Reading Reviews for Traitorous Hearts
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Review #26, 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.


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!


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!


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!

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Review #27, 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!


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.


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Review #28, 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 :)

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


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Review #29, 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,


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.


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Review #30, by manno_malfoy A Dangerous Revelation

6th September 2015:
" I’m 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 you’ve carried on with showing how much of an impact Lavinia’s personality and job has had on Astoria because it’s 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, we’ve 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 doesn’t get to know (take that, Draco!). But that just really keeps us away from that crazy tension in the room between Astoria and Draco. You’re just keeping me on my toes, and I wish I had the time to devour it all in one sitting.


Author's Response: HAHAHA! I've always had a fondness for that line. No offense meant to any Gryffindors. Well, no offense 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


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Review #31, 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


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Review #32, 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?)


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Review #33, 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!


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!


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Review #34, 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.


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!


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Review #35, 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!


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Review #36, by Gabriella Hunter A Family Affair

2nd September 2015:

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.


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 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,


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 ;)


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Review #37, 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 :)


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!


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Review #38, 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!


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Review #39, by R_Star_ The Edge of Insanity

28th August 2015:
I absolutely love your character development, the characters are so believable! I don't normally like the way Neville or Luna are typically written, but this story makes them so real it's hard not to appreciate them. Astoria and Draco are spot on too.
Can't wait for the next chapter :D

Author's Response: Thank you! That was a huge part of my goal, so I really appreciate your saying that. Luna and Neville are kind of difficult, but I'm trying really hard to get them right!

Thanks! The next chapter is with my beta right now! I think I'm going to add a couple things, but hopefully it should be in the queue soon!

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Review #40, by carry on with your knitting A Dangerous Revelation

28th August 2015:
Hey Penny! :)

I hope you're doing well :) I'm here with another review for you!

Another awesome chapter! :)

I love the way you keep the constant battle of wits between Astoria and Draco, it really is Slytherin vs Slytherin! You show their characteristic brilliantly through there exchanges and I can feel the tensions and the game playing. I really do picture it completely in my mind! :)
I also really like that you've created a character who is fighting for herself! Normally it either good or evil and there's no in-between, but Astoria is fighting surely for her self which is shown through he not wanting any credit. I think the selflessness of that is brilliant as well! A lot of the time in times of war often the biggest hero are nearly really talked about or reviewed to the public, so I think that's a really interesting twist!
I also loved your characterisation of Ginny! She is totally down to earth and comes across as 'rough and ready,' the total opposite of Astoria who is very aloof and proper, so I loved the exchange between the two characters. I think that could be an awesome friendship, should they chose to be friends (which I kinda hope they do because they're both so cool!)

Oh my goodness, I actually live near Epping! I'm not even joking it's like 20 minutes away! It's so lovely to drive through the forest! :) I'm curious as to why you chose to use that forest? Not in a bad way at all, I'm just wondering! :) It has a lot of history, which fascinates me, for example, I don't know if you know that Dick Turpin (a famous highway man in the 1800s) actually lived there! I'm such a nerd sorry.. :')

Overall another brilliant chapter and I'm excited to read more! :D

Katie :)

Author's Response: Hey Katie! Thank you!

Ohmygosh, thank you so, so much! That's exactly what I was hoping for. I definitely wanted their Slytherin to show, and for it to be a very tense. But I did want an undercurrent that was almost playful, like there are these brief moments when the two of them are almost enjoying themselves, because it's so rare for them to get to spar with a worthy partner. But then, lives are on the line, so...

And I'm so happy that you can picture it. That's hugely important to me.

Astoria at this point is absolutely on her own side. And you're right--she doesn't need or want the credit; she's not doing it for glory. Though, Ginny points out, she may care a little more than she's willing to admit, when it comes to good vs. evil. Astoria chose revenge, yes, but she used that revenge to help people, rather than choosing a purely destructive route. But you're right--she's not an idealist. She cares about herself and the select group of people to whom she is loyal--her family. Outside of that, she doesn't like to get involved.

I love writing the scenes where Astoria and Ginny interact. They're great foils for one another and I was surprised, the first time I put them in a room together, by how the conversation just took off. They could definitely be friends, if circumstances ever permit it. And if Astoria would be willing to let someone get that close to her. Only time will tell.

Oh that's so cool! :D I did some research on forests in England, trying to pick the right one. I actually chose Epping, in large part, *because* of the Dick Turpin legend! I liked that it had a history as a hideout for outlaws--at this point, that's exactly what the rebel sympathizers are. So that's what sold me on that particular forest. Do you think it works? Could you imagine a magical encampment setting up shop there?

Thanks so much for the lovely review, Katie! I love hearing your thoughts ! :D


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Review #41, by fwoopersong8 The Edge of Insanity

25th August 2015:
Hi Penny!
As I promised, I'm here to leave an info dump on this wonderful story.

The first thing that impressed me about Traitorous Hearts was the first three-five chapters. As I looked back, I couldn't believe that you kept me in the parlour for that long without the story getting even a bit dull. Seriously, I have a lot of respect for that. This story has been fraught with tension from end to end, which, of course, is wonderful.

