This was very moving. I love the song, and I love how you made Draco the good guy for once outside of a dramione fanfic. And I'm not a big fan of the Astoria/Draco pairing, but somehow you make it good. :)Author's Response: Hi there :)! I'm so happy you enjoyed this. I love the song as well, and really just wanted to write a story to it. Astoria and Draco are sort of my 'catch all' couple. If I want to write a story that doesn't fit any one else, I'll build it around them ;).
I'm so happy you liked this, and thank you so much for taking the time to review! ♥
Jami Report Review
I saw this story a while ago and wanted to read it, and now I'm using Battleship as an excuse. :)
I love how you portray both Astoria and Draco in this. Draco, because you see that he's been a caring person all along, instead of only after the war. And Astoria, because even though she's been hurt so many times by her own father, she keeps coming back, like when she tried to help him escape, but then changed her mind. It really shows that she tried to connect with him.
Random fact: "Blown Away" just started playing on Pandora. How coincidental. :)
I love your descriptions in this. I can really picture everything that's going on, and all the emotion is just so... raw. It's so realistic and excellently done.
Also, I love how you had Astoria burn down the house, as the lyrics just said "there's not enough rain to wash the sins out," so instead of letting it rain, she burns the whole thing down.
Speaking of which, I love how you have the thunderstorms as a symbol throughout: at the beginning, when you're talking about Astoria's mother's death, and finally, at the end, when they've burnt the house down.
At first, I thought "lightening spit" was a mistake, but now I'm not so sure... It actually works really well in the story that way.
I was looking for something to CC on... I can't find anything.
This was beautiful and fits the song absolutely perfectly!
-ShadowRoseAuthor's Response: Hi Taylor!! This story is one of the first darker ones I've tried and am still pretty proud of it, so I'm extra happy you chose it to read!
I always use Draco and Astoria for me more... interesting stories that no one else would really fit in. Hahaah. I did love the idea of watching Astoria go through this, then getting into the Auror department for the purpose of bringing Mr. Greengrass down. I think I'll eventually write a longer story on these two, but not until Before They Fall and book two, Into the Darkness, are both complete.
Isn't Blown Away such an amazing song??? I'm so happy that it just came on pandora! I listened to it every second while writing this, haha.
Yes!!! That's exactly what I wanted with burning it down!!! The rains won't wash away it all, so instead she just burns down the damn house. Go Astoria!!
Hehhe I've had a couple people mention 'Lightening spit' and honestly, I can't remember if it was supposed to be that or split now. But I think I like spit better :P!
Aww thank you for all your sweet compliments ♥ I'm really happy you enjoyed this!
Also, I love your penname. I remember thinking that the first time I saw you on the forums, and always have forgotten to tell you, haha!
It's your Secret Santa here ;)
I confess that I'm not usually a fan of song-fics but considering your other fantastic works I thought I'd give this a try. I'm glad I did! To me this was a really poignant and beautiful story about a very sensitive topic which you pulled off brilliantly. I love how the lyrics competely related to every aspect of the story in some way or another and weren't just there for show - they had a purpose. I also thought your writing was absolutely stellar here - you presented almost a childlike view of Astoria even when she was grown up, as if she were caged to her father and the house. I loved it!
The relationship between Astoria and Draco was very delicate and well-balanced in my opinion. It's nice to actually see Draco in a position of power rather than in the books where he increasingly became under the mercy of others. I also adored the ending and the final few lines about her skin which perfectly showed the transition from friendship to something more. I also liked how they even had a friendship in the first place, which makes sense as they would have been in the same social circles but you portrayed them so well and so believably.
It's always such a joy to read your stories and this one was no exception. Everything about this was so well done and lovely and I just loved it!
Merry Christmas!Author's Response: All your reviews were such an awesome treat, thank you much SS!
Draco and Astoria, as you can tell, are two people I really like to play around with. I love the idea that instead of Astoria saving Draco like usual, he saved. Whether in a situation like this, or if she just really lost it after the war and he saved her from himself.. just something like that instead of her being the angel that brought him back from hell.
I really wanted to address this in a sensitive way that was harsh enough for the topic, but not soo harsh that it would break ToS or feel too. sharp? Hmm. I'm not making sense.
Thank you again so much for all your perfectly amazing reviews ♥ Report Review
It's me again, reviewing you when I should be reviewing Dan. XD
First off, because this is really important, could you please please please put a trigger warning for domestic violence/child abuse at the beginning of this? 'Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme' doesn't really cut it, because that means nothing to me. Please.
Anyway, onto the actual review. This was beautiful. I don't remember ever having read a fic in which Draco and Astoria have always been friends, but I like it, and I like what you've done with it. Your writing is fantastic as always, and I especially liked this line:
>she was a figment of her own imagination
It's just... it explains so much in a simple phrase.
The ending was brilliant. I'm so glad Greengrass gets what's coming to him, I really do. And then fire! Yay!
Anyway - you've done it again. Well done you.Author's Response: Awww, of course I can put that as a trigger warning. Haha, sorry for not thinking about it in the first place ♥
You don't strike me as a country music fan, but can you please just listen to Blow Away by Carry Underwood on that certain video site? I swear, after reading the story, it'll feel so much more powerful.
And! You are absolutely awesome for stopping but ♥ I'm happy you like the writing. I actually liked that line a lot, as well. Am I allowed to like a line in my own story? Well, I do. Because it's creepy and cool at the same time. Haha.
I AP stalked you hoping your story you put in the queue a few days ago would be up, but I realized it's up to three days now, so it looks like I'll have to wait until tomorrow. I'm rambling. You seriously make my days, though. I'm extra happy your HPFF ban isn't so strict anymore ♥ Report Review
Hey. SamMalfoy93 here, from the review tag.
