowess does astound…”) just to gain an extra syllable for the meter, or to ensure an exact rhyme. It’s okay to do this, and sometimes we don’t have any other way to make the poem work, but if these emphatic constructions can be avoided (unless we actually wish to convey emphasis, of course), that’s even better.

But these are minor points. I love your poetry, and it is hard to ever find anything to improve in it. (Will have to put “Patronus Land” in my folder of plot bunnies. Grins.) Thank you for writing.

Vicki

Author's Response: Another review! Goodness! I need to hop on over to you author page! :) Thank you!!! And those points on meter are actually very good. I believe I was following a certain pattern, and it is possible that I missed an iambic foot... :) Keep reading! ~Nagini

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