I'm a deeply empathetic person. It's kind of a bad thing, actually. Makes me more of a human Jell-O than anything else. And it definitely threw me for a loop in this story. Shapeshifting from Astoria to Draco to back again was NOT comfortable as a reader, and by that I mean you did an EXCELLENT job as a writer. I connected emotionally to both characters really fast. I've always had a thing for Draco, as I tend to latch on to weaker characters and have a harder time understanding the strong ones (I'm looking at you, Harry), but Astoria has the right balance of strength and weakness to make her relatable. She isn't invincible; she makes mistakes and pays for them. Legilimency, bonding with Ginny (of all people), trying to avenge her mother. (That part was really sad, by the way. I was disappointed in Lavinia.) I especially enjoy the way she looks down at Gryffindors, because as a slightly-snobby Ravenclaw, I see them the same way sometimes.

There are so many things I could say about this story, that I don't know where to begin. I enjoy the sort-of-romance between Draco and Astoria, but I'm not sure what to expect in the end. Canonically I know where you're going, but the immediate present is different. There are so many scars to think of.

Did I detect a tad of Neville/Luna a few chapters back? That made my heart happy as well.

Draco's detachment is realistic, I think. Going through so much, he'd just glaze over and let it pass by, left with only fear. Of course I've never been part of a Death Eater army (well, this is the Internet -- you never KNOW), but I've been overwhelmed before. I know what it's like to have everything you know fall apart before your eyes while you sit there paralyzed. I know what it's like to feel so overwhelmed that you feel something in your mind shut down. To a minor degree at least -- nowhere near to what Draco must be feeling right now -- but I think it's enough to let empathy fill in a lot of the gaps.

What else did I want to say? Ah, yes. HARRY BATTING HIS EYELASHES. I loved that so much. At first there wasn't much room for humor here, but you've woven more in as the story progressed and I appreciate that. Seamus and the candy, Luna and her "pest control." And oh yeah -- Draco's confusion at Astoria's being "In the window?" That actually made me laugh out loud. Poor characters -- all of them -- they're so confused. What do we authors do to them?

As far as CC goes, I've only noticed a few errors here and there, mostly in formatting. Sometimes a new character's dialogue gets smashed up against the previous character's, making it difficult to figure out who's talking. When Mariane (it was her, right?) was talking about her vacation, some of the words had < i > smashed up against them. I'm guessing most of this is just hiccups from transferring the story from where ever you originally wrote it.

Speaking of hiccups, I applaud Slughorn. Maybe he hasn't done much, but it's definitely something. WAY something.

I know I'm terrible for not leaving reviews at the end of every chapter, but I didn't want to interrupt the flow of reading. Seriously, that's the way it was -- I didn't review because the story was that good.

Weird backfire, isn't it?

Anyway, thanks for posting this story. I enjoy the traditional style (3rd person past is NOT dead!) and the constant suspense.

Never stop writing! (Especially not now; I think a certain fandom would come after you.)

Author's Response: Hey Songs!

Thank you! I both loved and agonized over those chapters. Keeping it all in the room was a big challenge for me, but I had a lot of fun with it, and I am SO HAPPY that you felt engaged despite the unchanging setting!

Heeheehee, I do love tension.

I totally get what you mean about attaching most to weaker characters. Draco has always been a love of mine for that reason. I like characters who struggle with right and wrong, and sometimes fail. That's what I wanted with Astoria, too--she's clever, but she miscalculates. She's strong, but she's vulnerable at the same time.

I think everyone was disappointed in Lavinia, myself included. But there *is* more to the story. It's all part of the mystery, which, with the coming battle, is less of a consideration than it has been, but the issues around Lavinia's death and Astoria's curse are definitely coming back. Those aren't stones Astoria is willing to leave unturned. However, she does have to prioritize, what with the war and all.

Astoria's anti-Gryffindor attitude is one of my favorite things to write! I'm a Slytherin myself, so while I admire many Gryffindors, I also stand there being like, "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!" a lot of the time ;)

You did detect some Neville/Luna! :D I love them and ship them to pieces.

I am DEEPLY RELIEVED to hear that you are not part of a Death Eater army--you're totally right, the internet could be and probably is full of them. HAhaha!

Yeah, I think Draco would definitely be overwhelmed by Death Eaterdom. He's a sheltered boy, really. He was a low grade bully, but he never had the stomach for actual killing, and now he's surrounded by it all the time. All the cruelty and the terrible things he must have seen. I don't think it's a surprise that he shuts down a little. It makes it all the more impressive that he roused himself enough to actually do something when he saved Astoria.

Heeheehee! I am so glad you loved that line! It's one of my personal favorites. Yeah, the humor is finally trickling its way in. Humor is my personal coping mechanism--I'm like, we can only have so much angst without comic relief. And I like the idea that it's the D.A. that brings that in. It's kind of the first sparks of laughter Astoria has had in her life, because for the first time she has...well, maybe not friends yet, but a team.

Ha! All of them! They're so confused! All the time! Oh, poor Draco. I'm sorry, but not sorry enough.

Oooh. I'll have to take a look at that. I just sent some edits through, so I may have caught some of that, but I don't think I was looking so much at formatting. I'll have to go in and see if I can clean that up. Thanks!

Aw, Slughorn! I actually think Slughorn is a pretty good example of a "decent" Slytherin--it's just that, in the books, it's such a blip. But I imagine that he's going through the same battle Astoria is at this point, fighting between self-preservation and conscience. Because we know that at the Battle of Hogwarts, he becomes, like, super unexpectedly valiant. Everyone thinks he's retreated, but then he comes back with the reinforcements that turn the tide of the battle! And he personally duels Voldemort himself, with Kingsley. That's huge! So, yeah, I imagine that all of that is sort of building, but that the hiccoughs are the biggest thing he's done up to that point.

