Beautiful! Really, really lovely one-shot. I love your characterisation of both Snape and Hermione - they both seem so very real. I thought it was perhaps a little odd that Snape gave Hermione his life-story so quickly, when he seems like such a private man, but your writing style really carried it off. I could feel the anguish Snape went through so clearly from the way you wrote his speech - it was brilliantly done. Hermione was perfect as well; from her outraged first outburst, to her final understanding and compassion towards her former teacher. I love it! Really well written, well done.
Aw, Nikki that was wonderful! I really liked how you portrayed the two characters - you didn't make either of them seem overly cruel, or the 'evil' party. The reader could feel sympathy for both of them at the same time, which makes this fic really lovely. They were both very real characters as well. We hardly know anything about either of them in the books but the way you've portrayed them makes them seem very realistic. Tom I liked especially because he seemed humane. I've always had the impression from the books that he was very cruel to Merope - and very heartless when he found out the truth. The conversation you portray with the barman, however, shows that he has a much more sensitive side. He wants to do what is right for his wife, and for his unborn child, and also, at the same time, for himself. It gives a depth to his character that I've never seen before.
Your description was also very nice and I could feel the intense emotions that Merope was going through. It really added to the feeling of the story.
I also really like the POV change. Many authors can't manage to switch POV very smoothly, but you do it in a way that shows clearly who you're talking about, while at the same time being clean and swift.
There's just a few small things that I think could add to the story - mainly the conversation Merope has with her friend. I seemed a little stilted at times, as if this was the part you'd had the most trouble writing.
The part that caught my attention the most was:
I wouldn’t love him if he hated me. Well, thank you for listening.
The change from her discussing her problem to saying thank you was very abrupt. It took me by surprise that the conversation was over. I think if you wound the conversation down a little slower, it would just make things run a little smoother.
The only other part I have suggestions on would be the end. I think you could get a few more emotions into this piece - have them argue a little more. It seems that Merope gives a big speech and then Tom just decided straight away. You've built his character up beautifully throughout the fic as being quite reasonable and wanting to do the right thing, but I don't really get a sense of that in the ending. If you just add a few more lines to the ending about them discussing or arguing the situation I think it would be perfect - perhaps bring up the baby issue, as this would give you more scope for his indecision. Should he have a reason to stay for his child?
Overall, beautifully written fic, darling! I really, really enjoyed it! *huggles* muchos love! xxx
Author's Response: *huggles Rhi* Thank you for reviewing and all your helpfulness. To be honest, I kind of rushed with this fic. I procrastinated and then hurried to get it in on time to make the challenge deadline. I would like to extend it and edit it in the future, so thank you for your constructive criticism!
I really liked it. Ginny seemed very in character, as did Hermione, and I liked the banter you acheived between the girls. I also loved how you stayed true to canon and the facts that happened in the books - it makes this really believeable and I can really see this as Ginny's mindset.
A quick point - at the end of the second paragraph you've got some dialogue between Hermione and Ginny that needs paragraph breaks. It would make that bit much easier to read!
Other than that I really loved this one-shot. It was very realistic, and I loved the last line!
Author's Response: Thanks! I\'m glad you thought it true to the book and realistic. And also thank you for pointing out that part at the bottom. I\'ll go fix it...
Beautiful. Really stunning word description - your imagery really brings the castle and ground to life. It gives me a slightly haunted feeling - everything that was once so alive about Hogwarts, the castle, the students, the Giant Squid, is now gone except for this single wanderer, and you make it so emotional through your wonderful word choice.
I admit to not knowing much about poetry, but I also really like the rhythm you've set for your verses. It really flows with the writing and carries the desctiption.
Wonderful job, Amy!
Author's Response: Rhi, thank you so much for the great review! I was trying to convey a feeling of hauntedness. Hogwarts is a gloomy place at this point in time. I\'m so glad everything works so well together. I am very glad you enjoyed it so much! Thanks!!
