Howdy Jill! I have arrived from the Review Tag thread in my quest to do a better job reviewing this year!
This was such a powerful piece. If they do at all, a lot of stories focus on the immediate aftermath or post-"recovery" life in reference to George. At best in this period they refer to him more obliquely, but you dove deep (which I just realized was a ridiculous phrase given the story, but hey) and explored the emptiness of loss and how long it can linger. But again you went above and beyond the norm by actually focusing on the moment that he realizes he CAN recover instead of just the gloom.
For a story that spends so much time in George's head, I thought you did a great job interspersing strong description with his thoughts in key moments and giving life to his movement and the places he visits so those bridges don't read like cheap shortcuts.
The other thing I really liked about the story was first person. I always relish that POV when it's done well because it's such a truly immersive experience as a reader and you absolutely nailed it. Even when it's hard for George to feel here we feel the difficulty. When his emotions shift we shift.
Thanks for sharing this gem, Jill! It is truly stupendous!
Kevin! I'm right there with you in terms of doing a better job of reviewing this year. This review was the best surprise!
Thank you so much for this. The challenge seemed like the perfect opportunity to see George's hope; we know things get better for him as he marries Angelina, and they start a family together, so it's more of a matter of when that's going to happen; and that's when Cate came in, because she seemed like the right person to bring him back around. And for as much as I love angst, I really do love stories about hope, too.
First person is kind of second nature to me at this point, but I'm so glad that after all this time, it's something I do well. <3
Really, thank you for this review. I wasn't having a great night, but then I saw this and it really put a smile on my face. Thank you <3
Jumping off a cliff? From the summary I was thinking that it was going to be an attempt at suicide (and perhaps it was for Cate's brother, I haven't read that part of the larger series). To do it for fun seems so crazy and scary and... Gryffindor. I have to assume that all the supporting player OCs in here are Gryffindors as well or especially reckless people from other houses - like, say, Quidditch players - to want to jump off cliffs for fun.
The part where George realizes that he has to decide if he wants to sink or swim (literally) was very moving. When the decision is going to be made for you if you don't make up your mind or if chance decides for you and you regret it, you are supposed to know what you truly want to do. Even though I knew logically that George was going to end up swimming, a part of me still was wondering what was going to happen. You were able to showcase his depression and PTSD well at the beginning, with him constantly seeing signs of Fred everywhere and feeling unable to get away, that I believed that he would have contemplated ending his life until it was shoved in his face.
Somehow, despite the serious nature of this story, you also managed to add some humour to it. George as a "flailing pigeon" was quite the funny mental image and was a nice touch to the end of an otherwise heavy story, helping alleviate some of the sombre mood. It nicely paralleled George's shift in his own mental state, realizing that he did want to go on with his life and try to make the best of it even though he would never stop missing his brother.
To see that everybody is missing Fred and will always miss Fred, but are still managing to live their lives and will hopefully find happiness was very touching.
Congratulations on placing in the challenge. This story definitely deserved it. (And did not feel like it was more than 3300 words, either. Despite the tone it was a surprisingly easy read.)
Hahaha yes, they're all a bunch of Gryffindors. Chris (her best friend, not brother) would also be in Gryffindor if he attended Hogwarts. XD
I'm so glad you thought I did well with his depression and PTSD. It's something I always struggle with, since I've never personally been affected, so I always want to do it justice.
Hehehe, I definitely snickered while writing the flailing pigeon line. I feel like there's always going to be some humor with George, even after Fred's death, and you're right- it was sort of a nice shift from the beginning, where things sort of started clicking for him.
Thanks! I'm still sort of surprised I ended up placing in the challenge, but I'm glad you enjoyed it - and that it was an easy read.
Thank you so much for the review!
Transferred from HPFF
12th April 2017:
Jailbreak for Deeds at CTF Round 1
Oh, Jill, it’s a beautiful piece of work. I was impressed by your writing skill again. I’ve read not a few fics written about grieving Fred’s death, but yours is the most artistic one. I spotted these expressions:
The air was thinner up here and the view was gorgeous - the trees were painted different colors as the crisp, autumn air changed the leaves from green to a faded gold color and to a vibrant red. Up here, it was easy to forget the crushing weight in my lungs and for a moment, everything felt still.
And I was strongly attracted by the next ones :
This was like all of the crushing sadness just floated off of me as I sailed through the air. This was intoxicating and there was a part of me that wanted it to last forever.
I braced myself, somehow repositioning my body (it probably looked like I was flailing) and braced myself to hit the water.
The water was freezing, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been preparing for. I let myself sink underneath for a moment before kicking my legs back up to the surface, letting the air fill my lungs and allowing myself to breathe. It was like I was breathing for the first time in a long time.
