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Name: facingthenorthwind (Signed) · Date: 15 Mar 2018 07:19 AM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Anthony recorded her words verbatim, wondering to himself if someday his handwriting would be on display in a museum about the war, with this quote written in large script overhead, and a photograph of Ginny looking passionate and fierce alongside it. 

Ohhhh no, people wondering about how they'll be remembered and their place in history is. exactly my jam.

(as if this fic weren't already exactly my jam, which it is)

I held my breath pretty much from the bracha to the end, goodness this was so beautiful! The connection between the chanukah story and the DA was done so well, and the idea of the miracle never coming but Anthony being willing to sacrifice himself to at least prolong their chances put me in mind of the Chana Szenes poem: Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame/blessed is the flame that burns in the heart's secret places/blessed is the heart that knows, for honour's sake, to stop its beating/blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame

Anthony thinking that his essential work was unimportant just because it wasn't showy was heartbreaking -- I hope that he accidentally voices that to someone in the DA at some point and they disabuse him of that notion. "I was just the secretary, really" oh anthony my BOY

I would read absolutely anything and everything you had to write about Anthony and also Judaism, this was such a joy.



Name: victoria_anne (Signed) · Date: 17 Feb 2018 08:08 AM · [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Hey Renee! Congratulations on winning Story of the Month!

 

I've come to expect beautiful words from you and this story is no exception. I enjoyed it so, so much. I don't know why I didn't read it sooner, but at least I'm here now! 

 

My absolute favourite thing about this story is the comparison between the two worlds. How Anthony can find meaning and hope by comparing the story of Hanukkah to his own story at Hogwarts. It's so amazing, the way you did that.

 

I really loved reading the parts about the DA, too. I love the systems they have in place to survive, and the kindness and compassion of all the characters.

 

So yes, this was so, so beautiful and very well deserving of everything it's won <3 Congrats!



Name: Stella Blue (Signed) · Date: 21 Jan 2018 08:05 PM · [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Minor character FROG nomination review swap! :P

 

I loved this! (Obviously. I mean, I love everything you write, so that was a given)

 

First things first, Anthony and Ernie are a cute couple. I don't think I'd seen them written as a couple before but now I'm so on board this ship.

 

 I LOVED the way you wrote the DA meeting and all the lengths they're going to for their cause. How they all have these different but essential roles in the running of it all, and people who aren't in the core of group officers are just as necessary in their roles of maintaining a quieter resistance in the common room. It really shows how organized they are and how every single person's input is so valued, and I love that. And the fact that Anthony is in charge of communications and making sure that students are able to contact their parents without their owl being intercepted - this is so, SO important, even if Anthony doesn't seem to think it is. Access to information is crucial especailly in a situation like this where they are so  isolated at Hogwarts. I love that you thought of this.

 

The part of the story where Anthony is at home with his family for Hanukkah gave me a lot of feels. it's such a nuanced section with all the different thoughts Anthony is trying to juggle. The sense of relief at being in a safe place was so palpable and I just felt terrible for him, because no one should feel so threatened by their school that coming home is such an oasis. And yet, I really loved the way you showed the tranquility of his home during the holidays - the entire section is so effective at illustrating this peaceful feeling, so much that it almost obscures the underlying feeling of dread that he must make a decision and maybe go back to school. Your descriptions of his family's Hanukkah traditions are lovely and I got such a wonderful holiday feeling out of this, so much that I forgot it's actually halfway through January.

 

And I think, the way this section of peace and comfort follows the fear and resistance of the first section, it  really conveys a sense of privilege, and I think that's part of what Anthony struggles with about the idea of remaining at home. Of course he wants to stay where everything is safe, but safety won't necessarily guarantee peace of mind - he'll still be worrying about everyone who's there (particularly Ernie). As a pureblood he's safe enough to not have to worry that anyone will come after him at home, but other families don't have that same privilege, and of course no one at HOgwarts is exempt - they're all targets if they're in the DA. I liked that you compared the DA's resistance in the face of overwhelming odds to the Hanukkah story, and how that gave Anthony the strength to make his decision. it's like the strength to face situations like this is part of him and his culture/history gives him strength which is so wonderful to see.

