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Review #51, by HallowsAndHorcruxes Autumn Reds

28th March 2013:
I must say this is quite the interesting chapter as it is played out beautifully. I am quite intrigued to find out just what happened between James and Lily with the polyjuice potion, so from that perspective you have me wanting to read on more. It's clever how you have just given the reader a few little things like the fact something happened and there was polyjuice potion involved as it add a nice sense of mystery to the story.

You characterization of Lily is wonderful and really does capture what we know of Lily and then has been built upon it to make her your own Lily which I think is brilliant! I also love how you have played her closer to Remus as I've always seen the two of them getting along as friends. Also the how you have played the rest of the marauders is just how I imagine they might be so a big thumbs up there.

Feel free to re-request anytime!

~Hallows!

Author's Response: Hi, thanks for another lovely review :)

I'm glad you were interested! I'm afraid the Polyjuice comment might have led you astray a bit. I wasn't alluding to an actual incident. It was just an off-hand comment about how James and Lily were interacting civilly, which surprised Celestine and Ellery after their conflict last year with Snape's Worst Memory. Sorry if that's a bit of a disappointment!

It's great to hear that you like my Lily. She's definitely near and dear to my heart and I probably put a lot of myself into her at times. I always felt like her being close to Remus was part of my head canon, so it's good that you enjoyed watching them interact. I'm pleased also that you like the Marauders, though it would have been nice to hear a little more about what specifically you enjoyed :)

Thanks again!

-Amanda


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Review #52, by HallowsAndHorcruxes Eggs and Bacon

25th March 2013:
I must say this is an absolute brilliant chapter and story, I don't see why people wouldn't want to read it. Though maybe I love it so much as I love the marauder's era. I think this is a nice introductory chapter as while nothing too big happens it set out the timeline and the start of the story setting you up for what is to happen.

I really like who you've displayed the relationships between the different family members of the house of Black as you can really tell where the dysfunction in the family is and what caused it. I also must say that you descriptive style especially at the beginning is an absolute pleasure to read and flows ever so nicely that the chapter was over before I knew it. I would have happily read on for hours.

Keep up the good work!

~Hallows!

Author's Response: Thanks, Hallows, and thanks for coming by!

That's good to hear :) I wanted to try to build the plot up slowly in this story, in response to critique I've gotten on earlier work that my pacing is a little too fast at times. So I made a point to really introduce Regulus and his characterization, and then Lily's will come up in the next chapter. Hopefully, by the time they meet and the plot really gets going, the reader feels that he or she really knows them.

It's great that the dysfunction works here, too. I stayed away from the typical portrayal of the Blacks screaming at and outright abusing one another and tried to go for more of a subtle tension between Sirius and the others, with poor Regulus caught in the middle. I'm happy the flow works well, too.

I hope you don't mind if I come back and re-request when you have an empty slot. Your feedback was really kind and helpful for this chapter, so again, thank you for the wonderful review!

-Amanda


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Review #53, by 800 words of heaven Sparks

24th March 2013:
Requested review time!

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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Review #54, by nikki The Right Sort of Wrong

21st March 2013:
Woops, I accidentally posted my review for this chapter onto the other chapter...oh well, can I still say that you're an amazing author!?

Author's Response: Haha, that's okay!

Thank you--you can definitely say that if you want :)

Nikki, let me just say again how much I've loved reading and responding to your reviews this morning, and I hope you'll return when I get a new chapter posted next month. I'd love to get more feedback from you on this story and any of my others that catch your fancy.

Thank you, so very much, once again :D

-Amanda


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Review #55, by nikki Small Favors and Large Tokens

21st March 2013:
I am sooo excited for the next chapter! I know I kinda suck at reviewing, but I just had to tell you how much I am enjoying this story. I wish I could write more detailed reviews like everyone else, but hey, at least I reviewed? :P I am in love with how you portrayed all of the marauders, and I am so incredibly excited to see what happens next!

Author's Response: No, seriously, your reviews have been the best part of my day so far. Short, sweet reviews mean just as much to me as longer ones, so please, don't feel like I don't appreciate them! You're right--what matters is that you reviewed.

