Reading Reviews for Traitorous Hearts
  
186 Reviews Found

Review #26, by RavenclawFTW The Writing On the Wall

20th August 2015:
Hey Penny! Continuing on with this wonderful wonderful story. I loved this chapter so there was just a few things I wanted to comment on.

I love your characterization of Ginny so much here. I have a lot of trouble with Ginny in the books, because I feel like we don't really get to meet her much at all and mostly heard stuff about her. Like I don't think we get many conversations or specifics about her, and she's just kind of around for a lot of moments that Rowling writes around (like Quidditch, and Quidditch practice, when Harry spends a lot of time with her but we never really see). So it's hard to really get a handle on her and reconcile that with her incredible actions during her sixth year, but I seriously love the way you've written it here. Astoria's thoughts back about who Ginny has become, and her motivations along the way, work so well with what we know about Ginny but also add to that.

Plus I LOVE the writing on the wall stuff-- that's such a great tie in and I love that Ginny has thought back to that. I think you've done such a great job showing how Ginny has been impacted by Voldemort possessing her and the after effects of that.

Also, I love how Astoria isn't like all out joining in the resistance, but is doing a little to help out. It's wonderfully in character that she's not going to be dumb enough to just start doing too much to resist, but just little hints and tips. I really like that.

Okay onto the next chapter!

--J

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Review #27, by Aphoride An Unwelcome Visitor

20th August 2015:
Hey there, Penny! :) Dropping by for our review swap! You know, it's strange, this is one of those things I've seen now and then around the forums, in updates and things, but I've just never stopped by, so it's so great to finally get the chance to do it now! :D

I really like the way you've started this off - there's a perfect mix of set-up and suspense. I'm always a big fan of beginnings which just drop you in amongst the story headfirst, so to speak, and this does it so right: the way the first thing is Draco arriving, and we're presented with so many questions through the narrative is just so so good. It's a great hook, and you use it so well :)

Your characters are great, too - I love your portrayal of Astoria. There's something so fascinating about the way you set her up as sort of being in charge/control of her family, and thus their future as a group, and how terrifying that must be, and so interesting to think on maybe how she grew up to be like that and why, you know? Already she's a pretty complex character, which I love because it makes the whole thing that much more alive and real and emotional, you know?

Draco was really good, too, in this - I like how you've brought out how much being a Death Eater effects him - how tired and gaunt from the stress and the fear it makes him. It's little things like that - the details - which make him feel so real, and so perfectly in-character, and make me feel pretty sympathetic for him.

Your writing in this is so great, too. I love how many little details there are in this - from the musing on the colour of her dress, which I loved, to the little things about the way the room looked, how Draco looked - and how complete they make the picture feel. It's so easy for me to imagine this so clearly, because of the description - it's all so so good! :) Another thing I love in this is the aesthetic of it - the way you create the feel of the pureblood society, almost like a kind of era; it really puts me in mind of the Victorians or the Edwardians, you know, with the kind of stiff, cold way of living. It's so brilliant, and so beautiful, and so clear too, which I love.

All in all, this was a brilliant start, and I'm so glad we swapped so I could read this - I've really, really enjoyed it! :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hey! I totally know what you mean. There are several stories that I'm always meaning to go check out, but some of them I just haven't gotten to. My list is a mile long.

Those are my favorite type of beginnings, too, so I'm really glad you thought it was done well here! Thank you! :D

Astoria definitely bears the weight of *way* more responsibility than a 16 year-old girl should ever have to. You find out why that is later in the story, and on the whole she bears up well under it, but it requires a lot of strength. And she is definitely terrified that she won't be able to protect the people she loves.

Complexity was what I was going for with Astoria, so I'm really happy to hear that you think she comes across that way from chapter 1.

Yay! Someone's sympathetic for Draco! I get such a wide range of responses to him early on in the story, since so many people have really firm opinions on Draco Malfoy. Especially at the beginning, before we really get inside his head, what people seem to think of him varies a lot. But I did want to convey that he's got some vulnerability. Even if he, like Astoria, is good at covering it up, his appearance doesn't lie.

Thank you! I love working out the details and really trying to paint a picture of the scene. I used to write from a really dialogue-based perspective, so this was the first fic where I ever really tried to dive deeper into tone and setting, and so far I've really enjoyed it. I think it's changed my overall writing style a great deal, because I just have fallen in love with the details.

And I love writing the Pureblood society aspect. That was one of the things I was most excited about when I decided to write this fic. My headcanon was that magical society, well, they're sort of old-fashioned as it is, right? So I thought that Purebloods, since they consider themselves the most magical of all, would cling to the past even more than most. I thought they would be very cold and formal (at least in public), as if they were still in a bygone era. That's been a lot of fun, too, and it really helps ramp up the tension. Muahaha! I love tension ;)

Thanks so much for such a lovely review, Aph! I really appreciate it!

--Penny



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Review #28, by RavenclawFTW A Changing Tide

20th August 2015:
OH MY GOD PENNY
DRACO DID THE THING
OH MY GOD
THAT WASN'T WHAT I EXPECTED AT ALL
I THOUGHT SHE WAS GOING TO DO SOMETHING CLEVER
AHHH
THE SHIP HAS SET SAIL
Okay I'm not going to be reviewing every chapter because I'm way too engrossed to pause and collect my thoughts but I couldn't help it with this chapter and DRACO NOT BEING USELESS OMG
Also I love the lines that you had posted in the "Too Hot" thread-- they're even better in context. Ahh you're so talented and imaginative and I can't wait to know what else is going to happen!

--J

Author's Response: Okay I just had to respond to this review immediately because it has MADE MY DAY and is, I think, the best review I have ever received on this chapter. ALL THE CAPS LOCK!! :D

I am sooo excited that the ship has set sail!

Bahahaha! "Draco not being useless" *cries tears of laughter* I think Draco is quite baffled by the whole thing, himself. Like, "Is this...what it feels like to...DO something? Something that isn't evil?" To quote from timeless Broadway classic, Wicked, "What is this feeling, so sudden and new?" ;)

Not reviewing on every chapter is totally fine. That would be a lot, and I want you to enjoy the story. But thank you for this excellent review! And thank you for saying such lovely things! I hope you continue to like it!