It's very refreshing to see another side to Draco, and not as "he's suddenly good after the war" kind, but him always being good to the people who matter to him. And you can tell Astoria matters to him from the very beginning. I love that.
This was an interesting, yet very sad, story about Astoria that I've never read before. You made it work very well with the song and I really enjoyed reading this.
Sam.Author's Response: I am so happy you liked the story, and I'm thrilled that you chose this one to read! Thanks for the awesome review, darling!
Jami Report Review
I genuinely don't have enough words to tell you how sorry I am about the HUGE wait, Jami, so I'm hoping an extra-long review will make up for it, however slightly.
This was gorgeous one-shot, love *squishes* I was terrified for every second I read it, it was so raw and real in all of its glory, and heavens, I wish I could write something like this and yet still have the ability to bawl my eyes out in the end. The fact that I'm a Daddy's Girl made me cry just a little bit harder.
Your description is beautiful, and the fact that everything you described sounded beautiful made me know that if I saw them in real life, I'd be reminded of exactly how ugly the world can be. I wanted to sit with Astoria and Draco out in that crackling storm, even if I knew that the minute I'd let Astoria go, she'd take a beating.
There was a tiny thing I spotted, however, but it's so little you probably should ignore it:
and lightning spit and screamed against the earth. - Do you think it should be 'lightning split' or am I just being picky, trying to pick out a flaw in your otherwise perfect writing?
This was freaking powerful, and don't you dare say otherwise. It seemed like you put in every emotion while writing this, even if it didn't fit with the story, and the fact that I can actually tell you did that just goes to show that this was a stunningly powerful piece. I think the subject - and it was a very sensitive subject, too - was handled very delicately like a proper author. You never actually told us bluntly what was happening, you never crossed the actual line, and that was what made me tear up in the first place because you didn't need to say it to make me cry.
And for the record, I rarely cry when reading stories.
I think it was fitting to burn the house down, although it's a pang to say so because if none of this happened, maybe Astoria could have had a happy life. That last few lines hit the nail on the head, and I swear I could almost see this story playing out in front of my eyes.
It was easy to follow, and I'll leave it at that because while my review was long, it's a bunch of nonsense and probably no use to you whatsoever. This was lovely, Jami, and I'm sorry I had to take so long to review this stunning piece.
--LinnAuthor's Response: Bahh how am I supposed to even respond to this truly amazing review?! You are wonderful ♥ and don't ever feel bad about taking a bit, I'd much rather a well thought out review that takes a while than a hasty any day!!
I am so happy that you got that, beauty in such a dark word kind of feeling. I really wanted to use Astoria to symbolize that this kind of abuse had no barriers. It didn't matter that she was a special, perfect, beautiful child or that she was selfless as can be. She was still the trigger. It didn't mater that Draco wanted to save her or help her sooner, because he more than anyone understand family loyalties.
I really wanted to tell the story without actually telling what happened, so I'm extra happy that you feel like I achieved that ♥
Haha so, I actually originally meant that the lighting split the sky open, then I typed spit and just went with it. I kind of liked the fact that spitting on something is pretty degrading, and having the lighting spit kind of felt right... but I might not be making any sense right now and there's a very good chance I'll end up changing that for the next edit, haha.
The ending was my favorite part to write. I think because the lyrics are talking about there not being enough rain to wash the sins out of the house, but Astoria went around that. So when rain couldn't wash them out, she burnt it down. It felt very freeing to both her and Draco.
Okay, I'm just rambling now because you are such a perceptive reader and it's so awesome to get every single review from you. Thank you so much darling ♥ Report Review
Before I get into proper reviewing, I want to note a couple of grammar/spelling issues. I did notice a couple comma splices in this story. For example, this sentence: "They'd go to their meadow, sometimes she'd even leave through the window if she was too frightened to walk to the front door." You also had a typo in spelling "Apparate" and also I think once you meant "colleagues" instead of "colleges."
You asked about whether Draco's and Astoria's reactions seem realistic. I will address Astoria first. I did find her behavior to be realistic. I'm no psychological expert, but I did find her realistic. The making excuses for her father, the feeling sometimes of deserving it even though her head knows better, and basically hoping that things will change or get better seems realistic.
I also found it fitting that when she was faced with making a quick decision, that she ultimately chose to escape herself rather than to help her father escape--something he deservedly brought on himself. By that point, she was an adult and also had spent several years of "normal" time at Hogwarts, so it seemed like an appropriate time for her to make that step. Burning down the house was rather impulsive, and for a Muggle I might question it (authorities would obviously be swarming around at that point, giving a Muggle no opportunity to set a fire in the first place, most likely), but certainly it is a cleansing and symbolic move.
Draco didn't feel as realistic to me. I guess a lot can be explained with the ol' "he's been in love with her since they were kids" line, but I didn't feel him as strongly as I did Astoria. Then again, I suppose I can buy him channeling his anger, helplessness, and desire for revenge into something like this.
I think one thing that does bother me a little was that if Draco had been so concerned for so many years and even tried to talk to Daphne about it, why did he never bother voicing his concerns to anyone else? True, he had his own problems going on during his teens, but I felt like for him to be exhibiting that level of concern at the age of 12, he might possibly have let something slip to someone rather than waiting eight or nine years to act.
As you said, I did feel sad for Astoria, despite the more hopeful ending. Her journey is really just beginning . . . or at least, the next stage of her life is beginning, but leaving behind the past won't be so easy.Author's Response: Thank you so much for stopping by!! So, I've thought a lot about Draco and I think I need to bring out more of the darker things that played in my head with him. In my head, there was very little involvement with Mr. Greengrass and Voldemort. Draco's entire purpose for becoming an Auror was to find enough evidence (or make up) to have him arrested. Now that I read through it, there is no indication of that, and I think that was an important part of realizing that Draco's still not the *best* person.
