Please do not delete
A sweet and moving vignette. I'm not sure why you're not satisfied with it (the style, perhaps?), but I thought that you more than made up for the simple style with a lucid exposition of the extents that friendship warrants. In this respect, I found two particular sentences particularly affecting:
Sirius said it, when he risked life and limb — and detention — hiding behind bushes and jumping nervously at the darting shadows, just to find out how to get into the tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow.
It came in the form of antlers, and pointed hooves. It came in shaggy black fur and a wagging tail; and two days later, just when unvoiced frustration was beginning to simmer, it came in small black eyes, and whiskers, and sharp square teeth, and they swore that that night was the night.
One of the aspects of your stories that I particularly like is the amount of thought you have placed into them, and the morsels of wisdom you imbue. It's nice to see them even in this beginning piece.
This is probably the best Marauders’ era story I have ever read. You have scintillatingly captured a golden era in the lives of several Hogwarts students. Your portrayals of each of the characters—whether from canon or original—are exceedingly realistic, to the extent that I can imagine this story being a prequel to Rowling’s books.
There are so many aspects I love about this story that I don’t quite know where to begin. Perhaps the first thing I love is the way you’ve handled the relationships between the characters so smoothly, such that we are able to identify with their awkwardness and occasional irresponsibility. Although I felt that it took a ridiculously long amount of time for Remus and Lindi to start snogging (by Chapter 25, I was thinking to myself, “Will the two of you just get done with it!”), it was well worth the wait to see you further develop their backgrounds in the meantime. I think you’ve also pulled Lily off perfectly—the way she refuses to go on a date with James, yet is willing to be friends (and of course, will slowly but surely succumb to his charms ;) ).
I also liked the way in which you showed them maturing over time through two different ways—through an account of their early years in the first few chapters, and later through comparisons to their past actions (e.g. Sirius vanishing the shirt off a Slytherin 7th year during dueling :D , going out with the same girl for a more prolonged period of time as the years passed).
Finally, what really impressed me was the amount of thought you must have put into thinking of activities that say a lot about each person’s character, yet are natural for students of their age to engage in, e.g. playing woodyashaga in the Forbidden Forest, twisting the intentions of teachers in choosing their Halloween Masquerade theme, even the risqué conversations between the Marauders (naughty, naughty boys!).
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Moments of Bliss”. Here’s wishing you all the best with the rest of the story!
Author's Response: Okay, this is one of those reviews that makes me want to stop writing and go into hiding before I mess things up. (Of course I won’t, because I don’t want to be hated MORE! *waves at NoxSomnium*) Thank you for such kind and encouraging words, Valiowk. A prequel to Rowling’s books…wow, I can’t think of anything more flattering. I have tried my best to make it fit within her framework, so that means so very much to me. It isn’t always easy to make the story work with the timeline she has given, and that explains part of why it took so long for Remus and Lindi to start snogging. LOL *loves to blame things on JKR (whose story/writing I obviously adore, lest anyone think I’m complaining too much!)* :*) But I did need to develop some things, so I’m glad you think it worked reasonably well. I know it was frustrating at times. Of course, thanks to my time on the MNFF forums, I have learned that rushing the romance is a common pet peeve of fanfiction readers, so I didn’t want to risk that! I think I’m safe from that complaint. *rolls eyes*
The amount of time spent thinking about their activities has been extensive, as I’ve been doing this for two years now. O.O But it has been great fun and probably shows my sometimes extreme obsession. ;*) I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has been entertained by it. Somehow, that makes me feel better! So thank you for the wonderful review, Valiowk.
I'm curious, Noldo--would you happen to be a second child yourself? You've captured Regulus' attempts at trying to live up to his brother excellently: desiring to be sorted into Gryffindor, feeling pleased and laughing wildly when Sirius sent him that ridiculous letter (loved the "Toujours Poor" part!), and daring Sirius to top his "achievement" at obtaining Lord Voldemort's locket.
Perhaps the one thing lacking in your story is the reason why Regulus became a Death Eater--we see very clearly in Part IV that he is reluctant to torture Muggleborns--and how it is that he found the courage to betray Lord Voldemort. Apart from that, I found this a wonderful insight into Regulus' character. Well done!
