Reading Reviews for Year Five
356 Reviews Found

Review #26, by gigi Some Sacred Questions, Some Marijuana

3rd September 2015:
Bryce, so T is related to Riddles caretaker? And I wonder if R is Riddle, but more likely something like Rodolphus or Rabastan considering his reaction to Neville. Love your characters. I'm so glad I found this story on the Dobby noms, you're brilliant!

Author's Response: YEE! Thank you so much! That's a pretty cool line of reasoning--Bryce to R for Riddle--and very well reasoned. I actually haven't seen anyone else think that.

I've since edited this chapter so that the middle initial isn't explicitly given, so HAY you get an extra clue :P

Thank you so much for saying such nice things and taking the time to review! I hope you like the rest of the story :)


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Review #27, by moonbaby11 Interrupted

2nd September 2015:
I have returned for more!

Okay, have I told you how much I love Emily? Because I love Emily. A lot. She's probably my favourite character in the whole novel so I always have a special place in my heart for chapters from her pov. That being said, this one wrecked me. I knew Emily would have to find out about Tristan and Laurel eventually, but a small part of me was still desperately hoping that she wouldn't because I knew it would destroy her. Everything is falling apart in this group and I hate it! (but I also love it because, you know, drama)

I'm hoping we as an audience will FINALLY learn everything about Tristan once and for all very soon, what with the stuff revealed in this chapter. So now I'm assuming my guess from before was wrong -- he's still a Death Eater's kid but he's not a Lestrange? Or maybe I'm still right? I guess I'll have to wait until Tristan finally explains it all to his friends. (which I hope is soon because, like I said last chapter, I NEED ANSWERS!!)

I think the switching of povs here was really well handled, as this is the first chapter to do such dramatic switching. Everything still seemed coherent and still seemed to flow so you don't need to worry about that or anything! It's really refreshing to see things from Laurel's pov, actually, as she doesn't appear as often as the other three characters do. It's nice to get her side of the story sometimes.

I noticed two very small spelling mistakes but I can't, for the life of me, find them now. I'm super sorry about that! They weren't anything major and will probably be caught by the next person to review this chapter so don't worry!

I can't believe there's only like five chapters to go! I want to get to the end just to find out what happens but, at the same time, I don't want it to end! I'm sure you understand that feeling.

Author's Response: I am so crap for taking so long to respond to your amazing reviews! They just all made me so happy and I wanted to keep them up on the top of my profile so I could keep looking at them! But, alas, you deserve responses, so here I go.

It's so interesting because every reader seems to have a different favorite, or a different POV they enjoy most. Like, some people really resonate with Isobel while others super feel Tristan--and even a few ended up deciding that Laurel was their fave (though less, since she doesn't get a POV until halfway through). I think I'm with you and lean more toward Emily, because she's just really great and SMART in a subtle but profound way. But, like, I love them all so very much.

HA! I love what you said with "(but I also love it because, you know, drama)." Sometimes I get reviews that are all like "WHY IS EVERYTHING SO TERRIBLE WHY CAN'T IT JUST BE GOOD?" and yeah I totally know what people mean, but you totally hit the nail on the head: if terrible/dramatic things didn't happen, it would be VERY boring story indeed.

I'm SO GLAD you were still unsure of Tristan's backstory at this point. I've gone on and re-edited to make it less obvious (because people like you guessed correctly WAY earlier than I'd thought).

I think there's so much POV switching from here on because all of their lives are getting all messily entangled with one another. And then, yeah, Laurel got so little play earlier that she goes and snatches scenes from other peoples' chapter, in order to even it out. I really wanted to play with the difference between who Laurel is and how she'd been built up. Like, readers only meet her once she's gone through this change, and sort of have to piece together who she was before.

Oof! Spelling mistakes. Editing is like trying to decapitate a hydra. Everytime I fix one thing, I end up making two new issues. GAH. (Luckily I'm having this beta'd now!)

It really means so much to me that you got invested in this story! Like, I actually don't have words to explain my appreciation. Just: so much squee-ing.


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Review #28, by CambAngst Cleaner, More Brilliant

29th August 2015:
Hi, Roisin! At long last, here I am at the end. This is going to be a weird review, I'll tell you that right up front. Not sure what the mix of substance and gushing is going to be.

GryCReMo (Review #42)

You managed to get a Dr. Who reference into the story. Many HPFF'ers I know will strongly approve. ;)

Apparently, when non-magic people dressed themselves, it signified what sort of person they were, or, at least, the sort of person they wanted to be. -- Isn't that the truth. I love the idea of witches and wizards struggling with the significance of muggle clothing. When you're used to mostly wearing robes, the decisions are probably fewer and less important.

I'm so happy to see Isobel and Lauren both doing better. I'm not sure I buy the idea of "starving the beast" until it's dead. I'm not sure it ever dies. But you can definitely make it a tiny, marginalized part of your life.

Only ten weeks old, so Charlie’s taking care of it until it’s old enough to bring to Norway and introduce into a preserve. Refuses to tell me where he got it from, though, except that it was illegally hatched. -- Cough, cough. Sorry, something in my throat.

Ha! I love the exercise of explaining animation to the two sheltered witches. Come to think of it, hand-drawn animation was a huge undertaking.

All in all, the good times were better than they’d ever been, and the bad times were further between. -- That's what I want to hear!

Everything considered, it sounds like they all did pretty well on their O.W.L.s. What I really loved about this scene was that there were no lingering feelings of envy and no recriminations for how anyone should have worked harder. They all made it through the year, and that was saying quite a lot.

OK, a couple of small typos before I wrap up:

“By way of Muir of Ord,” the owlish old driver muttered, annoyed, before shifting into gear. Scottland was hardly on the wa. -- on the way

his parents were glad for him to be spending time with his maters -- with his mates

Now... Whew, deep breath...

You can go a long time on HPFF without reading a story that falls very far outside of some fairly well-bounded norms. Next Gen teen romance with mismatched main characters that might or might not involve an unplanned pregnancy. Marauders-era story pairing Sirius or Remus with a female lead who's doomed to end up very disappointed or, in a worst case, dead. Missing moments stories from the Hogwarts years. The exciting lives of professional Quidditch players. Canon and non-canon characters struggling to overcome the trauma of the war. You get the idea.

What really attracts me to HPFF -- 99% of the reason I keep coming back -- is that every so often I find a story like this one. A story that parallels the books and is affected by the events of the books, but is truly, uniquely its own story. Your characters might share names with canon characters, but they are yours. You breathed so much life into them and made them so genuine and human. You made every part of them real: their strengths and their weaknesses, the good and the bad. You didn't celebrate their flaws, but you also didn't minimize them. You let them be four perfectly normal teenagers struggling with the things that normal teenagers struggle with, plus the added temptation of having magic at their disposal.

In doing this, you managed to replicate that rarest of feats that made the Harry Potter books so special: You allowed your readers to experience genuine empathy for these characters. To relate to what they're feeling and to want to see them be alright. It's no mean feat and my hat is off to you. This was an amazing story and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next!


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Review #29, by CambAngst After

29th August 2015:
Hi, Roisin! I don't think I'm going to make it to 100. But 50 would be nice...

GryCReMo (Review #41)

Tristan hadn’t planned on there being an after. It was humiliating, and terrifying, and he felt like a stranger. -- Unfortunately, I know two people who've attempted suicide. Both of them grappled with this exact thing. Nobody thinks about the possibility that they might survive and have to deal with the aftermath.

I love Eddie's story. It will probably take Tristan a little while to process what it means, but I really hope it helps.

“Machiavellian,” McGonagall shot back. “That’s what you are. I hope you realize that.” -- I'm glad that somebody is saying that to his face. Because it's true, and would only become more true as the years passed.

“Yeah I bet if young Potter got a headache the school would assume it was the Dark Lord behind it,” Laurel scoffed. -- Slow clap. Brilliant.

I loved the scene in Cadogan's Corridor. It was familiar and comfortable, but not. For a brief moment, everything felt the same, but everything was different. And lots of walls finally fell, especially for Tristan. Poor Isobel, as though the whole thing with Quirrell needed to be any worse. At least Tristan's friends -- his support -- finally know the truth. As Aunt Esther used to say, "And the truth will set you free!" Wow. That show probably went off the air fifteen years before you were born. I have to stop dating myself like that...

Wow. Tristan got a birthday present from the Dark Lord. That really puts the awkward hover-hands hug that Draco Malfoy received in perspective, doesn't it?

