Reading Reviews for Traitorous Hearts
  
235 Reviews Found

Review #26, by Felpata Lupin The Lady of Greengrass Hall

22nd September 2015:
Here for the second chapter of our swap (sorry for the lateness, I really couldn't get to it sooner...)

Lavinia had quite a story indeed! I found it really interesting the way she found herself involved with the Death Eaters, not because of ideology but simply to follow her own nature and talents that were supposed to be a male prerogative.

I also loved the structure of the family. It's sort of endearing the relationship between Lavinia and Felix, how they grew affectionate to each other over the years even if their marriage was only for interest.

Astoria's rage at her mother's death is very much understandable. And from what you tell us it is quite clear that the "unfortunate incident" wasnt an incident at all...

Now I wonder, what is this secret Astoria has been made aware of? And obviously, I'm also very curious about how this meeting with Draco will turn out... I've found their interactions so far absolutely fascinating!!!

Well, now I'm off to the third chapter! See you in a bit!
All my love,
Chiara

Author's Response: She does, doesn't she! Lavinia is an interesting character to write, because she's so ruthless, but still kind of sympathetic. She'll do anything to achieve her ends, and she won't really let whether it's "right" or "wrong" get in the way--or, at least, she'll convince herself that the good (getting what she deserves, feeling fulfilled) outweighs the bad (erm...Voldemort).

But then, of course, it honestly is sad that she's so hemmed in, that her society kept her from putting her talents to any *good* use for no good reason other than "it simply isn't done".

Yay! I'm glad that you liked the Greengrass' backstory. I wanted it to be clear that Lavinia did feel love, even if she made some bad decisions, and she loved Felix very much. It's just that she needed someone who could appreciate what she did, and Felix couldn't be that person. He'd always love her, but she couldn't earn his esteem--he gave it freely. And she wanted so badly to earn something of her own.

What is the secret? Muahaha. This whole story is just secrets on secrets on secrets.

I'm glad that you find their interactions intriguing. It's working! I get to laugh evilly again. MUAHAHAHA!

Thanks again!

--Penny




 Report Review

Review #27, by Felpata Lupin An Unwelcome Visitor

22nd September 2015:
Oh, my, Penny!
I can see why this was nominated for the Dobbys! And it is only the first chapter!!!

I love your writing, your word choosing and sentence structures, your description! Just brilliant!!!

And wow! The way you write Astoria is just brilliant too! I loved how she and Draco interact, so... Pureblood-y. I loved how her every move is thought out, planned, how she keeps the appearences, starting from her dress choice to the way she treats her house elf.

It's interesting to see Draco through her eyes. The poor boy, I can't help but feel sorry for him...

Astoria's mother must've been an interesting woman too! Oh, that little glimpse of Astoria's childhood at the beginning was just adorable... I'm very intrigued. What happened exactly? What is this "unfortunate incident"? WWhat's going to happen between Draco and Astoria now?

I think I'll cut here with this review, so I can read on... :)

Brilliant opening, anyway! So intriguing and so wonderfully written!

Much love,
Chiara

Author's Response: Chiara! Sorry I'm so late in responding to these. You're always so on the ball when it comes to review responses. I have to work on catching up to you!

Oh, thank you! That is so sweet! Thank you so MUCH!

Heehee, I loved getting to write in a way that was very old-fashioned. My headcanon is that Pureblood society would be very formal and stuck-in-the-past, the logic being that wizards prize older things: quills, carriages, torches and lanterns, etc. So the people who consider themselves, for lack of a better term, the "wizardy-est" would probably cling to older things for much longer. Therefore, I thought I'd give them speech patterns more appropriate to the 1890's than the 1990's.

Aw, Draco. I'm glad that you feel sorry for him. It's always interesting to see what people initially say about Draco, because people come into the story with such firm ideas about him--whether they like him or hate him. I feel sorry for him, too. I didn't want to erase the fact that he's been involved in some terrible things, but I did want to show that it wears on him, that he's utterly miserable as a Death Eater.

The unfortunate incident--dun dun DUN!

What will happen indeed?

Thank you so much, chicadee!

--Penny



 Report Review

Review #28, by MadiMalfoy In Dark Spaces

22nd September 2015:
PENNY I DO NOT HAVE WORDS FOR THIS. ALSO SORRY ABOUT THE HUGE DELAY IN GETTING THIS REVIEW TO YOU, I GOT SUPER BUSY WITH SCHOOL AND WANTED TO MAKE SURE I REALLY TOOK TIME WITH THIS.

Anyway, can I just say how absolutely stunning and breath-taking your writing was in these last two chapters?? Your descriptions of scenes and emotions were so unbelievable that I legitimately visualized everything in my head as I read on. I don't usually do that when I read fan fiction. But this, this has got me HOOKED and really into it! I actually like that you didn't split the chapter--I think it would have been far too short in relation to all of your other chapters, and there's beautiful character development in the latter half of this chapter that really fits here to juxtapose the opening scene in the broom cupboard.

In chapter nine I quite enjoyed the scene with Draco in the Forbidden Forest--it was just enough of a glimpse to see how things are going for him/what he's doing and also how he feels about the situation (read: LIE) he created with the Greengrasses and Astoria specifically and how he has to determine the best way to handle it once the real battle comes to Hogwarts. You've got his character down pat, and last chapter really exemplifies that. Loving it!! Astoria's characterization is just so complex yet simple at the same time, I can't get enough of it! She's like an mystery that looks solvable and easily manipulated when in reality she's this entirely unknown enigma that Draco wouldn't even begin to know how to piece together. You've done a seriously great job with your characterizations in general too--Amycus Carrow instills fear like no other in me, and I feel Neville's hopelessness like a dagger in my heart, and Astoria's confusion and frustration so much.

As far as the flow goes, like I said above I think you should keep the chapter length as is. Your transition from the end of chapter nine to the beginning of this chapter is smooth and is very logical. The different snapshots of Hogwarts life from Astoria's POV was done fantastically because the situations are all so different yet similar at the same time because of her conflicting feelings. They really paint a picture of how life is at Hogwarts now and the internal battle being waged within the castle by the DA and the Carrows, mirroring Astoria's internal battle as well.

The balance between Draco/Astoria's POV seems pretty good to me--as Astoria is your main character, she should have more anyway, but you strike a good balance to give insight to things happening she isn't around to see/be apart of. Draco is definitely intrigued by her and how she managed to make him lie to the Dark Lord for her and her family, and I think that will play a major role in how things play out once everything comes to a head. Astoria definitely has mixed feelings about him because she doesn't truly know what made him lie to keep her and her family safe, but she also knows she's now indebted to him, which she hates. So she has to devise a way to pay back her debt and also figure out his reasons for lying for her family. It's all very complex and nothing is clear cut for these two, which not only makes things fun and interesting, but also showcases your talented writing skills!

Seriously Penny, such good chapters!!! I can't wait to read the next couple!! ♥
~MadiMalfoy x

Author's Response: Hello there! Finally--FINALLY--I am answering this review. I'M sorry for the delay in that, so think nothing of it. I understand. We all just get crazy busy. Me included :D

AW! Madi, thank you SO MUCH! That really means a lot to me. I put so much effort into the descriptions, especially in those chapters, that it makes me so excited to hear that it's paying off and that you could see it all. I'm a super visual person. I was in theatre for a long time, so everything in my head has to play out like a staged show or a movie--I have to be able to see it all when I write, and I want people to be able to picture it when they read my writing. I'm so incredibly happy that you did! :D

And thanks for affirming the decision to not split the chapter. That's what I thought, too, that the character development just flowed better with both scenes in the same chapter. But getting that feedback helps.

Plus, I just love when elegant, put-together Astoria, who has managed to keep her cool through so much, is stabbing her mashed potatoes like an angry child. It's one of the reasons I love this chapter.

Thank you! I'm so excited that you think I got Draco's characterization right. He's a tricky one, because I wanted to make him more sympathetic without pretending that he's been some great person. He's such a prat much of the time, but I wanted to lend him some of the complexity that I knew had to be there, and I'm really just so glad that you think it's working!

"She's like an mystery that looks solvable and easily manipulated when in reality she's this entirely unknown enigma that Draco wouldn't even begin to know how to piece together."
--I LOVE this description of Astoria! This is so great!