I totally understand about not wanting to interrupt the flow of reading. This is a fabulous review, and you are not terrible!

Thank you SO MUCH! I cannot tell you how encouraging this review is. It means so much to me!


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Review #42, by fwoopersong8 Into The Sanctum

25th August 2015:
AAUGH Astoria found the way to Aberforth! That makes me happy inside. :) I've been reading this from the beginning (obviously; where else would you start?) and I'm a terrible person for not leaving reviews, but I'll write you a small novel about the inner workings of my mind once I reach the latest chapter. :)
p.s. Your chapter length is fine, actually. It never really bothers me, long or short.

Author's Response: Heehee, yay! It made me happy, too. Astoria for the win!

And thanks for saying that about the chapter length--I'm not sure how much longer I can intentionally write short chapters. I like the lengthier ones, so I'm glad to know it's not a bother.

Also, you're not terrible. I'm glad you're enjoying the story enough to read right through! Thanks for this review :D


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Review #43, by carry on with your knitting The Lady of Greengrass Hall

25th August 2015:
Hey Penny!

I'm here to review another chapter!
Again I loved it! It has a really interesting time to the story it's almost quite flippant and dismissive of everything but still has a cold edge to it which really makes me connect to Astoria's character! I think this is definitely one of my favourite versions I have read of her!
I also love Lavinia! She come across as a really strong independent woman who does things for herself and not to please others and she clearly has a very controlling manipulative edge which is really interesting. If live to know what she found out that got her killed! I also love that Astoria has almost become her mother in a weird way, it's an interesting comparison!
Draco was showing some of his sas that he is famous for here which is nice. I like Draco as a character and feel really sorry for him, especially as he is described as almost I'll here, I kinda want to cuddle him and tell him that everything will be okay! I'm also really looking forward to see how their relationship develops as I know they eventually marry. With such a tense and hate filled start to their interaction I'm really excited to see what happens to turn it all around!

Once again, awesome chapter and I'm already excited to review the next one tomorrow! :D

Katie :)

Author's Response: Hey Katie!

Thank you! Lavinia definitely was a bit flippant when it came to the rules of society--that's just the word for it! Publicly, she obeyed them, but internally she mocked the rules and everyone who upheld them. And she passed that onto Astoria as well, who does everything perfectly, but still with a certain dryness that implies that it's a game to her.

Lavinia is a really fun character for me to work into the story. She has such a huge effect on the plot, even though she's already dead. You're absolutely right about that controlling, manipulative edge! Lavinia certainly had that. And she was strong. It's sad that she turned to the dark side, essentially, but I think her reasons are pretty sympathetic ones. Where that led her, though...

Her death is still really important. It's not the kind of mystery Astoria is going to be wiling to give up on. It's just gone down a bit on her priority list, because of the impending war and all. But it's coming back, never fear!

Astoria has become a lot like her mother--after all, that's what Lavinia raised her to become. But as the story goes on, she does start to turn down her own paths. She's made some different choices than her mother.

Heehee, sassy Draco! Aww, I'm so glad to hear someone wants to cuddle him. This Draco needs some cuddles. He'd probably be really baffled by it, but I don't think he'd fight you on it. The boy could use a good hug.

Thank you so much, Katie! I really appreciate it!


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Review #44, by Unicorn_Charm A Changing Tide

25th August 2015:

Oh. My. Goodness! I don't even know how to properly word right now. Excuse me for a moment. *runs off to collect self*

Ok I'm back. :p

This chapter was INCREDIBLE! Astoria is one tough chick! I love her! Like I have absolutely fallen in love with her. I mean, yeah, she has her faults I'm sure, but she's such a great protagonist. I love how snarky she is, even when in this really serious situation. "Soulless Minion Grey" love it! She's so, so, so well written!

I absolutely love that she goes after him with the poker. There was something really great about seeing her attack him without magic. It felt more desperate yet brave at the same time. And Draco was pretty much in shock. I'm sure that was the last thing he was expecting.

Oh my gosh, that part when she went to say Voldemort! Draco stopped her! He actually stopped her! Yay Draco for doing the right thing! And there was definitely a "moment" there, too. Wasn't there? They both described kind of feeling something. Wow what a way to start their story.

Their conversation on the floor was fantastic. She finally broke through some of Draco's walls. He's not all bad. I agree with her. There's a soul in there somewhere. I think he was just an easily influenced kid, with an ego too big for his body, who got in way over his head and didn't quite know how to get out. And I think she might be kind of seeing that herself.

I was impressed with how she just seemed to accept that death was coming for her. Yes, she was terrified, and later when Greyback got there, she knew she wasn't ready, but in a way she accepted that it was inevitable. And the way she only really cared about what happened to her family, if they would be ok. You are just smashing down the typical Slytherin stereotypes with her and I love every minute of it!

Ok, my heart was POUNDING when Greyback arrived. The way that you described the smell, his looks, even the drool. Holy. Moly. I was scared! Your description there was way too good. Like, I wanted a blanket to hide under! I could clearly feel Astoria's fear and disgust with him. That was so, so, so well done!

And WHAT?!? What did Draco do?! He lied! I can't even right now. I actually sat up straighter in my seat and had to re-read the sentence. I'm so happy he did that, but so scared for them both now! What on earth is going to come about because of this? Gah!! Loved every last word of this chapter!!

I noticed a small typo towards the end. She heart the front door close behind them.