Oh, Anna, that was lovely! Well, not really lovely lol, - it's a sad story, but beautifully written! You know what I mean!
I loved the relationship you described between Bellatrix and Rodolphus. I can really see their marriage working the way you described it - more a marriage of compatibility and perhaps lust, than love. You can still see the closeness between them with the way you write, and yet at the same time it's sad because their relationship has grown so cold now. I especially like the line:
"For an infinite moment, he thought he saw a change pass over her face."
It gives the impression that perhaps she really does regret having to kill him - that perhaps she really does care for him, even just a little bit. It humanises Bellatrix slightly, and that makes this fic much more poignant at the end.
I also loved your descroption, my love. That first paragraph was really amazing! It really draws you into the fic and allows the reader to picture the scene so perfectly. Your description of Rodolphus was also exceptional and I loved the fact that you continued the theme of his eyes all the way through.
"One could get lost staring into them, get sucked into them and seldom come back. They were a weapon for him, although he did not know it. He could change minds with those eyes, and only the strongest could overcome the temptations." - This was just fabulous, darling! A really wonderful descriptive part. You know people are always going on about 'show, not tell' - well you really exemplified this here, darling!
A few tiny, tiny, weenie, miniscule, nitpicks:
She laughed, "Don't be a fool. Give me the locket."
I think this should probably be
She laughed. "Don't be a fool. Give me the locket."
She took it, hid it and turned back to him.
She took it, hid it, and turned back to him.
Although the fic was so beautiful that these really don't matter. (And I'm a comma maniac - don't mind me!)
Lovely, Anna - really lovely.
Author's Response: *huggles back madly as well* Come \'ere! *loves* Your review made me squee and I am so happy you wrote it! I really, really am so glad that you liked it, especially about the eyes. And to say that I \'showed, not told\' is one of the best compliments I\'ve gotten. Thank you so much, dearest! *hugs again*
That was really, really lovely Amy! You took a really difficult topic and really let us see the conflict and emotional dilema that both girls underwent.
I love how, even though it is Ginny's problem, we see Hermione's thoughts about it and the sacrifice she is willing to take to help her friend.
I thought both girls were fabulously in character, and your word choice was stunning - I could really here both girl's voices coming through the text.
Overall my favourite line was the 'I'm going to kill my baby'. It really heightened the emotion within the story and was quite a shocking line to read as the reader. (Knowing the backstory to this line makes it even more powerful as well, my love!)
Overall, wonderful fic, Amy! I love it!
Author's Response: Thanks Rhi! I am very glad to hear that the internal conflict comes through. It was tough separating myself from this situation and writing about it not from my POV but from Hermione\'s. That line really brought it home for me too. I contemplated taking it out, but am glad I left it in. It really makes an impact on how hard a decision Ginny and Hermione have had to make. Thank you so much, dear! Thanks for taking the time to review!
Wow! That's all I can say, really. This was really, really amazing! You really drew me into the fic. It's such an interesting concept - the locked door, and you gave it a very realistic background and develop a lovely plot from it. I loved the words you used for Deogol's words on love - really, really lovely.
The description in this fic was also wonderful. You managed to both describe the surroundings in wonderful detail, and not go overboard so we can still imagine this to be Arthur Weasley.
While I'm on the subject, I really liked the fact that you're using Arthur. I don't think I've ever read a fic where he's been the main character, but I'm glad I started reading this. So far, he's wonderfully IC - I hope he stays that way!
I'll definitely be reading further in this!
Author's Response: Wow, Rhi! Thanks so SO much, those comments mean so much coming from you! I\'m really enjoying using Arthur in this story. I\'d never seen him as a main character before, and somehow he just popped into my head and demanded I give him a shot with this plot bunny =) I hope you enjoy the rest! Thanks!
This was a stunning fic, Rachel. Your writing is superb, and the imagery and symbolism you use throughout the entire fic is simply wonderful.
