My name's Alex. I'm an English teenager with a love of writing (though I tend to spend so long planning that the actual story never gets written...)
*I'm recently getting back into the fandom after an embarrassingly long, International-Baccaluareate- induced absence. I was PI-accredited, but lost the account during my hiatus - I may get myself re-accredited, if I have enough time.* I hope to squeeze in a few fics (and maybe even get some original fiction written...) inbetween doing a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge and occasionally getting a bit of sleep...!
In the Battle of Hogwarts, Tonks has nothing left but promises to keep.
I'll be back. I promise.
Oh, so sad... But you did it so well... :'(
Summary: What if the characters in the Harry Potter films were portrayedâ€”not by actorsâ€”but by the book versions of themselves, as created by Rowling? How might things unfold on that set? What would the characters think of the changes made from the stories theyâ€™d already lived outâ€¦ to the ones written for the script?
This fic is a series of one-shots, posted as chapters, each from the perspective of a different character who is dealing with the changes occurring between the book and the script.
Holy Movie Canon, Batman! This fic won the 2011 Quicksilver Quill Award for Best Chaptered Humor Story. Thanks so, so much!
I've just read the whole thing, and think it's brilliant! Although I can't help but wonder why you've decided to skip the earlier films? I'm sure Hermione would have something to say about her gorgeous pink dress in GoF... ;)
Author's Response: Well, the original prompt was for a scene in OOTP, and after I wrote it, HBP was out and I was raging about this and that... so I just started where I was. I'm glad I didn't go any further, though, as I would be writing this until the day I die. I've got two more scenes for HBP as it is, before I can move on to DH. Whew! But I do include references to the past... in fact, a ref to GOF is coming in the next chapter. Thanks so much for the review--I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
Summary: Kingsley didn’t buy a word of their hype till he realised it was no longer a game.
Dedication: This one is for Alyssa/ronlover, who has offered me a second chance and her patience.
I really, really liked this. I do feel that Kingsley gets a little over-looked sometimes, and the issue of people who were recruited but didn't want to join the Order almost never comes up. I also love that Sirius is such a big reason for Kingsley's decision to stay - I think he probably would have felt quite a bit of personal guilt, and I love how you portrayed that. :)
I really, really liked this. I do feel that Kingsley gets a little over-looked sometimes, and the issue of people who were recruited but didn't want to join the Order almost never comes up. I also love that Sirius is such a big reason for Kingsley's decision to stay - I think he probably would have felt quite a bit of personal guilt, and I love how you portrayed that. :)
Summary: Hermione has lived thirty-six years on this earth. The last twenty or so of them have been blissful and perfect, married to her best friend and lover. They have two beautiful children at Hogwarts. Ron's an Auror, and Hermione works in the new office at the Ministry, for the Mandatory Respect of Elf Rights Department. Then, one afternoon in February, she's called to St. Mungo's, where everything is ruined, and she's forced to remember the easier past.
OK, first off, I really like your characterisation of both Ron and Hermione, but particularly Ron: I think you've got him spot-on here, he's a very restless and impulsive sort of person, and you show that very well. The way you convey grief, as well, is excellent: from the way Hermione simply recounts what will happen, without giving any significance to any of these events, with very little emotion, shows how numb she feels at Ron's death. It's almost like she's empty or incomplete, which
is a very accurate portrayal of how people feel when they've lost a loved one.
I also thought the proposal was utterly adorable, and I think that people do tend to cling to stability at difficult times in their lives, so even though it was rushed, it felt like a perfectly natural way for them both to react. Iâ€™m rather hoping that this idea of how people react in the face of losing a loved one (either by emotionally shutting off as Hermione has done, or grabbing onto the good things left over in life as Ron did) will become a recurring theme in the fic, because itâ€™s a very interesting thing to read about and consider. :)
You do have a couple of typos in this chapter:
- "Stopping acting as though you donâ€™t feel anything because your eyes are lying." - should be "Stop", not "Stopping"
- In the penultimate paragraph, you slip into third person for one sentence; very easy to do by accident, and very easy to fix!
The only thing I would comment on is that the way you divided up the sections of the chapter with asterixes and a sub-heading: I feel like you could have incorporated a transition into the narrative somehow, which would have made it more seamless. It could even have been a part of her grief, to have her suddenly have memories of Ron in the forefront of her thoughts all the time. But it is quite stylistic, and clearly doing it this way works for you, so it isnâ€™t a huge problem.
