Hi Renee! I can’t believe I’ve never read any of your stories before so I was excited when I got you in this month’s swap. It took me a while to decide what story I wanted to read and I’m glad I decided on this one. From the first chapter, it’s easy to see why this fic won a FROGS award.
From this first chapter, you’ve done a wonderful job of capturing the dynamic between siblings. Even though it’s only been a short time that Petunia’s been a big sister, you can already see the jealously and competitiveness we see in the books. I look forward to reading more and seeing how the dynamic changes as the story progresses.
I’m horrible at leaving long reviews and while I’m working on this, I apologize for this being a short one. I’ll do better next time I promise.
Peace, Love and Tacos
Thank you for the review, dear! <3
Ugh this chapter is so good. It's a rare moment when they're not only civil to one another, but caring - but there's still so much they can't say. The ending kills me, how each is thinking of how lucky the other is, but by this point they truly do live in different worlds and it's impossible to explain all the nuances of it to the other. Like they've been apart from one another for so long (both distance wise and emotionally) that there is no bridge that can span that gap anymore, even though at this moment they both want to for just that moment of vulnerability, because I think they both know that it won't last and things will go back to how they have been lately. This is honestly such a good chapter. You are so good at writing nuanced , layered emotion and showing the different levels their strained friendship operates on.
I love this story so much and I hope you have more chapters up your sleeve! ❤️❤️❤️
You are amazing, thank you for getting all caught up and leaving so many reviews. MANY HUGS
"You are so good at writing nuanced , layered emotion" --> What an amazing compliment, thank you so much!
And thank you in general for all these reviews! There will be a total of 30 chapters, and I hope to get the next one out soon-ish.
I knew this was coming... :(
And once again, I can sort of understand Petunia? Lily put so much effort in the present and she thought that Petunia would love it, but Petunia felt like she was being mocked, and I can understand why... I feel so bad for both of them... this story is just so sad... :( (but you write it brilliantly...)
The snow globe was incredible, btw... your description of it is just stunning, the wonder and beauty of it just comes across and I love all the details you show. I can almost see it, and I can almost admire it with the same awe that the Evans are probably feeling.
Again, it's such a sweet thought from Lily, and I love that she spent so much time and put so much effort to make the figures look like Petunia and herself, and it's heartbreaking how it has the exact opposite effect.
This was another great, if painful, chapter. You are so good at writing this story!
I'll try to be back sometime soon!
Love you loads! Snowball hug!
I agree with you - they both need all the hugs in this chapter. I'm sorry it was so sad!
Thank you so much for leaving so many reviews!!
Aww :'( I really liked the way you structured this chapter, flipping back and forth between Lily and Petunia's miserable attempts at dating, but with no actual communication between the girls. I think the structure here is especially effective here for emphasizing what they've lost now that they're not speaking to one another, because if circumstances were different, I think that they could each have helped out the other in their respective situations, having someone to complain to about their failed dates. And yes, Lily has Marlene to talk to. But there's something really bonding about shared misery, haha, and I think the two sisters COULD have been so helpful for one another in navigating their messy love lives and having someone to sympathize with! I definitely feel worse for Petunia though, constantly feeling left out. That's so horrible her date stood her up. I wish she had someone to talk to :(
Another wonderfully written chapter!
I was unsure about this chapter, because generally I focus on interactions between them. But I really wanted to show how their different experiences apart from each other serve to alienate Petunia even more from Lily.
Thank you so much for the review! <3
Aww! The letters were so lovely!
Petunia is still a bit cold, but I'm glad she's actually replying and that she's interested in Lily's life... at least for now. It's kind of hilarious how she's starting to complain about wizarding traditions being gross (they sort of are, to be true... why do wizards and witches have to live like they still were in the middle ages? It makes no sense, even if it makes things fascinating, I guess...)
I can't blame Petunia for not liking Severus and for being happy that he and Lily are in separate houses. I think you know that I'm not his biggest fan either... and neither are you, right? :P I also think it was really amusing to read about Lily causing and enjoying mischief... the bit about her and Severus putting Silentium potion into the drinks of their schoolmates, and then being amused about the Peeves' prank. I have a feeling that the students in question in both cases were the Marauders? And btw, James showing off at flying lesson... he'll never change... :P
This was such a lovely chapter, I loved the epistolary format, too. I'm a bit scared about what will happen once Lily gets home for Christmas, though... while the letters were (for the most part) friendly, I'm scared that things won't go as smoothly when the two sisters will see each other again... :/
I suppose I'll read one more chapter and find out. See you in a minute, love!