I'm happy you like my Marauders. I tried to make them interesting, likeable, and again--not the usual cliche, at least somewhat. I'm glad you're excited to move on!

Thanks for another fantastic review :)

-Amanda


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Review #56, by nikki Small Favors and Large Tokens

21st March 2013:
Aw, Severus and Lily at the end was adorable!! :D Loved this chapter, as usual!

Author's Response: That's good to hear :) Thank you!

-Amanda


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Review #57, by nikki The Truth Hurts

21st March 2013:
Eek! These chapters a just getting better and better, aren't they??? Awesome job!

Author's Response: I hope so! Thanks again :)

-Amanda


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Review #58, by nikki If Santa Had a Broomstick

21st March 2013:
I absolutely LOVED this chapter! I love the drama between Lily and Regulus! (Lol, they don't but of course I do. :P)

Author's Response: Haha, no, they don't, but I'm glad it's interesting. This one is one of my favorites.

Thanks for another fabulous review!

-Amanda


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Review #59, by nikki A Game of Hearts

21st March 2013:
As usual, this was awesome! I must say this has turned out to be one of my most favorite stories on the archives! I will defiantly check out your other stories soon! :D

Author's Response: You're awesome for saying that, and I certainly hope you do! It's been great hearing from you today!

Thanks for your lovely review :)

-Amanda


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Review #60, by nikki Snape's Second-Worst Memory

21st March 2013:
Ooh, the chapter title made me excited! And the chapter was not at all disappointing! Wow, is all I can say!

Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you were intrigued by the chapter title and enjoyed the chapter itself.

Thanks for your sweet review!

-Amanda


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Review #61, by nikki Revelations

21st March 2013:
You are an awesome writer!! I just can't explain how much I love the way you write! No cliches, no boring plotline--I admire your talent very much. :)

Author's Response: Thank you once again! I know this story is a little unusual compared to most other Marauder-era stories out there, and I was hoping that wouldn't be a turn-off to readers. I try very hard to balance a good pace with keeping things interesting, and I always try to either avoid cliches or put new twists on them.

Thank you for another kind review :)

-Amanda


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Review #62, by nikki Making Good, Breaking Bad

21st March 2013:
L-O-V-E-D IT! :D :D :D

Author's Response: Thank you :)

-Amanda


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Review #63, by nikki Sparks

21st March 2013:
omg I love you. This story is getting better and better!

Author's Response: Haha, thanks! That's such a relief to hear!

-Amanda


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Review #64, by nikki Catalyst

21st March 2013:
I love the way you write Lily. (And everyone else for that matter!) I'm gonna keep reading! :D

Author's Response: Thank you! I like Lily a lot--I've tried to make her interesting and multidimensional here.

Thanks for another very lovely review :)

-Amanda


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Review #65, by nikki The Best and Brightest

21st March 2013:
Yet again an awesome-tastic chapter!!! *Hops off to read the next chapter*

Author's Response: Thanks so much :D

-Amanda


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Review #66, by nikki His Other Home

21st March 2013:
The mood in this chapter was excellent! Great job! :D

Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!

-Amanda


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Review #67, by nikki Autumn Reds

21st March 2013:
Ooh, I like where this is heading! :O

1000/10

Author's Response: Thanks!

-Amanda


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Review #68, by nikki Autumn Reds

21st March 2013:
Ooh, I like where this is heading! :O

1000/10

Author's Response: That's great to hear! Thanks for the review :)

-Amanda


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Review #69, by nikki Eggs and Bacon

21st March 2013:
I love the description on this. I like how you wrote Sirius too. :) Keep on writing! :D

Author's Response: Wow, thank you! This slew of reviews was so awesome to wake up to this morning :) AND you pushed me over the 150-review milestone, too!

I'm so glad you like my Sirius and the description. I wanted to show what I thought it would look like inside the Black house, which seems to be mostly uncomfortable. Speaking of discomfort, I also wanted to show that Sirius clearly isn't getting along with his family without having to make it a blatantly abusive household. I would think, given the Blacks' concern with self-image, that the tension would be much more subtle than that.

Thanks again for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #70, by 800 words of heaven Catalyst

13th March 2013:
Hello! Here with your requested review!

There's some action in this chapter? I am so psyched!

