Ah Iím finally here and itís so exciting! Iím going to read it in reverse chronological order, as I assume thatís your preferred way if you put it on here like that, and I think it will be more fun as Iíve never read a story like that before.
I loved this line ĎHer story is well-known, to a degree, but there are always secrets, even in the lives of the beloved and the virtuous.í I think it shows perfectly what issues Iíve had with all of the Jilly stories and how I always felt something was missing, which is odd to think considering theyíre meant to be my OTPÖ
I really liked how you showed that there were faults in their relationship and it was far from the perfect one we all too often see. I think it was the part when she referenced her husbandís eyes, because the word husband suggests a certain level of distance and perhaps even contempt for him. Then her measured movements about who did the washing seemed strange for a married couple, as you would assume that they would be more at ease, so the only justification is that theyíve just had an argument.
Wow you really caught Lilyís internal conflict really well. I would like to assume that, as you said, she still felt some level of love towards Snape and that she was unsure about how she felt about him, but I didnít anticipate the change in her relationship with James. It was really refreshing to show that she almost doubted her love for him, and that perhaps she had made a mistake. The way you portrayed her confusion here almost implies that she chose James because he was the good one, the one she was meant to love, not the forbidden fruit Snape is seen as.
Lilyís characterisation was simply brilliant and you really delved into the complexities I always imagined there to be. I think it was the fact that you got rid of this idea that Lily is this incredibly selfless person and someone who has no faults and made her a real person. Eek I canít even formulate anything to describe how great it was as nothing really describes it other than saying she appeared real to me and I rarely see that done.
Ok I attempted to come up with a reason as to why I loved her characterisation here and I think it was due to you giving her traits that we so rarely see her with such as a certain level of naivety when she defends Snapeís honour despite being called a mudblood, and then a level of selfishness too by her somewhat willing abusing Jamesí trust by being in love with someone else but marrying him. She wasnít too changed to feel like completely as you still kept some of her original traits which perfected it.
Yet again your writing has blown me away. Iím still sitting here in awe of it. The structure was really unique and complimented the idea of the story perfectly. Iím glad I read it in reverse order as I donít think I would have felt such an impact if it was the other way. I will be definitely checking out the other Lily one-shot!
-Kiana Report Review
Hello there, dear! TAG, you're it! :) Wow. Just... wow. This piece is absolutely brilliant; just perfect!
It's quite different from the expected, which makes it a very refreshing and unique read. Everything about this is just so un-cliche and the opposite of the expected. Take, for instance, the fact that the story is in reverse chronological order. When I read that in the A/N at the beginning, I seriously thought about reading from the bottom to the top; but I'm SO glad I didn't! Reading it the way it was written was just an incredible experience; it was truly genius!
I also really loved the plot twist. Instead of Lily completely forgetting about Severus as she appears to in the series, she's still just as in love with him and just as depressed as he is. And although I really enjoy the characterization of Lily in the series, here she's not quite as admirable of a character, but there's a lot more depth there. She's very relatable and realistic... REALLY great job with that!
The description and your use of language here is absolutely amazing, and I kept leaning closer towards the screen as the story progressed. In fact, the story was over much more quickly than I thought it would be. And I didn't see any spelling or grammar issues, and nothing was unclear at all, so great job with those things as well!
Truly, truly amazing... words can't even explain it. 10/10!Author's Response: Thank you so much for this! Apologies for the (very) late response - I really appreciated receiving a review for this story because it's one that I didn't get as much feedback for, yet it's still a story that I am fairly pleased it. It's far darker and gloomier than I intended, especially for a story about Lily, but at the same time, I like the style, especially the reverse chronology, which is always a fun challenge. I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed that aspect of the story, too! ^_^
Oh wow, I don't know what to say except to express many squees that you also liked how Lily's characterization turned out. It was very strange to write her in this way, almost Snape-like in her behaviour. Her cruelty to James surprised me most while I was writing - it's perhaps the greatest risk this story took because it really alienates one from Lily. She uses James to get back at Snape, and that's at least what shocked me most -I couldn't believe that this story could have come out of my head (maybe that's why I like it). Other aspects of her character are very realistic, though - it's something I love to do, especially with characters like Lily who are known, but not entirely so. There are huge gaps in her characterization in the series, and this is one possible way one could fill that gap. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed her characterization in this story. It was fascinating (if disturbing) to explore this kind of route her character could have taken, and it means a lot to hear that readers have liked it too.
