I'm here for our review swap! I haven't read much of your writing before so I was spoilt for choice! I decided to pick this one because I've heard great things about it and the characters aren't ones you see every day!
I love that you've written about Olive and Myrtle because it feels like there is so much to tell between those two. I think you've weave a really realistic and believable backstory for the two of them! I love the concept that they use to be friends but grown apart causing the tension between the two! I really enjoy letters as a way of storytelling, I think they are really good for exploring the character's emotions as you often write things that you wouldn't really say.
You started with the story about Olive which really makes you feel for her, the conversation with her mother seems very realistic of a mother/child. I adore how you've worked pop culture (the war) into this piece, I think that's so clever! It adds a lot to Olive's background especially as she's jewish. I really love that detail that you've worked into the story. I think her first meeting with Myrtle is very sweet, how they have bonded over both being muggleborn because I imagine it's really intense coming into Hogwarts with very little idea of the culture!
The first letter is so cute especially when she says about 'Rowena' being a good name for a dog. that's totally something a 12 year old may do, I think you play the age of Olive very well here by the 3rd letter we begin to see the cracks in their friendship. We are introduce to Betty who is the 'cool' girl, I think it's very understandable that Olive wants to be 'cooler' and meet new people. I can get that but you can't help that feel for Myrtle who is being left out. It builds Olive's character though so you understand where she is coming from too. The books offer very little insight into Olive apart from painting her as a bully to Myrtle. I love when people take moments from canon to build upon and create something.
In 1943, we are just seeing more of 'cool' Olive, I liked how you showed this with the details about her trying out the lipstick and her comments to poor myrtle but I thought it was really great how you addressed her words like you wrote Olive's thought progress really well and clearly here. I like Mrytle's last words ' are you sorry you laughed at my glasses?' because it's so Myrtle. it's totally how we see her in the books, how amused she is by Olive's horror. it 's very in character. I think how you included the incident at Olive's brother wedding from canon in this, it makes sense that Myrtle got banned from haunting Olive especially as the wedding was made up of muggles.
So, you write about Olive needing glasses. I think this is an amazing concept about how she had address her bullying of Myrtle. I love how she comes to regard Myrtle fondly as her best friend for the short time we were friends. I love that Olive wrote to Myrtle still how she was able to move on from the horrible thing which led up to Myrtle's death. she's right, Myrtle is never going to be happy but I loved this ending. This is an amazing piece, interesting, unique and really engaging. Well done on this!
- Abbi xo
Abbi,, I'm sorry it's taken me ages to respond to this! Thanks for such a thoughtful review.
Eep, I don't know where you heard great things about it haha, but I'm glad you did! :P I'm glad you like the choice of characters - you're right, we know just enough about these characters from canon to have a lot to work with, but so much is left open. And I thought Myrtle's opinions as a bitter, permanently-14-year-old ghost might be a bit biased, which kind of gave me the idea to write the story of the two of them. I'm so glad to hear you think their backstory is realistic, too.
Thank you, this was my first time trying to use letters as a format so it was a bit of an experiment but I'm thrilled to hear it worked! And you're right, it is often easier to write things in letters than it is to say them out loud.
I'm glad to hear you liked the inclusion of the war. I figured something that big, even if it was in the Muggle world, would still have a pretty powerful impact on the wizarding world as well.
Being muggleborn at a school of witches and wizards probably would bring people together a lot. But over time the thing they have in common becomes less important, and they both change in opposite ways, which is what I really wanted to show there - how Olive wanted to be cool and be accepted by her classmates, and Myrtle didn't want her friend to change, and so it ultimately isn't anyone's fault but they both end up getting hurt by it. Their falling out was honestly one of the most realistic things I've ever written just because this seems to be such a universal middle-school social experience :( I am glad to hear that you feel for both characters in this scene though, that was definitely my intention.
Thank you, I'm so glad you thought I wrote Olive's thought process well, and that you thought Myrtle's first words as a ghost were appropriately her. Myrtle really is awful haunting Olive, as much as she laughs about it later to Harry! Also I like that you picked up on the fact that Olive's brother's wedding was mentioned in canon as it's literally like one line so I'm impressed that you remembered it :P anyway I'm glad that you liked my interpretation of it!
The bit about glasses was just me being cruel :P but also I think a necessary step in her recovery where she has to face her past, but can do so on her own terms (as opposed to when Myrtle was following her and forcing her to relive her trauma/guilt) Olive is also lucky in that she can look back at it with the way time sort of heals wounds, whereas Myrtle will never get older or get past it because she's stuck. I'm so glad you liked the ending and that you found the story engaging and unique - that means so much to me. I really appreciate the review! Thanks so much!!
