Reading Reviews for When the Axe Fell
29 Reviews Found

Review #1, by krazyboutharryginny When the Axe Fell

11th July 2015:
House Cup 2015 - Gryffindor

Well, this was a tough read, but I probably should have expected that!

Your writing, of course, is stunning, as always. The first paragraph especially is very vivid in its descriptions. I could totally picture the scene as I read it.

Sir Nick is a bit of a comical figure in the books, so it was interesting to read this really dark story about him. We're told how he died in the books, but the fact that his head wasn't completely severed is a source of humour. I'd actually never thought about how agonizing that experience must have been. This definitely made me reconsider, especially since the event is described in such graphic detail.

I actually feel quite bad for the executioner, as he seems really remorseful at the end there and embarrassed that he made such a silly mistake (not sharpening his axe). Also, that would be a really gross thing to participate in, so there's that. My sympathy towards him is limited, though, because the whole thing is so barbaric and he's a willing participant.

The people I couldn't connect with at all were the spectators. Why would you go watch something like that for fun?! *shudders*

Anyways, Sian, your writing is fantastic. You're so talented!


Author's Response: Hi, Kayla! *hugs* Ah, you found one of my oldest stories, I thought everyone had forgotten about this :P

Unfortunately it was going to be a tough read - I tend to enjoy writing angst far too much *hides* But thank you for your compliments on my writing - it's so sweet!

Nick really is more of a comical figure in the books but I love reading things from this period - which in England was actually an incredibly difficult period to live in, if you're involved at all politically - but I really love taking minor characters and exploring them further in a way that I haven't seen before. It helps bring them to life a bit more for me and this is probably my head canon now, for how Nick died.

The executioner was one of those wonderful characters who just came from nowhere and wrote himself! Before I wrote this I had no idea of him being anything important to the story but I can't imagine how a seasoned executioner would make that mistake, and I also can't imagine that something going that badly wrong for someone so inexperienced wouldn't have an impact on them.

I know that it's horrible that people were spectators, and that the executioner had trained for that job - it's one of the reasons that I'm glad I don't live in a time when that's considered normal!

Thank you so much for your lovely review and your compliments! ♥

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Review #2, by MargaretLane When the Axe Fell

3rd September 2014:
I've noticed this story before, but never got around to reading it. I've been meaning to read some more of your stuff, as what I have read has been excellent.

The first paragraph is really well written and sets the scene really well. I'm not great at that kind of mood setting, so it always impresses me.

The mere mention of "the Tower" sent shivers down my spine. I think it's the capital "T" on tower. It just sounds ominous, especially knowing how this'll end.

Like the mention of chainmail. It fits the country and the era.

Love the background about how he'd been a favourite of the king. I hadn't even really thought about how being "Sir" indicated he'd been knighted, but of course, it does.

And I really like the insight you give into why Nick's head didn't come off neatly. The part about the pumpkins made me laugh.

Although would there have been pumpkins in England at the time? I kind of see them as American. I'm not sure about that though.

Really like the way you show how scared he is. It makes sense he would be and adds to the atmosphere of the piece. I also like the way you have him feeling that he's not living up to being a Gryffindor by showing fear and how it contrasts with the risks he is familiar with. It highlights how there are different types of courage and how a person who is brave in one circumstance can be terrified in another. I can totally imagine how terrifying the wait must be. At least in battle, you're not just standing there waiting for the axe to fall.

I grimaced in sympathy when Nick spoke of how it was the worst pain imaginable. You really made me feel what he is going through at that point, which is a mark of excellent writing.

Oh gosh, that part about the axe going into the bone made me shiver. You really write this well, so that I can almost picture it.

And he doesn't want to die. Understandable, but interesting in light of what we know will happen and how he indicated in Order of the Phoenix that it was his choice that allowed him remain as a ghost. I wonder if he will be pleased when he realises he still exists.

You are making me feel sympathy for the executioner too, who after all is a young man who is only doing his job and probably didn't expect it to be like this. Aw, now I really do feel sorry for him, when you mention him being inconsolable. I get the impression he's going to struggle to come to terms with this, that it'll haunt him for a long time.

And I love how you describe him making the journey back to boy again.

It's kind of sad that the priest objects to him continuing to hack at the corpse, but seemed to have no problem with executing a man in the first place.

Oooh, that part about Nick already regretting his decision fits with canon, but it's really sad.

The only bit of concrit I'd give is that the last few words sound a little awkward - just the repetition of "he wished". It might sound better to say something like "and that he'd made a different decision when the axe fell." But I'm probably being really picky here.

Excellent story.

Author's Response: Hi Margaret! It's been a while since I got any reviews on this story, so it's really nice to get some feedback from you!

I'm really pleased that you liked the way that I set the scene in this story and you thought I created a good atmosphere for it to start off with. I'm definitely no history expert but I really enjoyed building up some of the back story and the little details like the chainmail and things like that.

*blushes* You're the first person to even point out the pumpkin inconsistency and I just went and looked it up to find out that you're completely right, so I'll edit that as soon as I can!

I always imagine that in this era, those who were knights would be trained for all sorts, particulary only ten or so years after the War of the Roses was over, but execution at the tower wouldn't have been one of the things they were prepared for.

This is quite gruesome, but then people being executed is going to be, so I'm glad that you liked the way I wrote it and built up the empathy there.