Writing the letters from a child's point of view was so much fun! =P And I completely agree, it makes no sense that the magical world wants to keep living like it's the Middle Ages. Knowing how to use Muggle post would be so simple, it really doesn't make sense that they haven't managed at least that.
Making those little asides about the Marauders was a nice treat for me! I'm glad you noticed them.
Ahhh my heart is breaking again. So many times in this story Petunia has hurt Lily, and sometimes Lily has hurt Petunia unintentionally, and Lily has almost always been the one trying to patch it up, which is why this last scene hurt so much, because Lily finally stopped trying and gave up on their friendship, and Petunias surprise and hurt at the end is such a telling moment. Petunia didn't expect that from Lily - I think she has been taking Lily's generosity for granted this whole time and just assumed that whatever Petunia did or said, that things could still be mended because Lily cared enough to not let Petunia go, and now - she doesn't. I can't help but wonder if Petunia will try and mend that bridge now, feeling guilty about pushing Lily past her limit, or whether she's done. I kind of suspect the former, even if I know it won't last.
One way to find out! Reading on...
Hello again! <3
This chapter was hard to write. I was stuck on the end for a long time. And then I finally came up with this ending and it was painful because, as you say, Lily is always been the one trying to patch things up. I inherently love her and want her to be only good. But that isn't fair to her character, she deserves more complexity than that. It was so counterintuitive more me to write her like this, I feel like it isn'nt believable, but I know actually it makes her more believable. It was a weird chapter.
Thanks again for a lovely review!!
Hi, Renee! I'm here for our swap! :)
Aww... poor Lily... poor Tuney... it's so sad that they have to separate... and it's so sad that they are fighting over it like this... :( I can see both POVs... I can even understand Petunia calling Lily selfish... although, really, who would renounce to something like this? It's not just the excitement of magic, it's the fact that Lily would renounce to a part of herself... and yet, in a way, she's renouncing to a part of herself by leaving for Hogwarts... She would climb aboard the train and it would carry her away from this life and into a different one, and she would never, ever be able to go back. Not really. Not in the ways that mattered. There is something so true and heartbreaking about this paragraph... I'm just very conflicted about so many things right now...
I loved that little excerpt from Dumbledore's reply to Petunia. And once again, it gives some food for thought... is Lily the lucky one? It's complicated. Especially when you think about what's coming to her in a few years... she's entering a world at war (or that will be at war soon) and as part of a marginalized group of people... okay, I know it's a bit early to think about this, but it kind of makes me wonder if it wouldn't have been easier for her to just live a simple muggle life... (sorry if I got into depressing stuff...)
In any case, I really wish that Petunia wouldn't be so stubborn and resentful. It's true, Lily is the one who's leaving, and I understand why Petunia is hurt, but Lily is at least trying, she's at least apologizing, and Petunia's behaviour is absolutely unfair... argh, this is so complicated!
Great chapter as always, you are so good at capturing the two sisters and their feelings!
I'll move to the next one now!
I LOVE your point that Lily would be denying part of herrself and her own identity if she didn't go to Hogwarts. Yes! It is such an unfair thing for Petunia to ask. Because Lily could theoretically not go to Hogwarts - but she can't not be magical.
Writing anything in Dumbledore's voice is so scary omg. =P This is why I only wrote a tiny bit of the letter lol
There is definitely so much irony here, knowing that ultimately Lily is right... she suffers far more than Petunia does.
THANK YOU for this review!!
I love the first couple of letters. Petunias assertion that wizard post is 'completely embarrassing' made me laugh, and while Petunia's letter isn't exactly friendly, it still comes across as the sort of teasing all sisters are familiar with, rather than the undisguised meanness that comes out in her later letters. Lily is trying so hard, and she can't do anything about how expensive her school is, so I feel bad for her. But all the same, I totally get the stress that the rest of the family is going through, esp with not getting any paychecks for months #tooreal . But it isn't fair for Petunia to take that frustration out on Lily.
This story gives me so many feels. I just want then to get along and be friends again even though I know how things will eventually end. Asldkfjgj
Oh god I hadn't even considered how the strike would feel in the wake of the shutdown. *hugs*
Writing these letters with more true-to-life teen/child voices is really fun. They're youth gets to come through more strongly here. I'm glad they made you laugh =)
Thank you for the review!!