Overall, a really nice opening chapter, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where you take it. :)
Hannah Abbott was up to her eyeballs in a business she scarcely knew how to run. Out of money and sleep deprived, all she could do was grind out day after day, but she couldn't last forever that way.
And then Neville walked into her pub and into her life. Things might've started looking up, after all.
So I read this on a whim, not really knowing what to expect as this pairing has never particularly excited me, but I was really pleasantly surprised!
I think my favourite thing about this was how you characterised Hannah (and Neville, to a slightly lesser extent). It sounds silly, but I liked that Hannah clearly had the traits of a Hufflepuff, without you explicitly referencing her House; itâ€™s a bit of a pet peeve of mine! On that note, it was also great to see a balanced Hufflepuff, showing both the benefits and drawbacks of being so hard-working and determined. I donâ€™t think that the â€śHouse traitsâ€ť are shown in the negative often enough, so seeing Hannah suffer for it was quite refreshing, and really fleshed her character out. I also loved how you portrayed Neville in this fic: I think he can be tricky (especially in post-Hogwarts fics), because you need to balance his growth in confidence throughout the series without over-doing it, but youâ€™ve pulled it off beautifully.
In terms of the actual pairing, I thought you did a good job of creating tension between them, but with a gentle touch: it didnâ€™t feel forced at any point. Neville is clearly attracted to her, but is a complete gentleman about it, and I think that was the correct approach. Still, those little moments between them (Neville touching her hair, for example) were great; they were never flirtatious, and yet they were â€śloadedâ€ť, which was very effective.
The other thing I really liked about this fic (characterisation aside) was the development of Hannahâ€™s life more generally, and how that became the set-up for the romance. I liked how the renovation of the Leaky Cauldron and the blossoming of Hannah and Nevilleâ€™s relationship complemented each other. Actually, I think it was quite a novel way of drawing the characters together, using their financial ties rather than the physical setting. I guess my only problem with that was that I got a little distracted by trying to figure out the finances (â€śa galleon is about fiver, so a how long would it take to make that much from a Muggle pub?â€ť), but I think thatâ€™s more a testament to my terrible attention span than anything to do with you!
Iâ€™m really pleased I read this; it was a sweet fic, I found Hannah extremely likeable and the development of her relationship with Neville felt honest and believable. Really nice work! :)
Summary: I could say I that I hated my sister. I really could. But I would be lying. I didn't really hate her. I hated the fact that she was always first. Petunia only wants a normal life with a normal man who puts her first. So why is her sister always ahead?
I really, really like how youâ€™ve interpreted Petunia here: she gets a lot of flak from the fandom (not completely undeserved, of courseâ€¦), so to try and paint her in a sympathetic light was always going to be a challenge. However, itâ€™s one I think youâ€™ve risen to, and achieved it as much as you ever going to (I really strongly dislike Petunia, so for to get me to feel empathy for her is a real achievement!).
Her relationship with Lily is of particular interest to me: I think the jealousy is a key part of it. Jealousy is such an insidious emotion; once you experience a little of it towards someone, it grows until everything they do becomes a slight to you. You sort of expand on this theme of jealousy as pervasive and consuming throughout the fic (first itâ€™s that Lily has more friends, then itâ€™s that sheâ€™s â€śspecialâ€ť and the subsequent way she gets more attention from their parents, sheâ€™s first to bring home a serious boyfriend, etc), but when it has the biggest impact is when Petunia is even jealous of Lilyâ€™s death, because itâ€™s another â€śfirstâ€ť. Itâ€™s so tragic, but at the same time accurate: Iâ€™ve known people to experience grief this way, itâ€™s as if the fact that theyâ€™ve died is â€śselfishâ€ť (more common, of course, with suicides), but that same sort of resentment of the dead person is not uncommon, and I think youâ€™ve presented that really well here.
I think my only slight criticism is of how the girls are when they were younger: I donâ€™t think the jealousy really existed before Lily discovered her powers, because if there was, I donâ€™t think Petunia would have felt so bitter, as the two wouldnâ€™t have been so close anyway. In any case, I donâ€™t think that excuses her adult behaviour (although youâ€™ve handled that very well in this fic â€“ I donâ€™t think youâ€™re trying to excuse so much as explain). However, thatâ€™s just my interpretation of her, and I completely respect that yours is different.
