Merry Christmas Jessi :) Fabulous banner by Blue_Suede_Shoes at SAYS.
The night of Christmas Eve, Harry is called into his sons room to tell them a story before bed. Wanting to hear something about Christmas, Harry tells them a tale unlike any other and remembers an old friend.
I can't believe I hadn't reveiewed this before, especially since I love Dobby so much. His death and Hedwig's hit me hardest of anyone in the entire series of books, even more than Fred.
This is a beautiful, sweet and charming fable and I love the ending. Definitely a Christmas charmer. Warm, comfortable fluff in which to wrap a good feeling for humanity and elf-kind.
Okay, Jessi, nitpicky things first.
"Why are their only two followers of God allowed down there?" Should be "Why are there..."
It is our Fathers word and therefor, it is the law."
"He has not repent of his sins! Adam!" Should be "He has not repented..."
Banishing them away, he rubbed his cloack over his face (cloak)
Wait, who's Daniel and what happened to Abel. Wasn't he slain by Cain before Eve died?
I would stick with Lucifer or Satan, but not both as they have very different connotations based on their names and historical references. Personally, I would just use the Devil, but all are good references for modern Christians.
This story is beautifully written in your warm and sensitive style. I find your writing flows off the page with ease, even with tough subject matter like this.
You know my current religious feelings, but you might not know that I was raised Southern Baptist, so I actually have a feel for what you are writing here. I like Death being a brother angel to the other (arch)angels. Canonically, I have a few questions. I'm pretty sure that the Bible states that Adam and Eve were taken directly to God, like you have Death doing here. At the time the Old Testament was written, the Jews who wrote it didn't believe in Hell as we have the concept of it today. Sheol (spelling?) is I believe, more like Hades in Greek mythology (I could be wrong, it's been a while since I read Hebrew studies).
As a story, I find it an inspiring testament to faith, with it being clear that Death has faith both in God's plan and his own part in it.
I really enjoy these sorts of stories where you start from a canon point and end at a canon point and keep everything canon in between. What I mean is it's so easy to take the characters out of context or out of character and you don't. You make us feel for Snape and Lily both. They are both in an untenable situation. Lily can't reconcile her feelings for James with her feelings for Snape, he can't reconcile his feelings for Lily with what he needs to do daily to survive in Slytherin house. This story speaks to me personally for a reason that I won't go into in a public forum. If you are curious about it, PM me on eHPF and I will let you in on it.
I think that you were trying to show that Lily had already started developing feelings for James here, and didn't know what to do about them. Part of her thinks he's an arrogant prat, but the other part sees that he will stand for what's right if pushed to.
Snape here seems perfectly IC to me. I found his terror at of committing to Lily or confiding in her fully to be very well written. You make me feel for Marauder Era characters and that's not easy as I don't care for them as a rule.
I know that Snape's your favourite character and Luna is mine, so I really liked your characterisation of her here. I too believe that under Luna's exterior that she doesn't miss a trick. I know that if Luna had heard the truth from Harry that she would have done just what you had her do here. I like too, that you didn't have Harry helping Minerva. It just wouldn't have felt right. I would have bought Hermione, but only her from the trio. It gave a real emotional kick to have Minerva cleaning his body.
I enjoyed reading the old tradition of staying up with the dead. Modern funerals and services seem to me to be a bit impersonal and slightly disrespectful to the dead.
Thank you for sharing this sweet vision of a well-deserved tribute to Snape.
Totally scary and real-seeming, I could feel Ron and Harry's panic. I could feel concern for Ginny and the baby oozing out of the computer screen. Very well written.
You know, I can see Luna telling Mrs. Weasley about the incident, but what I picture is quite different from what you wrote--I think we have very different interpretations of Luna--your's is probably more canon than mine.
Asteria here strikes me as very professional and calm. I really liked the reconciliation between Ron and Draco and I can see the same thing happening from Harry when he recovers from his panic and Ginny has safely delivered the baby.
Very nicely written and characterised.
Just from this short first chapter, I would say that you have the characterisations down pat. Ginny is right on the money as is Harry.
