Reading Reviews for Onwards! (to nothing)
  
8 Reviews Found

Review #1, by magnolia_magic Onwards! (to nothing)

1st August 2013:
Hi Roots! I'm so glad I got the chance to come by and review your story. This review challenge was a great idea, even if Team Yellow is dragging just a tiny bit ;)

Anyway, on to the review! I really love the idea for this story, first of all. I'm just amazed at the creativity in everyone's pieces, and this one is no exception. I think using Karkaroff as your narrator was a bold choice. Usually a narrator needs to be likeable to make a story work, but you've created a compelling story even with a completely unpleasant narrator. I couldn't find even one redeeming quality about Karkaroff. Not even one. He's clearly prejudiced to the point of extremism, as you show from the Durmstrang scenes on. And not only that, he's terribly cowardly as well. He didn't take responsibility for having joined the Death Eaters. Instead, he ran from it; not out of a sense of duty or a desire to do the right thing, but out of pure fear. Ugh. I hated him from beginning to end. And you did such a wonderful job of showing him to us, making his motivations crystal clear. I feel like I know Karkaroff very well after reading this, and I can tell you put a lot of thought into his characterization.

I also love the way you have the scenes set up, going back and forth in time between each one. It all connects seamlessly, and the non-linear setup you have really adds interest. Even though I absolutely hated Karkaroff (which is a testament to your skill in bringing him to life), I really enjoyed reading your take on his life. Awesome job!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hello! I'm so glad that you thought that the review challenge was a good idea- it definitely does make sure that everyone who contributed to that House Cup challenge is rewarded. :)

I'm also really glad that you liked the idea for this story. I definitely agree that everyone's ideas are amazingly unique and creative.

Haha- I think I'm drawn to characters that are less pleasant... I've now written stories about Bellatrix, Argus Finch, Pansy Parkinson and, of course, Igor Karkaroff. There's just something so interesting about characters who are less pleasant than others (especially because they're often more minor characters). There's so much room in their interpretations of their minds and actions. :) And no- I don't think that Karkaroff has many redeeming qualities either. But maybe I just didn't put him in the right situation for them to show. :P

I'm also really pleased that you think that the interchanging time periods work- it was the thing I was the most uncertain about (but also the thing that I was most determined to make work). :P

Thank you for this amazing review! I really appreciate it! :)


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Review #2, by marauderfan Onwards! (to nothing)

26th July 2013:
Wow! This was a really great story. I love stories about minor characters and Igor Karkaroff has such a small role in the books, so I'm glad you gave him a story to tell. You made him such an understandable character: with the insight into his past, how he was so irritated at the Mudbloods outshining him in all his academics, and then wanting to do something about it. I could see why he was the way he was. It was so interesting especially because when he gets involved it's too much, seeing the death and the torture, but he still clings to his prejudice and hatred just because that's what's familiar. He wants his problems to be solved without him having to do anything about it. Karkaroff is a very selfish character and you did a wonderful job expressing that - from his picking on Boris just for doing better on a test, to the almost 1984-esque selling out of his fellow Death Eaters to send them to Azkaban instead of himself.

I also really like the way you told it in disjointed segments. Although it was kind of hard to tell what time period it was at some points, I think as a whole it seems like a jumble of memories going through Karkaroff's mind just before he dies in the last scene. So well done on that, it was a creative way of presenting the story.

This was a really good one-shot - amazing work!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm so glad that you liked the story. I definitely agree- minor characters are so interesting, both to read and write about!

I'm also really glad that you liked my characterization. Karkaroff was an interesting character to get into the mindset of and imagining what his school years at Durmstrang might have been like was a great help. He definitely is a selfish man- that's probably the best single word to describe him.

I'm also really glad that you liked the disjointedness of it. I was worried about the changing time periods, but I really wanted to tell the story that way, so I'm glad that it worked out. :)

Thank you for leaving such an amazing and thoughtful review! I really appreciate it! :D


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Review #3, by typewriter Onwards! (to nothing)

17th July 2013:
Roots,

This was a really powerful story that looked into a man that I have never really thought twice about. It was a great blend to go from his past, his time during the tournament, to the future. I think it was all blended nicely. For a moment I was a little confused about when the time periods were, but I don't know how you could make it clearer. I especially loved his anger over Hermione going to the ball with Viktor. I imagine, for a former Death Eater, that that was quite frustrating for him. It was a clever look inside a man who was a prejudiced traitor, and obviously cared more for his life than that of others -- regardless of who they were. Well done! It was well-written and kept me interested.

