Reviews for The Same as it Always Was
6GunSally chapter 1 . 10/7/2012
Amazing. What an interesting thing to explore-the thoughts of a man in the last minutes of life, knowing death is upon him and there is no escape, and accepting the challenge. Bravo!

This is also very well written- the glaring thing that sort of made me jump back and retread the line was the tense "realizes" in the last big paragraph. It threw me off a bit from the meter of the rest of the story.

I am not an English teacher or literary professional by any means, however, and you probably have a good reason for wording it that way.

But overall it was a very enjoyable piece-considering the subject. Thanks for posting it up.
Terahlyanwe chapter 1 . 8/23/2012
This story would be a bit more believable, I think, if it stayed with him clear until he died. At this ending all I can think is "yeah right, he'll be screaming when he hits the water." But extraordinarily well written.
Susan M. M chapter 1 . 1/30/2012
"Under the wide and starry sky, dig the grave and let me lie.

Gladly did I live and gladly die, and I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me,

here he lies where he longs to be.

Here is the sailor, home from the sea,

and the hunter home from the hill." Robert Louis Stevenson
Luna Rapunzel chapter 1 . 1/12/2012
First off, your prose style was phenomenal, so nicely done in that regard. This was a great character piece-based on your interpretation, I'd definitely call him more than a touch arrogant ("He would show no affect by the poor souls that ran crying from the water" - he's horribly self-important if he takes a second out of his last moments to reflect patronizingly on the people whom he considers beneath/less enlightened than himself) and far too wrapped up in his reputation, and while I can imagine that he'd change his tune pretty quickly once he actually fell below the water and started drowning (assuming that he wasn't too drunk at that point to realize in full what was going on), I think it's fair that maybe he really is ready to die, just given the way his value system works. Lovely reflection you've got here! Great work.
Whiitewolf chapter 1 . 1/12/2012
Ah this review made me remember my love for this movie. 3 It truly is lovely.

Your fic did an amazing job at capturing emotion and was full of detail. I thoroughly enjoyed this fic! You are a talented writer and I adore this fic of yours. :)
Desktop Warrior chapter 1 . 1/12/2012
I admit I'm not familiar with the details of the movie - only the story of the Titanic itself - so I'm not sure how valid my critique will be. However, this is an interesting piece nonetheless, rife with symbolism. Viewed through this "brandy-induced homeostasis," as you phrase it, the sinking of the Titanic becomes a metaphor for notions of Western aristocracy at the time. Guggenheim gives us a unique perspective: that of a passenger who, in his mind, has accepted his fate and is now freed from what he perceives to be the shackles of his life. The way I see it, this is really how he thinks, like someone who has just realized that his life was a prison. His thoughts are somewhat ironic, considering that his life was clearly much better than that of most people who boarded the Titanic on that fateful day; ironic also in that he, who lived this luxurious life, is not afraid to leave it, but those who weren't as fortunate as him value their lives and fear losing them.

To answer your questions, I'd definitely say yes to the first one. He's most definitely proud, to the extent that he refuses to die without showing dignity. It's an arrogant pride, but a comforting one at the same time: if he dies with dignity, he knows in the back of his mind that his death will be less painful, that he will be safe and unhurt as he passes on. I'd say he's neither really ready for death, but nor is he in denial. What he's doing is working to overcome his fears. His thoughts are those of someone who is steeling himself for the inevitable. And to steel himself, he has to let go. For only then can he die as he lived, with grace and dignity.
TheWordFountain chapter 1 . 1/11/2012
This was a beautifully written piece. Your description of the surroundings was artfully done, and I think you concisely captured imagery. It gave you a lot of room to work on Guggenheim, and I think you made him a very believable character.

To start with the imagery, I have to say that I was startled with your first two lines. "...wearing the crested waves like a wild and lacy blue taffeta gown" was one of the strongest images and it really helped in dragging me into the story. I rarely leave the HP fandom, and this was a great way to capture my attention.

Another moment of imagery I really enjoyed was "He would show no affect by the poor souls that ran crying from the water. It was only water." This was a great way to capture the movie, I believe. It gave me a sense of how the camera would work, how Guggenheim would act. I imagined this as Guggenheim sitting regally, sneering down at those running around in a panic. The sound would be muted, and the speed would slowed down. It's a beautiful scene, but it also captures your portrayal of Guggenheim. He was upstanding - he would never resort to running - and in the end, he would die with pride, facing his killer in the face.

Which leads me to mention how much I loved your last line. It was very powerful to see "If he was being honest" because it makes one wonder how important honesty is to him. Is he never honest? Does he believe himself to be honest?

Finally, I just have some thoughts on his character. I don't think he's ready for death. In fact, I believe that he's so caught up in his wealth, standing, and constant power that he doesn't see that he is mortal. I think he faced his death without understanding the gravity of it. Which leads me to ask, why did you choose to end the piece where you did? Did it seem like the correct place, or did you want to leave his actual death up to the imagination of your readers?

Wordy

PS. I'm sorry this is quite long. I usually don't write long reviews like this, but this is a piece that still leaves a lot up to interpretation, and I just couldn't help myself. :)
Cerulean City chapter 1 . 1/11/2012
What an interesting little one-shot about Mr. Benjamin Guggenheim, which is seriously the best name ever. As I was reading, I couldn't figure out whether he was only kidding himself into being ready for death or if he was actually ready-what a magnificent stroke of your pen to leave me guessing and to let each reader take a different interpretation of the words and of the setting. It could go many ways.

