HAPPY ARCHIVERSARY AMANDA! &hearts
I figured I could leave two reviews seeing as you've made it this far, so here I am with the first.
God, you manage to make Eileen Snape so beautiful at first, and then she turns into a broken, fallen woman, while also being a monster, to an extent.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love the complexity you create for your characters?
The way you start off with Eileen having high expectations for herself, then gradually dropping her standards until she ends up with Tobias was amazingly done.
What struck me the most when reading this is how similar you made her to Merope, with the love potion that she thinks will solve everything, when it's the opposite. Unless I'm getting everything wrong, which seems to be happening quite a lot these days...
Ugh, I'm also insanely jealous of the poetry you inject into this one-shot.
But the princess had somehow died a pauper. (...) In the end, her only companion was a frost-covered mirror.
She was the fairest, and thus she must be everything, all at once.
A sharp gust of wind - the world swallowed her, and she was nothing at all.
I could quote this entire story, actually, except it wouldn't fit in this little box, and I could also favourite you as an author a hundred times, but it still wouldn't properly express my admiration for your writing.
&heartsAuthor's Response: Thanks, Val :)
This story was very challenging but really fun to write. I loved playing with the dark imagery and trying to give life to this flat character we barely know. The similarity to Merope you observed was completely intentional; I actually viewed Merope as being slightly more innocent compared to Eileen, who used her mastery of potions to (try to) get what she wanted but could never quite attain. I meant for it to be clear that she and Tobias worked together to breed an attitude of hatred in their house, at least in this story.
Thank you for your very sweet review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Hi! Elphaba here with your requested review,
First of all, wow, I really like this story! I love the way you've taken a familiar fairy tale and essentially reversed it, so that the heroine descends from riches to rags. I also really appreciate the fresh perspective on Eileen Prince/Snape. I see her as being responsible for her own fate, here, rather than a straight-up victim as she's sometimes portrayed.
You asked for criticism, so I do have two little nit-picky things to point out. Your prose is lovely, but I have a thing about the placement of adverbs: "...staring into the green and brown muck fiercely." Fiercely should precede staring in the sentence.
The other is "she worked like a slave," ... there's really nothing wrong with it, and I like that you continue the simile by referring to her quill-wielding masters. I think it's just a bit of a cliche, and while I know I used the phrase on occasion when I was younger, it now makes me cringe. I can definitely see how Eileen might *think* that she's working like a slave, though.
"A child died in winter. Ivory snow, chapped lips, hair black like crows and death." -- I wasn't sure what this meant at first. Does this refer to her loss of innocence? If so I think it's fantastic!
"What would his love potion smell like? Spirits, poverty, disappointment. How had she been charmed?" -- I love this! It seems to sum up their entire relationship.
"Her child--he should have been her crown--was not perfect enough, not even close." -- It's sad that she puts the same pressure on Severus that her parents put on her, but it fits with his character and is also, sadly, realistic.
So, yes, I really like this story and don't have anything else to critique. :)Author's Response: Hello, thanks for coming by!
I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the sort of reversed fairy tale here and the way I characterized Eileen. I don't know that this is my head canon for her, but I always see her portrayed as a victim and I wanted to try something different.
I really appreciate you taking the time to give me critique. I don't get it often in reviews, and so I sometimes just want to ask for it so I can continue to improve as a writer. I agree that putting the adverb at the end of the sentence there is a bit confusing; if I go back and fix it at some point, I'll probably put it after "staring," though, rather than before it.
Yeah, I know the phrase "worked like a slave" is a bit overused. I just don't know else I could use there--"worked like a house elf" seems a bit too light for the tone of this story. So I might leave that one, but I'll think on it.
Yes, that line about the child does symbolize her innocence. I'm so glad you picked up on it! And the one about what Tobias's love potion would smell like seems to be everyone's favorite, despite its morbidity.
It's great that you liked my mention of Severus. I tried to allude to the fact that Eileen's disappointment in her life might have bled into his, like a contagious sort of tragedy.
Thanks again, so much, for this great review!
-Amanda Report Review
Amanda! I'm a terrible friend for not coming by your page earlier, but I saw you in the review tag and decided to swing by. I remember seeing this fic ages ago and sort of skimmed through it and was enamored by all the metaphors and the idea of watching Eileen Prince transform before my eyes, but I never had the time to really sit down and appreciate the story you've told here. Until now.
I'm continually amazed at how much you've progressed as an author. I feel like every time I read something new from you, your talent seems to have multiplied. I'm envious of the way that you can weave a story so beautifully with all these metaphors and references to Snow White. It's really gorgeous.
This is my first Eileen fic and I really adore how you've portrayed her as this dark princess who has fallen from grace and is this hollow sort of shell of her former life. It's an interesting contrast that you've done so very skillfully.
I love how controlled Eileen is at first. How perfect and pretty. Fairest of them all. She has this image of herself that she spends so much time trying to maintain and I really enjoyed how you made that take up so much of her time that she did poorly on her exams, except for Potions, of course. Speaking of Potions, I think the first paragraph of this fic is my favorite. Just the way that you've written Eileen and how natural potion-making seems to come for her, like being pretty.
The story you tell of Eileen and Tobias is wonderful and heartbreaking too. You can see how Eileen starts to decline. I don't know if I'm the only one but when I read this, at the beginning I imagined all these rich colors, you know? Dark hair, bright red lips, pale skin. Then as we transition to her life with Tobias, everything just feels muted and dull, grey, lifeless. The whole transformation is kind of fascinating, actually.
Ugh, there are so many lines in here that I wish I could quote back to you and tell you how much I adore them. It's little lines, like this: "clean like polished iron" that really help bring clarity to the imagery you've written. For me, at least.
