Oh, Hannah. Hannah, Hannah, Hannah.
This is absolutely amazing. It’s so dark and sad and tragic, yet strangely hopeful and comforting at the same time. I love the beginning. I love how her hair becomes a focal point through the rest of the story, changing as she changes.
they will slip out for a few stolen hours of adult conversation and food at which their boys would turn up their noses.
This line is so simple and so small, yet it gives a huge picture of her home life. I can see little rowdy boys running around the house, around a warm, loving home. While it doesn’t paint a picture of passionate love, I can feel the comfort and safety in it.
The transition to her reflection is very smooth. I particularly like this line—
‘Self’ had been such a fluid concept.
It’s beautiful and poetic and just so full. I can see a montage of Lavenders in my mind, each one with different hair or dress, changing to fit her mood or the times.
never allowing more than a couple of stolen kisses in an empty hallway, never letting anyone too close
This line sort of sets the reader up for what’s coming, showing how guarded and vulnerable Lavender has always been, but gives nothing away. It didn’t make that much of an impression on me at first; the relevance of it only became clear after I’d read the story and went back to write this review. Then I had an “Oh, yeah! That totally makes sense!” moment.
The boy of the moment to suit the role she played in trying so hard not to let reality creep too close had been Seamus Finnigan.
I really like this line, but I had to read it a few times before I understood exactly what it meant. It’s just a little awkwardly worded. I feel like the middle, while powerful and dark and shattering, distracts the reader from the main point of the sentence, which is that she’s with Seamus. Maybe something like “The boy of the moment had been Seamus Finnigan, suiting her role in trying so hard . . .”?
They were celebrating being alive, only it had never felt like celebration; it had felt like purgatory, as if Lavender had been waiting for her life to restart.
Oh, my. Just. Wow. ♥ There’s really no other way to describe this. It’s heartbreaking. It’s beautiful. I love the comparison between partying and purification. It shouldn’t make sense, but it does.
Then one drunken night at Cho Chang’s, she’d been looking for the bathroom, and instead she’d stumbled into the guest bedroom, where she’d found the hostess being thoroughly fucked by the man Lavender had begun to think she might have been able to love.
So I was so not expecting that. It just came out of nowhere. I felt a bit like I imagine Lavender must have felt—shocked and utterly bewildered. I really like how you managed to connect the reader’s emotions with Lavender’s, making it just as much a surprise for us as it was for her.
She’d hated them all (and in that ‘all’ she’d included herself) for daring to win and for making it necessary to go on living.
I don’t even know what to say. Just. Damn. It’s so poignant, it’s practically dripping with emotion. It’s deep and dark and wonderfully twisted. Just. ugh! It’s so beautiful and strong that it hurts.
I think if you’d introduced Pansy any other way, I might have questioned the probability of that relationship. But the conviction and certainty of Lavender’s recollections combined with
had seemed the perfect two fingers up at those who’d underestimated and betrayed her.
makes it seem very real. (Plus, I just love that line)
They drank too much strong espresso and Jack Daniels and smoked from cigarette holders (a deliberate affectation of Pansy’s).
The detail in this line makes Lavender’s and Pansy’s relationship. The image in my mind is dark, but it isn’t exactly sad. I can feel Lavender’s nostalgia for this time in her life. It’s like she’s mourning the end of the relationship.
They’d paid even more attention the first time Pansy had kissed her, and Lavender had rather enjoyed the thrill of shocking people. She’d enjoyed the thrill even more of what Pansy could do to her when she got her alone.
So, I mentioned being completely surprised before? Well, you did it again. Had me completely bowled over with surprise. In a good way. I love the way this isn’t predictable at all. It’s wonderfully refreshing. And I love how easily and naturally you’ve addressed some rather sensitive issues. The tone is just “well, of course it happened,” making it impossible for the reader to doubt it for a minute.
And then one day, Pansy was found on the pavement forty feet below the tiny balcony of the pokey, attic flat they’d shared.
Shit. That’s all I can say. Shit.
but in some ways it was the inevitable end to the self-destruction of their hedonistic days.
I think the most heart wrenching thing about this line is the utter detachment and complete acceptance in her tone. I also just love the way “the self-destruction of their hedonistic days” sounds. ♥
The fog of numbness had re-descended, thicker and more comforting than before.
