Concisely: I occasionally write (elliptical and rather pointless) stories. Most of them are about Sirius Black, and aggressively gen; I am not, it must be admitted, particularly fond of romantic relationships. If you are only going to read one of my stories, I suggest Predetermination or Into the Silence.
Precisely: I'm Noldo. It has been a long time since I was an actual presence here; I deal in physics rather than fiction now, & science and illness take up most of my time. I used to be a mod, but am no longer; please direct your questions to other, better people.
Here is inconsequential data: I like topology, Calvino, Nabokov, Borges, and Cortazar; my favourite artist is Joan Miro, my favourite contemporary musician is Vienna Teng, my favourite composer is Bach (J. S.). If you prefer less changeable facts: I am not a white person. I am not a straight person. I am 171 cm tall. I was born in 1991. There is a certain taste to my favourite sort of story (and the sort that I aspire to write) that is like eating dense and faceted glass and grinding it down to nothing. In my spare time, I like to paint, sing, and hike up mountains. Most of the things I say aren't lies.
First off, mad props to you for writing a Regulus-fic. Not many around here who do write the poor boy. And he deserves more love.
I'm going to refrain from criticising the poetry; it's lovely and for the most part well-written. However, I hope you won't mind if I quibble a bit about the dialogue segments. :)
On the title. I like the idea of bringing Regulus's name into it as well as the hints it gives us as to the way his story finally turned out - Regulus didn't have a happy ending, and the title says that. However, my quibble - is 'torned' really a word at all? Past tense of 'tear' is always 'torn' in my experience, and seeing 'torned' definitely jarred me for a moment. The ellipsis in the title are also slightly awkward; I'd rephrase it to 'Little King, Thy Kingdom Torn Asunder'. This is personal opinion, of course. Feel free to like it or disregard it, it's up to you. :)
The first scene, Bellatrix and Regulus and Sirius, was certainly interesting. However, this line confused me a little:
“She said my existence, and my cowardice will put us all to shame that ...”
I wasn't sure quite what you meant by this one. Judging by the way Sirius replies, I'd suggest a minor reword of that, something along the lines of "She said that my cowardice would shame us all, she said that - " (I'd also use a dash rather than an ellipsis to indicate interrupted speech, but that's just me.)
In the last line of this scene, I'd take out the comma after 'since', and merge that line with the next (the sentence fragment makes no sense there) - 'Since I'm already in trouble, what do you say...'
(As an aside, Bellatrix's mother is now canonically named 'Druella'.)
'Mom' is a bit of an Americanism, at least for children in the 1970s in a family like the Blacks', and isn't what I'd envision them caling her. Considering their formality, 'Mother' seems to be most appropriate; this is, again, a personal choice, however. :)
The second scene is definitely nice. I've always thought that the brothers Black were closer than they liked to admit, and this scene bears me out on this. Again for the nit-picks, though:
“Well Sirius, that's because you always got caught.”
I'd suggest 'always get caught'. Sirius is talking in present tense, and therefore Regulus ought to.
“If I’m such a goody-two-shoes, then I would not have gone along with most of your stupid ideas.”
Again, a slight tense clash. I'd suggest 'I wouldn't go along with your stupid ideas.'
“Yeah, everyone believes that sweet and angelic Regulus will not be capable of doing all that; but why blame me?”
This line says a lot about people's perceptions of the two. Nice. However, I seriously suggest that you use a few contractions in dialogue; I'm quite aware that folks do indeed pan contractions quite heartily, but when writing dialogue between two eleven-year-old or younger boys (especially Sirius, who I can't really see sounding formal for some reason), contractions are a Writer's Best Friend. I'd suggest something like this:
"Yeah, so everyone believes sweet, angelic Regulus couldn't possibly do all that, fine, but why blame me?"
Sometimes, dialogue that is a little colloquialised and imperfect feels more real; a blanket test for it is this: if you feel silly when saying it aloud, then it isn't quite all right. :) However, when writing characters who do come across as 'formal', one does have to be careful not to write in too many colloquialisms or 'modern'-sounding words.
“Ravenclaw, at least meant that Andromeda’s smart. Gryffindor is a house full of idiotic self-righteous traitors and the lesser kind.”
