I was looking for something memorable to read and review for my 500th review and Jami was bragging hard on this story. So here I am, hoping very much that I don't log in to HPFF and a few days and discover that my 500th review has suddenly become my 496th because somebody deleted a story. That would look pretty silly. ;)
Right out of the gate you throw me a fun little twist. I have never once thought about what someone who grew up in a pure blood family would make of a weather forecast. It must seem an awful lot like the forecasters are gifted with the inner eye when you don't understand anything about barometric pressure, radar and weather stations.
I adored your version of Lily's family background. So many fics portray the Evans family as middle class, which never made sense in a lot of ways. The past you give her makes her close friendship with Severus more believable, and also adds to the contrast of her love for James. It lines up perfectly to Petunia's obsession with the trappings of middle-class, suburban life that we see in the books. I know it's an odd thing to be thinking about in this story, but I also like the parallels to Ginny's upbringing and her eventual marriage to Harry. All in all, it's a splendid idea supported very well by so many small details like the origin of the table.
Your physical descriptions of Lily are gripping, and really emphasize how completely smitten James is with her. All of the other details of the room seem to melt away from his point of view when she's around. It's perfectly done.
Oh my god! Do you and Jami get together and synchronize headcanon? (I mean, aside from the part where she thinks that pairing Snape and Lily is a very bad thing. ;) ) The idea that Sirius would be acting as "surrogate son" for the Potters so that James can have Christmas dinner with the Evanses sounds exactly like something she'd come up with for BTF. And it's a heart-warming thought, besides.
I know how much you love to pair Lily and Snape, and James's thoughts about his former rival were actually a great way for you to avoid what probably feels like a touchy subject. Knowing what an amazing thing he has in Lily, it's really easy to imagine James feeling a bit of pity for the angry boy who let his obsession with the Dark Lord's ideas cost him Lily's friendship. But the protective side of his feelings is what makes this perfect. He can't abide the thought of Severus being around Lily because he knows the company that Severus keeps and he knows their agenda. And he'll do absolutely anything to keep Lily safe.
He's even moved on just a bit from his single-minded loyalty to his friends. It's not that he doesn't care about them, he just cares about Lily so much more. I think it's a very realistic way to age his character, something that a lot of fics don't do. She is his reason for fighting in the war, and that's a beautiful sentiment to me.
Your writing in this was lovely. Everything flowed perfectly and James's inner monologue was broken up just enough by his interactions with Lily to give it a nice rhythm. This was really beautiful. You should write James and Lily together more often. (ducks before Amanda throws something at me...) ;)
Author's Response: Hi Dan! Thank you again for coming by!
I wanted to play with the lighter aspects of Lily and James, given that the background of this story (and indeed, the time period) is so dark. I did have fun imagining what a pure-blood would make of a meteorologist (imagine Arthur Weasley!) and talking about the Evanses humble household. I don't think Lily, with her kind, giving heart, could have grown up with a large measure of privilege.
You pinpointed it--I wrote this from James's point of view because it was least threatening to me to imagine him through the way he sees Lily. I can appreciate Lily, and it helped humanize him for me to imagine him doing the same. I'm so glad I wrote this story, because it made it much easier for me to write Jily in later work, like Post Scriptum. Shameless plug alert, but you should give that one a try if you want to see more awkward James and Lily fluffiness.
Hah, no, this one was penned before I even met Jami. But I agree that it would fit well in Before They Fall. Maybe that's part of why she recommended this fic to you? Haha.
I just felt like Severus shouldn't be left out. I don't know that James could forget about him, since he was a big part of Lily's life and the source of much James-Lily conflict initially. I wanted to use his feelings about Snape to show that he'd grown a bit in this piece. I like how you said that he can identify with Snape and yet feels the need to protect Lily from him, knowing what he now is. Very true.
My idea of James definitely cares a lot about his friends, but yeah, Lily wins out in the end. Strangely, I would think Severus would feel the same way, given a second chance.
Thank you so much for this lovely review :)