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. ♥♥