|Review:||nott theodore says:|
Hi Jenna! I'm so glad I got to catch up on The Enchanted Ground in the last few days, because it means that I can now read and understand this story!
This was so beautiful, seriously. I don't know how you've managed this, but Thackeray isn't even a canon character and yet you've made me feel like the name and the character appear frequently in the books, I understand them so well (them/their is my attempt at replacing gender-specific pronouns, so you'll have to roll with this one :P).
The imagery and description in this piece, from the very beginning of the piece, were breath-taking. I don't even know how you manage to come up with these images or how you manipulate words in the way that you do, but the effect that it has is wonderful and I always love reading it. The words are so evocative and paint stunning pictures in my mind, and it's a real talent to be able to do that so well.
At first I was going to point out the typos I noticed, but then once I got to your AN I saw you'd transferred it from second to first person, which makes more sense. There are quite a few occasions when it's been changed to I when it should be me or you depending on the context, and it happens throughout. For a while I thought you were doing a strange version of the Irish accent in Thackeray's head :P A read through will sort that out though, and that's all I spotted (I have no idea what 'Command-Replace' is!)
This was a lot, lot darker than I was expecting it to be. Obviously I knew that Thackeray would struggle as a child because of problems with gender identity and things like that, but I think what was the most haunting and touching part of this story was the focus on Swift.
Thackeray's brother seemed almost idolised here, and it made sense to me that a kid would look up to someone that's older and has always been there, protecting them. But I could sense that, in each section, there were subtle changes in Swift's mood that Thackeray was able to pick up on, and he was just getting worse and worse and becoming more depressed. It was so sad and moving to read about, and the subject isn't an easy one to write about either. It affects people in a very personal way, so you've done a brilliant job (yet again) of handling the issue so sensitively.
I also didn't expect that Swift would die in the way that he did. Well, obviously I knew from TEG that he would die in a car crash, but as I read through the story I became more and more convinced that it wouldn't be an accident, and that's just so horrible to think about. It's terrible for someone as young as Thackeray - ten years old - to have to deal with something like that. The problems in school couldn't possibly have got any better afterwards, and in a way I'm glad that Thackeray got the chance at a new life when starting Hogwarts. After everything, that's just what was needed, I think.
Oh, I forgot to mention this earlier but I think that the scene in which the drunks outside the pub were yelling at the girl was really effective. It's awful that something like that was what alerted Thackeray to the problems that can exist over gender, and I'm really glad that Swift was there to help offer that feeling of protection and that their parents are so accepting and liberal minded. It was brilliant because I think that for a lot of children, it takes one moment like that to alert them to the problems they could have in the future.
I was so glad that as Thackeray got to Hogwarts, things got easier, and then eventually Roxanne and Thackeray met! Seeing that scene from TEG in this story, from Thackeray's perspective, was so sweet and touching. I can understand why Roxanne wasn't told about the truth behind Swift's death - it almost felt like respect for his memory - and it was sweet to see that Roxanne helped to ease the pain a little.
This was just so lovely and beautiful Jenna, and there's nothing else I can really say except you've made me think about things much more deeply (and struggle to write reviews because of pronoun problems :P), but I loved reading this!
Author's Response: Hi Sian! :) Wow, can I just say how happy you made me by leaving such a lovely review on this? This is one of those stories where I predicted not many people would want to read/leave reviews as it's a sequel story and not too exciting, so it means all the more that you came by. ♥
Ahh, thank you! :D Thackeray feels very canon to me as well, somehow, which is part of why I loved writing this. I'm really pleased you feel that you understand and know Thackeray - writing this helped me get to know Thackeray a lot better (*edges around the pronouns* :P).
You're too kind to me. I'm glad you liked the imagery - especially in the beginning, especially since it is a real place I was able to visualize it quite well and hoped it would translate to the reader.
Haha, yes! :P I've gone through again and hopefully caught more of the typos. I posted this in the middle of writing an essay as I really wanted to take advantage of the short queue/am lazy about proofreading, but I read it over and some of them were quite brutal, haha. :P Command-Replace is just a function on Word where you can replace all of one word with another, so here I Replaced all the "you" with "I." (like I said, I'm lazy :P).
I found it quite dark to write as well, though I think it sort of had to be written this way. I knew when I wrote TEG that there was something more sinister and sad about Swift's death than him simply being killed in a car accident, and wanted to show that here and how Thackeray wasn't quite ready to share everything with Roxy. I'm glad you found I did it justice and handled it sensitively! Issues like this are quite moving to write about, especially through a child's eyes.
I'm glad that Thackeray got the chance for a fresh start as well. It was a little bittersweet that Swift never got to share that with the family, too. And yes, it really isn't fair, and I don't think Thackeray would have ever recovered from the loss of Swift. Thackeray's childhood interests me in that it was tough, but not because of parental problems - instead the inner demons of depression and then social aggression, which I'm sure a lot of people can relate to, in some degree.
I'm pleased you liked that scene! I wasn't sure how people might interpret it but it did feel like an important eye-opener for Thackeray. I felt that it would resonate through the years, especially as Thackeray's own gender identity is so unique, and I loved writing the family's reaction to it. I can imagine Thackeray thinking back to that moment and remembering Swift in that moment, and finding it comforting.
Aw, I'm pleased you liked the intersection with TEG! Yes, I imagine that perhaps someday Thackeray might explain everything, but it's a private thing and I felt that Thackeray wouldn't want to expose Swift's vulnerabilities like that, even if he's gone.
Aw, thank you so much! I'm really honoured that this made you think about things - and yes, the pronouns are so tricky! :P I really appreciate how thoughtful and kind your review was - thank you! :)