The executioner was one of those characters who completely invented and wrote himself in this story, and I'm so pleased that people were able to feel sympathy for him! For me it's kind of at odds for a lot of people at that time, who professed to be so religious and Christian-spirited and yet they were completely okay with execution. Then again, the past was extremely different and we can't judge it by our standards!

Thank you for that concrit as well, as it's always helpful! When I edit the pumpkin detail, I'll look at that too.

Thank you so much for the swap and this great review!

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Review #3, by MyMyMiss When the Axe Fell

7th March 2014:
wow - like seriously wow.

Your description is just amazing! seriously it's just amazing!! how do you come up with the plots for your stories? these are seriously amazing!

Anyway - I really liked your description (again) in this story, I felt like really was in the old days, watching an execution and mingling with peasants and the rich - like whoa.

Not to mention the way you wrote how many times he was struct I was like oh my god you poor, poor man. having to endure every blow and then having a very slow and painful death - it was sad, great, brilliant writing, but sad. He was a very courageous and brave man and you showed that in your writing here!

keep up the good work!

-blackout battle round 2

Author's Response: Thank you so much for reviewing so many of my stories! You're amazing! *hugs*

This story was one of those random pieces of inspiration that strike and I was so pleased with what came from it - I'm glad you liked it too!

Ah, I'm so pleased you liked the description here, it was something I really worked on for this story. The axe strokes were really horrible to write but they seem to have had the effect that I wanted on most readers - to emphasise how horrible his death was. I'm happy you liked the characterisation, too!

Thank you for these reviews, they're wonderful! Good luck in the Bingo!

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Review #4, by Illuminate When the Axe Fell

24th September 2013:
Hi! Review Tag!

This is a nicely written oneshot! I like Nick, and ever since I read that he had to be hit by the axe loads of times I thought that his death must have been brutal and horrifying. I think you've captured that very well indeed.

All through reading this I was holding the back of my neck squeamishly xD I can't imagine how painful it must have been, and I think you capture that pain - both physical and emotional - though the whole process.

I also really like that you gave attention to the executioner too- they're often portrayed as heartless creatures, so I like that the executioner was portrayed as being severely disturbed by what he had done.

All in all, great job!

Author's Response: Hello!

Nick's character always interested me when I read the books, and when the idea for this story popped into my head I had to write it! It's definitely the goriest thing I've written but I couldn't avoid something like that in a story about an execution :P

The executioner was one of those wonderful characters who wrote himself and I loved the way he turned out, being affected with his actions.

Thank you so much for the lovely review!

Sian :)

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Review #5, by randomwriter When the Axe Fell

14th September 2013:
Hi Sian! :)

Let me just say that I completely enjoyed this despite your repeated warnings of excessive gore. I on the other hand, did not believe that it was unnecessarily gory. In fact, it wasn't too much at all. It was essential here.

I think that you have written this extremely well! I enjoyed your descriptions. It sort of set the mood for the whole story. Using these descriptions, you've played with visual imagery very well. I could picture the whole scene in my head and it really helps when that happens in a story like this.

I love the writing style you've employed here. It's excellent, and the way you've described the execution is amazing too :) I was completely drawn in. I was also amazed by how well you had thought everything out.

This is great work, Sian! Keep it up :)

Author's Response: Hi Adi!

I'm glad you agree that the gore is needed in this story, because I can't imagine writing a story about this without including it. I just felt I should warn you about it!

This was my first story on here that I concentrated on the description a lot for, and I'm pleased with the way it worked. It's great that you could picture the scenes in your head, because that's what I wanted to do!

Thank you so much for this review! ♥

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Review #6, by LilyLunaPotter17 When the Axe Fell

23rd August 2013:
Holaa! Summer here with the last of the reviews!

I've said it before - your description is just amazing, not only with nice things such as Victoire's beauty but also the gory and less pleasant things like Nick's death. It made me shiver (in a good way!)

I don't think I've really thought about his death before - only really to wonder how horrible and painful forty-five chops to the neck would be, and you described that perfectly.

I love the way Nick was sort of ready for death because he knew it would be quick and painless, but as soon as he realised the axe was blunt he decided he didn't want to die anymore.

I feel kind of sorry for the executioner - being only 18 and having to behead someone, and then having it go wrong and being basically publicly humiliated because you were unable to properly cut someone's head off. But I guess Nick got the worse end of the deal :P

I can really imagine this scene, not only because of your description but because you set the scene so nicely that it put a really vivid image in my mind (even if a vivid image of this particular story isn't quite what I'd like).

You did a brilliant job of this! You're an incredible writer (please teach me!) so please keep writing because you're absolutely amazing at it!

Summer xo

Author's Response: Hi Summer!

Thanks so much! This story was one of those ideas that just came into my head and bugged me until I'd written it; I actually didn't realise until the end how gory and gruesome it was!

Nick's one of the characters I've always wondered about, since he's so proud of being a Gryffindor and yet admits he was a coward when it came to dying. I wanted to explore what could have happened to cause that - and forty-five chops is probably enough!

I'm so pleased that you felt sorry for the executioner! I didn't intend for him to appear the way he did, but he was one of those characters who wrote himself.

Thank you so much for these three great reviews! I can't tell you how much they mean to me and how happy they've made me!

Sian :)

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Review #7, by Anne_noymous When the Axe Fell

13th August 2013:
10/10 although not for the faint hearted

Author's Response: Thank you very much!

