This one-shot is so incredibly well written. I have read it a few times this week, whenever I find a bit of free time.
It is so skillfully written and the way you handled the backwards chronology is superb- the way that things that may appear as finer details at the beginning of this chapter are encountered again later on until they all eventually come together in the end. Like putting together the pieces of a puzzle but you do not know what the picture will be...
... And such a tragic picture it turned out to be. The way you connected the actual historical event with the wizarding world was really well done. It is such an evil part of history but I think you did well in keeping some things vague rather than attempt to write about something so terrible that most of us cannot even begin to imagine what it was like. The final part with Levi absolutely broke my heart.
This is a magnificent piece of writing. Report Review
I believe basing this story in the context of WWII took this to a whole other level. Along with the rich, slightly whimsical,details it provided made this a pleasure to read.Author's Response: Thank you so much! I figured WWII at least partially inspired Voldemort.
Thank you for the lovely review! :) XOXO, K. Report Review
This is a fabulous piece of writing! And this is actually the first Tom/Minerva I've read! I've been hearing about this, as well as Gubby's and Susan's Tom/Minerva fics for awhile, and today as I was stalking your HPFF author page here (hahaha) I decided to delve into it. I really wasn't sure how I would react to Tom/Minerva, although I do like how you've kept it a bit vague.
The intersection of wizarding events and real world historical events during this time period fascinates me -- the fact that Tom came of age during WWII (and also the time during which Grindelwald was in power). And I really like how you made this about something so much bigger than Tom and Minerva, but also made it clear that these events had a big impact on Tom and what became of him.
I also love the way you used La Marseillaise. It made me think automatically of Casablanca, one of my favorite movies of all time -- the scene where Viktor Lazlo leads the patrons in Rick's bar in singing La Marseillaise makes me cry.
I'm really glad I had a chance to read this. It's stellar!
MelanieAuthor's Response: Oh, you should read Gubby's "King Me". It's masterful, really. Stalking me? *blushes* And you know, it's an odd ship to get into, although once I did, I got hooked. It's one of my new favorite ships.
I liked to work in World War II and Hitler and the Holocaust into the story, because I felt it was such a huge part of history - one that we must NEVER forget - that it couldn't have passed without affecting wizards. I imagine Beauxbatons and Durmstrang must've been either under Vichy control or Nazi occupation. Tom, I felt, mutated because of the War. He's a victim of it, just like everyone else, but he finds it offensive and cruel, but ultimately, ends up just like Hitler.
Oh, I love Casablanca, one of my favorite movies too. That scene is amazing - so powerful. Thank you so much for reviewing this, Melanie, and I'm so happy you liked it! *hugs*
XOXO, Kalina Report Review
Kalina, this is too good for me to describe. I loved it to bits. I read this for the second time now and it seemed even more powerful to me and finally I'm even going to review. I was a bit intimidated, as in I didn't have the slightest idea.
This story transcends even the HP universe, and in such terrifying grace it chills me. It reaches into real and horrible history, but lightly and with just the right amount of emotion. Some people go overboard, people that know very little about the subject, and I don't like that. But you've done it wonderfully. And it was so sad, how it affected tthe two characters and Levi just...the last scene broke my heart completely and I just felt my throat go raw and eyes a little wet. Because it's just so scary, and it feels real and it shows like how something can influence other things in a big way. Like Tom. It must've really take away even some little insignificant trust he had in humanity or Muggles. Then his silent transformation that we could see straight at the beginning was so...just so strong.
I loved the little detials, like the way you always described Minerva's hair and how it looked different at different stages of her life and her relationship with Tom. Which brings me to the romance. Tomerva fics really started to be popular lately, but I'm rarely satisfied with them. But this one was brilliant. It was subtle, not forced and I just felt enthralled even by the little bits and pieces. i loved the boat concept. I loved how everything made sense with the story's progress, but really when we were going backwards in events. At first I didn't understand the boat and then it got to me just how fragile things are. Tom didn't turn it back, because nothing can be reversed once it's set and done.