I'd suggest the word 'intelligent' instead of 'smart' here - 'smart' sounds a little off for Mrs. Black.
Those lower life forms should not even be allowed to breathe the same air as we do.
Something about this line feels a little off to me - Regulus might be an opinionated pureblooded git (at the moment!), but I can't envision any teenager routinely talking like that - perhaps something like 'They shouldn't even be allowed to breathe the air we do!' - in some places, the way you write Regulus's dialogue sounds a little too unemotional, considering that he's young and fairly hot-headed.
“So is it, James’ place?”
I'd suggest axing the comma after 'it'.
A few punctiational nitpicks on the Sirius-and-James section:
“Why do I have a feeling that this is bad news.” Suggest a question mark instead of the full-stop.
“Sirius, I’m sorry but...” Suggest a comma after 'sorry', and a dash instead of the ellipsis after 'but'.
I don’t think its working out either. Suggest 'it's' instead of 'its'.
Prongs, you said you love her right? Suggest a comma before 'right'.
"Thanks Padfoot.” Suggest a comma before 'Padfoot'.
Fidelus Charm. Fidelius. :)
Finally, I like the last scene very much, although I do think it'd benefit from removing that 'Hello, Remus' (not necessary). I also can't help but wonder about Sirius's change of attitude - one minute Regulus is 'afraid of everything', the next he 'has the heart of a lion', which seems a touch self-contradictory.
My nitpicking and annoyingly detailed criticism might have given you the wrong impression - apologies. I do like this piece, and shall read more of your work; occasionally, however, I let my inner grammatical obsessions get the better of me. :)
Author's Response: Thank you for all those corrections :) This was actually written Pre-HBP so there's probably more canon-errors by now (but was too lazy to correct those) ... I really appreciate the corrections - your CC does help to improve this --- am going to fix it :)
First of all, I like the way you've set the mood of this fic; the descriptions are brief, and often sparse, but the feel is absolutely 'right' for the story's content. I also like your portrayal of emotion, especially in the first few paragraphs; the first line, with the deserted street, was excellent.
You do seem to have a couple of minor hiccups in punctuation and capitalisation; 'Muggle' is usually written that way, as a proper noun, and there's a bit of 'your/you're' confusion in the dialogue. Number 12 Grimmauld Place in the summary should really be Number 12, Grimmauld Place; similarly, 'number' in the body of the fic should be capitalised (although that's more of a stylistic thing).
The dialogue itself, apart from the little niggles, is wonderful, though; the pacing struck me as being particularly nice, and very appropriate for the conversation.
I'm also a little curious about Sirius; he's sixteen or so in the portrait, and I'd imagine Sirius at that age to be a little more volatile; your Sirius is quite calm and resigned, which is not what one expects from him.
In my personal opinion, this fic might benefit from being a touch longer; I realise that the apparent spare-ness is part of the story's charm, but at the important moments, a lack of detail can cause a story to fall flat; I'd suggest a little more insight into what Harry's thinking and doing and feeling and seeing, since different sensory impressions can leave an impact on the reader in different ways.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the read. (And loved the title.)
Goodness, this is lovely. Apart from the squeeing induced by the fact that this is Andromeda-fic, and Black-fic, the writing was quite simply excellent. Beautifully understated, lovely use of language, and excellent pacing; it feels unhurried, somehow, walking-around, a bit like a deep breath right on the edge of a storm, but there are undercurrents and edges.
Not many nitpicks here; the line how badly in disrepair the house has fallen might be better served by changing it to 'how badly the house has fallen into disrepair', which is a less awkward way to put it. Also, while the use of contractions throughout this piece is a good (and rather daring, considering the number of authors who shy from it), there are a couple of places where they do jar.
The ghost motif is used very well; it brings Andromeda's reminiscing a little closer home. The memories themselves are carefully drawn, and one does have to feel sorry for Andromeda, after all; no matter what one's family is like, the decision to leave them, outright, is rather fraught with worry and dilemmas; it is quite possible to imagine her sneaking back for one last look when everything is gone. And that, of course, is not to mention the way you've shown us Andromeda as slowly edged out by Narcissa, whatever she does. The ending is pure heartbreak.
