How have I not read this before, Ariana, because with damaged Ravenclaws and angst, it's so far up my street? I really enjoyed it.
You gave Padma so much depth as a character and really set up that twin relationship so well. I loved the way you made her and Parvati so outwardly different, but yet in the end the same at the deepest level, with that steely streak of defiance that ran through them both, and also so connected by the bond between the pair of them. It was a wonderfully subtle touch to show the effect of their estrangement on Padma because that echoes back at the end as a pale shadow of what Padma must have gone through being permanently separated from her sister.
I always think it's fascinating to see those students who didn't necessarily choose to take a stand against the Carrows but yet hated the new regime. I tend to think there must have been a fair few of them, because life isn't black and white and not everyone is always a brave hero or an evil villain. Plenty of people just want to keep their heads down and get on with their own quiet lives. I think you did a really good job of portraying that in Padma and the difficulty of that for her.
I think I've said this about your writing before, but you do have a real skill for covering wide swathes of time in your story. You cover the whole of seventh year in a series of vignettes, but it doesn't feel rushed, and it never feels like any section either starts with an info-dump of what's happened in the interim or, conversely, leaves me confused as to what has passed 'off-screen'.
You kept up a really tense atmosphere really well throughout the whole story, which is impressive given its length. There weren't really any truly light moments in the story: even Padma's burgeoning relationship with Terry didn't feel like a break in the tension because there was always a note of intensity and desperation to it and a looming cloud of impending tragedy. Yet, it never felt oppressive either, which is a very fine line to walk.
I always figured that Padma would lose someone, but the ending still felt like a punch to the stomach. Terry's death was sad, but I felt like Padma would survive it because she still had her sister at the end of the last vignette we saw. Then suddenly, you announced so starkly that she didn't even have that and the bleak, lonely world of this old lady came into heart-wrenching focus.
You have a real talent for writing emotion without it spilling into melodrama. Padma was a woman who'd lost everything, and I really, really felt that. The cascade of deaths and then blindness, on paper, sounds like Greek tragedy and too much to be convincing and yet you made it work without overplaying your hand at all, maybe because you didn't show the immediate aftermath but instead showed the effect on Padma both intensified and yet softened by the passing of a great deal of time.
The ending is so intensely tragic: this image of a lonely, old woman, buried in darkness in so many ways, with no joy left in life except in memories that bring as much heartache as pleasure and no will to live but no will to end the pain either, just waiting for death throughout a life that ironically spans many decades. I think an echo of this story and the tragedy of that image will stay with me for a long time.
A truly breathtaking story, dear.
Author's Response: Hannah, I was so happy to get a review from you! I forgot you loved the Ravenclaws so much…I'm so glad you thought I characterized them well. And I'm happy you didn't think the breaks were too choppy. The fic was already getting way, way too long that I didn't think I had time to cover every minute of her year there at Hogwarts. Thank you so, so much for leaving this absolutely lovely review! It made me smile, as I didn't think I would be getting any new reviews for this story . xx Ariana
Hi there, Ariana! I’ve been meaning to leave a review for this story. Now I finally found the time to do it! :D So first of all, the introduction was a very nice opening. A theatrics of sorts, like how a movie opens in Hollywood norm, but I really did not expect Padma to sit through most of her life reliving that fateful May day. It just seems so heartbreaking.
Second, I thought it was simply perfect for you to pick the Patil sisters as your choice of main characters. Having almost the same ethnic background as them (‘almost’ because I’m not entirely sure which “clan” you belong to), it would be easy to channel your own culture to their story. But since I didn’t see much of that cultural side, I guess I could say I was only a tad bit disappointed.
Onto the first scene: It was great how you set up the atmosphere of it; the current thoughts going through Padma’s head and how the latest events affected her. It draws the reader in if not for the opening. The difference between the twins was already clearly seen: Padma being pragmatic Ravenclaw and Parvati being the headstrong Gryffindor. (Side note: Okay, I just remembered the movie doing them injustice. i.e. the twins being both in Gryffindor). Anyway, back to the story, Padma’s stress is. . . palpable. I’m sympathetic for her and I think that’s one of the reasons I found this story engaging. Terry’s visit was interesting – a first look at his character from your point of view. So he’s with the Gryffindors and is trying to convince Padma to join. Not much of depth, but it is only the first scene. The entrance to Hogwarts was heartbreaking, too. I can’t imagine a grown man looking at an 11 year old girl with enough malice that makes one’s neck grow cold. It illustrates the horrible situations of war.