I think my favourite thing about this, however, is how youâ€™ve presented her relationship towards Dudley: I wasnâ€™t expecting Petunia to acknowledge that he isnâ€™t as exceptional as her canon treatment of him implies, but how youâ€™ve justified that (ie, she doesnâ€™t want him to feel as inferior as she did as a child) is very clever: I think most people, when they become parents resolve to â€śdo a better jobâ€ť than their parents did, and many ultimately go about this in such extreme ways that it does quite as much damage of a different sort than what they were trying to avoid, and Petunia embodies this in your fic.
Itâ€™s terribly sad that Petunia never really finds closure with regard to her sister: although she goes to the grave, she behaves in such a stiff and formal way that it seems like she seems cold towards her. Perhaps thatâ€™s not what you intended, but thatâ€™s how Iâ€™ve read it: itâ€™s like sheâ€™s trying to come to terms with it, but doesnâ€™t know how to reach out to Lily, and thatâ€™s tragic. (I must say, Petunia visiting Lilyâ€™s grave isnâ€™t something I ever considered â€“ does she ever meet Harry there?!)
Well done with this, itâ€™s a really well-executed character study.
Author's Response: Thank you very much for your review! I'm glad I've changed your view of Petunia as she's a character who I really understand. I'm glad you like it.
Summary: This is a oneshot capturing the friendship between Severus Snape and Lily Evans a year before the dreaded "Mudblood" incident at Hogwarts. Set in August 1974, Severus and Lily are spending some time together in their favourite spot - a secluded field next to the park in which they first met - but little are they to know that this will be their final summer together as friends...
Hiya. I really enjoyed your fic, so I thought Iâ€™d leave you a decent review!
OK, Iâ€™m going to talk mostly about the characterisation, which I think youâ€™ve done very well, particularly with Severus: heâ€™s rather â€śsuperiorâ€ť (both to Muggles, but also to Lily â€“ the bit where heâ€™s â€śpleased by her curiosityâ€ť, and the bit where he describes her clarification that itâ€™s Petunia calling as â€śunnecessaryâ€ť, are quite condescending, which suits him), but also sentimental (when he picks up that feather at the end), and I can see how that becomes bitterness with the past when heâ€™s older. Iâ€™m not so sure of your interpretation of Lily, because Iâ€™ve always seen her as quite indominable, and in this sheâ€™s a little quieter â€“ although itâ€™s interesting to me, because I often see fics where Lily is the dominant one and Severus is just fawning after her (which is far worse!), I do wonder if thatâ€™s quite how she should behaveâ€¦ of course, itâ€™s your interpretation, and I completely respect that â€“ I just like to play devilâ€™s advocate in reviews!
Still, even though Severus is the more overtly dominant one (heâ€™s the one passing on information, guiding the conversation, etc), there is a subtle power dynamic between him and Lily: she almost rebuffs him (I think?), and he still doubts that she wants to be near him, that sheâ€™ll come back, even though he firmly asserts that she keeps her promises. Itâ€™s interesting to me because it sort of places the power in their relationship back in her hands, even though heâ€™s been the more assertive one for the majority of the fic. Itâ€™s quite subtle, but I think itâ€™s an accurate assessment of them: he wants to impress her when sheâ€™s around, so he shows off a little, but thereâ€™s always this nagging fear that she wonâ€™t come backâ€¦
Stylistically, I think you write very natural sounding dialogue, which is hard to pull off, so well done there! I must admit, I do prefer these sorts of â€śdialogue-drivenâ€ť pieces, because I think they add an additional dimension to the characterisation: rather than just getting the characterâ€™s thoughts, we can juxtapose their internal processes with how they actually interact with others, which I think is far more revealing: this can be a difficult balance to achieve, between dialogue and internal monologue, but youâ€™ve got it about right, with no long, rambling passages of either â€“ the thoughts break up the dialogue and vice versa, which really works here.