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Review #8, by MissesWeasley123 When the Axe Fell

2nd August 2013:
Hey Sian!

The feels, the feels!

Nearly Headless Nick...god, what do I say about him. I was always interested in him, especially since when he had that exchange with Harry in The Order. When he said that Sirius would've "gone on" and those who are afraid of death choose to stay behind. It always made me curious. I was even more interested when in the Deathly Hallows it was revealed that James and Lily died on Halloween, because so many people died on that very day - different time periods of course. But Halloween was the day "everything happened". The troll, Mrs Norris, Sirius entering the castle, Harry being chosen as the champion. Everything. And Nick was one of those characters who had something to do with Halloween, which highly amused me.

I loved the way you wrote this. The point of view was amazing. When the count started, blow after blow, I was there with Nick the entire time. In fact, I was Nick.
When it said, "Nine. Ten. Lightning tore the sky into two." That image was so beyond words. I was literally gaping in awe at that hyperbole.

The exhilaration was consistent throughout, and as a reader my heart was left racing.

It was heartbreaking how Nick didn't even try to stop it, though he's a wizard :(

And the ending was amazing. The regret he felt. His one decision changed it all. "neither mortal nor immortal" was perfect.

I love this!
- Nadia

Author's Response: Hi Nadia!

Yes! That's one of the things that made me really interested in his character as well. He's always so proud of being a Gryffindor and his courage, and yet he admits that he was scared to die. I kind of wanted to fill in that gap and show what caused him to remain here on earth.

Thank you! I can't really explain my thought processes as I wrote this one - it kind of wrote itself, if that makes sense. I'm pleased that you could sense the atmosphere while you read this!

According to JK, Nick's wand was taken away from him when he was imprisoned, which is why he couldn't stop it. I think that would have left him feeling even more scared, since he was suddenly so powerless.

Thank you for this amazing review, my dear!

Sian :)

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Review #9, by LittleLionGirl When the Axe Fell

25th July 2013:
Wow. Amazing. Simply amazing. That is all I can say other then the fact that is seemed rather gory but a twisted part of me liked the story. Despite how dark it is your story is written immaculately. I'll defiantly be back to see what else your genius mind comes up with!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! It was quite gory and dark, but once I had the idea for this story it was just one of those that had to be written, and I'm pleased that you enjoyed reading it, despite the gore! Thank you very much for all of these wonderful reviews!

Sian :)

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Review #10, by iamatree When the Axe Fell

15th June 2013:
I liked it alot! A little bit sick and dark but I suppose someone had to explain how he died. Good job!

Author's Response: Haha I know it's quite dark and gory but it's hard to avoid that in an execution story. Thanks for the review!

Sian :)

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Review #11, by FredWeasleyIsMyKing When the Axe Fell

8th June 2013:
Hello :)

It's Laurenzo7321 here from the forums, I couldn't resist coming and checking this out :D

I love your descriptions at the start of this. They're so visual and I was instantly hooked. You built the atmosphere up so well. I loved how you made nick doubt is Gryffindor bravery, but I think anyone facing not only death, but death in that way would be terrified.

I felt really sorry for Nick with this line: 'That was his one comfort: he would die quickly and cleanly'. His one comfort is something that isn't going to happen.

The counting of the axe swings was really effective. I actually found myself shivering as I thought about the axe hitting him that many times. I wanted to shout at the priest when he told the executioner to stop! I wanted to tell him that it would stop poor Nick getting in the headless hunt later on. Nick's immediate regret of what he'd done was really well placed too. Being a ghost isn't much of an existance.

My heart actually went out to the executioner in this too. So young and not realising the axe was blunt. It's just awful. I could really feel his guilt over what he'd done, you wrote it beautifully.

So you know I love missing moment stories and I really fell in love with this! You took me through so many emotions is a relatively short time and had some amazing imagery in there too. The process of becoming a ghost was written really well too. I just loved the whole thing to be honest.

Well done on such an awesome piece! I'm so happy I stopped by :)

Lauren :)

Author's Response: Hi Lauren! I've just come from leaving you a review to find this gem :D

I'm so happy you like the descriptions at the start of this piece and that you found it interesting. You're right about the fear - death is one of the most natural things to fear, but a death like this would surpass that.

The counting of the chops was the main part of the initial idea I had for this, and the rest kind of formed around it, so I'm pleased you liked that. I hadn't actually thought that the priest's order is responsible for Nick not being able to join the Headless Hunt, but you're right about that!

Eek, I can't tell you how glad I am you felt sorry for the executioner! He's one of those characters who wrote himself, but I felt devastated for him once I'd finished writing.

I really am so happy that you enjoyed this - thank you for taking the time to read it and leave a wonderful review!

Sian :)

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Review #12, by ScarletEye158 When the Axe Fell

24th May 2013:
Hey! Wow, this was a great story!

I've never read a story from Sir. Nicholas' point of view before and I really liked the way you portrayed him! The story title definitely caught my attention and I knew exactly what it was going to be about!

As I read, I don't think I've ever felt so nervous for a character before! Usually people don't know when/how they're going to die, so reading this made me feel really bad and scared for him! I still can't believe (and I've heard about it many times, but it still makes me sick) how people were executed for possible use of witchcraft. To know that Sir. Nicholas was a very like-able man before he got caught using witchcraft and then was planned to be executed without any kind of trial makes me really sad :(

I thought your descriptions were really good throughout the story :) You didn't get too much into the blood and gore, but you did explain enough where we were able to gather exactly what was happening and how Nicholas felt during the whole thing.

