What a beautiful chapter omg. You have such a way with words, and you make this sound absolutely magical. While I was reading the description for the beautiful present that Lily gave Petunia, I felt my breath being taken away; it was just absolutely stunning. It made me wish more than anything to have a little sister like Lily, who’s so thoughtful and so genuine and so kind that she would work this hard to give me what I don’t have. I love love love how you wrote the description of the mini-Hogwarts, and the detail you put into it was just beautiful. The extra details about the barn owl, about the candlelight, the steam engine, and the two girls made me wish more than ever that I could go to Hogwarts haha.
And I suppose that’s why Petunia threw it against the wall. What I love about your Petunia is that she isn’t this exaggerated caricature (like she was in the first few books of Harry Potter; later on, Jo gave her a little more substance I think), but everything she thinks and does is based on the ugly side of everyone, I think. I can understand her way of twisting things to blame her little sister, and her ceaseless jealousy that leads her to break possibly the most precious gift she’s ever received, because I think there’s some part of all of us that’s as ugly as that. There have definitely been times where my mind twists things and people into these grotesque figures to suit my own narrative, and I think that’s what Petunia’s doing here. Your Petunia is so real, because she’s the ugly side of humans personified. She’s not always full of this negativity, as the previous few chapters have shown, but sometimes it comes out in this horrible, hurtful way.
I don’t know how she could’ve beared to break the one gift that would give her Hogwarts, though. If I were her, and I wished more than anything to attend this one school my little sister was going to, I would greedily ask for souvenirs, snacks, books, everything, even if it reminded me of what I didn’t have. So I really think Petunia has let her jealousy and anger twist her heart too much, and so she’s constantly lashing out at her little sister.
How sweet is your Lily, though? Her gift was so touching that I was like, “Awww,” with my hand over my heart. When she was talking about how she wanted the two girls to look like them and so she personally charmed it, I just. It was just so sweet, I couldn’t take it.
There’s this one short paragraph you wrote that I think represents Petunia perfectly: “Lily’s smiling face looked up at her. It was the face everyone loved best. Even Petunia loved it. But that wasn’t what she wanted. Love wasn’t enough. Love wasn’t magic.” She loves her sister, as she should, but I think it says a lot of how Petunia thinks more highly of material things, like the possession of magic. Like, her love for her sister isn’t enough to overcome the intense jealousy she holds for not having magic, and that’s just…rather alarming. It does let us see where the Petunia that raises Harry comes from, and ugh I just love how you took a fairly minor character in the HP-verse and took the few characteristics we know and created this entire story. I love this story so much. <3
OMG HOW PRECIOUS IS LILY?? MY CHEEKS HURT FROM SMILING AT HER CUTENESS. SHE’S SO PURE AND ADORABLE AND YOU WRITE HER ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD VOICE SO PERFECTLY AND IT’S SO CUTE. Her letters sound exactly like the way my little sister writes. They’re simple, honest, and convey a ridiculous amount of excitement about the world, and I love that you’ve managed to capture that about her. She’s so sweet and persistent, and reading this story is making me wish I could be Lily, just because she looks at the world as though it’s constantly providing her with something beautiful (though given that she’s at Hogwarts, it’s probably true haha), and I love that.
I couldn’t help but chortle at Petunia’s letters. (I think there’s something about her letters that are full of overwhelming honesty, too, albeit in a different way. I mean, she’s at least more honest about her feelings, I suppose because sarcasm doesn’t quite come through in writing.) I love how petty she is. Like, her very first letter to Lily is just to say that she’s still mad. And then she ignores another one of Lily’s letters because she was mad that the owl came in while she was with her friends.
It was such a brilliant decision to write a chapter through their letters. This was highly entertaining, and allowed me to learn a little bit more about each girl, as well. It’s at moments like these where I forget that the title of the story is “Beyond Repair,” and where I just think that their relationship will definitely be salvaged at some point.
I love this story so much, Renee. You write so beautifully. <3
Ohh, Renee, my heart.
I think Petunia returning to taking out her anger on Lily like this is...saddening. She calls Lily “selfish” for wishing to explore this vast new world, even when Lily is pleading with her to give her a proper good-bye, when it’s really Petunia who’s being selfish by ruining Lily’s excitement and happiness. Obviously Lily gets hurt by this, and that broke my heart.
I was really glad you chose to show a snippet of Dumbledore’s letter! It was very well-written, and sounded exactly as I’d imagine Dumbledore to sound in writing. His advice was sound, as well (though Snape obviously didn’t think so lmao), and it was rather prophetic in nature. I mean, because of the magical world, Lily dies a tragically young death, and Petunia continues living her well-off life with a husband she’s happy with (even if no one else likes him) and a son she dotes over.