There are a couple of small editing errors here and there: "Harry had been standing at in front of the small fireplace in the living room"--you should delete 'at'; however, the small errors are not enough to detract from the sweet story and sentiment of the chapter.
Typical of Harry, too, to not know what Ginny was trying to make-he always was crap at potions! (Not that he would know how to make a preg-test anyway.)
A great start.
The scene where you mention that Harry and Ginny would often sit on the counter and floor to eat reminded me very much of James Herriott's stories. He and his wife had to do much the same when they started out. This adds verisimilitude to your story and makes the characters and the situation really stand out. Very well written little part of the story.
Ooo, Asteria huh? I could see the Trio having a problem with that, but I think Ginny's assessment is probably correct that she's going to be a competent midwife.
Again, your characterisations are brilliant and you really let the characters shine through in their situations. I can totally picture Harry announcing he 'knocked her up'. So funny.
You go, George! When George is the voice of reason, things have taken a bad turn (worse yet if Ron's the voice of reason). I really like the characterisation of George in this chapter. I know that I keep mentioning characterisation, but it's so important to a story like yours to keep the known characters somehwat canon and you do it in a very believable and wonderful way.
You particularly capture Harry's character well here in the way he's hard-headed, but seeks help from his friends, even if it costs him a little pride and listens (at least he started listening some after OotP).
When I write Harry/Ginny, I often use my relationship with my wife as a guide to lend it credence. It shows that you've been in Ginny's shoes, it really does. I've read too many pregnancy stories written by 13 year olds and I can tell you have the voice of experience.
Really well done again and you don't overlook the obvious. I would have thought that Harry would have some trouble for jinxing Draco in public and you covered that base as well with the 'paperwork' comment.
I like it very much when Ginny suggests lunching with the Malfoys. Cracked me right up.
I think you thought out the procedures that Asteria used to diagnose and look over Ginny very well and I wish that I had sought out advice from someone who actually had had children before writing Luna's pregnancy in one of my stories-now I know better and can hang my head ashamed at my lack of knowledge.
The only part that I thought might need a small amount of work was Asteria's apology to Harry for Draco and her description of how life with a Malfoy was-it felt just a tiny bit strange or formal to me-something I struggle with when I write Harry, so maybe I'm just oversensitive.
“Are we popping over to get Teddy, Harry? It is his weekend with us, you know. I think we must be very careful in how we tell him about the baby. I’d hate for him to feel left out or pushed aside, as much as he idolizes you. Maybe we could include him in the announcement. What do you think? Harry?” --This sentence seems a little awkward to me, not quite as someone would actually speak it.
Your characterisations are again perfectly spot-on. I would probably soften up how you described Molly's shouting: 'ravings' sounds just a bit harsh.
A pet peeve: stationery that you write on is spelled with an 'e' stationary with an 'a' means standing still.
Again, it's obvious that you have children and can write from personal experience. It's funny how clueless Harry is, and Ginny's the youngest, so she wouldn't have had a younger sibling to take care of. I'm still surprised that Harry didn't see some of this when Teddy was younger, though.
I learned quite a bit about babies from all my nieces and nephews, so I can sympathise with H and G, but again, it's not like having your own children.
You almost made an old man cry tonight with the final scene with James and Lily and Sirius. I abso-freaking-lutely love it. It literally brought tears to my eyes.
Good for the DA members, having a network of friends really does help.
Eel pie and haggis! Ha! Yummy!
I do really like that Harry went ahead and bought a mansion (eight bedrooms!) without Ginny knowing. It's the sort of sweet but impulsive thing that he would do.
As always, very well characterised.
Harry at one point says that he would have traded a useless class at Hogwarts 'like Divination or Arithmancy'--only Hermione took Arithmancy, the boys thought she was nuts to study it.
Yes! I'm not the only one to think that Kreacher would be friendly to Winky and help her out! And he's respecting Dobby, too--Word! I also like that he helped Ginny come up with the correct names. I've got to admit that I was bugged by the names at the end of DH-it seemed they all were picked by Harry and this offers a palatable alternative. (Although I love the name Lily Luna :) )
I like the baby not liking the parents arguing-very interesting and original. It's always interesting to me when someone combines Magic with technology as you did with the DVD player--I've done this and received mixed reviews, but I can totally see Harry and Hermione being comfortable with Muggle devices and I can definitely see them both with a mobile phone, so I applaud your decision to put a DVD player in. Ignore those boors who would tell you that the technology detracts from the magic.