I think you meant heard. :)

Penny, this chapter (well all the chapters, if I'm being real here) was amazing!! This is one of the best fics I've read in a while! So unbelievably excited to continue on! See you next chapter!!

xoxo Meg

Author's Response: THANK YOU!

I am so, so happy that you love Astoria. She's become my baby, so that really is just the best, nicest thing you could tell me!

I love Astoria's snark, and I'm so glad that *you* loved it! And now that they've steamrolled over the bounds of propriety, she's finally able to be as sassy as she wants.

I loved writing the poker thing. It was very Astoria. She's not afraid to fight dirty, and she has a way of doing the unexpected. Everyone else always jumps straight to magic, but one of Astoria's strengths is kind of her weakness--she knows she's not going to win most wizarding duels, which means that she's used to looking for other ways to win. It takes people by surprise.

Draco *definitely* did not expect that. It's not that no one's ever tried to fight him, but a fire poker? Who would have seen that coming?

Oh, it was a moment. It was definitely a moment ;)

"He's not all bad. I agree with her. There's a soul in there somewhere. I think he was just an easily influenced kid, with an ego too big for his body, who got in way over his head and didn't quite know how to get out."
--I think that is one of the best descriptions I have run across of my portrayal of Draco. That's it exactly.

I love writing Astoria, because she lets me explore all these Slytherin angles. She cares--deeply--about self-preservation. It's just that she cares about those she is loyal to (in this case, her family, more). She's cunning, and she's okay with things that aren't always above board. She's superior about some things, but then she also treats her House Elf as an equal (because, as far as she's concerned, Filly is part of the family, and you owe your family your ultimate loyalty). It's one of my favorite things about the whole story, because she's very much a Slytherin, but in her I get to show how those traits *can* be good.

I never liked the stereotype that Slytherins were just evil and that was that. There has to be more to it, and a big part of this story is exploring all that. I'm so glad that you're enjoying that, too!

GREYBACK! Ugh, he's the worst. He grosses *me* out. And I'm sorry for scaring you, but also really, really excited that I did! :D

HAHAHAHA! Oh, that made me smile! I KNOW! Who knew he had it in him? Draco didn't know it, that's for sure ;)

Honestly, so, so much is going to come about because of all this. Things are gonna get crazy!

And thanks for that CC! I fixed it! That is so helpful!

Thank you so, so, SO much for these fabulous reviews! I cannot tell you how much they made me smile and just the incredible amount of joy they brought me. It has been a pleasure swapping with you! Let me know any time you want to do another!


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Review #45, by TreacleTart Into The Sanctum

25th August 2015:
Hey Penny,

I'm here for the last of our three swaps! And I'm also sad to see that I'm almost to the end of your currently posted chapters. (Politely demands that you write more.)

So Astoria is into the secret lair of Dumbledore's Army. This scene went pretty much exactly as I'd imagined it would go. When Astoria first walks into the Room of Requirements, everyone is glaring at her and wondering why a Slytherin would be there. I like that Neville steps in when prompted and quiets everyone down.

I must admit that I was so excited to see Seamus in this. He's one of my absolute favorite characters (and I'm a total Dean/Seamus shipper), so I'm glad that you included him in this piece. I could really see him growing to be useful as a D.A. member and my headcannon for him is that he later becomes a demolitions expert for the Auror's office due in part to his fantastic use of his skills during the Battle of Hogwarts. (sorry I'm rambling away here.)

The idea that Astoria is the one who figured out how to get the room to provide access to food is really cool. I always wondered how they happened across that passage and this explains it in a very believable way.

Now onto a bit of CC.

First, I think I'm remembering this correctly, but don't Luna and Dean show up right after Harry, Ron, and Ginny or somewhere around that time? I didn't think they would be back at the school three weeks before the Battle.

Also, I found a few typos in this chapter.

No, if took this risk now, it would be for her – if she took

her heartbeat as trapped in her throat – was trapped

a warm feeling buzzed and bloom in her chest. – and bloomed

or wait until your friends have my head on a pike? – should have a quotation mark at the end of this sentence

Another fantastic chapter, Penny! I really enjoy this story and enjoyed swapping with you! Let's do this again sometime soon. :D


Author's Response: Wow, you *are* almost caught up; it seems like you've gone so fast! But I have another chapter that's nearly ready to go in the queue, depending on the feedback I get back from Elise, who recently took on the task of being my beta (speaking of beta*ing, I'm getting to Atonement Is Coming soon! It's high on my to do list. But I have a big interview this week, so most of my free time is going to that. After my interview, though, I am *on* it!)

I LOVE Seamus. I love him even more since I started writing TH. He's such a fun character to write, and he'll be cropping up a lot more in the next few chapters. And I think the idea of him becoming a demolitions expert is *brilliant*!

The passage between the Hog's Head and the Room of Requirement has always been one of those things I had so many questions about. I wanted answers, and I thought it was the sort of thing Astoria would be able to manage well. For a long time, it's been a part of my headcanon that Slytherins would be particularly skilled at utilizing the Room of Requirement, because it requires precision in one's wording and is sort of like a magical contract. We know from DH that Neville develops a really good connection with the Room and figures out how to ask for the right things. I'm still planning on that being a factor, but I thought Astoria could provide some inspiration for him, to get him on the right track.