Second scene: Still stressful, I see. It’s hard not to when the Carrows want you to write such an essay. It was a believable topic. I liked the situation in which Padma’s relationship with Mandy is. It keeps the environment of ‘school-and-the-problems-it-brings.’ It was something to balance the war that was going on, and added the reality of being a teenager. I thought the last part – the words she wrote in her essay – was brilliant. “—those who were strong enough to survive without magic.” Most adequate reason I’ve ever read to describe why a certain kind of wizards and witches hate muggles.
Third scene: Oh, that was a nice show of characterization for Padma. It was like backing down from a promise one makes when he was drunk and just utterly careless and free. And her realization of Terry’s small victory was a lovely addition. It was a simple sentence showing her insight about it. It was almost like she was envious of not having that sort of feeling when you win – when you make yourself proud.
So the story goes with more pressure coming from her housemates. About that scene with Terry in the common room, I thought it was a bit strange. I mean, they dated (or perhaps just tried one date?), they broke it off, and reaching that topic was. . . uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like Padma was uncomfortable with it so I guessed she was truly over it. . . or she was just really relaxed. I’m confusing myself. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t get a clear reaction from Padma about what she thought about her conversation with Terry. And that made the interpretation to be rather ambiguous for me. Adding to the suspense, maybe?
When Parvati left Padma with ‘take care,’ I felt goosebumps. I mean, I’d feel terrified if my sister left to hide somewhere in the castle without any understanding of how it was going to be for her. I liked how Parvati’s acts continually revert back to Padma’s – she keeps on berating herself on how she could never be as brave. It showed admiration between sisters.
The stunt with Carrow – a nice description would be: ‘one of Padma’s drunken moments.’ A bold move, that one. Can’t pretend I was impressed and expected it at the same time.
And now to the Battle Scene! Desperation was there, all right, and the thoughts of ‘who would it be’ running through every mind. Parvati’s insistence of going away was heartbreaking (yes, that word again). Even I can sense there was something wrong, and you kept the suspense going. And then I find out Terry’s dead. (At this point, I really want to go caps and say ‘how could you?!’ with never-ending exclamation points) Casualties of war – I hate that.
I really didn’t want to cry. It’s just not my thing, but that resolve broke down when I reached the ending. Her sadness, her ache, it was. . . inspiring. To hope for life to just end to see the people you love, it’s touching but I felt like I wanted to hit her on the head. I mean, no one bothered to even poke her to no end about moving on? Padma hid behind the darkness that she could now only see, and the thought of that with those bittersweet memories lurking in her mind. . . it’s beautiful. Sort of twisted to say, maybe, but emotions are like the splattered colors on a palette, and the right mixtures always move an art admirer to somewhere the painter has been. It was a lovely read, Ariana, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you for writing this story, and I hope you get a move on with your marauder fic. :D
Author's Response: Yay for epically long reviews! Thank you so much for reviewing this, Dinny! :) I'm glad you liked it, overall. I didn't mean for this to turn out to be such a sad story, but it just sort of unfolded that way if you know what I mean. I would have added more cultural-ness, but to be honest I don't feel confident that I would get everything right, and I was just too scared I would mess something up and that would take away from the story. Her conversation with Terry wasn't uncomfortable because underneath their relationship was a really deep friendship…I think it's important for friendship to be the root of many romantic relationships because it seems to give depth to it. Anyway, they were both still comfortable around each other (when Terry wasn't trying to "convert" her :)), because of the underlying friendship. I'm so, so happy you liked it, Dinny! It means so much to me. I've written another chapter of the Marauder fic but I'm trying to write more so I can bank up on them before I post :). xx Ariana PS, thank you for the gorgeously beautiful banner for this story!
This was really excellent! I really liked the way you portrayed Padma, it was really believable but original. Especially her relationship with her sister, it wasn't overdone or anything, just perfect.
I also really liked Terry, and I was still shell-shocked when he died, even though i suspected that would happen. i felt like the scene where Padma was going to be forced to curse Terry could have been more drawn-out and dramatic (yknow, like if Alecto were to curse Padma instead, and Terry then intercepted, or something) but that's just my personal taste.
all in all, that was really really good :) my only (slight) complaint was that i'd like more Terry. lol:)
Author's Response: Ooh, thank you so much for your review! I'm so glad you liked Padma's portrayal and the relationships with her sister and Terry. I'm glad his death still had an impact for you, because I know when I'm reading stories like these it's usually easy to guess who will die. Thanks again, so much, for taking the time to review this! :) xx Ariana
Whoa. Ariana, this was flat amazing! If these finals were in competition with each other, I believe I would go delete mine right now. LOL. What a fantastic story! I tend to think of Padma and Pavarti in the same mold, but what a wonderful job you have done here of giving them each a distinct personality with strengths and weaknesses of their own... and yet their connection as sisters was always present as well.