Then that last line, "...and she was nothing at all." Wow, what a way to end this beautifully written story. I wish I had more things to say or something more constructive, but you honestly have such a gift with deconstructing characters and writing such beautiful fics, especially ones with such lovely metaphors.
Just, a really lovely fic. I'm glad I finally made myself read it. :)Author's Response: Missy! I'm so happy to see you here. Thanks so much for tagging me and stopping by again!
This fic was just one of those bunnies that grabbed on and refused to let go until I just sat down and wrote it. I had wanted to do something Snow White-esque for a while and just had to find the right leading lady--and what an unexpected result! It kind of amazed me how naturally she happened on the page, transforming from a princess into a dark queen.
I definitely think of Eileen in this story as a perfectionist, though I haven't made up my mind about my head canon for her quite yet. Obviously, as you've pointed out, she can't maintain that academic dedication alongside the social perfection without something eventually giving way. Perhaps if she had worked harder on her exams, she could have found an independent future and not had to rely so much on finding her perfect prince.
I think the color thing makes total sense! I think of this Eileen as being a really classic beauty, and by the end she's very faded and gray and just... old. She's not that old chronologically, but in terms of the experiences she's had and the disappointments she's had to face--that's another story. I would imagine that existing in a totally loveless, resent-filled marriage day after day would really drain a person.
I'm happy that you liked the language and that the metaphors seemed to really accent the plot. I was concerned that maybe they would be too overpowering, but it sounds like you liked them, so that's great! I think this may be the most literal deconstruction I've ever written, but I really enjoyed it a lot.
Thanks so much for this fantastic review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Hey Amanda! I'm here for that review request you asked of me months ago that you've probably forgotten... or you haven't and have been imaging gouging my eyes out. ;) *lollops around in shame* So sorry m'dear, i think i needed a break from reviewing for a time, but i hope i'm now back! Also, the holiday review exchange made me see that i still like doing it!
The metaphors and imagery do not seem forced m'dear! You've written something really wonderful here and i'm not even quite sure of where to start because i'm really blown away by how lovely this is. It's not over laden with metaphors and it's easily understandable. The way you've done them, dropped them here and there and kept the story revolving around similar ones really helps put a reader in the mood for reading and really getting into the character.
This is more than just lovely word wise because its prose certainly has a poetic twinge to it but it feels like there is meaning behind it. The wording and phrases in each phase of her life really seem to bring out how far she's fallen from grace and how far she's falling into this broken shell of a person. I've never really read many Eileen stories, a couple here and there, and this is among one of my favourites for sure.
Her obsession with perfection is especially harrowing . It seems that coming from the family she did it taught her that she had to be everything and because of this it sent her down this path that warped her into this woman who could never measure up. I like your very subtle hints of her how she dealt with the pressure, the bulimia? her depression and almost obsessive tendencies really helped make your versions of her strong and believable.
This also stands out as a story. I'd expect that many Eileen/Tobias stories talk about him destroying her, the pure spirit that slowly faded but rather had her as this very dark character. You could see really close to the beginning that life wouldn't work well for her since she controlled her life so tightly. Someone can only act for so long before things begin to fall apart. It also gives the sense that she wasn't passive and she stayed dedicated all her life to what she wanted like the love potion so that she would always have someone to look up to her as people used to. There were bits of her that reminded me of Severus and it was clear that he probably spent much of his life fashioning himself after her perhaps because she was the pureblood one, the one he wished he shared all his blood with.
I fear i may begin repeating myself but this was a really wonderful piece of work that i'm really glad i've read. (and i've favourting it because i know i'll come back to it and read it again at some point :D )
-zayne :DAuthor's Response: Hi Zayne! So yes, I did forget, haha, but that doesn't make me any less happy to hear from you! I'm glad you're back in the reviewing spirit.
Oh, I'm so glad you liked how I used the metaphors here. I wove so many different ones into this between the Snow White stuff and the references to Merope and Tom that I worried it was too cluttered and the plot would get lost. It's great that you found it easy to follow, and that you liked the underlying story.
I'm also happy that you found Eileen interesting. It was hard for me to get into her mindset, but I liked playing with an unusual characterization of her. Bulimia didn't come to mind for me, but I can see how that would fit perfectly, and I love it when others find different interpretations in my stories. I tried to make her both easy to dislike and pitiable.
The thought of writing Eileen/Tobias terrified me, but this bunny would not leave me alone. It's weird, I guess, but I have the same thought about them as I do with Severus: I loved writing them, but it was so challenging. It's great to hear that you got this foreboding sense about Eileen and Tobias right from the beginning and that you could follow that through into the tragedy of Severus's own life. My head canon is that he had a lot in common with his mother and probably clung to her and her subject of choice to get away from Tobias. I agree that he seemed to idolize her blood.
Thanks so much for your wonderful review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Hello again. I'm here with my second Christmas pressie review! Although I have to guiltily admit that I have no idea where to begin with, to be honest.
To best describe what I felt while I was reading this little experiment of yours, as you call it, I would have to go back in time, a few years back when I first tried to read Russian literature. Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, The Queen of Spades. When you're absolutely drawn in and fascinated by the world the author created but you can feel it deep down, that something's escaping you. That you're too young to grasp the whole profoundness of the characters, of the story. That you need to read the piece several times to at least begin to understand what is going on and have a notion of who the characters really are (and I mean who they are emotionally, not literally). That would be the best way for me to describe to you how I've felt while reading this one shot. And I am in love!
At the very least I have made sense that it's Eileen Snape that drives the 12 acts and that it's a story that basically starts when she's still in school and continues throughout her life until the moment of her death. She is in love with someone that doesn't respond to her feelings (thus her need to give him Love Potion). She lives happily for a time but then something went wrong, he discovered that she was a witch and went mad. She has baby Severus. She dies (or kills herself? That's what I thought when I read the last act of her death, that she killed herself).
