Hiya! One more!
This chapter was neat. I love how strongly Hugo dislikes thestrals, and how it’s really not the thestrals themselves he dislikes. I mean, in part it’s the thestrals, but it’s more than that. It’s not that the creatures were cruel, or even really that they appeared. It was more because they reminded him of things he didn’t want to remember. He didn’t want a reminder that he’d seen death, that his grandmother had gone before his very eyes. He didn’t want the reminder of the emotions, because losing someone that close, or anyone really, isn’t something we want to dwell in for a long time. It’s a hard place to be and I can see his reasoning for pushing them away and his reasoning for not wanting to say anything to anyone else about the creatures pulling the carriages. It’s not an easy discussion, with the questions it leads too…
I do find it nice too, how you turned it around again and had Hugo enter the forest, wandering without necessarily thinking about how he could run into them, only for him to happen upon some in his favourite spot. I like how it was ingrained, so deeply in his head, that he didn’t like thestrals until he saw how gentle of a creature they were, how it wasn’t their fault he could see them, wasn’t their fault that death made them visible. I really loved how he took a moment to think, and to see them for something more than what was stuck in his head. It was really sweet, in a way, and I quite enjoyed how you set this up and followed through with it. Very neat chapter!
This is the chapter that I really use to explore a character's relationship with thestrals, and through them, death. I really wanted a positive focus for the end of this story. Death is so many things, and we often forget that that includes more positive emotions. The way Hugo's opinion changes concerning thestrals throughout the story reflects his changing relationship with the loss of his grandmother. I love your view of Hugo's final interaction with the thestrals! That's perfect!
Thanks for the wonderful review, Mikaela :)
Hiya! Back for another chapter!
This chapter made a cold chill run down my spine. Like, you know those moments where you feel so much pride in someone and it just…it puts that chill down your spine and you’re all cold for a second and can only smile? Yeah, this did that.
Maybe I never go looking for stories about Neville, which is why I feel this way, but I think his character never gets the highlight he deserves. Like, yeah, by year 7 he manages to chop the head off the Snake and kill a horcrux, but it was a long, hard road for him to get there. He had a lot of doubts, about how he could Gryffindor, about why he managed that house, what made him important, special, brave…and I think you illustrate this doubt so well, only adding more layers to him as it’s the last thing his grandfather ever said to him. You give him this story of doubt and talk about each time he tried and failed, only to try again until he succeeded…like, you did a really, really nice job with his character, and building to this moment of him finally fulfilling this idea in his head. It was really beautiful and you make me feel so proud for Neville all over again and just…great job!
This chapter is basically all my love for Neville Longbottom. I'd wanted to write Neville for sooo long, but I'd never quite worked out the right story for him. Then the challenge popped up and I was like GOTCHA! I'm so very pleased that the amazing accomplishments of Neville Longbottom shine through here.
PS: if you ever want MORE stories featuring Neville, I have a full five-story one-shot series featuring him as one of the main characters. It's fulll of fluff and romance and A LOT of food, if you're into that. Thanks for the lovely review, Mikaela
You know, I really should have known, based on the title, that I was going to feel a little sad and possibly even heartbroken by what was contained within the story…like, you’d have thought I’d have put it together on my own, but now that I’ve made it through this first little bit here, my heart kind of hurts and I don’t think I was adequately prepared for this. (In a good way, of course!)
Like, what you did in this first chapter here was completely break my heart. Sirius probably really didn’t want to go home to begin with, and with good reason. Like, he hates his family about as much as they hate them and to go home to have to celebrate this (what’s supposed to be) happy holiday isn’t exactly top of the list. But he does it because his mother asks and then he’s there and one of the many reasons he doesn’t want to be there has to occur. Like, it’s completely unfair for him, at this young of an age, to see something as bad as that, to have to be related to something as horrible as Bellatrix…like, he’s so broken about it and never wants to go back. Like, it breaks my heart because he doesn’t have the sort of relationship with his mother like I do with mine, and then he has to see his family, so full of hatred, just spreading their hatred around further…it’s not fair.
