I started this straight after you requested and then got completely distracted by writing and never got around to continuing. I'm so sorry, lovely. Here we go, anyway.
Because I'm desperate to catch up on this, I'm going to do three (I think...it might only be two depending on how long it takes me) shorter length reviews on these next few chapters rather than one big one and several rerequests. I hope that's okay; we both know I'd only squee my way through a long one anyway!
So, characterisation. I'm trying to recall the past chapters - each time I load a page on HPFF, it consumes internet like nobody's business so I am going to be doing a lot of this from memory - and so if something goes a bit skewy with what I'm saying, that's why!
I love the way you parallel Regulus and Sirius here. I think it echoes their future really well and provides a solid basis for us to judge the before and after of their relationship as brothers: before Gryffindor and after, I shall say for now. Sirius especially here proved extremely strong. I like how he's still very young, childish, but he's pushing for answers and the honesty that I would assume he's not accustomed to having in his life. He's inquisitive and so is Regulus and yet it seems for two different reasons. I really like what you've done with both of them; even though they're young, they're hugely important.
Druella...not a fan, I must admit. It's probably that opinion on children that did it and though I think she's perhaps a better person than Walburga (very good job with her too, by the way) in some ways, there's something dark to her that makes me uneasy. Alphard, however, is a breath of fresh air in comparison. I really like him.
The three girls didn't get much talking room here but I found myself enraptured by the way they spoke to Alphard at the beginning, how dismissive and ungrateful they were for the gifts. It spoke volumes about them and to me, it fitted them all extremely well. The three of them are all stunningly written, however. Regardless of how short each chapter is, they just come alive.
Plot is moving on and on and on. I can definitely see how this chapter was so crucial. I'm seeing it like a see-saw and this chapter as the pivot. I don't know whether it was intentional but I always felt there was always a hint in earlier chapters about the match that Walburga was trying to create between Andromeda and Yaxley. I think it was very well written; it said a lot of Walburga too. I can't wait to see where things go from here.
Style; well, you know, it's you so naturally fabulous. I love how classy and elegant this entire story is. It just reads like...I don't know, satin. It's so smooth and sophisticated and it's a dream to read, it really is.
So...short kind of failed, didn't it? I'm going to look at chapter 10 now and then see how I'm feeling at the end of that one (this cold is exhausting me.)
Just a wonderful chapter.
xxAuthor's Response: Look, only one month late! :D Ahem. Moving on.
You know I try to avoid OH LOOK THIS IS RELEVANT TO WHAT WE KNOW THEM AS moments, but sometimes, you really can't help it. This was one of those chapters, and Regulus and Sirius embody the problem of canon consistency. This is the time when Sirius is still a favored son, and the divide between him and his family is growing bigger all the time. They are young (and writing kids is so so so difficult), but they're /struggling/ to be important. Or at least to understand what importance means.
I don't know if Druella is dark, per se, but the children comment... hmm. I never thought of it that way, but I totally get it. She is certainly a better-seeming person than Walburga. But it's interesting that you liked Alphard, as he's the one who makes me uneasy, actually. I sort of think he's a great coward, choosing his "adventurous" lifestyle as a way to avoid responsibility, and despite that, he still allows himself to be drawn in to the intrigue back home. And, even worse, he participates in it, without having much of an idea of what his opinions and vague support of others could mean in practice. That makes me uneasy, personally.
The girls' interaction with him is dismissive, but playfully so, I thought. But your interpretation also fits them very well, and I'm surprised it didn't occur to me. But hurray for coming alive, since that is in many ways the point of the fic.
Plot, how I've missed you. Especially since we never really got to know each other. (Ahem.) This is absolutely a pivot chapter, the before/after divide, especially for Andromeda. Yes, the hints about the Alec/Andromeda are scattered before this point, but Andromeda has always purposefully avoided them. But now what happens when she has to face that fact? How does she take it? How does everyone else react?
If I may say so, I love the style I use in this fic. It feels, to me, like a happy balance between melodrama and description and characterization and all that fun stuff. It's harder to get back into now, after so long away from it, but I like looking back and I don't cringe nearly as much as I do with some other stories.
So... yay. Love love love. Report Review
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Everything, in my opinion, was flawless - the plot, the characterization, the descriptions and attention to detail. You've broken the mold with all three of the Black sisters - usually Andromeda is written as a vivacious, witty girl with a sharp tongue and Narcissa and Bellatrix are inherently evil from the get-go - Bellatrix especially. You gave them shape and made them realistic. You breathed life into these characters. It all goes against what anyone would expect - Narcissa having a fling with who she thinks is just a Muggle, Bellatrix still being sane (before the influence of Voldemort tempts her, I'm assuming), and Andromeda being sort of stuck in the middle, beautifully ordinary. The way you write is amazing - you really do not miss a thing. It's very much like I am there watching it all play out in front of me.
I'm sorry to say that I do not have any criticisms for you. I'm sitting here trying to think of something that needs to be improved upon, and drawing a blank.