Thank you again for reading and reviewing! ^_^ Report Review
It's Roots in Water here with your review!
Wow. Just wow. This was a very original idea and very well executed. In particular, I liked the way you told it from finish to start, beginning with the statement that to begin from the earliest moment is not always the best way to start and concluding with the beginning of the problem. I loved the way it all clicked together.
I think that this was a very plausible idea made even more believable by your characterization. The way you wrote Lily made her come across as a real person, one who made the wrong decision and lived with it. She wasn't necessarily a bad person, just a woman who wasn't able to stop loving a man after the relationship was over. The way you continually described how the shadows, tricks of the light, tiredness made it possible for James to become Severus showed the depth of her feelings for Severus, that her life was miserable (clinging to straws) and explained why she had started the mess at all. It was all a series of mistakes, of unfortunate decisions, that spiraled out of her control.
You did a fantastic job of explaining and exploring the emotions of James and Lily and did so in an elegant fashion. The description of James' feelings were in particular very interesting and I found it fascinating to watch as he became more depressed and less open as he realized that Lily didn't love him, at least not as much as he had believed. Lily's changes were interesting to watch as well because she starts to feel guilty for her actions and becomes aware of the mess she has made of her life. You managed to do a lot of character development in this small (or not so small) piece.
As well, I liked the repetition of the line "Once more unto the breach" because it related them together. Furthermore, since James used it in a warlike sense, it brought a feeling of battle to Lily's situation, of her trying desperately to make the best of her situation, of refusing to let go.
All in all I really enjoyed this piece. It's the type that leaves you to your thoughts for a long time after you've finished reading it, trying to puzzle out the characters and figure out the nuances of the ending (or rather, in this case, the beginning). Thanks for requesting!Author's Response: Wow! Thank you very much for this! I'm very glad to hear that this story effectively captured the atmosphere, structure, and characterization that I hoped for - the response to it has been low, and it made me worry, even with the compliments, that something was still wrong with it. I've often thought that it didn't reflect the initial idea I'd had for it, but after reading your interpretations and thoughts, that mindset is changing. I can't thank you enough for that, especially now that I'm looking to write a Snape/Lily story with a similar atmosphere. :D
It's wonderful that you liked the structure - this is my first attempt at full-blown reverse chronology rather than just using flashbacks or out-of-order scenes. The inspiration for this story started with the ending, that scene between Lily and James at the kitchen table, and then my mind kept digging backwards until it reached the beginning - it was a very strange way of creating a story, but I'm really pleased that it worked. ^_^
I think what gets me most about your review is that you liked my characterization of Lily in this story. She's always been an enigma to me, just outside of reach, and in this story, I took on the challenge of writing from her perspective, seeing the world as she may have seen it. That she's emerged as human and complicated, a victim of her own mistakes, is all I ever could have hoped for. Thank you!
James became the real sympathetic character in this story for me - Lily's mistakes may make her human, but they also distance her in her reaction to them and the somewhat cold way that she treats James. He, however, truly loves her and has changed himself so as to better suit her, but he still cannot connect with her - that becomes the tragedy of the story, that the expression of her love comes too late. Perhaps it will make a difference, but the damage has already been done to both of them.
I didn't think about Lily's battle reflecting that line from Shakespare, but it does fit perfectly, wow! She's constantly at battle between herself - the love for Snape and James more at war than were the two wizards themselves - and it comes out most in those post-battle scenes. Amazing that you picked that out!
