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Review:patronus_charm says:
I’ve been meaning to read something of yours for a while, and I had a spare minute so I thought now seemed like a good time.

I really liked how you set it in The Tower, it added so much authenticity to the story. I never really thought much about where he was killed, but now it will always be in The Tower in my head canon. I also really liked how much detail you went into the executioner’s outfit. My Horrible History watching is finally being put into practise as I could visualise him perfectly.

Another note on the executioner, I never thought I would say it, but I felt sorry for him. He was so nervous, and I thought it was so sweet the way he had been practising on pumpkins. Even though he kills Nearly Headless Nick, I could tell that he did feel a bad about it, with him apologising. I think he should reconsider his job, as I’m sure you’re not meant to feel guilty over it!

I also really liked how you showed that executions were a show, and fun for the spectators in those times. Again, so many authors lack of historical context so it was great to find it here. The descriptions of the spectators were also effective in another way, as you felt that you were part of them and you were viewing this ‘show’ put on for you. I’ve never really seen that done before, but I really liked it.

You really captured Nearly Headless Nick’s pre-death thoughts really well. I think it was the way you made sure that he was contemplating death and wondering how people could be so calm about is what made it really effective. I always wondered how a Gryffindor could go from being brave, to hating the only certainty in your life, but I found you provided a great explanation for it.

The way you interspersed Nick’s thoughts with the number of incisions was really effective as he became more and more desperate, then almost calm when he realised he was a ghost. You managed to balance the blood and gore with keeping it sane really well too, and it created great imagery.

Overall this was a really great one-shot and it made me think what Nick would have been like in his last few days, so well done :D

-Kiana

Author's Response: Hi Kiana!

Head canon? I'm so flattered! I wasn't sure how many people would pick up on that reference but I thought it seemed quite a fitting place for the whole event. I'm really glad you could visualise it all as well - it's always good to put your Horrible History in use!

I definitely think the executioner should reconsider his job! Before I wrote this, the executioner was just a faceless figure but when I actually started typing, this character came to mind that just insisted on being written. I'm really happy you felt sorry for him - I can't imagine anyone would cope well with such an horrific experience on their first job!

I couldn't not include the crowd, because to me they're such an important aspect of the time. It's always been unfathomable to me that people considered an execution to be entertainment, but that's what it was, and that was an unavoidable part of the story. They definitely made everything much harder to bear for poor Nick though!

Ever since I read the books I've wondered about what drove Nick to remain as a ghost when he was so proud of his Gryffindor courage. Death is the only certainty, but I think it's also one of the most natural fears that people have in life. I felt like the blood and gore was a necessary part of it (after all, an execution isn't going to be pretty) but I was wary about finding a balance with the story and Nick's thoughts, so I'm pleased you thought I managed it.

Thanks for such a great review!

Sian :)


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