There were many ways a fragile body might break, and each of them were playing out in Isobel's mind. -- It's a really insidious variation on survivor's guilt that you've hit upon there. If a friend succeeds in killing themselves, you ask yourself what you should have done differently, but the scope is contained. All of the opportunities have already come and gone. If they try to kill themselves and fail, the cycle of second-guessing repeats itself every time you let them out of your sight.

Ah, it seems that Isobel is having an awakening of sorts. All it took was Emily stepping up to shatter these walls of envy and self-doubt that she'd built around her self-image. Now she's questioning more things. Good on you, Isobel!

I'm glad that Tristan is feeling... something along with the memories of his birth parents. He's the sort of person who could easily construct emotional walls around all of it and feel nothing. It seems to me that he needs to feel more if he's ever going to survive his teenage years. It's also good to see Snape continuing to try to look after him. If there's anyone who understands how a person can be victimized by falling under the Dark Lord's influence, it's Snape.

"Believing that child-rearing was the sole dominion of women, after your mother's death, your primary care fell to your aunt," Snape added tensely. "A most unfortunate turn of events." -- Snape has quite the gift for understatement. Bellatrix would have resented every moment of being forced to look after a child instead of carrying out the Dark Lord's will.

Wow. Tristan has memories of the Longbottoms being tortured. Which the Dementors obviously bring right to the surface. You've brought so many amazing things to light in this chapter that clarify and reinforce this enigmatic character. Bravo!

Your physical descriptions of what it's like to be inside Azkaban are brilliant. The place is chilling, dead and terrible in every respect.

“That man isn’t my father,” Tristan answered the decade old question that had lurked silently, never being asked. Mr. Shacklebolt looked for a moment like he might say something, but didn’t. -- I'm so glad that's clear to him now. There's a good chance he'll be able to move forward. Better chance, anyway.

I really, really love this story. I never have to read for very long before I remember all of the reasons why. You do such an amazing job with these characters and their world!

Author's Response: DAN! Sorry for taking SUH LONG to respond to your AMAZING ZOMG reviews!

Oof, yes, the equal parts of "heartbreaking" and "awkward" there were super difficult to write. Especially because I had no desire to write about this topic in the FIRST place, and then just sorta HAD to, and UGH.

Eddie is such a two-dimensional non-character for so much of the story (which I think has a lot to do with Tristan sort of distancing himself/walling himself off), and so I was glad for this opportunity to really SHOW this guy. And I think it fits with some of the kind of Breakthroughs Tristan has here--like, this is the first time we see Eddie really being a DAD, because it's the first time Tristan's seeing him that way.

SO. LIKE. A lot of people pointed out that the Stone woulda been fine if Harry had just left the whole thing alone, or that those protections were a bit jank if 3 11-12 year olds could get passed them. But knowing everything we know now, I think that's a bit reductive. Obv Dumbledore engineered that exact thing that exact way in order to kinda train Harry, and since it all DID work out eventually, I can't fault him that. But McGonagall definitely can!

HEEHEE, glad you liked my mEtA jOkE :D

I LOVE what you said about things being the same yet different. I think the corridor kind of acts as a 'control test' throughout the story. By having those variables the same, you can see how things have changed.

Yeah, I definitely agree that self-blame is like, THE response to tragedy. Even if someone passes suddenly and from natural causes, everyone who loves them will find SOMETHING to regret. And with self-harm, I think it can very easily become an eggshell-paranoia situation.

It's funny because I hadn't planned for Isobel to be gay, but just as soon as I started writing her, I knew. Things like that happened a lot with these characters--like how I hadn't planned for Tristan to be clinically depressed. OR the thing with Emilt's past, that was just something I realized was there whether or not I wanted it to be. THESE CHARACTERS. THEY DO WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT. And honestly, it's a far stronger story for it.

I'm not sure if this came across, but I wanted to imply that Tristan blames himself for the Longbottoms (again with the untrue self-blame). Like, if he hadn't cried then Bellatrix wouldn't have gotten upset, and it was because she was so angry that she just sort of destroyed them out of fury. And then I think he experienced a lot of guilt for just BEING there around all those people, even though that obviously wasn't his fault or his choice. But you know, people be blaming themselves.

It was weird because I wasn't sure how the meeting with Rabastan Sr would go. Like, I felt like it should be a big deal, and then it was... Nothing. Like, it just felt so irrelevant almost. And then I realized that was a GOOD thing--Tristan also realized how irrelevant her was. Faced the thing he was so afraid of and had made such a big deal about in his mind, and... Nothing. Just "that guy sucks, bye." I think he'd spent a really long time thinking there was something there, or worrying that it spoke to something inside of himself. And then it didn't.

Oh man, you always leave such interesting and thoughtful reviews! I'll need to write some brand new thing if only to keep it going!


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Review #30, by moonbaby11 Torture

28th August 2015:
Hello! I've been reading this story (in case you couldn't already tell) on mobile, and now that I'm back on a legitamate computer I figured I'd leave you reviews on the last few chapters as I read through them. I've really been loving this story so you'll probably get quite a few reviews from me over the next few days.

I love seeing this tension between the group, especially knowing that Emily has no clue that any of this is going on. It seems to be adding a whole nother layer to the relationships and the characters themselves and I love it! I have to say I'm really worried for Isobel, though -- her food problem seems to be getting out of hand and I'm afraid no one is going to mention it (although I figure they would have learned their lesson from not speaking up about Laurel's hexing problems, but maybe not???). I think she just needs someone to sit down and talk with her and tell her that everything is, really, going to be okay and that she doesn't need to try so hard to meet the same appearance level as her sister.

Ooh, more secret Tristan stuff! I've had a theory for a while that Tristan is the kid of Bellatrix and Rodolphus (hence the "R." middle name and his reaction to Neville) and I think this chapter only helps to further prove my theory (or delusions - whichever way you choose to look at it). It's clear that he's bothered by the thought of the Cruciatus Curse and I'm just dyyying waiting to find out about Tristan's past! It's been so shrouded in mystery this whole story and I just want to know! I'm so impatient!

I think this relationship between Quirrell and Isobel is really interesting. He hasn't been present in the story very much so it's nice to see him standing on his own and actually being portrayed as a competent character, rather than someone who just stutters all the time and is constantly frightened. I think it's really refreshing to see him portrayed in this way!

I noticed when teeny tiny grammar mistake in this chapter: " I’d b-be interested to here m-more about some of the foreign m-magic" you've used the wrong version of 'hear' in this sentence. Something small, but definitely something that can be easily fixed!

I shall be moving onto the next chapter soon because I can't wait to see what happens! I'm getting close to the end and I'm pumped.

Author's Response: Yes finally here to reply to your amazing, fantastic reviews! So sorry it took me so long!

Oof, yes, so much tension at this point. I think part of the issue with everyone's silence around Isobel is that none of them have the Whole Picture. Like, we get to see all of their POVs (including her specific thoughts), but everyone else only has a few clues here and there. And they're all just so young and not sure what/how to say anything about it :(

Well you've read the whole thing now, so you know what's up ;)

We know from canon that a lot of Quirrel's stuttering was just an act, so it was really fun to play with that here. He's ultimately revealed as a lot shrewder than we originally thought, and so there's a cool dramatic irony to play with. Like, Isobel sees that shrewdness, a bit, but doesn't know what it means or how scary it might actually be.

Thanks for catching that! Will edit :)

Yee! All of these reviews really are so amazing, thank you so much!


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Review #31, by Unicorn_Charm Three Times Charmed

28th August 2015:
Hey Roisin! Back again!

I just get totally sucked in and completely immersed in this world each time I read one of your chapters. They're just so good!

I like Isobel. I know she's not the nicest person, but I like her. It's a little worrisome about the whole eating thing though. I wonder if that might become a problem later on. I can relate to the makeup thing. I don't like to leave the house unless I'm wearing some. Not they I'm vain, I just feel like I'd frighten small children, the elderly and animals if I didn't have any on. :p

Um yeah. Totally shocked about Emily! I definitely would not have thought her out of the girls. I would have actually assumed that Isobel was more, um... friendly with the gentleman than Emily. And Tristan dated Angelina?! These small details that you casually throw in are what really makes this feel like cannon. Like I truly believe these people existed in school with Harry and we just didn't see them. It's fantastic work!

Filch is such a pain in the butt. Of course he would nearly ruin the tapes checking to make sure they weren't dark magic. I think Tristan would have hit him if he did haha.