Thank you again for reading this story and writing such a fantastic review! It means a lot to have heard your thoughts on this story. ^_^ Report Review
Finally got around to finish reading this. I had to go to sleep halfway through, so I only managed to finish now.
Just a heads up: it looks like you have IV twice, so this really has 10 parts, not 9 =P
I loved reading this. I simpathised with Lily, but I couldn't get over the fact that she was basically emotionally cheating on James, all through their relationship. I understand her motives (once again from experience - seriously are you writing about my life or what? =P) but poor James. He was the rebound guy and he kinda knew it. It's really cruel, especially when she's imagining Snape coming to "rescue" her from her wedding.
Oh and that part when she's thinking if he "wouldn't have liked to start again?" and she replies with "I do." She's replying to both questions, that she wants to start again and that she accepts James as her husband. Brilliant! But you already know that xD
This quote "Once more unto the breach." appears in two moments that follow eachother. It got me thinking that it's something that one of them learned from the other. Like those things you start doing or saying just by living with someone for some time and you don't even realise it.
I had never read anything in reverse chronology and this gave me an idea for a story. I don't need anymore ideas, really. Just by seeing your graphics I get a million plot bunnies and that isn't good for my muse or my other unfinished stories =P
I would say happy Halloween, but it's too late xD
~ BeccaAuthor's Response: Oh Becca, this is amazing! It's a really long story, so I don't blame you for taking your time - splitting it up might actually make it make more sense. I didn't even write it in order, but took the pieces and rearranged them as I went so that the reverse chronology would work. One of the results of this was that quote you picked out - the "once more unto the breach" one - which was repeated just for the reason you said. She's echoing his words in her mind after the fact, revealing to the reader, if not to herself, that she does take his words seriously, learning from him in many ways. :)
Aww, did I mess up the numbers? I would say that I did it on purpose, but that would not be true. I'll have to go fix that - thanks for mentioning it!
It's a very complicated view of Lily, and perhaps the most sympathetic portrayal of James that I could possibly write - it's like a complete switch of their characters, making him the ideal (husband, in this case) and her this devious prankster who causes emotional harm. Snape is very much absent from this story, so I can't say how he was affected by Lily's actions, but like you said, James suffers. He has a strong idea of the reasons behind Lily's acceptance of his proposal, but he just takes it because it means having her - it's really weird. The RL moment it stemmed from - the first scene shown here, scene #10 - was weird, and so the rest of the story burst out from that. It's crazy that, once again, I've written your life into a story - but I guess people emotionally manipulate others, whether they meant to or not, whether they want to cause harm or not. For Lily, it entirely backfires, and she must suffer the consequences, making James suffer along with her.
This reminds me how ridiculously painful this story was to write. I hated it and loved it all at once - it might make a better OF because the canon aspects are what cause me most pause. The dark!Lily in this story is downright disturbing, not OOC but certainly not very canon. :S
Will you write reverse chronology too!? I'd love to see more of them - they're wonderfully complex and have so much potential. Oooh, please do! You don't have many WIPs at all, and one-shots are always nice breaks from longer pieces. ^_^
Anyway, thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! You're a wonderful reviewer and I really appreciate you taking the time out to check out my stories. :D Report Review
I've been meaning to post a review for this and today while I was reading The Economist, there was an article called 'Seasons of Discontent'. The article was about the El Nino phenomenon and completely unrelated to this story, but here I am anyways!
First off, I absolutely LOVE how this story is in reverse chronology. So unique around these parts and this might sound a bit strange, but it feels interactive in the sense that the reader can choose which way to read it.
I really enjoy Lily's character in this story. I feel like your Lily could easily be canon Lily. She is like JKR described but never put on a pedestal. She has moments of questionable judgement and she has her fair share of flaws.
That had, perhaps, always been the greatest problem. She never stopped being the pretty, intelligent, and talented Lily Evans of comfortable home and pleasant disposition, and it seemed as though no insult, no war, no suffering at all, could alter that fact. Her place was at the top of the pedestal, gazing down at the world below. Never had she abandoned her dreams, especially when they lay, shattered, at her feet.
