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Review:800 words of heaven says:
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Ooh! So this chapter (or at least what I've read of it so far) seems to be from James Potter's point of view! Exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing the drama from another perspective. In the chapters so far, James has come across as pretty mellow, so I'm pretty pumped to see how you flesh him out.

I love your description of the Map! I think it's really clever that you've left quite a bit of it still "blank" and I can see quite the interesting subplot developing! I'd love it if how the Map was completed was included in the story. It probably has nothing to do with the plot, but I really want to know now! Perhaps just as an interesting footnote?

You know, I think my James-centric bias is showing, because if Severus was partaking in the creepy ritual of watching a dot on a page, I'd be completely freaked out, but since it's James, it's almost... endearing, in a way. His feelings for Lily are quite palpable. I think, in their own ways, both James and Severus are equally creepy in their affections for Lily, and kudos on you for showing this similarity.

I think Regulus' budding altruistic nature has quite an interesting avenue of expression. He barely even knows Lily, and doesn't seem especially close to Severus, but he still wants to rebuild their friendship, even though Lily's a muggleborn and Severus is weird. It's an interesting aspect of his personality, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it manifests and grows. Considering that it seems to be part of the plot, I have high hopes!

And how very devious of Lily! I like how she's already thought of a way out. More than Regulus' altruism, I'm looking forward to seeing how Lily's show of selfishness (or is self-preservation a better word?) is going to pan out.

I really like the dynamics of the deal. The reasons for each character striking the deal in the first place are switched if you think about their "usual" personalities, and I can't wait to see where it'll lead!

I'll talk about Regulus' personality first. I like where you're taking him as a character. Six chapters in, and you can see the way he is. Along with the reader, he too is confused about his actions. He sees a lot of himself in Severus, and whilst he doesn't want to be his friend exactly, this bond is compelling him to do things for him. I'd like to see where this element of his personality will lead him. Will it come to play when he officially becomes a Death Eater? Will it become more important when he finally decides to try and thwart Voldemort and destroy his Horcrux? One thing I would like to see more of in Regulus is his intelligence. He must've been somewhat capable of complex thought to have figured out that Voldemort had Horcruxes, and what exactly a Horcrux was. I mean, Voldemort gave Lucius Malfoy one, and I don't think Lucius quite figured out what on earth it really was. Regulus is part of Slug Club, but the membership is a rather dubious measure of intelligence, in my opinion.

And OMG! I actually laughed when Regulus mused about why he thinks he's never had a girlfriend! He was just so adorable in that moment!

Concerning the interaction between the Marauders, I think you've shown a different side of their relationship. I've rarely read any fanfics where the bond between the boys is so inherently strong. Like, I know they were close and everything, but you've actually shown that through their actions and their words. James knows how each of his friends will react, down to the fact that Remus will come check on him like a mother hen the minute he steps into the dormitory. I especially enjoyed reading the conversation between Sirius and James. Sirius, so far, has been quite arrogant and emotionally distant, but he goes to James to talk about serious stuff. It showed a more vulnerable side to him that I really hope you explore and develop further. And it also showed a softer side to James, who was being a really good friend.

I'm really excited now to see where Regulus and Sirius' relationship will go now!

Author's Response: Hello again, thanks for coming by :)

James was a real challenge--being a Snily fan, I just don't like the guy very much, and so I decided to make him likeable to me and hope that he would also be likeable for other readers. I'm glad you like the perspective shake-up. It won't be the last time; changing perspective is one of my favorite little tricks.

I'm working on some parts now that are fairly Marauder-centric, so I'll have to try to find a way to fit the completion of the Map in there. I'm happy you like how it's still being fleshed out at this point. I also LOVE the comment you made about the differences between Severus's and James's behavior. They probably see one another as being quite creepy, and yet they have a lot in common when it comes to Lily. That issue of the dot-watching being creepy or romantic was on my mind the whole time I wrote this section.

Yeah, Regulus just doesn't have that evil core that I think you really need to succeed as a Death Eater. He can't help but feel something when he sees others around him in pain, which clearly comes out in canon with the way he reacts to Kreacher's "duty" in the cave. He never fails to fascinate me as a character.

In the same vein, I often fall into the trap of making Lily this sweet, well-meaning character, and I wanted to introduce some conflict here, just a touch of selfishness. She still sees the benefit in helping Sirius and Regulus reconcile, because I think she can see the similarity between their falling out and the one she's experiencing with her own sister, but for right now she just wants a reason not to have to re-open her old wounds with Snape. I'm glad you like how she's playing out; her conflict will be a central theme.

You make a good suggestion about Regulus's intelligence, and how him figuring out the Horcrux suggests that he was smarter than the average Death Eater. I'll have to think about ways that I can work that in later on. I will note that he's not a bad student; like a true Slytherin, though, one thing he sees in Snape is a way to get out of doing his work (e.g., with the Potions scene and the book).

I do like my Marauders. It was important to me to show that Peter isn't just an afterthought; he's really part of the group here, which will make his eventual split from them all the more painful for everyone involved. I think James does know his friends quite well, perhaps the best out of all four, which is maybe why his loss was so painful for Remus and Sirius. As for Sirius, yeah, I wanted to show that he's not as tough and carefree as he seems at times; many stories have him confiding in a girl, but I figured it would be more realistic for him to turn to his honorary brother, James. I will make another note to add in more Sirius in future chapters.

Thank you for yet another fabulous, comprehensive review! I'll be back to re-request when I see a free slot :)

-Amanda


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