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Dumbledore's Army
Review(s): 291

Reviewer: hpnopartDate: 2008-11-05
Reviewid: 151206Chapter: 31
This one of the best Snape character developments I have read. You did a great job on him and even after reading DH I thought your depiction of Snape was pretty much congruent with that of JKR's.Good Job!

Reviewer: KrauseDate: 2007-09-20
Reviewid: 149348Chapter: 31
Two excellent stories. Though it has some flaws (which fic doesn't? Hell, even canon has), it is probably the best development I've seen on the relationship between Harry e Snape. It has some very touching moments. The writing is simple, though good. The pace is slow, but I like this way. The plot is good, specially on these second story, as "The Enemy Within" suffers from the same problem as HPB. Anyway, congratulations and thanks for two of the most excellent fics I've ever read.

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-08-31
Reviewid: 149112Chapter: 1
>> I realize this review space may not be the appropriate venue in which to deeply analyze Snape's character in your story versus the final canon, but let me just say that I think, in essentials, you were writing about the same man as JK Rowling was, and my heart goes out to him. I'd really love to know how -- if at all -- Book Seven influenced your thoughts on Snape (or Dumbledore, Lily, Lupin, or Harry, too!), if you have any interest in discussing that, either here or in the Sugarquill forum somewhere.<<

Rachelindeed, it's great to hear from you and I'm glad you still enjoy the stories after reading DH.

I can honestly say that DH did not change my view of the characters, not even the likes of the Malfoys. JKR's characters in DH feel the same as my characters here, as you say, in the essentials.

The only exception might be DD. While the circumstances in DH are remarkably similar to those in HPCS with DD manipulating and deceiving Harry and Snape, my DD seems more caring and regretful in what he must do. JKR's DD seems a bit more callous, but that may only be a perception.

You're right that this may not be the proper place to discuss character development. If there is a thread on the forum where we could discuss this, I'd be delighted to participate. I'd love to hear your thoughts. :) -- Theo

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-08-30
Reviewid: 149104Chapter: 31
I have been rereading Chained Souls and Enemy Within, and I just wanted to say once more how special they are, and what a pleasure it is to have them after Book Seven brought us to the end of all things :) I love Book Seven and I reread it all the time, too, but it's wonderful to be able to come back to this deeply nuanced alternate history, which in my mind is what might have happened if Snape and Harry had ever been able to get to know each other and see beyond their prejudices in life. I realize this review space may not be the appropriate venue in which to deeply analyze Snape's character in your story versus the final canon, but let me just say that I think, in essentials, you were writing about the same man as JK Rowling was, and my heart goes out to him. I'd really love to know how -- if at all -- Book Seven influenced your thoughts on Snape (or Dumbledore, Lily, Lupin, or Harry, too!), if you have any interest in discussing that, either here or in the Sugarquill forum somewhere. But of course, you may prefer to just let your stories speak for themselves, which they certainly do -- most eloquently. Thanks again for creating such compelling tales, which truly brought out the best in these beloved characters!

Reviewer: SpellBoundDate: 2007-08-20
Reviewid: 148935Chapter: 31
This was a great story. I think your sixth year story may have been my favorite of the two but this one was nevertheless excellent! I love snape now, and I was bawling from when Dumbledore said he would die until he showed up in the MOM. Thanks for these truly entertaining hours....

Sherellyn

Reviewer: andrew8604Date: 2007-08-06
Reviewid: 148701Chapter: 31
very good story!

Reviewer: Stellar HawkDate: 2007-07-26
Reviewid: 148633Chapter: 31
Wow, this story was brilliant from start to finish. I loved every minute of it and am sorry that it's over.

Reviewer: EowynDate: 2007-07-23
Reviewid: 148627Chapter: 31
Thank you so much for finishing this story before the seventh book came out. I love both of your stories and in many ways I even prefer them to canon. I love the way you portray Snape because in a certain sense it is canonical. You show what Snape could be given the right set of circumstances. I hope he turns out to be on the right side in the last book.

Reviewer: rhoswenbudDate: 2007-07-20
Reviewid: 148617Chapter: 31
I have been away for a while, and so didn't have time to comment on he last chapter, and then this marvelous ending!! I am quite literally in AWE of you Theo... this was amazing, and I wouldn't be able to say anything against it. I was so very pleased that Snape survived (obviously!!) and I loved the way that you managed to use the occlumency/legilimency to forge that strong link between him and Harry. As much as I absolutely loved the idea of the Healer's Gamble when I read about that, I didn't guess this use for it, and having read it all now, I have to ask myself why? That I think is the beauty of your writing. It is so natural, and everything that you write just makes such complete sense, that we forget we are reading fanfiction... I am going to be reading DH in less than 24 hours now, and I still can't get over the fact that your story is just so believable. I would not be at all surprised to find many elements of your story in this last "official" installment of the Harry Potter Story. (If they are the same, we may have to have words......!!!) I don't think that I have to tell you again how much I have loved these stories, and the sheer talent, and I would say, courage, it has required to take on such an established world of characters and storylines, not to mention the legions of diehard fans, and create something that is loved by all who read it is something that I would never be able to do, and so I salute you!!

Back to the story!! Like many others, I feel a need at this point to mention the Snape (or should we be calling him Severus now??) and Remus relationship. You've really hit Remus's character in the head I think, especially in this chapter. He has gone through so much in his life, so much prejudice and hatred, yet he is still a sensitive, compassionate, open-minded person who has tried not to let the werewolf thing consume him. He understands Severus more than Severus would want anyone to understand him. (Let's just leave Harry out of this equation for a second, theirs is a bond unlike any other, and wasn't made in the "real world" if you know what I mean, it was forged under special circumstances....) Remus learns that Severus betrayed James and Lily, and although their death was a major loss in Remus's life, and a cause for grief even now, he was still able to forgive Severus without a thought to the contrary. While Severus cannot seem to live in the present, he is so bogged down by his past, to him, it is the only thing that identifies him, Remus lives his life without relying on the past to define him. He takes things and people as they are, not as they were, and maybe that is why these two characters become such good friends... they are opposites... I love that Severus spends a lot of his time working to help Remus, and other werewolves. The Auror training gave his life some kind of purpose again, but Remus helps his life to become better, he had a job before, just like the auror training, but he never had friends, and he never had people he cared about enough to help them before, and this is just so comforting to know!
Remus has such optimism for Snape, their friendship is assumed, and he never doubts that he will be fine; one of my favourite lines of this chapter were:

“I don’t want to end up like that.”

“Dear god,” Lupin breathed. “Severus, you won’t!”


You have made us all love Snape so much (I am not ashamed to admit that I cried, on more than one occasion because of this man in these two wonderful stories!!) and I know, I have always known, that he is good, but I just think that we will all miss your Snape when it comes to the (ahem,) "real thing".... boohoo!!

I could go on forever talking about the characters and everything I loved about your tale, but I won't, I think that you have pretty much got the gist of it so far!! The epilogue was wonderful, and thanks for your comment telling us what becomes of a few of your other characters!! It's so nice to see how you see your characters lives unfolding! (and they are YOUR characters, you have truly made them your own! Well Done!!) I hope that you enjoy your free time now that you have finally finished, but at the same time, I really hope that you keep writing at some point, because I know that there will be many people prepared to read anything you write!! Thanks so much for the hours of enjoyment you have given us, I wish you well

lots of love xxrhoswen

Reviewer: blizzardDate: 2007-07-20
Reviewid: 148614Chapter: 31
Awesome, Theo. I'm just back from a holiday trip and the first thing I did when I finally got the access to the internet was to check on your story. As somebody has alraedy mentioned, thank you for filling up this last days before the Deathly Hallows. I've been really worried about Snape and Harry but the careers you have planned for them are just perfect. One of my favourite epilogues so far.

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2007-07-19
Reviewid: 148605Chapter: 31
I loved this ending. The reflection of how war can change people, and how the Slytherins were the ones hardest hit was very well done. I also liked the developing friendship between Snape and Lupin. I could totally see Snape training Aurors. Good job, and I look forward to more of your work.

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-07-17
Reviewid: 148590Chapter: 31
Wow, Aaisha, that was an amazing review! Thank you!

Regarding Hermione's future job, I left this out on purpose to show that life goes on and there are still choices to be made and questions to be answered. But I have been asked this and other questions by a number of readers, so for anyone who's interested, here's my post HPCS world:

Harry's scar never disappears. The Dark Mark was very refined and a purely magical mark. The scar by contrast is a physical injury as well as a magical one. But after LV's death, the scar is just a scar.

Hermione goes to work as an activist for an eccentric group promoting non-human rights. This is a bunch of wonderful misfits (think Luna) who have some great insights and ideas, but no organization. With Hermione's logic and discipline to lead them, they soon become a political force to be reckoned with.

Ron goes to work for the Ministry where he gets to be thoroughly annoyed by Percy on a regular basis. (Yes, Percy survived Day's disgrace. The guy is like teflon!) Percy is a conservative, traditionalist who doesn't like change. Ron is like his father, happy to break the rules and embrace new ideas. They eventually become heads of their own departments and spend their careers attempting to sway the Ministry between these conservative and liberal views. Percy will have his victories, but Ron will win when it counts.

Snape's budding friendship with Remus is what leads him to begin a life-long quest to eradicate Lycanthropy. This also causes him to become involved with Hermione's activist group. Remus goes to work for them and when Snape develops the new Wolfsbane potion, the group uses this breakthrough to successfully push for werewolf rights.

One of Snape's most valuable aquaintances is Draco. Draco wants nothing to do with Harry, but he considers Snape an old family friend and will do what he can to help Snape as long as it doesn't adversely affect his family.

Katrina Knight is another wildcard who proves both valuable and troublesome. She continues to work firmly outside the law to bring down Dark wizards and Snape is not above dealing with her when need be.

As to my favorite fanfiction, I honestly can't say. Between Enemy Within and Chained Souls, writing has taken up most of my time for the last four years. I've read a few things, but I'm nothing like an authority on what's available. One of the things I am looking forward to now that CS is done is being able to read a lot more.

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-07-17
Reviewid: 148586Chapter: 31
That was… I don’t know how to express myself. IT WAS FANTASIC, I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE ENDING. I am slightly out of breath after reading it. What a beautiful ending to the wonderful fic. My computer crashed for a few days thats why i wasent able to review before.


Anyway..Ok first and foremost off course Snape's surviving. It had me thrown out of my chair in surprise. You made my week till DH release.

I was trying hard not to hope for his survival lest I be disappointed. Really thank you for letting him live. I was kind of wondering that Snape would live long enough for some revelations but you actually let him survive &#61514;&#61514;&#61514; . I don’t think the whole his survival and his career thing could have been done better. It’s not easy to find a good story about Snape without him dying in the end and leaving me depressed. I am very happy &#61514;&#61514; with the end you wrote .The reason for his survival worked fine. Although I never though Healers Gamble would play such a crucial role in the end. Apart from the fact that he is one of my favorite character and you wrote him so well and his rapport between him and Harry, it was really hard for me to imagine him dying because this is such a waste of talent. It is always hard for me to sallow when anyone with such high talent never had the chance to use his or her talent to the optimum and till the end in any story. And I couldn’t have been more pleased with the end and both Harry and Snape's profession. It had always seemed that Snape is not right for teaching children. He his capable of much more! The way you thought of his and Harry career and the use of their potential, it was intelligent. I am honestly in awe. Snape couldn’t have been placed in the more right place.

I would like to comment about your epilogue. I usually skip epilogue of the fics, because the one they throw me into depression. Its really hard to imagine a 50 years old Harry or to see the funeral of Snape after some years in epilogue when we have barely breathed in relief that he had survived the war, I am even worried about the actual epilogue in the book. I don’t want to read that Harry died in this and this age and rests peacefully blah blah. Anyway my point is apart from all I said above I absolutely loved your epilouge. Reasons for it are:

1st it was absolutely lovely the way you write it. Hehe

2nd you had the two very talented, full of potential persons used up till their optimum level that satisfied them as well as the readers. You gave them the gratitude and fame they deserve. Especially Snape, you let him use and be appreciated for his skills whether it is potions or as a dueling teaching. And I love you for it especially because I am not seeing this happen in the DH cause it is 99% certain that he will die. You didn’t write what career Hermione selected. I would have liked to see what you think of her as she is also very talented.

3rd it was positive and happy.

On the whole best epilogue and the best end for Harry and Snape and best use of them I have ever seen.

Day's firing. I couldn’t have been more pleased. I really was waiting for something like this to the insufferable man.

Hey you let Dumbledore live too. About the further revelations in the hospital wing we saw, I am almost sure the original story in DH will come out more or less same. You wrote it so convincingly Theo. Its was good to read. However I was a little startled at Harry’s reaction when he said like "no wonder you never got over it". I don’t know but I feel that everything that Snape was telling him should be so horrid to Harry for himself that he should at least for the time being think about himself or his parents and not Snape. The reaction seemed a little to quick imo. Anyway everything else was very very good and realistic.

Lupin and his chocolate. I absolutely love your characterization of everyone and especially Snape and Lupin. They both are two of my most favorite characters and you always write them so well. I love love the conversations between Snape and Lupin .normally and you nailed this one. It reflected very clearly how understanding, intellegent and compassionate Lupin is. We always knew it and now Snape realized it too. Snape is not a man to open to someone and especially marauders and yet he did in front of Lupin and it was soo smooth and realistic. Good job on it.

And yeah I don’t really know you did it for humor or not but the part where Snape said to Lupin don’t leave me alone in DPS office. O my, I just couldn’t help but laugh. I can’t even begin to imagine how humiliated a man as composed as Snape must have felt in front of Lupin after that. And how terrible he must have felt to reach such a point.

