Reading Reviews for Year Five
346 Reviews Found

Review #26, by HeyMrsPotter The Hex Head Express

11th September 2015:
OMG I adore your chapter image, Max is my hero :p

I'm glad you included the twins and mentioned Harry in this chapter, it gives a good indication of timeline. Also, how good are your twins?! You've captured them perfectly in just that brief moment.

I'm really enjoying this so far, your writing style is so funny and witty :D


Author's Response: Yas! Isobel is definitely very different from Max, but I thought Kat Dennings had the best overall look (and I really like her as an actress, so while I've never seen her do an English accent, I could imagine her playing the character in my head).

So stoked that you liked the twins! They're sort of scary to write because, like, they're SO GOOD in canon, but I ended up really enjoying writing them :)


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Review #27, by HeyMrsPotter Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

11th September 2015:
Hi, Roisin! I'm here reading/reviewing Dobby nominees :D

This is such a brilliant opening chapter. I have to say, I was devestated to read your author note and find out that Sophie doesn't come back, I liked her! I thought this whole chapter was just brilliant, the idea of a muggle spending the night in a wizards house is genius. I loved how you described her finding the moving portraits. This was witty and clever and I just loved it. I'm interested to see where the story goes from here.


Author's Response: Dee! You really are such a beast for doing all of these reviews :)

Yeah I figured that witches/wizards sneaking in a muggle MUST happen from time to time! Just, TEENAGERS. And I'm really glad you found Sophie compelling, because even though she was just an intro-device, I still wanted her to be dimensional, you know?

Thank you so much for the lovely, encouraging review :D


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Review #28, by moonbaby11 Cleaner, More Brilliant

6th September 2015:


I guess I was right about Isobel finally accepting herself. She's eating without too much worry about what's going into her body and that makes me feel a sense of relief for her. She's finally going to become healthy and that's exactly what she needs. Laurel being there to comfort and encourage her through all of it made me smile and realize how far these characters have come -- Isobel was encouraging Laurel before and now the roles are reversed. I think it's a true testament to how strong these friendships are.

AND HELLO TONKS. I was hoping she'd make another appearance at some point and I wasn't disappointed! (Also bonus points for the Charlie/Tonks reference because, no lie, that's one of my favourite ships).

Isobel and Laurel's reaction to animated movies is just pure gold. I mean, I kind of have the same feelings because to me animated movies will always be sort of magical, but I love how difficult it was for them to grasp that muggles can do that with simple, muggle technology. That part honestly made me laugh out loud.

YES! EMILY AND TRISTAN! FINALLY! You know, I'm happy that they're still taking things slow. After everything they've been through (together and separately) I think it would be too difficult on them to go faster in their relationship. Plus, the image of the two of them just lying in bed, sharing innocent kisses, is too cute for me to pass up!

I think this chapter effectively wrapped everything up that wasn't finalized in the previous chapter. All the characters relationships and struggles have seemed to reach an end and tie together wonderfully. The ending put a smile on my face and I feel like it was a beautiful way to finish this novel -- that last line was lovely.

Overall, this novel was like a work of art or something. You perfectly portrayed the struggle of being a teenager while managing to mix magic and the canon of the HP books into it all. I think this story is definitely a must-read and I'm glad I finally sat down to give it a go. I don't regret it at all, but I do know that I'm going to miss Tristan, Emily, Isobel, and Laurel! It feels so weird that their story is actually over??? Maybe I'll have to make up for the absence of this story in my life by reading more of your work? I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Author's Response: IT FILLS ME WITH SUCH JOY THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS ZOMG. Like, YEE. That's the actual best thing ever!

This story is kind of weird in regards to Laurel, because we never got to see the person she USED to be, and the friendships she USED to have, because we meet her when she's at her lowest. But yeah, her and Isobel have a LOT of history. During most of the story, they both have so many of their own issues that their relationship really suffers, but there is a reason they're best friends. Now, they're both finally coming BACK, and finally able to help and encourage one another. Open communication and support is the single most important thing for someone recovering from an eating disorder, so it's meaningful that Isobel has that again.

CHARLIE/TONKS! Like, RIGHT?!?!?! The ONLY way I won't accept Charlie/Tonks is if Charlie is gay (another spin I really like). But in any event, they HAD to have been biffles. There is just no way they were not biffles.

