Uh oh. From the moment Hermione said "Everyone deals with death differently" my heart sank like a stone. This chapter is going to make me cry. I just know it. *prepares box of tissues*
NO. Her father?
I MUST HAVE READ THAT WRONG. PLEASE SAY I READ THAT WRONG
Okay, now that I've finished the chapter - I have tears in my eyes, but I'm also smiling. I'm so upset that George died. The only thing that makes me remotely okay with is the fact that he and his twin are no longer separated. And, despite how sad it is, that was also the most appropriate send-off for him and I bet he would be proud.
Also, I totally agree. Funerals are so emotionally upsetting and I love that this turned into a celebration of his life and all the joy he brought to others, rather than a mourning of the fact that he was gone. That's a wonderful message.
I know this review was really short, but that doesn't mean I loved the chapter any less. This was such a great fic and I'm so glad it was nominated for a Chalice which gave me the impetus to read it. Wonderful writing as always, Isobel ♥
Back for more! I know I totally missed the Chalices reading week but I couldn't leave this unfinished.
I admit I'd been wondering, after reading the previous chapter, where the story was going to go afterwards considering the narrator of the previous chapter flew away. So I was really happy to see George as the POV of this chapter. Which brings me to my next point, that it's so cool to see a story in which the main character is only seen through the perspectives of others (at least so far, anyway). I think that's such a clever way of telling the story about Roxanne and showing how she appears to other people. I don't think I've seen that before.
I love that she helps out in creating and testing the fireworks! And the bit about how she was a Ravenclaw, and how George was disappointed at first until Roxanne and Dom became this power team who create a lot of mischief but are too clever to leave any traces of it, ahaha that's brilliant. I love that he sees her as having inherited Fred's spirit. <3
But then, the second half of this chapter is so sad. Especially because Roxanne knows what she's doing and has learnt safe handling for dangerous fireworks and she steps up to do it to protect the people she's with who don't know how to use fireworks, and the disastrous consequences due to the negligence of the seller. Aghh and it's heartbreaking how that affects George too, how he takes blame for it partly, even though it's not his fault and he couldn't have done anything, so it was sad but not surprising that he took all the fireworks out of his own shop and didn't sell them anymore just to avoid a situation in which people injure themselves seriously with his merchandise because they didn't know how to safely use it.
The last section was really wonderful too. Of course, it's devastating that Roxanne has these permanent scars (emotionally, as well as physically) and has lost her confidence, but it was so great to see at the end that she is regaining her confidence and is determined to not let other people's opinions of her determine her own worth, and I'm so proud of her <3 It's also really interesting the way you covered that topic, as it ties into the way the story is told through other people's opinions of her, and the opinions of the narrators are overwhelmingly positive because they know Roxanne and admire her generosity and her cleverness - whereas the people bullying her for her appearance don't know her and judge solely based on appearance. Anyway I really love what you've done with that theme and I'm excited to read on!!
PS. You're such an amazing writer. I adore your descriptions.
Isobel! Here for the Chalices again! I’m so excited to carve out time to read more of your writing – you really are such an incredible writer and it’s always a treat to read something by you. And this is as magnificently original as all of your writing is – telling a story from the POV of a bird is so cool. The poor Fwooper, that’s so sad :( It really is so unfair to it, in that by placing it in captivity they force it into conforming into what it has to be for humans and taking everything away from it – its home, its children, and its voice.
Now I’m having all these thoughts about various pets that people have and wondering if any of them feel the same way, or whether Fwoopers are particularly susceptible to this because they are more intelligent. Like… do parrots feel this way, or do their brains not process emotions and self-awareness like that? Are Fwoopers a particularly advanced magical species or do a lot of animals have thoughts like this? I don’t really know. It must be so hard to be a vet because you can’t know what animals are thinking and they can’t say. Annnnyway, this is derailing into a very long tangent but I appreciate writing that makes me think, and this is certainly doing that.
I was so happy that Roxanne snuck in and not only gave the Fwooper its song back, but also liberated it! That was such a wonderful ending. I think Fwoopers are particularly intelligent birds because it knows not to sing near Roxanne, and that scene where it sings just one note and then stops to silently blink goodbye to Roxanne was so sweet.
Your writing is as beautiful as ever. Good luck in the chalices!
Oh my god. I was unexpectedly hit really hard by this, because Jo already shot most of our souls by killing Fred I, and so in my head I’ve just had this unrealistic expectation that George would live forever to make up for that. And the reminder that George, the remaining half of the Weasley twins, is also quite mortal just made me feel quite saddened haha.
Anyway, as always, I loved this chapter. (Is this the last one? The story is marked as incomplete, but this third chapter read like a resounding finale to such a beautiful story of Roxanne, so I wasn’t sure.) I think one of my favorite things about this story is that we are never inside Roxanne’s head, and that the story is always told through the eyes of someone else, may it be a songbird, or George, or Hugo. And it’s just amazing to me, because she is so full of life and love and spirit that other people just are drawn to her as a person, and you just write so intelligently and beautifully, I don’t have enough words to express my love for your works.
