I absolutely loved this 'muggle history' AU featuring the Marauders. The horrific imagery of muggle warfare is beautifully written, as is the scene with poor Peter (who'd only gone off to the war to follow James) dying in James' arms in his dream. Of course, Sirius and Remus were also included in James' horrific dream...the haunting image of them beseeching him to follow them to his death just as he had led them to theirs is amazing. I also really appreciated the ties between James' train of thought signing up for the war as it parallels what I assumed a fair amount of soldiers must have believed--that the war would be over in no time...that they were unbreakable. Also, the mindset he had to be in during the war: completely unquestioning why he was there and who he was killing, but rather to defeat the enemy. And, of course, the ending was quite powerful too, where, once the war ended, James found a renewed hope (although he knew that the war had changed him considerably). And you tied it back to the beginning extremely well as he dreamt about life.
This was incredible!
I think that you know I'm not normally a big fan of AU stories, but I am a big fan of your writing, and I love your dark stories and AUs, so honestly, you could convert me pretty easily when you continue like this. Your writing, as ever, was stunning - but I think my favourite thing about this was the original idea, and the way that you evoked the sense of period and horror and loss in this piece.
I've seen stories that include the Muggle wars (especially the world wars) in the Harry Potter universe before, but I don't think that I've ever seen the Marauders transported the First World War, and I loved it.
The opening lines, and especially the description of the battlefield surroundings, was portrayed so clearly. I loved your word choice - the rattling and spitting of ammunition, in a way that it becomes almost human and mundane, because the soldiers have become so used to the noise clattering on around them. Some of your choices usually refer to really beautiful descriptions, and the juxtaposition of the soft waterfall imagery and the horror of war was so powerful and effective.
Even the little details like the use of the nickname Jem helped to tie us in to the time period so well.
The story of James enlisting when he was too young helps to emphasise the fact that really, him and the other Marauders are children when they're fighting the war - it's a horror that shouldn't be forced on anyone, let alone people who have so much life left to live for.
The guilt that follows that - that James's friends enlisted with him, because he was the one who raced to the glory of the fight - is very real and tangible. The fact that James doesn't feel like he can believe that Sirius and Remus are really dead unless he sees proof - that actually ties in with accounts I've read, of the men who came home from the war and only actually processed that the loss was real when their friends or family weren't there to greet them.
I loved the circular nature of this story, too. The way that James's dreams changed in just that one day, and the sense of hope - that wonderful, human resilience - crept in and he wanted to go on and reclaim a life for himself, was a really uplifting ending, and that life could still exist after the horror of death was a nice reminder.
Here for the winter wonderland!
Wow, this is incredible! I don't know if I'd read anything dark by you before, and I must say you're just as talented at writing dark war stories as you are at writing teenage Hufflepuff next-gen girls. I don't read a lot of Muggle AU's, but I'm glad I read this one. It's funny how apart from some mentions of mustard gas and rifles, this could fit right into any first war Marauder story. So the character and the setting blend really well in a way I didn't expect and I'm in awe. I kind of want to read a whole Marauder novel set during world war I now.
But the most striking thing about this is just you incredible descriptions and scene setting. It really feels like I'm there, smelling the burning and watching the bombs go off and seeing bodies in the trenches. Your descriptions apply to all the senses and I think that's what makes your scene-setting so powerful.
And poor James, watching his friends die. The fact that James lives while his three best friends die is kind of like a distorted reversal of what happened in the wizarding world, and it makes me think that maybe wizarding-world-James was the lucky one after all - even though he died young, he didn't have to see his best friends die and keep living without them.
The last few lines are wonderful. It fully addresses how sad it is and what a lot of the soldiers must have gone to, returning to a world that's not his anymore, but since this world is what he fought for, he's going to go back and reclaim it. While it's sad, there's also a lot of hope at the end with what the armistice will bring.
What an amazing story! Clever and beautifully written.
Hey, Plums! I'm here for the Winter Wonderland flurry from Azkaban, and omgggg I loved this.
There's so much that you did so, so well here. This was an AU, but you really did transpose the characters from the FWW (and, you know, the 1970s/1980s) to WWI so effectively. I could absolutely recognize all of them, and you did an amazing job with James in particular - it's a different time and a different place, but who he is as a person is so consistent with the James we heard about in canon - especially his lying to enlist. Your choice to have James live where the people he cared about who survived the SWW died was also really, really interesting; it meant that you could explore how he'd have dealt with the guilt if the situations were reversed, and the image and Sirius and Remus beckoning him toward death was chilling and so, so well done.
You did an incredible job with this piece, and I loved it.