A very touching new twist on coming of age! I liked the way you portrayed Percy's character, as so uncertain of himself. His growing up was realistic and sad, but hopeful at the same time. It's great how his inner turmoil coincided so well with the outer world as well, and the ending with Penelope was a great way to go! So unexpected, but lovely! Great fic!
I submitted this review for a challenge in the boards so that's why its a little different. I wanted you to know I really enjoyed your story. I personally love Percy as a character and enjoyed reading someone else taking a serious look at him.
Where Light and Shadows Meet is wonderfully engrossing coming of age story that takes us through Percy’s struggles to understand what it means to be an adult and how one can define black and white.
This story takes through those two questions by sorting through feelings of insecurity, pain, forgiveness, and love through the eyes of character that is deeply flawed. But by choosing such a flawed character, whose mind and relationship has largely ignored by fandom, makes this story feel all the more real as Percy tries to sort through his emotions and his life.
The story begins with Percy standing in the middle of a ruined Ministry of Magic realising that his world has come tumbling down around him, including his views on black and white. It is there that he meets Penelope and gives her a kiss that is the frame for this story. For it seems that time stops during this kiss giving Percy opportunity to address the questions bothering his soul.
During the kiss, the reader is treated to a series of flashbacks which give us an insight into Percy’s life and his changing meanings of morality and what an adult is. Using beautiful imagery and a metaphor of light and shadow to tell of the story of Percy’s journey, it is clear that every word was chosen carefully and with great meaning. The end of the kiss brings the conclusion of Percy’s searching and a new meaning to the lights and shadows of life.
Don’t be fooled by this story’s length, only a little over 1,600 words, this story is not a reader’s choice for a quick and simple read. What this story lacks in length in makes up depth, requiring the reader to read closely to begin to get a grasp at its complex meanings.
For those interested in character exploration or philosophy Where Light and Shadows Meet is a must read tale for an exploration into the flawed human inside of us all.
Oh my gosh, that was beautiful.
And it really showed what Percy was really like.
Wonderful. Obvious why you have won. Thank you for sharing your gift.
I still love this story. You really show Percy's thoughts very well. How he was eager as a child to become an adult. He felt that everything would work itself out when he was an adult. Then he tried to find the meaning of being an adult, and how to become one. You really get to know Percy through this fic.
Author's Response: I'm fascinated by the transition from childhood to adulthood, and different ways it's dealt with in fiction. Glad you liked it!
Oh my gosh... everything you write is so beautiful. I just read your story about Luna, and she is about as different as you can get from Percy, and yet you embody both characters perfectly. You have a real gift for getting inside the heads of characters. Percy craves logic and clearness and Luna likes unpredictability and lives in her own world, but they're both outsiders and they're both misunderstood.
My favourite line was "he wonders vaguely if kissing is the purest form of Legilimency." Seriously, that is highly philosophical.
That must have been an extremely long kiss! Now, I must tell you, I've not yet had the chance to kiss a boy, and if it turns out to be a disappointment when it happens, I am blaming you. You make a kiss sound so incredibly, deliciously beautiful and perfect.
But then, you did the same thing with eating apples, and I don't even like apples. But now I want to eat one!
Author's Response: Thank you! I have a lot of fun playing with different types of characters, so it's nice to hear that you think I can do them justice. And yeah, I guess the structure of the story does make it seem like a really long kiss, though I guess I don't imagine that he really has time to think all that in the middle - it's more there for the audience than for Percy.
Apples, dear Nan? Someone's been thinking about the Garden of Eden.
Not really a SPEWly review here; more of an amused smile and a shouted "happy birthday!"
Author's Response: Yes, the apples were supposed to stand for loss of innocence, in some way. You know me too well. *hugs*
Wow, I never thought of Percy like that. For a while he had been my favorite Weasley brother because I could relate to him. Then he became a traitor, yadayadayada... We were never really told of his feelings. And then to see how he reacts to his dreams shattered and broken around him. You are an excellent writer. Especially since you worked romance in it!
