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Just a minor spaz attack

Jezza
Okay, so the Archives have it out for me. I've tried to post a review for hours and hours, but unlike most MNFF glitches, this one did not disappear in 4-6 hours. I am sans reviewing power at the moment. So, to remedy that, I'm just going to post my review for Amanda's fic, A True Weasley, and she can respond here. So that way, I can fulfill my SPEW requirement, plus make Amanda's day with a review (and twice when the freaking archives stop torturing me).


Hellooooo, Amanda!

Well, as per a recommendation, I have decided to visit your Percy story, which is fitting, considering a Percy character study is in the SBBC monthly discussion. He’s fresh in my mind, so I should be able to give you better feedback about this little snapshot in the life and times of Percy Ignatius Weasley.

This piece is really interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all, it shows Percy as we’ve never known him in the series, so it would be a challenge to pull off and still feel like the character we know, yet not the same personality that we know. In a way, it would be more difficult to characterise him as a child than as an adult, since we saw the transformation of Percy from when he was fifteen, all the way to age twenty-two in the series, so we pretty much know what he’s like as a ‘grown-up’ by then. But you have taken that challenge and ninja kicked it into reality, so good for you.

Secondly, I really liked how you personified the other Weasleys in the story (Arthur, Bill, and Charlie). I really thought, from what we do know of them, that you nailed them perfectly. Arthur seemed to understand Percy, and he’s a better parent than he is often given credit for. He knew that Percy didn’t want to seem weak or needy in front of his brothers, but it’s hard to fool someone who has changed your diapers and wiped your nose since birth, I’d think. He was not patronising or embarrassing (as parents tend to be in front of ‘everybody’), but he just gave Percy the gentle nudge that he needed to take that first step from what he knew and into the train, which would take him to the place that would change his life forever.

Bill was another win for you. He was that shining example of what Percy loved about Hogwarts: respected, cool, collected, and – of course – Head Boy. Yet, Bill never lost sight of the fact that Percy was his brother and did need a little bit of help – even if he said that he didn’t. And then there was the part when Bill ‘straightened his Prefects’ badge’, showing Percy that he, Bill, cared about many of the same things that his younger brother did, which gave Percy both an idol and a mentor for the rest of his school career. That completely sold me on your knowledge and understanding of the Weasley clan.

I like how you used Charlie as sort of a conversation starter and a buffer. He knew that Percy was unlikely to be a chatterbox, so he started the conversation with Oliver to get the ball rolling. Sure, it was also largely due to the fact that both were quite Quidditch mad, but I’d like to think that Charlie was being a wingman. (Useless trivia: Did you know that ‘wingman’ gets its name from a hockey term? Wingers [left wing and right wing] are forwards [scorers] who help the center set up plays and also score goals. Quidditch is actually a lot like hockey, minus the presence of a Seeker… not really a parallel for that, and that would definitely not make Charlie a winger, lol. So, enough digression. If you ever cared at all… now you know.)

Oliver was also an interesting – and good – characterisation. He has that rabid love of Quidditch that we know about him, but he hasn’t regressed into that full-blown psychopathy (Haha, take that, MSWord! It IS a real word.) that we know from PoA. He’s also rather gregarious, which is also very IC, as he was very kind to Harry when he was a fledgling Quidditch player and answered all of his questions without making him feel stupid. You rock!

I think, most of all, though, I like what you did with the Sorting Hat. It understood what Percy was like, but it let him know, under no uncertain terms, that somewhere in his brain, Percy had already chosen his house, but he just didn’t know it yet. That, to me, is what the Sorting Hat is all about, and I’ve used it once in a fic and about a thousand times in my head.

I pulled some quotes from the story, which I really love and appreciate.


’Though, he thought, they could probably knock their carts into some poor, unsuspecting Muggle before Dad realized what was happening.’

This sounds so much like Percy. He’s ridiculously practical, which is evidenced here. He is no-nonsense and not at all inclined toward shenanigans, which we know to be true because of his relative intolerance of the twins’ sense of humour. This part is just a small subtlety that marks your true understanding of the character.


‘Percy had waited for this moment for so long. He just knew that he would have his chance to shine at Hogwarts; where he would be appreciated for liking to read instead of wanting to play Quidditch, or be bullied by his brothers. He would be free to make new friends, to gain more knowledge…but as this moment was now upon him, he suddenly realized how terrified he was.’