I still sympathize with Lily (slightly, though), even if she is not a particularly "good" character in this story. I do feel bad for her and the fact that she has to carry the pain of wanting someone unattainable to her and being completely and utterly stabbed in the heart by someone who she thought she loved. Still, it isn't too hard to dislike Lily either, and as Lily is often portrayed as a older, more intelligent Ginny and is seen from Harry's eyes as very much the same (it sounds creepy worded like this, though...) you did a very good job with making the reader simultaneously feel for her and resent her actions.
And James. Poor James. Would I be wrong to say he was aware of Lily's feelings? It's just the feeling I got reading the story. I feel terrible for him, but I don't think he cared that Lily was not in their marriage with all of her heart. I think he was just happy to be with her. This portrayal of James is also refreshing. His character in fic is usually far too overbearing for me to appreciate. Your James is very subtley (as is Lily, really) executed.
I love how eyes are a recurring theme. JKR uses them so often in the book, especially in relation to Lily and I loved your inclusion of it in here. I often feel like fanfic writers (even the good ones) write lovely prose but it is just that, lovely prose with very little connection to the books itself. So in this, it is lovely.
Overall, this is so wonderful. So lovely and full of fantastic but subtle imagery. Really well done (as always!)
-NishaAuthor's Response: Wow, Nisha! This was a huge surprise to receive - this story not seeming to come across as popular in its ideas - and it means a lot that you took the time to read a long story and leave a lovely, long review! I've struggled to come up with a reply to this, and hopefully, I can muddle through something. Know, though, first and foremost, thank you! ^_^
The reverse chronology story is so much fun to write - it's more challenging to write for the same reasons that it makes the reader work harder too. You have to make sense in both directions - forward and backward, explaining just enough so that readers don't feel alienated with just the right amount of disorientation. It makes one take plot more seriously, and I've always needed to do that more. ;)
Yay! You like this Lily! For many, she seems the exact opposite of what JKR "made" her - perhaps more accurately, what fanfiction has made her become. I've always wondered whether Lily had something more to her, whether she ever rebelled against those high expectations people - especially men - kept placing on her. No one is perfect, so here I exploit that to see just how far I could push the boundaries of her character.
She isn't a "good" person, but I'm glad that she was still someone you could sympathize with. I thought that her "conspiracy" to win back Snape would really bother readers, particularly the die-hard Lily/James shippers. Not that Lily isn't in love with James in this story, it just takes her much, much longer to realize that she is. I'm glad to have found the balance between those characters you love to hate and those you feel sorry for - it could have easily gone too much the latter direction, and it almost did, which was why I still find this story slightly dissatisfying. It didn't turn out quite the way I wanted it to.
As for James, it's strange because in canon, I find him impossible to like and so easy to ignore. Yet I enjoy writing him, both as a loveable idiot and in the way he is in this story - that sad, lovelorn boy who, like you said, is just happy to be with Lily, to have won that small victory. I'm really glad that you liked how he turned out!
Thank you again for this review! For reading and enjoying even more so! ^_^ Report Review
Such a unique and compelling perspective! You did a wonderful job keeping the characters familiar but exposing a new side to them. I always think of James/Lily in the romantic, fairytale version; this totally threw me for a loop and I loved it! Well done!Author's Response: Wow, thank you very much! I had originally intended to write a very different story, especially in terms of mood, but it's wonderful to hear that my original intention of exposing a new side to the characters did, after all, show through. I didn't want to sink the famous James/Lily ship, but I did want to reveal that it's not as perfect as so many people write it.
I really appreciate that you took the time to read and review this story. It means a lot to have received such high praise. ^_^ Report Review
My god, Susan. o.O
I didn't even realize at first that you had posted this! I recall discussing it in your help thread when this fic was but a little thoughtling in your brilliant mind, and I was drooling over the idea - because as much as I adore James/Lily, Sev/Lily will always break my heart, a wonderful and sad story of What If?