That was the basic of story. The template if you'd like to call it. But that's putting it too blunt. Too shallow. She strikes me as a fierce woman, who is willing to do anything and everything to get what she wants. She is not without consciousness ("She felt guilty for being so happy") but she does not stop. She goes on with her plan, her marriage. She didn't have a close relationship with her mother ("Her mother's voice rang in her ears...as she went on and on about not having a future, never finding a half-decent husband") which in turn may have affected and transformed her into the self-centered person we get to see now. Am I close enough in her analysis?
This is a jewel. A single review as well as a single lecture of the one shot is not enough to fully comprehend the complexity of Eileen. There's layer upon layer to her character and it's fascinating that you were able to portray such a character without having much to go with from canon. Splendid!Author's Response: Hi again! Glad to see you return!
Wow, I'm fairly certain I don't deserve that much praise. I'm learning along the way like anyone else, and while there are certainly aspects of writing that I've worked hard at, there are others where I know I have plenty of work left to do! But thank you so much! :)
I basically wanted to model Eileen onto the fairytale of Snow White, loosely speaking, and the tale of Merope Gaunt. I wanted her to transition from a princess (a play on the name, obviously, and her pureblood status), full of hope, to an evil queen filled with regret. Her journey throughout the twelve acts is one of desperation, clinging to what she wants to be and what she once felt that she had. By the end, she's become little more than a shell. Instead of the common depiction, where her husband ruined her, she sort of ruined herself. Some people have interpreted the final act as a suicidal gesture; I don't necessarily see it that way, but I like seeing what others think.
I think your characterization of Eileen is pretty spot-on! Like you said, there are still faint glimmers of a young girl in there--for example, in terms of her guilty feelings. But a variety of factors, not the least of which was her own desire for power and perfection, eventually led to her downfall and loss of self.
Thanks so much for this fantastic review. I hope to see more reviews from you in the future!
-Amanda Report Review
I was going to read Diamonds into Coal for the holiday swap, since I'm so behind on it, but I saw this and immediately had to read it because I'm a sucker for fairy tales.
I LOVED the style of this! It's so cold and haunting, with repetition that enforces the image of someone whose mind is slipping, who needs that repetition and is constantly evaluating what they have, who they are, what others think of them.
I suppose this is her penance for giving Tobias a love potion. I could feel all the undertones of an unhappy marriage even though you never explicitly detailed violence or yelling. You made their relationship even colder and more isolated that it would have been if you'd told about them throwing stuff at each other and hollering at the top of their lungs. Instead you showed us a quietly dangerous man and a delusional woman who takes what she wants but even after she has it, it's never good enough. The way that you wrote it was absolutely beautiful. I found myself going back and rereading certain lines several times because I loved them so much:
They were ripped by hands that feared them, tossed aside and taken by the wind. One drifted by, crinkling in the frozen, crisp air, flattening against the wall. Poisons.
A child died in winter. Ivory snow, chapped lips, hair black like crows and death.
What would his love potion smell like? Spirits, poverty, disappointment.
I like how her train of thought is sometimes interrupted all of a sudden, and she seems to fade in and out of lucidity as she addresses these different anxieties. The prose had all of the pretty delicacy of a fairy tale but with a twist of your own, making it darker and showing her mental imbalance. I am so, so jealous.
Was the mirror the Mirror of Erised? Looking into it and usually seeing perfection made me wonder if it was. Either way, Eileen was perfect as Snow White, with her being a princess and with the references to blood. She was oblivious to the fact that she was destroying herself, that she was deteriorating.
Not everyone can write stream-of-consciousness. I've found that most of the SoC I've read on this site is overly embellished. On the surface it's a bunch of pretty-sounding things strung together, but if you read it with a closer eye, it actually lacks real meaning. Stories have to mean something. Overly-ambiguous stories padded with too many descriptions and metaphors is deceptive and can fool people into thinking that lavish prose equals amazing writing. And that's why I'm so particularly struck by this story. The writing is beautiful, but every single line has a meaning. It's not just randomly thrown in there to look nice. Not once did you try to fool your readers with language that, in essence, makes no sense. I can honestly say that I can count on both hands the number of SoC stories I've read on HPFF that are truly honest and not just a bunch of interesting words slapped together (Sunflower is a master of sincere SoC, so I was delighted to see that she inspired you), and this is one of those rarities that I found both lovely and poignant. It very much tells a story.
The end: A sharp gust of wind - the world swallowed her, and she was nothing at all. - So haunting! Perfect, perfect ending. I imagined her kind of dissolving sideways from your description there, puffing into a ghost or something. Giving a man a love potion and then wasting away to nothing reminds me a lot of Merope Gaunt. I liked those similarities of how Tom Riddle and Severus Snape came into the world. Where I think Merope would have adored Tom, however, there's something especially sad about the fact that Eileen was disappointed in her child. That she didn't approve of him. It completely shatters the common belief that Eileen was a very weak, cowardly, passive person who let herself be bullied.
You should definitely write more stories in this style! I enjoyed reading it very much.
- SarahAuthor's Response: Hi Sarah :D Thanks for the review!
Hey, that's cool! I do hope you return to Diamonds into Coal at some point, but I'm glad you came to sample my twisted little fairy tale!
It's great that you liked the style. I really wanted to convey exactly what you said--Eileen is slipping throughout the piece and she holds onto hard-learned lessons from her noble life and her precious logic to try to keep it together. Sadly, it doesn't work so well.
Writing Tobias and Eileen as husband and wife was challenging and scary and totally interesting. Like I usually do, I tried to stay away from the over-the-top violence and language that I see in troubled relationship stories quite a bit. I'm happy that the very chilly nature of their marriage came through and that you could really see how their initial flirtation turned into a dark mutual loathing.