Knight's part. Yes. I was wondering that where is she now when we need her most. Good job Knight. You killed double the amount the whole OOTP did.

Overall the best qualities of your writing imho:

Ok let me first tell you that I myself am not a writer myself and have rather limited vocabulary in his respect. But still I though to mention some qualities I find particularly well in your writing. In respect of Fan fiction you are the first writer who has got everyone's character write. Whether they are major or minor ones and I think it a huge achievement. Even the people with very good characterization skills have made mistakes with at least one character but it is only my own opinion off course.

2ndly your mood and style is closest to the original book. This is something that I am sure off. I think you naturally are close to the style of Jo. And I think this might be also the reason the characters look very original.

3rdly I think I should congratulate for your wonderful job on Snape. He is such a difficult character and you got into such depths of his character without spoiling him even a bit and frankly I am a little surprised. I tried to write a fan fiction of my own and whenever I got at Snape I didn’t quite manage his dialogues so I abandon the idea. Anyway you have quite an ability to understand the working of minds of different type of people or characters.

And you obviously have a vast vast vocabulary and twist words to very effectively catch our emotions. The only suggestions I think I can give you is that maybe you could increase a little more dramatic stuff in your writings I think. I just felt it this way a little while somewhere in the mid chapters of CS and thought to mention it but it was for a little while and the chapters from 20 onwards got very exciting. Anyway you are a natural writer and thank you for giving us the two wonderful fics and I just thought to mention your fic is the one and only that I loved to and did comment again and again.

And Theo I was wondering if you could tell us some of your favorite fics as it is not easy to find good ones and your favorites would definitely be good. My favorites are given in my profile at fanfiction.net which includes yours as well and other than that my most favorite one is “Harry’s last Task” at veritaserum.com, this one managed Snape quite well too, although there are a couple dialogues of him that I think he could never say and a not very in canon but overall it’s an exceptionally written 7th year fic. Thanks.



Love Aisha

Reviewer: ReinDate: 2007-07-15
Reviewid: 148570Chapter: 31
oh my god. thank you SO much, Theo! Your story's the best fic I've ever read. Seriously. Great job!

Reviewer: wynnleafDate: 2007-07-15
Reviewid: 148567Chapter: 31
Since I already reviewed on P&S, I wanted to just pop in here and say how much I liked your revision of the sequence of events of Chapter 31. I hadn't really thought of the first version as having any flaws (other than the mentioned year), but now it flows much more smoothly as well as prolonging with fine tension that moment until Harry -- and the reader -- discovers that Snape is alive. Very well done!

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-07-15
Reviewid: 148565Chapter: 31
>> Oh -- sorry to put in a second appearance, but I forgot that I had a question, here at the end of the story. Way back in the summer, when Snape was watching Harry brew the Clarifying Solution, he reacted with "longing and revulsion" to it, and said he had taken it himself once. Are you at liberty to give us the backstory on that now? I'd love to know. >>

Yes! Thanks for asking, Rachelindeed. This goes hand-in-hand with Lily's "Don't throw your life away on vengeance!" Up until the Shrieking Shack incident Snape had been hedging his bets with his fellow Slytherins: staying close enough to them to maintain their googwill and protection, but not really committing himself to their cause. After the Shrieking Shack he was so angry and bitter that he turned his back on the Light side and decided to join Voldemort to get even with all the people who had made his life miserable.

After a few none-to-subtle comments snarled at James in front of the other students, Lily realized where Severus was headed and cornered him one day to entreat him not to join Voldemort. He brushed her off, but what she had said troubled him. He had tried to convince himself that he didn't care about Lily and that she didn't care about him so her concern made him uncomfortable and planted a seed of doubt about the path he had chosen.

He brewed up a batch of Clarifying Solution in the hopes that it would tell him whether he should become a DE or not, but needless to say, the insight he got was not what he expected. The Solution revealed that Lily did indeed still care for him and, worse, that he still cared deeply for her.

You can imagine how disturbing it was for this young man - on the verge of becoming a DE - to realize that he still loved this Muggle-born girl and childhood friend who reminded him of what he had hoped his life would be back before he'd ever heard of DEs. However peer pressure from the Slytherins and his bitter resentment of the Marauders overwhelmed this reminder of his better nature and he joined Voldemort.

Now, a reasonable person might ask why the stupid Clarifying Solution didn't tell him, "No! Becoming a DE is a really, REALLY bad idea!"? The answer is two-fold. First, even if it had, the tide of emotions and events leading Snape to join Voldemort wouldn't have abated and he likely would have ended up ignoring the Solution (that flash of insight comes and goes awfully fast) and become a DE anyway.

Second, in the long-run, for the sake of defeating Voldemort, Snape *did* need to become a DE. But he needed a lifeline to pull him back when the time came. Love, that certain knowledge of his own deep feelings for Lily, is what provided that and caused him to turn spy for Dumbledore years later.

PS: I have corrected 2167 to now read 2067. Also, per some suggestions from a friend, I have re-edited the first five pages of the chapter 31 to re-order events at the Ministry slightly. It isn't a huge change, but I think it flows better now.

Again thanks for the wonderful reviews, everyone. You are the best!!! Love, Theo

Reviewer: wildcard_47Date: 2007-07-15
Reviewid: 148560Chapter: 31
This is probably the best piece of HP fanfiction that I have ever read, not to mention one with a very satisfying ending. Harry, Snape, and everyone else have been characterized so beautifully. Theowyn, you are an amazing writer.

Things I especially loved:
To echo the last post, I loved the beginnings of a friendship between Lupin and Snape. I think one of the most poignant scenes of the chapter was when Snape was falling into the void and Lupin's “You’re not alone, Severus. I promise.” brought him out of his terror. Tears came to my eyes when I read that; it was so beautiful and touching and really epitomized the power of love and friendship even among the wreck of despair.
I also loved Harry's realization that "Evil couldn’t be defeated entirely...but there had to be a way hold it at bay." Not that I expected him to retire and bask in his glory or anything, but it was fitting to see Harry consciously make the choice, again, to continue protecting his home and loved ones from whatever evil might arise in future.
I loved how Snape admitted, to Harry, that he was once in love with Lily, and how your characterization of Snape's feelings in this confession made them seem so raw, powerful and deep.
Those were the scenes that really stuck out in my mind, but honestly, I loved the entire story, from beginning to end. Thank you so much for writing such an amazing fic! If you start work on another one anytime soon, please PM me!

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-07-14
Reviewid: 148557Chapter: 31
Oh -- sorry to put in a second appearance, but I forgot that I had a question, here at the end of the story. Way back in the summer, when Snape was watching Harry brew the Clarifying Solution, he reacted with "longing and revulsion" to it, and said he had taken it himself once. Are you at liberty to give us the backstory on that now? I'd love to know.

Reviewer: rosemaryeveDate: 2007-07-14
Reviewid: 148556Chapter: 31
Excellent chapter, wonderful finish to the story. I loved the afterword.

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-07-14
Reviewid: 148555Chapter: 31
I loved it. What a gift to have such a beautifully drawn tale of the good life these characters deserve laid out for us before we head into the almost-certainly-darker endings of Book Seven. The closing image of Harry and Snape working together for a lifetime, keeping the peace, saving lives, facing the dangers of the world together and building a lasting legacy in their work and in their friendship is a joyful, joyful thing to contemplate.

This last chapter was full of treasures, and I have to admit that there are two in particular I was ridiculously pleased to see. One of them was Snape's reluctant admission that he had loved Lily but never spoken of it. That is what I have always imagined about their relationship, too, and you made his confession seem poignant and real -- that he couldn't help but love her for treating him like a human being and a worthy friend, but that he never *presumed* to take things any further. That verb "presumed" tells us a lot about Snape, and it made my heart go out to him. You managed to make his feelings deep without being maudlin -- to me it was the perfect capstone to have Snape admit to himself that his decision to protect Harry with his own life didn't really have much to do with Lily anymore, and that he was certain she wouldn't have minded. How wonderful. Harry has earned his place in Snape's life on his own merits more than on any legacies of the past.

The second thing that delighted me was the friendship with Lupin. I love Lupin dearly, and I think that he and Snape share so much -- intelligence, wit, suffering, weakness, regret and the strength to overcome. Both had to try to grow up before their time, and both are veterans of war and loss. Lupin's compassionate spirit, mild manner and unflappable good humor are an excellent complement to Snape's impatient integrity, sharp tongue and passionate drive. It was such a pleasure to see Snape allow himself to recognize Lupin's good qualities -- the lycanthropy notes in the epilogue cemented my happiness. Thanks for showing us the beginning of a beautiful friendship :)

There was so much in this chapter to enjoy -- when Snape said "I'm here," I'm absolutely certain all your readers metaphysically joined in my celebratory dance around the room. Then when you saved Dumbledore, too, I had a Doctor Who moment (you probably don't watch that series, but your story made me say with the Doctor: "Oh, give me more days like this. Everybody lives -- EVERYBODY lives!") And when he offered a handshake and Harry responded with his fierce hug, it was so awesome. And I loved Day's response to the news that the Ministry "infiltrators" had just killed Voldemort -- "You have overstepped your bounds!" The archetypal bureaucrat -- no one should go and win the war without proper authorization. I laughed out loud. I also loved the first exchange between Snape and Dumbledore: "You don't look particularly surprised to see me." "Not particularly." They are so fun. And Dumbledore's wily plan was exactly his brand of cold-blooded compassion. He hurts in order to save. But what I especially loved about his plan was how its success depended on so many people living up to their own best instincts. If Harry had made the rational choice and decided to cut Snape loose rather than clinging to him, who knows what that would have done to their bond? But Harry couldn't do it -- it wasn't in his nature. And if Draco hadn't given in to compassion and shoved Bella's wand away, or if Lupin hadn't put his life on the line to help Snape when he was outnumbered, Snape wouldn't have survived to help Harry defeat Voldemort. Everybody came through, and it reminded me of Snape's line in "Enemy Within," when he asked Harry if he thought the prophecy devalued the efforts of all the other people fighting against Voldemort. "Do you think their efforts are meaningless? They aren't." It was great that the story acknowledged the way that a large group of people with incomplete knowledge somehow managed to achieve victory together by making the best choices they could, moment by moment.

Thank you so much for writing. Your two stories are the best Harry Potter fanfiction I have ever read, and they have already given me great joy. I will come back to them again and again, I know. And I know all your readers have appreciated the considerate way you have handled the logistics of updating and responding to our comments. It takes a lot of discipline to keep a couple of chapters ahead in your writing while posting updates regularly, and we have all really appreciated the way you've kept up with that. And your responses to reviews have been generous and thoughtful. You have been a really great author in more ways than just the content of the stories, though that would be enough for anyone. So thanks again -- and Vive Snape!!!

Reviewer: taedaDate: 2007-07-14
Reviewid: 148547Chapter: 31
That was awesome. I don't have words of high enough praise. What a spectacular ending, I can't believe everything you came up with in this story and how completely believably you told it. Snape's evolution was perfectly described, not only throughout the story, but through this chapter from his hellish state of mind to his malaise and then to the man of purpose and conviction that we all knew he could be and wanted for him (and I liked how he worked on lycanthropy too - I'll consider his conversations with Lupin a personal request fulfilled). And Harry has grown up wonderfully too. Also, you have a rare ability to write about morality in a way that resonates. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

Reviewer: Wolf's ScreamDate: 2007-07-13
Reviewid: 148546Chapter: 31
Wow! I tend to especially enjoy well-written character interactions, and you did a bang-up job of that, particularly in this chapter.

But I'm even more impressed with the way you put all the pieces togther and showed how the result was, in fact, a unified whole. I will be pleasantly surprised if I find DH as satisfying.

Very well done, indeed: thank you for sharing your talent.

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-07-13
Reviewid: 148545Chapter: 31
Thank you all for the wonderful reviews! It was so hard watching so many of you in such pain over the last few weeks, worry whether or not Snape would live. As an author, that emotional response from readers is gratifying, but it was tremendously hard not to say, "Don't worry! He'll be okay!" I fully expect JKR to kill Snape tragically in DH and I will cry an ocean when she does. Chained Souls is my way of dampening that grief. It is my gift to all of us who love Snape as a character and wish for him to have the chance to know genuine happiness in his life.

To respond to the questions that have been asked:

<< Did you mean Harry to retire in 2067 rather than 2167? >>
Lol! Yes, it should be 2067. Good catch!

<< There was really long odds on Harry and Snape doing a Healer's Gamble. Was Dumbledore expecting Harry to be attacked that badly eventually and Snape happening to be nearby to save him? Or could the "strong bond" have been created other ways than Healer's Gamble? It was just really long odds that those two could manage to create a bond stronger than Voldemort's bond. But it was better than the alternative, Snape would have died period if there was no bond. So I guess it was better to try for a bond than to not try at all and hope one was created. But it would've been crappy if a bond was created, but it wasn't strong enough to defeat Voldemort's. Then it would have been "sorry Harry it wasn't strong enough to save him, but its strong enough to emotionally hurt you deeply." >>

The Healer's Gamble was convenient, but Dumbledore wasn't counting on anything like that. There were other ways to form a sufficiently strong bond between Harry and Snape and this is why Dumbledore initiated Harry's Legilimency sessions with Snape - to break down Snape's emotional barriers and cement the bond between them. In fact, had the Healer's Gamble never occurred, the end would have been the same. That Harry and Snape were so willing to die for one another is a bond of love far stronger than any bond Voldemort's hate could have created.

However, the Healer's Gamble gave Dumbledore some much-deserved peace of mind. Up until that point he *didn't* know for sure if his plan would work and everything was riding on this. It wasn't just Snape's life, but Harry's survival and the defeat of Voldemort as well. Without a way around Morsmordre, Snape would have either had to commit suicide or someone in the Order would have had to kill him because there is no way Dumbledore would have left *that* to Harry. None of these options were acceptable, so Dumbledore really had no choice here.

