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Review:Athene Goodstrength says:
Hi Caoty! I donít know if you saw my blog post, but you got third place in my Strange Meeting Challenge. Well done! So Iím here with the first of two reviews for you. I donít know what it is about your writing, but I always have to read your stories over and over again before I can actually work out how I feel about them. Thank goodness you tend to keep them short ;) I love the way you are unafraid to take things and make them a bit twisted... and this story! Oh, this story is a twisty turny thing.

Honestly, when I first read it, I instinctively disliked it. Not because I didnít enjoy the writing; youíre a fantastic writer. But because I LOVE REMUS JOHN LUPIN. And yes, heís an utter tool (I can say Ďtoolí in a review, right?) in DH. But, to borrow a phrase from your Tonks, ĎLoving someone doesn't make you want less to grab their shoulders and shake them out of...[being an utter tool].í Iím glad I read and re-read this story though, because Iíve ended up loving it. Iím going to work through it in order of the notes I wrote whilst reading it, so forgive me if I jump around a bit.

I love the thoughts that are scrolling through Tonksís mind; Voldemort sitting in there next to the weather and an irritating song. And, of course, Remus. I know thatís exactly how my mind works, and when I become aware of it (usually at 3 am) itís awful, ha! But I really liked the juxtaposition of the mundane with war and love; it reminds us that life goes on... just because youíre fighting an evil wizard by night, doesnít mean you arenít also occupied by thoughts of your boyfriend, what you want for lunch, when will it stop raining?, I need to check my bank account.

The whole thing about Remus being only a physical presence is so sad - but itís sadder still that Tonks knows it. I almost want her to be living in happy ignorance of it all. But sheís too sharp for that. Your characterization of Tonks is brilliant. On the one hand, sheís quick and bright and energetic and diligent. On the other hand, this story made me ask some serious questions about her life as a Metamorphmagus. It seems so fun; but perhaps with an easily-shifting identity, oneís sense of sense gets a bit sketchy - and Tonksís sense of self-worth seems to have plummeted in turn.

The final paragraph of her section is *so* depressing. Maybe Iím just too much of a romantic, or I ship Remus and Tonks too hard, but... D:

Okay. THAT paragraph. The stream-of-consciousness/memory run-on sentence paragraph. (By the way I love stream-of-consciousness writing, and it really worked throughout this one-shot). In terms of the content, that paragraph was completely brilliant. In terms of reading said content, it nearly made my eyes fall out. I could see *great* lines, amazing characterization, tanatalizing glimpses of a wonderful history between Remus and Sirius (whose voice was clear and perfect ), but I just couldnít fully enjoy it, or focus on it properly, because my brain was hurting from trying to read it. I almost felt that you were doing that perfect characterization and intriguing backstory a disservice... but then I got over myself and remembered, itís your story and your own exploration of writing technique etc.

Wow. That ending! Itís heartbreakingly brilliant, and a perfect example of what I admire about your mind. Iím actually nervous about writing my story for your Dark/Horror challenge, because youíre a bit of a master at thinking of ways magic can be twisted! The ending is tragic. But also kind of beautiful. Tonks must love Remus so very much, and Remus - ugh, heís so damaged. At least there is some way in which he can love her. But also, this story makes me kind of glad that their days are numbered, because I wouldnít want them to live like that for years and years. Itíd be worse than a Dementorís Kiss.

Ugh... I know Remus has had a hard life, and the man he loved and wanted most is dead, but the fact is, in canon we see him committing some extremely selfish acts... which makes this story (that ENDING!) horribly, oddly believable.

Oh, you.

Author's Response: Hey!

I didn't see your blog post actually, and I've taken far too long to respond to this review, so I'm really sorry about that. So anyway, this was a complete surprise! Thank you so much!

I LOVE REMUS JOHN LUPIN too, but you can't really escape his toolness in DH, although the fandom continually finds new and novel ways to circumvent that. Which is why this thing even got written in the first place.
You took notes! Wow! I don't know if that's your standard approach to fic in general, but it makes me feel important, so thank you for mentioning that.

Some of my favourite parts of HP as a whole is when JKR mixes together all the normal stuff with the bigger questions and tensions that are building up, e.g., the whole of PoA, Christmas in HBP, Bill and Fleur's wedding. Writing Tonks' thoughts - her being in the thick of basically everything apart from the Hogwarts stuff around this time, and still keeping her hair pink and a sense of levity - is like that all the time. It's what I really like about her as a character; I couldn't have written Remus like that.

I've always thought of Tonks as pretty damn bright, 'cause she's an Auror (and the protegee of Moody, nonetheless!) in wartime, but she seems to get dumbed down a lot in fic because she's easygoing and falls for Remus pretty hard, I reckon. And the psychological side of being a Metamorphmagus - such fun! For me, that is.
Honestly, this fic is filled with things that I love about Tonks. I'm really, really glad (!) you liked her characterisation.

It is sad. I was half-tempted to turn this into an AU where she'd ditch Remus at the altar and run off with Fleur or Charlie or someone and have a happy, healthy romantic relationship somewhere on the Continent.

Yes, THAT paragraph. Well, the style doesn't work for many people; it either clicks with you or it doesn't, depending on how you're interpreting it. I think what I was trying to do was present the history of Remus and Sirius, as told by Remus Lupin's crazy crazy mind; it would lose that flavour if it were to be actually readable, in my opinion. I don't know. Thank you for having a go at it in any case; it's pretty intimidating-looking, ain't it?

The ending, the ending... I recently realised it's sometimes used as a comedy trope in some Remus/Sirius fics, but I delight in turning comedy into tragedy (or realism, as the case may be), so here it is. Dysfunctional fictional marriages are my favourite kind. :D

He is selfish. He is far more like Greyback than he would allow himself to believe, I think, by the end. (Ooh, my Romanticism sense is tingling.)

Anyway - thank you so much for your wonderful, wonderful review! Even if I did accidentally ruin Remus for you.


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