Hey there - stopping by from the Ravenclaw review battle! As soon as I saw this was up, I just had to read it, you know? I mean, gah, Slughorn is such a fascinating character, I think, mostly because on the surface he seems so repulsive - kinda like Lockhart - but it just makes me curious! :P
As with everything you write, of course, this was brilliant and I loved it :)
I love how you characterised Slughorn. There's not all that much 'deep' of him in the books, you know - just that strange moment when it says he's fighting Voldemort himself after seeming so scared and almost feebly pathetic earlier on, when the castle's under attack. It makes him such a strange, contradictory character and I think you really showed that here. I loved the mentions of his past, how his background was similar to Tom's, and how he refused to admit that some of his favourite students could be Death Eaters and do those kinds of horrible things. I think it's something no teacher would really want to think about any of their pupils, certainly not ones they liked and thought could be great and good. It's kind of a harsh thing for him to realise.
I loved how you wove his personality into that, as well - with the photographs and binning them when his students, I guess, disappointed him, really, and the gold medallion above the door he bought himself, and the way he'd hand-picked students but not necessarily the right ones. I really liked, though, how you showed him almost growing up in a way after the war, and how it was then that he realised, with the war and its consequences, his mistakes and his faults and things. It's such a great time to place it and such a lovely idea!
The mentions of Tom Riddle were great too - I liked how you mentioned they'd had loads of conversations in the evenings/nights when Tom says he can't sleep and things, hinting that Slughorn didn't really believe him in a way, and how Slughorn doesn't need a picture to remind him of Riddle. He probably doesn't, you know - Tom Riddle is definitely memorable, haha. I liked how you had him feeling almost guilty over that, like he'd failed Tom and you kinda feel sorry for Slughorn, because, really, what could he have done? O.o
Ah, feeling sorry for Slughorn... wow :P
Your writing, as always, is stunning and I'm incredibly jealous, as usual, of your ability to write so beautifully and so succinctly. So many wonderful lines in this, so many emotions all crammed into it without it feeling overloaded... This is a really, really great one-shot! But then, all your stuff is ;)
You're welcome for the inspiration - if you write things like this after inspiration, I hope it strikes again! :D
Will be shortly adding to favourites (watching ski jumping now... ;D)!
Author's Response: I'm so happy to hear from you on this story, Laura, since your work did really inspire me!
I did want to go deeper into his mindset to understand the change of heart you described and the way in which he had to come to terms with the truth about Voldemort and many of his other former students. I understand him being a bit feeble, because it's obviously a lot to handle, but I'm proud of him for standing up for what's right and accepting that he made a mistake in choosing some of his "star students."
I'm glad you felt sorry for poor Slughorn! He has a lot of faults but I really pitied him when I thought about how he wanted to share a bond with Tom and had such high hopes for him and had to watch all that intellect go in service of dark magic. It was interesting to look into their relationship, though it wound up being a relatively small part of the overall story.
Thank you so much for your lovely review!