Love, Theo

Reviewer: IseultDate: 2007-07-13
Reviewid: 148544Chapter: 31
Brilliant. I loved all of this story, the characters and the ending. I didn't comment last week because I was really hoping Snape might get a reprieve (if JK kills him I'll treasure this even more). I loved the conversation with Lupin- Snape not ready to act human too easily- and the bit in the epilogue about him bring out a new wolfsbane and researching a vaccine. Just one question -did you mean Harry to retire in 2067 rather than 2167-you mention three quarters of a century-although wizards do have longer lives than muggles. A fantastic sequel to EW. Thank you for filling in the wait for DH.

Reviewer: orangesherbertDate: 2007-07-13
Reviewid: 148543Chapter: 31
You are my hero! That was an incredible ending to an absolutely amazing story! Also, thank you for not killing Snape. I didn't think you would, but I wasn't sure. Anyway, that was a wonderful chapter. I think that the job that Harry ended up accepting was perfect for him and definitely similar to one that he may have in Deathly Hallows (if he doesn't die. I hope he doesn't). I also love how you used an excerpt to end the story. It tied everything together perfectly.
When I first started reading Sugarquill, I discovered the Enemy Within very quickly. I read it and thoroughly enjoyed every word. I read it so many times that I had it all but memorized. I then proceeded to read the first part of Chained Souls. I loved it, but realized that it hadn't been updated in a long time. I was sure that it never would be. So, it was quite a shock when I saw the updates. I began checking just about every day for updates, especially as they became more frequent. But, the point I'm trying to make with this long, rambling story is this: a while ago, when I thought the story would never be updates, I was depressed. Never in my wildest dreams did I think you would continue it. But as I read every new update I loved it more and more, but I never dared to hope that it would be so amazing. In short, I think that this is by far the best fic on this whole website. Right up there with After the End. So thank you for writing such a wonderful story that I will probably continue to read time and again.

Reviewer: RowanRoseDate: 2007-07-13
Reviewid: 148540Chapter: 31
Outstanding. I don't have words to convey how well done this is.

And the truth about Snape's involvement that night in Godric's Hollow is a brilliant piece of deduction. Beautifully crafted arrangements of ideas. I wonder how close you really are to the truth with that scene. Choices. And Lily's green eyes.

Thank you for the privledge of reading this incredibly story.

Rowan

Reviewer: Arwen17Date: 2007-07-13
Reviewid: 148537Chapter: 31
That was absolutely bloody amazing! I screamed aloud in delight the first time Snape spoke up. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ending. That is amazing beyond words. That sense of purposelessness and going through the motions of living Snape was feeling was so real because I felt the same thing when my dad died.
There was really long odds on Harry and Snape doing a Healer's Gamble. Was Dumbledore expecting Harry to be attacked that badly eventually and Snape happening to be nearby to save him? Or could the "strong bond" have been created other ways than Healer's Gamble? It was just really long odds that those two could manage to create a bond stronger than Voldemort's bond. But it was better than the alternative, Snape would have died period if there was no bond. So I guess it was better to try for a bond than to not try at all and hope one was created. But it would've been crappy if a bond was created, but it wasn't strong enough to defeat Voldemort's. Then it would have been "sorry Harry it wasn't strong enough to save him, but its strong enough to emotionally hurt you deeply."

But excellent excellent ending. :D !!!!!!!!!!!

Reviewer: AkuniDate: 2007-07-13
Reviewid: 148534Chapter: 31
I've been reading this series since the first, but I can't remember if I've commented.

Now that it's over, I am blown away by what you managed to accomplish. As a writer in another fandom, I find myself incredibly moved by both the story you've crafted and the skill with which you've expressed it.

Thank you for a wonderful tale. I hope you enjoy book 7. :)

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-07-07
Reviewid: 148466Chapter: 1
*Pops in again*
Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. Rachelindeed, I swear you almost bring me to tears. I'm glad the chapter worked so well.

Chapter 31 is another very long chapter, so it will not be out this weekend. Look for it in the latter half of the week, instead.

I also want to take this chance to say thank you to all of you for your encouragement and support all these months. Chained Souls has been a wonderful journey and has been made all the better for being able to share it with each of you. :)

Love, Theo

Reviewer: Arwen17Date: 2007-07-05
Reviewid: 148446Chapter: 30
Excellent work, heart-tearing all of it!

What I would say to Snape if I could: "Who gave you permission to die?! You're an ass to the very end! You made me laugh, cry and hate you for the very last thing you did! Damn you, you bastard! *crys* "

Reviewer: SaraDate: 2007-07-04
Reviewid: 148442Chapter: 30
I'm deeply in awe, Theo, thank you so much for this wonderful showdown.
Even if Snape won't be among the living in your final chapter, I've to admit this was the perfect ending for him. What happened to Remus though, I kept inwardly screaming "Impedimenta", did it help?
I'm really looking forward how you'll show the wizarding world after the defeat of What's-his-name (nice one :-) ), still keeping my fingers crossed for Snape and Dumbledore - and Madam Pince, who mustn't have problems updating.
Yours, Sara

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-07-03
Reviewid: 148438Chapter: 30
Wow. And...wow. Beautiful.

Everything played out so well, and before I mention the character moments I most enjoyed, let me just say that the pacing in this chapter was phenomenal. You had a whole lot of plot and action to get through, a lot of different players in the field, and the resolution of numerous story threads all coming together at once (Day and the DPS threat, Lucius and Draco, Kreacher and Bella, and of course the dual battles, one mental, one physical, in the Department of Mysteries). The way you glided from point to point and scene to scene without seeming rushed was almost cinematic, and nothing felt like it had been shoehorned in. Well done! I imagine that must have been very technically difficult, and you carried it off with flying colors.

Despite all the action you had to cover, you made time for the introspective, slower moments that are dearest to your readers' hearts. I loved Harry's attempt to say good-bye to Snape at Grimmauld Place, and Snape's impatient yet gentle response - that he already knew perfectly well how Harry felt about him, and further discussion was unnecessary. There was also something endearing about how Harry went all-out with his "sir"s in that last exchange -- as if repeating that mark of formal respect from their lessons was the only safe way he knew to convey his feelings. It made me think of all the times Dumbledore has had to force Harry to say "Professor Snape" rather than "Snape" in Rowling's canon -- for *your* Harry, that sense of respect is so deep and natural now that it's overflowing in his words and actions. I also loved Snape's reflections on the four people he's cared deeply for over the course of his life -- his thoughts of his mother, Lily, and Harry were very touching, and his thoughts of Dumbledore as his "eccentric grandfather," the one person to whom he could pour out his regrets, the one person whose comfort he could accept and in fact fiercely missed, was my favorite of all. I have always imagined their relationship that way, ever since that little moment in Goblet of Fire when Snape said to Moody, "Dumbledore happens to trust me. I refuse to believe that he ordered you to search my office." For Snape, that was an extremely atypical and telling moment of emotional trust, and I am so glad that you took one last look at his feelings for Dumbledore before the end. You write them so well :)

Both of the final battles (interior and exterior) were a delight to read. Like an earlier reviewer, I let out a whoop of delight when Lupin showed up to help Snape, and their exchanges were wonderful -- Snape got to be caustic, grim, and formidable, while Lupin got to be wry, protective, and unfazed. Their personalities just work well together, and I was very happy that the responsibility of defending Snape once his mind and soul were drawn into Voldemort's mindscape fell to Lupin -- I'm not a bit worried about that end of things, ceiling or no ceiling :)

The final three-way fight with Snape, Voldemort and Harry was the best part of an already exceptional chapter. Snape's splendid defiance was wonderful to behold -- I cheered when he spat at Voldemort, someone should have done that years ago -- and Voldemort's realization that the best way to hurt either of them was to attack the other was very moving. I also loved it when Harry said that Lily hadn't thrown her life away, she'd defeated Voldemort. I never thought of her sacrifice in quite that way before (I focused more on her saving her son), but of course it's true. Lily is just the best -- she single-handedly provided a thirteen-year respite for the whole world -- three cheers for her! And I was so proud of Harry for his immediate empathy toward Snape once Voldemort's revelation about the prophecy caused the last remaining mystery surrounding Snape's Death Angel to finally resolve itself. It was at that point, intriguingly, that Voldemort's soul began its death throes, even though, as he himself said, that should not have been possible since Snape was still alive. Alive and forgiven...is there any hope in that for a happier resolution to this story than seems possible at this moment? I'll live in hope...

Although if those were Snape's dying moments, I cannot imagine any more perfect. The drama of the literal "cliffhanger" was intense, the abyss into eternal darkness was horrifying, and Harry's desperate clinging to Snape as the ground began to give way beneath them was emotionally perfect -- I think all your readers were vicariously clinging to him too! And those last words between them -- "I don't care." "I do." -- well, what can I say? It was a moment of perfect heroism and selfless love for both of them, and the way you described the regret and tenderness in Snape's eyes made me so happy -- I was so happy he felt those things, and that Harry saw that he did. And how utterly *right* that he managed a last smirk as he blasted his foolish, wonderful Gryffindor back to safety against his will. It just doesn't get any better than that.

I can't wait to read the last chapter, and yet I don't want this to be over. It's a summer of bittersweet endings all around, I suppose. Thank you for this wonderful story. Even though this summer will mark the end of J K Rowling's entrancing books, I hope that you will not stop writing, that you will find more stories to tell. Whatever happens, I await the end of "Chained Souls" with baited breath!

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-07-03
Reviewid: 148434Chapter: 30
Just quickly popping in to answer Aaisha's question about the Love room. The way I've conceived it, it works very much as Phoenix Song does. Phoenix Song gives Harry courage, strength and hope whenever he hears it, yet it doesn't seem to have the opposite affect on Voldemort. For instance, in CoS, Riddle wasn't at all affected by it. He scoffed at Dumbledore's "song bird" when Fawkes came to help Harry. I think that Love is so foreign to Voldemort that he can only be affected by it when it actually penetrates inside of him where it is then deadly.

Thanks for all the fabulous reviews and lol at Wolf's Scream's "a night to remember" ;)

Now I'm off to work on chapter 31 some more. :) - Theo

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-07-03
Reviewid: 148433Chapter: 30
Ok now that was good. I was quite excited to see how the final battle will work out and I am not disappointed. You even included the love room in the department of mysteries. I was surprised and pleased. But what role did it actually played? I mean it helped Harry calm down definitely and gave him strength but shouldn’t Voldemort be discouraged or at disadvantage or something by coming in it. I mean it’s full of love and Voldemrt can’t bear love...

It was exciting to see how Harry got to finish the DE's in Voldemort mind. I was thinking that Prof. Knight made his job a little easy and she could be of very much use here in helping Snape kill the DEs cause the other order was not particularly in it.

Anyway the battle was written well. My heartbeat was literally becoming fast and slow while reading different moments.1st of all I really really liked how you got Lupin and Snape fight together. It was a very nice idea, I was kind of thinking about Lupin’s role at the moment and then I read that he was there:
"Mind if I join the party"
I was like “Yesss”. It kind of provided dramatic satisfaction. Also that Snape was annoyed at his interference.

Battle inside Voldemort’s mind was exciting too. Despite all the tension in that scene I couldn’t help but smile at the problems the DEs were causing Voldemort instead of helping and especially at the point when Voldemort’s created dragon rounded upon the DEs because Harry created fattened “sheep” behind them. It was funny.

The battle moved on pretty fast, all the Draco and Lucius part. It’s good that Bellatix died in the real world because I think that Harry would have had some difficulty with her on his own. Snape's automatic counting of the deaths was fun to read.

And now the more serious stuff. 1st how is this possible that Voldemort can die without Snape being dead and if it is possible somehow because of love than what was the need to kill him?? He and Harry could get along so well now that Snape know that Harry still care for him, even though he was the one who told the prophecy to Voldemort. You made me hopeful for some moments that he will survive but than he fell. But it is still not clear if he is dead or not...

Harry is too young and seemed soo innocent to me especially in this chapter. No matter how much he tried he couldn’t bring him self to do anything bad to Snape when actually the time came and did his best to save him.

And yes that ceiling above Lupin and Snape is another problem. I don’t know what will happen. At least Lupin should survive. I mean Harry should have some proper adult to whom he could share some stuff if he wants to. He is still quite young.

You know at one point I was frozen with dread. I though that the DE that came in the way of thorns conjured by Harry was Snape in mask as he felt the dark mark at the same time. Thankfully it wasn’t him or Harry would have never forgiven himself.

Very exciting battle and quite emotional at the end. I knew you would write it good. Let’s now see what happens in the final chapter. Maybe Snape could have some time to say something?

Reviewer: taedaDate: 2007-07-03
Reviewid: 148426Chapter: 30
Ahhhh! What happened! That was amazing! You have to post chapter 31 now!

Voldemort's mind was just horrible, I was trying to figure out what could be as awful as he is, and I couldn't, but this was perfect. And Snape here was amazing, just beginning to end amazing. The whole thing really. Now post the next chapter!

Reviewer: orangesherbertDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148425Chapter: 30
Another great chapter!!!!!!!!! It was very well written and action-filled, and I really enjoyed it. I do wonder, though, if Snape will somehow be alive. I don't see how he can be, but I still hope that he'll come out all right. The bond between Harry and Severus has gone through so much, that it seems a shame for him to die. Or maybe I'm just a believer in happy endings.

Reviewer: rosemaryeveDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148422Chapter: 30
No! Severus!!!