Oddly enough, I feel really bad for the executioner! I wonder if he really wanted to be an executioner or not, but I loved the way you explained him going from man to boy; I guess not everyone can handle a job like that and I wonder if he ever performed another execution after that!

I really liked the way that you counted down the blows of the axe. It made it really dramatic and realistic. I just wish poor Nick didn't have to go through all of that :/

Aww, poor Nick! He didn't realize that being afraid of death would make him into a ghost and it sucks that he has to spend forever like that. I liked how you used the last words of your story as your title, as well. It seemed very planned out and like you put a lot of thought into this story and I love that!

Very nice job!


Author's Response: Hey Amanda!

Nick is such an interesting character and there aren't many (if any) stories about him on the archives, so I was really eager to write this. I wanted him to be a likeable character because that made his death even more tragic in my eyes. I know exactly what you mean about executions like this - I think they show some of the worst of humanity, but they show how powerful fear can be.

Oh, I'm so glad you felt sorry for the executioner! He's probably my favourite character in this one-shot, partly because he completely wrote himself. I know I wouldn't be up to that job!

I'm so happy that you liked the counting of the axe blows! And it's great that you feel sorry for Nick. I wanted to provide a plausible explanation about how he might have become a ghost, since he's always so proud of his courage. I love trying to bring one-shots to an appropriate ending, so I'm glad you liked that too.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and leave such a great review!

Sian :)

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Review #13, by MissMdsty When the Axe Fell

17th May 2013:
I have never read a more stomach turning story on this archive, ever! The way in which you described his feelings when the axe failed to kill him, counting down the blows, it made my skin tingle and I have a knot in my stomach.

I often wondered about what it would be like to be decapitated when I watched old movies but this description is too much and I mean that in the best possible way. And the countdown really added to the pain and misery of it all.

I liked how you explored the idea of what makes a ghost and why they can't go on. This was a hot topic before HBP came out since people were in a fit about Sirius returning as a ghost, which made JK tell us why ghosts are made. But you took it one step further in an absolutely chilling and perfect horror story! Great job!

Author's Response: I'm not entirely sure if the fact this made your stomach turn is a good thing or not! This was the first time I'd ever written a story like this, and I was wincing myself as I wrote some of the more gory parts. But since it's an execution, it seemed necessary to include some of the descriptions - after all, there's nothing pretty about an execution.

The fact that Nick became a ghost has always interested me, since he seems so proud of his courage and the fact that he's a Gryffindor. It must have taken an immense fear of death for his soul to be tethered to the earth even through the horror of this execution.

Thank you for a lovely review!

Sian :)

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Review #14, by ShadowRose When the Axe Fell

17th May 2013:
Hi! First of all, if this looks odd at all, it's part of a Gryffindor CR activity, and I don't normally R&R in this way.

This story is truly amazing. Nick's coward is shown in a rational way that shows him as valiant at a point, but now afraid as Nick looks at ax. His disposition is shown obviously in this writing and it adds majorly to it.

I thought it was cool that ax chop #s r as full words "two," not just "2." It adds by making ax chops long and official-sounding.

I thought calling ax boy both "boy" and "man" adds a additional part to story that turns it into not just about Nick's birth as a ghost.

Choosing of words also brought this story up an additional notch, as it was all straightforward to invision, but still allows for imagination at parts.

I didn't find anything to CC with this story... I thought it was absolutly fantastic!

-ShadowRos (Taylor)

P.S. : Fifth part of ABC's is majorly important normally.

Author's Response: Hi Taylor!

We had the same task to do for Cranium, so luckily I understand why the review's like this (I don't know why I didn't think to review another Gryffie, so whoever got my review is going to be very confused!).

Ax boy...I like that - maybe I'll start using it alternately with executioner!

The contrasting elements of fear and bravery were one of the things I really wanted to communicate with this story, because Nick always seems so proud of being a Gryffindor but admits cowardice at the point of his death. Minor characters have always interested me as well, so it was great to write about him.

The executioner was one of those amazing characters who wrote himself, but I really loved the way he turned out.

Thanks for the review (and I'd just like to compliment you on your spelling!) ;) this really made my day!

Sian :)

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Review #15, by missclaire17 When the Axe Fell

16th May 2013:
I love the way that you wrote this. It was very descriptive without being over the top. And I liked the fact that it really had the feel of the old days when everyone was scared of witchcraft and religion was such a big deal.

It was interesting, that Nick is a ghost in the last moments of his life, he was desperately trying to cling onto life. The fact that he felt like a horrible Gryffindor was something that I liked because it showed that even the bravest are scared when faced with death and its finality.

This was an amazing one-shot and I'm glad that you did write it!

Author's Response: Eek, I'm so happy you thought it felt like the days when witchcraft and religion were so important and caused so much trouble!

The idea of fear was something that I really wanted to get across in this story, because Gryffindors are characterised as being brave, but nobody can be brave all the time. Nick's always so proud of his courage but admits being a coward at the time he died, which was really interesting to write.

Thank you so much for a fantastic review!

