|Reviews for A Lesson in Charity|
| excessivelyperky chapter 2 . 3/2/2013
Yes-Snape has resigned himself to death, and is slowly letting himself drift away. One hopes that Charity is waiting for him (and not Albus) once he's left this earth, and Hogwarts, forever.
| beloved73 chapter 1 . 5/1/2012
Beautiful. This adds so much depth to the canon event.
| TillyTiger chapter 1 . 7/20/2011
Wow, seriously cannot wait to read more of this. Your portrayal of Severus is the best I have ever come across.
| yellow 14 chapter 2 . 6/30/2011
Really beautiful, you've really gotton inside his head. Keep writing, there are far too few writers of your calibre.
| yellow 14 chapter 1 . 6/29/2011
Really beautiful. Keep writing. I'll finish this later
| greenschist chapter 2 . 6/29/2011
This was really a beautiful study of both Severus and Charity. Very well done!
| Oboe-Wan chapter 2 . 6/24/2011
Aaaaah, I was so excited that this was set in Hogwarts circa Deathly Hallows! I really wanted an entire other book from Neville or Ginny's perspective of what was going on in the school. (I seem remember a line from a post-DH JKR interview about Neville turning up his sleeves to show his future students his scars that ridiculously reminded me of the St. Crispin's Day speech in Henry V... though the Hogwarts students may in fact be fighting for England, Harry, and St. George... Anyway, I digress...)
Snape's melancholy acceptance of the loss of respect and camaraderie from McGonagall and the rest of the faculty is really very depressing. For someone without friends (how awful), to lose even casual friendliness from coworkers is just dismal. The fact that he's secretly working towards the same goals of trying to keep the students safe that they are makes it worse. I guess it comes under the overarching pall of the loss of leadership... the loss of knowing that at least if everyone else thinks he's a traitor at least Dumbledore knows the truth... it must be absolutely soul-crushing to have to face the prospect that you will never be vindicated.
Nice to see the Weasley Twins' hard work being put to good use! I wonder if the Skiving Snackbox was a in Dumbledore's desk because it was confiscated from a student or for some other reason...
["I read the books to them," Alecto said defensively.
"You read the books to them?" Snape asked, his tone expressing incredulity at such laziness. "That is all you do?"] - sadly, I've HAD a professor who thought reading chapter headings and giving quizzes constituted teaching a class.
So, despite the fact that we've been told that electronics go haywire around Hogwarts, I'm willing to believe that Charity was savvy enough with both magic and technology to make a TV and VCR work. I hope she had more movies than just Plan 9 and Schindler's List though, or the House Elf Movie Nights (what a hilarious and wonderful mental image!) will get pretty repetitive. Love that Schindler's List is still "recent", since this is taking place in the mid-90's (I so wish the Potter movies would've kept the stories rooted in time the way the books are, but that's another topic for another time).
The WWII parallels are apt, of course, but really it's a bit... sad to see Snape considering himself Rick to Lily and James's Ilsa and Victor. Because Rick and Ilsa actually did have a relationship, while Snape's feelings for Lily, childhood friendship aside, are unrequited. But, well, like Bogart, Snape has managed to garner a legion of female fans despite not exactly being easy on the eyes.
You did a really excellent job of bringing Snape around to coming to grips with the emptiness of his pride. It makes me wonder, if things had gone differently, if he'd lived to see Voldemort defeated for good, if he could have changed outwardly too... actually managed to shed the hard, aloof, sour exterior he's crafted for most of his life? What do you think?
I really like your characterization of Charity. Any chance she'll pop up again in other stories?
Wonderfully written as always!
| Swallow B chapter 2 . 12/18/2010
Who Charity was, what was her relationship with Snape and what she knew and understood are things we can only imagine. I do wish we had seen more of her in canon. We don't even know she exists until we see her hanging there. So this story adds a lot. And I appreciate that you didn't fall in the trap of making it into a romance. Relationships are far more complex. (I notice the 'Muggle Film Festival' happened in February - close to Valentine's Day, which is interesting from my point of view.)
You brought up some interesting details I hadn't noticed, such as the facts that Voldemort had used the Levicorpus, which was Snape's invention, and that Charity used the same words as Dumbledore "Severus...please...".
