Hello, my dear Laura! Here I am for our swap, and sorry if this took me a bit...
I thought I'd go on with L'Optimisme, but you know me, I can't resist a Remus' story...
And, oh, did you break my poor heart here! I swear I had tears in my eyes the whole time... or almost... because some of the Hogwarts' memories even managed to make me smile a little... that bit about the little gestures the marauders did to take care of him and distract him on the full moon, that was so sweet...
Ah, I never really know how to review your stories because there are so many things to mention and your writing is just too beautiful and powerful and emotional... the way you portrayed Remus in this was incredible and perfect, I loved the idea that he relished in his solitude, being free from any pretence of "being normal". I never really thought about his constant attempt to stay in control as such a big effort, but of course it was and it makes total sense and I love that you focused on it, and on the unfairness of it.
And by the way, I loved how you referenced the concept of fairness, because, really, what even is fairness? (I could start a long ranting at this point, but I'm going to spare you that...)
That half friendship with Regulus was fascinating. I wonder what was that brought him to the Hospital Wing so often? Whatever it was, I feel so bad for him... and for his strained relationship with Sirius, I kind of hated Sirius for the way he just plainly ignored his brother. I do understand how hard his relationship with his family was, but Regulus deserved better from him?
And at the same time, my heart breaks a little for Sirius, too, because the Sirius you show in here is just as broken and pained and I just want all of my boys to be happy... Sirius' self-destructiveness comes through so powerfully and it really breaks my heart. Also, this: Sirius breaks the things he loves,Everything he likes or wants or cares about, he just throws at the walls again and again and again until it smashes into tiny pieces. It pains me to think of Sirius in these terms, and yet it is so incredibly fitting of his personality and I can totally believe it. And the mention to the Willow incident, and how Remus shouldn't have forgiven him... why are you trying to break my heart so hard?
I have thousands of thoughts about this, but I can't fit them all in this review, and I know this is already messy enough the way it is... Just know that I loved every bit of this story (just like I've adored every bit of your writing I've ever read! Maybe more, but only because these characters are so very close and special to my heart...)
Thank you so much for swapping, it's always a big joy (or pain, actually, but you know what I mean...)
Tons of love and hugs,
Hi! Stopping in for the BvB tag. :)
Oh… there’s so many wonderful things packed into this fic of yours! May as well start at the beginning. I always admire a writer with a talent for setting the scene, and you, my friend, pulled this off superbly. I was immediately drawn in by the beauty and sophistication of your words. Within the first few sentences, I could perfectly picture the scene at hand. Your descriptions of the natural elements surrounding Remus were so beautiful and vivid, it made me want to venture to that very place and sit with him. Your descriptions throughout the entire piece were equally well written, but the introduction really stuck with me. I had to go back and reread that part once I finished the fic because I enjoyed it so much.
I really enjoyed this unique take on Remus. I say unique because he’s often portrayed as very cool, calm, and collected. But, no one can be that way all the time, so I like seeing a Remus who’s a bit more vulnerable and angry. It’s a very realistic representation of someone like him, especially considering what he’s going through in this story. On a similar note, I like your mention of Peter sneaking chocolate from the kitchens for Remus. We know what he becomes, but it’s nice to see there was a time when he was a good friend and someone who cared.
“Sirius breaks the things he loves.” – I absolutely loved this line. So simple, yet so poignant, and it’s the perfect description of Sirius’s actions. There’s no question that he loves his friends, Remus included, but he made a lot of careless decisions that hurt them.
That transformation scene… aaaah! That was strikingly gorgeous, yet menacing at the same time. It made my skin crawl! Again, you astound me with your descriptive language.
The idea that Remus basks in his solitude is another interesting twist you’ve put on his character. Seeing as he was forced into isolation for much of his life, one would think his time with other people would be his escape. I’ve never seen Remus written as preferring alone time, but it makes sense, given his personality.
I could go on forever about all the things I liked about this place. You really have a way with words. This was wonderful! Well done! <3
Here for our swap!
I can totally relate to Remus here. There is nothing more relaxing or more peaceful than sitting alone in the middle of nowhere. Just you and nature. It’s one of my favorite things to do. And just like Remus, it always causes me to reflect back.
The scenery is absolutely stunning in this scene. Every time I read your writing, I’m always completely blown away by how well you can paint a picture, and it’s no different here.
My heart though. :( Why does everything with Remus have to be sad? *sniffle* When he thinks back to telling McGonagall how it’s not fair, I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and squeeze.
Oh my god, the way you describe Sirius’ hand writing here! It’s so perfect! It directly correlates to his personality. How he most likely raised refined, and regal, yet carefully chose to be as opposite to that as possible. It’s just one paragraph, but I LOVE it!
I feel like my heart is going to be broken very soon, though. With Remus obviously secluding himself, because he’s hurt and angry that Sirius thinks he’s the traitor.
What an interesting take on why Sirius was involved in the war. And I can totally see it being plausible, too. Just another way to stick it to his family, and show that he isn’t the same. That he is “other.”
Ok, yeah. My heart is further breaking. Just thinking of Remus alone, drinking, becoming angrier. You can feel him becoming more bitter, and it’s painful. With him thinking about fairness, you can sense that he’s giving in to hopelessness. It’s just so sad.