Like I said, this is fantastic writing. You get into everyone's heads very well. I can just feel the tension in the room when Druella and Walburga and everyone is together, all of them putting on a show. It's all very twisted, and very real.
~Toujours PadfootAuthor's Response: Oh, Sarah. Just... wow. More wow. A sprinkling of shock over that wow. But yeah, I'm so flattered by this review. I can't believe it.
I did make a conscious attempt to break the mold, as you said, when it comes to canon characterizations of the Black sisters. I disagree strongly with the evil-from-birth-Bellatrix and conniving-scheming-witch Narcissa characterizations especially, so working around them was a great challenge. Andromeda actually poses the greatest problem for me as the story goes on, because where I want to go with her character is just... it's hard. But I'm so delighted that they made sense and become their own people! (Yes, this is before Bellatrix falls with Voldemort. This is, after all, only as he begins his climb to power.) This style is probably my favorite thing I've ever written, so thank you. But no criticism is... eek. How? Eek!
Twisted and real are two things I wanted very much to be in this story, so even more *hug* for you! This review was wonderful, thank you, thank you! Report Review
Excellent start! I get a strong sense of Andromeda's personality already, even though it's so subtly done.Author's Response: Thanks, Sarah! Andromeda's personality is very important to the fic, obviously, so making her strong is vital to the fic. :D Report Review
Every time I read another one of your chapters I'm just left in absolute awe. I've told you before that you are an absolute genius, and the more I read the more I realize how right I was.
The two scenes here work well put together - they both would feel too short on their own, and would both probably feel too disjointed as well. That being said, I DEFINITELY liked the second half of the chapter better. Here I was, painting Bellatrix with the "psychotic Death Eater" brush last chapter, and then you go and throw this gem at me and BAM! You've made Bellatrix human, with a heart and conscience and everything! Yet you haven't changed her, or made her seem out of character at all - I can still see the Bellatrix we already know in her, this is just a different side of the coin.
Bellatrix came home around noon to find her sister out cold on the bathroom floor.
At least it was the upstairs bathroom. No one used that one.
OH BELLATRIX XD Still concerned with appearances and strength, but does seem to really be concerned for Andromeda and really believes that what she did with the swan was a kindness. What you've done with her here is nothing short of magic.
And then because I can't resist: OMG MYSTERY WAITER BOY am so secretly hoping is Ted and they fall madly in love and run away together and live happily ever after. Maybe? Fine, whatever. JUST REALIZED YOU'VE LISTED NARCISSA/TED AS A SHIP. What are you doing to me, woman? Must read on. oxoxoxoxAuthor's Response: Oh, Mary. *blush* I am going to diplomatically ignore that first bit and plow on.
Yeah, putting the scenes together was something I ended up having to do because, yes, they were too short and would have been disjointed. I'm glad I did it, though; more time to see others. Including more of vaguely intimidating Bellatrix, who is one of my favorite characters ever. Making her human is, as you can imagine, absurdly difficult because crazy!Bella is such an indelible image from the books. Humanizing someone as unabashedly awful as her is a challenge, but no one is born evil (right?).
Those two lines, actually -- it's interesting that you interpret them as Bella's concern for appearances. I don't remember exactly what I meant, but I think her concern was more for Andromeda herself. Unsure how, but it isn't /supposed/ to be that appearance factor. But yes, she does care, in her way.
MYSTERY WAITER BOY's identity shall be revealed soon enough, worry not. Maybe he is relevant. Maybe he isn't. But... ahem. I'll stop talking now.
Thank you so much, as always. :D Report Review
SO MANY THINGS I WANT TO SQUEE ABOUT IN THIS CHAPTER.
Little Sirius and Regulus are adorable. Even at this age, there is so much of what later defines them visible. Sirius tires to come across as so cool and jaded, but his little slip of accidental magic reveals him emotions and his heart - A PURE WHITE SWAN. REALLY, gubby?? So freaking adorable. And Regulus,so loyal to his family with all his pride. And then there is this line:
Regulus was enchanted by the thing, for it was not often the poor boy was near the pure and uncorrupted.
I swear I almost tried to jump through my computer screen and huggle the poor boy when I read that. And the way both boys idolize Andy just makes my heart melt. I've already said it, but SO. FREAKING. ADORABLE.
And then Bellatrix comes along and ruins it all. The big meanie. (Seriously, she is way terrifying here. The way she has a single moment of fascination with Sirius' swan before tearing it to shreds is both kind of psychotic and kind of foreshadows what happens in the future.)
We also get to learn so much more about Andy here, how she feels herself sort of balancing on a very thin line to survive. Such a horrible way to life, but very in line with what I imagine it must have been like to live in the Black household (or any of the pureblood household at the time, really). You're just a freaking genius, and there are far too many wonderful lines for me to even try to quote them here; the entire story would be replicated here in my review.
-heart-Author's Response: I was always wary about writing Regulus and Sirius because they're still children at this point. I didn't want the story to turn into little sections where the reader could point and say "OOH! SEE, THAT'S RELEVANT TO HOW WE SEE THEM IN CANON!" but that has to happen at some point.
