Delightfully scary. Hermione seems a bit...mad in this one. But then again, I have a feeling Severus is the only one hurt enough by the War to truly accept her the way she is. It's understandable - the mass Horcrux-ing, and it's a very intriguing concept. It makes me wonder what will happen to Hermione if Harry dies before her...will enough of her own soul be left that she remains human?
I do believe that this is THE best story I've read from you. Not because of the Severus/Hermione - I don't think that was the focus of the story - but because of the gentle way you've portrayed the aftereffects of War and a witch semi-destroyed by it.
Lovely, darling. Absolutely haunting.
P.S. I would like to see a bit more snap from Severus at the end. His humor should be a bit of a jab at Ron, I think, not so light. Just a personal preference.
Draco was the perfect character to use for this. Even taking away his picturesque looks, his attitude of self-absorption that we see in canon makes him ideal for this role.
I liked the way you incorporated the curse of Pansy. I considered using this myth to parody, but I was afraid of how to incorporate the curse. You did it well.
The only thing I have an issue with is that Hermione would be a bit OOC. She would never curse another student permanently; she's too conscientious of rules and caring about others' well-being.
Nice story, Cassie! Great work!
You have the most brilliant control of words I have ever seen, Mask darlink. *hugs* The use of personification in the first paragraph is just…wonderful. It’s interesting and a great way to draw your reader in. The quality of the beginning just promises an awesome story, you know? :) The imagery and the vision I form in my head with your words flowing through my mind is divine. It just comes to me; I don’t have to think about it – and it’s your language that does that for me.
Bleargh! Does your personification skill never end? The little rodent feet of Fear made goosebumps trickle up my arms! It’s such a vivid way to describe the emotion, and so realistic as well! Now…I must comment on this again. Your Occlumency comment – rather Minerva’s – is vague and beautiful. Minerva is rational, practical and blunt. Even when under the influence of dementors…I doubt the personality of a person changes – only physical and emotional strength. I think that this Occlumency comment sounds like something Luna would say, rather than Minerva. Beautiful and nonsensical…shadows and light…just not McGonagall.
I love the way you portray Minerva. In the next few paragraphs, she snaps at herself to pull it together, and berates herself for her failures and times when she couldn’t pull it together. This part, I think, shows the side of her we know very well. The side – strong, perfectionist, rules-follower, strict and fair. Even towards herself, she shows no mercy. I enjoyed this – you have her canon characterization down-pat and it’s great to read.
It’s quite an interesting concept you have here, of students’ own magic providing the fuel for the school to run. It makes sense because there’s so many of them (in times of peace) that it wouldn’t drain them of much energy… I wonder if the students at Hogwarts when there’s only a few left get physically drained because the school’s taking so much magic from each of them in order to keep running at least some rooms? Well, anyway, pulling it back on-topic *pokes self*, I feel like this idea is novel and intriguing. I do hope you go into it in more detail at some point.
Then, we move onto a side of Minerva that is both heartbreaking and unnerving. We have never seen her emotionally vulnerable and it took us five books (until she was Stunned multiple times during Harry’s Astronomy OWL) to see her physically vulnerable. It’s rather a shock to hear about her crying to Rosmerta, or not showing the trademark Gryffindor courage that has her backbone so stiff and proud in canon.
