I've been dying to read this ever since you've first posted it. Minerva's story is simple fascinating to me and i love how you've painted this beautiful picture of her life and really made it come to life.
I am really at a loss for words at the moment and not entirely sure where to start. I did however adore this and the structure of this story and how you revealed little pieces of the story like a mystery at each memory that she encountered.
There was so many complex emotions that you explored here that i'm simply a little awestruck that you were able to portray them so beautifully. The relationship with Dumbledore really stuck out to me and i loved how you wrote them. They have this... thing this love, if you will, that's sort of this untouchable, unnamable thing. It's not the 'i can't live without you' love or anything, it's something else and i'm not sure if I have to words to describe it here, but you explored that confusion and their friendship so beautifully. Although it was confusing most of the time to know what it was between them, it fit with the story and fit with how they were together. I liked also their paralleled regrets and how they seemed somewhat similar in that respect. Of how they just wanted to live out their life in obscurity. I've never pictured Dumbledore that way, he's a character i avoid like the plague to write and i think you've written him perfectly. His regrets, his hatred of himself. It was so well constructed. I'm in awe, really.
Minerva is also such a gem here, i love seeing her weaknesses and her strengths here, how she was so unwilling to sacrifice her values and herself. I loved that she was able to experience love again, if only for a short time. I'm at a loss here for words, but know that you hit her characterization spot on. Her story has this bittersweetness to it, part of me really looks up to her and her independent spirit and part of me sees how many sacrifices she did make to get where she was. She kept saying she wasn't someone who sacrificed, but i feel like she did. She gave up things, her first love, sometimes even her hope. It felt like there parts of herself that maybe she didn't even realize she was giving up.
I think, by far, this is my favourite thing i've read on this site. There is this raw realness in this that i can really relate to and your wording is simply beautiful and the repetition of glass was perfect and pulled the whole story together. Great job Violet, this is a great piece.
Author's Response: I really don't know how to respond to this review! It's too beautiful, and I know that I can never thank you enough for it. Just hearing that you were looking forward to reading this story is a huge compliment, but also hearing that you loved the style and structure is squee-dance worthy - you've put this author in a state of glowing happiness. ^_^
The reverse chronology structure is fantastic for the reason you mentioned - the way that it reveals the mystery at the heart of a character's life (or a specific problem they're dealing with), and as each scene passes, the reader picks up more clues as to what that "heart" is. It's like peeling back an onion or, better yet, opening a present, and it makes writing this kind of story a great challenge. I write my reverse chronology stories as the readers get them - the events in reverse order (the story makes more sense when I write it as one would read it) - so I unravel the mystery as I write and it becomes just as much fun for me. :D
It's been interesting to read the reviewers' comments on Dumbledore and McGonagall's relationship in this story. I don't know how to define it - no matter how much I kept circling it in each scene, I could never pin it down. It's a deep connection, but it has its limits - not just in that it stops short of romantic/physical love, but also that neither of them can give all of themselves to anyone. Minerva won't because she's too independent, and Dumbledore can't because of that early betrayal in his life - he can give parts of himself, but never the whole - the people closest to him are always in the dark about something (Snape and McGonagall are the ones I have in mind, but Harry counts too). Maybe it's supposed to be confusing. I wish I knew.
It's wonderful that you liked the characterization of the two of them so much. :D Dumbledore is a very difficult character to write - he's changeable and multi-faceted, though at least in this story, I could focus on the side that he showed to Minerva, and that helped a lot because it's a lot more consistent than what Harry or Snape saw of him. Minerva is my favourite character to write, so you're paying me a huge compliment by praising how she's been portrayed here. ^_^ She did sacrifice a lot, you're right, though I think her fear was sacrificing too much to/for others and forgetting herself - she's not selfless like Lily or Harry (or even Dumbledore himself, though his guilt issues make it more complicated). It's almost ironic that she sacrifices love/happiness for her independence/freedom - it's a strange choice, certainly an unpopular one. I agree with you that she didn't realize that it was a sacrifice.
Favourite thing?! O_O What do I say to that? I'm speechless, but brimming with gratitude. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story, and especially for loving it.