This may sound silly, but I only just now realized, thanks to you, that the swan was a result of Sirius' emotion. I always thought of it as a spontaneous result of dormant magic but, silly me, I forgot that there's usually a catalyst with that sort of young magic. So obviously, his emotions triggered its creation. And, um, yeah, I am utterly unsubtle and had him create a pure white swan. Regulus is a different matter, though, and I'm glad you picked out that line because it's so true. They're children in this unforgiving world and that's a very difficult position to be in. They see Andromeda as a bastion of calm, peace, the pillar of understanding they run to and sulk for when she's not around.
And, gosh, Bellatrix. Again, I didn't want to be unsubtle, all "LOOK SHE'S PSYCHOTIC," but that's just what happened and I think it fits her. I like to think that she grows as a character from beyond this moment, but the image is something that is carried on throughout. No one can really shake it, and no one seems to want to.
In the world she's in, can you blame her for thinking she's on a thin line? It's made worse, of course, by Alec's death. This branch of the Black family, as you might have guessed, is a bit easier to deal with than Walburga's branch, but the pressure is still on, especially with Walburga's meddling, for lack of a better word.
But thank you for the review; it really means a lot, dear. Report Review
Gubby, now I know why you're Legendary. This. Is. BEAUTIFUL. Which, I realize, it a bit odd to say about a scene at a funeral. Ah, well. Holds true nonetheless.
I LOVE Andromeda's words about the dead, and their resemblance to the living. The dead are the dead; the sleeping the living. You really can't mistake the two, atleast in my experience. The often repeated -and not very sincere sounding -"he could be sleeping" seems like just the thing that Andy would reject, having eventually rejecting everything she was raised to believe. Very in character with what I would expect out of her. Also, am calling her Andy from now on. Andromeda far too long to keep writing out.
LOL-ing so hard at Sirius wanting Narcissa to protect him from murders ... From Andy's description she probably couldn't protect them from dust bunnies. I've always seen Sirius as secretly a bit of a drama queen, though. AND HIS MOTHER. Ugh. She's just a horrid busy body, isn't she? It's amazing how much you've shown us about each character in such a short scene. You really know how to use words to create a picture ... Every word has a reason for being there, and was well thought out. Or maybe you're just a complete genius and you just sat down and wrote and this is your first draft and you're awesome. I don't know, but you're awesome either way.
This was gorgeous and sombre and profound, and I can't wait to read more.Author's Response: Aww, thank you, Mary! Such a wonderful thing to hear, and this section being a funeral doesn't make it odd. Or, okay, THAT odd.
Andromeda has a strange way of thinking, as we see here, and it's made worse because of Alec Yaxley's death. She does reject it, not on a moral level so much as a personal one. This is the first of death she's ever experienced, and it's so awful to her that people could be so impersonal. I will continue to call her Andromeda (or Dromeda, if I'm feeling particularly lazy), but you can go right ahead calling her Andy :P
Sirius is a curious character, without a doubt. And you're right, she can't protect them for dust bunnies (lollercopter at that wording), but as Andromeda notes, it's the thought that counts for him. He is a little bit of a drama queen, but behind that is also a genuine fear and concern. Walburga is also an interesting character, not so much "horrid" yet as... okay, yes, she's a busybody, but there's more to her, and hopefully we see that as the story goes on.
The scenes were always meant to be short, as this was supposed to be a ginormous one-shot (it would be over 20k words), so they are chosen for a reason and to show something important. But really, thank you so much; it takes a lot to write these sections because the subject matter is heavy, the style is a little more convoluted than I'm used to over a year later, etc. This was by no means a dash-it-off sort of story - I edit compulsively, especially now, and am by no means awesome. Although I appreciate the thought.
Thanks so, so much for the review! I hope you continue to enjoy. Report Review
Wow, this story is a very unique perspective of the Black sisters. It's very interesting, and you have a lovely writing style (and I'm not just saying that because I've got nothing else to say.) I really like the way you've portrayed Sirius and Regulus - and the Black sisters as well. Of course, there are times when you've made certain parts a bit TOO vague but otherwise you've managed to put together a coherent story. Really, it's a rather amazing story and I can't wait till you update!
penonpaperAuthor's Response: Thank you so much! I'm really glad that you like the style and the characterizations. Sirius and Regulus are really hard to get right, and the sisters are all difficult, too, so I'm doubly glad you liked them. I realize that the vagueness can be confusing and I'm really sorry about it. Most of the time it's on purpose, and some of the time, it happens that way. I'll try to avoid it happening in the future. But thank you for reviewing and I do hope you enjoy! (: Report Review
holy. that was unexpected, but i love it! i have never seen anyone pair narcissa and ted before - ingenious darling! for some reason, it really really works.
i like the length of your chapters - they feel like little entries, excerpts from a diary or something similar - there is nothing not needed in them. i feel that everything you are giving us is totally necessary, that you are showing us something huge but i have no idea what yet!
brilliant, as always. i love the opacity in your writing - i feel like i am seeing all these layers, but, like i said, im not sure what i am seeing yet, and i like that, too ^_^
xxAuthor's Response: I haven't either, to be honest. I remember that I did it only to have something for Narcissa to do, as she hadn't been mentioned yet. Now, of course, it's a whole vital subplot in itself that may or may not have spiraled a little bit farther than I intended... anyway. I'm glad it works.