Your review got me thinking how I can work with Draco, without him saying anything. So now I'm thinking about adding in something to play on family loyalties. If anyone would understand the loyalties it should be the Malfoys, so maybe I can play on that? That may also make Draco feel more in character, okay I'm like thinking out loud to you. BUT that means that your review really got me thinking which is the best thing I can ask for from a review!!!
Thank you so much for your help! And for stopping by, and I'm so happy that ultimately you did feel bad for Astoria because that's what I wanted the most. I am so excited to get the opportunity to request from you again, your a really perceptive and wonderful reviewer! Thank you!!!
Jami Report Review
So Iíve seen that this story had been nominated in the Dobby Ďs and thatís why I decided to check this out.
She saw them through the large front room window, casting the spells around her house, making it impossible for him to apparte.
I think you made a mistake here ( apparte). But next to that I think you did well. You portrayed the things that were going one with Astoria well. Even though she was a victim she had a hidden strength. Glad you made her complex character with depth and problems. I liked the connection between Astoria and Draco, especially considering the fact they got married in canon. The story wasnít my cup of tea but even though it wasnít my thing I could see you wrote it well ( characterization, description and such)Author's Response: Thanks so much for the review! Child abuse definitely isn't everyone's cup of tea and I'm so happy you told me that as opposed to just CCing things because you didn't like them.
Thanks again for stopping by and your wonderful compliments.
Jami Report Review
So I saw this story get some Dobby nominations (congrats by the way) so I had to check it out.
I have to say that this story was very well done. It was a difficult subject matter, but Astoria's emotions and inner conflict at being abused but still wanting to believe that her father still had good in him was very effective. It was also good to see how Astoria can be something of a redemdtive influence for Draco.
The song lyrics seemed to be perfectly integrated into the story, and it overall it seemed to flow very well.Author's Response: Thank you so much for checking this out, as well as the congratulations! I loved giving Draco the rule of the savior, and though it was far from Astoria's fault she was broken, she *was* broken.
Thank you so much for this wonderful review!! ♥ Report Review
This is really a beautiful story.
I think you really did well with Draco. He wasn't too sweet and nice, which would have been OOC, but he was also someone who I could see Astoria being best friends with. Also, the line he said about her father killing her was very good.
And Astoria was just sensational. Like seriously amazing. What I liked best was her strength. The way she didn't let it dominate her life. She wasn't wallowing in anguish all the time. It hurt her unbelievably, but she could keep living through it. I think you also did a great job with the struggle she was going through about her father and whether or not she should help him at the end. I kind of know her feeling because I have a brother who is a bit of a jerk, but I still can't help but defend him and his actions in front of people. Obviously that's on a much smaller scale then what's going on with Astoria and her father, but I think you really portrayed the idea that however bad someone is, they're still your family and you can't just abandon them.
The description was captivating. Every emotion, every scene, was captured so perfectly in your writing. I loved this line: "Where grass and flowers swirled their whites and greens together and created the kind of tranquility that she begged to be part of". The lines around that are also brilliant. It ties Astoria and her surroundings together so well!
Overall, I think you just did a brilliant job of getting to the heart of a matter as serious as child abuse. And doing it in a wizarding setting just added to the beauty of this piece. Great job!!! :)
-KathrynAuthor's Response: That line was one of my favorites. It just felt so raw and sincere that I could really feel Draco's anger behind it.
I'm so happy that Astoria was easy to relate to for you, obviously I hope that no one can relate to her in the sense that they've been through it, but the idea that you can feel for her makes me believe that I did a good job in portraying her circumstances realistically.
Thank you so much for this wonderful review, I really wanted to make the seriousness of the abuse clear without turning it into anything close to a gory piece, and your comments definitely make me feel like I did that.
Thanks again for this amazing review, is absolutely made my day! ♥ Report Review
One of the best Draco-Astoria/ one-shots I've ever read. Really fantastic.
I think the fact that it was about such a sensitive topic made it all the better. Not better in a way that the topic was good (because it obviously isn't), but it helped make the piece more powerful. It showed the bond forming between Draco and Astoria and how it was formed because of something so intense and strong.
I don't think I've read a fic yet where the Greengrasses were bad people. They've always been portrayed as nice and I think the difference in this fic was what made me like it even more.
Draco as an Auror? Hmmm, I don't know about that one, but it really added to the story, all the same.
Truly a phenomenal fic. Great job!
classicblackAuthor's Response: I am so happy you liked this! I definitely took a bit of liberation with the Greengrass's, mainly because I wanted Astoria to be the broken one and Draco to do something good for someone else.
Haha I had the same thoughts of Draco as and Auror, but I just got this mental image of him in that last scene and I couldn't shake it.
Your review surprised me and it really made my day, thank you so much for stopping by ♥
Wow, this was incredible. I rarely read songfics, the most I've found had very chesy songs in them. This one was great. I even opened it up on youtube and had it playing while I was reading this, and it even strengthened the experience. The song interlaced with the story perfectly. The overall feel of it really tugged at my heart. Families can be so destructive to each other. Astoria was the typical victim here...bearing way too much on her shouders for the loyalty she felt toward her father. It was agonizing to read, as it always is with these cases. The imagery you provided, however, made the reading so much more bearabe, because even though it was sad, it was kind of fascinating at the same time. The symbolism of the storm that went with the story, especially appearing at the end really moved me.
I loved, by the way, the connection with Draco, such an unexpected one at that. It was refreshing to have him as a character and not deal with HIS darkness and demons for once. having him as a side character and seeing him through Astoria's eyes added a really nice touch.
You have a lovely way with words in your one-shots, and you're a master at setting up the setting...I loved the image of the storm, and the meadow and Draco trying to protect her. This was simply a very interesting read, touching upon a very sensitive issue with great care. Great job.Author's Response: I am so happy you listened to the song while you read it, I did the same while I wrote it and I feel like her incredible voice just brings a lot to the experience.
