Firstly I would just like to comment on your ability to choose apt titles. I really believe that a good title adds beauty and fulfillment to a story, and this one doesn’t disappoint.
For the entire length of time that I was reading, it was very easy for me to see what was happening. The way that you paint pictures into your story is so fresh that I wouldn’t actually have a hard time believing you if you told me you were classically trained. I wouldn’t say that I’m an artist myself, but I have a very visual eye, if you will, so I really enjoy your vivid and eloquent imagery. Particularly striking to me is the way that you connect Bellatrix to the icy limbs of the leafless trees through her hair, and Andromeda to the summer through Sirius’s memory.
I like the way that Sirius looks at things. He notices without true understanding the look in Rodolphus’s eye in the second before he completely destroys the snowman, and though I’m not sure how old he must be, this fits the mind of a young boy to a tee. As always, you seem to really capture different characters here, and I like the liberal use of the word “love” and the way you make us pick the different ways in which it’s used. Perhaps this particular way of releasing information is coincidental, but I find it rather nice.
Above all this story retains credibility. It isn’t overtly dramatic, but this is a tense moment, and I feel it strongly.
Phew! I think that anything else I say here in praise is pretty much running it into the ground...lovely, lovely story!
Happy day of love ;)
--lilyAuthor's Response: Gah, I feel like I'm absolutely terrible at titles! Unless I think of the title right along with the idea (Undeniable is the only one I can think of off the top of my head), I kill myself over them once I've finished writing. I like simplicity, sure, but squeezing everything I have to say into a few words is stretching it a bit too far. This one in particular I'm still unsure of. Good to know you liked it, at least!
I'm not positive, but I think as I was writing this I told myself to edge outside of my comfort zone a bit. I think I was also reading a really descriptive book at the time, and that sort of thing always influences me. But either way I'm not a really descriptive person, and I still managed to produce something I'm proud of. I think I also like it because Bellatrix is my absolute favorite character, and I rarely write her because she's so. . . complete in my mind.
I tried to make Sirius the typical young kid that notices much, but doesn't have the background yet to understand what he's seeing. So events make their way through his thoughts but don't entirely register.
Again, thank you for such a charming review! These are making my day all over again! Report Review
So many emotions in this piece! It starts out beautifully, innocent and then in and instant changes to a storm of confusion, hatred, anger, and whips back to cheerful. Another wonderful one-shot!
I love that the conflict between the family started at such a young age. It makes sense that the "good" ones would find comfort in each other. I thought it was neat how you included Narcissa and Regulus in the "good" ones. Both of them got caught up in bad things, but in the end they turned away from it. A subtle hint to where their hearts truly lie.
The bit about everyone should love everyone, except Regulus, was hilarious. It was just enough to show that bit of Sirius from such a young age. He was already laughing at everything, making jokes when he was angry, all the things that he became as a young adult.
That family intrigues me just because there are so many different sides to it. The "good" and the "bad", yes, but all of the characters in it are much more complicated than they appear on the surface.
DemAuthor's Response: Ah, thank you for noticing the grouping of the good ones! You're the first to catch it. As I was arranging the ending, I realized that things were falling neatly into place with the good guys outside and the bad ones inside. I did a bit of thinking, figured out who, in the very end, turned out to have a heart on them, and stuck them out in the snow to have a laugh. Narcissa and Regulus are complicated, but I say with no hesitation that there is good in them. I'm so glad you noticed that!!!
I suppose I watered down all the characters, in a sense, to get them to where they would be a young age. I wanted them to be age appropriate, but still show signs of who they would become. I hope it showed a bit of complexity, as there certainly is enough of it to go around in the Black household. :P
Thank you for three lovely reviews! I was so pleasantly surprised when I clicked on the Unanswered Reviews button. :D Report Review
I had my doubts about a cheerful, Christmassey story about the Blacks, and them doing something as normal as building a snowman, but you pulled it off really well and it was all rather clever, actually. I really like the idea of the sort of happy, innocent appearance and beginning of the story disguising a much darker theme, just as in the ordinary lives of Blacks where those darker feelings and tensions are always lurking just beneath the surface... if that makes sense xD
It was a really interesting insight into their lives and their relationships with each other, especially between Sirius and Andromeda. Characterisations were all very good as well. I particularly liked Bellatrix - she was brilliantly cold and sneering and Bellatrixish :D Great stuff!Author's Response: I'm surprised so many people came into this story expecting a cheerful holiday story. I should probably take a second look at my summary... Anyway, I'm glad you were convinced by the end that it was a whole lot darker beneath the surface. The Blacks are anything but cheerful! I've always liked the idea of Sirius and Andromeda being friends too. As for Bellatrix, well, she's been my favorite character forever. Thanks for dropping by and reviewing! Report Review
*Your snowball hit me*
And how appropriate for this one-shot! It's adorable and at the same time I think you outline pretty well the direction in which those kids are going to grow up one day. The sweet Andromeda, the vicious Bellatrix and her loveless marriage to Rodolphus. You did it well!
