|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
This is an amazing story, not to mention an amazing idea for a story. The whole notion that Voldemort's name held so much power, even after his death, is a fascinating aspect of wizarding history and culture, and I love how you've constructed a story around it. His name succeeded where he did not, becoming immortal, striking fear into a person's soul, and in this case, corrupting that soul with nightmares until it owns her. There's a culture of fear around Voldemort's name and around him within the magical community, which is something that I've never seen explored with such depth. It's a psychologically complicated story about what it means to fear something and the isolation that comes with it. It's the kind of story that leaves one thinking and unable to stop thinking about it - it strikes that deeply.
For instance, the name is essentially meaningless to the girl for a long time, and it's that very meaningless that haunts her. And in the end, she has to strip the word of meaning - of the meanings she's given it in her nightmares, from half-heard whispers and sugar-coated versions of the truth. Voldemort has to be meaningless again for her to stop fearing it. And what's really interesting is that she has to conquer the name in order to conquer her fear of it - it's no longer her imprinting meaning onto the name, but rather the name being imprinted onto her. The complexity of it is mind-blowing.
The ending, though triumphant, still has a dark twist to it, and I can't help but wonder what she will do now that she owns that segment of chilling inhumanity. What will she do with it? With herself? As much as it's a story about fear, it's also an interesting coming-of-age story ending with the moment when she's ready to move on and assert her own place in the world. One could read this story metaphorically, where Voldemort stands for all the horrors of the adult world - violence, hate, suffering, hopelessness. It's perfect that she imprints the name on her skin because that way she's not running away from it - she accepts it as her own, as part of herself, as part of being human (the chilling inhumanity of humankind?).
There are so many possibilities! So many readings for this story! It's an English major's dream (or nightmare, depending :P). I'm going to be puzzling over the various facets of this story for a while. Thank you for this! I love coming across this kind of fanfiction that teases out the complex and fascinating potential offered by the Potterverse.
This is a brilliant one-shot, very creative and thought-provoking! I must read more of your stories!
Author's Response: Ahh, I'm so glad you liked the story! Thank you so much! I love writing stories which are based more in abstract or psychological concepts and fears, rather than actual antagonists, so when I got this summary in the unexpected summary challenge I immediately had an idea of what I wanted to write for it. I've always found the fact that voldemorts name was such a taboo to be very interesting, and I really enjoyed exploring it. The whole of wizarding society is affected by the fear of his name, but taking it to the extreme here was a really interesting way for me to explore the concept.
I'm really glad you think that ending was complex! I really try and put as many layers of meaning into things as I can but I'm never sure if people pick up on them. For her the worst thing is definitely the fact that she didn't know what the name meant at first, and that she had imprinted so many of her own fears onto it, trying to figure out what it could be, that in the end it just came to represent EVERYTHING which was bad in any way, which is a terrible thing for anyone to live with, because it meant she couldn't separate out her fears anymore and became consumed by them. Taking ownership if the name, in a way, was the only way she could really beat that.
While I won't ever expand on this story, I do find it interesting to think of what she'll do next. The whole time I was writing this I was in her very broken headspace when she couldn't really focus on ANYTHING, and after the end when she is freed from that I'm really not sure what she would go on to. I think she would still not be okay for a while, would be restless, would probably travel around feeling aimless, live with her parents for a while, get some odd jobs... But eventually I think it would be nice if she got a job related to the mental health field, like helping children with phobias or something. But who knows.
Thank you so much for this awesome review, sorry the response is so late!