--Penny


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Review #29, by RavenclawFTW The Stolen Truth

20th August 2015:
Hey Penny! So I've been meaning to read this story for ages and when I saw it in the Dobby rec thread I thought this would finally be my chance! So I'm leaving a review here so I can rec another story, but rest assured I will undoubtedly read on and hopefully review other chapters.

I've never really read a story about Astoria and Draco before, but oh my gosh do I love (and respect and fear) the Astoria you've painted before us. She's so poised and intelligent and cutting and just all around amazing. And then this Draco...he's not too sympathetic-- he's still an active Death Eater, even if he was forced into it, and that shines through the story throughout. He just seems so tired and worn and I want him to do the right thing but I know he can't...ahhh I can't wait to see where this cliffhanger is going!!

Your writing is also so incredible and engaging. Your descriptions are simple and evocative, which is a real talent to me. I feel like I understand so much about what's going on beneath the surface in this story, just through your careful descriptions. It's so incredible.

Then there's the originality of the plot-- I love how you're examining pureblood society and roles, and how Astoria's mom was more about proving herself clever than loyalty to Voldemort. I've never thought about Astoria's background or Death Eater spies, but you make both so engaging and interesting. I want to see a television show based on this story. That would be awesome.

Okay...I'll definitely leave a long and feelings-ridden review at the most recent chapter, but this is all for now! Can't wait to see where the story is going. :D

--J

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Review #30, by rosiful An Unwelcome Visitor

18th August 2015:
I've been eyeing off this story for a little while now, so I'm glad I've finally gotten a chance to start it!

This chapter was really interesting. I have so many questions! What happened to her mum? How did she die? What was the big secret at the start? I guess I will find out soon enough though.

I love the tone you've created, it seems so ominous and quite dark. And your descriptions are really wonderful too!

So looking forward to reading more.

Author's Response: Hey! I'm so glad you came and gave this a look! I hope you've enjoyed the beginning here, and I'd certainly love to hear more of your thoughts if you stop back by.

Heehee :) Many questions will be answered; many secrets will be revealed. All in good time.

Thank you so much for saying such lovely things! I really appreciate that. And thank you for taking the time to read and review!

I'm so looking forward to hearing what you think!

--Penny


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Review #31, by TreacleTart A Changing Tide

18th August 2015:
Hi Penny,

I'm here for our review swap!

Wow! You weren't kidding about this chapter being packed with action. I could hardly keep up so much was happening, so I apologize if I verge into rambly shouty review status.

HOLY COW! ASTORIA HIT DRACO WITH A FIRE POKER! WHAT A BEAST!!

Can I just tell you how much I adored this scene? Seriously, that is a tough, vicious girl right there. It takes a lot to pick up an iron fire poker and whack someone with it. He's really lucky he wasn't just a little bit closer otherwise he might've gotten skewered.

I love the mental games that the two of them play with each other. I think this is the first story that's really made me understand why they ended up together. Mentally, they are a good match. They present a bit of a challenge for each other. The way you built that is perfection.

AND WHY IS FENRIR GREYBACK HERE?!! AND WHY IS HE GETTING CLOSE TO ASTORIA?!! WHERE IS THE FIREPOKER WHEN YOU NEED IT?!

I am so glad that Draco protected Astoria from that hideous thing. It just goes to show that he does have at least a little bit of a soul after all. Besides, it would be one thing to take her captive, but a completely different thing to stand by and watch her be mauled by a werewolf.

It's interesting to see the subtle shift within Draco. I think that he's always been bothered by leaving his victims to their torture or death, but there's something special with Astoria. I think he feels that connection with her because of her mental prowess. I don't think he's ever really met his mental match before (except maybe in Hermione).

Now, hopefully Astoria won't be foolish enough to continue on without learning some occlumency because if she doesn't it might not just be her butt on the line, but Draco's as well.

This was a really great chapter!

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: I love rambly shouty reviews! They're great fun!

SHE DID! SHE DID, SHE DID THAT AND I WAS SO PROUD OF HER!

Yay! Astoria is definitely tough, and I liked writing this scene because we finally get a chance to see it. I mean, it's clear from all the other chapters that she is poised, cool under pressure, and very clever, but this is the first time we really get to see her vicious side and that made me really happy. For me, it's a part of her Slytherin nature--if you back a snake into a corner, you'd better believe it's going to strike.

Draco was definitely lucky to make it out with just a bad cut. Astoria had definitely given up on subtlety at that point; if she'd have had the chance, she'd have taken him out. No question.

I am SO glad to hear that! That's exactly what I wanted when I first began writing this story. I haven't read a ton of Drastoria fics, but in most of the ones I have, Astoria is either an angel of light and love who was totally uninvolved with the war, or she's a totally spoiled, brainless brat who is meant to be hated. And I am not trying to knock those stories. I've see those characterizations work, because they served a purpose within the narrative. But I didn't want to write an Astoria who existed solely to heal Draco. I wanted an Astoria who had her own story, her own struggles and issues, and who could be a match for Draco in a different way. I am so, so happy that you like their connection, though! They have a long way to go, but they are definitely equals, and I think that's one of the most important ingredients.

I'm a huge Dramione shipper, normally, because I think you're right--she's the only one who comes close to being his match. Draco isn't brave like Hermione, but I really don't think there's any question that he's intelligent, and he always seemed to be a skilled wizard. I think they make a good pair, but I wanted to explore the possibilities of remaining in canon. It made me think, okay, well if it COULDN'T be Hermione, then what sort of person would this Astoria have to be, to be a good match for Draco?

