OH, Bec, I can't believe I haven't read this before now because this? This is FABULOUS.
I don't know if I've ever read an AU where Hermione has died rather than Ron or Harry (mostly because AU is a dark and scary place) but you did it so well. I totally believed the entire thing, and I don't often buy the premises of AU stories. I loved what Ron is doing. It's not just that, hey, I'm bored, let's think about how Hermione died. It's something much much deeper than that.
The last paragraph. Oh my Salazar, that last paragraph was amazing. It stayed with me for ages after I first read it. I think a last paragraph or even a last sentence can sometimes be the most important part of a fic, and you did that wonderfully.
Anyway this is by no means a SPEW review, but I really enjoyed the story, and good luck in QSQs! :)
Author's Response: Wow, thank you Lily! I've been surprised quite how people do seem to find this believable, considering it is AU, and a rather unusual AU at that, with Hermione dying. Regarding Ron, I think a lot of what he does is much deeper that what people credit him with. Despite Hermione's "emotional range of a teaspoon" comment, Ron has a lot of complicated motivations and reasons behind what he does, which I think is what makes him a difficult character to write. I agree, often the ending of a piece can make or break it, so it's good to know that this one worked for you! So glad you enjoyed it, and thank you again :)
Hello, Bec. :)
Wow. This was a powerful piece. I don’t normally read AU, but this was just wonderful. The characterization was brilliant, the emotion was raw, and I believed what had happened was plausible.
During the entire piece, there were these little details that Ron noticed (and I absolutely loved). You mentioned the smell of the fungi, and Hermione’s perfume, and just the smell of her. I think these details really made the piece. It showed how much Ron loved her, instead of just saying that he did. I also really liked the clock, and how it ruled Ron’s life. It was important when Hermione died, and then it was the center of Ron’s life. That connection was really clever.
I find that Ron is a hard character to write normally, and I couldn’t imagine writing a grieving Ron. :) You did a brilliant job with it, though. I could just feel how much Ron misses her, and you covered all of the emotions of grief: the crushing sadness, the anger, the self-blame, and the regret. The part with Hermione and the photograph was just beautiful. I was hoping that it was all a joke; that Hermione hadn’t died. I love how you had Ron run away- he doesn’t deal with these things very well or privately, and I think it was very possible that without Hermione he would abandon Harry. I also really liked how you included Harry subtly, but too much of the piece wasn’t centered on him. I find that too often he creeps into almost every piece, and I loved how you kept the focus on Ron and Hermione.
One thing I really was not sure on, though, was the AU aspect of this piece. It was explained a bit, but I wasn’t sure if Harry, Ron, and Hermione were ambushed by Death Eaters or Ron and Hermione had run away. It took me a few times reading that bit to really figure out that they had abandoned him. It would have been nice if there was some explanation to why they ran away, because I really don’t think that Ron (or Hermione) would abandon Harry, especially after Ron did the first time. Otherwise, I could really see this story happening. Hermione’s death was very well done- I love how Ron froze. It just made it so much sadder.
That being said, it really was a beautiful piece otherwise, Bec. I loved how you never used Ron or Hermione’s names- somehow that would have dulled the raw emotion for me. It was obvious who they were, but I think not using their names really worked for this piece. The first person fit well, too- it was like I was in the moment with Ron. At times it was almost uncomfortable because the emotion was so raw; it was like I was intruding on a private moment. :) That was amazing.