You know, I didn't think of it as the Mirror of Erised. For me, it was just kind of a symbol of Eileen's vanity and her continual forward looking, like the present is never good enough. I like your interpretation, though!
Oh, I'm so pleased that you like my SoC! I know exactly what you mean when you talk about that sort of "pointless" attempt at the style. I really tried to avoid that and to emulate Sunflower's style, because in her pieces, it always seems like every word counts. I really had fun with it and will probably try it out again at some point.
I was heavily inspired by Merope's story here. It's almost like she and Eileen came to the same conclusion from different angles; Eileen fell from grace, and Merope failed to rise.
Thanks again for your fantastic review :)
-Amanda Report Review
I thought I'd stop by. This was on my list to read for a while, and I've finally gotten around to it. You can blame school, I know I do.
Eileen Prince. The fairest probably wouldn't be the first word I'd use to describe her, but she was certainly someone I pitied. My feelings haven't changed after reading you one-shot. You've painted her in a vastly different light in this story, rather unflattering in her actions. Unflattering and desperate which are all ironic considering your title.
I loved the set up. You started out with a bittersweet description of her final rest, then gave us different snapshots of her live. Reverse metamorphosis in a sense - from the butterfly to the caterpillar and finally, to nothing. It was beautiful.
There was so much emphasis placed on her beauty and talents. The art of potions making being her passion. In the end both of them destroyed her. I love the spin on her relationship with Tobias. He wasn't the monster then, she was. It somehow reminded me of Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle, though the Amortentia was used for completely different reasons.
I loved this story, the flow was really well done for your first time using 'stream of consciousness'.
LiaAuthor's Response: Lia! It's so sweet of you to come by and check this out! I'm sorry I took so long to respond.
I couldn't get this idea of Eileen as Snow White out of my head. I think that's where all the winter imagery came from; I kept picturing her as frozen, cold, pale as death. We know from canon that she wasn't exactly a pretty face, but I could see her as a regal figure fallen from grace due to her marriage. She's desperate to hold on to the trappings of her pureblood heritage, and yet she yearns to step out and be her own woman, too. Sadly, in this story she fails at both of these.
Metamorphosis was obviously a major theme here for me. She fades from the butterfly back to the caterpillar, locked in the cocoon of death, and in doing so she also transforms from the fair princess into the evil queen. Someone else mentioned seeing hints of Black Swan in there, too, which I'll admit to as well. It was a challenge to wrap all of that up into one character, and I'm glad you liked it.
I, like anyone, am quick to hate Tobias for hurting Eileen and being cruel to Severus. Thus, it was sort of interesting to try to turn the tables and make him a pitiable figure. It sounds awful, but I think they sort of deserved each other here--he didn't want her to have magic, and she didn't want him to pay attention to anything except her, and to be her perfect prince, despite knowing he could never be that. I definitely borrowed the Amortentia idea from Merope and Tom, and I'm glad you felt like it worked well here.
Thanks so much for your lovely review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Just so you know, I've never, ever, read a Tobias/Eileen story so I'm very excited to read this! By the way, so sorry that it has taken me forever to come review this. I've been writing like mad to get my next chapter done before my inspiration went away.
I'm here thought, ready to tackle this!
I'm a big Grimm fairy tale fan and this immediately reminded me of the Little Snow-White so I was glad to see in your A/N that you were inspired by it.
I usually read/review at the same time but your story sucked me right in and wouldn't let me go until the very end.
The imagery is fantastic and haunting at the same time. I have the tendency of not reading the type of 'Genre' the stories would be so the darkness of this story took me by surprise. And I'm glad! The images you give the reader and Eileen's personification have more of a shock value to me when I don't know that this is a 'Horror/Dark' story.
I also liked how Eileen did the same as Merope and gave him a love potion. Both stories end sad in a way when it comes to that potion and their children are the ones that pay the price for their selfishness. Eileen was only trying to make herself happy by being the fairest, the princess, the perfect wife...but failed miserably at the very end. She doesn't even think Severus is perfect in her eyes as a mother should.
Ugh, poor Severus!
I really don't have much to say except that I really love this. Not only the imagery and narrative are fantastic but the flow and characterization, I think, are what makes this story perfect.
Thanks for the chilling read! This is going straight to my favorites!
--Rosie/PerelandraAuthor's Response: Hi Rosie! Thank you for stopping by, and now it's my turn to apologize for the late response :)
It's so great to hear that the story sucked you in, especially since you don't routinely read Tobias/Eileen! It was a daunting ship for me, but I really liked writing this piece and playing with the Snow White imagery. I must say, I'm quite proud of how it turned out.
Yeah, I don't know if I would have what it takes to write a happy Tobias/Eileen story, if such a thing is even possible. It was interesting to journey into the darkness, so to speak, to try to get into Eileen's head and the heart of her ill-fated marriage. The whole story really sprung from the repeated images of red lips, black hair, and snow white skin.
Well, I figured that since Severus had been tied to his mother via potions in canon, the love potion thing would work well with her character. It's sad to see how Eileen transformed from a hopeful princess into a lonely, wretched woman with nothing left, not even a child whom she could ever really love. I'm glad you could see how Severus's own struggles might have emerged from all this.
Thanks so much for your wonderful review :)
-Amanda Report Review
This was lovely, Amanda! I don't think I've really ever read a Tobias/Eileen story before, although it's not really a question why -- they're certainly not a popular pairing, and not a happy one either. But in the hands of the right author (you, of course, being that author), they have a sort of tragic, bittersweet magic that makes for plain and lovely reading.
