Reviews For A Proper Epilogue
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.12.03 - 07:44AM Title: Chapter 20 - Restoring Order Out of Chaos
To say this chapter is 'wild' is almost a bit of an understatement. I had been shaking my head through the first half over some jarring shifts in pace, but that set things well for the disorienting buzz of the operation clattering into a half-failed, barely averted full disaster. When the dust settled, it was definitely worth 'five-stars' for effect. My one constructive criticism here is that Harry's Dawlish reticence would have had greater impact if you had introduced the controversy/anxiety earlier -- perhaps back a chapter or more. A plot set-up works best when the set-up has had time to 'set'.
Anyway, good action writing is very difficult, but you turned a few fine tricks here!
Author's Response: Your observation about Dawlish is an excellent suggestion. It may be the result of projection on my part, but I always felt JKR wrote Dawlish as a deeply morally ambiguous person. Nevertheless, it would have been an improvement to acknowledge that within the story, itself, rather than assuming everyone else would have the same reaction. Sirius was correct; the world is more complex than pure goodness versus pure evil.
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.11.21 - 10:56AM Title: Chapter 19 - Puzzle Pieces (or Deus ex Machina?)
First of all, I hope you're not offended I'm taking forever to make my way through the story! It's a fascinating tale; just that my free time often now gets taken up with site issues and whatnot.
Anyway, the 'story after the story' construct in your Epilogue seems more intriguingly tangled than the first part -- lots of cloak and dagger! Pansy herself, however, is so very not-cloak-and-dagger. An interesting tragic heroine.
Anyway hope all's well. With luck, I should be popping back into your review space again soon!
Author's Response: Greetings! I am in no way offended. To the contrary, I am pleased and honored that you are spending this much time on my story. Thank you. Now, I think I need to review this chapter in order to understand your comments!
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.09.24 - 07:14AM Title: Chapter 18 - Embracing Realities
Interesting back story to Florian Fortescue! I did a bit of scouting to see what canonical explanation for the oddly detailed yet negligent way he was handled in the books and discovered that he was indeed being groomed for a key role in DH, but the plot wandered elsewhere. Your rehabilitation of his story is more satisfying.
I very much enjoyed key aspects of the Harry/Ginny 'equilibration' in this chapter. It is in segments like these that you are delivering on your 'proper epilogue' mandate. Good job!
I have a few nits and a couple of pickies that I will share in a PM. If they don't appear shortly, then blame the messenger :)
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.08.27 - 12:34PM Title: Chapter 17 - Moving Forward, Changing Plans
As I re-read this chapter, the phrase 'quiet desperation' echoed in my head -- the melancholy of Thoreau... and Pink Floyd of course.
There is a fair bit of quiet desperation in this story as the tragedies mount, but it is not of the 'hanging on' variety (a la Roger Waters) but rather a precursor to the "There, there. Now back on your feet." attitude that, since the Battle of Britain, has been the true 'English Way'.
I like the direct yet sensitive approach your grounded protagonists take in addressing grief and angst. It does differ from Rowling's, whose grief-therapy often involves the verbal equivalent of a swift boot (perhaps the stereotypical 'Scottish Way'? Best not to perpetuate stereotypes, though. My own relatives up yonder are very dear to me.). But no matter; many many fanfic stories take a softer line than JKR.
Hmmm... This may well take the prize for least coherent review, but ah well. Good writing. Carry on!
Author's Response: I really appreciate your reviews! Thank you! M. My family is primarily English on one side and Scotch-Irish on the other, though like most Americans, there is a dribble of this and that. After nearly three centuries here, probably the only thing we truly are is American. But I digress. I've spent my entire life living with a mixture of "There,there. Now back on your fee." And the swift kick in the ass! As a priest, I saw a lot of people who wallowed in tragedy. All things considered, I like a tender approach to the English way! I guess my writing shows that, and I hope I am not using too much projection of my own preferences onto characters who live in a culture that is different than my own! What is the old expression? Two cultures divided by a common language? Throw in Australia, and make it three. New Zealand, and call it four? Regardless, I see Harry and Ginny as both possessing the capacity to absorb tragedies and move forward, yet not without tremendous compassion between them, as a couple, as well as with their friend who have fought with them through a slice of Hell. Now, I am taking the prize for least coherent reply! Thank you, again!