Haha! I actually laughed out loud when James kicked Sirius. I don't know why, but it was funny. That's something I like about this story, actually. I don't think I've mentioned this before, but there are just these little moments, no more than two lines, which are fun and humorous and light, and just remind me that these people aren't all doomed characters in a tragedy. I mean, even Romeo made innuendo-filled jokes with his mates from time to time!

Also, how on earth did Peter get into Arithmancy and why is he by himself? And does Sirius even take any classes? If he's got the entire morning off, does he even go to school?

Oh, how sweet of Regulus to actually like school! He actually wants to learn things and do well, whereas Sirius is all like, "I'm too intelligent for school", even though he is, but that's hardly the point.

I chuckled again at the remark that Wilkes could read. Good to see the faith Regulus has in his apparently, one and only friend.

Severus is becoming creepier and creepier every time we meet him. If you're a Snily shipper, I can appreciate how difficult it is to depict a character that you actually like in a less flattering light. It's quite difficult, and I think you've done a really good job.

The scene between Sirius, James and Severus was very quick. There wasn't really much to it as such, but I dunno... it was really well written and everything, but it felt a little off. It's a difficult feeling to explain... as if the situation was a molehill being made into a mountain. That wasn't very eloquently explained at all, and I'm sorry that I couldn't help with that more! It just felt that with the entire pacing of the chapter, this one scene didn't quite fit in. But I'm being a bit of a nit-picker here. Your writing skills are superb, so I have to work really hard to find something to "criticise"!

And the suspense! I think the note's from Regulus. It sounds like his handwriting to be honest. And I think it might be about time that the plot started moving forward. Regulus knows how Severus feels about Lily, and he's also seen the two of them interacting with each other now.

Here's to hoping for some plot excitement in the next chapter!

Author's Response: I'm glad you like the humor! I've never been very good at laugh-out-loud humor in stories, but I do like my little moments of levity, and it's great that they make you stop and chuckle once in a while.

I don't like the stereotype of Peter being the dumb sidekick, so I explored the idea of him being somewhat smart and capable in this story. He just happens to be the only one who wanted to take it, since it's an elective class. And yeah, of course Sirius takes classes. He just doesn't have any in the morning for this day--I modeled it after canon, when Harry and Ron would have had some time to themselves if they hadn't signed up for Slughorn's potions class in their sixth year.

Anyway, I'm pleased to hear that you like how Regulus has an interest in what he's learning, and that you enjoyed watching him interact with Wilkes. I want to make it clear that he's multidimensional, as with everyone, and that he's got some nice characteristics along with the nasty stuff that comes with his background. I hope you're still a fan of him as a character and like getting to know him.

Hah, thanks! It has been difficult to purposefully work in these really creepy moments with Severus, but I think I've really learned a lot through trying to do that. It's sort of the flip side of the time when I tried to humanize James and make him a character I could really live with and understand. Also difficult, but also a great learning experience.

Your critique about the fight is helpful. I tried to model it off the couple of arguments we saw in canon, where it seemed like the skirmish happened because of little comments made by one side or the other, and also some of Harry and Draco's episodes of barb-trading. I got the sense that the flow might have gotten thrown off a bit there, and I'm still working on improving in the area of writing action sequences overall, but like I said, your comments are helpful, so thank you.

I do think the plot will start to take off more from this point. It was important to me to take it slow, based on feedback I'd gotten on prior stories, and to take my time introducing the main characters and giving them time to meet before jumping into the plot. But I think now we're ready to introduce more drama.

Thanks for your lovely review :)

-Amanda


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Review #71, by 800 words of heaven The Best and Brightest

7th March 2013:
Heya! Finally writing that requested review!

Am I up to chapter four already? I am so proud of myself! Looking forward to some Regulus/Lily interaction!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I love that little homage you (or Celestina's parents) have paid to the singer! I like to believe that she's like Norah Jones. It makes for an interesting mental image!

It breaks my heart to see the two sisters so. Sirius and Lily are similar in so many ways, I think, and I do believe that this might contribute somewhat to their deep friendship later on in the series. I hope you play with those similarities a little bit! Or perhaps you'll play with them a little differently, through Regulus?