I love how you created their own spot away from the town. I think I'd be more willing to just hang out and listen to music outside than wander around Hogsmeade, to be honest. And I love The Cure! I love all of these music references that you're throwing in. It makes me want to make my own Year Five soundtrack! ;)

Yeah, Laurel definitely has a bit of a problem, doesn't she? She needs the charm, whereas the rest of them just seem to do it for something to do. I'm a little concerned for her.

I loved the part with the girls in Hogsmeade, getting thrown out of stores and doing a little bit of shoplifting it looked like. Bad girls haha. Oh dear and then Percy and Penelope. Yikes! Is imagine that she probably was a bit pompous if Percy was so infatuated with her. And probably a good decision not to go into the Hog's Head. I'm sure that wouldn't have ended well.

It's funny to see this group so focused on their studying. Although, they do find a way to kind of cheat. That's definitely something I would have done in school, not even going to lie.

In some ways, I was these kids. In other ways not at all. But they're pretty close to some of my friends in high school. The music and some other things. I don't know how good that is. :p I think that's another reason I'm enjoying this so much. It's making me a little nostalgic.

Tristan is a lot like my best friend growing up I'm noticing. Totally obsessed with music, enjoys his recreational activities and doesn't tend to agree with the social "norms" of those around him. He thinks differently.

I love this, Roisin! I love every last bit of it. You are truly a genius for creating such a great, relatable and real story. I can't wait to continue!! ♥

xoxo Meg

Author's Response: Meg! Finally here to reply to your amazing reviews! Sorry it took me so long D:

I'm so glad you found Isobel resonant here :) The bit with makeup was DEFINITELY me in High School. I would put on makeup even if I wasn't leaving the house :P And yeah, it was less a "vanity" thing than I just felt really self-conscius without it. But now I'm more a "tinted chapstick and maybe some mascara if I feel like it" person.

I was recently talking to another reviewer about this, but there's this stereotype of highly sexually active teen girls in fiction [not just FF--but everywhere], where they're always these Alpha B Mean Girl types. But thinking back to being a teenager, I don't think that fits the reality very much at all. Most very sexually active girls I knew were either like Emily, or sort of tomboyish chicks who just mostly hung out with dudes.

YAYAYAY I'm so glad you feel like this story /really could/ have been in the background of PS!

Oh man yeah, I'd DEF rather listen to music than go to the same half dozen shops a trillion times. And I'm not sure if I sent it to you, but I posted a blog with a Y5 playlist!

Haha, had to throw in shoplifting--such a thing for so many teenage girls :P And hee, I had so much fun writing Percelope!

Oh man, I totally did those study cheats. But to be fair, my friend and I who did that totally learned all the stuff and got great grades and it worked very well :)

This story is very, VERY based on myself and my friends! None of the characters are anyone particularly, but I did draw out threads or include aspects of certain people/myself. The cool thing, though, is that these characters really did sort of take on lives of their own and ended up being completely unique. And I think that some of those threads or details can be kind of universal--or at least, are true of a lot of people. I'm so, so, SO glad that you find this resonant!

Yee! Thank you so much for this amazing review. It's really given me such joy every time I read it :)


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Review #32, by TidalDragon Cleaner, More Brilliant

24th August 2015:
AH FERNGULLY! I watched that movie SO MANY times as a kid!

I won't have anything crazily substantive to say about this chapter as it is an epilogue really. Toward the top I did honestly feel that it switched around a bit fast, but that's nothing major in the grand scheme of things.

One of the things I liked a lot about this post-script was that it DIDN'T tie everything up in a nice little bow. Much though I may have wanted it, though there's progress with Tristan and Emily, they aren't yet Tristan/Emily. Though there's progress with Isobel and Laurel, they don't (and rightly so) consider themselves cured. And though there's progress toward next year, and better days, there's still uncertainty lurking in each of their minds as to what exactly it holds.

The downside of an activity like GryCReMo is that I don't get the chance to be as detailed or analytical as I'd like to be. I have to be faster (especially when I'm, you know, about 70 reviews off pace), but what is really great about it is is finally getting to finish stories you keep wanting to, but keep putting off because you have to write this, or review that out of your thread, or whatever other excuses I've come up with not to get here faster.

You deserve every plaudit this story gets Roisin, because it's absolutely brilliant. The writing small-picture isn't pretentiously complex, but on the macro-level the characters and story are layered with such depth and so many nuances that it's incredible.

Truly this is professional grade!

Author's Response: FERNGULLY! I was researching which movies would have been in theaters in London at precisely this time and was SO EXCITED that that was one!

Ah yes, the switching. This is definitely ripe for editing, and I WILL take your comment very to heart as I revise :)

When I first came up with the idea for this story, I thought it would be a totally light-hearted romp about Hogwarts stoners and teen shenanigans. Then when I started writing, ALL thing stuff came back about being a teenager. Like, I'd sort of glossed over a lot of the specific feelings and things and been remembering it all as far rosier than it was (even though it was only a few years in the past).

So that really informed the thesis of this epilogue: Yes, what they all went through was harrowing and traumatic. But, BUT, even if it doesn't all get wrapped up right now, it IS a happy ending. They will REMEMBER it as cleaner and more brilliant than it really was, and that will /make it so./ What really happened then doesn't matter, because reality is just an ambiguous mushy blob of limited individual experience--and it's infinitely open to interpretation. All that matters is what you take from it.

The past doesn't exist. It's only a memory. If it is a good memory, then all is well.

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Review #33, by TidalDragon After

23rd August 2015:
I did NOT figure it out ages ago, primarily because like all good bozos (especially those reading late into the night), I didn't even THINK of first names, just last names the R could be. Pitiful.

But it was a very interesting "ending" since you've said 22 is more in the form of an epilogue. It was strangely cathartic for me as a reader even to hear Tristan's story - the depth of what he had been exposed to - and to see him finally begin perhaps to accept himself.

Isobel's reveal on the other hand, came as little surprise. I suppose it would just be too much perhaps (though maybe I'm speaking too soon) if she were into Emily specifically, but I was gratified to be correct that it was Emily's snapping "Are you in love with me?" (or whatever the exact phrasing was) that was meant to be a focal point of that chapter.

What was most gratifying though was to see people finally rally around Tristan. Though he has a long road ahead (as discussed before that final journey to see Rabastan), at least we can see that he has support. He hopefully believes in his ability to deserve his parents' love now and has his support system back, so I'm hopeful for his future.

Now, I press on to the final lines of your magnificent tale - Chapter 22.

Author's Response: THAT YOU DIDN'T FIGURE IT OUT IS A GIGANTIC RELIEF. I've gone back to make it more subtle, but YAS success at the surprise!

And honestly it's ok if some people figure it out, because the whole thing was drafted with that reveal happening super early and only at the LAST MINUTE (like, as I was uploading the chapter) did I decide to hold off until, basically, the end.

UGH, the Isobel reveal. So yeah, the specifics have been edited (she's less SURE in the newest version, and those paragraphs are better written--but as I mentioned, as of this writing, the rest of the chapter has yet to be updated).

I think that REALLY BIG THINGS often have the benefit of sort of shoving other, also important, things into perspective. It doesn't make those other pains go away, but I think it makes people better equipped to approach them. And yeah, this is a story about kids who are still learning, and feeling a lot of things for the first time. It's really us watching them learn how to deal.

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Review #34, by TidalDragon O.W.L.s

23rd August 2015:
It appears I was right in my fear for Tristan. There's only so much an individual can take, but I have to say that it's incredibly disappointing to me that even amidst all their problems, even amidst their division and his self-imposed post-suspension isolation, none of these friends did anything for him. I suppose in reality that's how suicide can be. People can see pain or frustration or self-criticism, they can see abuse and yearning, but in the end few ever suspect that someone will go so far as to take their own life, no matter how frequently it happens. Though I've long suspected we'd reach this point, in truth, I somehow knew it was coming when Tristan stood up to the other members of his house. A bold act preceding his departure - something to be remembered by (in his own mind) or something to give him the courage to carry it out later? He'd obviously planned it quite fully given that he timed it for exams, and the last one, the one he was always expected (at least in part) to skip/miss even by those closest to him. How long, I wonder had he been planning?

Now, I await what happens next. Hopefully help. Hopefully some measure of happiness. And because I can't resist a good ship, in ANY story, even when it's about SO MUCH MORE - hopefully with Emily.

