So, Regulus is sort of a secret love of mine and when I saw that you had a new story up about him, I had to jump on it the first opportunity I had. To be honest, I haven't read much fanfiction about him so I can't compare to other characterizations, but I have to admit that yours might be my favorite. There's something so beautiful and tragic about the way you've portrayed him - how desperate he was to be like the knights in his favorite stories, his search for glory and fighting for a noble cause, only to sort of realize how disillusioned he's been. That switch in his mind, when he realizes that he's not exactly cut out for the glory and sacrifice Voldemort expected of his followers, I think you did a fabulous job writing that. I especially love the line where Regulus realizes that those with tainted blood that they're trying to purge have more freedom than he does and he's envious of that. It was a nice little observation.
I felt so much for your Regulus. I was with him in the excitement of his first "quest" and then with the disappointment when all Voldemort wants is Kreacher. Then, oh my gosh, when Voldemort wants him to kill Sirius to prove his loyalty and you keep referring back to Cain - that was just so powerful. I love all the references you've intertwined here - it works really well.
It makes me sad that Regulus felt that he was always on the cusp of burning out. I always felt it was said that the brightest stars burn out the fastest and yet Regulus has always paled in the shadow of Sirius's light. This little bit about Sirius too made my heart swell: the brother, the dog-star that rode high in the heavens, defying the darkness with all the arrogance of a Black and all the courage of a Gryffindor. Such a beautiful and simple way to describe Sirius. Perfect.
Then the scenes leading up to the cave and the locket, again with all the references to kings and knights, and Regulus going into this knowing what he's doing and why he's doing it, just like the knights in his stories. I find it interesting how you mention that he walks in with his wand held carelessly in his hand. I just remember how his wand was like his sword and I guess that line really drove home for me how determined he was to go into this, knowing that he would lose his life. I forget sometimes how young he is and even right up until the end, he just seems so mature for his age but he's still so young. There's so much he gave up and the fact that he basically gave his life up for Sirius...my heart! He's just so perfect and lovely in this fic.
This was fabulous. I love how fluid yet abstract your writing is. I thought that everything flowed really well and I didn't find it confusing at all. Lovely, lovely piece. Honestly, you continue to blow me away with every piece of yours I read. You're such a fantastic writer and I'm so envious of your talent and how well you seem to grasp every character you write. You are undoubtedly one of the best writers on this site and I'm so glad I have the opportunity to read your writing.
Author's Response: So I finally come to responding to this review - many apologies for the wait. It means so much to receive a review from you that it makes it easier for me to think over a really good response (and even with the extra time, they still never turn out that well) that will match up with the quality of your review. Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! I always mean to write more Marauder-era stories, but they only pop out once in a while. Yet each time, I really enjoy writing them - there's something about those characters that still grabs me like it did at the beginning, and like it consistently has for you.
Regulus is one of those wonderful additions JKR made to the series, a minor character who has a great impact on the plot. Regulus's plans may not have wholly succeeded, but he did more against Voldemort than anyone else before Harry - it's an extraordinary thing that both are so similar, of much the same age with a strong sense of what's right. I've been fascinated by Regulus for a while, but this is the first story where I had to chance to explore his mind and motives (even if in a rather strange way).
Though I didn't mean it to, the story ended up being about entering into adulthood with the discovery that it isn't as glorious as it seemed to be. He's been led to believe that great things will come of being a Death Eater and making his family proud, but the reality shakes Regulus to his core - he doesn't even need to be a "good person" (whatever that means) to see that Voldemort is just plain wrong. The Regulus in this story reminds me of those characters who get made fun of for taking fiction too seriously, but instead of satirizing that mindset, I showed how tragic it can be. Regulus isn't the one at fault for believing that his stories are true - it's Voldemort and the Death Eaters for polluting the world and taking away the potential for those stories to be true. There can't be any knights in shining armour in that world because it is a world without honour. At that line you mentioned, where he looks at the Muggles, he sees them as still being in an innocent state - of course, he's overlooking the fact that their world is little better, but compared to his, it's heaven.
I'm glad that you liked that line about Sirius. ^_^ It was one I was particularly pleased with - I don't even know where it came from, but it defined Sirius in a way that more words, more complex descriptions, wouldn't. I think it was inspired by your writing - that wouldn't surprise me one bit. :P
That word - carelessly - appeared accidentally, but once it was there on the page, I couldn't delete it. It somehow fit, as though at that point, Regulus knows that he's going to die, knows that he's got nothing to lose - he's already won simply by entering the cave and invading Voldemort's secret, protected space. I like what you've said about him being mature for his age - I've thought much the same thing, even from JKR's snippets of information about him. He was even younger than the Marauders when he became a Death Eater, and if Sirius was insanely talented, surely Regulus, even with just a fraction of that talent, would be a special person - someone of note. What no one else really figured on was Regulus's heart - whether or not he was really asked to kill Sirius, he still breaks into the cave in revenge for Kreacher's torture. He cares more about a house elf than he does for himself - it's amazing, but it's also painful to imagine the waste, all the things he could have done had there been no war.
The last paragraph has me flailing and teary-eyed. I really don't know how to respond to it except to say thank you. It's indescribably fantastic to receive such compliments from you - your writing has been an inspiration for as long as I've been on HPFF, and to hear that you're envious of my talent is just plain awesome. *hugs* Thank you! This is a true asdfghjkl review. ^_^