This is for Quodpot Match 2: War.
Oh, Sian... This is an absolutely heartbreaking piece.
Lately, I've been wanting to read more about Andromeda, and the whole Tonks family, really. And I'm so glad that I chose to read this snippet by you!
Your characterization of Andromeda is so believable. I can imagine her doing, thinking, and feeling everything she does in this story. I am also excited to see that she befriends Molly Weasley. I think those two have a lot of similarity, so it should be nearly effortless for them to naturally find support in each other.
Also, you capture grief gut-wrenchingly accurate. I haven't lost a spouse or child, but I have lost some just as irreplaceable. I can relate well to Andromeda's veiled attempt at sharing just how complex her grief is... because how can people understand? How? And knowing that they will never fully know is isolating, and boy does Andromeda feels isolated. Her icy defense at keeping her feelings private is admirable, especially since she does reach out to Molly to support, so it doesn't stay inside of her.
The part about visiting the graves... so accurate I cried. Time goes on, and Tonks and Remus have missed out on so much... but I like Andromeda's approach with Teddy, how she highlights their sacrifice but then also lets him have a childhood by letting him go to Victoire's birthday (by the way, those two are the cutest children on earth).
Andromeda is such a strong character (which aligns nicely with your challenge). Though heartbreaking, this was such an enjoyable read!
Andromeda is one of my favourite characters, and even though I don't get to read many stories about her, but writing about her is always so interesting. I'm really pleased that you found my characterisation of her believable - she's been through so much and I feel like she completely exemplifies the type of strong female who doesn't often get the limelight in stories. Her and Molly both have so much in common, and even though it's horrible that they both carry those scars, I think it would help to provide a solid foundation for a friendship because of that understanding.
I haven't been in exactly the same place as Andromeda either, but even so I think that grief, while it manifests itself in different ways at different times for everyone, is one of those universal emotions that people can understand once they've experienced it. Even so, it's so hard to capture, and raw to write about. I'm sorry that you've experienced loss as well, but I'm glad that it was accurate in that you could understand and relate to the depiction.
Thank you so much for this wonderful review!
I’m just going to camp out on your AP and read everything you write ever because all of it is perfect and it’s kind of not fair.
This is gorgeous! I’m not surprised at all, given everything else you write is also gorgeous, but it’s always such a treat to read. I really love Andromeda as a character, and I don’t think she gets enough credit. She dealt with so much tragedy in her life, but was still able to lovingly raise her grandson and we never heard her complain about any of it. She’s kind of an inspiration really, so I enjoyed getting to see a glimpse of her mind here. I think you did an excellent job of capturing her emotions. You’ve got her sorrow and her joy and her grief and the complexity that comes with having all of that rolled together. I also really liked the mention of her steady demeanor during her family’s funerals. I think it’s very much in character for her, and it really solidifies the remnants of her childhood, if that makes sense. It seems like one of the few things she learned as a child that she kept as an adult. I also liked the explanation you gave from her perspective; having her state that it’s not anyone else’s right to see her grief. That’s definitely a sentiment I relate to, but didn’t have a way to express before.
I like the friendship you developed between Molly and Andromeda. I think it certainly makes sense for the two of them to connect after the war. Their families seem very connected, even if it’s a bit of a stretched connection. They definitely have a lot in common, and I like the idea that they found a little bit of solace in each other.
Lovely work, as usual <3
Katie, this is so sweet <3
Andromeda is such a fascinating character - I haven't had much chance to read about her, but when I do get to write about her it's always so interesting to explore her experiences. I think she fits the strong female character so well, even if she isn't the typical choice for that. Dealing with so much tragedy and yet remaining strong, and raising Teddy is so impressive. I think all of that on top of her pureblood upbringing - something she was strong enough to reject when she was still young - just makes her a really awesome character.
Her friendship with Molly feels like something that would develop very naturally. They have a lot in common - some of it normal, some unfortunate - and I love the idea of them connecting after the war and helping each other through the pain and grief that they're feeling.
Thank you so much for this review!
I'm here to review for my strong female challenge! So this challenge is all about the characterisation of your lead character and the events that led them to be 'strong'.
I really enjoyed this, I thought Andromeda is really interesting character to pick for the challenge, we don't know too much about her character apart from quite a tragic backstory with the deaths of husband/daughter. She was a strong lady to survive when she has done!
I really enjoyed your situation, it was so casual and not over dramatic. I thought the fact you included Molly was a stroke of genius as she is someone that Andromeda could relate to and Molly is a strong lady too! What I seriously enjoyed about this is how you make it light and fluff but also had these strong undertones of grief and intense pain. It was so well written and it really worked for me.
Molly's laugh is a music-box melody bursting from her lips. < I thought this piece of imagery was really beautiful description for something that was so simple you know? you really excel at this as a writer so I always look for those little moments in your writing for me because they just add something extra special. It really makes your writing memorable so well done on that!
I thought it was a bit different that you chose to write about the reflection of the events that had shaped her and not directly about the event but this piece really worked. You wrote Andromeda with a really clear voice and thought process which was especially as important as you chose to story tell through this rather than direct actions.