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.08.09 - 08:39AM Title: Chapter 16 - Some Stupid, Noble Reason
A perfect stroke of the pen to have Harry finally drive home the truth that is love...
Through much of this story you write our protagonists as the struggling teens that they, rather than the idealised icons we might wish them to be. Reality is more difficult to read than ideality, however the reward that comes with the epiphanous apparation of true sincerity makes it worth it.
One tiny quibble with Kingsley saying, "I know it seems like a lot to ask...". I believe a straight shooter of his character would say, "I know it *is* a lot to ask..."
Author's Response: I'm sort of speechless after this review! Thank you so much. This is perhaps the most meaningful review I have ever received, especially coming from someone whose writing I respect so thoroughly. Thank you so much! And, good catch on Kingsley's statement. I agree. That would have been a better decision.
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.08.06 - 06:09PM Title: Chapter 15 - St. Mungo's
This chapter is a fascinating exercise in conflictedness -- healing followed by woundedness; resolution but irresolution, etc. It makes it all maddeningly real, as opposed to the nicely packaged fictions that we're so accustomed to. So, well done!
I loved Hermione's line about evil rising up to replace evil. This is a great example of Hermione's book smarts evolving into wisdom, which is a development that JKR provides a few faint hints at in books 1-6, and showed a little more in DH. Anyway, I like it, since I believe that many people who really try to learn things also learn to 'understand' things.
Author's Response: Thank you for sticking with this story! I truly appreciate your insights. I'm so glad you liked the way I had Hermione continue down the transition from knowledge to wisdom. So many stories set after Deathly Hallows have continued to write Ron, Hermione, and Molly as if none of them had evolved despite having gone through this terrible war. I just don't get it. Yes, it is fun to have an easy foil built right into the group of main characters, but it never feels right to me that Ron would remain a clueless, jealous child, Hermione would be shown as an abrasive, self-centered know-it-all, and Molly would be a shrew of a judgmental mother who insists that her daughter remain a 12-year-old. I hope I have allowed all the characters to develop, yet not become unrecognizable!
Reviewer: rbrt_emmer Signed Date: 2017.07.08 - 11:04PM Title: Chapter 22 - Epilogue
Thank you for posting this here. When I saw your pen name months ago I remembered someone with the same name on Simply Undeniable many years ago, but I assumed it was someone else who just happened to be a Tolkien fan. Imagine my surprise when I finally start reading your story only to discover it was the story I had read all those years ago on Simply Undeniable. It's been too long that I was able to tell what was changed and what wasn't, and I actually realized as I got through the story that though I remembered quite a lot, I actually didn't remember three quarters of the story and found myself happily being reminded.
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.04.22 - 07:15AM Title: Chapter 14 - The Aftermath
Feel the need for a quick apology for having halted the flow of reviews so abruptly a while back. Things got unremittingly busy for quite a stretch, though now I've found a bit of a respite and have been back to reading and even a bit of writing.
Interesting chapter, with much of it spanning mere seconds, and the whole thing covering at most maybe 10 minutes? A hallmark of a writer who sees the drama in the instant-to-instant shifts of a character's perception, and whose epics span weeks rather than decades :)
You captured the drama very well. My one constructive criticism would be that while there has been foreboding throughout the prior chapters that point to this, the foreboding could have been more surgically aligned to the key themes that emerge in crisis. The key question a writer needs to attend to in writing crises is how much perspective emerges as a sudden flash of insight at the last minute, versus how much has been gradually building through the prior story.
For example, Draco has come across as a bit aimless prior to this, but I think that you may have waited too long to have him realise outright how he is the non-master of his destiny. I think the catastrophe on the rooftop would have come across more powerfully if earlier chapters had revealed not just his obliviousness, but perhaps a bit more guilt and self-doubt. If he had been led a bit earlier to begin pondering the value of developing a backbone, the crisis here would have all the more of an "Oh Sh*t" impact.
A bit more wrenching yet is the question of whether to have had Ginny developing a bit more of a relationship with her nascent being within. Some writers could have built up this scene even more by having had Ginny experience more of the introspective communication with her unborn that some mothers have. Or you could leave it as is. Depends on how rough you want to be with your audience.