The fic was supposed to be a (monster) one-shot, you know, so that's why everything is short. Only when it passed about 9k did I realise that it should be split up :P The overarching theme, you could say, is that the world is changing and now the sisters are beginning to separate. Or something like that.
I'm so glad you like it, Kate, your opinion means the world. Thank you so much and I hope you continue to enjoy! :) Report Review
Behind her eyes danced the image of a young man pitched into a great, yawning chasm of shadows and nothing.
Her stomach gave one final shudder before she followed him into the chasm too.
that is so evocative, so strangely dark and captivating. i sense something in this, and im not ready to make assumptions yet, so i will hold my tongue ^_^
bella and andromeda's relationship is very interesting. its still too early in the piece to pass judgement on either character so i will keep quiet, only saying that i really love how you're writing them.
kate xxAuthor's Response: I think when I first posted this section, I didn't put in the middle part where we see Andromeda vomiting and put it back in later to clarify what happened. I'm sure I have no idea what it is you sense, but hopefully your questions are answers/suspicions are addressed :P
It is interesting, and hopefully will get even more interesting as we go on! A lot has yet to happen, that is true, but again, I hope everything is addressed for you.
And thank you, of course! Report Review
okay as i read i am going to pick out all the lines that are pure LOVE!!
they wavered like agitated wash water, dirty and quick to change.
She yawned wide enough to let her soul slip from between her lips.
As a little of both, she walked on a narrow path.
Then the fascination froze.
so that is why you are awesome!
i love this story and im only two chapters in - what excellent characterisation of everyone, Gubby. bella...nasty, hissy creature.
Kate xxAuthor's Response: I'm not going to lie, I like all of those lines! Especially the fascination one. That whole scene was very powerful to write and I'm glad you liked it! I don't know if Bella is a "nasty, hissy" creature quite yet, but she could be, later. Soon. I don't know. :P Thank you! Report Review
THIS IS AWESOME!!
Gubby i love you
this is refreshing and beautiful and your narrative voice - andromeda's voice i suppose - is superb!
as always, your writing is amazing. it flows over you, like water, but it is gentle and caressing, never drowning and i love all the tiny details you include.
i will be back!!!
did i tell you I love you??
kate xxAuthor's Response: Oh, Kate, you're too kind, as usual. Andromeda's voice is such a huge part of the story so I'm glad you like it! And please don't talk to me about my writing - in just a review you trump mine! But thank you so, so much, you leave me speechless, darling. Report Review
I love this! Keep writing! 10/10!Author's Response: I'll do my best! Thanks for reviewing! Report Review
I like how you write sentencesAuthor's Response: Thank you so much! Report Review
Sorry it took me a few days to get to reading this! I was so excited to see you'd posted a new chapter, though. :) Especially because you said that the last chapter was sort of a turning point, and I was interested to see what the aftermath was.
I feel relieved that I wasn't being really dim about the Andromeda/Alec situation, and it was that they were being set up without her knowledge. The way you wrote her reaction was so genuine, I felt like I was in her shoes as I was reading it.
Druella is an insanely brilliant character in this story, by the way. Ever since the very first chapter, she's been so full, so flawed, and so real. She's ridiculous and a bit childish, but that's what makes her a wonderful character. I feel like you've managed to portray the Black eccentricities so well in this story that I probably couldn't see these characters any other way from now on. :)
The writing was beautiful, as always. Can't wait to see what's up next!Author's Response: A few days to read, a few months to respond. Huge difference, and I apologize profusely for it.
You weren't being dim at all! Actually you were quite insightful, but yeah, this section did have to clear things up, in however unclear a way it can be. Writing this was actually painful for me, I think because of the interaction between Andromeda and Druella. Writing Druella is difficult as well, but I'm so glad she comes across as vividly as I hoped her to be. Beneath the eccentricities, after all, is an actual person, and that's the hardest to do. But that's such an amazing compliment that I don't know what to say. Thank you so, so much for reviewing, I apologize again for being so horrid at responding, and... gah, thank you so much! Report Review
Hello, Gubby! It's me here after, you know, an extremely long and unforgivable wait XD.
I'll pretty much just cover general plot all the way up to this point, as I read through it all last night and caught up. I'm really intrigued by what you've set up here, and I want to find out more about the relationship between Alec and Andromeda. I may be totally misguided here, but the way you're writing this definitely seems to imply that there's something more to it, and I'm all for a bit of mystery. The relationship you've set up between Narcissa and Ted is also enthralling. I have so many question bubbling up as I read; where did they meet? how? how does this man end up with Andromeda? You've done a fantastic job of hooking the reader in, and personally, I can't wait to see where things are going.
