I came upon this oneshot because I'm currently studying Oliver Wood in Characterisation Class. I needed to find a story that I thought characterised him well - and I have to say I was struggling until I found your story - so thank you.
Oliver Wood is so often seen as only a Quidditch Player. Of course it doesn't help that he's only seen in the books obsessing over the game, but there must have been more to him than that. What I like about your story is that he clearly does have other things going on in his head. Hermione, for one thing, the war and his grief at Fred's death. He's still passionate about the game - I think if Quidditch were ignored then he'd be extremely OOC, but he's not tunnel-visioned about it.
The way you portrayed him fighting and watching the action was wonderful. I laughed when I read his thoughts about Molly taking on Bellatrix - 'old bird' indeed. I bet Molly would have boxed his ears.
One slight nit-pick. I'm not sure he would have stumbled on Ginny's name because he had hidden at the Burrow and at Shell Cottage. Even if his path hadn't crossed with hers, he would have heard the other Weasleys talking about her.
However, that is a very minor nit-pick and in no way halted my enjoyment of the story. You brought Oliver alive by giving this one-dimensional character other things in his life apart from Quidditch.
Hey, Kasey! –pickles SPEW buddy-
What is there to say? I think I’m in love. With you, your writing style, Oliver, Oliver/Hermione, dark and angsty stories, heartache. Guh. It’s just . . . very, very, very good. Thank you for writing this. :)
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. And that’s good, because I’m pretty sure this is ten times better than what I had formed in my mind. I really like how you set it at Hogwarts, during the final battle. We know how hard it was for Harry, and we know what he did, but we don’t really know what it was like for everyone else, stuck back at the castle, wondering what they were going to do. This little glimpse into that was exactly like I imagine it would be: melancholy, desperate, and horrifying.
I think you did a really good job of capturing Oliver’s grief and the general horror of what he—and everyone else—went through that day. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to experience something like that, but I still feel a lot of empathy towards Oliver and Neville and everyone else.
While the first paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the story, that sort of emptiness and horror that lingers on the edges of all the death and destruction around them, it’s the second paragraph that made me fall for this.
Oliver shook off the thought. He had to. It was the only way he could keep up the grisly task in the face of all the horrors he’d witnessed in the course of the past hours. Death and destruction were all around him, and he had to go on. Had to. There was no other way.
The emotion in these lines is so raw, so pure, and so powerful. I mean, it’s Oliver saying that he can’t think about those that have died, he can’t allow himself a moment of grief, because it he spends one too many moments dwelling on the losses, than he’ll be lost, too. It’s so sad and miserable and terrible. It makes me hate war even more than I did before. It also makes me admire Oliver’s strength and courage to go on. I don’t know if I could. I don’t know if I could tell myself that I can’t think about this now, that I have to pretend I didn’t just move the dead body of a kid six years younger than me. But, then, like you said, I would have to, if I wanted to survive. That, I think, it was makes this as powerful as it is. Knowing that Oliver wants, well not so much as wants, but would like to take the time to properly mourn and think about all those that have died, and knowing that he can’t, not if he wants to keep going.
He had faith in Potter, he did, but he didn’t see how this could possibly be working. They’d lost so many already.
Okay, I really like this part because it points out, what I’m sure was a common feeling at that time. And I remember thinking while reading the chapter of DH something like “and nobody is questioning Harry?” So, I love that you put this in there, this hint of desperation, of worry, of frustration, and of wondering if Harry could really save them all. A lot of people respected and trusted Harry, but I would have had a problem with this if Oliver had been blindly accepting that Harry would save them all, especially after seeing all the people who died, like Colin.
But Quidditch, like so many other things, had become a part of his past now.
I think this line really emphasis the mood. If Oliver Wood has given up on Quidditch than you know the times must be rough. ;) But, also it really made me think about what his life must have been like during that year. And it gave me inspiration for this Oliver/OC story I’ve been trying to plan out/write for a while. So, thank you, Kasey!
There was no time for them now; perhaps there wouldn’t be time for them later either, but he’d be damned if he would stand here and sob for those who lost their lives fighting for their freedom.
My favourite line of the entire story. I think they really capture Oliver and everything he stands for and believes in. I think it’s something we could all do to remember. And, gah! There’s just so much power in it! Well, there’s power in all of it. Your writing style is very powerful and emotional and has a lot of depth to it. And I can’t stop gushing over it.
Hermione was introduced well. It wasn’t over done and didn’t occur until about a third of the way into the fic, which was nice and refreshing. It’s good to see romance stories that just aren’t about the romance and don’t have this obsession with only romance, all the time. The way you brought her into the story seems very natural and normal. I like how you didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on every aspect that Oliver liked about her, but you explained his attraction in a very convincing way. For a second, I forgot that Oliver/unrequited!Hermione wasn’t canon (not that we really know it isn’t –shifty eyes-). Also, I’m glad that it wasn’t love-at-first-sight, ‘cause that just would have been really weird and not normal at all. I’m very, very, very happy that his attraction stemmed from admiration of her. I consider myself a feminist, and am delighted to see a man portrayed as in love with a woman because of her fire and spark, especially a woman who isn’t as visually appealing as others.
I thought that the section after they heard Voldemort’s announcement was rushed. I get that everything would be chaos and everyone would be in a panic, but it seems like Oliver’s sort of got his head in a fog. I don’t think that Oliver would just “find” himself dueling a Death Eater. Personally, I see him more as the type that would run into the masses searching for a Death Eater to fight and putting everything he had left into that fight. Maybe he would have heard Molly’s screech, but I don’t think that it would garner much thought until much later. I don’t know, I just would have liked to see more of the fighting and chaos in that moment. It seemed like it was over too fast, like one moment it was happening and the next it was done.
I feel like there should have been more relief and acknowledgement of the demise of Voldemort on Oliver’s behalf. It didn’t even get its own sentence. It sort of felt like you were rushing through the fight and the aftermath to get on with Oliver’s longing for Hermione. You spent such a quality amount of time going through everything else in the story, that this was kind of out of nowhere, just like woah! We’re rushing now! It’s a little jarring and surprising; I had to read that part three or four times to make sure I hadn’t missed something, because it felt like I did.
I did like the lighter tone to the end though. And that, I suppose is sort of a reflection of the general lighter mood that must have been in the air after Harry defeated Voldemort. That being said, I was still slightly uncomfortable with him cracking jokes about his state of mind and Fred’s death. It seemed a little weird to me. A little insensitive, you know? I think he’d still be depressed and crushed by all the death around him, and I can’t see Hermione and Ron leaving together and holding hands helping that very much. I’d like there to be more regret and disappointment from him. Maybe drowning his sorrows in the bottle?
Overall, though, Kasey, this was fantastic and I’m really looking forward to the next one. :)
What an interesting take on the final battle. I can see the ship too - Hermione and Wood are defiantly believable.
He shuddered. He had faith in Potter, he did, but he didn’t see how this could possibly be working. They’d lost so many already.
Great imagery. Keep up the good work.
Author's Response: Well, thank you! I love writing Wood, period. Since this was a gift for Nyruserra, it had to be Oliver/Hermione, though given my druthers, I 'druther' Oliver/Ginny, personally.