As a reader, as a general rule, one doesn't often find quality while browsing the Recently Added section; I'm exceedingly pleased to have proved that wrong.
Unusual take on Remus's reaction; most authors have him accept the fact that Sirius is the guilty party in the face of fairly overwhelming facts, even if there is a touch of nagging doubt because Sirius wouldn't do that; you seem to have him fairly convinced that Peter is the traitor even pre-PoA, which seems to be a touch AU (he did seem fairly convinced that Sirius was not one of the Good Guys) but is well-written all the same; the writing is what made this for me. Loved the transitions between each section and especially loved the last line, which was powerful and moving and *guh*. And I like your Remus, too.
*is a Ravenclaw and knows the musical and is therefore happy*
Author's Response: *loves detailed reviews* Remus. Hmm. Remus is, for me, the more complicated of the two characters to write, which is why you\'ll find fewer things from me in his POV than Sirius\'s, generally speaking. I will admit that I do tend to write his reaction as slightly AU, (which can be seen in a side-along one shot of his reaction that actual day; just trying to work out last kink on it and yes, also a bit AU). I think that, in the face of \'fairly overwhelming facts\' Remus would have been forced to accept what he saw. However, deep down, whether you view this as a slash pairing or not (although the pairing does make it a bit stronger) he wouldn\'t have wanted to. I think he would have held onto that bit of disbelief, the shred of hope for as long as he had to; until Sirius was proven without a doubt innocent or declared to Remus himself that he was actually guilty. I mean, it came as a shock because it was unbelievable, right? *looks up* *blush* I could go on forever. I\'ve practically written a thesis on these two. I will not subject you to it. (And whatever you do, dont\' ask me which one of the two I think had the harder life.) And yeah. Oh my god. Is it wrong to love a line of my own writing as much as I love this last line. I mean, you ever have, as a writer, where words just come, without your say so? And you go back and read them later and you just can\'t figure out how in the world, what kind of a mood you must have been in, the music you were listening to, or whatever, to prompt you to write them? *shiver* That last line. It kills even me. So absolutely terrifying, no? I mean, you can just imagine the absolute shock, unbelief that he would be feeling at the moment, which is why I didn\'t have to write it and-- *saw your guess in the thread* *throws confetti*
One of the things which always strikes me about your writing is the fact that it always sounds wonderful - the words you choose always read and flow beautifully, but this occasionally gets in the way of comprehension. I think I've mentioned before that quite a few of the phrases you use come across rather as though they're intended to sound pretty, and not as though they've been used to convey a specific meaning (which is, after all, the point of most writing). Of course, this is less jarring in poetry than in prose, but it's still present in places.
once in ink and once in speech;
grey and black and somewhat lost;
This is a lovely image (especially the 'somewhat lost', which is rather evocative), but doesn't seem completely relevant to what you're talking about - why a written description of fear? (Which I assume is what this refers to, although I could be terribly wrong.) The poem would probably work just as well without these lines.
I'd take out 'properly' here, mostly because 'properly misunderstand' is an extremely peculiar concept, and jars the reader out of the poem for a second; the flow probably wouldn't be interrupted by that, if you moved 'misplace' up a line. (Incidentally, why 'misplace'? It's only really used to mean 'lose' (in a very trivial sense - I've misplaced my spectacles, et cetera), and I doubt it fits what you're trying to say.)
I love the description of 'hollow' thoughts, and the way you partially deconstruct fear in the next few lines - it's evocative, and very interesting indeed.
As far as the second part is concerned, I'd probably bring 'thing' into the same line as 'odd, ambiguous', and let 'But' begin the new stanza - it seems to flow a lot better, since a line-break in the middle of a sentence works a lot better when an entire thought has been completed (which it hasn't, here). I'd also probably lose that last '(fear-)' - the poem works perfectly well without it, and ending it with the 'you' is, in my opinion, both far more elegant, and a lot more haunting.
Criticism aside, though, the poem's extremely well-constructed, and I particularly like
wonder if it is this
feeling (cold, lingering)
on your back, on your skin;
this slight prickle
on your arm
which is both appropriately chilling and extremely well-worded. Lovely work!
Author's Response: Noldo, I love you. (In a purely platonic way, yo.) I\'m going to see what I can do with those suggestions. :)