Please forgive me for this ridiculously short review. I had meant to write something more, until I came across your final sentence:
My name is Sirius Black (Padfoot, blood traitor, prankster, wrongfully imprisoned, loving friend and fierce enemy, Purveyor of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers), and I am innocent.
and stopped short. Surely, if there is one sentence that can summarise Sirius' wrongful imprisonment in Azkaban for twelve years, it must be this very sentence. Twenty years of laughter and tears, friendships and enemity, pranks and punishments--they all surface in this sentence.
An excellent job!
What an entrancing vignette, Noldo! You have vividly portrayed a world that is [i]different[/i] because of the choices made, even if those choices were made in fear and were regretted. Your language and imagery is stunning, but above that, it is your ability to capture the quintessence of the story in a few simple sentences that truly brings out its' beauty.
I liked the remaining two objects you chose to signify the end of the war--a mirror cracked from side to side, and Sirius Black, who, presumably, has at least two people to take revenge for: Peter Pettigrew, and his brother Regulus Black (if I've read the reference to the locket correctly). I found your choice of Sirius Black as "the Saviour of the Wizarding World" very apt and ironic when compared to his fate in canon--12 years in Azkaban prison.
[i]"The others are dead. That is their tragedy./Peter is not. That is his."[/i] I was astounded by the range of emotions and ideas that this quartet of sentences conveyed--especially the idea that death could be better than life. One cannot help but pity Peter, who was, as you said, "[i]the greatest one of them all[/i]". Sirius' sentence "[i]May he be blessed with the finest Frogs Honeydukes' has to offer[/i]"--which would, in any other situation, be nothing but an innocence sentence--truly broke my heart.
Like Ennalee, I'd never thought of how Peter could have been a hero, if only he had been loyal to his friends. Thank you for pointing this out--it really goes to show the impact of choice.
Once again, you astound me with the force of your concluding sentence: ...and calmly, systematically, methodically, he spends his morning breaking every dish in the house. I love the way you build up to that climax, never wavering in the imagery before that.
I like the way Remus sees Sirius everywhere: in the sky, in the newspaper, in the fire, in the dark. Above all, I like the way he cannot believe that Sirius has betrayed James and Lily, because it illustrates the depth of his belief in Sirius. While he does come to believe that Sirius is guilty over time, it must nevertheless take a lot of faith not to believe the worst in your friend "when the world has gone mad".
This is probably a strange way to think of the friendship between the Marauders, but I found this vignette particularly telling of their friendship--at least, of what Remus devoted to it.
An excellent story! You have presented refreshing and original ideas in a manner that seems authentic to the Wizarding world. I was very impressed by the way you managed to weave a moving story in-between the lines. The organisation and planning that you must have done clearly shows.
I really liked the final line, in which it's revealed that Professor Binns is the primary contributor to the text. Somehow, it made the events feel less distant, and explains quite a bit about the style of the text. ;)
Author's Response: Thanks for that praise. The weaving of the \"other story\" between the lines was what the piece ultimately was really about. I wanted to show that, dead as Binns may be and dead as his view of history is, the passionate truth still can be seek peeking through the cracks in his manuscript. Thanks again!
Congratulations upon winning the New Year's Challenge!
I loved the way you threaded Norse mythlogy into a world already brimming with references to myths, folklore and superstition. The comparison between Tyr and Snape is surprisingly apt, considering that it is not at all obvious.
I've had a long-term fascination with Norse mythology, and have marvelled many a time at Tyr's courage to lose his arm to chain Fenrir. On the other hand, Snape's courage, I feel, is much harder to perceive, especially as it is often hidden behind a dislikable nature. Thank you for pointing it out so clearly!
This is a beautiful story. I really like the way you've made Cedrella and Septimus seem so alive, so natural and so human. It's been a great pleasure to read about Cedrella developing and learning more about herself through the course of this friendship. I particularly liked their letters--the letters sound extremely natural and say a lot about their characters. Really liked the way the manner in which they address each other and sign off becomes warmer and more intimate with time. I have the feeling that the way they're signing off their letters is not quite the right 1930s style, but I don't know exactly what 1930s style is either, so I'm not going to pick on that. :)
Really looking forward to reading more!
Author's Response: Thank you SO much! The letters have been some of my favorite parts to write. I love showing rather than telling the way their relationship is changing. Yeah the whole 1930's thing.... well, you're most likely right, but I'm having too much fun with my letters to change it. And it's not impossible, I suppose.... Anyhow thanks so much for the review and stay tuned!!