So let me start by saying that, though I am a fan of everything you write because it's yours, I am also a fan of everything you write because you have serious talent. I'm not usually a fan of "going-cray" stories, because it's so hard to do them without going overly sympathetic and trying to make excuses or without going completely overboard. There's an element of matter-of-factness about this story that makes Harry's frame of mind even more terrifying--you describe a canon instant one moment and then something like Harry having the urge to kill the next and each is as believable as the next. And it's not like you're just grasping at straws as a writer, pulling all these stunts in the name of going mad: you've chosen key moments of this portion of Harry's life that could have gone horribly wrong. You've made his madness make sense, which is talented, smart writing, and something I admire you and this story for.
It's hard to even begin to address your areas of concern because, EXCUSE ME, of course it's "any good!" Quite a lot of good, you turkey. One of the things I love about your writing that's on full display here is your ability to write beautiful imagery. Things like the rain pouring in sheets like melted glass, like hair in the breeze, like tapping fingers on newspapers...these things all make it more convincing to me that Harry's gone mad at all, because you're tempering his lunacy with moments of almost banal, ordinary, familiar images. And that you're writing it wonderfully and in a down-to-earth style gives this whole thing a ring of uncomfortable dissonance, but, and I hardly need to say, that works brilliantly in this case.
The last two lines of this--just--get to me. I have chills, everywhere, intensely, because these lines seem to extend the possibility for madness to Ginny, and by her, through her perhaps, to other characters. It's not that it's totally bonkers to want to be an owl--I totally understand the symbolism here, too, and it works wonderfully--but it's just that they're "dark specs," which seems really ominous, especially since she's making them into owls and they could be anything at all. Of course, I"m sitting here guessing--thestrals? Dementors? VOLDEMORT? FLYING DEATH EATERS? FLYING SNAPE?
The only thing that I could say that I wish were different, which is probably quite bold and stupid of me because this is a phenomenal piece of writing--is, I wish we got to see a bit more of Dumbledore, because in a way I think his and Harry's p.o.v.'s always sort of melded with me in the fifth book, because Harry was always full of angst at Dumbles not paying him proper attention. You do touch on this obviously, and you probably don't need it again, it's just the only thing I finish off feeling perhaps I'm missing.
And meanwhile, not bringing Harry physically back into the ending is a brave, but smart and extremely effective move. Brave, because this is a story about Harry and people are obviously going to want to know what happens to him in the end--but smart and effective for that exact reason. Harry's mad! He just imagined killing his godfather! He could be anywhere, doing anything--killing more people, throwing himself off the Astronomy tower, wrestling eclairs out of the hands of house elves in the kitchens--I'm left distinctly ruffled, and that sort of effect is just the right amount of creepy and ominous for the tone of this fic.
Overall, my dear, this is just another reason to add to my list of reasons as to why someday, you're going to have your name plastered to billboards and peeking out of bookshelf's, perhaps topping a best-sellers list for days, weeks, months at a time ♥ I thoroughly enjoyed this and I honestly believe your talent is astounding for someone your age and I admire you so much for doing what you do, as well as you do it.
Author's Response: Okay. I am going to attempt to respond to this, and it will be sucky, but I will /try/. :3 Please forgive any pathetic responding that may occur, starting... now!
For some reason I have yet to identify, I love writing on-the-brink-of-insanity stories. I'm looking forward to taking psychology for just that reason: I love delving into the minds of people, especially people who don't act like everyone else, and seeing how they see the world. And Harry seems like such a prime suspect for this, playing host to Voldemort for nearly seventeen years of his life. Gahh, how horrible must that have been, at times?
I'm so, so happy you liked the imagery! :3 (Especially since, hello, you're basically the queen of it.) I loved that you called it down-to-earth, because that kind of made me think of something I said in a response to Hannah's review. I wanted this to seem not so far-fetched as it probably is, because I love thinking how close he probably was to going kind of nuts... And matter-of-factness, presenting things as inarguable, is definitely a way to achieve that end. At least in my book! Funny thing about the owls, too, is that it didn't cross my mind to include them until I put hedwidgeon's banner on hold, and basically needed a way to justify the birds on it. :D And bam! Owls!
I definitely understand what you mean about Dumbledore and Harry -- and I actually really wanted to rewrite that scene between the two of them in the headmaster's office! But, alas, it did not fit the timeline. :( I think I should, though... it is something to stew over... You are an idea-sparker. ♥
Bookshelves and billboards say what?! Ugggh, this review. Like -- I can't even. YOU ARE THE BEST. ♥ Thank you so much for being willing to review this for me, and I'm seriously so appreciative of all your compliments!! ♥ ♥