I feel like this story could almost be poetry. The language was so powerful and exquisite and lyrical that I felt as though I was reading a free verse poem. The sentences seemed so carefully structured that they enforced a constant rhythm throughout, but it was especially present in the second section. The combination of assonance (“invisible, inaudible, palpable ticking of seconds”) and interspersed alliteration (“tangled within my matted hair; the rattling of the Dementor’s breath”) gave more force to the rhythm, and the first example in particular read like the ticking seconds they described. Throughout the story I was in awe of your use of language, which was so apt to the character they were being spoken by.
Sirius’s ‘madness’ was depicted very engagingly, and when you wrote “I can grasp the presence of this ‘I’”, my whole mind went haywire, thinking of all these Lacanian theories about our relationship with the ‘I’, (the idea that we both fear and love that lifelike reflection we see of ourselves in the mirror), and for me it brought a huge amount of depth to both the story and to Sirius. The way he dehumanises himself at the beginning is a fascinating example of this - how, not only is he “Inmate Number 27”, but he also seems to separate himself from his body. He describes his “hollow” cheeks and “cracked” lips, but not the damage that’s done beneath: almost as though he’s too scared to tackle those deeper scars.
His on-going dialogue with James was very poignant, but it also served to support the link you surreptitiously make with Harry. When Sirius dreams about the monkey behind bars, I immediately thought of Harry’s similar dream in CoS, and it highlighted to me part of the reason those two empathise so much with each other: they both know what it is to be a prisoner.
Keeping the sections distinct from one another rather than blending them into a single monologue was very effective. It suggested, but didn’t confirm, the idea of time passing, but as there was no definite point in time, the idea of Sirius’s madness came over more strongly. We could see how his mind skitters about sporadically, or dwells on certain things - like his friendship with James - over long periods of time. Sirius’s meeting with Fudge gave the first hint of a time frame, but this wasn’t disorientating: it served to enforce Sirius’s own inability to comprehend time and the fragmented thoughts that plague him throughout the story.
This story had so many things that could be read into it that I read it a couple of times to think it all over. But it was the language that captured me, and I’m marvelling at your flawless integration of it into the many meanings of the story.
Author's Response: What an absolutely encouraging review! I have to say this gave me a much needed kick in the groin and make me want to continue writing :) Lacan's theories about "I" - ah! I didn't think that far into it while writing but, yes, our obsession with our sense of identity is a subject that is as fascinating as it is scary and confusing. How would somebody like Sirius, embittered and angry and almost on the brink of insanity, assess his self?That was the one of the two major things I wanted to focus on in this story, the other being his relationship with James. "He describes his “hollow” cheeks and “cracked” lips, but not the damage that’s done beneath: almost as though he’s too scared to tackle those deeper scars." That was my feeling as well. Brave as he is, I think Sirius would fear becoming something that is without any spirit or hope, something completely broken. I am also happy you mentioned the parallels between him and Harry, and the disoriented representation of the temporal frame. Living in a place like Azkaban, under the supervision of Dementors - that would drive a lot of people nuts. Every day would be the same, with yourself and your mind for company. It's so terrifying. Thank you for reading and leaving such a wonderful analysis behind! I mean it when I say it really made me want to write more. :)
LOVE! Wow, I absolutely enjoyed the contrast of Sirius' different mentalities. He was hopeless, and serious, then crazy and silly... Made me enjoy his character all the more! I really liked the little flash back, and am still pondering if the question James asked was meant to be asking Sirius to join him in death... There were several instances where I saw double meanings, and it made this stroy have so much depth. Really great job!!!!!! I have enjoyed all your work. Keep it up!
Author's Response: Kaylee, thank you for this lovely review! It really makes me want to write more!!!! :D
I can leave a reviewwwwwww - yayayayayayayayayyayayayaya. Vonnection restored. Okay, I liked this rather a lot because I think you managed to get into Sirius' head very well. My favourite part was that huge huge sentence when he's about to get the newspaper from Fudge. It made me hold my breath as I was reading and was very clever because it holds the tension to something seemingly mundane but we know is a pivotal moment in Sirius' life. POW! (see what I did there ....?)
The only thing I'd quibble is the line very near the end when he says, 'and it has been a long time since I was a dog,' because it appears he's saying that this is the first time he'd become a dog since being incarcerated, but he told Harry and the the others that he'd changed in prison so the Dementors couldn't get to him. (minor and measley quibble)
I loved the banter with James. Gahhhd, they were perfect. I'm all weepy now thinking about the fate of this pair. Oh, and 'Forever' being his Boggart - that was GENIUS!!!!! ~
Great story ~Croll~
Author's Response: Thank you for pointing that out! I have made necessary changes. And thank you for the read and review, as always! :D It makes me go a-flutter to impress a padfooticus and ME-Queen :)
OH! I am so glad you've expanded this! I remember loving the original drabble, which so conveyed the melancholy of the song. You've definitely kept that same tone, here. The phrase, the kind of long time where you forget to count the number of nights and days that have died, really jumps out at me and you mirror that throughout the fic because you've caught that endlessness and despair those kept in Azkaban must feel. And the memories interspersed make my heart ache so much... gah. I don't know why you made that ridiculous LS status about this fic. It's excellent. Stop being a silly billy.
Author's Response: Oh that ridiculous status! I was quite in a foul mood and being my ruthlessly ridiculous self and was also certain this wouldn't be received well by many as it is plotless lol. I'm thrilled you read and liked this, as I knew you adored the original and I was wondering what you'd think of the expanded version :) ThankE lots for the review!