Ick. Amycus. He grossed me out almost as much as Fenrir Greyback. When I've freaked myself out, that's when I guess I know I've gotten it where it needs to be. *shivers*

Okay, I'm relieved to know that you felt that Astoria and Draco's POV's are balanced enough at this point. I agree with you that Astoria is the protagonist, which *is* why she has more face time, but I don't want readers to feel like Draco is getting left in the dust. Problem is, he's kind of sulky and miserable right now, and less is happening on his end, so I only want to subject them to so much of that. But I don't want him to get totally outweighed. It's a problem for the next set of chapters. Until Something Happens on Draco's end to change his trajectory, there's only so much of him that I can show, but I do want to strike some sort of balance. I'm glad to know that, for now, it's working :)

You really just summarize all this so well. You totally get how complex Astoria's feelings about Draco are, which makes me happy. The poor girl. No one ever just does nice things for her, do they? Although, as a rule, not trusting Death Eaters is probably a good way to go. [I can see Ginny here, like, GINNY: "Hey! I invited her along on an exciting mission! That was nice!" ASTORIA: "Yes. Dangerous, death defying stunts are my favourite. So nice."]

Thank you so, so much for your fantastic review! I really appreciate it! ♥

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #29, by manno_malfoy A Changing Tide

18th September 2015:
FIRST OF ALL! WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT FIERCE ASTORIA WITH A FIRE POKER? DO YOU SEE HER?! OH MY GOD! Okay, now that we've got that out of the way.

"It was as though she were a marionette, with all the responsibilities stringing her upright suddenly sliced through."

"Not the mundane sort of magic that had run in the veins of their families for centuries, but an indomitable force of will."


There were multiple beautiful passages in this chapter, but these two are my favourite. There was an overpowering sense of vulnerability in the second half of the chapter that, I suppose, gave you more of a chance to craft sentences that really do appeal to emotions. All the pretences were off, and they both were finally saying what they mean. For a brief while, they were just two young people in a room, caught in a dilemma too huge and complex for their age.

The way you made Draco waver so gradually until that moment in the end when he let her go was fantastic. It started out with Draco admiring her wits (all the way in the beginning of the story), to his stopping her from saying Voldemort's name (in a most admirable manner too, I must say. My Drastoria-loving heart quivered in admiration!), then it went onto an honest conversation where he confessed to how little control he had over matters, to her begging him to exercise whatever little influence he had to the fullest. The sequence of events made things so realistic and it all went so smoothly.

Your description of Fenrir was so magnificent. You went beyond describing how he looked and it just brought him to life and really scared me. I don't know how Astoria kept herself together, but it made me agree with Draco. She probably could hold it together in front of Voldemort as well, that beautiful piece of work.

I really do admire how you're writing her and developing her. I love, love, love the moments where you remind us of how she's just a young girl despite of the tough act she puts. I just want to give her a hug.

Oh, and I do apologise once again for the mistake in the previous review. Lesson learned: no more reviewing without absolute silence and a cup of tea!

Lots and lots of love!

-Manno

Author's Response: YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!

Isn't she awesome? I'm so proud of my baby!

Hey, I had said she might want to join you on beating Draco with a blunt (or sharp!) object.

Aww, favorite quotes! I love favorite quotes! Thank you.

"All the pretences were off, and they both were finally saying what they mean. For a brief while, they were just two young people in a room, caught in a dilemma too huge and complex for their age. "
--I feel like that's such an excellent description of what this chapter is like and of what I wanted it to be.

Having Draco waver was definitely like chipping away at an iceberg with a screwdriver. You see now why it had to be six chapters in the parlour! I mean, apart from all the background info that we needed, I just knew that Draco needed time to thaw a bit, to develop an admiration for (and, perhaps, an interest in...?) Astoria. And, of course, he sees plenty to admire in her: she's clever and quick, and surprisingly brave. And family is everything to her, which he can relate to. After all, Draco is *in* this terrible situation because of his family.

That bit where he wouldn't let her say the name is something I'm really fond of, too. Yay for quivering, Drastoria-loving hearts!

The honesty at the end of that conversation is cool, too, because up till now we've so rarely seen Astoria be honest. Even when she's been vulnerable, like with Madame Pomfrey, she dries her tears, puts up a front, shakes it off. This is maybe the first time we've seen Astoria with all her walls down. It's a rare view of her.

Aw, thank you! Honestly, I can never read that passage about Fenrir without cringing. He freaks me out. And you're absolutely right – Astoria frequently underestimates her bravery (and, to be fair, she does have a very well-developed sense of self-preservation). But when it comes down to it, she can hold her own. Draco sees that bravery in her, and he's probably right. She probably could hold it together in front of Voldemort far better than most.

And thank you, again! I love when people love Astoria. I don't know how well she'd respond to that hug, but I can tell you that *I* certainly appreciate it.

Absolutely no worries!

Lots of love back atcha! Your reviews always brighten my day :D

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #30, by manno_malfoy The Stolen Truth

18th September 2015:
"Perhaps they were discussing the remarkable freshness of their lawn!"

Oh my God, that made me laugh so hard! Astoria is so awesome! And it's not like she hasn't been intense all along, but she took it to a whole new level this chapter. It felt like a tennis match and the two of them were rallying against each other, IT WAS SO EXCITING! But I was also so scared for Astoria as Draco continued to dig deeper.

When Astoria's brain jumped straight to torture being the 'tough method', I couldn't help but think that it's the aftermath of the curse with her mother. I mean, if Lavinia could do something so terrible to her (even if for a good reason), then who knows how far could Draco take things to prove he's right?!

I'm very curious as to how Astoria managed to shield herself against Leglimency...? Is it another thing Lavinia has done? I got quite terrified though when Draco started trying to get into her head. I thought it's over. But phew... It's all good. For now, I guess.

But really! You're doing a marvellous job with all the suspense! And not just getting it through from one chapter to the next, but within each chapter as well! This chapter in particular is exhilarating!

AND WHAT IS THAT PREVIEW?! I'm so glad I can move straight onto the next chapter and see it!!!

Author's Response: I'm pretty positive I mentioned that I mentioned this in the PM I sent you, but I am SO EXCITED that you liked that line because it is one of my favorites. Especially with Draco following it up be throwing shade at the Weasley's lawn care. :p

I'M SO GLAD THAT IT WAS EXCITING! Tennis match and chess game were definitely what I was going for; just constant volleys back and forth, each trying to outplay the other.

I think you make a good point. I'd say that, while Astoria was guarded before, Lavinia's curse made her a whole lot more so. She certainly wouldn't expect more mercy from her enemies than from her family.

As you know now, she didn't. Astoria isn't an occlumens, much to her dismay. Strange, maybe, that a spy's protégé wouldn't learn occlumency. But then, perhaps there's more to the story...There usually is ;)

Thank you! That's a lovely thing to say and I am so glad to hear it!

MUAHAHAHA! That was a fun teaser, I'm not gonna lie ;)

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #31, by HeyMrsPotter The Stolen Truth

13th September 2015:
Just...omg.

I feel as stupid as Astoria for not even considering the whole Legillimens thing! Very clever twist, of course Draco is very skilled in it! And she had played such a good role up to this point!

I'm adding this to my favourites so that I can come back to it and find out where it goes from here.

Great job!

Dee

Author's Response: :D I'm smiling so hugely! In a second, the muscles are gonna be sore, and I don't even care.

Don't feel stupid! Though I'm definitely glad that you didn't see it coming. As it happens, there's more reason behind Astoria's--and Lavinia's--oversight than even Astoria herself knows. But I can't say much more on that right now, because spoilers.

Oh! That is so lovely! Thank you so much for favoriting, and I'm so excited that you want to come back and find out what happens.

Thank you so much for all these wonderful reviews! They made me so happy! And it is so awesome, that you're doing this for all the Dobby finalists. I'm trying to get to all the stories, too. You are an inspiration! Thanks again!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #32, by HeyMrsPotter The Malediction Perfidious

13th September 2015:
Me again :)

I don't think I've mentioned this yet but I really like the way you split each chapter into the interrogation with Draco and then the flashback to Astoria executing her revenge plan. I'm enjoying reading Astoria playing her role of loyal supporter of the Death Eaters and Voldemort, and that Draco is becoming quite distracted by her.

I'm not at all surprised at Ginny using her friend to see Astoria, and the way she did it was so perfectly Ginny. I'm glad she chose to believe Astoria, though I pretty much knew that she had passed the message on because of Draco's questionning.

On to the next :)

Dee

Author's Response: Thank you for telling me that. I remember I was a bit unsure about that structure when I was starting out, but I'm really happy with it, now. So much of the relevant information happened in the past, so flashbacks are really useful in showing what happened. And I felt like it served as a bit of a respite. I don't know that I could have kept things interesting, stuck in the same room for six chapters, if it weren't for those flashbacks!

