Hello -- here with your requested review, Gubby!
I'd like to start out this review just by informing you of a glaring error in your request, because you seem to have actually filled out something next to 'Areas of Concern.' And I can't for the life of me figure out why, because this. This. Words don't even begin to spell out how utterly captivated I was by the entire thing, eight thousands words or no. It never felt like an odyssey of reading; it all flowed together so well, and had a bit of a lilting, lyrical quality that is one of my favorite things to read, especially when it's pulled off well.
I love your Regulus. It can be put as simply as that, although I will expound upon it a bit. :) You've managed to turn this minor character, one JKR more or less included as a plot device, into someone I was drawn to know more about. You sanded no rough edges away -- he is who he is -- and that, I think, made me love him all the more; you didn't paint him as a hero, as anybody particularly worth revering, but he is a Slytherin, a Death Eater, a normal sixteen-year-old. Well, no, normal isn't the word. Maybe 'human' works better.
And pairing him with Lily! I'd never have guessed it -- and yet, halfway through, it was already starting to feel right. I said this in a review to Susan (which is in my mind because I just read her response to it today), and I think it's an apt thing to say here, as well: You write real. In Susan's case, she wrote real love, not a fantasy version; here, it is real almost-love. This is a story that's more than likely been played out far, far more often in history than happy-ever-after stories people seem intent on writing. I love realism; I adored it here.
My very favorite thing about this, though (and you'll have to forgive me for not quoting favorite bits -- I feel like it's all my favorite, because it's all linked, tied together) was the repetition of all the symbolic images. The star, the serpent, the lion, the dog, the flower. You've tapped into a little-used technique of JK's in that her characters, many of them, do not have the names they do by accident. You've done the name thing better than anything else I've read here, exploring the subtleties, the meanings, the subtext. I can't tell you how amazed I am that you took the time to do your research in that manner; it added so much to your story, and every time a new mention of a symbol cropped up, I grew more impressed.
Is this the thing you worked on all those times, the story that just kept growing and growing? I need to keep more on top of your writing (she admitted with no small feeling of guilt); this was so, so lovely. I'm really quite sorry for that nearly-nonsensical mass of rambles up there, but you should have expected it, you know, asking me to review this. I've still got this lovely, sort-of-warm-but-not-quite feeling bobbing about in me, part empathetic towards Regulus, part adrift. If that makes any sense at all, and I really don't think it does, reading it over, but my brain's basically melted.
Seriously one of the best one-shots I've read in a long, long time. Thank you so much for requesting this! ♥
Author's Response: AHH I AM SO SORRY ABOUT THE RESPONSE DELAY. You know how I am about these things D: And of course rl was not cooperating with me when I did want to respond, so I've left it this long and I'm sorry and :3
Although let me assure you of this: that whole paragraph is /utterly unfair/. Actually the whole review is utterly unfair. Do you know what this level of praise does to my ego?! But I'm going to clamp down on it, and instead tell you how absurdly humbled I am by this review. I really have no words. (... okay that's a lie, since I have to respond to the rest of it. But, you know).
I agree that Regulus is more or less a plot device, albeit I tend to lean more heavily to 'more', because there's obviously a whole lot of stuff about family dynamics and loyalties and etc buried into the fact of his existence and his relationship with his brother. I think he is more human than Death Eater or tragic hero too (I love how you phrased those few sentences btw), and it's those characters that intrigue me more than anything. Give me an antihero, give me someone struggling with themselves, over an out-and-out villain or hero any day.
I've had Regulus/Lily in the back of my head for a long time, but never really did anything with it until now. I could never do an out and out romance between them, but again, it's the in-between phases of a relationship between two people that intrigue me more than the defined spaces we see explored all the time. I wouldn't call it realism because in its own way it's just as romanticized -- Regulus romanticizes her, of course, in some way or another for their whole acquaintance -- but eee, thank you so much.
Oh lawdy, the repetition of the imagery was probably what I was most worried about. It's what the style is built on and I really didn't want it to be overkill, but :333 So ecstatic that you liked it and that it actually worked! It's true that JKR's names were not given by chance, but at the same time, I look at that style of naming and wonder, 'isn't that a bit obvious?' She makes it work because in many ways, HP is still a children's series and the obvious, while hidden in name meanings that most of the readership doesn't think much of, is what makes the layering of the narrative. And you know what I'm like about naming, how absurdly neurotic I get, so I couldn't let how very convenient the names are, or let any of the fic characters forget their roles as their names dictate them. (... that made zero sense but ahem, moving on).
Err, yes, I believe so! But I swear, don't feel guilty, there's not much to find when it comes to my writing of late. It means everything to me that you stopped by at all. Because I absolutely do not deserve this wonderful review, and have no right to expect something like it, and just... ack. Thank you. Thank you for loving Regulus and the fic and the review and ugh you are too much. -squish-