|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Excellent work with this story so far! It's been some time since I read a Snape/OC, and I'm glad to find one that's so well-written. Writing about Snape is difficult at the best of times, but it's even more of a challenge in a post-Hogwarts context because there's a painful amount of difficult issues to deal with. It's great to see how you've navigated many of these issues within a single chapter.
I especially liked the court case, not only because it gave interesting insight into how the Ministry handled such cases in the aftermath of the war, but also because of the way it allowed for arguments from both sides. Gladys's side had its merits, and I don't think it was right of Shaklebolt to pass judgement on her like that - although she shouldn't be using Snape as the scapegoat, Snape did do some pretty awful things. At the very least, he's guilty for the death of Charity Burbage, and the role he played at Hogwarts was a difficult one, very ambiguous (because he was limited in how much he could help the Order's cause when under such close scrutiny by the Carrows). So I can see Gladys's side, and she voices opinions shared by many.
But it's interesting how the worst punishment for Snape was the thing that pardoned him. That was brilliantly done! If there's one thing Snape would despise it's pity. It was equally interesting how absent he was, how silent and passive, letting himself be picked u and taken to Hogwarts although he must not have wanted to be there again. Yet he really has nothing else he can do - it's his only home outside of Spinner's End (an even worse place for him to go to), and teaching is the only profession he's known. His attitude in these scenes perfectly suits the trauma he's experienced - almost dying, being thrown into Azkaban for a while, undergoing a trial with his most painful secret brought to light... I was waiting for the moment when he would snap and his temper be unleashed.
The scene at the end stood out because you give readers a look into Snape's mind and his emptiness. You reveal so much about him that was fascinating to read. That what he did for Harry was an obligation, that he was always someone else's man rather than his own, not even left with his own thoughts (or to have thoughts of his own). He doesn't see himself as a hero, as the person Harry has claimed him to be. And it's all of these things, piled high on his head, that cause him to lash out at Alara. It's not she herself that he dislikes, it's what she represents because of what she said in court - that he's trustworthy and not guilty. Snape wanted to be punished, and she stands for the group who wanted to exonerate him. It was actually great to see Snape being himself, angry and unpleasant, but at the same time, I like the developments you've given him - especially how he says "Hufflepuff" instead of "werewolf". He has learned, he can move forward (especially seeing that he's one of the staff who is marked, a social pariah, a representative of Hogwarts's new era - he can't escape the fact that he's on the same level as Brandon now).
I haven't said much about Alara yet, and I won't say too much until I read more of the chapters (which I'm looking forward to doing!). She comes on very strong in the first scene, and I immediately was taken by her - she's very much a Ravenclaw, her words heavily guided by reason, weighing the facts carefully before coming to her conclusion. For this reason, I was surprised that, in the final scene with Snape, she breaks so easily. Snape does call her a failure (which is very painful for a Ravenclaw) and explains why what she did heightened the "public fascination" with his memories, but her apologies seemed too profuse. That's why I'm curious to learn more about her, so that I can see whether there's something more to her that explains this.
One more point to make is that the scenes between the professors were excellent. I enjoyed hearing about the reconstruction of Hogwarts and the many considerations that had to be made in hiring new staff, putting the castle back together, and improving the general running of the school. Although Snape is back as Head of Slytherin, hopefully there can be less conflict between the houses, and if there's one person who can make this happen, it's McGonagall. Your portrayal of her so far is great - in fact, all of the canon characters are wonderfully portrayed.
Apologies for the long review and the length of time it took to write it, but I'm very pleased to have found this story. Hopefully others will discover your work soon because you're an excellent writer who deserves more recognition!
Author's Response: Thanks for the kind words! I guess I envision Snape as being completely broken. One of the things that drove this story into being is the fact that I feel that Snape's death is a bit of a cheat. I understand why JKR did it, but how you lose EVERYTHING you hold dear and rebuild your life after it is of interest to me, so I really needed to have him completely gutted and unable to even react anymore. I'm sure that there was some prisoner abuse, and given that he was wandless, completely unable to defend himself.
Alara is a bit of an enigma, to be sure. I envision her being something of a hatstall between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor, I eventually made her into a Ravenclaw simply because Snape would never let a Gryff get close enough to him to help him heal. But she needs that Gryffindor bravery to not only do the work during the war that she did, but also to stand up to him. Why she breaks down is really a bit more in the subtext and you won't find that out for several chapters, but what you can glean from it so far is that it had been a long day. Trial in the morning, stuck with a moody, dark former teacher all the ride back to Hogwarts, then having to admit her failure-- she's very Hermione-like in that respect, failure is not something she tolerates in herself. She was just as emotionally exhausted as he was, and they each reacted in their own way, her by beating herself up, him by berating others. It won't be the last time she overreacts to failure, she's a bit emotional when it comes to that. She has high expectations of herself and is very driven. But the war has also wounded her in ways that she doesn't realize yet.