Author's Response: You HAVE to believe me when I say that I never PLANNED to write about suicide. In fact, when I first realized this would happen (and recognized all the weird lead-ups and Lake Symbolism and the weird canon parallel of missing the HoM exam that I'd ALREADY accidentally foreshadowed), I didn't want to do it. I thought of ANY WAY to not do it. But that would have been something of a lie.

There's a bit in the very first chapter that has survived every revision--something from the first ever draft--about Mary being relieved when Tristan came home safely. And when she gets the owl about his suspension, there's a relief that it's only suspension. Somehow, even before I was conscious of it, there was a worry there. And then it all made so much more sense.

How long has he been planning. That's a really good question, and I don't think I know the answer. It's kind of a scary question, really, but then I remember he is fictional. But to try to answer it: given all the clues we have, that's /always/ been there.

But maybe the planning, on his (fictional) part, was the same as mine writing this; unconscious. Maybe he realized it was "perfect" when I realized it was perfectly inevitable, and chose that moment for the same reasons I did.

And I suppose I could just take authorship ownership and say, yes, that's it--but I won't pretend to understand everything I've written about here. I hope I've been nuanced, and accurate, and sensitive, but these are things far too big to be given simple answers. And every perspective is of equal value, because there's no one right answer.

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Review #35, by TidalDragon The Presence of Love

23rd August 2015:
Very interesting installment. It's encouraging to see that there's some healing going on here amongst the quartet and that things seem to be brightening or at least really being brought to light and confronted. Isobel, though Emily's monologue suggested otherwise, I would hope will have benefited from her house arrest somehow.

Emily though - how awful. To be taken advantage of so completely and at such a young age. It certainly explains something about her that's gone unexplained for some time, but ugh. I just. Anyone who would do that disgusts me. And I know from my line of work that there are far too many, but still - they say people get jaded about it, but never. Just...words can't even describe what I'd like to do to this Andrew character.

I'm also glad that Laurel and her mother had it out after we learned more about that dynamic as well. One can only hope it will create a more supportive environment or at least engender some more trust between parent and child for her as well.

The one I remain worried for is Tristan though - the same fears - and he's the one who's still been most disconnected, despite Emily's letter. I fear with three chapters left, something's got to give with one of them before the end.

Author's Response: UGH ANDREW UGH. I'm glad you recognize the full terrible-ness of all of that. I decided to leave the language light and hoped that it rather spoke for itself. It's also really great that you haven't gotten jaded, and good thing you're a Gryffindor! I don't think being jaded is any use, but it does take a huge amount of strength to manage so much unpleasantness regularly!

I really struggled to find sympathy for Laurel's mom, because I didn't want to flatten the issues so much that she was just terrible. Flawed, to be sure, but human still (and therefore flawed). And while Laurel has had a lot of trouble, she still has a number of really admirable qualities, and isn't a BAD person. She isn't hateful, and she's open-minded, and she has a great capacity for wisdom. Yes, she's made mistakes, but ultimately mild for an addict. She really is quite a good person, and SOME credit must go to her mother, even if her mother is also very, very flawed.

Around this point in the story (starting with Emily kind of striking out on her own) I wanted to raise the question of whether the friendship between all these kids is good or bad. And I don't think there's a simple answer. But whether they are better alone or apart? I think they at least need each other, and hurt without each other. A break, of course, is good. And maybe they aren't fully equipped to be THERE for one another as they should be, but they're young, and we can't fault them that.

As a very wise friend of mine once said: sick things die when you leave them alone.

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Review #36, by TidalDragon The Question

23rd August 2015:
Hmm. Well, naturally I'm wondering if this "thing" Emily has dredged up is that Isobel IS attracted to her. Certainly it would explain her protectiveness and above-and-beyond anger at Tristan and Laurel on her behalf. I suppose I'll have to wait and see how that plays out.

Aside from that question though (and the Quirrell attack obviously - a little odd for me, to be frank), I thought this chapter added a lot more levity after a series of just soul-crushing stuff happenign to people and so it was a bit of a welcome relief in that way.

I also enjoyed that Hagrid made an appearance in this chapter. Though truthfully I'm not that huge a Hagrid fan, and I'm horribly afraid to try and write that speech pattern (kudos on your handling of it BTW), somehow the Hogwarts Era just doesn't feel "right" without him making some kind of appearance, and it enable you to feather in more of that canon with the card game and the dragon egg and all that jazz. If I didn't know from the chapters already, I'd know from this that we're getting close to the end of the line.

Can't wait to see how this all ties up...

Author's Response: So I've actually gone back and revised some things since you've read (only the first few chapters have full revisions posted) but I did tweak that big Lake scene with Isobel (rest of chapter still needs work, but that bit has been improved). So yeah, she did have a little crush/attraction to Emily. But it's not really a Big Deal--only as much as Isobel's confusion on her sexuality is a big deal. She isn't in love with her, just slightly attracted to her. But really, everyone is attracted to Emily in this story. Even Laurel, the most hetero of all of them, has a wee girl-crush on Emily :P

Yes, the Quirrel attack may also need work. That part was especially hard because it was one of the few autobiographical things that had JUST HAPPENED when I wrote it. Like, I went back and tried to build towards it while editing before posting, but there is a rawness there of my own experience that I think sort of interfered with doing it real justice.

But yeah, as for literary content, Isobel felt really betrayed by the Quirrel things (which has some intentional parallels-yet-subversions to Laurel's talk with Dumbledore), so then Hagrid kind of appears as the Good, Wise, Wonderful, Walking You Back Even Though It's After Hours teacher. Which yeah, was a way to elevate Hagrid up to Dumbledore status, and also shoe-horn him in because THERE MUST BE A HAGRID.

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Review #37, by TidalDragon The Disappearing Room

23rd August 2015:
Ahh the shrapnel truly has been set flying. I was glad to learn more of Tristan's background, even if it is incredibly awful. And it's quite intriguing to think that Draco almost had an adopted brother. I wonder how he might've turned out differently if that had really transpired. Now I need the origin of the mysterious "R" and the true identity of his parents. I need it Roisin. I NEED IT. Oh...his middle name isn't Roisin is it? :p I really wonder what will become of Tristan upon his return to Hogwarts as well. Will his former friends rally around him or will the disintegration continue? Surely, Laurel owes him, but the pressure from her parents may be too much. And Isobel's would obviously frown on him, though they'd have their own problems with her soon enough I'd imagine.

The thing I definitely wanted to heap praise on you for those is DUMBLEDORE. I have written him TWICE in Evolution and the most recent was a mangled, tangled MESS. But you have gotten his speech down brilliantly, and made his appearance as impactful as it should've been. Very interesting what he had to say about Laurel...I wonder what impact that and the freedom of fear from expulsion (for the moment) will have on her as well.

Onward onward, ever onward!

Author's Response: Ha! I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT about the fact that my name starts with R! No wonder I was so drawn to that specific name :P

*flails* I'M SO GLAD YOU LIKE THE DUMBLEDORE. He is SO SCARY to write! Like, it's almost presumptuous to try, you know? Seeing as he's hella WISE and all. Like, what do I know?

I kinda tried to go with what Rowling did, where he's sort of the Voice of the Author (but then obscured with a layer of whimsy). He's probably the only character in this whole story who I ever fully agree with. Everyone else represents /a/ perspective, but his is /my/ (omniscient "I wrote it") perspective.

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Review #38, by TidalDragon Interrupted

23rd August 2015:
Would you look at that! Great encouragement from Tonks! Wotcher indeed!

If you'll permit me a detour (I read and reviewed all of Diamonds Into Coal today, so I am all analytical on the star-crossed romances bit ATM - you should definitely read it BTW if you haven't), I can't help but feel for both Tristan and Emily in this scenario honestly. I can certainly understand where Emily is coming from and I think her reaction is altogether reasonable (though it's awful that now she too may be back-sliding) and at the same's just another rough situation for Tristan, borne fully of his own mistakes granted, but I feel that he really does care for Emily and tried to own up in his own spineless and vague way with the note he wrote her. I wonder what will become of them now.

As you mention in your A/N however, I am very intrigued to see where this storm of the century you've been building winds up and where, as you so eloquently put it "the shrapnel flies." Will the group survive? Will it change its form? What will become of each of them as the year concludes?

Author's Response: I've never even heard of that story so I'm stoked for the recommendation!