Excellently done as always.
The Princess Bride is my favourite movie of all time. Hooray!
I like that they're going to give their old house to Ron and Hermione. I also really like the name Aisling (My wife played a character in D&D named Aisling Raider).
I always find your writing easy to read and more importantly, fun to read. It's always interesting and original.
I have a question, that I can't answer since my wife and I have no children--would a woman in labor (even early labor) really want to make love?
A satisfying end to a brilliant bit of well-written fluff. When I say fluff, it's not an insult-it's hard to write fluff and do it well.
I was a bit disappointed that Asteria didn't deliver the baby or make another appearance, but having the trio deliver the baby gives it a feeling of 'all in the family' that makes it more dear and closer.
One of the best written stories I have read in a while.
I thought I reviewed this when I first read it, but obviously I didn't. This is a brilliant little epilogue to the story.
Arthur, while very strange, is an excellent father and certainly cares about his children and Harry.
I'm not a father, but I'll bet most fathers struggle with feelings of inadequacy as they contemplate the effort that raising children will take. It's a daunting task and I tip my cap to all those who choose that path.
The parts with James (the father) were very poignant. He would have loved his grandson had he lived and James II would have been a little Marauder, just like grand-dad.
I must admit that I like Draco's story much more than the part of the story with the Trio. I like the slow, platonic way that you build the relationship due to Draco's reluctance to reveal everything about his past.
As I said in my review on HPFF, I can see that you've really worked on the technical end of the writing and it makes the story flow much better without the distractions.
We're seeing a real change in Draco, not just some superficial change to hide his real feelings and you show that well. I like Draco's introspection.
I'm enjoying the plot of the story and will continue reading.
Thanks for revisiting this story Pookha!! I'm glad that my writing is evolving. I worked hard on the issues that you and other's mentioned and I'm glad to hear I'm improving.
I agree that I too like Draco's plot line better. At times I don't know why I veered off with the Trio other than the fact that I loved their story line so much in HP that I wanted to add my 2 cents. I also wanted to give the reader an idea of what I thought about their relationships, especially to their spouses. That is was a respectful loving marriage. You'll see some of my reasoning in the next couple chapters.
Draco was a character that I felt could have changed if guided properly. Dumbledore tried to give him that opportunity but fear of Voldy and fear for his parents prevented that. I understand JK's reasoning for how she wrote her characters. After all, not everyone is worthy of redemption. But I wanted to give him that chance in mine. I hope his character in my story is worthy of it ;)
Thanks for the review!!
You write this in such a way that I can't help but think that you've had experience with preemies. You tell the story of Scorpius's experience quite heart-rendingly.
I liked your characterization of Narcissa. She's someone who's all about family and you show that here.
I also like the way that you present Draco as someone intelligent. I've read quite a few fics where he wasn't portrayed as intelligent, merely gifted in the Dark Arts. I think it's very important that you characterized him as intelligent as you're going to have a Draco/Hermione pairing (at least according to the summary).
This chapter shines with the light of reality (by which I mean it rings true as something that could have happened.)
The fact that you thought my interpretation was very convincing leads me to believe I'm becoming a better hack... I mean writer ;) Fortunately, both of my boys were healthy and all of my relations have been full-term healthy babies. I did a bit of research before I wrote the topic in order for the events to sound feasible. Even the magical medicine the baby is receiving is real. Surfactant is actually the name of the prophylactic treatement used for Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Preterm Infants. Hindmilk is just a term used to refer to the fatty milk the baby consumes near the end of the breastfeeding session. There is a method to my madness!!!! I really do have a plan if not a half baked, fly by the seat of my pants idea ;)
Narcissa, to me, was a character who valued family (at least her family.) I always felt she & Draco were unwilling pawns in the whole thing (more Draco than Narcissa as he was just a child) The adults should have known better but we all know, even in muggle life, that at times it's hard to steer clear of bad influences. It takes a strong character which the Malfoys didn't possess. I'm trying to steer them in that direction with a few twists to come. In DH I got the feeling the Malfoys all wished they weren't involved in this whole fiasco. They were scared for their lives which is all they cared about. I was pleased JK didn't kill them off because to me that opened a door for some redemption if they chose to take it.
