CMDC Round 2
I would have sworn I'd already reviewed this but apparently not. Maybe I'm remembering HPFF reviews I never transferred. Hopefully Ill say different things this time so it won't bore you :P
I think the whole premise of this story is genius. The existence of a tangible afterlife is heavily implied by the series, and Dumbledore's title-inspiring quote plays in perfectly.
I wonder how well all the people at this meeting know each other. Many of them weren't acquainted before their deaths, but I got the impression they do now. I suppose after watching the events of Harry's life, James and Lily at the very least would have been interested in meeting everyone who's there.
Everyone's reaction to the question of who should guide harry are wonderfully in character. I'm bummed that Sirius and Molly still have hostility between them in the afterlife, but I suppose some things never change.
Although not separating a couple is a valid reason not to send James or Lily, I also think it would be incredibly distracting to send someone Harry did not have a real relationship with during his life. Obviously he loves his parents, and he's had some breif magical interations with them, but how could he focus on proving himself when faced with his mom or dad in the flesh (so to speak) for the first time in his memory? It would be way too much.
I particularly loved how you wrote Lily. Her responses show that she is deeply loving and protective - but also braver than she realizes by far.
When Remus said Dumbledore had never mislead them I rolled my eyes so much. He has totally mislead them, many times. generally with good intentions, but even so. Also, how did dumbledore know before the others that harry would be arriving? I'm salty at him, sorry :P
Sirius' comment about house elves made me angry. I guess it's hard to overcome prejudice. sigh.
and OH MY HEART. The fact that Dobby still feels the drive to punish homself, to self-harm, purely in response to other's displeasure (or for any reason, really), is so, so sad. I guess it says a lot about the afterlife you've created that these darker impulses within us remain present there. I want Dobby to receive all the love in the world.
Maybe Harry can help him. I am certain he will help Harry.
Hi Kaitlin - I'm here delivering some Christmas joy even though you didn't ask for any yourself!
Anyway, you know how much I freaking ADORE this story and this chapter was so great! I really liked how Arthur Weasley noticed that not everything was perfect in the afterlife, despite those things being the ones you might think you'd want to have: less chaos and noise, no hunger even though it tasted just as good. Just like a few chapters ago, Sirius was getting annoyed with Dumbledore - it just goes to show that things aren't exactly the same as life on Earth.
The whole thing with Lily's eyebrows was hilarious and I loved the nod to Hermione's rants about magical creatures' rights - it's so sad that Ron and Harry just don't take her seriously all those years later! It's nice to touch on those things and remember that life still goes on.
I knew Molly would be fretting about things being awkward with Harry's mum when he finally gets into the afterlife (I REFUSE to believe he won't make it, please don't break my heart) as she has felt like a mum to him for most of his life. Like Arthur thought, it's probably a silly worry, but I guess you never stop being a mother.
I really can't wait to read more of this and find out what Harry and Dobby are up to on their adventure.
Merry Christmas - Tasha xx
I know I read the first couple chapters of this at some point, but it’s been a while, so I just read the story altogether tonight, and wanted to make sure to leave you some feedback. So many people love this story, no matter how long it takes you to finish it.
This story is super addictive. I love the chapter lengths and how you cover so much, but in a way that feels nice and brisk. The story’s pacing is really good.
This story kind of reminds me of The Good Place, and how my reaction to both is always a simmering discontent with any idea of the afterlife. I think part of that was captured well by the line in this chapter about how the Afterlife Burrow was supposed to be ideal, but because of that felt less real and alive.
I’m curious what the secret reason for Dobby being chosen is. I’m a little surprised that Dumbledore didn’t just pick himself, and his justification that people with families shouldn’t have to go seemed weak, because that must happen all the time in the cases of other people who need guides. I’m with Sirius in the not trusting Dumbledore camp.
I’m not too worried about Harry not passing. After all, all of the characters we’ve seen passed, and I haven’t seen a reference to anyone we know failing to do so.
I found the Snape chapter particularly interesting. I guessed early on that he was there because he was still trapped in his test. There’s a sadness to that and to the fact that nobody was there to guide him, but it works well. I wonder what is in store for him. I can’t imagine he’d have only one test when Harry has more and Snape has muuuch more to atone for (and imo has an insufficient sense of regret). That’s interesting to wonder about, but because you said you expected the rest of the chapters to be smooth sailing, I don’t imagine we’ll see much more of him.