I like the way you've portrayed McGonagall here. She seems a lot younger and a touch softer than what we, as students alongside Harry, know her as, and I'm enjoying reading a different side of her. She's still in her capacity as a teacher, but it's nice the way that you've shown her the way she might have been twenty years ago, before two wars ravaged her community.

Oh, my goodness! The drama! I should feel a bit worse than I do about the death of a young innocent person, but as far as plot devices go, I am so excited! My mind boggles at the moral ramifications and intense character exploration this could open up for Regulus!

Was that little exchange between Sirius and Lily the fragile beginnings of a beautiful friendship, or just Sirius' irrational and erratic behaviour? I really hope it was the former!

I think one of your points in the areas of concern was whether Lily and Regulus were in character whilst interacting with each other? On first impressions alone, I think they are. Regulus is as formal as ever and Lily is polite, which seems to be the modus operandi for the two of them! I'm not sure if this is just your take on Lily, or perhaps a bit OOC, but she seemed to notice pretty quick that Regulus' mother is quite pushy and he does a lot of things because of her (something he shares in common with his brother!). I just don't know Lily well enough to know if this is normal or not. Perhaps I missed something, or this is the first introduction of this particular character trait of Lily's?

What I did find a little out of character for Lily was her preoccupation with her food. It seemed a little weird to me that she wasn't trying to converse with the other people on her table, just out of sheer politeness. So far, my impressions of her are that she is quite polite, and it felt a little off. However, I was pleased to read that Lily also seemed to agree on this slight lapse in manners!

And Regulus eating the tart was funny, but also seemed a little out of character. I don't know why it should feel off, though. Regulus is a teenage boy who probably likes to eat, and I know I thought that the fallen custard tart felt like a waste. This little thing, or Lily's "rudeness", shouldn't really be an issue though, because I think it proves that I just don't know the characters well enough yet. They both have little quirks hidden away, and obviously share an appreciation for good food.

Concerning their conversation on the way to the kitchens, Regulus seemed a little franker and more open than I thought he would be, but Lily felt quite natural - this nice, polite girl, making semi-easy small talk. And, the Snape comment - awkward, much, Regulus? I think it served as a reminder that this boy is many things, and subtle and sensitive aren't those things.

The other thing you mentioned was flow. I thought it was quite good, overall. There were just a couple of parts where the point of view changed from Lily to Regulus, I think, and there was little warning, and that threw me a little. It wasn't anything major - I am a little tired, so I mightn't have been paying as much attention as I ought.

I was glad to read this, as things finally seemed to start happening!

Author's Response: Hi again! Please don't hesitate to let me know if you think I'm re-requesting too much. I really want more feedback on this story, and your reviews have been so helpful, but I don't want you to feel like I'm chasing you down :)

Hah, thanks! I figured it was a cute idea, considering how Molly loved Celestina Warbeck. Celestine is an interesting character.

Sirius and Lily are definitely similar in terms of feeling left out of their families at certain points. That similarity also extends to Severus. You'll definitely see me bring it up more in the chapters to come. I'm glad you picked that out and saw it for yourself.

McGonagall isn't quite as war-weary as when we get to know her in canon, but I hope it's obvious how much this loss weighed on her. The idea of students dying disturbs her deeply, especially combined with the knowledge that other students could be their killers. I really wanted to make the war a very salient part of the plot, not an afterthought.

Actually, that brief moment was meant to show that James has changed, not only in the eyes of the reader but also for his friends. They acknowledge that he's trying to present a more mature persona when around Lily, and as his friends, they try to be supportive there. Naturally, Sirius won't always be so mature. Never fear, though, there will continue to be some emotional tension between Sirius and Lily that doesn't have to do entirely with James.

I think you might be reading further than I intended into that comment about Mrs. Black. It was more so about how Lily observed the family being pushy with the train attendants at the station, and now she's noticing that Regulus is sort of quiet and mature-seeming when not with the rest of his family. She draws a contrast between this temperament and Sirius's more immature personality, or at least that's how she perceives the two of them. I will say that you're right about Lily being perceptive and thinking about things a lot; she doesn't like being caught off guard.

