Hi teh! :) I'm here for your 5th of 5 prize reviews - although of course I'll still come to review your stories! :) Sorry for taking so long to get here!
I really liked this and how you chose to focus on Helena! It was very clever to take the prompt for Easter and show a snippet in Helena's life and the relationships and pressures which will lead to her someday becoming the Grey Lady.
The religious emphasis at Hogwarts was great and fit with my head canon very well, since at the time it would make sense for wizards to comply with the Muggle religious standards of the time. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the disciplinary piety and the beginning section almost felt like Helena was in a monastery, not a castle, with the hymns and Latin echoing through the stones. It was also interesting how Helena was reprimanded for not participating, and how that caused others to look at her with suspicion as that feels quite authentic for the times and the importance of not only feeling pious, but showing it off to others.
The tie-ins with canon characters were so clever here! I remember seeing somebody on the forums talking about how barons didn't exist in the Founders era, so I like how you dodged around that by making the Baron's last name be his identifier. The dark flicker in his eyes and his attempt to threaten and almost master Helena - beneath the guise of courtly love, of course - was very chilling and really hinted at how he could be driven to kill her in the future. And the hints about her mother and the tension there were great as well and I especially appreciated how Rowena was friends with the Baron, which might lead to her trusting him to go after her daughter in the future. Helena's sense of being trapped and her unhappiness really sowed the hints for why she might crack and eventually run away, so this story did very well in hinting at what is to come and establishing the characters.
The Friar was so sweet! He fit very well with the character of the canon Friar and his jolliness, and I really liked his booming voice and how he was known for singing. He was a really lively character and I could see why Helena liked his friendship so much, since he could make her laugh and bring her out of the prison which Hogwarts has become for her. I also liked how he chose to leave the monks as from his character here he really wouldn't have fit well with the strict monastic order, so that was a really clever development to his character. It was sad at the end how even the Friar (I guess I should be calling him Tuck, ah well) forgot about Helena and didn't pay attention to her, not out of maliciousness but because he was so caught up in making merry. It's almost like Helena is already a ghost, and I feel so sad for her, that not only will she be trapped in Hogwarts in life, but also in death.
I saw from the AN that this was originally longer, and it's too bad about the word limit since I would have loved to read more of this and what might happen in the future for Helena! This was a lovely read, and I really enjoyed it - well done! :D
Author's Response: Hey Jenna!
Wah, thank you for this enormous review! ♥ Don't worry about how long it took; I'm just really happy that you came back to my AP! And I'm glad you chose this little story of mine; it needed a bit of love. :)
I did think Founders Era Hogwarts would be a lot more religious than how it is during the Trio Era, and since the prompt was Easter, I thought it would be interesting to explore a more religious atmosphere set in the Middle Ages. And I've always had a fascination for quiet, echoey places like monasteries and convents.
Yeah, about the Bloody Baron! :P I read that on the forums too, and remembered that while writing this fic. I believe it was Amanda/academica who wrote that, and since she also finished an entire novel on the Bloody Baron/Grey Lady with historical research and everything, I simply trusted her judgement and used that in my fic. I didn't have a lot of time to do much research of my own because of the time limit. And I was indeed trying to make the Baron come off as rather unsettling even before any trace of their relationship begins, though not too overwhelming, since this story isn't about him at all.
I enjoyed writing the Friar a lot. He is indeed such a fun, light-hearted character, very Hufflepuff-y, and I imagined him being immune to Helena's distance and that she quite warms up to him. I imagine him bringing a bit of cheer to her life, at least when they were still schooling together in Hogwarts. But I don't know how likely it is, in terms of canon compliance, that he was at school with Helena. I've always imagined him being in the 1400s, as there were more mendicant religious orders then compared to the tenth/eleventh century. I think. History is not my strong point eep.
And I absolutely love your comment about how Helena is almost like a ghost already. :( It's indeed true, and I do feel sad for her as well.
I still do have plans for expanding this into a short story! Which is why there were so many random references and details to things that were not especially relevant to the story. It would be fun to explore things from the Friar's perspective as well, and his jolly travels. And that short story will /definitely/ have a fluffier ending than this.
Thank you so much for this wonderful review! ♥ Thanks for leaving me so many wonderful reviews over the past few months; they've all been wonderfully detailed and encouraging and I pretty much squee every time I get one from you. *hugs*