You quoted Milton! I LOVE Milton, and I love the quote.
"He wanted to treat her like a queen when all she wanted was to be treated as an equal." That line was fantastic. I think it really gets at the core of Lily. She's such a complex character, simultaneously beautiful and wild, fragile and so stout of heart. The line you used blows all of the cliche James-loves-Lily-but-she-hates-him stories out of the water. I also love how you've written Snape's offense as affecting her so deeply; with a friendship that important, I know that she would be deeply scarred by his words. Very realistic.
You've made Lily so bitter, and though I love her dearly as a character, I really do think it's appropriate. Her spite is her only weapon in this war that she never asked to be a part of. She's been pulled to one side, and she's scrambling for control, though she conceals it beneath an apathetic exterior. You've done a daring thing by adding this edge to her, but I'm in love with it, because you give her the depth she deserves.
I love James, too. He's so protective, and he provides a nice foil to her bitterness. I'm usually adamantly Snape/Lily, but for some reason, I felt that I could trust James to take care of Lily here, that he could be someone for her to cling to.
The part where Lily killed Wilkes was so powerful. It really cut into me. Again, you've extended an unprecedented level of depth to her. It's so hard for us to imagine loving, warm Lily Potter, who laid down her life to protect her child, murdering another person, even an enemy sent to kill her. I think the vulnerability and regret she feels, the feelings of guilt and pain, are so very real. You've not only done a wonderful job of focusing on the war, you've also dealt with a sensitive issue in a powerful and realistic way. Well done.
Also, you wrote the pairing so well. I loved the juxtaposition of filthy, guilty Lily and perfect, pure James. I love how you transformed his twice-daily proposals into her secret longing to be with him, her own slow discovery of her love for him. It's so much more poignant than the canon timeline :) And the ending... zohmygod. You wrapped things up beautifully, and you set up the pairing in a very realistic fashion.
Okay, well, this is about as long as the review I gave Celestie. The two of you have got me thinking that James/Lily might kinda-sorta-maybe be okay and that simply won't do. Lovely imagery, flawless writing, flow that keeps you hooked. I love, love, LOVE it.
Nice work :)
Author's Response: Wow, Amanda, thank you so much for this! It was a great treat to get a review from you (I always meant to request, but never failed to miss the open spots), especially one so long and detailed! Many apologies for taking too long to respond, but these long reviews intimidate, leaving me speechless, scrambling to find something coherent to say, but here I am, and hopefully this response makes sense. ;)
The main thing for me is that you liked this portrayal of Lily - it's a risky portrayal because it removes her from that "paragon of virtue" status that both canon and, to a lesser extent, fanon have given her. I always imagined that Snape's betrayal hurt her very deeply, which was why she reacted so negatively, almost overreacted in my opinion - it must have snapped her resolve, but she was too... I won't say "proud", but something like that, to accept his apologies afterwards. She points out his hypocrisy to him instead, knowing that, even if she forgave him there, one day, their relationship would kill them both.
Oh my gosh! I just theorized my way through a question that's been bothering me for months! Thank you! Your review has given me that Eureka moment! *dances*
Anyway, yes, it means a lot that you like my portrayal of Lily. She's more rebellious, even violent - capable of the killing curse, if only to protect herself (which, ironically, aligns her and later James, to Peter, who assumedly joined Voldemort in order to survive - it's very much a demonstration of the extent to which anyone, even the supposed-best of people, would go to just survive). It surprised me how many reviewers noted Lily's act as a problem - that someone like her couldn't possibly have the desire to kill - but I went by the saying that you never know whether you can be capable of it until the moment comes when it's necessary. If Lily and James were to defy Voldemort three times, they sure as heck better have been capable of it - at least, that's what I think. ;)
And you liked how I wrote the pairing?! *dies* This keeps getting better and better. I'm glad that it sounded more realistic than that (highly cliched :P) canon version that had Lily and James married off by the time they were like seventeen/eighteen - I wanted to give them more time to grow together, and it's fantastic that it worked for you (especially because you're a Snily shipper - I wonder if it's the die hard James/Lily shippers who have more difficulty with my version of their relationship).
Thank you for this fabulous review, and the best of luck in writing your own James/Lily story - I'm looking forward to reading it! ^_^