Last chapter we saw into Petunia’s mind, her personal thoughts and desires, and how powerfully she wants to be like her sister. And I did truly feel sorry for her, and I do still, but the way she chooses to express her frustration, by just making Lily feel more and more miserable about herself is seriously a sign of bad character. In this chapter, Petunia’s petulance makes Lily wish for a brief moment that she doesn’t have magic at all (and it’s actually one of my favorite lines in this chapter: “No dandelions blushing pink at her command, no vengeful pimples showing up on mean girls’ faces at school, no owls leaving streaks of white on the front walk” – beautiful) and that’s just a horrible way for an older sister to act.
Lily has a very good point about Petunia. She’s older, so she should be more mature, more understanding, instead of dumping her messes on Lily and leaving them there.
You handle the progression of their relationship so so well. It’s honestly the saddest thing looking back at the first few chapters and seeing how their relationship has deteriorated since then, but you do it perfectly. <3
Oh my goodness, poor Petunia. This entire chapter, I felt for her, because for once she’s not antagonizing Lily to release her frustration. She just genuinely wants to know why Lily can go and she can’t, and her entire conversation with her father had me smiling a bit at how cute her thinking is, but also I was feeling quite sad too.
Petunia really brings out a complicated mess of emotions in me hahaha.
And her letter. (Which is the one that Snape and Lily poked through later on, right? I love that you wrote this scene from Petunia’s perspective, and showed us the contents of the letter.) Ugh I felt an unbelievable amount of pity for her after reading her letter. I think it’s because she’s actually truly honest for one of the first times in this story? Instead of belittling Lily for having a magic she doesn’t have, she’s really pouring her heart and soul into this letter to Dumbledore. I wonder what his reply will be.
Sometimes I sit and wonder if Petunia kept the letter from Dumbledore throughout the years as a reminder of what she didn’t have, or if she just tossed it at the soonest opportunity.
So I love how you wrote the letter. I think this might be my favorite chapter so far, because of that letter. It was heartbreaking when she was promising that she would work extra hard, that she would stay longer than the other students to make up for time lost, that she wanted to learn alongside Lily.
I love your Petunia, and I love your writing. <3
OMG RENEE HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WAS A NEW CHAPTER??? Maybe it was posted while I was on the mountain. Idk but I am so glad I just happened to look on a whim to see if there were new chapters.
First of all, congratulations on all your FROGS nominations! ♥ This story totally deserves all the recognition!
Second, my heart is as broken as that snow globe. I knew this point was coming eventually, this um, breaking point (heh see what i did there) because I know how their relationship falls apart over time and I'd seen the cracks in it before, and... it was only a matter of time. But that didn't stop it from hurting.
The beginning of this chapter is the coziest, most lovely description and I love how you set the scene - the tea, sitting around in pajamas, the snow outside, and the excitement of watching someone open a present that you know they're going to love (this last one I particularly relate to - I love gift giving). It all just feels so comfortable and home-y. And it's such an effective start to the chapter because it makes the end feel that much more jarring.
The snow globe Lily gave Petunia sounds absolutely breathtaking, and it's so touching to think of how much effort Lily put into making the figures look like herself and Petunia. It's so sweet that she tried so hard to make exactly what she thought Petunia would want, the best way she can give Petunia a place at Hogwarts... but at the same time, Lily's so young and a bit naive and thus doesn't really think about it from her sister's perspective and how it will affect Petunia. And to her, that globe is like a reminder of everything Petunia wants and can never have, and I do feel pretty sorry for her. Add that to the fact that Petunia has always been jealous of how Lily is always in the spotlight, and with their parents marveling at the snowglobe and how amazing it is, Petunia feels left out again and it's her own Christmas present.
It's so, so important to Lily that Petunia likes it, and it's so clear in the way she acts here- from the amount of effort she put into it, to the timid way she asks Petunia what she thinks of it after so many minutes of silence, to the way her heart lifts when she thinks for a second that Petunia is going to give her a hug. It only makes it that much more heartbreaking when Petunia, in tears, throws it against the wall. They're both so hurt - Lily feeling betrayed, and Petunia feeling left out and unappreciated and jealous. And the thing is, I can't really blame either of them for feeling that way. I just wish they could patch things up again, but the last line carries a note of finality. That last line is beautiful though, as sad as it is.
Once again you've done an incredible job with both of these characters and you make them both so real. You are super talented and this was a great chapter. Good luck in the FROGS!