I'm really glad that you can sort of feel for all characters. I wanted them all to be sympathetic, even when mistakes happened. Like, sometimes things are just really complicated and can't be simplified into right and wrong. There be nuances and variables and factors, which result in a giant, complicated mess.

I'm also really glad that you think this stuff has Gravity and Impact, because it's the sort of stuff that gets so easily written off as "teen drama." Compared to everything Harry goes through, it might be seen as rather petty or generally unimportant. But yeah, I don't believe in putting people's pain or experience on some sort of hierarchy. Maybe Harry is FIGHTING EVIL, but that doesn't mean that what's going on with Tristan and Emily doesn't matter to them.

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Review #39, by TidalDragon Torture

23rd August 2015:
The richest part of this chapter is unquestionably the beginning. There is so much delicious irony in the way Isobel judges Tristan while completely ignoring her own disorder (at least in terms of considering it a problem). It's interesting the way the group dynamic is developing as different issues come to a head for each character and I'm left to wonder whether and how they'll survive the culmination of these crises. The possibility exists for me that barring her finding out about Laurel and Tristan, Emily would prove the "linchpin personality" but I don't know. Then I just rush off to debating who's going to go over the edge next - Tristan or Isobel. It shows what a good job you're doing that I can't even decide. Last chapter I obviously would've said Tristan. This chapter, from a different perspective and I'm thinking Isobel - who's gotten to the point now where it seems like her body is quitting on her as demonstrated by the issue she has with attention, constantly wanting sleep, and the mistake in runes. While Tristan could break at a moment's notice perhaps (though he may be bolstered and held up in that by Isobel's brief softening), Isobel clearly can't keep this up much longer can she?

I'll get started on finding out next chapter...

Author's Response: Interesting thing: I've been accompanying my friend/roommate to her weekly ED support group, and the last topic was on dysfunctional family structures (though it isn't limited to a biological family--really any structure of people that is central to a person's life). So basically, when dysfunction is present (eating disorder, mental illness, substance abuse), the group will start to pivot towards certain roles, and these roles solidify. Or, the disorder is a result of roles being too solidified (it's kind of a positive feedback loop). What was CRAZY is that each one of these characters PERFECTLY represents each of the roles, with all of the strengths and deficits of each (AND the disorder associated with each). I didn't even know about this theory at the time, but I guess since it's A Thing, many people can probs pick up on the trend without knowing a specific theory.

So yeah, Emily is definitely the Placator, which does act a lot as the "linchpin."

Anyway, I thought that was really interesting!

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Review #40, by TidalDragon The Trouble With Laurel

23rd August 2015:
Well, I'm definitely interested to see what happens re: Laurel and her relapse. But this chapter was well and truly about Tristan and I think it's important to focus on that and the potential fracturing of the friend group.

I really felt for Tristan here. Though you essentially revealed it I think in the previous scene with Sprout, Tristan is, apparently, adopted, which could account for some issues. But more than that he's firmly in the throes of this depression. It's a very dark place and a very dark mindset he's in, despite he's pretending otherwise and it's certainly causing him to make bad choices - caving to Laurel, snogging Laurel. But I don't think he believes in himself or can muster up the emotion enough because of his depression to believe that anything could come of a relationship or deeper connection with Emily, who represents a real path forward as ultimately the most balanced (I think) of the quartet.

In this state, I think it's unsurprising he rebuffs Sprout and I don't know that she'll be able to help him going forward, but I do hope she continues to try or that someone breaks through. Though I don't know for sure, the end of the chapter seems to be strongly alluding to a suicide attempt on his part given what we know of: (1) the depth of his depression, (2) the fact it's worsening, (3) the exceptions Sprout mentioned, and (4) the self-harm he engages in at the end of the chapter.

You're tackling some HEAVY stuff here Roisin, but you do it so well and I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see what comes next and the aftermath of it.

Author's Response: You know I really have to commend you for recognizing Tristan's depression in a nuanced way :) Like, I wrote it in a way where the /frustrating-ness/ was very central, because I think a lot of people (especially young people) sort of dismiss depression in their friends (though I do think the world is changing around that, but even just ten years ago I def saw people do that to people, and this story is the 90s). Like, they just think someone is being "moody" or "angsty." And Tristan is definitely flawed, but YES, these 'flaws' are, indeed, DEPRESSION.

And honestly, while writing this, even I didn't know what was coming or what was going to happen. Then I realized THAT WAS TOTALLY GONNA HAPPEN AND WAS ALWAYS GONNA HAPPEN. So again, props to you. In a way, I think writing about Tristan here sort of gave me a more nuanced understanding. Like, I came to really get it by writing about it. And the story really did just sort of take on a life of it's own, to the point that I almost didn't feel in control of what was going to happen, and like the characters were behaving of their own free will, or demanding that certain stories get told.

But then again, of course I went back and edited and smoothed all that out to make the story work once I wrote through the end and figured out what happened ;)

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Review #41, by TidalDragon The Little Things (1992)

23rd August 2015: we DO get some insight into exactly what Laurel went through in her worst hour as well. It's dark indeed, but I'm glad you laid it bare for us because it reinforces the truth you stuck to in the previous chapter where Laurel is still very much NOT okay. I thought you also did a great job handling the thoughts running through her head, the trying to be normal and fit back in, the doubting Sprout, the resentment for those who don't understand or try to avoid the issue (even her friends) and finally the self-loathing. All crucial, all real, and very well executed.

On a more detail level, I thought it was quite nice how you introduced this guidance counselor type role into Hogwarts. While we hear nothing of the sort in canon necessarily, I imagine it would be something that exists, whether it's the student's head of house that has to fill the role or a professor dedicated to it. And Sprout's handling of it was well done too and I think ultimately will be helpful to Laurel.
Hilarious too that Sprout has her own stash growing BTW!

The end though was ultimately my favorite part because it was SO high impact. #1 you bring Tristan and Laurel back together for real by putting them alone. #2 you have them acknowledge they're messed up, without FULLY acknowledging it (at least on Tristan's part) and it's paired off with that great line about it not being the big things, but the little ones that mess people up. It's so true - I think more than they know right now even. EXCELLENT.

Author's Response: The St. Mungo's recollection is a section I'm actually hoping to come back to with editing, because I like the idea but struggled with it a lot. Def could benefit from revision.

And yeah, more of the whole "it doesn't get better overnight" thing. There's definitely an evolution that needs to happen, and stopping the behavior doesn't mean that the underlying disorder isn't still present.

I HAVE to assume that Hogwarts has a guidance counselor! And it makes sense that Harry never met with one, since he had a LOT of support from various professors--like DUMBLEDORE. But yeah, for other kids who aren't dealing with Chosen One-ness, I thought Sprout fit :)

It's interesting because a lot of readers thought that there had to be some Big Thing with Laurel. Like, something would get revealed and then everything would make sense. And that's true of Tristan, but I think for most people, it's never really one big thing. And it shouldn't have to be. Like, someone shouldn't need an Excuse or Justification to be in pain, you know?

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Review #42, by TidalDragon Recreational Magic Abuse Recovery

23rd August 2015:
I think I'm just concluding that one of my favorite things about this story is how unpretentious it and the characters are. I suppose that's sort of made clear from their actions and the summary, but I'm going to force myself to stop repeating it. So take every review forward with the comment "they were so delightfully unpretentious" appended to it. :p

As for the meat, I thought the female-friendship portion at the top was excellent, including how you didn't over-dramatize the lost virginity aspect. I think society as a whole (at least in the U.S.) would do well to take a similar, less prudish mentality so people are more educated and less ashamed surrounding sex and their bodies. But now I'm going down a public policy road so...

On to St. Mungo's! The starkness with which you described Laurel's situation was powerful. A lot of people would fast-forward past this point, where the person is still a shell, still feeling terrible, and trying to get better, but also not altogether "buying it" all in terms of the efficacy or "point" of the treatment. Because while Laurel clearly hates her circumstances and has been sobered by them, she almost has this disaffected "NBD" attitude about it at the same time. So she's got a long road ahead. The incorporation of Luna was very interesting too - especially the bit with her father and the timeline for her mother dying. I liked it because it actually added something rather than just being a pandering inclusion of a popular character. So kudos on that!

And now I am forward to Chapter 13 - will it be unlucky for someone I wonder? I suppose Tristan is the best candidate for that, but we'll have to see ;)

Author's Response: YES! That's such a good compliment, thank you!

I'd argue that Tristan can be quite pretentious (when it comes to music and muggle knowledge), which was meant as a sort of inversion of Slytherin pretentions. Like, he IS just as pretentious as them, but in the opposite way.