Characterisation of the sisters is fabulous. They're all very diverse, but the slytherin/Black family element is still present. You present the sisterly dynamics very well and I find your interpretation of Bellatrix to be captivating. I just can't seem to tear my eyes away from the way you write her. I also like the manner in which you go about portraying Narcissa; her youth and naivete is evident.
Style of the story is love, love, love. Very gubby, really :P. And I like the short segments it's split up into. To be honest, flow wasn't really disrupted for me as a read a good chunk straight through, but I think I may actually prefer the small sections anyway. You can read a lot in one go without it being daunting, and it really enables you to have the time to consider what you've just read. It's effecting - and would have been a gigantic one-shot :P.
Fabulous work ♥Author's Response: Oh, dear. Here goes nothing:
There's definitely something more to the relationship between Alec and Andromeda. What it is, you'll find out shortly - but yes, there's something there. The other questions you have, especially about Ted, are more open-ended because I don't know myself. I have vague ideas, sure, but we all know how well I hold on to old ideas.
The sisters are my favorites, obviously, and it's important to me that they be recognisable as sisters and not just girls who know each other. Bellatrix is easily the hardest to capture, but Narcissa isn't less complex. Naive is exactly the right word. She doesn't know what she's doing... yet. :P
Considering the length the story is getting to, I'd be insane to leave it a one-shot. Then again, I am kind of insane, but anyway, I'm glad it worked for you. The problem, of course, that (now) thirteen chapters still looks like thirteen chapters, which is a heck of a lot more than a lot of people (myself included) like to see... but anyway, yay. Thank you so much love. *hugs* Report Review
Ha, I took so long to review that you updated practically the next day. :P I'm going to avoid that this time, so here we go...
First thing: Sirius' characterization was brilliant in this, and I loved Walburga's reaction to him. "She couldn’t remember the last Black who became this." Such wonderful foreshadowing, but not in that really obvious Sirius-runs-away-and-I'm-going-to-shove-it-down-your-throat way.
I can see why you would consider this a turning point, even if I feel like some of the pieces of the puzzle are still missing. It sounds to me like...Walburga was suggesting that Alec marry Andromeda before he died? Or one of the other girls?
I liked Uncle Alphard as an "adventurer", too, and you did an excellent job of giving him a place in the family in terms of rifts and enmities. It was the same with him as with all the other characters: none of them fall into their stereotypes. They all fall into a grey area in the family that's so much more interesting to read.
Considering that this is the crux of the story, I'm interested to see where it all goes from here. And I saw your response, which was very, very kind and much too humble. :) You have, as I said, done amazing with both Sirius and Bellatrix, and you shouldn't feel nervous about their characters at all!
Can't wait for the next chapter!Author's Response: I took so long to respond that it's practically another season! Anyway.
Sirius really, really stood out to me in this chapter, for obvious reasons. I wanted the chapter to be his narration, since so far we've only seen the women, but it shifted once Alphard appeared to Walburga's viewpoint. You can't get the richness of their interaction through Sirius' eyes, since he isn't looking for those pointed glances and hesitations, though he sees them. And that line! Actually a lot of her lines hint (really really strongly) to what happens between all of them, Sirius especially.
I didn't want to spell it out so completely, but yes, Walburga (and Alphard) was at one point scheming to get Andromeda to marry Alec. Druella and her husband were not involved in the matter at all, and weren't told of it until the end, when it fell through. Andromeda and the kids, of course, had no idea of any of it.
Uncle Alphard struck me as the "cool" uncle, you know? I don't think he was a constant presence in the kids' lives, but rather someone to look up to, someone to provide them with another opportunity. But more than anything, he demonstrates that no matter how far you go, you can't escape family, and maybe that's something that will be resonate with Andromeda and Sirius, especially.
To be honest, I am too. Plotwise, this might not be the crux, looking back on it, but definitely in tone and in the characters' thought processes it is. And thank you, again, for your kind words. You really do wonderful things to an author's ego ;) Report Review
Theirs, after all, was a courtship just around the corner, just beyond the gates, just beneath the shadows.
LOVE that line and I have no real reason to but it just leapt off the page for me.
I really like the Narcissa/Ted angle you've taken with this. I'd never have thought of it and it works so well to demonstrate both of their characters, as well as a bit of intrigue for the reader in terms of how this comes back to canon.
Really liked how the swan comes back as a motif throughout the later chapters, and Narcissa's reaction to that here really was lovely and endearing. I like her character a lot.
Anywayyy, love, love!
xxAuthor's Response: I actually wasn't sure about that line because it feels very overdone, but I'm glad you liked it.
I'm trying to remember why I took the Narcissa/Ted angle at all... I have a feeling it became a matter of "I need something shocking for little baby Cissa" and that's what I came up with? Yeah, that sounds right. But it's become something much bigger than I might have thought. Wrapping it up with canon will be intriguing, to say the least.
The swan isn't going to go away anytime soon, but the dragon is also something to keep an eye on. Narcissa is still more innocent than she'd like to admit, which is why she reacts the way she does. We'll see what happens with her as we go on.
Love, love you! Report Review
Okay, maybe I missed two updates. I'm really sorry!