I can’t help but wonder about the parts of Harry’s life that happened between Deathly Hallows and now. Most of what we’re seeing is a reflection of what happened in the books, but that was a relatively short time in his life. I wonder if there will be any tests related to what came after.
I know it’s been a while since you updated, but I have no doubt you’ll finish this story. It’s really fabulous, and I look forward to reading more of it when you do.
Heyy Kaitlin! Here for CTF :)
OMG, the opening scene with Dobby rushing to get to the Portkey office gave me so much second-hand anxiety - I'm always having stress dreams about rushing to get places before they close. You captured the tension and anxiety of that sort of scenario extremely well. Add on Dobby's fear of failing Harry, who means so much to him... omg, I wanted to cry when he got there just as the place closed!
The man inside who was closing up turned out to be much nicer than I expected! He was quite understanding of Dobby after he broke the glass, and it was sweet of him to clean him up and show him where to go.
I felt kind of unsettled by Merv just by reading your description, hahaha. And omg - I knew that this test/series of trials was intense, but I either didn't know/realize or just forgot that Dobby loses his soul as well if Harry fails?! And I DEFINITELY didn't realize he wasn't allowed to tell Harry it's a test! Omg. All this time I've been assuming Harry KNOWS it's a test. This is even more intense than I already realized.
You do an amazing job capturing Dobby. He feels so familiar from canon, you've really got his characterization down. I just want to hug him!!
You can do it, Dobby! I believe in you! You're not going to let Harry down! ;~;
Great chapter Kaitlin!
Kaitlin! Here for CTF!
You know how much I adore this story. But it is such a joy to go back and reread some of it because there might be bits that I missed the first time. This is a very intense chapter because Dobby is on a mission to meet Harry Potter in time, before it is too late. Situations like that make me jittery, so I could definitely feel Dobby's urgency in trying to get where he needs to go.
Phew! I'm glad Dobby originally is at the wrong place, because if the afterlife has a closing time for the portkey office, then what about people who died suddenly in the middle of the night?! You really know how to build the suspension, Kaitlin! My racing heart! But that makes Dobby's relief all the more sweeter.
It's interesting how the afterlife has all these portkeys with the times people are going to die. Have they always exist? Or do they appear when the death of the person draws near? And who's to say whose soul disappears for failing a test? I'm asking some pretty tough questions, no pressue in answering them... yet. ;) But we're off! Next chapter is going to be big: Dobby and Harry are reunited at long, long last!
Another fantastic chapter, Kaitlin!
Kaitlin! Here for the amazing, wonderful, billiant story but also for RvG and MOSTLY to pump myself up for the upcoming chapter!!!
You have managed to sit some of my most favorite characters around one table. Even though they're all dead and in the afterlife (heartbreaking in and of itself), it's great to see everyone together again, and we all know more of them are coming because everyone dies. (But let's do one death at a time, there's still a lot to process from your prologue with Harry--still mourning that!)
Anyway, I love how you tell this chapter through Dobby's point of view. All of these amazing witches and wizards and Dobby is among them. It speaks volumes seeing how he kept--and probably grew--his status since he died.
And you capture everyone's character so well! Sirius's tension with Molly and Dumbledore, Minerva's keen judgement, Lily and James's concern and desire to be reunited with their son... it's all so well captured. I do wonder though... What is Dumbledore playing at? How did he KNOW that Harry was about to die? Does he have connections that the others don't have? And why be insistent in sending Dobby? What's at play here?
And why the uncertainty in Harry passing their test? Surely he will, if the rest of them have... Right? Ahhh! Way to instill doubt and tension and Kaitlin, what are you doing, you masterful, plot savvy, world traveling, beautiful soul?!
I know I asked you some of these questions earlier, but I have to ask them in a review, they've been refreshed with this amazing chapter. I am soooo intrigued and cannot wait for your update. I'll be back to review the other chapters as well! :D
Hi Kaitlin, I’m here for our swap!
This is so unlike anything else I’ve ever read, there’s so much to unpack here - I’m actually reeling a bit.
This idea of the afterlife that you’re presenting here is so interesting, I love to see all of these characters in one place and seemingly with the personalities that they’ve always had because it leaves you plenty of space to explore what the dynamic may be here. Once I saw everyone that was there at the table I figured that there’d be some sort of guide they’d be picking out for Harry, since they were by and large the most important people in his life.
