|Reviews for Tears Shall Drown the Wind|
| verity candor chapter 1 . 5/21/2009
How sweet! I always wondered why JKR never attached any sort of special significance to Halloween in the books, considering that Harry's parents died then - but your fic fills in the blanks really well. Cheers!
| Cassandra's Cross chapter 1 . 10/24/2008
I already reviewed this on the Challenge link, but wanted to post a review here as well. This was exceptional, Sara, truly. I see that same lyrical style that I commented on in your other story I reviewed, but I really, really love this one. I think you put words in Neville's mouth that Lily and James would have spoken to Harry if they could. You have a lovely writing style and your insight into the characters in this story is impeccable. Very, very, VERY well done!
| Sandshrew777 chapter 1 . 10/24/2008
Okay, before I start: I promise - I'm not mean! I'm honest, but I'm not mean. Honest. Pinky swear. (I'd go on scout's honor, but I was never a boy scout.) Now, let's get on with it. :)
First, a question: are you a good essay writer? You sound like a good essay writer. Your "exposition hath been most sound" (you aren't the only one who can drop Shakespeare quotes! LOL.), and you make sure we understand precisely why you're mentioning what you mention. That thoroughness is logically refreshing.
It is a bit much, however. I love me some narration - in fact, it's my favorite thing to read. Introspective narration rocks my socks. (I think I was meant to be born in the Renaissance, to be honest...) And, I will say, I was very pleased by the choices you made in the subjects you addressed in the narration, but it read a little too much like an essay for me at the beginning. If you had not stagnated Harry's character in his dormitory, it would have given you a chance to liven it up just a little. I think Harry ruminating while walking through the castle might have been a stronger choice for you. Things he sees could inspire him to bring up these points of introspection - he could see the door he slipped into to see the Mirror his first year, or pass some ickle Firsties yapping about their favorite candies. That ties in with your narration and gives you some action to work with.
That said, if you don't want to have Harry moving around the castle, just less narration might be a better move. I think it was about two paragraphs too much to set the mood for me. I got the mood right away, from the action - because you were showing rather than telling - but the narration helped me cement why. That was important and I knew very, very well when Neville interrupted why Harry was feeling the way he was. I just didn't need quite so much of it.
A quick note of practicality before I move to the dialogue section: when Harry reaches up to wipe his eyes, he'll have to smack his glasses in the process, especially if it's as hasty a move as you have it. I like the visceral reaction - it's perfectly natural, especially for boys - but those pesky glasses need to be dealt with.
Now, the dialogue. I buy Neville's intentions. Moreover, I totally buy into his characterization. I think Neville is very "you know what, I'm probably not the best guy for this, but I'll get you someone better to help", and that was a very, very fine touch. Plus, Neville's probably not comfortable with a guy crying in front of him either. Plus squared, these guys are how old? Just turned fourteen? Yeah, totally not comfortable with the whole "crying in front of anyone, much less guys" thing. Immediately I bought Neville because he was so real.
His actions continue to be real for me in this scene, and the intent of his statements are also right on-point. Neville understands grief enough to just let Harry talk at first, but isn't wise enough to just let him keep going on. The fact that he interrupts is VERY pre-teen/teenager-y in that he thinks he can fix this (even if it IS Neville, I believe that when Neville knows what he's doing he's very Gryffindor about it), and indeed he can this time. Neville's a kind of guy who doesn't like to be above anybody, and he immediately brings himself down to Harry's level with his confession. That's right on point. (I would suggest, however, that the line 'Neville, you don't have to' end with a hyphen so that Neville interrupts him, and I would eliminate the body language moment that comes next ("His eyes shot up") to keep that effect vitalized.)
And Neville gets a brilliant moment at the end, too, which is lovely. He gives Harry advice as best as he knows - from Gran, of course, what a lovely touch - and then he just lets Harry deal with it. Guys don't sit around and hold each other (erm, straight ones, at least) until it's all cried out. They get in, get out, and let the other guy pick himself back up by his own bootstraps. That's very guy-y (I'm making up a lot of stuff tonight, I guess! Hee.) and I loved seeing that in Neville.
(A side note: I write a LOT of male bonding. I've yet to get the atmosphere between boys correct, and what you're doing here is really, really helping me out. So, um, thanks for rocking out on this part? LOL.)