It’s such a gift to be able to see the childlike wonder of a child going to Hogwarts for the first time. It was a warm, fuzzy feeling in SS/PS when Harry went, and not just because we were all rooting for him, either. There is something about the anticipation that is magic in itself, and it has nothing to do with wizardry. You outlined it so well, especially Percy’s hopes and dreams for his school career. He wanted to be liked for being a ‘nerd’ and his love of learning. Sure, we know it never really happened that way, but it’s nice to see him look forward to something like a child at Christmastime.

‘Throughout all of this, Percy stared. His brothers were sitting with him on the way to Hogwarts? Didn’t…didn't they have friends they'd rather sit with? And he'd already had a friendly conversation with a stranger who didn't seem to find him odd or pompous. His heart swelled as he listened to Charlie's familiar voice and watched his two brothers settle into their compartment. They were letting him branch out…but they were not leaving him. He suddenly grinned.’

This is case in point as to why I really liked how you characterised Bill and Charlie. We know they’re good people from the series, and it’s great that Percy knows that his family really cares about him at this point – even if he’s a prat and forgets that later. :-\

‘"Why, magic, of course. I know you, Percy," the hat said softly. "Loyalty, yes, and ambition, they seem to work hand in hand.’

You kick butt so very much for writing this line. It is like a foreshadowing of what Percy does later in the books, turning on his family. Loyalty and ambition do, indeed, come hand in hand, but what little Percy fails to realise until it was almost too late was that you have to know how to balance them. Loyalty can destroy ambition, and ambition can destroy loyalty. The Hat had just given him a very, very key piece of information, and had Percy picked up on this, he may have made different choices for himself later in life (and you know when I mean, too).


Okay, I hate it when I do this, but I do have a couple nit-picks. As a fellow author, I know that it sucks when you work hard on something and somebody goes through and points out minor, minor mistakes. Inversely, though, I also realise that it is also our desire to put the best work out there that we can, so it is also appreciated sometimes.

‘Percy swallowed the large ball of saliva that had come to rest in his mouth, though his throat seemed tighter now and it was difficult to swallow.’

You used the word ‘swallow’ twice in the same sentence. Perhaps ‘choked down’ instead of the first ‘swallowed’ would make it read better. “Percy choked down the large ball of saliva … though his throat seemed tighter and it was difficult to swallow.” Hopefully that was helpful. :D

‘Nearly giddy with delight at the prospect of another studious person, he dragged in his truck and collapsed on the seat opposite the other boy.’

I believe you meant ‘trunk’. Naughty, naughty typos that Word can’t fix for you… It’s so easy to accidentally overlook, but I figured you’d like to fix it, as you do have a slight mania for quality and order (hey, look at what you do for a living).


All in all, I really enjoyed this fic, not only for the reasons above, but because it was fun and light-hearted without being fluffy. I like fluff sometimes, but this is an appropriate balance of fluff and just plain honesty. Honesty is something I really appreciate in fics that I read. It holds true to what we know, yet it has a human quality that yes, our characters are flawed and they’re just like us. You seem to have a knack for that in your writing, making your writing down-to-earth and easily understood. At no point would an average reader need a thesaurus, and I think that’s important when one is writing about an eleven-year-old.

Very well done, and I shall hope to see you again in your review section, especially since you took time out of your insanely busy work schedule to visit mine. Your work is of high quality, as is this fic, and I agree that more people should read it, even if Percy isn’t their ‘cup of tea’.

Cheers and I shall see you again on AIM or LJ. Hugs!

Jess

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
ahattab33
Mar. 28th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
Part 1: (sorry, this got kind of long)

EEEP! You make my heart sing.

