You really have too many stories to choose from, which is great, but I want to read them all but there's so many! I haven't even touched your novel yet, but I will get there.
Anyway, you and your beautiful imagery -- I'm so jealous. When I'm reminding myself to add descriptions in my stories, I should read one of yours first to remind myself how much of an impact it will make. I mean, honestly, it's so beautiful O.O I just want to carry your stories around with me so that I can read the imagery.
Thackeray's feeling of Swift's superiority over him is understandable, as one sibling often feels this way towards the other. I love that he mentions that Swift is hurting inside, but nobody seems to know why. It seems that he's dealing with some issues (the beast that is clawing from within him) but Thackeray still looks up to him. I think that's fantastic.
The feeling of protection on the "enchanted hill" was really quite striking. I remember the childhood innocents of finding a place of security (like beneath the tree in the backyard) where nothing could harm you, where you are free to be who you are, feel what you want, and do as you'd like. (And now I miss being a kid :(, haha.)
I really enjoyed the small scene where Thackeray (and I really do hope I've been spelling his name correctly) observes the woman by the bar. Thus, a transgender issue arises, and is explained in the best way. I'm really quite happy about how understanding his family is about that situation, and I loved the confidence and reassurance that Swift gives him -- the men were just bullies, and there's nothing wrong with the woman.
It's a natural response to become so angry in the face of taunting, so Thackeray's reaction of wanting to hurt others or harm himself is natural. I did like that his use of magic escaped him when he was so angry, when he couldn't control himself. What's more is, I really like the fact that he couldn't wait to tell his brother.
When his parent's sit down with him, I really loved the thoughts that raced through his head. I think, most specifically, the fact that he believes that he's an ugly child, and ultimately should not be in this world was the most striking. I really, really loved this line, "Swift is different as well. We deserve to love one another." -- That was fantastic, and further emphasizes just how much Thackeray looks up to Swift.
When Swift dies, and Thackeray needs to make the connection with something, and he sort of gives Sir Gawain Swift's persona...that was heartbreaking. He needs his brother, and so he used Sir Gawain to represent him. SO. MANY. FEELS. :( And then, this line, " My life is beginning as my brotherís ended. I wonder how he knew." Just wow. Yes, it's fantastic that Thackeray is going to Hogwarts, but to feel as though his brother had sacrificed his life so that Thackeray could live...that was beautiful.
And dear lord...the ending was so heavy and light at the same time. It's almost as though things are beginning to be resolved, and yet there's that heavy hurt that dragging it down...but it's okay. :( The final line, where he tells the girl that he used to come to this place with Swift...and she understands his pain...and...feels, just so many feels.
This was so beautiful and tragic, and I'm hormonal and crying :(. I'm glad that I read this though, because it really was wonderful!
Author's Response: Hi Rumpel! :) I'm sorry, I really took a long time to answer this amazing review!
It makes me so happy that you liked this story! It was so special to me while writing it and I had no idea if people would like it or not, so getting this amazing feedback is really lovely.
Aw, I'm so glad you liked the imagery and description! This story relied on it quite a bit, and I'm glad you didn't think it was too much.
Yes! Thackeray loves Swift, but can see that he's imperfect just like Thackeray is. It was challenging but interesting to get into the head of a kid whose brother is both their hero, but also has his own problems so he can't just focus on Thackeray's problems. I think having that moment of realizing that our parents/siblings aren't perfect is a big part of growing up, but happened in a really tragic way for this family.
The enchanted ground was based on a real place in Wicklow where I went once when visiting and it was just beautiful, and such a peaceful place which I imagined would be very lovely. I know what you mean about being a kid and having your own special, almost magical place - it really was the best.
I'm really pleased that you liked how I handled the transgender issue and the family's approach to it. I felt the moment would have quite the impact for Thackeray and resonate for a long time, and I really wanted to do it justice.
I agree, and Thackeray's anger was so sad to write but it felt appropriate. Writing Thackeray's own feelings of self-hate was so heartbreaking as well, but I think it's realistic for how somebody might feel after being teased and not having a strong sense of their own worth. :( But then Swift was there to be Thackeray's double in some ways, and that was comforting, so I'm really glad you pointed that out.
Feels! :( I love the story of Sir Gawain, and initially it was going to just be mentioned as the story Swift was supposed to read with Thackeray that night. But then the story and its messages - of sacrifice and rebirth, especially - really resonated with the message of the story and tied into Thackeray's feelings about losing Swift. So it was one of those lucky moments where two of my ideas actually fit together! :P I'm so happy you liked that section, though, I really wanted to do it justice and write the grief appropriately.
Aw, the ending. :( The scene with the girl is a scene from the Enchanted Ground (my short story where Thackeray is the love interest) so it was quite interesting to write it here, and I really liked hearing your perspective as you haven't read TEG. This review was just amazing!
Thank you so much for all your thoughtful observations and reactions, I absolutely loved reading this review and really will treasure it. I'm glad you found it emotional, and that the crying wasn't too bad! :P Thank you for this, lovely! ♥