|Review:||teh tarik says:|
Hello Jenna! I'm finally here for our review swap. I've been out the whole day and have only just got home - apologies for the delay! Anyway, I've been wanting to finish reading this story of yours here for ages now; I favourited it quite some time ago, because I just love the idea of it from the first chapter. I think it's a fascinating combination - the Founders, and the plague and the children's tale, The Pied Piper of Hamlin.
Gah, I think the way you set the scene at the beginning is just wonderful, your very concrete descriptions of the town of Hamlin (or the ruins of it and the implications of a very dark tale behind the place). I really like that you've very boldly stated the date of the tale; it always makes stories so much more interesting and realistic when it has a precise location in a historical timeline. Another thing that really struck me was the unseen narrator, directly addressing the reader: Can you see it, the clean, white-washed walls with tidy gardens in which children played, dirt around their ankles? It really does sound like a storyteller speaking, and coupled with your lovely rhyme at the beginning, it gives your fic a very lovely feel of an oral account of an old, old tale, something like a legend.
You have quite the knack for effortlessly evoking historical settings; seriously, the whole village of Hamlin just leapt to life in your lovely, detailed prose - the whirring potter's wheel, children's laughter as they go to school and so on. I also think your portrayal of Hamlin as a town where magical and Muggle folks sort of get on along with each other is very interesting. It's very clever, and a very convincing situation to have the Muggles be partially blind to the magical folk, as long as the latter are useful in the running of the village. But as you showed later on in the chapter, when those awful Muggle councillors who are resentful of those with magic, the state of balance between both parties is a delicate one, and is easily upset by external forces, i.e. the plague. The descriptions of the plague-stricken victims made me shudder a bit. :P
You've introduced quite a large number of characters for a first chapter, but I think you've handled them all very deftly - they all stand out in their own ways, which is just amazing. From sensible Marigold to quiet Trip to each of the Four Founders and to Stephane Slytherin - they're all memorable, and I can't wait to find out how you'll develop each of their stories further. The Founders really do embody their House values, and your little details about their characters (e.g. Godric's girth and the kitten in Helga's arms and the snake around Salazar). I'm sort of getting this sense that many of the people present feel a vague discomfort toward Salazar and Stephane Slytherin, and their association with snakes. It's very subtle, this air of unease. Right now, Hogwarts is unified, but I can see how this will lead to Salazar growing apart from the other three. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to seeing how Stephane will handle the situation in Hamlin; he sounds like a very shrewd and clever man, just like his father.
Excellent beginning, Jenna! I'll definitely be back to read the rest of this fic; I think it's one of the most unique Founder Era fics I've come across! ♥
Author's Response: Hello, teh! :)
No worries, I didn't even notice a delay. :) I'm so glad you like this, and think it's original! It was actually inspired from a prompt in a challenge, and I really loved working on it. It's really lovely to get your review and have a fresh point of view on the story.
I really loved writing the beginning of this story especially. The style of it, with the sort of wistful, romantic fairytale voice, gave me a lot of freedom to enter the story in a bit of a wistful way. I pictured the story as beginning as a legend or old tale and moving into the more concrete narrative of the actual characters, which was quite fun to experiment with, so I'm very glad you liked it.
Thank you! :) That really means a lot as I do love writing historical eras. I'm really pleased to hear it felt like the village came to life, and the unique situation which the wizards and the Muggles are in. History shows how witchcraft was greatly feared in medieval times, but I wanted to tie in how the Muggles might turn a blind eye as long as the magical folk continued to be beneficial to them and their economy - money and safety trump fear, at least for a while. Hehe, well you know how I love my gory descriptions by now so I'm pleased it made you shudder. :P
Good, I'm glad to hear the characters aren't too overwhelming. It got a little confusing as there are multiple casts of characters to balance but I felt that each one was important and deserved to have some part of their story told, and the story doesn't just focus on Marigold even if she is the main character in a way. I'm so pleased you liked the Founders, and noticed how people felt uneasy around Slytherin - snakes, I felt, would be objects of fear especially back then, and it felt right that Slytherin be a bit of a shady and morally ambiguous character. Stephane is one of my favourite characters in this story because he is quite conflicted and has his loyalties with his father as well as his own morals to contend with.
Thank you so much for the amazing review, teh! :D ♥