Hey Sian! <3
This was a really fascinating exploration of a character who I'm pretty sure I've never read about before. When we talk about a situation like the rise of Voldemort (and the rise of real-world fascism), an idea that's commonly expressed is that it's vital for everyone to resist loudly and constantly - and while I generally agree with the sentiment, it's interesting to consider that there are scenarios where quiet resistance is a lot more effective.
Right from the very first section, I think the tension was palpable. A line that stood out to me was "I feel like a thread being tugged at, pulled tighter and tighter until I'm about to break." I definitely got the sense right from the start that Daphne was going to struggle to keep up appearances and that her conscience was being strained by her actions. I think the way that that unfolded throughout the story was very natural and progressed very smoothly.
The idea of the Statute of Secrecy just completely going out the window was one I had never considered before. It was so strange to imagine the Greengrasses just casually apparating right into the middle of King's Cross. But it actually does make sense now that you've put it in my head. If Voldemort considers (Pureblood) wizards to be superior to Muggles, he'd feel no need to hide from them.
The image of the Watchers on the platform was so eerie, and then when they pounced on the young witch, my heart just plummeted. What I liked about this section (and this was a thread that continued throughout the rest of the piece) was that, more than thinking of the people she's surrounded by as being Half-Blood, Muggleborn or Pureblood, Daphne thinks of them as her classmates/schoolmates. Of course it would affect her to see her classmates disappearing without a trace, even if she's not personally in too much danger.
This story had me wondering a little about Pansy, actually. Although I don't doubt that she was a nasty person (like, I don't think she was secretly helping the anti-Voldemort cause or anything, lol) I was thinking that her mother must realize that other Purebloods look down on them for that one Muggle relative, and that that need to overcompensate has rubbed off on her daughter, making her performatively nasty. But maybe I'm reading into things too much hahaha.
The scene with Crabbe was handled really, really well. You struck a great balance between being delicate and being frank. I was REALLY impressed with Daphne's quick thinking - she showed herself to be extremely clever in that scene, coming up with a way to get Crabbe out of there without showing her hand at all. Not exactly sure how to word this but I liked that the girl she helped, Lucretia, wasn't put off by what Daphne said and still let Daphne help her, because I think I was expecting her to react to Daphne like "no, get away from me you nasty pureblood supremacist!" and I was pleasantly surprised when that didn't happen.
The argument with Astoria was heartbreaking, because really neither of them was in the wrong. They were both doing what they thought was right in their own ways, and they just weren't able to understand each other's point of view (although in Astoria's case, that's because Daphne literally wasn't in a position to explain that she was trying to help). It's obvious in this piece that Daphne loves her sister, and I really hope they were able to reconcile after the war and that Daphne was able to take credit for her actions.
The DADA scene showed off Daphne's quick thinking again, but it also brought Blaise into the equation. It was so cool how you slowly revealed that Blaise also was trying to resist in his own way. I never thought of Blaise as someone who would do that, but you convinced me in this piece.
Really fantastic work, Sian! It's obvious that a lot of thought went into this story, and you managed to make Daphne a really compelling character. Kudos!
Howdy Sian! Somehow opening with my usual 'howdy' doesn't seem worthy of this piece though. What an unexplored version of Daphne! And Blaise! I've always thought Blaise was something of a fence-sitter - it was never sure what position he had in all this, but you take it - and with Daphne - to the heights of perfection in explaining it all. Appearances are everything is indeed the perfect line to center it around.
I also love the way your words flow throughout the story. Inspired by a song, it should be no surprise that you're able to weave your own melody across each verse, carrying Daphne on her journey as she does what she can to maintain her integrity - at least unto herself - against the ever-increasing visibility of the hatred of those she has grown up around against those whose only crime was their birth.
I find it somewhat tragic, but also appropriate that no one ever knows all that she did - sparked by the horrific actions of Crabbe that you wrote so well - for those who needed defense rather than offense. I am left wondering what happens between she and Astoria. Do they reconcile? Does she ever believe what I have to think Daphne finally tells her when it's all over? Or are they forever cleaved from one another by the moment they argue of the letter?
It reminds me something of an Outer Limits quote: "We all wear masks, illusions of what we want the world to see. But when we hide our true selves from those we love...what price do we pay for that deception?"
I have to say from the language, to the characterization, to the structure and theme this story was sensational - one of your best I've read. I'm offended for you that it only placed third because it's got to be a future nominee in the category of Greatness.