I did NOT see the twist of there being some kind of test that he’d have to pass in order to move onto where they are. That’s a real turn that complicates things quite a lot and gives this story its legs.
You’ve really written Dobby spot on, by the way. I always find house-elves and him in particular so very difficult to get right because of his speech patterns and just the fact that he thinks a good bit differently than a person would in many situations.
I can’t wait to find out what sort of trials he’s going to be put through here - I imagine it’ll be exceptionally difficult because of how frightened they are about the possibility that he may not make it through. It sounds as though the guide would be putting themselves in a precarious position as well.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen to people who have little to no loved ones. I’m currently imagining they get assigned something akin to a public defender.
Dobby strikes me as a great choice, regardless, for all the reasons mentioned, and also because of his magic that’s considerably different than that of Wizards. (I have no clue if they’re even the sort of tests you’d need magic for! Or if this afterlife is only for magical people! I actually just realized how little I know yet :P)
This is really such a gripping chapter and I’m very happy that we swapped - what a wonderful story so far.
Hey, Kaitlin! :)
I think we agreed to swap a while ago and then didn't... I thought I'd stop by and catch up with this at least...
I wasn't expecting the change in scenery, but it's welcomed. I love that we get to see how other people are doing as they wait for Harry to complete his tests. I do wonder, did Arthur and Molly (or anyone else, for what that matters) know of someone who failed? What would happen in that case? I'm not sure I want to find out... :/
It feels like life in the afterlife is a bit dull... which makes sense, I guess, but also is kind of sad? At least there are no worries (except the whole waiting for your beloved ones and not being completely sure they'll make it through until the very end...) I loved to see Molly and Arthur, though, and all their conversation. :) I loved how they managed to lift each other's spirit by imagining hilarious tests for Harry. I think Molly has a point, Harry has already overcome so much in his life and he's always been mostly pure-hearted. But of course we all have our flaws and we all make mistakes, and Harry is no exception. I have no doubt he will make it, anyway. :)
Molly's worry about how Lily will react to her and Harry's relationship is... understandable, I guess, and also sort of sweet. I'm sure it will be so strange for Harry to finally meet his Mum and Dad, although he already did in some ways in the past? But still, they are strangers in a way. It's so sad, if you think about it. :(
I'm curious about the next chapter... will we be back to Harry and Dobby? Or will we see the Weasleys visiting the Potters? I bet James and Lily are both extremely worried too... I would love seeing that scene, but I'm also curious to see what else Harry will have to face now...
Lovely work, just as always, my dear!
I'm here for the last piece of the swap!
Well, seems my questions did get answered about animals and creatures...unless they're all illusions? Hmm...
I did expect something like this. The first thing I thought of when Dobby mentioned his heart was Egyptian mythos, and it did turn out kinda like that with a twist. Was the song comparison for both Harry here and Dobby regarding his magic purposefully themed the same way? Because I noticed that right off.
Uh oh. That ending...for some reason even though the background isn't described much, I'm taken back to the Graveyard scene where Voldemort was resurrected. It would fit in the memory theme.
Good job so far. I'm really enjoying it, and thanks for the swap!
Here for the second part of our swap!
Can I just say how good you are at writing Dobby and how he talks? I've seen a lot of people slip up when dealing with characters who have unusual speech patterns, but you pull it off so well. Also, he's just so sweet. I love him. :3
Also, the heart comment hurt MY heart. Is that how it is for Muggles? Was Dobby an exception and only wizards enter into this version og heaven normally? Thinking back to chapter one, does Lily really then have no family at all besides James? Is there not a choice in where you go for Muggleborns? Are parents of half-bloods split up? What about animals and magical creatures? No Crookshanks? :'(
I love the reminiscing, and something tells me that's going to tie into the test. Almost like it'll connect to different portions of his life. Other than that there's not much more I feel I can guess,but I'm feeling it won't all be fun and games. Thinking that, I'm suprised we see as many familiar faces at the start as we do.
Hm. Guess I'll find out. Next chapter ahoy!
Hey there, Kaitlin! Here for the first of our swaps!
I'm becoming ever more curious about how this afterlife works. It seems just like where they left, almost. However, the world is so varied I doubt it would be confined to just seeming like England, and considering how well traveled you are I'm sure you've thought about that. Is it a reflection with a multitude of countries like living earth? How does is WORK??? Kaitlin. You're killing me here. I want to know!