 

I find Anthony's dad's advice very... perpelexing, haha. I agree with what he says about wisdom is not cowardice, and recklessness =/= courage, but then when Anthony says that Ernie is planning to go back to school, Anthony's dad calls Ernie brave. When Anthony is literally facing the exact same question, whether or not to go back to school, and Anthony's parents seem to think he should opt for wisdom and stay home. Funny the way Mr Goldstein's opinions on what is brave are a bit of a double standard when it comes to his own child. (Funny, but not unrealistic.)

 

All in all I really loved this, thanks for the swap! Good luck in the FROGs!! ♥



Name: shadowkat678 (Signed) · Date: 21 Jan 2018 06:54 PM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Shadowkat here for the nomination swap!

I actually read this when you posted it on the Holiday challenge, but for some reason I didn't review it, though I think I remember meaning to do so. I'm here now though, so let's get started. :)

I really like how you gave this character personality, even though we only saw him a few times in the books. He felt like a real person here, with doubts and self-consiousness and fear and hope and a need to do something, but not quite knowing how or if he even should. 

I, like others have said, loved that you gave him a boyfriend. The interaction between them gave the impression of being extremely close, and if I remember correctly, Ernie is a Gryfindor, correct? Which would go against the idea that they want other students to stay and fight. As much as he would want to help the others, especially the younger students stuck there during the holidays, his dedication to his boyfriend makes he want to protect him. It's really touching.

While I know some about the holiday I've never really learned much about Hanukkah in depth, so it was cool to learn a bit more about it in your writing. I loved how he connected the struggles he and the other students were facing with his haratage and the stories told. Faith is such a personal thing, and it does bleed over into how you handle hard choices for a lot of people, depending on how they view it. It was a good and realistic way to link it all together.

I can't really offer any CC. This was a good story, and it reflected a lot about a time we didn't get to see much in the last book. Really good job, and I'm so glad to have come back and left the review I meant to when it first got released. XD



Author's Response:

Hello! Thank you so much for the review :)

 

I enjoyed writing Anthony more than I expected to. I'm really glad you found him believable and fleshed out! 

 

Ernie as the boyfriend was totally unplanned and then it just happened, and I went with it, and now I can't get over it. I might plan another fic about them. Very glad you approve! (And Ernie is a Hufflepuff ;) )

 

I actually tried to write this story in December 2016 and couldn't make it work, so I was nervous about pulling it off on my second attempt. I really wanted the connection between the Hanukkah story and the DA to be clear, without beating it toooooo much over the head. :P It kind of helps that people don't always know about the holiday, because then all the explanation doesn't seem as excessive haha

 

Thank you so much for the lovely review and the swap!

xoxo Renee



Name: justawillowtree (Signed) · Date: 18 Jan 2018 12:38 AM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Renee! Here with a random review for you, because you're so wonderful and kind and lovely, and because you're such a beautiful writer. <3

 

At this point, I should just realize that everything you write will be a masterpiece, because this one certainly is one. The overall tone of the piece is so blessedly hopeful, and I just love that you managed to write a piece that presented a glimmer of hope in a time of such turmoil and uncertainty.

 

Your Anthony Goldstein is just so fascinating. While I was reading his thoughts on his role in Dumbledore's Army, and how he thought he really wasn't that brave or important in the long run, my heart cried a bit. I remember thinking that by stepping up, as a part of the minority, and choosing to work as a part of the resistance against tyranny and oppression, he's already making such a huge declaration of bravery. His morals are clear and good, and his heart is in the right place, and he's actually working to stop the mess going on at Hogwarts, unlike a large number of students.