This had great flow just as it had heartbreaking magic mingled with horrible reality of the past. And nothing felt unnatural. This is a great piece, honestly. I loved it, Kalina. Thank you.Author's Response: Liz, I - I have no words. I can't even describe how happy this review makes me feel. Transcend the HP universe? Oh my goodness. *blushes profusely* Writing that scene - the one with Levi - was one of the most grueling writing experiences of my life. I have spoken to Holocaust survivors, and I know that that's not even a fraction of the horror wreaked upon them during that time. I couldn't even have attempted the camps. I wouldn't have known where to begin. That era in history was just absolutely horrifying.
The hair was also a metaphor - for me - of her characterization. In the beginning, she is innocent, untainted by Tom. After, she is completely under is command, and finally, she has managed to pull herself out from under him but she is neither whole nor naive. She has a world-weariness to her. And yes, that was exactly what the boat was supposed to represent.
I'm so happy you liked it, Liz. Thank you so, so much for this beautiful review. *hugs*
XOXO, Kalina Report Review
ok. now i shall start my review xD i just had to get that off my chest.
Kalina, you own my soul! this was one of the most poetic and tragically beautiful pieces i have ever read! tragic in its deep sadness that, although not obviously stated, was there beneath the surface, like a river, like a heartbeat.
your command of poetry is stunning - and i mean your own use of poetic language - imagery, metaphor, simile, allusion. beautiful! and the pieces of poetry you chose to intersperse your work - perfect!
i love the way this moved backwards - ive not seen anyone do that on here before and i know some people have trouble keeping track when authors play with time. not me, so i loved it! it was fresh and different and unique. excellent xD
ok im not sure ive even addressed what you were after yet.
your characterisation was lovely - shown and not told, which i love and rarely see done well. tom was perfect, and minerva was the young girl of the woman she becomes - wonderfully written!
the flow - oh my! i was swept up in this! there are so many phrases i could quote back to you but i can't pick one to stand above the rest. you have such a glorious control over your words and you create this beautiful world that the reader cannot help but be immersed in.
amazing work! i loved it. adding to favs ^_^
kate xxAuthor's Response: Kate! -blushes profusely- Oh, my. I can't begin to tell you how much this review has brightened my morning. Thank you so much! I don't deserve half of these compliments. T_T
I got the idea of moving backwards from Romina Stephanie - if you ever have the time, I highly, highly recommend checking out her stories. Nothing but the highest quality there. Gubby (GubraithianFire) also posted a Tom/Minerva going backwards too, just a couple weeks before this one, funnily enough. XD But I'm pleased you thought it worked well!
Thank you so much for your feedback on characterization & flow! I always have issues with precisely that: telling and not showing, which I seem to do repeatedly.
Oh my goodness, I can't thank you enough. But thank you so much for this amazing review, Kate. ILYSFM.
XOXO, Kalina Report Review
First off - Yeat's "Stolen Child" is one of my all-time favorite poems. ^_^
This was a very beautiful piece. I am still adjusting to this trend of writing the story backwards but I enjoyed this one - it embraced that style and yet moved very seamlessly from one scene to the next and I was not lost - which is always enjoyable ^_^
I was saddened by the way things turned out, I feel everything was wonderfully explained but I felt a little empty when I reached the end because it had sounded as if how Tom became how he did would be explained a tad more - rather we just watched it happen. I did enjoy this however. All in all - beautiful language, great flow- I think it was a very well written piece of work Kali Author's Response: Hey Celtic!
Oh, I know - that poem is absolutely inspiring. I adore Yeats. :) You know, the style seems to be taking off. I think it was Steph (Romina Stephanie) who set it off first. I'm very pleased to know you thought I pulled it off! I wasn't sure of that myself. XD
Empty? Hmm ... well, I always think it's better to show, rather than tell, which is perhaps why you got that 'watched' feeling. I like leaving things up to the reader's imagination, for them to pull their own conclusions from the fic. But I see what you mean. =) I'm happy you liked it! Thank you so much for reviewing!