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm always pleased to receive your reviews, and I appreciate your willingness to take the time and energy to provide meaningful critiques. I think you are precisely on target about my failure to develop the relationship between Ginny and her unborn child. There are several reasons for that, not that these were conscious actions (or inactions) on my part. Looking back, I would make the change you are suggesting. Now, as for Draco ... I had problems writing this character because I never saw him much of a backbone in canon. Even on Platform 9-3/4 in the Epilogue of DH, what little we see of him is still the flashy faux-aristocrat! Either that, or I can't help reading him that way! LOL! Anyway, back on point, I wanted to leave his actions conflicted. Did he Apparate to his father's side to stop Lucius from killing Harry or to stop Pansy from intervening with the plan? I don't think even Draco knew what he intended to do once he reached the rooftop. To mean, his nature is to keep his options open without fail so he can continue to try to identify whatever will eventually be best for him. Does that make sense? Your observation of him being non-master of his destiny is exactly right, but he doesn't realize it in my world, at least. He continues to think he can control things even when they are spinning wildly out of control. So I'm not sure he would ever wonder about his failure to develop some backbone. Even at Malfoy Manor, when he simultaneously does and does not identify Harry, he appears to be lost -- "What is better for me?" -- Not, "What is morally right?" So, I'm going to reflect on your comments about Draco! Maybe it is my own ambivalence about the character. Perhaps I can put this into some context. While I was in seminary, one of my classmates was a generally nice guy when things were running smoothly, but in the face of tension, he would shift into a viciously defensive posture. Then, once the conflict was resolved,instead of apologizing for his behavior, he would rationalize it. "I am the adult shild of an alcoholic," he would say. The implication being that this fact explained why he behaved the way he did while justifying it in the same breath. That is Draco in so many ways. He truly is master of nothing, in my humble (or not so humble) opinion. Anyway, that's why I wrote him the way I did, for good or bad! Yes to his sense of self-doubt! I'm not sure about him ever having a sense of guilt. Finally, and I apologize for babbling on, it's entirely possible that I failed in my attempt to characterize Draco's conflicted response. Some people seem to think I was indicting him while others thought I was trying to redeem him. I was not trying to redeem him and my indictment was limited to his failure to discern that there is a moral choice available, not just an expeditious one! Thank you so much for continuing to read and review my work!
Reviewer: hawkeye2008 Signed Date: 2017.04.21 - 09:12AM Title: Chapter 22 - Epilogue
Great connecting story, will there be another story to connect from here to the 19 years later? Cheers
Reviewer: hawkeye2008 Signed Date: 2017.04.17 - 04:06AM Title: Chapter 11 - Exploration and Discovery
Reviewer: hawkeye2008 Signed Date: 2017.04.16 - 10:17PM Title: Chapter 10 - Contrasts and Surprises
Reviewer: hawkeye2008 Signed Date: 2017.04.16 - 09:32PM Title: Chapter 9 - Divergent Reunions
Reviewer: hawkeye2008 Signed Date: 2017.04.16 - 04:00PM Title: Chapter 8 - Putting Things to Rest
Reviewer: hawkeye2008 Signed Date: 2017.04.13 - 10:52PM Title: Chapter 1 - Unforseen Options
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.03.12 - 01:20AM Title: Chapter 13 - The Wedding
A fine chapter -- the crux that we've been anticipating, n'est ce pas? You've done an exceptional job of Pansy's character; she remains far from admirable, however you have completed her ascent into 'humanity', in a manner that is very different, but comparably plausible, to the way Rowling engineered Snape.
In response to your comments from last chapter, where you asked for thoughts on how to improve the non-verbal prose, and I do have an example to share here. It involves the section beginning with "Draco was beside himself..." where you commit a classic violation of the show, don't tell admonition that has gained rightful favour in creative writing circles now. It's a sin we have all committed in our haste to get through a section. Sometimes it's permissible, but some instances are more problematic than others -- especially when a passage either describes intense emotions, or is intended to evoke such feeling. This is definitely such a passage.
