Hey, Brax! Congrats on your Frogs nomination! I've heard a lot of positive things about this fic and am excited to read it.
Also, omg, I'm two lines into this and the vagueness with which you've just described "the young man" rather than George (I assume this is George) I'm getting an eerie suspicion of what this story is going to be about, considering the only other thing I have to go on is that this was written for the amnesia challenge. If this is what I think it is, it's going to break my heart.
THE SECOND PARAGRAPH (excluding the quote in italics at the beginning) HAS ME EVEN MORE WORRIED. HELPPP. MY HEART.
Halfway through and my suspicions have been confirmed, I'm almost positive now - George has done this to himself. He has obliviated any memory of Fred, and (whether intentionally or not) his entire family as well. That sound you just heard was my heart shattering.
The way he remembers these odd, tiny details and can't put them together was really well done. Like how he thinks of sending a toilet seat to his sister, and doesn't know he had a sister and can't fathom why he'd send a toilet seat to her, but the feeling has come back, if not the associated memory. And how his name sounds incomplete, because it was always paired with Fred's name, although he can't remember that. (*SOBBING* Omg, help, I'm only half way through this and already having so many feels)
I actually got chills when I reached the part about the dragon hide jacket. The way you've managed to weave all these powerful emotions into the story despite the lack of memories associated with them is amazing, and entirely believable. While the actual memories can be erased by the charm, emotions are more complicated and I can understand why they'd be the only thing lingering. There's a quote I heard once (I think by Maya Angelou?) about how you may not remember what someone said, but you will always remember the way they made you feel - which I think is very true, and I really see it in this story. While George can't remember events, certain objects bring back a feeling. Gah, this is just so well done. ♥
I just reached the letter AKJSDFLKJASLKDJFALJJSDJKFALSDJFJSKDFKASDJFJASJDFJASDK
And in fact what happened is worse than I predicted - I assumed he'd just used the Obliviate charm, which I think is reversible (it must be if it's what Hermione used on her parents), BUT NO, you introduce the saddest possible thought which is that George chose a potion that is irreversible and there's no way for him to get it all back. I just wish there had been someone around to stop him as he wrote that letter and chose the potion - it's so evident that he was alone and suffering a lot when he wrote it, and he clearly thought a lot about it beforehand, it wasn't a spur of the moment decision if he went to all that trouble. This is so unbelievably sad.
I dont know if I can come up with anything else coherent to say because I'm so broken after reading this. What a phenomenal story. I can certainly understand why this story was so highly spoken of and it absolutely deserves all that praise - you did an amazing job with this from start to finish. This is the most emotional, heartbreaking one-shot I've read in a long time. Even though I now feel like I need to read a fluffy story about puppies or something, I'm so glad I read this, it really is incredible. Good luck in the FROGs!
Okay, so I love angst, and George, but HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!
I think it goes without saying that the writing in this is brilliant. I love that you didn't overwhelm us with information, but instead let the reader discover what was happening along with the man -- who in the end, turned out to be George.
Your characterization of him was brilliant; I loved the toilet seat memory and the fact that he wanted to give it to his sister, even though he had no idea who his sister was or that he even had one. It was both heartbreaking and it gave us that Weasley sense of humor in an otherwise somewhat dark piece, and I really appreciated it. Along the same lines, I loved the opening line and the Forge reference; you did such a great job of giving hints of memories.
At first, I thought that George was in a hospital because everything was white, but I think it actually worked for the story-- George didn't know where he was either, and he was just describing things as he saw them, and it was both a relief and a little heartbreaking to discover that he was in his own house; there were no paintings or books or anything like that, merely the letter -- which I thought was a brilliant way to clue us/George in on what was going on.
It is so realistic, and also quite devastating to find out that George did this to himself. I just want to hug him the entire time I'm reading this; your language is so powerful, and the ending really packed a punch.
Excellent job on this piece!
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Oh god. This was... at a different level than any other George-fic I've read before.
The subtlety in this fic is marvolous--I loved the bits and pieces of each sibling (the toilet seats, the dragonhide jacket) in his house, represented in something commonplace and simple but so so significant. You ddn't try to draw too much attention to it; you let the objects speak for themselves, which is very difficult to do. In fact, the entire fic was very subtly done--with something dramatic like this, it's hard not to go over the top, but you kept the suspense well.
