|Review:||nott theodore says:|
Hi Amanda! I'm here for review tag (although honestly I would have been here earlier if I could decide which of your stories I wanted to read first)!
This is written in a completely different style to Diamonds Into Coal, with a lot less description and much more succinct writing, but I felt like it really fit with this one-shot. I'm amazed by the fact that you managed to narrate Andromeda's whole life in just over a thousand words; but at the same time, it kind of highlights how insignificant she feels she is, that she's able to recount a lifetime in one short piece.
Your portrayal of Andromeda's character was so refreshing! She's one of the characters in canon who really interests me, and I've never read any story before which interprets her the way this does. Andromeda always comes across as a really strong character in the books - she left a pureblood family to marry a Muggle-born man, knowing that she'd be hated by them, after all - and yet you've explored a completely different side to her character here, and it's fascinating to read about.
Despite the fact that she's viewed so often as a strong woman - rather like Molly Weasley, although perhaps without the moment of greatness at the end - Andromeda clearly doesn't see herself as such. She's a sister, a wife, a mother and then a grandmother; they're all great things to be and yet Andromeda clearly thinks of herself as a mediocre character - forgettable. It was so interesting to see this piece about someone who hasn't done amazing things, who isn't powerful or notably brave or daring. Those sorts of characters are so often omitted from literature and I think it's great that you took the chance to write about Andromeda in this way.
The whole narrative was just filled with so much and I don't think it's possible for me to comment on it all. There was this current running through it that is difficult for me to put my finger on - it felt really bleak and even bitter at times. Andromeda's not a woman who ever did anything spectacular, and she was happy to stay on the sidelines and just be. It makes me sad that she doesn't seem to realise that what she did achieve in her lifetime was enough.
I loved the comparison between Andromeda and her sisters; the way that she filled a specific role, the mediator between her two tempestuous sisters. It fits exactly with my images of Bellatrix and Narcissa. Even at that point, she seems forgotten by her parents and uncared for by her sisters - other than as mediator - and it seems like that affected her throughout her life. She can never shake off the feeling that she's not worth much.
Of course, it then follows that once she did marry Ted she struggled to know what to do; her whole life had been spent filling a specific role, and without the world that she'd grown up in it feels like she's going to crumble away. We never find out if she had another friendship group who could support her through the split with her family, and in spite of the fact that she's chosen Ted - perhaps because he needs her and her family no longer do - Andromeda is still lonely. I like the fact that you skipped over the actual split from her family entirely - it seems so consistent with your characterisation of Andromeda here, especially as that must have been one of the most painful periods of her life.
Another element I really enjoyed was the fact that you managed to blend the emotions that most mothers seem to have once their children have flown the nest - the emptiness and a loss of purpose - with the fact that Andromeda's actually happy with fading into the background. She's never wanted to steal the limelight and she's perfectly content with what she has, not wanting anything more.
My only CC is a little Brit-pick - we tend to say 'nappies' rather than 'diapers' over here.
The ending line "Perhaps I have already done enough in this life to be remembered for it after all." was perfect. I kind of want to shake her and tell her that of course she's done enough to be remembered! But that last line made the one-shot really feel complete and yet the word 'perhaps' suggests that Andromeda's still unsure of her contribution.
There was so much that I loved in this Amanda! I know I'm rambling now and you're probably getting bored, but this was a really great piece of work. I can't wait to see what else you've written!
Author's Response: Hi Sian, thanks for stopping by! I apologize that I got behind on responding to reviews!
In my head, Andromeda is very strong and is perceived as being strong (I mean, she would have to be, considering all she's been through), and yet she wears her strength quietly. She's very different from Molly in that her presence can easily go unnoticed, and yet she and Molly probably have a lot in common when it comes to their values and skills. I'm happy to hear that you liked my downplaying (I guess that's an appropriate term) of her character and the focus on her "average-ness."
I think you're right that she could be a little bitter underneath her attitude of not needing to be considered great. She's definitely been a fish out of water in her marriage to Ted and allegiance with the Order, and I'm sure at times she wished she could have as "easy" a life as what her sisters achieved by making "decent" pureblood marriages.
I really see her as being quite lonely. Obviously Ted loved and cared for her, but I would anticipate that it would be difficult for her to make friends that weren't there just by virtue of her name and station in life. I'm sure she missed her sisters a lot, despite the differences in the ways they each saw the world.
In the end, though, I want to think that Andromeda was happy with her life and the choices she made. Hopefully she still feels that she contributed something important, even if it was composed of the small and routine tasks of everyday life. It makes me happy to see that you liked seeing her go that way.
Ah, well, I'm American, so I don't spend a lot of time trying to make my work sound British. If a particular word or phrase is known to me and it feels right, I'll insert it, but there's no real rhyme or reason to when I do that. Still, I appreciate you pointing it out to me :)
Thanks so much for your lovely review!