I’m not quite going to answer your review backwards, but I am going to address the nitpicks first. :) I re-read my story before I read your review, as I haven’t read it for quite some time, so I was nervous that you said you had reviewed it, because I didn’t know if the story was crap or not. But…I’m quite happy with most of it. I found two things I wanted to change in the 2nd paragraph right away, and the “swallow” bit was one of them, lol. I never noticed the “truck/trunk” thing…I think my brain glazed right over it. >.<

This story was written for an in-house challenge about someone’s first day going to Hogwart’s, and for some reason I immediately chose Percy. I didn’t know that it would lead to their sorting, but I had a good idea, and I’ve never really been satisfied with why he might have been placed in Gryffindor simply, perhaps, because he was a Weasley. The scenes in DH, of course, are wonderful examples as so why, but I personally wanted it spelled out, and so that’s a big reason why I write things – because I want to see them, lol. So I wrote Percy’s sorting. I’m pleased you liked it. :) I feel sometimes I can relate to Percy for reasons I would type for ages about (and, I told some to Natalie in response to her review if you are ever curious), and I therefore just felt like I had to write about him.

I feel that Molly would have tried to instill certain characteristics on her children, as we see her helpless trying to do later in the series – responsibility, keep up with your studies, rewards for good grades/badges, etc. Most of the other kids seem embarrassed at her fussing, roll their eyes, etc., but for some reason I feel that Percy took it to heart. He would have been at, babysitting Ron/Ginny, dealing with the twins who probably teased him mercilessly, and yet he still pursued his interests and ambitions. There is no indication in the series, if my memory serves correctly, that he is completely friendless, just made fun of a lot, so I wanted him to have a good start to his time at Hogwarts. I could go on and on about Percy, but I’ll stop there, lol. The gist is: that was the motivation behind a lot of this, and I’m glad it came across / hope it came across.

/end the boring Percy thesis

Haha! I did know that bit about the wingman! :) Bill and Charlie were fun to write. I wanted to show them subtly watching their baby brother and being an encouragement without being Molly-esque about it. Being just…Bill and Charlie about it, lol. And they aren’t the same person by any means. AND I wanted to show that they did have a close relationship. I’m so pleased you thought I characterized them well.

I think my favorite part about the Oliver scene was that it started off as a book to get poor Percy’s hopes up…and ended up being about Quidditch, lol. I have read some story – and I’m pretty sure it’s Carole’s Drowning not Waving – that has his love of Quidditch being passed down from his father, so it would started at an early age. I’ve sort of adopted that theory in my head, but in a much happier way here, lol.

....onto part 2.....
avsno26rocks
Mar. 28th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
...mine got long, as well, lol.

I’m not quite going to answer your review backwards, but I am going to address the nitpicks first. :) I re-read my story before I read your review, as I haven’t read it for quite some time, so I was nervous that you said you had reviewed it, because I didn’t know if the story was crap or not. But…I’m quite happy with most of it. I found two things I wanted to change in the 2nd paragraph right away, and the “swallow” bit was one of them, lol. I never noticed the “truck/trunk” thing…I think my brain glazed right over it. >.<

It happens to the best... literally. There are TYPOS in my copy of Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Goblet of Fire. Even professional writers with their professional proofreaders have little boo boos. We have the option of silent edits, but they have to release new editions of books, lol. Fan fic = win.

This story was written for an in-house challenge about someone’s first day going to Hogwart’s, and for some reason I immediately chose Percy. I didn’t know that it would lead to their sorting, but I had a good idea, and I’ve never really been satisfied with why he might have been placed in Gryffindor simply, perhaps, because he was a Weasley. The scenes in DH, of course, are wonderful examples as so why, but I personally wanted it spelled out, and so that’s a big reason why I write things – because I want to see them, lol. So I wrote Percy’s sorting. I’m pleased you liked it. :) I feel sometimes I can relate to Percy for reasons I would type for ages about (and, I told some to Natalie in response to her review if you are ever curious), and I therefore just felt like I had to write about him.

Percy is a much-maligned character, and it speaks well of you that you want to see the good in him and show that he is made of better stuff than he seems to be. Most 'bad guys' always had a good moral fibre, or at least a decent guideline for it; Percy, to me (and apparently to you, too), is a good example of this. He wants to do what he thinks is right, and he follows through with that to extremes (Gryffindor, anyone?), even cutting ties with his family when he thinks that they're doing the wrong thing. It's an admirable sentiment, if not a bit ill-placed. He realises it in the end, which is good, because I think JKR would have done him a disservice by keeping him on the outs with his family. She already slaughtered too many characters that needed resolution, and it's good to see that this didn't befall Percy. He really deserves better than that.
avsno26rocks
Mar. 28th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
I feel that Molly would have tried to instill certain characteristics on her children, as we see her helpless trying to do later in the series – responsibility, keep up with your studies, rewards for good grades/badges, etc. Most of the other kids seem embarrassed at her fussing, roll their eyes, etc., but for some reason I feel that Percy took it to heart. He would have been at, babysitting Ron/Ginny, dealing with the twins who probably teased him mercilessly, and yet he still pursued his interests and ambitions. There is no indication in the series, if my memory serves correctly, that he is completely friendless, just made fun of a lot, so I wanted him to have a good start to his time at Hogwarts. I could go on and on about Percy, but I’ll stop there, lol. The gist is: that was the motivation behind a lot of this, and I’m glad it came across / hope it came across.

