Reviews for Self Slain Gods on Strange Altars
chiwilacapybara chapter 1 . 7/10
Hey, I know you'll probably update this story and that's ok. But I hope you know it's always been my favorite. I first read it around ten years ago. I must have read it a dozen times since. You're Snape is so real. Your Hermione is so self-actualized. You're story is the reason I write fanfic now. Thanks for what you did.
Same Guest chapter 2 . 6/28
I say this in the most platonic way possible:
I think you're the love of my life.
You are the light-giving lamp in the living room of my life.
If you were a hermit crab in desperate need of a new shell, I would help you find one.

You're an incredibly talented writer. I hope you never stop writing, in whatever capacity makes you happy.
Guest chapter 1 . 6/28
How did you manage to tear my heart to shreds before the first page-break?
ThePinkTea chapter 20 . 5/13
Hi there, I’ve put off reading this story because I am at a point of my life where I like complete stories, but I gave in and I’m glad I did. It’s very depressing and I liked it immensely. It seems unlikely, closing in on a decade, that you’ll come back to finish this story, but I thank you for the hours I spent reading it.

Take care 3
add2fic chapter 20 . 5/5
Hi Scum,

I haven't read fanfiction in years but suddenly remembered yours and it took me so much searching to finally get the name of it and re-read it again. I can't believe some of the dialogue, moments are still so familiar to me after so long. I still have hope that one day you'll miss your characters enough too to give them an ending. This is such a beautiful story in and of itself, and I'm so sorry you were going through a hard time at the end of this. 20s are so tough, but I really hope things have been going well for you!
Guest chapter 20 . 4/17
I've reread this story in its entirety countless times over the years. Your interpretation of Snape is haunting, and the dialogue feels so so real... there aren't many HP fanfics that can compare. This is the only SSHG I've read - mostly because your portrayal of them has set an impossibly high standard.
Thank you for writing this beautiful piece of fiction, in spite of the obvious emotional toll. I hope that wherever you have found yourself in 2022, you are well.
Guest chapter 20 . 1/1
I just thought I'd let you know I've re-read this twice now, I absolutely adore it. And I hope that one day, in three months or three hundred the muses will return to you and you will be happy and inspired to return to this story.
In the meantime I hope you're safe and as it is the first of January, happy new year.
duskywolfdaemon chapter 10 . 12/15/2021
Dear Scum,

What does one say to a feat of this proportion?

You pack so much into these scenes. Hermione's decision to break it off – why? Even she isn't quite sure, though she senses their dalliance must reach critical mass soon. Then Snape's prickly refusal to show weakness. Her seeking him out once, twice (because she can only permit herself to want him when he no longer wants her), then finding him broken down in pieces. But she can't put him back together. Together, they can only break further.

I said in a previous review that your Snape is plainly touch-starved; if so, then your Hermione is plainly intimacy-starved. But why? Why, when, unlike Snape, she has encouraging people in her life who value her. Or does she? So much SSHG fanfiction mobilises the rather convincing notion that Hermione's friendships and familial relationships don't satisfy her. That, perhaps, they can't. You see this in Loten's work, and Aurette's as well. There's a certain leaving-behind that always happens to our poor courageous Gryffindor. I sense it even in canon; this is a character who is as without as she is within.

Match her up with Snape, who is similarly without-within, and you have something like this: a coming-together that makes horrifically good sense, and packs such an erotic charge that it's almost indecent.



duskywolfdaemon chapter 9 . 12/14/2021
Dear Scum,

I love how deeply metaphysical your Hermione wants to be. She wants to contemplate everything around her on a higher plain; it's comforting to her, making it easier to ignore her extreme lack of coping skills. Where does childhood end? When you realise that no one in the history of humanity is ever up to the task until the task is up. Her waffling is wonderful, and very much the stuff of adolescence.

That first scene with Snape is, perhaps oddly, one of my favourites in this entire story. It feels like a benchmark for just how far these two have come in their respective roles and, even though it is over quickly, it begins the reversal of their relationship as well: from here on out, it is Snape who pushes things forward almost entirely, and Hermione who puts barriers down.

