edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. Ginny attempts to make amends and regain something approximating a normal life, with varying degrees of success. If you pretend hard enough, can you make something true?

The title of this chapter is a callback to Chapter 5: Making It Work. That was about Ginny finding a routine at Hogwarts, tacitly accepting some parts of her life that she didn't like and leaning on Tom as her main source of emotional support. This chapter is about Ginny attempting to resume some of that routine while discarding the toxic parts and finding a better emotional footing.

Or in other words, more aftermath and repercussions, because trauma doesn't disappear overnight.

cut for length )

...

I could probably subtitle this "The Apology Chapter," couldn't I? :-/ Oh well, they all needed to be said, even if they weren't always accepted gracefully. (The apologies given to Ginny are just as important as the ones she gives to others. In fact, I think Harry is the only person who doesn't apologize to her at some point after the Chamber! Which... is both good and bad, and makes me want to work that into chapter 15 somehow in relation to Ginny's continuing crush on him.)

Bechdel Test = PASS, multiple times!

And now I will move on to finishing chapter 15, since I have a better idea of what Ginny needs to hash out with Ron in particular.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. After Harry kills Tom and the basilisk, Ginny faces her complete failure to either solve her own problems or keep Harry safe. She does not cope well, but at least not everyone blames her for helping Tom. That's a good thing, right?

This chapter was a bitch and a half to write, partly because internal conflict (moral and emotional) is less obviously dramatic than external conflict, but mostly because I was, of necessity, drawing very, very heavily on my own experience with depression, guilt spirals, and in-the-box thought patterns. That is not a time of my life I enjoy revisiting for any reason. :-/

cut for length )

...

Not a fun chapter in any sense of the word, but a very, very necessary one. As is chapter 14, which is more of the same though with flashes of sunshine through the enveloping murk.

This stuff is, in some ways, the real point of the story. It's my way of saying, not all battles are grand external clashes of magic. Some of the most important ones are fought inside a single person's mind and heart, and in small interpersonal interactions. It's not enough just to save a life. You have to make that life worth living.

Bechdel Test = PASS
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. Ginny wrestles with moral dilemmas and fails to reach any satisfactory conclusions. Attempting to protect Harry and claim responsibility for what she unleashed, she recovers Tom's diary, but that proves a nearly fatal mistake.

Aka, the chapter in which anything that could possibly go wrong, does.

In other words, welcome to the climax of the story... at least inasmuch as the story has any traditional adventure climax, which is somewhat arguable. It definitely has a struggle between good and evil, but the ultimate victory is not Tom's destruction (that's Harry's gig) but Ginny's refusal to let him define her life and her sense of self. Anyway, this chapter deals with Hermione's Petrification and Ginny's final possession, the one that ends with her lying alone in the Chamber, her life draining away to feed Tom.

cut for length )

(Two more chapters to go before I can figure out how to finish chapter 15!)

Bechdel Test = PASS
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. Life doesn't stop and people don't leave Ginny alone just because she wants to escape. In an effort to fight back against Tom, she investigates Percy and possession, with varying degrees of success.

Aka, the other half of my answer to the "But if Ginny discovered that Harry had the diary on Valentine's Day, why did it take her three months to DO anything about that knowledge?" conundrum. (The real-world answer is, because Rowling didn't care about giving Ginny a coherent story arc and moved her around like a cardboard plot token, but I prefer to put a bit more thought into these things. *wry*) If part one of the answer is, "Because she doesn't trust herself to face Tom again and hopes that Harry will somehow miraculously fix things through some inherent heroic aura," part two is... well, OotP had been published by the time I wrote this chapter, Occlumency is very shiny, and I am an inveterate magpie when it comes to neat ideas.

Tangentially, Ron's birthday ought to happen in this chapter -- in fact, the opening scene with Ginny and the twins falls on March 1st (which was a Monday in 1993) -- but nobody so much as mentions it. That is entirely my fault and terribly sloppy story construction. :-( I am thinking very seriously of going back and fixing that, particularly since it would make a good set piece for Weasley family drama. Also, Ginny specifically says in this chapter that Ron is her favorite brother. She NEEDS to do something for his birthday.