Ahhh that's exactly what I wanted to do - make a very dark topic easier to handle and less brutal with imagery. It makes me really happy that it helped to keep a smooth feeling to this piece, because it was really important for me to focus on things other than what he was actually doing to her.
That's exactly the reason I used Draco, i wanted him to be the savior.
Thank you so much for this awesome review, it just made my day ♥ Report Review
Hello hello! Here with your requested review :)
First of all, I have to say that I was a bit surprised to see that you'd chosen to look at Astoria this way--I've got a drastoria myself and am a bit biased, but I'd never really thought of her ever as someone who'd come from a literally abusive family.
Now, I don't know anything about this kind of thing in real life, thankfully! But I do like that you give Astoria a bit of a complex character, where she's caught between doing what she wants and doing what she should because she's loyal. I sort of wanted those lines to blend more, you know? There's something I feel that's a bit--I'm unsure--too constructed for me about the way that she can reason through her feelings. So much of how I view abuse is about impulses--if we want to believe that people who abuse their children aren't necessarily evil through and through, it seems like impulse and the lack of judgement are to blame, or something more deeply-rooted in a power complex or an inferiority complex. I am in no way trying to make excuses for this kind of behavior, because it's obviously inexcusable. I think in that regard you've portrayed Astoria well as a victim of that horror--to think, she's living through a war and surviving but she's being so hurt at home, the place where she should be safe, is doubly tragic. There's a Tolstoy quote about this kind of thing though it's more between a husband and wife, about how we live through war and sickness and yet the true tragedy is what happens between people who are meant to love each other but hurt each other anyway. I think that was something you portrayed well here.
But I want Astoria to be more--guilty. She's innocent here, and though that so often, horribly, sadly happens in real life, what would really interest and injure me as a reader is if at some point she felt that she somehow, rather than deserving it, was welcoming of it somehow, because it was still attention, or something. GRANTED, I don't know much about ToS in terms of abuse, so it's possible that what I've mentioned could get really iffy with suitability for this site, but I'd like to see her as something other than this innocent little girl who is entirely the victim.
I see you gesturing towards this with her final act of leaving her father and burning down the house (which, incidentally, is the title of a really good book of literary craft essays that I will readily recommend to anyone! "burning down the house" by charles baxter btw); but this seemed so contrary to the rest of her characterization and so sudden that I can't truly believe it's the same Astoria. And it's probably true that she's changed over the years, but I didn't see any indication up until that moment, you know? How often in life are epiphanies truly just the work of a moment---I really think that more often we're just blind to ourselves becoming someone new in smaller moments, and when the last piece clicks into place it seems like this grand new person we become, all at once. I don't think it's ever all at once.
I think that might be an easy fix. Just give us hints in the earlier sections that she feels some sort of something else--to me, that she believes it's her fault just because her dad says it is and then that she keeps on believing it just by saying it to herself seems really pitiful--in a good way, I mean--but to me it doesn't quite relay what I think might be the true horror and hardship of what she's experiencing. I guess I would like to see her go one of two ways: very timid, mild, scared, or bold, brash, even sometimes reveling in self-pity. Does this make sense, or am I on a random ramble again? Basically, to me Astoria seems a bit too--too--too much of the perfectly innocent victim. And while I think you do an excellent job portraying how this is a horrible crime and how in the end she breaks free, to me there is something slightly missing, which I hope I've been able to communicate. If not, or if anything is confusing feel free to PM me :P
I haven't touched up much on Draco. I love the part where he goes to encounter Mr Greengrass and he's asking him How could you? and Astoria knows that his being a death eater has nothing to do with it. That's a poignant, realistic moment because you don't need to explain it, and because I as a reader can fill in the gaps. I think those gaps or, as Willa Cather says in "On Writing," "the things not said," are the most powerful there can be. Perhaps what I'm truly saying after all is that I'd rather see it rather than be told it, you know?
Other than that I like the idea that Draco and Astoria had been friends throughout Hogwarts. It's nice to see him care about somebody other than himself, though to be truthful, I'm still not 100% convinced of this Draco. He seems almost too selfless. As a child, I feel, he'd want Astoria to be well because he wanted to spend time with her perhaps even more than he wanted her to be well for her own sake. Those are things I think children have to learn, unless they're demigods or otherwise unflawed. Unflawed is a word I'd like to leave you with, because besides the big last act, burning the house, leaving Mr Greengrass, the children seem too unflawed to me. Again, we write and read very different stories, so this comes down to preference ;)
Okay, one last thing: I don't really think that the lyrics to the song actually need to be in the chapter. I think you could just mention it's based on it and give credit. To be honest, the lyrics distracted me a bit and I didn't feel like they made any parts of the prose seem different or new. This is preference, again.
I hope this has been helpful, and again, feel free to PM me if I haven't quite made sense ;)
-lilyAuthor's Response: Burning down the house is actually one I read in school! I did find Charles a bit pretentious so at times it was a bit hard to stay into, but I really enjoyed the majority of his ideas. Like the epiphany one ;). Although, in the instance of this kind of life long abuse, I think the moment that victim realizes they just can't do it could be extremely varied.
I really like the idea of blurring the lines! I think it would add another element. I have an adopted sister who was severely abused before my parents adopted her, so the majority of what I know is simply from group therapy sessions we'd have. I guess parts of my Astoria may have stemmed from her.
As you said, this may just come down to preferences :). In the eyes of Astoria, Draco wouldn't be flawed, because he has been the only thing keeping her whole. Although, I think I could expand on her anger when she learned that Draco had planted a sufficient amount of evidence to get her father arrested and taken to Azkaban. Because that want she'd harbor for her father to get better, to be able to actually be a father, would always remain - so knowing that Draco took it away from her could be very painful. Or it could be her chance to finally feel free.. hmm I'll have to think more on that.
