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Wall of Glass - Team Canon

Title: Wall of Glass
Team: Canon
Author: waterbird
Prompt: The Chariot
Wordcount: 13,400
Rating: PG-13
Summary: After the war, Draco Malfoy finds that some battles are just beginning.
Author's Note: The Chariot can represent perseverance, triumph over obstacles and the merging of opposites. Many thanks to my beta readers.



Wall of Glass






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Comments

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Wall of Glass

Great story. I have a very soft spot for Draco being miserable and pushed around in the gutter, and I loved to see him fight in your tale. How he reminded himself that he had survived Voldemort and so could survive this, that made me proud of him. And he was still his canon self, lashing out against Harry's concern and not being able to accept his help.

I also liked your vivid descriptions of Azkaban, very much changed and still grim.

When I saw Harry in that room, I knew that Narcissa had to be dead. *sniffs* And the softness of the carpet, that tiny detail, like everything had been blown out of proportion - it broke my heart. To see Lucius' reaction and how lonely Draco really was, because he wasn't able to accept anything from Harry - apart from that one desperate night of comfort.

Harry's compassion was unbelievable (I mean this in a good way) and so very much Harry. He was able to give time to Draco, even when all Draco did was to refuse..

The chariot is all about motion, and yet it is often shown as stationary.

This is a quote from the link you offered, and I think you did a good job to show how much changed in the course of that story, while outwardly, Draco simply spent time in Azkaban.

I enjoyed this story a lot. Thank you.

Re: Wall of Glass

I was so happy when your comment appeared as the first one! *glomps*

You know how I (obviously) share your love of suffering!Draco, and I know I put him through a lot in this fic, but I also wanted, among other things, to show a strong side that could persevere and get through yet another horrible challenge.

There was so much about this story that I worried about and wasn't sure came out the way I envisioned it; so much more that I wanted to accomplish but simply didn't have time for (deadlines!), so your response was really a very wonderful first one to receive. Thank you so much! |

(Anonymous)

This was amazing. One of my favorites of the fest. When I sat down to compose a comment, looking for specific details to write about, I ended up getting sucked in and rereading bits instead.

I've never read such an enthralling take on Draco in Azkaban. And I felt for him so much. I had never imagined, in detail, what Azkaban might be like, aside from just a stone cell, and I really haven't seen anyone else do it either. I was fascinated by the prison life, by the other people, the bleak environment, etc, and very much pulled in to Draco's emotional experience all the way through.

The boat was the perfect "chariot" and his circumstaces after getting out of prison, his lack of options, his substandard wand--I loved that we got the specifics on it, it really *sounded* like a cheap, flimsy wand--, just how alone he was, it was all very moving, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. And then when we jumped back in time, I was like, "what, wait, no, I want to find out what happens next!!" But then I was immediately enthralled with that storyline as well and decided I was obviously in good hands and ought to just trust the author.

One of my favorite moments was the cafeteria scene, when Harry arrives, briefly enters Draco's bleak world. Harry's embarrassment at the prisoners' reaction was perfect. And Draco's painful awareness of Harry, his conviction that Harry doesn't actually see him, his illness immediately after? That was all perfect too. (Loved the Healer assessing him as "delicate.") And then Harry had seen him, and his attitude was perfect (I keep using that word, don't I?), concerned but preoccupied-- I felt for Draco so much there, with someone witnessing but not really *seeing* his degree of suffering. I love that Harry does see it eventually, and I love his visits (and the room with the wall that appears when Draco stands! Love that too!)

And OMG so much love for Draco with the Auror training pamphlet!!! His attraction to Harry was beautifully understated, making passages like this so meaningful:

But that didn't stop Potter insinuating himself night after night into Draco's thoughts. He wanted him gone, but the only way to be rid of Potter was to hold more tightly still, until there was only friction and heat and a muffled, solitary gasp of triumph.

Oh, that is perfect. And here?

And his name on Potter's lips sounded nothing like it ever had in Draco's lonely fantasies.

You broke my heart. Thank you for putting it back together by the end!

The ending really fit too, with Harry and Draco making a new beginning, because Draco had made his journey, back from the world of Azkaban. This story really did capture how difficult of a transition it can be, too, both in and out of prison life. Brilliant job!
I agree with this commenter 100%. I also loved this:
"But that didn't stop Potter insinuating himself night after night into Draco's thoughts. He wanted him gone, but the only way to be rid of Potter was to hold more tightly still, until there was only friction and heat and a muffled, solitary gasp of triumph."

This story is just lovely. Well-done canon!draco.
Draco's voice was both very canon and very compelling. Loved the way how he obviously recognized pregnant Ginny when he saw her entering Madam Malkin's at the beginning of the story, but only acknowledged it in the end, which made a nice bracket. Exquisite attentioon to detail and very vivid description of Azkaban, especially Draco's sense of being at the guards' and other prisoners' mercy, even though nothing ever really happens to him; just knowing that it could and he'd be helpless against them conveys a bleak sort of desperation. Very well done.
Exploring Azkaban was a great exercise. I'm really pleased that the setting and descriptions worked for you. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!
This fic is just so beautiful.

Your writing is professional quality all the way through. There wasn't a single moment when my attention slipped or I was anything other than completely enthralled in Draco's world. This made a lot of it pretty painful. The bits about his mother, God, God. Just devastating.

I loved your Draco. I completely believed in him and felt so much affection for him. His wounded pride, desperation and determination to survive were all so perfectly canon.