Ugh. Honestly Fenrir Greyback still creeps me out in this scene. I'm glad that you felt that way about it, because that was definitely what I was hoping for. But just...ugh. *shakes off the creepies*

I think you're right. Draco was a fairly successful small time bully, but he never had the stomach for true, maniacal cruelty. I think he'd hate it. The poor lamb's a bit delicate, in some ways. ;)

Really, the way I see it, Draco wants to do something good (or to avoid doing something terrible), but he has trouble finding the courage. He did a lot of low-grade bad things as a kid, but any time he was presented with the opportunity to do something truly evil (as an adult) he didn't do it. He didn't kill Dumbledore, even though he could have. He had his chance, and I think it was quite clear that he did *not* want to take it. And then in DH he has the opportunity to turn in Harry, and it's pretty clear he knows that it's him, but he chooses not to.

Draco isn't really willing to openly defy the Dark Lord, but when he can avoid atrocities, he does. And I think the fact that he resists at all is pretty remarkable. Bravery isn't instinctual for him. But given his record, I thought it would be pretty reasonable that, upon seeing Astoria--someone who reminds him so much of himself, and with whom he has this unique connection, he would once again find the same small measure of courage that allowed him to spare Dumbledore and Harry.

The Occlumency thing is definitely going to be explored further, though I'm considering moving it up a bit, based on your comments. I'm still working on finding the right place.

Thanks so much for the chapter, and for such a wonderful review! This absolutely made my day when I got it--and it's made me smile every time I've seen it. Thanks so much, Kaitlin!

--Penny


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Review #32, by Lily The Edge of Insanity

16th August 2015:
Astoria is so powerful I love her I love this

Author's Response: THANK YOU! *tears up*

That really means a lot to me.

--Penny


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Review #33, by Lily A Family Affair

16th August 2015:
Wow I'm so happy that you made Astoria Chinese! a bit of representation is always nice :) Also love your writing and exploration of this character!

Author's Response: Hey! Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review. It really brightens my day.

And thank you! I get really excited when people like that the Greengrasses are Chinese. I think it's important to have diversity, and especially since Wizarding prejudices are geared more towards blood status than gender or race, I don't think there's any excuse not to have diversity at every level of society in HP fics. I love that I get to work it in. :)

--Penny


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Review #34, by TreacleTart The Stolen Truth

16th August 2015:
Hi Penny,

I’m here for our review swap. Sorry that I’ve been so abysmally slow with this.

Wow. This was such an intense chapter. I had a feeling after reading the last one that Draco had a trick up his sleeve and here it is. What he does to Astoria is just awful. I almost think that physical torture would be easier to withstand because at least it’s just pain. In this case, he’s broken into her mind and sort of violated her privacy in a way.

I adore how you’ve made both Astoria and Draco so clever. This battle of wits is just amazing to watch. It’s like two very skilled chess players making moves, except that Astoria’s life hangs in the balance. I feel like even though Draco now knows what he knows, she’ll still have some tricks up her sleeves too. I doubt very much that she’ll just roll over and accept defeat.

It was interesting. While I was reading the section about what Draco was doing to her, I had wondered why Astoria would’ve never learned to defend herself. I mean I understand why her mother might not have taught her, but Astoria almost seems too clever to have had that possibility escape her. It seems like a very uncharacteristic mistake for her. Hopefully, it won’t be her downfall.

It’s really sad to hear about her father spiraling into insanity. The part where Draco insinuates that her father must’ve been the culprit was really good. It was really the first place where I could actually feel cracks forming in Astoria’s cool exterior. For just a moment, the rage just poured out of her and understandably so.

Just tiniest bit of CC…
I noticed one typo: those our grounds for my family – those are

Also, there was this sentence which read a bit funny.
She’d always known this is a possibility – I think this would sound better if you said “was a possibility”

Another excellent chapter as always Penny! I’m very much looking forward to seeing what happens next. I have a hunch that Astoria is going to try and play on Draco for a bit of compassion. I think he has it somewhere deep inside of him, but I think his fear of death might keep him from finding it for awhile.

Keep up the excellent writing!

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: Hey Kaitlin!

Heehee. The intensity. :D I am so glad that you felt that building, because that's definitely what I've been going for. It's so nice to hear that it worked, because that's definitely something I worried about in those first few chapters. After all, I mean, we haven't even really left the room! So I really wanted to be able to build the pressure, despite the kind of...er, sedentary (?) nature of the scenes between Draco and Astoria.

It IS totally awful. Astoria would absolutely choose torture over giving anyone access to her mind for even a moment. It's a definite violation of privacy, and it's terrible. But then, it also may be a significant part of why she's still alive. What was the moment, exactly, where Draco decided it was worth the risk to save her? At this point, we don't know. Neither, really, does Draco. But it's worth considering that, when she was a worthy opponent, he was regretful, maybe a bit anxious, but still hadn't decided to change his course. Seeing Astoria's mind, however--I don't think we should underestimate how significant that was in Draco's decision-making.

He'll continue to angst over it for awhile, though, never fear. And Astoria would say--as well he should! ;)

Thank you! A verbal chess match was exactly what I was aiming to create, and I am DELIGHTED that it came across that way!

And you don't underestimate our girl! You are absolutely right--as you now know, because you've read the next chapter, too. Astoria's not out of fight yet--you don't back a snake into a corner and not expect it to bite.

The Legilimancy issue IS interesting, and you're supposed to be wondering. I'm glad that it caught your attention. You are absolutely right--it's totally strange that Lavinia, the CHIEF SPY, would have made Astoria her protege, but neglected to teach her Occlumency. It's verrry fishy. Astoria thinks it's because her mother was over-confident, but that might be an inaccurate assumption on her part. There is a reason for it, though, and the truth will out!

Felix Greengrass is a character I love and despair over in equal measure. It is sad, the way he spiraled. He's somewhat tragic, but very fun to write. I believe he shows up in the next chapter. The part where Astoria cracks when Draco pokes at that pressure point was one of my favorite parts to write. She comes across as very cold, oftentimes, but Astoria would walk through fire for her family. I wanted her to be clever, and good at what she does, but she's still only 16. She was a spy-in-training, not a professional. She had to make *some* mistakes, and her father is always her weak point.

