Here's your not so surprising surprise!! I'm sorry I said I was going to review this wonderful piece yesterday, but I got a little distracted - so I finished the chapter thia morning!!
You have taken me on such a journey, and I was here for every second of it. I can't remember if Lavender was killed off in the books as well as the film, but it felt so unnecessary to me, and I was really unhappy. Thank you for bringing her back to us!
I'm in awe of how you've captured Lavender's struggle so perfectly. It makes so much sense for her to stay in her house where it's safe. Not only that but as you mentioned throughout this fic, where no one can see her "ugly" scars. Your decision on making Lavender agoraphobic? Would you call it that? Well anyway, it's genius and you should be super proud of it.
Lavender's characterisation overall is so on point! I still see the remnants of her hogwarts self, and especially in this chapter, when you talk about how she knows that she'd have squealed about the party. But both the reader and lavender herself are aware of her change. She was a pain in the books, but she still didn't deserve to be attacked and to be terrified of leaving the house.
Aw, Michael. That was so lovely of him to offer to take Lavender home and to remind her that they're all suffering too. I like that there were no romantic motives there either - he was just doing right by Lavender as a friend (but if you ever decide on a michael x lavender sequel id be here for that 100%) .
This story was so poetic and so realistic. I think you showed that as far as the progression of recovery is concerned, there are no small steps, and even things like acknowledging others outside of her comfort zone and going outside are so important. I'm proud of her!
About the writing style itself though, every chapter had some beautiful imagery and like I said, it was wonderfully poetic. I aspire to write like you do, seriously.
Sorry for rambling on so much, but all in all this fic was amazing and I've fallen in love with your writing style...so now im off to read more!
Hi Bex! It was so exciting and sweet when you said you'd been reading this story, because it's probably the last of my stories that I expect anyone to pick out and I'm really pleased whenever anyone enjoys it!
I don't think it's ever definitively stated one way or another in the books, only the films, so I refuse to believe film canon and maintain that she survived after the battle. She's such a fascinating character to explore. I definitely think the view we get of her in the books, from Harry's perspective, isn't one that necessarily does her justice. She might be girly and romantic and like things that other people don't like, but she's also brave and strong - I mean, anyone who fought in the DA against Umbridge and the Carrows and then in the Battle of Hogwarts isn't your average "airhead". I can't imagine being attacked didn't have an impact on her, and although it was quite dark and difficult to write (and read) in some respects, I really enjoyed exploring her struggle and the way that she starts to make little steps of progress towards recovery. It's slow, and difficult, but she has people around her to help, and of course Michael comes along at the end (spoilers: when I wrote this, my head canon had them ending up together. I'm not sure if it's still the same, but it is for the end of this story :P).
I'm really pleased that you enjoyed this story, and thank you so much for the lovely review!
Yay! I'm so happy to see her progress. I mean, god bless the friends who drag us out of our comfort zone when it's absolutely necessary. But sometimes it takes someone who is distant, someone who has no reason to pretend and whose actions are not fueled by guilt or a feeling of responsibility but just sincere understanding and empathy. Michael is so, so sweet and perceptive. Even when he trespasses past her beyond what she's comfortable with, he immediately notices and apologises.
As I've said before, your writing is absolutely stunning, but there was sentence that stood out to me in particular. "Jealousy is green like spring, but mine withered and died a long time ago." It's so beautiful and poetic, but also sad. And that's what really pack a punch.
The best thing about this chapter is that Lavender finally agrees to make plans with someone other than her brother and Parvati. And she even is aware enough of her surrounding to admire scenery and feeling enough to empathise when she sees that Hermione mirrors her in some way. They are all subtle, little things, but when someone is in a state like that, every little step is progress and matters. And I think that's what is so brilliant about this story. You're taking all of that into account and executing it skillfully.
I think Lavender progressing through the course of this story was what was really important to me. I worried when I wrote it that it would be too depressing - that there was too much, all the way through the piece - and even though life can be like that sometimes, it's not a good story to read when there's no change. But yes, having other people around you who force you out of your comfort zone when you really need it are wonderful. They're the friends who are there and help you in ways you didn't know you needed helping.