However, to me, it also brings out another idea – so vividly that the readers can’t forget. It shows us the desperation individuals feel in war. When a failure is happening that they have no control over, when the future is uncertain, when the very walls are crumbling (or lights are going out) around you…it can change a person. It can turn their legs into jelly and their guts into stone – and it’s brutally honest to see it happening to Minerva. The one who holds all the responsibility also fares the worst in times of trouble, as you well know. The contrast between peace and war, strength and vulnerability in Minerva parallel smoothly and subtly and build into the overall emotion and mood of the piece in ways that…I cannot even describe. It’s a wonderful technique. *applause*
Oh, oh, oh. *eyes phrase and squints* “Expecto Patronum!” she said again, the smoke holding the voices and the images back, names of deaths, faces of killers, students and friends, and Tom, Tom who ruled the madness and laughed. Am I wrong to say that this feels like Minerva once cared for Tom Riddle? I see implied background and I’m quite intrigued. I must say, I would love to see you write a Tom/Minerva, and you did really like mine (Strength, remember?) so…*hinthint* I see a story. I think your image of Voldemort in the “ruled the madness and laughed” is stark and scary and wonderfully raw-true. Again, your control over words is your greatest strength, dear, and you do use it to your advantage. *hugs Mask*
I love your portrayal of the Trio – they really are a beacon of happiness, hope and light in this story. To me, the most emotive image in this whole story was: The Dementors were fleeing now, and the stag and the terrier ran after them, the terrier dodging between the stag’s feet playfully. That epitomizes Ron and Harry’s relationship! It’s fabulous!
My only question/problem in this whole story is that the Trio is so happy. How and why are they so? They have been hunting after Horcruxes, have been hiding from Death Eaters, have held secrets, been in battles and so on? They should show some evidence of fatigue – if not in voice, at least physically. They should show some not-so-cheerful thoughts as well. After all, while Minerva has been at the school, they have been at the crosshairs of the conflict between the magical world at large and Voldemort himself. That can’t be a comfortable place to be, you know?
I absolutely loved the mention of stealing Christmas chocolate. I’m wondering how they bought it if they’re hunting and don’t want to be found out by Death Eaters, but I really loved the banter between them. You have their friendship dynamics perfectly in this story, and it was fun to read.
Finally, Minerva’s slightly acerbic comment about paying for chocolate, and the idea that you ended with chocolate just as Lupin gave Harry was a sweet and very soothing ending. We see Minerva return to herself and a nice remembrance of the great professor Remus Lupin. *sniffles*
I feel like the emotions in this piece and the beautiful wording make it a unforgettable story. You’re subtle with your telling of the tale, and nothing is ever spelled out. I’m always thinking about meanings when I read your stories, and I think that’s my favorite part. It’s also what you do best – you know how much information to give, and how much to leave out.
Awesome writing as always, Mask. Few suggestions here and there, but you know that I loved it. *fangirls*
Harry was his idol... Colin finds out now, that to 'idolise' someone is dangerous - very dangerous indeed. Colin is squirming with guilt, until such times as it will consume him...
Steph! I miss you on MNFF after my return. *hug* Anyway, I've read this story before and for some reason, never chose to review it. It really is a spectacular snapshot of Colin--you just nailed his character.
I particularly enjoyed that he didn't stay flat throughout the story. You not only shared with the reader who Colin Creevey is outside of the guidelines of canon, but you also make that character change and grow to be better by the end of your story.
Colin truly is his own person--and I'm glad that's what your story allowed him to be. I really enjoyed your reading into a character that JKR made fairly flat in canon--and I think the clarification of the relationship between Harry and Colin (from Colin's POV) makes this story immensely intriguing and innovative.
This is very believable, and I really enjoyed it. Luna is IC the whole way through. I would love to see one more thing in this, though. Could you connect Luna's tendency to believe in other creatures back to her insistence on not believing in Santa? O.o It's not a suggestion, just a cool thought. *grin*
I picked up two errors that pulled me away from the moment.
I sent quite a few of my elves from the North Pole to track it done before I came to get it myself. Done should be down.
You know you can’t open presents until Christmas Morning. Morning shouldn't be capitalized.
I liked your Santa - but I would have liked to see a bit more of him. After all, this challenge did focus on his characterization.
Beyond that, this was one of the most heartbreaking and yet sweet Luna stories I've read to date on MNFF. You did a really nice job with her. And Luna - well, Luna believes. That's my favorite part about her. Believe.
