I'm here with that review I promised from the Twenty-four hour writing extravaganza thingy from the House Cup.
This was so evocative. You've got so much imagery, and it's powerful, and it SPEAKS to what's going on without diluting the situation. I love how you show the effects of things going on in Sirius' head and you never break it down into what's reality. It's Sirius' reality, and that's enough.
This actually reminds me a lot of where I had to go to write my angst piece, and I admire you for going to that place. It's hard to get to, and even harder to express. You've gotten all of his anxieties out there, there's a story inside of it, that tells us what happened, but also how it's still sort of happening inside his head. The flashbacks aren't really flashbacks, because to him, he's still living through it. I don't have any experience with PTSD, but from what I've read, that's the single most remarkable symptom that I identify with it: the sensation of still being in that place where the awful things happen, being unable to escape it, even though you know it's over.
I love that you were able to use the setting of the house to enhance this. Thinking about it that way, this was the absolute worst place to keep the poor guy. He's surrounded by all of his bad memories, the one place he spent his childhood trying to escape, and then Dumbledore locks him up there.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT MAN???
I completely agree with your idea of the psychosis that turns this state of being into some kind of hallucination, but it goes deeper than that. We can try to evaluate it all day, but I think everyone agrees that you've nailed the sensations here with your carefully selected prose.
It reads real.
*transferred from hpff*
When writing this, the one thing I knew right from the beginning was that I absolutely didn't want to break it down clearly into reality vs. delusion. I feel like this definitely wouldn't have been the same story if I had. Without getting into too much personal detail, I very much felt that that would have been a disservice to the character (Sirius).
Another thing I was thinking about right from the beginning was how much trauma there's been in Sirius' life overall up to - and including - this point. He was abused when he lived at 12 Grimmauld; he was away from that environment for maybe 5 years? and then two of his best friends were murdered and he was framed (a trauma in and of itself); then he spent 12 years in Azkaban (an incredibly prolonged trauma); then, within 2 years of escaping, he was locked back up, right where he started. How is he supposed to work through his traumas and move past them when he's in that situation? I imagine it would begin to feel like some sort of vicious cycle, and that it would definitely exacerbate that feeling of "still being in that place where the awful things happen", because while he's not in Azkaban, he's literally in one of those places.
So yeah, I really hate Dumbledore. He's a great character and very complex, but I hate him. It seems to me that, even after Grindelwald, Dumbledore still thought in terms of "the greater good" in a lot of cases, and didn't really think of the others around him as whole people with, you know, emotions? I get that Sirius needed to be kept hidden, but that was not a good way to do it and the effects it was having on him were very obvious.
Yeah, I think you're right. There are lots of ways to evaluate and interpret this, but at the end of the day I wrote it the way I did because it felt right to me and made sense to me.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed this, and thank you for the absolutely awesome review!
*Trasnferred from HPFF*
Wowee. This was exceptionally intense. I should've expected that, considering that the story was about PTSD, but I didn't expect to get so emotionally evolved.
Sirius Black is one of my favourite characters of all time. This story made my heart break for him all over again. I haven't visited OotP for a long time, and I'd sort of forgotten about Sirius being stuck in Grimmauld Place. I really liked how you portrayed this as him being locked away, all over again. I sometimes wonder if he ever wonders if it would've been better to stay wherever he was during GoF.
I think you really captured Sirius' anger very well. I felt myself getting angry for him, too. And you've written a different side of PTSD, which I really appreciate. It's not the usual "flashbacks" that is normally seen in the media, and whilst this is a very big and real part of PTSD, there is more to it. You've highlighted the anger, the isolation, the hurt, the perceived judgement of others instead. I really enjoyed reading a more broad experience of PTSD. Of course, this also has the added bonus of making Sirius' character development more complex and interesting. The anger and frustration experienced by him is a common symptom, but by viewing it through the lens of PTSD really changes things.
Thanks for writing this wonderful story. I really enjoyed it :)
*transferred from hpff*
Sirius Black is my favourite character but a lot of the time I get so sad thinking about how unfair his life was :( Him being confined to Grimmauld Place was really clearly doing bad things to him.
When it came to depicting PTSD, I was really considering how his surroundings would play into it, and also how PTSD from Azkaban would look. I thought things like always checking his breath as soon as he feels cold and seeing Dementors in the shadows, scratching the walls, etc would be effective in conveying the same sort of thing as writing a flashback would.
Thanks for the lovely review!