No - everything you've said makes perfect sense! It was really great to get your ideas on how an abused victim could/should react. I will have to read the piece over and see if there are places I'd like to add in more of the difficulty between her distinguishing if it was her fault, if it wasn't, where she finally breaks.. those kinds of things :)!
I actually don't see Astoria coming from an abused home either, I see her as a very pampered and nearly suffocated child - but I really loved the idea of Draco being the one to save her as opposed to her being his savior.
Thanks again for taking the time to review!! Report Review
I don't think I know enough words to express how I feel about this story, Jami! Oh my God! ALL THE FEELINGS! Oh God! I can't! I teared up listening to Blown Away when the album first came out and and I teared up once again reading your story. And, from now on, I think that I'll remember you when that song comes up on my iPod. From now on, this song is about Draco and Astoria and no one can change my mind!
You see, personally, until this moment anyway, I didn't believe much in song-fics. I've read a couple and they only felt like replicas of the songs, like there's nothing to them. But this... Jami, this just adds so much depth to the song, which is unbelievable considering how this probably is one of the most touching songs on the album! You made me understand that one bit that confused me a little in the song and you just made everything so believable!
I like the prospect you've introduced here, of Draco and Astoria being friends throughout Hogwarts; it mostly isn't portrayed like that. Also usually, Astoria is portrayed as Draco's saviour, and I love how you reversed the roles here. Astoria is often also portrayed as a fighter, as the one that opts for better and works towards it, but here, you've made her challenge so difficult that she needed help. My God, I just adore that!
As for Draco, he's just so admirable! His determination to help Astoria, the lengths he had taken in order to bring her out of her suffering even if she didn't completely agree... How could she anyway?! He's her father no matter what! And I absolutely love how you've stressed on that point in various parts of the story.
And then, when all the rain in Oklahoma couldn't wash the sins out of that house, you set it on fire, Jami! You gave us this ending that's, in my opinion, bittersweet and basically brilliant!
You had many wonderfully descriptive and creative lines that I probably will have to quote the whole story if I want to point them out! Nonetheless, I have managed to choose two favourites!
'The sound of the lock echoed in her heart as she secured the cellar door in place...'
I honestly don't understand how a sound can echo in one's heart but while I was reading the story, I almost felt it -yes, I was that into it. I have never seen fear portrayed like this before and I absolutely love it!
'Then it was a scream, she screamed the incantation with all the wrath of her soul, with all the pain in her heart, and she watched it burn.'
This sentence made made me shiver... It's just so expressive! Mind you, that whole paragraph was simply brilliant!
So yeah... Apparently, ending the night with a Jami-Carrie collaboration is something that I should do more often. Such a marvellous, awe-inspiring piece! Absolutely one of my favourites!
Never, ever stop writing, Jami! :D
-MannoAuthor's Response: What am I going to say??? I don't even know how to thank you for this awesome review.
I think deciding to burn down the house was probably my favorite part of this. Because all the rain couldn't wash the sins out! And she just needed to be free and escape everything that was happening, she deserved to let all those horrible memories go... so she burned it!
I am so happy you've heard the song, that was actually what sparked this. I was on my way to work when it came on and I just had to write it. I spent the first few hours of the morning ignoring everything and working on this, haha.
Bahhh you are so incredible and this review made me so happy ♥ I wish I could just explain how many soft fuzzy feels you gave me, but I don't even know how!
I am so happy that I stumbled across your review thread ♥.
And! I'm with you on, before this, never being a fan of song fics for the exact same reason. It was so much fun to turn this into something entirely different, to make the storm more of a theme and not what actually ended it for her.
Okay. I have to be done before you turn me into a pile of mush. ♥ Report Review
Alright, this is officially payback. You got me! I bawled my eyes out!
I loved Draco's part, is was really touching. Poor Astoria, I could never imagine having to go through that! The descriptions were beautiful and they really just made me cry harder! You are the mean one!Author's Response: Hahaha I wish I could be sorry that you cried.. but...
Thanks so much for stopping by, darling! I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! Report Review
Jami... I donít even know where to begin. I knew, from the snippet you showed me, that this story would be something special, but this? You have blown me away. Iím actually sitting here with tears in my eyes, and itís not even a tearful day! This may be the best thing youíve written (so far), and you know how much I love Before They Fall (once again, I wrote ĎWhen You Fallí... maybe we could write a crossover :P).
I seriously donít know where to start. Ok. Iíll just go for it.
The relationships you portray here are so fragile, and yet so strong. So real and so painful and so full of love, and in so few words! You tell me so much about Astoria and her sister in the line ĎAstoria and Daphne had an unspoken agreement: at Hogwarts, none of it was real.í Her relationship with her father broke my heart. I know what itís like to care so much about someone who is destroying themselves and hurting you (although not, in my case, through being physically hurt) ... but thatís a story for one of our long PM chats! Ha. But suffice it to say, you have really hit the nail on the head here. You show your thoughtfulness as a writer by providing a back story for Mr Greengrass too - I personally have a problem with one-dimensional characters who are monsters just for the sake of it (unless they freely admit to it!) and thatís the opposite of what youíve done here. What he does to his child is hateful and unforgiveable and he deserves to go to Azkaban, but I also pity him and can see how Astoria would reason to herself that he doesnít mean to be angry, heís just in pain. I know exactly how Astoria feels when she wants to say ĎHeís still my father, you canít do this!í. The excuses she makes for him are heart-breaking. Itís so sad for all parties involved.