I was always one of those people who thought it entirely possible that Lily might have fallen in love with Sev (or maybe had already) if he hadn't lashed out at her and effectively ended their friendship. I know Snape is seen as mega-creeper and all, but a lot of feelings and emotions grow out of close friendships like theirs.
I love the themes at play here. Her naivete...her selfishness, even. Exploring this idea of life really not working out as she, in her always brilliant mind, assumed it would just because she willed it to be so.
And you've kept her in character - she's still canon Lily, just with a side that nobody puts in the fairytale version.
I actually felt very bad for James here. Like really, truly depressed for him. Even with Lily's attitude towards him - I almost want to say disparaging or disdainful - he came across to me as such a good person. Naive in his own way, obviously, but still good and so inwardly broken as a result of her choice to use him to further her own end. God. I want to *squish* him. And you characterized him in such a lovely way - not a caricature of himself - but lively and happy and pining, and then exactly the way I would expect him to be after coming to the realization he reached here about who he'd married. Quietly sad. It tears my heart. He almost shone more than Lily in this fic, probably because, while her actions are at the heart of it, it's the impact on James that gives her actions consequence.
Wonderful choice to do it in reverse chronological order. This is the kind of fic that reverse chronology is meant for - I think the impact is a lot greater than if it had just gone in normal chronological order. I also adored how you began it, talking about what this story is about. It was very effective - I adore that style in general, acknowledging that what you're doing is telling a story - and it had the added bonus, I thought, of easing the reader into the idea that this Lily is going to be different than we know her, but still the same Lily, and the ignorance as to her real motives has been entirely ours, since we've been suckered into believing a different version of the story.
Loved the literary references. Fits in with the references to telling a story. Makes it seem very classic and timeless, even.
A little idea came into her head, as though whispered into her ear by the tempting breeze that entered through the open window on her left. She listened to its soft, cloying words and fell prey to their power. The girl who had been, by all accounts, quite perfect, quite intelligent, quite brilliant for her age and background, opened her green eyes and thought about jealousy.
This was where it all began.
^ That is divine. It just felt...subtly wicked, I don't know. Delicious. Seductive, which went along splendidly with the bit about James putting his hands on her shoulders in a longing way.
Also, you string words together in ways I don't think my mind is even capable of. I hate you slightly for it. XD
She grasped at her memories with eager hands, sorting through the threads of many colours until she could pick out the one most lacking in colour, the one greyer than the rest.
For a moment he was someone else, too frequently an occurrence in these days of darkness, the endless mist surrounding them, ever hungry, grabbing at their heels, just for a single taste of the blood they scrubbed off the soles of their feet.
You are a freak, Susan. In the best way possible. A freak. ♥
I was so happy to read this. I think I'll read it again.
MelanieAuthor's Response: Wow. This is insane, Melanie! I don't know where or how to start responding to this review, so bear with me. XD First of all, a huge thank you, both for writing this review and for your help in fleshing out the original idea. I know that it emerged rather differently, but all the same, that discussion on TGS really helped me find a direction for my wild and crazy idea.
It's fantastic to hear that she's still a canon Lily, as I have, in the past, done evil!Lily, and the Lily in this story seemed pretty close to that, which was worrying me. I didn't want her to not be sympathetic or hateful, just a confused girl who couldn't sort out what she wanted and what she needed.
James is very sympathetic in this story, and my plot bunny was actually the expression on his face in the first part of this story. It started for me with him and, in a way, he is at the centre of the story - Snape isn't present except within Lily's mind (which is a crazy reversal of her place in the HP stories when she is realized in Snape's memories - she's real in those, not just a ghostly image), but James is always there, and it's crushing to imagine how aware he must be of his wife's feelings. How often does he ask himself whether she truly loves him? How often does he regret having married her? I suppose one could say that, in making Lily less than sympathetic, James became more so. I discovered that he's often forgotten or pushed aside in favour of Lily - like how people tell Harry that, although he looks like his father, he has his mother's eyes; it's always the presence of Lily in Harry that counts for more, except in Quidditch, of course. I see James as an "either way" sort of character - he's an idiot in the books, but again, there's no reliable portrayal of him, only biased memories, so there's the potential to do a lot with his character.