Yeah, the animation thing is another Tristan Vindication. Isobel and Laurel spend most of the story all like "oh, Tristan's talking about how amazing muggles are again." Now, with this, they're all like "WELL DAMN THAT'S AMAZING."

YEE :D I'm so glad you liked how I played Tristan/Emily! I liked the idea that something gentle and slow-burning was more of a payoff after SO much shipping.

*Flails* THANK YOU. Gosh, I am just grinning like a fool right now. This story was the first ANYTHING I'd ever written, and it means, like, a weird amount to me. Writing it was just such a BIG project, and I really pushed myself to follow the story where it SHOULD go rather than where I wanted it to go.

So yeah, having someone care about it, and really engage with it - that's just the most amazing thing. I honestly don't have words enough to say how much it means to me!

(there aren't enough X's and O's in the world!)

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Review #29, by moonbaby11 After

6th September 2015:


I'm a little upset I didn't catch onto the fact that Bryce was a surname from the novels and I'm even more upset that I didn't get who Frank actually was until I read your End Notes. (Of course it's been quite a few years since I've read the books so I suppose I can be forgiven slightly? Perhaps?). Anyways, that connection was just plain brilliant. You utilized canon to your advantage in every possible way and I adored the way that everything really seems to come full circle. It really just blows me away.

Dumbledore here is, once again, brilliant, and I loved hearing McGonagall tell him off because she's not wrong... He does play a rather Machiavellian role in Harry's life, especially come OOTP and HBP. I think that was something somebody finally needed to say to the Professor.

I'm so pleased that Isobel is finally coming to terms with her sexuality and is ready to actually look deeper into her own feelings! It put a smile on my face because I'm hoping now she'll truly accept herself, flaws and all. I'm really glad that a lot of the characters seem to be getting happy endings? They all made it through their OWLs, Tristan is alive, they've reunited, and Isobel seems ready to finally accept herself. And FINALLY Tristan seems ready to put his past behind him and love the family that loves him without worrying about the family he had for the first six years of his life. I'm so proud of him for being the bigger man and announcing that Rabastan was not his father. He's really grown so much from the beginning of the novel.

I'm pumped for this epilogue! Time to see how things turn out for all the characters! Hope everything goes well :)

Author's Response: !!! I've actually gone back and edited the story to make it a little less obvious, because BLOODY HELL everyone on this site is SO SHARP. (I considered having it be Rodolphus, and I realize this is petty, but I just liked the name "Rabastan" better :P) But yeah, Rabastan also tortured the Longbottoms!


Heehee, the Bryce thing was a surprise to most people, no worries!

And yeah, McGonagall would definitely tell Dumbledore off, right? Like, she would have noticed that he set the whole thing up as an adventure for Harry and be REALLY cross about it.

But in defense of Dumbledore, even with all the other teachers distracted by Harry, he takes the time to talk to Tristan and sees him as important too. I just generally liked the idea that he cares about and keeps track of ALL his students, and intervenes whenever they need him.

*Squee* I'm really glad you think this chapter is satisfying! While Isobel's sexuality isn't related to her eating disorder, I felt like accepting herself would give her some of the strength she needed to overcome her issues. Like, just a nice boost for when she needed it most.

AH, only one more chapter to go!

Seriously, thank you SO MUCH for all of these amazing reviews!


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Review #30, by moonbaby11 O.W.L.s

6th September 2015:
NO NO NO WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS! I mean, I'm relieved that Tristan is still alive and breathing, but this hurts me in so many ways. How is this all going to be resolved in two chapters? You must be some kind of wizard.

I think you captured the stress of OWLs really well. All of those scenes, including the breakdowns of various characters, reminded me a lot of Harry's own experience with his OWLs. It all just seemed so beautifully canon and I loved it. (Remember when I said you may very well be JKR? I still agree with that assessment).

I liked how you tied a practical exam into the Muggle Studies OWL because it just seemed so ridiculous? I suppose it's because I am a muggle and I'm accustomed to these things, but it just seems like such an easy mark for anyone who has any sort of muggle lineage. Everyone asides from purebloods should be able to identify a match, I'd think. I guess ti just further enforces Tristan's thoughts on how disconnected the wizarding and muggle worlds are and how little wizards think of their muggle counterparts.

Emily writing a note to Mary explaining everything better than the school could was almost beautiful, in a way. She knows that Tristan's mum will understand right away and she knows that Mary needs to be aware of what really happened. I'm a little upset that Sprout or someone didn't come forward and suggest that it wasn't an accident. I feel like Tristan definitely needs somebody by his side and someone willing to discuss his issues with him instead of just dismissing them as an accident and hoping for the best.