I just want to take Astoria into my arms and tell her that everythingís going to be okay, and that sheís done the best she can for her father, but she needs to take care of herself... I think I know how Draco feels! And I can actually imagine Draco falling for someone with that sort of fragility - as if by helping someone who needs it can atone for the mistakes he made, and he can channel the anger and sense of betrayal he must feel over his formative years into punishing the person who hurt Astoria. This is why I think itís totally reasonable to cast him as an Auror! I do appreciate though that you havenít made it easy for him - he had to prove himself to his colleagues. So many fics have Draco suddenly become this normal part of wizarding society, which of course, he wouldnít and couldnít be. Heíd have to earn their trust. Youíve thought this all through and it shows in the quality of the plot and characterizations here.
Iím going to draw the parallel with Forrest Gump here. Astoria is such a Ďmahh Jennayí here, but I mean that nicely - sheís not a clichť or a retread of Jenny, but youíve captured some of that anger and pain and the Ďbroken-bird-nessí that Robin Wright Penn portrays in your depiction of Astoria. Itís beautiful.
Speaking of beauty, your language is well-chosen throughout and your similes are lovely, particularly Draco as a stone statue. Heís so grey in this! Stony! And yet, with a heart. That moment at the end of the story when he sees the beauty of her skin for the first time - is that the moment where he realises heís in love with her? Because itís lovely. And I officially feel like a big old meanie for what I do to them in ĎWhen You Goí.
I guess I should wrap this up... Ugh, this was just so good. Seriously. Iím so impressed right now. I donít usually read angst (although writing it can be great) because Iím emotional enough without it, and a lot of it can just be cringeworthy but this was in no way cringey or clichť, it was just superb from start to finish. The lyrics fit in beautifully too. Gah, LOVE!
Sarah xoAuthor's Response: You know we talked about your review length and stuff? Well, everything I said.. it DOESN'T apply to my stories! ;)!!! I love your amazingly detailed reviews so much ♥
I, like you, always want the 'villain' to have a reason. There are those people that are just bad. I read a story where the mother was very abusive (not FF) and you could tell it was simply because of the jealousy her husband showed to their new daughter. So, that's not any kind of huge reason, but it's something.
I really liked the idea of Astoria's father being a good person at one point. Obviously not very good, because good people don't snap and abuse their daughters no matter what, but he was at least a better person.
I'm so happy you picked up on all her massively contradicting emotions. A little girl shouldn't ever have to worry about her father's anger and the way that it just comes out because he's hurting, but she had to grow up so quickly and even blah. Poor girl :(.
I am so happy I got the chance to re-read this review, it made me feel like such a happy little writer ♥
I'm so happy this wasn't cliche or cringey to you, I really wanted to balance that line between heart breaking and over the top. I wanted to make it clear what was happening without having to actually say. Astoria is such a broken little thing in this, I felt so happy for her when she decided to burn down her childhood home. And Draco! I'm sure watching the place that he knew his best friend was being treated so horrbiy for years, go up in flames, was just what he needed.
bahhh I just love you. Thank you so much for being such an amazingly supportive friend ♥ Report Review
Hey, I'm here with the review swap :D
Wow... this was AMAZING! Really really amazing! I hardly ever find a piece of writing I enjoy so much! The writing was just perfect and the emotions... God, the emotions! They were just spectacular, I could feel her pain, her fear, her love, everything! It was just too perfect! Why are you s good?!? It's so not fair! Perfect, perfect, perfect!!
The flow was just great! And the characters... wow, you wrote them perfectly (I've noticed I've used that word a lot, but that's just what it is... perfect!) Ah, it was just amazing! I love Draco and Astoria! They're great and the way you wrote them was brilliant!
I loved the plot! It was fantastic! And the end... the end was just great! Really really perfect (I think I'm turning into a parrot!).
Again, back to the emotions! I just can't get over how brilliant they were! I was almost in tears! I lovelovelove it!
And the imagery! Oh, that was just... (guess what!) perfect!
10/10 and an add to favourites!! I'll read some of your other work soon, and I hope you read more of mine :)
~ Eilidh xAuthor's Response: I am so happy you enjoyed this, and honestly - use perfect when reviewing a story of mine as many times as you want :P!
Haha, seriously though, this was such an amazing review and I just want to melt from it. Being able to feel the emotions of Astoria was absolutely my biggest goal with this, so you commenting on that really made my day (or week ;))
Thanks for a lovely swap! ♥ Report Review
Hi darling! I'm here to review!
First, I'd like to say that this was utterly brilliant. It was wonderful! I wanted to go ahead and get that out of the way so that I can focus on analyzing/critiquing the piece - I really want to examine what you asked me to, so don't get discouraged okay? Because it is BRILLIANT in its own right.
Imagery and style, especially when writing about pain and darkness, is all about diction, diction, diction. Have you ever seen Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams? Well, at one point he says, don't use 'very sad', use 'morose' because language was invented to woo women (haha). Although you aren't talking about happy and bubbly things, the same applies to this kind of story - you've got to be very specific with your word choices. Each word has to count, has to bring the reader closer to the emotions of the story.
For example, look at this particular sentence: "A ten-year-old angel, full of hope despite the darkness of her reality." - Look specifically at the word "darkness." Darkness can be allegorically significant and diverse based on the context of the story. Darkness isn't necessarily a bad word or not adequate enough, but utilize the /idea/ of darkness to highlight the turmoil she's experiencing. This may sound elementary, but use a thesaurus. You know what you want to say in this sentence, right? But to really convey the idea of darkness, metaphorically, emotionally, and literally, expand that sentence - make it two sentences or turn it into a compound-complex or just complex sentence. Use words like obscurity, murkiness, smokiness, tenebrous, sombre, lurid. Now, your style (and it's fantastic!) is different from mine, but as an example, here's what I would do: A ten year old angel, brimming with the luster of hope despite the murky corners, the creeping reality of a decrepit veil settling heavily upon me. Do you see how in my example I utilize the idea of darkness and how it reverberates throughout the entire sentence? That's just one way to bring imagery and style together to convey emotion.
