|Review:||The Misfit says:|
Your writing is always beautiful and wonderfully executed, but this completely and utterly blew me away. As someone who ships both James/Lily and Severus/Lily, I really loved the subtle comparisions that you've made between James and Severus. While you've shown accurately that Severus was interested in using Lily for his own salvation, it's refreshing to see someone write James as wanting to simply appreciate Lily, instead of 'winning' her.
Your description was mind-blowing. I could imagine Lily and James climbing up that mountain, and I truly adored all of the little things you included that truly cemented their characterization: Lily ensuring they had the professor's permission, James being unused to running on uneven territory. Most James/Lily one-shots I've read depict them as a couple, or occasionally as friends, but you've chosen a particularly rare point in their timeline to set this one-shot in, when they're more than friends but not a couple and you convey their feelings about each other perfectly. The way you contrast them, from adventurous Lily dragging James along and James being overly cautious (once again, a really lovely break from the norm of James/Lily fanfiction) to the little things like her mittens and his gloves. I'm probably over-analyzing, here, but the beginning of the story shows Lily as quite resilient and confident in what she feels, but the mittens that she wears - which were more popular among young children decades ago - adds a touch of innocence to her, and it really makes me believe that this Lily in your one-shot is the same Lily that goes out fighting for the Order, but comes home to be a wife and mother. This one-shot may actually contain one of my favourite portrayals of Lily, and it's a testament to your skill as an author.
I'm going to confess that it never occurred to me before how a pure-blood might find a Muggle-born's discovery of magic, but you've added it into this story with such ease that I can't imagine not considering it. The way you have James using wizarding references - saying "Merlin's beard" and comparing Lily to a hinkypunk seems so natural. Although it's entirely possible that Astronomy is one of James' weaker subjects, I'd like to think that the aurora borealis is an integral part of Muggle Astronomy and not as well-known in the wizarding world, simply because it demonstrates how a Muggle-born's perspective can expand those of a pure-blood's, like we see here when Lily shows James the lights. Then again, that just may be wishful thinking ^.^
Your comparisions of the green and blue aurora borealis to the Killing Curse was so beautiful and yet so tragic, because of all the foreshadowing that it contained. I've never seen the lights, being too far south, but your writing really allowed me to see James and Lily standing on that mountainside, seeing flashes of green and blue and being completely breathtaken with each other.
As for that almost-kiss, the fangirl in me is a touch disappointed but I do think you made the right choice not having them kiss, because that made the one-shot more about their feelings for each other and the intimate connection they share than about simple romance. Although that last line was particularly heartbreaking, because they don't have very long left to live and they have no idea and it's just so bittersweet.
I'd like to apologize for the horrendous length of time that it's taken me to leave this review - real life's been quite busy recently and I wanted to leave a review that was worthy of this impeccable story instead of a typo-written, decaffeinated jumble of thoughts. :P
Once again, this is honestly fabulous writing. You've taken a common pairing and given it an uncommon twist, and your characters truly come across as human instead of fictional people. If you aren't already a published author, you should definitely become one!
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you very much for this incredible review, Isobel! I apologize for taking so long to respond to it, but know that I've loved reading and rereading it as I've tried to come up with a suitable response. It means a lot that you enjoyed this story and were able to take so much from it - I've worried about this story because it didn't do as well as I'd hoped, and I don't know why. But you liked it, and you're a fantastic writer, so... yes. ^_^
For some reason I love finding the ghostly similarities between James, Sirius, and Severus - I'm sure that JKR made them appear so similar for a reason, especially because all three have a connection with Lily and influence Harry in their own way. But what is the purpose of these similarities? It's still something I'm trying to figure out, which is why it keeps entering into my stories. It's great that you liked the comparison between James and Severus here - it's brief, yet powerful, especially because it's James who recognizes it and is able to see how he can adapt his behaviour and find the acceptance he desires.
Thank you for the compliments about the descriptions! I'm really pleased to hear that you liked them - they were my favourite part about writing this story, all of those wonderful little details that say so much about the characters and their budding relationship set against a sublime landscape. I love exploring this in-between stage of their relationship because it's when both characters are undergoing a great deal of development, learning about themselves as much as about one another. There's so much potential for good stories and I do love a slow-burning romance, the kind that sneaks up on characters when they're too busy with other things.
Lily has become a very interesting character to write, very down-to-earth yet still unearthly - like you said, she's mature, yet with touches of innocence or childishness that make her difficult to pin down. But now that I'm finally getting the hang of writing her, she's utterly charming, a character with a lot to offer because she gives herself completely to what she believes in. Thank you again for the compliments. *blushes*
Haha, I think it's more than James doesn't pay enough attention in Astronomy class - too busy making jokes to Moony and secretly creating the Marauders Map under the cover of darkness in the back of the class. Or perhaps it's a class that he never took seriously, preferring those more concrete courses that let him actually do magic, much in the same way that Harry is skeptical about Divination. From what I've seen of Astronomy in the Potterverse, I don't know whether it would look at the Aurora Borealis or not - Hogwarts has the benefit of being fairly far north, so it would be visible from the Astronomy tower, but wizards seem to study the stars for fortune-telling purposes rather than to actually explore space. So it would then make more sense for Lily to know more about it than James because - and this is pure speculation - she would be the curious sort, reading quite a bit in order to escape her sister during the summer holidays.
Thank you again for this review! Ugh, I can't thank you enough for all of your kind words. *hugs*