Confunding Alecto was a good idea, and probably not hard to do. Snape must have Confunded her and her brother a few times, but not too often or it would have looked suspicious.
Snape's 'temper tantrum', I think, wasn't so much about the Order of Merlin. I rather saw it as anger and deep frustration at not getting revenge from Black (not only had Black got away with trying to kill him, Snape also believed then that Black was responsible for Lily's death), and at being tricked by Dumbledore and Harry.
I share your understanding of Snape's relationship with McGonagall.
Interesting exploration of my favourite character.
| merln chapter 2 . 12/17/2010
Adaon45, you have outdone yourself! In both chapters, your choice of words, and of context and connotation, excellently befits your usage. Your inclusion of what I can only term "pop-culture" references (at least for those versed in American cinema!), is an ingenious device for character development not used in Rowling's books. Your images (visual, aural, tactile, and the like), are vivid, and the story feels more akin to a film than a text.
I know that, while reading DH, I longed for a perspective from inside the school, and despaired of the camping montage (although, to give credit where it's due, Rowling's marshy quest lacked ash, and pits, and thousands or orcses). You can well imagine my delight in reading these apocrypha (the term does seem to fit, albeit in a Dan Brown sort of way!).
Alternately dry as champagne and rich as raspberry brownies, "A Lesson in Charity" walks the knife edge hand in hand with Severus Snape, and offers what scant illumination there be to the wide-eyed reader. Although, like bile, the truth may burn, it promises cleansing tears. Charity never faileth, and neither, so far, has your voice.
| CompanionWanderer chapter 2 . 12/10/2010
In agreement with OW's review, I have been perplexed by Snape's incessant cruelty toward students not of his own house and by the level of his vitriol toward Harry, which seemed entirely out of proportion, no matter how bitter his memories of James. The revelations of book 7 came almost too late, or too much at once, or too in-the-middle-of-everything, to process any kind of sense of forgiveness for seven years of seeming unadulterated hatred. And because I don't muse very deeply on the Potterverse, that was as far as I went with it.
This fic has made me look at him very differently. The idea that his cruelty was a carefully-constructed facade throws new light on him as a character, and while I'm inclined to think that it came more naturally to him than it would have to others in his position, even that adds an extra layer of complexity - as he knows this about himself, and dislikes it. A man always at war with himself without being able to show it, fully aware of the belligerence of the students he risks his life to protect and of the distrust and disgust of his fellow teachers...I'm starting to wonder who the real hero of these books is, after all. The bit about his severed relationship with McGonagall is just heartbreaking, particularly for how well you described their similarities and resultant tenuous comraderie - "dry witticisms like ships of champagne", ye gods, yes. I can't help seeing Maggie Smith's "tight-lipped disapproval" before my very eyes.
Brilliant bringing in of Schindler's List - the whole concept of showing Muggle movies to the kids has just the sort of whimsical humor Rowling loves while yet being vitally serious in its scope - it reminds me a bit of the movie Freedom Writers; have you seen it?
Really, really lovely. I'm glad you've finally let these out. Feels good to be back in the fic writing swing, doesn't it?
| Logospilgrim chapter 2 . 12/1/2010
Completely amazing. This story is perfection.
| Oboe-Wan chapter 1 . 11/29/2010
So, I've always had trouble with Snape. Even when things were looking grim (end of book 6, for instance), I didn't think he was a traitor, I did believe that he was working against Voldemort. But he always had a capacity for cruelty, not just towards Harry, but towards students like Neville or Hermione whom he had no personal reason to hate, that I found rather repellent. I had ascribed a certain self righteousness to him, in his ability to do the dirty work of being Dumbledore's spy, his ability to be cold enough to make hard choices for the greater cause of victory, which may (in light of book 7 insights) have been somewhat unwarranted.
You made me dig a little deeper and ask, how much of what made me dislike Snape was his carefully cultivated persona? I think that is really the best of what fanfiction can be - something that makes the reader see a character in a new light while remaining strictly within canon.
"The fellow scarcely needed to transform, Snape thought savagely, he already was a rat." - Hah, there we can agree, Snape. We none of us want to spent quality time with Wormtail, but it must be especially galling and agonizing for Snape to have share quarters with the despicable creature.