~Amanda

Author's Response: Hello Amanda!

Haha- I never really thought about Igor either before I got the House Cup prompt- he was never a major player in the books.

I'm really glad that you liked this look into who he is as a character. When writing this piece I thought that the only way to go was to write it both his past and his present- it was a way to explore why he made the choices he did through choosing select moments of his life instead of trying to cram life details into his flight.

If you have any suggestions about how to make the time periods clearer, I'm all ears. I was thinking about making the past italicized... But that would be a lot of italics, wouldn't it?

Thank you for reading and reviewing! I'm so glad that you liked it! :D


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Review #4, by Lululuna Onwards! (to nothing)

13th July 2013:
Hi! :)

Wow, this was really fantastic and such an original read. I really enjoyed how you brought Karkaroff (to be referred to as Igor from now on) to life and gave him this agency and helplessness that we don't really notice in HP. This was such a thoughtful and dynamic story to read, and I'm so pleased I had a chance to check it out. :)

I really enjoyed the flashbacks to his youth at Durmstrang and the insight into becoming a DE. In a way he's just a young boy who thinks it's the norm to be prejudiced, a victim of his own weak will. It was interesting how he didn't really have a sadistic streak or want to hurt Muggles himself, but preferred to be detached and hating them from a distance. It reminded me of Draco: all talk and no action, which is probably better than the alternative of being a bloodthirsty killer, but of course doesn't end so well.

I like the history and family past you created for him, and the Malfoy connection was enhanced by Lucius getting Igor involved in the DE. It was great how Igor felt more hatred towards his peers- like the Muggleborns at Durmstrang, and eventually his fellow DEs, instead of those he considers below him like the tortured Muggles. I really appreciated the context of Durmstrang and background of what the Muggleborns would have experienced, it was very imaginative. Also, how it carried over to his future, even when seeing Krum dancing with Hermione.

The style of jumping back and forth was really effective, and I think it kept the story fresh and revealed more and more about Igor's life in an interesting way. However it was confusing a couple times, putting in the date or even something like "the past" and "the present" would have made it a little easier. :) A young Igor was a strange concept, but one I definitely loved reading about so unexpectedly.

I felt so sorry for him by the end, even though he didn't really deserve it. That's the great thing about giving these DEs life: it turns them into people who aren't constantly good or evil but hang somewhere in the balance. Igor made his own bad choices, but he was brought up a certain way and guided into becoming a certain kind of person, and it's both easy and difficult to fault him for that.

Excellent job with this, and I'm very glad I got the chance to read it and leave my thoughts! :)

Author's Response: Hello! Wow! It's not every day that I get such a lovely and well thought-out review! Thank you so much!

Haha- that's one of the things that is so interesting about writing from the perspective of a character typically known by their last name or nickname- you become accustomed to the weirdness of calling them by their first name!

I'm really glad that you liked the look into his past. Once I decided that I wanted to write about Igor's flight from Hogwarts, I realized that I couldn't do that without also exploring his past. After all, so little is known about him that his flight couldn't be best explained in the moment.

He really is a victim of circumstances: a boy who grew up in a country where it was the norm to despise Muggleborns and who nurtured a personal hatred when one dared to be "better" than him. And then he realized that he didn't like actually committing the violence... Too late. It's not to say that his actions are excused, of course...

The Malfoy connection could have been exchanged for almost any other Death Eater in Britain. For me, what was important was that the Death Eater be close in age to Igor and be a pureblood himself- the Malfoys were simply ideal candidates. :)

His thoughts about Krum dancing with Hermione were another element that I felt I had to put in, because they were a definite continuation of his feelings from the past. I wanted to show that his feelings about Muggleborns hadn't changed, just his willingness to be a Death Eater.

Thank you for pointing that out. I was worried that the "jumping" might be confusing, but I hoped that the steady pattern of past, future, etc, would be enough.

The change from solid black into shades of grey is one of the reasons I really enjoy writing about minor characters, particularly those on the "evil" side, because no one is truly black or white- we are all shades of grey and it's amazing to watch that realization take place. (of course, I am still aware that these are just fictional characters :P)

I'm very glad that you left your thoughts as well! Thank you so much for leaving such a wonderful review! :D


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Review #5, by HollyStone73 Onwards! (to nothing)

13th July 2013:
Yikes!! Poor Igor! This was pretty suspenseful! I like how you seemed to have covered every major moment of his life even though the flicking back and forth got a little confusing. Igor is another one of those characters that I wished more details had been given especially with details about how Voldemort found him. This was well written and very interesting to read. Great job!

