This was very excellent. I generally don't read AU, but I stumbled upon this and was extremely curious. I really didn't expect the way this turned out, which is a talent since I generally find most stories fairly predictable. But I didn't figure that the old lady was Bellatrix.
I love the imagery you created with this story. The simple setting of the two sitting on the bench was very good. I also loved the dialogue, but I especially loved Bellatrix 'insane' thoughts.
Hermione, I thought, was pretty in character. However, I wonder what it was she was sent to 'do Bellatrix in'. Is she an Auror in this story? If not, I'm not sure I understand why it was her and not someone like Harry who would have been sent after Bellatrix.
However, I thought it was a very interesting story and very well written. I actually like the fate this Bellatrix suffered better than that in DH, at the hands of Molly. It has an ironic sense of justice too it. The Bellatrix who tortured people to insanity, left without her wits, living with the Muggles she despised.
Yes, it's quite an excellent piece indeed. Bravo.
It's been so long since I've read a story that started with description. It seems there are so many foreboding warnings about boring your reader with the first word that everyone wants to jump straight into the ACTION!DRAMMA!ACTION!. I gotta' tell you, your introductory paragraph was not only a relief from what's becoming a tired-and-tried method, but it was also so creative and descriptive that I could see this place from the word 'go.'
I wrote that before I read on. I'm writing this now in awe, and not just 'cause I've learned to expect brilliance from you. ;) I had an idea in my head for how this was going to turn out; who the old woman was, what she would be musing. But the characters present… the… I don't know, the story, generally, everything, it's just amazing. I don't know what aspect to go to first…
The writing itself—not the plot, the characters, or anything—is awe-inspiring. There's so much description—though not overdone, in any way—that I don't think I'll ever forget the rusty old bench beside a park. There's something about the way you write that lets every word bring life to the story. There are no SPaG errors, no awkward sentences, no mistakes, nothing I disagree with… It's not helpful in the least to you, as fawning doesn't so much help a person improve, but jeeze… it's wonderful.
Bellatrix… Now, no one could ever make me pity her, not even this brilliant story, but there is a certain amount of understanding accomplished with this, at least from Hermione's point of view (though I would have killed her, no matter how old she was ;)). Her musings pull you in and make you want to know how she got to where she is. The bitter melancholic tone of her thoughts are not only consistent and well-written, but also just plain ole' interesting. Before I knew it was Bellatrix (and when you revealed that, I literally got goosebumps :p) I pitied her, wanted her to be happier, or at least find a way to be happy. You pull the reader into her life and, with so few words, make them want to know everything about her. But then it's Bellatrix and they just want her dead. :p
The one thing that tripped me a little bit was the switch of PoV; it wasn't done badly or anything, I just wasn't expecting it. The transition was done nicely, there's no doubt in that, but I think that—especially with this kind of quality writing—you could have let the reader see how Hermione felt just by expressions, without the switch. Though, on the other hand, we wouldn't have gotten that brilliant last paragraph, in which I almost felt something close to pity. Almost.
I'm off to find a story in which I can actually be helpful. :D This was a brilliant and moving piece, Miss. Rhi.
Author's Response: ARI!! I responded to this AGES ago and then my computer froze. :( I was going to go back later, but I forgot! ANYWAY. I love you. This review made me feel so wonderful inside. Mhmmm. *hugs tightly* You're brilliant and so kind. The PoV switch bothers me, too... I need to fix that. ;) <3333 Rhi
wow..very good. i think it is very ironic that bellatrix could have lived as a homeless muggle, after she had been such a proud pure blood, and had she " been in the right mind" i don't think she ever could have. but as you said, she had dementia so she would not have remebered her pride... well done.
Author's Response: Very true...When I included the element of dementia in the story it was primarily as a plot tool to dampen Hermione's desire for revenge. But that is very true. Props for being a careful reader! Thanks for taking the time, and I'm glad you liked it!
Wow. That’s all I think of to describe this; it’s so good.
I loved how you portrayed Bellatrix's dementia. It was so realistic and sad; no one should have to go through that, forgetting everything about themselves. At the beginning, I didn't even about this being Bella. I love how each thing Hermione says seems to jot something in her memory; it's so powerful. I liked the mention at the end of how she was already forgetting the conversation she just hadl it reminds me of how I had to repeat stuff to my great-aunt several times because she would always forget it with her Alzheimer’s.
I love Hermione and Bellatrix's conversation. The fact that Hermione show some pity on Bella is touching. Hermione is probably the most forgiving person in the trio, and you see her kindness when she talks to Bellatrix. She doesn't yell at her or say how horrible she is.
I think it's interesting that Hermione chose not to kill her. It brings up so many questions, like whether in cases death is better than living. In some ways, it would have kinder to kill Bella now rather than to let her live in the awful state she's currently in. But then Bella doesn't fully realize the horror of her condition, so living her life doesn't really bother her.