Poor Dobby's old habit strikes again. I feel so bad for him. Even after all this time the behavior won't go away. The way that his magic has gone...dormant, maybe from lack of use? I find that somewhat happy and sad. On one had, he hasn't had to use it. On the other, he's a magical creature and magic is a part of him. I wonder if he'll slowly start to remember as time goes on.
Another thing that made me rather sad was seeing references to other canon characters soon to die. One after the other Harry's generation is dying. I suppose it would be good to still, hopefully, see each other again, but some won't make it, and those who fought first hand will be gone soon.
Personally, I'm getting a vibe from Dobby kinda like why Gandalf favored Hobbits. Simple folk that aren't easily corruptible. Loyal. Enjoy the simpler things in life. Humble. Dobby know this isn't about him, and I think those things would shield him in areas other characters could be vulnerable to.
Anyway, lovely chapter. Onward!
Hello, back again for the review swap!
Opening up with Dobby’s thoughts is an interesting choice, but just by the first sentence I just had a feeling that he was so very in character here. Although saddening, it’s understandable that he’d feel out of place being treated as an equal.
All these glimpses of Remus and Sirius and Lily and James is making me so emotional—at least they got the happy ending they deserved in the afterlife, if not in their life.
Wait the Weasley family is dead too? I don’t know why this caught me by surprise since they would probably be the first to go.
“He knew he'd have to punish himself for it later.” No!! This also makes me sad. It’s disheartening to see that Dobby never made a full recovery from the abuse he suffered by his caretakers.
Arcane procedure? From Molly’s words, it doesn’t seem to be a fun or enjoyable thing to be dealing with.
So Harry is allowed to have a guide, but if Harry doesn’t pass the test, the guide is also not permitted into the afterlife? That’s screwed up man…
I could see why that it’d be a matter of choosing well—and as hard as it is to swallow, who they could bear to lose. But Dobby is not replaceable nor is he expendable.
Well. Molly and Sirius’ rivalry (?) with each other sure hasn’t changed. Always ever the fight about who can take care of Harry, but the both collectively forget that Harry is more than old enough to take care of himself. It just seems unfair of them to fight over Harry when Harry isn’t even there to defend himself.
I could see why Dobby might be the correct choice, but I’m still not happy about it.
I think Sirius is being a little too harsh on Dobby. Yes, he is just a house elf, but he’s proven himself multiple times over.
I also think that Sirius might just be a tad distrustful of Dumbledore, considering that he has mislead them all before. It’s totally understandable, but I think for what’s at stake, it might be worth it to let Dobby go.
I think you’ve properly set up for what is to come, and I’m curious to see what happens. But I really hope that there aren’t any heart wrenching tests, like, I don’t know, choosing between two things Harry loves most? I’d be very angry at you if you did that.
Great chapter! x
Hello again! I’m back for our review swap! I’m not going to lie, I’ve read this story before, except I’ve forgotten everything about it. So, this will be a fun ride!
So we begin off with Harry on his deathbed. I’m already emotional because honestly, the thought of one of my most prized fictional characters brings literal tears to my eyes. The description of his weariness is well thought out and vivid, as if I was also the one that was tired.
I’m not exactly sure what death would feel like, but the idea that it might feel like everything fall apart piece by piece is a good one. It kind of like gave me this image of pieces of your soul breaking apart and then drifting away into the afterlife. You feel?
To be quite honest, the fact that Harry is dying after he’s old and lived his life makes me feel a little bit better about his death—it’s just the next great adventure, you know? ;^)
I feel super disappointed when Harry couldn’t say anything to his family as he died—I just feel something was taken away from him. I wish he got a chance—however, if his last words had to be anything, I’m glad it was, “I love you.”
I also appreciate the fact that he died with his family by his side; after the first eighteen years he lived, it’s what he deserves—the kindest death possible.
A wonderful beginning to the story! x
Hello Kaitlin, I’m back again for part two of our swap!
Gah, I love the imagery of this afterlife - and it ties in so perfectly with the brief flash of it that we got when Harry “died” in Deathly Hallows, and Dumbledore commented that, if he wanted to, he could simply “board a train.” Which is also interesting in a way, because wouldn’t that have made Dumbledore Harry’s first guide? And obviously he didn’t end up actually guiding Harry the way that Dobby’s about to, since Harry didn’t actually die, but it’s an interesting thought that Harry could’ve experienced this same test so long ago and with a totally different person at his side. (Tbh, if I were Harry, I’d want Dobby as my guide more than I’d want Dumbledore anyways. Dobby’s a hell of a lot more transparent.)