The Azkaban world you created was so dark yet believable. You never pushed things too far.

You controlled the emotional impact of the story wonderfully, pouring it on and then pulling back again. I teared up so many times, especially at the end. Man. What a wonderful, wonderful ending. All that gorgeous devastation and then a small but strong shining light of hope.

I think this is objectively one of the best fics in the fest. I want to read it over and over again. XXX
Couldn't have done it without you! I was so nervous about this one and your feedback helped so much. Thanks again! *hugs*
I am such a plot whore. If someone were to ask me what kind of hp stories I like to read and one day be able to write, I would point them to this story.
Thank you so much. Funnily enough, I think of plot as one of my biggest weaknesses and the thing I want to focus most on improving, so I really appreciate your comment. :) Glad you enjoyed this.
This was quite lovely...sad and lonely and believable and, in the end, hopeful. Really well done!
I'm so glad you liked it. Thank you! I do tend to put the boys through a lot in my fic, but I do like a hopeful ending, too. :)
Thanks!
Oh my. I was completely captivated and held hostage by your story. Very Very Canon characterizations in the immediate aftermath of DH. I love down but surviving Draco and Harry, oh Harry, he's such the beautifully tragic hero. This story is so dark and raw and yet... still holds so much hope and the seed of human resiliency. Frankly, I'm suspicious. Loved it.
I'm really happy that the characterizations worked for you. I think Draco demonstrated a lot of resilience in canon and I did want to reflect that here, even if it did mean putting him through a lot. Thank you so much!
This was a wonderful story! When my scroll showed me that there weren't more than 1-2 thousands words left to read, I panicked 'cos I realised that we won't see much of how Draco's life after Azkaban went on. And I so wanted to! But it ends at a good place.

Thank you!
Thank you so much for your comment and for the lovely rec. I struggled a lot with this fic, so I was delighted -- and incredibly relieved -- to see that it seemed well balanced to you and that the ending worked. Thanks again!
this was such a beautiful story. so much emotion and heartache. i don't think i've ever read a story where i felt so much for draco. the tale you wove was amazing, and i can't wait to find out who you are so i can read more of your work. :D
Wow, thank you. I was so flattered by this comment, especially since I struggled quite a lot in writing this fic. Thanks for taking the time to let me know how much you liked it.
*gasp*

MORE MORE MORE!
LOL Maybe someday. No promises, though. Thanks for your enthusiasm!
Very intense and captivating tale. The description of a prison life in Azkaban was very realistic. The flow of the story, the pacing, was also perfect. For a rather dark one, I enjoyed this story so much that when I arrived at the end, I was gripped by panic to see that there was to be no more of this! Then again, the ending felt right nonetheless.
Thank you. As the submission deadline crept up on me, I did worry about the ending seeming rushed or just not right, but I'm glad it worked for you.
Wonderful Draco characterization,and wonderful fic. The way you showed us in so many ways Draco's barely acknowledged hope that he matter to Harry was masterful. I was completely drawn into that hope as well.

I agree with several other posters that your description of Azkaban was perfect, and I don't recall anyone else fleshing it out that way or that well. And the way Draco was willing to accept Stan S. as a friend (until Stan shunned him) was very moving. We saw immediately how Draco's behavior at school had been mostly posturing and no longer served.

The plot device to have Harry deliver the news of Draco's mother subjected to the Dementor's kiss was brilliant. I've read that passage twice and I'm amazed at how much you conveyed of their relationship--past, present, and future. That was very accomplished writing, imo. I imagine I'll know why after the reveal!

This was a very polished submission throughout. I'm entirely impressed!
Thank you so much for the very thoughtful comment. It was really fun to write Stan and have him and Draco interact, with Draco's sense of superiority pretty much stripped away. I love exploring his vulnerable side.

I wanted to make the scene with Harry telling Draco about Narcissa as real as possible; I'm glad it read smoothly for you.

Thank you again!
Excellent! I'm always nervous about reading Draco in Azkaban fics, they tend to be too depressing for me. While this one didn't shy away from the reality of jail-time, it didn't overwhelm me. Maybe the fact that it started with Draco getting released, maybe it was the subtle way you showed things -like the soft, soft carpet having such an impression on Draco ... I'm not sure why really, but I liked the way you handled such a depressing time.

And despite the fact that Harry did not appear much, nor did we get his POV, I still felt I understood his motivation enough to make his characterization canon and to really believe that he fell in love with Draco along the way.
I'm glad you didn't find the fic too depressing. :)

I did consider adding Harry's PoV early on, but then I decided (ie, hoped) it would be more effective to keep his motivations out of the picture and focus instead on Draco's experiences and his view of things. So it means a lot to me that you still felt you understood Harry here. Thanks so much for commenting!
I keep trying to think of things to tell you that I enjoyed here, but I'm afraid I'll end up repeating everything you've written. I really liked both Draco and Harry and their interactions here. Draco contrasting his father and mother after her death was heartbreaking. Contrast works really well all over, actually. Thank you for illustrating the fear of sexual violation in prison without ever subjecting Draco to it.

I very much liked this!

AND STAN! I wonder if this identifies the author like I think it might.
Thank you for taking the time to comment! I was really pleased by your comment about the fear of sexual violation in prison. I saw it as a very real and clear threat to Draco, and while I did want to make Azkaban difficult for him and I wanted him to feel insecure and threatened at times, I hoped to convey that without actually subjecting him to physical abuse. So thank you for picking up on that.

And Stan really was a lot of fun to write!
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