Hee, it definitely helped that I have experience with being a teenage girl, so I had some knowledge about how Girl Talk goes. And I guess I've benefited from being from a really progressive, un-shamey community, so that was all very based on my own experiences with Being A Teenage Girl.

Oh yes, I definitely wanted to show how complicated it is. Like, I didn't want to make it seem like someone could spiral into addiction and then just get "cured" by rehab. It's a much harder road than that, and it isn't linear.

And yay I'm so glad you liked the Luna thing! It WAS a pretty big thing to give her character, but I thought it fit (with what we know about her Dad, and it sort of explains some of her perspective). And it makes all the ridicule she got at school seem a lot sadder if you think maybe there was a lot going on in her home-life :( I think it also makes her character a lot more impressive, because she clearly loves her dad in canon, so with this backstory, that would make her a REALLY wise character!

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Review #43, by TidalDragon Muggle Magic

23rd August 2015:
Back again!

I enjoyed the interaction between Isobel and Emily's family. I've always wondered, what must it be like at home for muggleborns with siblings or even half-bloods and this is the first fic I've read that even attempted an honest insight into it. It was also nice to get a laid-back chapter after tense-Tristan and the drama that ended the term.

I also enjoyed how you touched on the concept of "muggles being magical in their own way." Though Arthur is obviously fascinated by them in canon - and some people must take them pretty seriously to have made Muggle Studies part of the curriculum - we don't see a lot about how wizards other than diabolical Death Eaters view them. It's refreshing that Isobel is so unpretentious about magic in her interactions with the family members and indeed that she's interested in aspects of the muggle world in the same way they are interested in aspects of the magical one.

I'm quite interested to see if they have success getting these brownies to Laurel and what the repercussions will be either way.

Onward to Chapter 12!

Author's Response: Yeah I definitely wanted to vary the tone in this story, and pull back out into some lighter stuff to give a little breather from all the Heavy.

We never really got to see positive interactions between magic and non-magic folk in canon, but I feel like MOST people wouldn't be so Dursley-ish, and would be pretty stoked about the concept of magic. I mean, I would be so down if I had a kid who turned out to be a wizard! I'd want to hear all about it!

Isobel definitely isn't some sort of Death Eater, but Tristan at least accuses her of having kind of a narrow perspective and being previously sort of ignorant about muggle things. So yeah, I wanted to show a non-extreme person, who maybe has some ignorance kind of learning that, hey, muggles know all sorts of things she knows nothing about!

We didn't get much of that in canon, but it seemed realistic to me so I really wanted to show that :)

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Review #44, by TidalDragon War Children

23rd August 2015:
Howdy! It's been WAY too long, but I'm trying to leave 36 reviews today and I owe you 14 AND it's about time I finish this bad boy, so here I am.

In the beginning we see quite an interesting side of Snape. Obviously our perspective on him is always quite biased coming from Harry in canon - even post-SWM it's biased, just in a different way that I honestly despise - but that's neither here nor there. The point is that you show this Snape that is still capable of interrogations, but isn't nearly as cruel as he is to Harry & Co.

Then with the remainder, we really get an insight into Tristan's home life and habits. It's a bit of a scary insight, but nevertheless rings true for how a lot of people live (something I've discovered the more and more experienced I've become at my job and reading all the police reports, meetings with clients, etc.) so I thought it was very well-handled from all angles, the dealing with the parents about it, the "relationship" with the dealer, and the guilt over Laurel's situation.

Excellently rendered. See you in Chapter 11!

Author's Response: KEVIN! I'm so sorry it took me so long to get to all these AMAZING reviews! Thank you so much for them!

I'm really glad for what you said about Snape. I really wanted characters to be /in-line/ with canon, yet show an /alternate perspective/ than what we saw in canon.

And yay! So stoked you thought it was realistic and well-handled! Accurate and Nuanced were really important goals for me :D

Yee, Kevin you rule! Thank you!


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Review #45, by Unicorn_Charm Loose Lips

16th August 2015:

Gah! More love for this wonderful, amazing, spectacular story you have created here!! I just want to run around like a madwoman and shout in the streets that everyone must read this story immediately, regardless if they're a Harry Potter fan or not.

The angst is strong in this one. I felt myself becoming more and more angsty and apathetic while reading this chapter. His emotions - or lack of, just seemed to float off my screen and into my being. I need to go light a candle and listen to some Radiohead while chain smoking or something lol. But honestly, I love it! As a product of the 90's and a member of the "whatever" generation, I so appreciate the tone of this and everything about it. Just such great work!

Wood was a jerk. Flat out jerk. Meathead, jock, popular, expletive, jerk. I really loved seeing him from a Slytherin's POV, because it all seems totally plausible. He was the captain of the team, and he was all about Quidditch and I could totally imagine him being a bully to people in Slytherin. I mean, the Slytherins bullied Harry, why wouldn't it be the other way around. Fred and George's reactions to what happened were just perfect though. I so laughed out loud while reading it, because it was so them. You have a great command of their characters.

I really like Tristen. A lot. Yeah, he's totally a typical "everything sucks" whiny teen, but he is himself and doesn't care what others think. I really respect that in a house full of blood status crazy purebloods, he flat out was like, "yeah, I'm a Mudblood, so what?" Not in those exact words, but you know. I'm here like, "Yeah! You go Tristen! Tell them what's up."

The little details again were just incredible! You can really tell that you've done your research for this story and what a massive Potter-head you are. The fact that this is so cannon compliant, yet so original at the same time... It's just mind blowing. I'm totally blown away. It's engaging, funny, interesting, has such great imagery and detail. I don't even know what else to say besides, you're a genius!

Can't wait to keep going!! LOVE it!!! (If you couldn't tell) ♥

Hugs and love,

Author's Response: MEG!!

*flaps arms around*

I'm SO glad you thought that the characters fit the era. I was only a wee one in 91-92, but I have some older friends that were teens in the 90s and I'm generally interested in, like, the history of culture and teenage movements over time and stuff, so I really wanted this to be a very 90s-y story. It's weird because I think the 90s were a decade very much dominated by the "20-somethings" of Gen X, and the teenage experience got relatively less attention compared to previous decades (like, if you look up "90s teen movies" online, they're almost all from 1999 and more part of the early 2000s Teen Movie boom. Most youth-culture movies in the 90s focused on people in their 20s). Which I also think sort of informed that experience, so a lot of teenagers sort of wanted to be older. BUT I'M RAMBLING.

I did really want to show another side of Wood, because I do think it was THERE in canon, just that Harry only ever interacted with him in certain contexts and there was an age-difference at play. Though to be fair, Tristan DID start it. And his lashing out was DEFINITELY an overreaction (I mean, HE KILLED HIS GERANIUM, that was SO un-called for). And yeah, then Wood and co. retalliated too hard, which I think had a lot to do with just general prejudice against Slytherin and misjudging Tristan.

And YEE I'm so glad you like the Twins! They are VERY intimidating characters to write, because they're SO fabulous and wonderful in canon. It's almost a bit presumptive to TRY and write them in the Hogwarts era. It's also weird because I'm trying to keep them the same as canon while also showing them from another POV (where the age differences are reversed). So WOO! Very relieved you dig all that!


Oh man, whilst writing this I had like 10 tabs that just LIVED at the top of my browser. And even though I did a ton of research while planning the story, I did EVEN MORE for each chapter. Like, I even had a London Underground map from 1992 and almanac info about which lines were down when, and explored archival maps of Vauxhall, and researched legislation and BLAGH. (Heh, I also was gonna have Laurel wear a "scrunchie" but then found out that the word "scrunchie" hadn't come into common usage yet). It was all a bit absurd :P


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Review #46, by casual_chaos Three Times Charmed

15th August 2015:
Hello! A few centuries ago, you requested a review from me, and I am finally here to fill that request! (Also, I am very sorry for the delay, RL came in the way of HPFF for a while.)

Anyway, I have made a slight change to my reviewing style, and I'm now more focused on giving actual criticism, which, by what I've read on the forums about your extensive rewriting of YF, I think you won't mind.

Regarding the structure of this chapter, as a whole, I think you did a good job. Each segment told us something new about Isobel, through dialogue and descriptions and her reactions to other people. I especially liked the physical description in the beginning - it was very detailed, but with a purpose. It wasn't just meant to tell us what she looked like, it told us about her as a person, what she stood for, how she perceived herself and how she wanted others to perceive her.