Yeah, I try to introduce a little bit of behavioral inconsistency, because that's how people are in real life. Like you pointed out, she did acknowledge it and felt a bit embarrassed. I just didn't want her to be like a bird, barely picking at the delicious spread.

Re-reading this chapter, though, I guess it does make sense that Regulus wouldn't want to eat half-eaten dessert that was left over. I think I got him a little confused with the kinds of characters his faceclaim tends to play. My Regulus does tend to be a little sassy at points, breaking out of the pureblood mold, and maybe he is too open at times. I'll try to keep an eye on that and make an effort at tempering it in future chapters, so I do appreciate the critique, very much so. I'm glad you liked the awkward comment about Snape--I meant to show that Regulus isn't always smooth and put-together, and he's still a teenage boy struggling to be "proper."

Thanks for your comments about the flow, too. Please let me know if the point-of-view switches continue to be a bit rough; they happen about once a chapter from here on out, and I can smooth them out if necessary. Any future suggestions on how to do that effectively would be helpful for me as well.

Thanks for another fabulous review!

-Amanda


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Review #72, by Celtic_Dreamer7 Eggs and Bacon

5th March 2013:
I like this. I don't normally read Maurader's era stories, but I really enjoyed this. I've always been curious about Regulas and his back story. You've written this so well, it sounds like it should be a companion to the books. Your descriptions are awesome. They really paint a great picture in the reader's mind. It compels the reader to continue.

I love the difference you show between the two brothers and how their parent's treated them, even the house elves. You've did a wonderful job with this. Congrats!

~Celtic~

Author's Response: Hey Celtic, nice to see you here! :)

I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed this first chapter despite not normally being a Marauders' era fan. I agree that Regulus is really interesting, and I've had a lot of fun so far in exploring his character for this story. It's great that you liked the descriptions and felt like this fit in okay with what we know from canon.

I'm also happy to hear that you liked the Black family dynamic. I didn't want them to be yelling and screaming at each other, but I definitely wanted to convey that there is a tension between Sirius and his parents and an obvious favoritism for Regulus. Regulus's relationship with Sirius will continue to be important as the story progresses. I hope you continue on later and see more of what I've done with Regulus--I'd love to get your feedback.

Thanks for this really lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #73, by 800 words of heaven His Other Home

28th February 2013:
Hello! Here with your requested review!

So, I'm going to assume that because you came back for round three, you don't mind my reviews. I have a tendency to blabber on and sometimes I forget to address the points that you want addressed and then I have to hastily put them along at the end. But here goes!

Oh my goodness, it's a Regulus chapter! I am so excited! I am far too attached to this character after only one chapter for this to be a healthy thing.

I'm not particularly surprised that Regulus' closest friend doesn't seem the type to talk much. It seems to fit Regulus' personality, and probably his appreciation for companionable silence, considering he probably doesn't get much of that at home. I also think it speaks volumes about Cassian that he seemed so unperturbed about the raid on his home. Being a Slytherin, I'm assuming that he's very good at hiding his true feelings, so he might be putting it on, but either way, it makes him quite an interesting character, and one I'd like to learn more about.

First impressions of Slughorn leave me with the same feelings as when I first met him in the books. He's just so oily and manipulative, yet is still friends with Dumbledore; like, how is that even possible? It makes you wonder just how much more manipulative Dumbledore can be!

I like the way you write Slughorn's dialogue. In the films, he's portrayed as a bit of a scared bumbling fool, but he can't be because he's done so well for so long. I get the feeling that he's very careful with his words, and something that strikes me as a little different is that he sounds more formal than what he did in the books. I'm not sure if this is the case just when he talks with Regulus or another Slytherin, because that's the way they communicate, but I think you show a lot about what Slughorn is like through the way he talks.

You know what? I'm going to say this in practically every chapter of yours that you'll ask me to review, but it's something that I really admire in your work. Your descriptions are amazing. I could literally see the Slytherin common room that you described in my mind's eye. I loved that!

Holy Merlin, I did not expect Death Eaters to be talking about Death Eating so openly and casually! Wow! I think you've done well to show two different things here really well. First, that these Slytherin Death Eater buddies are dead serious about this stuff and really believe in the cause and everything. Secondly, that Voldemort is powerful enough even then that his followers feel comfortable enough talking about it in a relatively public area. Sure, it is the Slytherin common room, but still - anyone could walk in!