/end the boring Percy thesis


Not boring at all. Character discussions are great, especially when you discuss them with those who are willing to see past actions and into that character's nature.

I think you made your point very well. Percy, now that you mention it, seems like the sort of kid who would chase after his misbehaving siblings, quoting their mum's rules and exactly how they're breaking them. I can see this four-eyed kid, chasing around Fred and George, and I cannot lie, it's amusing and fitting. I love it.

Haha! I did know that bit about the wingman! :) Bill and Charlie were fun to write. I wanted to show them subtly watching their baby brother and being an encouragement without being Molly-esque about it. Being just…Bill and Charlie about it, lol. And they aren’t the same person by any means. AND I wanted to show that they did have a close relationship. I’m so pleased you thought I characterized them well.

Yay for that. No one ever knows anything about the mechanics of hockey. It's the only other subject besides Harry Potter about which I can go on for HOURS and HOURS.

And Bill and Charlie (especially Bill) are, indeed, very well done. You packed so much character into them in such a short amount of time, it's amazing. They're well-rounded characters, and they were only in the picture about half the time, most of which was silent and in the background.

I think my favorite part about the Oliver scene was that it started off as a book to get poor Percy’s hopes up…and ended up being about Quidditch, lol. I have read some story – and I’m pretty sure it’s Carole’s Drowning not Waving – that has his love of Quidditch being passed down from his father, so it would started at an early age. I’ve sort of adopted that theory in my head, but in a much happier way here, lol.

Haha, I think Drowning, Not Waving changed Oliver for all of us. He's much like me in respect to hockey - an avid student of the game. I have quite a few books about hockey, from history down to constructing plays and all of that. It's something that I can share and relate to with Oliver as a person, even to the point that, in PoA, when he is pissed that McGonagall won't give Harry the Firebolt, I completely empathise with him. I would have probably felt the same thing, especially with a game/match coming up.
ahattab33
Mar. 28th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
....aaaaaaand Part 2:

I tried to make it clear that Percy read Hogwarts, A History, and thought he could tell the Sorting Hat his own house. Which, of course, is wrong, but a very Percy-esque thing to do. I think the Sorting is my favorite part, or at least, the part I’m most proud of. It’s one of those things where I go, “Did I actually write that?” as I was nervous of writing “sorting-hat speak”. “Loyalty, yes, and ambition, they seem to work hand in hand”. I really meant here to add at the end of the line “for you” or “with you” (which one is grammatically correct??), because I was thinking of Percy’s stint at the Ministry from GOF through most of DH. He was insanely ambitious, and blindly loyal to the MInistry, and I frequently wonder when he realized he was wrong, but unwilling to admit it (because I have a theory that he was…). I personally don’t believe they SHOULD go hand in hand, and that for Percy, they erroneously did, which is why the Sorting pointed it out. He could have been ambitious, and loyal to the Minister to a point, but his loyalty to his family should have been more important, and yes, as you said, balanced it out. Does that make sense? I may edit that. OOOH we’re on LJ you can comment!! What do you think?

Anyway…I’m so pleased you love this story. I know stories like this don’t get read too often, and I really appreciate that you actually did read this, much less review it. You rock. I love you. :D Thank you again! I hope you know that a review of any sort would have made my day, as you brought the read count to a whooping 200. But this amazing one was seriously great timing on a day like yesterday. AND, as I think I'm actually going to have time to start working on Room to Read, your words about my writing just make me all warm and fuzzy and give me confidence that I don't suck so bad.

You are amazing.