Renee guess what there is WiFi on my flight so here I am writing this review on my phone at an altitude of like 30,000 ft! I apologize in advance for any typos due to crappy autocorrect. I honestly couldn't wait 3 weeks to read this on a proper computer because I am so excited that there is not one, not two, but FIVE new chapters, thank you for my in flight entertainment.
I really liked this chapter (of course, because I love anything you write <3) . It's really interesting reading this right after the preceding chapter, because everything fell apart in the previous chapter and it felt very final, like things had broken and the pieces would never fit together in the same way again. So this chapter, even though the girls are talking to one another, there's an underlying sense of brokenness still. Like they don't talk about things that matter anymore, all of that is left unsaid, even if they still talk. Their past disagreements are still simmering beneath the surface, and it feels like such a fragile peace between them.
It was really nice to see them build a sand castle together though, because after all they are still sisters and still share that bond, but it seems like everything now reminds Petubia of Hogwarts and what she cannot have. Even looking at the expanse of the ocean makes her think about it. And this is yet another thing that drives a wedge between them, I think, because it's now getting to the point where any time Lily is around, Petunia conjures up these feelings of bitterness and the reminders of what she cant have are so present all the time,which has got to be really hard for her. I appreciate her trying,though, in this chapter - she keeps all of that inside so as to not stretch thin her relationship with Lily any more than it already has. But you can only go so long keeping stuff like that inside.
Wonderful work on this chapter and I'm off to read the next ones!
Hello! These reviews made my day! <333
I sometimes worry that the up and down nature of Lily and Petunia's relationship with not seem believable, but at the same time I think it takes a LOT to break a family bond, especially when that starts of with love. But I think that way you phrased it and being in a fragile place is very accurate. They still have a connection and a sense of familial love... but it's growing more and more fragile over time.
I think it is easy to cast Petunia as being in the wrong, and I think there is real truth to that, but her feelings are still real and still valid. I always tell my friends when they're upset that feelings can be illogical and/or frustrating, but they can't be wrong. And here she's really trying but the feelings are still there. You know?
Thank you so much for using your airplane ride to read my little story <33
Lily is so cute, I just thought the way that she looks up at Petunia is wonderful. It makes me sad now that they drifted apart over time but I know that's what you're trying to show but I feel like Lily's emotions are so real like it just reminds me so much of how my nieces act together, the little one just adores the older one. It's such a good example of child like wonder that the simplest things are just 'magical' to Lily.
I can understand why Petunia feels like that about Lily too. Petunia wants to be grown up and hanging out with Lily who is little isn't as fun anymore. It's really difficult getting the balance between the two girls growing up. I do just adore your characterisation of Lily - she's plucky and such an adventurer already.
I'm so pleased that the girls got this moment together, it was just lovely that Petunia was happy to try and teach Lily. I hope somewhere grown up Petunia remembers some of these moments. Lovely chapter, I think you've really done such an good job on the children's characterisation.
- Abbi xo
For: Magical Menagerie
Abbi! Thank you for stopping by my AP for the Menageria! I super appreciate it bcs (since all my stories are oldish) I didn't get many visitors. HUGS! As far as grown up Petunia goes... stay tuned! Thank you so much for this lovel review! xoxo Renee
Hi, Renee, my love! <3
Ah, Petunia... that letter was adorable... I wish she could go to Hogwarts with Lily, and it's so sad (and yes, a bit unfair, too) that she can't go... :(
This chapter is so short, and yet I have so many thoughts about it (I'm having some trouble formulating them, but I'll do my best...)
It's interesting how you use the concept of equality here, and how Petunia's child-like perspective differs from her father's adult one. And while equality (and social justice) is something worth pursuing, the kind of equality Petunia seeks is just not possible and we, as adults, have to accept that (okay, this is actually all rethoric, since we are talking about something that doesn't exist... but the point is that certain kinds of equality don't depend on society or on choices and just can't be fixed... I'm not sure if I'm making any sense?)
Anyway, I think it's both amusing and endearing that Petunia decided to write to Dumbledore after her father explained to her how he fought for workers' rights. And, as I said already, the letter in itself was absolutely lovely. I loved how assertive Petunia was in it, how she explained her reasons in a way that almost makes you agree with her. And her hopefulness when she posted it... knowing how this will end makes me feel so sad for her... :(
Sorry for this mess of a review... I guess I'm too tired to be making sense now... time for bed for me... :P But I did love this chapter (just like I've loved the rest of the story so far) and I sould really remember to come back sometime soon...