There is one thing that I found a bit odd, though. The part where Isobel and Laurel go to Hogsmeade, while Tristan and Emily listen to their music. I expected something to happen in that scene, some development between Laurel and Isobel, a conversation that might push the plot forward, you know? They visited various places and did a bit of shoplifting and that's all good and fun (and it does say something about the depth of their relationship) but it all had the air of a filler-scene. It felt as if the real story was going on back there with Tristan and Emily, while these two walked about for an hour or two. This might be just me, though, because I'm not a fan of scenes which hold no real purpose for the story. But with that said, I need to point out that the writing was of great quality and I really liked your portrayal of Hogsmeade, and how authentic it seemed. And who knows, maybe it all had a higher purpose, I just missed it? :D

Other than this, there were some sentences that sounded a bit wonky.

1. In this sentence ''Laurel linked arms with Isobel, and the two saw the little houses grow bigger before them.'' - It sounds as if the houses simply grew on their own, you know? If you added something to tell the reader that the houses were seemingly growing because they were approaching them, now that would make more sense. (It's really minor, but I'm nitpicky.)

2. ''(the Weasley twins being a member of that group)'' - okay, this might be a usage that I'm unfamiliar with, in which case feel free to ignore this, but since the twins are plural, maybe use 'members' instead of 'a member'.

3. And finally, there is a bit too much names mentioned in these two sentences: ''...Tristan charmed Emily and Laurel, and Isobel rolled some tobacco.

Tristan and Emily let Laurel and Isobel have some influence over the music choices...''

You put these sentences as the end and the beginning of two separate paragraphs, respectively. But even with that natural pause between paragraphs, this still sounds clunky with so many names written one after the other, so I suggest doing something about that.

That's about it with CC, I hope it will be of some help to you! None of it is meant to offend your writing (which is very enjoyable to read, as I have said in all of my previous reviews).

I also need to take a moment to compliment you on all the canon details you use. Throughout this chapter, everything was bursting with details, and it really made me envision Hogwarts as we know it from the books. It's so brilliant!

Also, the music-listening scene was perfect! Just Like Heaven is a song I will never ever get tired of listening to, so many hearts for that!


P.S. I don't know if I'll be continuing my review thread, but if you want me to review the next chapter in a similar way, just say so in your response and I'll be back.

Author's Response: Andy! What a fantastic surprise, thank you!

Seriously, this review is SO helpful. I really, really appreciate it.

I've gone back and added a bit more description of Isobel in Ch2, so this might end up getting lightened. But I'm glad you think the description also seemed to /connect/ to something and say more than just what she looked like. That's definitely something I'll be preserving :)

Oof, yeah, this story depends on so much eXpOsItIoN, but you're right that their time in Hogsmeade could feel more purposeful. I'll have a real think about that and discuss it with my betas.

And then THANK YOU for all those specific picks. Noted and noted :D

Btw, I made a mix of Y5 songs (posted in one of my old blogs) that includes a neat cover of "Just Like Heaven."

If you feel up to doing more reviews like this I would ABSOLUTELY be down! Thank you SOSOSOSO much :)


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Review #47, by moonbaby11 Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

13th August 2015:
Hey! I'm here from the Review Tag at the forums!

So I've been meaning to read this story for a while because I've heard nothing but good things about it and, I must say, I was not disappointed. I know this was only a prologue and, apart from the protagonist, doesn't introduce any of the main characters, but I still found it very intriguing! Sophie was a very interesting character for such a short chapter, and I thought it was interesting to see a muggle reaction to wizarding items. I don't see that very often around here, so I thought it was a good addition to your story. I really enjoyed hearing Sophie's thoughts as she tried to rationalize the moving pictures - Dozens of televisions in the wall? Really? It made me chuckle.

I feel like this really sets the reader up for the story. It introduces Tristan and his family and you really get a good feel for who he is as a person. I also liked the way that you used Sophie to describe Tristan's physical appearance instead of having him stand in front of a mirror and describe it himself. I think that was really clever and a good use of the characters in this chapter.

I know this is only the prologue, but from the Author's Note it seems like you'll be utilizing as many canon characters as possible, and I think that's great! Sometimes stories get so overridden with OCs that it feels like there's not very much actually canon about it anymore, but you seem ready to use any canon characters possible. I must admit that I don't remember Arnold Peasegood from the books so I didn't realize he was a canon character until after, but I still think it's a brilliant idea.

All in all, this chapter just makes me want to read more! As I said, you did not disappoint with this story. Hopefully I'll be back to read more soon, as now I really want to learn more about Tristan's friends and how they're all going to fit into the events of the first book. This seems like a great story and I'm sorry I took so long to finally start reading it.

Author's Response: Ah! Hello! GOSH!

*squee* *flail* *squee*

Thank you so much! Yee :D

I'm really glad you liked the Sophie intro. My idea was a kind of nod to HP:PS, because that book begins with Mr Dursley's muggle POV. And yeah, I just liked the idea of reintroducing the wizarding world sort of, but from another perspective (since this story is All About secondary perspectives).

It helps a LOT that this was 1991 :P I feel like if someone saw a bunch of moving photos today it would be more like, "huh, that's kinda neat. Ish." Heheh for pre flat-screen technology!

And YES the Sophie-device let me describe Tristan without a mirror! So much utility I got out of that ;)

My thinking was half laziness and half way over-thinking when it came to recycling canon characters. I mean, Rowling created approximately a bajillion briefly-named characters, so it saved me having to think up names and things :P (like, Need an obliviator? I bet she has one already!) And then also, if Hogwarts is "about a thousand students," then the wizarding world has TINY generations, even assuming the majority of families homeschool (which I don't buy). Therefore, the same characters were BOUND to pop up over and over again.

On major concern I have with this story is not really retaining readers since it's such a sLoW bUrN, and doesn't really do a HOOK or have cliffhangers or anything. So I'm just THRILLED that you felt engaged and intrigued and wanted to read on :D

So YEE! Thank you SO MUCH for this lovely review!


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Review #48, by CambAngst O.W.L.s

13th August 2015:
Roisin! I've embarked on my GryCReMo campaign and I decided to start with stories from the other participants. So here's my little bit of scorekeeping to start off:

GryCReMo (Review #10)

How long has it been since I first read this? Months? Where the heck does time go? Anyway, I was able to lose myself in it like I'd never put it down. I really, really love these characters you've created. I've been over and over this point, but I don't know if I can repeat it often enough. They're so real. So balanced. So perfectly flawed and fallible and human. Someday I think I'd like to see you try to write something with characters that are one-dimensional and cliched, just to see whether you're capable of it. On second thought, don't do that. It would be a waste. ;)

Sigh. I don't like seeing the four of them apart like this. Especially Tristan. I don't think he realizes how much damage he's doing to his own psyche here.

The studying and exam scenes are some of my favorite parts of this chapter. I love the amount of detail and creativity you put into little things like plants and spells and runes. You never get lazy and take a mulligan on the details; you make every one count. To me, that's one of the hallmarks of your writing. Did you hear that? You have hallmarks!

"I can't help it," Emily moaned. "Where do the vanished objects go? What if they make me vanish an animal? It's cruel!" -- She is so adorable! Hufflepuffs are such special people.

"Ballpoint pen," he scribbled on his test paper to demonstrate. "Like a quill, but less annoying."

"Casette tape," he jammed it into the portable stereo and pressed play. "Would play music under different circumstances."
-- OK, maybe I like this a little bit better than the studying. ;)

I absolutely adored Tristan putting Malfoy and his thugs in their place. Moments like that, you realize there might be a little Gryffindor in him after all.

The general consensus was that he’d fallen in.

Emily knew better.
-- Yeah, I think we all do. The small array of personal comforts that Emily found at his spot at the wall sealed the deal. I love the way you wrote that. You didn't say too much. You just left it to the bare minimum needed to tell the story. There's no joy or life in a moment like that.

The ending of this chapter was a beautiful kick in the gut. Succinct and perfectly matched to the moment.

I saw one little typo as I read:

Their friendship with Emily rekindled, the three spent most of their evenings on the seventh floor near the portrait of the little night, reviewing thick stacks of notes, and chain-smoking. -- little knight

I'm so sorry that it's been so long. I always tell myself I'm going to come back and finish reviewing this story and... yeah, stuff. Anyway, I have motive and opportunity now, so I will be back before GryCReMo is through. Lovely job as always!