 

I thought your description of the role of Dumbledore's Army was really wonderful, too. Since Harry, Ron, and Hermione are basically gone for most of the year, we don't actually get to see much of what the DA does. And I think you've filled that gap in perfectly. I can't imagine any better efforts than protecting innocent first years on their way to class, or keeping little children from getting cursed by bigots. Their roles are so honorable. I'm so proud of them.

 

What I thought was really awesome was that Astoria Greengrass was involved in the DA! I love this headcanon so much, I just absolutely adore it. And another aspect of this story that I loved -- Anthony/Ernie! I just about died from happiness when I saw how cute they were; my heart melted and became all gooey and useless. Just. They were so cute in the story. You wrote them so wonderfully.

 

And of course now I must talk about the beautiful holiday you wrote. I'm familiar with many Jewish traditions and customs, but to see them described with so much detail, care, and love, and in such a personal manner, just really affected me a lot. I loved the hope of the neverending light of the center candle, I loved the telling of the miracle of Hanukkah, I loved the descriptions of the happiness and warmth, and I loved the descriptions of the togetherness of eating a dinner as a family. It filled me with a lot of warmth. <3

 

Most of all I loved how all this affected Anthony, and how he was determined to return to Hogwarts and make a difference, even after his initial misgivings about being useless and about possibly never returning home. I think this is true bravery, right here.

 

I loved this so much, Renee. (In case you couldn't tell, haha.) <3 <3 <3

 

~Eva



Name: ReillyJade (Signed) · Date: 04 Jan 2018 02:32 AM · [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Oh my, this was lovely!


 


 


When I read the info for this, I was excited, as you combined two of my favorite things in HP fanfic: canon compliance, and the exploration of minor characters. You certainly did not disappoint! This was a beautiful exploration of what was going on at Hogwarts while the Trio was off Horcrux hunting. I love that other students (not just Ginny, Neville, and Luna) took a major role in the revival of the D.A., and most importantly, that doing so was not glorious, but daunting and exhausting. I enjoyed your nod to eventual Neville/Hannah and the idea that Astoria marching to the beat of her own drum even then.


 


 


I think you did a wonderful job providing depth to Anthony’s character. He’s only mentioned in the books a handful of times, but you’ve fleshed him out and given him so many layers that he doesn’t seem so minor anymore. I can totally buy into Anthony’s disdain for being in charge of communications; people who do “behind-the-scenes” type of work, despite being vital members of any team, often feel like they aren’t doing enough. His constant back-and-forth struggle of whether or not he should return school showed how selfless Anthony truly was, as he was basically torn between his classmates (returning to protect them) and his family (staying to alieviate their worry). 


 


 


There were little things you mentioned here and there that really grounded this story, I think. Ernie’s nickname for Anthony, Anthony’s looming discomfort about talking about his relationship with his parents, the Goldstein family talking and laughing while food was prepared… just little, everyday things that many of us have experiened in one way or another. Even in the midst of war, life goes on, and your addition of these things made the story seem all the more realistic.


 


 


I loved the metaphor at the end. There’s something very profound and beautiful when people find the strength to carry on through family and faith, and the fact that you had Anthony do so was a wonderful way to tie this all together. As I said, he was more or less choosing between his classmates and his family, so even though there he made the decision to return to school, finding the strength to do so in this manner was a way of carrying his family and faith with him through it all. Very beautiful indeed.


 


 


You’ve crafted a truly wonderful piece here, and you should be very proud! Well done. :) <3 



Author's Response:

Thank you so much for this review! It was a lovely surprise! And I saw that you thirded this story for the FROGS, so thank you /so much/ for that, too <3



Name: abhorsen (Signed) · Date: 30 Dec 2017 12:03 AM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Omg, Renee, what is this even?!

 

I loved, loved, loved how you captured the horrors of the war and that year in Hogwarts. Anthony's wish that everything was normal again was both so understandable and heartbreaking to read, since we know that it can't be normal and things like flirting and chatting and kissing one's boyfriend would just be things that happened. The Carrows are just so callous and cruel, and Susan's injuries - and how they're treated with both horror and a sort of 'must go on' numbness sets the scene so well.