Actually, I have an answer for that first bit of CC, though I should probably put it in my author's note! I make a big effort to keep everything within canon. However, the books and the movies are both considered canon sources, and sometimes they diverge. If it doesn't much matter, I give the books priority, but sometimes I'll just pick whichever canon option works best for my story. In this case, I went with the film version. You're absolutely right that, in the book, Neville calls Dean and Luna to Hogwarts *after* Harry arrives. However, in the movie, Luna says she's returning to Hogwarts when she leaves Shell Cottage, and Dean is already there when Harry arrives. This also makes sense, as Luna and Dean are both wanted, and the only place the Snatchers would never expect to find them would be at Hogwarts.

As for the grammar stuff, thank you so much! I'm about to go through and do a bunch of edits to fix all these things you've pointed out to me. It's really just such a huge help.

Thank you so much. I always enjoy swapping with you, and every time I see more stories on your page that I want to read. Choosing is so hard! Absolutely, let's!


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Review #46, by TreacleTart An Admirable Thing

24th August 2015:
Hi Penny!

Here for another of our review swaps!

This chapter is very mellow in comparison to the last chapter. It sort of feels like the in between where everything is getting set up for some major event to occur.

I like that you gave us a few moments of Draco and his life outside in the Forbidden Forest. To me, it's almost comical trying to imagine a pretty, pampered boy like Draco camping in the woods, but I suppose with everything that he's been through as of late, he's probably hardened up quite significantly. I suppose he also doesn't really have much of a choice. I enjoy the idea that he isn't happy in this situation. He isn't out getting drunk with the Death Eaters or treating it like he's at a party. Instead, he's solemn and trying to focus on memories that can provide him just the tiniest bit of solace.

I had to giggle just a little bit when Astoria is thinking about how Gryffindors are always keeping her waiting. Her thoughts about Neville are quite interesting. Often times, when he appears in fics, people keep him as the goofy, clumsy boy who's good for comic relief, but I like that you made him serious and a bit more brooding. I think war and fighting the Carrows possibly changes Neville more than any other character. There is something in him that comes alive when he's needed and when leadership is thrust upon him. It's sort of interesting really because he and Harry end up being quite similar in that regards.

I do wonder who these mysterious pounding feet that are chasing Neville belong to. Could it be one of the Carrows? Or maybe Snape? Either way, it's a good thing that they get into the Room of Requirements in time.

Now on to a spot of CC because I actually have a little bit to leave this time. If I'm being honest this chapter feels a bit like a filler. It's short, not a lot happens, and it doesn't have quite as much depth as the other chapters do. That being said, I do think it's a good idea to have a slower chapter after the intensity of the last chapter. I just personally feel that you could expand this a touch more.

As always, this story continues to be excellent. I'll be back for the next chapter in an hour or two.


Author's Response: Oh, Draco is *so* out of his depth. The last time we were with him in the camp, he had to collect *firewood*. Draco Malfoy. Camping. Ha! Yeah, this is not his kind of place, even if he has toughened up a good deal.

I feel like it's almost impossible that the Gryffindor habits wouldn't drive Astoria a bit up the wall. However, she also has some things she can learn from them (and they from her, of course).

I love the Houses--they're great fun--but one of the problems with the House system is that it does NOT promote a balanced personality. All the main traits of every House are good, but when they are concentrated like that, and so zealously upheld as the *best* trait, that's when things get a bit wonky. Daring gives way to showboating and acting before thinking; ambition gives way to greed and cruelty. When Gryffindors and Slytherins work together, however, I think they have the capacity to make a great team.

I totally agree. Yeah, I didn't want that for Neville. He was that boy for years, but I think that in DH he really comes into his own. He may still end up having a moment here and there (he's still our lovable Neville, after all), but on the whole I wanted his comic relief days to be mostly behind him. He's become a leader, someone the whole D.A. depends on, and I wanted to show that.

In my head, it was a Carrow--probably Alecto. However, it could've also been Filch.

You know, I think you're right. I had been trying for shorter chapter lengths, because one or two reviewers had mentioned that they liked that. Originally, this chapter and the next were together. I still think that might be too much, though. I'd be grateful if you'd let me know what you think about that when you get there!

I liked the idea of having a shorter chapter that was just a bit of a moment to breathe, but you're right that this is a bit too much of a filler. It's important to the overall plot of the story--the fact that Draco is viewing Astoria's memories will become significant, so there's some necessary set up here. But you're right. After all those chapters that were so action-packed, this one doesn't quite match up, and I'd like to make it better. If you have any further ideas on how I might fix that, I'd be happy to hear them. I'll look through my notes and see if I think there's anything I might expand on right there, as well.

Thanks so much, Kaitlin! You leave the best, most thoughtful and comprehensive reviews. They're really just so great and so helpful, and also incredibly encouraging. Thank you again.


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Review #47, by TreacleTart In Dark Spaces

24th August 2015:
Hi Penny!

I'm here for another one of our review swaps! I must apologize in advance because this review will probably contain a significant amount of shouty words and capital letters. It's probably also going to be all over the place and out of order. Sorry.

Let me first start by saying...




Okay...end excited shouting and now on to a real bit of a review.

As you've probably gathered by my exclamations above, I did indeed suspect that the boy in the closet was Neville. I think Neville is the only person Ginny would trust enough to spill the secret about Astoria to.

I must admit that I was a bit disappointed in Astoria when she told him that she had no interest in helping them. That being said, I also understand where she's coming from. She's already risked her families life once offering Ginny some help. What incentive does she have to do it again?

When Astoria was sitting at the dinner table trying to force conversation with the other Slytherins, I kept thinking to myself, this isn't her. She isn't one of them. She is something special and then she proves that in stunning fashion (but here I go getting ahead of myself again).