I love the fact that this is written in 2nd person. It’s more impersonal than 1st – rather like Hermione is detached from herself, unable to connect any more. Yet at the same time, I find it a lot more personal than 3rd person – so the reader feels with Hermione a lot more, giving the story a greater emotional impact and poignancy.
The fic was extremely powerful, and beautifully written. I could feel her pain, her despair, and her heartache. I’m sorry to say, that however beautifully written it was, I remain slightly unconvinced that Hermione would ever go dark. Yet, the way you described her as the fic progressed did make it believable. Hermione has always been insecure about herself, and I think with Harry and Ron gone, those insecurities would snowball. I love how she doubted herself, and how she hated herself for not being strong enough. Ironically, (or perhaps not – I’ve never been particularly good at picking out irony, lol), if she had stopped doubting herself and just acted, then she probably would have been strong enough.
"She doesn’t want to be any different. But she knows, in the back of her mind, that she is weak."
^ See, she isn’t weak, not really. But by thinking she is, she makes herself weak. It’s a whole, nasty, downhill spiral of depression really – but you write it so beautifully as to make it truly believable.
The imagery and symbolism you use is truly amazing. The tiny candle represents Hermione’s last little bit of hope. She lights a new one each day – to me, that is because at the end of the day, night gathers in and brings the darkness. As daylight fades, the darkness draws in and extinguishes her little candle. Every day, with the new daylight, she lights a new one, to try and regain some hope - but every day that light will flicker and die, getting smaller and smaller until there is none left.
So, I don’t agree with you that Hermione would turn to the darkness, but I do commend you for writing it so well and making it completely believable.
The simple imagery of the candle was lovely – a tiny flame, which on its own seems tiny, insignificant. How is a candle supposed to light up the darkness with its one tiny flame? It seems hopeless, pointless – just like how she perceives her situation. Rachel, this was really stunning work.
I adored the roman numerals you used to mark the days. To me, it highlights the battle between light and dark. I’m sorry, please excuse me hun, but this is going to sound slightly insane: The roman numerals remind me of olden days, where the great battles were fought. I associate them with legendary heroes and the conquering of evil. You don’t see roman numerals in today’s society with all its modern gadgetry and technology. There’s something much more, oh I don’t know, mystical, romantic I suppose about them. I see olden times and figures of history; gladiators fighting for their lives in the ring, and ferocious battles being fought. To me, this accentuates Hermione’s struggle. It makes her battle much more powerful. She loses, in the end, but it makes me think that she fought hard before she lost.
I don’t know if that made any sense at all – so I’ll move on! Hehe, apart from that, they also make the fic look very nice, and well laid out. They seem more in keeping with the style of the fic, rather than a normal 1, 2, 3 would. The passing of the days also serves to heighten the reader’s sense of almost approaching doom – we know a decision must be reached, and the tension heightens with every number and associated day that passes.
I wasn’t sure about your use of brackets. In places, I thought it really served to accentuate what Hermione was thinking and feeling, and fitted the fic perfectly, and in others I was just a little unsure what effect you were meaning to create. Perhaps it was because I didn’t completely understand what the bracketed words were supposed to represent – was it Hermione’s inner voice, or the truth bringing a clarity to the way her feelings were spilling everywhere?
There was one paragraph that I thought was a little overdone with dashes, my dear.
“She isn’t afraid of dying — she’s more afraid of losing herself. But she isn’t sure if she can afford to hold on — it’s too late for that. She tries to defy the darkness — tries to focus on the silence — (tries to focus on the light). She knows that she doesn’t have time left to decide — with every second spent thinking, another moment of her life is wasted.”
It was beautifully written, and the dashes did accentuate the meaning you wanted to portray. I just thought it was a little dash-heavy. Taking out even one of them would make it easier to read, and increase the flow of the story I think.
Lastly, I have to say the suicide at the end took me completely by surprise. I had been thinking throughout the entire fic that Hermione’s choice was to join the Dark Lord – and that the darkness / light imagery was merely accentuating the conflict within herself of which side to fight for. At the end, I realized it had been something far more complicated, and that she wasn’t deciding between joining the Dark Lord, but deciding whether she could live anymore, constantly fighting the darkness and the darkness of her own thoughts.