Hey Sian! I'm here with your entry review for my Broadway Musical Song Challenge! :)
Masquerade is such a fun, interesting song in Phantom of the Opera, so I was very curious to see the path you were going to take with it. Daphne Greengrass, secret resistor at Hogwarts, could you make this an even better idea with that title and song choice? I've always had a bit of a soft spot in my heart for fics set at Hogwarts during Deathly Hallows where one of the Greengrass sisters (or other Slytherins) do their best to secretly help all of the other students out, and you've tugged at my heart just as well with this piece. Breaking up the sections with different masks that all have meaning relating to the section is ingenious and also pulls more indirect meaning from the song.
The structure is strong as well because you've chosen to illustrate different settings as well -- opening with a pureblood dinner party, and ending with the Battle of Hogwarts. Daphne wanting to protect not only the younger students after her encounter with Crabbe and Lucretia in the corridor, but also protect her sister from both their mother's wrath and the Carrows' less-discerning wands. And then not only do you continue to have her working in the shadows, but also heavily hint at Blaise doing something similar too?! Um, can I get a sequel featuring Blaise, please? He needs a fic of his own! But anyway, overall I really liked how you pulled inspiration from the lyrics and the title in general, even if the mood of the song in the show is different to that in this fic.
What a great piece overall, Sian! I'll have the results posted soon. :)
I love everything about this piece. I'm going to take it down but I'm going to summarise real quick for you - Daphne is a delight, she's so wonderful because you've made her so layered. Your writing is so rich and vivid, I love the detail that you used to tailor it for the broadway challenge that you entered. It was so perfectly done. I guess you don't have to read the rest now?
Daphne is fantastically written. She is a character with real heart that I can't help rooting for it. She is likeable but she's such a complex character as she knows her place within the society, the person that she has to be. She does make her own choices though and all these little acts of kindness are fantastic. I love how you've portrayed her in this protector role for those who struggling themselves. She obviously as such a kind heart underneath her public image. You got a great balance for her character.
I thought it was good how you use one of the first scenes to set up where you were going with the story in general. I love the dialogue which discussed Snape becoming Headmaster. We don't really get any proper reaction in the book to his appointment but I thought the scene was really well played. Your detailing is always excellent. I liked Daphne's inner monologue when she mentions the behaviour of the Malfoys and the tension within the dinner. She comes across very observant person and also quite a good judge of character.
The next section really brings in those dark tones of War when she is on the platform with the girl who is taken away. I don't know what it is but I really like the character of Blaise. I guess I feel like he understands Daphne which is always nice. I think they have a really nice bond that you've created between the two of them which only gets stronger and stronger throughout the story.
I really like the use of Crabbe and Goyle within the story. We got a bit of information about them from the books during this period but I think you've really made them come alive. They are such nasty pieces of work in this story especially Crabbe. I love how Daphne always seem to be questioning how things ended up like they have. She is boxed in but she still has such a strong moral compass. I can't get over how beautiful your writing is, it's so rich and vivid that every detail and character like shines through and adds something a little extra special to this story.
The tipping point for Daphne is such a powerful scene. There has been lots of attention about women in a patriarchal society and I love how you've taken a really contemporary issue as part of your storytelling. It was really nicely handled. It makes me really hate Crabbe like I never have before. I do like how lovely it is to see that softer side of Daphne shown in this section followed by fierce Daphne which is my favourite face of Daphne's. I love the way you use that strong statement as the end point of that section because it really stands out and leads us into the second half of the story. It gives a emotional punch.
Astoria is such a star! I really love her. I know you've been hinting through out the story that she is a little rebel but I love her passion. She is such a little firecracker. I thought the dialogue was wonderful at showing the dynamic between the sisters. Daphne is being protective big sister but Astoria think she knows best. Astoria's take down of Daphne was amazing, you've really written that scene perfectly. It is another thing chipping away at Daphne's mask.
SHE PROTECTED MY LAVENDER. I love all the little examples of how Daphne is making a difference to Hogwarts by helping her fellow students out. I guess there was so much stuff going on inside of Hogwarts when we didn't even think about happening but this stories does give such a wide and full picture about what is going on. I think the tension in that scene was really well build up. I'm so happy that she deflected attention away. I kinda feel like on the edge of my seat waiting for her to think of a plan.
RUN AWAY RUN!
I said that I liked the blaise/ginny but I could totally ship blaise/daphne. I love them together because he understands her. I adore that they talked about running away together. I mean it means me so sad that they had to dream about things like that. The last scene is the perfect send off for this story. It fits in so perfectly with Daphne's journey. I really want to know more about Blaise. He wants to stay and fight? where did this come from? I need to know his story too. I think you should totally write something from this period but with Blaise POVs.
Sian, this was such a beautiful one-shot. The thought that has gone into Daphne's characterisation, her relationship and her mannerisms is so amazing. you've thought of everything and this piece just shines. I'm so happy that you finished and posted it because it's really vivid deep piece that you should be very proud of.
- Abbi xo