Wow. If the last chapter blew me away, this one sent me flying all the way to the moon. I'm stunned.
Hermione, in contrast, is one of my favorite characters. I absolutely adore her, but I also think she's one of the hardest characters to write. You, of course, have done it perfectly. I loved the part where you talked about why she packed her books in particular. Hermione has always striken me as the kind of girl who's really insecure about herself and tries to cover it up by being a "know it all". I think the books would have been a security thing for her. A little reminder of the way things used to be. The whole "she hates being smart" thing also played into that. She knows she's smart, but she doesn't necessarily like it.
And once again, your imagery was super. I especially loved the way her memories flowed with the narrative. The part when she was reminscing about the common room and the trivial things she used to be concerned with was gorgeous, and so fitting. Actually, if I have any constructive criticism for you at all, it would be that I would have loved to see more of her memories throughout the piece. It really made my heart ache, and I would have loved to see more of that. Then again, I'm also a crazy person who loves repetition and structure and all that, and this is much more flowy, so that's probably just my own personal taste talking. Your story works really well the way it is.
And then this line: "It would be just like going to sleep, except there would no longer be a need to dream." The entire part about death was eerily beautiful, but this line stood out most of all. Hermione is such a strong character, and I liked the vulnerability you showed with her thinking about death. It really put things into perspective with how awful that camping trip must have been. It wasn't a dark view of death, where you could have said "there would have no longer been dreams" but using the "need to dream" implied that she no longer wanted to dream. That dreams were misery. And that was just haunting.
And my inner fangirl was very happy with all the Romione at the end :P
As this was the opposite moods challenge, I think it's necessary to comment on that. What I love about this is the subtle differences. The storylines are parellel in some ways, but in others, they're backwards. Two strong women, both scared, both pining for those they love. But while Ginny was hoping that Harry would save her and thinking of their future together, Hermione was thinking of dying with Ron. And that last part was what made the stories different, and I think you interpreted the challenge perfectly. Lovely job.
One thing I forgot to mention in the last chapter-I'll be PMing you as soon as I'm done with this to find out which story(s) you'd like me to review :) Thank you so much for entering my challenge!
Author's Response: It's great that this second part was just as powerful as the first one for you. That's a huge compliment to me, as I'm sure you know :)
I think Hermione can be tough; because Emma Watson is so pretty, Hermione is often the victim of many an unfortunate cliche. I wanted to try to stay true to her canon nature and her intellectualism and steadfast resolve with this piece. I think she would have to be insecure, as she can't help but notice that she's not very pretty, and that's probably part of why she's so hesitant to commit to Ron and to show any part of herself besides the part that gets perfect scores on all of her exams.
I really wanted to focus on the loneliness and bleakness of this moment out in the woods for this story, but I do think it would have been interesting to look into her past a little more. I'm sure I'll write her again sometime in the future, and I'll have to keep that in mind.
Just like with Ginny with the first half of this story, I wanted to give Hermione multiple dimensions, to show her feminine, youthful vulnerability but also to emphasize how strong she is and how much she's grown up here. It was nice to give her a small moment with Ron at the end, though, so not all ended sadly :)
It's wonderful to hear that I satisfied the challenge requirements. I was a little concerned when I finished this that the differences between parts would be too subtle, but if it worked for you, then both my muse and I are content with it.
Thank you so much! I'm happy you liked it! :)