Plot-wise, this is very simple: in real terms, this conversation would take about ten minutes, at the very most? However, you cover a great deal of ground within it, both with the present state of the relationship and alluding to the potential for their relationship to change in the future. Itâ€™s a little hard for me to talk about plot in great detail, because there isnâ€™t really a great deal that â€śhappensâ€ť, but that is sort of the point â€“ what youâ€™ve produced is a snapshot of their relationship (a conversation in the park, presumably over the summer between 4th and 5th years), but elaborated it in order to reveal more about the characters. Iâ€™d be very proud to have written such a comprehensive character study!
So, all in all, I really do like this. I think youâ€™ve captured their relationship very succinctly, and thereâ€™s a really good insight into Severus here with regards to the nostalgia becoming (arguably) an obsession. A very nice fic!
Summary: This important question needs to be answered. Reputations are at stake.
This was a really great read! The concept is hilarious, and I think the characterisation is spot-on :) However, I think my favourite part of the story is the style, the way we're not seeing the trial directly - I feel it would have descended into the ridiculous if you'd described every little detail, but the way you've just given the reader snippets makes it all the more interesting! Overall, great fic! PS - Ginny's right; what reputation? ;)
Author's Response: Thanks for the review.
I’m glad you liked the characterisations. Trying to write this like a Judge summing up a trial did, as you say, make it a lot shorter (and I hope funnier) than it might have been otherwise. I hope that Mr Justice Woolley’s opinions (and his feelings towards “the fragrant Mrs Malfoy”) survived intact. -N-
It is safe to assume that Ginny is always right, that way you avoid arguments. ;-D
Oh, PPS - I quite agree about the Libel laws... Yay for LibDems forgetting themselves in exchange for some power...
Author's Response: Yes, they're all the same (grumble). -N-
Summary: Various characters throughout generations learn of the importance of names.
Hiya, I haven't finished yet, but I thought I would point this out...
”The girls looked at each other and giggled nervously. Luna waited patiently for them to tell her what was so funny. She loved laughing, she was always much happier when she was (I personally wouldn’t italicize the word “was”) laughing than when she wasn't. But it didn't work simply to laugh to try to be happier. She had tried it. Laughing without something to laugh about wasn't quite the same."
I think you've forgotten to delete some Beta-reader advice in that paragraph... ;) Loving it so far though, will leave a proper review when I've finished :)
Author's Response: Ahh thanks so much, just fixed it :) I really should look it over more slowly before I submit it. . .
Very nice fic, filled with cute moments :) I must say, drunk Lupin and sleep-walking James were probably my favourites :P
Author's Response: Haha thank you, I like the idea of James sleep-walking as well :) Mum, I SWEAR I didn't mean to end up in Al's room in his closet, I didn't MEAN to scare him, it just happened!
Summary: As Lord Voldemort and his Eeath Eaters approach Hogwarts, those within the castle walls prepare for the attack. Friends and families share what they understand may be their final moments together.
Oh... Well isn't this heart-breaking? Particularly Remus, his words to Kingsley are very poignant :'(
I think your characterisation is brilliant - all very believeable. I particularly like Fred and George, falling back on laughter in the face of anything, and Mcgonagall's stoicism - I feel this is quite accurate to how they would have behaved.
"The words fall from his mouth, crawling into the night." - this is possibly my favourite line from the whole thing; the words "crawling" really conveys the desperation of the whole situation.
What I would have liked to have seen is a bit more of Kingsley - he sort of just reacts to Remus, and it would have been interesting to hear his personal feelings about the upcoming battle.
But overall, this is lovely, really well-written. Good job! :)
Summary: Harry is a champion in the Triwizard Tournament, Ron is not speaking to him and Hermione is juggling between the two... but what is the rest of Gryffindor House up to?
Hiya! There are rather a lot of things I like about this fic.
First of all, I think your characterisation is spot on: your OCs (obviously theyâ€™re not total OCs, but as thereâ€™s nothing canon about them, Iâ€™m treating them as OCs) are very well-integrated into the group of canon characters, all of whom are nicely IC, and are their own individuals â€“ it is deceptively easy to â€śblurâ€ť Seamus and Dean, and Lavender and Parvati into composite characters, but youâ€™ve avoided that very well here, as theyâ€™re all distinct from each other (eg, Nevilleâ€™s Herbology notes, the way Parvati has her own style of speech [which you created by making her use the phrase â€śI swearâ€ť repeatedly, and having her as the only one using it]). On a related note, the House solidarity is sweet; itâ€™s a little ironic that they see themselves as such a cohesive unit, even though we never see two of them in canon, but I like the sentiment, and Iâ€™m sure â€śHouse prideâ€ť was seen as important amongst the students.