Girl, CC! Lay it on me! That is so helpful. I really appreciate it when people point these things out, because after staring at a chapter for a while my eyes just sail right past those errors. I've made those notes so that I can go through and fix those mistakes in my next round of edits. Thanks for taking the time to point them out to me!

As you know now, your hunches are good--that's some Astoria Greengrass-type intuition, right there!

Thank you again for this LOVELY review, Kaitlin! It put such a smile on my face.

--Penny





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Review #35, by navyfail The Stolen Truth

13th August 2015:
It's really sweet how protective of her family Astoria is. Though it seems like all pureblood families have loyalties only to their families so I guess it makes sense. It's interesting seeing how Draco thinks of this as a game. He even regrets having to face little Greengrass of all people. He probably didn't know how clever Astoria is compared to her sister.

We find out a lot about Felix Greengrass this chapter I feel. He really was hit by his wife's death, not talking to anyone, almost lost really. The fact that Astoria wanted to stay home and take care of him shows how caring she is and I think Draco sees that as well.

I find it believable that Astoria would prepare herself for torture. Death Eaters do seem to enjoy using the Cruciatus Curse but alas, she's faced with Legilimency. No hiding anything now. If I remember correctly, Fenrir Greyback comes next chapter right? It's sad that even with all the preparation Astoria did, the odds were stacking against her.

The title really fits with this chapter: The Stolen Truth. I hadn't noticed that till now. Sorry for the short review, I think I'm just drained of intelligible thoughts right now. But as always, I enjoyed reading this chapter immensely and thanks for the review swap, Penny!

~Sama

Author's Response: Astoria's protectiveness of her family is definitely one of her best qualities, and one of the places where we are most able to see her kindness. I think family is important, in its way, to all Pureblood families, but I do think the Greengrasses are a bit different (as are the Malfoys). Like, my idea of it is that plenty of Purebloods ARE most loyal to their families. But there are also a great many for whom the *reputation* of the family is their greatest priority, and that's not quite the same thing. Like the Blacks--they have no problem cutting off their own if they do not measure up to their ideals: Andromeda, Sirius, (all the other people burned off the tapestry)...Bellatrix even specifically went after Tonks, because she WANTED to kill her and rid the family of muggle taint.

There are those to whom family is most important, in a dynastic sense. But for Astoria, her family is the most important thing because she loves them. Period. Her father is mad, her sister is an idiot, Filly is a House Elf and would be widely considered a lesser being by most wizards. But Astoria would still do absolutely anything to protect them. Her loyalty is unique in that way (and it's definitely something she has in common with Draco, who is just trying to stay alive and keep his parents alive, as well).

Ha! Draco DEFINITELY didn't realize. :) But yes, that's certainly one of Draco's hold ups, although I don't believe these chapters mention it outright. He recognizes her devotion for her family, and it's something he can relate to. What happened to Felix IS tragic, both for him, and because it's left Astoria all alone and under so much pressure.

Thank YOU for the swap! I always enjoy reading your thoughts!

--Penny




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Review #36, by navyfail The Malediction Perfidious

13th August 2015:
Draco's is as observant as she is it seems. Another reason that they may be a good match. ;) I have to say I really enjoyed the part where he observed the Greengrass Manor and noticed something off about the smell/feeling of it. Also he related it back to his own home which gives a good insight on what's going on at Malfoy Manor at the moment as well. I find it amusing that he would take note of china. I think it shows that Narcissa really did raise him as a sophisticated pureblood.

And I really liked this line from that part:
"He knew that feeling--had seen it settle in at his own home, where boneless bodies were dragged across the oriental rugs to be burned on the grounds; where the walls of the third floor rooms were now painted in blood."

I have to say that I really liked the mention of the Grim. Brings back all the Divination memories from the third book.

It's sad that Lavina would place such a curse on Astoria, but when you read the words she said to her daughter you can see there is another hidden meaning to them. I'm guessing that the snake will leave a scar? Since it's dark magic it probably will, but I can't help but hope that it won't. I think it's because of my dislike of snakes that I feel that way. :P

“We all have scars, Mr. Malfoy.”
^^ When I first read this line I thought she just said that in general terms, but I'm now thinking she was relating that back to the snake scar she has.

I really enjoy reading her interactions with Ginny! They're alike in someways but on opposite sides of the spectrum. One is a Gryffindor, one is a Slytherin; one is an outright rebel, the other keeps to behind the scenes. They're very interesting and I feel like they could have been friends at one point, maybe after all this is over. Though I think it would take Astoria a long time to admit Ginny as a friend even then.

"Damn. Astoria loathed observant people."
^^This comment made me laugh since she herself is observant. I guess she doesn't like other playing her game. Also in the original chapter you have an extra space between the sentences.

I also noticed something I'm unsure of:
"The dregs if the amber liquid rippled, and a cluster of tea leaves at the bottom coalesced into an almost-recognisable shape--dark, hunched shoulders, a lump for a head."
^^Again I'm not entirely sure if I'm correct but I think "the dregs if the amber" is supposed to be "the dregs of the amber.

Overall, I really like how you included Draco's point of view in this chapter! And you connected Draco's questions back to past events so effortlessly so terrific job on that! 10/10!

~Sama

Author's Response: Being observant is definitely a quality they both have in common. ;) I can't see Astoria winding up with anyone who's slow on the uptake.

Oh Draco. Yes, he really does notice everything, including china. He's one of those guys who has an opinion on everything, which is useful sometimes, and irritating at others.

Oh, I was always really fond of that line! I'm glad you like it.

The curse definitely leaves a scar. Sorry about your dislike of snakes, though! Draco and Astoria have both been scarred by the darkness they've been exposed to, physically and emotionally.

I love writing the scenes with Ginny. You're right--she and Astoria are alike in many ways, but on the opposite side of the spectrum. That's a good way to put it. But they both are clever and they make good foils for one another. I think you're right. They could definitely be friends, but it wouldn't come easily for Astoria.

Heeheehee! I liked writing that comment, too. It's definitely hypocritical, but most of us dislike when people are capable of matching (or beating) us at our own games.