Speaking of which, the scene in the library is particularly excellent. Great kissing, etc, but what I really love is the subtle undercurrent in their conversation. "You jump, I jump" is not the order of the day for these two, and never will be. Snape knows very well that Hermione's trust in him is conditional, and that part of her fascination with him is that tenuous trust; the fact that he might turn out to be exactly what he appears to be.

duskywolfdaemon chapter 8 . 12/14/2021
Dear Scum,

This is the part in the story where I start to inhale; I open my greedy reading maw and – whoosh! – I gulp this up like it's a shoal of shining fish. I guess that makes me a whale in this scenario, and that is just fine because I LOVE IT.

My ridiculous nonsense aside, I do love everything here. Your Moody is excellent. Your Harry is excellent. Heck, even your Mrs Granger is on-point-and-almost-annoyingly excellent.

But really, who am I kidding? We all know what I'm here for. That scene. THAT one, where Hermione realises exactly what has been happening between the two of them, and she finds that coaxing Snape over the line is as simple as letting herself be vulnerable, and inviting the same. Here's where we can start to feel what I notice all through their physical encounters: this man is desperately touch-starved. It's heartbreaking, in fact, to think of the contexts in which touch is a norm for him. And here she is, the one person who seems to give a shit about him as a person, not just as a cog in the war machine, and she wants him. His reaction to her is perfect. It's logical. It's heartbreaking.

Best of all, we finally-finally-finally see Hermione get the upper hand in their relationship, and she has absolutely no idea of what to do with it. I love that she's unsure, that she has to leave each encounter a-flutter, that she cannot quite process what is happening, what they are doing, and why. It builds more and more on what's to come.

Yours endlessly enthralled,

duskywolfdaemon chapter 7 . 12/14/2021
Dear Scum,

Hermione's understanding of her own self is the stuff of waking dreams; it fades under scrutiny, and disappears with outright acknowledgement. She understands more about how she processes the seasons – almost bodily – than how her philosophical evolution manifests into her actions. That's where her strangeness to others comes in; that's where she finds her overlap with Snape. They are alike, even though he's further along his own experiential understanding than she. He's trying to guide her, and he's failing miserably.

I love the tacit friendship they develop throughout this chapter, where we see them becoming partners of an uneasy sort. Not in the war, no, but in something they interpret within their respective understandings. For Snape, it's the almost empty hope that he won't have to fulfil his promise to kill Dumbledore, that he'll pass on this Potions knowledge so that Dumbledore can live a little longer. For Hermione, it's a contribution to the larger war effort, a push against the helplessness she felt before, stoked by Snape's ridicule and her horrific experiences with the (other) Death Eaters. They pair up to push against the inevitable; they find comfort together.

The comfort shatters when where she pretends to want a quill and he pretends to be drunk, and she finally – finally – throws herself into his path properly. But he's a wrecking ball, already swinging back before the blow, already on his course into complete destruction. He knows it, but she does too, but she wants to get in the way, to stop him, to give him another course. I love his outrage, which feels fraudulent and insincere and completely vulnerable. I love her determination, which feels brash and lonely and sweet.

This is where the story, so potent already, makes its definitive turn to the devastating. Yet I willingly read on.

Yours in happy devastation,

duskywolfdaemon chapter 6 . 12/14/2021
Dear Scum,

So much happens here. It's hard to parse just how far we move in just one chapter. Scene after scene, folded one after the other, until you unfurl them like a fan near the end; what you've built towards. And what's that? It's the moment when he finally makes the first tentative move. No, not the one forced on him by creepy-af Riddle, but the one where he finally asks her to spend time with him. Because it is an ask, even if Hermione doesn't see it. This is him exposed, and exposing himself even further. He exposes her too, layer by layer, but what Hermione fails to realise is that Snape will always be one layer darker than she..

That's what I love about this chapter. Their moments together, both before and after he goes to Riddle, are sexually charged, but that isn't quite what matters. Rather, it's her reaction, her processing, that interests both of them. She genuinely wants to help; she genuinely cares. Despite... well, everything. The fascination has deepened, and a man alone on a skiff floating out into treacherous waters will grasp at anything that might ease his mind, maintain his direction.