And little Sirius was adorable! I always like to hear about his interaction with Andromeda since it's hinted in the books that he really liked her, but we never hear anything! Plus, you've done it so well - your wordage, the flow of your story - it was really an entertaining read ;)) Thanks for filling up the blanks with such an awesomely written one-shot!
HarleyAuthor's Response: Sorry about that snowball! :P I did write this in the beginning because I wanted a wintery one shot for the holidays. Then I decided I wanted to write Bellatrix, and poof, it appeared!
All we really knew about Sirius and Andromeda as kids was that she was his favorite cousin. I filled in the blanks on my own from there, considering she was seven or eight years older than him and he probably loved his own mother.
I never notice it in published books, because they're all so polished, but on hpff you really see when a story truly flows. I hope my stories flow as much to the reader as they do when I'm typing them, but I can never quite tell. I'm glad you thought it worked. Thank you for the review!!! Report Review
What a fantastic story! The imagery throughout was stunning and painted a vivid picture of the scene. The characterisation of all the characters was fantastic, and the relationship between Andromeda and Sirius was particularly well done; her being the older sister figure, and the tension between them and Bellatrix was good, effectively foreshadowing the events that we know happen in the books. Though in third person, you've done a good job of the child's perspective which I know can be difficult to pull off. Incredibly well written, 10/10.Author's Response: Hello! This one shot strained my descriptive talents immensely, because I do not really consider description to be a strength of mine. I'm glad you liked the imagery and didn't think it was too much of a stretch!
While writing this, all I really had to go on for Andromeda and Sirius was that he once mentioned to Harry that she was his favorite cousin. I basically strung their relationship together on my idea of what a great older cousin would be like, if I were Sirius's age. As for Bellatrix, I had only my imagination to lead me on that. I don't have the misfortune of being sister to someone like her.
Thank you for taking the time to read and review this! Happy holidays! Report Review
Wow, you have no idea how strange it is to read something that depicts characters such as Bellatrix Lestrange as Children; it just isn;t something that I'm particularly used to seeing. very insightful; I like how her character maintains all of these mean qualities that don't quite stretch to the extremes of the adult Bellatrix; good characterisation of her - which is not something I am often accustomed to saying.
The storyline in general was very good, simple, but you managed to depict realistically how you would expect the Black family to be.
Your writing I have to say is quite brilliant. I love to read something that doesn't have any gramatical flaws and flows as well as this!
Overall a very well written piece which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
KatieAuthor's Response: Hi there! I'm glad you liked Bellatrix's characterization, as she's my favorite character and I've made it a personal goal of sorts to write her as well as possible. You nailed it on the head when you said she has similar qualities to those of her future self, but not as extreme. It took her time to grow into the evil character we know, but she still must have had signs of them as a kid, and that was what I was aiming for.
Thank you for the lovely review! Happy holidays! Report Review
Wow. That was really good!
I was slightly doubtful at first, reading about a (somewhat) pleasant day outside with the young Black family. No doubt, it was original, but I just didn't see it happening.
But as I read on, it started to evolve to a fantastic character piece that seemed incredibly likely. In fact, this is just so in character that when I read the books again, I'll probably consider this scene something that actually happened to the Black Family.
It was fantastic reading about the Black Family as children! Again, everyone was absolutely incredibly well written. Everyone who we 'know' was spot-on, especially as a 'child-version' of themselves and the people we haven't met were wonderfully written and a great way to think of them (I love the way you portrayed Andromeda!)
And so many times, people write Bellatrix either a) not crazy enough or b) someone who cackles way too often (there are other things she does besides cackle you know) and over-crazy. However, you seem to have found the perfect balance to her personality. And everything she does is spot-on, especially her personality in contrast to what is supposed to be 'innocent' snow ball fights :) It's really great!
You also mentioned that you were concerned with the descriptions. I think you did a fantastic job with them! Really - the setting, everyone in the snow, the scarlet gloves. It was all really fantastic. And you used some FANTASTIC parallels of their physical appearance to their personalities (Andromeda vs. Bellatrix's hair) and that added a lot to it. I could imagine everything and I thought your descriptions were GREAT. :) Definitely added a ton to your story.
Congratulations! This is definitely one of my absolute favorite Black Family character pieces. Great development, great characters! :)Author's Response: Wow, thank you! I know it starts out pleasant, and almost contrived, but I wanted it to quickly escalate into a battle of sorts. It all stemmed from a need to write Bellatrix, and I really get a kick out of imagining her as a young girl. Her cackles are a great addition, but I agree that they are not all she's made of! Thanks for the enthusiastic review! Report Review
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