*splutters* Excuse me? How dare you all have a gift giving competition without ME?!?! Well, lucky I caught you all before it ends.
So many wonderful details set the story time and place; her father with the newspaper and cigarette, and little Olive who just wants her dog back. It paints the Muggle life that Olive is accustomed to before she goes to Hogwarts. It's so sad to see Olive slowly lower to the person we know she becomes, and that she was mean to Myrtle to become popular, but you manage to write such a sympathetic character. There's still reasons I feel sorry for her, and she's relatable. Everyone feels the need to fit in at some point.
1947 is my favourite. That Olive had the chance to grow up and tried to show that to Myrtle, but poor Myrtle is stuck forever as a teenager. It broke my heart to read that Myrtle can't enjoy her favourite pass time anymore. I love that Olive begins to move on in the end, and that she has glasses to help her do it.
Bianca! Thank you for stopping by to read and review this. I'm so glad you liked the setting of the scene via details. And, especially, it's great to hear that you saw Olive as a sympathetic character despite the fact that she was mean to Myrtle in an effort to be accepted by her peers. I'm glad you found her relatable. I think that phase of life and all the struggles that go with it socially is one a lot of people can relate with, and it's so much more complicated than just 'mean girl'. So thanks.
Heh yes I was cruel and made her need glasses :P Thank you though, I'm glad you liked the contrast between how Olive finally begins to move on after blaming herself for so long, while Myrtle is stuck how she was when she died. It really wasn't easy for either of them.
Thanks so much for your review!
You probably saw this in my last review, but I'm here because you're our Hufflepuff of the Month. Congratulations! :)
So I feel like I sound a little bit like a broken record, but I've actually read this story before as well (though it was a while ago). I don't know why I never reviewed it (again), but I'm gonna make it up to you right now by leaving a long review that hopefully shows how much I like the story.
First of all, I just have to say that I love that you've written about Myrtle and Olive. There's a story there that I really think is interesting, but there are few people that have tried to tell it. So I actually had super-high hopes for this story and I wasn't let down at all. It was without a doubt the best Myrtle and Olive story I've ever read, and I'm really glad you won a Golden Chalice Award for it because you really deserved it.
And I just want say right away that I really loved what you did with their relationship. I've never imagined that Myrtle and Olive could've ever been friends, but seeing that in this story, I just felt like it made perfect sense. And it definitely made the bathroom scene more tragic, because Olive didn't just find the girl she had bullied, she found her former best friend. And Myrtle wasn't just hurt by one of the cool girls, but hurt by the girl that used to be her best friend. It definitely explains why Myrtle is so angry at Olive. Because you know when Myrtle explains her death in the books, Olive really just sounds like the bad guy, but that's only Myrtle's take on it - we don't really know what happened. So I thought it was interesting to see it from a more neutral perspective, where Olive did do something wrong but Myrtle wasn't all good either - you can really sympathise with both of them.
But what I liked the most with this story was what you did with Myrtle and Olive after the bathroom scene. Myrtle died that day and can obviously never move on from her death. She'll always be 14 (it's 14, right?), and I think she feels a need to blame someone for that. And that someone becomes Olive, who can't move on either because her whole life changed that day, because Olive too blames herself for Myrtle's death - which I probably would've done too, even though it wasn't her fault at all, it was Voldemort's. But the difference is that Myrtle stays 14 (which let's be honest, is a terrible age), while Olive grows up and eventually finds a way to move on. And I thought the letters was a really good way of showing that difference between the two of them, and again, you can definitely sympathise with them both - they really didn't deserve the lives they got.
So yeah, I liked the story, and I thought it was really realistic - friends becoming enemies because one tried to fit in with the cool kids. It's the sort of thing you see in schools all around the world (I have a 13-year-old sister so I would know), but here it has a tragic ending that changes two young girls' lives forever. It was really heartbreaking to see, but I liked the story. So good job, Kristin! Thanks for sharing! :)
Lotte! I'm sorry for the mega delay in answering this lovely review. It really did make my day, thank you so much!
Yeah, there are very few stories about Myrtle and/or Olive, and the only ones I've ever seen feature Olive as Myrtle described her in the books - as a one-dimensional bully. But even so, I always wondered how it must have been for Olive, to have the guilt on her shoulders of teasing someone only to find that they've died as an indirect result of it. In a way, that almost seemed worse than Myrtle's fate, like Olive would feel guilty to be alive at all. So their relationship always seemed to me to be quite complicated and layered and I'm so, so glad that you liked this interpretation of them. Eee, thank you so much!
