This is one of those rare pieces of fanfiction that pleasantly surprise me. It's one of those stories that not only tells a story, but gives a sort of message to the reader, making them think. At the same time, you give us this beautiful story about a boy who grows into teenagehood without his parents and with only the stories of war and heroics that he has grown up in. In the end, we are given this well written story that touches the hearts of the readers.
Your characterisation in this story is phenomenal. Every character is believable and fleshed out, allowing us to really connect with the story and the characters. I think that this is best exemplified in Andromeda. Of all of the major players in this story, Andromeda's character really stands out as the most definable. From the very beginning, we see her emotions and reactions, and they just make perfect sense to who Andromeda is at the specific times. In the very first scene, we see her as a mother who lost a daughter, but yet she hides her emotions from her grandson, as if trying to spare him her pain. This just rings so true to where Andromeda must be - she is a strong woman, but she has experienced great pain, yet she stays strong for Teddy. Furthermore, you keep this consistent throughout the entirety of the narrative. I think the greatest example of this characterisation is "It’s a relief to Andromeda, though she’d never tell him that. If Teddy had wanted to be an Auror, she would have let him, would have helped him study and drilled him until he was the best Auror of his generation, but it’s not what she wants for him, just like it’s not what she ever wanted for her daughter". This just speaks volumes and I think really captures the essence of who Andromeda is.
Another aspect of your characterisation that I found intriguing was how you managed to characterise the Weasley/Potter children that are only briefly mentioned. Most of these characters get single words, and yet I can imagine their roles in the family dynamic. With others, we see a little bit more, like James, who is outgoing. The fact that you could create characters that fit with single words really shows the power behind your characterisation.
Throughout the story, Teddy's thoughts and feelings really shine, especially through the use of his relationships and his skills as a Metamorphmagus. Teddy's relationship with Harry and Victoire are the two that really allow us to see how he has reacted to the aftermath of the war. With Harry, we really see the anger and resentment that he feels towards the war. From the story, I get the impression that though Teddy loves his godfather, there is also tension between them. He and Harry have grown up in very similar situations, but it's harder for Teddy, who has to deal with fame for what his family did, and not what he did, so it's easy to feel a sense of resentment towards Harry. At the same time, when it comes to it, Harry is the one who helps him see exactly why his parents did what he did. I think that this is the most beautiful scene of the story. Harry and Teddy connect on this deep level, and Teddy finally understands what it must of been like for Harry and why his parents did what he did. It's like his first step towards full healing.
How you brought Teddy and Victoire together was unusual, but it totally worked. Teddy and Victoire would likely be the two children with the closest connection to the war and the Battle. While the other kids had parents who fought, they really are less connected to it, as they are just stories. Teddy, however, was born right in the middle of it, and his parents died to make his world a better place. Victoire was born right on Victory Day and is named for it. For her, it must feel like her life revolves around the Battle of Hogwarts. Her birthday is often overshadowed by the event, and she was named for the result. She would have grown up with the burden of the past war on her shoulders not because she was a part of it, but because she is tied so closely with the victory.
As a Metamorphagus, Teddy appears to mirror the people with whom he feels a close connection. I thought it was interesting that you chose to have Teddy's first conscious effort at changing his appearance be that he decided to look like his mother. I think this really reflects one of the main themes throughout this entire story. Even though Teddy never knew his parents, he closely identifies with them and feels anger over losing them. While I think this is a natural reaction given the circumstances in which they died, I think that his powers really show how deep these feelings run. The fact that he is a Metamorphmagus ties him with his mother in a more intimate way than sharing a physical trait does, and I think that you touched on this perfectly.