‘Quite honestly, you were an awful woman, Bellatrix. But I think you’ve suffered greatly over the years; far worse than anything we could have done to you, in fact.’ She nodded in a satisfied, assured way. ‘These things work themselves out in the end, I suppose.’
I loved this line. Hermione's right; Bella's dementia is worse than anything else that they could have done to her. At least if she was in Azkaban, she would still have her identity, but with the dementia, she's lost everything. It reminds me of the Longbottom's fate; how they were alive, but with no real memory or working mind. It's like what comes around goes around; she made people suffer in horrible ways and now she's paying the price.
Overall, I thought this was an extremely powerful piece. Bellatrix’s dementia was portrayed perfectly, and Hermione's character was so interesting to read.
Author's Response: Dear me, what do I do to deserve a SECOND lengthy and wonderful review??? Thank you SOOOO much for taking the time!!! This really made my day and I'm so glad that you liked it... scarcely a month later and now all I can see is what I don't like! *note to self: must remember to edit...at some point...when I get around to it...* Again, thank you so much for a lovely review. I will cherish it always. :D
First off, my first impression is woah. Its hard to believe you wrote that in half an hour alone. If this is the product of only a half-hour's time, I can't imagine how wonderful something you worked at for a greater timespan must be. I haven't read any other work of yours, of course, so that is why I wonder, but now I've had a taste of what I've been missing.
I love when fics open by setting a scene, and I think you've done that well. Not only does the reader get a good mental picture to begin with, but it also gives the reader an early sense of the tone and feel of the fic.
The description of the second paragraph, as well, is wonderful. You really get to know what the character looks like, but her personality as well. The reader gets an early glimpse into who this woman is, though it is only slight. The language and word choice is brilliant and already I'm wondering about this poor woman. Throughout the fic, in fact, the wording is lovely, from what I can tell from this fic alone, you have a great writing style. Its very well-written and proves an interesting read. I really can't say enough how perfect your wording is throughout the fic. :D
As I said above, the older woman was well-described, and so is the case with the younger one. You seem to have a knack for that sort of thing, and it shows.
I was a little surprised, after wondering for the first about half of the fic, to find that the couple was Hermione and Bellatrix. However, I like the pairing as you have them here, and I think it was a good choice. Hermione is exquisetly in character, and though Bella is different, it seems almost as though it could be, considering the dementia and whatnot. Hermione, though, is what I really admire because she is characterized to a T. Her dialogue, especially, is what I love, because she says everything the way I imagine Hermione would.
a few things:
Everything was in a state of disrepair; nothing, including the people, looked like it had ever seen better days; and the singular bus stop, situated across from an ugly little park which women walking home from work avoided out of fear for their safety, was no exception.
I think this might be better suited as two separate sentences rather than with two semi-colones. Making the sentence about the bus stop its own not only flows and sounds better, but I think it gives the bus stop more meaning. As I'm assuming its rather important, given the title (lol), I think it might be better isolated, to give it proper attention.
Her little carpet slippers inched forwards painfully slow, the bones obviously thin and brittle, and had there been another nearby, pity would surely have moved him to come forth and help her.
The one little problem I have here is that, with out the physical mention of feel, it sounds almost like the carpet slippers have the brittle bones. It might be better suited to say 'her little carpet-slippered feet...'. Everything else about this sentence, though, I love. Again, perfect wording, dear.
Dirt seemed to coat the air itself, and the sky was a unpleasant shade of brown.
It should be 'an unpleasant'.
Despite the youthful spring in her step and lack of wrinkles, she wore a wedding ring and seemed to have carry herself with that certain wisdom that only comes with age.
I don't think 'have' should be there before 'carry'.
...or anything else she had used to describe herself by in her earlier days left.
'By' need not be there either.
That woman was gone, now, alive only in her memories.
I think the first comma is unneeded.
Overall, I really think you've done an outstanding job. Its a short fic, yet it tells so very much. You have a way of drawing the reader in and binding them to the characters, so to speak. As I said at the start of my review, if this is what you can produce in only half and hour, you're talented.
mmhm, I think that's all I wanted to say on this. A wonderful concept; I really like this little snapshot, as I'm sure you can tell by now.
Author's Response: First off, let me say WOW. You're a SPEW'er, aren't you? ;) The loveliest review I have ever received!! I'm just grinning; it really made my day. I really appreciate the amount of time you put in!!!!!! *huggles* Your suggestions were thoughtful and spot-on. I'll edit all of them in! All the grammar nitpicks...well, it was true I wrote this quickly. And honestly didn't edit like I usually did. I reread this for the first time this morning and found all those errors, much to my embarrassment! *hurries to edit* Thanks for being so observant, though! Thanks again, Nikki, I really appreciate it!! <3333