I'm so glad you liked the way their relationship was layered here. Relationships between girls at this age are so complicated and friendships go through a lot of trials, which is something I really thought needed to be in this story. Thank you, I'm glad you liked the way their friendship impacted the bathroom scene. Myrtle's POV is so biased in the books, but as Olive points out later, it's because Myrtle was unable to move on. The way I imagine it, she's stuck in the mindset in which she died, as well as the apparent age, and after fifty years of being stuck in this mindset, of course she'd have nothing good to say about Olive. Ahh, and it's so great to hear that you can sympathise with both girls - that is exactly what I was aiming for, in that neither one is completely innocent but neither is entirely to blame either.
Thank you! I'm thrilled you liked the way time passed through the letters after that day. You're totally right, Myrtle wanted someone to blame, and her frustrations with Olive at the moment she died ended up being an obsession after her death. And 14 is a terrible age, especially to be stuck in eternally! I'm really glad you liked the dichotomy between how Olive finally changed and how Myrtle was unable to.
I'm so happy to hear you thought the story was realistic and that you liked it. This was such a wonderful review, I appreciate it so much! Thank you!! ♥♥
***Transferred from HPFF***
Hi, Kristin, my dear!
Here for our swap! :)
Well, I can totally see why this story won second in the Writer's Duel! It's just amazing (just as your writing always is... By the way, I must check out the other two Hufflepuff K's... Isn't it funny that the three winners are all Hufflepuff with a name that starts with K? :P)
Anyway, this... This was AMAZING!!! I loved the concept of the story, showing Olive as she grows up, the different stages of her life, and how her relationship with Myrtle keeps affecting her life as the years go by. Beautiful!
The first scene was adorable. Aww, childhood innocence! "War? But everything feels the same as yesterday, only without Spot." Isn't this simply perfection?
And then she meets Myrtle. I loved how they immediatly bond over the fact that they are both muggleborns, a very nice touch! I'd never imagined the two of them being friends, for some reason I've always imagined Olive to be a snobbish girl with a too high opinion of herself, but I love your version better!
So Olive has Jewish origins, which gives the story much more depth. I really don't want to think about the destiny of her grandparents... But I love that you included this in the story. It really gives it authenticity.
So, Olive wants to be accepted by the cool people and "betrays" her friendship with Myrtle because of that. I can totally see it happening, I think it's quite normal among adolescents. Poor Myrtle, though. How painful it must've been...
And how shocking for Olive to find her dead! I think I would feel so horribly guilty, other than horrified! But then Myrtle's ghost appears and gives Olive a good scare... As much as I'm sorry for them both, it is quite amusing... :P
I loved the concept of Myrtle being stuck in the moment, unable to simply move on and forced to weep over herself and blame Olive for eternity. I never thought about it that way, but it does make sense.
And Olive being stuck too, because she can't forget her guilt about Myrtle, but maturing as well, as she realizes little by little how that day had changed her life, and finally learning to let go. I loved the fact that she wrote the letters, even if Myrtle would never read them, and how you showed her vision changing through them. Beautiful!
This was such a great story, my dear!
Thank you so much for the swap!!! :)
All my love,
PS #TeamUnreliability4ever (it was a bit I didn't say that...)
Chiara ♥ ♥ ♥
Gaahh, thank you so much! I was SHOCKED to see that it placed, honestly - given the amount of time I had to write it after I saw the announcement. By the way, huge thanks to you for pointing me in the direction of that announcement or I'd never have written this fic at all! (and yes, I was also amused by the three Hufflepuff K's haha!)
Thank you, I'm thrilled that you like the concept of the story! I'd wanted to write about Olive for /ages/ but never figured out what story to tell about her, and then the prompt for the writer's duel ended up being exactly what I needed because it made a lot of sense for a character that changes a lot, especially in comparison with Myrtle who doesn't change at all.
Aw, I'm glad you liked that line and how innocent she is at the beginning. As depressing as it was to start a story with a ten-year-old reacting to her dog's death, I thought that scene was important in setting the tone.
From canon we really don't have anything that tells us exactly who Olive is, apart from Myrtle's testimony about Olive bullying her. And of course that's not exactly a glowing assessment of Olive's character, but considering they were 14 or so when this happened, which is such a messy time socially, I thought it was maybe a bit more complex than that. After all, Myrtle is bound to be biased. So I wanted to explore that relationship without making either one of them seem like they were the innocent one treated unfairly by the other. They're both victims and they're both villains. Which only makes their past friendship sadder :( but thank you so, so much, I'm thrilled that you like this version of events!
yes, Olive's Jewish background - once I noticed that the year I wanted to start the fic coincided with the start of the war, I knew I had to include it.
