Ah Iím finally here and itís so exciting! Iím going to read it in reverse chronological order, as I assume thatís your preferred way if you put it on here like that, and I think it will be more fun as Iíve never read a story like that before.
I loved this line ĎHer story is well-known, to a degree, but there are always secrets, even in the lives of the beloved and the virtuous.í I think it shows perfectly what issues Iíve had with all of the Jilly stories and how I always felt something was missing, which is odd to think considering theyíre meant to be my OTPÖ
I really liked how you showed that there were faults in their relationship and it was far from the perfect one we all too often see. I think it was the part when she referenced her husbandís eyes, because the word husband suggests a certain level of distance and perhaps even contempt for him. Then her measured movements about who did the washing seemed strange for a married couple, as you would assume that they would be more at ease, so the only justification is that theyíve just had an argument.
Wow you really caught Lilyís internal conflict really well. I would like to assume that, as you said, she still felt some level of love towards Snape and that she was unsure about how she felt about him, but I didnít anticipate the change in her relationship with James. It was really refreshing to show that she almost doubted her love for him, and that perhaps she had made a mistake. The way you portrayed her confusion here almost implies that she chose James because he was the good one, the one she was meant to love, not the forbidden fruit Snape is seen as.
Lilyís characterisation was simply brilliant and you really delved into the complexities I always imagined there to be. I think it was the fact that you got rid of this idea that Lily is this incredibly selfless person and someone who has no faults and made her a real person. Eek I canít even formulate anything to describe how great it was as nothing really describes it other than saying she appeared real to me and I rarely see that done.
Ok I attempted to come up with a reason as to why I loved her characterisation here and I think it was due to you giving her traits that we so rarely see her with such as a certain level of naivety when she defends Snapeís honour despite being called a mudblood, and then a level of selfishness too by her somewhat willing abusing Jamesí trust by being in love with someone else but marrying him. She wasnít too changed to feel like completely as you still kept some of her original traits which perfected it.
Yet again your writing has blown me away. Iím still sitting here in awe of it. The structure was really unique and complimented the idea of the story perfectly. Iím glad I read it in reverse order as I donít think I would have felt such an impact if it was the other way. I will be definitely checking out the other Lily one-shot!
Author's Response: Wow! It's fantastic to see you reviewing this story! It's one that I know that, if I wrote it again, I'd make some changes to tighten the storyline and deepen Lily's characterization, but at the same time, I'm still kind of proud of how the story turned out. It was a significant undertaking, and I learned a lot of writing it. :)
It does make more sense when read in reverse chronology. It's important for readers to first see where Lily ends up - at this point, she's most sympathetic. Perhaps it is her lowest point, but it's also a place from where she can only go forward - she's realized where her life went wrong and she's prepared to do something about it. Starting here also makes the end more disturbing because we find a Lily who isn't recognizable, a Lily with rather too many similarities to Snape. On the whole it's a risky interpretation of Lily's character, but it's not too far from canon - it only shows the darker side that others did not see (or did not want to see).
There are problems with the Lily/James ship that are easily overlooked, both in canon and fanon. It's important to not forget that JKR gives all of her characters positive and negative sides - James was a bully in his youth, and in this story I've tried to explore Lily's negative side and the internal conflict that haunts her. Perhaps Sirius was too quick to assert that Lily didn't hate James (well, he did leave out the important fact that Lily was friends with Snape - Harry hears a lot of things that he discovers are only half-truths). By making Lily doubt her love for James (note that she doubts herself, not him - it's an interesting difference), I also wanted to point to the question of did they marry too young and for the wrong reasons? It wouldn't surprise me if Lily (or James) wondered if they'd done the right thing, especially once Lily becomes pregnant and they learn the prophecy - it would be a huge amount for a couple their age to handle. Lily here is a confused teenage girl, stigmatized by the magical world, suddenly abused in public by her best friend, who ends up marrying that friend's tormentor. I'm surprised that more people don't question that narrative.
*blushes* Ooh, thank you for the compliment! I'm so glad to hear that this characterization of Lily worked. Although I may have ended up making her too dark in character, I did enjoy being able to add more psychological complexity to her, taking that image of the "incredibly selfless person" and giving it more weight, filling out the rest. It means a lot to hear these things from you, Kiana! ^_^