The "telling a story" introduction is thanks to you TGSers who helped me out - there was a discussion of Jane Austen and it stuck in my head, though I didn't carry it throughout the entire story. Like you said, I wanted to alert readers to how I wanted to tell Lily's story differently. You say it better, though, in that we've been lead into believing it from a particular angle. :D
The ending was so hard to write! I think the circumstances of the ending changed at least three or four times - there was a point even when Sirius would get involved, another where Snape would make an appearance, and another when it would return the story to the beginning and show a reconciliation between Lily and James. But when the current ending emerged, I couldn't resist that last image of the Lily who fell to temptation, who was still that perfect girl Petunia always complained about. Then the image of Lily's eyes came to mind - strange that they should be green, of all colours, isn't it? She's the girl all the guys seemed to have wanted, making them all jealous of one another, so I ran with that. :P It's like, throughout, the reader has had to peel back Lily's layers to reveal what's within her soul - it's a mystery story of sorts, in that regard.
I'm so glad to hear that you liked this ending, though. It makes me feel a lot more confident about the whole story, which was at first a disappointment because it hadn't achieved what I'd wanted. It's too dark and gloomy, and I think that it goes too far to deconstruct the good ship L/J, so I've been very critical of it, more so than I usually am, though the parts you quoted at the end contain images I really like, such as memories as threads - it really gets at the whole domestic imagery I wanted to bring forward.
Thank you so much for this, Melanie! You've really made me feel a lot better about this story, and I'm very happy to be the freak who wrote it. *huggles* Report Review
I remember reading somewhere on tgs about this monster of a plot bunny, and I was intrigued.
Not exactly what I was expecting, but definitely amazing. I've never read anything at all like it.
Absolutely brilliant, like everything you write :)
-JuliaAuthor's Response: Thank you very much for taking the time to read and review this story, Julia! It's wonderful to hear from you and it's such a great compliment that you like my writing that much. *blushes* I really appreciate it.
It was a monster plot bunny, and then became a monster story. It was shocking how long it ended up being, though Gubby had warned that it might be, and I'm in agreement with you that it's not an expected story. It certainly wasn't the one I expected to write (though perhaps the one that I should have expected to write, seeing how dark it is) - I'd wanted it to have a lot more hopefulness to it. Or maybe that would have sounded too fake; I'll never know now. To hear that it's amazing, though, that makes everything worthwhile. Thank you! Report Review
Very nicely done! Dispite the constant feel of sadness and gloom it is compelling to read. You are an excellent writer, though sometimes Lily's thoughts about one being the other can get a little confusing.
Working in reverse chronology makes the story more interesting, and also gives it a unique vibe. Though the story requires a lot of concentration and a few re-reads to be fully understood, this just proves the depth and detail that your writing goes into. Great work, well done!Author's Response: It's very gloomy, isn't it? That's what I don't like about the finished product, probably because it wasn't what I wanted to write in the first place and I don't know how or why it came out that way. Lily's thoughts are, to a degree, meant to be confusing because she can't keep Snape and James straight in her head all the time, but I was worried while writing that the syntax for those sections wasn't coming out right, so I'll check back and hopefully can make some revisions. :)
I'm very glad to hear that the reverse chronology worked. I've been trying to find the right storyline for this type of structure, a story that has to make more sense backwards than forward, and it's great to know that using it here adds to the story. :D It definitely makes it harder to read, especially with all the added layers of repeated symbols, etc., but I appreciate that you took the time to read it through and, even more so, that you enjoyed it.
Thank you! ^_^ Report Review
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