Wow. I can remember reading this last year when you first posted it for the Character Clinic Triathlon, and upon rereading, your story still made me cry. What a sad and beautiful rendition of Ted and Andromeda’s romance. I love how you portrayed the imperfections of their relationship and also explored Andromeda’s character, giving a much fresher outlook on her than the typical fandom portrayal of Andromeda as a rebel. And out of all the songfics I’ve ever read, this is definitely up there with the best, because the way you weaved the lyrics in to the body of the story was flawless.
The setting of the park was so well-chosen, with that opening image of the nameless couple Andromeda is watching. I liked how this couple acted as a foil of what Andromeda and Ted could have been -- as a couple content to be out in the open, without secrets and the fear of disownment. I could sense Andromeda’s jealousy of them, despite her scorn of how “ugly” they looked. And this constant reminder of a normal and open relationship, the complete opposite to what Andromeda had to Ted, was a really powerful yet subtle background image throughout the story.
When first reading this, I was really interested also to see how you had integrated the song into the story, as per the challenge’s parameters (which, from what I remember, were that the song had to be playing throughout the story). I can remember you saying on a few occasions that you generally weren’t a fan of Muggle songs and literature being constantly referenced in fanfiction, and I have to say I agree with you. But that’s why the way you weaved the song into your story was so good. The way you set up the Muggle couple playing the song while in the park and, later, Andromeda playing it and remembering Ted and his proposal, was really well thought out and a believable way for Andromeda to be familiar with Muggle music. It made perfect sense in the Muggle framework of Potterverse during the seventies.
In terms of structure, I really appreciated the arrangement of scenes in this story and was never once confused, even if it was non-chronological. I liked how the song lyrics separated each scene and signified a change in time. The ending especially, with the flash-forward to Ted going on the run, was really fitting, as I felt the story ended on a sad note, made even sadder by Tonks’s optimism that her dad return. Moreover, Tonks’s line, “This time, next year, we’ll all be spending Christmas together. You, me, Remus, Dad and Baby Lupin”, was even more heartbreaking because only Andromeda and Teddy survived the war.
On that note, I found Andromeda’s characterisation refreshingly different from the few times I’ve read about her before. I think the fandom perception generally is that she is very similar to Sirius in her rebelliousness, so it was interesting to see you step away from that and not have her as a full-on rebel. As you said in a review response to someone else, the fact that Andromeda was Sorted into Slytherin suggested maybe she did feel some sense of belonging to her household, even if she disagreed with their views, and it was only with Ted that she first really rebelled. Her denial of Ted’s suggestion that they would disown her for carrying the child of a Muggleborn showed that she was somewhat different to Sirius, to me, as did her insistence that her family loved her.
I also loved the way you moved away from the clichés about first times and highlighted the imperfections of Ted and Andromeda’s relationship through the fact that their first time felt “horrible” for both of them. I thought that was far more realistic, and I could feel Andromeda’s disappointment at the lack of crashing waves and “songs” and “tender poetic sighs”. But at the same time, the way Ted sought to rectify that made him so likeable as a character, as did his second proposal to Andromeda after finding out she had lost her baby. The fact that Ted only asked her before when she was pregnant, because he didn’t think she would accept otherwise, made me really see the insecurities he had, even if the focus of the story was on Andromeda.
Finally, I thought you handled the topic of miscarriage excellently, with due sensitivity and without it seeming in any way like a plot device. I could see how much pain it had caused Andromeda and how it had upset Ted. This line in particular summed it up perfectly: “I made him cry. He cried for a baby he never knew, and I still can’t”, as I think I could really feel how important that baby was to Ted, and also the effect of suppressing her own emotions had on Andromeda, to the point that she couldn’t even cry. Still, I was so glad to see Ted propose to her in spite of her losing the baby, as he proved to her that he wasn’t just doing his “duty”, for the baby, but was actually in love with her. I think that spontaneity is a trait we see much later in Tonks; I don’t know if that was intentional, but it was a nice touch nonetheless. :)
Congratulations on winning in the Character Clinic Triathlon! You really deserved it, and I intend on nominating this for a QSQ after posting this review. Well done :D
Author's Response: I have taken my time responding to this because I was so blown away with the gorgeousness of your review that I closed the tab and ran off to wibble and squee in a corner.
Soraya, thank you so much for this amazing review and I'm glad you appreciated the story. I do have a hard time reading song-fics because so often the action is shoehorned in to fit the lyrics and this characterisation or plot are forfeited.
I'm also not convinced Andromeda was exactly the same as Sirius. She rebelled later, and maybe she was Sorted 'too soon', however not all Slytherins are evil, so why could she not have been Sorted because she shared some traits, but was open-minded enough to realise that they were wrong. Regulus, I think, is far more like her than Sirius in that respect.