Thank you so much for the swap, love! <3 <3 <3
Chiara, my dear! <333 Never apologize for your reviews, they are wonderful. This one was no exception, thank you so much! xoxo Renee
What a beautiful chapter omg. You have such a way with words, and you make this sound absolutely magical. While I was reading the description for the beautiful present that Lily gave Petunia, I felt my breath being taken away; it was just absolutely stunning. It made me wish more than anything to have a little sister like Lily, who’s so thoughtful and so genuine and so kind that she would work this hard to give me what I don’t have. I love love love how you wrote the description of the mini-Hogwarts, and the detail you put into it was just beautiful. The extra details about the barn owl, about the candlelight, the steam engine, and the two girls made me wish more than ever that I could go to Hogwarts haha.
And I suppose that’s why Petunia threw it against the wall. What I love about your Petunia is that she isn’t this exaggerated caricature (like she was in the first few books of Harry Potter; later on, Jo gave her a little more substance I think), but everything she thinks and does is based on the ugly side of everyone, I think. I can understand her way of twisting things to blame her little sister, and her ceaseless jealousy that leads her to break possibly the most precious gift she’s ever received, because I think there’s some part of all of us that’s as ugly as that. There have definitely been times where my mind twists things and people into these grotesque figures to suit my own narrative, and I think that’s what Petunia’s doing here. Your Petunia is so real, because she’s the ugly side of humans personified. She’s not always full of this negativity, as the previous few chapters have shown, but sometimes it comes out in this horrible, hurtful way.
I don’t know how she could’ve beared to break the one gift that would give her Hogwarts, though. If I were her, and I wished more than anything to attend this one school my little sister was going to, I would greedily ask for souvenirs, snacks, books, everything, even if it reminded me of what I didn’t have. So I really think Petunia has let her jealousy and anger twist her heart too much, and so she’s constantly lashing out at her little sister.
How sweet is your Lily, though? Her gift was so touching that I was like, “Awww,” with my hand over my heart. When she was talking about how she wanted the two girls to look like them and so she personally charmed it, I just. It was just so sweet, I couldn’t take it.
There’s this one short paragraph you wrote that I think represents Petunia perfectly: “Lily’s smiling face looked up at her. It was the face everyone loved best. Even Petunia loved it. But that wasn’t what she wanted. Love wasn’t enough. Love wasn’t magic.” She loves her sister, as she should, but I think it says a lot of how Petunia thinks more highly of material things, like the possession of magic. Like, her love for her sister isn’t enough to overcome the intense jealousy she holds for not having magic, and that’s just…rather alarming. It does let us see where the Petunia that raises Harry comes from, and ugh I just love how you took a fairly minor character in the HP-verse and took the few characteristics we know and created this entire story. I love this story so much. <3
EVA <3333 This review is everything and I love it and I lvoe you!!! xoxo Renee
OMG HOW PRECIOUS IS LILY?? MY CHEEKS HURT FROM SMILING AT HER CUTENESS. SHE’S SO PURE AND ADORABLE AND YOU WRITE HER ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD VOICE SO PERFECTLY AND IT’S SO CUTE. Her letters sound exactly like the way my little sister writes. They’re simple, honest, and convey a ridiculous amount of excitement about the world, and I love that you’ve managed to capture that about her. She’s so sweet and persistent, and reading this story is making me wish I could be Lily, just because she looks at the world as though it’s constantly providing her with something beautiful (though given that she’s at Hogwarts, it’s probably true haha), and I love that.
I couldn’t help but chortle at Petunia’s letters. (I think there’s something about her letters that are full of overwhelming honesty, too, albeit in a different way. I mean, she’s at least more honest about her feelings, I suppose because sarcasm doesn’t quite come through in writing.) I love how petty she is. Like, her very first letter to Lily is just to say that she’s still mad. And then she ignores another one of Lily’s letters because she was mad that the owl came in while she was with her friends.
It was such a brilliant decision to write a chapter through their letters. This was highly entertaining, and allowed me to learn a little bit more about each girl, as well. It’s at moments like these where I forget that the title of the story is “Beyond Repair,” and where I just think that their relationship will definitely be salvaged at some point.
I love this story so much, Renee. You write so beautifully. <3
When I first read this, I was SO happy you said it sounds like your sister! Writing her voice in letters was challenging! Thanks for the lovely review <3
Ohh, Renee, my heart.