Sian :)

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Review #16, by marauder5 When the Axe Fell

12th May 2013:
Wow! I've never read anything like this before. I've actually never even thought about why Nick was executed, but this makes sense. Your descriptions are very strong; I especially liked the first paragraph, which was both perfectly written and set the mood for the rest of the story.

I think that execution is one of the most horrible things that humans do to each other, and you've captured the angst of knowing that death awaits you very well. Nick's anguish is very clear, and touching . it just makes me want to go in there and save him. I also felt really bad for the executioner - that has to be the most horrible job there is. And he was so young! It became even more gripping when you wrote about the axe being so blunt, and counted the amount of times he had to strike. It was heartbreaking, really.

So you should be proud of this! It's a very original story, very well-written and very touching. It will probably stick with me for quite a while after this. Well done!

Author's Response: Hi!

I have to agree with you that execution is one of the most horrible things that humans do to each other, and the way that it becomes a spectacle is even worse. Nick's always been one of the characters I was interested in, and I couldn't resist the idea of writing about his death (which sounds more morbid than I intended it to be!)

I'm so pleased to hear that you were touched by this story, because that's the point of writing - having an effect on the reader. And since the executioner is probably my favourite character in this piece, it's good to know you felt bad for him too.

Thanks so much for a wonderful review!

Sian :)

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Review #17, by Violet Gryfindor When the Axe Fell

9th May 2013:
Wow! It's hard to come up with what to say after reading this story. Your writing is excellent and this story has all of these layers to sort through, evoking conflicting emotions that have made me need to stop and think and re-read portions of the story to see how the pieces fit together. It's fantastic to see a story like this, especially one about a minor character in a historical context - there are never enough of these kind of stories. :D

It's not what I was expecting - it actually took my expectations and turned them on their head. There was something horribly comical about this story, which shouldn't have surprised me because Sir Nick's "nearly headless" state is a constant joke in canon, but the repetition of hacking at this body was like something out of Blackadder. This is somewhat emphasized by the executioner's desperate desire to succeed at his job - it's comical and pathetic at the same time. He's not at all the "conventional" executioner (like Macnair from PoA) - one never really thinks about executioners just starting the job - but it fits perfectly because no experienced executioner would have used a dull blade, not unless he intended to inflict the maximum amount of pain. And the fact that the kid keeps hacking at the body even when the prisoner is dead and the audience has left... wow. It goes beyond spectacle and "doing the job" - there's something more that I can't quite put my finger on. It could be as simple as the executioner believing that he can only succeed at his first execution by completely severing the head, that he thinks the King will punish him for failure. It's perhaps the most striking aspect of this story, that raw desperation and the executioner's intense suffering.

You do stray away from the gory details, and that's another element of the story that stands out, especially because you really draw out the execution. It works because you break up the descriptions with the count of axe blows, but the impact of that violence... I won't say "wow" again, I promise. :P You write it in a way that's realistic and plausible, including interesting glimpses into Sir Nick's experience with death, how he's divided between his fear of death and his desire to escape the pain of his botched execution. There's the implication here that, if the execution had been "regular", he wouldn't have become a ghost - it's because he has the time to think about it that he chooses that middle ground between life and death. I love that idea because it adds depth to Sir Nick - it's not just about fearing death, but having time to balk, to have one's courage fail. And he also only fears it because it's not noble, because this kind of death signifies his own failure.

I could keep going, but it's probably best to stop and tell you again how amazing this one-shot is. It gets the reader thinking, and that's something that every good story should do. I'll be on the look out for more of your work in the future! :D

Author's Response: I've read through this review a few times, trying to think of a coherent response, and I can't stop blushing!

Minor characters are always the most interesting to write about, because there's so much to explore with them and a lot of freedom to write what you want. I haven't seen any stories about Nick before so I had to write this when I got the idea!

You know, before I started writing this story the executioner was going to be a conventional, faceless figure - like Macnair. But once I started typing the character just wrote himself, and I found myself feeling really sorry for him. He evolved into one of the most important characters in the story and I was so happy with him. I don't think that an experienced executioner would ever have made such a mistake that after 45 chops, Nick's head still wouldn't be completely severed. You couldn't possibly be responsible for something like that and not suffer because of it.

Nick was a character I was eager to explore. He's always so proud of being brave in the books - he's the Gryffindor ghost, after all - but he admits to being a coward at the time of his death. I wanted to offer a plausible explanation as to what it was that caused Nick to remain on earth as a ghost - I don't think he would have feared a noble death, but this was far from that.

Thanks for such a thoughtful and wonderful review! It really made my day and it means a lot to me!

Sian :)

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Review #18, by MarauderLover7 When the Axe Fell

3rd May 2013:
Firstly: I love the banner. :)
This is a fascinating idea for a story, and you write wonderfully; I was getting goosebumps.
It's also nice to know a bit more about a minor character - I've never read a story about Nick before, and it was interesting to get your take on it. :)
I can't decide who I feel worse for - Nick, or the executioner. :S This part in particular was so powerful:
"Death was inches away and the thought of it shook him to the core. He didn't want to die."
Well done on an excellent story. :)

Author's Response: Hello!

I love my banner too! The artists over at TDA are just amazing, and I was so excited when I saw it.

This review actually just made my day, because it was completely unexpected and you wrote one of my favourite stories on this site!