I think the only bit of critique I can offer you is that I feel you over-played the Irish-roots part of the explanation for Lilithâ€™s character: after 3+ years, shouldnâ€™t Parvati be used to her accent by now? I also think that the â€śquick to angerâ€ť Irish is a little bit of a stereotype: Iâ€™m not critiquing for that, per se, but I do think that we see that a lot in canon Seamus, and so to have another very similar character to him is a little hard to believe. That said, you integrated them together very well, and it certainly doesnâ€™t lower my enjoyment! I just would have played with it a little, perhaps making her Scottish or Welsh instead of Irish (consider how this would have made their interactions and relationship different â€“ itâ€™s interesting as a writer, I believe, to consider those kinds of â€śwhat ifâ€ťâ€™s)? We also could have seen a little more of Sophie, though of course I accept that, as the PoV character, we will naturally see more of Lilith: perhaps Sophieâ€™s perspective is something to consider for a sequel?
Secondly, youâ€™ve captured â€śschool-yardâ€ť gossip particularly well: the bit with Lavender and Parvati talking about Hermione, Harry and Ron sounded like the sort of gossip you hear at school on a daily (if not hourlyâ€¦ basis). It is, I think, the fact that nothing is concrete, and that it is essentially just the girls wildly guessing (and then using phrases like â€śDid you seeâ€ť, implying their conclusions are obvious), is what you put across so accurately â€“ good job there!
Thirdly, although itâ€™s quite a narrow timescale, youâ€™ve expanded it by referencing the past: I think my favourite line was the final one about the Fat Lady opening in the middle of the night â€śfor no particular reasonâ€ť, partially because itâ€™s just funny (and subtly so â€“ another thing youâ€™ve done well is humour that isnâ€™t made so obvious that it stops being funny, which can be tricky to get right), but also because it relates back to canon so nicely and makes the OC girl feel like sheâ€™s been there throughout the Trioâ€™s time at Hogwarts, which makes their interactions with the canon Gryffindors seem much more natural.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this fic, and I look forward to reading more from you in the future!
You’ll never know
If you never try
To forgive your past
And simply be mine
I dare you to let me be your
Your one and only*
After Tonks’s declaration of love to Remus in the hospital wing, can she win him over, or will his doubts get in the way?
*Lyrics of Adele’s One and Only.
Written for the Ravenclaw Drabble Exchange. My recipient was the lovely Alex/Ithinkrabis2people. I hope you like it :)
Iâ€™m so sorry itâ€™s taken me so long to review this: Iâ€™ve only just found it, actually, and completely by chanceâ€¦ how embarrassing! Also, I really donâ€™t care that you didnâ€™t get all of my prompts, because they were so scattered that no single fic could have incorporated all of them â€“ thank you so much for what you have done, itâ€™s fabulous!
I think your characterisation here was spot on, especially the dialogue: you captured the distinctive voices of Remus and Tonks perfectly. I also love how equally stubborn they are: thatâ€™s something that some writers seem to forget with these two. Even when Remus tries for a resolution at the end, it becomes another battle of wills (when she refuses to let him in, and he says heâ€™s staying there all night then), possibly out of sheer habit? In any case, I do love their dynamic: again, Iâ€™ve read fics where itâ€™s just one of them pressuring the other until they snap, but thereâ€™s pushing and pulling on both sides here, which I suspect to be far more accurate.
When I started reading this, I was wondering how you were going to relate it back to Christmas: I think their â€śdrunken one night standâ€ť was actually quite a good inclusion. It sort of validates her upset, because it seems to her like false hope in hindsight, and it just made him feel even more conflicted: I like these sorts of developments, ones that could fit into canon, and pull strands of canon together. I think there must have been some involvement between them prior to Tonksâ€™ hospital wing outburst, and to make it something fleeting and â€śundefinedâ€ť (ie, not quite a relationship, but clearly something) makes both of their feelings more understandable, and is, I think, important to their development to include.