I'm going to point out a few places where I think you should really give us more of your beautiful prose in a manner similar to the description above, okay?
-"The furious wind whistled louder until its rage..."
-"That night, Astoria's father shattered. All the good inside him disintegrated and died alongside his wife."
-"She tried because she wanted to drown the bad and force the good to surface."
-"But nothing could shelter her from the father who, despite all of his cruelties, part of her still loved."
-"It was storming again, a terrifying summer storm that broke the earth." (This paragraph in particular I really wanted you to elicit the /idea/ of it as her fault, you know?).
-"The wind and rain battered the house..."
Those are some of the major places I noticed would really benefit from some ministrations in your very capable hands!
I'd also like to give you another piece of writerly advice I've come across over the years. When you grow as a writer, you are going to find your niche. What works for me, JKR, or whoever, won't work for you are your stye. Write as much as possible. Natural, real, TRUE style only emerges when you've written so much that the words just sort of appear. Okay, now another piece of advice. I've found that when you want to convey a certain emotion or idea in writing and want that to show through very strongly (without being overpowering) in your imagery and style, you've got to consider the senses. They always tell you to write the five senses, but I've learned you've go to give it MORE. Write the five senses, but give us emotional detail, give us detail about nature. Intertwine nature (the outside, physical, tangible descriptions) with emotional outpouring. Here, I'll use an example: "Hope lingers in every other rain drop." Now, if you'd read the essay of mine that that line came from, you'd understand that hope is my emotion and in my interpretation, my mind, my reality, it mingles with the drops of rain. I know that you said I conveyed darkness in "Come, Sugar" without really maxing out on the descriptions - that's because every word is precious. Most people don't like purple prose (think Victorian era writings like Jane Eyre) and most writers don't compose like that anymore. Words are precious and should hold gravity over the reader. Every adjective, adverb, verb, noun, phrase, and clause should bring the reader, in this type of story, closer to the theme, the emotions, the essence of the story.
I suggest that when you edit, don't just look for grammar mistakes, look at re-VISION. Do you think that readers will be inexplicably drawn into the story? If not, how do you add characterization, plot, description, dialogue, emotion, narrative sequence, etc. to make it so? All those things that you did in this story, bring them to the next level. Now, don't get me wrong, I think your story is fabulous. It's got a dark sort of charisma about it - it actually made me cringe thinking about what Astoria was going through. You made it realistic and tangible and accessible for the reader. Good. Gracious. Alive. - it was wonderful. I definitely think that you've portrayed the abuse and Astoria's reaction with elegance.
If you need any clarification or more help, or you just want to yell at me for being mean (I hope I wasn't!), then PM me! I'm here to help you in any way that I can! It's so hard to help when I've only got 6000 characters to do so in a review! I want you to reach your full potential because, frankly, you've got a great style and I think you've got so much charisma and spunk as a writer.
I hope I helped, my dear! And remember, make every word count.
ShelbyAuthor's Response: I'm not ever sure how to start responding to this.
Except for THANK YOU! Your CC have been amazing, I am so excited to work on the parts you pointed out.
I really love the placed you pointed out to enhance and I already have little circling ideas!
I wish I could adequately respond to this, but I just don't know how. I'm so happy you still found this story alluring, I really wanted to put it in between understandable and eerie, and make sure that Astoria's sufferings weren't being minimized but that they were realistic to be coming from the mind of this monsters daughter.
Blah. Seriously. I just don't know how to thank you enough for all your amazing help ♥
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.
Wow, I loved this. It was equal parts beautiful and heart-breaking, with a very strong message of liberation at the end. It's hard to even imagine something as terrible as losing your mother at such a young age. Then to have your father blame you for her loss... I can't even imagine. Poor little Astoria is an angel, and not just in her own mind. The way that she sticks by her father and forgives him for all of the abuse he levels upon her is the kind of pure, innocent love that can only come from a child. It's tragic.
The use of storm imagery throughout the piece was a really nice touch, since it complimented several of the underlying themes: her mother's tragic death, her father's anger and Astoria's own growing inner conflict and anger. One storm was ending as the story began, one was present throughout the story and the last storm was building.
What a unique take on how Draco and Astoria's relationship came to be. I know you're a huge fan of this ship and you never fail to do something interesting with it. The image of Draco as this innocent, protective little boy who tries so hard to keep his friend safe isn't really so horribly at odds with the way that his character ends up. All of his bullying and bluster during the first five books could easily be a way that he compensates for the sense of powerlessness he feels from trying to save Astoria from her father and ultimately from herself. Wait, am I psychoanalyzing your writing again? Sorry about that, but sometimes thoughts come to me and I have to get them out.
Her Hogwarts years are covered very quickly, but in a way that makes perfect sense. She would obviously have a tremendous love for the school, since it gave her precious time away from her father that she didn't have to feel guilty about. He's such a monster by that point. I can imagine him threatening to pull her out of school unless she submits to his abuse. The war also gets a fairly light treatment, except in the way that you describe its effects on Draco. Clearly it hardened his resolve and showed him that there are far more frightening things in the world than Astoria's father.
The ending was a mad rush of revenge and redemption. Oh, that poor girl, trying until nearly the very end to save the monster that destroyed her childhood. Textbook Stockholm Syndrome, but no less sad because it has a name. So this is how Draco became her hero... his furious defense of her is so touching. It leaves me wondering whether he actually had anything to do with the Dark Lord or whether this was simply Draco's way of getting to him. Not that it really matters. He deserves it.
And I loved the way that they made the hated house burn. Such a poetic sense of justice! I felt such release and relief for both of them. For Astoria, the house was a prison. For Draco, it was a fortress, one that kept him from helping her. He must have crept up to the windows as a child, frightened for her as he listened to her father's shouts and the sounds of violence. No wonder they wanted it to burn to ashes.