Ah, another sign of Regulus' humanity. Already, the seeds of his doubt are being sowed. Characterisation wise, I think this makes Regulus even more conflicted and complex a character!

Severus is so infatuated, it's actually a bit creepy. Is he supposed to be creepy? Because he's making me feel creeped out. If that was the desired effect, then well done! I think you mentioned you're a Snape/Lily shipper, and that's cool, but I can't imagine the Lily I met in the chapter before being entirely comfortable with the Severus I'm seeing right now. I think this will make for an interesting relationship... or lack thereof - however the story goes.

Flow wise, I didn't have any issues with it. I'm wondering if the pace might pick up a bit, but I get that it might not for a few chapters yet as you're setting up the scene and introducing characters and everything. I thought the transition between chapters is working well as well. They're all chronological with no overlaps or huge gaps in time, which tie each of them together well. I think this is important because you've swapped the points of view for each chapter so far.

I hope I covered everything you wanted me to... let me know if I missed anything!

PS: Well done on another good chapter!

Author's Response: You write such awesome, detailed reviews. I usually need some time to take it all in and look over all of the great observations you've made. This story has plenty of reviews, but it's not as popular as some of my others, so I'm really pleased that you've been so generous about reading it and checking in on my areas of concern. Thanks so much :)

I don't know that anyone has ever commented on Wilkes, so thank you for that! You're right that he's a little on the quiet side. I was worried that he came out too much like Ron, except for the obvious difference in the callous way that he discussed the raid on his house. You're probably right that Regulus would want some peace after being doted upon night and day by Orion and Walburga.

I'm happy that you like Slughorn, too. He's one of my favorite parts of this chapter (and the story in general) because he adds that comic relief without being over-the-top silly. You do get a sense from canon that he has his own sort of wisdom under the cheerful surface. More than anything, I think he really cares about his students and feels really dismayed by how many of them turn to the Dark Arts. Yet I don't know that he really does enough to work on actively preventing that.

I wanted the Death Eater scene to be jarring. Regulus can't avoid this stuff, not at home and not at school. Part of the openness is that the students are young, excited and impulsive, but I do think it reflects the general sentiment in the common room. I would think there would always be a pocket of current and future Death Eaters making plans somewhere. (Also, I love that you used "death eating" as a verb. That's just... stellar. Haha. I love it.) Anyway, Regulus's journey and his tendency to doubt his path will continue to be important.

Severus is definitely supposed to be creepy. I think I've mentioned this before, but I have this tendency to pity him and be somewhat kind to him in fic, so for this story, I really pushed myself to explore his darkest parts. If Lily has any sense, she would be uncomfortable with who her friend has become. She also has the weakness of being kind, which may make things complicated.

I think--I hope--the pace picks up more later. Please let me know if it doesn't seem to do so. I know Marauder era stories tend to be popular on the archive, so I'd love it if you could tell me if you spot anything that might deter readers from checking this out when it hits the Recently Added list. It could definitely be that I don't update fast enough, and I could see the Snape/Lily pairing being a turnoff, but if you notice anything else, please mention it.

Thanks for another wonderful review :)

-Amanda


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Review #74, by 800 words of heaven Autumn Reds

23rd February 2013:
Hi! Here with your requested review!

So, again, you've opened with some nice description. I think you do this really well! I don't feel overwhelmed, but I can still imagine the scene. I think what makes the experience so special, as well, is that there's enough description so we know what you want us to see, but also room for us to embellish it the way we want. It's quite the collaborative effort!

I don't know if this is just me, but I felt an almost instant connection with Regulus. I didn't have that with Lily. This isn't a bad thing, of course, as it can be quite nice to get to know a character slowly. But was that intentional? Are we supposed to feel more for Regulus, or is that just me?

We can already see that Lily is sympathetic. I'm wondering if you were trying to put that bit in the Prisoner of Azkaban film, where Remus is telling Harry about Lily, into context? If you are, I think it was really well done! Subtle, yet obvious, at the same time (I realise that makes like, zero sense)!