Author's Response: Yay, I\'m glad you enjoyed it! I went and fixed those two errors, so thanks for pointing those out. About Santa, I meant to include him a little more, but I wasn\'t really sure how to keep him in Luna\'s room for much longer. Anyway, thanks for reviewing, Kumy! :)
Author's Response: Yay, I\'m glad you enjoyed it! I went and fixed those two errors, so thanks for pointing those out. About Santa, I meant to include him a little more, but I wasn\'t really sure how to keep him in Luna\'s room for much longer. Anyway, thanks for reviewing, Kumy! :)
Wow. This was brilliant. The intricate description of the Sidhe's appearance was lovely. It scares me a bit that she has three irises - I can't quite imagine the sight.
You've really revealed an intriguing plot. I could see Rowena as having a non-human parent. It could account for her intteligence - and I assume that she may someday be a prophetess like this Sidhe who has come for her?
Anyway, the bit about marrying a Selkie made me cringe in admiration. (Awkward gesture, I know, but a good thing, I promise.) You've really blended into the era seamlessly.
One line in particularly shows this: I’m just a wean from the village and nothing to you.
Others would have used child or other more modern diction. But you blended in historically.
Perfect. Beautiful. I love it. Thank you very much for this. :)
I really liked how although Godric had that dream and although there was evidence of something foul afoot, the other Founders were reluctant to change their opinion of Slytherin, and instead gave him the same credit as themselves.
I think that Gryffindor was quite impulsive like the members of the House to follow him. I think Helga and Rowena were in character as well.
I just can't see Slytherin so passively leaving the school. It seems to me that he would fight to stay in a school that he worked so hard on.
Also, it wasn't the Chamber that drove the Founders apart according to canon. It was the fact that Slytherin only wanted purebloods to be students at Hogwarts. ;)
So the story isn't quite canonically accurate. You may want to put an AU warning on it. :)
Good luck in the challenge!
Author's Response: Thank you very much for the compliments and advice, Kumy.I probably will put that warning on there for other readers to be aware of. I really appreciate you reading my story and taking the time to leave a review!
What a lovely unexpected pairing, and you're absolutely brilliant for having pulled it off! Congrats! I'm sure Sneaky_Rhae was VERY happy with her gift. :D
Anyway, I think the best part of this story is the way you make Penelope a girl that everyone can connect to. From pining after a hopeless crush, to stifling our compliments, even to settling for the safe choice (poor Percy!), I think every girl can relate to this character, and that makes her - and this pairing - very real.
You do a great job of showing and not telling. Instead of having a paragraph where Penelope talks about how much she loves Charlie, you include little details such as her wanting to miss class to read his letter, or her saying hello to him first over Percy and so forth.
My absolute favorite part of this story epitomizes why I think Penelope and Charlie could work. She knew Charlie wouldn't be looking for those sorts of comments from her; he got plenty of them from other girls.
Penelope can discuss with Charlie intelligently, cheer him up with witty letters, and Charlie makes Penelope smile. Percy doesn't make Penelope smile and none of Charlie's admirers have much depth. The idea that they find something in each other that they can't find elsewhere is a very powerful idea.
I'm actually surprised that Charlie returns Penelope's admirations. I could easily see this story ending as the classic unrequited crush plot. However, I think you really pulled off this ending well.
I'm a bit worried for Percy, on the other hand. :P
Great job, CA! Lovely read and truly good pairing dynamics!
Author's Response: Oh, Percy ends up with Susan Bones, of course. And thanks for your review! I didn\'t even consider making it an unhappy ending. I have happy endings ingrained into my soul. I\'m glad you think I pulled it off well. thank you and have a nice day! *D*
You have a gift of making me understand characters I love to hate, Beth. From Percy Weasley to Peter Pettigrew, you never fail to surprise me and this story is no exception. I applaud your beautiful characterization – you nearly make me feel sorry for irritating little Peter Pettigrew with his never-realized dreams of “shining” someday.