Reviewer: MishDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148416Chapter: 30
Wow. Just wow. Terriffic chapter! Your final battle was especially well done. I thought Voldemort's inner landscape was very fitting. And Snape! I'm simultaneously in denial and in awe at how it all played out. Again, great work!

Reviewer: RowanRoseDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148407Chapter: 30
Breathless. Your talent to twist and turn a reader's emotions is well developed. Nicely done. Very nicely done. I weep.

Reviewer: Wolf's ScreamDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148406Chapter: 30
Ah; exceptionally well done!

BTW, when I was reading about the Order's plans for distracting Auror Day, I mentally had completed "... gleefully looking forward to showing Ian Day a night" with "to remember" instead of "he wouldn’t soon forget," as you wrote. But I suppose "a night to remmember" might have other connotations.... :-}

Reviewer: wynnleafDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148405Chapter: 30
I was checking all weekend for this update. Really well done! I love the recognition between Harry and Snape. It was sad that Snape went into the battle still not understanding about his own redemption. However, it was good that Snape was able to see that even after discovering that Snape was the one to take the partial prophecy to Voldemort, Harry still cared about Snape and wanted to save him.

Reviewer: epeaceDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148404Chapter: 30
AHHH!!!! You just can't leave it there!!!!!

I was on the edge of my seat reading the entire time. I am going to have to go back and re-read the whole thing, and the pray real hard that you post again in about 5 minutes :)

To be serious, I am in awe, as usual. I feel as if I am right there with the characters, and the imagery in Voldemort's mind was breathtaking in a frightening way. And the final scene with Snape, Harry, and Voldemort was so powerful and moving. Though I am about to cry. Snape can't really be gone....can he???!!?!?

I suppose I will have to wait til the next chapter (which I can only hope/pray/beg will be out very soon).

Superb work Theowyn.

Elizabeth

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148402Chapter: 30
This is fantastic. I love how Snape sacrifices himself for Harry and that they finally know what they mean to each other. I hope Remus and the rest of the Order is all right, and I'm glad that Voldemort is gone. It will be interesting to see what happens with Draco. Keep writing.

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-07-02
Reviewid: 148401Chapter: 29
With luck, chapter 30 should be out tomorrow by this time. *Crosses fingers*

>>What really stood out for me in this chapter though was the language...<<
Oh thank you! I LOVE language passionately! It is capable of such power and subtlety. It can cut with the precision of a laser and transport us into rapture or the depths of despair. If even one person reading this story could be moved to appreciate language a little more, I would consider that an enormous accomplishment.

rachelindeed, as always thank you for the lovely review and I would love the opportunity to explain the ideas behind CS and to answer any and all questions once chapter 31 is up. :)

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-07-01
Reviewid: 148399Chapter: 29
Hi! Better late than never to review this wonderful chapter - I keep going out of town at the most inconvenient times for my story appreciation schedule :) There were so many great character moments in this chapter which I thoroughly enjoyed ~ Harry and Snape's exchange: "Why does it always have to be *you,* why can't it be someone who likes me?" "Just our luck, I suppose." A classic exchange, both funny and obscurely sweet as it shows that Snape has developed a "we're in the same boat" attitude towards Harry, and a somewhat fatalistic comfort with the fact that they are constantly thrown together and forced to rely on each other. I also loved his line: "I don't hate you, Potter. I'm disgusted with the spectacle you're making of yourself." Typical Snape honesty -- so mean at the end that you almost miss the important concession at the beginning. And there's something about this line that echoes Dumbledore's reassurance to Snape that Harry is not repulsed by Snape's soul, he just finds particular things in Snape's subconscious disturbing. I like that both these characters sometimes make gloomy assessments of their own image in the other's eyes, showing that they do care and that they need some kind of reassurance, but never getting back a simple comforting answer. Not that they really want *too* much comfort -- Snape's appalled reaction to Harry's tearful hug was perfect!

I was pleased and impressed by how far Harry got in his sober conversation with Snape before the large and menacing distractions intervened. I love the way he risks opening himself up to the man time and again, and how insistent he is about trying to stop Snape from using his usual defensive tactics to deny the real emotions between them. Snape tries to reject his friendship by characterizing it as pity, and I love that Harry won't have that. Good for him -- James' stubbornness and Lily's heart :) As we get closer to the revelation of Snape's last dark secret, I begin to suspect that it is the same one revealed at the end of HBP -- that Snape told Voldemort about the prophecy in the first place. I could well be wrong about this, but it seems like that would explain his taking inordinate personal responsibility for the various tragedies that descended on all the Potters. Everyone else made mistakes, but he made the mistake that started it all (the prophecy), and then the mistake that ended it (Pettigrew). No wonder he always preaches the importance of considering the consequences of your actions -- as he says, few mistakes go unpunished, and his have caught so many people (including himself and the only people he cares about) in wretched death traps. "I learned long ago that when you deal in death, invariably the wrong people start dying." Yes, they do...

Other small character moments that I loved: Harry's inability to leave Snape behind to buy time with his life, even though Harry knew the futility of staying with him -- and Snape's inarcticulate fury in response. Pitch-perfect responses from both of them. Dumbledore's quiet smile as he stared at the doors, pouring his life out for the castle's protection -- a beautiful moment for him. Snape's hand on Harry's shoulder as he backed away from the doorway, and its immediate calming effect on him -- it's beautiful the way Harry consistently draws courage from Snape in a crisis (Molly's Weasley's death, the Death Eater chase outside Spinner's End, and now this...) Snape and McGonnagal's identical looks of accusation as Harry reveals the passageway to freedom -- they will always be his teachers first, it seems :) And purely from a plot standpoint, you have created an excellent set-up for the climax of the story, putting the lives of both dear friends and countless strangers directly on the line -- only such a tremendous weight of consequences could make Harry consider actually taking the actions that he believes will destroy Snape and Voldemort together. Your comments have given me a glimmer of hope that they will find a way out of Snape's death sentence somehow, but whatever happens I can't wait to see the final battle, and discover the ideas that inspired you to write this fantastic story! Thank you so much.

Reviewer: taedaDate: 2007-06-30
Reviewid: 148389Chapter: 29
Loved Harry hugging the lamppost; we needed a little humor at this point. What really stood out for me in this chapter though was the language (perhaps because I printed it and read it in hardcopy). I especially liked Snape's lines about his fate: "I will not traffic in false hope", "this is a mark of bondage", and espeically "I knew that I was subjugating myself to his will". And also "Harry felt his own determination rise up to quell his fear", quell is a great word there, we should use it more often. Looking forward to the next chapter, but also dreading it a little. By the way, a conversation between Lupin and Snape sure wouldn't get any complaints from me...
Thanks for the story, and I also really enjoy reading your responses to comments.

Reviewer: Arwen17Date: 2007-06-28
Reviewid: 148388Chapter: 29
Excellent chapter!! LOL we have to get Harry drunk more often! I love how Harry said maybe we should do it the Slytherin way! heheehe and I'm very very happy Snape and Harry are friendly again. On a sader note though, I don't want him to dieeee!!

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-06-27
Reviewid: 148383Chapter: 29
Spellchecker, thanks for rein versus reign. My beta reader and I try, but we do miss things.

werty1, thanks for your review. I sincerely appreciate hearing everyone's thoughts on how they think this story should end. It's fascinating to see all the different opinions. But yes, the end is already firmly set. In fact it is the first thing I planned when I set out to write Chained Souls. It had to be or I'd never be able to pull together all of my plot threads into a coherent climax. After all, if you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there and that is espcially true in writing fiction.

For those of you who have commented about Fawkes, he had to stay behind because his powerful inate magic was needed to help create and maintain Dumbledore's temporary ward. Without the ward, the giants would have been upon them before they all could have grabbed a tail feather and taken off.

I just made that up, btw. The real reason Fawkes didn't take them is because it is the nature of fiction that the characters must do for themselves unless they absolutely have to have help. Think about HBP. Dumbledore and Harry walk to Hogsmeade, Apparate to the coast, climb down a treacherous cliff and swim across icy water to reach the mouth of a cave that Fawkes could have taken them to in the blink of an eye right from the comfort of Dumbledore's office. Why? If pressed, JKR would no doubt give some reason similar to the one I gave about the ward. But the truth is that it's simply more dramatic for Dumbledore and Harry to make the journey themselves. It both empowers and endangers them and that's exciting. The same is true here. Dumbledore, Snape and Harry didn't need Fawkes's help. They had to overcome this challenge on their own.

Thanks as always for the wonderful reviews. Chapter 30 should be out over the weekend. - Theo :)

Reviewer: SaraDate: 2007-06-25
Reviewid: 148371Chapter: 29
Okay, I was dead-wrong about where Harry could be found and I expected him to be sleeping instead of getting drunk - nevertheless, the beginning of this fantastic chapter kept me grinning throughout, really hilarious! Even more so since it made Harry say some things to Snape he would've never said soberly ;-) - well, he repeated most of it later again, so Snape should've gotten the message. The other way round probably doesn't work, I think Snape has to say it directly to Harry (it's nice that you get your act together with canon now, that was something I wondered about as well).
I hope you won't let DD die after his heroical defense against the giants, Harry has to go on alone now anyways, the only question that came to my mind during their attack: Why didn't just Fawkes carry DD, Harry and Snape quickly back to the castle?
It's a shame that Snape seems to be right so often, this time about Harry not having an elaborate plan to fight LV. As long as Harry was preparing for the final battle time now seems to be running away.
Please update soon!
Yours, Sara

Reviewer: rosemaryeveDate: 2007-06-25
Reviewid: 148370Chapter: 29
Excellent chapter moving from Harrys concern for Snape, and now the horrible position he is in with respect to Voldemort. What a cliffhanger!

Very exciting stuff, loved the chapter.

Reviewer: Wolf's ScreamDate: 2007-06-25
Reviewid: 148356Chapter: 29
Might be nice if Harry had a chance to rest a bit first,but life's not always "nice" -- ref. *all* DEs dying, including Severus.

I rather liked McGonagall's portrayal when she was confronted by Day & Percy.

I was a bit puzzled when Dumbledore, Snape, & Potter were fleeing to the castle -- why didn't Dumbledoe just have Fawkes take them; surely that would have been faster?

Well done!

Reviewer: wynnleafDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148352Chapter: 29
I felt a little easier about this chapter -- not so distressed at the end of it, that is. I think, having Harry needing to *directly* save the lives of many others through his action makes the decision more bearable. I mean, it's one thing to kill Voldemort and in doing so bring about the deaths of many others including someone Harry cares about, when the lives saved are mostly theoretical -- nameless people in the future that Voldemort might kill. It's another to be directly protecting and/or saving the lives of many of the people within Hogwarts.

Reviewer: werty1Date: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148345Chapter: 29
Hi, I've read your fanfic for a long time and finally I made myself to register and leave a comment. It's very rare to find a good harry/snape nonslash story so thanks for this one. I just have to say that I think that it would be very nice to have a tragic end in this fiction. Yes, I'd probably cry, but I guess especially for this, it would be very powerful - the fic is not black and white so the end doesn't have to be that way. I write this because in ths chapter, there are some hints that there may be happyend (Yes, I'm bit paranoid, but..).. I'm not sure why I'm writing when the end is now in your head if not even written.. But I just had to say this :)

One more time thanks for good writing and sorry for my terrible english, I hope that message is al least a little bit understandable :)

Reviewer: orangesherbertDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148342Chapter: 29
Wow!!! Another absolutely amazing chapter. What else can I say? Nothing else describes it. You are a genius, and this story is incredible. I can't wait for the next update!!!!

Reviewer: IseultDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148338Chapter: 29
I just love this story principally because of the strength of the emotions and moral dilemas. The writing is very taut. Nothing wasted. I never find myself skipping unimportant paragraphs to find out what happens next. The pace is excellent. Right now it feels like this is the only thing keeping going until DH appears. Thank you for the regular updates. Im so looking forward to the conclusion.

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148337Chapter: 29
That was excellent. Wow I enjoyed every word of reading it. You are a brilliant writer Theowyn and just like SpellChecker said "The level of writing in this fic is exceptionally high" really and so was in EW.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and how will the things proceed but I certainly didn’t expect so much that has happened in this chapter. "Ghiants"?? It was certainly unexpected, infact the whole chapter came as a surprise with the attack and abrupt need for Harry to decide he is ready, but the Giants idea certainly worked well ( and its saying something since I‘ve always had reservations about this whole giant thing in the book, maybe it seemed a little umm… crude or immature? to me) and Grawp, he played his part for what he was introduce in the books fairly well. You have a uncanny ability to elaborate the actual hints in the books the way it seems almost real and I think will explain themselves in the book in situations more or less similar as you have wrote. Not only Grawp but the way you explained Snape’s teenage and his decisions , working of his mind , relations etc will express themselves in DH more or less same I feel.

Harry got drunk??
Well he had to do something to ease his pain. It was fun to see him drunk. He said a lot of things that he wouldn’t have said otherwise while in his proper senses and he cried on Snape... The entire scene was very well written and good. Snape cant deny that Harry actually care for him now.. And this ministry, I only had one thing in my mind while reading it “aren’t there enough problems already that they have to further complicate matters” but that would make force Harry to take his decision quickly as it has..

So basically the flow of the chapter was very good drunken Harry to Snape to Ghiants to there escape all was rather unexpected and brilliant.

And now there are two chapters more, I believe Snape will tell Harry about his past or whatever Dumbledore was asking on his own accord now? I doubt that Dumbledore will survive now, you are planning to kill him too? Well it seems closer to canon this way.

Looking forward to the next chapter. I wouldn’t mind if it takes sometime if it turns out to be as good as this one. Take care.

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148335Chapter: 29
I loved Harry being drunk. It was very funny. I also liked how Snape continues to deny that Harry cares about him and his fate. The part with Grawp was great. I hope Dumbledore will recover, and I look forward to the upcoming battle. Keep writing.

