I've been meaning to review this for a while, but I somehow never got round to it, hence I've probably read it about three or four times, each time intending that this was going to be the one I'll leave a review, and every time it's such a powerful, heartwrenching read... So I guess fifth time's the charm?
This is so incredibly well-written! I truly love how you convey Sirius's stream of consciousness, it flows so well and the hurt and anxiety strongly seep through, and I just.. I mean, losing your friends like that is possibly the most harrowing experience anyone could ever undergo, and the horror in this really felt tangible. Especially the scene when Sirius has just arrived at the Potters' is so well-crafted, and everything from the disbelief to the vomiting feels incredibly real; that double take on James feels like an extra stab in the gut. I was also impressed with the comparison of the house to a physical wound, it just shows strikingly clearly how Sirius feels, mentally and physically.
Also, all the little details and memories are worked in so well, like James naming the cat Minerva, and the fact that Sirius chooses to transfigure Lily's least favourite garden gnome (that of itself made me so emotional), and they just really hit home, every time.
So overall, if it isn't obvious by now, I am really, really impressed by your writing!
Lots of Love,
Hi Emma! In celebration of this story getting posted, I wanted to leave a review on this one for our review swap hehe. At first I was a little surprised because the total word count was so short but then I was like, “Duh, Eva, she’s not going to post the whole freaking 22k words in the first chapter. You stupid.”
Anyway! Moving on.
I’ve already told you a general summary of my thoughts, but since you’ve split it up into smaller pieces here, I can go into a bit more detail! I thought the beginning was so good, with Sirius trying to distract himself in a Muggle gay bar (about as far from the war as you can reach, I’d imagine) and then going to Peter’s flat and discovering that something went very, very wrong. I could practically feel Sirius’s fears and anxious feelings as he rushed over to the Potters’ house, and my heart pretty much broke alongside his when the Dark Mark showed up in the story.
Your descriptions of the way the house looked were really good, too! Especially the bit about the ‘sickly green glow’ and how foreign the house looked. It really made me grieve Jily all over again tbh, like, those two died such tragic deaths, and this only reminded me of that. (Thanks for that, by the way. :P)
I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention this before -- I thought your depiction of Dumbledore through Sirius’s eyes was really interesting. Because, to Sirius, what respect does he owe the old wizard? Dumbledore has been shown through the books to be vague, generally unhelpful in times of crisis, and manipulative in many ways, and so it makes complete sense that Sirius would distrust letting Dumbledore handle the situation. (I’d probably distrust Dumbledore, too. Like. What right does he have to take Harry away from people who love him? ALSO. That justification that Dumbledore gave to the Dursleys near the end of the series made me so mad! Like, putting Harry with the Dursleys ‘saved’ him from the treatment that Dudley got? Excuse me, Dumbledore, but I think you’ve got your rights and wrongs mixed up.) Anyway, the point of this giant paragraph is to tell you that I think your characterization of Dumbledore is insightful and super thought-provoking, and I like that you did this instead of having him generally worshipped.
Ahh the fact that Sirius had to close Lily’s eyes, even though he was unable to stomach the thought of doing the same to James, hurt my heart so much. I am. very sad. And I’ve mentioned before that I love your depiction of Baby Harry, and the fact that he normally pulls at Sirius’s hair makes me want to simultaneously laugh and cry, like how freaking cute but how tragic at the same time. Everything about Jily’s deaths makes me so sad omg.
(And this is a really minor detail but I love the cat. I love that they named the cat Minerva, and that Lily called her Minnie at times despite initially saying that naming the cat after their Transfiguration professor was disrespectful. And once again, my heart. Everything about this first chapter makes my heart hurt so much.)
This was a really good start to a story that I know I will enjoy a lot! I hope you can get the next chapters up quickly. <3
Great description especially of the house itself. I can really seen the range of emotions running through Sirius from concern to dread to horror to shock (of Harry's survival) to suspicion (of Dumbledore.) I feel like we're missing some emotion from Hagrid. He's always been rather demonstrative with his emotions but here he's rather calm. Perhaps it is because the shock hasn't worn off yet.
It will be interesting to see how you present Dumbledore. I've seen several stories lately that portray him as a manipulative Machiavelli. Sirius hinted to this possible side of him. (Afterall, JKR's protagonist's flaws are always interesting to explore.)
I'm also interested in the title. I looked up the lyrics to Song for the Julian Calendar. Are you basing this on particular lyrics from the song? (ie "darkness climbing up the house.") If so, are the firecrackers important?Coming through the window ledge
Aaaah, thank you for this lovely review!!! I totally agree and will have a look at Hagrid, particularly in the next few chapters, thank you for pointing it out!
I won't lie, I strongly dislike Dumbledore. I don't think he had anything to do with Halloween 1981, as Sirius was theorising, but he....is absolutely going to be a manipulative Machiavelli. I mean, he doesn't play a major role, but the spin Sirius puts on his canonical actions isn't going to be flattering.
I am so glad you're interested in the title, I wanted an excuse to tell someone about it. :P I'm not basing it off the lyrics really, no -- the "julian calendar" is more like a metaphor for the way this is a One Small Change AU (i.e., Sirius takes Harry and doesn't attack Peter), just like the Julian and Gregorian calendars are very similar but not the same. The way the protagonist of the song is lost ("wondered what it was I'd bargained for") and the darkness seemed appropriate, given Sirius has been thrust into this new life with no warning. I feel like the song is one of the more...difficult tmg songs to understand, and I don't really know what's going on in it, so it's more just the vibe, honestly.
You're a legend for the review, thank you!