Hi there, here from review tag to read your story! And wow, what a story! :)
It took me so long to choose a story from your page to read, but I'm so glad I settled on this one. I've never seen Moody explored so beautifully and carefully, and seeing him through Helen's eyes was such a unique yet perfect characterization. The family dynamic set up was so interesting yet heartbreaking- how the love between them was unequal, how much Alastor worshipped his father and how his mother tried to become a hero in his eyes as well. I thought it was oddly touching and realistic to how parents must hope for their children to feel about them. The scene with Moody at the end- how his parents would hardly have recognized him, was so impressive in grounding the story into the Moody we know. I love how you started the story with the Moody from the books, then developed Helen's voice and memories of him to give a whole new idea built upon the familiar image.
I thought it was so interesting how Moody seems to still see so much of his mother in himself, when he looks in the mirror at the end of the story. Also, I feel like he's the type of character who is so hard to read and understand his thoughts and emotions: he is all about duty and vigilance, not about being soft or emotional. I think you captured that really well here, leaving the decision of what Moody was thinking and his precise feelings for his mother up to the reader to decide, not offered up clearly like Helen's emotions were.
Helen could be a real person from how much depth you've given her. I loved the snapshots into the lives of both parents and their relationship, like their bantering and how he called her princess. The whole squib dynamic was a very interesting one as well, and how the father resents the son for having magic while Helen is the peacemaker trying to mediate and compensate between them. Alexander's gruffness also reminded me so much of Moody, and he seemed like such a dynamic and round character as well. The little details you put into this story and the reflections and memories were so strong in creating a world.
Thank you so much for writing this lovely, illuminating story, and for focusing on the underrated Alastor in such a thoughtful way. I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure the images of the little boy, the hardened father and Helen's voice will haunt me for a while yet. Brilliant! :)
Author's Response: Wow, thank you for choosing this story! It's one I really loved writing, so it means a lot to hear that readers also enjoyed it. I've never written a parent-child relationship quite like this before, nor a family dynamic this complex and realistic - it surprised me as I wrote and edited it because of the amount of feeling behind it. The Moody family became real, which is something I suppose every writer wants to achieve in some way.
I'm glad that you liked the structure of the story because that was a particularly challenging aspect of the story. To make it only from Helen's perspective distances one, not only from Moody - despite the intimate portrait one gets of him - but from canon, and that was too much of a risk. The story instead begins and ends with Moody and his letter, more effectively grounding the story as a whole in canon. But it also gives readers an image of Moody the adult, the Moody we know from the books - building on the familiar image adds to the sadness of this story. It's about parenting a child, creating a human being, and it often doesn't work the way one thinks it should and maybe one has no idea how to make it work - it's never perfect, and you never truly know what kind of person the child will become, no matter what you do, good or bad.
It's a great experience to write about an underrated or otherwise minor character because, not only does one have a lot more room to create a story, but one can also make them into something more - prove to people, in a way, why this character is important, even if they're often off-stage in canon. Thank you very much for your compliments! Your review is deserving of a much better response - it's fantastic that you liked this story and, even more so, that you found it haunting.