I think Petunia returning to taking out her anger on Lily like this is...saddening. She calls Lily “selfish” for wishing to explore this vast new world, even when Lily is pleading with her to give her a proper good-bye, when it’s really Petunia who’s being selfish by ruining Lily’s excitement and happiness. Obviously Lily gets hurt by this, and that broke my heart.
I was really glad you chose to show a snippet of Dumbledore’s letter! It was very well-written, and sounded exactly as I’d imagine Dumbledore to sound in writing. His advice was sound, as well (though Snape obviously didn’t think so lmao), and it was rather prophetic in nature. I mean, because of the magical world, Lily dies a tragically young death, and Petunia continues living her well-off life with a husband she’s happy with (even if no one else likes him) and a son she dotes over.
Last chapter we saw into Petunia’s mind, her personal thoughts and desires, and how powerfully she wants to be like her sister. And I did truly feel sorry for her, and I do still, but the way she chooses to express her frustration, by just making Lily feel more and more miserable about herself is seriously a sign of bad character. In this chapter, Petunia’s petulance makes Lily wish for a brief moment that she doesn’t have magic at all (and it’s actually one of my favorite lines in this chapter: “No dandelions blushing pink at her command, no vengeful pimples showing up on mean girls’ faces at school, no owls leaving streaks of white on the front walk” – beautiful) and that’s just a horrible way for an older sister to act.
Lily has a very good point about Petunia. She’s older, so she should be more mature, more understanding, instead of dumping her messes on Lily and leaving them there.
You handle the progression of their relationship so so well. It’s honestly the saddest thing looking back at the first few chapters and seeing how their relationship has deteriorated since then, but you do it perfectly. <3
Thank you so much, Eva <33
Oh my goodness, poor Petunia. This entire chapter, I felt for her, because for once she’s not antagonizing Lily to release her frustration. She just genuinely wants to know why Lily can go and she can’t, and her entire conversation with her father had me smiling a bit at how cute her thinking is, but also I was feeling quite sad too.
Petunia really brings out a complicated mess of emotions in me hahaha.
And her letter. (Which is the one that Snape and Lily poked through later on, right? I love that you wrote this scene from Petunia’s perspective, and showed us the contents of the letter.) Ugh I felt an unbelievable amount of pity for her after reading her letter. I think it’s because she’s actually truly honest for one of the first times in this story? Instead of belittling Lily for having a magic she doesn’t have, she’s really pouring her heart and soul into this letter to Dumbledore. I wonder what his reply will be.
Sometimes I sit and wonder if Petunia kept the letter from Dumbledore throughout the years as a reminder of what she didn’t have, or if she just tossed it at the soonest opportunity.
So I love how you wrote the letter. I think this might be my favorite chapter so far, because of that letter. It was heartbreaking when she was promising that she would work extra hard, that she would stay longer than the other students to make up for time lost, that she wanted to learn alongside Lily.
I love your Petunia, and I love your writing. <3
Hi Eva! <3 Thank you so much for this review! Petunia is a fundamentally insecure person and a lot of what she does is an effort to control whatever exacerbates that, but usually it's all mixed up with envy and pride. Here, although there is some obvious jealousy going on, she makes merself vulnerable enough that we can see the desperation. I'm surprised but happy you say ths is your favorite chapter! Thanks again! xoxo Renee
OMG RENEE HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WAS A NEW CHAPTER??? Maybe it was posted while I was on the mountain. Idk but I am so glad I just happened to look on a whim to see if there were new chapters.
First of all, congratulations on all your FROGS nominations! ♥ This story totally deserves all the recognition!
Second, my heart is as broken as that snow globe. I knew this point was coming eventually, this um, breaking point (heh see what i did there) because I know how their relationship falls apart over time and I'd seen the cracks in it before, and... it was only a matter of time. But that didn't stop it from hurting.
The beginning of this chapter is the coziest, most lovely description and I love how you set the scene - the tea, sitting around in pajamas, the snow outside, and the excitement of watching someone open a present that you know they're going to love (this last one I particularly relate to - I love gift giving). It all just feels so comfortable and home-y. And it's such an effective start to the chapter because it makes the end feel that much more jarring.
The snow globe Lily gave Petunia sounds absolutely breathtaking, and it's so touching to think of how much effort Lily put into making the figures look like herself and Petunia. It's so sweet that she tried so hard to make exactly what she thought Petunia would want, the best way she can give Petunia a place at Hogwarts... but at the same time, Lily's so young and a bit naive and thus doesn't really think about it from her sister's perspective and how it will affect Petunia. And to her, that globe is like a reminder of everything Petunia wants and can never have, and I do feel pretty sorry for her. Add that to the fact that Petunia has always been jealous of how Lily is always in the spotlight, and with their parents marveling at the snowglobe and how amazing it is, Petunia feels left out again and it's her own Christmas present.
