|Review:||nott theodore says:|
Hi! I've been looking forward to reading this since you mentioned some of your ideas for writing it, and it doesn't disappoint!
I absolutely love the way that you've incorporated so many moments of Alice and Frank's life together, as though you're taking the reader on the journey with Alice as she remembers what happened in the past. The moments were so well chosen, and really fitted with their characters; their wedding was probably my favourite part, because it really highlighted how much the war affected their lives - it defined them, really.
It was only about halfway through reading this that I realised that the Alice narrating this is the woman we see in the hospital, tortured into insanity. It's absolutely heart-breaking.
Your characterisation of Alice (M'alice) here was so interesting. Since we know so little about her (and you know minor characters are my favourite!) you can write her any way you want to, and really explore her character. I love the allusions to Alice in Wonderland that I picked up on before seeing your AN, and her character actually reminded me of Luna as well. I can definitely imagine that sort of person being picked on in school, but it was really interesting that whereas Luna didn't let it get to her, Alice was quite upset by it. All understandable, of course, but I also thought that meant you could see real character development through the story.
Even though this was a one-shot, you managed to add real depth to Alice's character. The way that she was scared and wanted to run away was really believable, because you get the sense that it was more to protect Neville than for any other reason. Of course, being a Gryffindor or being in the Order doesn't make you immune to fear, either - with a war like that going on, it's only a natural reaction.
I could see elements of Alice's character that had been passed down to Neville as well; the way that he seemed a soft touch and people picked on him, but he found courage when it was needed. I loved the line about how his Grandma was frustrated at not seeing more of Frank in him, and there being nobody to love the Alice part. It was really moving, and now I think about it, quite true. Neville's fate is just as tragic as Harry's, because even though Harry had no parents to love him, Neville had parents who couldn't love him - or couldn't show that love - because of the torture they endured. I thought you communicated that really well here.
In fact, the characterisation of all the characters was brilliant. Even those you mentioned just briefly, like Lily Potter (I love the idea of her being their Secret Keeper, by the way!) just seem real. I've never before seen Marlene McKinnon portrayed this way, so it was really original and intriguing to read. There's a danger in FF of making all the Order completely good characters, but I think to Alice Marlene represents something worse than the Death Eaters or Voldemort.
And the contrasts! The imagined life for Neville, and the way that they planned out how happy his future would be, which is so far from the way his life actually turned out. Then there's also the way that Alice talks about Frank, and his eyes seeing or knowing everything, yet at the end they do neither. I love the way the 'Eyes of Glass' links in with Frank and the brief flash of the stained glass window in the church. I think the juxtaposition just emphasises how heart-breaking their fate really is.
Your descriptions were lovely here as well. This line: "One glass man's eyes seemed to shine green from where Alice could meet his gleaming gaze beneath a halo of stars: perhaps he was the Saviour himself." It's beautiful!
I have a few nit-picky bits of CC for you. To me, the sentence starting "Alice's odd collection..." is a little bit too long and convoluted; it might read a bit better if it was broken up. I also think that Neville was eight rather than six when he showed his first signs of magic.
I've got a few typos and Brit-picks too (I'm sorry, I can't help myself!):
"hoped there would be some Ma'lice in him" -- you use M'alice the rest of the time
"For Alice knew tht Neville would grow up" -- that
"soda cans" -- we'd probably say 'drinks cans'
"diapers" -- nappies
I can't praise you enough for this. Seriously, I could ramble on all day about it and pick out every single aspect, because it feels like every word you used meant something and added to the story. I'm not even letting myself read through it again properly, because I'd probably end up crying. Beautiful!
Author's Response: Hello my dear!
I'm so excited that you liked the story and it lived up to your expectations! :D I had such an amazing time writing it and creating this vision of Alice, and knowing that you liked the final product really means a lot to me!
I'm glad you enjoyed both Alice and M'alice. Luna did inspire me a bit when writing her! And you're right, while Luna doesn't care about what people think, "M'alice" does care and it grates at her. I wanted to contrast that with the Alice at the end, who can't quite figure out that she's still different from everyone else, and is a different sort of "mad."
I'm glad you thought she was brave despite running away. Gryffies get a reputation of being reckless and fearless, but Alice isn't like that: she's brave in her own unique way, similarly to Neville. :) And for her, the most important thing was to protect her baby.
I'm happy you liked Marlene's personality as well. Of course, she's been through a lot, but Alice both fears what happened to Marlene happening to her, and the idea that Marlene might somehow take Frank and Neville, and therefore Alice's happiness, away from her. Which seems silly considering the love the Longbottoms have, but Alice is insecure and Marlene is desperate.
I'm really excited you like the contrasts and the symbolism of the story because that was one of my favourite parts of writing it! I was trying to think of a title, and all the talk about mirrors and inner selves and Frank's eyes got me thinking, and then the stained glass bit jumped into my mind, because what else do we see in churches, right? :P (that was essentially my thought process). I'm not sure if you saw it this way, but I wanted to hint at the "Saviour" in the stained glass being a sort of allusion to Harry, since he has green eyes, and can be interpreted as a Christ figure, and he saves the wizarding world but doesn't save Alice, fitting in with her "adament atheism." Though maybe those references were too obscure! :P
I will get right on fixing those mistakes, thank you! :) Seriously, what would I do without you to Brit-pick for me?! :D
Thank you so much for this really amazing and thoughtful review, it was absolutely wonderful to recieve!!! :)