It stabs me just a little more in the heart that he goes to the Potter’s, goes somewhere he feels safe, somewhere he can call home…like, I’m glad he has a place like that but the fact that he has to walk away from his family, to acknowledge the fact that he doesn’t belong there and it’s safer and better for him to be elsewhere…it breaks me. I am so, so happy, though, that the Potter’s take him in with open arms and don’t want him to be anywhere else. Like, if there has to be this bad of a situation, I’m glad there’s a light in the tunnel for him.
This was beautiful. I really liked the little peek into Sirius and just…lovely job!
Haha, I always try to be very clear about the moods of my stories. You don't want to be getting into something when you're not in the mood for it. I hope your heart is not too bruised, however.
I loved writing this side of Sirius. At the time, I was writing a rom com starring Sirius as one the leads. Those two Sirius are written very differently. It was great opportunity for me to explore another side of him here.
I really wanted to show how vulnerable Sirius feels. He knows he'll be safe and welcome at the Potters', but he still assumes that it would only be for a few days. He's so clear about wanting to leave ASAP. I just wanted Sirius to have this happy ending with the Potters, because their home really is a safe place for him, where he's welcome just the way he is.
Thanks for the wonderful review, Mikaela :)
Okay, let’s see what new intense feels you have for me here. I am not too invested in next gen, so hopefully this won’t get me as much as the others??
Gotta say, I love the shift in person in each of these stories, and I would be interested to hear more about why you chose each for each character.
Did you just kill Molly Weasley. DID YOU JUST?? I’m not talking to you anymore.
Well, at least I’m glad that she left with a smile as well. Molly was a lot of things and had a lot of responsibilities, and was often not seen as the perpetually smiley type (for good reason), so I’m glad that, when all things were said and done, she had genuine reason to smile.
That’s really powerful though, seeing thestrals for the first time in your second year. It seems like the most impactful time. Almost worse that seeing them from the start of Hogwarts, because it makes the change so much more significant. That awareness that he is not who he was the year before, that he is suddenly so much different from his peers. And all at such a young age.
From the title of this series, I had expected thestrals to appear in the first two stories. When they didn’t, I expected that pattern to continue here. But I like how you ended the story with finally introducing a physical thestral. They have been the shadowy theme of this story, and now they are seen, making them less mysterious and more manageable. Well, check that metaphor out.
I’m glad Hugo gets a chance to resolve his feelings and move forward. In the first chapter we saw what initiated Sirius’ experience with death, but we didn’t see much further to the future (but we know he dies young, perhaps before he gets a chance to fully resolve his feelings about death). In the Neville story we see Nevile’s evolution over a greater span of time as he grapples with some of his personal struggles that tie indirectly into his experience of death. And here in the final chapter we see Hugo actually go full circle from avoiding to finally accepting the entire experience. I find this all really evocative and powerful.
I really really enjoyed this whole story, and, ironically, I think the Neville chapter was my favorite =P
There wasn't really a reason for picking which person I chose for each character. I just liked the progression with each chapter, and I thought it would be a fun challenge.
DID I JUST?!? I don't mention which grandmother, so you can imagine whichever one you like, honestly. Whatever hurts less.
I have Hugo seeing them from second year because that's the first time he comes into contact with thestrals. In first years, they come to Hogwarts via the boats on the lake. And it's not like Care of Magical Creatures introduces first years to creatures that are invisible to most of them.
The thestral was coming. It had to!
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing, Sam :)
Neville did NOT need more tragedy in his childhood.
I mean, yeah, I know it says in cann that Neville saw his grandfather die. But can’t you let me have a bit of denial and not make me experience it? No? Fine.
Wow, what impactful words to ear at a young age. I can’t help but wonder if Neville’s grandfather was giving this advice to Neville for his life overall, or if he was specifically talking about the immediate situation of reacting to his passing? Either way, Neville definitely took it and an with it. I think it’s a very powerful message, especially for Neville, who lots of people didn’t think really belonged in Gryffindor.
“You fall over in exhaustion; from jumping across half the castle, or carrying your cowardice for five years, you don’t know.” Wow, that sentence hurts. Neville is not a coward, and I wish he could see that. Standing up to his friends was definitely a very brave thing to do, but because he was not successful, he seems to see it is a failure. That is a really significant insight into Neville’s character, I think. His gran definitely held him to very high standards, and it makes sense that he feels that nothing he can do is good enough, and best attempts don’t count if they’re not successful.