The only thing I could possibly pull you up on is that Remusâ€™ decision making (beginning â€śIf he truly loved her...â€ť and ending when he goes to her flat) feels a tiny bit rushed to me: however, I suppose that to capture it properly, youâ€™d need to write an actual fic and go into a lot more detail, so considering the length of the piece overall, itâ€™s about the right length, really.
Thank you again for my lovely Christmas present: itâ€™s just what I wanted, and I will be favouriting!
Author's Response: Hi Alex! Firstly, don't feel bad about not reviewing sooner. The fact that you reviewed, regardless of when, means a lot, so thank you :)
I'm so glad you didn't hate this story. It features what I think is your OTP, and it's one of my all time favourite canon pairings, so I'm so glad you liked the characterisation of them both. And I like writing dialogue more than narrative, so I'm pleased you liked that too, especially their dynamic.
And I'm happy you didn't think their one-night stand was random or something, lol. That was definitely something I was worrying about. I agree -- I'm sure there was *something* between them to explain what happened in the hospital wing.
I totally agree with you regarding the rushed-ness of it. This was written in a rush, and I would really love to expand on it sometime. I hope to do so, because I don't think I did the pairing justice with the word limit. But thank you for understanding that there was indeed a word limit, and that kind of restricted how much of their story I could tell.
Thank you for such a wonderful review, Alex. Much appreciated.
Summary: Victory Day. A day of celebration and remembrance . For Lily, it is also a day of confusion and sadness. She wants to understand in a world that knows no terror. This year, she'll discover exactly what Victory Day means to her.
Winner of the 2012 Next-Gen QSQ Award
Hi! The title of your fic caught my eye, because Iâ€™ve never really considered that there might be some formal recognition of the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. I just assumed people would remember quietly in their own homes, but it makes perfect sense for an actual event of remembrance to take place: itâ€™s basically just Remembrance Day in the Muggle world, after all.
Anyway, I really like the way youâ€™ve dealt with the theme of remembrance. â€śI see names I donâ€™t recognize. Most of these names, in fact. Names such as Colin Creevey mean nothing, and that saddens me.â€ť â€“ I completely understand Lilyâ€™s sadness here. I think anyone who looks at a war memorial, and sees names that are totally unfamiliar to them, could feel the same sense of sadness, even guilt that they perhaps donâ€™t remember how lucky they are sometimes. The way she feels the memory becoming more detached and distant from everyday life, and that she recognises that her children wonâ€™t understand this feeling either, is particularly interesting; it sort of mirrors whatâ€™s happening in the real world as we lose more veterans of the World Wars.
All of this musing does, however, characterise Lily as a rather introspective sort of person, spending quite a bit of time on her own and really reflecting on things, particularly quite wide social issues (not just typical teen problems); I think itâ€™s quite interesting that you see Lily this way, because the Lily I saw in the epilogue came across to me as quite extroverted (although I think we agree that sheâ€™s rather mature?). Of course, a lot of years have passed since then, and she was around family at the time, so Iâ€™m absolutely not saying your interpretation is wrong/OOC/etc. Itâ€™s just highlights how two people can draw different conclusions from the same bit of text! (Besides, I quite like playing devilâ€™s advocate in reviews!)
I think the conclusion is my favourite part; the way it turns to renewal is, again, very reminiscent of a lot of funeral rites in the real world, and this recognition that â€ślife goes onâ€ť is very important in the healing process. The optimism you portray here is heart-warming, and it put a little smile on my face.
Overall, this is a very sensitive piece, and I can tell youâ€™ve put a lot of thought into the emotions people do really feel about these sorts of events, and that shows in your writing. It made for a lovely read: well done!
Author's Response: Hello! Thanks so much for the lovely review! I actually found out only yesterday that I made up the whole Victory Day thing :p But I do think they would have some sort of Rememberance Day type dealio. The next-gen characters are so fun in this way. How does a nine year old end up in their teens? I don't know why, but this for sure is my Lily, even if I may write her differently some other time, this is her. Thanks for the lovely review! Maple
Over fifty brave souls perished during the fight that took down You-Know-Whoâ€™s regime. However, not all of the victims of the clash that ended just this morning set foot on the grounds of Hogwarts last night. Numerous family members and friends will be spending these next weeks not celebrating, but planning funerals while raking up the pieces of their lives and wondering where they are supposed to go from here.