He is indeed :D

Yay! I'm so glad that you felt like that suited Ginny! All her experience with Fred and George's shenanigans prepared her surprisingly well to be the leader of a group of rebels. Put that extracurricular on your resume!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #33, by HeyMrsPotter A Dangerous Revelation

13th September 2015:
Back for more!

I can really see why this has been nominated for a Dobby. I love that Astoria picked Ginny to help in her little mission, she and Ginny are a pretty good match for each other and it made a really interesting scene between them. I'm dying to read on to find out what Ginny decides to do about it. Oh and the charmed galleon necklace was such a nice little touch.

Looking forward to the next!

Dee

Author's Response: That is such a lovely thing to say! Thank you!

I love the dynamic between Ginny and Astoria. Any time I get to write them into the same room, I always have a blast.

I'm glad you liked the galleon necklace!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #34, by HeyMrsPotter The Lady of Greengrass Hall

13th September 2015:
Hello again!

Wow, okay so I'm more confused than ever about Lavinia's death. I really like the role that you gave her in following Voldemort, we hear so much about the ministry spies in the books but it's nice that you gave an identity to one of them. I also loved the mundane finality of the line And that was the end of Lavinia Greengrass

I love Astoria more and more with every new bit of this story. I can't wait to find out what she's done to bring down the Death Eaters!

Dee

Author's Response: I *think* that's good? What kind of confused are you? Confused, like you can't tell what happened? Or confused like, "Hmm...that is indeed mysterious!"?

Lavinia has a special place in my heart (and outline!). She may be six feet under for the entire story, but she casts a long shadow, and will continue to affect things wayyy down the line. She's very complex, and I'm always interested to see what people think of her.

Yay! I was always a bit fond of that, too, for the very reason you said. She had such a fascinating life, but for a moment it just all sounds so quick and sort of typical. Like, "Oh, well that's it."

But, of course, it isn't. There's definitely more to it than that. Would Lavinia ever die in an undramatic fashion? I think not.

I'm so glad that you're loving Astoria! And that you're excited about her plan!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #35, by HeyMrsPotter An Unwelcome Visitor

13th September 2015:
Hi, Penny! I'm finally here to read and review your story for the Dobbys. Congratulations on the nomination!

I think this is a really great opening chapter. That first section got me interested straight away, what secrets are the Greengrass family keeping?!

I really like the premise of the story that you've set up here. I'm curious as to what happened to Astoria's mother but I can only assume it's something to do with the Death Eaters since Draco referred to it as the unfortunate incident.

I love the voice that you've given to Astoria here too, she's smart and knows the role that she needs to play but her assessment and bitter thoughts towards Draco give her an edge.

Great start!

Author's Response: Hey Dee! Thank you so much! :D

Sooo many secrets! (muahahaha!) Honestly though, it's not even a skeleton in the closet. The Greengrasses have an entire ossuary.

Metaphorically, I mean. I've never been in their closets. I don't think Filly would approve of literal bone storage.

I'm really glad to know that the first section drew you in, and that you're liking the premise.

It is indeed something to do with the Death Eaters (as you now know). In fact, it's all a little bit mysterious...

:D I love Astoria--she's my baby!--so I love when other people say such lovely things about her.

Thank you!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #36, by StarFeather A Dangerous Revelation

12th September 2015:
Hi, Penny.

I've read from the first chapter and came here. I thought of leaving review.

The idea Astoria's mother was a spy like Snape is very interesting. And she died of the Killing Curse by one of the followers of the Dark Lord or the Dark Lord himself. It's very impressive. J.K.Rowling didn't tell about Astoria so much so authors can imagine various situation around her. And you chose the theme of revenge, it's quite uinique and when you had Draco enter, which turned to be more intriguing.

The mood of this story is wrapped by dark and tensed atmosphere which affects Astoria's personality. The way to make up the main character is super. When I started reading this after knowing at the Dobbys nomination list, I didn't hesitate to select the "Favorite" tag.

Wow, I've never imagined you would have Ginny Wealey enter. The each scene is thrilling. I'll be back again.

Kenny

Author's Response:
Hey Kenny!

Thanks for reviewing!

I'm glad you found Lavinia's background interesting! I thought it would be fun to play off the whole 'spy' thing, since we know that Death Eater spies existed.

Yeah, Astoria's a fun character because, like you said, we know very little about her. It's a bit like having an OC, but with guidelines.

Poor Astoria. The dark, tense atmosphere has certainly taken a toll on her mood. That said, I don't really imagine her as having had a sunny disposition before. It's hard to envision, at present. But with all of the drama and angst she's had to deal with, on the whole I think she's bearing up pretty well.

Aww! Thank you so much for Favoriting! *hugs*

Yay! I'm glad Ginny's entrance was a bit of a surprise. I was hoping people wouldn't be expecting it, exactly, but that the reasons Astoria sought her out would make sense.

And I'm so happy that you find it thrilling! And that you plan to come back! I'll look forward to it! Visit anytime for more tea and biscuits and tension ;)

Thanks again for R&Ring!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #37, by Sunflower The Edge of Insanity

11th September 2015:
Lovely story, thank you! :)

Author's Response: Thank YOU! :D

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #38, by TreacleTart The Edge of Insanity

9th September 2015:
Hey Penny!

I'm here for our review swap! Sorry it always seems to take me a day or two to get to them! My silly job likes to get in the way unfortunately.

Eek! Draco is back! I'm so happy that we get to see a little bit of him in this chapter. I was almost wondering if you had forgotten about him. I actually wish we got to see a bit more of Draco and what's happening on his side of the war. I really hope that in the upcoming chapters you'll focus in on him a bit and work on giving him some of the depth and richness that you've given to Astoria.

One thing that I found interesting is the sort of star crossed destined to be together sort of deal that's running through this story. It's there in the story if you look hard, but you've done a good job of keeping it from getting cliche or too soppy. It's just little things like Astoria and Draco both being in Hogsmeade at the same time and Draco happening to look up and see her. His thoughts about her really show how central she's become in his fight to keep his sanity and I can see how at the end of the war they might fall in love.

I TOTALLY CALLED ABERFORTH LIGHTING THE FIRE! I KNEW NEVILLE WAS DOOMED AS SOON AS HE SHIMMIED UP THE FIREPLACE!!

The initial confrontation with Aberforth was written pretty well. I like that Neville tries to remain polite, but seems to be unsure of what to do to handle a bitter old man like him. And Luna...well, she's just Luna and I love her for it. In this particular chapter I think she did a great job of defusing the tension. Usually, she's good for a laugh, but here her oddness really serves to keep Neville from getting jinxed to jelly.

Now my only real bit of critique on this particular chapter comes when Astoria enters. I like that she keeps herself concealed better than the others and I also liked that she is very too the point and takes charge quickly. Where I felt a slight disconnect was that the ending seemed just a little bit rushed to me. I think that's for a couple of reasons. Astoria goes on these long monologues where she's basically lecturing Aberforth as if he were a child, but there's really not much reaction from him. Personally, I think he would be outraged, shamed, and shocked to hear a girl barely older than a child speaking to him that way. And it's not that there needs to be any dialogue on his part, but does he flush? Does he grunt in anger? Does he stand up and pace or is he frozen to the chair? I guess what I'm saying is I'd like to be able to envision the scene a little more. You do such a great job of describing Astoria pulling herself up as tall as possible and setting her spine straight. I can imagine her well. I just wish the other players in the scene had that same vividness.

Since I've now read all of the posted chapters, I also wanted to give you a general review of the story as a whole, so any commentary below this point is focused on the overall.

Plot - You have a unique and interesting plot. It's held my interest and honestly if I didn't have work/real life commitments to tear me away from reading, I would've devoured all of this in one sitting. The starting point with the battle of Draco and Astoria really did a lot to reel me in and make me invest in them. From there, things on Astoria's side have developed quite nicely. My only bit of CC in this area is that sometimes I feel like Draco's storyline isn't as important in the story...and maybe it isn't or not yet at least, but I would love just a bit more depth there.

Characters- I adore your character choices and really enjoy the idea of not all Slytherins being bad or cowardly. Things like Slughorn covertly protecting the students and Astoria getting involved with the Gryffies really makes me root for them and I think is much more realistic than the black and white portrayal that JKR gives us in cannon. My only small bit of CC in this area would be that sometimes Astoria shines so brightly that she eclipses everyone else. As the story progresses and Astoria gets to know Neville, Aberforth, Draco, Seamus, Luna, etc. I'd love to see a little more of their personality emerge. For example, the way you described Pansy and Daphne, I had almost an immediate, clear impression of who they were. Same with Slughorn.

