Oooh, I hadn't processed the change from first to second person in the last chapter, but now I have noticed the progression, and it's yet another thing about this story that I really like.
I love that the third one-shot in this story humanizes the thestrals, in a way. Hugo's losing his grandmother is very, very sad, but it did feel like if any of the three was going to truly gain a connection with thestrals, it's fitting that Hugo was it. The death that Sirius witnessed was horrible; the death that Neville witnessed had a lot of strings attached, even though I doubt that that's what his grandfather intended. But Hugo? He was grieving, but he was also happy that his grandmother left the world with a smile. It was the death, and only the death, that was causing him pain.
And, of course, I'm not sure that it's a coincidence that Hugo is the one who (presumably) grew up outside the specter of war and murder and grief. Even though most of Neville's childhood was in between the wars, his parents had to be a pretty stark reminder of it every time he saw them. Hugo, on the other hand, didn't have that daily reminder - this was just a painful moment, not just a piece in a horrible, twisted puzzle. (I'm assuming.)
Anyway. His encounter with the thestrals was beautifully described. I love the symbolism of him coming across them when he's searching for external quiet and peace, because it seems like to some extent, he found it there with them.
House Cup 2014 Review - Ravenclaw
Author's Response: I like things to match that way. I was a little pedantic about it actually :P
The third story felt like a good place to actually write about thestrals - finally give them some screen time, so to speak. Hugo was my favourite to write, and thestrals are one of my favourite magical animals, so it felt right to have him be the one interacting with thestrals. Aside from that, his was the story in which their appearnace was most natural, since his is the one about loss and grief, and finally acceptance. You're definitely right in saying Hugo was really the only choice.
It was a very conscious decision to have Hugo being the one without the spectre of war, as you've so eloquently put it. I didn't want to take away from his experience, whilst also making it the most relateable one as it's one that happens all the time. At least, his story was the most relateable for me.
Yeah, he finds peace and that's what's important about the end really. There's peace in acceptance of his loss, and there's peace in letting go of his anger and fear and hate.
Thanks for the awesome review :)