Michael was a character who, again, I hadn't planned to take as much of a role in this piece, but I loved writing him and his interactions with Lavender here. He genuinely likes Lavender and understands some of what she's going through, and I like to think that he continued to help her, and that Lavender keeps up with the progress she's made in this chapter.
I'm so pleased you enjoyed this story! Thank you for the lovely reviews!
Reading this chapter reminded me of something that I liked about the previous one but forgot to mention. I really like how there are flashbacks and they are all perfectly placed. Sometimes when people do that, it comes off a bit choppy, but but that's not the case here. If anything the background helps make it easier to understand why Lavender is having such a difficult time recovering.
Another little personal thing that made smile was, of course, Charlie again. I,too, always said I wouldn't want to be a mother, but then you sit with me and you'll find that I talk about my little brother 50% of the time. And I'm glad that he continues to be the one prodding her to part from this state. So here I am finding things in common with a character I'm usually indifferent about, so yay!
And what made me even more glad was that she let Parvati see her and talk to her. And then Parvati finally managed to get to her, even if only a little bit by showing her that they've all been there and done that. I do genuinely hope that this was the push that Lavender needed. And I know better than to think it's an automatic thing. yes, it's a choice but not a switch you can flip. And that's also why I like that you've been writing this as the long, arduous, gradual process that it really is.
I sometimes don't realise how much I tend to include flashbacks in my stories, or at least write a non-chronological story, but I know they can be quite jarring sometimes and not really fit the flow of the piece. I'm glad you didn't think they came across as choppy here. I wanted to use them to show how much Lavender is still struggling with her recovery, and the way that she was still haunted by everything that happened and living it again and again. Flashbacks seemed like a good way to do that.
Charlie is adorable, even if I say so myself. He's so young that I don't think he can really understand how she's feeling, or what she's been through, but at the same time that's what she needs - someone who will just treat her as Lavender, his big sister, and not focus on everything else - it's all that gets her out of herself at first.
I really wanted to let Parvati into this story, and I'm glad you thought it worked when she arrived and finally managed to talk to her. It's going to be a long road for Lavender, but it always helps when you know that you have friends at your side.
Thank you again for this lovely review!
Hey there, Sian! I'm back again for the winter wonderland.
I'm slightly biased when it comes to Lavender Brown. As you've let her introduce herself, she did come of as frivolous with a head full of fluff. But I've been recently reading into unreliable narrators, and all I could think about was that Harry is the epitome of that. So in attempt to challenge the ideas about characters that I've extracted from Harry's point of view, I've been trying to read more about characters I'm not comfortable with. This is why admire that you started off by showing us that Lavender knew how she was perceived by everyone, and how she uses that to substantiate her belief that people would rather forget her and move on with her life, giving her more reasons to sink into her depression and isolation.
I think youve portayed depression so well. It resonated with me personally on so many levels, so you really have done an impeccable job with that.
Finally, as someone who has a strong bond with her little brother, the final scene in the chapter put the biggest smile on my face. Because I get it. I can never say no to him. But more importantly, I like that he was the one that managed to drag her out of her misery, even for a fraction of a moment, for a sliver of a smile.
Your writing style is as beautiful and elegant as ever. I'm so glad this is giving me the chance to read more of your work.
Ah, this story is one I wrote years ago, and I think in some ways I could do a lot more with it if I were to write it now, but I still have a soft spot for it. Lavender is such an intriguing character to me, and I love reading about her because there's never two depictions that are the same. You're definitely right about Harry being an unreliable narrator, and that she comes across as very frivolous. But I've always thought that can't be an accurate description. This is a girl who was prepared to stand up to Umbridge, and join an illegal group, and fight Death Eaters - even if she has interests which seem frivolous on the surface, she's got much more to offer than that.
I always find depression quite hard to capture, but when I manage to write it well I'm pleased - I'm sorry that it resonates with you, but glad that I managed to portray it accurately enough that it does, if that makes sense?
Lavender's little brother was a character who I hadn't even planned on including at the start of this story. But when I sat down to write it, he just bounced into the piece and I loved writing about their relationship, and how much he means to her. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, too!
Thank you for this lovely review!