Harry's characterization during this section is also brilliant. So many times J.K. sets Harry up as the unknowing idiot for Wizarding customs, and as Neville's a Pure-Blood, it's only natural that Harry think Neville's gonna suggest the quick fix. That he doesn't is a nice little twist (for Harry at least - we see it coming because your Neville's smarter than that!). Harry's attempt to tell Neville he knows about his past and his wisdom in leaving Sirius out of the conversation also are great character moments. I liked the Harry you gave me here (and indeed it's the same Harry you gave me earlier, really, so I like him overall - characterization is definitely NOT a weak point for you).
It's the tone of the dialogue that falls just a little short for me, and it's because of the word choice, almost exclusively. Most of it's sheer verbosity. If I may, can I pare down a couple of your lines to show you what I mean?
"I didn't hear the details of what happened that night until Professor Lupin talked to me about it before the end of last term,"
"I didn't know everything about that night until Lupin told me last term."
"My parents were tortured for information about You-Know-Who a few weeks after what happened to your family. They fought as hard as they could, but in the end, the Death Eaters tortured them into insanity,"
"My parents were attacked a few weeks after your family. The Death Eaters had them under the Cruciatus Curse for so long they went insane."
It might indeed be my penchant for brevity that's pushing this here, but I really think that fourteen-year-olds, and especially boys, wouldn't be so comprehensive in their speech. Again, the tenor of what they're saying - well, there I go getting verbose: what they're saying is perfectly characterized, but how they're saying it is a little off-kilter for me.
I will say that your shorter sentences almost always are getting the job done for me in the dialogue. The longer ones are where there a couple of extra words or a few words that are too long to be brought up in normal conversation, especially since it's Neville that this happens with for me. (Harry's dialogue is fine save for that one sentence I tackled.)
Your post-Neville narration is also sound in its ideas. I'd watch being too wordy here as well, but I kind of like that this narrator is more mature than Harry. The tone is different, but I will be willing to embrace it. I will warn you against using too many dependent clauses in back-to-back-to-back-to-back. If you have complex sentence after complex sentence, the effect of the dependent clause lessens with each time it appears. Break it up with a simple or compound sentence or two every now and again. You do that in your dialogue and in your action, and I'd like to see you continue that in your narration, just for variety's sake. :) I'd also make entirely sure that we know the narrator is projecting his (or her) thoughts onto Harry with the "balm of hurt minds" reference, as I'm not entirely sure Harry's that well-read. Hermione, yes. Maybe even Dean. Not Harry.
Oh, dear. I've run out of characters. I have more to my review, which I will leave as a review of your chapter in the RL collection. It was all positive stuff, too, thank-yous really, so I shall place them there and hopefully you read them, because I mean what I say in them!
Anyway, I'll use my final characters (my goodness, I used 80 characters...I'm so sorry, I didn't mean it to be THIS long) to say thanks again for a lovely little fic.
| NLaddict chapter 1 . 10/22/2008
that was so good!
| Respitini chapter 1 . 10/21/2008
Playing heartstrings like a virtuosa harpist. This could so easily have been over-the-top with Teh Angstiness! but you played each note perfectly. Neville was just wonderful - the counterpoint between his emotional strength and his complete lack of self-confidence was conceived and executed with remarkable dexterity. And Harry was just the right amount of brood; so very 14 and so very much the hero we all know and love.
Gorgeously lyrical, beautiful to read, and I feel like I know more about these characters having read your piece than I did before hand - no small feat with characters this well known. Amazing work here, Sara.
| DerangedxandxSarcastic chapter 1 . 10/21/2008
very nice, I like how you had Nevill act in this, very nicely done
| GreatMouseDetective chapter 1 . 10/21/2008
| Kerichi chapter 1 . 10/21/2008
The Harry I met in the books wasn't anywhere near this introspective and in touch with his feelings. I wish he had been. I like your melancholy Boy-Who-Lived. :)
| WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot chapter 1 . 10/21/2008
Lovely! I'm so glad that Harry and Neville had this conversation, and it was honest and sweet and emotional without falling into the trap of saccharine and over-sentimentality. The beginning exposition, too, was melancholic, but not over the top, and I think you really captured the true emotions that Harry must have felt during Halloween, particularly when he was old enough (and had the knowledge of the prophecy) to really let it hit him.
I loved this! great job with the challenge.