What happened to poor Amara is just so awful. I have never heard of Boggarts transforming into so many shapes, but I wouldn't put it past the Carrows to have somehow enchanted it for their evil purposes. Watching Amara opening the box repeatedly until she just couldn't do it anymore was horrendous. I think everyone that had any sense of a soul realized that the punishment was far too extreme. And then the kicking of her knee at the end. I seriously shuddered reading that because I did actually break my knee quite severely once, so I could feel the sensation and here the bone crunching sound as you described it. Yikes!

Que Shouty Words:


Seriously, I cheered when this all went down. I think I might possibly have been as surprised as Amycus was. But the thing is, I knew that Astoria had it in her all along. There's something in the way that you've characterized her that's made me believe that she's courageous from the get go. Her unwillingness to participate up until this point has been a courageous act in itself. She's trying to save her family from being punished and that is a noble thing. But I'm glad that she's hit the point where enough is enough. I seriously can't wait to see the clever schemes that she comes up with and how she works within the D.A.

And what a moment of brilliance for Slughorn. When you pointed out that Minerva's seat was empty, I felt like that was really ominous. I was certain that things would get out of hand and there would be no one there to save the students. BUT THEN SLUGHORN STANDS UP AND PUTS THE SITUATION IN CHECK! I think that was possibly the most surprising part of the entire chapter. I mean in cannon we see that he fights the Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts, but he's never really known for his bravery. It just sort of bursts out of him in spurts. Seriously, this was brilliant!

And finally, I absolutely love that Slughorn's momentary bravery is what pushes Astoria across the line. The idea that she can't be more of a coward than Horace Slughorn actually made me chuckle just a little. It was sort of a nice light moment, but there was a lot of depth hidden in it. There is a not so subtle shift in Astoria and I truly cannot wait to see what it brings.

As always, your writing is fantastic. The way you weave words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into stories is truly brilliant. This is easily one of my favorite stories on the site.

And as far as typos or things that I might be able to critique in this particular chapter, I don't have much. The writing was very clean and honestly, I was much too caught up in the excitement to be paying attention for typos. I did notice one tiny typo, but that's it.

The blood was pounding in her hears – in her ears

Another fantastic story! I wish I wasn't at work at the moment or I would rush right over for the next chapter instantly! Either way, I'll be back very soon to read it.

I know I always say good work, but this chapter was truly something special.


Author's Response: Kaitlin. This review. I don't even *know* how to respond. I feel like I should try to, like, walk away for a minute and gain some CONTROL of my EMOTIONS, but I also want to answer it as quickly as possible because it is just so, so kind and wonderful and...argguhsdlkf!

Whew. Okay. Okay, I got this.


The second scene in this chapter is one of my favorites in the whole story, so it means so much to me that you loved it.

It's totally disappointing when Astoria refuses Neville. It disappointed *me* to write it, and I was worried that frustrated readers might give up on her. But I just didn't feel I could write it any other way and be true to who Astoria is as a character. She *hates* putting herself in danger. She thinks through *everything*. And she and her whole family have just barely escaped death. No matter how I spun it, I just couldn't see her immediately jumping to Neville's aid. But you're right; she does have courage. Astoria can be remarkably brave. However, I think it costs her more to be courageous than it does the Gryffindors, who have daring and impulsiveness as some of their primary traits.

The Amara thing was super dark for me. It was both easy to write, because once the scenario was in my mind I could picture just how it would go down, and *really* hard to write, because it was just so *sick*. But I think that the Carrows are sadists, and I think that there aren't many limits on what they would do. Things are definitely becoming dire.

The Boggart thing was definitely a creative liberty, but it was the piece of torture I felt fit best--something more creative and visceral and humiliating than a mere Cruciatus Curse.


I really loved this part because it shows who Astoria is at her core. Beneath all this control, and, frankly, beneath her mother's training, she has an incredibly strong hatred for cruelty and a very real desire to protect the weak. It's strong enough to make wandless magic burst out of someone who prides herself on self-control.

Astoria has been raised all her life to be dispassionate, to observe and not take part, to separate herself from others. But this war challenges all that, and Astoria may be discovering that that isn't the type of person she wants to be. She's been forced into this mold, but she has too much genuine compassion in her personality to remain in that form forever. It will continue to be a struggle to put herself and her family in danger, but she is at the point now where *something* has to be done.

SLUGHORN! I KNOW, RIGHT?! That was one of my favorite twists, because you don't really think of him having it in him. However, I think that Slughorn has to be going through a very similar process to Astoria, in DH. He goes from being a man who will do anything to avoid danger to personally dueling Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts, along with Kingsley and McGonagall (it's only mentioned in one quick line, but when I was re-reading that nearly made me cry because SLUGHORN!). And when everyone assumed he had fled, he had actually gone for reinforcements that changed the tide of the battle. So I think of this as one of his turning points, as well. Because for all his faults, I think Horace Slughorn has always been someone who genuinely cares about (at least some of) his students. I LOVED giving him that moment.

Heehee. I'm glad you liked the "can't be more of a coward" line! I enjoyed that one, too. I thought a little lightness was needed, there at the end.

Thank you sooo much. I cannot tell you how much that means to me, truly. I hope you will continue to love the story as it goes forward.

And thanks so much for the CC!