I feel like I do this every time I come around a story of yours, but yet again, I've got to praise your imagery. You really know how to turn a phrase! There's a richness to your story that I feel, rather than see, which makes it a poor problem to turn it into words. Your use of colors in this story was especially beautiful; there's such a fine line between making red beautiful, and making red bloody. And it's a line a lot of authors play with. You've done it very well here.
And I love the idea of Eileen initially luring Tobias in with a love potion? (Forgive me -- is that canon? It's been a shameful amount of time since I've read one of the books.) There's a chilling parallel there to Merope Gaunt and her Muggle, and I love that Snape's born out of that, even if not under it. That ties him more into his future and his personality, and it's wonderfully delicious food for thought, to someone who loves Snape almost as much as you do! ;)
I think I'm physically cold after reading this. Is that weird? You wrote ice and winter in a very realistic way! That's been happening to me lately with Game of Thrones, as well, which I'm also reading. But I'm rambling now. I'm so glad I picked this story of yours to read! It was so pretty; you really do have a way with words, though I risk repeating myself, mentioning it here again. Hoping to drop back by here again quite soon! ♥Author's Response: Hello Rachel! November was crazy and I got really behind on responses, so I'm slowly working my way through now that things are slowing down again. Thanks for your patience--I know that I owe you some more! They're coming!
I owe my courage in attempting this pairing to Shelby. As I'm sure you know, Tobias/Eileen is kind of her thing, and after reading a couple of her one-shots, I just had to give it a try. I'm really proud of the result and I enjoyed the challenge of getting inside Eileen's head. (Though I'm still a little scared of Tobias. Eep.)
It's great that you liked the colors--that three-sentence description with the lips and hair and skin basically constructed the whole story. I built everything off of that part of Snow White. I'm so happy that what could have been seen as overdone worked well for you.
I don't think it's canon. It was heavily inspired by Merope, and my head canon that Severus got all his potions know-how from his mother. I see parallels between her and her son, definitely, especially in this concept that logic and intelligence can't win you everything. Eileen sees it with Tobias, and Snape sees it with Lily (as I expand upon in Post Scriptum).
I think the whole thing has a very chilly feel to it, so I'm not entirely surprised that you're cold :D I'm so happy that you liked this, and it was so sweet of you to drop by! I really hope to see you pop up again sometime soon :)
Amanda Report Review
Hello! CalypsoJenna here at last with your requested review!
What a haunting piece of writing! I really love all your parallels with Snow White: the colours, the mirror, the obsession with physical beauty... Your imagery is brilliant and very consistent- I really enjoy the way the same ideas come up throughout the story. I think you've maintained that very well.
Eileen is a very dark character... I loved the way you brought across her clear, logical mind. So often, love is portrayed as something illogical and beyond the realms of science, so the way Eileen viewed it so mathematically and ruthlessly was very chilling, not to mention original. I couldn't help but notice the paralells with Merope Gaunt which very subtle, but a clever touch. I can also completely see Eileen as Snape's mother from this- they seem to have a lot in common...
I also admire the structuring of this story. I think the way it begins with her death overshadows the whole narrative of her life, and I really like the cyclical way that the beginning of the story and the end seem to tell of the same event.
You mentioned in your request that you were a little concerned that this story was too confusing or forced, but I really wouldn't worry on that count! I think the stream-of-consciousness style is utilised wonderfully here- it really seems to fit with the character you've created for Eileen, and the metaphors and imagery make it more engaging to read, not more confusing.
So well done- this was a great read! Your characterisation and your imagery and style of writing were all wonderfully done, and came together for a very chilling piece of writing! I'm only sorry it took me so long to get round to leaving this review!
-BethanyAuthor's Response: Hello, and thank you for coming by :)
I'm happy that you like the repetition and parallels with Snow White. I had been toying with an idea like this for a while, and I just sort of fell into this ship as a way to make it happen.
I think a lot of my characterization of Eileen comes from how I conceptualize her son, so I love that it came through that way for you. The parallels with Merope Gaunt were intentional, inasmuch as I felt like Eileen would be the first to suggest using a potion to get something that one wants. I picture Snape as returning to the logic of a potions recipe as a calming mechanism, and I figured he might have gotten that from his mother in some way. It separates both of them from Tobias.
I'm glad you like the way I began this! Starting with the death was actually one of the last things I decided; I wrote it and it just seemed to make sense and cement the mood. I'm also happy to hear that you liked the SOC style and felt like things flowed smoothly.
Thank you very much for this kind review!
Amanda Report Review
Hey Amanda! The Review Tag brought me here and I'm very happy it has! :)
At this moment, I don't know if I should gush, cry, or tell you how amazing you are.
I think I should start with saying I've never read an Eileen/Tobias story, never even thought about that, so this has been a very interesting experience for me to say the least. I also loved that it wasn't exactly all about their relationship and that I got to know what kind of a person Eileen is before we got to Tobias. It made the nature of their relationship quite easy to understand.
I love that you've drawn her characterisation from the Grimm version of Snow White. Dark stories are always so intriguing to take on, whether you're the reader or the author, and you've done marvellously with this one-shot. I absolutely admire how the three Snow White signature colours were a basic theme here. The way you've used the colours to show the change in Eileen's life over the time, her emotional state... I was rather astounded by how effectively that worked!
I see a lot of Severus in Eileen's characterisation and that, on its own, made this story very special. You've set her and Tobias's characterisation and their relationship in a way that they relate to Severus's personality, and that sort of justifies many of the drastic choices that Severus makes-or they do to me anyway. Now I'm sitting here and wondering if Severus should've made Lily a Love Potion or ever even considered it.
Okay, I went off track.