The last aspect of Teddy's personality I'd like to touch on is how he develops throughout the course of the story. When we first see him, he's four, and he's probably at that age where is first starting to really understand who his parents are and why they aren't around. It is the first time he has real control over his abilities, and he chooses to be his mother. I think that this is perfect for a child his age, because I think he really just wants some way to know his mother, but he can't, and this is the only way his young brain can deduct how to do it - by mirroring her. This is so reflective of a young child's personality, as they often mirror the people they are around, which you further cement in the further description of his appearances. As Teddy gets older, he begins to understand things more. He goes from being completely oblivious of Andromeda's feelings ("he’s not sure she made the connection") to knowing exactly what upsets the people he loves (he’s learned by now which appearances upset the adults in his life the least). As he gets older, especially in his teens, Teddy gets more resentful to everything about the war. You chose such a perfect age to do this. Anyone who has grown up with a teenage boy can tell you that they are moody and struggle a lot with life in general at that age, so the fact that this is when he really shows the greatest sign of struggle is so believable and makes Teddy's development feel real.
In your author's note, you said that you felt this didn't really match with the "all was well" tone of the epilogue, but I happen to think that it fits perfectly. Yes, Teddy is surrounded by family and friends who love him in a world that is at peace, but this doesn't mean he can't still feel hurt. All of the feelings he is feeling are natural and completely understandable. Teddy's life is good, but there are moments and times where he feels like he's living under his parents shadow and feels all the repercussions of a war, but he'll learn to get past those feelings, something which I think you alluded to at the end of the story. Things may not be peachy in Teddy's heart, but there is hope that someday, it will be.
There is so much more I could touch on in this story. I think that you have really dug into something extremely touching and beautiful. I have read this story a few times already, and I know I'll read it again. Everything about this story is marvelous. It was one of those stories that just left me with chills. You should be very proud of what you've done here.
I discovered this today in the featured list, and I can't believe firstly that I didn't read it before, and secondly that it only has one review! This is really a beautiful story, you've captured the characters so perfectly, and the writing is stunning.
Teddy is one of my favourite characters, and though my interpretation of him is a bit different to yours, I definitely think he would feel the effects of the war more strongly than all the Potter/Weasley kids, because obviously he doesn't have his parents. I liked how you drew his connection with Victoire initially over her birthday being the 2nd May - I'd never thought much about how that would make her feel, and how that would always overshadow her birthday.
There are parts of this story that are just perfect, like this one Harry’s told him that when he first came to Hogwarts, he was famous for doing something he couldn’t remember.
Teddy thinks that’s probably better than being famous for doing nothing at all. - In so few words you just get Teddy's character spot on and exactly what he's feeling.
I thought Harry's and Teddy's relationship was interesting - I liked how you hinted at some tension, or that Teddy doesn't always agree with Harry, like this part It’s a lie, but a pretty one, and Teddy carries it with him. Or also the part when Teddy inwardly feels angry at Harry when he talks about winning the war. And yet I liked how they sort of came together when they were looking at Remus and Tonks' graves, and perhaps Harry is the most vulnerable with Teddy that he has been, and is willing to admit that everything is not always okay.
I think starting off with showing Teddy changing his appearance all the time was really cool - it's something that connects him to his parents, especially his mother, but is also so much a part of him and his identity.
I also loved your characterisation of Andromeda - especially the part when she told him she'd need to see him heal someone before she could really be proud, or when you described her as being four parents - it's just perfect. I was intrigued that she didn't go to the big victory celebration - I know she had family on both sides, but she had cut herself off from her family. I've always thought that she might have reconciled with Narcissa though, so maybe that does make sense.
The present tense flows perfectly in this, and it gives Teddy's thoughts such an immediacy that works well. I loved how you used and nobody remembered Victoire as a sort of refrain too.
And as to your comment at the start that maybe this doesn't fit with the "All is well" at the end of DH, I think it sort of does. I don't think JK Rowling intended to mean that life would really go on as if nothing had ever happened, more that there was some hope. And even though this is a sad story, I think you've put hope in there too, that maybe at least for some people, or some day, the world won't be broken anymore.
I also loved how you put snippets of other characters in this - like the way all the children handled being famous at Hogwarts, or Percy crying all through the victory ceremony and George being snappish. They were all showed so well, but didn't take over from the main characters at all.
There's probably more I could say about this... it is really a fantastic story, and I hope you get more reviews soon, because this really deserves them!
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much for such a lovely, thoughtful review. I am blown away that this is in the featured list, and I am so happy you enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to write all this, it made my day :)
This was really brilliant!!