Your comment at the end of this story makes me think you are either a Pittsburgher living out of state or have a connection to someone on Flight 93. No matter if this is true or not, you are correct that after a disaster such as what happened on 9/11 or at the Battle of Hogwarts, healing must start somewhere and while commemorative ceremonies and remembrances are appropriate, people must learn to have fun in order to get back to any semblance of normal life. I'm glad that Professor Sprout wanted to have something to look forward to and that she wanted to involve the other teachers in order to celebrate the greatness of Hogwarts school and castle. I enjoyed your story immensely. Well done.
Author's Response: I like your mention of "the greatness of Hogwarts School and the castle". At a time of catastrophe, it is normal to develop tunnel vision and focus only on the catastrophe. It was good to focus on the fact that Hogwarts could and would rise above even a blow such as that, but it takes an act of will to shake oneself free from the paralysis that often ensues after such an experience.
I am glad that you enjoyed the story, simple as it was.
Great idea and a great story. I'm getting to like your ideas on saying goodbye to things or welcome.
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked the story. Of course, writing the party itself would be a pretty big task, and I am not yet inspired to do it. :)
This is really good. I never would have thought of this. Well, I never finished the seventh book, to be honest. The angle that you take on picking up the pieces is rather remarkable. The point at which Madam Pince says Professor Sprout why she would bother taking on such a project is a fair point. People might indeed be listening after I proposal is presented, yet they don't really hear it the first time around for whatever reason. This might be because he or she is focused on the old ways or the tragedy. That's incredible you picked that up.
You touch on all the professors, which is a strong point. I love that Slughorn focused on the food. His next meal The morals you weave through this thing are really well done. Again, this might be a small detail, yet it speaks volumes. You anticipate the problems that they would run in putting this gathering together. I'm sitting here thinking you've covered the sleeping arrangements, the train. the cost. The food, which again, I'm sure Slughorn thanks you for,
Well done. This is a bridge between the end and nineteen years later I enjoyed it. Thanks for writing.
Author's Response: Thank you for your review, Kuri. I'm glad you enjoyed my story. I wrote it for the Millennium Challenge and wanted the required celebratory party to be an integral part of the story, not merely a background for a romance. I think that the professors are an underutilized source of story material. Their backstories, their experiences, and their mature viewpoints can provide a refreshing change from the adolescent-centric stories that abound.
I’ve been meaning to read the stories for the Milestone challenge, and I must say, I really enjoyed your entry. I liked what you did with the prompt, as I think there were lots of angles that could have been taken with it and the milestone you chose, of Hogwarts’ thousandth anniversary, was a really original one that gave your fic a fresh feel to it. I also loved how optimistic and hopeful your story was, while still acknowledging the problems post-Battle.
One of your biggest strengths as a writer, I noticed, is your use of description. It really carried your story forward as a reflective piece, and I think that is doubly important when the fic isn’t very plotty. I could clearly see the damage done to Hogwarts in the aftermath of the Battle, even months later, and the description of the wreckage really carried a lot of emotion. Mentioning the giants and how they had destroyed so much of Hogwarts gave the beginning of the story a rather bleak atmosphere, but I liked how you lightened that somewhat with the equally powerful description of Hogwarts’ reconstruction.
What struck me the most about this fic was that metaphor of renewal and regrowth throughout, especially at the beginning with the description of the plants in the greenhouses. That is by far the most fitting motif to use, given the story is in Pomona’s point of view, and this, for me, was what made your tale so creative. I could see Pomona’s consideration for her greenhouse and the seedlings in it extended further, to the students at Hogwarts. The imagery you used was so vivid, too, and one of my favourite lines was “every dead plant was like a child lost, every broken branch like a leg amputated”. The simplicity of the simile is what made it so powerful, because I think the aftermath of the Battle was primarily a matter of loss, and you certainly expressed that in an original way.
I also liked Pomona’s characterisation in this. I’ll admit I haven’t read many stories with Pomona as the main character, but from canon and your fic, I can really see how caring she is, even if she is conflicted. It makes sense that she felt “joyful and sad at the same time”, and the line about how she felt she’d given birth to twins, and only one lived, was another great way to get to the heart of Pomona’s character. What I liked about that line also was the fact that you addressed one of the main problems after the Battle -- if people should be grieving or celebrating, because I think the common fanfic trope would lean towards the latter. I’m glad you stepped away from that; seeing the Battle from a teacher’s perspective, too, definitely made your story a distinctive one.
Finally, in regards to the challenge, I found it intriguing that you incorporated a moral question within the actual celebration itself. I thought it was entirely plausible for the teachers to question whether the dinner was even appropriate after the Battle, but McGonagall’s response, of how “happiness is longer-lasting than grief”, really heightened the feeling of optimism by the end of the story.
Overall, this was a lovely read. I don’t read nearly as much fic featuring Hogwarts teachers, but after reading your story, I’ve resolved to do just that. I really enjoyed the dynamics between teachers here, as well as the imagery you used throughout and your exploration of Pomona’s character. Well done, and keep it up! :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much for this wonderful and detailed review, Soraya. You are right that the story is not very plotty, and it makes me happy to know that you believe that an un-plotty story can nevertheless be successful. Perhaps the Hogwarts teachers are a fairly un-mined source of good story ideas. I don't recall seeing much about them, other than Snape, and Professor-student romances (which I avoid reading). But being older characters, having lived longer and experienced more, they must have more complex and well-developed personalities. A few of them we know only by name and a scanty paragraph in the Harry Potter wiki, but several of them appear often enough in the books for us to begin to get a feel for them and what they might think and do.
This was a nice read. It's a good idea to find something to celebrate in such a dark time of rebuilding and recovery... I can't imagine how difficult it would have been for professors to gear up for a new term under those conditions. The analogy of the twins was effective, put me in mind of Fred and George... *sniff* Good luck with the competition! ~ Lori
Author's Response: Yes, this was a lightweight little piece. (I was lucky to come up with an idea before the deadline.) And the decorated cake was so silly. Perhaps it is unrealistic to depict the staff as being wholeheartedly behind Pomona's idea, so soon after the war, but it seemed in character for her to suggest it. Thanks for the review.
As a survivor of an SCA and PTSD, I agree that we must learn to do more than just live, we must also learn again to enjoy life and one another's love.
Author's Response: After a disaster, it can be a real challenge to do that. Thanks for reading and reviewing.
Thank you for composing this piece and reminding us that we must work through paralyzing grief/sorrow/pain; accept what we cannot change and make better that which remains.
Author's Response: Our better nature is to seek happiness and not wallow in ceaseless suffering, but sometimes it takes a specific effort to move in that direction. As Patricia said at St. Stephen's Church, "Act as if..."
This is really well written. I loved the idea! Will there be a follow up story on the celebrations?!
Author's Response: I was always surprised that the staff at Hogwarts never mentioned having a one-thousandth-anniversary celebration, so I decided to nudge them in that direction. No plans at present for a follow-up, but you have put a flea in my ear...
I think Pomona had a lovely idea. The teacher in me already started planning out the logistics of it, though - since most witches and wizards probably went to Hogwarts, that's a big celebration and a lot of work, lol! But it was nice to see the teachers cheer themselves up in order to be ready for the new school year, and to see them understand that a celebration of life was just as important in that first year after the battle as was mourning the lives lost. Nice job and good luck! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thanks for reading, Gina, and good luck to you too. Vicki :)