This story was incredible in the amount of truth and nostalgia it created in me in being someone with sisters and a larger family who gets together frequently. I have never thought about my connection to Ron in such a way…he’s always reminded me of my husband, and I’ve never personally identified with him, but reading this was kind of like a shock to my own understanding of his character. This was one of my favorite lines: …sometimes it’s hard to remember that there ever was a BH (before Harry, before Hermione, before Hogwarts, before horcruxes and hallows and heartbreak and happiness and hell and home). That line alone summed up an amazing feel for me personally in my own life- no matter where you move or who you marry or what you do, there’s just something powerful about being with your family that your spouse doesn’t get. And then to read the rest of the story, with Ron’s own journey, and to identify with it so heavily was powerful.
Literally a myriad of images kept bombarding me as I was reading, and it made the Weasley’s feel nearly more alive than I’ve ever imagined them to feel before. The moments that Ron remembers (…warm summer nights when they’d eat cold meat pies out in the garden, and cold winter mornings spent huddled by the fire, sipping hot chocolate and playing Exploding Snap…”) were obviously not the same ones I had, but they were so quintessential that I couldn’t help but be transported to my own memories. That is such a strength of this piece, and it left me thinking not only about it, but about the theme of it for days after reading it.
And even for all of my personal nostalgia, the other aspects of it are still strong: the characterization in particular, such as Percy being mildly disapproving of the Exploding Snap game, and Molly being remembered for “reaming Bill”, Ginny is “sharpness and sweetness”, and Charlie smuggles in a salamander that caught their table on fire. But your characterization of Ron is so phenomenal. It’s hard for me not to get gushy about good Ron characterization, as he gets abused so much, but I’m afraid that’s what might happen here a bit. He struggles still trying to tell Ginny how he feels, and yet the fact that he’s telling Ginny is part of his development. And DH Ron has a special place in my heart, so I love this line: “Ron thinks suddenly of those horrible weeks he spent at Bill’s, unable to go be a part of Christmas with Fred, George, and Ginny, knowing all along he belonged with Harry and Hermione. It’s been over twenty years, but it still hurts in places he tries to keep hidden. I feel as this that was such a huge moment in his characterization, and it would have changed something within him…that’s a great way to put it.
I like that it was in present tense, as well. It just seemed to fit not only Ron’s mood, but the way that you characterized Ron. There were almost moments of run on sentences, as if we were really seeing his thoughts, but I really think it worked, because it felt like I was reading something Ron had written, or was hearing his direct thoughts on paper. The paragraph about the adults sleeping in the living room, for example.
The moments with Hermione were lovely, and the ending was as well. I felt hopeful and uplifted after reading it, and yet had an impulse to call my sisters, lol. Sorry I have no critique…it’s not often I read a story and I think about it as I have this one. It was very moving and very powerful for me personally, and not only was it brilliantly written, but it suddenly added new dimensions to the Weasley family that made them seem more alive.
Deep, beautifull, and written so well! I can understand Ron's thoughts and feelings...
Love it! It's good reading stories that don't have the perfect fairy tale finish to it. You really hit Ron on the head with this one!!
I haven’t read many fics where authors take on the responsibility to show how deep Ron can be. He’s either saying, “Merlin’s pants!” or thinking about food or being uncomfortable. The funny thing is, Ron is like that, and such characterization must be valid, but is that all there is to this bloke? He has been through so much even though he is not really expressive about his feelings. I am usually curious about that shadowy part of him, and though your subject isn’t something I expected, I’d say you did it great justice.
I’m now wondering why I never gave this a thought before: how couldn’t Ron miss those times? I had to step back and reflect on my own life. Yes, I do feel like that at family gatherings, too. There were better times, and it is not always because someone has left or died or is absent. The innocence of the past can’t be recovered, and when new people arrive on the scene, when the original “members” of the gang become part of their own new family, the feeling of loss can’t be suppressed. It is always there. Reading your story reminded me of that, and maybe that’s why I could connect with it so much on an emotional level.
Your characterization of Ron was just right. Confusion over his own feelings, lack of clarity while talking about the same confusion – check. Dedication towards family while not being conspicuous about it – check. He was just so…Ron. The way he mused about the past, his resentment against the present, his turning to Hermione and Ginny, even the whole aura of moroseness coming off him - all of these were done nicely without being overbearing. The other characters were written well, too. I particularly liked George and Ginny.
Apart from the spot-on characterization, I think you got the Weasley family just right. That is a boisterous, yet fun and loving family, and you captured those aspects quite well.
Ron’s memory about the Christmas made me tear up. I wonder why Arthur was missing, though.
Your take on Fred’s death made me think a lot, too. The loss of Fred would be an overwhelming one, no doubt, and I can see why his absence would change the family forever. But, yes, it is not just Fred’s death that has affected it. It can’t be the answer to everything.
They weren’t part of that original nine. They weren’t part of that original dynamic that hasn’t existed in decades, and yet he thinks a part of him will always ache to recapture, even though he knows he can’t, and not just because Fred is dead.
That was, I think, one of my favourite parts about the story. The “original dynamic” has been diluted, and we can’t accuse Ron of selfishness just because he feels this. It is too true, you know what I mean? It is a loss which a lot of people struggle with.
Apart from these heavy thoughts, I also enjoyed reading the next-gen kids. :D
I do have a few nitpicks. I think it is “The Burrow”, and not “the Burrow”. I’d also write “engorgement gloves” with capital letters if they are the names of the products.
Not counting these, I have to say your story was perfect, and I seriously enjoyed reading it.
wow - that was great! I have felt that same melancholy at family gatherings - how well you articulated it and with my favorite characters too!