|Review:||Roots in Water says:|
It's Roots in Water here with your (very much delayed) review!
I think that this is the first piece of yours that I've read that's written in first person... And though it's different from your other works, it's just as good. Moreover, I think that the first person style really helped with the portrayal of James' character in this piece. It allowed you to explore and expand upon his thoughts in a manner impossible in third person, and this exploration was crucial in the first part of the story. James' confusion, his attempt to figure out what he was missing, why he was in the white blankness... it worked beautifully with the first person style.
James himself was really well characterized. I really liked the lightness of the beginning section, before he remembered why he was there. Not only did it do a great job of lightening the tone of the story but it also really allowed the more famous side of James' character to shine through. The path of the pranking war was great!
And then when James realized what had happened to him... His denial and path towards acceptance of what had happened, mixed in with thoughts about Lily and Harry, was heart-wrenching. The depth of his love for his family was painfully obvious and when he thought about bargains for being able to hold Harry again.
Furthermore, I really liked how he didn't immediately accept that Peter had betrayed them, for obviously the possibility of betrayal from him wouldn't have surfaced at all in his mind if he had decided to trust him with their secret. As well, his thoughts about Sirius were also really well done. His immediate realization of the repercussions of their deception on Sirius, as well as the accounting of why Dumbledore wouldn't have known that Sirius was not the Secret Keeper, were great additions to the story.
I think that one of the things I most enjoyed about this story was how you included small pieces of their ordinary day-to-day life in it. They grounded the piece but, more than that, they added life to James' relationships. His life, though dramatic, was also composed of the ordinary and that was the part that would have gotten him through the war. I loved how you showed this .
I noticed one thing as I was reading through. With these sentences "You know they're dead, though. They're dead because you couldn't keep them safe" you shifted to second person. I didn't know if you'd done this on purpose, to show James' mental distress at this point, but I thought I'd point it out just in case.
Finally, I'm really curious to know what Lily believes that they're waiting for. I can't think of an instance in the books that would have required them to be in an area separate from the main realm of Death... Not the Mirror of Erised, nor the moment with the connection between the phoenix wands... Nor with the Resurection stone (unless I'm going about this totally wrong).
All in all, I think that you did a great job with your portrayal of their moments immediately after death. I'm really glad that Lily realized that Harry was still alive- at least that took some of their worry from their shoulders. Thanks for requesting a review and I'm sorry that it was so late!
Author's Response: Hi, Roots!
This is the second story I've written in first person, the other being Surrender to the Night. It's an interesting thing to do. When it works well, it's really rewarding. When it doesn't... ick! Also, you wind up having to backtrack and rewrite passages pretty often because you forget and fade into a different voice. I'm glad you thought it worked well for this story, because I felt the same way. It was really important to get inside James's head and really let the reader roll with the punches, so to speak.
I'm really happy that you thought I wrote James well. After beta reading quite a few chapters for Jami as she writes Before They Fall, I like to think I have some idea of what makes the guy tick, but it's good to hear it from somebody else. It wasn't really fun to write the immediate aftermath of his realization, but necessary.
I'm with you on this one: I thing that being betrayed by Peter would have been the furthest thing from James's mind. Peter is such a follower and James and Sirius did so much for him over the years that I highly doubt James even considered the possibility before Lily whipped out Occam's Razor on him.
I think that one of the most important things to keep sight of in any good James/Lily story is that they weren't the saintly, almost super-human people that they're often made out to be. They were a pair of 21-year-olds with a one-year-old son living under incredibly trying circumstances. They were human, with all the flaws and shortcomings that go along with that condition. Grounding their lives in simple, sometimes mundane details helps to reinforce that.
In that line you pointed out, I had it in my head that James was addressing himself inside his own head. I can see how it sounds out of place, though. I'll take another look at it in context.
I don't know that Lily has any idea what they're waiting for, only that it involves Harry and he's going to need them. Call it mother's intuition. Anyway, I think this sort of purgatory they've existing in is symbolic of the fact that they have unfinished business in the world of the living before they can truly let go.
I'm really, really happy that you liked it and thought it was good. And please don't ever worry about the timing of your reviews! You do so much for the other authors on HPFF, we're all thankful for whatever time you're able to make. Thanks so much for all of your awesome reviews!