|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
When I saw that this story was about Bertha Jorkins in Albania, I was caught between anticipation over how you would end this story and the desire to read slowly, taking in Bertha's final moments of enjoyment. Those latter moments are beautifully written, her journey in the cable car - however perilous - described in incredible detail, making the landscape come to life from its sublime views to its unique inhabitants. You bring out the theme of travel perfectly in this story, particularly in the cable car trip, but also in the other subtle details, the things that Bertha observes in the hotel and village, as well as in the way she functions around her ignorance of the Albanian language. So many of the details you've included may seem banal, but they're so central to the life of the tourist, who is always discovering and rediscovering things - everything feels new and strange. I even loved the added touch of the incongruous name of the inn - it's exactly the kind of name that people use to attract British and American tourists, and I couldn't resist having a little chuckle when I saw it.
Apart from the travel aspects of this story, you also do an amazing job at characterizing Bertha. You subtly answer the question of "why Albania" by making travel her hobby. It said so much about her that she goes to all of these places, engaging with the Muggle world in a practised manner that one rarely sees in the magical world (except with Muggleborns and halfboods). Learning these things about Bertha only makes it harder to come to terms with her death - you make her a person who would be easy to get along with, someone who thinks of sharing her experiences with Arthur Weasley and who doesn't think twice about doing Muggle things. She does them for her own enjoyment without judging Muggles. No wonder Voldemort felt it necessary to murder her - Bertha's ideas are very forward, looking past the conflict to see a world where magic and Muggle can co-exist.
Wow, I think I'm reading too deeply into your story. My apologies. Needless to say, I very much like your characterization of Bertha. It was a pleasant surprise to see someone take this much care with a character who is only vaguely referenced in canon.
At first I wasn't sure why Peter would go to a place like the Sunset Inn, knowing full-well that he would be recognized - his picture must have been plastered all over the papers after his death - and then it hit me. He was waiting for a witch or wizard to appear, and the fact that Bertha is a Ministry official only makes it better. No wonder he's so pleased when he greets her. It blows any possibility of his having been an unwilling tool of Voldemort to pieces. You give him an interesting amount of agency - it's chilling and it fits because only someone this conniving could have so easily betrayed the other Marauders. His meeting with Bertha would have found him at a high point in his life, with finally someone relying completely on him, placing him in a position of power... there's a lot here, and Peter only appeared in a few paragraphs!
Every story I read from you is extraordinary, and this one is no exception. Amazing work!
Author's Response: Hello! Sorry that it has taken me so long to respond to this wonderful review, but every time I see it I'm amazed and can't work out how to respond - I hope that this is coherent!
I'm really pleased that the theme of travel did come through in this story, because I was worried that there wasn't quite enough. I had a lot of fun imagining Bertha's travels, though, and especially the cable car journey! The details like the language barrier do make travelling a lot more difficult, and I wanted to show that - I think everyone has experienced those sorts of difficulties at some point! I'm pleased that you picked up on the name of the inn as well - I wondered if people would! There was a bit of a symbolic meaning to it as well, but I think that might have been me adding too much to it :P
I can't tell you how pleased I am that you liked Bertha! She's a character that really grew on me as I wrote this story - I think that was part of the reason I ended it when I did, to give her one last happy day before her horrible death! One of the reasons I love writing about minor characters is because of how much I can explore with them, and since she's only briefly mentioned in canon I was able to almost create Bertha from scratch. I tried to give her character as much depth as possible, with hobbies and ideas. I'm so happy that you liked my characterisation of her!
Peter was a hard character for me to write, because I've seen him portrayed in so many different ways and I'm not sure if I even have a fixed opinion on him yet. But I don't really think that he could have persuaded Bertha to join him on 'a walk', knowing full well that Voldemort would kill her in the end, if he was completely unwilling. Realistically, he could have let Bertha leave and tell people if she wanted - he couldn't appear in public anyway, supposedly being dead. That's definitely the way that I chose to characterise him here, and I'm so happy that you could see so much in the few paragraphs he appeared in!
Thank you so much for this incredible review - every one I receive from you is so insightful and perceptive and they're a pleasure to read. This really made my day!