This really was a brilliant, beautiful, and poignant piece. Congratulations on being featured, because this piece definitely deserves it. :)
Author's Response: Ellie! Thank you so much for such an incredible review! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even though it was outside your comfort zone a little :) The little details were the most fun part of writing this, and pretty much the whole point. It seems to me that memories are so often tied up with the little details. The clock was actually the first thing that got the plot bunny going. I usually find Ron hard to write, so it's always very relieving to know that other people can find my characterisation believable. And, yes, Harry does so often creep in everywhere! Being so long since I wrote this, I had to go and reread it to check on the AU bits and even I'm not entirely sure anymore where I was coming from with the running away business. I think it was just one of those things that took a slight detour between my brain and the keyboard ;) But anyway, thank you again for such a fantastic review, I'm so pleased to know that it worked for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! :D
I simply loved this. It's absolutely beautiful, with very moving imagery, including the ticking of the clock and the dust on the cupboard. I must have missed this when it came through the most recents, but I wanted to check it out once I saw that it had been nominated for a QSQ. I see Katrina mentioned the bit with Ron abandoning Harry... hmm. I kind of agree with her, but I also see that that decision came immediately after Hermione was killed, so I can see Ron really being a bit out of his head right then. So I can see it going either way at that moment. I do think he would have gone back to find out about Harry though. But that is just a detail here in this lovely picture of his grief. The most heartbreaking parts for me were him opening his mouth so often to say something to her and then remembering, and also that he had always wanted to run his hands through her hair, but he never did. What a lovely, sad picture of his grief you've written here. Well done. Good luck with the QSQs ~ this is certainly a worthy nomination! ~Lori
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Lori! I hadn't even seen that it was nominated yet, so I got two great surprises in one, a new review and finding out it got nominated. I'm squee-ing rather a lot over here :) I'm really glad you liked it, that the imagery and emotion worked for you, and especially that you thought Ron's actions were reasonably believable. It's so nice to hear that they were effective like that. So thanks again, and best of luck with your own QSQ nomination, Lori :)
Author's Response: Thank you :)
So sad... Great detail, wonderfull... really wonderfull... So sad... *cries in a corner*
Author's Response: Thank you for reviewing! I'm glad you liked the detail and found it sad, that's what I was aiming for.
This is a very interesting and well-written story, and in general I think you have a great grasp of Ron's character. I liked how he noticed details about her - for example how he recognised her wand so easily - because I think that's definitely a part of his character, and in fanfiction people often seem to write him as rather insensitive (which he can be, but that's not the total sum).
I cannot go even an hour without opening my mouth to tell her something before I remember. That's a really heart-breaking line... for some reason it made me think of what George's life must be like without Fred, and I think that Ron without Hermione would be sort of similar, and you've really evoked that emotion.
I don't think there's a single paragraph in this story which doesn't say 'her' or refer to Hermione is Ron's dialogue, and that really shows the last line I quoted, because he really just can't stop thinking of her.
I loved the ending, because throughout the story you show that Ron's life is all about his memory of her, and stating that at the end really finishes the story off well.
I don't know that Ron would really desert Harry like that - the first time he walked out, he regretted it instantly, although I suppose that could have been more about Hermione than Harry, and obviously the depression he'd sink into after Hermione's death would be far worse than the locket, but I think after leaving that first time, Ron really learnt something about the value of friendship.
Anyway, I know you can't really change it because it's the premise of your story, and it is sort of believable.
I thought your use of present tense was very effective, because the reader is in that moment with Ron the whole way through, and I think you did a great job at really getting inside his head.
One small thing - you've written Even if Harry had chased me it wouldn’t have made a difference. I still would have run. Because I failed him. Failed you. - now I think that's a great line, but I would make it "I failed you" at the end, because I think the "I" just adds to Ron's feeling of guilty and responsibility for her death. Just a little thing.
Lovely story, and I checked on your author page and saw that this was your first one. Really great job!
Wow, Katrina, thanks for such a fantastic in-depth review. I agree that Ron in fanfiction is often written shallowly, but he is human after all and humans are complex beings. I'm glad you think I managed to get good characterisation of him.
I thought through his desertion of Harry for a good while and rewrote that section several times because you're right, he would be reluctant to abandon Harry again. I think he might eventually try and make contact with him again, it's just that witnessing first hand Hermione's death had such a huge emotional impact which he's only just getting his head around it. The pain he felt would have prevented him from fully realising what he was doing. When he did realise I think he would face a dilemma going back, feeling embarrassed and guilty but after time, he would probably return. But yeah, I knew I was kind of stretching things a lot even with that explanation.
Thanks for the suggestion about improving that line, I went and changed it.
A thousand more thanks for such great feedback!
Oh that was a sad story!! But I really liked your writting!
Author's Response: Thank you for your review. I'm never sure if my style is good or not, so I'm glad you liked it.
That's so sad. Poor Ron, finally realizes his feelings for Hermione, and then she dies.
Author's Response: Thank you for reviewing! Yes, Ron has rather a sad time of it here. He's stubborn, including with his feelings so I think he would tend to dwell on it for a long time.