Beautifully written and tremendously paced. It had a perfect tempo and never did you falter when writing. To you I give my compliments. You have done a swell job.
Author's Response: Thank you. :) I'm glad you liked it.
What I love most about this poem is that it reads like a story. The beginning is both carefree and portentous, as readers realize that the ending is an unhappy one for the Founders. It tells a tragic story, but this poem doesn’t use superfluous words or glamorous language to dress up the fact. It is simple, yet through each stanza you are able to tell so much. This is probably one of the best poems I have read on the archives.
I don’t read a lot of poetry – but I’m getting better! – so when I do come across a poem like this I am reminded of why I should lurk this category more often. I love the pairing you’ve created here with Helga and Salazar. Occasionally I have seen him paired with Rowena, but I find the way you write this is so much more plausible. I liked how you showed that despite having different means, they really were happy in the beginning. However, Salazar’s fatal faults were subtly aligned throughout the piece, so his betrayal was not completely out of the blue and still fit what his twisted ideals must have been.
The poem’s tone morphing from the almost frivolous happiness in the beginning to the somber tragedy at the end so wonderfully mirrored the progression of the Founders’ fading friendship as they created the school. One of my favorite lines was: Red and green: contrasting hues/Doomed to clash as discord grew. I liked how you provided a physical metaphor to the opposing views of Godric and Salazar and how their fierce support of their personal ideas would undoubtedly lead to the demise of their friendship. It really shows what a time bomb the group’s entire cooperation was – working until one day they had to snap.
I loved the dueling scene between Godric and Salazar. I thought it was extremely realistic, fitting both the time period and the personalities of the two men. It was interesting how Salazar almost triumphed, as at first I thought Godric would be the one to win on his own because of his being the first Gryffindor. But then, a Slytherin’s cunning would have made a bigger long-term impact on the duel, most likely. Anyway, I like how Godric didn’t win completely fairly, embodying an absolute ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side to the fight. You did a great job of showing how Godric Gryffindor, who is so revered by the main characters of canon, was not perfect. Not only did this scene have me reading with bated breath, but I also thought your characterization here was magnificent.
The end was written so potently. I thought you did a great job of showing how it took Helga’s death to make Godric and Rowena face their own flaws as well has how the discord might have been prevented if they had been loyal and able to look past differences, like the Lady Hufflepuff. It was especially clever how you wove in the origin of the first years taking boats across the lake to the castle. It was details like this that really made this poem feel like it could slip seamlessly into canon. I feel as though if Rowling read this poem, she would have few – if any – changes in your portrayal of the Founders and how they began to fall apart.
In the books especially, Hufflepuff is probably the most understated House. It was refreshing to read your poem on Helga Hufflepuff. She really was the most good of the three; she had the best intentions, in any case, of the four of them. I think that the way you’ve written her shows very clearly her acceptance and genuine love towards the school and all the students. The line in the books (and I’m very roughly paraphrasing here) that states ‘Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest’ in one of the Sorting ceremonies really rang true throughout this poem. Helga, in this, wasn’t prejudiced or biased towards a group of students that had certain qualities – she loved them all the same. That is one message that will be ubiquitously taken by readers of this poem, as it is arguably the most important.
Thank you for this poem, I really did enjoy reading it.
Author's Response: Hi, Ariana. Thank you for the lovely, long review. -loves Jess for doing poems in SPEW- I will attempt to address *most* of what you've said. xD
Re: no superfluous words or glamorous language for the tragedy. Hmm I'll agree with no superfluous words - I was trying to keep the amount of words down as I was writing it, it just kept *growing* as it was - I'm not so sure about glamorous language. I had a bit of fun using old fashioned/poetic words or wording. (Off the top of my head - "bourn" and "bower" spring to mind). I have way too much fun with that. But the next bit set me blushing. <3
Haha - I have never lurked this cat. Eep! I do most of my poetry-reading in PA, lol. Helga and Salazar were...never a pairing I shipped before this poem (I always vaguely thought Ravenclaw/Slytherin, Gryffindor/Hufflepuff if anything) but honestly it worked with the...theme, I guess...of loyalty that I wanted to slip in here. And then I started liking it because...really, Helga's best and most characteristic trait was her compassion. I'm not sure Rowena would put up with Salazar's nonsense, while Helga would be willing to overlook his flaws and see the best in him. Like you said, though, Godric and Salazar had opposing sets of ideals, and they both had their pride, so eventually something bad was bound to happen.