The train to Hogwarts is such a symbolic journey for Harry, because that first train ride to Hogwarts really was his first trip into a brand new world, and he’s experiencing that again in this new afterlife. Which makes me wonder - is the Hogwarts Express trip standard for everyone, or does it vary based on the person? Would a person to went to some other wizarding school experience a different journey?
Once again, your Dobby is just perfect and also the single most pure person (elf?) to ever exist. Like, he’s just casually admitting he had to weigh his actual HEART instead of a wand and his only commentary is just “It hurt Dobby a lot, sir.” And then how excited he got about being referred to as ‘Mister,’ the fact that he was so eager to hear about ‘Weezy’ (I loved the backstory about Ron and Hermione and their kids here), and the fact that he gave Harry all the good jelly beans and kept the bad ones. He’s just such a great character and you’ve really done him justice so far.
Harry’s mixed feelings about death are certainly understandable - he’ll be separated from Ginny and his kids for a while (hopefully not forever, because hopefully they’ll make it through their own test and he’ll make it through his), but the prospect of seeing his parents and Sirius and everyone else must also be exciting as well.
I’m so curious as to what the Weighing of the Wands is like - it seems like an actual weighing on some sort of scale, given that Dobby literally had to take his heart out to weigh it. It kind of reminds me of the ancient Egpytian idea of weighing one’s heart against a feather, and if it was lighter than the feather, you got to pass into the afterlife, but if it wasn’t, you got eaten by one of the gods. I am… hopeful that no one’s about to get eaten in this next chapter, but I couldn’t help but draw that parallel.
I’m excited to see what happens to Harry and Dobby next!
Hi Kaitlin! I’m here for our review swap, and counting these for February RvG as well.
You write Dobby so well in this - he’s so eager to do well and so unwaveringly loyal to Harry that he’ll do whatever it takes to get to him on time and to be able to guide him. And then when he does ‘whatever it takes,’ he feels inclined to punish himself because, well, he just threw a rock into a window. For all that Dobby is treated much more like an equal in the afterlife, he’s certainly held onto some of those more elf-like behaviours from his time on Earth.
I also thought some of the little details in this were just really interesting - like the fact that Dobby had basically forgotten how to use magic because he’s never had a need to. And the way you described it - “It was like he was hearing the melody of a song, but couldn't recall the lyrics.” - was such a great description because oh my gosh, that is absolutely the most annoying feeling in the world when you’ve got half of a song in your head but can’t figure out what it’s actually called. And the fact that the guy who runs the shop that takes Dobby to the transition point was oddly similar to Ollivander - which was just a funny tie-in to more canon characters.
It’s also suuuuuper intriguing that they’ve basically got a timeline of when everyone’s going to die already set up. I liked the nod to other well-known characters like Charlie and Hannah there, but I also just like that their death dates are entirely set in stone and determined by fate (or files, in this case). So for all that anyone on Earth might be thinking their whole life is determined by free will, this one detail is entirely out of their control. (I love a good fate vs. free will scenario, haha.)
The test itself sounds slightly daunting, to be honest. Dobby’s not allowed to say that it’s a test for risk of both losing his own soul and leaving Harry alone, and if they somehow fail (I’d be interested to see how one “fails,” although I suppose that might be answered in later chapters, although hopefully not by it actually happening) then they both lose their souls - which is quite possibly the highest stakes imaginable.
I’m super excited to see what you’ve come up with for this “test” itself - as well as whether Dobby will be able to find him easily, and also what the reunion between the two will look like - so I’m wrapping this review up real quick so I can get onto the second chapter. As always, this is such a unique and cool story, and I’m really enjoying it!
Don't mind me, just back for our swap :)
Dobby! I've missed him and I'm glad to see he's still the same loveable character. Him making a mental note to punish himself later had me chuckling. You've captured the essence of his character so beautifully and accurately. The characterization of each of my favorites is spot on! I'm normally so protective over my favorites like MOlly, Sirius and James but you've managed to make them unique but seem so familiar all at the same time, a task that isn't easy at all. Sirius and Molly still arguing made me so emotional; I love that Harry is so loved, even in the afterlife.