One boy was lost and alone -- looking for a lifeline, crying for help. But is anyone listening?
This story was nominated for two 2012 Quicksilver Quill Awards: Best Dark/Angst Story and Best General Story.
Hi. Iâ€™ve really, really enjoyed this, particularly the style of it, which I suppose is going to be the main topic of this review because itâ€™s just so different to the typical songfic: I like how youâ€™ve taken the concept of the song and reflected it in the prose (in terms of both style, tone and central emotions), rather than just using lyrics to frame scenes of appropriately similar emotion/theme as most songfics do.
You emulate the style of newspaper pieces very well, with a nice balance of detachedness and more emotive sections: I found myself being reminded of articles Iâ€™ve read in The Guardian, although I doubt you get that in the Statesâ€¦? Well, The Guardian is a fairly liberal paper, and I think the reason I was reminded of it in particular is that the Prophet in your fic is taking a considerably more liberal line than it has been previously (eg, describing the people who fell as â€śbraveâ€ť, not â€śundesirablesâ€ť, etcâ€¦), presumably as a reaction to the censorship it experienced through the series, and perhaps to try and deemphasise its role in the War: Iâ€™m not sure if thatâ€™s exactly what you were going for, but thatâ€™s what I took from it. In any case, youâ€™ve got the â€śjournalist voiceâ€ť pinned down. I also like that the paper is also using Riddleâ€™s name now: Iâ€™m not sure if this is symptomatic of the paperâ€™s new image (as I tried to describe above), or if itâ€™s reflective of the new attitudes of the Wizarding World, but itâ€™s clearly presenting a world that is trying to move on. Although, itâ€™s made more interesting when you then juxtapose the articles with the letters, showing someone who clearly isnâ€™t moving on.
By contrast, the rawness of Dennisâ€™ letters is simply heart-breaking! â€śSomehow, I thought my biggest problems going into fourth year would be whether Ellie Branstone even knows I exist. Now, though, itâ€™s more a matter of making it through the whole school year without losing my mind and then going home for the summer and trying to cope with being there. Sometimes, I kind of wish I had died instead. Itâ€™s just too much for my head to hold these days.â€ť â€“ that section put a tiny little lump in my throat, itâ€™s just so desperateâ€¦ Then of course, thereâ€™s the resignation, the feeling that heâ€™s not important, which is so symptomatic of depression, as you show in this line: â€śI donâ€™t know why Iâ€™m telling you all of this, since youâ€™re probably not going to read it anyway.â€ť Reading this just makes you ache for the poor kid.
In short, I really like the originality of this: it shows what you can do with a theme thatâ€™s reasonably common in fanfic (ie, the aftermath of the Second War) just by tackling it a slightly unconventional way. Thereâ€™s no setting or character description, because it just isnâ€™t needed here: I donâ€™t think I have anything really to offer in the way of criticism, though, because you convey everything you need to in a very stark and bleak way, and I think additional details would be superfluous at best, and would interfere the darkening mood at worst.
I remember when the song Stan first came out; it was one of my first introductions to the idea of obsession. Though I knew what 'obsession' meant, it put a new spin on what that word meant to me, and I always knew I wanted to write about it.
Flash forward eleven years to me desperately brainstorming for something Soraya could appreciate. Somehow, this ebil baby came out of my head. I have this thing about killing off innocents. I kill more undeserving folks in my stories than ones the world wouldn't miss. But for this case, I wanted Dennis to be a good kid in a bad situation. In our streets every day, kids take to crime because they have nothing else. While Dennis isn't trying to one-up the world and prove himself to gangsters, he is a case of someone doing what he has to do to live. And, as is the case with so many youths whose families are shredded by violence, that violence never really left him alone and eventually killed him. I guess this is as close to social activism as I'll ever get, but I did do that a bit on purpose.
The Prophet in this story has had the chance to be its own entity without Ministry meddling. For so long, there has been an agenda on someone's part, but during this story, they are finally in the hands of someone who wants it to be a public service as much as an enterprise. This is why there are articles discussing signs of trauma and PTSD for those associated with the battle. In a way, the Muggle article is far more detached.
