My goodness, no wonder Snape doesn't like Harry!
Loved, loved, loved this story!!!!!!! I can only say that it's sad that Snape can never have the "real" lily....
I've been looking for a story like this. I wanted something that showed some physical action between Lily and Snape as well as his internal torment and regret. Great job on this work.
an absolutely amazing fanfiction. i haven't read many fanfictions about snapes first impressions of harry etc, but you've really gotten into his head and brought out the guilt and regret he felt about Lily.
i was quite annoyed by the first bit, but after you explained that it was a dream it made much more sense and i really loved it. thank you for an amazing story and i certainly will be adding you to my favourite list :)
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. The first section does seem to rather put people off until they see that it's just a dream!
I'm gutted. Ugh. I have a soft, warm place in my heart for Snape and Snape/Lily fics. The problem with most SS/LE fics is that they're not realistic or they're too fluffy. You need either dark/angsty or bitter-sweet. You managed to achieve both sentiments. (Please forgive the rest of my disjointed review, as I am being naughty and reading and reviewing at work). ^_~
First off, I love the little AU aspect of your story: where Snape and Lily stopped being friends because of a moment of passion rather than Snape calling Lily a Mudblood. In addition, the faint, faint possibility that Harry could be Snape's son (while you essentially prove that he isn't) is just a pleasant plot device, for me. ^^
But, you see, what truly pulls me into this fic is how you make me feel for Snape. I am forced to empathise with him completely, and his pain becomes my pain.
He bore her blood on his hands, he knew. The stain was as indelible as if he himself had spoken the curse.
See, this is the Snape I love: the one who feels guilt for what he had done and repents. So many readers despise him, even after all he had done to help the Order. And, sometimes, I feel like readers would forgive Peter before they forgave Severus. However, I am so very glad that you were able to show Snape's guilt as genuine.
Speaking of guilt, I absolutely adore how your phrased this (when Snape saw Harry being Sorted):
Guilt? Oh yes, there was always guilt, but to see those eyes, so similar to hers, it just brought everything back, ripping open the old wounds. Wounds that had never closed, like a poisoned bite that would never heal.
I love the simile here. Your descriptions really put the reader in Snape's mind, seeing his thoughts as something visible and tangible. It makes us active participants in your story--and that's always an impressive accomplishment.
Well, the boy was undeniably Potter’s son and that was the end of the matter as far as Severus Snape was concerned, or so he told himself.
I can't even begin to describe how accurate that quote is--as in those are Snape's actual thoughts. And, really, it is the beginning of bringing the reader full circle, alluding to the title: Snape can't forgive Harry for being James's son, but he can't forget that Harry is Lily's son.
Besides from your wonderful characterisation of Snape, I do like the subtle observations you make of other characters, especially Dumbledore:
No, Dumbledore’s methods were far more subtle and far more pervasive. Dumbledore read faces and voices, not thoughts, and there was no way Severus knew to counter what was simply a study of human nature.
Honestly, this is brilliant. You managed to sum Dumbledore's ability to read people (wonderfully) and juxtaposed it with Snape's inability to fully comprehend or emulate the act. I also love that you draw Dumbledore through Snape's eyes, showing him as someone that Snape respects (and deserves respect and awe) but also hints at the Headmaster's dodgy, clandestine self (at least according to Snape...and me). ^_~
Finally, it is the ending that does me in, like a fist to the gut:
But now, Severus felt strangely hollow as the boy who would never be his son was sorted into his true father’s House.
I have no words for that right now, but I don't think I have ever felt more sorry for Snape than when I did reading The Prince's Tale in DH.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for such a lovely review, Lia. I completely agree that fluffy Snape/Lily doesn't work. The angst and bittersweetness are exactly what I love about this pairing, and I always think Severus is at his most interesting when he's brooding and guilt-ridden. I'm really glad especially that you enjoyed the Dumbledore reference, because he's a character I struggle with so much, so it's lovely to know that worked.
I have a confession to make. I clicked on this story last week after a recommendation, started reading, and then stopped. I stopped because I thought Lily OOC. I could not see why she'd be friends with Snape, let alone sleep with him. So I clicked off. I then told the person that rec'd the story to me and she said 'but it's a dream' ha ha ha. You see, If I'd read one line further, you would have got this review earlier..
I like the story. It's well crafted, organised and original. Snape's regrets are uppermost in the fic, and you've portrayed his very essence superbly. The dark arts may enthrall him still, but he recognises their hollowness. he's rather like a drug addict in that respect *ponders that thought* except that he wants to get out at some stage.
The one not pick I have is with this part of the story. He said only that Lily had been his friend and she had turned away from him as he fell into the Dark Lord’s service, but he was honest as to how he fell. In The Prince's Tale, Snape tells Dumbledore that he's asked Voldemort to spare Lily, and it's clear from his words and Dumbledore's disgusted response that Snape loves Lily and wants her. Therefore I don't think he merely said Lily was his friend.
That is the only nit pick I have though. What I particularly liked was the way he played over the scenario's in his head over how Lily would be there with him, always after Mary had been killed. There's some residual guilt over Mary, but he can't stop from 'killing' her to get what he wants. That just strikes me as so IC for Snape.