Reviewer: SpellCheckerDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148332Chapter: 29
It's even more fruitless than correcting error concerning its and it's, but in the phrase "With Albus gone, he’ll have free reign..." really should end with "free rein" referring to the reins on the bridle used to control a horse, not the reign of a monarch. In the old days (even before my time), you would give a horse "free rein" when you wanted him to go his fastest, or even sometimes let him find his own way back to the barn.

The level of writing in this fic is exceptionally high, and you've provided an entertaining (though highly improbable from my point of view) perspective on Severus Snape. I'm looking forward to your resolution of Harry's conundrum. Thank you.

Reviewer: RhoswenbudDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148331Chapter: 29
I'm so sad that we're getting to the end of our adventure... but really very excited for what is to come!! I really enjoyed 'drunk Harry' and obviously, the fact that it is always Snape who comes to his rescue!! Their relationship really blossoms in this chapter, and one of my favourite parts was when Harry recognises Severus in Snape, and that Snape doesn't react defensively and in a detatched manner. Those two are finally understanding each other!! I mean, I know that the whole "giant thing" happened, so he didn't really have time to be moody, but judging on his later behaviour, he is beginning to realise what was happening in his mind all along!!

Like Harry, I think that I (although I wasn't actually thinking that it would go on forever) was a bit - surprised isn't the right word- when it was suggested that the final confrontation was upon them all. Harry had been training for this for such a long time, and we have been eagerly reading about it for equally as long, that the "end" seemed like a distant and far-away event.

I just loved Severus/Snape in this chapter, pretty much because they are finally beginning to join together and become the same person!! I am very excited for the next chapter, and I know that I will have to wait a little while..... It's all hotting up now, and I wonder what Voldemort will try, and who will join him now in the end..... Please let Draco turn to the good side right at the end...!!?? He is great, and I wish we had seen more of him!!

Anyway, I eagerly await your next update, Good luck with the rest!! love xxrhoswen

Reviewer: slytherinatheartDate: 2007-06-24
Reviewid: 148330Chapter: 29
this chapter is so very amazing! i am a loyal reader and will be til the end!

(please don't let dumbledore die!!!)

(*lise*)

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-06-23
Reviewid: 148322Chapter: 28
Since chapter 29 has failed to make an appearance yet, I have sent it again.

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-06-22
Reviewid: 148321Chapter: 28
Thank goodness,I am really really eager to see the next chapter.

Reviewer: SaraDate: 2007-06-22
Reviewid: 148320Chapter: 28
Aaah, it's great to see that the next chapter will be up soon - and the next one after that even longer, yippee!
I was just thinking that there are now so many plot strands waiting to be picked up in the last chapters … will we see Prof. Knight once again? And how about Lucius Malfoy, I really "miss" him and his interactions with Snape. Draco? Faye? I hope I'm not asking too much.
Keeping my fingers crossed for your final writing spurt,
Sara

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-06-22
Reviewid: 148318Chapter: 28
Aaisha, I just sent chapter 29 off to be posted. Hopefully that means you'll have it by tomorrow afternoon. :)

The first draft of chapter 30 is done and off with my beta reader, but it's a full third longer than chapter 29 so it may take a bit longer than usual to edit. It should be ready for next Friday, but that could slip a few days. I would rather take the time to make sure it's right than rush to get it out. In the meantime, I'm writing chapter 31 and all is on schedule to be done well before DH is released.

Here are a few more thoughts on all of your wonderful comments. I am thrilled that you all like my take on the Dark Mark and the chained souls. This concept is very dear to me because this whole story is about redemption: what it means and what it requires.

You all touch on this. No, Snape has not completely sold his soul to darkness. That's Voldemort. And I adamantly agree that Snape IS capable of finding peace in life, not just in death. But J Forias's comment about Snape's sadistic streak made an important point that I think is worth noting: Snape doesn't have to be nice to be redeemed.

No one is perfect. Even Dumbledore has dark paths running through his garden and brambles hidden beneath the flowers. For Snape to be redeemed, he needs to let go of his hatred, bitterness and guilt, but his personality doesn't have to change. A redeemed Snape would still be a sharp-tongued, no-nonsense sort who would never suffer fools. He would still be able to kill dispassionately when necessary. And redemption doesn't mean that he would have to purge the darkness from his soul. Rather, he needs to accept his imperfection with compassion and realize that while this darkness will always be a part of him, it doesn't have to define him. If he can get to the point where he can feel compassion and forgiveness for himself and others, then he will be redeemed.

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-06-22
Reviewid: 148315Chapter: 28
I need an update. Badly! I've been checking two times a day,everyday day!

Reviewer: rhoswenbudDate: 2007-06-22
Reviewid: 148313Chapter: 28
This was an amazing chapter (as ever!) and it said so much that helps us to understand our lovely characters!!

It would seem that Severus and Snape truly are one and the same after all! As much as he would wish to deny it, Snape really cares for Harry, and there has been a bit of a role-reversal in this chapter. Harry, at some point in the past said that he would have preferred Snape to hate him, than to be completely indifferent, and here we see:

"Even disgust or hate wouldn’t have bothered Snape overly much. But it was sadness and regret that Snape spied in Potter’s eyes whenever he spotted the boy gazing off into space, lost in thought, and too often he caught those green eyes staring at him with the same troubling emotions. All of which made him furious."

The thank you note amongst other things really have made Snape realise how affected he is by Harry, and he says several times in this chapter that he has to try really hard to hide his emotions towards Harry.... hmmm..!! The emotional link forged between Harry and Severus, a link Harry believed to be lost, seems to live on, and it scares Snape quite a bit, since he has no memory of the happenings in his mind... Every time something like this last 'incident' happens, their real-life relationship goes slightly sour, and Snape has to adjust:

"Snape looked at him with cold indifference whenever the man happened to glance his way. Harry wondered how long Snape was going to keep that up and hoped that eventually, the man would begin treating him normally again." (but what is normal when it comes to those two??)

As others have already pointed out, the defence practicum is very interesting and well thought-out... Snape makes Harry see that sacrifices must be made in war, and that to triumph over evil, one must be prepared to sacrifice one's own friends for the overall good... Now, as much as I am not suggesting that Harry cares more for Snape than he does for Ron, I think that this will be just as painful, even though he hates Snape half the time. The Snape/Harry relationship, although turbulent, has been, recently, very strong, and Harry has pointed out on several occasions the fact that Snape is the only person he can talk to, that he is the only one who understands him, and who is honest and who does not pity him. Harry needs this in his life equally as nuch as he needs supportive, "friendly" friends. He knows that he can depend on Snape always, I mean, how many times has the man now risked his own life to save Harry? That bond is very strong, and to be the cause of his death will be very difficult thing for Harry.... PLEASE write a way around it Theowyn.... I'll do anything!! (well....) Harry says: "I don't need more blood on my hands. I've enough already." and it's true; I think that causing Severus' death will possibly be just too much for Harry, and, just like Snape, I fear for the boy's sanity... That Snape chap really is too caring for his own good! He can't possibly have completely sold his soul to darkness, how do you explain all the good he is doing now? he may have sold his soul to Voldemort, I just don't think that he sold it all. His soul is so compartmentalised, and he hides parts of it even from himself, do we really believe that he is a lost cause?? I think not....

The scar/black mark storyline was pure genius!! Well done you!! It really fits with canon, and, as has said before, is something we can really see popping up in DH!! Finally (I know....Finally!!),

“I want you to tell Harry the truth. All of it.”

What? what truth are we talking about here? Is it more to do with Lily? I don't know, and I really don't even want to speculate too much for fear of ruining the last precious chapters of this amazing story!! (YOu have to write more after this one Theowyn.... seriously, we may not survive otherwise!) "There is no peace for me in this world Albus..." Oh how my heart weeps for this man,........ Please don't die!!

emotionally yours, xxrhoswenxx

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-06-18
Reviewid: 148282Chapter: 28
I had long suspected that Snape was one of the chained souls, so I could see a lot of the build up work you did for the concept. This paragraph struck me as particularly powerful:

--The words had churned up Snape’s guilt as well as an old fear, long buried, that had resurfaced in the months since Potter had begun delving into his mind and which haunted him now more than ever. Have I sold my soul?--

And I especially enjoyed the way you tied it into the Dark Mark. I've had fanfic ideas about doing something slightly similar (although not half as eloquently). It's Voldemort's mark on their skin and it gives him extraordinary power - it's awesome the way you tie that symbolism into real power; that they literally sell their souls as well as figuratively, when they accept his brand. And that this serves to devour death in actuality.

And of course, I enjoyed seeing the little flash of the sadistic, savage Snape which ties your work back to canon, and reminds me of the journey and expansion you have taken his character on.

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-06-18
Reviewid: 148281Chapter: 27
Okay, okay, I've put off reviewing long enough. Just thought I should say that there's maybe a slight chance that I was wrong. :)

This was a really good chapter. I recognised Dumbledore's reference to Chained Souls and found the discussion of death fascinating and powerful. Snape's handling of Malfoy was fun, too. It's nice to see him put so much effort into teaching and possibly even having some success.

Lily's role was also really enjoyable. I love the fact that you've made them friends, instead of leaping on the fandom idea of lovers.

Good work.

Reviewer: SaraDate: 2007-06-18
Reviewid: 148280Chapter: 28
What a wonderful chapter, again, with such a promising chapter title, which more than lived up to my expectations!
Well, I can imagine that Snape thinks Harry's feeling sorry for him most disturbing, although they misinterpret each other as usual. Therefore the Defense practicum provided a very interesting lesson – what a shock to discover later its importance to Snape himself. By the way, I’ve always been curious about the dark secret Severus was constantly referring to …
Ron rushing of to Wales was bound to happen – as you’ve said earlier, he’s desperate to do something. Nevertheless I didn’t dare reading further for half a day. And the outcome certainly wasn’t what Ron might have wished for …
Your interpretation of the Dark Mark’s significance is great – if the horcruxes hadn’t come in your way … So on the one hand: How lucky LV’s spell didn’t work properly on Harry. As DD was so keen on emphasizing the “intent to accept the terms of the bond” there’s still a way out for someone else, isn’t it? At least I am desperately clinging to this hope. On the other: They didn’t talk about a plan, so what does DD, as great a strategist as no one, have in mind? And: Harry’s reaction is so typical although he should know by now he won’t be able to run away and hide forever. If sending him a “Let’s talk. SS”-letter would help? Therefore I’ve my suspicions where and by whom Harry could be found. &#9786;
I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter(s) – although at the same time I’m really sad that your story is finally drawing to an end!
Yours, Sara

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2007-06-17
Reviewid: 148275Chapter: 28
I really like how you emphasize that the last emotion Snape wants Harry feeling for him is pity; that's very true. I also liked how you mentioned that Harry's weakness is his friends, which is not a good thing in a battle. I hope they can find Harry all right, and that he and Snape can talk. Keep writing.

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148274Chapter: 28
You guys are so awesome! I've been peeking at my reviews through my fingers with this chapter for fear that someone was going to hex me.

Aaisha, thank you for pointing out the bit in EW where Snape receives the Dark Mark. For anyone interested, this is the last Occlumency lesson in chapter 4 and it is indeed the basis for Chained Souls. In fact, I refer to this here in chapter 30. So yes, I've had this vision of Voldemort's immortality long before HBP came out.

Wynnleaf, you make an excellent point about souldiers in battle. The problem is that Harry isn't just an average soldier. None of the Gryffindors in Snape's practicum would consider sacrificing a comrade and yet Snape would never put any of them through what he puts Harry through because you're right: most of the time that impulse to sacrifice oneself to protect others is a good thing. But Harry is the exception to the rule because he is the *only one* who can defeat Voldemort. He can't afford to throw his life away for anything. It's an agonizing situation to be in, but that's Harry's reality.

Having said that, however, Harry is more than his connection to Voldemort. It is ultimately his choices that will defeat his enemy and this is something important to keep in mind.

Rachelindeed, I'm glad you bring up Dumbledore, because he is a crucial player here. Dumbledore is often a driving force behind events. He typically knows more than anyone else and almost always has a plan and an agenda that never come clear until the final pages of the story, if then. It's also worth noting that while he never lies, that's not the same as telling the whole truth. We can particularly see this in the things he tells Harry. So, knowing now what he has known for years, it might be worthwhile to look at what Dumbledore has said and done and ask what his plan is?

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148272Chapter: 28
Ooooowwwww. Ow. That really hurt. Don't get me wrong, it was great, but it was still unexpectedly painful. I'm 99.999% sure that J K Rowling is going to kill him, but I never once suspected that this story would turn in that direction, too. I'm going to be cried out before I even get to the canon version... Part of me holds out hope that the bonds that Snape/Severus and Harry have forged will be somehow stronger than Snape's bond to Voldemort, but the other part of me recognizes that if Dumbledore says there is no hope, that's basically the last word on the subject. What I *don't* believe is that Snape can only find his peace in death. I have no idea what this secret can be that he regrets even more than the Pettigrew misjudgment that cost Lily and James their lives, but I know that he will find the courage to share it, and that Harry will accept it with compassion. Whatever happens in the end, I think his complicated relationship with Harry will help him find peace in this life ~ ironically, that may make it harder for him to give up his future, but if anyone is capable of facing death with dignity, it is Snape.