Honestly, the original reason I had Godric not win outright was that it didn't make sense - logistically - for Salazar to just be beaten because then he'd be under their power. Whereas if he hurt Gryffindor, then faced another battle, he might run. However I do think they were at their very least evenly matched, and the duel might have gone either way. And really I don't think the duel was about good and bad. I don't agree with Salazar's point of view, but neither should Gryffindor have been setting himself at their head, and it was really a clash of their egos in the end. Rowena, by stepping in, showed herself loyal to Gryffindor, and Salazar, outnumbered and out to save his own skin at this point, simply ran. Helga, however, had to choose between her loyalties at this point: friends or lover? She chose Salazar at first, but in the end she realized that was a mistake and that he knew no loyalties except to himself, so she returned to her friends.
Rowena's flaws are not really central to this, because really it's Godric's and Salazar's fight (some things never change), but I did want to underscore how in their pride and arrogance they forgot about bonds of loyalty and friendship, whereas Helga was unwaveringly loyal and trusting. I think here lies the difference between Godric and Salazar: Godric immediately regretted the fight and its consequences, whereas Salazar left a legacy of hatred and intolerance and probably (though who knows, really) never truly regretted the events of that night.
The origin of the first years taking boats is something I've wanted to work into a story for ages, and I'm glad I finally found both a reason for it and an excuse to use it. And aww - that's really sweet, that you think Rowling would approve.
Haha I think I am ridiculously loyal to the fictional founder of my fictional house. This was sort of a love letter to my house, trying to show that in the end it's not the useless good-loser house. I love love love her compassion. The line, by the way, is "Said Hufflepuff, 'I'll take the lot,/And teach them just the same.'" It could be interpreted as "Hufflepuff is the misfit house," but really it's "Hufflepuff is the house of compassion and looking past differences." I'm very very glad you took that message from this poem, and hope that others will, as you predicted.
Thank you so so much for this lovely review, and I'm sorry about the tl;dr response. I really did love writing this poem (even if rhyming sucks while doing it!) and get me talking about Hufflepuff's virtues...lol.
I reallyliked this poem at the time you wrote it, Minna, and with the added verses, you've only improved it.
I know the original poem reasonably well, so I didn;t have to read it to appreciate waht an excellent job you've done with the rhyme and rhythm in this version. I also appreciate the pairing. So often we see Rowena and Salazar paired up, and Helga comes across as the dumpy one who likes cooking, but here she's a real living, breathing and loving person. *sobs*
“She’s kept her vow,” spoke Gryffindor In husky tones: “She’ll leave no more. She was the best among us four, The Lady Hufflepuff.”
My favourite set of lines. that was really lovely.
Great poem. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Thanks! Glad you liked this poem. I think it needed the extra verses all along but I was just like "MEH get it over with" when first writing it. As for pairings - I always see Claw/Slyth and Puff/Gryff for some reason but I liked Helga/Salazar because it's more fun for the idea of loyalty which I wanted for this poem for some reason. Also - whoever says that's all there is to Hufflepuff - dumpiness and cooking - needs to get their head examined. After all, she was one of the four greatest witches and wizards at the time - and also probably the nicest. I love her "I'll take everyone and treat them just the same" philosophy. (Sorry - I am way too loyal to the fictional founder of my fictional house. -rolls eyes- Ignore my ranting). Thanks agin for the lovely review. -hugs-
Wow, love it! Especially the rhyming, you really pulled it off! I can see how you won!
Author's Response: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.