Back for chapter 2!
Oh my god, I love the detail about the Cheering charm - it's such an effective way to show some unhealthy and problematic coping mechanisms that exist in the wizarding world, and I really love that Angelina rejects it because she knows it won't help in the long run. It's really in keeping with how you characterize her in chapter 1, and I love that consistency and expansion.
I also love how Angelina has changed. Your description of her conflict over losing herself was heart-breaking, but it also rang so, so true to me. I think that's something that all of us struggle with as we get older and life gets harder and we start feeling the weight of the world crushing down on us, and... I mean, life's gotten a lot harder and world has gotten so much heavier than what it was when she was a Quidditch captain at Hogwarts. I'm glad that she was able to channel some of that confidence, though; being back at Hogwarts was clearly tough for her, but I think there are some ways in which it was good for her, too. There are a lot of feelings and memories wrapped up in it.
I'm glad that George showed up in the end. I was kind of expecting him to, but you made his entrance so sweet, and I really liked the fact that he acknowledged that he needed professional help. That's really, really tough to do, but I can see how seeing Angelina so distraught could have pushed him toward it.
Amazing, amazing job, Brax. I loved this.
Hey, Brax! I'm stopping by as part of our Nargles Review Fest!
I usually love what you write, and this is no exception. There's so much that you do so, so well here. The concept of Remembrance Day makes a lot of sense - it's the sort of thing that people often make into a holiday - and the reference to wrapping it up and trying to forget about it rings really true to me. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, to be honest - I guess it's kind of both.
Angelina's voice in this is also so, so powerful. I could understand the conflict in her about whether to push back against some of George's behavior, and I could also feel the sheer exhaustion rolling off of her. In a lot of ways, I was glad that she snapped - and that even as she was telling herself to calm down and to be understanding, she didn't have the energy to follow that.
Well, Brax, with the exception of awkward dark wizard sex, do you ever write things that will NOT make me cry? I had a few extra minutes today (and I'm completely stuck in my JulNo already) and I've had this story up and waiting so that I can read it. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't quite this. But this was... Perfect.
Everyone wants to write about George's sorrow and his tragedy and his issues. (Sound familiar, Brax? Eh? Ehhhh?) Few write about how it effects the people around him. Because when someone is hurting like that, it absolutely hurts the people around them. It's not just a one person thing, it affects everyone. I'm actually surprised that, given the state of his deression, he was ever okay enough to fall in love and get married and have kids. I wonder what happened that began to lift him up and I wonder what happened to bring him spiralling back down like that. Is it only the anniversary? Did something happen months prior to this that started him back down this path?
I love Angelina so much in this. She has a quiet strength, but strength ebbs the more you challenge it. You can get stronger from the challenge, sure, but when the challenge never ends, it breaks you down instead and you start running out of options. She's aboslutely brilliant and absolutely a Gryffindor. I'm not sure I could do what she does.
And the title is so fitting for this as well- even though it reminded me of a comical anime, it just perfectly depicts this wonderful and strong woman who fights so hard for her family. I really admire her a lot in this fic.
You've done a brilliant job here. I only wish I could have read her speech as well. I'm sure it was amazing.
Hey, Brax! Here for our swap :)
Ok, well fair warning that I'm pretty sure that I'm in love with Angelina, so this is gonna get real shouty real fast because this is soooooooo good!!!
I think post war Angelina is my favorite to read. There's so many different ways that her character can go and I love what you've done here. I know I tend to focus on her more recently after the war, but I love the idea of looking at her ten years after instead. It adds so much more for you to dig into and I think you did an amazing job really tapping into everything.
The emotions here are so raw. I was so torn between wanting George to get better and wanting to shove him out of bed myself. I could really feel Angelina's frusrations in her thoughts that you sprinkle in. It all adds so beautifully to the story.
Jesus, I love this story so much and I'm so tired so my review is less than stellar, but just know that I absolutely love this to death!! Thank you so much for doing the swap!