"Good," said the youngest child. "I wouldn't like you going away and leaving me."
Really liked that line and the comments linked to it later on. It was really sweet and young and really suited the moment. It's almost petulant, at times, and it felt like Regulus (or a young Black, at any rate.)
I'm not sure I've mentioned this before but I love how you've tackled Sirius in this. He seems to come off the page and I very much liked that last line about Bella being proud. I love her too, actually. Sirius and Bellatrix are two of the hardest characters to get right, I find, and you really do make them feel like their adult selves, along with this youthfulness.
xxAuthor's Response: Since I missed responding on time, you're most certainly forgiven, darling :P
I really do like Regulus and Sirius, but I avoid reading them a lot of times because they're so difficult to get right. Even as children, they are very intelligent and observant, and they're huge factors in their cousins' lives. And Bellatrix too! All of these characters together are tough, but I'm really excited that they fit in with their canon, adult selves, because that's the most important part for me.
Thank you! Report Review
Lovely, as always. :) The description was beautiful, and I was excited to see another scene between Narcissa and Ted. They always leave me wondering how he and Andromeda would have then met each other through this connection.
Ted is a very interesting character the way you write him, too. He seems very much like a young man who's just stepping out into the world and trying his strength. He almost seems callous, but not in a mean way at all...just in the sense that he doesn't really know what he wants, and therefore isn't too attached or determined to any one thing or person. I like his characterization very much.
The same goes for Narcissa--she seems to fit what we see of her in the books, taking into consideration her age here. Her fixation with marriage especially seemed right for her character, and her somewhat princess-y behaviour of waiting until Ted got out of the car for her did as well.
Anyway, yeah, it was basically just typically brilliant. These chapters always have lines that make me really sit and think for a few moments, which doesn't happen that often. :)Author's Response: Narcissa and Ted are such an enigmatic couple that I almost dread writing them. There's so much about them that even I haven't unraveled, and it's daunting to take on that task. But you'll definitely have your questions answered (the ones related to Andromeda and Ted, at least).
Again, you're completely right. He knows what this is, in a different way than Narcissa knows. He wants the world, but isn't ready for it. I'm not sure that he isn't mean, but he is a little callous. I've really worked hard on Ted and it's so gratifying to hear that you like his characterization, and Narcissa's. She's a young girl in this era; what else will she be thinking about? But she isn't as shallow as some might think, as the dragon proves.
I really am glad that you like the story and where it's going. Thank you ever so much. Report Review
:( I actually left a review for this today but forgot to press submit and then closed the window D: Ah well, sorry for getting this to you so late!! I don't have any excuses so here we go -
I'm not sure what you want me to say in this review, but I don't have much to talk about - it was soo good!!
First off, I love your characterization of Andromeda. Most people go to extremes with her, but you did more of a middle ground. It was like logical yet cynical and sarcastic :D
I also like the child-like perspective you wrote this from. You really captured this "important" moment in Andromeda's life and picked up on things that only children would pick up on. For example, how she wanted to stare at Yaxley or the way she analyzed the eulogy. It was very beautiful in a child-like way.
I love the simplicity of this chapter. It was very short and to the point and touched me :D I'm sorry I can't review more, but I'm trying to empty out my review thread hahaha.
Wonderful :)Author's Response: Oh, Katrina, how I miss you! I suppose since it took this long for me to respond that we're more than even ;)
I couldn't possibly go to extremes with Andromeda, because she's the least extreme sister. And since this is early in the story and her life, she can't have developed the same willful feelings that she might have by the time she pops up in canon.
I'm surprised that you used the word "childlike" because that's not really what I was going for, but I was going for would-be objective, very sensitive, quite numb. Andromeda is too in shock to do anything but notice things that others might not.
I'm really grateful for this lovely review, my dear, thanks so much! Report Review
Ooh, aren't I lucky that you had an update just after I finished reading? :)
This was lovely, just like the others. It didn't matter that it was shorter, if you ask me. It was, actually, the perfect length for a scene discussing Bellatrix's engagement, at least in my opinion. You showed us how everyone reacted, as well as Bellatrix's feelings, and the fact that you once again managed to pack so much emotional weight into such a small space is incredible.
I liked the foreshadowing with Narcissa and Lucius. Sirius is wonderfully perceptive--most children are, in fact, so it's nice to see that you don't turn him into a simpleton based on his age. And he obviously has a rebellious streak already...or at least he wants people to think he does.
The way you write Bellatrix is very interesting, which I think I've mentioned before. Part of it that struck me more so in this chapter is her insecurity--she seems to think that she doesn't quite measure up or fit anywhere, which leaves me with more than a few thoughts about her decision to join Voldemort, as well as the effects of Azkaban on her mind.
I so enjoy reading this for that very reason: it leaves me with thoughts. It's a pleasure to read, but it's intellectually stimulating as well. And you deserve many, many more reviews, in my opinion! :)
PennyAuthor's Response: I'm really anal about chapter length, especially with this story because they weren't supposed to be chapters at all. But I think I captured everything that could be captured in this little snippet, so thanks for that encouragement.