And thank you for such a lovely, lovely review! :D


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Review #48, by carry on with your knitting An Unwelcome Visitor

24th August 2015:
Hi penny! :)

I'm here for the review swap and the first of what will be many reviews now that I have found your wonderful story again :)

It was lovely to reread the first chapter again and I fell in love all over again! I love the way that you write as Astoria by including her thought process but don't say 'I' all the time, it has a really nice subtlety. I also love that it is written in a way I feel a pure blood like Astoria would have been bought up and fought to behave. The language you use is crisp and proper and it really allows the reader to get inside her head!

I adore your descriptions! Especially if her house: everything seems so beautiful but also has a sad quality too it. It reminds me to the phrase 'money can't by you happiness.' I also think this is added to by the fact it's just Astoria and Draco in the house, which for me exaggerated how large the house felt and almost made it fell hollow and empty, which I guess reflects both he characters in different ways; Draco because he has chosen the wrong path and Astoria because she has to pretend to be someone she's not. Which leads me to my next point, I love that this story shows that not all Slytherins behave awefully! Astoria clearly hates the idea of the death eaters openly in her thoughts and the struggle of portraying something completely different on the outside must be really hard, it show how strong of a person she is!

The relationship between Astoria and her mother at the start is really quite touching and adds a sadness by the end of the chapter when we find out she has died and likely because of the death eaters. It obvious they were close if her mother told her everything. Astoria must had been a much needed outlet for her mother which is a really interesting level to the story as Astoria is just a child and makes me think her mother must have been incredibly lonely, probably Astoria is too! They parallel each other which is a really cool tech night you've used!

I did notice one tiny typo, youve written 'took in all the minute detail' so I don't know if that was meant to be 'minor details' ? But other than that it was pleasure to read it again and I look forward to reviewing your other chapters!

Katie :)
(Carry on with your knitting)

Ps sorry if there is a load of typos I did this from my phone :')

Author's Response: Hey Katie!

I really like writing in the third person for this story. I know there's some technical term for a third-person narrator who only knows what's in one or two people's heads, but I can't think what it is right now. Anyway, it's a style I'm really fond of, especially for my purposes here. You're right, for me that's one of the biggest problems that can arise in first person--sometimes there are so many "I's" that it's just distracting! But third person omniscient doesn't really work for a mystery, because I don't really want the audience to know more than Astoria and Draco do. Third person limited (*that's* the term, I think--thank you, Google!) is a better fit for this kind of story.

Thank you! I really love writing the descriptions. I have a lot of fun with them, and I know the ones in Greengrass Hall were some of my favorites to write. It *is* a sad place. It's hard to imagine it happy, at this point, after everything that happened with Astoria's mother, and her father going mad. Even if Daphne was around to help, I think it would be a pretty lonely place.

That's a really interesting thought, that the house is a reflection of the protagonists! I like it! You're right, there's a lot of emptiness in both of them.

YES!!! Exploring the idea of what it is to be a Slytherin is one of the main reasons behind my writing this fic. It always bothered me that, in the books, Slytherin House was almost always depicted as "evil". I know Harry was biased, but still. And then I gave it all even more thought when I was sorted into Slytherin myself on Pottermore. None of the Slytherin qualities are inherently bad--like every other House, they become problematic when taken to an extreme. But cunning, cleverness, ambition? Think of all the fairy tales and folktales where those are viewed as a hero's qualities! I really wanted to have a heroine who came across clearly as a Slytherin, but who also had really good qualities, and who would grow a lot over the course of the story.

Thank you. That snippet at the beginning becomes even more important as the story goes on. Astoria's relationship with her mother was complicated. She believed that Lavinia told her everything, until she found out that that wasn't at all true. Lavinia was keeping several important secrets to herself. And I think that makes Astoria feel betrayed almost as much as anything else, really. They definitely were close, though. And you're right--Lavinia really depended on Astoria, because there was no one else who could give her the praise she needed and wanted. Lavinia raised her daughter to be the perfect confidante, and to be the sort of person who would appreciate Lavinia's particular skills.

CC! Anytime you have that, I am so glad to hear it! I find it super helpful. However, in this case, minute isn't meant to be like "minute", as in 60 seconds; it's minute like [my-newt], which is a synonym for tiny. I think that's what you were asking about, but if I misunderstood your CC, please let me know.

Thank you so much for this lovely review, and for your wonderful message yesterday that is still warming my heart when I think about it. And thanks for the swap!


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Review #49, by Unicorn_Charm The Stolen Truth

24th August 2015:

My heart! It was racing that entire chapter! Oh my goodness there was just so much tension and you just knew that something was about to happen. I have no words. I'm just... gah!

This whole dance back and forth between Astoria and Draco had been so great to read. The way that you are able to create this heart pumping atmosphere in such a quiet setting is remarkable. I was seriously on the edge of my seat this entire chapter!

Yeah, Draco is definitely a bit intimidated by her. He just was well admits it to himself in the first half of this chapter. She's good, Astoria. She's really good at controlling her emotions (most of the time) and seems to have an answer for everything. It's almost like she's a female version of Draco, and I think that scares him as much as it impresses him. It's so interesting to read!

I think he's unconsciously beginning to feel something for her. He's definitely admiring her face as much as he seems to be studying it. And the fact that he was feeling a bit soft towards her, softer than he has for other he's interrogated at least, says something as well.

I'm so scared for her! From when he first mentioned her name being spoken at the Weasley's until he read her mind, I'm a nervous wreck! And when she asked if he was going to torture her, I was so sad for her. It just came across like, "so this is it then?" to me. :( I would love to know what Draco thought in that moment. After reading your description of his face when she asked.

Ugh and now he knows! What is she going to do? What is he going to do?? I'm dying here! And then you give us that little snippet from the next chapter!