XOXO, Kalina Report Review
Wow. It's really the only word that comes to mind with this piece. It was so beautifully written - almost like the poetry you quoted throughout the story. One of the reasons this story appealed to me was because of its setting, but as I started reading through it, I realised that there's so much more to it than that. I'm in awe of the way you write. The flow is just so. . .I can't even find the right word for it. In any case, I'm truly envious of your skills. Teach me, oh wise one? Haha. In all seriousness, this was fantastic and I'm happy that I decided to check out your other stories aside from 'Saharan Lies', which is amazing in its own right.Author's Response: Molly, you really must stop flattering me so much! -dies- I'm so, so pleased you liked the one-shot. It was written on a spur, even I don't fully understand WHY I wrote it. I just felt it ... had to be done. XD Does that make any semblance of sense? Teach you? There's nothing to be learned! I'd much rather learn humor from you - Conventional Wisdom looks amazing! ^_^
Thank you so much for this lovely, lovely review. ILY.
XOXO, Kalina. Report Review
This is hardly fair. We both write Tom/Minerva, both reverse chronology, both one-shots. Mine was posted first, yours second. And yet yours is so much better. As you can imagine, I am VERY VERY jealous, and have been for the past month or so.
But I can't entirely begrudge you this fascinating character study. I could never have done this. History nerd though I am, this period never really appealed to me. Give me nineteenth century battles, political intrigue, revolutions, toppling world orders over death and destruction to this extent. But as you said in your response to Susan, this time period was cataclysmic and immensely important. The way you went from something nearly trivial, like Tom and Minerva's relationship (more on that later), to something much greater than either of them, as in Nazi occupation and Levi's fate, was masterful. Reverse chronology has never been used so well. Instead of funneling down, you're broadening the perspective, and that's just the sort of story that suits this structure perfectly.
Of course, this time period had an enormous influence on those who lived through it, and it's surprising that few others describe that influence. I don't know anyone who could have done it better, and with so few words. You left many things for the reader to put together, which makes me incredibly happy because I don't like being spoon fed details. Everything just fit perfectly - Minerva's hair, the paper boat, Levi. Everything. I have not heard the poems you used, but that line, And yet God has not said a word!, resonates so well with the subject matter, and Tom especially.
Speak of the devil! But the funny thing is, Tom is not portrayed as entirely evil, per se. He is a victim of humanity's cruelty, and Minerva is helpless as she watches him decay. The way she becomes ashamed when he sees her with the poems, and the way she wants to hide her letter, is so heartbreaking. Tom, of course, is riveting throughout. Their relationship is strong, but precarious. They seem to bond more after Levi's death, right? I wonder... it seems that, though you don't go into it, he came to her. He needed her more than she needed him. And then Tom just spirals out of control... it's really terrifying to watch along with Minerva just what happens to him, but fascinating. I couldn't look away if I wanted to.
I think I'm glad I put up "King Me" first: after seeing this, I never, ever would have put that thing up. I'm hardly worthy. And this is hardly fair.Author's Response: Oh, Gubby. You know you best me at everything - I don't deserve this praise! Half of what I write is inspired by you, the other half is inspired by Rita.
In the points you make about history - you know, I'm always surprised whenever I read Tom/Minerva's (or Minerva or Tom fics in general) that there's very minimal reference to Hitler and the Nazi occupation. The bombing of London. Europe in ruins. I find that shocking, especially since it was such a huge part of that time period - and history in general.
