This was really just lovely and powerful. Truly, I was actually quite blown away by how completely you flipped my view of Argus Filch. It wasn't even a struggle converting me because your words, your phrasing, the power behind each sentence, and the back-story you gave to him... all of it held me from the beginning sentence to the very end.
I've never read a story that was focused around Filch before because his character has never exactly intrigued me. I never cared for his background, about where he came from, or about why he is the way that he is. But you've really opened up a new door for me with this story. You gave his character layers and dimensions and a reason for the why. And you completely opened up my eyes along with it.
The writing is to die for. You have an absolute way with words - you know exactly which word will place the perfect amount of description and emphasis to create maximum impact. And the phrasing of some of these sentences - they blew me away. Again, it's so clear that you understand how to manipulate words and sentences to work powerfully and that made this story such a joy to read. The flow of it was effortless, so fluid, with each moment running smoothly into the next - exactly how a story should be told and read.
The repetition of asking us questions - asking us if we could maybe understand why he is the way that he is - it was really heavy and persuasive and I did learn to understand. With every knew 'Can you blame me? Can you understand it?' I was pulled closer in, accepting his person more and more fully as the story continued to unravel. You had such a clear grasp on the character and I can see how fully you did your homework for him - you really turned this person, who was formerly to me very 2-dimensional, and gave him this rich, heartbreaking tale. I would trust you with just about any character now, knowing how carefully you worked with someone who played a relatively insignificant part.
You made every moment count, and that's something that a lot of author's don't know how to do. Nothing was a throw away; everything had a purpose.
Some of my absolute favorite moments were when you talked about how Filch was born into this pureblood family who placed their future into his hands as their heir, who were all relying on him to carry on the line and do them proud. And then to be a squib after having all of that pressure and prestige thrust upon him - it was just so terribly sad. My heart really broke for him. You were so clever about choosing that background for him, too, because it really did allow for the most convincing reasons as to why he grew up and became this person.
And the moment when you talk about how selective the magical world is, how rigid with rules and how it's cruel to those that don't fit perfectly within - Wow. I've never really considered that much... it almost reminds of Petunia watching Lily get accepted as a witch, only to be told she didn't belong in their world. I don't know why it's taken me until now to realize it, but it must have been truly awful to know of the magical world and then also know that you could never be a part of it. And then you hit us with this line: "I was trapped between two worlds, not fully belonging to either." Unbelievably powerful and stunningly phrased. Again, it's right back to your incredible ability to take a handful of words and craft them into these moments that just drop our jaws, that make us rethink everything! I'm so jelly! ^.^
I really love that you kept bringing Mrs. Norris into it without ever actually calling her by her name. You kept saying that this cat was his only friend - I found this so interesting because it seems almost like if Mrs. Norris wasn't his only friend, he may not care for her much at all. He sounds almost resentful of her, but still knows that without her he'd be completely alone, and it's better to have some darn cat than have no one at all. I don't know if you meant it to sound that way, but it definitely gave their relationship another very intriguing level.
And then when you brought it back to Hogwarts, back to the fact that he is working in a place where he is constantly surrounded by the thing he wants most in the world but can never have, the thing that probably haunts his entire life, that destroyed his relationship with his family - Wow. It makes you think 'Why are you still there, then! Leave! You're torturing yourself!' but what if because that's his only connection to that world anymore, he simply can't let it go? He takes all of the hits from those kids who continue to drive him insane because cleaning and disciplining the kids at Hogwarts is perhaps all he truly has left. And his cat. Gah, he makes so much sense to me now because of you! He hates these kids and wants to punish them for having the chance at the life he never got - the life he almost had... And while it doesn't excuse his sadistic manner or his general disregard for doing what's right, it at least makes some sense now.
Some tiny details:
"Iím a bitter mess with nothing to look forward (to) in the future."
"They do (not) know the ache of hands . . . and trampled on by ungrateful brats."
To sum up, I really just thought you were so clever with each of your choices and so beautiful with each of your words, and that combination really made me reevaluate our little caretaker. I'm really glad I took the chance to read this story because it's going to be one of those ones that stays with me long after I've finished reading.
Author's Response: Thanks so much for giving me such a fabulous review! I'm so flattered! I'm so glad that I changed your view of him in such a good way.
Thanks so much for your compliment on my writing. My smile is so wide... Thanks so much for your praise. I've recently fallen into the habit of including questions (apparent in my other one-shot, Ugly Glory). I think they add continuity and help the flow of the story.
No, I didn't mean to have Mrs. Norris seem that way, but that's not a bad interpretation. I agree with you- a very interesting slant to their relationship!
I'm so glad that I gave you a different view of Filch. I think that's the wonder of minor characters- you can do just about whatever you want with them, so long as you keep to what little you know of them. It's great that you thought my backstory made sense.
Thanks for letting me know about the small typos- I'll be sure to go back and fix them once I have the time.
Thanks so much for your review and all the time you put into it. I'm so glad you took the time to review.