Amanda! I was so excited about getting paired together for this month's exchange!
Ginny will never be one of my favorite characters, but you've made me like her more than any author has before. The fact that you let her feel angry at harry, sad that he left her, made her into the girl dreaming of a future she may or may not have, all really helped create more of a person than most people are able.
I really can't stand with she's portrayed as constantly strong, constantly holding her chin up and ready to fight because Harry is there somewhere and Harry loves here. This girl was just left by her brother, her lover, and her best friend. No way can she be strong all the time, or not feel that terrible anger that they left her and now she's stuck trying not to get tortured in this castle prison.
You showed all of the emotions that anyone would realistically feel so insanely well. She isn't a bad person for being angry at Harry or weak for crying and missing him. She's a girl who's broken hearted and scared and I love that you have her a chance to be that person.
The fact that there was the constant underlining fear that someone may catch her was a super neat addition in this, because it just made everything feel that much more tense. I loved how strongly you made us feel her emotions, her claustrophobia in the castle was especially one of my favorites. She could barely move without someone's permission, and the need to break away from that was so real and felt so fitting.
Then when she wondered if she had actually ever enjoyed Hogwarts... I think that was one of the things that just made this story perfect. She's been through so much in such a short amount of time, half numb, half feeling everything too much. Barely being able to imagine a time when she loved the school was just so sad and realistic and gah. Loved it.
This was a really awesome first chapter. I noticed her and Hermione's are the exact same word count, and for some reason that made me super curious. haha! But I'm even more excited to see what you do with her, now!
Author's Response: Hi Jami! Wow, you are quick :) I was also excited about being paired with you and I'm going to head over and check out your first chapter ASAP (and hopefully do another one before the month is out).
I've never been a huge fan of Ginny either. I just felt like her relationship with Harry crept up on all of us and she wasn't prominent enough in the background for it to feel real. What I tried to do, then, was build in some of that vulnerability and emotion so that people could hopefully relate to her a little bit more. I'm very happy that it worked for you here!
I agree that you'd think Ginny would be in a more vulnerable place, even if she kept it hidden, considering all that she went through. I can't help but compare her to Sansa from GoT--she does have those moments where she cries and breaks down because her beloved family is in tatters and she's lonely. Ginny, too, was in a dangerous land and probably felt so alone and so frightened.
Hah, her chapter and Hermione's chapter were not meant to have the same word count. They don't on my word processor and yet the count there never matches the one on HPFF. Oh, well, it's a cute quirk, I suppose :)
Anyway, the reason I put this story up for the swap is because I'm hoping to start a new Ginny-centric story in the fall that will deal with a lot of darkness and emotion and I wanted to check on how I'd done so far with her characterization. Hermione will probably feature fairly prominently as well, so I'd love to hear what you think of that chapter, too. Thank you so much for this wonderful review!