|Review:||nott theodore says:|
Hi, I'm here with your requested review!
Your descriptions at the beginning of this chapter were really beautiful. There's an almost lyrical quality to your writing sometimes, and when it comes to those descriptions I can picture them in my mind's eye really clearly. I liked how you juxtaposed the serene calm in the imagery and scenery with the horrible facts about the war that were appearing in this chapter, it's really effective.
As far as the interactions between Florence and Mafalda are concerned, I think they do seem realistic. They're two different people and that comes across in their different reactions to situations, but to me that makes perfect sense. Generally I think the conversations seem to flow well and seem authentic and natural; the only suggestion I'd have is use a few more contractions in the speech so that it reads a bit more naturally. Other than that, the conversations are ones I can hear in my head and don't sound out of place for their age or situation.
I really like James's characterisation in this story, actually. It's refreshing to see him from this perspective actually - an old female friend, rather than someone who's considering him or one of his friends as a love interest. I think that gives us a much clearer view of his character, and it's interesting to couple that with the fact that Mary and James used to play together as children, so they've known each other for a long time. It's also nice to see him as a character who isn't obsessed by one thing, and who isn't so loud and outgoing necessarily as other versions I've read. I liked the subtle hint you included about him and Lily, but I feel like you're giving us a chance to like James for James rather than other reasons. It was nice to see his humour shining through here.
There were a couple of typos that I found and I'll just point out:
"Mary caught herself starring at the cracks" - I think you mean 'staring'
"seemed to indicate though that it things wasn't ended as she said" - I wasn't quite sure what you were trying to say here, but I think you might have an extra word or two!
"there was a cordially there" - cordiality
"we were passed all" - past
I know you're worried about the pacing of the story but I don't really think it's a major problem. With Mary as the main character I think it's natural for things to be paced slower than normal. If you wanted to, I think you could include a few more events to move the story along a little, but the pacing does suit Mary's reflective, quiet nature. There are still hints about things that have happened in the past and things which may happen in the future that are enough to keep me interested in the story.
As far as the backdrop of the war is concerned, I think you're doing quite a good job. Mary and James both seem so used to the idea that their conversations about the news are almost blase at times, which I think is actually something that happens in situations like this - people get so used to something they almost seem immune to the effects. I liked the fact that you showed Lily's reaction and her almost blind optimism, because I can't imagine that will be something she manages to keep in place for long, with the role she takes in the war outside. It might be nice to see a few more reactions to the war when events like this happen - younger children scared about it, etc. - but at the same time I think Hogwarts is a bit like a bubble for them and they're only touched by what's happening outside if it directly affects their family.
Mary definitely seems to be remaining consistent to her characterisation thus far in the story. It's really a nice change to read a story from the perspective of someone who's so quiet and reflective. There's definitely some things that we have to find out about Mary and I'm curious to know what they are. I'm wondering if the fact that the Slytherins are targeting her stems purely from what happened last year, or if there's something else as well, especially since Mary's a pureblood...
I want to compliment you for your characterisation of Lily in this story. I genuinely think it's the most original characterisation I've read of her in any Marauders story, and though these girls don't really seem jealous of her, it's interesting to see things from their perspective.
I hope this review was helpful, and feel free to re-request!
Author's Response: Hey Sian! Thank you so much for this brilliant review!
I really enjoy writing Mafalda and Florence, but they are so different and I just hope that they don't seem fake or just characters on a page. I want them to have a realness to them. I'll change eh contractions. I spent way too much time last semester writing essay's apparently. I'm glad you felt that M&F seem realistic together and as characters. Florence has always been really awesome to write because she can be funny and fun but she will always see the worst in everything and is a bit of a complainer. Whereas Mafalda is quite different from that. There personalities are constantly clashing it seems.
James! Gosh, i'm glad you like him. He's almost as difficult as Lily is for me. There are so many versions of him and so many preconceived ideas of who he was that it's just a bit overwhelming to write him. I too really like the fact that we're seeing him interact differently than most stories. I think most people act a bit differently with the different people they're with. I think it makes sense that James isn't so flamboyant or loud with Mary because she's anything but that. Also, there are different sides to a person and I can imagine that someone isn't going to always be a bully or always be outgoing, funny etc in every moment of their life. Mary knows him and I think that also helps because he doesn't have to put anything on for her. He doesn't have to be anything but himself.
Okay, well, if you think the pacing is going fine then i'm going to leave it. It does start to pick up, but it's so slow and it picks up by hints and small steps. I think i really like focusing on the ordinary sort of lives of people which doesn't always make the most exciting of stories, but I see what you're saying and agree with you that it fits with Mary's perspective. You can't expect it to be too fast paced when the main character is so quiet. That makes me feel better anyway. :)
The war is always an issue and I want to make sure that it is in their lives and I get what you're saying about bringing it out with the wider population of Hogwarts. I think i'll edit that in somehow and continue with that as the story is about all Hogwarts and not just these few characters. Lily's optimism won't last forever, obviously, not with who she becomes later on anyway. Right now though while she's still tucked away in school she's still selfish and optimistic about how great magic and people are at their core. She's been really fun to explore and create. I want her to have elements of being a good person because she has that ability, but she's always seemed so Mary-Sue and perfect to me in a chunk of stories so I've really just wanted to explore her in some way. I'm really pleased you feel like she seems real and that you like how different she seems! Sometimes i expect people to throw apples at me for making her less than perfect!
I like how you're questioning whether it's just from last year or what other elements might come into play. A lot stems from last year, but it also stems from the fact that her family is pureblood, but they don't take stance in the war against muggleborns. Sort of like a blood traitor, but not to the extent of Sirius. The MacDonalds are the sorts that would probably stand by and let Voldemort take over, but they wouldn't agree with it. If pushed hard enough, they would take a stand against Voldemort though. If someone they loved was being threaten or something. The Slytherins see it as betray though, if you're not fully in it than your against it even though you may not be actively fighting against Voldemort. That's part of it. Other parts of it will come up as the story goes on, and as it becomes clearer what happened last year. I can't say much more than that without giving it all away!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful review!!