Hey, Renee! Here for our swap! :)
Diagon Alley shopping! That's so thrilling! I loved it so much! And I'm already feeling so bad for Petunia, because I know that she'll never be allowed to be a part of such a fascinating world... and that's so sad... and also knowing that Lily will never be able to keep that promise... No wonder Petunia will get so resentful towards everything even distantly related with magic one day. :(
But for now there is so much excitement, and it was so lovely to see the whole family together on this adventure and their wonder at everything around them. I also really, really loved to get a glimpse of so many old acquaintances... Dumbledore and Moody, Ted, Andromeda and little Sirius, Frank Longbottom... and were the twin boys Fabian and Gideon? It was so nice to see so many people we know from the books through the eyes of Petunia who just happens to cross them, it's so exciting!
It's so sad that Petunia is feeling like her parents don't care for her (or at least not as much as they care for Lily). It was really sweet that her mother gave her the Sickle, and that she managed to at least carry some "souvenir" at home with her, but the scene at the wand shop was really sad too. I bet Ollivander was so confused... it's so sad that Petunia simply doesn't belong, and I can see how that is going to hurt her so badly.
This was a really lovely chapter. Your writing and your descriptions were just lovely and your characterization of Petunia was brilliant, as usual. Thank you so much for accepting to swap!
Snowball hug, my love!
Here for the review swap! <3
Renee, have I ever told you how wonderfully you write? Even if I have, I'll say it again: your characters are beautifully shaped with realistic human qualities, your descriptions are always in the right place and so thoughtfully detailed, and your choices of which events to write about are just absolutely perfect. I'll never read one of your stories and not be in awe.
The wonder that Petunia felt upon leaving the more mundane Muggle world and entering Diagon Alley was described so well. I could tell how much Petunia loved the magical world, and how much she wished she could be a part of it, so my heart hurt a little for her. I thought it was brilliant how you chose for Petunia to attempt for a wand; it's perfectly in character with what you've presented so far, and it really is a bitter moment for her.
Most of all, I felt saddened when Lily kept insisting that she and Petunia would go off to Hogwarts together, and how Petunia, at the very end, clings to that dream. Her envy of her sister is so understandable; after all, who wouldn't want to head off to a beautiful castle to study magic? I feel sorry that she feels bitter towards her sister for receiving this attention, though. You've written such a good Petunia, truly.
I always feel so many things after reading one of these chapters. Their relationship ended so badly that it hurts, and you write the build-up to that so, so well.
Aww, Eva <333
You are the nicest person ever. Thank you so much! Like, how am I even supposed to reply when you said such kind things??? THANK YOU! <3
I actually really needed this tonight because i've been feeling kind of down about writing, so you had brillaint timing, as well.
Renee! Hellooooo <3
What perfect timing for this chapter, hehe. I don't know why I'm kind of apprehensive with every chapter I read of this story, because I want so badly for the two sisters to have a good relationship, but I know that it's going to deteriorate slowly through the years from the point that we've reached, and it's kind of sad to read. But at the same time, you write the two of them so well and it's lovely to read - I think you capture their characters and their relationship brilliantly.
"With the Christmas tree to their right, and a rare glitter of snow out the window on their left, they looked like an advert for a cozy family holiday." - this is such a beautiful description. You manage to paint a lovely picture in just one sentence here, and I can see the scene so clearly.
I really liked the way that you caught the excitement of Christmas at the beginning of this chapter. It's definitely something that shifts in meaning as you get older and certain parts of the magic fall away, but I think you captured Lily's excitement to give Petunia the perfect present here so well. I'm always so excited when I find a gift that I'm sure someone's going to love, and love watching them open it, so I think that's really relateable.
The present of the snow globe was amazing! It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift on Lily's part, and reading it felt so magical and beautiful. I would totally love a present like that - and the fact that Lily's made the effort to change the figures into her and Petunia is adorable. But at the same time, I think it shows a real lack of understanding on Lily's part. She's been so caught up in the magic of Hogwarts that she can't really understand why it would make Petunia feel terrible - isolated and jealous.
You conveyed those emotions so well, and even though it's horrible of Petunia to react the way she did and destroy a present that Lily's so carefully and thoughtfully picked out, I can really understand why she'd do it. To her it just represents the gulf in abilities between them, and it's like a taunting glimpse of the world that she can't be part of. I just want to wrap them both up in a hug at the end of this chapter!