I think that the most brilliant part was the last line, which is so poetic and tragic and captures his pain perfectly. I felt George's regret and surprise and pain in that one moment, which is amazing. Bravo.
I'm just wondering if there's any significance about the date May 5th... if anything, I would've expected May 2nd, but perhaps there's a reason for May 5th being the date you chose?
*transferred from HPFF*
Here for BvB tag! :)
Omg, I can't deal with this right now *runs to the bathroom to cry for 5 minutes* This is SO DEPRESSING BUT I STILL LOVE IT, HOW?! And how could you do this to poor George?! ITS SO AWFUL FOR HIM AND AGHH!!!
...I'm done ranting, so. I really liked this; it was absolutely stunning. Your descriptions of George's feelings and confusion at what had happened were brilliantly detailed and gave me a really clear feel of his character. The mentions of bits of his past life (like the toilet seat, lol) were nice touches you added, and provided us with something to link this back to canon with.
I think my favourite part was the letter. All the while I was reading it I was thinking 'Is this Lee Jordan or something...?' and suddenly out came your ending: it was George himself all along. It just hit me hard, and my heart really went out to him as the regret started to settle in and just...ugh, you made me want to cry, damnit! :P
Also, did his family actually die? Or was he solely talking about Fred or what? If they did...how come? It's the one thing I was a little unsure of.
But seriously, this was amazing. It's not hard to see why it's nominated for F.R.O.G.S. The storyline was interesting, characterisation was great...really, it just hit all the right notes. Well done :D
Hello Brax, I'm here for our review swap.
While I loved the idea of an amnesia entry, I couldn't think of something myself. Mixed with the fact that there was no characters listed, merely an era, I had to choose this one. Which poor soul would you choose to give amnesia? How would they get it? Do they gain any memory back? All things the main page left me asking.
I like how we are introduced to this version of George slowly. It is clear that it is him from the opening sentence, but we learn along with him what he knows and what he does not know. Exposition can be rough to get right (too much info? not enough? is this confusing to the reader?) but you strike a good balance here. Even though we know it is George, we have a lot to piece together. It keeps a good air of mystery throughout the piece. That is such a hard genre to nail and an angsty piece focusing on George not mourning Fred was a bold decision. Even so, I think it worked out well for you.
I love how you manage to sneak in little tidbits of his past. Associating his unknown sister with a toilet seat was a nice throwback to his very first scene in PS, but his more logical explanation to himself made it work. The "Forge" thing tugged on my heartstrings, while the fact that George doesn't hyphen well with anything despite being a one syllable name rang as so true. There really are no George-whatevers running around. Him attempting to put together the pieces with the reader was nice, if bittersweet since we know just why all of these things are so rough on him.
The fact that his muscle memory and language memories are so tied to the wizarding world is really cool. It is also a nice, realistic touch.
One thing I may have done was make it clearer from the very beginning that he was in a house rather than a hospital. That may just be me, but I felt like he was having a bit of a mental break and going into amnesia to repress memories so he was in St. Mungo's. Maybe a sentence or two would make it clearer that he was in his own home earlier. (Although that may just be me with an over-active imagination, so ignore it if you wish!)
I loved the twist at the end! I had assumed that it was one of his relatives trying to ease his pain, as he did for a bit. To have it be HIMSELF who put himself in this self-described hell? That was brilliant. It was a really, really strong ending.
I do wonder if he ever gets any memories back or how he goes through life after this. Poor George. :( And poor rest of the Weasley family, with both twins leaving their lives on back-to-back days.
Thanks for the swap! <3
I'm just dropping by to leave your stories a bit of love! I think I originally read this story in the queue and I remember it just shattering my heart, so I thought it was a good place for me to start.
Let me start by saying...
HOW DARE YOU?! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! WHY WOULD YOU JUST GO AND SHATTER EVERYONE'S HEART WITHOUT WARNING?! GAH.
Now that that's out of the way, on to the review.
I always imagined that George would really struggle with the death of Fred. I've seen a lot of different stories that explore his post-war experience, but I feel like this one really stands out as unique among them. Your idea of George being so miserable that he wipes his own memory is both tragic and interesting.
You did an excellent job of describing George's initial confusion when he woke up unsure of who he was. It's heartbreaking watching him discover the little clues to his previous life. Ugh. When he found the dragonhide jackets, gah. Those aren't tears. I just have something in my eyes.