I'm so happy that you enjoyed this story. Minor characters are my favourite, and I've never read about Nick either, so I couldn't resist writing this story when I got the idea for it. The executioner was a character who wrote himself completely, and I ended up feeling very sorry for him, which I hadn't expected. I'm so pleased that you felt something reading this, because that's exactly what I wanted to do with it.

Thank you so much for a lovely review!

Sian :)

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Review #19, by patronus_charm When the Axe Fell

30th April 2013:
I’ve been meaning to read something of yours for a while, and I had a spare minute so I thought now seemed like a good time.

I really liked how you set it in The Tower, it added so much authenticity to the story. I never really thought much about where he was killed, but now it will always be in The Tower in my head canon. I also really liked how much detail you went into the executioner’s outfit. My Horrible History watching is finally being put into practise as I could visualise him perfectly.

Another note on the executioner, I never thought I would say it, but I felt sorry for him. He was so nervous, and I thought it was so sweet the way he had been practising on pumpkins. Even though he kills Nearly Headless Nick, I could tell that he did feel a bad about it, with him apologising. I think he should reconsider his job, as I’m sure you’re not meant to feel guilty over it!

I also really liked how you showed that executions were a show, and fun for the spectators in those times. Again, so many authors lack of historical context so it was great to find it here. The descriptions of the spectators were also effective in another way, as you felt that you were part of them and you were viewing this ‘show’ put on for you. I’ve never really seen that done before, but I really liked it.

You really captured Nearly Headless Nick’s pre-death thoughts really well. I think it was the way you made sure that he was contemplating death and wondering how people could be so calm about is what made it really effective. I always wondered how a Gryffindor could go from being brave, to hating the only certainty in your life, but I found you provided a great explanation for it.

The way you interspersed Nick’s thoughts with the number of incisions was really effective as he became more and more desperate, then almost calm when he realised he was a ghost. You managed to balance the blood and gore with keeping it sane really well too, and it created great imagery.

Overall this was a really great one-shot and it made me think what Nick would have been like in his last few days, so well done :D


Author's Response: Hi Kiana!

Head canon? I'm so flattered! I wasn't sure how many people would pick up on that reference but I thought it seemed quite a fitting place for the whole event. I'm really glad you could visualise it all as well - it's always good to put your Horrible History in use!

I definitely think the executioner should reconsider his job! Before I wrote this, the executioner was just a faceless figure but when I actually started typing, this character came to mind that just insisted on being written. I'm really happy you felt sorry for him - I can't imagine anyone would cope well with such an horrific experience on their first job!

I couldn't not include the crowd, because to me they're such an important aspect of the time. It's always been unfathomable to me that people considered an execution to be entertainment, but that's what it was, and that was an unavoidable part of the story. They definitely made everything much harder to bear for poor Nick though!

Ever since I read the books I've wondered about what drove Nick to remain as a ghost when he was so proud of his Gryffindor courage. Death is the only certainty, but I think it's also one of the most natural fears that people have in life. I felt like the blood and gore was a necessary part of it (after all, an execution isn't going to be pretty) but I was wary about finding a balance with the story and Nick's thoughts, so I'm pleased you thought I managed it.

Thanks for such a great review!

Sian :)

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Review #20, by ChaosWednesday When the Axe Fell

29th April 2013:
(Review Tag)

Ah, wonderful!

What a crushing and merciless account of Nearly Headless Nick's death :D

I'm not even sure why I enjoyed this as much as I did. I suppose it's because of the way you managed to tell a story set in the Middle Ages with a tone that neither modernized the environment, nor romanticized it in the way most historical stories do. Customs may be different at a different point in human history, but you clearly demonstrated that the people always stay the same.

I loved how you expanded the painfulness of the event by allowing us to whitness the transformative (and certainly traumatic!) effect the entire endeavor must have had on the poor executioner. This simple line was wonderfully poignant: "He had made the journey from man back to boy during the execution,...".

And, despite the slight awkwardness of the first paragraph, I thought it set the tone effectively, especially here: "After a glorious summer that had continued well into October, autumn seemed determined to make its presence felt and the inky skies were tearing themselves apart in a bid to do so." From the start, with just a few sentences, you introduce us to the blend of pettiness+tragedy that defines the rest of the story.

And, since the tone of this one-shot was so well constructed, I could not help but notice the few things that didn't seem to quite fit. I hope you don't mind if I offer some CC!

First, there were a few sentences that pushed the tone into the territory of dark humour instead of the detached and ironic voice of the rest of the text. For example here: "He had been a particular favourite of the king, and had always amused him with his mysterious abilities; until last night, and his unfortunate mishap with Lady Grieve’s crooked teeth." and here "Practicing on pumpkins was all well and good, but when it came down to it only experience made an expert in such matters." I'd love to see a version of the story written in a Pratchett-esque tone such as this, but right now this isn't that story. These two sentences kind of broke the flow and cunfused me about how I was supposed to expereince the story - and not in the right way.

I loved how you tried to explain why Nick becomes a ghost on the basis of his fear of death.And yet, I found the implication that the pain of the sloppy execution pushed him to long for life even more was a bit unconvincing. I'd imagine all he'd want halfway through would be to finally die. A few more details could really help clear up his motivation and add an extra emtional reality to the enitre event. Just a thought...

Fantastic story, overall! So glad I clicked on it :D

Author's Response: Hello!