I think the best part of this story is the snapshots you give us. In a few lines, we get an unerring sense for each character that is introduced, from Peter to James to Sirius *GUH for your characterization of him* and even Remus. We get a picture of where they stand in the social ranks of Hogwarts, and who they are instantly…that’s not something many writers can do, Beth, and you’ve made it a cornerstone of this story. It’s one of things that pushes this one-shot from good…to one of the best. :)
The first three lines throw you straight into Peter’s head with a directness that I’ve never dared to try in my writing but works perfectly here. Whether we like him, whether we want to or not, this puts us in Peter’s head.
Somebody, anybody, pinch me. I’ve felt like this at a time in my life, and I’m sure all readers of this story have. The fact that it’s because he’s rooming with two of the most popular boys of his year…that is the most dramatic characterization you could have written to set his character in stone from the get-go. The beginning was…in short, spectacular.
But beyond your characterization of Peter, we also get a really, really good look at the other three Marauders. From a few lines of dialogue in their dormitory, you get a snapshot of their characters. I mean, I know who James, Sirius, and Remus are, what they value, and what they enjoy after three lines of dialogue. That’s…unbelieveable. *bows down to impeccable writing*
In fact, the first way they refer to Peter – can you close the door? – also gives the reader a clear image of where Peter stands in this group. He’s not part of the conversation, he’s not really in the group – he’s the workhorse, the one they have closing doors behind them – an honest portrayal that cuts to the bone in the face of Peter’s dreams of power and popularity.
The owner of the bed on my left side smiles in response. To me, the character reference here is too lengthy. “The own of the bed on my left side” just sounds a bit bulky. This is incredibly nitpicky, but it’s something I notice after taking Mar’s NEWT Transfiguration class, so something to think about in a spare moment when you’re bored – if there’s a better way to say it, you of all authors will know how. :)
Now Sirius sits up and watches me with amusement. Great first impression, Pettigrew. “You just gurgled something.” This feels out of order. I feel like the second and third sentences should be switched. To me, that flows better and makes more sense as I’m reading.
James’ and Sirius’ laughter echo down the corridor just around the corner. Echoes, not echo, I think, is the right verb form to use.
Now, I’ve doomed myself to obscurity, all because I had decided to sleep in late. I feel like this would read better without the ‘had.’ It’s not wrong, necessarily, but…just something to think about.
Though their heavy-lidded eyes give me the impression they’d be no more intelligent than the average five-year-old Muggle, I keep my distance warily from their beefy, crossed arms. *giggles* This was perrrrfect. We see Peter’s cowardly side and we get a big laugh. I thought it a tad bit funny how Malfoy Sr. seems to mirror his son as well. *smirk* How lovely.
I love the fact that Peter respects power, no matter what house. It fits in perfectly with his ambitious nature. The thoughts of being like Malfoy someday, the dream of becoming Minister of Magic – this is all very, very good. You phrase it in a way that shows Peter’s young age…and yet, his innate sense of needing to be great. It’s even more poignant because as all readers know, these dreams are never realized…in fact, Peter becomes the antithesis of powerful.
Step on the ladder, Pettigrew. Guh. This is SO Peter. I have nothing else to say. Wait, I do. Perhaps, this is my favorite line in the entire story. I loved it.
We meet Sirius and James at the Gryffindor table, Sirius still scowling at his oatmeal. What a darling little image of Sirius. *fangirls* I love your use of detail here. It’s fantastic.
From this story, I can’t really see how Peter fits into Gryffindor. At the same time, this is a one-shot AND it centers on Peter’s hunger for power, so I totally understand and I have no complaints in that regard. I think the fact that you talk about “mustering confidence and courage” in the last lines plops him in Gryffindor – but the act he was mustering courage was so miniscule that we also see how very much weaker he is than the other three. (Though I dislike Peter, so that may be a bit mean and unfair of me…) *giggles*
Your final lines just bring to me a vision of a power-hungry, fanboy Peter Pettigrew. Watching from afar and dreaming – that is so what he is as a character. It makes for a very miserable life, I’m afraid, but I love, love, love, love your portrayal of him. I really do.