I never got the idea from JK that Draco was unintelligent so I didn't think he should be portrayed that way. Of course he was cocky in regards to certain lessons which he didn't value (Care of Magical Creatures) But in those lessons he did value (Dark Arts, Potions etc.) I felt that he would excel. Especially since Lucius ,at times, commented on a muggle beating his son out in school. To me that gave the impression that he had a head on his shoulder. He will be using those brains quite a bit in this story from time to time.
I'm glad you are enjoying my version of the Epilogue. It will be interesting to see what you have to say about the next couple of chapters. Thanks again for the review!!
This chapter really picks up the pace and it does something important for me. Most Dramiones have Ron being neglectful, abusive, or just not there, and you avoid that. Hermione would need a reason not to be with Ron and having him die is a good one.
I liked the brutal way that the attacker killed Ron and tried to kill Hermione. Very effective, non-cliched and well-written.
I think your characterizations in this chapter are spot-on and very well done. Harry's reaction to the shop door being open was played just right.
Either you missed a chapter or just didn't leave a review to Chapter 7. Just thought I'd mention it in case there was some important information you may have missed ;)
I could never have Ron be abusive or neglectful. That just isn't him. But you are right, in order to provide a reason to make this a Dramione, I had to have him die. I think I mentioned in another review that I have an alternate version of this story in which Ron doesn't die. Maybe someday I will get around to writing that idea.
I'm glad you liked the murder/attack scenes. I wanted to make them fast and edgy to keep up the suspense of the moment. I'm glad they didn't read as cliche.
Thanks for the complements on characterization. I really feel it's important to this story to keep them in character as much as possible as well as in their roles as Auror, etc to make it seem believable. Thanks again for reading!
This is all beginning to tie together nicely and we can see where it's starting to head.
I'm going to make a prediction right now about the killer I think it's...well I won't say here, in case I'm right and spoil it and in case I'm wrong, I have deniability :).
I feel a bit sorry for Draco here, being left to care for a baby on his own, especially a preemie (even though he's been healed up pretty good, preemies still often face issues throughout their lives).
I like the description of Lucius here very much and how he talks to Draco.
Hmmmmm, who is the murderer? I'm still working that part out but I have an idea but need to work out the details. It will be interesting to see whether your prediction is correct but you won't find out for quite some time. It's best you didn't put it in writing cause then when the name is revealed you can always say "I knew it!" [whether you really did or not ;) ]
I wanted to repair Draco's relationship with his father in this story. Because of the whole Voldemort thing, it was obviously in disrepair but I like to think that the Malfoy's each had a love for their family members which would explain why Draco did what he did in HBP. He needed to save his family and himself from Voldemort as well as their reputation. Well he's really going to get an opportunity to redeem his family name in this story.
It's good to feel sorry for Draco. Right now he is a bit vulnerable as anyone in his situation would be and I need the reader to be on his side once and a while in this story. He will still on occasion need to hide behind his snarky mask but in the long run he'll be a good guy (or will he?) We'll see.
Thanks for the review!!
You know, I think a lot of people will overlook your characterization of Kreacher, but the elves have always been dear to me and I just wanted to say that I love the way you present Kreacher here. By showing him kindness and making him feel wanted, he's become a valuable member of the family and he does his part well. I really think that Harry sees a bit of Dobby in him and wants to really do his part.
I find the part with Harry talking to Draco at the start to be a bit harsh, but then I remind myself that Harry just lost his best friend and he's trying to do what's best for his other best friend, so a bit of harshness is understandable.
The scene where he's showing Draco how to properly feed Scorpius leads to what's coming, I think. I think that Harry and Draco will form a grudging friendship, maybe never a close friendship, but the type where you know you can rely on someone to have your back.