Your Terry was just wonderful, there is no other way to say it. I love the disappointment he had in her, and the fact that something in him would not give up on her either. What a great scene in the common room by the fire. I like that he just blurted out the apology about what had happened before. Conversations really do happen that way, and it felt very believable to me, all of that.
Nice magic in the RoR, with the wall of privacy popping up... cool touch. ;)
I blanced a bit a the easy use of the Cruciatus Curse by Padma, instead of, say, another immobilizing curse. But times are extreme and she has been pushed to the limit.
I had to read the last line twice to realize she did not kill herself. I'm glad you left it at more of a desire/temptation instead of having her do it. Her old-age perspective is so painful that to have her do that would almost be too much for me to take as a reader.
Loved this so much. I will now go and add it to my favorites. It was fun being in class with you... I loved reading your drabbles and discussing with you.
Author's Response: Oh dear, I can't believe I haven't responded to this yet, considering this review probably made my entire week :). Thank you so, so much for reviewing this! I'm incredibly happy that you liked reading it (and I'm glad they're not in competition, too, because there's no way this would stand against your kick-butt characterization of Ginny…I still can't get over how well you know her!). And I'm glad you liked Terry too, yay! I really loved writing him, which made it all the more sad when the ending came along. Haha, and I'm thrilled that you liked the RoR scene…I didn't want it to be *too* awkward with Padma and Ernie in the same room. You know, I never really imagined Padma using a different curse (probably because I wrote it with 'Crucio' in the original drabble) but I see your point now. I do think it was a little dramatic. And I'm sorry the ending was a little confusing, but I would definitely not have her kill herself. I imagine her with no will to do much of anything except for relive her memories, and await the day she will naturally join those she has lost. You don't have to add this to your favorites, but I'm so glad that you did! I really enjoyed being in this class with you--your comments were always so wonderful to read. Hope to see you next term! xx Ariana
Holy Crap! that's the best story i have ever read on fanfiction! it was amzing. so detailed and well thought out. it's obvious this took time planning. i loved it. this story is just amazing. keep writing. you may even get a carrer out of it ! i cant wait to read some more of your stories. great job!!!!!!! (:
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much! It makes me so, so happy to hear that you liked it that much :). This is the longest one-shot I've written so far so I'm definitely proud of it in that respect. I would *love* to make a career out of writing, and hearing you say that means a lot so thank you! xx Ariana
This was a really interesting story. Your characterisation of Padma was really great - from what little we see of her in the books, she really fitted that and you added to her. I really liked the perspective - as in, not wanting to fight, just wanting to survive - as we don't see that in canon ever really (it's not as if Harry was every not going to fight...). Anyway. The ending was beautifully sad. I also liked how you didn't make the romance the centre of this story, but instead used it to develop her character more and that sort of thing. It was definitely an interesting twist to have Padma end up blind, I thought that was very interesting.
Just a query about your opening - you talk about her remembering the "golden years of her past", and even though you then go on to explain that they often cause her pain, it didn't really sit quite right with me...
Anyway, great fic, it was a good portrayal of a different perspective! And also very tragic, especially the part that Padma never managed to move on.
Author's Response: Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review this story :). I'm glad you thought Padma was alright, and that you didn't think the ending was too horribly sad. As horrible as it sounds, I think that part was the easiest for me to write. About the opening…the "golden years" that Padma remembers cause her pain because although they symbolize everything wonderful that happened in her life, they are also a reminder that everything has changed, and she has lost everything of meaning to her. Again, thanks so much for this review! xx Ariana
Wow. I'm very sorry this doesn't have more reviews.
I really liked the concept. I don't think I've read a detailed story with Padma as the main character like that. You really stayed in character, even if we don't get to see much of Padma and Parvati, you can tell one's a Gryffindor and one's a Ravenclaw.
Padma comes across as being very practical in her decisions, as Ravenclaws are. Your characterization was done really well.
I've always wanted to read a story from the point of view of someone who was not for the Dark Lord, but not really wanting to take part in the fight against him. I was really pleased with this!
Author's Response: Thanks so much for taking the time to review (and for being the first!). I'm so happy you liked Padma and thought she was In Character. She was sort of a challenge to write as I didn't always agree with her at times :). And it makes me so glad to hear that you were pleased with the outcome. Thanks again for this wonderful review! xx Ariana