Roxanne’s deadened eyes in the beginning made me want to cry. I hate that witnessing loved ones’ deaths is something that people have to suffer through in their lives. And you really showcased her grief in such a straightforward, plain manner without decorating it needlessly without flowery language. I also really love how you stayed away from hitting us over the head with obvious statements of Roxanne’s grief; instead, you described how she looked, how she acted, her tone of voice, the gradual return of her mischief… It was stunning to read.
I love how Hugo manages to supply her with a bit of closure about the type of fireworks George set off for her birth, as well as the idea to set off fireworks at the funeral instead of mourning in silence. And Roxanne’s speech at the end was just beautiful. You really have a way with endings. <3
Thank you for writing something so beautiful. I’ve loved every second of this beautiful story.
Tears actually started prickling my eyes while I was reading this. You know that feeling you get when your nose starts to sting a little because you’re trying so hard not to cry and embarrass yourself, but you cry anyway? THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME HERE AND I LOVE IT. (I mean, I don’t love crying, but I love that I read something that contained a world of a story in such a small number of words. This is amazing. You’re amazing.)
The way you write second person POV is utterly magical. I’m immediately brought inside the person’s head, but in a way that’s significantly less obvious than in first person. What I love about your second person is that you surround it with beautiful language and magnificent story-telling, which really just enhances everything to its fullest, and I have so so much love for your writing.
But I don’t want to be repeating my last review verbatim hahaha so I’m going to try to talk about other things that I loved about this. <3
Roxanne is just as charming and excitable as she was in the first chapter. When George first introduces her in the chapter, he describes her as having Fred’s spirit, and when I read that I gasped and was like YES. And every word you used to describe was so full of life and energy, I could practically see her bouncing off the walls with her excitement, with her bouncing curls and her exclamations. I could feel his love for her coming off the page, and the connection that these two have warmed my heart and soul so much omg. (And how in-character is it that George teaches her safety tips in order for her to create more fireworks? I love it.)
Knowing Roxanne’s vibrancy and exuberance made the second section that much harder to read, I think. Every instance of George’s fear and panic for the life of his daughter made me feel extremely anxious too, and I was chanting for justice for Roxanne after she revealed she had no idea why the fireworks malfunctioned (I chanted in my head, of course, since my mom would find it quite strange if I’d started doing this in the living room). And I was already feeling a little choked up when George told Fred to remove everything firework-related, because this pure devotion to his daughter is something that I aspire to be if I ever become a parent.
(I actually can’t remember if this is off-books canon or not, but I really love the idea of George and Angelina being divorced but still friendly with each other. If you came up with it, ahhh then my already super-high opinion of you just shot up further. I love every single word of what you write.)
Oh, and that ending piece. I felt really emotional throughout it because, I mean. People are taught all their lives (not directly, but just through how the world presents “the standard”) that the “norm” is beauty, and I feel like a lot of people wreck themselves trying to reach that. And I love that Roxanne is regaining confidence in herself, and hopefully unlearning that message that beauty/unblemished skin is what’s most important about her. And I’m so proud of her, and I’m so glad that things are turning around in her life.
Anyway, I loved this if you couldn’t tell haha. Thank you for writing something so beautiful. <33
Ummm Isobel???? You never mentioned that you write like goddess and poet combined, and now I feel bitterly ashamed at the number of months I have wasted not reading your writing. I mean, how hard could it have been to just mention in passing, “I have the writing skills of someone who deserves to be recognized and loved by everyone in the world, and hey, you might want to read some of my works because they’re so good they’ll make you want to cry at how original and breathtaking and clever they are.”
There are so many things that I want to flail about, but let me just say first, your writing is so beautiful it hurts my heart. Every single description of yours just made me stop breathing, and I literally had to remind myself to breathe after like every other paragraph, and I’m honestly so in love with your writing, I’m so mad I never came by before. You write descriptions that are so stunning I would do anything to actually be able to witness it. One of the many examples is the one that starts, “You’ve seen yourself in the reflection of the water…” and ends, “a dazzling sight that wizards covet.” You have such a way with words. I don’t know how you manage to paint such beautiful, vivid images with the limitations of the English language, to be honest; if words could take flight, yours would, and I feel so honored that I’m able to read your writing.
Something else that completely amazed me about this first chapter is how well you wrote from the perspective of the songbird. I love the decision to write this in second person, because it’s just unfamiliar enough and strange enough that reading it through the voice of a songbird makes perfect sense. Everything here, I can visualize so easily through the eyes of the bird, and the intelligence and eloquence of the bird is written in such a way that it makes me feel so much for this songbird. (Also, I firmly believe that locking intelligent animals up in captivity is a cruel, cruel thing to do, so that just made my heart go out towards the songbird even more.)
And Roxanne, our dear, sweet, beautiful Roxanne. Children are so precocious! And you wrote her so naturally. Of course the songbird loved her at first glance; I loved her at first glance too. From the way you write her, she just radiates exuberance and confidence and kindness, and I’m so, so happy with everything that you’ve done with her! She is definitely the type of person who would illegally sneak into a shop as a child to free a bird, even at risk of putting herself in harm’s way through the bird’s singing, and I love this little girl so much. (I would also just like to add a note, that I thought it was funny the bird noted Angelina’s quick reflexes, because, I mean, the girl played Quidditch haha. That bird is astute.)
And that ending was just gorgeous. I’ll definitely be back for more of your writing. <3