It's so, so important to Lily that Petunia likes it, and it's so clear in the way she acts here- from the amount of effort she put into it, to the timid way she asks Petunia what she thinks of it after so many minutes of silence, to the way her heart lifts when she thinks for a second that Petunia is going to give her a hug. It only makes it that much more heartbreaking when Petunia, in tears, throws it against the wall. They're both so hurt - Lily feeling betrayed, and Petunia feeling left out and unappreciated and jealous. And the thing is, I can't really blame either of them for feeling that way. I just wish they could patch things up again, but the last line carries a note of finality. That last line is beautiful though, as sad as it is.
Once again you've done an incredible job with both of these characters and you make them both so real. You are super talented and this was a great chapter. Good luck in the FROGS!
Thank you so much for this review! I was so excited to receive it! Although the last line does sound final, they're going to have more moments, good and bad. They're still so young here, and siblings tend to be very dramatic qith each other, but eventually forgive. I can't imagine it was a clean, 'well i'm done with you forever now' kind of break. Thank you thank you for reading and reviewing <33333
Hey, Renee! Here for our swap! :)
Diagon Alley shopping! That's so thrilling! I loved it so much! And I'm already feeling so bad for Petunia, because I know that she'll never be allowed to be a part of such a fascinating world... and that's so sad... and also knowing that Lily will never be able to keep that promise... No wonder Petunia will get so resentful towards everything even distantly related with magic one day. :(
But for now there is so much excitement, and it was so lovely to see the whole family together on this adventure and their wonder at everything around them. I also really, really loved to get a glimpse of so many old acquaintances... Dumbledore and Moody, Ted, Andromeda and little Sirius, Frank Longbottom... and were the twin boys Fabian and Gideon? It was so nice to see so many people we know from the books through the eyes of Petunia who just happens to cross them, it's so exciting!
It's so sad that Petunia is feeling like her parents don't care for her (or at least not as much as they care for Lily). It was really sweet that her mother gave her the Sickle, and that she managed to at least carry some "souvenir" at home with her, but the scene at the wand shop was really sad too. I bet Ollivander was so confused... it's so sad that Petunia simply doesn't belong, and I can see how that is going to hurt her so badly.
This was a really lovely chapter. Your writing and your descriptions were just lovely and your characterization of Petunia was brilliant, as usual. Thank you so much for accepting to swap!
Snowball hug, my love!
Hello darling! Thank you so much for the review! <33 I think this is one of the happiest chapters of this fic. It's nice to see people enjoy it. xoxo Renee
Here for the review swap! <3
Renee, have I ever told you how wonderfully you write? Even if I have, I'll say it again: your characters are beautifully shaped with realistic human qualities, your descriptions are always in the right place and so thoughtfully detailed, and your choices of which events to write about are just absolutely perfect. I'll never read one of your stories and not be in awe.
The wonder that Petunia felt upon leaving the more mundane Muggle world and entering Diagon Alley was described so well. I could tell how much Petunia loved the magical world, and how much she wished she could be a part of it, so my heart hurt a little for her. I thought it was brilliant how you chose for Petunia to attempt for a wand; it's perfectly in character with what you've presented so far, and it really is a bitter moment for her.
Most of all, I felt saddened when Lily kept insisting that she and Petunia would go off to Hogwarts together, and how Petunia, at the very end, clings to that dream. Her envy of her sister is so understandable; after all, who wouldn't want to head off to a beautiful castle to study magic? I feel sorry that she feels bitter towards her sister for receiving this attention, though. You've written such a good Petunia, truly.
I always feel so many things after reading one of these chapters. Their relationship ended so badly that it hurts, and you write the build-up to that so, so well.
Aww, Eva <333
You are the nicest person ever. Thank you so much! Like, how am I even supposed to reply when you said such kind things??? THANK YOU! <3
I actually really needed this tonight because i've been feeling kind of down about writing, so you had brillaint timing, as well.
Renee! Hellooooo <3
What perfect timing for this chapter, hehe. I don't know why I'm kind of apprehensive with every chapter I read of this story, because I want so badly for the two sisters to have a good relationship, but I know that it's going to deteriorate slowly through the years from the point that we've reached, and it's kind of sad to read. But at the same time, you write the two of them so well and it's lovely to read - I think you capture their characters and their relationship brilliantly.