Anyway, i'm going now. I'm still in post-review glow. Thank you, my lovely. ~Carole~
Oh, the ending is so, so sad! I so often forget there must be a powerful story to this couple - not only a courtship that ending in her being disowned, but then a war that ended in his tragic death. Merlin, that's sad.
I thought you did a great job weaving the song in. I don't know it, but separating each little scene with it worked really well. And each scene itself painted a lovely picture of their relationship. I really enjoyed it. Lovely job and congrats on the challenge! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: OOOOH, you should listen to the song. Joni Mitchell makes me sigh and cry so so much. Thank you very much for the lovely review, Gina, I did like writing this because I was listening to the song the whole time, but I'm never sure how song fics translate because if you don;t know the song then you're not likely to connect to it. Glad this worked for you, though. ~Carole~
Omg. I actually cried. I can't help it Harry Potter characters major or minor get me all worked up. Lol. Equinox you've done it again. You're my favorite author on this whole site. Keep writing more fabulous stories :)
Author's Response: Wow, thank you very much. :) I think it helped writing a song I really liked because I listened to it continually. Glad you enjoyed it, too. ~Carole~
I love this story, Carole (not that that surprises me...). I think this is one of the best songfics I've read, because instead of the lyrics being thoughts/feelings of the character, she is actually hearing them... I'm hoping this is making sense. I also loved how you used the lyrics to jump between times, because they reminded her of things... it worked beautifully.
At first I was a little surprised that Andromeda was pregnant so young, because as far as I know she had Dora when she was about 20... but of course you wouldn't have made a mistake like that. I think the miscarriage is very interesting here... because, as sad as it is for both of them, it also really draws them together.
I liked your Ted in this - and the contrast you showed when he met Andromeda at the park and was cold, when he'd always been so laid-back. I think he would have to be someone with guts who didn't care what others thought, to have caught her attention in the first place.
I also liked how Andromeda wasn't completely disillusioned with her family - how she somehow wanted to believe that they'd accept Ted/his baby (at the beginning of the fic) - because she's not the same as, say, Sirius, and I think she would want to believe the best of them, if only for herself. (I hope this makes sense?)
I liked the ending - how Andromeda had a sense of foreboding about Ted leaving and perhaps not returning, it just somehow fit with the whole story.
Anyway, I thought this was a great one-shot, and well-written of course as always.
Author's Response: Katrina, thank you so much for the lovely review. This was written for Ales's challenge which I think says the song needs to be physically playing, so credit has to given to her :). I'm glad you liked Andromeda not being completely disillusioned with her family. It's very easy to portray her as exactly the same as Sirius, but she didn;t rebel and get put in a different house, so it's possibly Ted was her first sign of rebellion.
Really appreciate this review, so thank you again. ~Carole~
Amazing. You're my favorite one shot author on this whole darn site. I spent a week last winter staying up til 3 every night reading through all your stories and now I've come to do it again. I'm so excited, its ridiculous. You're amazing!
Author's Response: EEEEP! Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked this one and the others. I'm still writing a lot so you might find some more soon :) ~Carole~
I love it! It is simply beautiful as you weave back and forth between the present and the past in telling your story. I was touched by the pain of a baby lost before they were wed and how they very nearly lost each other. Your stories are so well written I get lost within them and don't want them to ever end. I especially enjoyed your little twist of having Andromeda be the one to suggest that Ted leave for his own safety at the end. I can't remember reading that anywhere else before. This story is simply beautiful from beginning to end and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you!
Author's Response: Thank you very much for the lovely review. I decided on Andromeda suggesting he leave because although Ted says to Dean that he decided he would leave knowing his wife would be safe, I couldn;t see him wanting to leave her because Andromeda could well have been in danger from Bellatrix, so Andromeda telling him to go seemed logical. Glad you enjoyed the story. ~Carole~
Thank you for writing this-I've always felt Andromeda was a vastly underutilized character in canon. Please write more. And Regulus too.
Author's Response: OOOh ... Regulus, now you've got me thinking... Hmmm. Thank you very much for the review and glad you enjoyed this. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Thank you very much. ~Carole~
Oh wowwww this was so beautiful! And the ending was so, so, so sad! I loved the idea of this story. You are such a great writer! :D
Author's Response: Thank you very much. Glad you enjoyed the story. The song is utterly beautiful, I'm still singing it *sigh* ~Carole~
That was amazing! How do you get published so fast, by the way?
Author's Response: Magic? (Thank you very much ~Carole)
Author's Response: Thank you. ~Carole~