You’re right, they are a strange pairing. But you totally make them work in this story. I’ve honestly been meaning to read this since I was told about it, but only have gotten a chance to now, and I must say that I love it. You have always had a certain knack with stories. At least in my opinion.
I love your description and your dialogue. I felt bad for Harry in the beginning, being all alone and having a boring life. Plus his wand breaking again, that would have been a bad thing for any day. At first I wondered if Harry really would be one to get drunk like that and the more I thought about it the more I thought that he probably would. It’s not like he’s getting drunk constantly, it was just one occurrence, and for a darn good reason too in my opinion.
Great imagery. I really felt like I was in the story itself seeing it all happen as sort of a bystander. You put me into the story with all of the vivid imagery, which I love. I can’t really name specifics of what I love most about this story, because it just all came together in such a way that I can’t pick one aspect that sticks out the most.
You really did a good job pulling me into this story. I had the whole thing to read at once (thank god) so I never had to go through that cliffhanger. I know that if I hadn’t had it all to read though, I’d be pretty desperate for more about now. So kudos for that!
I think I have to go read more of your stories now. You are a fabulous author!
I'm glad you enjoyed this, especially as a H/G shipper. One of the cool things about Harry is that the way his character is, his life could go several different ways and still do so plausibly. He could live the dream and marry his Hogwarts sweetheart. He could fall into a rut and grow dissatisfied with the mundaneness of everyday life. He could also fall into himself and need someone to pull him back out. With a little bit of jiggery-pokery, any of these could happen.
You've given an interesting description of my description, I must say. I'm glad, of course, that it works that way, because I'm one of the type of people who hate reading things that bludgeon me over the head with description and metaphor. Hence why my own work tends to stray toward the simple-yet-concise. Whether I get there or not is an entirely different matter, but there you go.
No, there never would've been a wait on this story. I wrote it for a SPEW swap when one of the members flaked out on her story. I wrote this in two days and didn't even stop to edit. It's since then been poked into submission, though. I'm glad my flurried effort works, though. Those tend to be my best stories, the ones that just *happen*.
Thanks for stopping in, and squishes!
All I can say is that was really amazing. The entire story was great my friend :D
I'm so glad you liked it. See, many people get rather offended when Harry is paired off with someone other than Ginny, but he's actually one of my favourite characters to work with in other ships. Sometimes, a couple of people who've been kicked around a bit need a change of scenery, including who they share their lives/bed with.
Anyway, I shall not ramble. Instead, I will thank you for this lovely review. The story has a lot of reads but few reviews, so I was a bit worried everyone hated it and was just afraid to tell me so, lol.
I find myself wondering how it could possibly be that I haven't read this before, Jess. It's clearly a major oversight on my part, and one I'm glad I've rectified now.
The funny thing is that reading a story of yours is always like revisiting an old friend even when, as with this one, I actually haven't read it before. I think it's because your writing style is so familiar to me now but also that your stories are so easy to read. Of course I don't mean they are simplistic or anything like that! What I mean is that there is something so comfortable about reading your writing. I know that, reading something by you, I can just relax and enjoy the story without being jarred out of the story by awkward phrasing or the like.
I also appreciate how matter of fact your writing is too though. Your style is quite stripped down, and you don't try too hard to be over-fancy or over-'literary' in doing silly things with tense or point of view or anything. What I think is great is that you really let the plot and the characters speak for themselves and don't fog that core of the story with trying-too-hard-to-be-clever-and-actually-making-yourself-look-like-a-moron-instead-style literary tricks.
It means that actually, when you do throw in a metaphor or some other device, it really shines. For example, I adored the phrasing of 'vomited mirth', because whilst that moment where you have to laugh or you'd cry instead must be a familiar one to almost anyone, you succeed in pathologising it with that phrasing. You hint at it being something darker, more akin to illness or perhaps even madness, by that one simple phrase, and that's so effective. And you know me and my love for moments of dark imagery.