This has come miles from the start and I really think you've come into your 'voice' now and it shows in the plot. I had to rewrite my first fic because I didn't use a beta and the plot wandered all over, so I'm glad to see you're doing much better at this than I did.
My bad. I thought I responded to all your reviews but I missed this one. Sorry
Since you read and reviewed several chapters in one day I like to think I hooked you a bit with my plot. Plus I agree with you, I think my attempt at writing has improved over time and I'm looking back at first chapters and wondering if I could have done a better job. But re-writing will have to wait as I still need to put the rest of the story on paper (or internet) But I'm very proud of this so far.
Harry & Draco just might end up having a grudging friendship. You'll have to wait and see but for now the relationship between these two characters is just too good not to have a bit of fun with for awhile. And yes, you are correct, the harshness right now is necessary not only because Harry's lost his best friend but he is shouldering a great responsibility. Plus he and Draco never really resolved certain issues from DH, and what he said holds water, it's not about them, there are children involved.
I'm glad you liked Kreacher. I really loved the house elves in HP series and knowing that respecting them goes a long way in their fidelity to the Wizard I wanted to expand on it. Harry is a good sort of fellow and I knew he would be kind to Kreacher once he fully understood the psychology of Kreacher's betrayal in OotP. Thanks again for reviewing. I really have to get cracking on the rest of this story so I don't leave you hanging. I'm not abandoning this challenge to myself. ;)
Read the entries for the competition here. The Author's will be revealed once voting has closed and a winner has been announced.
I really enjoyed this story, even though I don't care for "Wonderful Life" the movie. I liked the darker way this was done rather than the soppy movie.
It's interesting to me that so many of the stories here are about memories or dreams/visions.
I think this version of Ron is very well done, it could fill in a canonical blank. I don't necessarily think that Dobby could have done this with his magic, as I have a quite different view of house-elf magic, but the writing is impeccable and it makes it easy for me to gloss over the one thing I had trouble with.
Very well done.
I enjoyed all of this story except for the island trip. That part seemed just a little forced to me. I don't picture Lucius as being someone who is capable of being honestly contrite.
I truly enjoyed reading about the engagements and the gift exchanges. Very sweet and fluffy.
I really liked the Christmas dynamic in this story the best of all of the stories in the contest. I thought the inclusion of Scorpius into the Weasly family Christmas was not only brilliant, but also brilliantly written as well. All of the characters shine with IC'ness and nobody strikes a false note at all.
I could see clearly an angry Harry and Ron allowing Draco and Lucius to do what needed to be done and covering it up. A very mature and otherwise dark counterpoint to the sweet story and it adds an element of truth to the story--there's always sadness and death, even at Christmastime.
If I had one small quibble, it would be that in the Scorpius/Rose/Albus they seem a little bit too adult in their relationship for 11 year olds. Some of that could be attributed to the Hell their parents had to go through and the bonding that would cause, but it just seemed a bit too much like adult love and not childhood crush/friendship.
So very Luna, giving strange gifts to the children, but then making up for it with books and a sunny disposition. The sick kids could use that sunny disposition more than even the material gifts.
Luna always seemed to me to have the ability to really see what was bothering someone, a sort of strange insight. I could clearly picture her trying to help Neville and his parents. Trying to convince Neville that everything would be okay. Extending the hand of friendship and trust.
We can also see the changes in Neville beginning here. Always a Gryffindor, now he's learning to express it.
Beautiful and heart-warming.
Hey! You must have been adding chapters to this as I was reading the first chapter. I didn't realize it was a chaptered fic. I thought it was a cute little one-shot. This allows the characterisation of Snape to continue.
I love this chapter. As I said in the previous chapter, I really feel that Remus wanted to mend fences and just didn't know how to approach Snape.
I think you capture Remus beautifully as well. I think he was always the Marauder's conscience and it's a shame that he didn't assert himself more on James and Sirius (and Peter). I find myself more sympathetic with Severus and agreeing with his assessment of James as "...a bully..."
I like also that you show how perceptive Remus is in catching on to Severus's tea blend. I think he and the other Marauders must surely have known how Sev felt about Lily (at least a little, they might have just thought he was a stalker type).
I've said it before, but I'll say it again, you make me care about Snape.