Where to begin with all the wonderful stuff in this chapter? I thought the practicum was very well done - Snape judged things rightly and wrongly in very believable ways. He was right in his conception of Harry's weakness -- everyone knows that Harry has long been prepared to sacrifice himself in the fight against Voldemort, and even to accept the burden of killing in war, but not to sacrifice others. That is the one thing he has never been able to prepare himself for, and Snape was right to make him admit that. However, forcing a simulated sacrifice in a classroom with nothing more at stake than peer pressure and Quidditch didn't teach Harry much about his real capacity for choosing the lesser evil. Harry's angry reaction was very understandable, and his final exchange with Snape was perfect for both of them: "You're not Voldemort and you don't have to prove to me that you're a bastard. I know that already." "So long as we understand each other." After almost fifty chapters of one-step-forward-two-steps-back relationship building, they are still stuck at loggerheads with each other, but they know each other so well that they can throw around insults with subtexts, or go straight for each others' throats, using no weapons but honesty and anger. It's painful and fascinating to watch.

Your explanation of the Chained Souls, the Dark Mark, and the Death Eaters makes so much sense that it's hard to believe it's not canon. I say along with Snape, "It's exactly the sort of thing he would do." I suspected that Dumbledore was shielding Harry from the necessity of someone else's sacrifice, but (thinking too much along "Half-Blood Prince" lines) I thought it might be Dumbledore who had to die. Making it Snape is even worse. Harry's horrified reaction made my heart go out to him, and yet I was not at all surprised when, in this real and terrible test, he knew he had to choose to defeat Voldemort, and acknowledged it with a nod even though he was falling apart inside. Poor child -- I don't think he's really running away from the war and his responsibilities, he is just dazed and desperate for a way to deal with this. It reminds me of his depression during EW when he was terrified of the person he'd have to become to beat Voldemort. I think he's back to feeling that terror and depression now. He knows, of course, that Snape is ready and willing to die for the cause, but he wants him to live so very badly. It's awful not to be able to switch places, or to spare him somehow. And to think Dumbledore has been feeling this all year -- sometimes I pity that man, and sometimes I'm a little afraid of him. He must suffer so much so quietly, and I admire his strength to go on caring about those he knows he cannot protect. And yet, there is something almost frightening about re-reading all his scenes with Snape knowing that he knows his plan necessitates Snape's death. There's something not quite human about a person who can love with such detatchment.

Snape himself was brilliant in this chapter, as always. I loved his quiet reaction to the news, and his indifference about missing the celebrations. His frustration with Dumbledore was palpable, and I loved his line: "You tell me my life is forfeit, and still my first priority must be Potter's sensibilities!" His decision to "take his chances" with leaving loose ends in his life was sad, but so him. And I'm sure that once he finds Harry and makes sure he's all right, he's going to kill him! Risking the fate of the wizarding world for one person is unacceptable in Snape's book, and risking it to get over bad news is beneath contempt :)

I love this story, even if it mixes its joys with sorrows. You have really made me care about these characters, and I want them to make everything right between them. I can't wait to see where they go from here.

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148271Chapter: 28
Brilliant chapter, really it was very good and Depressing, although I do know his chances of survival were barely there as I think for DH too, but it was still very unexpected and sad. I wasn’t expecting it to be this way. Your idea of chained souls and marks was very good and it certainly fit very well here because of "Snape" and "Harry" story. Snape had his part then, its not only Harry's destiny to face Voldermort but Snape's as well to die inorder for Voldermort to.

I know I will be very depressed when the time will come for Snape in the future chapters.

And what will be the benefit of all of Harry's effort to get Snape or Severus to get out of guilt when he had to die this soon and not be able to live with a guilt free life?

And this means there is no turning back then, once you have taken the Dark mark... no matter what you do...

There is so much in this chapter, its going towards the end then, 31 chapters. It would have been very nice if we had a happy ending, EW end was very good, with everyone OK if not outright happy and all thinks cleared for that time, but..well what can we do now that you have decided it this way.

Did you plan it this way before writing EW? I mean I was reading EW yesterday again and noticed again that when Snape took the mark he felt chains wrapping around his soul, as Harry saw in his memory. So you had planned the sequel then?

And this line was touchy and sad:

“There is no peace for me in this world, Albus! There hasn’t been for as long as I can remember. Give Potter the chance to finish this once and for all and then I will have peace.”

Its very sad, just the mistakes of youth ruined his whole life. In this JK.R world in see people had to make very big decisions at a very young age, the ones that may effect their whole life and as they are inexperienced mostly they suffer badly for whole their life because of it. Like when Snape took Dark Mark he was what 17. Such a young age and no matter what he did to cover this mistake, its of no use at the end and he would have to die.

I was just thinking that no one around Snape's age really had a peaceful life. James and Lily died. Sirius suffered and suffered and died then. Lupin's life had never been easy and Wormtail despite all his efforts to gain something actually got nothing ( he has no value in front of Voldermort even) even Bellatix spend half her life in azkaban. And Snape although remain safe from Azkaban spend all his life in guilt. This was just my observation.

There had been enough revelations at the end of EW for Harry to hate him and now there are more? Hmm they would be about Lily somehow? I am looking forward to see them but cant help feeling that it would be of use to only Harry really. Snape would be gone ultimately and he wouldent have the chance to live a life Free of any Guilt, but then it can be said that he would atleast die peacefully.

ISNT there any way to avoid it???

So Harry has gone missing now. Yes its right, what possibly he could do? Its like Harry said about Snape in EW:

“It’s not fair! Why couldn’t he have died when I didn’t care? Why did he have to wait until now?”

And now Harry would have to be responsible for his death! This is extremely cruel to him and its likely he would do something in depression. I dont think he had actually gone somewhere, I mean he likely wanted to have sometime alone away from Hagwards maybe? He cant have really decided to run but if he had he would come to his senses soon I guess and its understandable. But Voldermort and DE's, its too dangerous for him to go outside like this. He could get in trouble.

This sure would have its effect on Snape, make him realize the extend to which Harry is effected and tell Harry what Dumbledore want him to. Right?

You have got the idea of Harry's weakness is absolutely right! I was thinking trying to find his weakness for sometime after the previous chapters but didnt get it although it should have been obvious. Offcourse it’s his ability to care too much for others. You have got it right!

Any way firstclass chapter and I am even more looking forward to see the next one than I was for this. Bye for now.

Reviewer: wynnleafDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148270Chapter: 28
There's a lot in this chapter and your story that I tend to expect in DH. Because I think it is Snape and what Harry learns about him that will change and develop Harry's character more than practically anything, I believe that in DH Harry must, like in your stories, come to some understanding of Snape, forgiveness, etc. *before* he's able to use that "power the Dark Lord knows not of" (somehow part of Harry's ability to love), in order to find victory over Voldemort. What I worry about however, in both DH and in your story, is the long train of unresolved guilt that Harry already carries. The deaths which follow Harry, and for which he can't help but feel varying degrees of responsibility, just keep adding up. It's not the kind of thing that a few words of "it's not your fault, Harry" could possibly realistically alleviate. And now, in Chained Souls, Harry has to face the idea that his destruction of Voldemort would kill many, many people, regardless how bad they might be. And then there is Snape, who has long since turned to the Light and paid a long and deep price for his mistakes, not to mention having saved Harry's live repeatedly, who must die, in an indirect sense, at Harry's hand.

This seems a horrific burden to ever put an adolescent under, much less to expect him to come to grips with it and "accept" it. I found it interesting in Snape's DADA class, he wants Harry to face a decision of allowing others on the good side to be hurt in order to effect victory. But part of the problem is that Harry has already had so many people die for, or due to him. "Testing" his ability to allow someone else to be harmed isn't just testing his ability to set aside the "saving people" thing. It is asking Harry to compound the huge burden he already carries, but which is never truly resolved.

Throughout the HP series, and in the Enemy Within, people die, come close to death, or are grievously injured, for Harry. His parents die, Harry is inadvertently the cause of Quirrell's death, Ginny's near death is more to lure Harry than anything, in POA Sirius comes close to death and the Trio in danger because of Harry, in GOF Cedric dies, and then in OOTP Sirius dies and Hermione and tonks seriously injured. In Enemy Within, Harry experiences the deaths of many at what seems "his" hand, including Molly. And now he's expected to compound that guilt by adding the deaths of many Death Eaters, as well as Snape, who he cares for, to those whose deaths for which he is or feels responsible. And the focus of the characters seems to more on why or how Harry can do it and accept it, rather than that he should not.

Generals make hard decisions of who to send into battle, and who to hold back. They decide "acceptable risk" and what can be lost. But when trained for combat, the soldier is more trained to *guard* his fellow soldiers, not to put them at greater risk. Soldiers find confidence in even the most dangerous of missions, not because they learn to consider their comrades expendable, but because they are confident that they and their comrades will do whatever it takes to keep everyone as safe as possible, in spite of the danger, and bring everyone -- if at all possible -- back again. Sure, it may be an unrealistic expectation. But it is that understanding that one's comrades at arms are willing to risk their lives to save each other -- rather than consider each other expendable -- that makes soldiers willing to risk so much.

It seems to me that Snape has worked alone for so long, that he does not understand that. He is a spy, so perhaps that's his viewpoint. But Harry is not a spy and he does not work alone. I think Snape is actually wrong in his approach with the DADA lesson. Yes, those in battle know they are risking their lives. But the esprit de corps of knowing that everyone will risk their own lives for each *other* that drives people on, and not the notion that they are all expendable. In that way, perhaps Harry unknowingly actually has it right.

Reviewer: Arwen17Date: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148268Chapter: 28
OMG!!!! AMAZING!!!! Oh no!! I don't want Snape to die, least of all for Harry to be the one who kills him!!! That was a brilliant plot about Voldemort's immortality! Is that what you thought before we found out about the horcruxes? Please write a new chapter soon!!!

Reviewer: Wolf's ScreamDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148267Chapter: 28
That particular use of the Dark Mark is most interesting: well considered. And Harry's reality is a curious variation on Lawrence's theme. But I can see how Harry'd react as he did to the prospect of Severus dying as a result of his confrontation with Tom.

Well done!

Reviewer: jppoetDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148266Chapter: 28
Oh, dear. Please, oh, please tell us that Harry hasn't been dragged through a roller coaster relationship with his Potions Master only to lose the man in the end! I'm not certain I can handle that kind of emotional trauma. But I suppose that's why it's Harry and not me... For Harry to finally meet someone who understands him so intimately only to lose them in victory is incredibly tragic. They've both worked so hard and come so far together. Would you possibly be willing to write an alternative ending for a Snape-Can't-Die wimp? *Sniffle*

Reviewer: taedaDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148265Chapter: 28
That was very good. I sort of suspected that Snape would have to die (or would die as a result of Voldemort's death), but the way you revealed it was freshly horrifying and I find myself depressed because I am so fond of your Snape and want so badly for him to have a peaceful life. Also, the defense practicum was agonizing. Snape was closer to the mark than he realized. Thank you for the constant stream of quality fic - I check every day.

Reviewer: orangesherbertDate: 2007-06-16
Reviewid: 148264Chapter: 28
This is another amazing chapter! I am so glad that things are beginning to clear up a bit. I do wonder what is going to happen, but I suppose that's just the mark of an excellent novel. I have truly enjoyed reading this story up until this point, and I look forward to continuing such an excellent story in the future. Keep updating!!!!!

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-06-13
Reviewid: 148250Chapter: 27
Hi guys,

Thank you as always for the beautiful reviews!! I have taken a while to post here because I hadn't decided when I was going to post chapter 28 and I wanted to be able to let you know when to expect it. Assuming that the whole posting process goes smoothly, ch28 should be be out on Friday. I'm delaying it a bit in order to better fit with my writing schedule. I should explain that I am writing several chapters ahead of what I'm posting. I'm currently in the middle of writing chapter 30 which looks as though it will take closer to three weeks to complete instead of the two I had originally planned.

This is important because each of the next three chapters gets progressively more intense and ends up hanging from an increasingly treacherous cliff. I do not want to leave you waiting two weeks for the resolution in chapter 31. You'd kill me! It's much better to have the delay here.

Now that business is out of the way, I have to say how delightful it is when my favorite lines also wind up being yours. All of the ones you've mentioned in this chapter are some of my favorites too.

Rachelindeed, you're right. "Indefensible didn't have to mean unforgivable" is definitely a key theme in the story. It is certainly the key to Snape!

I am truly gratified that all of Snape's complex emotions are coming through as I have meant them to do. CS has been a much more difficult story to write than EW was. EW was all about Harry's journey from doubt and fear to confidence and purposefulness and while Snape certainly went with him on that journey, Harry was the one who mainly had to grow and change. Here in CS it is the other way around. Harry is the one guiding (proding) Snape to grow and change and this is an infinitely more difficult and complicated process - not only for Snape, but for me in trying to capture it.

>>I REALLY loved Snape's talk with Dumbledore. The relationship between these two characters is always a pleasure to watch, and Snape is just so *open* with him, it's extraordinary.<<
I LOVE Snape and Dumbledore. We never see them alone in canon, but I have always imagined them to have the most wonderful relationship. If there is one person whom Snape can trust to be absolutely honest with, it's Dumbledore.

>>And this scene reminded me of one long ago, during the summer, when Dumbledore recognized how uncomfortable Snape felt wearing his Death Eater robes, and told him gently that they did not define him. I thought of that at the climax of this chapter, when Severus clawed at his dark robes, his self-styled "shield and prison," and Harry tried to tell him the same thing.<<
Wow! Thank you for remembering that original scene and making the connection here. This says a lot about how Snape's relationship with Harry has changed. Back in the earlier chapters, Snape wasn't embarrassed to wear his DE robes in front of Harry, only Dumbledore. That's because he thought that Harry already did (or should) hate him. By chapter 27 however, Severus (and by extension Snape) has come to covet Harry's good regard as much as he does Dumbledore's and so he's ashamed.

Oxon, Good point about Harry's guilt complexes. Luckily, he *hasn't* made the sort of mistakes Snape has.