Great story ~Carole~
Author's Response: Thanks for such a lovely review, Carole. The dream sequence was actually originally supposed to be a memory because I wanted to explore whether there *could* be a possibility of some doubt as to whether Harry was actually James' son, but I couldn't make it work and keep it in character for Lily, so it was resigned to the realms of Severus' fantasies instead. I love the drug addict analogy - I think that is exactly how I tend to view him, but I'd never quite seen it in that context before. That's actually set my muse pondering over the possibilities of working with that concept further. Hmm, with your nitpick, I wasn't meaning to imply so much that Severus kept from Dumbledore that he was in love with her, but more that he didn't elaborate on why their friendship ended because he was too ashamed of the Mudblood incident so he glossed over the details. I'll have to see how I could make that clearer. Thanks again!
This is a beautiful insight into Snape's mind. There were many times where I was unsure whether he was referring to his 'Mudblood' comment as the reason for their rift or the dream that he had, but I'm assuming that that was intentional. I love how real Snape seems here, rather than OOC or similar. This is a beautiful story, and I don't normally read Snape/Lily fics
Author's Response: Thanks, I'm glad you could see the blurred line between reality and his fantasy world, and I'm so glad you thought he was in character.
This is an excellent story. I really liked it. It provides a nice view to Snape, whom I usually don't like.
Author's Response: Thanks, and that's always the best thing to hear when writing Snape - that the story worked for someone who doesn't like him.
What a great story! I could feel Snape's despair. Very well written. Excellent charaterization.
Author's Response: Thanks, I'm really glad you enjoyed it and like the characterisation.
May I just preface by saying that this story was a brilliant look into Snape’s mind? Because it is—it truly is. Most stories in this category find themselves with an OOC Snape and an even more OOC Lily, who actually loves him. I like that anything resembling that is all a part of Severus’s imagination, and even that ended in hurt and anger—just like the first time.
There are several themes in this story that I truly appreciate in terms of Severus’s characterisation. First off, the fact that you started with his dream, but the dream went awry made me think that you were writing an AU type story. Then I find that it was Sev’s imagination. There are few things that I think Severus Snape ever regretted in his life—possibly only one thing—and that was how things happened with Lily. That remorse even permeated his fantasies, such was its power. Only regret of that magnitude would cause him to dedicate his life to protecting a child that was not even his.
I was a bit surprised when I read that Snape had killed Mary. Usually, in Sev/Lily stories, Snape is characterised as not being a true killer, as a misunderstood, emo, hottie-in-hiding that would never truly hurt anyone (which is why I don’t read this category often, lol). The fact that you retained his personal beliefs and his love for Lily at the same time, it just makes me feel like, “Yes, this is how it happened. This is really Snape.” It takes a lot for me to believe a Snape story, considering he’s not as misunderstood as most would like to believe, but you have me sold on the events of this story. Well and truly sold.
Another thing that rings true about this fic is how reality juxtaposed itself upon fantasy. Something about how the incident by the lake in 5th year overtook what should have been unfettered in his hot!sweaty dreams of Lily and him together is simply wonderful in how pitiful it is. Part of me is happy that he was miserable, because he is a miserable bloke, and Lily’s death was his fault. But the other part of me (I have compassion?! Surely not!) feels bad for him, and I kind of wanted that fantasy to be real for him. I suppose, knowing how the whole story turned out, I want Snape to be happy in a fantasy world that doesn’t include James and Lily’s death. The fact that you have the power to make me question how I feel about Snape, who I consider one of the most unlikable characters to ever touch the pages of Harry Potter, amazes me and makes me a believer in your abilities of characterisation.
The flow of your story is very good, as is the way it reads. Now, I can’t rightly tell whether it is due to your own abilities or because Fresca is such a wonderful beta (and she is), but I’ll just smile and reap the benefits as a reader. The switches between recollection and present were smooth, appropriately timed, and very well-placed. I didn’t feel, when I left a certain scenario, that I was over- or under-informed about the situation. I felt like I knew what you were conveying, what you wanted it to mean to the story, and the normal five-Ws (who, what, when, where, why).
I really don’t know how to describe your diction and word choice other than strong. There are several aspects to the way you write: you write metaphorically, simply, and smoothly. Your sentences don’t end up overlong or too short; they’re just the right length for what you’re saying. That’s so important for flow in a story, and that dimension of prose is so often overlooked. Your angst, due to your style, is not too angsty (which turns into emo), and your love scenes aren’t PWP (porn without plot) or sappy. They’re just the right balance. I hope you know how hard that is to do and how many have tried and failed that very thing in the past. I love the fact that, of all the fics I picked to read, that I chose yours, mainly for that fact.
Well, I’m off now. I really adored this story in just about every way. I cannot, for the life of me, cut through my appreciation of it to find anything I didn’t like. Kudos for that again, because normally there is something that ‘bugs’ me, but there were none of these here.
Take care and happy writing,
P.S.—I’ve already recommended your story to an avid Sev/Lily shipper I know.
Author's Response: I feel very proud of myself that I made you feel compassion for Severus! I'll take that as an achievement . :-p I think that actually is one one the hardest and yet most rewarding things about writing him when it works - making stories about him appeal to readers who dislike him. I completely agree that he's far too often written as a 'misunderstood, emo, hottie-in-hiding' (possibly the best description of badly-written!Severus I've ever encountered by the way). I really believe that he killed as a Death Eater and did some other pretty unconscionable things. I think he probably regretted them later at least to some extent, but I think he did them nonetheless. And thank you so much, Jess, for the compliments on my writing style. They put a huge grin on my face.