Okay, can we go back to dying grandfather? That might be easier to read that Neville’s crippling self-doubt.
I do like the self-doubt as applied to Neville’s seventh year. People tend to see that year as a very dramatic transformation for Neville, but the way that you describe it makes more sense, that he continued to have very deep insecurities, but did his best.
Oooh, I really like that the very end is the only time in this piece when what he fears happening (being swept aside) actually happens, and he is able to respond to it much better than he expected.
This was really, really good. Don’t take my frustrations to mean I didn’t enjoy it! I think your characterization here was impeccable, and I’m really glad I found this piece.
This is canon! I didn't add extra tragedy into his childhood, I swear!
We will never know what Neville's grandfather meant. In the end, I don't think it really matters, since Neville decided to carry those words through his life.
What I loved about writing this story was that I really got to explore the difference between the way we see ourselves, and how others see us. There's sometimes a difference between those two, as vast as the ocean.
I think that during seventh year, Neville really applied the old addage "fake it, 'til you make it".
Thanks for the review, Sam. I am pleased to have made you feel the feelings!
Normally I dislike when there aren’t space between paragraphs in fic, but I think it works here. It really brings attention to the physical structure of the story, giving it a poetry-like look.
Your tone in this piece is really great. It definitely feels like Sirius is telling it from years later, with that quiet sense of unenthusiastic remembrance. It feels like it could easily be written in a journal or something.
I really like this passage: “It was strange to me, how a family so full of hatred had room for love for each other. And it must be love, because I could think of no other reason why each person tolerated the other.” Sirius hates his family beyond any room for love, and I find it really interesting for him to look at them from that perspective and wonder how they can have room for both hate and love. What a fascinatingly twisted family!
Well. That is. Needs expletives to describe how messed up it is.
Ooh, I really like the contrast of reactions to the girl dying, Bellatrix having fierce joy and Lucius having distaste. It really speaks to each of their unique motivations.
I am so glad Sirius has a customary seat at the Potters’ table.
Omg that Sirius was afraid that the Potters wouldn’t want him to stay with them for a few days, and they didn’t because they wanted him to stay forever. My heart.
This was sad and twisted and beautiful and I love it.
I imagine Sirius is telling the story to himself whilst in Azkaban, as a way to keep the boredom at bay, but coloured by his depression, because DEMENTORS and WRONGFUL INCARCERATION.
I associate family with love, so I really wanted to explore that idea here. He finds his own family because he loves the Potters - and they love him. But yes, the Blacks are twisted and fascinating, indeed!
This story is all about the juxtapositions, especially in that scene with Bellatrix and Lucius. It highlights how different everyone is.
Can you blame him for feeling that way? Those with whom he shares genetic material don't love him, how can he expect others to do so?
Thanks for the review, Sam :)
*transferred from HPFF*
Oooh, I hadn't processed the change from first to second person in the last chapter, but now I have noticed the progression, and it's yet another thing about this story that I really like.
I love that the third one-shot in this story humanizes the thestrals, in a way. Hugo's losing his grandmother is very, very sad, but it did feel like if any of the three was going to truly gain a connection with thestrals, it's fitting that Hugo was it. The death that Sirius witnessed was horrible; the death that Neville witnessed had a lot of strings attached, even though I doubt that that's what his grandfather intended. But Hugo? He was grieving, but he was also happy that his grandmother <i>left the world with a smile.</i> It was the death, and only the death, that was causing him pain.
And, of course, I'm not sure that it's a coincidence that Hugo is the one who (presumably) grew up outside the specter of war and murder and grief. Even though most of Neville's childhood was in between the wars, his parents had to be a pretty stark reminder of it every time he saw them. Hugo, on the other hand, didn't have that daily reminder - this was just a painful moment, not just a piece in a horrible, twisted puzzle. (I'm assuming.)
Anyway. His encounter with the thestrals was beautifully described. I love the symbolism of him coming across them when he's searching for external quiet and peace, because it seems like to some extent, he found it there with them.
*Transferred from HPFF*
I like things to match that way. I was a little pedantic about it actually :P
The third story felt like a good place to actually write about thestrals - finally give them some screen time, so to speak. Hugo was my favourite to write, and thestrals are one of my favourite magical animals, so it felt right to have him be the one interacting with thestrals. Aside from that, his was the story in which their appearnace was most natural, since his is the one about loss and grief, and finally acceptance. You're definitely right in saying Hugo was really the only choice.