It’s a brilliant story. The epitome of who Peter is revealed in small moments – I think your understanding of minor characters and your ability to portray them in small moments and tiny, quickly mentioned details is unparalleled by any other, Beth. I truly enjoyed this story and three cheers for you and for the SPEW 007 project that brought it about! :)
Author's Response: Thank you for your beautiful review, Kumy. I\'ll be sure to look into the suggestions you made :) I\'m glad you like the way I portray hated characters. It\'s really a character exercise I like to do to try to understand why someone could do something so terribly wrong? Thank you for your beautiful and lengthy review! *gives you the gift of Sirius*
Oh my. I never thought I could like Snape. But I do in this story. This is terribly heartbreaking. :(
Well, anyway, I really like your characterization of Dumbledore - he is trusting as always.
I never would have thought of pairing Minerva the goddess with Snape. But it is a chillingly poignant pair to make. Snape, the conflicted, with Minerva, the only one who can offer him the light of knowledge to help him on his path.
I'd be interested in seeing what happens with Minerva when Snape murders Dumbldore. :)
One concern: Would Snape really be able to get into the castle so easily - simply by opening the front door? Hogwarts has tons of protections in place. ;)
Great work! Good luck in the challenge!
Author's Response: Thanks for the kind review. In response to your concern, Snape is already the Potions Master at Hogwarts, I would hope he would be able to enter without too much trouble. ;-) Thanks again!
Oh, oh, OH KIARA! *sobs* I'm such a foolish romantic.
This story is beautiful. I WISH you could enter in into the OTP challenge. It would kick the tails of every other entry there, including mine.
Gosh, this story made me laugh and cry, and absolutely BELIEVE in this pairing. Considering I'm trying to write the tail-end of their wedding to start off one of my one-shots, it totally made me understand the dynamics of their pairing, and...
God, Kiara, this has to be my favorite out of everything you've written. You've improved so much since I last read your work! You're a bloody BRILLIANT author, doll.
I love your wording, and I love your angst, dear Ennalee. *and I don't know your name, I'm sorry.*
Anyway, I'm going to name a few things. I love that Rowena talks about how she never found the answer in all her scrolls. OBVIOUSLY, I absolutely ADORE your moonbeams/darkness imagery. 'Tis beautiful.
Let me continue with the fact that I enjoyed the fact that you showed that Salazar isn't the only dark one. Rowena's taken on part of it for herself - in fact, she now has blood on her hand.
It's poetic irony in a way, and at least, Salazar doesn't get ALL the heat. There's no way each Founder was perfect except for him, and you show that. You also show how love that deep can change your character for better or worse.
Absolutely lovely. Thank you so much!
Author's Response: Thank you! Yeah, I think poor Salazar does get a lot of the brunt of the blame, even though he was Gryffindor\'s best friend (an idea I\'d love to explore someday). I think Gryffindor and Hufflepuff came out as perhaps more golden than they really were in this story, just because I was going for the imagery of gold versus darkness, day versus night, but I\'m glad the ambiguity of Rowena\'s situation came out - that was definitely something I was shooting for.
Hello, dear Katty, my SPEW buddy! It has been wonderful getting to know you so far and it was a pleasure reading this story. I’ll just ramble along and leave you the job of finding useful things amid my babble. :-P
I think you have a great grasp on how Luna thinks and acts every day, every moment. The ethereal, slightly-detached tone of this piece practically sings of Luna. You can hear it in the way the words flow, the diction you used, and even the imagery. It’s just so pretty, and gently touched by sadness – this was the perfect way to show Luna in grief.
I also appreciated the setting for what it was. The fact that Luna – eternal lover of all things strange – would find peace in a creek – at that, a creek that no one else wanted to approach is so like Luna that the story just wouldn’t be the same without this setting. Might I ask where you got this idea from? :) It’s a very new and intriguing experience.
Your first line was simply wonderful. It starts off…so prettily and the ending twists the reader’s curiosity and yanks us into the next line. I think it was probably one of my most favorite lines in the story.