Author's Response: I've always had a soft spot for Percy as well, as the one Weasley everybody doesn't love; I think he, more than Ron, is the one who has come out worst in trying to prove himself apart from the legacy of his family. As for the romance, the prompt for the fic was a kiss, so I'm glad you thought it fit in well.
wow...this is so interesting. It is an amazing insight into Percy's world, described so beautifully.
Author's Response: Thank you!
*small sigh* Nan, you’re not making this easy for us. This is probably my favourite story from the SSSSS, but it’s proving to be very difficult to review. I think it’s like Leslie said – every single line is beautiful, so how on earth am I supposed to pick out a few to comment on? But I’ll do my best. =)
First off, I’m delighted that you chose a canon pairing (or what used to be one, at least). Some might think this is not so important, or that canon pairings are generally boring, but I think that by writing Percy/Penelope you prove that the pairing doesn’t have to be scandalous or rare to make the story great. That said, I don’t think the pairing is all too important here, but that the greatness of the story has everything to do with your magnificent use of language.
In a way, this is a character study of Percy Weasley. I think it’s fantastic how you manage to show us important part of his life, but without telling us how to feel. I especially appreciated that you showed us what Percy thought of his brothers. The first words about Bill and Charlie:
Charlie and Bill lived in an in-between world of golden days and peaceful nights. Though Bill was taller than his mother and Charlie’s voice was beginning to break, they still wrestled in the yard and chased each other around the kitchen table and unashamedly made themselves sick eating apples from the orchard at the bottom of the hill.
- they leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. In canon we have come to know some things about the adult Bill and Charlie, and I think that most of us are very fond of them. Your picture of them as young boys match canon perfectly, like, how should I say… well, just boys. “Normal”, relaxed and simple boys who will grow into sensible men. Percy, in your story, becomes their opposite, thoughtful and complicated.
When Bill came to dinner that night his face was smudged. There was a secret quivering at the corner of his lips, and Percy thought that this, perhaps, was how one became a grown up.
- this is just so precious. I can see the image of Bill in my mind and it is wonderfully clear, but what’s more important is Percy’s reflection. Yes, definitely some of my favourite lines.
These three parts:
Their kiss then was something new and unfamiliar and extraordinary, a shared moment in which they discovered each other.
She is soft and sweet and honest as a child, and he wonders how she managed to escape the empty façade of the adult world.
…her body so different — golden, dark, mysterious, beautiful — from his own.
- oh, Nan, I love what you have done with the adjectives there. You know what they say, never to overuse adjectives and adverbs, to limit them to three, preferably four, per sentence. But in the lines above – they work. And not only do they work, they make for something very, very special, matching the rhythm and flow of the rest of the text perfectly. Bravo!
“Let’s go home,” Penelope says, and the taste of forgiveness is apple-sweet upon his lips.
A spot-on ending. We all know when a chapter or story is about to end, and all of us have expectations on the wrapping up, and we are always more or less satisfied with it. I often worry a little when I read something great, that the ending will not be good enough to match it. But not this time. For some reason I knew that this story would be complete, perfect, and I was right. There are three glowing words in that last line – “home”, “forgiveness” and “apple-sweet”. All three connect to the whole story, tying it up and leaving me breathless.
[Note: This is where my critique would have been, had I had any. As it is – sorry, Nan, all you get is gushing.]
I thought I should tell you that this one-shot was what finally made me go and read A Road of Shattered Glass. I had thought about doing that for a while, having heard so many great things about it, but the ballet part held me back; I have a very troublesome relationship with dancing. But after Where Light and Shadow Meet I would not have cared if the story was about Umbridge getting her pedicure – I just had to read more of your writing. Believe me when I say this, Nan, because your language and style are extraordinary. Reading your work is like reading something by a published author. Or, lol, perhaps that wasn’t a good comparison seeing with all the crap that’s been published. No, it’s rather like… ha, I don’t even know what, but like reading something by one of my favourite authors. After reading your stories I felt like I had strolled around in the library, tripped upon an unexpected gem and would not be happy if I couldn’t keep on reading the author’s words forever.