Sirius as a child is such an interesting character to portray, really fascinating. I actually kind of thought the Lucius and Narcissa foreshadowing was a bit much, but I'm glad you liked it. And definitely, he wants people to think he's rebellious. While he has that potential, he isn't there yet. Right now, he couldn't dream of having a legitimate falling-out with his family. He's enjoying the game much more than, perhaps, he should.
It's interesting that you say she's insecure here; I thought she was offended, a little grim, maybe jealous. It isn't that she doesn't fit in anywhere, it's that no one can see her potential (or so she thinks). What this means in relation to her future, full of Voldemort and Azkaban, I'm only just now starting to appreciate.
I really love leaving readers with questions and ideas when they're done, and I'm so glad it's working! Thank you so, so much for everything! (: Report Review
It is a bit strange to imagine Bellatrix ever getting married, isn't it? I like that you recognized that, because I think it was always something that I thought, but never actually thought about, if that makes sense. I think I kind of thought along the same lines as you've explained here: that it was the polite and proper thing to do at the time and in their social circumstances, but that (at least in the time of the books) Bellatrix and Rodolphus likely didn't love each other in the affectionate sense we picture for most marriages. I'm always so glad when I find a story that points out a question and fills in a good answer.
There's something about the way you describe pureblood society that really rings true for me, as well. I think people tend to portray it as the height of aristocratic privilege, but for me, that doesn't seem realistic for the Blacks in the mid/late 1900s. You seem to subtly show that this is a social world that's in decay and holding onto its last vestiges of glory and relevancy, which is much more realistic in my mind. I mean, the silliness of some of the behaviour--not touching the books because it's disrespectful--really makes it appear that the standards of these people are out-of-touch with the real world, grasping at something that's already lost.
It was funny to me that Andromeda muses on the fact that Sirius speaks his mind so freely, and yet she does exactly the same with Rodolphus.
Well, this has been an incredible treat to read so far! There's nothing better than reading a story and feeling inspired to improve on your own writing, which is exactly what you've done for me. :) I'll definitely be back to read more when you post it!Author's Response: I feel like Bellatrix and Rodolphus are the type of couple who do get together because they know they should. Here, they aren't actually in love with each other, but they are fond of each other. There's no one else who could be with them, and that's why Rodolphus does decide to marry her.
I agree, looking back at the section, that the community is in decline. One of their own is dead now, and that means that something beyond their own circle has hit the purebloods. It means that they're fallible. The fact that three people in this time frame are blasted off the Black tapestry (Andromeda is first, then Sirius, and Alphard after him) is proof that the ties of family are not as binding as they used to be. I think Bellatrix said this, that the world no longer revolves around Grimmauld Place, that their world is heaving its last breaths. I really like the way you phrased that sentence, "grasping at something that's already lost," because it's true.
Andromeda's hysteria, which she's been burying, has been released in this section. She's reminded, again, that Alec is dead, and that she will be forced into the game whether she likes it or not. She knows that she's acting strangely, but no one cares enough to find out why, and that's really what gets to her. Sirius has always been the way he is: this outspoken behaviour is not what she usually is like.
Even after having waited so long to respond, I hope you realize what it's meant to me to have you read and review, with such in-depth analysis and insight. It really means the world that someone as legendary as you could enjoy this, and for that, I thank you. Report Review
Very interesting here, that their mother seems to cherish Bellatrix the least. And Bellatrix's characterization was very intriguing, as well. I think you've gone much deeper into her character than most other people, and also taken a completely different, yet still realistic, direction with it. I actually like your explanation for her motivations very much. It kind of reminds me of what I said about Sirius in one of the earlier reviews--how his feelings are unexpected, if you take his qualities as an adult in isolation, but they're also logical if you consider how he must have changed over time. The same goes here with Bellatrix. She's not completely in support of everything about her family, and the Black family isn't everything to her--in fact, she holds herself above them, in a sense. She's resentful of the limitations that her family places on her, because she doesn't quite fit in with their expectations, and she wants to be more. It's really quite interesting to see her portrayed that way, and I think I'm beginning to understand that maybe one of your points is that all three of the Black sisters didn't quite feel like they fit in. It's something that ties them together.
What a brilliant character you have in Druella, as well. You tell us that she's eccentric, of course, but we would know it without you ever saying it, which is a sign of incredible writing. Her traits are in her actions and her speech, which is how it should be done.Author's Response: Druella doesn't cherish Bellatrix the least; like many mothers, she loves her children equally, in her own way. The problem for her is that she feels that Bella doesn't love her as a daughter should, that she's growing farther and farther away.
The whole Bella section was sort of spur-of-the-moment because the section prior to it was too short to be posted on its own, the following section was too long to be with anything else, and Bella doesn't get much screen time for a while. I knew sort of what I wanted to do with her character, but she is so difficult to grasp, I kind of kept writing and hoped the result was acceptable. Again, your insights are so spot-on and amazing, but it isn't that she holds herself above her family; I think she expected much more from them, because of all she's done, and it isn't working out the way she wanted it to. She feels, with her bloodline and personal attributes, she should be helping them into the new era, but it's not happening, and she resents them for that. I never thought about the sisters being alike in that way, but it makes sense.