"With the Christmas tree to their right, and a rare glitter of snow out the window on their left, they looked like an advert for a cozy family holiday." - this is such a beautiful description. You manage to paint a lovely picture in just one sentence here, and I can see the scene so clearly.
I really liked the way that you caught the excitement of Christmas at the beginning of this chapter. It's definitely something that shifts in meaning as you get older and certain parts of the magic fall away, but I think you captured Lily's excitement to give Petunia the perfect present here so well. I'm always so excited when I find a gift that I'm sure someone's going to love, and love watching them open it, so I think that's really relateable.
The present of the snow globe was amazing! It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift on Lily's part, and reading it felt so magical and beautiful. I would totally love a present like that - and the fact that Lily's made the effort to change the figures into her and Petunia is adorable. But at the same time, I think it shows a real lack of understanding on Lily's part. She's been so caught up in the magic of Hogwarts that she can't really understand why it would make Petunia feel terrible - isolated and jealous.
You conveyed those emotions so well, and even though it's horrible of Petunia to react the way she did and destroy a present that Lily's so carefully and thoughtfully picked out, I can really understand why she'd do it. To her it just represents the gulf in abilities between them, and it's like a taunting glimpse of the world that she can't be part of. I just want to wrap them both up in a hug at the end of this chapter!
Yes, all the hugs for both of them! Because even if Petunia is hard to like, her feelings of isolation and inadequacy are real and painful and she does need hugs. Thank you for the review dear! <33 xoxo Renee
Oh, Petunia. She has these moments where she thinks with such clarity and moral direction (like when she's thinking about how to keep Lily away from 'that Snape boy' because of his leering smiles), but she's always unable to express herself properly. Even when she tried telling Lily what she thought was wrong with Snape, Lily took Petunia's words the wrong way (and in a way, that's Petunia's fault for being so nasty 90% of the time).
I always get so sad after reading a chapter from this collection of one-shots, haha. It's just really tragic, that two sisters who were such great friends could split like this, and never really recover. This chapter was particularly sad, because for all Lily's defending of Snape, he turns out to be a creepy, rotten jerk anyway.
Really, really great chapter. <3
I'm sorry for making you sad! But I"m very happy and grateful for the review. Thank you! <3
The complexity of your characterizations is honestly stunning. Petunia is clearly envious of her sister to a painful degree; she spies on her sister, despises her sister for having magic, and dreams of being the best witch in Hogwarts despite possessing no magical ability. Her thoughts don't present her in the best light, especially her forceful suppression of any sympathetic thoughts towards Severus and her judgmental stance on his appearance.
I'm not fond of Snape as a person. I thought that his obsession with Lily, starting even when he was a child, was the creepiest thing in the world, and I agreed with Petunia there. However, her refusal to believe and see his pain is just something else entirely. Perhaps Snape would have been better had he not been abused like this, and it's just incredibly sad that he lived such a painful life before attending school.
Lily is genuinely the kindest, sweetest child I've ever read about. Her care in laying out the picnic for Severus to eat, because she knows that he occasionally goes hungry, really shows how caring she is. Her diligence in making sure that Severus is as alright as she can make it is inspiring, and she's only nine or so here. She has the kindest soul and deserves the best (which is why Severus' creepiness freaks me out so much), which Petunia is not giving her right now.
I feel bad for Petunia, I genuinely do. But somewhere along the line, something went wrong, and she found herself thinking hateful thoughts about people she dislikes. Her immediate agreement with Severus in thinking that the Imperius Curse is cool definitely says a lot about her character.
This is amazing. I loved loved loved this chapter.
Thank you so much for this review! You're right that Petunia shows some very problematic traits here. Hardly a surprise, I suppose. xoxo Renee
I could just sing your praises to the ends of the world and back, because even though everything Petunia did in this chapter was selfish and unkind, you managed to still write her in an understandable way. What she did isn't exactly excusable, but she is only ten years old, and she was pressured by the judgmental kids around her.
Every time she scolded Lily and asked her to leave, though, my heart broke a little. Siblings just shouldn't do that to each other, no matter how young they are. Getting embarrassed by one sibling simply for being there is probably a sign that there's something wrong in the relationship. Or that there's just something wrong with Petunia.
The use of "freak" in the chanting scene was a nice nod to the insult Petunia would use for Lily later in life. You just kind of start thinking how everything happens to Lily when she's eleven, and that's just...not old at all. She's still a baby.