Author's Response: I'M SO SORRY! Again, this was NOT something I planned, but then realized was GONNA happen. It's like the characters were behaving of their own accord. I hadn't even realized that things were building up to this, and then I went back and saw that I'd done all this subconscious foreshadowing with the lake, and ugh. Like, even in the prologue, Mary is really relieved when Tristan comes home safely, and I later realized that without meaning to, I'd always written her as anxious that something like this might happen.

I'm sorry!

Hee, so for the O.W.L.s bit, I actually went back and re-read that part of OotP and tried to parallel the structure. It's probably the closest to canon language of any part of this story.

I had SO MUCH FUN with the muggle studies bit! I'm really glad you liked it :) "Like a quill, but less annoying" might be my favorite line of the whole story :P But yeah, Tristan spends SO MUCH of this story complaining about wizarding dismissal of muggle stuff, so I wanted to kind of validate him. And like, Arthur basically majored in Muggle Studies and still fails to understand really basic things, so I figure the course can't be all that great.

Yeah, Tristan definitely gets a little shafted by Harry getting the stone the same day, which distracts everyone :(


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Review #31, by moonbaby11 The Presence of Love

6th September 2015:

This chapter had a lot of pov jumping, but you made it all flow so well that I'm honestly jealous of your writing skills? You never seem to make any changes too jarring and everything seems to fit together so perfectly.

That letter Emily sent to Tristan at the beginning was truly heart breaking and I hope that the two of them can sit down and have a serious talk about their feelings and all that stuff because I feel like it would only do them well. They need to discuss everything that happened with Laurel and decide where they stand. Honestly, I just want to see them repair their friendship! I feel like that's the first step.

I'm so glad this piece of Emily's past came to light, especially when she was comforting Isobel and letting her know that it wasn't her fault. I had an inkling that something like this was what she was referring to a few chapters back when she thought about what had occurred in the shack but I, obviously, couldn't be sure until I read this. I feel like it adds a whole different side to Emily's personality and explains why she's prone to being with so many different guys. It's also interesting to see that the Hufflepuff and the most cheerful of the group has as much emotional baggage as the rest of them.

Your Dumbledore is brilliant, once again! I loved how his password was a muggle sweet as opposed to a magical one -- that just seems so Dumbledore. His voice was spot on and even the punishment he gave Emily seemed so compltely in character that sometimes I question if you really are JKR. I find that Dumbledore is really hit and miss in most fanfics -- either you get him perfectly or you don't and there's no in between -- and you've definitely got a hit here with the way you characterize him! It's almost magical.

This was another completely brilliant chapter overall and I can't believe it's almost done. What?

Author's Response: ERMGERD, I'm SO SORRY I've taken SO LONG to reply to your AMAZING REVIEWS. It brings me a lot of joy to respond to reviews, so I used it as a sort of prize once I completed my To Do lists. Which took forever. BUT NOW I AM FINALLY HERE!

I'm really glad the POV shifts work. For the first just-over-half of the story, the POV rotation is really consistent, but I liked the idea that the more their lives got mixed up, the more the perspectives would get mixed up. Like, all Form Following Content and stuff. BUT YEAH - kind of a risky move, so I'm really glad it flowed and wasn't jarring.

UGH TRISTAN. So I'm not sure if it's obvious or not, but I wanted each one of them to have these little quirks about their perspectives, and how they were written. So like, Isobel uses a lot of parentheses, and Tristan has a lot of long blocks of texts (kind of like soliloquies). But yeah, for someone who monologues so much in his own head, he's just an AWFUL communicator. I think it's because he's always trying so hard to HIDE himself, and is so worried about being EXPOSED. It's like he thinks everyone can see him, and then doesn't realize that people DON'T. Just an awful communicator.

I felt bizarrely guilty about giving Emily this backstory, largely because I really love her. I was all like "I'M SORRY EMILY!" It's not something I planned, more like I kind of realized it about her. Also, just statistically speaking, if you have three female characters, it's probably happened to one of them :(

But as for the cheerfulness vs baggage thing, I kind of wanted to show that our experiences don't necessarily dictate everything about us. This really awful thing happened to Emily, and it's something she struggled because of, but she's still easily the best adjusted of all of them. Laurel, on the other hand, hasn't had any one Big Thing happen to her, but still struggles a lot. Like, a person doesn't need to have "an excuse" to feel the way the feel, and conversely, one bad experience doesn't mean they can't live a full and happy life.