Honestly though, this is one of the most haunting stories I've ever read. Your word choice and your descriptions added so much to the over all dark theme of the story, and the details easily got me into the perfect mood for this story and made everything so easy to visualise and even, at some points, feel. Every word had relevance to the bigger scheme of things and I was swept in once I was past the opening. :)
As always, wonderful work! Absolutely one of my favourites! Author's Response: Hi Manno! Thank you so much for stopping by!
Well, if you find that you like Eileen/Tobias, WeasleyTwins is the goddess of that ship. So much of this was inspired by her, and this was just my small stab at emulating her work. You're right that it was mostly about Eileen. I don't know, Tobias just makes me uncomfortable. I don't know if I could tackle him head-on in a fic yet. I think it's because I picture him as being representative of everything bad about Severus, and yet I feel like my Eileen here could also be responsible. Regardless, it was neat to explore this pairing.
I loved playing with the colors, using them in creepy repetition to describe Eileen throughout the piece. It was also cool to imagine her taking on the role of Snow White and twisting her into the Evil Queen in the end. I was scared that the whole style and theme just wouldn't work, and I'm pleased and flattered by how much you liked it!
Severus was definitely on my mind when I wrote this. I tried to imagine what kind of dynamic could create his complex personality. I've often contemplated the idea of Snape making Lily a love potion, then pouring it out, then re-making it in a moment of desperation. It's a chilling and yet very intriguing concept.
Thank you again for this awesome review :)
Amanda Report Review
It's Roots in Water here with your review! Just a warning, though: I'm not typically the greatest with realizing what the metaphor is but I shall try my best!
To begin, I did really enjoy this story. I've only read a few Tobias/Eileen stories so far and each one of them has seemed to master the sorrow of their relationship, just as you did so masterfully here.
One this that I found particularly interesting here is your characterization of Eileen. You didn't make her naive or completely innocent; instead you portrayed her as a vain and selfish person. She's not necessarily a bad person; she acts to get what she wants and doesn't think about the long term consequences of her actions. It was very interesting to see her fall as the years passed and the one thing that she prized above all else disappeared. All at once, she seemed to be both Snow White and the wicked Queen (I haven't read the Grimm Brothers' version of the story, though, so this portrayal could be very close to their Snow White and I just don't know it).
I think that this piece definitely flowed very well and the imagery was amazing! I loved how you wrote her downfall over the years. Even though each of the sections was short, you did a great job of capturing her essence, her feelings in that moment. Furthermore, the repetition of certain well-known words from Snow White helped to solidify the connection between the scenes.
The imagery of a dark princess, red, black, white colours and beauty pushed us into her mind. We saw the world through her eyes, saw it how she saw it. This was particularly interesting because her view of the world was much more fantastical than most- she created a version of it for herself and she lived in it and died in it.
And now on to the more difficult part of this review: the metaphors. To begin (once again), I don't think that this piece was heavily laden with them. You could read it and understand it without searching for them if you wanted and you wouldn't have problems following the storyline or you could search for them (or happen to spot one) and the story would seem that much better and more thought-out.
I really liked how you would refer to the well-known traits of Snow White and twist them to reflect her situation and emotions at the time. Painted lips, bitten lips, lips as red as blood... They all give such vivid pictures that in turn give pictures of her life at that moment.
As well, I loved your use of repetition. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, they helped to reveal the changing of her circumstances and her feelings about her life. They helped to create connections between the sections and give the piece a common, solid feel.
The only thing that I paused at was the mention of her brother. Now I know that Eileen's history probably isn't very defined but I do wonder how her having a brother influenced Snape (or even if it did, in any way). Your thoughts?
All in all I really liked this story and think that as an experimental piece it's a huge success! Thank you for requesting and I hope that my comments are helpful!Author's Response: Hello, and thank you for stopping by!
You really nailed it with your description of Eileen. I meant for her to sort of evolve from the flawless princess into the deranged queen. I'm not exactly sure if that's what drove me primarily or if it was something else, but I didn't want to do the traditional version where she's this helpless girl at the hands of a husband who no longer feels anything for her. I wanted her to hold her own, in a way, and yet to feel the burden of her own mistakes. And of course, I still wanted Tobias to come to hate the thing that made her so enchanting.
I love how you said that she lived exclusively in a fantasy world--that's so right. Her pumpkin never turned into a carriage, so to speak. Her prince never really emerged here. She just doesn't know what to do with that. I'm glad that the use of the colors from the fairy tale and the repetition solidified all that.
I'm glad the metaphors didn't feel too heavy. The fairy tale certainly inspired me, but the last thing I wanted to do was re-create it with a different protagonist and antagonist here. This was a really fun experimental piece for me and I'm very glad that you enjoyed it.
Oh, good question! That was just a minor detail I threw in, something to help ramp up her desperation. If this were my head canon, I would say that Eileen's blood family probably never met Severus, if they even knew he existed. I would think that all ties would be cut as soon as she married a Muggle man. It would probably be very, very strange for Severus to one day run into his uncle, hmm?
Thank you again for this very kind review :)
Amanda Report Review
Tagging you from the Review Tag 2.0 thread.
Wow. I was blown away by the amazing descriptiveness and dark beauty of this. The imagery you used to describe Eileen and her terrible fall from grace was incredibly powerful and moving. All throughout the story, I couldn't help but think of Merope Gaunt. The way you captured her life and the events that led to Severus Snape's miserable childhood drew out incredible parallels. My mind was blown.
From the outset, the way you characterized Eileen reminded me so much of Severus. The gifted child with a dark streak. The single-minded focus. The desire to be in control of her own fate and have what she wanted on her own terms was very reminiscent of Severus's obsession with Lily. The fact that she comes from affluence rather than poverty was almost secondary for me.
Sadly for her, the world seems to see her for what she is. Too narrow. Too tainted. Unable to function well outside of her narrow domain.
