Hello! :) I'm here from the review swap on TGS!
I really loved this! I think it's fascinating how in your stories you seem to focus on the psychological struggles of the character, and thus give a whole new side to them. This was the case here - it was just a bittersweet story in a way, of loss identity and projection of self, and something which both felt very much like Lockhart which unveiling a new side to him and the repercussions of the events of Chamber of Secrets.
...led to a room with a view. At first, I wasn't so sure about this sentence, as I was wondering what the view actually was! But I've decided that I do like it, since the uncertainty of what the view is shows how Lockhart doesn't really "see" what he needs to see or have a specific identity or future to look upon. So it was an interesting choice to not actually describe the view. The other thing that I liked in this story was how it played on the idea of Lockhart being a spectacle, especially through the harsh circumstances of his death. And so this sentence could also be taken to mean that he was the view for the nurses and spectators to gawk at. So either way, an interesting symbol.
...was repeated time after time in many different styles of handwriting. I found this was such a wonderful way to show how Lockhart's personality has been forced to evolve and change due to his memory loss. He was so invested in signing his fanmail - manic, almost - and so the fact that he would cling to that yet not have a specific signature or identity with which to carry out that deed was quite tragic.
It's also interesting how even after losing himself, Lockhart is still so motivated and kept in place by his fans. But there's an interesting reversal there - instead of his fans existing to vindicate the lies that he told when he had his memories, they exist to help lead him back to some understanding of identity and truth. I thought the mention of his desperation was interesting - it fit in well with how I perceived Lockhart from when Harry and company went to visit him in OoP. It's like that boundless enthusiasm and self-worth has been transformed into a desire for the self-worth, which makes all the difference.
I like how the old woman who died was never actually identified as the fan who wrote to him, but how Lockhart took that as a sign that she had died. In a way, I wonder if he wanted to die - if, as he constructed and reconstructed so many stories and things about himself, it felt right that she should die so that he could move on. I'm probably way off here, but that was an interesting interpretation which occurred to me. The little detail about her asking for his advice about parasols and mice were quite sweet as well. :)
It was one of few selfless acts, or so the person who wrote his obituary would remark. I thought this was quite interesting, how after his death the media reverts to constructing a self for him and making assumptions, like that he had been acting selflessly when he was cleaning up. It shows how by creating a life and self for himself and then losing it, he really was punished for his lies, and how the way he was treated as a spectacle or display (or a view!) carried through and was used against him after his death.
The whole story was told in a really whimsical, distant style - it almost gave the impression of drifting away, if that makes sense. Or at least that's how I felt while reading it. I also really liked the double meanings, and had a lot of fun interpreting different angles and depths to the story - it's always so great to read a fanfiction which is so complex and unique. I'm sorry for rambling so much, hopefully at least some of this review makes sense! :P
You did a lovely job, I really enjoyed reading this very original and poignant story! :)
Author's Response: Hey! Thanks so much for coming by and leaving me this incredible review. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to responding, but I'm here now :)
It's always my goal to explore a character in new ways and try to persuade the reader to see him or her in a different light. Lockhart was a real challenge because people either have a very negative impression of him, making him an unlikely protagonist, or he's reduced to an object of humor or irony. I played on that irony a little, but I think it came out in a slightly darker way here.
I think I originally meant for the "room with a view" to be literal, in the sense that Lockhart's celebrity status could earn him a nicer room with a window, something that most residents would not get. I really like your interpretation of how Lockhart himself might have been the view for others.
With the handwriting, I was referring to the fact that others had written his name when addressing fan mail to him, but again I like the idea of his handwriting changing based on his mood and growing (or weakening) understanding of himself. I think that's quite realistic and also very poetic. It's great when reviewers put a new spin on my work and cause me to re-examine it :)
I love the way you describe Lockhart's changing point of view and the role of his fans. You definitely "get" the piece. I found it interesting to imagine Lockhart wanting nothing more than to discover his true self here, in contrast to his desire to conceal his true identity in his youth. Plus, wouldn't it be exciting to wake up and discover that you're actually quite famous?
I think the old woman's passing did bring about a sense of closure for Lockhart. Rather than continuing to fruitlessly question his own existence, he accepted the fact that his life was coming to an end and it was time to put his questioning to rest. He probably did feel a sense of relief toward the end, though I'm sure he didn't wish any harm to come to the old woman :)
Yeah, it's kind of sad to imagine that Lockhart never really got to tell his own story. Others' perceptions of him always made up the whole concept of who he was. At least the remarks in his final days and after his death seemed to be positive here.
I think you really got the style down and understood my frame of mind while writing it. It was really fun to work on such a stylistic, character-driven piece, and I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it so much!
Thanks again for your fantastic review :)