Seriously, excellent work. Very compelling writing.
Sian suggested me to give this a read, and so here I am!
Oh, George... I can't believe he erased his own memories... but I understand why he did, the longing for Fred must have been unbearable... :(
I can't even imagine the sensation of waking up one day and not knowing anything about your past, who you are, even the slightest memory... it's so scary and you described that feeling so powerfully!
As frustrating as the vague memories that did came up to him must have felt, some of them did amuse me. Like when he thought he should've sent the toilet to his sister. But I do feel so sad thinking about how lonely and confused and scared he must've felt...
Sorry if I'm cutting this a bit short and if this review isn't very poignant... but know that I really loved this!
Oh my god, Brax. This was heart-breaking.
I really, really loved what you did here. George wanting to escape from his past is something that doesn't really strain credulity too much, considering the circumstances - but you really do set it up perfectly. There are so many little references and hints that make him recognizable (I especially liked Forge, as well as the Hogwarts toilet seat) and add to my sympathy for him, because there's just so much that he almost, kind of remembers but is just out of reach, and that's such an incredibly painful thing. The ending fits that dynamic so, so perfectly on so, so many levels.
I love the loose threads you left at the ending, too. Is his family really gone, or did he lie to himself to make it easier? (Theoretically, anyway.) Did something additional add to everything, or is this just the very predictable hell that followed the events of DH? Where does he go from here? This was so good and strikes the perfect balance between establishing what happened and uncertainty from the start to the finish. Amazing, amazing job, Brax. I loved it.
Hi Abhorsen, and thank you so much for your lovely review! I’ll try and answer the questions you’ve left for me :)
Is it really mean of me to be pleased that this story broke your heart? For some reason, when Winding Arrow announced her amnesia challenge, the first person who sprang to mind as a potential candiate for this story was George. I felt he was one person who would have carried so much hurt with him post-war, that to forget what had happened may have almost been a blessing for him. Unfortunately for George, I decided to expand and darken that!!
I had toyed with the idea of making it harder to guess who was suffering with amnesia to add to the mystery, but decided that that would make the story unnecessarily complicated; George’s confusion was complex enough! I’m really happy you liked the inclusion of items and thoughts derived from canon; I felt that I wanted to link the piece with what had already been written, so I’m glad it came across in the way I intended it to. The “Forge” part had stuck in my mind from reading JK Rowling’s original books and I simply HAD to fit the toilet seat in there somewhere!
George’s family aren’t really gone. He lied to himself in an attempt to prevent seeking out his past. I guess, in my mind, George had got quite heavily drunk the night he decided to eliminate his memories, and consequently, he didn’t pull off his plan in a totally sensible manner. I’ve deliberately left the ending open in places, just in case I decide to go back and add to this story in the future.
Thanks once again,
Hey there, Brax - stopping by for BvB Tag! :) So I had to stop here after Sian recommended it - I always believe Sian's recs, haha, so it seemed like a good plan :)
This was so, so good (Sian was right, as always :P). Like, heart-breaking, but so good. I love how you dealt with a George unable to cope with everything that happened - losing his twin, so many friends, Harry (once), and essentially (in an emotional way) actually himself too. It's so horrible and so difficult, and you captured the whole idea of him wanting to get away from it all - and doing something about it, too, something horribly permanent - and the after-effects of that so, so well. Even though George doesn't remember anything, I love the way you use the things in his house - the green leather jacket, the toilet seat, etc. - to bring out his emotions and the senses of loss and grieving which he still has, despite it all :/
I think one of the things I love about this, is it could so easily be canon, yk? And it describes so very accurately the kind of pain he would feel and the potential of magic to allow people to do what they want - forget everything, leave the past somewhere else.
Your writing in this is so good - it's so emotive and you don't over-do everything. Everything is just so clean and so clear, and it allows George's character and the unfolding mystery of who he is and who did this to him, and the random, strange emotions he keeps feeling, to lead this and it works so, so well.