~Amanda

PS - I did this in Word, so all formatting is gone. I have a sneaking suspicion that the formatting here is basically the formatting for the archives (except, I don't know how to strike-through), but as this was mega long, it is what it is.
avsno26rocks
Mar. 28th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
I tried to make it clear that Percy read Hogwarts, A History, and thought he could tell the Sorting Hat his own house. Which, of course, is wrong, but a very Percy-esque thing to do. I think the Sorting is my favorite part, or at least, the part I’m most proud of. It’s one of those things where I go, “Did I actually write that?” as I was nervous of writing “sorting-hat speak”.

Reading 'Hogwarts: A History' is so Hermione, but it's so Percy as well. He seems like a demi-nerd, always striving for his personal best. I always had this picture in my mind that Percy really did want to be like Bill, including being 'cool', but I think he gave that up as a youngster when he realised that you can't try to be 'cool' - it's genetic. You are or you are not.

I thought you did well with 'Hatspeak'. I think all the kids go to Hogwarts with a prior expectation of what their House will be, but most especially for Percy, it's hard to even consider, with all of the factors written in. Nobody really knows themselves at that age, which is why it's fortunate that such an important decision, one that affects the rest of their lives, is made for them.

I really meant here to add at the end of the line “for you” or “with you” (which one is grammatically correct??)

Haha, I don't think it is, lol. I thought the line was succinct as is.

He was insanely ambitious, and blindly loyal to the MInistry, and I frequently wonder when he realized he was wrong, but unwilling to admit it (because I have a theory that he was…). I personally don’t believe they SHOULD go hand in hand, and that for Percy, they erroneously did, which is why the Sorting pointed it out. He could have been ambitious, and loyal to the Minister to a point, but his loyalty to his family should have been more important, and yes, as you said, balanced it out. Does that make sense? I may edit that. OOOH we’re on LJ you can comment!! What do you think?

That's exactly what I was thinking. I believe the two have a tremulous relationship, and Percy, at that stage of his life (as it's proven that the decision-making lobe of the brain isn't fully developed until age 25) was not fully equipped to do so, even if he thought he was. I just really liked how you had the Hat tell him that, and he sort of ignored it. How often did we all ignore really good advice we received in childhood? ...Yeah, I thought so, lol.
avsno26rocks
Mar. 28th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
Anyway…I’m so pleased you love this story. I know stories like this don’t get read too often, and I really appreciate that you actually did read this, much less review it. You rock. I love you. :D Thank you again! I hope you know that a review of any sort would have made my day, as you brought the read count to a whooping 200. But this amazing one was seriously great timing on a day like yesterday. AND, as I think I'm actually going to have time to start working on Room to Read, your words about my writing just make me all warm and fuzzy and give me confidence that I don't suck so bad.

No, you most certainly don't suck. I always have similar fears about my own writing, and sometimes, when people tell me that I'm really not as bad as I think I am, it doesn't always sink in. That's why it bothers me when my favourite stories of mine are the ones that have the least amount of reads. I guess sometimes, it's hard to watch when you pour your soul into something that will end up getting mouldy in the back of the proverbial fridge.

And the timing... TBH, I've been trying to post this review for almost three days, but for some reason, the archives have a vendetta against me with your fic. I can post reviews on anything else I want, but this one seems to loathe me, lol. I figured that posting it here on LJ would be fine, as there is a comment section so we can communicate with ease, and I don't ever put anything on f-lock anyway.

Well, I'm glad this made you happy. You hinted that you wanted a review, and I was, at the time, wanting so hard not to have to look for something to review, so it was an offer I couldn't refuse (yay, you're the MNFF Godfather). The fact that it made you so very ecstatic was a mega bonus, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy that you have been inspired for R2R by something that I did. Yay!!!

PS - I did this in Word, so all formatting is gone. I have a sneaking suspicion that the formatting here is basically the formatting for the archives (except, I don't know how to strike-through), but as this was mega long, it is what it is.

Yeah... these responses require HTML stuff (minus the paragraph ones - thankfully we don't need those). I'm just so used to adding them in as I type for my reviews, so that way I can just copy/paste and be done with it. Oh, and strikethru is < s > < /s > minus the spaces (or at least I'm pretty sure it is).
avsno26rocks
Mar. 28th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
Strikethru
Oh, and strikethru is < s > < /s > minus the spaces (or at least I'm pretty sure it is).

I did that as a test, and indeed it is. :)
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