I was surprised, but happy, I have to admit. Hermione taking her own life to stop herself joining the Dark side seems much better than her abandoning all her beliefs and values to join the Dark Lord. Suicide is still a major weakness – (one I don’t believe canon Hermione would have) – but from her position, it’s the strongest decision she could make.
In some ways she takes the easy way out – she kills herself to stop the constant fight she has with the darkness. She gives in, and lets it win. However, on the other hand, she ignores the call of the darkness, and kills herself to stop herself being seduced or converted, and therefore, stops the potential for herself to hurt anybody else. From this light, it’s a very brave decision indeed. I don’t particularly know if I’m making any sense here – I know what I want to say, *giggles* - does that count?
I will admit to being a little confused at one point.
“She expects the Dark Lord to be skeptical of her loyalty.”
Did she actually join the Dark Lord, and then commit suicide when she couldn’t take it anymore? Or is this more a continuation of your imagery – the Dark Lord is skeptical of her seduction by the darkness? In a way, she flirts with the darkness – she never pushes it away, it is always there surrounding her. This could be seen as loyalty to it.
Could you clear this up for me, my dear?
That was the only point I was confused about. Other than that, it is a truly lovely one-shot. It’s so well written, very emotional and poignant. It’s full of hopelessness, and highlights the destruction that war can wrought – not just upon a country and its people, but upon a single person. Hermione’s struggle seems to symbolize the rest of the country and the Order. Do they fight, when they are constantly surrounded by this darkness? Do they continue to struggle against it when it seems there is no hope left? Or do they give up, let the light be extinguished and let the darkness win? I hope they find it in themselves to fight.
Beautifully, hauntingly, written my dear. Your use of symbolism and imagery is truly fabulous. Hermione’s thoughts are clarified by your writing so that she doesn’t seem OOC, even though something like suicide could be. I absolutely loved this- you are a tremendous writer, Rachel dear.
*Has just looked at review.* Er, hope you don’t mind the length of this – I think I had a minor debate with myself, lol. Take it as a compliment that your story inspired so much thought and argument inside of my (slightly insane) head!
*Huggles and loves*
Author's Response: RHI. The length of this review alone kills my brain. Give me a few minutes to recover and read it in further detail. *does so*
Okay. Good. So first off... I wrote this in second person? o.O I actually think I wrote it in third... but I tried to make it so that the reader could connect to it and it wasn\'t Hermione\'s story alone, which is the sort of second-persony effect. In fact, the only reason I chose Hermione as a character was that she was my SPEW 007 character, and this was a random idea that popped into my head. I agree that Hermione isn\'t the best character for this story, and I also agree in that she wouldn\'t go to the darkness. *shrugs* Again, twas a random idea that I was just trying out. After writing it though, I agree, it doesn\'t seem all too Hermioneish. Everything that you were sceptical about, I was admittedly sceptical about as well. *nods* This isn\'t my best piece characterization-wise, I don\'t think.
You articulated Hermione\'s thoughts perfectly with that \'flirting with the darkness\' line. That\'s exactly it. And *nods* She did intend to join Voldemort. She thought it was her only option and she didn\'t want all of her hopes of making it out of the war to be lost. But as you said, she\'d been struggling with herself and making herself weak, and the combination of that and the remaining good in her was what drove her to the suicide.
And just... THANK YOU! This review deserves something shiny. *gives Rhi gold star* Now then! I agree about the roman numerals... they\'re just... prettier. *nods* And thank you so much for all of your compliments! *smiles* And OMFGLOL, I just read that paragraph with the dashes and am headdesking to myself. I have a slight dash obsession. Which you may or may not have noticed. *looks around shiftily* Will do something about that.
Thank you SO MUCH for this review, dear! *huggles and loves back*