Hi, there! Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the Common Room.
Wow. I have to say that you managed to get inside Lupin's head like few other authors I've ever read. Not just get inside of it, mind you, but make yourself comfortable and stay a while. Really settle in and explore. I loved the amount of canon that you were able to draw into this, the breadth and depth of Remus's experiences that you drew on. Yet it didn't feel like it was wandering, because you kept coming back to the central touchstones of the chapter: his guilt over what he did to Harry and the conflict between his feelings of self-loathing and his desire to be happy. I thought you did a brilliant job of weaving it all together.
The Shrieking Shack was a terrific setting for this, both in terms of how it put him in a pensive, nostalgic frame of mind and in how it set up the ending. All the little historical details that you worked in: the bed, the scratches on the wall, even Snape's bloodstain, added so much to my appreciation of the whole scene. Especially Snape's bloodstain. For some reason, that gave me an almost perverse sort of enjoyment.
"Feelings arenít meant to be shared. They should be repressed and hidden away from all things decent and normal." - How horrible and bleak! If any one line of this chapter captures Remus's self-loathing and disaffection, this is it.
I honestly had never thought too much about how Remus went about coming to his senses after his disastrous encounter with Harry at Grimmauld Place, but I think it's safe to say that this chapter will make up the majority of my headcanon on the subject for a long time to come. Of course he shouldn't have cursed Harry. Of course Harry was right. Tactless and blunt to the point of being rude, but right. Remus knows this, and he knows that Harry was only saying what he needed to hear. That realization makes the wolf's temporary moment of control all the more horrible for him, and you did an amazing job of capturing that in words and feelings.
Then, in the middle of this heavy, heavy chapter, you took us on a brief sentimental journey. At first, I honestly wasn't certain what the point was. It seemed so wonderful and light-hearted. But you quickly came to the point. Even among his best friends, Remus still felt like a monster. Sure, he managed to mostly control it and conceal it and put a happy face on the aftermath, but he still came away feeling that when push came to shove, he couldn't trust himself. It added a slightly different facet to his self-doubt from most other fics I've read and I really liked it.
The scene with the Dementors was chilling and gripping. You put so much realism into the encounter. All of Remus's worst memories being drug to the surface and used against him. And the crown jewel of the entire piece is that his last happy memory, the one that saves him, is the very thought that he's been trying to drive out of his mind. The reason he left and the genesis of the entire confrontation with Harry that started him down this dark path of confusion and doubt. That was the coup de grace of this chapter. It was truly inspired!
Your writing was fabulous in this. Everything flowed wonderfully and it was a very smooth, quick read. It didn't feel nearly as long as it was.
Constructive criticism? Not much, I'm afraid. The biggest concern I have at the moment is, after cramming so much into this amazing opening chapter, what's left for the rest of the story. But knowing you, I'm sure you have plenty in store!
Author's Response: Hi there yourself. I will admit though when I saw that you had picked this story to review, I was slightly mortified to tell you the truth. I wrote this when I was 15 and it was the first HP fan-fic I ever wrote, in fact it was the first story I ever wrote that was over 2,000 words. It's pretty dreadful and I know that, and the only reason it is recently updated is because my account was being reviewed for TA status and one of the chapters had too many direct quotes in it and I had to change that, hence the recent update... I sort of want to delete this, but I can never bring myself to do it because it was my first fic, because it's the story that gave me my pen-name and because it sort of shows me how far I've come in the 5 years since. I am sort of re-writing this whole fic in my new story "Door Into the Dark" which is much better (or so I think anyway).
All that said, I will admit I was pleasantly surprised at this review - 15 year old me would be very VERY happy with it! I'm glad you think I got into Lupin's head well. I don't know why I just always seemed to be able to do that with relative ease. I just understood him more than anyone else and it was just easy to see things from his pov. He's the character I can most relate to, not that I'm a werewolf or anything, just because I think we all grapple with inner demons and one point or another.
I'm glad you liked the Shrieking Shack, the setting just seemed to fit for me. It's been so long since I've actually read this fic that I don't even remember my rationale for choosing it!
I'm just glad you think I got the self-depreciation and self-loathing across, as well as his sense of confusion and doubt, because if I remember correctly the reason I wrote this fic was because Lupin is my favourite character and I was really angry with him for leaving Tonks, and other readers were just saying such awful things about him after this, that I just felt I had to justify his actions, to myself and to them. He's not bad and it's not that he got cold feet and no longer loved Tonks, it's far more complicated than that. He loves her, it's just 30-odd years of being told he's a monster who doesn't deserve to live have just caught up with him, you know? That and he's also scared of being happy, because every time in the past when he was happy, Death took that happiness anyway from him, now he just feels that if he is happy, something is wrong.
I'm glad you liked the ending with the Dementor, I thought it was slightly cliched with I went with it anyway because it just seemed to fit and make sense.
I'm fast running out of words before this response goes over the limit, so I just want to say thanks so much for sort of redeeming this story in my eyes a bit. I don't consider it as dreadful and cringe-worthy now as I did prior to reading your review. 15 year old me would be very proud of all the lovely things you've said. Thanks so much!