Dumbledore is DEFINITELY the most terrifying character to try to write. I'm, like, SO stoked you thought I did him well! (I always read a lot of his dialogue before writing him to try to get his voice down).

YEE thank you again SO MUCH for these reviews and I'm SO SORRY about the delayed reply!


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Review #32, by moonbaby11 The Question

6th September 2015:
AH YES I'D BEEN HOPING FOR THE TWINS TO PLAY A BIGGER ROLE IN THE STORY AGAIN. It felt like it'd been a long time since they'd really been involved so I was extremely pleased that they returned for this chapter, especially because they were there to comfort Isobel! I think you write them brilliantly and I always find myself chuckling at their dialogue (also I'm so glad the ear comment was intentional because I was going to mention it in my review if it wasn't!)

Okay, was there something hinted at earlier about the possibility of Isobel having deeper feelings for Emily? Because I swear that thought has been lingering in the back of my mind for a while now. Either that or I'm just very perceptive? Regardless, I'm really interested to see where that goes. This group is quickly becoming a mess of feelings and whatever Tristan/Laurel is (physical connections?) and I can't wait to see how it all gets resolved in the next four (that doesn't feel like enough time!!) chapters.

I'm so relieved that Sprout has caught on to Isobel's eating disorder because I was beginning to worry that no one had noticed! Of course, she still hasn't intervened or said anything which is most definitely a problem, but it is nice to know that she's there for all of the students, regardless of house or personal issue. It put a smile on my face that she was willing to listen to Isobel, even if what she ended up telling Sprout wasn't what Sprout was expecting.

HAGRID YAS I KNEW HE'D HAVE TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE AT SOME POINT. Tying the dragon egg into it made the scene even better. I love the fatherly way you portrayed Hagrid as that's always how I pictured him and it's reassuring to know that he's just generally like that and doesn't only reserve that gentleness for the Golden Trio. I think you wrote him very well also, especially in terms of his accent/dialect. I could perfectly hear Robbie Coltrane's voice in my head which I think is a true testament to how in character his words were.


Author's Response: I'm SO GLAD you like the twins! Like, SERIOUSLY (Siriusly). They're also pretty intimidating to write because they're just SO GREAT. I'm really, really glad you think I've done them justice.

It's so odd because some people figure out about Isobel's sexuality just as soon as they read her first chapter, while others are taken really by surprise when she eventually confronts her sexuality in the second-to-last chapter. So I'm really glad that it's more like a niggling thought for you, because that's how I'd hoped it would play (yet am VERY impressed when people call it immediately). I think her crush on Emily is just that: a crush. Emily's the sort of character that I think everyone is a little in love with (even Laurel, who's super straight, is slightly in love with her). So like, Isobel's feelings for Emily aren't that big of a deal, outside of the fact that Isobel is having feelings for a girl. Like, that's what really matters to her.

I think with Tristan/Laurel, it's that once they hooked up once, they realized that they COULD. For them, it's kind of a desire for comfort/escape. And, you know, hormones.

I've been attending a weekly Eating Disorder support group with my friend who's recovering, and it's sort of reinforced something I got at here: it takes a LONG time before anyone steps up and says/does something. Like, parents/family are usually quickest to respond if their child has an ED, but in boarding school, it could go unchecked for a LONG time. And that problem with boarding school is something I wanted to address here. Like, Harry had a great time with it, but for a lot of people, it might be kind of dangerous to be disconnected from parents for so many months on end. Even though not everyone's parents are great in this story, I think they would all be a bit better off if they weren't cut off, you know?

HAGRID IS ANOTHER TOUGH CHARACTER. Yay so glad you thought he was accurate! I liked the idea that he would be the staff member Isobel felt comfortable with after everything, and thought that yeah, he would be a nice and kind of fatherly support figure.



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Review #33, by moonbaby11 The Disappearing Room

4th September 2015:

Okay, enough capslock for now. This chapter was really sad for me, in the weirdest of ways. I think this is the first chapter where everyone has been really separate. Emily and Isobel don't really make an appearance and even the moment shared between Tristan and Laurel is really small and it feels like more happens with them when they're not together. It's just so sad to see the friends apart, at least in my opinion. It made the chapter feel so weird (although not in a bad way, don't worry!).