However, I felt like the second paragraph jars me a little from the rapture I felt after the first line. It switches us from third POV to second POV for this paragraph and the one following it. While I appreciate the power of second POV, I feel like using it to address the audience isn’t effective in this particular piece. We’re trying to feel what Luna feels and the second POV clearly shows that this is ‘our’ viewpoint, one of ‘common’ people and the third POV is Luna…but I feel like you can find a better way to make that delineation. A POV change is simply too jarring for my preferences. One other thing that bothered me was the fragments in this paragraph. I realize this is purposeful, but why did you make it fragmented? What emotion should that create in the reader? You see, to me, it simply agitated me and made me stumble over the lines. When you have such beautiful imagery in a paragraph, you don’t want to make your reader halt over punctuation and fragmented thought. Both of these points are things to consider in the second paragraph (and when speaking about 2nd POV, the third paragraph as well).
It did not sooth you in any kind of way nor did it keep you from strain or give you any sense of serenity. This sentence is wordy – while sometimes eloquent sentences can be beautifully long…to me, this one simply confused me. I had to read it several times and I felt like it broke up the flow I was really getting into from your beautiful beginning.
No one could appreciate its haunting beauty or long to be anywhere near it. I like this…but I feel like it shouldn’t be a compound predicate…rather a compound sentence with two subjects AND two predicates. Perhaps, something like: No one could appreciate its haunting beauty; no one longed to be near it. That repetition of “no one” emphasizes the creek’s…abnormalities, for lack of a better word; the ‘anywhere,’ again, is an empty word to me – the sentence can do without it and the meaning of the sentence pierces my heart deeper without that “filler” word.
She knew it was there. She knew it would find its way into her heart. She knew because it had once before. It had the last time she’d been here. I’m a SUCKER for parallel structures. The repeated “She knew” was really nice as well as the break from the pattern at the end to add emphasis. It went really nicely. I feel like the last sentence, though, falls a tad flat after the buildup. How about something like: She remembered it still – years ago – from the last time she had been here. Something more staggered and dramatic would be perfect for the end of that parallel structure you have going on! Beautifully done!
She would hide inside the closet and when she saw her mother she would jump out and yell ‘surprise!’ as loud as she could, hoping to startle and amuse her mother. I absolutely love the way you have portrayed Luna’s and her mother’s relationship. You can really see Luna in her mother, and see the ethereal happiness in their relationship. It’s so beautiful, so like Luna, and just…wonderful. Now, on a side note, ‘surprise’ should be capitalized. ;)
He had apologised and left urgently, eager find and study it. This is SO interesting, because I’ve written a poem about Luna and her mom and dad – not nearly done yet; it needs a good edit. Anyway, I pictured her dad as getting into the Quibbler and creatures etc after his wife died, to get away. I enjoyed your portrayal; it was refreshing to see a new take on the subject. On a side note, ‘eager find’ should be ‘eager to find.’
She had no idea how long she’d screamed herself hoarse at her mother, begging her to stop playing games with her, even though she knew her mother wasn’t playing. Oh my God. Katty, I was twelve when my dad died…I said something along these lines. He was overseas, but when I heard, I begged God not to play games with me. I knew that he wasn’t playing games…Well, here’s where I pull out the tissues. You got the raw emotion and the grief and confusion of a child facing death perfectly. It’s nearly surreal how accurately you portray it. To see someone as detached and ‘floaty’ as Luna act in this way is shocking and somehow more graphic than if it had been Harry or Ron or anyone else. *shudder* This was achingly perfect. It’s beyond words. *blows nose*
I can’t quote the rest of the memory, but I must repeat myself and say that I have no idea how you did it, but you understand it perfectly. We got presents that meant nothing; I got money…and I had no idea why people did this. Strangers visited and I thought, ‘Why didn’t they come when he was alive?’