Hi Brax, here for our swap!
This was handled really well. There's multiple sensitive subjects covered in this first chapter but each of them was handled with gravitas and I was really impressed.
I could kind of see, as the chapter went on, that Angelina was going to snap before they made it out of the house. Mothers are amazing and seem like superheros sometimes, but obviously they're human too and sometimes just can't deal with their children even though they love them. I love that you showed her getting frustrated and losing her temper and feeling bad about it but not being able to help it. It definitely made sense to me, since she'd been confronted with so much immediately after waking up and on such a heavy day where she'd probably be feeling emotional and a bit stretched thin already.
I thought the confrontation between her and George was masterfully handled, as she was so conflicted and so aware of how tricky it was. He lost his twin brother, which is a loss I think most of us would struggle to imagine, and she completely understands how much he is hurting; but at the same time, he is hurting her, and I think that in a situation like this it takes a lot of courage to speak up and say something about it. Because it feels so selfish, but at the same time sometimes you have to be selfish so that you don't break under the weight of somebody else's problems.
I really loved that you showed us her conflicted inner dialogue throughout the story. It really effectively demonstrated how she WASN'T sure of what she was saying, that she felt bad saying it, but that she literally just couldn't hold it all in any longer.
Really impressed by your characterization of Angelina. She was so aggressively human. She was a multi-dimensional character who had thoughts that were selfish or harsh but also clearly had the best intentions and loved her husband and children. That can be hard to pull off and you managed it brilliantly.
I'm here to review for my strong female challenge, so my challenge is all about the characterisation of your lead character and the situation which made her 'strong'.
I thought Angelina Johnson/Weasley was an interesting choice as she's not really the first character you would think to pick for a strong female. Angelina has obviously been through a lot since the battle as there is a lot of scope to work with though and you've really done this so well in this piece.
I love the situation you chose to work with, I think it's a really strong setting for the story. I like to think that Hogwarts would hold some kinda remembrance day as it was such a huge event. There was so many lines in this that I just loved that you've really managed to pack some cracking ones into this. I think my favourite is 'Liquid lioness runs through her veins. Angelina's inner voice roars its approval, and she is heightened.' perhaps because I'm a Gryffindor but it was unique way of describing her feelings at this point.
you've really excelled with her characterisation. I really felt for her, honestly I did! I thought your use of her 'inner voice' was brilliantly played as those are thoughts that no-one really wants to admit feelings but they were so realistic and raw, it suited the story as a whole. It really gave Angelina a voice, clear thought process. The way you depicted her struggles with her husband and children was exceptional. you've been able to turn her into a three dimensional character in this fiction. I thought it was a good decision to turn into two chapters as I think the flow worked really well.
I think I've commented on this before but I really enjoy how you're able to write different styles (mainly I'm just impressed!). I thought you created a really nice ending in this angsty piece with a simple dash of hope for the future! I enjoyed having that insight into their relationship when it's good, I thought the banter and the teasing was great (totally my head-canon for their relationship).
Thank you so much for entering my challenge, I hope you're happy with how this piece turned out! The results should be up around start of next week!
- Abbi xx
HEYA LOVELY BRAX!
I feel like I'm going to end up crying over this but I'm reading it anyway. Already poor George is breaking my heart. I love that Angelina is the one who remains strong enough to get out of bed, but who can blame George <3
Nice to know even magic doesn't make parenting toddlers any easier :P
I love the voice of reason Angelina has in her head. It must take so much effort to be dealing with tantrum throwing Freddie on a day like that, and I admire her and respect her for doing her best.
"Do you know who also lost out, George? I did. We ALL lost Fred, I lost you, and, somewhere along the line, I lost me." - So powerful Brax. That's really wonderfully written.
What a tense, heartbreaking scene to end this chapter on! But it really tugged at my heart strings. Your dialogue is fantastic. This was really beautiful, Brax! <3