Sirius' behaviour with the bags threw me. I agreed with Lily, that he should've been polite. At the very least, I thought he might have been nice just to spite his mother. I guess this is going to be a different kind of Sirius than to what I usually see. I'm looking forward to it!

Concerning Lily's view of the Marauders, I think it's more realistic than some I've seen. She doesn't hate all of them on principle; she's friends with Remus, and seems to understand Peter's tendencies when it comes to James and Sirius. I think this reflects well on Lily - she's not so biased and blinded by her hate for James that she ignores everyone with whom he's associated.

The scene between James and Lily was really cute, I think. James seemed to be behaving himself, which I think is really nice. We know he's an idiot when they were in fifth year, and a perfect gentleman by seventh year, but the change to have occurred on the cusp of seventh year doesn't make sense. I think it's nice that you've started to show that James is beginning to change. I thought the way Lily handled the situation was very mature - and other thing that reflects well for her character. She didn't fly into a screaming rage, nor was she as cold as ice. She was feeling bemused by the entire situation, and that showed.

Finally! I thought Lily had no friends! Their entrance was late, that was all! We don't really get to know them, yet, but I hope that changes in later chapters!

And our first meeting with Severus! Yay! I don't like Snape, like, at all, but I felt kind of sorry for him. I think he is sorry for calling Lily a mudblood, but he isn't really willing to do anything about it. I wonder where this might lead...

As far as interest goes, I think this was a good chapter. I liked the first chapter more, but that just may be the novelty of Regulus. It might also be because I connected with Regulus more than I did with Lily, which I think I mentioned before. But I think that's just me! It was still quite an enjoyable read!

I hope it's a Regulus chapter next!

Author's Response: Hi, thanks for coming back for round two!

I used to struggle a lot with being too heavy on the imagery, so I'm glad you feel like the amount was just right here, and that you had room to fill in the gaps if you chose to do so.

It wasn't intentional, no, but I've heard that from a lot of people. I think it maybe has to do with the fact that Lily is written a lot more than Regulus, and so maybe you have your own ideas about what she should be like, or maybe you're just enjoying getting to know him better because he has more obvious flaws. It's interesting to theorize about!

Remus's comments about Lily in that moment basically define how I view her. Her tendency to care for those who need to be cared for will crop up again and again in this story, so I'm very glad you feel like it's a good direction.

My Marauders are a bit different from a lot of other Marauders I've seen around the archive. I take a lot of material from canon, obviously, but I also try to make them my own--so James won't always be immature, and Sirius won't always make bad decisions, and the friendship will be an important foundation. I couldn't come up with any reason why Lily would be so short-sighted as to turn her nose up at James's friends if they're nice enough people. She and Remus are especially close.

I really don't ship James/Lily, but I like writing them in this story. It was crucial for me to avoid that cliche of them always yelling at each other. I like to stick more to that slight tension that's always there between them. Like you mentioned, this is the time when James is finally starting to grow up and realize that being a bully isn't going to win Lily's heart. Lily, in turn, is confused by this change, partially because it makes him more alluring.

You'll get to know Celestine and Ellery more. They aren't major characters, but yeah, Lily has to have some girlfriends!

I'm a Snape/Lily shipper--although I tried to balance it with lots of James/Lily in this story--and so I'll work hard to get you to feel some sympathy for Severus. At the same time, though, I'm challenging myself throughout this story to portray him at his worst moments, just because I have a tendency to fall on the pity side with him. Please do let me know if you feel like it's not balanced enough or if he seems unrealistic.

The next chapter is more Regulus-focused, yes. The first few chapters kind of alternate, but eventually Lily and Regulus cross paths, which is where the "real" plot takes off :)

Thanks for this wonderful review!

-Amanda


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Review #75, by 800 words of heaven Eggs and Bacon

22nd February 2013:
Hello! Here with your requested review!

So, before I even begin reading, I'll comment about some stuff because you mentioned hooking your reader in. Your summary sounds super intriguing! I haven't seen much of Regulus around the archive, but I have a feeling he's a bit of a lurker, so I think the story's really interesting already, just because it sounds like Regulus is gonna be a main character! Also, looking at the length of your first chapter; it's on the shorter side as far as chapters go, and for me, that's always a good thing, especially for early chapters when you're just trying to set stuff up and get readers to continue reading.