Druella is... interesting. She has to be, because we won't see her husband for a long time, and her influence on her children is much greater than anyone might suspect. And thank you for noticing her portrayal, which is difficult to do. And, obviously, for these absolutely splendid reviews. Report Review
And somehow you now manage to flip the perspective yet again and provide another completely different take on the relationship between these three sisters? If someone told me that they were going to cover everything you have in a one-shot (and there's still two more sections), I would have never believed that they could do a good job of it, even in 10 000+ words. But you've done it--in fact, you've done light-years beyond just "good".
You know, I like the repetition of days of the week in this, too. It really connects all the chapters together (makes sense since it was originally written as one, I suppose).
Anyway, I loved, loved, loved this chapter. As soon as you held off on saying his name, I knew it had to be Ted. I am curious to see how how this all plays out now, especially since it seems to be suggested that he can do magic. I think I'll hold back saying anything about the implications until I see what happens.
I will say, though, that the romance in this chapter was excellent. Before I realized that it was Ted, I was already in complete adoration of Narcissa and her Muggle man. It also seemed very true to the fact that Narcissa is sixteen and obviously easily swept away, probably enjoying the fact that what she's doing is so blatantly against the rules.Author's Response: Rereading these months-old reviews still brings a smile to my face, a fluttering to my heart, and I can't thank you enough for it. Just... thank you.
The days of the week are there to remind me that there's only so much I can cover in the three weeks that are left before Narcissa and the boys go off to school, which should be the endpoint of the story. It's also because these dog days of summer are on everyone's minds, and everyone has something to think about. For Andromeda, it's the fact that she's not going back. For Bellatrix, it's about her place in a life she may not be suited for. For Narcissa, it's about her midnight trysts and what it really means... that sort of thing.
Ted, Ted, Ted. What a character. He's actually more spiteful and wry than I might have guessed when he first popped up, and I'm excited to explore the dichotomy of his personality. What's he doing with Narcissa, what's going on with Andromeda, all that good stuff.
Narcissa is young, pretty, and as such, reckless. She wants her fun, well aware that her adult life will probably be very proper and boring. What happens, of course, is not what she expected... well, she's going to grow up this summer, definitely. Report Review
What I liked most about this chapter is it brought more concrete insight into Andromeda as a character, as well as Bellatrix. The first couple chapters were largely thought-based, and represented the surreal nature of the funeral and its aftermath. Everything seemed to be somewhat dulled and muffled because of Andromeda's shock over Alec's death (I hope that doesn't sound like a criticism, because it's completely the opposite). Now she's returning back to reality, and everything that goes along with it, which shifts the tone. There was more conversation and more action, and it's almost as if the world is moving along, and Andromeda can't quite keep up. The switch to Bellatrix's perspective makes it seem all the more so.
(As a complete aside, I love that you used the word "layman" in here. I'm big into medieval history, which, you know, makes me love things like that in a completely nerdy way.)
Andromeda and Bellatrix come across as two sisters with sharp differences, but not yet a wholly hostile relationship. Andromeda clearly lacks some of the strength and irascibility of Bellatrix. She's bothered more by death as well as by smaller things, like the paper bird.
I know there's some sort of meaningful symbolism in what Bellatrix says about the paper bird near the end, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is. It obviously says something about her views on the world--she emphasizes that the paper bird was not real because she could destroy it, and also that she was actually doing the right thing by getting rid of it straight away, by not getting Sirius and Regulus' hopes up. Maybe it's striking me as more meaningful than you intended, which could be why I cant figure it out. :P
The mention of Narcissa in this chapter was very intriguing, and says something else about Bellatrix views her world and her family. It's especially interesting considering that Andromeda abandons her family, and I can't help but wonder if that would make Bellatrix feel that she was the only true or proper Black in her family.
On to the next!Author's Response: I definitely agree that the funeral cast its shadow over the first two sections and now that some time has gone by, we see reality settling in again. It's also different because I really didn't know where I was going with the story and making the tonal shift was something I thought I didn't want to do, but it worked out in the end.
(I don't remember why I used the word "layman," but I quite like it. I adore history as well, but not so much medieval... anyway.)
"Not yet" is the operative phrase, as you know ;) It's true, of course, that they do conflict more often than not, but in the end, they are sisters. They really don't have other people to turn to, and when you're around the same people for a long time, friction becomes evident.
Bellatrix and the bird... definitely one of the interesting passages, one of my favorites. I think you've got that deeper meaning down, based on what you said: it is her world-view. She avoids pain, trauma, lingering. She thinks she knows when to let go, while Andromeda can't do it.
Narcissa will get her time and her analysis, but you know that already. I think you're right about Bellatrix feeling that she's the only proper Black - in fact, she dwells on propriety quite a bit. You're honestly one of the most insightful readers I've ever had, so thank you, very much. Report Review
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