Oh, Petunia. She has these moments where she thinks with such clarity and moral direction (like when she's thinking about how to keep Lily away from 'that Snape boy' because of his leering smiles), but she's always unable to express herself properly. Even when she tried telling Lily what she thought was wrong with Snape, Lily took Petunia's words the wrong way (and in a way, that's Petunia's fault for being so nasty 90% of the time).
I always get so sad after reading a chapter from this collection of one-shots, haha. It's just really tragic, that two sisters who were such great friends could split like this, and never really recover. This chapter was particularly sad, because for all Lily's defending of Snape, he turns out to be a creepy, rotten jerk anyway.
Really, really great chapter. <3
The complexity of your characterizations is honestly stunning. Petunia is clearly envious of her sister to a painful degree; she spies on her sister, despises her sister for having magic, and dreams of being the best witch in Hogwarts despite possessing no magical ability. Her thoughts don't present her in the best light, especially her forceful suppression of any sympathetic thoughts towards Severus and her judgmental stance on his appearance.
I'm not fond of Snape as a person. I thought that his obsession with Lily, starting even when he was a child, was the creepiest thing in the world, and I agreed with Petunia there. However, her refusal to believe and see his pain is just something else entirely. Perhaps Snape would have been better had he not been abused like this, and it's just incredibly sad that he lived such a painful life before attending school.
Lily is genuinely the kindest, sweetest child I've ever read about. Her care in laying out the picnic for Severus to eat, because she knows that he occasionally goes hungry, really shows how caring she is. Her diligence in making sure that Severus is as alright as she can make it is inspiring, and she's only nine or so here. She has the kindest soul and deserves the best (which is why Severus' creepiness freaks me out so much), which Petunia is not giving her right now.
I feel bad for Petunia, I genuinely do. But somewhere along the line, something went wrong, and she found herself thinking hateful thoughts about people she dislikes. Her immediate agreement with Severus in thinking that the Imperius Curse is cool definitely says a lot about her character.
This is amazing. I loved loved loved this chapter.
I could just sing your praises to the ends of the world and back, because even though everything Petunia did in this chapter was selfish and unkind, you managed to still write her in an understandable way. What she did isn't exactly excusable, but she is only ten years old, and she was pressured by the judgmental kids around her.
Every time she scolded Lily and asked her to leave, though, my heart broke a little. Siblings just shouldn't do that to each other, no matter how young they are. Getting embarrassed by one sibling simply for being there is probably a sign that there's something wrong in the relationship. Or that there's just something wrong with Petunia.
The use of "freak" in the chanting scene was a nice nod to the insult Petunia would use for Lily later in life. You just kind of start thinking how everything happens to Lily when she's eleven, and that's just...not old at all. She's still a baby.
I'm kind of sad that this is the last chapter that you have posted at this point in time, but now it means I can pester/cheer you for updates, right?
I thought you captured the voices of both Lily and Petunia really well in this chapter - they felt a lot like the characters that we've seen through the past nine chapters, but it's really interesting to see how their voices come through as they write letters to each other, especially as there are some pent-up emotions that aren't really being focused on in the letters. I really like the fact you're using the epistolary device here, too, so that we still get to continue having an insight into their relationship even while they're apart.
I loved reading about Lily getting settled in her new life at Hogwarts - especially the way that at the start she tries to avoid focusing too much on her school and asks more questions of Petunia, as if she's trying not to rub it in. I liked all the mentions of Potter and that gang of loud boys, and Lily pranking them - you build up so much of her character in that.
Petunia definitely wasn't responding as much as Lily wrote, though, and I thought that really showed how she's starting to distance herself a bit from Lily, with the comments about owl post and the focus on her own life rather than asking too many questions about Hogwarts. I'm looking forward to the next chapter, love!
Oh my goodness, Renee. This was such a short chapter, but it really packed a punch. You managed to show so much in so few words, and capture this moment which is really the physical acknowledgement of the emotional tensions and the divisions that have been building between Lily and Petunia for a little while now.
I thought it was really telling and poignant that you opened this chapter with Lily's point of view, and she's contemplating what lies ahead of her. There's a real sense of loneliness at the start of this chapter, which is even more upsetting when we realise that she's sat in the back of the car with her sister right by her.
It's so much for Lily - and Petunia - to process at this point in time. They're so young, and I think it's natural for the jealousies and tensions to surface here because there's often that sense of competitiveness, or even just wanting to be the same as their siblings.
It's sweet of Lily's mum to reassure her when she's worried about going away to Hogwarts, but it will change her - it's such a time of enormous change anyway, and it's going to be even more noticeable when she's only able to come home once a term. But Lily's right that she would be mad not to take the opportunity - and Petunia knows it, too.