But anyway, onward!

cut for length )

...

The gimmick with the mental room and the open/shut door imagery is, to be perfectly honest, somewhat cribbed from Yu-Gi-Oh! Like I said, I pick up and reuse shiny ideas. (In fact, if you compare this scene to some of the stuff with Sakura and Tom in "An Ounce of Prevention," well... I steal from myself just as readily as I steal from others. *wry*)

Hmm. You know, I think the story aspect that suffered most from the ridiculously attenuated pace at which I've been writing "Secrets" is Ginny's apparent age. She's pretty obviously eleven-ish in the first two or three chapters, but as time goes on, she skews noticeably older. Part of this is that she's facing bigger problems, but it's also because I don't have a real-life corrective for pre-teen behavior the way I do for 5-year-old to 8-year-old behavior. So I am trying to remember back to when I was Ginny's age, and memory is a fickle guide.

Ah well, so it goes.

Bechdel Test = PASS, multiple times
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. Ginny tries to convince herself that she isn't guilty of Tom's crimes, with rather limited success. A tumultuous Valentine's Day does not help anything.

Welcome to the Ginny Weasley guilt extravaganza, two tickets per customer, you must be THIS tall to ride! (Sorry, bad joke. (Also, this is peanuts compared to the guilt-fest she throws after the Chamber.)) But yeah, this chapter is basically Ginny trying very hard to swim through troubled waters but still not thinking to tell anyone what's been going on, let alone actually ask for help. *thwaps her* I know exactly why she keeps her secrets -- I'm the one who built the mental box she's trapped in, after all -- but it's still immensely frustrating to watch her screw herself over.

cut for length )

...

Angsty chapter of angst is, unsurprisingly, angsty. :-/

This is, as I mentioned, an extremely frustrating chapter for me to reread -- not because I think it's badly written, but because Ginny is trying so hard and coming up with all the wrong answers (well, except for her decision to stop provoking Daphne; that was a good choice; good for Ginny!) and I hate the sensation of the phantom mental box I can feel closing around me as I read. You see, when I started writing "Secrets," I was just at the beginning of my own fight with clinical depression -- I'd only admitted that I had a problem maybe a month before -- and in a lot of ways, Ginny's mental state mirrors my own mental state in 2002-2003. The specific details of my mental box were obviously different from hers, but the presumption of personal guilt and the bizarre idea that you have to do everything completely on your own or it somehow doesn't count are, in fact, ideas I held as absolute truths back then... though I guess somewhere deep down I was aware that there was something screwy about that world-view, seeing as how I assigned it to Ginny as an obstacle to overcome.

Following her thoughts here is a weird reminder of that time in my life.

Bechdel Test = PASS, by the way
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. Things settle down over Christmas holidays, until Xanthe tells Ginny a bit of family history and casts the previous months in a new, and unwelcome, light.

This is not the climactic chapter -- that would be the end of ch. 12 and the start of ch. 13 -- but it is the keystone chapter, where the story pivots on a hinge. Up until now "Secrets" has been Ginny-and-Tom against the world; after this, it becomes Ginny versus Tom.

cut for length )

Bechdel Test = PASS
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. Ginny's guilt over Colin's Petrification drives more wedges between her and her family, while the Dueling Club disaster and third attack rekindle students' terror of the Heir. Thank goodness Tom is still there to listen and comfort her!

Tangentially, I find my chapter summaries somewhat amusing to reread in their own right. They're mostly literal summaries -- a list of things that happen in the chapter in question -- but I was trying to write them in such a way that the references would be unclear until after a reader finished the chapter. Hence things like "Snape oozes nastiness," or "an Herbology class presents unforeseen challenges." There's also a strong tendency toward irony and/or rhetorical questions.