It was a very conscious decision to have Hugo being the one without the spectre of war, as you've so eloquently put it. I didn't want to take away from his experience, whilst also making it the most relateable one as it's one that happens all the time. At least, his story was the most relateable for me.
Yeah, he finds peace and that's what's important about the end really. There's peace in acceptance of his loss, and there's peace in letting go of his anger and fear and hate.
Thanks for the awesome review :)
*transferred from HPFF*
I have a bit of a soft spot for Neville, and this made me cry.
I'm so, so impressed that you managed to show someone overcoming adversity in 500 words, but you did, and you did it brilliantly. I think that you really captured the essence of who Neville was and what his insecurities were in the beginning of the series - the emphasis on guilt was especially heart-breaking, because I could absolutely see how the combination of feeling like he was letting his grandfather down and feeling like he was an impostor for being in Gryffindor would lead to him feeling like that.
I also really liked your choice to depict Neville as feeling like he'd failed when he tried to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I know that Dumbledore was trying to tell him that he had showed bravery in standing up to them, but I'd always wondered if Neville got the message. I tend to agree with you - I don't think he did, not really. And the line, Your cowardice stops you from admitting your shame? That's genius. It's so well put.
But then you showed him joining Dumbledore's Army, and fighting the Ministry, and leading the rebellion at Hogwarts, and finally even killing Nagini - and I loved the progression you showed. It's not like a flip switched in his fifth year where suddenly, he was brave - it kind of felt like a combination of true maturing and fake-it-til-you-make-it, and I loved it.
Tiny, tiny, note, though - weren't Harry and Neville born at about the same time, since Trelawney's prophecy could have applied to Neville as well? You seemed to have him having his birthday mid-year in this, which wouldn't really work if his birthday is in July.
Like I said - super minor. Overall, this was wonderful.
*Transferred from HPFF*
Aww! I'm sorry for making you cry :'( I cried a little when writing this, at the beginning.
I'm very very happy that you think I captured Neville! As I've grown older, I've connected with Neville more and more, and now he's one of my favourite characters so for you to think that I have an understanding of him, and more importantly, that understanding translates into the story, then that's one of the highest compliments I could be paid as a fanfictioner. Thank you *hugs*
To me, it seemed as if his guilt and his belief that he'd somehow failed in everything had a lot to do with what kept him back. I think maybe in fifth year, when he began to gain some confidence in himself (I think he's probably the only one out of the main cast of characters who liked themselves more in the fifth book) that's when the way he saw himself started to change. And the second person was a really neat way of showing that change.
Gah. Yes, he is definitely seventeen at that point, not eighteen. Go me for rushing! Thank you for pointing that out - I hate canon discrepencies like this!
Thanks for the wonderful review :)
*transferred from HPFF*
Oh, wow. That was brutal to read.
I've always wondered why Sirius ran away from home - I know he hated them, but I always thought that there had to be some especially terrible event that triggered it. I can definitely see something like this being the straw that broke the camel's back - so many of his family members were so prejudiced and deranged that I can easily imagine some pretty awful, messed up things going on in that house or during family gatherings in general... and since Sirius was still a child/teenager, he'd have been pretty powerless to stop it.
It's a really intriguing notion.
And I think that you captured the Potters - and Sirius's relationship with them - perfectly. Particularly if they were shielding him from <i>that,</i> his level of commitment to James and then to Harry would make even more sense; it's not just about love, it's about paying him back.
*Transferred from HPFF*
Oh, my goodness! I hope that it was brutal in a good way (does that even make sense?). I don't like writing things that make people sad but Sirius' story... man. One cannot do anything else.
I played around with a few scenarios before choosing this one. I liked how he just... left. He didn't say goodbye. He didn't throw a fit. He'd just had enough. That was it. I like to think of it is a sort numb experience for him, that actual home-leaving part, so I tried to pad the event that took place before and after it with as much emotion as possible.
The Potters were just a pleasure to write. They have a very normal sort of vibe to them which I really wanted to capture. And yes, I think a lot of Sirius' loyalty lies in what the Potters and James did for him in his time of need.
Thanks for the lovely review :)