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Oneshot A Question of When

Discussion in 'Romance' started by vlad, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Hmm. I had scanned the thread and gathered what I was going to read, so the perspective is accordingly. Also, don't expect brilliant insights, I don't feel very brilliant currently. Liked the thoughts you put into it, however.

    Anyway, no scene breaks worked for me, mostly. The thing is that a scene break breaks up a scene, and this is all one scene, so you'd expect none. Instead, the text needs to make clear when a skip happens, and it does that, mostly. You only get confused when it doesn't. So by and large, it works.

    As for the content ...
    The heaviest impact for me isn't the many time jumps, per se. What hit me was when you explicitly are in one time line, and then it progresses through the years and you get a direct impression of the amount of time she invests. There are a few instances of that in the text, and they are the best parts by far, IMO.

    It's one thing to pull a video game save-game approach and replay certain scenes to get different outcomes, but quite another to invest years in each try.
    All in all, haven't seen the premise around, liked the progression and execution, but dunno that I want to give it a 5, without being really able to tell what it would need to get one. Not helpful, I know, but that's just how it is. 4/5 definitely, though.
     
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Totally Sirius

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    I can't add much new, except that this is of execeptional quality and original as fuck. Vlad's explanation really show how even more cpmplex this is than I thought and, more importantly, how each word was carefully thought. Bravo.

    5/5 from me. No doubts. This is quality writing of the highest kind.
     
  3. Hopper

    Hopper Second Year

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    This is really quite good, a groundhog type plot that actually feels like time is being spent and invested, without requiring thousands of words for each loop. It manages to tell the story it wants to tell very efficiently.

    If there's one knock on it to make, it's that she spent that many years obsessing over Harry. Went crazy instead of maturing, I suppose. Still, 5/5.
     
  4. Mujaki

    Mujaki First Year

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    When I emerged from the wilderness of Big Bend, this was not the story I expected when I got access to the internet again. But it is the story I think I needed. And featuring my favorite underutilized character at that. Others have added their critiques that better articulate my own thoughts, so I won't delve too deeply here.

    Yes, a gender-flipped version of this would be uncomfortably creepy (rather than the mild creep vibes you get out of canon!Romilda), but the fact that Romilda is so dim and self-absorbed (at least at first) lends an innocence to her meddling that comes off as sweet.

    Yes, Romilda is in-character (despite all of maybe a single page total being given to her by Rowling) and grows logically within those parameters. There is an irony that she doesn't begin to achieve her objective UNTIL she starts thinking a little outside herself - she became friends with Hagrid initially to endear herself to Harry but that friendship became genuine over many timelines - but her inherent characteristics never change. She's always a bit of a gossip, self-interested, and (pun intended) vain... but she ends up molding herself into the kind of person Harry would actually be interested in. Romilda becomes a slightly better person by default, as a consequence of being someone Harry Potter would actually associate with.

    Yes, there is always a hint of amorality to Romilda's actions. It's what makes the Peggy Sue trope actually soar - she doesn't keep coming back in order to make a better Wizarding World, she does it to make her own life better. And even that has limits because she isn't as important as she thinks she is, even after she's "won".

    And Romilda did win, at the end of the day. Even if she's shattered the timeline so much that all she can do is relive her glory years until entropy devours everything (as vlad suggests as a possible interpretation), it would be completely in-character for Romilda to be totally okay with that.

    So yes... not the story I was expecting, but the Harry/Romilda story we all deserved. 4.5/5 (the small deduction coming from the fact I wish it was longer, but that is a personal quibble since the plot is just as long as it needs to be).
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  5. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    That was quite good.

    I don't think I have any huge insights beyond what's already been offered. I very much agree with ScottPress that Romilda comes off as manipulative, but not really malicious, which is the essence of what makes this work.

    That, and the way the writing - mostly Romilda's inner monologue - makes the objectively utterly batshit insane seen normal, practical, even pragmatic. Like, the entire story makes total sense from Romilda's PoV and you're just kind of lulled into it until you read something like Harry breaking up with her at Dumbledore's funeral twenty-two times and you're like "wait what." Because, like Sesc said, the sheer time investment is just... pretty staggering.

    There's enough left unsaid about her motivations that you're left wondering. Is she really just... that shallow? Or is she a complete sociopath? Or did she start out with a normal if strong crush and the time travel just kind of spun out of control until she's completely untethered?

    I don't know the answer, and I don't mind not knowing.

