Julia, I am ashamed to say that I have never read this before. I've always been put off with the EWE warning. But I finally decided to read it, and woooooow, was I pleased I did!
This is one of your best pieces, this and Waiting. It was AMAZING! It actually brought tears to my eyes. There's just something so hauntingly beautiful and honest about your writing style, and as you can tell, I loved it. I don't quite know how to describe it, but it's artistic and poetic, and I know you are both, judging by the beauty of your banners and poetry.
You've convinced me of Harmony. I never, ever thought I'd say that, being an ardent Harry/Ginny shipper, but even the most passionate Harry/Ginny shipper would not be able to deny the sheer beauty of this. This was absolutely amazingly fantabulous in every way and curse me for not reading more of your work! I shall have to rectify that soon.
Author's Response: Hi Soraya! Thanks so much for your lovely review. I always find it such a compliment if something I wrote evoked such an emotional response. So I really, truly appreciate this :) And to convince a canon shipper of Harmony... well, that's the best news of all! Harmony is a controversial ship but I'm so glad you found my portrayal of their relationship realistic. Again, thank you so much for this review. It brought a smile to my face :) - Julia x
Hey! I remember this very well from SBBC but I never left you a review.
Typically I’m not a fan of Harry/Hermione (at all) but something about your writing makes the pairing tolerable to me. You put so much passion and emotion into your prose, it’s hard not to feel for these two. Your whirlwind, choppy style is one that I’ve admired and would love to emulate, but I don’t think I could pull it off as well as you. You chose to become nonsensical and fragmented at the right moments. In short, you don’t overdo it and still maintain a firm control over your own writing. It’s sort of like a controlled chaos.
I also like how you’ve broken up the fic into different stages. It keeps the reader interested and allows the focus to be on the emotions rather than plot.
The fic is compelling from the very beginning, and the opening lines grab the reader:
Eyes flicker open. Flicker shut. Open. Open. Open. He sees her face hovering above, barely there, ever-changing. She is nothing but light, and yet she is everything. The pain undulates throughout his body, large swells and a dying current, but he pretends he cannot feel, and suddenly that is the truth. He knows what is wrong. He knows what happened, but it is impossible, and pretending that he feels no pain is easier than admitting his best friend is dead.
There are so many emotions in this opening passage it’s hard to begin. I also love how you smoothly transition from Harry’s lack of consciousness (“Eyes flicker open”) to deep understating (Pretending that he feels no pain is easier than admitting his best friend is dead). This, and the many emotions you touch on, such as love, grief, and denial, are all beautifully summed up in a paragraph.
Again, I like how you maintain a balance between fragmented sentences and fully-formed sentences. Too many fragmented sentences would be overwhelming and annoying, but you transition between the two quite easily. One example is here:
A flash of green. A scream. Death on the grass. No blood.
Her hand seeks his on the blanket. It is not a firm grasp, but it is enough. It is enough for now and now is all that matters to him. The past has gone, rushed by without a word of sorrow, without a glance of remorse. The truth is harsh, and it is unforgiving, but her hand is soft and warm and here.
I also enjoyed this particular description of Harry’s emotions. They seem very gritty and real:
He knows he is safe. He knows he is safe from deadly spells and evil tyrants, but his best friend is dead, and that doesn’t make him feel very safe at all. He looks up at the ceiling and remembers when he first awoke. He had thought it would be easier. He had thought every moment would see an easing of the pain, but the longer he lay awake the harder it became to pretend. He hates that every time he breathes in, something else seems to die. It is a miracle his heart is still beating, because it feels dead. It feels numb. He cannot feel that calm, comforting beating within.
However, I felt dizzy from the use of “he” over and over again. The use of the same pronoun over and over again cheapens the writing, I think. It would have made all the difference to simply include “Harry” a few times. Your writing is so beautiful that I think all of the pronouns take it back to being quite elementary.
On the other hand, some of your very short and simple phrases contain profound meaning. I think this line in particularly expresses Harry’s feelings better than a whole paragraph could:
He dips his head. She opens her eyes. Everything is on fire.
I also thought it was very nice that you brought the fic around full circle. The small anecdotes relating the pair’s grief are heartbreaking, but I love that you took the same concept (Waking) and made it positive in the end. Brilliant! And while I did become tired of “he” and “she” constantly, when they finally utter each other’s names it is quite gratifying. Overall, beautifully written and poignant, even for a Harry/Ginny shipper!