Oh, CC! Excellent! Thank you so much for catching that and for letting me know. I'm always so happy to have these things pointed out to me. It helps a lot in edits.

Thanks so much for the review, Sama!

--Penny


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Review #37, by navyfail A Dangerous Revelation

13th August 2015:
Hello! Here from our review swap!

I think everytime you mention Draco's glasses I find him more attractive. In the books I didn't like him all too much but, for some reason, in your story I can't get enough of him haha. Not to mention that if I was Astoria I would make a taunting comment that he lokoed like Harry Potter with them on.

Re-reading the beginning of this story is helping. I feel like I've forgotten a lot of necessary details so I'm glad I'm getting the time to read over this chapter again.

I like how Astoria recognizes Ginny Weasley as a powerful and smart witch. She even admitted that Ginny could probably take her in a fight; though Astoria could definitely get out of it with her quick thinking.

I think my favorite part is when Astoria admitted that giving up Epping Forest was for revenge. Revenge is always such a bittersweet thing. When you think about the word, you usually think of violence since that's what most people perceive it as, but Astoria thinks of it differently. I'm not sure if you are following canon when it comes to her age, but she's supposed to be in her fifth year during this time which makes her very young to realize how selfish the Dark Lord is.

And the ending is my favorite! Not wanting to play hero is a lot like Astoria and the fact that she doesn't want any credit is very Slytherin-like. (I couldn't come up with a better word, sorry.)

"I’m not out throwing myself at every cause that moves, like a deranged Gryffindor.”
^Is it bad that I agree with her? Gryffindor is actually my least favorite house for some reason. Maybe it's because so many of the characters from HP belonged to it that I almost find the house overrated. It's sad really.

Lovely chapter as always, Penny!

~Sama

Author's Response: So, I'm still planning to drop by with my extra review for you, but I thought I'd go ahead and start answering these.

Well, the books were from Harry's perspective, and Harry didn't find Draco particularly enjoyable. Well, I guess that's a matter of opinion, really, since Drarry is a ship, but you see my point.

Astoria *may* be a bit more likely to notice the appealing things about Draco, even if she wouldn't like to think of him that way.

I should totally try to write that glasses joke in somewhere. Draco would hate it! ;)

I totally feel the same way about Crossing the Borderline. I feel like there's so much I missed when I first read through it, and I'm really benefitting from a slower re-read!

Ginny has a point about Astoria. She's out for revenge, it's true, but it's the sort of revenge that still cares about people. It's not striking out in a blind rage. Astoria is a practical person, and even though her instincts can be selfish, she also has the capacity to plan something like revenge in a way that will be constructive as well as destructive. She may care about the well-being of others a bit more than she realizes, or would be willing to admit.

I am following canon with Astoria's age...sort of. I actually consider interviews and Pottermore "soft canon"--interesting, fair to use, but not "hard canon" like the books or the movies. I don't think you *have* to subscribe to those ideas to write a canonical fic. However, I do try to whenever possible. And since what we know of Astoria is almost entirely from those sources, I certainly wasn't going to ignore it. J.K. said that Astoria was two years younger than Pansy and Draco. What I've done is made her two years younger in AGE, rather than in school placement. She's in the same year as Ginny--sixth year. I have Pansy as 18, and Astoria as 16. Technically, Draco is just under two years older than her in my story. He's still 17 this point, closing in on 18 soon. But since, for most of the year, they'd be two years of age apart, I think it still works.

Slytherin-like totally works. But now you've got me trying to think of other options. Slytherish? Slytherinesque?

That was always something I really liked about writing Astoria. She really is a full-on Slytherin. She has some good traits, for sure, but she still is very much a member of her own House. There's no question of her being misplaced.

And no, I don't think it's bad at all that you agree with her! I definitely feel that way sometimes myself. I think Gryffindor is a great House, don't get me wrong. Lots of good traits. But they have as many bad traits as any of the others, and their impulsiveness CAN be a real problem. It's certainly something Astoria has trouble dealing with, especially as she begins to spend more time with members of that House in later chapters. I'm pretty cautious, too, and I spend half my time looking at the actions of Gryffindors in the books, just totally baffled, like WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! There has to be a much safer, simpler way!

But then again, I am a Snake ;)

Thanks for the lovely review, Sama! I always love swapping with you.

--Penny


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Review #38, by MadiMalfoy The Writing On the Wall

11th August 2015:
Hello again Penny! :)

So you already know how much I enjoy this story and even after not reading it for several months I could still remember everything (thank you for the chapter summaries, those helped a lot!!). But this chapter was--so far, at least--my favorite. You've managed to capture a friendship, however unlikely, between Astoria and Ginny that I feel could legitimately be canon. Both of them are strong-willed and strong-hearted, but exhibit these traits differently, and you express those differences beautifully.

Your main concern was the length of this chapter, but I honestly think it's the perfect length! I couldn't find a good place to split it because it all flows so seamlessly. You've got a great length here because it's not super long and it's not super short. You didn't have too much plot in here, nor did you have too little. It was perfect!

As always, loving the way this is going, and I can't wait to read more. Feel free to re-request for a review where I read several chapters and then respond as well. :)
~MadiMalfoy x

Author's Response: Hey Madi!
Thank you so much for this BEAUTEOUS review! I was feeling down bc I accidentally left my computer at a friend's house, which is an hour away from me, which means I don't get to write tonight like I'd planned :(. But this really helped cheer me up! Thank you so much!

I am SO excited that you liked the growing friendship between Astoria and Ginny! The first time I stuck them in a room together I was like...but wait, these two *have* to become friends. But, as you mention, it's an unlikely friendship. I wanted to make sure it didn't seem too far fetched. I felt like they gelled really well and, despite everything, that it felt natural, but it means so much to have that backed up. And you think this chapter is your favorite? Yay! *blushes*. :). I'm really fond of it.

Okay. Thanks for your comments on length. That helps. I'm just trying to make sure my chapter lengths are reader friendly, so I've been trying to reevaluate that lately. But I'm glad that this one passes muster.