I was so struck by the constant parallels between Charity and Lily and throughout Snape's mental processes. Just the way the sentences are crafted is very realistic to thoughts interrupting each other as his mind snaps back again and again to Lily.
The vingette between Snape and Charity in the teacher's lounge again strikes me as a very very realistic interaction. I know I've had difficult classmates or coworkers that I softened towards after a single flash of them behaving "out of character" for a moment, helping me understand the reason for why I found them difficult and leading to me being more sympathetic to them. Not that Snape is any less prickly - but there are reasons he is the way he is, and it takes a really charitable person to see this without taking offense at his offensive manner.
And it's so interesting that Snape responds to her simple kindness with so much confusion, concluding that his front MUST be slipping. No, Snape, you are still intimidating as ever, she's really just that nice of a person. Shocking, we know.
"...but a warning made in the confidence that he would follow through on his responsibilities. Could that be right, or was he simply hoping against hope that she did not hate him?" - - This really made me feel for him.
I also like how you highlight Charity's courage in speaking out for her beliefs despite the danger in doing so. If others had been as brave and outspoken as she was, maybe the situation would not have become as dire as it did later on in Deathly Hallows. It is great of you to flesh her out a little, since she is one of those people we didn't get to know well in the books since Harry didn't actually interact with her very much. And you did it so well, giving her dignity and bravery as well as other virtues appropriate to her name.
"Estimating these odds reminded Snape of James Potter and his gang, who had always pounced upon him when he was alone." - - Now, to be fair, in the only incident we as readers witnessed first hand, it was 2 to 1, as (if I recall correctly) Peter wasn't doing anything but standing back and egging James on, and Remus was only complicit through silence. And Snape wasn't exactly alone either - Lily did try to come to his aid. But as you are writing from Snape's point of view, this train of thought is certainly believable even if it is not strictly factually accurate.
"Charity, I will avenge you, just like Lily. Alas, I cannot save you, but I will avenge you. I promise." - - ironically, I don't think revenge is something that a person like Charity would really want. Justice, yes, but revenge, no.
Beautiful writing as always. Some of the loveliest phrases:
"inky robes billowing around him" - fantastic, makes me think of a drop of ink or dark paint dropped into water.
"If you do not require charity, Severus, you are one of the few in that condition." - just wonderful.
"the body dangling upside-down like a hunk of butcher's meat" - horrible but very very vivid and apt.
"shoved grief, fear, and guilt inside a barred corner of his brain—a corner not unlike his dungeons in the depths of Hogwarts." - great. I guess I usually tend think of those dungeons as Snape's natural habitat... but perhaps not.
I really hope you are going to follow this up with another piece, because that ending is just soul-crushing. I'll be looking for more anxiously!
| PrydainViolet chapter 1 . 11/27/2010
I was so excited when I saw you posted this! And since it is titled 'chapter 1'...dare I hope for more?
Finally, a lovely piece about Snape. I really appreciate that you've used your knack of delving into the finer points of a character's acts or conciousness to flesh them out, and the way you connect small details with the important larger issues like the passage about the name Charity and its layers of meaning and how it ultimately comes back to the central theme of Harry Potter: love.
Charity's death in the book was a thoroughly upsetting scene, and you've really put your finger on what would have made it even more devestating for Snape - the fact that they were coworkers and maybe even something resembling friends.
I found the scene with the brownies to be unexpected, it did take some effort for my brain to even picture Snape eating a brownie! But it does seem like something Charity would do and it reminds us that under that iciness and menace, Snape was once just a boy who fell in love with a girl and has been walking around with a broken heart ever since. And what with all the stress and strain that you so aptly described he is under, a small comfort like that can have so much meaning and relief.
I admit that when I read Deathly Hallows, I was so worried during that chapter that the woman was Molly or Professor McGonagal that I was actually kind of relieved when she turned out to be Charity Burbage, but you've done justice to the fact that even though Harry & co. (as well as the reader) might not see much of these characters, they all have their stories, they are all connected, and they all matter - this is one of the things that I admire most about JKR's storytelling, and I really think you have captured it here!
| Freawaru chapter 1 . 11/15/2010
Oh wow. That was brilliant. You made me tear up.
| Logospilgrim chapter 1 . 11/11/2010
A true gem of a story... Goodness. Utterly exquisite, in every way... Thank you so much for sharing that with me, most beloved!