Author's Response: Hi Danielle! Thank you for such a detailed review. Sorry I haven't replied sooner but I kept putting it off since it was so huge! And then exams came and ate my life as they are prone to do haha. But anyway, thanks. Well, I'm glad I could make the pairing tolerable for you xD But in all honesty, this is more of a study on grief rather than anything shippy which is why I submitted it to Dark/Angst. Hmm controlled chaos... I like that! I agree with you on the overuse of pronouns in the fic and if I went back to change anything it would be that. When I was writing it I wanted there to be this sense of separation of self from what was real and what wasn't which is why I chose to write it like that... but it annoys me when I re-read it as well. Again, thank you for the lovely review. I really appreciate it. Julia :)
Absolutely beautiful! Your prose is so poetic and so emotive and just absolutely beautiful. Normally I would give an example of what I thought was best in a fic... but there's so much beautiful imagery and writing here that I can't pick anything specific. I loved your use of short or truncated sentences interspersed with the longer, more complex ones - it really created the emotion. The present tense was also great - I really felt in the moment with Harry and Hermione.
Usually I'm not a Harmony fan... I prefer canon ships, but I think you really pulled off their characters here and it felt like this was more out of need to heal than love.
Anyway, this was so beautiful I can't really say anything else.
Author's Response: Thank you for the lovely review! Yes, you are right about the need to heal. I am a Harmony shipper but when writing this it was more of an exploration of how the two would deal with Ron's loss rather than a way to get them together. The state they're in, I doubt a romantic relationship could work in the long run, in all honesty. It's more of a union out of comfort more than anything else. Again, thanks for reading and leaving this review :)
Its really nice, but i think you should reveal the characters a little earlier as i did not know how to picture the story in my head. Other than that, it is a wonderful story
Author's Response: Thanks for the review! I didn't want to name the two characters too early on for a reason. I wanted a feeling of anonymity, the numbness of grief. It's as if their identity has come into question after Ron's death. Again, thanks for the read and review :)
Julia, this is beautiful. You have managed to turn a one-shot into poetry or poetry into a one-shot - I do not know.
I'm not a Pumpkin Pie fan, but I find this to be so believable and right. It is right.
Your prose is wonderful, gorgeous, gripping, terrifyingly emotional. The pain and the hurt and the loss is palpable.
Sometimes he just wants her to scream, because then at least one of them will feel.
This is one of many examples where you are able to convey so much truth and feeling to a situation that most of us have been in at some point in our lives. Why can't we cry out, feel the pain, be the pain?
I particularly love your structure here - how you begin with a waking - the hurtful realisation that one of his best friends is dead - and end with a reawakening, realising that not everything - not everyone - dies. He has Hermione. And it is enough.
Beautiful, Julia. Just beautiful.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for such a lovely review, Lia! I'm glad I could evoke such a positive response from a Draco/Ginny shipper like yourself XD This fic is all about that journey of complete and utter hopelessness to the realisation that life does go on. As you said, it is something deeply familiar (or eventually will be) to most of us and I am so glad you thought I wrote that well. I always aim to be genuine with my fics, so thank you :) And thank you for the rec in the SBBC, too! ~Julia.
This one-shot is absolutely *beautiful*. Your way with words makes this piece seem almost rhythmic, in a poetic sense. In fact, this story almost did remind me of a poem, because it was so filled with emotion. I have never read a fic before that displayed that much feeling so deeply. Every emotion rang true; your expression of grief was heartbreakingly accurate. Reading through this story with your descriptive language and thorough emotions almost made me feel as though *I* was Harry. It made the entire piece feel all the more real.
I liked how it only took a few short paragraphs to morph the relationship of Harry and Hermione. Your characterization is brilliant...usually in Harmony fics one or more of the characters are really OOC. I loved that Harry and Hermione's grief and need for closeness brought them together--how their relationship *needed* to strengthen in order for them to not feel so empty.