James rising up to go and get Harry made me feel way too many things. I can already see evoking emotional turmoil is your forte and I'm not going to fault you for it in the slightest because this is so so so good.The concept of a test seems so intriguing to me. Hasn't Harry done enough?? What more could he possibly have to do to prove himself worthy??
Your use of subtle imagery coupled with your effortless narrative has made this story so enjoyable to read. I really like the versatility of your writing and envy your ability to portray such clear and conscise musings. I promised myself I'd only do one chapter of yours for tonight but I couldn't help coming back for more haha.
I'm here for our swap and I'm so glad I got to read this. I normally read Marauder's or Next Gen Era fics but this is so interesting! The line about Harry being surrounded by his large family made me so happy for some reason. Probably because he spent 11 years living in a closet and neglected by his family; it was so nice to see how loved he was. Although it wasn't too long, it evoked something so nostalgic and comforting. I can't wait to read more. You conveyed so much with such little words, kudos!
This introduction was so beautiful and well thought out. Your ability to portray the love and understanding Ginny and Harry had is comendable. You could not have chosen a more powerful beginning to your story and I'm definitely coming back for more!
Incoming review! Hi there. :)
Jumping right in, I love how this was from Dobby's perspective. Not much seems to have changed since he had been alive in his personality. It makes me really sad that his life, all these years later in a place that should be safe, still makes him feel so unequal and like he shouldn't be welcome with everyone else. Poor Dobby.
Hmmm. Questions already being raised. I wonder what sort of test this involves. Sounds pretty serious. I also notice Severus isn't there. Did he fail the test? It sounds like this isn't heaven or hell based in the conventinal sense, so I'd think he still would have taken it. Will any other characters we know show up, I wonder, who aren't already here in that room? What happens when you fail? Do you just cease to exist?
I guess I'll find out soon.
I can certainly understand the conflict with James and Lily here. It must have been so hard waiting this long, and end up not even being able to be the first ones to great their son. I understand Sirius' upsetness as well. If I had to guess, he's probably still upset about what Molly jabbed at him about. He was supposed to be there to protect Harry for James, and he ended up not getting to do that. I also wonder how much of Sirius' distain for Kretcher he's putting over on poor Dobby. :(
I wonder what kind of skills will be needed he can help Harry with. This has been a great story so far, and such an original twist on the afterlife idea! The writing is great, and I can't wait to see what's next.
Thanks for the swap!
Wow, this is such a great idea! I feel like I've at least read this Prolouge before, or am I imagining it? Was it on the old site, by chance? Or am I just having a moment of Deja vu? I know I haven't heard of any fic with this exact premise, though I know I've heard of fics that have explored the afterlife, rare as they are.
The feeling to this is so peaceful. I love how you tie in the title to the events of the Third Brother in the Deathly Hallow's story. It fits so well for Harry. I also love how you touched on his past close encounters. It makes sense that after already having to face death before it would be far easier the final time. He's seen a glimpse of the other side with Dumbledore. He knows something is there, and that he will see his family again one day.
I love the small exchange between him and Ginny, and the rest of the family short as it all was. Family, especially found and self-made family, was a theme I thought was particularly strong with him through the books. Before Hogwarts the only home and family he knew was extreamly abusive. Yet somehow he made a new family that loved him and cared for him and lived so many good long years together. It's fitting to have them all there for the end, just like how Harry saw his parents before he fought Voldemort, thinking he'd die in the Forbidden Forest.
This was amazing, Kaitlin. Thank you so much for the swap!
Hey Kaitlin, I'm finally here for our review swap!! (I am soo sorry for the delay hun.) I know I'm a terrible reviewer for skipping chapters like this, but I can't help it - I'm just soo happy you've updated this!! I love this story so much and, after that cliffhanger you left us on (forever ago!) in the last chapter, I just HAD to rush back in and eat this one up ASAP!!! XD
This chapter was a nice contrast to the rest of the story so far. Very calm, quiet, reflective. As much as I am DYING TO KNOW what happened to Harry and Dobby after they got through the test with Snape (which was my favorite part of this whole story so far, btw), I think that this chapter with Molly and Author was a nice step back from all the action. It allowed you to share more elements about this afterlife world that you have created here, and I love all of the little fine details that you have slipped into this chapter. Like the details about how satisfying the food was without the feeling of hunger, and how quiet the house felt without the usual chaos. It's peaceful, yes, but I can see how someone like Arthur Weasley would find it monotonous after a while.
