Hello! :) It seemed right that since you left me a beautiful review on my Plath inspired story, I should review yours as well. I'm really glad I read this, as I absolutely love how you characterized James and Lily, and the language and imagery here was amazing.
Lily is really lovely here. I always imagined her as being the type to follow the rules, and how she would have made sure it was alright with the professors for them to go out and observe the lights. Then there was the contrast with James, and how he assesses things in how far he can bend the rules until they snap. There was a lovely degree of symmetry in the story between Lily and James and how they are different, and this was represented really beautifully in the way they both seem to see the other in the northern lights, and slowly become aware of how the other must see them as well.
I really enjoyed the references to other characters and their lives at Hogwarts, and how although the story focuses on a brief scene there are hints and details which give a rich picture of what Hogwarts would be like for them. For example, the mentions of the map, and of James seeing Remus' face light up were great details, as was the idea of James changing himself, and Lily not wanting it to be for her sake. That little bit told so much about their past and how their relationship dynamic has developed to get to this point.
An amazing image in the story was how precious Lily and James are to each other, how James sees Lily as a sort of guiding light, not something to be possessed or won. I thought that was a really unique distinction and made me really appreciate your version of James for how dearly and purely he values Lily. When he has the moment of realization that Lily sees him in the sky, and how this gives him the sense of value and being loved i return, I thought it was not only a beautiful, romantic moment, but a move towards maturity.
You had some really powerful lines here, and I just wanted to point out a few (really I should be pasting most of the text here!):
It was impossible that she should be a full two-and-a-half inches shorter than him yet be capable of sprinting along mountain paths as nimble as a hinkypunk. I loved this line and how it showed that James thinks of things in magical terms, like comparing Lily to a hinkypunk. I loved how he compares and thinks of his body in terms of how it fits with Lily's as well, it shows how aware he is of her.
But they were worlds without her. Worlds with no Lily. This was a fantastic way of having James think about the sky and other worlds. I really loved the idea that for him, even a difficult and dangerous life is worth it if Lily is there with him. It reminded me of their deaths, and how they died protecting their family, and how despite this tragic end this phrase made me think ahead to their deaths and think that they wouldn't change a thing.
Until there was nothing, the only green a death's curse streaking through the night. Eerie foreshadowing which broke my heart a little. Another line which did this was the last one, and it made me have a bit of a lump in my throat thinking how they won't have enough time together, not even close. Stories like this, which paint their relationship as this romantic yet intrinsically real thing, make my heart hurt for them and for Harry who would never remember his parents and their love for him and each other.
There were so many other beautiful images, this piece itself was incredibly visual and vivid. As you may be able to tell, I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for writing it! :)
Author's Response: First of all, I do apologize for taking so long to respond to this review. It's an amazing review, and I've put off responding as I've tried to figure out what to say. It means a lot to receive such feedback from you - your own story for this challenge was phenomenal, and it was a wonderful surprise to see that you had reviewed back!
It's especially lovely to hear that you liked my characterization of both James and Lily. They're among the most difficult characters to write about because there are so many expectations heaped upon any author who attempts it. They have to fit one another, equals yet also opposites, and I'm glad that you caught that thing about how each deals with rules - Lily uses the space within them to her advantage while James constantly looks outside of them, forcing them to his will while Lily manipulates them more subtly. It's a very interesting play between their characters - your use of the word symmetry describes it perfectly.
You've picked up on another of my favourite elements of this story! Although this is only a snapshot, I still wanted to give a sense of the larger story, not only of their relationship, but of the Marauders, the war, and life at Hogwarts in general.
Wow, what you've said about the moment when James realizes that Lily sees him in the sky is fantastic. I hadn't thought about it in that way, but it perfectly fits that it also demonstrates his move toward maturity. He finally sees the world through someone else's eyes, but like you said, he realizes that Lily genuinely cares about him and wants him to be satisfied with himself.
It's wonderful that you enjoyed those lines and details about the story. There is a lot of eerie foreshadowing here - it just kept coming through as I wrote it, originating in the comparison between the colour of the northern lights and the killing curse. That colour is everywhere around them, even within Lily herself, a haunting reminder for readers of these characters' fates. It was supposed to be a fluffy story, yet that imagery wouldn't let it go. But it gives the story more meaning, showing how fleeting these moments are and how much both characters appreciate the moment. James may not kiss her, but that's not important - what is important is the connection they gain from it, and how it changes them both forever. From this moment, their fates are linked and there is no way for them to escape it.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! I really appreciate it!