Beautiful job on this, it is really a piece of art. :]
Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much for a lovely review! I really did want to write this as a sincere portrayal of what it would be like for Harry and Hermione to lose Ron. I felt as if they would retreat from the outside world into this very dark cocoon that only contained each other. I'm so glad that you thought I portrayed this well. I agree with you about a lot of Harry.Hermione fics seeming out of character. I really believe that the pairing can be written believably and keeping the two of them in character is possible. You just need to have them in the right situation and head-space. Again, thanks so much for the review. It's made my day :)
Julia, your prose is just so beautiful and emotional it's amazing. This piece is like a character study of grief more than a plot-driven, action-packed story, and I wish I could do that. Each word seems so carefully chosen to say and mean exactly what you want it to. And then paints such a stark, vivid picture of Harry going through something so life-changing. I think your use of repetition in particular - words, short phrases - really punctuates what you are trying to convey. Poor Harry. And yet, by the end, with those last words, I sense that he has turned around. The last two words leave the reader with hope - at least, that's how I read it, and I hope that's right!
Really fantastic writing. I hope I can write a Harmony story like this for you and Jess someday. ;)
Author's Response: Wow, Gina, thanks for the lovely review! Hm, a lot of my recent fics have been more character studies than anything else. I like to think about how characters react in different situations and take things from there. I'm glad you enjoy the repetition. I always seem to do it subconsciously and I worry that I go overboard. Luckily, my wonderful betas are there to tone it down! As you noticed, this is really about Harry (and Hermione) working through their grief. It is angsty but I wanted to end it with some glint of hope - that maybe they could get through this, one day, even if for now it more of an acceptance than anything else. But thanks so much for the lovely review. And I hope you write that Harmony one day, oh Canonista Supreme! <3
Hello - die hard canonista here, ha ha.
This is very well written,. Julia. You really do have a wondrous talent for evocative and atmospheric scenes. The depth between this pairing is quite beautiful. I'm not a Harmony fan, I think you know that, but I could see this as viable in an AU world, with Ron dead and all that. Mind you, I get the impression that they're helping each other to heal, and it's still a great friendship bond that they have ... but possibly not love? Okay, that's my canon gut kicking in. Personally, I don't see a spark in the books, but then there's no spark anywhere between Lavender and Blaise so who am I to talk? - LOL.
Sorry, this is a barely coherent or literary review, but I do love reading your stories because of your writing and characterisation. Great job - as always. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Hey, Carole! Thanks for the lovely review. I actually agree with you about Harry and Hermione helping each other to heal rather than starting a viable relationship in this fic. It's not really a romance at all and that's why I put it in Dark/Angsty. They just sort of fall together as a result of what has happened. Ron has died and they have gone from three to two so this fic is more about two people trying to heal. Thank you for your lovely compliments. It really does mean a lot to me :)
Wow that was really well thought out. I love the way two of them find healing together, you made it very believeable. Alot of people try the concept of one of the trio dying, but I haven't read one yet like this that really shows the emotional pain, and the journey to healing. Nice job :)!
Author's Response: Thank you for the lovely review! I've often considered what it would be like if one of the trio had died. Throughout all the books it is a very real possibility (and not just for Harry but for all three) and it's almost a miracle that none of them died. I really wanted to explore the emotions of what it would be like to lose such an integral part of their friendship. This has been in the works for a long time so I'm glad you found it emotionally plausible and well-thought out. Again, thanks for the great review.
Ooh, I love it when Ron dies, because that means that Hermione is freeeeee. :) (yeah, I'm not morbid or horrible at all)
Seriously, though...luv luv luv. The use of present tense just seems to catapult me into the moment, into what is being felt by Harry. It also gives me a sense of kinship to his situation. It's like I'm there, inside his head, hearing his thoughts, his guilt, and his pain. It's quite an extraordinary experience.
I do have to say that I am a (tiny) bit confused. I'm pretty sure that the girl at first is Hermione, but I'm not certain. She could be Ginny, but I don't know for sure. Perhaps you could enlighten me, or at least point out the obvious so that I may facepalm myself later.
I'm in love with Harmony so very much right now (I've been writing!), so this piece is just a little booster shot to my resolve to get it written and out there.
Completely lovely, as usual. Heart you, Julia Greenleaf. :D
~Jess/Overlord/That Bitch 'Cross the Pond
Author's Response: Thanks, Jess!
The girl is Hermione all the way through - when Ginny is mentioned it is Harry thinking back to their days together during his sixth year. o/ I hope that isn't too confusing! Her presence all the way through sort of indicates she is the same girl from the beginning. But perhaps I should have made it more clear!
I really love using the present tense. I find it more interesting and more emotive - for my writing style anyway. As you said, it really puts the reader in the moment and when I'm writing I feel like I AM the character - in this case, Harry. Again, thanks so much for the review :)
Julia/Middle Earthling/Elven queen/ummmm, the nerd from the bottom of the world XD