Speaking of Arthur, your characterizations of both him and Molly are PERFECT!! I love how they interact with one another here. You've done such a great job of displaying the depth of their relationship all throughout this chapter. I love Molly and the warmth that she exhibits so much. All of her concerns, though slightly silly and a bit unreasonable at times, as Arthur suggested, are so completely her. And I love how Arthur was quick to placate her fears about both Harry's tests and Lily's opinions with both humor and plain logic. His jokes about the true meaning of what "on fleek" really means had be dying, lol!!! XD
Everything in this chapter felt so natural and so smooth. I love the effortlessness of your writing, Kaitlin, I always have!! This was such a beautiful chapter, and I loved getting a close up look at Molly and Author and this version of the afterlife that you have created here so much. This was very well done and I absolutely cannot wait for the next chapter!!
Once again I marvel at how you show the contrast between life and the afterlife. This shows your originality and creativity.
For me, a takeaway is that it’s the imperfections that sometimes make life precious and memorable. Perfection can be boring and dull, or as Arthur puts it, hollow. He misses the satisfaction of filling an empty stomach with Molly’s home cooked food. He misses the trouble Fred and George stirred up.
I feel like Molly and Arthur are a good model for a marriage. After decades of being together, they’ve surely lost the fiery passion, but their love is incredible deep for each other. Arthur is so endearing here. He probably would voice his concerns, but he doesn’t because he doesn’t want to worsen Molly’s worries. He lightens the mood by suggesting odd tests Harry might have to do. He brings up good memories. (Also, now I really want a one-shot of Harry running around the house trying to manage a baby, a toddler, and a four year old!!) And I would love to read more of Molly and Lily together! That would make my heart happy <3
I really liked this chapter. It was nice seeing how Arthur and Molly are doing. I’m hoping that their house would fill once their children come to the afterlife. Oh! But their children would probably be in their own homes... well, I suppose it could be just like before they passed - having the family over, ensuing craziness. But what if their happiest memories is when they were parents and not grandparents? Hmm... I suppose that’s a wall you might hit with this afterlife structure. What if one person’s ideal afterlife is conflicting with another person’s afterlife??
Alwynse for our swap and for RvG February. Looking forward to the next chapter!
Hi Kaitlin! Here for our swap. :)
I can't believe I haven't read this before. The premise of the story is so original, something I have never come across before, and this prologue has got me hooked onto what comes next.
The first two lines don't indicate anything out of the ordinary. The descriptions of the silent house and warm bed and "perfect Sunday morning" weren't really indicators for Harry being on his deathbed so when it was followed up with Harry's complete exhaustion and his feeling like he was come undone, I was shook. That was such a powerful beginning to the story. I love that we jump straight to the heart of the matter without fanfare or drama, the mood of the scene being calm and peaceful despite the sad event taking place. The line "Harry recalled death like an old friend" was such a great connection to the third brother, and very apt for Harry's character. I also love the bit about him facing death twice already but surviving, and then moving on to how things are different now. That was so strong and poignant.
The small bit of dialogue between Harry and Ginny shows the level of understanding and love they've shared for so many years, and it's so clear from the fact that she is as accepting of his death as Harry himself is. They're in tune with each other on a different level after spending 82 years together. I love the way you've written her quiet understanding.
His final words were also perfectly Harry. All his life, all he wanted was to have a loving family. After everything he faced in his childhood years, he went on to getting this very desire, and it's so beautiful that the very last thing he sees and says and feels before passing on, is love.
I am filled with so much emotion after the prologue and it is amazing that you've packed so many small, meaningful details and wonderful descriptions in such few words. This was truly such a great start to the story and your writing is excellent. I'm looking forward to reading more. :)
Keep an eye out for more reviews over the next few days! :D
Hi Kaitlin! Here for our swap.
I’ve heard a great deal about this story, so I’m pretty excited to start with this. Right at the start I’m interested because we’re dealing with an elderly couple, which - for some reason - I just love when stories examine. There just feels like there’s so much history between them left unsaid, because of course you can’t really sum up so many years without a bit of summarization, and to have made it so long together makes you think you’re in for a special kind of love story. (I’m not even sure if this is a love story, but you know what I mean)
It’s quite sad to read how undone Harry feels and the fact that it’s a natural part of aging doesn’t actually make it any less upsetting to read, especially not the way you describe it to us in such vivid detail. I love the line that touches on how he’d faced death twice and survived to tell, that just struck me out of everything surrounding it as something to highlight.