Still, I felt so sorry for both of them here - there's so much distance between them, and the physical distance will represent that too, soon. It's so sad to think of </3
I don't know if I've mentioned it properly in my other reviews, but I just wanted to say that I really like the fact that you're telling this story from Petunia's point of view. There are so few stories which offer us her perspective, and it's fascinating to see you explore that - it definitely makes me feel a lot more sympathetic towards her.
Another aspect I'm really enjoying is the fact that there's quite a few chapters focusing on this summer in 1971, rather than just skipping ahead, because it feels like it's quite a pivotal time for the sisters. It illustrates the way that it's just a lot of little things building up to cause the break.
This was a slightly heartbreaking chapter, though. I loved the way that you started it, with just that one word which Petunia was clinging onto, and trying to understand why her younger sister was allowed to go to Hogwarts when she'd never received her letter. It highlighted how unfair it actually is, especially for siblings like this, and the issues it can cause for those families. I loved the way that she applied the childish logic to the situation - took what her father always said and couldn't understand why she wouldn't be able to go to Hogwarts.
I liked the touches like the strike that her dad went out on, and the way that he used that to explain it to her.
The letter was absolutely adorable, and I felt so sorry for her as I read it - there was so much eagerness and hope and longing in it, and even the touch of adding the three stamps to make sure it got there was so cute.
Hello again, dear!
When I was deciding which scenes to include in this fic, I immediately realized that once Lily started school I would have a lot less to pick from, because they only have the winter and summer holidays together. Plus, as they grow apart, they're naturally with each other less often. So I definitely milked this last summer for all it was worth, and I'm glad you find it interesting rather than boring haha.
Their dad's union will be mentioned again, believe it or not. I like the idea of the Evans family as very blue collar.
Thank you for another lovely review!
After the stormy intensity of the last chapter, I was a bit worried about what was going to happen in this one, but I was really pleasantly surprised to see that the relationship hasn't deteriorated immediately. I think it makes a lot of sense that Petunia won't turn away from Lily straight away; there's a close relationship there and it's far more believable that they would grow apart more gradually, even if this is definitely the start of that happening.
I really enjoyed the way that Lily's parents - particularly her dad - reacted to the trip to Diagon Alley. Even if Petunia isn't magical, she's still young and the wonder of the magical world holds more excitement than fear for her, while their parents have grown to mistrust things they don't understand. I loved reading the entrance to Diagon Alley, and the way that you managed to convey the wonder and excitement of Lily and Petunia as they see it all for the first time.
The moment when Petunia was teasing Lily about the new friends that she was going to have at Hogwarts was really sweet.
I felt so sorry for Petunia when she wanted to get herself a wand and Ollivander went along with it, but none of them worked because she wasn't magical. I feel like it would be being told you're not good enough - not as good as your sister - and you showed how difficult that is for her to bear.
I'm glad that there's still a reasonably amiable relationship here at this point, though - even if I know it's not going to continue.
I read the date at the start of this chapter and I felt an influx of nerves, because it meant that Lily's departure for Hogwarts was imminent, and this was the real start of the chasm opening up between the sisters. I've enjoyed reading about their relationship as children so much, but I know now that there's a whole new layer of stress and tension that's going to be heaped on it, and I don't think they'll recover.
It was actually kind of frustrating to read this chapter, and see the way that things could have been so different if it hadn't been for the misunderstandings and the temper-fuelled words that start to break the relationship between them.
I think that this really showed the way that Petunia felt so left out when Lily got given her place at Hogwarts and she couldn't be a part of it. Even without parents causing it, there's often some sibling rivalry between brothers and sisters, but here Petunia is almost purposely left out of the discussion when McGonagall arrives. I mean, I can understand it, because their parents have to try and process what on earth is happening with Lily and it's probably not something they need another kid around for, but at the same time, Petunia is the one who knew what was happening with Lily and had heard about Hogwarts, and even keeping her there for that conversation might have changed something, however small.
Minerva McGonagall turning up to tell Lily about Hogwarts and explain what's happening was great, though - and I'm just imagining people's expressions when she turns into a cat in their living room :P I feel like it might have been easier to send her along to tell the Dursleys than to send Hagrid, to be honest...
The conversation at the end was just heartbreaking, to be honest - the way that Lily goes to Petunia because she's worried about leaving her family (and most children from happy homes would be, to be honest) and her sister - the girl she considers her best friend - turns her away because she's hurting and lonely.
That last sentence was so simple in a way, but so powerful; it really foreshadows the way that the rest of their relationship will play out in this story, and shows this chapter as the turning point for them.
