Well, it appears I'll be answering my review thread a bit out of order! I should have realized that there was a chance you'd swing by, but I couldn't resist jumping upon this story anyway, once I saw you'd posted. And now I have an even more solid excuse to review this, so it all works out in my favor, really.
First off -- and you knew this was coming! -- I want to just sort of wrap myself in your writing and live in it for a while. Your stories, the ones I've read, make me feel like hardly anyone else's writing here has achieved. It's very hard, and a bit lame, to explain, but where other people might have me reading a bit passively, your writing sends small, warm feelings up my arms and into my chest, and I ache where your characters ache, smile where your characters smile. I don't know why, and I don't pretend to know why, unless it's just because you're a FANTASTIC writer. Because you are, and I know that. :) But that's just weird-sounding, so I will end that thought there.
I've seen more and more Regulus emerging around the archives lately, and that makes me so happy. I've always thought he was a character with a lot more potential than people gave him. And I adore your impersonation of him -- probably the most canon I've yet seen. You got into his mind so well, and really made me see things about him I hadn't yet, which I'm a sucker for. One of the best things was his attitude towards the Death Eaters: The veil pulled off, being able to see them for what they truly stood for. He really was so brave, and so young. I admire him tremendously.
And, with a masochistic twist, I think it was fabulous that he died in part for Sirius. Oh, that makes my heart ache, but in the best way possible. (My stomach's knotting up right now, actually. Gahhh. ♥) He ties into every single one of your allusions perfectly -- Galahad, Cain, Hamlet. I'm kicking myself for not seeing it before! Perfect. And through it all, he's still a boy, too, and you've made that so clear and easy to understand. It's like in this line:
Too used to the smoky city air, he could not grasp the meaning of the ocean -- That's so beautiful. And more than beauty, it's truth (spot the poetic allusion in that sentence); he is, as I said, young, and not yet of the world, and he dies before he really can be.
What you've written here -- I'm really struggling to put it into words. It's the real Regulus, Regulus the Black and Regulus the tragic hero. He's not bitter or cynical or to be pitied; he is, just as all your characters are. They're manifestations of humans into an imaginary world, and I hope you know how incredible that is!
... And I just forget you asked me if this made sense. Now that you've requested, you've obligated me to comment on it. :D I had absolutely no trouble understanding this story -- it was fantastic, as I have come to expect from you. And I think it ended at the absolute perfect place, too. I feel like offering you suggestions would be a waste of my words, and kind of an insult to you, anyway. :D
Your style. Your words. I have loads of admiration for you, as a writer and as a person. ♥ This was so, so good, Susan! I absolutely cannot wait for a chance to read/soak up more of your writing, and thank you so much for giving me double to opportunity to read this by requesting!
Author's Response: Haha, leave it to me to post a request for a story you're already reviewing. :P It makes me feel better, though, to hear that you were already reading it. Low confidence is my persistent curse, so it meant a lot that you were interested in reading this story.
Oh my gosh, you can't know how amazing that compliment makes me feel - it's what I've always wanted to do with my writing, to make people /feel/, preferably the same way that I've felt when writing. My stories are very much based in a powerful emotion (blame Wordsworth) that gets translated into words and images - I write better when I'm feeling something strong, even an emotion opposing the atmosphere of the story works. It's so much easier to create worlds and lives when in a state of excitement, though I don't know how or why, especially when the characters are people so different from myself. I'm so happy to hear that it's working, that all of that emotion is coming through the story and affecting the readers. I love reading stories that make me feel something, and I equally love being able to do the same for others.
With Regulus, I was able to get right into the head of a boy who dreamed too much, someone who needed to escape - he was trapped by everything, even his dreams. His story was one of the saddest I've written because he never had anyone except for Kreacher - he had everything, but no one but Kreacher ever noticed him as an autonomous person. Regulus lacks identity, and that's such a strange thing to write. He's never fully formed, and so he adopts the identity of others - the Black Prince, Hamlet, King Arthur - all men of honour and virtue, though flawed too, tragically human in their failures. He doesn't care about being noticed or gaining fame - he ends up being the opposite of Voldemort and quite a lot like Harry, though unlike Harry, he is never given that opportunity to escape his prison, except in death.
That moment of disillusion was very sad to write, yet I like how you see it - as his moment of greatness, when he shows himself as truly talented and brave. He's able to hide his feelings from Voldemort, probably due to his mother's insistence on dissembling and appearances, and he goes forth on a real quest to destroy Voldemort. It's extraordinary! At that moment, he becomes his heroes - perhaps that's also his moment of freedom, when he transcends the dark world of his heritage without any selfish motive. I never thought of this portrayal of him being particularly canon, but I'm glad that it is - I really wish JKR had written more about him because he's a very important character in the history of the horcruxes and the Death Eaters, yet it's impossible for anyone to know more about him. Kreacher tells all he can - the rest of the story died with Regulus.
Oh yay! I worried it was going too far to make Sirius the driving force behind Regulus's decision. His worship for his older brother is something I've seen in stories, and I've agreed with that idea, probably more because of my own love for Sirius, but it does seem reasonable. Sirius does the unthinkable by rebelling, and there's nothing to say that Regulus didn't look with envy upon that act - it could not have been pleasant living beneath the thumb of Mrs. Black, then Voldemort, not when he was in full view of his brother's successes. Their relationship is complicated - either could be Cain or Abel.
I was hoping someone would take note of that line! It hit me and I thought it was strange, but I liked it because it suited the Victorian image of London I currently have in my head - many children never know what the ocean was like, and it's frightening in its vastness, both in length and depth. It's not like a city street at all.
*blushes* It would not be a waste to offer suggestions. I'm always hungry for them because I'm incapable of being satisfied with my own work. But hearing these compliments from you is nothing short of glorious. Thank you so much!