Flow - The flow of each chapter has been smooth and so has the story as a whole. I haven't really found any hiccups or things that were concerning. I have yet to notice any gapping plot holes or anything like that, so excellent work there.

Spelling/Grammar/Typos- Most of this story has been flawless. I've noticed a rare typo here and there, but everyone has them from time to time. There definitely wasn't anything glaring.

Emotional Effect - Something that you've done brilliantly here is really made me relate to and feel for Astoria. I'm nothing like her as a person and there are parts of her that I find frustrating, but as a whole I really admire her intellect, cunning, and determination to do the right thing. Your story has taken a character that I never really gave much thought to and made me really root for her.

Yikes! I realize that this review is incredibly wordy, but I know as a writer that sometimes an overlook of the story as a whole can help, so I hope at least a little bit of this is helpful!

Thanks for all the swaps and make sure to let me know when the next chapter is up!

Great work as always!

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: Ha! I figure you know I'm good for it, and I know that you are :)

I'm glad that you found that star-crossed element interest, and that you didn't think it was too obvious. I wanted to give the sense that there's something between them, some string tying them together. And it may or may not be fate. It's just somehow, they can't shake one another.

"His thoughts about her really show how central she's become in his fight to keep his sanity"
--I'm so happy that's coming across, because it's really important!

YOU TOTALY CALLED IT! :D

I think Neville really excels at inspiring people. That speech he gives when Harry dies? Excellent. And the whole D.A. seems to look up to him. I wanted to show that Neville *had* become a leader, but leave him some room for growth. I figured that, with someone as bitter as Aberforth, he was just momentarily stymied. What do you say to someone who has stretched that far down into selfishness and despair, that they're willing to let children starve? But Astoria knows what it's like--she's been there--so she knows what needs to be said.

In regards to the critique for this chapter: I totally agree with you on that ending, and you've given me some great suggestions for how to fix it. I've always felt like Astoria's monologues there were too unbroken, but I didn't know how to make it better. You're absolutely right. Including Aberforth's reaction would add a lot to the chapter. I'll have to try to fix that up once edits open back up :D

Overall Commentary!

Plot: I'm so happy that you think the plot is interesting enough to read in one sitting, if time would allow! To go further on the Draco thing, I see your point. I don't totally understand the worry that he'd been forgotten, since he's been featured in almost every other chapter, and in all of the first 7. Though I guess that is an adjustment from how constantly he was featured at the start. But I DEFINITELY see your concern about him getting less screentime than Astoria. The main problem, right now, is that he's in the Forbidden Forest, eaten up with self-loathing, and there's only so much of that I can show before it starts to slow down the plot. As we get closer to the Battle of Hogwarts, Draco will definitely going to show up more and more--there are some important things going down on his side!--it's just that they aren't happening yet, and I'm a bit constrained by the timeline. However, I'm glad you said something, because there were a few scenes I was trying to figure out how to work in--and whether or not I *should*--that concern Draco, and this makes me think that I should. I don't want poor Draco to get left in the character development dust! If we get to the point that he's around more and it's still not working, though, definitely tell me!

Characters: THANK YOU! I wanted to write from a more nuanced perspective about Slytherin House, and I'm so glad that you're liking that! I definitely see your point about Astoria eclipsing the others a bit. I *think* that has more to do with where we are in the story, because the next few chapters will have a lot more of Neville, Luna, and Seamus (especially Seamus), so they'll all get some more development. However, if a few more chapters go by and you still feel like Astoria is outperforming the others too much, please let me know and I'll do what I can to correct that.

Spelling.: Thank you so much for pointing out those typos. It helped me so much in my last round of edits.

Emotional: Thank you so much for these lovely, lovely words. That really means so much to me!

Thank you for your really useful advice, and for pointing out the snags. I really am serious: please let me know if the next few chapters don't meet those concerns. I think a lot of it just has to do with where we are, at present, but I want to make sure those issues are being fixed. Your commentary and critiques are so helpful to me, and I really appreciate all of your thoughts. Thank you!


 Report Review

Review #39, by manno_malfoy The Malediction Perfidious

9th September 2015:
I'd like to start by saying that I'll TRY to write a proper review, but that probably ain't gonna happen. I just want Ginny and Astoria to be my best friends; it would solve 75 percent of my all the problems in my life. But I'll get into the details regarding the lovely ladies of this story later on.

I'm not sure what problems you were facing with Draco while writing this chapter, but I didn't see any signs of the struggle. His attitude is consistent throughout all the chapters so far. He thinks he's so shrewd but he's just getting more and more obnoxious. How does he even know about any of those things?! I know he's going through a lot, and I do like that you showed that in this chapter, but I just want him to stop asking stupid questions and ask Astoria out for coffee. But that would take away all the fun from the story, so you carry on as you are.

Oooh, and I loved the little detail about how the dress she was wearing was concealing the signs of her nervousness. It just adds this super realistic touch to everything.

This is the line where I, as always, commend you on the way you describe households and objects. This time it was tea cups and saucers, but it was stellar all the same!

And now, finally, I can talk about the ladies! OH MY GOD! Lavinia! Like you said, she spends the entire story in the grave, but I feel like I already know her. As Astoria came to realise that her mother had cast a curse on her for keeping secrets, I was like, "Yep, that sounds like something Lavinia would do. Yep." I thought the magic behind this that you've invented is brilliant (you have invented it, right? My brain can't be missing such an important curse!). The description of the scar is also brilliant! And the scene in the Hospital Wing with Madam Pomfrey just made my heart do funny things. I was very happy to see the softer side of Astoria. After all, she's essentially just a kid. And with all the mind games we've seen her run the past few chapters, it may be easy to forget that. And above all of that, it must've been very difficult to absorb that her mother might do something like this to her. You've shown all of that perfectly well in the chapter.

AND GINNY! THAT GIRL IS SO BRILLIANT IN THIS STORY, I JUST CAN'T WITH HER! I love how conniving she is. Astoria can insult her and her Gryffindor qualities all she wants, but that doesn't change the fact that Ginny is doing some marvellous, sly things and is doing them so well that no one can trace it back to her. Unless stupid Draco has, then we may have a tiny problem. BUT STILL. SHE IS SO AWESOME. Am I coming off as juvenile?

Ahem, okay, apparently I've written an essay. But there were a lot of things going on in the chapter and I wanted to address them all, so yeah...

I did enjoy everything! ALL OF IT! And I'll be back soon for the next chapter!

-Manno

Author's Response: Hey Manno! Lovely to see you again! Thanks so much for this wonderful review :D

Haha, this is a great review! Never mind propriety! (three words that have never been uttered aloud in the Greengrass house).

I'm glad you thought Draco came across well...or badly, but, you know, well. You see what I mean. I was just initially having trouble breaking into his POV, if I remember right. I was trying to latch onto his thoughts and his voice, and it just took a while to find it. Elphaba&Boyfriends suggested, basically, "Just have him judge something.' Which was brilliant advice, because it turns out that the perfect way to tap into Draco Malfoy is by looking down your nose at something. Yup, you're above it all, Draco. Just keep critiquing other people's china. He's down, all right, but even in his diminished state, he can't quite help but noticing that his things are nicer...or they were, anyway, before Voldemort came around and ruined everything. The thoughts don't seem to give him much satisfaction, though, do they?

"He thinks he's so shrewd but he's just getting more and more obnoxious. How does he even know about any of those things?!"--Astoria, is that you? I didn't know you read this?

Hahaha, that just cracks me up. I feel like you've put the essence of her inner monologue into two sentences. It's all tea and crumpets, but underneath she's just seething. "Who is this guy? I hate him. Why does he know all this? Reveal nothing!" :D

I love that image. "So, this is a bit awkward seeing as how I might literally be the death of you, but do you fancy a coffee? I'm often busy, what with the Death Eating and such, but a fellow's got to have something to drink as well, yeah? 'Man does not live on Death alone, and all that.' What, is that not how it goes?"

Yay! Thank you! I love knowing what lines and details people like. That really helps me. I'm glad you enjoyed those!

OH MY GOSH, right?! Poor Astoria. I'm really excited that you feel like you know Lavinia, though. Her story isn't over. It's hard, of course, because Astoria was so close to her mother, it feels like such a betrayal. She's done all this to *avenge* Lavinia, and she nearly dies at Lavinia's own hand! A whole host of emotional issues there. Why do Purebloods never have even relatively simple family lives, I ask you? But I'm really glad that you were able to reconcile that with your idea of Lavinia. She's a complex character, with lots of different motivations and aims. I don't want to say any more on the subject though, lest the spoilers creep in.