Hello dear! Yes, Lily really is so young. All the muggleborn kids have to deal with such an identiy shift at such a young age. It's really crazy. On the other hand, Petunia is also young, as you point out, and she mostly just wants people to like her. Which isn't always the best goal, but it's a pretty normal one. These poor babies, I love them both. At least at this point. Thank you for the review! xoxo Renee
I'm kind of sad that this is the last chapter that you have posted at this point in time, but now it means I can pester/cheer you for updates, right?
I thought you captured the voices of both Lily and Petunia really well in this chapter - they felt a lot like the characters that we've seen through the past nine chapters, but it's really interesting to see how their voices come through as they write letters to each other, especially as there are some pent-up emotions that aren't really being focused on in the letters. I really like the fact you're using the epistolary device here, too, so that we still get to continue having an insight into their relationship even while they're apart.
I loved reading about Lily getting settled in her new life at Hogwarts - especially the way that at the start she tries to avoid focusing too much on her school and asks more questions of Petunia, as if she's trying not to rub it in. I liked all the mentions of Potter and that gang of loud boys, and Lily pranking them - you build up so much of her character in that.
Petunia definitely wasn't responding as much as Lily wrote, though, and I thought that really showed how she's starting to distance herself a bit from Lily, with the comments about owl post and the focus on her own life rather than asking too many questions about Hogwarts. I'm looking forward to the next chapter, love!
This chapter was really strange to write, because Lily's writing is that of an 11-year-old, simple and honest. And Petunia is so terse. I feel like there are so many nuances that aren't conveyed here, but of course the characters couldn't glean those nuances either in this situation. *shrug* Thank you so much again for the review <33
Oh my goodness, Renee. This was such a short chapter, but it really packed a punch. You managed to show so much in so few words, and capture this moment which is really the physical acknowledgement of the emotional tensions and the divisions that have been building between Lily and Petunia for a little while now.
I thought it was really telling and poignant that you opened this chapter with Lily's point of view, and she's contemplating what lies ahead of her. There's a real sense of loneliness at the start of this chapter, which is even more upsetting when we realise that she's sat in the back of the car with her sister right by her.
It's so much for Lily - and Petunia - to process at this point in time. They're so young, and I think it's natural for the jealousies and tensions to surface here because there's often that sense of competitiveness, or even just wanting to be the same as their siblings.
It's sweet of Lily's mum to reassure her when she's worried about going away to Hogwarts, but it will change her - it's such a time of enormous change anyway, and it's going to be even more noticeable when she's only able to come home once a term. But Lily's right that she would be mad not to take the opportunity - and Petunia knows it, too.
Still, I felt so sorry for both of them here - there's so much distance between them, and the physical distance will represent that too, soon. It's so sad to think of </3
Everything you said about this chapter is exactly what I wanted it to convey, thank you so much! <3333
I don't know if I've mentioned it properly in my other reviews, but I just wanted to say that I really like the fact that you're telling this story from Petunia's point of view. There are so few stories which offer us her perspective, and it's fascinating to see you explore that - it definitely makes me feel a lot more sympathetic towards her.
Another aspect I'm really enjoying is the fact that there's quite a few chapters focusing on this summer in 1971, rather than just skipping ahead, because it feels like it's quite a pivotal time for the sisters. It illustrates the way that it's just a lot of little things building up to cause the break.
This was a slightly heartbreaking chapter, though. I loved the way that you started it, with just that one word which Petunia was clinging onto, and trying to understand why her younger sister was allowed to go to Hogwarts when she'd never received her letter. It highlighted how unfair it actually is, especially for siblings like this, and the issues it can cause for those families. I loved the way that she applied the childish logic to the situation - took what her father always said and couldn't understand why she wouldn't be able to go to Hogwarts.
I liked the touches like the strike that her dad went out on, and the way that he used that to explain it to her.
The letter was absolutely adorable, and I felt so sorry for her as I read it - there was so much eagerness and hope and longing in it, and even the touch of adding the three stamps to make sure it got there was so cute.
Hello again, dear!
When I was deciding which scenes to include in this fic, I immediately realized that once Lily started school I would have a lot less to pick from, because they only have the winter and summer holidays together. Plus, as they grow apart, they're naturally with each other less often. So I definitely milked this last summer for all it was worth, and I'm glad you find it interesting rather than boring haha.
Their dad's union will be mentioned again, believe it or not. I like the idea of the Evans family as very blue collar.
Thank you for another lovely review!