I really like this, you've done a great job with this and I was really enjoyed reading this. So thank you for entering my challenge! I hope you enjoyed writing this!
- Abbi x
Andromeda seemed like a really perfect character for this challenge. I know she's not the most obvious choice, but there's something so strong about breaking away from her family, losing her husband and daughter, and still managing to raise her grandson so well. And I love the idea of Andromeda and Molly being friends - both of them know what it means to lose a child and there's something so painful there that I can imagine them bonding over, in a way, and helping each other through that loss - and besides that, I think they'd have a lot in common, being similar ages and enjoying a family life.
I'm really glad you enjoyed this piece, and thank you for the review and placing me in your challenge!
omg omg OMG SIAN! I want to leave a nice, coherent review but I've enjoyed this so much that all I can do is GUSH AND EMOTE IN CAPSLOCK. Andromeda is one of my favourite characters ever, but I've never read (that I can remember) about the time during which she raised Teddy and OH MY HEART. MORE CAPSLOCK. I love that she spends time with Molly, and I love that Teddy and Victoire are playing together at such an early age. The story with the worm is hilarious. Oh the joys of raising magical children.
We already know how freaking amazing Andromeda is when she was younger, the pureblood Slytherin who elopes with the Muggleborn Hufflepuff (my dreams are made of this stuff) but I sometimes forget how that strength carried on, and how much of it she needed to raise Teddy when her husband and daughter were gone. *sniff* I'm not crying YOU'RE CRYING.
Omg a magical children's birthday party sounds amazing!
I love how you do have Molly in here, because she's such an amazingly strong woman too. Aw and look, a Princess Bride name *heart eyes*
This was too amazing for words and I enjoyed every second of it so much (but I expect no less from your stories!) Good luck in the challenge! xxx
AHHH thank you so much! <3 I love Andromeda so much and exploring her character is always really interesting. I've written about her a couple of times but I loved the opportunity to bring out the strength in her character here. Andromeda's strength isn't necessarily the first thing that would come to mind when you think of a strong female character, but it's such an important form of strength - she's been through hell and she's still looking after the people who are closest to her when they remind her of what she's lost on a daily basis. That takes a special kind of strength and love.
Her friendship with Molly is my favourite part of this story, and I really love the idea of them leaning on each other and helping each other through the pain and the grief after the war. The moments with Teddy and Victoire were fun to write, as well. I'm so pleased you enjoyed this!
Thank you for this review!
Hey, Sian! Here for our swap :)
Have I not read anything of yours before? I feel like I should apologize because your writing is absolutely fantastic. I really loved this one-shot and there were so many lines that stuck out to me, but if I start quoting them you're basically going to get your entire piece back and that's not a very helpful review, is it?
I'm super excited to see that you wrote Andromeda for this challenge. The first line really drew me in and you did a great job of balancing between the present day scene with Molly and Andromeda while not ignoring Teddy and Victoire's adventures in the garden to the inner monologue going through her mind. I also really love the layers of depth here, too. It's a normal conversation on the outside, but the peeks you show us really give us a great insight to her character and how far she's come.
Not being a mother of any sort, I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to raise Teddy on her own after the loss of Remus and Tonks. I loved that they had the tradition of going to his parents' grave and that he would leave drawings behind that he made as presents - too adorable! I also love how Andromeda didn't rely on Ted for being strong but that she took what she learned from him to help carry her through probably one of the hardest parts of her life.
I also really loved seeing Molly here, too, more as a character and person rather than just a grandmother. Does that make sense? Their friendship is just so beautiful and I'm so glad that they could be there for each other. They have both been through so much and it's amazing to see them be so strong about all of it.
Oooh, how can I forget to mention I loved your allusions to Perseus and her being the maiden on the rocks; it tied beautifully into your title (which I'm sure you planned), but also really gave us a sense of her struggle and how she must have felt during those times.
Amazing job, and thank you so much for the swap! We'll have to do it again in the future <3
Ah, thank you! I love Andromeda and she just seemed like the perfect character to write for this Strong Female challenge. I'm really glad you enjoyed this piece - I think my biggest concern was the pace and balance of the story, especially with the amount of internal monologue and thoughts of the past included in it.
I think Andromeda is such a strong woman, and she's so strong to be able to raise Teddy after losing the people who were closest to her. Her friendship with Molly is something I'd love to see, because they share so many tragedies in the past and I really think they'd be a great pair together to help them through the grief and pain.
I'm really glad you picked up on the allusions to the Perseus myth - it was one of the first aspects of this story that I thought of and it seemed to tie in very well with the story.
Thank you so much for this review!
This was such an interesting story with not just one (1), but two (2) strong females! I really liked what you did with it structurally with the conversation between Andromeda and Molly being relatively normal, but interrupted as it must be with mothers (grandmothers) watching children we got to see the impact of the next generation on the "first" generation. It might've been too simple if that was alone - the reader playing ping-pong - but you interspersed some the great key of deep friendship. Each woman was able to understand what isn't said. Whether it was a small waver or shift in tone, a flinch or twitch that would be imperceptible to someone else Molly or Andromeda detected it and knew instinctively from her own experience what it meant.
