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Review:teh tarik says:
Hello there! teh tarik from the forums here with your requested review :)

So I'm quite at a loss at what to say. This is such a beautifully written but tragic piece, all the more heartbreaking because Molly's characterisation is pretty much spot-on. You've given us a perfect little snapshot of an elderly couple nearing the ends of their lives, fraught with all the troubles and heartache of old age. It's so terribly sad, knowing that these two have done so much across the years, raised so many children and grandchildren, fought in wars, even outlived their son...only to come to such a dreary end. Especially for Molly to witness Arthur losing a whole life time of memories and forgetting his loved ones...

As I mentioned earlier, you depict Molly's character wonderfully; from the first sentence I've already got a good sense of her as a character, from the things she notices e.g. Mrs. Skower's, which I assume is some sort of cleaning product. Despite all her sadness, she's sensible and pragmatic all the way through the story and her voice is so clear, especially with her thoughts: Now, one tragedy at a time, dear. Even when she's faced with such an overwhelming concept like mortality, she responds with the same characteristic level-headed manner, though with a lot less optimism. I think it's such an interesting idea, actually, to put such strong characters into situations beyond their control and show how they deal with things. It really really accentuates the frailty of the human condition. I like the way you shift between Molly doing household chores - cleaning the dishes, stripping the bedsheets etc. - and being lost in thought, thinking of happier times. It is so Molly, and it really highlights a certain age and fragility to her; she's no longer young and energetic, and that even simple chores are a lot more difficult. I love the part with the house elf, and how Molly sort of finds him annoying - I think she might also be slightly resentful of the fact that she actually needs help, and that she relies a lot more on Dumpy than she'll admit :)

As for the mood and emotions of the story, these change throughout the narrative, from the despair of the hospital scene, to the nostalgia for younger days and children to the dreariness of the now-empty house. The memories of the three pregnant women sharing secrets, and of Arthur and Molly dancing to Celestina Warbeck - these are such beautiful scenes, made even more effective by their brevity and simplicity in description. You've really managed to contrast the beauty and energy and joy of life and youth with the sorrow, heartache, and the gradual sense of loss of old age and imminent death. For some reason, I was really startled at the scene where Molly has fallen asleep at the kitchen table. It really tugged at my heartstrings, her slow loss of vigour. And I love love love the ending lines

The work is not yet finished, she realized, her heartbeat interrupted momentarily.

As they approached, she opened the door, prepared now to help him up the stairs.


You ended the story on a bittersweet note, and again your characterisation is outstanding, with Molly referring to her task of caring for an increasingly senile Arthur as "work". Yet there is so much affection between the two, and I'm pretty sure when he's smiling at her from the car that he was having a moment of lucidity, remembering everything about Molly and himself - maybe because of the experience of riding in a Muggle car. Also, I think you reinforced the title very well there, with the way her heartbeat is interrupted momentarily. It's a lovely moment, it's very very subtle, and your writing is so delicate at this point. really admire the beauty of the ending :) I'm going to be positive and interpret it as a moment of hope for both of them!

I would suggest that you look at some of the sentences, especially in the first part of the story. The very first sentence in particular is rather awkward; I would suggest perhaps breaking it up? It is the opening sentence after all, and you would have a smoother and stronger start to the story if the sentence structure were a little clearer :)

Well, I think that's about all for this review :) I know I've been a bit repetitive in some parts; hopefully that doesn't bother you too much :D I've enjoyed your story a lot. It's a wonderful and sensitive piece of writing :) Thanks for requesting!

-teh

Author's Response: Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by!

I've wanted to try my hand at Arthur/Molly for a long time, and while this isn't the approach I predicted I would take, I like the way it turned out. They're so important to Harry and the series as a whole, and it was intimidating to try to tackle them as a couple nearing the end of their lives. At the same time, I felt that I had a lot to work with, because the Burrow is chock full of memories--both good and bad. That's precisely why I think the idea of either Molly or Arthur losing those memories is so tragic.

I figured that Molly would find housework therapeutic in a weird way, because it's so routine for her. I tried to allude to that in this story because she uses the housework as a way of jogging her memory. Of course, this theme also comes back to haunt her a little, with the hospital reminding her of the smell of cleaning products and making her feel ill. I can imagine that it would be so hard for her to accept the idea of having a house elf--I wonder how long she ignored it or tried to put it outside before she finally started giving it things to do.

I wanted Molly's memories to just float through this piece as opposed to being separate scenes. Like with the housework, looking into different rooms reminds her of the activity that has taken place there at various points in her life. Time isn't necessarily chronological to her anymore in her old age. In her mind, her younger self dancing with her husband and her children and grandchildren can all co-exist together. I think her ideal version of the Burrow would have all of that contained within its walls.

I definitely meant for the end there to have a tone of hope, as you said. Molly views caring for her ailing husband as another chore, but one that she delights in, making it not quite unlike all the others. Working helps her cope. That smile between husband and wife is my way of suggesting that all is not lost here.

Yep, it's been suggested to me before that some of the sentences need work, particularly the opening line. I had trouble figuring out how to phrase it initially, and I'll go back and edit it once I figure out how it should sound. Thanks for the critique; I appreciate it :)

Thank you so much for your awesome review!

-Amanda


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