God, I get so depressed when I think about Hogwarts during the seventh book. Hogwarts is supposed to be a happy place, you know? I really liked this story though. It's really good to see Neville and Seamus being strong. Nice job!
Author's Response: Thanks!
Again, stunning characterization of Neville! Love your mention of his bunny slippers, those are the kind of details that I really love and just seem to make a story that much better. And I love how you extended the friendship of Neville and Seamus as well, I didn't really think before about Seamus having even more scars and cuts and bruises than Neville, but your fic provoked me to and made me think more about him. Also love the last couple lines, perfect ending.
Author's Response: Thank you!
I love this! I really do! Neville has always been a favorite of mine and it's nice to read stories like this.
Author's Response: Thank you! He's one of my favorites too.
Good (does some sleuthing) afternoon, Julie!
Your author page was recommended to me by hestiajones, so I decided that I’d pop in when I saw your rather compelling summary pop up on the Most Recent list.
I have to say, I wasn’t expecting this particular characterisation of Neville. Not many focus on his less-than-Gryffindor moments during Year Seven, but I really appreciate that you did the focus on Neville’s apprehension about being in a room that used to have ambient noises but no longer does. It’s sort of like being used to falling asleep with the telly on and then sleeping over at someone else’s place — someone who requires quiet. You took one of those tiny little details about being in a strange place and made it work for this all-too-familiar situation. These are the types of things that really help me identify with a character and with a scene, and you did it well.
The idea of a bell going off is sort of strange, since most clock towers and regular clocks don’t ring after ten, but I’m guessing it’s a part of the dream rather than reality. Anything could happen in dreams. Did the bell ring in the dream? I’m curious, now. I also hesitated on the bit where Neville thinks that Harry is better off, because he would know that wasn’t true. By that point, Harry would’ve already been Undesirable No. 1, which would make him a fugitive from the Ministry. I’m not sure anyone would call the constant terror and running as being better off. Maybe if Neville hoped that Harry was doing better, it would have been more in-character.
Neville going to the common room to feel less lonely does strike me as sort of strange, since it’s a cavernous room with no one else but him in it rather than a smaller space where he isn’t actually by himself. I get that he’s imagining he’s with people that formerly occupied the room, hence the allusion to Hermione, but I’m not entirely certain it would help him in that situation. It might be a personal preference, but I thought I’d point it out just the same.
I really like the interaction with Seamus. They commune on one of the deepest level because of what they endured together. I never really considered that Seamus and Neville would become more than mere roommates during Year Seven, but the way you present it makes so much sense. They went from being two guys who happened to share a room to being brothers in arms. Even the bit about fancying Ginny a bit was an interesting detail, since even Blaise Zabini carried a bit of a torch for her. It just adds to the very nice picture of camaraderie and understanding between the two boys.
I do have one minor nitpick about spelling/usage, and it’s here:
McGonagall would gauge out her eyes with her own wand before helping the Carrows.
‘Gauge’ is a completely different word. The appropriate term would be ‘gouge’.
The way you painted Neville’s nightmare, about him being in his cot as Bellatrix essentially took away his parents’ humanity is both horrific and striking. You did it delicately, since it is a rather touchy subject, but you also made it portray the necessary intensity to both touch the reader and tie it into the scene. It was so well done, and I can’t help but think that it did happen that way in canon. Those are my favourite types of stories, the ones that add to what we know of canon and bring a new dimension to it.
Your writing is very easy to read. There are times when an author will lack in variety and put out ‘noun + predicate + comma + repeat’ sentences over and over, but you don’t do that. It allows the actual narration voice to take a backseat to the story itself so the reader can be vested in the characters instead of the prose. Plus, my personal pet peeve is starting two paragraphs in a row with the same world. I could hug you for avoiding that, because things like that can ruin a story. Actually, the opposite is true for your fic, because your attentive writing in essence blends itself out of the picture. It’s hard to explain, but it really makes the story stand out in that certain aspects of it don’t stand out.
The end is just… love. Pure love. In particular, the last line just ties your fic into canon so very well. There had to be some point where Neville decided that he was going to fight the war inside the walls, and I think you picked a good moment. They’d had their small rebellions and pushed the Carrows’ buttons a little bit, but something had to necessitate that the entire DA go into hiding in the Room of Requirement. Now, I’ll forever think of it as a bad night’s sleep for Neville and a declaration that his nightmare would pale in comparison to the one that he’d make for Carrow. It’s a very fist-pumping moment, like it’s Score One for the coming out party of Neville’s bravado.
In conclusion, this is an excellent story. There were a couple bumps, which I pointed out, but they’re rather subjective and you may feel free to ignore me. I think you’re a talented writer, and I hope to read more of your work soon. Thanks for writing such a good piece, and I’m glad I picked it to read.
Take care and happy writing,~Jess
Author's Response: Thank you very much for your review! I'll have to write Natalie a thank you note. The bell can be interpreted any way you like. It's just an easy way to start a nighttime story. The common room has a fire, and the illusion. It is a place where Neville can be. Right, sorry about the typo. I'll fix that ASAP. Thank you for all your positive comments. Julie
I really like this, I think it's awesome :)
Author's Response: Thank you!
Beautiful fic, you portrayed so much character in so few words!! I think it's very interesting that Neville's nightmare is something from his childhood, but something that's still connected to Voldemort. It did remind me of Harry - especially what he sees when Dementors come near him. Of course, your Neville reminded me quite a lot of Harry, I suppose that's the point, in the way that he becomes a leader amongst the students and is willing to take their pain. There is something very fitting about how Neville becomes like this at the end... after all, he very nearly had Harry's fate. Anyway, I'm rambling here... point is, you really showed how he had become brave like Harry.
I liked your point that Neville wishes he was on the run, because at least he'd be doing something. I think that's something very realistic to think; also kind of ironic because the trio spent months camping and feeling like they were doing nothing.
I also liked Seamus in this - obviously something about him changes at the end of OotP, when he believes Harry, but we never really see him stand up to authority as he wasn't in the original DA, until we hear about it in DH. I thought it was likely that he'd been beaten up more than Neville too, as he could never keep his mouth shut.
I loved the details like the bunny slippers, and how in an unfamiliar world we (as humans) always love to grasp on to something familiar, even if it's something we hate. After all, change is always much harder than staying the same. Also I loved how Neville continuously thinks of how things should be - noise in the dorm, Hermione studying etc.
One small thing - you wrote: Neville and Seamus were the only ones who had bothered turning up. . I know the point you're making, but I think indicating that the other boys hadn't bothered to turn up isn't quite right...
Oh dear... I've gone on rather a lot... sorry about that! Loved the fic :)
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Julie
This was really good. But I have a bunch of nitpickers.
A: They use the word 'Nightmare' a TON!!!!
B: Neville said his bunny slippers were stupid, but then he said he was grateful for them.
C: Seamus's and Neville's injuries have to have happened over time. They didn't get them all in the first three months.
But I still liked the story!! Nice idea!
Author's Response: Thank you for writing in. A: It's the title. It was just on my mind. B: Sure, they're dumb, but stupid things can be comforting. C: Some injuries heal, they get new ones. Thanks again! I'm glad you liked it. Julie
Grr. I just lost the review.
Well, I think this is very nice. I think it's because I do a very poor job at my summaries that I think yours was really good. Few people would be able to resist coming in to read this now. It's interesting about fanfiction that it gives us half the world sketched out. I can anticipate what happens at this point in the timeline and for the rest, you have pushed me in the right direction with great description. I love that you highlighted the idea that Neville essentially took Harry's place as the person who leads the student body and doesn't shy from taking other's pain.
Author's Response: Thank you!