The curse is original, yeah! I am SO EXCITED that you liked it! A lot of people who commented it were like, "That's horrifying," and I was like "YES", because obviously I wanted it to seem really awful and scarring. BUT I'm really happy to get a response from someone who thinks it's cool, because *I* always liked it. I mean, it's terrible, but I was also kinda proud of it. It was nice to finally let Astoria show a little bit of vulnerability.

My smile is so big right now! Thanks! I adore Ginny, and writing her is a blast. You're absolutely right--she's doing marvelous things! And Astoria knows that--it's part of why she respects her, if a little begrudgingly--but Gryffindor thinking baffles her, and she tends to think that things she doesn't understand aren't very sensible. A bit of that Pureblooded arrogance couldn't help but creep in, but I kind of love her for it.

That would, indeed, be a *tiny* problem.

I don't think you're coming across as juvenile at all. I'm SO excited that you're loving it, and I can't wait to hear your opinions on later chapters. I LOVED your essay. My smile is taking up half my face. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING SEVERAL OF MY DAYS WITH THIS AWESOME REVIEW!!! Much love.

--Penny












 Report Review

Review #40, by MuggleMaybe The Lady of Greengrass Hall

7th September 2015:
Hi Penny!
So I told you I was planning to read your stories, and now you can see that I meant it. ;)

The first two chapters are brilliantly intriguing. And Lavinia! WHAT a story! I love it! And now you've got me completely desperate to read the next chapter with the mention of Ginny!

One thing I particularly like is how you consider various reasons people might have joined the Death Eaters, apart from being actually evil. It's very realistic.

I'll leave a longer review at some point, but for now, on to chapter 3 :)
~Renee

Author's Response: Hi Renee!

Thank you so much for coming by!

Oooh! I'm glad that you're intrigued (can I 'muahahaha? now? I'm gonna. MUAHAHAHAHA!)

Oh, Lavinia, beloved of many. You have done so many bad things, but for understandable reasons (and maybe some bad things for reasons that can't be understood).

Oooh, good, I'd love to hear what you end up thinking about Ginny! She's one of my favorite characters in this story.

Thank you. This fic is, in large part, my Slytherin exploration fic. What makes a Slytherin a Slytherin? How do those traits manifest, for good and for ill? In the books, the Slytherins aren't given a *ton* of nuance. Mostly they're relegated to being the House of Evil. But it can't possibly be that simple, and I wanted to work with that, which naturally led to exploring the Death Eaters as well. I'm sure there was no shortage of Death Eaters who were fueled by hate alone, and some who were there because they desired power. But there had to have been some people there for other reasons, so I'm really glad that you like hearing about why a woman like Lavinia Greengrass might have joined up!

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing, Renee! You're a gem :D

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #41, by Gabriella Hunter The Writing On the Wall

6th September 2015:
Hello! >:)

This is Gabbie from the forums and your nightmares back with a review! I enjoy our swaps too so it's always great coming back to TH while I contemplate what to do about my writers block. *Sigh.*

I felt really badly for Astoria while I was reading. The secrets that she has are too much for her to bear alone and to know that her sister has pretty much gone into LaLa land and her father isn't well, I know that it must be difficult. The fact that the War has brought on such a drastic change is really evident in the briliant way you wrote the train platform. We're not only bombarded with Astoria's loneliness but the relief, heartache and sadness that comes along with loved ones finding one another or recieving the news that they're no longer alive. I can only imagine what that could be like but your writing here is so beautiful and detailed that I could picture every action and for some reason, Astoria in her green cloak is going to stay with me for a while. It really was written as if she were in a sea of fog and could possibly be the last person in the world.

I seriously have no idea how you do it but your version of Ginny Weasley is my all time favorite right now. I don't know how you've managed to flesh her out and give her so much soul but I adore everything about her. Astoria, I think admires her to a certain degree and I think it would have been interesting to see them engaging in girl talk that didn't involve life and death. Well, it has mostly to do with Draco and what she should do with him but I think that underenath, Astoria is perplexed by how she should feel about him. It would have been great to get Ginny's opinion about the situation, especially when Draco is not her favorite person.

My favorite thing about this chapter though was the actual writing on the wall. It had this great element of danger, humor and hear that I think just gave Astoria's relationship with Ginny so much more depth. We get so much more insight into Ginny's mind and there's this touching vulnerability to her that I just loved reading, it matched so well with Astoria's bluntness on some parts. Astoria isn't the sort of person to let her guard down but while they were together in the dark, I could sense how much she wanted to. I hope their friendship continues in the future but Ginny is nowhere to be seen, of course and now Astoria is faced with doing everything alone. ;___;

Gosh, that just makes me so upset. Hahaha.

Well, considering what I do to my other female characters, I applaud you. You don't end every chapter with sobs and forsaken love, which is so refreshing for me! (I write a lot of that kind of stuff, it's a curious blend of cynicsm and dark humor)

Anyway, this was fantastic as usual and I hope to see you skulking about my stories again some time soon! :D

Much love,

Gabbie

Author's Response: Please always introduce yourself as "Gabbie from the forums and your nightmares". Always.

I enjoy our swaps, too :D

The responsibilities are definitely weighing heavy on Astoria, and have been for a while. It's so much more than any 16 year old should ever have to deal with, but I think she bears up admirably, despite that.

Thank you so much! I'm so happy that you liked that scene and those images! That one still kind of makes me sad to think about. It was sad to right.

This is how our stories work--you give me anxiety and repulsion (towards Draco & Co., I mean), I give you melancholy and loneliness. Fairest trade I've ever heard of, evil twin ;)

Awww! THANK YOU! I love writing my version of Ginny so much that it's just so exciting to me to hear that YOU LOVE HER, TOO! HOORAY! :D

Girl talk is always life or death ;) No, I'm kidding. It would be interesting to see Astoria and Ginny in a fully relaxed moment, without all the fear and the risks and potential death, just chatting about boys and nail polish or whatever. To see Astoria and Ginny discussing Draco Malfoy as a romantic option would probably be HILARIOUS! Who knows, though--it just might happen. ;)

I think I can fairly say, without it being much of a spoiler, that Ginny Weasley will make her opinion of Draco Malfoy known. Ginny tends to have...strong opinions.


This scene with Astoria and Ginny is actually one of my favorites out off all the posted chapters. It was so nice to get to be a little bit funny for once. Which I liked also because it shows that opening up to other people, just a little, lightens the burden so much.

I love the humor bits. I'm you can know a person until you laugh with them, and I liked that, after tiptoeing around it a bit in earlier chapters, we get this idea that beneath all the Slytherin v. Gryffindor crap, and beneath all the war angst, Astoria and Ginny *could* be friends, if the circumstances will allow for it. They're very different, but sort of kindred spirits. You're right about the bluntness. Astoria knows how to prevaricate endlessly, but when she's just being herself, she's quite blunt, and Ginny's a straight-shooter herself. They can respect each other, which neither of them probably expected from a Slytherin or a Gryffindor. It's the first real contact with friend-ish-ness that Astoria has had in a while, and it's a nice possibility. It's something to hope for.

Until, of course, the Death Eaters took that away from her, too. And now Astoria is as alone as she ever was.

(or so she thinks...)

Thank you so, so much for this lovely review! We'll have to do it again soon. It's always fun. :)

Yes, yes. Only every *other* chapter here ends in sobs. ;) And so far love or affection or attraction isn't forsaken so much as it's angsty and terribly confused. No shortage of existential crises over the nature of right and wrong! Plenty of cynicism, and dark humor though! Hopefully that'll keep you coming back.

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #42, by manno_malfoy A Dangerous Revelation

6th September 2015:
" Im not out throwing myself at every cause that moves, like a deranged Gryffindor.

I've decided to start this review with my favourite line from this chapter. Just to change things up a little. And as much as I'd like to be graceful and accept your offer for tea, I think I'll just throw confetti and roll around in it because we have a new strong woman in the story and it excites me to no end!

I really do love Ginny. And I like yours because of how you've got this balance between fervent support for the war and, at the same time, an ability to maintain her composure and think before she acts. The same goes for Astoria, except she's invested in avenging her mother, but she still took the time to devise a foolproof (hopefully foolproof if she manages to outsmart Draco and he keeps his nose out of things that don't concern him?) and to find the perfect person to assist her achieve her goal. Can I have tea with these wonderful ladies while they tell me how take control of my hectic life?