Thank you so, so much again for your kind and considerate review! I'll definitely be over to re-request!


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Review #39, by TreacleTart The Malediction Perfidious

10th August 2015:
Hi Penny!

I'm here for that long overdue review swap of ours! Sorry I've been so long, but life got insane. Anyway, I'm here now.

Every time I start reading a new chapter of this story, I always end up thinking to myself "Gee. This is such an amazing story and Penny is such an incredible writer. I wish I had skills on this level." Truly, this story is one of my favorites. I'm terribly slow at reading and reviewing chapters, so sometimes it's hard to tell, but I really do enjoy your writing.

Astoria and Draco really are playing a dangerous game here. Draco is really sharp and I feel like he's got some conclusive proof or he wouldn't be bothering Astoria. He definitely knows more than he's letting on.

The whole premise of the curse that causes Astoria so much pain is frightening. It's scary to think that one could just put a secret curse on someone like that and that it wouldn't even be broken by death. Yikes! Good thing it was her mother though and not someone who could inform the Death Eaters of her deception.

I really adore this dynamic that you've written between Ginny and Astoria. It really is lovely and the snarky remarks that shoot back and forth between them really adds just a touch of humor to something that is a bit dark.

Overall, I think this story is incredible. I'm trying to find something that I can give you a bit of CC on, but as usual I'm at a loss. Great job!

~Kaitlin

P.S. I'll be over to your next chapter very soon!

Author's Response: Hey Kaitlin! No worries about taking a while. You've been CRAZY busy. And I've taken a while, before, myself.

You are so sweet! It means a lot to me that this story is one of your favorites. You should know that I still think about Bruises sometimes, just, like, going about my day, and WHAM! It was just such a great concept and you carried it out beautifully. I'm flattered that you say such nice things about my writing, but you totally have some great storytelling skills. Don't you doubt it, missy!


Thank you so much for saying such lovely things about my story, though. It gives me so many warm fuzzies :D

You're quite insightful--not everyone thinks of it that way. But Draco definitely isn't there to waste his time. He must think he's got *something* on her, right?

Haha, I think you are the first person who said it was a good thing that Astoria was horrifically cursed by her own mother! But your point is a good one. If it had been anyone else but Lavinia, she'd probably be dead by now, wouldn't she?

:D YAY! Thank you. I love the bits where I get to write Ginny and Astoria together. Their dynamic really is fun for me to play with, as a writer. And I'm glad you find it humorous! I mostly read humor fics, so I was kind of shocked to find myself writing something so ANGSTY. I'm always working on striking that balance between painting a situation with gravity and adding some comic relief so that the story doesn't just topple over and crush us all!

Thank you so, so much for this lovely review, Kaitlin! You are a superstar, and I'm always happy to know your thoughts on this--or any--story.

Thanks again!

--Penny


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Review #40, by SunshineDaisies A Dangerous Revelation

8th August 2015:
Hi! Finally here for your review :)

This is another solid chapter! I like that you've started to reveal a bit of Astoria's secrets. It's very well timed, if you'd waited too much longer, I think it'd start to seem too drawn out.

I like the development in the present as well! I'd like to see a bit more of Draco in each chapter, but I can also see how that make the transition between chapters a bit awkward. And I haven't read ahead quite yet, so it could be that you focus more on the present in future chapters now that we have more of a basis for the past.

I think you could include a little more detail about how Astoria got into the Gryffindor dorms, it seems like an interesting story and I think it would be a good opportunity for characterization. You can show a little more of her sneaky spy side.

But, these are just some food for thought! The chapter is great as is!

This review seems much shorter than my others, but I think that's a compliment to your writing :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much for checking this out and giving me your opinions!

I'm so glad that you think the timing's going well here.

I worried about that in those first few chapters--there not being quite as much Draco as one might like. But you're right, later chapters (excluding, I believe, chapter 4) have fewer flashbacks. They stay more anchored to the present. But to understand what's going on, I think the focus on the past is necessary in those first few chapters, or the intricacies of the situation wouldn't really come across later.

That's a good idea! I promise lots more of her sneaky spy side comes across later, but I would like it to remain consistent--show not tell, and all that. That would be a good place to include a bit of sneaking, if I could fit it in smoothly. I'll have to look into that. :)

Thank you so much, both for the things you mentioned that you liked, as well as your suggestions. I appreciate it!

--Penny


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Review #41, by navyfail The Edge of Insanity

7th August 2015:
Are you telling me that Draco was the one that saw her at the window? These little bits of Drastoria that are sprinkled throughout the story really do kill me, haha. I really didn't expect that we would be hearing from him again so soon but yay that we did! And the fact we go a few more short memories is great as well.

The scene between Aberforth and the three of them was really well thought out I think. It's cute that they all take turns to try to sway him and as each of them take their turn, he gets softer and softer till he gives in. I also like how you made Luna recognize him immediately. You write her really well... I hear Evanna Lynch's voice when I read her dialogues so kudos on that! Also Astoria using her Slytherin powers (sneering and manipulating should be a super power) for good is great!

And that last line was the best way to end the chapter, you know... referring back to the name of their group: Dumbledore's Army.

Also I loved this part:

"Astoria Greengrass was supposed to be keeping him away from the edge of insanity.


He glanced back up at the empty window.


Instead, she was driving him to it."

Lovely chapter as always, Penny! And very sorry for taking so much time to come read and review this chapter! I'll try to be quicker next time! Can't wait for the next chapter.

~Sama

Author's Response: Hey Sama!

So, the only reason I was so bad about answering your review was so that I could have it there to remind me that I've been meaning to go over and catch up on Crossing the Borderline. But now we're doing our swap, and I've officially promised you an extra review, so I think that'll be sufficient reminder ;)

I AM telling you that! (MUAHahahaha). I'm really excited that you liked that bit. It wasn't in my original chapter plan, but then I saw that opportunity and I was on it like Seamus on an Exploding Bonbon!