    It didn't quite give me immediate chills the way Sisyphus (which is sort of a spiritual cousin of this fic) did, but I read it an hour ago and I'm still thinking about it, and reading vlad's comment to Domino revealed some real Fridge Brilliance.

    Short enough that it never dragged, very well-written, felt fresh. Lacked a real emotional gutpunch which to be honest I'm not sure would even really work... but I wanted some kind of moment where the enormity of what she was doing really landed. Not sure what it would be or if it would even work, but.

    4.5/5, rounded up
     
  6. Red

    Red Groundskeeper

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    This is what stuck out for me. I can echo and agree with everyone else's sentiments - the time travel is well done, it's certainly well written. However, I closed the tab with a distinct lack of feeling, like I didn't feel like my time was wasted nor did I gain anything by reading. I'm going to have to rate it as a 3/5.
     
  7. Mujaki

    Mujaki First Year

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    I feel like a big point of it is the fact that it never lands. Nor will it ever land, simply because of the kind of person the POV character is. She doesn't go back to help Harry fight Voldemort, she doesn't have a grand plan to make everyone's lives better... she's using the power she has to seduce a boy she likes. That's it. It's obsessive to a point that somehow blows past "creepy" territory into weirdly endearing because she's so vapid and self-centered that her meddling comes off as innocent.

    I think a lot of what actually happens in the fic hits you after the fact. She probably spent lifetimes ironing out her approach because she never realizes that she is the problem. The little details (like Harry breaking up with her 22 times) let you kind of piece together what's going on...

    ...like how she basically erased her original universe when she went back too far and got sorted into Slytherin. Romilda is more irritated at the fact that she won't get to live in the same house as Harry than the fact she completely changed the future.
     
  8. BigBrother

    BigBrother Squib

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    This FanFiction seems to be the result of taking someone who is not very bright but very self centered and single minded and putting them in a time loop that never ends. The first thing that jumps out to me is that we aren't told how Romilda is able to move through time as she does, but that's not really important as this story is about the consequences that she can, not how she got to that point. Romildas first thoughts seem to show that in the original timeline a lot of time has passed since the first moment she traveled back to. She thinks about how young people look and can't even remember the name of one of her friends being Emily or Elizabeth. This leads me to believe that she did not come into the ability to time travel until many years into the future of the canon timeline.

    I'm a bit unclear on how the time travel works, I'm guessing once she travels so far back into the past she can never again go back any closer? Or that once she makes changes she is stuck with those changes, becuase otherwise she could solve the problem of her being sorted into Slytherin.


    The biggest joke on Romilda is that despite having infinite time to make changes she was only ever able to move from being a third-tier character to a second tier character in importance.

    Very well written story, 5/5.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  9. Rilianus

    Rilianus Squib

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    This fic makes sense if Romilda can end the loop whenever she wants to and that she can jump between places in time - otherwise I think she could've gained much more information about the plot and as such influence it much more actively to make more butteflies and deal with some situations more effectively (it's hard for me to believe that she went even through the whole sixth year 22 times and didn't untangle the Dumbledore-Snape knot herself, altough I'd have to think some more about what kind of information she'd need - when you're stuck in a loop for even just a year and you have one goal, as Romilda seems to have here, you can get a lot of information by asking in the proper places)

    It's good for what it does but I do like 'Whatever happened to bromance' way better.
    3.5/5, which can go up if you clarify the way Romilda travels through time and the way and order of which she gains information and how she updates on that.

    Oh and I didn't like the line about the Sorting Hat laughing - not my kind of humour, not my model of Sorting Hat.
     
  10. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    I don't think you got the point or Romilda. Why would she want to do anything with regards to Dumbledore and Snape?
     
  11. Rilianus

    Rilianus Squib

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    All right I see I didn't explain myself properly.

    By untangling the Dumbledore/Snape plot she has a chance to save Dumbledore and thus prevent the situation from the funeral from occuring in the first place.

    The same way she can uncover Pettigrew in the 3rd year, ensure his capture and thus make Harry live with Sirius.
    The same way she could uncover moody in 4th year, thus save Harry from Triwizard tournament.
    I am aware that she might not care about either of those things, may not have all the information (as we've seen her learn things here) etc.

    The thing is that if she spent years in the loop she'd have tried making Harry happier and place herself closer to him and I think she'd have tried plotting. When you have that much time and one goal you can do a lot.