I do like that youve carried on with showing how much of an impact Lavinias personality and job has had on Astoria because its a constant reminder of why Astoria really is dedicated to all this. You mentioned her keen side, and then you showed us with how she noticed things between Ginny and Harry.

It also just occurred to me that the past three chapters, weve been in the same conversation between Draco and Astoria. We see a snippet of the conversation, then a memory so that we know something that Draco doesnt get to know (take that, Draco!). But that just really keeps us away from that crazy tension in the room between Astoria and Draco. Youre just keeping me on my toes, and I wish I had the time to devour it all in one sitting.

-Manno

Author's Response: HAHAHA! I've always had a fondness for that line. No offense meant to any Gryffindors. Well, no offense meant...by me. Astoria had every intention of offending ;)

Yay! I was hoping you'd like TH's Ginny! I have so much fun writing her. Every time she's in a scene, it just livens it right up. She's one of my favorite characters to write in this fic, and she and Astoria make great foils for one another.

Has Draco ever kept his nose out of things that don't concern him?

Oh, Lavinia casts a long, long shadow. And it only gets longer.

Yes! We know and Draco doesn't!

But how much *does* he know? And how much will he find out? *dun dun DUHN*

Heeheehee! Keeping the tension drawn out was probably the biggest trick I've pulled in this fic so far (*probably* Though there are more tricks to come!) The flashbacks allowed me to show, rather than tell, since so much of the pertinent information was in the past. And, like you say, it gives the audience a break from the tension, so that the chord doesn't snap too soon.

Thank you so, so much for your lovely reviews! It's such fun to hear your thoughts. It's really been making me smile :D

--Penny



 Report Review

Review #43, by carry on with your knitting The Malediction Perfidious

6th September 2015:
Hey penny! :D

I'm here for another review and I'm so glad I got to come back! I've been distracted a lot recently but you can't keep me Away for too long!

Another brilliant chapter, but I don't expect anything less!

I loved that we got to see some of dracos point of view here because we can really see just how similar he is to Astoria and also we get to she how other people view astorIa herself so I thought that was really I interesting! Oh my goodness is there a death eater coming?! Literally thAt tiny little sentence has got me even more eager to keep reading!! :D

I also love that Draco knows she lying but still plays along, like a true Slytherin!

The curse part was so tense and the way you wrote it's any that we knew as little as Astoria when it was happening, which was really affective! Is it a really curse? Because if not I think thats a lovely bit of creative listen e and a really cool addition to the story and spell universe! I love that it's old and that as the reader we know it must have been her mum and so does she but we all still go through the process of elimination :)
Also was it snape or slug horn that created the potion to help her, I got the idea that if was snape but I loved that! Because it's shows that snape has some good in him somewhere and you have him depth by just including him in that tiny part! :)

I really likedthe exchange between ginny and Astoria in the hospital wing, it was a real battle of whits and although they both put on this air of not liking each other, but I think they probably do and they definitely admire each other!

Once again it wa an utter pleasure to read and I will most definitely be back soon! Keep up the amazing job! :D

Katie :)

Author's Response: Hey Katie!

I'm glad you've come back, too! Thank you!

Astoria and Draco do have a lot of similarities, most of which lie in their Slytherin traits: they are cunning, poised, and reserved, as well as highly observant, which is not so much a House trait as it is something that they simply happen to share. It makes them interesting competitors. I really wanted to write a Draco/Astoria in which Astoria was not the categorical opposite of Draco, but instead shared some traits and experiences in common. It's made the way they play off of each other really fun to write!

Muahaha! Yes. Draco knows that, lots of times, the lies a person chooses to tell are as important as the truth, and the longer he can string all that out, the more potentially flustered she'll be when she's caught. But, of course, that only works if he can prove it. And Astoria *is* pretty skilled at this game ;)

Thank you! It's a made up curse--it didn't already exist in the HP universe. I'm really glad you liked it! And the slow process of elimination bit as Astoria comes to her horrifying conclusion.

You were right! It was Snape! Even though he's pretty much ceded control of the castle to the Carrows and isn't stopping them from doing terrible things, I like to imagine that he'd still do *something* useful with his time there, on occasion. We already know he's skilled at healing rare curses, because he staved off Dumbledore's death from that ring's curse for a year. I figured that Madame Pomfrey might be capable, but with something this rare and old, you'd want to bring in the big guns.

Oh, I you're right. They certainly admire each other. They're just a great deal to stubborn to admit it. I'm glad you liked that scene, because any chapter with Astoria and Ginny in the same room is always great fun to write.

This review was an utter pleasure, as well! Thanks so much, Katie! You're a gem :D

--Penny







 Report Review

Review #44, by TreacleTart A Rattle of Keys

6th September 2015:
Hey Penny!

I'm here with our review swap FINALLY! Sorry, I know I am the absolute worst. Don't hate me.

The thing that really stood out to me in this chapter was the way Astoria is thinking about the room and the portrait. She's so naturally skeptical of people, so it makes sense, but still for some reason, I guess I never gave much thought to the room being somewhat sentient. Once that idea occurs though, it is sort of creepy or disconcerting. It would seem that it would require a lot of magical power for it to create an offsite tunnel.

I thought you did a great job of distinguishing between Astoria, Luna, and Neville. You really nailed Luna's sort of dreamy, unaware attitude. She definitely seems the type to introduce herself to the strange girl in the weird portrait or to be looking out the window completely oblivious to the fact that people can see her. The fact that it's over some unusual beetle makes it sort of funny and really rings true to her personality.

Neville on the other hand doesn't seem to be particularly careless, but he isn't exactly the stealthiest person either. It's sort of like there's just a residual bit of the clumsy boy that he was when he was younger. Generally speaking though, I think he's doing a pretty good job.

Astoria on the other hand clearly thinks things through and is calculating the risks in real time. It's like she scans a room and asses any possible threats or issues immediately. Her seeing Luna looking out the window and yanking her away all happens in a split second, but it really shows how quickly she analyzes everything.

Because of cannon, we know that the person coming up the stairs is most likely to be Aberforth, but I thought you did a really good job of creating a tense atmosphere. I feel like Neville will be the one who gets them caught in the end. I have a feeling that the fireplace is going to get lit and in order to prevent himself from being cooked, he'll have to get out of there. Either that or his arms will give out from holding himself up.

I did catch a few typos in this chapter.

connecting her room to her Daphne's - take out the her before Daphne

for what an estimated ten minutes - This reads awkwardly to me. Maybe take out the word what.

chattering quietly on some inane topic. - This could be just a personal preference, but I think this would read better if it said "about some inane topic."

To me this was clearly a transitional chapter between major events, but it didn't really feel like filler. I thought that the way you described the tunnel and the intensity of Astoria's thoughts gave this a nice depth and set things up nicely for what is to come.

As always, your work is so excellent. If my opinion matters at all, I think this should definitely win a Dobby.

Good work. (And hurry and update soon. I'm only one chapter away from being caught up and then what will I do?)

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: KAITLIN! I'm here with an answer to this lovely review FINALLY! :')

Astoria is definitely skeptical of everything. I mean, I know the Room of Requirement does great things, but it sort of calls to mind that warning Mr. Weasley gave in Chamber of Secrets after Ginny fell under the influence of Tom Riddle's diary--"never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps his brain". Everyone else just goes with the flow like la da la di as concerns the Room of Requirement, but like you said, this is a hugely powerful entity that has some form of sentience. Maybe it *is* trustworthy, but I don't think Astoria is wrong to be skeptical. And, as you point out, it's very much in her nature.

Thank you so much! I tried really hard to keep Luna and Neville true to who they are in the books, and I'm glad you could distinguish between them and especially that you thought I got Luna right--she's a tricky one.

With Neville, I wanted to keep a few of the things that make him endearing, but still also show that he's really coming into his own here with the D.A. I think he's doing a good job, too! Astoria is just highly critical, especially when she's anxious. Not to mention that the things that seem obvious to her because of her training just aren't things that would naturally occur to everyone.

Also, now you know how the things you guessed about turned out. You're very astute ;)

Thank you SO MUCH for the CC. I know I went through and corrected these things before hiatus, and I *think* I got all of them. It really is a huge help, and I appreciate having your careful eye look over everything. i always know that my story is so much the better for having your feedback.

It didn't win a Dobby, but getting the nomination was huge, and I'm truly honored to have made it that far. And hey, there's always this year!

Thanks again!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #45, by manno_malfoy The Lady of Greengrass Hall

5th September 2015:
Hello again! I'm still here enjoying this story, and watching the plot thicken gradually. Such fun!