I know what you mean - it's not exactly an enjoyable topic, but I actually really enjoyed writing it so it's good to hear that people actually liked this! I'm so happy you thought that I got the historical setting across the way I wanted to. That sort of thing is really important for me when I'm reading, so it's good to know I managed it here.

I think it's a sad and brilliant fact that human nature remains the same, no matter what time we're in. The executioner (strangely) is my favourite character in this story, because he simply wrote himself. I didn't think an execution like that couldn't not have an effect on someone.

Of course I don't mind CC - I know that there's always room for improvement, especially in my writing! Now that you've pointed those sentences out, I can see what you mean. I think putting in some more details about Nick's fear of death would be a really good idea, and I'll definitely go back and look at this when I have a chance.

Thanks for such a long, helpful and lovely review!

Sian :)

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Review #21, by adluvshp When the Axe Fell

26th April 2013:
Here for review tag.

Wow, this was just perfect! I absolutely enjoy such kind of dark stories, so it was a great read for me. I had never imagined what Nick's 'execution' would have been like - how'd he have died and such - so this was very unique. I loved your elaborate descriptions as well. Usually people skim over the details but I was pleased to see that you didn't. All the gore did make me feel slightly creeped out but it was in a good way, since a story's aim should be to make the reader feel something. Your writing style was just superb too. I liked the whole idea of 'fear' connected with Nick's death and his being a ghost. It was touched upon in the books but it was great to see how you expanded on it. The part about the executioner was really touching as well. Killing someone is definitely a very hard job. The storm and the bloodthirsty crowd were another nice touch that added to the powerful effect of the story.

All in all, great job! This was definitely worth a read and I am so glad I got the chance to do so.


Author's Response: Hi!

I'm so glad you think this was original! The minor characters have always interested me because there is so much about them that you can explore and work with as a writer. The descriptions were difficult for me to write at times - they're definitely not pretty - but I thought they were kind of necessary to really convey the horror of the execution.

Fear was a big part of this story. I always felt that Nick's fear of death had to be extremely powerful to still leave him wanting to live, even in a situation when most others would be begging for death.

The executioner was completely different to how I'd originally planned him, but he was one of those characters who just wrote himself, and I couldn't let an opportunity like that pass me by!

Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

nott theodore :)

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Review #22, by Toujours Padfoot When the Axe Fell

17th April 2013:
This was fabulous! Okay it was so gory and my eyes got pretty huge while I was reading it, but there are so many details I really liked. The audience's morbid curiosity, for one, really resonated. Their detachment, their utter lack of concern in watching a man get his head chopped off, reminds me that humans are still animals and sometimes when we all get together in a mob mentality, we lose that empathy that makes us human. The audience was actually excited to watch this event. *shudder*

I kept waiting for Nick to pull his wand out and Disapparate, but of course he couldn't escape because this was his canon death. It's also an ode to the time period, I think, that he walked to his death with grace and pride. Even gentlemen soon to be beheaded didn't want to make a scene. Dignified last moments and all that.

What struck me the most was the fact that even after twenty-seven blows to the neck, Nick still did not want to die. You'd think that by that point, he would be in so much writhing agony that he'd be on the verge of begging for his death; since he does not, and is still holding on and still wishing he could remain alive, it really speaks volumes. It would have to take a fear of death as intense as that to tether the imprint of someone's soul to Earth. Tons of people don't want to die, but in the HP series they went 'on' anyway. You'd have to be like Nick - not wanting to die even if it meant prolonging the torture - to evoke the sort of magic that creates ghosts.

Forty-five whacks. D: The executioner still going at it even after Nick was dead really nailed home the gruesome image. I feel a bit queasy but that's a good thing - you didn't gloss over the bits likely to make readers wince. It's a man getting his head cut off, after all. Can't be a pretty scene.

Really well done! I've never read a Nearly-Headless Nick execution story, or any Nick story for that matter, and I thought you wrote it wonderfully.

- Sarah

Author's Response: Hello! *waves*

I'm so pleased that you liked this! I haven't found any stories on Nick either, but I thought this would be a really interesting one to write and I'm really happy I did.

It was quite gory in parts, wasn't it? It was horrible writing it at points but it was kind of necessary for a story about Nick's execution!

The was kind of difficult to write that part, too. Like you said, the mob mentality does seem to remove the parts of our characters that make us truly human, and suddenly events like this one become entertainment. It's incomprehensible, but it's happened time and time again throughout history.

The fear was a big part of this story. Nick has always been so proud of being a Gryffindor but admits he was a coward when it came to facing death. I thought that for someone who was so proud of his bravery, it must have been an intense fear for him to become a ghost rather than going 'on'. After such a botched execution, I'm pretty sure most people would be begging for death, but Nick's fear caused him to do the opposite.

Thanks for such a lovely, detailed review! I'm really happy you enjoyed it.

nott theodore :)

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Review #23, by Jchrissy When the Axe Fell

14th April 2013:
Hi darling! I glanced over this story when I was assigning you and Alli as a pairing. I really try and assign stories that I think one another will like, and your style reminded me as hers. Anyway, I got really interested in this when I was glancing through it and then I couldn't pass up reviewing when I noticed you on tag!

Anyway, something that I love most about the constant story telling through the number of chops. It was so gruesome but so heartbreaking, and not gruesome in a... over the top sort of way. You made this story incredibly realistic which makes it all that more amazing.