Darling, you've outdone yourself. Honestly, I don't think I've ever heard the song this was based on, but I feel like I have a pretty good idea what it's all about now. You really translated your vision in a captivating way! Well done!Author's Response: I really loved writing something where Astoria was so fragile, especially since it counteracts Chasing Ghosts so strongly. Except in both pieces she's very much the same, a girl constantly putting on a facade to try and hide her own scars. But still, in this I think she's just easy to love.
I really felt horrible for this little girl who lost her mother, and if that wasn't bad enough, her father completely took all of his pain and channeled it to hear. I've read a few different articles about fathers resenting their children for a short time if the mother dies in child birth, because at first - it's just this little infant that killed the love of their life. So I sort of took that idea and loaded it up with steroids for this ;).
Feel free to psychoanalyze away! I do think that Draco had a very difficult time not being able to help, like he tells her - he was put through hell that he didn't even choose, all to protect his family. And now he has to watch her let herself be trapped into this terrible world, and it's just too much for him.
But, I think that Draco also grows up a lot in this too. We know that Malfoy is a powerful name and he probably could have had her father run into some terrible accident, or the next DE target if he framed it right, but he chose to act with the law and (though you are completely right about Mr. Greengrass's involvement. It was very minimal but Draco managed to skew a bit of facts and plant some hard evidence) found a way to lock him up for good. Yay Draco!
Yes, exactly, there's no way Draco only knew what she told him. He's such a curious and I'm sure there were a few times where he walked up to the door to ask Astoria to play only to stop when he heard shouting and listen for a while...
You should listen to the song! Haha! It's actually quite a bit different, the storm in it is very literal and the girl leaves passed out on the couch when the tornado warnings come in. Though the song never tells if the tornado kills him or not..
Thank you so much for this wonderful review, Dan ♥. I wish I could review marked a few more times to make up for the ones you didn't receive ;(! Report Review
Wow this was an amazing story! You have written this very beautifully in such a haunting manner.
Astoria's emotions, her guilt, her pain, it was so tangible throughout the story. Her relationship with Draco was portrayed beautifully as well, and I liked how in the end he set everything right for her.
The ending was just chilling, with your powerful imagery. I could see Astoria burning her childhood home and 'dancing' with joy at it, it was a very suited ending.
You definitely have a way with words - nothing could have described your plot and scenario better than your narration.
I loved Astoria and Draco's characterizations, and I really liked reading the story overall. It touched me deeply and I was totally into it.
You have done an impeccable job with this. Great work!
ADAuthor's Response: Yay I'm so happy you liked this story!! Haunting was probably the best word you could have used, because the entire time I was just plagued by this image of a tiny ten year old with eyes that have seen way too much.
It was really important for me to let my narration overpower the lyrics, and let them simply guide the story, so I'm thrilled to hear that it felt that way to you!!
Thanks so much for this absolutely lovely review ♥ Report Review
I listened to the song before even reading the story. How a Carrie Underwood song got by me I have no idea, but I liked it! And I have to say you couldn't have picked a more perfect song for this piece. Throughout the story you can actually feel the storm raging, Astoria's fear, Draco's determination... Your descriptions make their emotions almost tangible.
I love your portrayal of Draco. I've always had a soft spot for him, and believed that there is much more to him than the whinny bully he is usually described as. This story shows that he does have a heart, and that after surviving the war he was able to find the courage to do what he knew was right.
I love that you show the growing relationship between him and Astoria, it never occurred to me that they might have been childhood friends.
As far as Astoria herself, your portrayal is chilling. I particularly loved the line:
"At Hogwarts she was a figment of her own imagination..."
The frightened child who grew into a terrified woman, forever defending the man who made her life a living hell right up till the moment she was rescued. And what an amazing rescue it was.
When Draco was watching her dancing in the ashes of her personal hell you could actually feel the relief flowing through both of them. And that moment when Draco finally saw her for the beautiful woman she had grown into instead of the frightened child he had known nearly made me tear up.
Over all you did an amazing job, and I only noticed two minor typos:
"Astoria heard the stores about her father" -stories
"He had been living off of blood money for yeas" - years
Can't wait to read more of your work!
~Moon~Author's Response: Ahhh it's such a good song, isn't it?? I heard it on my way to work, and then things just started turning. But the time I got to my office, I knew that I just had to write this fic!
I loved Draco's drive in this, also. Especially because he could have done so many other things to get rid of Mr. Greengrass, he had the power and the contacts to to so, but he chooses to use the right side of the law to help free Astoria from that terrible man.
I loved the end with the house, I just felt like she would need to get rid of every single reminder, and that house was a huge one.
ooops! Thank you for pointing those out! Silly fingers!!
Thank you so much for this incredible review, and for an awesome swap!! ♥
Jami Report Review
Oh. My. Gosh. Oh my gosh!! I am SO glad I saw your status. This was an AMAZING piece of work! Absolutely beautiful.
I don't think I've ever read anything so bittersweet. This really was dark, so dark but I felt so moved by it. I love darker things. And it was such a unique take to see in the magical world! Wow, wow, wow. I loved seeing the more human side of Draco. We know he has a good sense of morals and humanity, but I never felt as if JKR really elaborated on it, so I thought it was so nice to see the emotional and devoted side of him in this.
Really. This was a great, great, GREAT piece of work. I have no CC to give whatsoever.
Favoriting this piece right now!! I'm so glad I read this! It's not very often that you come across a beautiful and eloquent piece, emotionally, plot-wise, and also in words. This was flawless!Author's Response: Ahhh I'm so happy you liked this piece so much!! I really loved diving into the darkness of Astoria's life, but at the same time I couldn't help but hate what I was doing to her. Draco's part was one I was unsure how readers would take, because he is a good person in this, so I'm very happy you liked it.
Thank you so much for an awesome swap and an absolutely perfect review ♥ Report Review
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