It barely needs saying that you characterise Harry flawlessly since it's been said so many times before, but you do just seem to have such a natural affinity with him. He retains his essential 'Harry-ness' despite being this jaded, cynical, burnt-out shadow of himself. The contrast is set up wonderfully between the wide-eyed boy, full of wonder at the magical world, who first wandered into Ollivander's, and this man who is returning with so little interest in the process that he would just take the first wand to come to hand, if he were allowed. I can't for the life of me decide if I want to hug him or shake him.
Katie is such an interesting take on her character here too. Obviously, there's a lot more flexibility with her than Harry in many ways and you can mould her however you need her for the story, but at first glance it's hard to see much of any similarity between this bitter shell of a woman and the hopeful, albeit naive, version of her in In the Ashes. I can actually see though how life going against her could take her on this path. She's not very good at being strong and standing up for herself so I could see her being dominated by her husband like this and yet with that constant conflict tearing her apart inside because there is that braver, more Gryffindor side to her that hates her weakness too. I think the damage to her in many ways was probably as much wrought by her own hands as by Roger (not to excuse the way he treated her at all though).
I do love the way that you can write such subtle darkness. This is in many ways, I suppose, the 'fluffier' end of your repertoire at first glance, but actually the characters ate still comprehensively messed up and make a fascinating psychological study. Your stories, and most especially your characters, are never simple even if, like here, they may seem a little deceptively so at first. There's such depth of characterisation even where the darkness isn't explicit.
Is there anything better than a review from you? I'm thinking not, because it makes my grin like an idiot to see your name at the top of the review. Always excellent, and always bringing such joy.
I love that you appreciate the way I write. I acknowledge that my work tends to be on the simple side, and sometimes I feel like that makes it inferior. But then you swoop in and review like a champ and make me feel like deciding against pretence and masked meaning was the right choice.
Harry, I suppose, will always be the character I love the most. I see so much of him - past present and future - beyond what the books say that I can't help but imagine the possibilities of how his life could've turned out if not for that noisome little epilogue. His desire for normalcy in his life, to me, is one of the things that makes him a real and relatable character, and something I try to put into his portrayal when I write him.
You know how I feel about Katie. She is very much naive, like she was in In the Ashes, but in this story, her unworldliness led her to someone who wasn't patient with that aspect of her and squashed the innocence right out of her. Git.
Overall, I think I like the idea of characters who really need each other in other ways than sex. It's about being anchored to life and not letting it slip away, only to wake up at age forty and seeing crow's feet, a bored expression, and a wardrobe full of clothes for only one. It makes them so irrevocably and irresistibly human.
Anyway, gorgeous review, and thank you for participating in the review drive. I need to shake the stick and get people to do it more. I'm glad you like the story, and if you'd like the smuttier version...check spewswap. :D
I'm glad that you're enthused about the story, but I'm afraid that this is all there is to it. As my mental picture of their relationship isn't what I'd call a happy ending, I actually prefer to leave it short and joyful. :)
OHHH, you can't leave it there ... impossible! Well, not really, I actually think that's a great ending to a fine story. Harry in a crisis at work and meeting someone in equal turmoil. Brilliant.
I liked Katie a lot in this. It's sad that she became so hard and cynical because she was always the sweet girl on the team. I believe she and Harry will heal each other (and have a cracking good time) so YAY for telling their story.
I was a bit puzzled that Kingsley took the resignation so well, but when you added the line about how Harry had been fighting since he was 15 that made sense. Kingsley isn't the coolest guy in the history of the Ministry for nothing. Seriously, someone needs to give that man a sex life - ha ha ha.
Really enjoyed this, Jess, so well done. ~Croll~
Lol, I stopped the story where I did to make sure I didn't give them an unhappy ending, as I'm wont to do. This way, there is a promise of flying and smut and a relationship that may or may not work out but one hopes it does.