I also liked the way that you went with a very understated method of demonstrating the strength. So many people look for the grand moments, whether it's a massive show of courage in a critical moment or a triumph emphasized by someone whose reaction would be unexpected. You show us these ladies' pain, but you show us how Andromeda in particular has suffered and grown, helped then by others, but now a power, sturdy if not unflinching in the face of impossible grief.
Great stuff, Sian! Thanks for the swap!
Since this was for the Strong Female challenge, I had to include more than one, didn't I? I feel like we very often get stories which show one woman being strong at another's expense, so I wanted to shift the focus of that slightly and show two women helping each other along the way when they've had to deal with awful things. Both Andromeda and Molly have some shared experiences which resonate very deeply with the other and offer a stronger understanding of the other's pain, but I'm really glad that you liked the way I wrote this playing out between them, and that it wasn't too simple with the way I tried to intersperse some of the history between them.
One of the things I wanted to focus on most of all in this piece was the fact that a strong woman doesn't have to be someone who's constantly fighting for women's rights, or someone who's been independent all the time. Of course those people are strong women too, but it's not the only kind of strength, and I think Molly and Andromeda show that really well.
Thank you so much for this review!
Hey there - dropping by for our swap! :) I'd been eyeing this all day so it's so great to finally get a chance to review it (it's much more interesting than revision and less likely to give me a headache than Dante :P) :)
I love that you've written Andromeda - it's so exciting! I always feel she's incredibly undervalued as a character, which is so sad because she has such a potentially interesting (and heartbreaking) storyline, with her running away from her family and marrying Ted, who would have been totally disapproved of by her parents and put her directly at odds with them, made her a real target. So yeah, she's fascinating and I'm so glad you wrote her, because you create such beautiful, 3d, wonderful characters :)
And I love what you've done with her, too. I love how you've depicted her in such a simple setting - her having tea with Molly with Teddy and Vic on a playdate in the garden - and used that to show so much and say so much about her, her past, and her character development over her life. It's so cool and so clever and I love it :) She's so incredible in this - she loses everything twice in her life, and both times she only has one person left: Ted, at first, and then Teddy - but both times she finds some way to go on; she's so strong, and I love that you give her that, yk? Coz it's so true to canon, and it's so true to her character in general.
Also, I gotta say that I love how with Andromeda and Molly being the main characters in this, with their conversation the framing reference for all of Andromeda's thoughts, the whole thing is a conversation between two incredible, strong women, who suffer so much and survive so much and somehow find a way to keep going. It's a really clever thing, especially for the Strong Female Challenge ;) Plus, you write Molly so perfectly - the Weasleys all terrify me, haha, because they're so well-defined in canon that it's so easy to get them wrong, but then you've always been brilliant and doing super difficult characters absolute justice and making it look so easy, so it doesn't surprise me :P
I love all the musings Andromeda has on life and death and loss, and how she expresses all of those things so many people think when they've lost someone they love - how difficult it is to look at people who are so like them, when people think you are them or unwittingly reference the loss somehow, how even saying their name can hurt. It's so true, but I think often something people find hard to admit, because it feels so wrong, you know? And I love that Andromeda wants Teddy to go to Vic's birthday, even though it's normally her mourning day, because it's the right thing to do, and because it is okay for days which mean something to mean other things, too. But you handle the grief and loss and how it lingers so beautifully; it's so heartbreaking, because it's so real, but it's so inspiring to see them deal with it, you know?
Also, I loved the details of what Teddy and Victoire were getting up to in the background, haha - it was so cute and so typically childish! :P Building gnome-houses, haha, and him chasing her with a worm, haha. Tbh, though, all your details in this were amazing, seriously. They were so beautiful and so wonderful and made this come to life so perfectly :)
I loved the references to the Andromeda and Perseus myth - how Ted freed her first, but now she's learnt to free herself. It was such a beautiful and elegant way to put it and I love it :)
As always, your writing was stunning - this is such a beautifully poignant, heartbreaking, and inspirational one-shot. I loved it :) <3
Andromeda is such a wonderful character. I never seem to find many stories about her, and I don't feel like I can fully do her justice when I write about her, but she's so fascinating to explore. Her storyline is so impressive, especially when she rejected the pureblood ideology at such a young age (and we all know it wouldn't have been easy to get away from that family) and then the tragedy she went through.
I think what I really wanted to do with this story was explore a strong female character, but someone who you wouldn't necessarily think of as being strong immediately. And Andromeda really is so, so strong - and I think I wanted the simple setting to really show off the aspects of her character that make her strong, however simple they seem. Her friendship with Molly really helped to bring those aspects out, I think, and I'm glad you liked seeing them together and their conversation framing all of Andromeda's thoughts.
Andromeda's grief wasn't something I could skip over in this story because it frames everything for her after the war, but I really wanted to show the way she tries to handle it and move on, letting Teddy have his childhood and enjoy it the same way she would want him to if his parents were still alive. It takes so much to put him first and I just thought it showed how strong she was.
I'm glad you liked the references to the myth, as well - that was really my starting point for this story, and even though I didn't focus on it as much as I thought I would originally, I enjoyed including it!
Thank you for this wonderful review <3