I hope this review makes sense. I'm worn out tonight, and not at my best. But your story is beautiful beautiful beautiful, and it deserves its due.


duskywolfdaemon chapter 5 . 12/13/2021
Dear Scum,

There is so much good here, but the standout is the dialogue. From the brief encounter with Tonks, to the gorgeous discussion with Harry and Ron, to the rabid conflict with Malfoy, to the subtle conversation with Snape. So many characters, all perfectly IN character, all speaking with the weight of story and setting surrounding them. I congratulate you on throwing your narratorial voice in so many different directions so consistently.

My favourite part of this chapter is the fight with Draco. In particular, the "tingle at the base of her spine" that Hermione feels when she knows she's about to go much further than the situation warrants. I've felt that tingle, and I've overrode it before with the exact same mixture of devil-may-care and impending doom. I absolutely love how closely you track Hermione's feelings and emotions, but especially her CHOICES. Her brashness isn't actually as unthinking as it might seem. Everything she does is calculated, at least to some degree, which is precisely why she can see the calculation in everything someone like Snape does (including the perfect billow of his robes...).

I love how brutal that fight with Malfoy is. I love Parkinson's cowardly hanging back. I love not knowing what might have happened had Snape not stepped in, and wondering just how far Draco and Hermione might have pushed it.

And I love that debrief with Snape, where he certainly knows that something is up, and he assigns her detention with him, despite Filch being an option. He's curious about her fascination, and he's starting to reciprocate.


duskywolfdaemon chapter 4 . 12/12/2021
Dear Scum,

This is one of your most beautifully balanced chapters; there is just enough of everything here. Enough internal monologue to help us understanding Hermione's processing. Enough scenes with her friends to make Hogwarts into the enormous place it should be. Enough references to the calamities of the previous chapter to serve as a sequel in form. And just enough interaction with Snape.

It's the latter that I find especially excellent (of course) because of your light touch with Hermione's slow-growing attraction, and Snape's ambiguous response. Does he know what she's thinking? There is a hint that he might: she doesn't realise that she makes the comment about his "extracurricular activities" aloud. Now, they aren't making eye contact, but a wee part of my brain thinks he somehow plucked that little thought right from her mind with Legilimency.

Overall, I believe that there is dawning awareness of where her feelings are going; his mildly suggestive comment of "demonstrating" the application of the unguent is interesting, and reads on multiple levels of interpretation. He might be testing a hypothesis he formed when observing her change in demeanour ("Why the devil is your face so red?"). Or he might be trying to get rid of her more quickly. I suspect at least two motives to this peculiar, slightly inappropriate and entirely insincere offer. And I suspect that he's wrestling with emotions of his own; not attraction, perhaps, but certainly some form of fascination.


duskywolfdaemon chapter 3 . 12/12/2021
Dear Scum,

This was the chapter that did it for me all those years ago. I remember so clearly because I was beyond busy getting ready for an inter-continental move from Canada to New Zealand, and I didn't have time to sit and read a new fic, let alone the hours I wanted to spend with your story. I took the story in snatches. In the dark before bed. In the moments between endless packing and weighing and packing again. And then, finally, throughout the endless era on the plane, when your work unfolded at last, the carpet I rode to a new land and a new life.

This was the chapter I read the night before I left.

There are moments in some fanfics where canon changes forever. The final scene in this chapter is one such moment. When I wrote my own fic I had to include a similarly gruesome scar; Rowling hints at the depth of Hermione's injury, but I have always loved how you explore it in full. Hermione is a changed character after that disastrous ending in the fifth book; not many fanfic authors notice that.

The encounter in the Entrance Hall is almost as arresting as the scene of the scar. I had to read it a number of times to understand what Snape was doing, and why he was seeking her out. He sees in Hermione the self-same ideological possession he displayed at her age. It was what led him away from Lily and into the dark. And he knows now that, light or dark, that type of possession is dangerous and foolish and callow. He's trying to guide her away, to teach her. He knows that her position in this war is second only to Harry's, and that she must accelerate her maturation in order for the light to succeed. All of this, matched with his deliberate cruelty, his underlying knowledge of her most essential nature, is, as I said, arresting.

As Hermione realises that she is exactly what Snape thinks she is, she begins the transformation necessary to complete her role in the war. But it is this transformation that deepens her fascination with him – both despite and because of the precedent he sets here.

On to the next chapter.

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