Consider each of these phrases: "Draco was beside himself", "his mind was in overdrive", "Draco was in unfamiliar territory", "the thought... wasn't sitting well". In each of these, you sound like a psychiatrist devolving a psychoanalysis, but what the sharpest writers do is let the readers be the psychoanalysts. In doing so -- by explicitly voicing Draco's disturbed, distraught scatter of thoughts, and by showing his agitated, distracted actions -- you likely could left the readers to shake their heads and mutter, "Oi mate. That boy is some piece of work!"
Anyway, I'm sure attentive readers could pinpoint dozens of comparable opportunities that I too have missed in my own stories, although as time goes on I believe I'm getting better at sensing those chances to pluck the reader's emotions. Live (and write) and learn, I guess.
Author's Response: Thanks so much, especially fir the specifics! You're right, of course, and I appreciate you for pointing these things out!
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.03.06 - 07:24PM Title: Chapter 12 - Plotting and Planning
An observation through twelve chapters, and well exemplified in this one -- your writing is at its best in dialogue. By dialogue, I will also include silent monologue, which you have a penchant for.
Anyway, your spoken prose is more natural than most that I've seen in FF, and the words themselves, even devoid of attributive clauses, carry a lot of emotional weight.
Generally, I'd say that your third-person-omniscient descriptive passages and your nonverbal exchanges lag a bit behind your strength, but we all have our own hills to climb. My Mont Blanc (or bete noire) are the 'openings' -- how to set the tone and pull a reader in...
Ah well, another chapter enjoyed!
Author's Response: Thanks for your thoughts and insights. Would you please add a little more detail as to what you thin is missing in my non-dialogue centered prose? That may be too much to ask, as it is hard to do briefly, but I'd love the critique! Is it too stiff? For example, I don't mind using some colloquialisms in dialogue, but can't bring myself to do so in the prose sections!
Reviewer: carolyn jinn Signed Date: 2017.03.06 - 06:02AM Title: Chapter 22 - Epilogue
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.03.04 - 06:55PM Title: Chapter 11 - Exploration and Discovery
Wonderful job with the first letter -- an exquisitely sensible, yet sensitive, communication from across the decades. I also was moved by Harry's short retrospective immediately after reading the letter -- a fine touch which shows an excellent reading of canon.
No complaints at all about the rest of the chapter either -- the healing progresses in earnest, in a measure of the very 'British' cultural sensibility you're drawing on. In this, I refer to a land that had seen, over its centuries, much tragedy, and an equal amount of resilient recovery. To say that 'life goes on' is not to require that it be drear and brooding...
Reviewer: GHL Signed Date: 2017.03.02 - 02:15AM Title: Chapter 10 - Contrasts and Surprises
Ah. It's a sign of adept writing to be able to take a sexual episode and make it uniformly unpleasant, unattractive and unsalacious. You did say you had a reason for it, and apart from setting the obvious contrast, I assume you're setting the stage for what we all know canonically -- that Draco and Pansy have no future.
While the writing itself is skilled, and I can sense how each scene is a stone within this pyramidal narrative you're building, it was a little unfortunate to juxtapose this particular Harry/Ginny scene immediately after the Draco/Pansy encounter. It's a bit difficult to shift gears between the morbid and the vital, and it robbed a bit of the zest from the final announcement.
In fact, I wonder how much you might gain by simply swapping those two scenes? That way, you don't taint the stirring moment, and you may get even more contrast in showing just how sordid and unloving the Draco/Pansy tryst is. You would lose the cliff-hanger moment, perhaps, although SIYE readers have roasted me for cliff-hangers before, so that might not be a net loss.
Anyway, I continue to enjoy the story and am grateful you brought it here! Hoping that these comments are just taken as constructive thoughts.
Author's Response: Thank you for the interesting analysis! I do take it constructively and will look at it later today.
Reviewer: ellen Signed Date: 2017.02.28 - 01:47PM Title: Chapter 22 - Epilogue
Firstly, I apologise for not leaving about 20 five star reviews along the way. I kept opening the site with good intentions, only to find a new chapter to read, and it was too tempting. This has been a really lovely story and I especially liked the balance you achieved in Harry and Ginny's relationship. You have a real talent for writing dialogue which truly brings your characters to life, and in all the many HP stories I have read there hasn't previously been one that realistically portrayed Pansy as capable of coming good. Thanks for a great story which I will definitely be rereading in its entirety, and I do hope there will be a sequel in the future.