Hey Vicki, I’m stopping by for the House Cup Finale!
This is such an interesting insight into what happened directly after the battle! Even when all the fighting is done, there’s still so much to do. I also love how you describe the dungeons and Slytherin quarters, it’s almost eerie the way they’ve remained untouched when so much else has been destroyed, and that destruction, like the debris and rock dust, permeate everything else that’s left of Hogwarts.
I also love what you show us of Horace’s character, he’s not a character I’ve ever thought much about, but it’s really interesting to see how he sees himself as lacking social skills, which is why he chose to work with students, because it’s an easier dynamic for him if he’s in a position of authority over the students – not to manipulate them, necessarily, but because it gives him clear guidelines on how to act, and because the students automatically show him respect. That means these interactions are easier for him than those with other people, because he can predict them to some extent, as they mostly follow the same patterns. What with the parties he likes to give, I always assumed Slughorn must be a social butterfly, but your interpretation makes a lot of sense, too, and I love how you’ve put a different spin on it!
The fact that Horace would be plagued by his enabling of Voldemort’s horcrux creation, up to the moment where it leads him to battle in order to get some sort of redemption is also very believable, although I fear, like Horace, that that won’t be enough to redeem him and Slytherin house in the annals of history. But Charlie’s given him the chance to rectify what he’s done in his own eyes, and it’s very touching that he should be so grateful to Charlie to nominate him of an Order of Merlin, even if that was perhaps not entirely selfless.
This was a really good chapter, and gave me a lot of insight to a character I’d never considered previously!
Thank you so much for writing a review for my Slytherin-centric story about Horace Slughorn at the moment where he has to face squarely what his life has been and what he has to do now. He must start anew, and I hope he will be up to the task, even though, as you note, he's still operating in a mode of self-protection. Hopefully he has learned a lot. I'm glad that you enjoyed the story.
Hi, Vicki! I'm stopping by for the HC final! :)
Okay, I've got to put this out there first. I'm not sure if you intended this or not, but I loved the use of Horace's office as a metaphor for his behavior. He's prone to avoiding conflict, confrontation, and general unpleasantness... and sure enough, here's his office, miraculously untouched by the battle and still as cozy of a safe haven as ever. But, just like in real life, something small disrupted the peace. The incorporation of the pineapple pieces was a brilliant touch: just like in the real world, even his safe-haven office can't protect Slughorn from his demons. Sooner or later, he always has to face the music. Again, I'm not sure if this was deliberate on your part, but I thought it was absolutely brilliant!
Despite being a Ravenclaw, I'm a huge sucker for anything Slytherin-centric, as I feel they're misunderstood and, therefore, all too often misrepresented. I like that you showed that Slughorn wasn't truly a coward, as Slytherins are often thought to be, but rather that his courage was quieter. Valiantly charging into battle is only one kind of bravery. However, battling your inner demons, owning up to one's mistakes, and putting your pride aside to do the right thing (which in this case is Slughorn rightfully recognizing Charlie despite how much he wanted the glory for himself) are all incredibly brave as well.
I think it speaks volumes about his character that he privately agonized over Tom Riddle for all those years. Everyone makes mistakes, and while that was of course an awful one, the fact that he beat himself up over it for so long shows how much his heart really was in the right place. He's simply a human being who made a mistake. And because of his Slytherin roots, he didn't want to admit it because he'd be perceived as "another one of those Slytherins." It was a great example of how much harm sterotypes can cause.
This was an excellent piece! Well done!
Thank you so much for your review about my Horace Slughorn story. Your thoughts in the first paragraph of your review are right; I wanted to say that Horace wished that he could almost believe that it had never happened, but something would disturb the peace -- finding the pineapple pieces that reminded him of Tom, or having someone knock on his door and tell him to come upstairs and get to work, or something. He has spent his life running away from difficulties, including the big mistake, but perhaps it is never too late to learn to be stronger; he certainly has many challenges ahead of him now, after the war, and I hope that he can find the strength and courage to contribut his share in the rebuilding.
I am very glad that you enjoyed this story.
Hi, here for our swap!
I saw this on your page and I knew that was exactly the one I wanted to read. Seeing the battle of Hogwarts from different perspectives is always interesting, and considering most of the Slytherins (who weren't working for Voldemort) left canonicly, I was interested in how things would look from Slughorn's POV.
I think the characterization was absolutly spot on. Slughorn definitly built his life around the path of least resistance, and avoided conflict whenever possible. Being stuck in the middle of a war like this could not have been easy for him, and you explored that part of him well, as well as added in some more depth. The way he finally fought by Charlie, for instance, and the question of how much one has to do to make up for past mistakes, especially THE mistake.
I really liked how you brought in all his doubts and worries, and really turned it around at the end to a story of possible redemption. Of starting over and rebuilding for the Slytherin house, showcasing the best and the worst in what it has to offer and how much Slughorn wants to change the perception surrounding it moving forward. Even while probably profiting off Charlie's actions to lift himself up. It's not JUST about him anymore, even if he's still not afraid to take advantage of the situation on the side.
Overall this was a lovely piece and I'm glad I got to read it. Thank you for the swap!
Thank you so much for reviewing this little story. I had not expected that people would be interested in Horace Slughorn although, come to think of it, he is a unique character and worthy of being examined. He played a small supporting role in my seventh-year story "The Crofter and the Snake", in the section about the Battle of Hogwarts (not yet transferred over from HPFF because I want to rewrite and expand it).
