|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Here for the review swap! ^_^ I have to admit that I read this a couple of weeks ago, but never had enough time to sit down and properly review it until now. There's a lot in this chapter to discuss, especially with the way that you've reworked many of the Marauder-Era conventions (some could call them cliches if they wished :P) and found a new, exciting way to write about the girls in the Marauders' year. The writing is also fantastic, which only made this a more engaging story to read.
My review will primarily focus on characterization because that's what stood out most to me, and it also seems to be what you spent much of this chapter on. Most interesting is how the girls, while they obviously know each other well, aren't close friends, but instead have a more complicated relationship. It's wonderfully realistic to characterize them in this way, as people thrown together by their ages and magical skills - they are each their own person, independent and unique. I'd like to think that, if something went wrong, they'd stick together, but there's a note of cruelty or something otherwise dark lurking beneath the surface, especially with Florence. It's the kind of thing that makes a reader curious about a character and how you'll choose to develop her throughout the story.
Your version of Lily is very refreshing because she's more human, not idealized or perfect in any way - she's gangly and has her secrets, and even better, she's not universally liked! By her fellow Gryffindors! It's actually sad to admit that I've not seen such a thing in Marauder-era stories, even though it makes perfect sense when one takes canon into account. Being best friends with a Slytherin, particularly one like Severus Snape, would hurt Lily's reputation amongst her fellow Gryffindors, and while some may think her brave, others might see her as a traitor. (I think that this story takes place after Mary was bullied by Snape and Rosier, right? If so, even though Lily's breaking with Snape was very public, people might still be uncertain of her loyalties.) And somehow Lily has to deal with that, deal with Snape, deal with her sister, deal with her social position as a Mudblood... Although she's somewhat outside of this chapter, drifting in and out of the action, she still has a strong presence, and I'm curious about what role she'll play in this story as it develops.
And then there's Mary, who is another interesting character. She's so quiet and unassuming, but it gives her the opportunity to notice and feel more of what goes on around her - that level of perception makes her a perfect central character, especially in a period when so much is going on and when a story contains a larger cast. I like how you paint her in broad strokes - the way that she has to live up to high expectations as a McDonald, the way that she likes staying beneath the radar, that she likes consistency, that Hogwarts just feels like school to her. I love these kind of details because she emerges from the beginning as a fully-formed character. It's amazing to see how much work you've put into the characters of this story, both canon and original, giving them - and the Marauder-Era - new life.
There is nothing I can think of to critique with this chapter. It's a great way to begin your story and I look forward to seeing where you take this. Hopefully it gets more attention soon because it's definitely worth a read! :D
Author's Response: Hey Susan! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! It's always a pleasure!
Marauder tales can be quite overdone, tired, and predictable stories. I've always been interested in them though and love seeing new reincarnations. It is such a compliment to hear that this story of mine seems to be one to stands out. That's different than all the tired, age old Marauder stories. I didn't necessarily set out for it to be that way, I only set out to try and make the characters real.
It's rare that I come across a reviewer who gets me characters so perfectly. Rarer still to have them dissect them as well. It's really cool to see them from your eyes though. I'm glad that it makes sense to someone else as well that they'd be very different people. I think that they were more or less friends because of their proximity. (To me, it also depends on the house a little as well. I've always the Hufflepuff's to be a bit of a tighter group than the Gryffindor's for example.) This is something that continues to be explored as the story goes on, the friendships between them, the pressures that they face because of the war and if they stick together or fall apart.
Lily! Yes her. She's been interesting to think up and try and map out. There are so many versions of her but a lot of them focus on her perfection, her wonder, her kindness. As much as i'd like to believe there was a person who was like that (especially at 16!) I can't. Especially with, as you so adeptly pointed out, her history. Being friends with Snape, dealing with Petunia, being a mudblood. Why did she stay friends with Snape after Mulcibur did that to Mary? These are the things she has to face with the other girls. With the whole school really. She has to find where she belongs. I'd find it more believable too if a person grew into their namesake. If that makes sense. It seems more powerful if you see the growth of a character from being just a girl who's loyalty is questioned, whose considered less worthy to someone people remember as being a great woman and able to make a huge sacrifice like she did.
I'm also happy you can feel Mary in this. She's quiet, timid even and some people have pointed out that she seems flat or hard to get a grip on. Which may be true to an extent but I think quiet people in general seem like that to an outsider who doesn't know them yet. I'm really happy that you've grasped who she is though and it's nice to hear that she has a strong enough voice to carry the story on.
Characters to me are the most important part of the story. It's probably why I write at all. I think of my ideas mainly because of the characters in my head and i'll continue reading a story if the characters are good. It makes each story unique in their own way.
Thank you so much for your wonderful review!