 

The house lines drawn between don't come back and we must fight make a lot of sense as well. The Hufflepuff/Gryffindor divide makes a lot of sense, and I think it speaks to one of the major differences between houses that often come across as having pretty similar moral stances on things. I think that when it comes to matters of other people's safety, Hufflepuff and Slytherin are probably very similar. That Luna sided with the Gryffindors makes a lot of sense, too, since pretty much everyone she's close to is a Gryffindor - it's a sort of chicken-and-the-egg thing in terms of whether they've influenced her or she's been drawn to them because that was already her mindset, but it makes sense either way.

 

Also, omg Ernie and Anthony! They're so adorable. They're so, so adorable, and I love how well they know each other. I can understand why Ernie tells him to go home, and I wonder whether Ernie is hoping he stays there - though as a Gryffinclaw, I think Anthony made the right call.

 

I know Anthony was frustrated by the comparisons to the Holocaust that his family was drawing, but I really loved that deep down, that comparison and the story of Hanukkah really helped to convince him. Sometimes, we just *know* what we need to do, deep down, but I think we often need our stories and faith (whether that's religious or something else) to help us sort that out. You put that together in a really beautiful way, and I loved this story so much.

 

(Also, sidenote, but I loved that Astoria was there! I am an Astoria fan, and while I headcanon her as a Ravenclaw, I love the fact that you're representing Slytherin here with her.)



Author's Response:

Branwen! I was SO happy to see this review! What a lovely treat! 

 

I didn't even plan for this to be Ernie/Anthony and then it just sort of... happened? But I'm so into it. I definitely think Astoria is a character with so much interest and potential. Even though she's a footnote here, I'm glad I got to include her. I've loved all your stuff with her that I've read. The idea of her as a member of the DA was definitely inspired by Penny's Traitorous Hearts. I probably should have put that in the A/N, whoops. 

 

Thank you for all your kind words about this story and for leaving such a wonderful review! It made my night, honestly!

 

xoxo Renee

 



Name: Felpata_Lupin (Signed) · Date: 24 Dec 2017 10:32 AM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:First Lit, Last Burning Chapter: First Lit, Last Burning

Renee!

I promised I'd stop by and so here I am! :)

As always, your writing doesn't disappoint. I love that you choose to write about the DA resistance against the Carrows and the parallel you drew with the Hanukkah legend (by the way, thank you for your explaination on Skype yesterday) Also, I'm so proud that you managed to finish this and did such a great work! Best of luck in the challenge! :D

I loved Anthony's inner conflict, it's so real and relatable. He wants to help, to give his contribution and not disappoint those who might count on him, but he also wants to be safe and live somewhere where he doesn't have to see people hurt and being constantly scared and that's so easy to understand and so natural and I love that you really focus on those feelings.

The opening, with the description of how life at Hogwarts should be, of how Anthony hopes it'll soon be again, it's so lovely, and so heartbreaking at the same time because it isn't real right now. I really loved him with Ernie, too, and the way they could joke together at least a tiny bit. Small moments of normalcy amidst the horror.

Your description of the DA's organization was great, I loved how you wrote Ginny, always the determined one, and Anthony's thought that one day his writing would be in a war museum. That was sort of funny, I liked it.

The discussion with his Mum, his admission that she was right in a way, the stark contrast between what he's left back at Hogwarts and the warmth and safety of his home and his family... that was all so, so good! Part of me really wish Anthony had stayed home after all.

But of course he needed to keep the candle lit, even if he couldn't be sure of how it would end. I love how the story reminded him of what was going on and how it pushed him to keep fighting.

This was such a great and lovely piece, I'm so glad you managed to write it!

Happy Hanukkah, my love!

Chiara



Author's Response:

Chiara <333

 

Thank you so much for this lovely review! You are sucha wonderful cheerleader <33 I am glad you enjoyed the story. I'm especially glad you liked the parts about the DA, because I worried they might be boring.

 

love you!

Renee



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