The way she captures Tobias Snape's affections was what really made me see a parallel between Snape's life and Tom Riddle's. Yet Snape was able to feel love, albeit a very possessive version of it. The difference is curious and I wonder whether you thought about it at all as you wrote this? The ending was also horribly similar to the story of Tom Riddle, Sr. and Merope Gaunt, except that poor Tobias lacks the means that Riddle had to reject his deceiver and return to his former life. Thus, he destroys her magical things and continues to live in bitterness and regret. It's heart-breaking.
One line that was so amazing I have to repeat it: What would his love potion smell like? Spirits, poverty, disappointment. I'm just at a loss for words...
I really, really loved this. It was a clinic on rich, poetic writing and amazing use of imagery. Just brilliant!Author's Response: Hi again, Dan! Thank you for coming to visit!
I did keep Merope in mind quite a bit as I read this. I wanted to come at the idea of a love potion from a different angle, in terms of characterization, but I did like the canon motif. It's great that it made sense to you, and that you liked the dark beauty here.
You know, she is. My head canon says that Severus and his mother were incredibly close. She's part of the good parts of him, like Lily--and yet this diverts from that quite a bit. Here, I view her and Tobias as equally responsible for his plentiful flaws. I think in that sense, he fits well into this tragedy.
I didn't think much about Snape's ability to feel love, but that's interesting to ponder. Perhaps it's captured in Eileen's youthful optimism--I think Severus would have felt a similar sense of triumph as he used magic to charm Lily into being his childhood friend. Merope was used to tragedy; Eileen isn't here. I think it's a little poetic to imagine Severus unconsciously clinging to that shred of hope, given that tragedy also dominated his life.
I love that line, and I'm glad you did, too! That, and the one about her hating Tobias for destroying her potions. Poor both of them.
Thank you so much for this lovely review!
Amanda Report Review
This is, by far, one of the best stories I've read in a while. Very well written, thought out, and put together so smoothly.
I'm really intrigued by the metamorphosis - princess to queen - theme and how you managed to capture it so perfectly with the changing of the seasons too. It ties in together so well.
And your use of descriptive words is amazing. A lot of people overdo it, but you added just enough to make the settings clear. It was easy to imagine each scene in my mind, and I love that.
What I love most is that, even though you were inspired by the Grimm fairy tale, you still managed to make this story original.
An excellent story! Definitely enjoyed it! :DAuthor's Response: Wow, thank you! That means a lot to me!
I'm glad you liked witnessing Eileen's transformation and how it occurred alongside the changing of the seasons. Snow and winter were powerful and inspirational metaphors for me, and it was interesting to play with them and use the darkness of the theme to taint their meaning.
Oh, good! I was a little worried with this abstract piece that I'd gone too heavy with the metaphors and description. It's great that you felt like it was balanced and added to the story appropriately. I'm also glad you found this original; I strive for that with all my work :)
Thanks again for this wonderful review!
Amanda Report Review
So my first Eileen and Tobias story was actually one of Shelby's, and I have to say I was really excited when I saw your most in the New Story thread. I feel like I've started this story dozens of times, but my phone always rings or my email always buzzes, and this isn't a multitasking kind of story. It's a, you better read every single line or your going to miss something beautiful, kind of story.
Do you know what you do better than anyone? Cursed beauty. And cursed isn't the appropriate word, but I'm not sure if the one I want to use here is 12+, so I'll message it to you. But, it's amazing. And it just feeds that need that we have to read destruction, but you make destruction so beautiful! It's almost terrifying.
I don't know if the love potion is something I'm missing in canon, I don't think so, but I love your usage of that. Her skills as a potion master built her confidence in her own mind, despite her lacking aspects in other subjects, then destroyed her. Her skill to make that potion, to keep the simple man in love with her, ruined so much though it probably would have been ruined regardless.
And the part about walking through the village with her skirts. I just have this image of a woman in torn clothing walking like a queen. Everyone is pointing because they think she's gone mad, she's the woman from that house that they all know something is wrong with, and they're wondering how she can walk around like that? Okay, that might be completely wrong. I have no idea if it's what you planned, but that just stuck in my head.
And I feel like by the end, she's resenting what the man who was so simple wants. A hot meal. Before it was convenient because he was simple and she could do whatever she wants, now the thought of it is too much. And a child that wasn't enough. Bahh. Like I said, I may have read this completely wrong, but I loved every second of your vivid descriptions and beautiful writing. You have so much talent. It makes me turn envy green.Author's Response: Hi Jami! Always happy to see you!
Hah, Shelby is the Eileen/Tobias goddess. Her work is the reason I finally felt brave enough to try this ship out--and I'm glad I did!
Wow, thanks! I guess it's my love of angst. I sometimes feel more comfortable with unhappy endings than happy ones, though I'm trying to work more on that. Luckily, we already know that Eileen and Tobias probably don't end so well, so the canon freak in me was more than happy to write their tragedy.
Nope, I made that up--though it was definitely heavily inspired by Merope and her plight. My head canon is that Severus got most of his potions know-how from his mother, and along with it came his obsessive tendencies and clinical, detached nature (sans love for Lily). Like him, Eileen is unable to understand what to do when logic fails her. She's emotionally stunted and helpless, like Severus is in a way.
You got it--that's exactly the image I wanted! She reminded me a little of Anne Boleyn, wanting to keep her head high and her riches visible even when her image was tarnished. Her fantasy world means more to her than the real world ever will, in multiple senses. She does really resent having to return to earth.
You're so sweet. Thank you once again :)
Amanda Report Review
Hi darling! I read your message and had to come right over to read and review!