Love it! Still loving it and I'll continue to love it! *worshippy* Great work my dear! On to the next chapter! ♥

xoxo Meg

Author's Response: Hey Meg!

I'm sorry about your heart! I hope you were near a healthcare professional if things got too dire. Maybe I should include a chart in my author's note--Signs of a Heart Attack: How to Tell the Difference Between An Actual Health Emergency and Severe Feels. ;)

Thank you! That was definitely what I was going for--a lot of excitement in a very cold, quiet place. I had a lot of fun with that juxtaposition, but I'm always just sooo happy when people tell me they feel like I pulled it off and they really felt the tension. It makes all the hard work totally worth it!

You're right--Draco has no idea what to make of Astoria, and that doesn't happen often. It's intriguing...and a bit intimidating. Even though he seems to have all the power, he remains uneasy, which just shows that he's smart. He doesn't underestimate our girl!

She *is* good. I mean, she's 16, and a trainee spy, so it's not like she can be perfect, but I think on the whole Astoria does a pretty admirable job of containing her thoughts and feelings. She's under so much pressure! Haha! The female Draco. Honestly that scares me a bit. I think you're right, though, in that they definitely have some important similarities--they are both observant, quick thinkers, and they come from the same background. But I think that Astoria was never as entitled as Draco was raised to be (though admittedly Draco has lost most of that, and she certainly still has her superior moments). And she's braver than he is. Still, you're right, she's on his level, and for Draco that's a rare find.

Heehee. You may think right ;)

Ah, the fear *steeples fingers, villain-style* I like to instill fear. Muahaha!

That was a sad moment. I wish I could tell you what he was thinking--I mean, I do know what it was, but I think I might need to save that for a later reveal. I actually really want to say, but I don't want to hem myself in later or reveal too much too soon, you know?

Well by now you know what he does, of course ;) But I am SO EXCITED that you were so eager to find out! That means the world to me.

Thank you for this lovely, lovely review, Meg!


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Review #50, by Unicorn_Charm The Malediction Perfidious

24th August 2015:
Hey Penny! Back with your next review!

This was amazing! This story is amazing! Your writing is amazing! I'm just in complete awe of it!

It was so interesting see Draco's POV in the beginning section of this chapter. He knows something is off, but he doesn't seem to exactly be able to prove that she's lying. He's also kind of intimidated by her, isn't he? I just loved reading his assessment of her through his eyes. And who is coming?! Why did his Mark burn? What is going to happen? I want to know!

Pansy is such cow. I hate that girl so much. How could anyone be so cool and nonchalant about a housemate of theirs quite clearly suffering in front of them? What a *words I can't say because they're not 12+* Bah! And her sister seems just lovely. Didn't care too much, did she?

I love how you showed us that it was Snape that helped heal her, but didn't flat out tell us. You have a feeling that it's him, but you're not quite sure until you read the part about the oily hair. That was really well done. :)

Yeah, anything that scares Poppy, you know has to be had. Yikes. That spell sounded terrible. And to thing it was her own mother. Just awful.

I really am enjoying the interactions between Ginny and Astoria. They're like two sides of the same coin. I love it. Both so similar, yet also different. And the whole, "I despise you, too," little exchange was pretty funny.

The chocolate is brilliant! That is just pure genius that they would have codes and messages on candy, because that really is so not suspicious. Fantastic! And that's great that they were able to save those people and no one was really hurt.

Just a phenomenal chapter. Your writing is so, so wonderful to read. I didn't even realize that this was 7000+ words while reading it, because it just had me so sucked in and engaged the entire time. There was not one point that I though, "Ugh, is this chapter over yet?" I wanted it to keep going!

I am more and more impressed, awed and in love with each chapter. I can't wait to keep going! Love it! ♥

xoxo Meg

Author's Response: Hey Meg,

Thank you so much! *blushes profusely* Wow, that really just means so much to me.

Oh, yeah. Draco definitely realizes that Astoria is a force to be reckoned with. But at the same time, he's intrigued by her. He does this sort of thing all the time, and he's seen a lot of responses--bribery, begging, anger--but he's never seen anyone who could match him at his own game. Astoria is the first worthy opponent he's had in a very long time.

Pansy IS a cow! Oh, that made me laugh. But she just really is awful. And yeah, you get a pretty good idea of what Daphne is like here. She does help Astoria, but she does the bare minimum, and as the story goes on you'll find that's par for the course with her. Daphne is very easily led by her friends, and tends to ignore "unpleasantness". She does not readily take responsibility for anything. There is a reason that her little sister is the one who is more or less in charge of the family's affairs.

That's one tiny detail I loved putting in there. I'm glad that you liked it! Snape is, we know, adept at healing dark curses, so I felt like it fit better than Madame Pomfrey healing her. I mean, she's good, but I don't imagine that being her area of expertise. And I liked showing that, even as he has retreated and left Hogwarts mostly to the rule of the Carrows, Snape is still doing some good for the school. It's not the height of bravery or caring--he isn't protecting the students from the Carrows, for instance. But he is doing something that he feels is within his power. It's small help, and maybe a bit begrudging, but it's something, and that's Snape for you.

You're exactly right about them being two sides of the same coin. I have so much fun any time those two enter the same room! They play well off one another :)

Thank you! I like to think that two people as innovative as Fred and George would put their mark on the war effort, and I needed a good way to send some messages now and again.

Thank you, Meg! Just, so much! This is such a lovely review, and really, really encouraging.


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