I love the thought of James and Peter taking care of Remus leading up to the full moon. Even though we know what Peter will become I couldn’t help but smile when I thought of him sneaky chocolate to Remus. And then James being the overbearing mother type, making Remus spend the day in bed. It’s so bittersweet, because he know their fates.
Yeah, I don’t know if I completely believe that he doesn’t miss Sirius. It seems like he’s trying to convince himself awfully hard that he doesn’t miss him. Is he angry with him? Certainly seems that way. But you can be livid with someone and still miss them.
Ahh! Regulus! They were somewhat friendly? I kind of love the idea that they spoke on civil terms. Even if they didn’t quite consider each other friends. And two terminal cases? Wait. What’s wrong with Reg??
Wait. Wait. *looks* from James? I think I read your Regulus/James. I’m almost certain I did. I have to go back and re-read. Are these in the same universe?
Jeez, for Remus to put his growing dislike for Sirius on the same level as Regulus’ really says something. Gah! I hate that my boys feel like this! :(
Ah ok. Now it’s starting to make sense. And I should have realized sooner. The Snape incident. You know, it always seemed strange to me that they would have been still friends after that. I would have imagined that Remus would have begun to hate Sirius for that, just as you’re showing here. He’s right. Sirius didn’t think of him as a friend. He used him as a weapon, and that’s awful.
And I may have been wrong earlier. Maybe he isn’t trying to convince himself that he doesn’t miss Sirius. Maybe it was wishful Wolfstar thinking on my part haha.
I absolutely love the start of all these sections. How they’re just inching closer and closer to the full moon. Then the random memory which seems to become bleaker each time. It’s keeping this amazing feeling of suspense and tension up the whole time.
Ugh that transformation. I’m not even lying, I winced for a minute, and had to look away from the page. Between the actual pain of the transformation, and the bitter pain of his thoughts before he transformed, it was actually difficult to read. (I mean that in the best way possible)
This was amazing. I reviewed as I read, so I apologize for the random scattered thoughts. But, gah! Your writing is always so amazing, and this was no exception. Just brilliant! I’m left feeling so sad for Remus. This feels like one of those stories that is going to stay with me for several hours after reading it. Excellent work, love!
Thanks so much for the swap! Super stoked to have stopped by your AP again. It’s always a treat!
Ah, it's been way too long since I've stopped by your page and I really couldn't resist. The title of this really caught my eye - I have to admit that I'm not really au fait with early Christian martyrs, but after reading your author's note I could see how you'd tied everything together here with the idea of martyrdom, and it was really clever. You draw on it several times through this piece and use it differently, and it was so interesting to see the various plays on that theme.
Your description is, as ever, stunning. I especially loved the idea of the teeth of the mountain - it just stuck out in my mind a lot as I was reading this. There was something wild and beautiful about it at the same time.
The characterisation of Remus in this story was honestly something strikingly different to any other fan fiction I've read. It was fascinating to get inside his head during these moments, particularly because I imagine that as the full moon rises and his thoughts become more animalistic, perhaps they're also more savage - and maybe more honest, too. There was a real sense of bitterness and anger threaded throughout this piece which was so interesting, because I think he's normally portrayed as a calm and accepting character, but it's silly to think he would have managed to maintain that all the time.
His attitude towards Sirius was so intriguing, too - there was a lot more bitterness there than I was expecting, something bordering on hatred, certainly resentment - and we rarely see that. I felt a lot like Remus wished he hadn't loved Sirius at all, because he could truly see his flaws, but it was almost inevitable. I liked the idea of something kind of breaking between them the night Sirius plays that prank on Snape. That was very believable.
The friendship with Regulus really added another layer to this story which was fascinating, too. I'm really intrigued by what was wrong with Regulus and the kind of stalemate friendship between him and Remus.
I loved the setting of the Lakes, and the way that Remus truly feels calm and peaceful there, like he feels that he isn't really disrupting the order of things unnaturally as he does elsewhere. That was such a clever touch.
As always, I loved this piece, and I'm so happy to have read something by you again!
Your prose is absolutely beautiful. I was in awe the entire team reading the introduction paragraphs. These lines in particular gave me goosebumps: "Every now and then a bird cawed as it soared overhead, wingbeats strong and fierce, driving through the wind; but there were no people, no tiny figures in hats and coats moving about, herding sheep with quick, black, darting sheepdogs, sturdy and solitary and steadfast - as much a part of the land, rock and wood, as anything else." Even before Remus is introduced, those lines struck me as incredible and telling and dark and brooding, which sets up the mood for the rest of this piece.
I thought the character of Remus was written in such a meaningful, brilliant way. His struggle with himself, with his humanity, with Sirius, and with morality is presented in such a thought-provoking manner, and is entirely believable as well. I was particularly drawn to the section where Remus was thinking about how Sirius selfishly risked everything that was not his, simply to get a messed up sort of revenge on Snape. Never before had I really considered how disturbing the consequences of that could have been, and how sick Sirius must have been to even consider doing that.
Reading all of this just made me even more impressed with how in-character this whole thing could have been. Remus ran away from Tonks in the books when he found out that she was pregnant, and though we never hear his thoughts, I'd imagine that they would be something dark and self-loathing, similar to his thoughts in this work.
Really, really great job. I loved reading this. <3