To be perfectly honest, I was crying by the end. Just squalling my eyes out. Then I read your author's note and cried some more! I'm so astounded that "There Will Come Soft Rains" inspired you to write Eileen/Tobias! That makes me so happy! I love, love them to death, as you know, and I think it's fabulous that you decided to give them a try! And may I say, you did a spectacular job!
Right off the bat, I love your summary. I'm one for short, snappy summaries and I love how absolutely alluring it is! That sense of allurement you get from the summary parallels with the allure of Eileen. It's a wonderful connection and pulls the whole story together nicely.
Holy Harry Potter, your prose Amanda! I don't even know where to begin! I always compare you to Faulkner because of your manipulation of time, but I tell you, I can't do that here because I think you've transcended his legacy. Honestly, the reality of the piece is so murky and has this hazy, clandestine quality to it that Faulkner could never come close to - your skilled hand has crafted this to near-perfection, if not perfection. I love your diction - your vocabulary is unrivaled, especially coupled with your style - oh, just utterly divine.
Just about every single line is one of my favorites, but this one struck me the most: "Hadn't she slept her whole life away for this moment?" - This is the point where I started crying because I felt this really personal connection. The ability to connect with the story was already there, but this line just did it for me. I feel like it's allegorical and can represent so much more - reading between the lines is huge here for me. I think this line is your defining moment - it characterizes Eileen. Perhaps I love it so much because I think it characterizes me too - not in the sense that I'm a beauty, but I'm always imagining and dreaming for /that/ moment in my life. What happens when I reach it, you know?
I could go on and on, but I don't think I've got any way to describe to you what I feel about this piece. I think you did an absolutely INCREDIBLE job with the Eileen/Tobias pairing. It's very canon, but you've transcended the limiting boundaries of canon and accentuated both your prose and the pairing. It is honestly all completely genius. I love this. I LOVE THIS.
ShelbyAuthor's Response: Hi Shelby! So glad to see you here!
D'aww, I'm sorry that I made you cry! You really do deserve a lot of credit for giving me that last push to actually give this ship a try. It means so much to me that you liked this story so much, too!
Oh, thanks! The summary for this story was actually pretty easy to write, much easier than some of my others. I'm also a fan of quick one-liners, and I'm happy that it worked here.
WOW. Pretty sure I don't deserve that kind of praise, but thank you!! I would like to think that I've begun to nail down my signature style with these abstract, feely one-shots, and that some of it bleeds into my plot-driven longer stories, too. I think I'll just cuddle this part of your review about my vocabulary and my prose forever, thanks :D
Oh, wow, how neat that you personally connected with this! I can kind of identify with Eileen there, too, and I would imagine that lots of people can. You always think about what is to come in your life, the things you've always dreamed of, and you don't even realize that life is happening right now, in this moment. Unfortunately for Eileen, she never quite grasped what she was looking for here.
I'm so happy that you felt like this was canon and still unique. Thanks so much for this fabulous review, and I hope to read more from you soon :)
Amanda Report Review
Wow. I wish I knew a way to put my thoughts into comprehensible words at the moment, but alas I'm speechless.
The imagery in this was just - it was stunning, simply put. It wasn't overworked and excessive, but subtle and, in my humble opinion, perfectly executed. I loved the way you wove the threads of the original fairy tale into a believable and quite frankly lovely (in a very tragic way, mind) portrait of Eileen Prince's life both before and after she married Tobias. It was very vivid and sad, wonderfully done.
The characterization of Eileen and her development in the story was just marvelous. I wish I had more to say on the matter, but I doubt you want me to ramble on and on about how lovely and perfect and amazing the transition from dark princess to black queen was just magnificent.
I'm definitely adding this to my favorites.
Truly wonderful job.Author's Response: Hello, and thank you for this lovely review! I'm so very sorry that this response took ages!
Thanks! I seem to struggle with laying a little thick on the imagery sometimes, which is certainly better than just forgetting it entirely (as I used to do) but still in need of work. I'm trying to practice weaving it in more effortlessly and making it part of the story, rather than a starring character. I'm also glad that the mood worked well and you felt like the fairy tale and canon made for a good mashup.
I'm glad you liked the transition for Eileen's character and the story overall. Thanks again for this wonderful review and the favorite :)
Amanda Report Review
Okay, so this was a perfect one for me to read because I love fairy tales, and Snow White is one of my favourites from the Grimms' collection.
You've really made it your own here, especially with the changes of the colour of her lips, skin and hair - it starts off as the classic blood/snow/ebony (destructiveness and decadence? /randomthought) combination, fades out, and then ends up the same again, which is all kinds of wonderful.
And the whole metamorphosis thing, from princess to queen - wow - that's actually a pun that I can forgive, because you've written it so well, combining it with the idea of autumn-as-the-transition-from-summer-to-winter thing, so that the eternal companionship of the frosted mirror when she dies is perfect.
And I'm sure there's a ton of other things that I've missed, like how the constant mirrors remind me a bit of Black Swan but in a good way, and how that there are so many layers to this that I will probably have to read this three more times to get it completely.
All in all, as you can probably tell by my inane/insane review, I'm extremely impressed by the amount of work you've put into your strange little experiment. Well done!Author's Response: I'm so sorry this response has taken me ages!
I wasn't particularly attached to Snow White when I was a little girl, but I do feel like she strikes a powerful comparison for Eileen here. It's great that you felt like the colors worked well, because I worried that maybe they seemed a little overdone or forced. I did try to play with them in new ways throughout the piece, always changing up what they meant.
It is kind of a silly pun on the surface, but I hoped that allowing the beautiful princess and evil queen to end up being the same person would help make up for that :p I did think a lot about the seasons and the cold and the way everything dies in winter there at the end.
Hah, I can see the Black Swan thing, cool!
Thanks so much for this very sweet review :)
Amanda Report Review
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