He starts by hiding out in his office to avoid assuming any resposibility for helping with the recovery, wishing he could pretend the war never happened, and bit by bit he comes around to facing reality: he has to help with the immediate physical restoration of the castle and ultimately with the long-term restoration of Slytherin House. But amidst all the wreckage and loss, he is approaching a kind of peace. His horrible secret is no longer hidden, and Tom Riddle is finally dead. He's been "down" for a long time, but now things are looking up.
I'm so glad you enjoyed this story.
Hey Oregonian I am here for Team Silver!
I quite enjoy stories with a Post-War theme, especially from different points of view. I really like that you chose Horace Slughorn for this story. He has a view point I hadn’t considered during the war!
It obvious that the war had been difficult on many of the students and teachers of Hogwarts, and Horace is no different. It’s plausible that it was ever harder on him than some because of him feeling quite responsible for Tom Riddle becoming what he did.
I have no doubt that his guilt would have ate at him over the years and I love how you write about how he feels here. I almost feel bad for him and I can understand why he would feel such shame and attempt to hide what he had done. Not only was he indirectly responsible for Tom figuring out how to perform the Horcrux spell but I can tell how ashamed he feels about being afraid of a child.
the way you ended this story was very strong! Talking about the reputation of slytherin, how it was destroyed because of Tom riddle and his followers, but that is wasn’t so far gone that it couldn’t be saved. It would take hard work and dedication: something Snakes knew best.
I really enjoy your writing!
thanks for writing such a great story!!
Thank you so much for writing a review for my Slytherin-centric story. You are right -- the war was hard on everyone, each person in his or her own way. And Horace would have felt horribly guilty for his part in the rise of Tom Riddle, although don't you think that if Horace had not told Tom what he wanted to know, Tom would have found the knowledge, sooner or later, by some means or other, because he was so determined? Horace may have made that argument to himself many times over the years, but it didn't really make him feel any better about what had occurred.
Thinking about Horace's actions at the very end, coming back to fight alongside Charlie, even if it meant his own death, I wonder if he was ready to face death as a sort of atonement, and if so, whether he finally felt some sort of peace with that. And then he didn't die after all, and now he must go on living, facing the next challenge, which for him was the business of trying to salvage the House of Slytherin from the wreckage into which it had fallen. I am reminded of Noelle Singarella's recent story Rota Fortunae, the Wheel of Fortune. Those who were so solidly on top are now suddenly on the bottom again and facing the long, difficult climb back up.
Thanks so much for reviewing!
Hi Vicki! I saw this new story and I was very interested to see how you would write Horace Slughorn.
This is an introspective piece, and I really enjoyed how you showed us a glimpse into the mind of Horace. The way you start the story, with Horace trying to calm himself and hide from all of the destruction of the Battle of Hogwarts pulled me in right away. Even though he’s at rest, his mind is racing. I particularly liked your opening paragraph. The description of the aftermath of the battle was so nicely done, and the punch at the end of the paragraph about how Horace couldn’t bear to look at it was particularly effective.
He’s shaken, but he's still himself. I like how you show us this with his reflecting on how he’s relieved that the Slytherin part of the castle was left untouched. He can pretend for a minute that everything is fine. I agree that he’s built his life around safety, and he’s had all that safety taken away during the last three years.
I loved the section about how he wanted to teach because it’s easy to win over students. It so perfectly fits with what we see of his character and it tells us so much about him. He wants to be loved and to be important, but he’s kind of a coward, so he doesn’t want to risk anything on any level. He just wants to be comfortable. And I like how it’s ambiguous as to whether he’s sorry for telling Tom Riddle about the Horcruxes because of the damage it caused, or if he’s sorry for telling Tom because he would be dragged through the mud with Tom.
But then you show us this side of Horace that actually is brave. He gets infected by Charlie’s courage and goes to fight in the end. And even though he’s going to try to get Charlie noticed in an effort to help bring himself back into grace, that doesn’t erase the moment of bravery that he showed.
You tie it together so nicely at the end. Slughorn is demonstrating the tenacious side of Slytherins that he is going to find an advantage, even in the moment where Slytherins seem at their lowest. I love the thought that the house will actually be stronger for having been purged of its worst elements. It would be so interesting to see him in five or ten years and what he’s been able to accomplish.
I really enjoyed this story! Good luck in the Challenge!
Hi Noelle. Thank you so much for reading my story and writing a review. Being a Slytherin myself, I have to explore their feelings as deeply as I can. It is good to see Horace trying to scrape up whatever is left of his reputation and start over again to rebuild.
Yes, there is a lot of ambiguity in Horace's thoughts. Exactly why he's sorry for telling Tom about the Horcruxes. Why he decides to nominate Charlie for the Order of Merlin. Why he decided to leave through the tunnel with the students (to help with the evacuation procedure, or to flee?) It's hard for him to make commitments in serious matters.
This piece was expanded at the last minute from a 410-word drabble that I wrote a couple of years ago after I realized that the piece I had been working on had a serious (hopefully not ultimately fatal) timeline flaw. So I ended up reworking a copy of the drabble, incorporating some bits of my flawed piece and some brand new material, weaving these three threads together while typing on my computer (and I never compose directly on the computer, but I did this time) in order to get the manuscript into the queue in time to be validated by the deadline. Thus I missed some of the places where Auto-correct changed Apparation to Apparition. (Grrr) I'll fix them up after the Challenge is judged.
Thanks again for your kind words.