So, yes, that is me saying that you should write, Nan, longer and more often. I don’t care what you write about, because I’ll read it all. =)
Author's Response: This story actually started with the idea of BIll kissing a girl in the orchard surrounded by apples, and it grew into the idea of someone watching Bill kiss the girl, which was the origin of the entire section on Bill and Charlie. I wanted to show something about innocence and innocence lost, and Bill and Charlie stood for the innocence. It was probably my favorite part in the story, so I'm really glad you liked it. I usually have very conflicted feelings about my stories, hovering between affection (because I wrote it) and dislike (because of all the faults). This story is perhaps the only thing of everything I've written that I am really confident about - I can say unashamedly that i am proud of it. While I was writing it I found a rhythm that I usually have to struggle very hard to produce artificially, and it flowed in a way I have never had a story flow before. I value your opinion very highly, and I can't say how happy your compliments make me. Thank you!
Okay. So I go to review this and realize that every single sentence is beautiful. How does one review that? I have no nitpicks whatsoever. This review will be unadulterated praise of the lovely Nan who can weave words in a way that makes me want to weep for their beauty.
Let’s start with the first sentence/paragraph. A queer sort of grace. What superb imagery that is, especially coupled with the crumbling facade and the qualifiers in the dashes (agreement with Eliza that dashes are love). It sets the stage for the rest of the fic beautifully. It is with a queer sort of grace that Percy’s thoughts unfold, methinks.
It’s true; Percy has always prided himself on exactness, which is making things difficult for him. He can no longer justify the justification of his actions in light of what he now knows. I love how we somehow know exactly where Percy is feeling this without you ever coming right out and saying it. The power of inference is strong.
The trouble was that it had been so easy, so simple to set up a spectrum as harsh and unyielding as the black and white squares of the Ministry floor, a spectrum with only two categories — those who were working for the Ministry (for the country, for the people, for the sake of all that’s good) and those who were working against it. This is one of my favorite lines. It combines the theme of black and white/light and shadow and what we know of Percy and his loyalty to the Ministry.
He kisses her heedless of the people milling around him, his coworkers drowning in the shambles of their beliefs (though there is a twisted sort of satisfaction in the fact that they were all wrong together). He can feel her body pressing against his own, can feel himself flowing into her. He wonders vaguely if kissing is the purest form of Legilimency and if through the kiss they can become one body, one soul. First of all, it struck me how unlike Percy – who was always so pompous and proper – to kiss her heedless of everyone else around him. For him, what other people think, especially in relation to him and his ambition, has always been foremost. The phrase “drowning in the shambles of their beliefs” is also powerful to me. This is definitely what Percy is going through, and the “twisted satisfaction” that he, and perhaps all of them, feel(s) [stupid grammar] is not enough to assuage the terrible turmoil inside them. I like that he “wonders vaguely.” I don’t know why. It just seems to me so SPEWly. I wonder if this line is what prompted the sudden rash of vague wondering that infected SPEW for a short while; I bet it was. The content of his wondering is also very nice; I don’t believe I’ve ever been kissed in such a manner that would prompt this sort of thinking, but it’s very romantic and a powerful thought. To skip ahead to the end, when Penelope cuts him short with a simple “I know,” it makes one wonder (vaguely) if some sort of Legilimency has occurred, or if the kiss is symbolic of the relationship that allows her to know him so well.
Percy’s childhood musings about what being an adult meant, and when it all became black and white – for it seemed to him, once, his parents did see things that way – were very thought-provoking and powerful. He knew more than he let on. He saw more through those horn-rimmed glasses than one would expect; one of my favorite lines is Percy, watching Uncle Bilius refill his glass again and again, realized that perhaps some people never learn, and so he ate the apples and was sick in silence, ashamed of his own imperfection.
I remember when you were writing this fic and you were trying to find a girl that it would seem plausible for Percy to be paired with. I am so glad you chose Penelope. As such a minor character, you can build her any way you want and you chose to make her the “realest person he has ever met.” They also have a clear history you can build from, and you certainly do. When he wonders if this is what being an adult means, “these tentative movements, first towards people and then away,” it is poetry and it’s nice to reference back when we know they were together. Any other character you may have chosen wouldn’t have had that.