Author's Response: WAIT WHAaAaAaAT?!?!?!


Oh man! Dan! I LOVED getting your reviews on this and I'd COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that there were more reviews coming! What a brilliant and fantastic surprise!

Now, sad face, because /this goddamn chapter/

I'm so, so sorry. Still. Just... My apologies. Back when I was first writing the first draft of this I had this like OH NO moment, where I just realized that Tristan was going to jump in the lake at some point around the History exam. I didn't plan it, I just realized he was GOING to do it as if it weren't up to me. It was totally unplanned, but the lake had become this weird loaded symbol, and kept coming up in these odd ominous ways. Like, it took on a life as a sort of character of its own.

And then Harry missed his History exam because of his Sirius vision, and I'd established early on about Tristan skiving off from that class, and the parallel and unintentional building just became a /thing./ So yeah, I didn't plan it. And at least I saved him (via squid).

But all that didn't make writing it any easier. It was a huge struggle to figure out what to say, how much to say, and how to say it. Restraint seemed to me the best option, because the tragedy sort of spoke for itself and didn't need explaining. I'm glad you liked that.

So now the fun stuff: oof, I positively /scoured/ the internet for every bit of fifth-year cirricula (and even threw in a bit of sixth year, since Umbridge's rules probably cut out a lot they would have learned), in order to get all the details right. And this chapter was the only one where I consulted canon. I reread the OWLs chapter of OotP and kind of diagrammed it, even doing plays on some of JKR's phrasing.

I think the "ballpoint pen" line might be my very favorite of the entire story :D Well actually, I'm revising right now and there's a new line in "Hex Head Express" I quite like too ("Isobel thought she best resembled a bowl of custard that had been left out overnight and developed a skin.") [I'm proud of that one because zomg I think Isobel's FC is the prettiest thing that ever prettied, and so I really struggled for an apt-yet-critical thing to say about her]


Thankyouthankyouthankyou for this amazing surprise!


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Review #49, by Unicorn_Charm Some Sacred Questions, Some Marijuana

13th August 2015:
Back again! :D

Aww Emily and Tristan are adorable!

So I loved reading the Sorting from an outsiders perspective. That Harry ended up in Gryffindor to nobody's surprise. I wonder why Tristan got so weird when Neville was sorted? Just because of what happened to his parents, or was there more behind that?

Oh my goodness. That whole little wave to Dumbledore and the reason behind it! *melts* That was so sweet! I mean, the reason behind it kind of sucks, with that jerk being so mean to her and everything. But Tonks being so nice to her and Dumbledore giving her that little wave. My heart. It's swelling.

I loved the letters between Emily and Tristan. And I see what you mean about the "hey look! It's the 90's!" thing you told me about haha. But seriously, who doesn't love Nirvana? As a 90's kid myself, I'm sure I'm going to appreciate all the little references. I suspect they might have distilled you as a person in order to make it. - cracked me up. XD

So wow, Laurel really likes her Cheering Charm, doesn't she? It seems like Isobel is the "good" one of the group? Or as good as you can be in this group. ;) I loved that Tristan didn't even hesitate and just used the charm on her hahaha.

Again with how real this is! Them all sneaking off before class to do that. They are real teens. It's so cool to see what a realistic teenage life might be like at Hogwarts. Harry and then had too much on their plates, so we didn't really get too much of an accurate portrayal of what teen life at Hogwarts might be like, so this is just so wonderful to read. You make it feel like cannon, too, which is amazing.

One thing I'm really enjoying is how each chapter focuses on a different character. That was one of the main things that reminded me of Skins. The different POV's with each chapter, like how each episode was centered around a different character. I love stories where you get to experience things through different sets of eyes. And the way you're able to command a unique voice for each character so far is amazing. You're so freaking awesome!

*Let the gushing intensify*

It's 5am and I so should be in bed, but I don't want to stop reading. I'm totally addicted! It's my Cheering Charm! :p There may be one more review coming tonight (this morning), if I don't pass out first. ;) If not, definitely tomorrow (later)!

Love it! Love it, love it, love it!! *hugs*

Much love,
Meg ♥

Author's Response: Oh YEAY the letterz! There I was trying to channel the way emails/messages will end up stringing on forever and expanding, or basically how IM works, since owls within Hogwarts itself are about as close to IM as you can get. Glad you liked it!

Heeheehee, I wanted to be as META as possible in this fic while keeping it grounded, so I loved the idea that Harry would have so much anxiety about his Sorting while everyone else would be like "uh-DUH." Just... there is SO much room for dramatic irony in fanfic!

I also really liked the idea that Dumbledore might have a personal relationship with EACH of his students. Like obv Harry has a lot of really important stuff going on, but I thought it was so fitting that Dumbledore might also notice and care about a scared little muggleborn feeling awkward and weird and think that making her feel better mattered too.

Oh yes, 90s-ness should NEVER be understated ;)

I sort of imagine it, like, if you CAN just *zap* make yourself in a good mood, why not do it? Like, they make it seem so easy in canon to just do a cheering charm, yet we never saw it used again. I was really curious about that.

Oh man, so /I/ never smoked before class (because am Hermione), but absolutely every single person I hung out with did, so that HAD to be included. And OH MAN am I stoked that you think this is a convincing/canon-ish portrayal of Teen Life at Hogwarts! Also, totally agreed that the Trio just had too much on their plates. But yeah, for these kids, the war is over and Voldy is dead, as far as they know.

Yeah the changing POVs! That was a few things. 1) YEAH SKINS FO SHO. 2) HP always stayed with Harry's mostly, so I liked doing a really limited 3rd person but switching it up, to keep the narrative style the same. 3) JKR did a lot of POV shifts in Cas Vac, which was also a HUGE influence on this. Also, I just liked the idea of having the reader know more than the characters. Like, readers already know 7 books of canon that the characters don't, and then they also get to see so many POVs, while the characters are limited to only their own. I think it gives the readers wisdom to see things that the characters might not. (Like, think about the Tristan charming Laurel bit--Emily sees Isobel's frustration, and the little bicker they have about it. Tristan just shows up and gets asked for a charm. He missed the whole convo that came before).

Oh my gosh that you want to binge on this means the WORLD to me! But probably go to sleep!

There are not enough X's and O's in the world, but here's my best try:

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Review #50, by Unicorn_Charm The Hex Head Express

13th August 2015:
And I'm back!

I don't even know if I can review properly. I don't know what I can say that you probably haven't already heard before, because this is just so brilliant. The detail, the nods to cannon, the nods to widely accepted head-cannon. I mean, wow! And on top of that, it's so, so well written, clever and just funny. I'm so sad I haven't read this sooner, because I've clearly been missing out.

So I'm guessing that these are more of the main characters that we're meeting now. I love them! Normally I find at least one character who I don't really like, or seems pretty cliche, but not these girls. Again, they're so real. And the idea of using charms like that! You're a pure genius! How did you think of that??

Oh my god, that line about Arthur Weasley! I literally laughed out loud! I thought I was going to wake my boyfriend up haha. And the twins! That makes perfect sense that they would indulge in such activities. ;)

Aww and they were friends with Tonks?! Another awesome little detail!

All I want to do is gush and tell you how amazing you are and hug you for creating such an amazing piece of art. I'm assuming that most of my reviews are going to be quite similar, too. :p

I'm super thrilled that I finally got to this. I love it. Just adore it already! *hugs* I cannot wait to read on! ♥

xoxo Meg

Author's Response: MEGuh! How do I even respond to this review right now?!?!?! All I can do is jump around and flap my hands and go FKSGVBSGKJGWBMDHKAL.

*deep breath*

I'm SO glad you didn't think any of them were cliche. I thought a lot about these characters as I was writing them and made sure, whenever they started to go too far in one direction, that I kind of threw something in to complicate that. But it's also sort of like they all demanded to be written this way. Like, I remember the very first draft I did of all these characters and them just all running off into these directions I hadn't planned. Like, "oh, okay, you're that way? If you say so."

I'M SUPER GLAD YOU DIG THE WEASLEY/TWINS THING. I was so worried that people would all, like "NOPE" about that and throw their laptops across the room in disgust. But... It fits, doesn't it?! Like, they SO would though. Arthur is just such a tokin' dad to me.

I was SUH STOKED when I realized they would have overlapped with Tonks and squealed in delight. Just HAD to weave her in wherever possible.

I see your gushing, and I raise you A THOUSAND TIMES MORE GUSHING.

Thank yououououou Meg!


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