Dennis was begging for help, even if he wasn't doing it intentionally. One of the foibles of being a teen is feeling like the world is bent on breaking your soul. Add a demented father and a dead sibling and seemingly no one around to care about how he's dealing with it... :/ Sadly, I don't think this case is unique, though the end result was probably extraordinary.
Just so you know, I did a ridiculous amount of research and harassing of my British friends to make this story as genuine as possible. I hope that, as you haven't pointed anything out as being odd or not ringing true, I've done a decent job. I do know a bit about The Guardian, though not enough to form an opinion on the journalistic quality (will need to ask Deathlex now, hehe). Now I'm interested. I do my best to incorporate British things into my writing and into my knowledge base to make my stories the best they can be.
Lastly, I'm glad you appreciate the way it was written. Somehow, just 'telling' this story wouldn't have been as impactful. Dennis thought the world wasn't listening and neither was Harry, but it was listening - just not at the right time or in the right forum. He did matter, and people really took notice of his death (in my head, at least). So many of those affected spent so much time immersed in their own problems that they never really thought of anyone else's. It's logical, really, to feel like your problems are the end-all of everything, when, in reality and in the scope of things, they are minute and not unique. To me, this is when the recovering wizard population took a look around and noticed that their brothers and sisters, magical and Muggle alike, needed to help each other in order to help themselves. It's just a shame that Dennis had to die to do that, but it is what it is.
Thank you for the lovely review, as well as sitting through this rambolic response (haha, I made up a word). You have made your SPEW Monarch smile this morning. :D
Summary: After the last spell flashes and the day is won, hope can be found in the subtlest ticking of the clock, the softest note, the tiniest slant of light.
Thus ended the Battle of Hogwarts and began for those left to carry on.
This poem has been nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Poetry.
Hello! I donâ€™t normally venture into the poetry section, having been utterly terrible at analysing it at school, but I thought Iâ€™d give it a try for a change.
First off, I really enjoyed reading this. I love how distilled it is: itâ€™s a short poem, but thereâ€™s so much meaning condensed into it. I think this is far more challenging for the poet, but also makes for a more engaging read (although that may be my personal taste; I like short things with lots of scope for detailed discussion). I also like that you made the context you imagined for the poem (ie, the post-Battle) explicit in your Authorâ€™s Note; although I probably would have guessed you had that scene in mind, itâ€™s nice that you clarified it. Iâ€™m not sure poems always benefit from that, but in this case I feel it did, as it definitely contributed to my feelings as I read it.
Iâ€™m curious about the style you chose to narrate this in: I found it reminiscent of the quote JKR included in DH (I donâ€™t have my copy with meâ€¦ â€śBless the children, give them courage nowâ€ť, I believe it went?) and Iâ€™m wondering if that was intentional? If so it was a clever touch, as it really imparted a sense of completeness which complemented the tone perfectly. I also wonder if you had any particular character in mind for the role of the narrator? Obviously it works just fine as an omniscient sort of thing, but I could also relate it to specific characters (when reading it, Mcgonagall popped into my head, although itâ€™s not a perfect matchâ€¦).
I think this poem also really benefits from being read aloud. I tried this on the third read, and found that I understood it far better: the words youâ€™ve chosen encourage a soft, hushed voice (eg, â€śheatâ€ť, quietâ€ť, and the assonance and repetition sprinkled throughout make it a little moreâ€¦ natural, I think the word is. What I mean is, if youâ€™d had a regular rhyme scheme and set vowel sounds, combined with the strict stanza structure, it would have felt artificial: instead, it ebbs and flows. Although it doesnâ€™t become conversational at any point (as it probably shouldnâ€™t), it felt like something a real person would say, or perhaps whisper to a fellow mourner for comfort.
I must admit, I did struggle with figuring out the metre (that was always the thing I struggled with), especially in the last lines of the stanzas. I think it was the irregularity of the number of syllables (I counted 9, 11, 9?) that confused me, as the rest of the poem was so regular (in terms of stanza length and the way youâ€™d structured the stanzas): was there a reason for that? Or have I mis-counted syllables? Accent makes such a difference with poetry, definitely makes reading aloud even more important!
All in all, I did really enjoy this, even if I did find it tricky at times, so thanks very much for posting it. Perhaps I should attempt poetry more oftenâ€¦ :)