And ordinary was everything you wanted after losing someone. My favorite line in the story – it’s so true, and so simply said. But I really, really wish you’d take the conjunction off the front. Then ordinary would be repetitive and beautifully emphasized and it wouldn’t make me twitch. *giggles*
Hmm. The narrative surrounding Isis’ death is nice is some parts. I like the monotony of it…the fragmented phrases…it’s very accurate for a grieving person. You don’t really think straight, you know? But…this whole narrative seems weaker in emotion and mood than the death of Luna’s mother. I really feel like this is the final rising action in the story, the second death – you got back up after you fell down, and years later, you’re getting knocked down again. But the narrative makes the reader distant from the emotion and the feeling…Now, it does give us a “deadened” sort of feeling, but I don’t think Luna is numb at this point. So, I think that this part would be powerful if you implemented flashbacks again. SHOW us instead of telling us. I did like the narrative regarding how she never came back to the creek, afraid to face it again, etc…and narrative in a few other places – but while keeping some of the narrative, also try to connect the reader more to the final death. Right now, it feels a bit rushed.
And I have no words for your ending. It’s just beautiful. The assonance of “sense of serenity” – the beauty of her goodbye to Isis and her mother – soothe the reader after this awesome rollercoaster of emotion. You can really feel that Luna has found some peace within herself and it’s just lovely.
So you’ve got Luna down pat. I’m very, very impressed, Katty, and thank you for being my SPEW buddy this month! I am so glad I got to read this! It’s a lovely story, and you just tug at my heartstrings – which is a WONDERFUL thing for an author to do to a reader! :)
Much SPEW love,
Wow. Just...wow. This truly shows that immortality isn't all that it's cut out to be. Your characterization of Tom is a little young, a little whiney - but fully appropriate, considering the person he is talking to.
I would LOVE to see more Brigid. Her life when it started, her quest for immortality, the first lover that grew too old for her, the first time she realized immortality wasn't enough - if she ever tried to kill herself.
To keep it short, this story wasn't LONG enough! *nudges* I got the scene, sure - but I wanted MORE! (Which is a good thing, by the way!)
Anyway, on to the criticism. Why is Tom here? He already believes himself immortal with his Horcruxes. Second, it's OOC for him to wear the locket on his person - he would be the kind to hide it away somewhere. That's just my opinion. finally...your second to last line was PERFECT. The last line brought a close to the story, but...the second to last line was this story's most emotive moment, in my opinion.
Great work. Now I'm afraid to submit my entry. >.< But I will. :D
Author's Response: Huh. I think I need to date this - Tom was intended to only have one Horcrux (I think the locket was his first?) at the time. He knows that doesn\'t make him immortal - his constant thinking on it is just his way of reassuring himself. I\'m glad you liked it :)
The beginning scene was just beautiful. I loved the fact that Percy was there -- and yet still distant -- from the Weasley family. The image was particularly heartbreaking and lovely all at once, and it was a GREAT start to the story.
You truly made me love Penelope in this piece. I've always thought of her as a strong, smart girl -- you really pulled that together for me here and just made me BELIEVE that she would be the one to make Percy see sense and come back to his family.
I never really believed that she would spurn him for long. *giggles* Thank you for keeping them together. You've made me into a Percy/Penelope shipper, my dear! As surprising as that is, considering I don't like Percy. >.<
One critical comment before I end: I feel like your characterization of Percy was a tad off. We're missing the OCD, nitpicky, snotty canon!him in this story, which makes him nearly seem unreal to me. While, yes, it's understandable that he's been humbled and changed since canon last encountered him, I think I still need a little of the annoying!prat!Percy somewhere in this story to make me truly believe it's him. ;)
To finish, your final scene was just gorgeous. Solemnity combined with strength - a muted practicality. It's not the impassionated cries of love, it's just a declaration that's honest and simple. There are no sweeping kisses, just a holding fo hands (that means so much more). It's this sort of subtle simplicity that I really love that you've created with this pairing, especially.
Brilliant job! Thank you for the great read!
I like that you reveal a particular tension in this pairing that's somehow different from normal Lucius/Narcissa stories. I think that this angst ends in a compromise rather than a Lucius domination over a submissive Narcissa, and that changes the pairing entirely. In a good way, I mean.
