Hi there! Congratulations on winning the first round of "Guess the Present"! For your superb guessing skills (seriously, I would never get any of those photos correct...) you have won two reviews! I decided to visit your WIP as I found the summary intriguing, and I thought it might be nice to get both reviews on the same story.
I have to say, this was a fantastic opening chapter. It both set up the rest of the story efficiently as well as got me totally hooked in everything going on in the moment. This feels like such a possible canon situation, for so many reasons: the need to protect the Potters, Remus' supreme loyalty to James, Dumbledore's superior magical skills... It all just fit. I was truly touched when Remus and James were talking to each other for the first time in so long. When James said that he was still counting the days, well, my heart melted. What a perfect detail to include to demonstrate how much he cared and still cares for Remus. And the fact that they need Remus to do this not only because of his defensive skills but also because of how well he knows James... Gah, it just all fit! So good! Although, now that I think about it... If the Potters were already under the Fidelius Charm, weren't they already completely isolated from the world? Who would they need to fool, besides Harry?
One thing you got spot on was Dumbledore's manner of speaking. Everything he said sounded exactly like the Dumbledore we see in the books! I know it's a small detail, but it really enhanced this chapter for me. (Plus the mention of the lemon square! Hilarious but also true to canon) Especially in stories that divulge from canon but try to do so in a believable way, grounding things in canon characterizations is so helpful. Remus and James also felt so real. Remus especially; I can totally see him taking on such a difficult role in the Order, and his descriptions of life as a werewolf were heartbreaking. They reminded me a lot of the way we hear him talk about himself in the Half-Blood Prince.
The switch itself was really well done. The descriptions of Remus felt in James' body and vice versa were so fascinating! Again, felt true to canon. It was also just so, so interesting to think about how different lives weigh differently on different people, and we probably don't even notice it, nor could we ever actually, physically understand what everyone else goes through.
The whole chapter is made that much more interesting because, as we all know, Lily and James are not going to make it. Judging from your summary, I'm guessing Remus goes down in James' place. So heartbreaking! I'm not sure if you're going to jump directly into the future or not, but I would be curious to see what it's like for Remus to live as James in the Potter house. That could be really interesting.
I think my only suggestion for this chapter pertains to the beginning. I guess I understood that Remus was pretending to be the mole and was alienated as a result, but I was less sure what he was doing in the meantime. If they didn't know who the mole was, and he became the outcast of the Order, who was he talking to? What was he doing in the werewolf community? A small amount of clarification on that matter might be helpful so that readers can ease into the story smoothly. And maybe I'm just forgetting something from canon that I'm supposed to already know.
Overall, this was an excellent first chapter, and I'm really curious to see what happens next!
Oh, P.S. Did you have any particular way of coming up with the name of the switching spell? I'm always curious about backstories for those, because oftentimes people have them but can never explain them in the story's text.
Author's Response: Oh wow! I wasn't expecting two reviews! I was thinking maybe one or something else like MTA questions or a profile bomb so getting two reviews is like super exciting! If smileys existed on here I would very much be inserting the super exited smiley with the big eyes. Anyway I love this review and coupled with the other it has like made my day!
I am so glad that everything fit. There is nothing I hate more sometimes than to have a story where it makes 0 sense why the characters are doing the thing they are doing. So for you to say it fits perfectly makes me really happy. Though, with your question about isolation and needing to fool another, the answer I believe will come in the 3rd chapter. While hiding there are still Order meetings and I don't think either James or Lily would want to entirely give up the fight either.
I have to say you deeply honor me with your compliments to Dumbledore! I do worry I get him wrong at times particularly now knowing that he's got some ulterior motives at times when it comes some of the things he does. Fortunately there wasn't too much that he had to push. (Also I'm glad you liked the lemon squares! It was a fun little touch I enjoyed adding.) As for Remus, you have made my heart swell with pride. Remus is my true HP joy. I feel like I have spent far too much thinking about him and what goes on in his life and how it was like for him. Though I suppose that comes with having RPed him and written him for over ten years now. So your most gracious compliments make me feel all squishy inside.
I am glad the switch translated well! You are right on Remus going down in James' place. It was something that wasn't easy to write in the later chapters. With that said I didn't jump ahead and while I know you've read chapter 2, chapter 3 we get to see Remus in James' shoes. It felt only right to show some of that and kind of help set up and remind people of canon a little bit before delving into the future too much and people going "wait what?" I think I do a fast forward of time in chapter 5 I think. I could be wrong it's one of those things that the story blurs together, I know the events that have happened but the breaks are less clear in my memory.
As for descriptions, you are not the only one who has mentioned that. Descriptions is a weak point on my writing and something I desperately need to work on. This of course includes going back and making said edits on this chapter but I kind of want to finish the story before I go back and make these edits because I can easily fall into an editing rut and never advance the story. So further edits aside from typos or simple grammar mistakes I'm kind of saving for once the story is complete. (At least that is the hope and game plan.)
With the switching spell, I invented it oh so so long ago. It is hard to say what I did. Usually what I do for spells I look at what the spell does and then search these key terms in a Latin dictionary (Google for the win here) and then combine bits and pieces of the words to make a new word that sounds good and appears pronounceable. What words I combined here I do not remember.