I may be making this decision far too early, considering I've just finished the second chapter. But I think what I like the most about this story is the incredibly strong and self-assured female characters. I LOVED getting to know Lavinia Greengrass. I admire how she knew how good she was and she wanted to prove her worth. I'm sure I would've admired her more if she'd picked a better cause to employ her skills to, but still... I love the evident influence she's had on Astoria as well.

I do have a favourite quote from this chapter and it is so simple but so powerful at the same time!
"For someone who so wished to be respected for her achievements, this unwavering adoration was both a blessing and a curse."

This also would why she dedicated herself to Voldemort every chance she got, regardless of the risk.

When the first part of this chapter was over by telling us that Lavinia had died by just falling off her broom, I was kind of upset. It just seemed so insignificant. So I was happy to see you elaborate on it later on, and to see that Astoria even thinks that one of the Death Eaters had done it. And what I liked even more is that Astoria plans to avenge her mother! Woohoo! I'm definitely rooting for her!

And I'm looking forward to seeing how you'll get Astoria and Draco involved because I love them together. A lot.

That's all for now! But I'll definitely be back for more!

-Manno

Author's Response: Hello again! So excited to have you here! Come in! Have some tea in our delightfully tense and life-threatening environment!

That is good news, because there are more strong female characters ahead!

I have an appreciation for Lavinia as well. She makes some very poor decision--erm, very poor. And she causes no small amount of pain to her family, in more ways than one. But in some ways, her secrets drive a good portion of the plot. She'll continue to be important down the line. She has a big impact for a woman who spends the entire story in the grave.

I'm so glad you like that quote! I'm actually surprised because you aren't the first person to mention it to me--that seems to kind of resonate with people.

When I was figuring out Lavinia and Felix's relationship, that was the only thing that made sense. Because I knew they were in love, but there had to be some sort of "ay, there's the rub" issue, because I knew it wouldn't be enough to content her (and I think that's pretty understandable--we all want to be good at something, and to be appreciated for more than our role as a wife/husband/lover/friend/what-have-you) Down the line, it'll become quite clear that Felix adored his wife. But I knew that, for some reason, that couldn't be enough, and it quickly became clear that it was a problem of ambition--a very important Slytherin trait. Lavinia *needed* to prove herself, but the confines of her life gave her no avenue for that. There was nothing she could do that would make her shine brighter in Felix's eyes. It's like how if you...I don't know, if you have a recital or a play that you're in, and you ask your parents how you did, and they say you were great--because to them you were! You're their baby. But you want to actually know whether or not you were impressive. You want a real review. You want to prove yourself to someone who will care about the quality of your work.

So that was just a really interesting dynamic to me, and I'm excited that you seem to have liked it, as well!

Lavinia's choices may not have been sympathetic, but I think her reasons are.

Could Lavinia die in an uncomplicated, undramatic way? I think not. I'm glad that you didn't feel that would have been enough for her--it certainly wouldn't have been. Lavinia's death, and the who and why of it, will definitely come back as the plot moves forward. That string is dangling for a reason ;)

Astoria Greengrass does not play. I'd almost feel bad for the Death Eaters. They have no idea what a 16 year old Slytherin is capable of when you mess with the people to whom she is loyal.

Haha, I am so glad that you love Astoria and Draco together! They have a bit of growing to do, but I'm looking forward to everyone seeing how it all comes about, as well.

Thank you so much for that lovely review! I really, *really* appreciate it and I cannot wait to hear your thoughts about some of the plot points further on. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

--Penny






 Report Review

Review #46, by manno_malfoy An Unwelcome Visitor

5th September 2015:
Hello! I did tell you I'd come back for this one. I've actually had my eyes on it for a while, but was avoiding it until I'd finished writing most of my own Draco/Astoria story. But I'm very glad that I've finally started reading it, and that there are many chapters for me to go through.

Once again, your descriptions are spot on. You seem to have a way, especially with describing houses, that just takes me there. You describe everything else immaculately as well, but there's just something about the way you describe houses that's mesmerizing!

I don't know where to start with Astoria. I already admire her so much. I loved when she was talking about the dress and how it could be a political statement then, all of sudden, it gets aggressive and we're informed that she doesn't care about the war or blood purity. She just wanted her family to make it through! It's fantastic!

We don't get to know Draco too much this chapter, but I did enjoy seeing him from Astoria's scrutinising eyes. Describing dark-circles as 'purple thumbprints under his eyes' was perfection.

I can seen now the Downton Abbey-ish formality between these two that you've mentioned in your review response . They both are here to do business and that's that. There's only a brief polite exchange of pleasantries and then we're straight into handling business.

The chapter ended on such an intense moment, where this formality was broken ever so slightly to give way for some emotion from Astoria and to show how strongly she feels about her family and about her loss. I do hope that there's more about how her mother died, and how the war had anything to do with it soon.

But all in all, such a wonderful start. I'm hooked and I really am looking forward to the rest of this story.

-Manno

Author's Response: I totally understand that! I've been avoiding most Drastoria stories while writing this, too. With some exceptions.

Thank you so much for saying such a lovely thing! I've got a bit of a love affair with describing buildings and rooms, I think. For some reason, that's just really fun for me. I think it's partly because of my theatre background. I used to write from a very dialogue-based perspective and gave only passing attention to the scenery, but for this story I felt like it was so important to notice all the details, because Astoria would. So then I began to linger on the descriptions and I LOVED it. It's had a huge effect on my style, as a whole.

Besides, in Harry Potter, I really felt like all the buildings were practically characters in their own right--Hogwarts castle, Grimmauld Place, the Ministry of Magic--I feel like the settings have personalities of their own, almost, and I wanted that to extend to Greengrass Hall as well.

I love that part! It's interesting, because Astoria definitely doesn't care about blood purity, but it's initially not because she cares about Muggles or Muggleborns so *very* much. She can just see that it's all a load of supremacist rot, and it's not worth dying over. She cares about keeping her family safe more than anything, at least at first.

Yep! Those Purebloods--they're all about the etiquette, and there's definitely a bit of snobbery coming up. Draco could give Mary Crawley a run for her money ;)

As you know by now, there is more about Lavinia! And there will continue to be. Her mystery takes a bit of a back seat for a while, but there's plenty more where that came from.

Thank you so very much, Manno! This review put such a smile on my face!

--Penny





 Report Review

Review #47, by LiveBreatheNeedHP An Unwelcome Visitor

3rd September 2015:
This is a very good first chapter! You start to develop an understanding of Astoria immediately, more intensely so when we come to the present time, rather than on the flashback. You can hear her tone straightaway and come to understand how she's feeling. It's great you have done this so successfully through the third person.
Your description is great. I have a perfect grasp of the story and the surroundings.
Even though the review swap brought me here, I think I may just continue to read this story. You already have me hooked. I greatly enjoy your writing style!

Author's Response: Thank you!

I really like the third person limited (I think that's what it's called, when the narrator knows only what one or two characters know, themselves) for this story. I feel like it keeps the mystery and the tension there the same way that first person would, but it fits Draco and Astoria better. They're both so secretive that I couldn't imagine them narrating in first person
--they'd just be like, "Who wants to know? Why should I divulge any information to you? That seems unwise." Third person seemed to fit a lot better for them, and I'm really glad that you feel like you still get a good feel for Astoria, even with that little bit of narrative distance.

Oh, and I'm really happy that you like the description! That's definitely where the blood, sweat, and tears of my writing tends to go. Descriptions are some of my favorite things to write, but they're also the parts I work hardest at. So thank you!

I would be honored and delighted if you continued to read this story! That means a lot! If you do, I'd love to know your thoughts (not after every chapter or anything, but if you want to drop a line here or there, or at the end if you read straight through, letting me know what you're thinking, that would be lovely!)

Thanks so much for the swap--it was a pleasure--and for this lovely review!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #48, by Gabriella Hunter A Family Affair

2nd September 2015:
HellO!

This is Gabbie stopping by with your review for our swap. I'm sorry that it took me a minute to get to this, actually but real life was a pain and things kind of got out of control. Ugh.

On to this!

So, it's been a while since I've read TH and my goodness, what a mistake. I should have been periodically reading this whenever I had a chance but I'm so happy to see that you have so many fresh chapters up. That delights me to no end! Also, thank you so much for your lovely, lovely review for the madness that is A Force of Wills. Merlin help you if you make it past chapter eleven or so and not want to smack me around. Hahahah.

Erm...

