Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.
Wow, I loved this. It was equal parts beautiful and heart-breaking, with a very strong message of liberation at the end. It's hard to even imagine something as terrible as losing your mother at such a young age. Then to have your father blame you for her loss... I can't even imagine. Poor little Astoria is an angel, and not just in her own mind. The way that she sticks by her father and forgives him for all of the abuse he levels upon her is the kind of pure, innocent love that can only come from a child. It's tragic.
The use of storm imagery throughout the piece was a really nice touch, since it complimented several of the underlying themes: her mother's tragic death, her father's anger and Astoria's own growing inner conflict and anger. One storm was ending as the story began, one was present throughout the story and the last storm was building.
What a unique take on how Draco and Astoria's relationship came to be. I know you're a huge fan of this ship and you never fail to do something interesting with it. The image of Draco as this innocent, protective little boy who tries so hard to keep his friend safe isn't really so horribly at odds with the way that his character ends up. All of his bullying and bluster during the first five books could easily be a way that he compensates for the sense of powerlessness he feels from trying to save Astoria from her father and ultimately from herself. Wait, am I psychoanalyzing your writing again? Sorry about that, but sometimes thoughts come to me and I have to get them out.
Her Hogwarts years are covered very quickly, but in a way that makes perfect sense. She would obviously have a tremendous love for the school, since it gave her precious time away from her father that she didn't have to feel guilty about. He's such a monster by that point. I can imagine him threatening to pull her out of school unless she submits to his abuse. The war also gets a fairly light treatment, except in the way that you describe its effects on Draco. Clearly it hardened his resolve and showed him that there are far more frightening things in the world than Astoria's father.
The ending was a mad rush of revenge and redemption. Oh, that poor girl, trying until nearly the very end to save the monster that destroyed her childhood. Textbook Stockholm Syndrome, but no less sad because it has a name. So this is how Draco became her hero... his furious defense of her is so touching. It leaves me wondering whether he actually had anything to do with the Dark Lord or whether this was simply Draco's way of getting to him. Not that it really matters. He deserves it.
And I loved the way that they made the hated house burn. Such a poetic sense of justice! I felt such release and relief for both of them. For Astoria, the house was a prison. For Draco, it was a fortress, one that kept him from helping her. He must have crept up to the windows as a child, frightened for her as he listened to her father's shouts and the sounds of violence. No wonder they wanted it to burn to ashes.
Darling, you've outdone yourself. Honestly, I don't think I've ever heard the song this was based on, but I feel like I have a pretty good idea what it's all about now. You really translated your vision in a captivating way! Well done!
Author's Response: I really loved writing something where Astoria was so fragile, especially since it counteracts Chasing Ghosts so strongly. Except in both pieces she's very much the same, a girl constantly putting on a facade to try and hide her own scars. But still, in this I think she's just easy to love.
I really felt horrible for this little girl who lost her mother, and if that wasn't bad enough, her father completely took all of his pain and channeled it to hear. I've read a few different articles about fathers resenting their children for a short time if the mother dies in child birth, because at first - it's just this little infant that killed the love of their life. So I sort of took that idea and loaded it up with steroids for this ;).
Feel free to psychoanalyze away! I do think that Draco had a very difficult time not being able to help, like he tells her - he was put through hell that he didn't even choose, all to protect his family. And now he has to watch her let herself be trapped into this terrible world, and it's just too much for him.
But, I think that Draco also grows up a lot in this too. We know that Malfoy is a powerful name and he probably could have had her father run into some terrible accident, or the next DE target if he framed it right, but he chose to act with the law and (though you are completely right about Mr. Greengrass's involvement. It was very minimal but Draco managed to skew a bit of facts and plant some hard evidence) found a way to lock him up for good. Yay Draco!
Yes, exactly, there's no way Draco only knew what she told him. He's such a curious and I'm sure there were a few times where he walked up to the door to ask Astoria to play only to stop when he heard shouting and listen for a while...
You should listen to the song! Haha! It's actually quite a bit different, the storm in it is very literal and the girl leaves passed out on the couch when the tornado warnings come in. Though the song never tells if the tornado kills him or not..
Thank you so much for this wonderful review, Dan ♥. I wish I could review marked a few more times to make up for the ones you didn't receive ;(!