Oh, Lavender. I just want to give her a hug. Oh, Hannah. You’re so amazing. i just want to hug you too.
Lavender had taken a mindless job at the Ministry of Magic to preserve the safe cocoon of her hollow lack of emotion,
My favorite thing about this line is how you carried her numbness throughout it with “mindless” and “safe cocoon” and “hallow lack of emotion.” It emphasizes the numbness, making her accidental formation of a relationship with Percy that much more believable.
What was unexpected though was that, in his arms, Lavender had slept properly for the first time in five years and had felt something akin to safety, when life had schooled her to feel nothing at all.
I feel safe and comforted just from reading that sentence. I love that despite all the tragedy and the numbness, there’s still something there. She can still feel something, besides hate and despair. Also, it adds a level of reality to their relationship. In the beginning, I wondered if she was just going through the motions of life, completely detached from everything around her, but this shows that that’s not true, that there is something there.
She still surprises herself by believing him.
This is my favorite line. The entire rest of the story is told in this cold, distant tone. But this line—it has emotion and hope and life in it. It’s like the sun is coming out after a long, cold, lonely winter. I love the way you managed to give this incredibly dark and sad story a light at the end of tunnel, so to speak. Honestly, it’s kind of inspiring the way Lavender has managed to keep going.
er, so this review is longer than the story . . . I hope I did it justice. It’s truly beautiful and so powerful. ♥
I really liked this. At first, I thought Lavender was said. Throughout the entire fic I thought she was sad and had given up on herself, her life. But, suddenly, I realized it wasn't sadness but comfort. I was reading contentment in her life, herself, and her situation.
It was clever of you to center the phases of her life around her hair because many women do that, and it's easy to imagine Lavender defining herself in the same way. I know that when I was deeply depressed I cut off thirteen inches of my hair, and now that I'm craving controlled change I keep going through different hair colors. She identified with the persona her hair style reminded her of, and when she finally stuck with her natural color she could be herself naturally.
Looking at your other review, I do hope you don't change Cho. You could even write a companion piece to this to show the side of Cho you've portrayed. I've always seen her as a diverse character.
Good job. :]
Author's Response: Thanks for such a lovely review. I always really enjoy knowing that a reader has totally got what I was aiming for with a story. Hair always seems to me to be such a natural way to define periods of our life, because like you said, it tends to be shaped by our self-image and where we are in our lives at that time. You know, my muse has been wanting to play with Cho of late, so I think that might just be the perfect idea to write her story from here. Thanks for the idea!
Okay, I'm going to be totally honest. This story was a few things for me: it was weird, it was good, it was interesting, and it was pure fantasy. I'm not really sure what I should say. I liked the portrait of Lavender as a girl who partied and did things that she probably wished she could un-do, and I even liked the idea of her finding peace in safety with someone like Percy. I think what's throwing me off is the idea of Seamus with Cho. It just seems like you picked her to be a random hostess, whereas she probably wasn't the right choice for that. Someone who Lavender knew a bit better probably would suit your purposes more closely, such as her best friend, Parvati, Romilda Vane (who frankly seems the type), or even someone from the class list in Harry's year that was never actually met in the books.
All in all, this was a good story, and despite my reservations about Cho/Seamus as a device, I do like it. This probably wasn't the helpful crit you'd like to receive (I write, too, so I know what that means as an author), but I hope you can get something from this. I like the unique take you have for post-Hogwarts characters, so I'm looking forward to reading more in the future.
Take care and happy writing,
Author's Response: So finally I have a moment to respond to some reviews. I'll take 'weird' and 'good' and 'interesting' - at least it's not dull or predictable! As you've probably realised by now, my muse goes off on some random and slightly weird little jaunts, particularly post-Hogwarts. As for Cho, in some ways she was a random choice, but then that was part of the point for me that she could be anyone as far as Lavender was concerned, because she probably wasn't the first, and she certainly could be anyone as far as Seamus was concerned, and in other ways she was also a less than random choice, because it all comes back to what we were talking about the other day about Cho being someone who would come out of it all quite damaged, so she was someone I could easily see being a part of the self-destructive lifestyle Lavender and Seamus had fallen into. That said, I can see a definite attraction to using Romilda in that role - I'll have to ponder on whether to change her. Thanks for the review. :o) ~Hannah