This was so heartbreaking, but so lovely :(
Thank you so much for choosing this story to review for BvB, and for leaving such great comments :) You write the loveliest reviews! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this story. It was written for, and inspired by, Winding Arrow's Amnesia challenge, and it seemed fitting that if anyone would want to wipe their own memories, it would be George. I loved injecting the little canon facts into this story, so I'm really glad you liked those bits too! And wow - I'm really flattered that you think it could fit in with canon. <3
Holy crap, Brax. You know, when I first put up this challenge, I was almost expecting some comedy gold, but so far they're all very hard and serious entries and this one was, so far, the most heart wrenching. And the ending- I sort of saw it coming, but it still hits me right in the feels! I'm sure if George put pictures of himself up around town asking 'Do you know me?' someone he knows would be bound to find him, right? RIGHT?! I know it's a one-shot, but I feel like it could be a great start to a full on story as well.
I will admit, though, that the fluidity of what he does and doesn't remember was a real confusing ride. He doesn't know why he doesn't like green (especially with silver) which implies he doesn't remember Hogwarts, but he knows what dragons are and he swears to Merlin. I was actually surprised to find that there were some things of the magical world that stuck in his normal habits and other things were completely erased. It also amuses me that he assumes his wardrobe is magical and mocking him.
George going on without Fred was always a heartbreaking subject for me and this just pulls so hard at my heart, Brax. I'm ready to cry. Thank you SO MUCH for entering my challenge and for giving me this most amazing story to read.
Liz, thank YOU for hosting this challenge and inspiring me to write this story!
I agree - the fluidity of this story is rather suspect, tbh; I have no plausible explanation, except that I needed George to have something to remember, because it would have been a real struggle to come up with a story otherwise! Potions have unpredictable effects, though, so perhaps this one didn't target George's memories in a uniform manner? Maybe..!
I'm sorry-not-sorry that it almost made you cry. Does that make me a terrible person?
Thank you so much once again for the challenge, and this lovely review made my day!
Okay, so I think that we need to have a serious talk. I've been meaning to read some of your stories for a while now (but you know, things like CTF kind of get in the way of those intentions), and I'm so glad that I finally had a chance to. But we need to address the fact that you've been so disparaging of your own writing recently, and there is absolutely no justification for it. Repeat after me: I am a great writer. Okay?
Honestly, this was amazing!
There were actually points reading this when I was nearly in tears, because this was such an emotional story to read, and it broke my heart to see that George was so desperate to get away from the pain and grief that must have defined his life for the last year that he was willing to do this - erase all of his memories and try and start a new life without the remembrance of Fred - and I just wanted to reach out to him and give him the biggest hug.
Your description in this was just incredible, too - I would like to quote my favourite parts back at you, but I think that it would probably be most of the story, so I'm not going to do that. But really, your writing was so powerful and evoked such vivid images in my mind, and it was beautiful to read. I think I loved the description of George's hair as "Golden red-orange, like the hue of sunsets and marmalade", because it's a lovely, original way to describe his hair colour.
I loved the sense of mystery and tension through this story, too, as George felt this sense of resentment towards his "abductor", thinking of this person who had taken away all of his memories and left him with very little. I was torn from the start in believing his version of events, of having been kidnapped and had his memories taken from him, and then wondering if he'd had a role in it happening. You drew that aspect of the story out really well, so we weren't sure until the end that it had actually been George who had chosen to erase his memories, which made it even more heartbreaking at the end.
This was just so intelligently written, as well - I know that George has chosen to erase his memories, but there are still some that are lurking in the back of his mind and that he might still uncover at some point. I loved the way that certain words, like swamp and extendable, triggered a hint of a memory because of their connection to products and achievements he'd had with Fred. Even down to wanting to send his sister a toilet seat, taken from that throwaway line in the first book. It was just so clever to pack all those little details and hints in there, and made this story stand out even more.
I honestly don't think I can praise this enough, Brax, but I'm going to insist on this - please, please don't be so disparaging about your writing, because it's really wonderful, and this was a fantastic and moving one-shot that you should be very proud of.
Sian, you are the best! Thank you so much for reviewing this story. I'm completely blown away by the lovely, thoughtful things that you've said here <3 Many apologies for the delay in responding. I have no valid excuse apart from someone constantly distracting me on twitter ;)
I found "Erasure" quite a difficult and emotional story to write, because I have such a soft spot for Fred and George, and to put George in this predicament seemed such a cruel thing to do. However, I confess; I really enjoyed injecting random, superficial bits of George's past into this story and thus taking my own trip down HP memory lane.
Thanks once again for how amazingly supportive you've been (with this story and in general).