Olive abandoning Myrtle to be accepted by the 'cool' crowd - this was one of my favorite scenes to write, actually. Although it's kind of sad what happens there, with her trying to find her place and avoid being an outcast among her peers and ends up hurting her friend - I think this exchange is one that makes her so honest and relatable, because most people, as teenagers, ended up on one or both sides of that spectrum at some point - I know I did.
The scene where Myrtle's ghost first appears and totally scares Olive - I'm glad that gave you a laugh, haha, I'm sure Myrtle was laughing for days :P
Thanks! I'm glad you liked the interpretation of Myrtle's ghost and how she never changes. Given her kind of obnoxious and immature nature in the books, it didn't seem like she'd grown up at all since she died. And in comparison with that, Olive's letters - I'm thrilled you liked those as well! That type of writing was totally new to me and it's lovely to hear that it worked out :)
Thank you so, so, so much for being an amazing reviewer Chiara! Thanks for swap ♥
Hey there, just coming over to read some F.R.O.G nominations! :)
Well this starts off sad. Poor Olive, although I’m wondering who she is? Is she Myrtle? I guess I’ll find out.
Ah, so no she isn’t, she’s Myrtle’s housemate. This is going to be interesting, because we don’t know all that much about Myrtle apart from the fact they call her moaning and she was killed by the basilisk.
Aww, it’s like the books all over again. When children have to discuss war, and it’s wrong. It should never affect them, but it does. I like the different formats, like the letters, it makes it interesting to read and gives a different narrative. Although poor Olive, if you’re looking for kind words it can be hard to hear something back that you didn’t want to.
Oh no, girls can be so mean. I already feel sorry for Myrtle and they haven’t even directly done anything to her. Why do girls have to be so petty and awful to each other, high such can be so bad for that and I think you’ve portrayed it really well here.
Oh no! I guess it had to happen at some time, and while a little part of me feels sorry for Olive, because finding your friend like that on the floor can’t have been nice, I also don’t think she deserves to be haunted for the rest of her life.
This is such an interesting story, they’re both so miserable now and it’s so sad. They were just kids and now, although Myrtle has had to stay a teenager, Olive grew up but never let go of the past.
This was such a great story! I loved the insight into Myrtle at school, and how her death affected her friends.
- Shaza :)
Shaza! You are so wonderful! Thanks for stopping by to read this and leave such a lovely review! Eeep, I can't believe this was nominated for an award!
Olive Hornby is actually a canon character, albeit an obscure one - Myrtle mentions her once or twice, but never in a very positive light, and I figured it'd be interesting to see Olive's perspective on things, especially since Olive is painted as an antagonist (by Myrtle) in canon. And because Myrtle is kind of a silly caricature in canon, but what happened to her is anything but silly.
Thank you, I'm so glad you like the format with the mix of narrative and letters. And yeah, war really does make kids grow up too fast - Olive's outlook during those letters to Myrtle as she worries about the safety of her family, is quite different from just a couple years before when she was just sad about her dog and didn't care about a news headline.
I'm glad you liked the way the relationship between the girls was portrayed, specifically the early teenage pettiness. I felt that section was so important to include because in a way, neither girl (Olive or Myrtle) is entirely at fault for their petty fighting, but neither is innocent either, it's just a case of two people who were friends but grew apart as they grew up; Myrtle tries to tie Olive down to who she was before and doesn't want her to change, but Olive wants to change to be accepted by the other girls and ends up hurting Myrtle. It's such a complex social web there, but one that I think is a pretty universal feeling (at least for anyone who was ever a teenage girl). I know I've been both the Myrtle and the Olive in that kind of situation before, when I was that age. It's a rough time! :(
It's good to hear that you sympathized with Olive too, at the part where she finds Myrtle - even after how unkind she was, that you still felt bad for all she had to go through at Myrtle's hands after Myrtle's death. The fact that you felt sorry for both characters throughout the story really means a lot to me, because I definitely intended them to each be simultaneously the villain and the victim in this complicated situation, so I'm glad you felt that.
Yeah, I guess they both ended up kind of miserable for a while - it took Olive years to move on, but I don't know that Myrtle ever did. Kind of an interesting thought, whether ghosts can change over time, but in my mind at least, I don't think they can.
Thanks so much! I'm thrilled that you liked the story and the insight into Myrtle's life/death. I really appreciate your review!! ♥
Ooooh I love this story! I went to look for my review on hpff/ao3 and apparently I never reviewed it?? What's up with that. I must have read it in my rush to read lots of Badger stories for last year's Keckers and never reviewed it. Still, it definitely stands out as one of my favorites!
Aww! Thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked the story. ♥♥