His apology to her is lovely, and how she knows that he is struggling to say “thousands” of words that will prove to her how much he appreciates her and her sweet reality. And her sweet smile that silences him...it is love. Can I say that? It’s pure love, what you’ve written. The taste of forgiveness apple-sweet on his lips is a good line too.
Perhaps this is what it means to be an adult, this uncertainty and acceptance, regret and understanding. Perhaps it is. Nonetheless, this philosophical conclusion Percy has drawn from his kiss with Penelope is the perfect conclusion to the story itself. The little apple-sweetness at the end that I know I mentioned before is like the light dusting of sugar on lemon bars or something. It just makes it more perfect than ever. This whole story is ... not perfect, for nothing ever is, but it’s closer to perfect than I could ever attain, and so I look up to you and fangirl you like whoa. And that’s all I have to say at this time. Have a most lovely day, dearest Nan.
Author's Response: Getting emotions across without ever explicitly stating them is something I've been focussing on a lot in my writing, and I'm thrilled that you think I did it well. I'm not sure about the Legilimency - it was a line that just popped into my head and I went with it, on the grounds that Percy is feeling extremely vulnerable and extremely transparent, and hes also afraid that Penelope is going to finally see him for who he really is and dislike that person; hence he's in some way afraid that if he gets close to her, she'll see through him. Or something. As for pairing him with Penelope, the reason I didn't want to was that I don't like the tendency of fandom to assume that because they were together in school, and because she's the only girl we ever see him with, therefore they must end up in a lasting relationship. The reason I ended up going with it was because the story is not about the relationship, it's about Percy, and I wanted to have as minimal explanation devoted to the pairing as possible - I'm glad you thought it was a good choice. Thanks!
HA! I [was] the first again! *sticks tongue out at all the other reviewers*
There are certain books that when I read them, I pay close attention to the writing style, because I want to learn to write better myself. I also do this when I read your stories. No matter how much I say it, it remains that you’re writing style is incredible. Your words flow so gracefully that World History would suddenly become interesting if you wrote it. Plus, I love you to death just for using dashes. Dashes are awesome and need more attention.
The trouble was that it had been so easy, so simple to set up a spectrum as harsh and unyielding as the black and white squares of the Ministry floor, a spectrum with only two categories — those who were working for the Ministry (for the country, for the people, for the sake of all that’s good) and those who were working against it. You’re one of those people who can spit out quotes like this that would take me ages to think of. Black and white squares... You are absolutely brilliant.
I’ve never really enjoyed a Percy one-shot, to be honest — before this. Not simply because you have him down well, but because you avoid all the annoying clichés you see with him. “I betrayed my family, blah, blah, blah, I’m a horrible person.” I can’t say that I ever bothered to try and “get” Percy, but really, this was wonderful. It makes you think about your own life along with the person in the story’s, and that, in my opinion, is something that makes for wonderful literature.
I love how you have all the Weasley children as examples for certain things. It’s so fitting for Percy. But mainly, if adulthood is one of the themes of the story, then the ways of children is a brilliant way to give a better picture. The twins eavesdropped openly and honestly... Percy listened in secret and in shame to the world he wanted so desperately to enter... And the bit with Bill kissing a girl was wonderfully put.
...and the taste of forgiveness is apple-sweet upon his lips. That “apple” in there made that ten times the better ending. Not only does it finalize the end, but the fact that you’ve included some inside information from the story makes it so much more personal.
Really, I will forever be in awe of your writing. Not just the way you write things, but the metaphors and symbolism you manage to integrate into the story, even one requested of you. By the way, you did an excellent job of following the SSSSS request. I’m sure your person was very pleased!
Author's Response: Poor Eliza and the moochie heart. *loves* I haven't read a lot of Percy-fics before, so I'm not really sure what they usually consist of - I have no idea how this story ended up being about Percy, because it started out with the scene with Bill and the girl in the orchard, and somehow...ended up where it is now. And wow - have I ever told you how good you are at compliments? Because I feel all warm and tingly now. *hugs* Thank you.
This is lovely! I have always harbored a hope that JKR will redeem Percy in the end-I think you did it beautifully.
Author's Response: I agree - Percy needs redemption. Thanks!