Aaisha, don't worry about Severus being hurt by Harry's absence. Time in the depths of the mind doesn't really pass normally to begin with, but more importantly, you know that Harry has left a part of himself behind in Snape's mind just as Lily did. Severus just needs to be ready to meet this internal Harry.

>>Hope you are not cutting out valuable sub-plots though just to make it before Book 7 and that you still enjoy writing it as much as we love reading it!<<
Have no fear. Back when DH was announced I was planning 30 chapters for CS. Now, I'm up to 31, so I definitely having cut anything. I have had to nearly double
the speed at which I'm writing, but that's actually made me more disciplined and has probably helped me to be a better writer. And trust me; I enjoy writing this story AT LEAST as much as you guys enjoy reading it. ;)

>>I love this story, I love your writing, and I love your characters. You have taken the raw characters, and while not deviating from their "actual" character traits, you have given them new perspectives, and you have created a wonderful group of characters who make us all feel better after a bad day!<<
rhoswen, that is so sweet! It doesn't get any better than being able to touch others and make them a little happier. :)

>>I first suspected the identity of the Death Angel when Severus said he was worse than Voldemort because he had betrayed those he loved. It reminded me very much of Rowling's own assessment of Snape as "more culpable than Voldemort" because he'd experienced love and still embraced evil choices. I wonder if that was an intentional echo, or if your ideas of the character just carried you to the same place.<<
Great question! A little of both, actually. This was definitely a nod to JKR, but I wouldn't have made it if it weren't absolutely true for my Snape, too. This reminds me of a question a friend asked back when I first started CS. Knowing that I am committed to keeping the characters in character, she asked if I would have to change my interpretation of Snape in light of HBP. To which I answered, quite honestly, *no*. The Snape who killed six DEs in EW is exactly the same man who, in different circumstances, would kill Albus Dumbledore. Likewise, the unbearable pain we glimpse with Snape's *DON'T CALL ME COWARD!* in HBP is precisely the same pain I'm exploring here.

It is my dearest hope that my interpretation of Snape does indeed parallel JKR's and that it is not simply coincidence that leads us to the same places. Which brings me to...

>>xxrhoswen: I fear that when The Deathly Hallows comes in in just over a month (wow, is it really that soon???) we who are desperately reading your novella will be shocked at how harsh and unfeeling he may be!!!<<
We may be shocked at first, but in my heart I truly believe that JKR's Snape will end up essentially the same as mine: a deeply flawed and hurting person who is nevertheless capable of finding redemption.

Reviewer: SaraDate: 2007-06-12
Reviewid: 148248Chapter: 27
I'm lost for words, this was a stunning chapter!
I suspected as much from its title and was rubbing my hands gleefully - and really, those revelations were … unexpected. I probably haven't digested it completely.
Thank you for the insight into Snape's so very well depicted emotions (finally!).
My favourite line however is "Harry knew that Severus would be waiting for him" and the final paragraphs with Harry crying for a "lost" friend. - I'm afraid that now something horrible has to happen first to bring them together again, there're still some steps to climb in their relationship.
However, now DD should be ready to let Harry in on LV's secret, I'm very much looking forward to that - as well as the next Defense practicum!
Yours, Sara

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2007-06-12
Reviewid: 148244Chapter: 27
Very good and interesting. Snape being his own worst enemy makes a lot of sense, and I really liked Malfoy's arrogance in this chapter, too. I also liked how Snape is trying his best to be neutral toward Harry, but Lily's letters prevent him from doing so. Please continue this wonderful story.

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-06-09
Reviewid: 148235Chapter: 27
"You've found your truth at last," Severus said, and so we have. I did not expect this -- like Harry, I think I was thrown off by the depth of the darkness surrounding the figure. I really loved Harry's realization that knowing about Snape's indefensible past and experiencing it with understanding are very different things (like Ron's earlier experience with vengeance). He reacted perfectly -- he was repulsed by his new understanding, but didn't allow himself to believe that it was the whole truth. The best line of the chapter (and, for me, maybe of the whole story so far), was: "Indefensible didn't have to mean unforgivable." That really strikes me as the key to this whole story, and to the whole relationship that Harry has been trying to build all year with his brilliant, damaged, flawed, extraordinary professor. This chapter brought out the heart of these issues beautifully, and showed the complexity of Snape's own feelings about all this. I was surprised and delighted to discover that, although the loss of his emotional self-control is a huge part of why he loathes his sessions with Harry, the thing that he really can't stand is to watch Harry's trust be replaced with horror. The idea that someone who cares as much as Harry does is repulsed by his soul, the growing certainty that anyone who knows him well enough will judge him in the same way that he judges himself - irredeemable - and the misery of caring about a person and then losing them by his own inalterable faults...it's amazing that Snape is feeling all this, and that he acknowledges some of it to Dumbledore. I was floored by his simple admission: "I do trust him, Albus. The problem is that he trusts me." Wow. I feel like I learned more about Snape in this chapter than I have in a long time, and it made my heart go out to him. I really agree with what an earlier reviewer said - you are able to write these emotional depths into Snape without going too far, without seeming to unrealistically break with his character. That is what makes this story so exceptional, and in this chapter you balanced everything perfectly, which cannot have been easy. Well done!

On to the small things. There were so many little lines and moments in this chapter that I loved: Harry's realization of what a gesture it was for "this most private of men" to admit to keeping Lily's letters, and his subtle response to Snape, who interpreted it perfectly -- these two people just know each other frighteningly well at this point. I loved that the name "Harry" became the mental lightning rod bridging Snape's conscious and unconscious mind, a point that came to a dramatic head in Harry's last session with him. I loved the description of Snape's emotional withdrawal to clear a path for Harry, and Harry's own regret at this evidence that his presence caused his teacher pain. I loved their look of "shared acknowledgment of the grim test of endurance they had somehow become trapped in together." And I REALLY loved Snape's talk with Dumbledore. The relationship between these two characters is always a pleasure to watch, and Snape is just so *open* with him, it's extraordinary. I am intrigued by the hint of a secret memory that he fears Harry will discover. I loved the spark of snarkiness that managed to emerge amid his misery - "Would you like a humbug?" "What I would like is a useful answer." And this scene reminded me of one long ago, during the summer, when Dumbledore recognized how uncomfortable Snape felt wearing his Death Eater robes, and told him gently that they did not define him. I thought of that at the climax of this chapter, when Severus clawed at his dark robes, his self-styled "shield and prison," and Harry tried to tell him the same thing.

I first suspected the identity of the Death Angel when Severus said he was worse than Voldemort because he had betrayed those he loved. It reminded me very much of Rowling's own assessment of Snape as "more culpable than Voldemort" because he'd experienced love and still embraced evil choices. I wonder if that was an intentional echo, or if your ideas of the character just carried you to the same place.

Thank you so much for another wonderful, emotional chapter. This story is so good, I just love watching it unfold!

Reviewer: taedaDate: 2007-06-09
Reviewid: 148234Chapter: 27
That was amazing! I don't know where to start; from Snape giving Harry the letters to Harry weeping for Severus, it was all just so perfect. I thought I was clever for thinking that the dark figure was a piece of Voldemort, but to have it be Snape himself was so much better. I can't wait to read more.

Reviewer: rhoswenbudDate: 2007-06-09
Reviewid: 148230Chapter: 27
WOW!! Thanks for such a fast update!! I think you now get how very excited I am to read new chapters! I think that this chapter is amazing, as always, and I feel like the bond that Harry and Snape share is becoming deeper. Snape was never the most approachable or emotional person, so I love how you have made Harry connect, and befriend his very soul. That is a bond that Snape (or Severus) cannot, literally cannot destroy or just shrug off. I am so interested to see where this is going, but I don't mind where, because whatever happens, they still have that bond, and Harry has done a remarkable thing, he has made Snape open up and feel emotions. No, maybe that's the wrong way of putting, it, Snape has always felt emotions, but like you said, he has been taught from a very early age not to show them, or even not to acknowledge their existence at all. Harry, through his interaction with Severus, has made Snape acknowledge these feelings that they are both experiencing, but more importantly, he has made him care about it. Snape has always felt and shown indignation and annoyance about these emotions before, but now, they are truly getting to him, and I just love the way you allow us to experience this major journey with him! You have kept the right amount of harsh, mean, unforgiving, emotionally detatched and strict Snape but you have managed to incorporate feelings, emotions and pain, without softening too much the hard exterior. This is wonderful, many other writers may have gone a little too far, but this just seems so real, so like him, and you are helping us all to love this character (I have done for quite a while... obviously!) and I fear that when The Deathly Hallows comes in in just over a month (wow, is it really that soon???) we who are desperately reading your novella will be shocked at how harsh and unfeeling he may be!!!
So, in short, the best summing up line for me, would be:

"He felt as though a close friend had just died: one whom he should have been able to save."

This just shows how much Harry wanted, or needed to help Snape/Severus, and how much he cares about the man he had hated for several years! I love this story, I love your writing, and I love your characters. You have taken the raw characters, and while not deviating from their "actual" character traits, you have given them new perspectives, and you have created a wonderful group of characters who make us all feel better after a bad day! Thank you.
xxrhoswen (sorry for rattling on!!)

Reviewer: oxonDate: 2007-06-08
Reviewid: 148229Chapter: 27
Very well done on the last chapters! The approach to the Defense Practicum is really good and you have done exceptionally well with the relationship between Harry and Snape. Oh the drama! Oh the heartache! I wonder if Harry’s unmasking of the dark figure did not perhaps prick a hole into Snape’s subconscious so that he might be forced out of his emotionally stunted state even without the continuation of the lessons. Mhhh. I like how you show that Snape never forgave himself and that this is something that is weighing him down until today. I am still waiting for Harry to make the connection to himself, because he also has guilt complexes the size of a hippogriff and if he ever made the mistakes that Snape has would probably end up this way too.
Thanks for the amazing speed of updates. Hope you are not cutting out valuable sub-plots though just to make it before Book 7 and that you still enjoy writing it as much as we love reading it!

Reviewer: IseultDate: 2007-06-08
Reviewid: 148228Chapter: 27
Exceptionally moving.

Reviewer: orangesherbertDate: 2007-06-08
Reviewid: 148227Chapter: 27
Wow. That was an absolutely amazing chapter. I love the intensity and also the emothios that you manage to portray so well in your writing. I am glad that Harry finally found out who the hooded figure is, and I am also very excited at the rate this story is progressing. I wonder if Herry will ever figure out that he hasn't really lost Severus, since Snape and Severus are the same person. However, I suppose I'll just have to wait and find out. Thatnks for the quick update and please update again soon!!!!!

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-06-08
Reviewid: 148224Chapter: 27
Atlast the identity is revealed.I figured it somewhere before in this chapter that the figure has to be Severus himself, you know I read a fic where Snape's boggard was his Deateaters self, but that was a very good and realistic approach. Snape has never been able to forgive himself, look how he pushed Harry away in this fic where everything was cleared in Enemy within thinking that Harry will soon see his mistake in forgiving Snape.

And now I am kind of worried. Look Severus think that Harry would turn his back on him once he knew the truth and and now that Snape has ceased to take the lessons any more this is exactly whats going to happen isnt it? So ok Harry has figured out what he set out to but he wouldn't be able to help Severus like he obviously want too and isn't this going to have more of a negative effect as Severus will think that Harry has left him too after knowing the truth.

I feel this chapter as more of a cliff hanger than most. We have known what we were trying to find but everything has stopped in the middle. I am very very anxious to see what effect of all this will Snape have on him and what kind of emotions he will feel now and what will be Harry's next move and his telling of Severus as his son will have any efect or not. I will be very very waiting for the next update.

Reviewer: Wolf's ScreamDate: 2007-06-08
Reviewid: 148221Chapter: 27
That was exceptionally good. Snape's Practicum lesson was superb -- and not just because Malfoy was beaten.

And Snape is actually being a rather sympathetic character, amazingly enough; I suspect that giving Harry the complemtary letters to the ones his aunt gave him helped engender that perception.

Harry's sense of loss at the end of the chapter is nearly palpable.

Reviewer: slytherinatheartDate: 2007-06-08
Reviewid: 148220Chapter: 27
wow, great chapter, once again... thank you for the lovely quick updates!!

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2007-06-07
Reviewid: 148213Chapter: 26
Very good. I love Snape's questions, which get to the core of the sacrifice that war requires. The idea about Snape needing protection from James and so falling into the hands of more powerful purebloods in Slytherin is also very possible, and I could picture Snape in a closet that long. Keep writing.

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-06-05
Reviewid: 148203Chapter: 26
Rachelindeed, lovely insights about Snape's childhood and especially about Snape and Lupin. They really have had very similar experiences in life which is why Remus understands Severus and isn't nearly as hard on him as many others are.

Sara, great questions. :)

>>I wondered a bit about Ron's Defense essay, when Snape told him his strategies would only lead to getting his allies killed (which was later supported by his rash plan to get Riddles research). Given that Ron is a skillful chess player shouldn't he be able to come up with better schemes?<<

Ron is indeed a brilliant stratagist which comes to the fore in Quidditch. What derails this with things such as Riddle's research is his almost desperate desire to do something, ANYTHING, to make himself feel that he isn't just sitting on the sidelines in the war while his older siblings and Harry are out playing the hero.

Ron, has had a very difficult time dealing with his mother's death. His brothers have been able to channel their grief into productive activity with the OotP and Ginny has stepped up to take on her mother's role in the family. But Ron is stuck spinning his wheels. He has come to realize that the vindictiveness he was harboring wasn't healthy, but he is still itching to DO something - which of course can lead to rash action.