The crowd trickling off as the chops passed may have been my favorite part. They wanted to watch something intense and fast and. done. But seeing him die like this, slowly, almost like there's no climax to it, didn't interest them. It's terrible how much human nature can love misery, but we've known it to happen time and time again. With public executions and hangings and floggings... but the fact that it's always happened doesn't make it any less terrifying.

Then when the executioner himself started weakening, unable to perform his task, inexperience... my gosh. You made me feel bad for the man killing another innocent man! What are you doing to me!!!

Your writing in this was really superb. It captivated me from start to finish!

Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hi!

I'm so amazed to get this review from you because you're such a wonderful writer yourself! This really made my day!

I was afraid at times that this could seem over the top with the axe strokes and some of the gore (I was wincing myself writing some of that!) so I'm pleased that you didn't think it was.

The crowd's reaction was really important for me to include. It's always been incomprehensible to me that people consider executions to be entertainment, but sadly, like you said, it's happened throughout history.

I'm so happy that you felt bad for the executioner! To begin with he was a faceless figure in my mind, but once I started writing he was a character who really wrote himself. The mistake with the blunt axe is something only a very inexperienced executioner could do, and as a result I don't think that couldn't affect him.

Thank you so much for this amazing review - you really did make my day!

nott theodore :)

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Review #24, by Calypso  When the Axe Fell

14th April 2013:
Hello there- I'm here from Review Tag!

So first off, I've got to say what an original idea I think this was! I've never really thought about Sir Nicholas beyond the books, and this was a really dramatic account of his final moments.

The first paragraph was excellent- it really hooked me. I loved the description of the "inky skies tearing themselves apart"- it was beautiful. The way you built up tension throughout the story was great too. The counting of the strokes worked really well: I found the repetitiveness and the monotony of it very powerful. It was quite horrible really, but worked perfectly for the story.

One of my favourite things about this was how you spent time on executioner as well. It would have been very easy to just make him into this violent, faceless figure, but the way you wrote it, I could actually sympathise with him, and properly understand him as a character. The bit about him turning from man to boy was particularly poignant.

I feel so sorry for Sir Nicholas! It was clever how you wrote him with no fear of dying in battle, but with this terrible fear of being executed. It really fits with his character. I'd forgotten until I read this that he died at Halloween- I would have loved it if you'd tied that in even more to the story, seeing as it's such an auspicious date for wizards...

This was a really great read, and a completely gripping piece of writing! Well done again for making such a minor character into such a vivid story!

Author's Response: Hi!

I hadn't thought about Nick much either until I realised what a brilliant character he would be to write about, and then this idea just popped into my head. I can't imagine having to face a death like this, and I really wanted to get that sort of fear across.

I'm so pleased that counting the axe strokes worked the way I wanted it to! I realise that it can seem quite horrible but I felt it was important to build up tension.

When I had the original idea for this, the executioner was a faceless figure, but when I began writing it he really came to life and even I was surprised about how sorry I felt for him! I'm happy you liked the idea of him turning back into a boy.

Thanks for a great review!

nott theodore :)

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Review #25, by Lululuna When the Axe Fell

14th April 2013:
Hi, Lululuna here for the review tag! :)

This was great! Love me some blood and gore... Poor Nick though. I really enjoyed the background and how he was killed for witchcraft-it's interesting to think about HP characters in a historical context, although I was curious how he let himself get caught by the Muggles and why another wizard didn't try to help him.

I think you did a great job with the structure of the writing. Before his execution, when Nick is grateful for "dying quickly and cleanly." I was already wincing in pity for him. Also, counting the axe strokes was very effective: I could nearly see them coming down! Ouch!

The story definitely got me thinking about minor characters like Nick and how much of a backstory they have, just waiting to be explored. I think that this is very strong and that you could even keep going with it-perhaps about how he ended up being the Gryffindor ghost, or his life before getting caught for witchcraft, or what Hogwarts would have been like back then. Either way, it got my imagination going, which is a good thing! :)

I thought that the reactions of the bloodthirsty and merciless crowd was well written-it's very interesting how back then, executions were used as entertaining family outings. Maybe wizards had good reason for hiding from Muggles after all!

Also, the fact that the executioner was just a boy and how upset he got was amazing-probably my favourite aspect of the story. I would have enjoyed even more context about the executioner-how he ended up in that career path, for example, and if Nick was a well-known public figure for him as well. I imagine it would be a very intense job, especially the first time, and especially if he had to execute someone he knew of!

A little thoughtful, a little goofy, a little sad. What a lovely one-shot! :)

Author's Response: Hi!

I think I probably forgot when I was writing this that other people wouldn't have known as much about Nick's death as I learnt from my research. He actually performed a spell on a muggle (trying to correct her crooked teeth, I think) and gave her tusks instead. His wand was taken off him when he was captured, which is why he couldn't use magic to escape. I can't help but feel sorry for him!

The axe strokes were something I really wanted to include to increase the drama of this story, and I'm glad they seem to have worked! The crowd was also another aspect that I felt was important to include. Writing this did make me think understand the hatred of muggles that some wizards have.

Minor characters are really interesting to write because there is so much you can do with them, and a lot of things about them you can explore. I've thought about writing more about Nick, as well - I'm not ruling the possibility out right now. I'm glad you liked the executioner; he was a character who only became important as I actually started writing.

Thanks so much for a lovely review!

nott theodore :)

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