The first two paragraphs, I think, are really beautiful pieces of description. As this is something I suck at, I really appreciate it in other people's works! It sets the scene nicely and quite descriptively, but it doesn't have the feel of too many words used. It's still quite clean and succinct, which is really nice!

The first character we meet is Kreacher and as far as first characters go, he's pretty cool! You can kinda see him starting to get old and senile, but there's still elements of his "younger self" shining through. I think this is a really nice marriage of your unique take on him with the canon version we know from the books.

The first glimpse we get of Regulus had me feeling a bit disturbed (but in a good, I-wanna-know-more-about-him kind of way). He's neat and orderly, like me, so there's already something with which I can relate to him. However his collection of newspaper clippings about the rise of Voldemort, which he has on display, really freaked me out. I guess I forgot that Regulus was a Death Eater before he became a martyr, so that little thing really drove that point home! His further interactions with Kreacher however, are building quite the complex character, already! This is a big plus point for me to keep on reading, because I want to know where Regulus' character will go.

Sirius' character is also interesting. A lot about what we know of him before we meet him are just the differences between the two brothers: Regulus is neat, Sirius is messy; Regulus likes to please his parents and is cordial towards them, Sirius is not. So I was wondering if this would be the case throughout the first chapter at least. I was really pleasantly surprised to find this not to be the case. Already, Sirius is being developed as his own character, which is really nice. Also, what I really liked was the way youíre describing their relationship. Clearly, they don't hate each other, but I get the feeling that there is distance between them. It is nice though the way Regulus seems to want to protect Sirius from their mother, by hiding the muggle magazines, and lending his wand.

For some reason, I found it really strange that Orion was into Quidditch. It shouldn't be weird, but I guess I'd always imagined him as being too restrained for something like sport. It's really obvious that Orion and Walburga favour their younger son, and the tension in the family is palpable. We don't know how Sirius feels about it, but you can tell that Regulus isn't comfortable with it. He may be happy that he was chosen over his brother to receive the family ring, but he isnt quite okay with the outright hostility that's directed towards Sirius. And aside from joining really evil organisations, the Black family reminds me a lot of families where there are high expectations placed on kids. On that level, I can relate a lot to their dynamic, dysfunctional as it may be, and thatís really endearing.

Overall, I think this is a really interesting story, and Iím eager to learn where it will go!

Author's Response: Hi! Thanks for coming by :)

Yes, Regulus is one of the two main characters here! I've really had fun writing him so far, and I agree that he seems to be a tad underloved. It's great that you like the summary; I've changed it a couple times since I first posted this story, and I like this one a lot.

I'm happy you liked the way I set the scene in Number 12, Grimmauld Place with Kreacher. I anticipated that he would be tough to write, but he's actually worked pretty well for me. I've been trying to work on not overloading the description, so if you ever feel like I am, please don't hesitate to point that out to me.

It's so great to hear that you got that intersection of normalcy and foreboding with Regulus. I wanted to emphasize the fact that he's still so young, way too young to even comprehend the life he's setting up for himself, with the help of his parents. I think part of why I portrayed him and Sirius as still being somewhat like typical brothers was to "save" him in some sense, to keep him from rushing forward into Voldemort's ranks. In that way, Sirius is comforting, because he's still a typical messy teenage boy at this stage.

It was very important to me not to portray the Black family tension as being over the top. I didn't want there to be yelling or discussions of abuse. I felt like it would be palpable but still somewhat subtle, given the Blacks' social standing and the general creepiness of a family that is moments away from imploding. That goes not only for the relationship between Sirius and his parents, but also for his slowly weakening relationship with Regulus.

Huh, that's interesting about Orion and Quidditch. I think that's a good point--hopefully it wasn't so weird that he seemed out of character :) I was trying to find a way to bring the tension into the forefront without making it too obvious, like I mentioned before. You're right that Regulus is really the one with the most visible emotion in this scene. It's neat that you feel like you can relate to the family in a proximal way, just in the sense that they're clearly quite imperfect.

Thank you for this really lovely review! I hope you don't mind if I skip over now and re-request :)

-Amanda


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