I could really feel George’s senses, the icy water and cold air with him through your excellent jobs. At the same time, I realized people recognize their own lives when they are on the edge between live or die.
One more impressed thing is you intentionally switched the paragraphs in an irregular way, right? It gave us strong impact.
Cate seems to be your Original character. She is also your marvelous product. I respect your characterization again.
I'm glad you thought this was artistic. I kind of mirrored the style after the book I read recently (and gave credit to in the end), so I'm glad that worked out well!
It always makes me happy when people can feel my characters' emotions, especially in a piece like this.
Thanks for another great review!
Cross posting le review
Wee! Something I'm extremely excited (and slightly nervous) to read! I'm so glad you went through with the idea and wrote it, I think you were um-ing and ah-ing about it for a while.
It's ah. maze. ing.
Okay okay okay, there are so many little things in here that I love. Like how Cate must have felt when Fred and George left after Umbridge, that Cate is drawing again, that she's a Healer.
I think you've written Cate and George beautifully. Like, there's this awkwardness between them, since their only mutual connection is gone (apart from Angelina, really), yet they're still two people who understand best what the other is going through. There's this pull, but neither of them know how to act on it.
I adore that you put that snippet at the beginning, and that the quarry is still a place Cate goes to, and can now share with George. Argh I just love everything about this! Your writing is amazing. I love how 'sink or swim' is both literal and metaphorical here!
Good luck in the challenge, my love!
HELLO! I'm so glad I went through with the idea and Liz helped me with the formatting to make it work!
Aww yeah, poor Cate after Fred and George and Umbridge. :( Writing this gave me all kinds of feels for the sequel and things I get to explore later on!
There is the pull! I'm glad you liked how I wrote them, I wasn't really sure how they were going to act around each other, you know? But they ended up being naturally awkward yet drawn to each other. ♥
Of course she'd go to the quarry! And I'm glad you enjoyed the sink or swim.
Thank you my dear! ♥
There's so many times throughout this story where the sadness just hit me. It felt like such a real account of what George must have gone through. I honestly wanted to reach out and give him a hug. (Although I have a feeling I would one of those people constantly annoying him with "are you okays?")
The idea that after the war, George continued to run the shop, but now he had to count the till alone, was so heartbreaking.
When she opens the door, and he has to remember that he looks exactly like his brother? Also heartbreaking.
This is exactly what made the telling of the story so much more effective. You allowed the reader to feel George's pain so that when he jumped, we did too. And when he rose from the cold water, we did too. In fact, we didn't get to smile until George does. The empathy the reader can feel for George is so complete and brilliant.
This was so well written and honestly perfect! Great job!
This review though. ♥
I'm so so happy it felt like a real account. That's something I always struggle with when writing depression. I've been lucky and haven't really had first had experience with it, so I'm relieved that it felt authentic - especially for someone like George, who is without his other half.
Thank you so much for this amazing review! And what a pleasant surprise :D
Oh, my Merlin! This was... I don't even have words... except perfect!
No, honestly... I loved this... I could feel George so much, the grief, that feeling of being uncomplete and just unable to keep going... why did you do this? Do you enjoy making me cry? You are so evil... (no, you're not, you are wonderful)
I love how different Cate is here, how much she's matured and grown confident. She's suffering, obviously, but she has learned to live with the pain and gain strenght from it, instead of letting it overwhelm her, and that's really inspiring. I guess we all need someone to push us off the edge sometime.
I love that, after all the angst, you closed the one-shot on a hopeful, almost cheery, note. That playful moment in the water made me smile. And I know that George will find in himself the strenght and the will to keep going and that's so relieving.
You asked about the flow and structure. I think it was great. I did feel slightly confused by the jumping backwards and forwards in the various scenes at times, but it actually works with the feeling of the story, because it's mostly an emotional stream and emotions are surely non linear. Plus, you know I like segmental telling, so I'm not going to complain about it. :P (I actually loved it in this story)
At cost of being repetitive, this was incredible and wonderful and heartbreakingly beautiful and you are an incredibly talented writer!
I agree completely. Cate's learned a lot from spending so much time mourning over Chris, and there's a reason I jumped so far ahead in time; I wanted her strength to be reasonable and believable.
Well, the hopeful/cheery note was more for the challenge since it was about new beginnings, but I'm glad that you liked it! George will be able to move forward and now he knows he has someone he can trust who actually understands, something that Cate didn't really have back when Chris died.
I'm glad the confusion worked! I was unsure about some of the structure which is why I wanted you to take a look at it, but I'm glad it seemed to work well with this particular story. And I do love segmental storytelling along with non-linear timelines. :P
Thank you again for another wonderful review!