You're right: it's something Tom and Minerva cannot fight, despite the strength of their (rather odd) relationship. Levi's fate destroys them, indirectly. Haha, as I said in my response to Susan, yes, I did try to weave a meager web, and since I usually fail miserably, it feels good that I somehow managed to pull it together, small though it was. You haven't read those poems? I highly recommend them - especially "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. :)
And yes, Tom isn't powerful - he's totally powerless, and that's what makes him fall apart. At least, that's how I imagined it. XD They do bond more after Levi's death. A rather morbid thing to find companionship in, is it not? And yes, that's exactly what happened. He came to her: in a sense, I suppose I imagined it that she was the beacon of innocence. Then he corrupts her in the second scene, and finally she is weathered down. She's lost her innocence, but she is neither naive nor cruel.
Oh, "King Me" beats me any day! I adore that fic, and this praise is hardly worthy. I'm so happy that you enjoyed reading and that you liked it, but honestly, Gubby, you're far too critical of your work. I couldn't write as well as you if I gave the world in offering.
Thank you so much for the amazing review, my dear, it means so much!
XOXO, Kalina. Report Review
Okay, just to clarify: McGonagall and Voldemort are the same age (or she's older than him by a year)? Are they're in love or in a relationship, or just friends?
Things I don't understand:
1. What is the paper boat supposed to represent?
2. Why did you make it backwards?
Just a suggestion, maybe you should have put the translations in the story, so that it would've been easier to understand. I thought this story was great. It's so deep and complex, I love it!!! Great job!!Author's Response: Minerva is, I believe, a year older than Tom in canon. I chose them to have a sort of ambiguous relationship. You can choose to consider it as a romance or a purely platonic friendship. Your choice, really.
The paper boat ... well, Minerva folded the letter into the shape of a paper boat. Normally I enjoy letting the reader draw their own conclusions from the story; however, in this case, I suppose it's meant to represent how fragile things can be ... that it's all kind of ephemeral, really. The boat is consumed by the river, but Tom manages to salvage it. He does not repair it, though by magic he certainly could, but leaves it in its destroyed state. :)
As for writing it backwards, I intended to show the reader how the threads of a relationship can tie into a larger, much more destructive image. In this case, that of Hitler's Holocaust and how the death of a single boy could affect the minds of two people.
The translations aren't in the story because I felt it would disrupt the flow. But to each their own, I suppose. In any case, thank you very much for this lovely review - I'm so glad you liked it!
XOXO, K Report Review
Kalina, m'dear. You have yet to amaze me! I haven't read a Tom/Minerva story (at least I don't think :p)
I love everything you have about this one-shot. The way you put in historical references into this story is amazing!
I have nothing but praise for you dear! It's brilliant! I didn't see any spelling mistakes or anything like that! Well done, hun! ^_^ Report Review
Here to spread some cheer! (That rhymes! almost...) Goodness, Kalina, what talent you have. I mean, really, it's amazing! I could definitely see you as a published author some day, and some day soon!
I loved this. I really, really loved this. The dynamic. spark between the two was just. great. Really really great. And especially because I don't read this pairing a lot, it was refreshing and unique for me. Great. Wonderful. Lovely.
I especially loved this line: "In her fist she clenches the sheet of paper that is proof of a secure living, of a life that she knows she is now granted." It brings fantastic imagery to your mind, doesn't it? And you can see how awkward, almost, she is in that moment. Kudos to you for that line (and the rest of it, but you get the gist).
I have to stop now, for fear of drooling all over my keyboard. I hope I made you smile at least at some point, as that was my goal!
(10/10) Report Review
Well done. Very well done. I like how you tied in the history of the era with their lives, with the thought that the outside world would effect them in a deep and lasting way. I don't know that it ever occurred to me before, just how Hogwarts, or any magical people, would be effected by the war, and what their reactions might be. Yours is a wonderful interpretation.
Tom is such a multi-faceted character. His evolution in this piece, from the young boy holding an ill fated letter, to the angry villain in the end... er... beginning. It was well written, and reads so accurately. Minerva's change is the same, from a tight braid, to the falling curls and then back to a tight, contained hair do. I'm really starting to like Tom/Minerva.