Hi again, Renee! I'm back for more of this wonderful story <3
This chapter reminded me of the scene that we see in the Prince's Tale when Petunia is listening in on Lily and Snape, but you did a great job of making the situation your own here. I also liked the fact that it seemed that this is probably something that Petunia has done before, and so when we see her caught eavesdropping in DH, it's probably one occasion of many.
"Severus Snape. Even his name sounded slimy, like something peeled from the underside of a rock." Can I just say that there are very few occasions when I find myself agreeing with Petunia, but this is definitely one of them? I think this has to go down as one of the best and most accurate descriptions of Snape that I've read.
After the first few chapters when we see Lily so admiring of Petunia, and Petunia starting to push her away a little as she grows older, I liked the way that you flipped that around here. Petunia is suddenly on the outside here, looking in to something that she's not a part of, and she realises that it's not a nice feeling. I think she's grown used to having a younger sister who's always there when she wants her, and yet Lily has made a friend who's telling her all about this world that she's going to become part of, and Petunia is slowly realising that she's going to be left behind.
There was such a range of emotions in this chapter, and I think Petunia just felt really human here. The petty frustration when she knows Lily has taken her lunch box was believable as something siblings often do, and then the little comments about the girls at school who tease her made me feel quite sorry for her. But I think what was so bittersweet about this chapter was seeing how excited Petunia is by the prospect of Hogwarts and of joining Lily there, only to realise that she won't be going and she'll be left alone. I think you wrote that really effectively and it came across very well.
This chapter was definitely inspired by The Princes Tale, but I tried to make it a ittle different.
Ugh, yeah. I hate Snape. I feel bad for him sometimes, but I still hate him. Thank you!
EEEEE, Sian, your words are so kind! Thank you so much!
"In the morning, their mother found her two precious daughters curled up together on the floor, smiling as they slept, their hands still clasped between their gently rising hearts."
This fic was designed to really stab you directly in the heart, doesn't it? I'm getting so many feelings from how unbelievably close they used to be. The entire sequence in which they pretended to be on a ship, with a First Mate Petunia and a Captain Lily? Amazing. Children have amazing imaginations, haha. I can't even remember the last time I invented a story like that.
The lightning scene was a really amazing way to highlight the bravery tied into Lily's character, how fearsome things exhilarate her. Quintessential Gryffindor, isn't she? I also love how so far, the little bits of Lily's magic have all been positive things. She healed herself last chapter, and now, she brings warmth to her sister's scared heart.
Have I mentioned how much I love this baby and how well you write her? <3
<3 hello dear
I didn't mean for this fic to be heart stabbing, but I see what you mean. Whoops. :P
Children are wonderful, yes yes yes. If I was still 4 years old, I'd never run out of story ideas, I'm sure!
You know, I never really thought of the moment when Lily calms Petunia as magic, but I think you can definitely read it that way and I'm cool with it. It's really interesting to me that readers sometimes see magic in this story in places I hadn't thought to use it.
Thank you so miuch!
Asdglkj you write children's perspectives so similarly to how they speak, with an abundance of cuteness and cluelessness and a general awe of the world. I was reading this entire chapter with a wide smile on my face, even when Lily or Petunia said things that made me feel sad (again), just because Lily is so freaking cute.
Lily's idolization of her older sister was really touching. She really looks up to her older sister, doesn't she? Most little children do. (Though, now that I think of it, my younger sisters certainly didn't. Apparently I didn't command enough respect lol.)
There were so many parallels between this chapter and what occurs between Petunia and Lily later, but my favorite: “You’re just a baby! I don’t want to play with you!” reminds me so much of when Petunia called Lily a freak years later, essentially severing their relationship forever. Little Petunia has more of an excuse to be this way than Older Petunia, though, since Little Petunia is young.
It's just like Lily to teach herself to ride a bike in order to prove her worth to Petunia. I love her so so much. <3
“Don’t let go, Tuney. Don’t let go.” This just made me so sad all over again. Ahh this fic is going to be the death of me.
Hello again! <3
I love writing children's voices. They come across so clearly in my thoughts. (Might this reflect on my own maturity level? bahaha) I'm please you like thier childishness here :)
Ahhh, hehe. I don't want this fic to be the death of you! Come back! (hug)
Thank you for another lovely review <3
Scenes from before the split between Petunia and Lily always make me feel so inconsolably sad, just because of how happy and innocent they were. Petunia's love for her little baby sister made me feel warm but also just. sad. (My vocabulary appears to be rather limited right now, lol.) Her jealousy when her parents began loving her new sister is a normal, endearing thing of young children, but because I know how these two are going to turn out, it just filled me with dread.