It’s so difficult to even read on once all of his family is surrounding him on his deathbed because, of course, I can hazard a guess as to what is to come. I found it exceedingly beautiful how you phrased ‘his voice turned to dust in his throat’ - as well as his last words. You’ve really captured this scene so well, and while it leaves me with a pit in my stomach, the fact that there are more chapters following this one at least makes it clear to me that it isn’t quite the end here. I look forward to seeing what you do with the concept of the afterlife and where you manage to take this from here after such a striking prologue. Beautiful, beautiful work. Thank you for the swap, I really enjoyed this! Let me know if you’d ever like to do another.
I’m here! It took 9 years after I said I’d be here, but I’m here!
Okay, so I re-read the entire story, and I’m going to try to keep the review just to this chapter. But before I do, I just want to say again how freaking amazing this story is! You have every. single. last. character. on. point! Dobby is not an easy character to write, by any means. His speech, his mannerisms, just everything about him makes for a difficult character to get right, and you NAIL it! And I forgot about some of the darker moments, especially with Bellatrix *shudders*. That was just an awful (I mean that in the best way) portion of the story. Like, it’s truly uncomfortable to read her description. So, so well done.
But anyhoooo, this chapter!
I love how it focused on Molly and Arthur. Yes, James and Lily are Harry’s biological parents, and he loves them despite never knowing them. However, Molly and Arthur basically raised that boy, from age 12, on. He was there every summer holiday, for most of it, and even was with them two of his Christmas holidays. They were his family in every sense of the word, regardless if he married Ginny or not. So of course Molly would be anxious to see him. And it’s completely understandable that she’d be a little worried, wondering if Harry would be happy to see her, or somewhat forget about her, since he’d be meeting his actual mother. Arthur is right though, he was married to Ginny for decades, of course Harry will set aside time for his other mother.
I highly doubt Lily will feel as if Molly is trying to take her place. I’m sure Lily is more than grateful that Harry had some true love in his young life, after the abuse and neglect her disgusting sister put him through. Just like any other mother and mother-in-law the son is actually close to, I’m sure they’ll all make it work.
It wad a sweet chapter, after such a dark and difficult one with Snape. (Which that brooooke my heart to see him in such a state. Because it’s so totally plausible with his character. I hope he finds peace).
My lord, Kaitlin, I just love this story. Seriously, one of the best I’ve ever read, period. I can’t wait to see where you go from here, if there are more tests, and if Harry and Dobby’s souls survive to be reunited with everyone again. Amazing work, love, for real. I love it!
Love and hugs,
Hi Kaitlin! I’m back for chapter 2!
This is such an interesting take on the afterlife, and from the looks of things, it’ll only get more interesting from here as we watch Harry try to navigate through whatever obstacles await him. I’m already curious what happens if you fail - do you just cease to exist? And from the sounds of things, your guardian does as well? That’s certainly an interesting set of hurdles to have to pass, and the stakes are incredibly high.
I think it’s interesting that Dumbledore is still essentially the leader in this afterlife as well - I wonder if he ever got any blowback for some of his more, uhhh, questionable actions in the series, or if he just seamlessly stepped into a leadership role here.
My first pick for a guardian probably would’ve been James or Lily as well, but since there IS a very real possibility that one of them could not make it if Harry doesn’t (seriously, I’m so intrigued by what happens if you don’t make it), it makes a lot of sense that Dumbledore would be hesitant to send them.
And then Sirius naturally volunteers yet, and honestly it’s so in character for both of them that Molly and Sirius would get into an argument about Sirius’ recklessness. Really though, your Sirius was written so perfectly here - all sorts of bravery and brashness and a red-hot temper.
The suggestion to use Dobby is honestly perfect - Dumbledore really hits the nail on the head. (I’m going out of order for a mo’ but I did really appreciate the comment about how he’s still getting used to the idea of being treated as an equal - and we see that in all the ways he still has that house elf mindset of inferiority and needing to punish himself for upsetting others.) Dobby’s motives are so pure, and he cares about Harry so much that he’d be willing to give his life for him all over again.
This continues to be such an interesting set-up for this story - I’m so curious as to what these trials entail, and how Harry will navigate them. I may not be back before the menagerie closes, but I’ll be back to work my way through this story eventually!
Written for the Magical Menagerie event and January RvG