I'm curious to know if you wrote this forwards chronologically, or backwards. It flows well, everything ties in so well. From the beginning to the end, or the end to the beginning, as it were. The boat, the way Tom treats Minerva, even from the weak headmaster who cannot even announce a tragedy, to the strong one who will not give a position to one of the two most talented students.
I can't say that I 'enjoyed it' per se, dark and sad and all that. But I feel like I came away with something more than I entered with. Well done dearie.
~Shiloh Report Review
The historical connection you've made in this is fabulous. So few writers bother to make it, yet you've tied it into Voldemort's past in a way that I haven't seen before. I can't entirely tell if Tom feels bad over Levi's death, but he's definitely affected by it (though I think Levi was a Gryffindor?). If my assumption is correct and Levi was pureblooded, for him to be killed by Muggles would be the ultimate crime to Tom. The "blood purity" aspect of the end is chilling because it so mirrors what Voldemort later does, and the soldiers are too much like Death Eaters. I've heard that association made many times, but the way you've used it really works and shows how Tom may have drawn his own inspiration from.
What I really like about this story is the clever way you put it together. Not in that it's reverse chronology (as Gubby did beat you to it :P), but in the way you started with Tom and Minerva, and worked backwards along a single thread of their relationship, all leading from her success (and his failure) to the death of this boy they both knew. The death of Levi explains Tom's repulsion from the Browning poem for it's religious connection (side note, that poem freaks me out every time, and it does suit Tom well - I call it the ultimate psycho killer poem). Then the boat connects the first scene to the third one, and so on. It's like a perfect spider's web, so carefully woven. Reading it was like unravelling a mystery, piece by piece.
This was great to read. I can't say "enjoyed" because it was so sad and troubling with all its historical aspects and psychological issues. You get into Tom's character in a way that most people don't, showing perhaps how he would come to be that monster Minerva sees in the first scene, all the anger and frustration that's built up within him over time. And Minerva witnesses it all. Wow.
I'll stop rambling now. ;) Once again, you've written something brilliant that I'm in envy of. It's wonderful to see more people writing this ship and these characters. ^_^Author's Response: Susan! Thank you so much for stopping by, my dear dedicatee (is that the word?). Yes, I did try to tie it into history as much as possible - mainly because I cannot imagine any story written in this era not being affected by World War II, the Holocaust, or Hitler. It had such a powerful effect on the world, I think, that to ignore it is impossible. For me, at least. Tom and Levi ... well, Levi was a Gryffindor, you can infer that from Chatwin\\\'s speech at the beginning, but no, he wasn\\\'t pureblooded, only half. His mother was a Jew, from which his knowledge of the language, his religion, and his background stem. Ultimately, he does end up in the camps.
I do think there are more parallels between Hitler and Tom than are mentioned in the books, although JK doesn\\\'t seem to want to draw similarities. I\\\'ll infer my own conclusions. It is, after all, what literature is for! Hehe. And yes, though initially frightened (somewhat) by Hitler, Tom is ultimately inspired by him.
Gubby did beat me to it, although I hadn\\\'t read King Me while writing this. Now I see what you mean. I tried to weave something of a web, but usually I lose myself in it and get all confused. I\\\'m pleased you found that it worked! But yes, I suppose it\\\'s narrowing down (backwards) from something on as huge a scale as the Holocaust to the effect on a community to the effect on the relationship, destructive as it is, of two young people who simply cannot keep their heads above water. Aha, you caught the Browning poem! I agree, I find it chilling as well. Terribly so. It\\\'s absolutely horrifying. But beautiful in that morbid sense. Ultimate psycho killer poem indeed.
Enjoyed it, no, and I don\\\'t think I enjoyed writing it either. I was fascinated, yes, because it is such a cataclysmic event in history, but no. It is a terrible thing that I cannot do justice to, neither having lived, nor died, nor experienced any of it.
To summarise my response, I am so happy that you, well, maybe not enjoyed, but drew something from it. Thank you so much for the amazing review, Susan! It truly makes my day every time I read it.
Hugs, Kalina. Report Review
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