Petunia's two (?) years old in this one, I'm guessing, and I love how simply she thinks. Though I know she'll eventually turn out to be a jealous sister filled with resentment, I can't help but adore her in this chapter. You wrote her so wonderfully. This line was so cute: "Petunia’s feet swung from the chair. It was far too tall for her." I could just picture a tiny little toddler swinging her pudgy little legs back and forth. <3
Aside from her little bit of jealousy, this chapter was filled with warmth, and I'm so scared to read on, to when their relationship breaks.
Thank you so much for this wonderful review, dear!
I definitely rely a lot on dramatic irony to make this chapter work. Toddler Petunia is meant to be adorable, I'm glad you found that to be the case. But then, of course, knowing what eventually transpires between them makes it bittersweet, just as you sugest.
Ah, the excitement of a first sleepover! It was so cute to see Lily bouncing up and down with excitement over the fact that her big sister had friends coming to stay and that she was going to get to be a part of it. And then Petunia is so nervous about it going well, and doesn't want her little sister to show her up in front of her friends - especially the "cool" girls.
(And just to offer a couple of Brit-picks - though tell me to shoo if you don't mind - we tend to call a slumber party a "sleepover", and frosting is "icing".)
I felt really sorry for Lily when Petunia told her to go away. Those twins seemed so nasty, but very believable that they'd be the "cool" girls at school and Petunia would want to impress them. It didn't really seem fair that Lily got punished for shouting at her sister and storming off, but I think it showed a glimpse of Petunia moving away from her little sister in some ways.
I think you're doing a great job of building up the characterisation of these two girls, as well, using the characters we see (only briefly, in Lily's case) as teenagers and adults and then growing that into your portrayal of them. Little details like the fact that Lily doesn't mind boys but Petunia hates them just help to make this story feel really rich and the characters so believable.
I am so glad I never went to a sleepover where that game was played. Honestly, it would have terrified me - no matter how much of a Gryffie I am, I'm definitely a wimp about stuff like that. I'd have run away crying :P
I loved the way we get to see Lily already showing her Gryffindor qualities, though, and trying to defend and protect her sister from the older girls. It was really sweet and fits in so well with what we know of her - and I really liked the way that you flipped it round so that it turned out that Petunia actually did float, because Lily made her do it. No wonder it scared some of the girls, and after telling on her earlier I was sure that Petunia would snitch now, but I'm so glad she didn't. It showed that she knows Lily was responsible, but at the same she's still going to protect her and that love and trust is still there at this point.
Thank you very much for the Brit-picks! I definitely do not mind. I'll try to get around to fixing those. And by all means point out anything like that in any of my stories. I appreciate it!
I adore Lily in this chapter, too. She is definitely a Lion through and through. <3 (And Gryffindor is my 2nd house, so I love her for it!) Petunia... er, not so much. I do love Petunia also. It's always painful when I have to write about her bratty moments, but it must me done.
Thank you for another very kind review, you are the absolute nicest <3
Oh my goodness, this chapter was just so sweet and fluffy and adorable, and it's making me smile so much. And also try not to remember how the sibling relationship between these two ended, but that's okay. Right now I'm in happy fluffy zone.
You captured the excitement of going away on a family holiday so well here - even though it's just to Brighton, and most children nowadays go on holiday abroad at this age, but it's just the excitement of going somewhere new and big and exciting, and that was so tangible in this chapter.
The fact that Lily had never seen the sea and didn't know what to expect about it was so adorable <3 I kind of forget that even on a tiny island, there are people who live far from the sea and haven't seen it yet. I loved the fact that you used that to show how much Lily looks up to Petunia, and that her older sister knows so much more about everything than her, so she always has an answer for any of Lily's questions (and probably makes them up if she doesn't).
Then the whole make-believe scene with the boat was just so cute and fluffy. I loved the way that they fashioned a boat from their pillows and bedding, just like children do, and then threw out all these terms they've probably read in books and heard on the TV, without necessarily knowing what they mean. It was just so fun and enthusiastic, and it was so sweet to see the two of them playing like that together <3
Hello again! <3
I wrote this chapter for the "Short and Sweet" challenge back at HPFF (hosted by Katie? I think?), so it definitely has a flufflier tone than I normally go for with this story. I'm glad you liked the adorablness of the girls here. I love them, to be honest. Even Petunia.
Ha! Petunia would definitely make up what she doesn't know, if she can think of something quick enough :P
Thank you so much!