Author's Response: Thank you for your review!

I'm glad that you liked that I included both time periods, but I definitely understand your confusion. I tried to make each time period clear based on the situation as well as the pattern (past, present, etc), but everything can always be improved. :)

I'm glad that you enjoyed reading this one-shot and I agree- there are definitely some characters whose lives I wish I knew more about... But that just means that I have more freedom when I write their lives. :)


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Review #6, by ginerva_molly_weasley Onwards! (to nothing)

13th July 2013:
Oooh this is very interesting. I have never read a story entirely about Igor Karkaroff so the House Cup seems to have caused creative juices to flow!

I think its very interesting the contrast between the schools of Hogwarts and Durmstrang how muggleborns are more highly looked down on. It is hinted to in the actual books but not said explicitely. I think you have shown really well how hard it was for them in Durmstrang and this is truly evident of this especially when he gets his letter from his parents saying the lower borns got higher than him.

I also love how it touches on different parts of his life particularly at Hogwarts as it is the turning point for both him and Snape. He went to escape but id he'd have stayed with Snape and switched sides then he probably wouldn't have been killed for deserting as he would have been protected by both Hogwarts enchantments but also Dumbledore himself which I do love.

I also love the ending with the short but simple sentence. What I think you could have done to make this flow a little better however was add more description about Karkaroff's state of mind at each stage but I understand you were very limited for word count so you could maybe work on it in the future?

Well done

GinevraMollyPotter
Slytherin

Author's Response: Haha- yes, it certainly has! Some of the ideas, some of the characters that surfaced because of the House Cup... It's pretty amazing! (And I haven't read a story about Igor Karkaroff before either).

Yes, the differences between the blood policies of the two schools is quite drastic. I can't remember now if this is actually a canon fact or something I came across in a fanfic, but I think that Muggleborns were eventually banned from attending Durmstrang (probably by Karkaroff himself).

Yes, Karkaroff probably would have been safe, had he stayed at Hogwarts and with Dumbledore, but he was too much of a coward to do so. He was too afraid to take the chance, so he ran, and consequently died.

I think that you have a good point about Karkaroff's thinking process, and you're also very right in that I was constrained by the word count. I will definitely think about adding more about his thought process when I return to this story in the future.

Thank you for a very lovely review! :D


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Review #7, by maskedmuggle Onwards! (to nothing)

13th July 2013:
Hey!

I found this story about Igor Karkaroff really insightful and interesting to read about. I knew what would inevitably happen at the end, but it was great to read about the journey that led him to that point. I thought his characterisation was very believable and realistic, as were all the events that happened.

I can imagine how annoying Boris, a common mudblood might've been, and how pressured Igor must've felt from his family. Lucius introducing Lord Voldemort to him also felt very realistic. But I think the ending of the story really stood out to me. Even though Igor knew he was coming, he was still living. That last line also felt so powerful. I thought this was a really well written story and you made all the memories build up towards the ending. :)

- Charlotte/maskedmuggle
House Cup 2013 Ravenclaw

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you for leaving such a wonderful review!

I'm glad that you enjoyed this look into Igor Karkaroff's life. He's not a character many people spend time thinking about (indeed, I hadn't thought much about him before I wrote this), probably because he can be such an unpleasant and unlikable character.

I'm really pleased that you think that his characterization was believable, and that his memories fit into his life. It was an interesting process, choosing which memories to include in the story, but in the end I chose those that I felt would explain him and his life the best.

Thank you once again for leaving such a thoughtful review! I really appreciate it! :D


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Review #8, by CambAngst Onwards! (to nothing)

11th July 2013:
Roots! It feels like it's been ages since the last time I read anything from you!

I loved all of the little vignettes from the different stages in Karkaroff's life. Every one felt like an important piece in the puzzle of this lightly-defined but important character from the books.

It seems like he suffered a certain amount of humiliation due to Durmstrang's token mudblood. Sort of ironic, if you think about it. Since the school frowned on Boris and subjected his work to an artificially high level of scrutiny, in a way they actually forced him to be better than his pureblood classmates. And his classmates, in turn, hate him for it. Of course, if they'd just stop goofing off so much and actually study, they'd probably do fine in school, but when did hard work and dedication factor heavily into the pureblood value system?

