Name: Stella Blue (Signed) · Date: 19 Jan 2017 07:49 AM · Chapter: A promise to a dead man

With this being a winner in the drabble contest, I had to read it too. And it was so good! I can totally see why it won. Is this really only 150 words? Because it felt like you covered so much more ground than that. I'm impressed with how much you packed into a short number of words, that really is a talent.


And Neville! This was so PERFECT because I have always loved this character moment for Neville, when he gets to be a hero - and so it's really wonderful to see it through his own eyes. The repetition of him telling himself to kill the snake is so effective as it's like the one thing he's focusing on while his surroundings are all chaos, that's what keeps him going. And the fact that he thinks Harry is dead at this point only makes it more powerful, because Neville made a promise, and he knows Harry can't do it himself so this responsibility is his alone. I think Neville was always the sort of person who shines most of all when he really has to, like the pressure of doing something is essential for him - he first showed his magical ability when he had no choice not to, and he led the DA when it needed to be led in DH, and here he feels he has no choice but to kill the snake because Harry asked him to and is now (he thinks) dead so that is what he's going to do.


A wonderful moment for Neville and you really did justice to it. Also, this story has got me really excited to read more of YotS so I hope more is on the way! ;)

Author's Response:

More of Year of the Snake is definitely on the way! I think I mentioned on Twitter that I sent a very rough draft to my beta (and when I say very rough, that includes bits that say "Include scene here where they visit Hagrid and he suggests X") but I'm hopeful to be posting it before too much longer. So long as she likes my structure, I guess. :) But yeah, this was certainly written with that in mind, and I think that was in fact one of the prompts for the challenge - something to do with your NaNo project. Like you I love Neville here - he's the reluctant hero, but don't you think those are the best sort to have? The ones who come rushing in swinging their swords willy nilly are much more annoying, don't you think?


And yes, a promise is a promise, and if anything I think the fact Neville thought Harry was dead would have been more reason to keep it. He would understand taht Harry would never have asked that of him if it wasn't important, and I also think he would have recognised the boost it would have given the resistance. The snake was always with Voldemort - if the snake could be killed, maybe he could too. Or something like that.


I think this response is longer than the story was! That's the thing with drabbles, isn't it. They're probably better because you don't have those extra words to over-explain yourself, and I can get pretty wordy. Oh well. But it was fun to write, and I'm really pleased you enjoyed it so much!


cheers Mel

Name: LunaStellaCat (Signed) · Date: 12 Dec 2016 11:31 PM · Chapter: A promise to a dead man

 Well done.  Oh, my goodness, I've been trying to read this three times throughout the day and kept clicking on the wrong thing.  This is so simple, but it's written in such a good way. It's the simple things that you can bring to life.  You've done just that and you've taken a good moment to do it.  I've never seen a repeated line work so well in a piece of fanfiction.  I don't usually read drabbles because they hold enough as  a snapshot.   You proved me wrong. Well done.  I love that you left this open as if to thinlk that Neville thinks Harry is dead or that Harry is indeed dead.  Dead. This is so well done.  Hats off to you for proving me wrong.  

Author's Response:

Thank you! Drabbles are quite a challenge to write at times because you are so limited, which is probably why you've steered clear of reading them. To be honest I don't read a lot of them either, though I have seen some that have just stayed with me, and I think I took some hints from those for this story. I'm glad I was able to open your mind to the format because they do have a lot to offer; you just have to realise and accept their limitations. Reusing the same phrase over and over in this one (kill the snake) ate into my word count a bit, but I think it was effective and it's nice to see you agree with that. And yeah, he believed Harry was dead, but he still kept the promise. I think that says a lot about Neville, to be honest. Thanks for the review!!

cheers Mel

Name: Rhaenyra (Signed) · Date: 10 Dec 2016 03:20 PM · Chapter: A promise to a dead man

I saw that this story was a winner in the drabble challenge, so I had to check it out.  I'm amazed at just how much you managed to fit into such a short piece, showing one of the most important moments in canon (Horcrux killing!) that was part of so much chaos.


The line "wishing Harry could have seen it" made me smile, since Neville had no idea that Harry was able to.  Plus, seeing little scared Neville from Philosopher's Stone grow to be the man who killed the final Horcrux so bravely is awesome.


Congrats on your win! =)

Author's Response:

Thanks so much! It was an interesting process writing this one, but I am telling Neville's story for the fic I worked on for NaNo this year so I just kind of fell into this for the challenge. It's a very important moment, but I really think Neville had no idea just how important it was until after the fact (and Harry, Ron and Hermione probably told him). The bit about wishing Harry could see it is important I think, as I suspect a lot of people forget that at that moment Neville believed Harry to be dead - hence the title, of course. And yeah, he did turn into quite a strong character, didn't he? I dare say that not many people predicted that from the get-go. :) Thanks for the review!

cheers Mel

Name: TidalDragon (Signed) · Date: 04 Dec 2016 05:40 PM · Chapter: A promise to a dead man

Howdy Mel!

I love this piece focusing on Neville's thoughts in this moment - this singular focus and also this commitment to not just freedom, but to Harry. I also think the choice of title was a masterstroke. Though it can refer to the present, it could also refer to the possibility of Neville believing that Harry was a "dead man walking" at the time that he made the commitment. The latter would be an interesting twist on his character, but could reflect the gnawing worry at the back of so many minds throughout the war and I don't think he'd necessarily be immune despite the way he always stood up since 5th year.

Well done! Thanks for sharing this with us and blessing our Archive with your work!

Author's Response:

Hi Kevin! Thanks so much for this. 😃 I've been writing Neville's story for NaNo so it was a bit of a no brainer to do this for the drabble competition. I'm glad you liked the title, as I'm a big fan of using the title to convey extra information in drabble pieces. It can be done very effectively and frees up words in the text itself, given I only had 150 to work with in the first place. And yes, you got it right in that I do think Neville saw Harry as a dead man walking when he made that promise - Harry told him he wasn't going to give himself up but I doubt Neville believed it for a moment. Having said that, I'm not sure that was a conscious part of my decision to use that title ... unconscious, possibly, but not conscious. Interesting how the mind works, isn't it?

Cheers Mel

Name: abhorsen (Signed) · Date: 01 Dec 2016 11:19 PM · Chapter: A promise to a dead man

YES this is perfect. You captured Neville so, so well here - his focus on Harry's words and his complete dismissal of both grief and the mortal danger he was in fits in seamlessly with what we see of Neville in DH. He's so blasé about stuff that horrifies the trio and really brings home to the reader that in some ways, being on the run was actually getting off fairly light considering what was happening at Hogwarts. This is an excellent continuation of that - amazing job. <3

Author's Response:

Thank you so much, Branwen! I've been writing Neville's story for my NaNo fic this year so it was frighteningly easy to get inside his head. The thing, of course, is whether other people agree with my interpretation - and it sounds like at least one person does so that's very heartening. You're right of course in that the trio had it much easier than those at the school in many ways (in others perhaps not so much) and Neville's resignation about the horrors he and others were forced to ensure speaks much about that. Thanks for the review!

Cheers Mel

Submit a Review