The opening of this chapter was brilliant. My first thought was actually that Lily had found out that she could do magic from Snape, and was convinced that Petunia was going to join her at Hogwarts, but then I realised that the dates didn't match up and was pulled back into the story.
The way that Lily thinks of Petunia is so adorable - she admires her big sister so much, and I loved the way that you flipped the idea of magic and showed Lily's reverence for all the things that her big sister can do that she can't, like reading library books and making macaroni pasta pictures. It was just so sweet to see how she perceived her sister, and how excited she was to be able to spend time with her, especially after having to wait for her all day to come home from school.
Petunia coming home crying from the last day of school is bringing back lots of memories. It's not very nice of her to say to Lily that she didn't want to play with her because she's just a baby, but that's definitely how siblings fight, and especially when a couple of years can feel like a lifetime of a gap at this age. It's definitely believable that she'd say something like that, and I think it shows how she could start moving ahead of Lily more easily, too.
But I was smiling so much at the end of this chapter, when Petunia came out to help Lily learn to ride her bike. It was so sweet and it was such a lovely thing for her to do as a big sister - she does actually want to play with her and spend time with her, and cares enough to teach her to do things like this. It's sweet to see that the relationship is so special and close at this point in time, even if we know it's going to deteriorate over time. Lily's love for Petunia is so easy to understand and clear to see here.
Thank you so much for another lovely review! I' sorry to say, the sweetness doesn't stick around for very long. But you have a few more nice chapters to go, lol.
Renee! I'm baaaack <3
More of your writing and a story that explores the relationship between Lily and Petunia as they're growing up sounds like a pretty perfect combination, to be honest.
I really liked the fact that you started this at the very beginning, when Petunia is waiting for Lily to be born - so the focus is on her and her waiting and processing what's happening. I'm an older sibling myself, but I was too young to remember this part of getting a younger sibling, but Petunia is clearly old enough to understand some of what's going on around her, and I'm intrigued about how that's going to have an impact on their relationship. It definitely sets up the potential for jealousy from the very beginning.
I thought you did a great job of capturing Petunia at this age, though, and the waiting that she had to go through without understanding fully why she had to be separated from her parents. She sounded so lost when she asked for her mummy, and when she wondered why she hadn't seen her parents for hours. Opening with Petunia has actually made me far more sympathetic towards her than I would otherwise be, and I just wanted to scoop little Petunia up and give her a hug in this chapter.
The conflicting emotions that come through at the end of this chapter were brilliant - I loved your description and imagery here. It tied in brilliantly with how young Petunia was. That happiness when she first sees Lily, and then the dread - even for just a moment - when Lily takes Petunia's place and she's not the sole recipient of her parents' love. It's so much for a small child to process, really, and I thought you captured that brilliantly. I'm looking forward to reading the other moments you choose to explore!
I am so excited that you've decided to read this fic. It's my baby, even though I've been so slow with it. You leave amazing reviews - I can't wait to see what you think!
I didn't initially start the story this early, but one I started thinking about it, I realized I needed to capture all the key moments- and this was certainly one of those. I'm happy to hear you found Petunia sympathetic and that you likedd the meotions here.
Thank you so much for the lovely review!
Congratulations on being this month's sitewide SOTM winner! As you know, I've read some of this story before, but I realized earlier that I've never actually reviewed it (or at least not here) so I figured it was about time I did so. I'm gonna try to go back to what I was thinking the first time I read it, but I'll also add some of the thoughts I have about the first chapter today.
I actually remember that one of the things I really loved about this story (and that made me read all of the chapters you had posted back then in one go) was that it was about a sibling-relationship instead of a romantic relationship. Don't get me wrong, I love romance, but I think that the most important relationship in our lives is the relationship we have with our family, and I really wish more authors would focus on that. Petunia and Lily are so different, much like me and my older sister, and I've also thought that there's more to the relationship than just Lily being good and Petunia being horrible. I've always felt Petunia is very misunderstood, and I remember that what I loved about this story was that I really felt like that you captured the complexity of the character and her relationship with Lily so well.
But focusing a little bit about the first chapter and what I think about it today (which is probably the same thing I thought about it back then - I just can't remember). I absolutely love the way you start this story. It really shows a different side to Petunia. You can see some of the jealousy already here, but overall she seems quite happy to have a sister, which makes me curious what made her change so much. The first chapter does everything it's supposed to do really. I'm curious to see what happens next, because I'm sad to say I only remember bits and pieces of this story. Hopefully I can come back soon and read the rest of the story!
But good job on the first chapter!
Thank you so much, Lotte. <3