Can anything you do ever be done better, VV? *rolleyes* If I had to say one thing, it'd be more storyline. I just want to read more about this pairing from you! It seems so short! *whinges*
I think it's a great romance because it shows the underlying principles of marriage. You never quite know what you're getting into AND it's all about compromise, plus a little trial and error. ;)
This is probably one of my favorite canon romances of all time, because as I said before, you've opened up a whole new facet of the relationship in a beautiful way.
Author's Response: *is flattered* I tend not to write a lot of canon romance, just because so many other people do, but this one was fun. I can\'t see those particular two people having an easy time of it. They\'re both fundamentally difficult sorts. To quote a neighbor, \"At least this way they ruin one marriage instead of two.\"
Well, I saw this in your signature, and since it's Valentine's Day...
Wow! Your control over flow and word choice and rhythm and rhyme is really, really nice! :D I'm incredibly jealous over the way this ballad just seems to flow from the tip of my tongue quite perfectly.
*sigh* I rather wonder who this poor boy is? But you demonstrate the helpless heartbreak of a first rejected crush. It's rather terrible, and you portray it wonderfully!
*snuggles poem* Perfect for Valentine's Day - and I adore happy endings!
Author's Response: Hi Kumy! Thank you so much for the review! Happy Valentine\'s Day!! The boy I had in mind as I was writing this was Neville - so of course I had to give him a happy ending. =) I\'m so glad you liked it. Thank you for all your compliments! And thank you for coming to read this ballad! *turnip hug* ~Gina :)
This ballad was written for the January Ballad Challenge and received first place!
ZOMG! I was so excited that this poem won! It was so good when I read it over in your PM, and I knew that it had a decent chance - and just *sigh* it was lovely.
Anyway, I cannot beat the reviews currently posted, but I'm just going to share my thoughts. First, your connection to the Potters was just awesome. I loved to hear about their ancestors. :D
Also, you really made us feel for and believe in this girl. I think that was the strongest part of the poem for me - I felt so much.
Finally, as others have said, the style is so authentic, and it flows so naturally.
Great job, darling! Here's to many more amazing challenge entries in the future!
Author's Response: Thanks, Kumy! I can\'t believe how much it changed from start to finish, and what really helped it was you telling me it needed to be \"deep.\" As someone who doesn\'t really *ever* write poetry, that wasn\'t something I had considered, but I took your advice and look what happened! :)
I\'m so glad you like it! Goooo Gryffindor!
Wow. I loved the ending. That was the most powerful part for me. You did a really great job with this story, darling, it's a really nice read.
A few things to comment upon. I feel like the thoughts of Harry should be in first person and italics...for example: I miss Dumbledore. I don't want to be here. It'd be much more powerful coming from him than through a narrator like it is now.
In addition, i wish we could see more of his grief. Does he feel guilty? What is missing from his life now that Dumbledore is gone - guidance? Is he lost? Trust? Can he confide in anyone? Confidence? Is he unsure without him?
Grief is made up of so much more than just sadness. The loss itself creates other feelings. You've portrayed the sadness VERY well. Allow us to see the other facets of Harry's mourning. :)
Great job with the story, darling! It's just wonderful the unity portrayed at the end. Friends forever.
I love the first person POV you used in this story; it was a really nice touch. It is so horribly sad to hear this tragic part of Albus' life, and yet, I was excited to see something about Albus' younger years - we very rarely see that.
My one question would be: What about Aberforth? The parents are dead, so who's taking care of him while Albus is here?
It would be a nice touch for Albus to bring him along and this experience with Blenkinsop the all-knowing barkeeper would inspire him to barkeep the Hog's Head. :D
Author's Response: Thanks for the great review, Kumy! :] Well, I\'m guessing Aberforth would be old enough to take care of himself at this age, since I\'m guessing Albus to be in his 30s-40s. Love the suggestion though! <3