Astoria is going through quite a lot, I see and I really feel like her mind might be her biggest enemy. She's not quite sure what to make of Draco and why he didn't turn her in, he knows the truth...which makes him dangerous to everything that she's been trying to protect for so long. I find that a fascinating little power play though and I'm sure that Draco can sense that Astoria is no fool about how he truly is. I wonder how that will play out later on but I was seriously worried about her too, things were so unsteady for a minute. What I find funny about our mental wonder twin thing is that in A Force of Wills, Astoria's house-elf is far more sinister in nature than Filly, who seems like a dear. What I like what you've done here though is showing that the Greengrass's in your story treat their house-elf like family and not as a source of manipulation. That's such a great little touch there because it shows what kind of people they really are, despite what Astoria's mother was up to for so long.

I think that my favorite part of this chapter though was the scene with Felix. I am heartbroken for him and I know that it must be terrible for Astoria to see her father like this and I'm really hoping that he holds on. I'm actually worried that this might be a prelude to something else...like self-harm, judging by his cheerfulness. Maybe it's just me though? I also really, really loved the fact that he was hoarding Muggle novels! The history behind them is actually so rich and I loved the way you tied in Astoria's family as well, it's a great way to give your story more depth. I always love parallels in novels like that and I was really interested to learn more about her great-great grandmother.

I wonder if we'll hear her speak? She's a keen one though, Astoria won't be able to keep any secrets from her. Hahhaha. I do hope that no one makes another random stop at the house though before that bookshelf can get taken care of...

Now, Draco. Oh, how I love it when authors weave in canon.I like that you didn't give any details as to what had happened too, you gave just enough information without it being redundant. We know that Harry and the others escaped but it's the AFTER that I'm glad you showed here. Now, I'm not a big fan of Draco and it's not merely because he's a creep in most of my stories (Well, except for Grey. I made him cry in that one and it was awesome.) but he just has this cowardly entitlement to him that's so grating. I know that he wants to survive but that last line gave me chills and I'm thankful that he and Harry didn't cross paths again. The git. >.>

Thanks for the amazing read, darling! I shall be back! Feel free to stuff this in my review thread too or we can always swap again soon!

Much love,

Gabbie

Author's Response: No worries! Real life has that effect on all of us sometimes :D

AWWWw. Yay! Thank you so much for saying such nice things!

Oh Gabbie, it scares me when you give me warnings, because I know that you actually mean them. Still, I'm invested in this point. If I end up wanting to smack you, then I still hold that it's entirely your fault ;)

Yeah, Filly's a dear. But we *would* both include the House Elves and, like, make it a thing. The twin bond is strong, even if we do end up doing this opposite side of the mirror bit so often.

Filly's great, because (a) the Greengrass household seriously could not possibly function without her, and (b) she does show that they aren't--and never were--as simple as straight-up villains. To Astoria, Filly is part of the family, and she'd do anything for her family. That doesn't mean she doesn't sometimes take Filly for granted, but she does truly care about and respect her.

You...are very insightful. But alas, I can say no more! I love Felix's stash of Muggle novels. He's definitely eccentric, but like he points out, before all the statute of secrecy stuff came to be such a big deal, we *know* that magical folk, including Purebloods, mingled with Muggle society--the Purebloods especially liked to be involved with the nobility (there's that one rumor about a Malfoy proposing to Elizabeth I), so I think it makes perfect sense that they'd be patrons of the arts, and that some of them would hold on to a bit of that tradition. He's definitely got some interesting views on Muggles for a Pureblood!

Heehee, I can reveal nothing! But Li Ming is interesting, isn't she ;)

That scene with Draco is actually one of my favorites. I definitely get why you don't like him--if we're just talking purely Book Draco, *I* don't exactly like him, but I love how much possibility there is for him in fanfiction. Because he IS so entitled for so much of the time, but then it's clear that the war has had a big effect on him; we just never get to see the specifics of how that might change him in the long run.

I was going through my plot map for this story, and I was thinking about that scene where Draco goes after Harry in the Room of Requirement, and i'm like,"What changed?" Draco was so lackluster about being a Death Eater by the end of HBP. I'd think by Deathly Hallows, it would truly have gotten awful. And then twice, he has the chance to earn himself a great deal of glory, and to truly do something reprehensible, and he doesn't. He doesn't kill Dumbledore. He doesn't identify Harry. He has every opportunity, and he doesn't take it. So what changed? And I thought that the most likely scenario is that the lives of his family must have been truly threatened after their failure to apprehend Harry (which is, in a way, his fault). He's nearly the death of all of them, and they're all out of chances. It's succeed or watch his family die. That was really the only thing that made sense, to me, of this huge change in his trajectory. So I wrote this scene to sort of capture that.

Book Draco--through most of the books--is absolutely a git. This Draco pretty much hates himself, past and present; there's some distant part of him that he doesn't like to look at too much that would like to be better, but he doesn't really think that's possible. All he can do now is try not to get them all killed.

Then, at the same time, he has now met someone who was so much braver than he. Who risked everything, even though he knows that she values her family as much as he values his, and values her own life as well. What kind of effect could that have? Well, we'll see.

Draco's not going to turn into a paragon overnight, that's for sure. But at least by now he's done 3 not-awful things, so that's a little bit of progress. A smidge ;)


--Penny



 Report Review

Review #49, by Frankie05 An Unwelcome Visitor

31st August 2015:
Hey Penny,

This story seemed so interesting to me. I'm not a huge Astoria fan but for some reason I was drawn to it! You start off nicely I the prologue with some elusive secrets the Greengrass matriarch is telling her daughter, which only makes me more curious about these secrets that will have significant repercussions should Astoria say anything. Interest peaked.

And then it flips to 1998 where they are both adults- and Astoria is having some issues with Malfoy about to come into her house. She has to put on a show but whatever for? Does she not care about the Death Eaters therefore making her apprehensive about Malfoy coming over. It's like a silent battle of the wills when those two meet up and really who is going to break first. I like that she breaks first so that she can get this whole ordeal over and done with. Plus she puts him on edge with the elf disapparating. I bet she is kind- especially after having told her elf prior to this that she must be rude to her.

Interest peaked again when Draco says something along the lines of the unfortunate incident and her mother being dead because of it. What happened?

Great job letting us get into your protagonists head. She seems pretty opinionated. But we can see that for ourselves. You also did well explaining the situation without giving away the things that hook us into the story. Well done Penny :)

Frankie

Author's Response: I'm so glad this story peaked your interest! I can understand that. I'm not usually a huge Astoria fan--she's often written as a total jerk or as a bit of a doormat, and I'm usually a Dramione shipper. But that's why I wanted to write this story. I wanted to flesh out my idea of what kind of person Astoria Greengrass would have to be, to end up with Draco Malfoy. And she really just took off and grew from there.

It's also nice to know that you like the prologue. I was a bit unsure about it at first, because I was new to flashbacks, but I think you're right--it sets the tone that I wanted.

In 1998 Draco and Astoria aren't exactly adults--well, Draco is nearly 18, so he is, but Astoria still 16 and, by wizarding law, a minor. However, she is essentially in charge of all her family's affairs. This chapter has edits in the queue that should make the timeline a little clearer, but it takes place in the background of Deathly Hallows.

A battle of wills would be a great way to describe the first part of the story! It's very much a verbal chess match :D

You're right, Astoria is kind--or, she can be. She has more kindness in her than she knows. Astoria would do anything for family and, as far as she is concerned, that includes her House Elf.

Something...unfortunate happened ;) Alas, I cannot tell you! Spoilers!

Thank you very much for taking the time to come read this! And thank you for giving out reviews--and cookies! That was really sweet of you!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #50, by Deets The Edge of Insanity

29th August 2015:
This story is so beautifully written. I read it all in two days (whoops) because it is so addicting and so much more fun than college apps. I love the characters and how perfectly developed they are, especially the characters from the original HP books; I could imagine them acting the way they do here.

Basically I completely love this and you're super talented and I can't wait to read more :)

Author's Response: Thank you so very much! That is such a lovely thing to hear! And I'm glad that it's more fun than college apps--good luck with those, by the way! Oh, what a process. So many hours of my life that I will never get back. Still, it's worth it in the end.

I'm so, so happy that you think that the HP characters remain in character! That'd definitely been a goal of mine--to grow them and get to know them better while remaining true to who they were. It means so much to me to hear that.

Overall, just thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely, uplifting review. I've had a tough, crazy week and I just really, really appreciate it!

Thank you again!

--Penny


 Report Review
If this is your story and you wish to respond to reviews, please login

<Previous Page   Jump:     Next Page>