I actually considered Kingsley's reaction carefully. See, he isn't a BAMF for nothing. There are few things about the people who work under him that he doesn't know, and I would think he would keep an especially close eye on the MLE. He would've noticed the gradual decline in Harry's work performance, which no one would've said directly, given that he's Harry. And I believe Kingsley to be very shrewd about people, and I think he realised long before Harry did that this wasn't what he wanted to do anymore. It was something he'd actually expected to happen eventually, or, if not, something he might've even suggested.
Hmm, Kingsley smut...I might have to cook something up one of these days.
Anyway, *hugs Croll*
I already told you this on LJ but I love this story, so so much. In terms of rare-pairs I've never really thought about Harry being with anyone but Hermione - which really isn't a rare-pair.
But you've converted me :). I am a definite fan of Harry/Katie now, especially the cynical, sarcastic Katie here. I feel like Harry needs someone a lot more hard-edged and a lot less red-headed than Ginny, what with everything he's gone through. And Katie fits the bill perfectly.
I'm enjoying re-reading this so much. The writing here is beautiful, and I love that they are brought together by flying - because that's always been the part of the Wizarding World that fascinated me the most.
And I'm so glad I know what happens already otherwise I would be pulling out my hair waiting for the update :D.
Did I mention that I'm in love with this title?
I'm so, so glad you liked this story. It took me about halfway through it to sit and think: was I writing something you'd like? I just assumed that, since we have similar tastes, that you would enjoy something like this, but uncertainty hit me like a ton of bricks halfway through. Thank Merlin that worked out.
Oddly enough, Harry/Katie is one of the ships I always loved for some bizarre reason. I wrote them a bit in VoJP (don't read it; it's pants) as a sideplot sort of thing, but I always wondered what would've happened if they'd ended up together.
And fyi, this was the fifth incarnation of a title for this story. I didn't do well in that regard, so I gravitated toward soemthing obvious. XD
No no no. I'm far more upset about the wand breaking than Harry breaking up with Ginny - ha ha. But I VIOLENTLY disagree with him getting a new one. He should have broken into Dumbledore's coffin, nicked the Elder wand to mend his own. That's not at all creepy and OOC *snigger*
Interesting story, Jess. I do like your characterisation of everyone. Ollivander stuck out for me, not really sure why, but I loved that scene in the wand shop. Why did you decide on those combinations?
O have some foreknowledge of this story, but can't wait to read it all on here (inbetween all the qsq and brawl thingies).
Great, original story - reminds me a little of Wild Card .... heh heh heh.
When I was foraging in my brain for a premise for a Harry/Katie, the idea of a broken wand stuck as a motif for broken dreams and changed perspectives. I felt bad for his wand, as it had already bit it once in its lifetime, but it was a part of Harry's past that he could use as a signpost to move on and go in a different direction.
I decided on this new wand combo for Harry because of the change in him as a person. Larch, according to the Pottermore wand info, instills confidence in the carrier and taps into things hidden deep within. This is what the story is all about: Harry having the confidence to see that his life isn't what he truly wants and seeing within himself enough to know that things change and so do people, and who might've been his soulmate at seventeen might not be the right one at all years later. The length is still relatively close to that of his phoenix and holly wand, so that's not much different, and the core was meant to be a steadfast friend, the one thing that would stand by him no matter what when he knew it was time to turn his world upside down. I think Ollivander suspected as much when he picked this wand out for Harry to try.
Actually, out of all the characters, the one I was worried about the most was Katie. But I think a bad marriage and an introduction of harsh reality to a girl who needed something and someone after the war could warp Katie into what she was in the story. I'm sure someone was annoyed somewhere about me breaking up Harry and Ginny in the umpteenth different way, but he's so shippable when you get her out of the way, hehe.
Ooh, does this remind you of Wild Card? Well, I am planning a shower scene for the benefit of a particular LJ community, so maybe...