Thank you! Luna is *so tricky*, voice-wise, so I am so happy anytime someone says they think I'm getting it right. The relief! Luna's one of my favorite characters, so I really wanted to write her properly. And you hear Evanna Lynch???!! :D That is, like, the best thing you could have told me concerning this! Thank you AGAIN!

The very best kind of superpowers, heeheehee ;)

Also, thank you so much for saying that about the final line. I was hemming and hawing about how to end it, so the fact that you think it was solid really sets me at ease on that worry (I'm a *bit* of a perfectionist. A little).

OOooh! And favorite quotes! You are spoiling me, Sama, and it makes me really happy! (as you can maybe see by the emoticon explosion) :D

--Penny


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Review #42, by Crescent Moon  The Edge of Insanity

7th August 2015:
I'm loving this story!
I'm not usually a fan of Hogwarts era, but the way you've developed Astoria and everyone around her is really interesting. And the way you write you're cannon characters is very realistic, you really capture their spirits. I could definitely see this as part of JK's world.
I really can't wait to see where you take this.

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I have had the craziest day--week really, and I just cannot tell you how encouraging it was to log on and see this review :D
I really appreciated it.

I usually don't read a ton of Hogwarts era myself, but I do really love writing (and reading) moments when the events we see from Harry's perspective pop up in a really different way in a story along the same timeline. It's a challenge, but it's a lot of fun.

Thank you so much for your comment about capturing the spirits of the canon characters! I really try, so it means a lot to hear that it's working well so far.

You are so sweet! I really appreciate your taking the time to R&R! Thanks again


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Review #43, by Ohpl The Edge of Insanity

3rd August 2015:
What a wonderful chapter.Neville and Luna were written so beautifully and realistically to cannon.Your Astoria continues to be amazing.Clever , funny and quick-witted. I love her. Thank you for writing this story.

Author's Response: Thank YOU so much for taking the time to review! I really appreciate it. And thank you so much for your kind words about Neville and Luna. They can be tricky, but I'm really trying with them, so it means a lot to know that you think I'm getting it right! And I'm also really excited that you think Astoria is funny. I think so, but I have a rather dry sense of humor. Still, I was hoping people would pick up on that, since this fic is generally so angst-ridden that sometimes it's only Astoria's dry zingers that provide a but of comic relief!

Thanks again!

--Penny


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Review #44, by bigblackdog The Edge of Insanity

3rd August 2015:
"her eyes sparkling with the steely glint of wry humour"

^AH! this is perfect!

i know we've chatted about this chapter already, but i have to congratulate you on finding ways to insert some humor into such a dark time at hogwarts. luna rolling out of the cabinet and curtseying is adorably funny and so in character! and all the ceramic goats-lol.

Author's Response: Hee! Thank you so much! Gold stars to you for giving me the word I needed. :D

Thank you! I really loved those parts. I don't generally read that much angst, so I was surprised to find myself writing such an angst-tastic story. I desperately needed some comic relief up in here, so I'm really glad you liked it!

Thanks for being a fab beta!

--Penny


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Review #45, by aurevoir A Dangerous Revelation

31st July 2015:
Only reading a chapter is killing me.

I really like the way that you're unraveling this story because it keeps me enthralled with what's going on with the story - you have a good knack for that. I also like your characterization of Ginny - it seems a lot more like book Ginny than movie Ginny and I really like that.

I'm curious to see where this go - how she answers. I mean, we all know she's going to say she's never heard of it. I look forward to my next chapter ♥

Cassie

Author's Response: Hey Cassie!

I'm SO happy to hear that! Trying to keep the mystery going is one of my biggest challenges, so I'm very glad it's working.

I LOVE book Ginny. Movie Ginny...eh. But book Ginny is amazing, and that's definitely who I was trying to capture.

Muahaha, we shall see!


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Review #46, by RavenHairedGirl A Rattle of Keys

31st July 2015:
Really loving this, I adore Astoria and Draco and you have written the characters both so well, I love how you have managed to fit it into canon! Keep updating! Also you write so beautifully, it is a joy to read

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I really try to fit things into canon, so thank you for noticing, and for saying such kind, lovely things. And, of course, for taking the time to review. So, lots of thanks! :D

--Penny


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Review #47, by aurevoir The Lady of Greengrass Hall

30th July 2015:
Ok, woman. What on Earth is going on. I feel TORTURED.

It's really curious to me that Astoria is the one to give away whatever secret it is. And I really want to know these secrets that Astoria keeps referencing. I also like that Draco had his sarcastic moment.

I feel like a broken record. But I love this characterization of Astoria. The brains, the wile. And Draco's half reaction to her antics. Come on. I know I'm a true Dramione, but I'm also kind of rooting for this to happen right now. I suddenly feel the urge to write a story about Draco and Astoria. CURSE YOU WRITING GODS. That is not what I need to write.

If you hadn't noticed by now, I am INCREDIBLY distracted in my reviews and other things. I also have a Charlie cat in my lap and I can barely type and see what I'm typing. He's really making my life complicated. But he just wants sweet cuddles.

ANYWAY. I definitely will be keeping up with this story ♥ I don't have my speculative reviews to leave yet because I don't even know what to expect. Althought I think this is during the seventh year now. =)

LOVES,

Cassie

Author's Response: Hey Cassie! I'm looking forward to getting back to your Scorose story, by the way. I had a friend's wedding this weekend, and I've been booked for a bunch of extra nanny days, AND it's been the House Cup, so I've been slammed. But I'll be back ASAP!

Heeheehee. I'd say I'm sorry for torturing you, but I'm actually thrilled ;)

So many secrets, so many lies.

Thank you so very much. I love writing Astoria this way. She's a challenge, but she's never boriing to me.

I LOVE DRAMIONE!!! It's my main ship (alrhough kill Your Darlings by LavenderBlue has made Ted/Andromeda a STRONG contender for my OTP). But I wanted to write a canon story. The main thing about Draco and Hermione, for me, is that they could keep up with each other. If I was going to write a Draco/Astoria, Iwanted to write an Astoria that was very different from Hermione, but who could also keep up.

