I hardly know where to begin. My reviewing skills have grown rather rusty--not that my goal has ever been to write critical essays on everything I read. Mostly I just ramble on about my reactions to the story, and I have only good things to say about this story.
When I saw your post in the story volunteering section at HPPC, the story summary caught my eye. I confess that I nearly didn't read this story when I saw it was over 13,000 words long. Although I have no problem reading for hours on end from paper books, my attention span while reading on the computer is appallingly short. There are so many more temptations that are just a click away, and then I keep watching the scroll bar, seeing how tiny it is and how close still to the top of the page.
So what made me decide to read it after all? The main reason is that the concept seemed refreshing and serious. I figured it wasn't going to be 13,000 words of drivel about some teenage drama I couldn't care less about. Also, I noticed in looking at your author page that all your stories are rated 12+, which I find impressive and intriguing. Lastly, even though I rarely choose to read such long chapters on my own unless they are written by a favorite author, I used to maintain a review thread, and on a couple of occasions, I was asked to review lengthy chapters that turned out to be really excellent stories, experiences which convinced me that clamping down on the distractions and ignoring the scroll bar can be worth it. :P
Time to talk about the story itself. From your summary, I wasn't absolutely certain what the "health problem" in question was going to be, although I had my suspicions, which were quickly confirmed. However, one thing that did surprise me was just how old you chose to make Harry! At the very first, I assumed James was going to be Harry's son James. I assume that was intentional?
You did a good job of portraying Harry, I think. There were vestiges of his personality, to be sure, both in his lucid and not-so-lucid moments, but you were unrelenting in showing just how much his mind has deteriorated. It made it both easier and more difficult to accept his death at the end: easier because it is obvious his quality of life isn't so fabulous anymore and he's lived a long, full life, but harder because I really came to care for him and his well-being as I read. I'm not sure if I'm doing a very good job of conveying what I mean.
I did have a little bit of difficulty keeping straight how all the characters were related to one another and who was whose descendant. I don't think that's a big deal, though, since the main point is that they are all Harry's family. I have a bad memory for that sort of thing anyway. You had a good variety of characters there too. It seemed you had a realistic array of people and reactions to / opinions of Harry.
The symbolism of the Grim was well-done. I actually suspected at first that it might be Sirius, since I couldn't help but draw parallels to the third book, but then I became convinced it really was the Grim, only to find out it was Sirius after all! Anyway, it is true that the Grim was a presence in Harry's life, at least symbolically, long before any of these characters or their parents were even thought of. It was fitting, sort of bringing the story full circle, since Harry has cheated death so many times. I'm glad, though, that it wasn't the "real" Grim, but rather an old friend there to welcome him to the next phase.
It was fitting also that Dumbledore was there, just as he appeared in the King's Cross scene in the final book. I would like to think that by this point in his life, Harry doesn't need the guidance so much anymore, but despite his faults, Dumbledore was a wise figure in the books, and I'm sure his presence was welcomed by Harry.
When Harry jumped on that broomstick and zoomed off, I expected him to break his fool neck or something--an expectation that I believe the characters in the story shared. That would have been too obvious a death, though . . . I'm glad you pushed it further off, kept building up to the moment and made it far less dramatic. Yet, the death was plenty dramatic, for all its . . . quietness, since I can't think of a better word right now.
I also liked that you went a bit beyond Harry's death at the end of the story. After all, this story was not only about Harry, but about the next generations as well. Seeing Remus change and knowing that he wrote his novel was no less moving than Harry's story.
It is impressive that you tackled a whole cast of adult characters (something I'd like to see a bit more often at times), and older adult characters too. The way you handled the whole concept of aging, dementia, death, and the surrounding complications was also very respectful and well-done.
I found this story to be extremely moving. It is rare when a fanfiction story moves me to tears, but I had a tear in my eye at the end of this one. The way you chose to show Harry's death indirectly through Giselle's visions was very impactful, more so, I think, than if you had chosen to show it directly. It was a different take on a death scene, and it also allowed you to show the joyous aspects as well as the sad. It almost takes a moment too, for the death to sink in, even though it's been expected for half the story at least. It seemed natural and fitting, and I felt happy and relieved for Harry despite my sadness (over a fictional character, how silly is that).
I haven't been this impressed by a fanfiction story in a very long time, and it's going straight into my favorites as soon as I post this review.