>>And regarding Harry's lessons with DD and Snape: In the beginning DD told Harry he wouldn't remember what transpired in his own mind, the same applies to Snape - but not to DD himself. So it seems one could learn this … Didn't DD hint he'd only travelled into his own mind once before? However, if I were Snape, I'd try to find out what Harry was doing in/to my mind.<<

You actually went a long way towards answering this question yourself in your last post. Harry rummaging through his mind is something Snape definitely doesn't want to think about, but this isn't just because he's mortified at Harry seeing certain things. Since most of the story isn't from Snape's pov, it's not readily apparent how these sessions with Harry are affecting him. There will be more on this in the next chapter, but for now let me point out the progression.

At first, when Harry was getting nowhere and feeling thoroughly frustrated, Snape was amused by his difficulties and was indeed trying to guess at what Harry was doing [Ch21]. But as Harry has begun to uncover the painful secrets in Snape's mind, Snape has become more reticent. By Ch25 he is cooly businesslike when Harry attempts to enter his mind - very controled and unengaged. And yet, after Harry's long chat with *Severus*, that control breaks and he is nearly apoplectic, accusing Harry of having *done something* to him. As Dumbledore tells Harry, Snape can sense the emotional inroads Harry is making into his mind which is the ultimate loss of control.

So why doesn't Snape, a man who craves control, try to regain it by attempting to find out exactly what Harry is seeing and doing? For the same reason that he built that wall in his mind. Harry voices this same question a different way in Ch21 when he asks Dumbledore, *What's he hiding from in his own mind?*

Reviewer: SaraDate: 2007-06-05
Reviewid: 148199Chapter: 26
It seems we are in a questions&answers mood, therefore I'd like to pose another two:
I wondered a bit about Ron's Defense essay, when Snape told him his strategies would only lead to getting his allies killed (which was later supported by his rash plan to get Riddles research). Given that Ron is a skillful chess player shouldn't he be able to come up with better schemes?
And regarding Harry's lessons with DD and Snape: In the beginning DD told Harry he wouldn't remember what transpired in his own mind, the same applies to Snape - but not to DD himself. So it seems one could learn this … Didn't DD hint he'd only travelled into his own mind once before? However, if I were Snape, I'd try to find out what Harry was doing in/to my mind.

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-06-04
Reviewid: 148198Chapter: 26
I just want to say thanks so much for your insightful responses to our reviews -- you've thought through everything wonderfully, and it's lovely to incorporate more of your backstory into my thinking as I read. I love the idea that Eileen taught her son mental control from a ridiculously early age, and you're right that it doesn't cause any major plot problems. It does a great deal to explain both his character and his talent, and also his later challenges in teaching Harry. In HPEW, Harry was often frustrated by the fact that Snape could not clearly explain to him how to pull away from a memory or control a Legilimency stream once he'd called it forth. But this makes perfect sense if Snape had been doing these things since he was a child -- to him it was second nature, almost as natural as breathing, and Harry's continuing inability to just *do* it once Snape was giving him practice material must have been baffling and frustrating for both of them. Fortunately, continuous practice seems to have been a very good way of training Harry's mind, perhaps the only way, so it all worked out in the end. It also explains how Snape was ambushed by the emotional bonding aspects of the lessons -- his own teacher had been his mother, to whom he was already bonded, so he had no experience with the emotionally transformative power of the art.

Also, the more of Snape's backstory I learn, the more I appreciate the subtle differences and similarities between his childhood and that of other characters we know. Like Harry, he was constantly bullied, his self-esteem was attacked on all sides, and he was despised by his only living family (though his father seems to have crossed the line into physical abuse more than the Dursleys did). But on the other hand, Snape always knew he was a wizard and from the age of five or six he was given the responsibility of hiding that -- of living a lie, as you said, and of knowing that there was something wrong with him that would make him unacceptable to all the 'normal' people around him. In this he is not like Harry. I'd never before have considered it a mercy that Harry's family lied to him about his nature, but it did spare him the responsibility of lying and covering up his talents on a continuous basis. He never had to learn control or large-scale deceit -- he just learnt to run really fast :) Lupin is really the most similar to Snape in this regard (learning control, large-scale deceit, crushed self-esteem and a sense of unworthiness from childhood on), but he had the wild card (we assume) of loving and supportive parents. Of course all three (Harry, Lupin, and Snape) were miserable as children, but that all changed for two of them once they got to Hogwarts. For Harry, his life made *sense* to him for the first time, and he embraced it as an escape and a clean break from his earlier life. For Lupin, he experienced acceptance from his friends, and this became the most important thing in his life, a gift he was unwilling to risk, no matter what less-attractive qualities his friends exhibited. For Snape, though, as Harry has now realized, Hogwarts did not provide a break with his earlier life, but a continuation of it. He was still bullied, he was still using lies to protect himself, and he was still miserable. It's like a series of childhood test cases in which Snape got to provide the baseline for misery -- bummer. Lucky for him that he was able to take such pride in learning -- at least his intellectual self-esteem solidified during those years.

Thanks, too, for your answers about Dumbledore and Lily -- they make a lot of sense and help me better understand the story's twists and turns. Sorry to have written so long a response to your response, but I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and wanted to thank you. You know these characters backwards and forwards, and I'm looking forward, as always, to the next installment!

Reviewer: SaraDate: 2007-06-04
Reviewid: 148195Chapter: 26
What a surprising outcome of the Clarifying Solution! I still feel a bit queasy, not about Snape and Lily being friends, but why Snape chose his fellow Slytherins for support against the Marauders. Still, it makes so much sense - moreover this often happens in real life, too, that some thoughtless childhood actions cut in deeply. And to think, that I took the potion for "wasted" because Harry could have read those letters all the time - but, as you've once pointed out, it's Harry and he apparently needed a broad hint like this.
I really liked Snape's attitude towards his Defense practicum and in general he's right. But I can't help myself suspecting that there's more to his advice than strategic thinking. It sounds like a red herring in order to distract Harry from rummaging in Snape's past, which is something HE' like to avoid thinking about.
At least you don't seem to write the cliché Snape-deeply-in-love-with-Lily-hated-James-because-he-took-his-true-love-away. If it were Severus should have patiently suffered everything to stay friends with Lily, says the little devil on my shoulder.
However, the little angel on the other shoulder begs for more updates in due course!
Yours, Sara

Reviewer: wynnleafDate: 2007-06-04
Reviewid: 148193Chapter: 26
I loved your explanations toward the end of the chapter of how Snape was almost "forced" into turning toward the darker elements of Slytherin for protection in order to hold his own against the Marauders. Your entire explanation of Snape living near Lily, knowing her and being friends early on, creating spells to keep a step ahead of the Marauders who attacked him 2, 3, and 4 to one, Snape's having no real friends in Slytherin to back him up until the Marauders stealing his spells and using them against him push him into turning to the other Slytherin students for their support -- all of this very neatly incorporates the many clues of the HP series into a pretty seamless explanation for why Snape was friends with Lily, ended the friendship, hated James and the Marauders, and joined the darker elements of Slytherin leading to joining the Death Eaters. Very good work there!

The whole chapter is very well written. I love the progression of Harry's surprise over the letters, his confrontation with Snape, Snape's response, and Harry's realizations.

Reviewer: TheowynDate: 2007-06-04
Reviewid: 148190Chapter: 26
Rachelindeed, you ask so many thoughtful questions and unfortunately half of them will never be answered in Chained Souls. There is so much backstory here that there just isn't the time or space.

Consequently, I will answer a few of them here.

>>When did 'don't throw your life away on vengeance' come in?<<
That came after Sirius's little prank at the Shrieking Shack. While Lily never knew about the prank itself, Snape and the Marauders' feud reached a new intensity after that and this is the point at which Snape truly decided to throw in his lot with Voldemort. The fact that James and Sirius were not expelled for this stunt made Snape particularly bitter. He felt that he would never get his due from the 'Light side' and so chose to join those who valued his talents.

Lily knew that something had happened between James and Severus and could easily detect the new level of rage in her Potions partner. Though her friendship with Severus had cooled, she still cared about him and was alarmed at the path he was clearly heading down. She tried to reach out to him and warn him that joining the 'Dark side' was a mistake. "Don't throw your life away on vengeance, Severus!"

>>Why [did DD] try to hide their frienship from Harry when it is apparently vitally important that he discover it? Was he afraid of Harry's reaction, or Snape's?<<
This might be gleaned from some of the things that happen later, but it spoils nothing for me to tell you. Dumbledore wants Harry to learn how to figure these things out on his own. If he hands Harry the answers that will never happen and Dumbledore considers this vitally important.

You're right that Snape felt much more in control and safer in his alliance with the junior DEs than in his friendship with Lily. Control is so important to him and he can't bear to let himself be emotionally vulnerable.

>>Although he doesn't often admit it, helping Snape to overcome his misery has become one of Harry's deepest concerns, even separate from the war.<<
I'm glad you bring this up because Snape's myriad social and emotional issues are often so palpable that they overshadow Harry's own somewhat quieter development. As he matures Harry is becoming his mother's son. His compassion and empathy are deepening and this will present him with his own set of problems and choices.

>>I wonder if he viewed her marriage to James as a final betrayal or as cosmic justice? Probably just as something he never wanted to think about.<<
Definitely the last. ;)

Reviewer: rachelindeedDate: 2007-06-03
Reviewid: 148185Chapter: 26
Thank you for another terrific chapter, which managed to surprise me on almost every count. I never expected the introspective practicums that Snape designed, but they fit his character perfectly -- weed out those who would be liabilities in the war, then force everyone else to confront their own moral ambiguities, to know themselves so they won't freeze when presented with life or death situations. I particularly loved his assessments of Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Harry. Spot on, especially (oddly enough) Ron -- when he came up with the "let me run to Wales and defy Dumbledore's orders and risk death and carry off a load of research that would reveal our plans to Voldemort the second he realized it was missing" plan, I was thinking "'more likely to get you and your friends killed' was too kind! What are you DOING?" Thank goodness Harry has played with fire one too many times at this point, and had the sense to uphold the spirit of his promise to Dumbledore rather than just the letter of it. Although, since the immortality question remains unresolved, we'll have to see how long that prudence lasts. The other "most unexpected moment" award for this chapter goes to the line, "I remembered where I read about Stinging Tentaculas." After such a build-up, I was floored and delighted to see the story turn in that direction!

As to Dumbledore's evasiveness, I personally suspect that he has a plan for defeating Voldemort's immortality, but that it's going to involve sacrifices from people other than Harry -- people like himself, for instance. But that's just a guess. To me, Dumbledore's more intriguing evasiveness was on the subject of Lily -- he deliberately led Harry to dismiss the idea that she might have "meant something more" to Snape than being merely a symbol of empathy, and Dumbledore's emotional reaction when he heard of her presence in Snape's mind shows that he always knew there was much more to the story than that. Why try to hide their frienship from Harry when it is apparently vitally important that he discover it? Was he afraid of Harry's reaction, or Snape's? What is the rest of the story...? When did 'don't throw your life away on vengeance' come in? Surely Lily could have seen that it was protection, not vengeance, Snape was seeking in his fifth year? I'm very intrigued to see where this goes. I think Lily must be a big part of the key to uncovering Snape's Angel of Death, and that in turn is a key to Harry's mission against Voldemort. I really loved the moment where Harry thought "what could be more important to me than defeating Voldemort?" and the Clarifying Solution supplied an answer which I'm interpreting as "healing Snape." Although he doesn't often admit it, helping Snape to overcome his misery has become one of Harry's deepest concerns, even separate from the war. That's just awesome.

The backstory you revealed about Lily, Snape, and James during Snape's schooldays fits very well both into canon and into your own novellas' developments. I understand the earlier reviewer's concern about 'pinning the blame on James,' and your response was absolutely right -- Harry may be a bit overinclined to do that, but Snape himself is not and never has been. James gave him reason to fall in with a bad crowd, but his choices were his own, and as you say, no one ever makes him do anything. I find it particularly poignant that, when things came to a head after the fifth year OWL, he "chose his path" by specifically rejecting the only protection that was being offered to him. How ironic that he courted the proto-Death Eaters for protection, but couldn't accept the same thing from Lily, his true friend. I think it's because he felt in control of the Slytherin's "protection" deal -- it was based on self-interest on all sides, and required no trust, vulnerability, or feeling. In Snape's mind, it was more reliable and less frightening than a dependence on Lily's friendship and protection would have been. It's like that second anchor point in his mind, where he refuses Harry's help and insists that he knows how to take care of himself. Apparently 'taking care of himself' meant forming alliances and avoiding friendships, and you can see those same patterns playing themselves out in his behavior with the Order. He relies on Dumbledore and himself, and cultivates self-interested alliance but no friendship with any of his colleagues. Alliance and mutual distrust seem to be his bywords. It's messed up, and in the past it led to terrible mistakes, but it's very understandable based on Snape's character. The final tragedy in this whole mess is that he would up choosing to turn the same pure-blood arrogance that robbed him of his mother against his only friend, and he lost her needlessly too. No wonder he flinches every time he hears her name. He must absolutely hate himself for those decisions. I wonder if he viewed her marriage to James as a final betrayal or as cosmic justice? Probably just as something he never wanted to think about.

This was a terrific chapter, full of insight into Snape's past and his character. I can't wait to see the future practicums (I suspect they're about to get rougher), and to find out the rest of the story with Lily (I'm sure there is more to discover...) Tremendously good work, as always. Thanks so much for writing.

Reviewer: AaishaDate: 2007-06-03
Reviewid: 148184Chapter: 26
Hey, you answer so quickly, its very nice of you.I just wanted to say here that I do understands full well that Snape does not blame them for his actions but knows for a fact their role for his new friendships. And I think the story and Snape's character itself explains this very well. I think I just commented on a chap. for the 3rd time, is it ok? I am stopping here.Take care.

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