For myself, I'd like to believe that he was ready for it. He really was. He thought about it, calmly, rationally, knew that the rest of his time would be wasted panicking or thinking about other things, or even perhaps jumping off the bow himself. And even though it's from the movie, it reads so clearly into his mind that I feel that you almost reached back and just plucked the actual person onto the page and told his story as he felt it, really going down on the ship. (Of course, maybe he did exist. Maybe he didn't. I dunno.)

Either way, fantastic read! I see now why it was picked for the Story of the Week.

-Tex
Esther Huffleclaw chapter 1 . 1/11/2012
This is a fascinating piece. I really like how you never mention his name in the story, leaving it open to interpretation. You could get this published without any worries as to copyright; in fact, it's as good or better than a lot of published works. Well done.
Mistical Ninja chapter 1 . 1/11/2012
Quite the interesting story. In truth though, I'm not sure what to make of the man. He seems like he is the kind of man who is ready to simply accept his "fate" as it were. Content, I think it was? The style of writing and the voice from the characters monologue certainly gave the feeling of a posh and high society aristocrat, which I get the feeling is exactly what you were going for.

The depth that you gave to the regality of the Atlantic's name was a very nice touch, and to all names in general.

In the end though, he might have been in denial. Of what, I'm not sure, but you put it out there for a reason. Personally I think he simply wished to not waste his breath, his time running away from an end he felt in his bones he could not escape. Why attempt it? Better to simply accept what came with open arms, as it were. Anyway, great job. Keep up the good work. _
ShadedRogue chapter 1 . 1/10/2012
This is such a beautiful piece of work, and I always love it when authors focus on the minor characters. It's been a long time since I've actually seen the movie, but your writing brings him to life in a unique way and we get to know this man through the last moments of his life. It's truly powerful.
darkaccalia520 chapter 1 . 1/10/2012
You know, it's been years since I've watched Titanic, but when it first came out, it was my favorite movie at the time. You've brought back a lot of memories for me. And, how interesting it was that you focused on a minor character. No matter what the fandom, it's not something many do very often, is it? And, you write so beautifully! I loved how you brought us right into his mind, all his thoughts and musings. I think he truly is ready to die. I think when faced with a situation such as that, one makes the decision quite quickly. One must come to terms with the fact that death is near, and that's it. I'm not sure what I would be thinking in the situation, but I think you captured Mr. Guggenheim's thoughts spot-on. Really well done. I truly enjoyed this. Thank you. :)
Inkfire chapter 1 . 1/10/2012
Wow, this was really interesting character insight. First, the writing was quite stunning. You used lots of very beautiful images, especially in the piece's opening, with the waves and the evocation of the Atlantic. I also found it interesting that you referred to the ship as "she", quite personalized… All in all, it was like he found himself surrounded with greatness, seeing things with a perspective that eluded the others, as they were frantically afraid and only aware of their own lives – not their lives on the whole, what they might leave behind as they are swallowed by death, but the obsession of just surviving a little bit longer. I really appreciated your description of his surroundings, they set an atmosphere that was almost regal, and very peaceful – serene. Like you said, it was very much like a cocoon… And it was very meaningful that he fully appreciated it then, and only then. I do think he is ready, as you asked in the AN. It's a beautiful notion, being able to embrace the end in such a way. It's almost like he doesn't fully belong into the rush of life anymore, like he's already one step beyond, seeing things from a higher, distanced perspective. Then again, from what you're telling us, he has always been a man to consider his life as a whole and a thing to be built and decorated with achievements and fulfilled dreams, instead of just… plainly living, with no distance. That makes him beyond common weakness, in a way, indeed – and it makes the part about his family all the more bittersweet… And the title and last line both seem to stress this, like you want to tell us that's it's actually NOT just denial, that he is dying the way he has lived… like he's a man with a destiny.

This gives much to ponder indeed. Quite the achievement. Both in the writing and the ideas you brought, it was pretty outstanding, and with a minor character as well? Pretty impressive job.
Rosawyn chapter 1 . 1/9/2012
This was quite honestly amazing. Never read anything from this fandom before, but as the person who directed me to this fic so rightly pointed out, you really don't need to have watched the movie to fully appreciate this fic.

I love how you characterize this proud old rich man. I don't think he's "simply" anything. He's courageous. He sees the inevitable, and accepts it with self-control and serenity. He doesn't try to shove his way onto a lifeboat, displacing children. As he points out, he has lived a full and rich life. In many ways, he is refusing to be a victim; the waves are coming to kill him, but he chuckles defiantly at them; they can't rip his life from him, since he's giving it up freely.

I really enjoyed the sort of almost romantic way he thinks about both the Atlantic Ocean and the Titanic. The beautiful and proud Titanic which is falling apart and giving him over to the deadly power of the Atlantic; if he's going to die, might as well let the Atlantic have him rather than some lesser foe. It's almost a "warrior's death". He isn't even angry at the Titanic at the end for failing him.

I believe there is a lot to admire in this sort of courage and acceptance. I don't believe it's "denial," not denial of anything important anyway; it's the exact opposite of denial.
Emily Mae chapter 1 . 1/9/2012
Wow. This was /beautiful/. I've never even considered reading a fic for Titanic before, but I'm so glad I started with this one. I'm impressed with the way you flesh out such a minor character so interestingly.

Per your question in the A/N, I'd like to think that he's truly ready for death. I like the way the calm tone of the piece mimics the unexpected serenity of Guggenheim's thoughts just before he dies.

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed this. Well done!
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