Then we see the fateful events leading up to the Dark Lord's rebirth. I never really thought about it before, but it does say something positive about Krum that he didn't hold Hermione's blood status against her. Even more humiliating for Karkaroff, I suppose. It was also interesting to see your take on the dynamic between Karkaroff and Snape. They were both outcasts of a sort among the post-war Death Eaters. Either one of them would have been joyfully killed as a traitor by most of their former friends. In spite of that, or perhaps because of it, they hate one another.

It threw me for a moment or two, the idea that it was Lucius who recruited Karkaroff into the Dark Lord's service. I've read a few fics where it was the other way around. Regardless, I really liked the way that Lucius gradually reels him in. First with the topic of the Dark Arts, then with their mutual prejudice and finally closing the deal. The idea that their families would have been familiar, even friendly, made quite a lot of sense.

Everything just starts to go downhill from there. He's such a pathetic coward when he flees from the Tri-Wizard tournament. I like the way that you captured the sort of empty, abject panic he felt. It wasn't over-analyzed or even really analyzed at all. He panicked and he ran. Q.E.D.

The next scene was a very nice parallel to the one before. We see the roots of Karkaroff's disaffection from the Death Eaters, a moment when he had already turned against the Dark Lord in his heart. I think it actually says something about him that he was struggling with such strong feelings yet he actually managed to conceal them from Voldemort. Either that, or Voldemort just wasn't looking especially hard. With his connections to Durmstrang, Karkaroff was probably a useful servant even if he was less than totally committed.

On and on we go. His trial after the first war had a very surreal quality to the way that it was written. Overall, though, I thought it was a lot more true to the books than the scene that we saw in the movie version of Goblet of Fire. Karkaroff, spouting names seemingly as fast as he was capable of moving his lips, feeling not a shred of loyalty to his former master or fellow servants. Not a hint of the defiance that he seemed to have in the movie.

That part of his life was over, forever. -- If only he knew...

Then came his end. Worn down, exhausted, ill, beaten... a completely broken man. There was something very fitting about the way that you wrote it. He seemed to be in a very similar physical condition to the first time in his life that he completely succumbed to his demons. When he was in the trial, physically weak, cold, broken by the dementors, it seemed very much like how he finally met his end. They say that a coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man only one. We definitely got to see several of Karkaroff's.

Your writing was great in this. I didn't see a single typo or grammatical error. The pacing was very good, and the story flowed in an easy, natural sort of way. A very enjoyable read!

Author's Response: Yes, it has been quite a while since I posted regularly on HPFF. Hopefully, that regularity will resume shortly...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed the different insights into Karkaroff's life. When I decided to write about Igor's flight from Hogwarts, I decided that I also had to include parts of his past, to at least partially explain why he chose to run.

Poor Boris was in a no-win situation. He had to do well, in order to remain in Durmstrang, but by doing well he further alienated himself from the rest of his classmates, and actually made himself a target for bullying. But Igor could only see it from his perspective, and in that he was the victim. A very selfish point of view, yes, but one common to most purebloods.

I didn't really think much of the dynamic between Krum and Hermione before I wrote this either, but it's really interesting to note that for a person who grew up in an intolerant society, he was remarkable in his actions with Muggleborns, and Hermione in particular. I guess it just goes to show you that you can definitely beat (or at least break away) from your upbringing.

The use of Lucius as the means to "reel" Karkaroff into the Death Eaters was a matter of convenience. What I was really concerned about was that the person in question was around Karkaroff's own age and was a pureblood himself. Lucius fit the bill well, and it made sense for his family to be friendly with Karkaroff's.

I'm glad that you liked the way that Lucius reeled him in. He couldn't just come right out and ask him to join, now could he? He had to first make sure that Karkaroff was actually of a mindset to join before asking the question. :)

I think that Voldemort might also have known his followers well enough to know that Karkaroff would have been too scared of the consequences to betray him while he was still alive (or at least had a large presence). After all, it was only after Voldemort was gone, and the Ministry proved to be the stronger power, that Karkaroff gave up his fellow Death Eaters to save his own skin.

Personally, I don't think that he would have had much defiance at that point. He's a coward, so he probably would have been too desperate to save himself from Azkaban to even attempt to pretend that he wouldn't give them names.

Karkaroff could not have died a "noble" death. He ran from Voldemort because of his betrayal, done to save his own skin, and was too afraid to try and start again, somewhere else. So, in essence, I'm very glad that you liked the way I chose to write his death!

Thank you so much for leaving such a wonderful and thoughtful review! I'm just sorry that it took me so long to respond to it!


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