Tagging you from Review Tag!
I have to say, I'm kind of amazed by this. I don't think there's any way that I could write a story that's so introspective and have it be this long yet this interesting. You were able to keep up a really gripping narrative flow and even with the length, nothing seemed superfluous or excessive. It was very nicely done.
It's horribly sad to read about an 8-year-old being uprooted from everything familiar because her parents feel like they have to do it in order to keep her safe. Less sad than if her parents had been killed by the Death Eaters or thrown into Azkaban, of course, but still sad. You picked out some really good details to bring the scene to life. One thing in particular made me wonder about who her father actually was. The fact that he knew how to cast the Dark Mark into the sky had me thinking that perhaps he was a Death Eater who switched sides. I guess the incantation wasn't a secret, but I'd never heard of anyone who wasn't a Death Eater using that spell. Then when you mentioned her mother's blood status at the end, well, that kind of blew that theory away.
I think it was Dumbledore who said that "fear of a name increases fear of a thing itself." You really took that idea and ran with it. You picked a really good way to set the fear in her mind. I think that the day that a child learns that their parents aren't invincible superheroes is always one of the hardest of their lives, and your main character had to learn that under especially horrific circumstances. Her reactions made perfect sense.
One of the saddest things about this story, at least for me, is that she never tries to talk to anyone about her fears and nightmares. I understand why she feels that she can't; you crafted that part of the narrative brilliantly. I can't help but imagine that things would have turned out differently for her, however. Her mind takes that fear and crafts it into a personal prison of sorts.
It was difficult to read some parts of her story. The fact that she allowed this thing, this crippling association with a name, to control the direction of her school years to such an extent was awful. You know what just occurred to me? I wonder what the Sorting Hat said to her? Did it simply put her into Ravenclaw without much thought, knowing what lived inside? Sorry, I'm taking your story in a completely irrelevant direction, but you sparked my imagination that much.
So she does the only thing that seems to make sense, at the time.
She gets it tattooed. -- So nothing about this story is really funny, per se, but that line still made me chuckle. I'm sure a lot of dubious decisions have been made on that basis.
The conclusion was actually quite brilliant. It reminds me of a story I read once where the survivor of a particularly heinous assault chose to purchase the building where she was assaulted, completely renovate it and ultimately decide to live there. Because it allowed her to take back control. It feels like your main character has finally achieved control of the name by making it a part of herself. That's a very powerful idea and I liked it.
There's really nothing I can recommend in the way of constructive criticism or pointing out typos. Excellent job!
Author's Response: Hiya!
Wow, thank you so much, I'm so glad you like it! Most of my stories tend to be quite introspective so I have quite a lot of practice in that area haha, but this does take it to a new extreme for me so I'm really glad you think it wasn't dull or excessive, and that it gripped you the whole way through! That's very flattering :P
Ooh, I like the idea of him being a Death Eater who switched sides. Maybe because his wife was a muggleborn and he'd been hiding that, but didn't want to risk anyone finding out? As you might be able to tell, I have kept her identity a secret from even myself, because I love hearing all these theories everyone's come up with! Truthfully, though, the identity of her and her family doesn't matter in a way, because she's quite symbolic. She's the collective extreme of every child who lived through the second wizarding war and ended up haunted by it.
I'm glad that you liked how she kept all these fears to herself. I think that after the initial childlike logic of not wanting her parents to know she was spying on them, it had very quickly become something so personal that she couldn't speak about it to anybody, so she really was stuck with that for the rest of her life. But, as it says in the story, that wasn't always a bad thing - having something constant in her life, even a fear, was a great comfort to her at times, because she was quite a troubled girl.
To be honest, I wasn't really sure where to sort her. I considered not mentioning her Hogwarts house at all, but she kind of seemed pulled to Ravenclaw, so I ended up putting it in. I think the sorting hat would have taken a long time to sort her - it would have thought about putting her in Gryffindor, for a while, because she'd braved this fear for so long, but in a way she wasn't really that brave about it all. I think she would have ended up in Ravenclaw because of her curiosity, the thing that got her into this whole mess in the first place, and because she was quiet and odd and wanted to be just a little bit out of the way.
Haha, I know for sure that when I got my tattoo that was pretty much all that was going through my mind! Just like, 'huh, well, why not'. I did think it would be a little funny to include that aspect of her decision ;)
'Taking back control' is the perfect way to summarise this ending. She's spent her whole life controlled by this single word and she just wants it to stop, but without losing the connection she has with it, which is the one thing that's kept her grounded through so many bad events in her life.
Thanks so much for this epic review! I'm really glad you liked the story, it means a lot :)