The spoiler-avoidance only applies to things that aren't canon, by the way. Anything that happened on-page in CoS basically gets described as-is, since I figure anyone reading HP fanfiction already knows that story. *wry*

Anyway, chapter stuff.

cut for length )

Hmm. I think that in this chapter alone, Ginny and Harry exchange more words than in the entirety of CoS, which is just ridiculous. That's an aspect of CoS -- Ginny's sidelining -- that has always annoyed me, by the way. CoS should properly be Ginny's story -- she's the one who hurts the most and the one whose choices drive the plot -- but she is shoved offscreen almost entirely so Rowling can focus on Harry's relatively trivial worries about his Slytherin character traits. Then her recovery -- which by all rights should be long and painful -- is glossed over in a grand total of one flippant paragraph. Which is both incredibly insulting on its own, and also REALLY STUPID from a series perspective, since apparently one thing that's supposed to make Ginny a good match for Harry is that she has also faced Voldemort (or at least a shadow thereof) and lived... but since her struggle was given no narrative weight whatsoever, to use it as a connection between her and Harry feels more like a deus ex machina than a natural development. And that is just plain bad writing. :-/

Anyway, Bechdel Test = PASS
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. In this chapter, Ginny performs an incantation to help free Tom from the diary, the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch game is a spectacular disaster, and Colin takes an exasperated suggestion far too seriously. Is anyone safe from the Heir?

This chapter builds toward the second attack -- the one on Colin Creevey -- via a bunch of "life at Hogwarts" and "friends with Tom" scenes.

Tangentially, one reason my story is so much longer than the book it's retelling is that I spent time on detailed magic lessons, which Rowling tended to skim over in the first two books. I think I also spent more page time on dialogue, much of which is very rambling and not immediately plot-relevant. This is because "Secrets" is a much more internally focused story than CoS. CoS is a mystery adventure; its plot centers around the Trio finding and defeating Tom Riddle. The main plot arc of "Secrets" is about friendship and betrayal, and Ginny's emotional and ethical development under extreme pressure. This is also the reason it has a MUCH longer denouement than CoS. I have to deal with the emotional fallout, whereas Rowling could and did skip right over it with a single blithe paragraph. :-/

Anyway, details and stuff.

cut for length )

Bechdel Test = PASS
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. In this chapter, tensions rise after Mrs. Norris is found Petrified, and neither her family nor Tom can soothe Ginny's anger and fear. Guest-starring Sir Vladislav the enchanted suit of armor!

I am sure there was a reason behind the chapter title back when I wrote this, but I don't remember what it was. Perhaps something to do with psychological defense mechanisms? Anyway, this is kind of a transitional chapter after the emotional wringer of Halloween. Ginny begins to push away her brothers as well as her housemates, leaving her even more dependent on Tom. On the other hand, Herbology continues to be a refuge and she meets Sir Vladislav the enchanted suit of armor (the last of my really important supporting OCs).

cut for length )

Bechdel Test = PASS
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Summary: "Chamber of Secrets" from Ginny's point of view. In this chapter Tom reveals pieces of his past, Ginny sleepwalks again, an Herbology class presents unforeseen challenges, Sprout is unexpectedly kind, and Halloween arrives.

The grand point of this chapter is, of course, Halloween and all that implies. Before that, it's sort of a two-track deal. On the overt level, Ginny settles in to her life at Hogwarts. She continues to be socially isolated in her own House, but gets to know Xanthe's Hufflepuff friends and also receives an invitation to join Professor Sprout's extracurricular Herbology club. On the covert level (at least from Ginny's perspective), she falls more and more under Tom's control, both when awake (because she trusts his advice and interpretations of troubling events) and when asleep (because of possession).

cut for length )

Bechdel Test = PASS! (Let me count the ways: Susan and Jia-li talk about the Halloween banquet [very brief]; Sprout, Ginny, Xanthe, Caroline, and Anne talk in various combinations about various things all through the Herbology lesson; Ginny asks how long Apple will stay in their dorm room [very brief]; Susan tries to persuade Ginny to come to the Halloween banquet; the Gryffindor first year girls talk about the Heir's attack [somewhat questionable, since they discuss Harry in the process, but the description of Mrs. Norris and the painted message should count].)

Profile

edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    12 3
4 5 67 8 9 10
11 1213 1415 1617
18 1920 21 2223 24
25 2627282930 

Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags