Hi hi! Renny here with your review exchange, finally :) Well first off, I'm very interested in this story since I've never read a Founders fic before. Not quite sure how that happened, but there you are. I also always found the story of Helena Ravenclaw and the Bloody Baron to be horribly romantic in a, well, horrible sort of way, so it will be interesting to see how you handle your own take on it.
Right away I had a pleasant surprise since you don't delve right into Medieval Hogwarts. I really like how you start us out in familiar territory with modern-day Hogwarts and the Mirror of Erised. You also immediately answered a question that had sprung to mind, picky old me wondering if the inscription on the mirror wouldn't have had slightly different spelling if it was from the year 1000 or before.
You start this story out on such a melancholy note. It seems like it's going to be one of those stories that's equally romantic and depressing at the same time since we obviously know their love had a very violent ending. The idea of the Baron torturing himself for possibly hundreds of years in front of the mirror is just heartbreaking. Can a ghost be driven mad, I wonder? If anything, I'd say he's certainly paid enough of a price for his crimes by now.
Only a couple of things hung me up momentarily as I was reading this first chapter. First, how you mentioned his "dark brown eyes" when he's a transparent, silvery ghost. I'm figuring that he's simply remembering himself as he was? Also when he is viewing himself in his military coat I feel thrown off. I'm in no way an expert in military history, but the idea that they'd be using terms like second lieutenant in the Middle Ages seems off somehow to me. I also can't picture them having official medals yet to be decorated with in this time period. Again I could be totally wrong with my history, but the way you describe him is bringing to mind a character more from the eighteenth or nineteenth century to me than the tenth. Not to be cliche, but a hauberk and tabard might have seemed more fitting, or simply robes or a tunic. Just thought I'd mention my own personal impressions of that one part. You wrote Helena's description so beautifully and so fitting so the time period that the Baron's was just a little jarring for a second before I fell back into the vision you're creating. Of course, the awesome thing about fan fiction, and the Founder era in particular since there's so little written in canon about it, is that you can do whatever you want! You can totally counter with, "Yeah, well, I imagine the wizard military was organized much earlier than the Muggle one, which later adopted the wizarding ranks and medals for their own use." That's half the fun of writing a different era. You get to make up your own rules!
Hmmm, I'm wondering who his uncle is? The "S" and the fact that it's a Founders fic combined with the Baron's post as resident Slytherin ghost is making me think old Salazar, but I guess I'll have to keep reading to see if I'm right ;)
The way you described the Bloody Baron in this opening chapter kind of makes me think of Snape (cause I'm not at all obsessed and in no way does anything ever make me always think of Snape. I swear.) Just the idea of this man who from usual outwards appearances through Harry's eyes in the books is cold, stoic, basically completely silent and scary who on the inside was harboring a secret, seemingly unrequited passion for a woman he was never able to have. Of course I don't know the exact story between your two main characters yet, so maybe the love wasn't completely unrequited, but it still sort of reminds me of Snape in a way. You're already eliciting a very sympathetic response from me with regards to the Baron. I guess I should dislike him since he was kind of a murderer and all, but the way you're writing him it makes me wonder instead what Helena could have possibly done to drive him to it?
Well, very interesting first chapter! I'm going to continue on to the second one now to see where you're headed with this.
Author's Response: Hi Renny! Thanks for the exchange!
I'm pleased that you like the strange way I chose to begin this story. I couldn't think of a better way to show just how miserable the Baron is than to have him gazing endlessly, mournfully into the cruel Mirror of Erised. I have no idea if the writing would have been different, but I stuck with the inscription from canon because... well, because I like canon :) It's great that you found that choice relatable era-wise and that you were intrigued by it.
Ooh, good catch with the eyes. I guess that is a little weird, but yeah, I figured he would still think of himself as he once was, especially since being a ghost gives him such despair. As to the jacket, I'll admit that I didn't do as much heavy research with that, and I wanted to tie in the banner (with my relentless OUAT feels) and a theme of jackets that will show up time and again throughout the story. Hopefully it didn't throw you off too much, and I'm glad you liked what I did with Helena.
I won't give anything away :D Keep reading!
You know, he's a little like Snape, but I think of him as being yet a bit more tragic, in a way. Without giving too much away, I'll say that the Baron will get enough of a taste of what it would be like to be with Helena that I would imagine his loss of her being doubly painful, even compared to the heartache that Snape experienced by not having Lily. If you feel sympathetic towards the Baron, I'll consider that a win, because that's what I want people to feel. Everyone always has so much pity for Helena, but we don't really know what happened. I hope to stir up some of that conflict with the story from here on out.
Thanks for this lovely review :)