It can be so hard not to start new WIPS! I have to start them and then leave the plunnie in a folder until I have time to do something with it without neglecting current projects. I have a Dramione in my plunnie folder that I'm excited about, but I've got to get closer to the end of TH before I can write more and start posting it.

That is fair. The cats must be petted. All he wants is cuddles! How could you deny him that? Who could blame you?

Yup. 7th year. Trying to figure out how to fix that confusion.

Thanks Cassie,

LOVES BACK


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Review #48, by aurevoir An Unwelcome Visitor

30th July 2015:
Ok ok so I thought I would return the favor of leaving a review. And I've been eyeing this story for a while ;) I'm even stepping outside of my comfort zone to read this.

But seriously - I need to know what's going on. Is there like a second rising? Or is this the Draco of seventh year? I didn't read the description enough.

I'm really curious to see where this is going. I regret telling myself I could only read one chapter a night. Because I want to keep going - but that is how I get in danger.

I love mysteries and I love this characterization of Astoria - too often she comes off like a bimbo. So this makes me really happy.

As towards constructive

A misleading question. Her father was in no state to be concerned with such matters; her sister was too easily-led to think twice about them; and her mother...Astoria’s mother had been perfectly devoted--paid the ultimate price for her allegiance--and what had she gotten for it, in the end?

this sentence threw me off? But I really don't know why. Maybe I'm distracted or tired. Or all of the above.

♥ ♥ ♥ &hearts

Author's Response: First off, thank you for leaving your comfort zone to read my story! I appreciate it.

Ugh. I keep trying to clarify that, but apparently it still isn't working. People always catch on by the second chapter, but I want it to be clear right there at the beginning. Do you think it would be too unsubtle just to put something like: "Easter Holidays, Deathly Hallows", there in parentheses where the Spring 1998 bit is? Too unsubtle? At this point I might have to scrap some subtlety for clarity. Thank you so much for pointing this out, though. It lets me know I've got to do a bit more work to fix that problem.

I'm that way, too. I get started, and then I don't sleep, and when I'm staring at a screen its even worse, because even once I round up the self-control to stop reading, I stay awake longer because of looking at a backlit screen for so long.

I agree. I mean, each story is its own thing. Sometimes Astoria comes off like a bimbo and it suits the narrative. But in everything I had seen she was either brainless, incredibly cold and cruel, or a being of constant sweetness and light. I wanted to do something a little different than that, to write an Astoria who was not exactly good or bad, but who was grey.

That IS a complicated sentence. And now that I look at it, the line right above ends with the word question, and this sentence uses it too. Not to mention that the center bit might have got a bit convoluted. I'm planning on doing some editing within the next few days, so I'll try to take a look at that and see if I can make it a bit cleaner. Thank you so much for the CC! I really appreciate it.

And thanks so much for this lovely review!


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Review #49, by cherry_pop94 A Rattle of Keys

30th July 2015:
Hello Penny!

This was a great chapter! Though it was sort of filler, I think we really got a good look into who Astoria is. Even something as simple as standing in the middle of the line has meaning to her for her survival. She's just such a fascinating character!

The way you describe Ariana's painting is absolutely chilling. It is SO creepy, I just have no other way of describing it, but it really fits with the almost horror movie vibe you've got going on with this chapter. I was just waiting for the jump scare moment!

I'm so excited for the next chapter, where we'll presumably meet Aberforth!

Stefanie

Author's Response: Ha! Yay! You caught that part! :D I was hoping people would notice that. Astoria is a consummate strategist. It's not something she can really turn off, and while Astoria's number one consideration is usually her family, the fact remains that she possesses the Slytherin trait of self-preservation (though she would probably just call it common sense). Still, there are obviously things she feels are worth the risk.

Heehee, I guess that's Astoria's innate wariness coming through. After all, the portrait doesn't seem to totally trust her. Why should she trust the portrait? Astoria would definitely agree with Mr. Weasley's philosophy on never trusting 'anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain.'

You might... *sly grin*

Thank you for always leaving a review on the new chapters, Stefanie! You really are the best :)

--Penny


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Review #50, by alicia and anne An Unwelcome Visitor

29th July 2015:
Ahh Sorry that this has taken me a while, I got distracted by food haha. But I am here now! :D

I like that she chose the green for Greengrass and not for Slytherin or purebloods, and how her loyalty lies with her family and not just purebloods.

I wonder what happened to her mother? I assume from the way she's thinking that her mother has sadly died.

It seems tense between them and it makes me think that a lot has gone on that we're not shown yet and I'm very intrigued to find out what.

Awww I like that she explained to the house elf before about how she had to act around Draco, and that she hates not treating her nicer. I am really liking Astoria and how nice she is, but that she has to keep up appearances.

:O Did someone kill her mother? That is quite a cliffhanger!

Ahh! I need to read more! I need to find out what happens next! This was such a good first story and was written so brilliantly, I was intrigued from the start and I can't wait to find out more about Astoria, she's a lot different to other purebloods that I've seen written about.

Author's Response: I find it hilarious that you apologized for taking a while to read all those stories in front of mine. There were, like, a kabillion. It's amazing that you R&R'd all that so fast, in my book. You are so sweet! In fact, you are an inspiration!

I'm really fond of that line, too. It sets up a large part of who Astoria is, right from the beginning.

Lavinia Greengrass has definitely died, and someone certainly did kill her. The question that remains is, who? And why?

Yay! Intrigue!

Astoria isn't always kind, but she's nicer than she gives herself credit for sometimes. I always felt like not all Purebloods would be awful to their House Elves. I imagine that since (within my fic at least) a lot of Pureblood women marry quite young and are expected to host entertainments and be a part of Pureblood Society, the raising of the children would, in part, fall to the House Elves. I think it would be quite normal to develop a close bond, which could change the way the Pureblood person would look at Elves in general. Not everyone's hearts would change, but some would.

Muahahaha! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and I'd love for you to read more. Come back any time, ya hear? ;)

Thank you so much for the review and your kind words, Tammi. I think your 24 hour review-a-thon was amazing!

--Penny


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