I loved the use of the Mirror in this chapter. I thought what Tristan saw was really touching, wanting to be more like his adoptive parents, and it brought a smile to my face. I've never seen a character look into the mirror and see something like that so I was really excited that that was the route you took with him. Speaking of the mirror, your Dumbledore is amazing! Honestly, I could picture Richard Harris' voice in my mind as I was reading those lines. It just all felt so canon! I also liked hearing what he actually saw in the mirror, as opposed to what he tells Harry in the books.

I really love love love reading chapters from Mary's pov. I find it so interesting and almost refreshing to break away from the angsty teenagers a bit to look into the mind of a caring mother. I think she's such an interesting character and I just really enjoy her a lot. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

I haven't read or seen High Fidelity (I've been meaning to watch the movie though) but I kind of love that you tossed that reference in. It's just so odd to think of a HP/HF crossover, which I suppose this technically is, but it works so I guess that's all that matters!

I'm super pumped to keep reading! Here's hoping that Tristan's suspension will bring the friends back together? Maybe? Please?

Author's Response: OK, so maybe it isn't SUCH a bummer for people to figure things out in advance. Originally, Tristan's whole backstory wasn't meant to be a secret and I was gonna explain it in the prologue. Then that ended up not happening, and it all got revealed during his awkward tea with Snape. THEN, super duper LAST MINUTE, I decided to string it along until the end.

There's definitely a lot of fracturing here, and I'm really glad that it was effectively SAD-MAKING. Like, arguably, their relationships were all a bit unhealthy. But are they better apart? I don't know. But I don't THINK so.

YEE, I was very oddly proud of Tristan's mirror image myself :) I'm really glad that struck the right chord. And GAH DUMBLEDORE. Talk about a terrifying character to write! Like, it's almost presumptuous to try because he's so wise. I read a bunch of stuff canon stuff Dumbledore had said first and then was all like "HM, what's the wisest stuff I can think of?" I am SO GLAD you thought it worked YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.

YES! Sprout and Mary's POVs were definitely intended as a sort of break from the teenage POV. Like, to sort of pull back and get a more mature perspective. I mean, both of them still struggle about what to do with these kids, but I think they're at least better equipped to conceptualize of what's going on. And YAY I'm glad you like Mary, because she's sort of ME in a weird way. Like, I tried to imagine what I would do/think/say in her position, which was kind of perfect, because I wanted her to be flawed-yet-justified and imperfect-yet-sympathetic, and I'm way too young to have a kid this age and I don't know the right thing to do, so I could really /sell/ her POV.

OK SO HIGH FIDELITY. I haven't read the book in YEARS, so I don't know how well it holds up, but the movie is definitely amazing and fantastic. Different, but just as good (if not better). There are some differences, the main one being that the movie is set in London in the late 80s and the movie is set in Chicago in the late 90s. But yeah, I DEF recommend the movie, and might recommend the book.



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Review #34, 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 #35, 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 #36, 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!


Author's Response: Two things: one, I use responding to reviews as a prize (because I really like responding), so I promised myself I'd get to reply once I updated things. And then that went and took forever.

Two, GUH I get SO MANY FEELS responding to reviews on this last chapter!

Lemme try and hold it together.

Of the very many Teenage Realities that were absent from canon, the intense preoccupation with how you dress was definitely chief among them. It's something I really wanted to try to involve at some point, because it really is such a big part of teenage identity. But like, yeah, it was hard to do within the main story, because all them robes.

Oh man, it's really hard to not just mash my hands on the keyboard and shout "THANK YOU." This was the first fiction thing I'd ever written, and doing it was basically a crash course on How Writing Do. It's impossible to ever explain, but this story is so important to me. And more than that, having people RESPOND to it... It's just amazing. The most amazing possible thing. I know this is a dumb thing to say, since we're all WRITERS and all, but I honestly just don't have words enough for it.

It means so much to me that people here took this story SERIOUSLY, you know? Not like "oh whatever, fanfiction, this is fun." That you've written these really amazing, analytical reviews, and really FELT for these characters, and appreciated what I was trying to do here.

Thank you so much for all your encouragement with this. You were among the first people to really engage with this story, and almost always the first one to leave really detailed reviews when a new chapter got posted. I really can't overstate how important that support has been!



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Review #37, 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 #38, 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 #39, 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 #40, 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 #41, 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 #42, 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 #43, 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 #44, 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 #45, 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 #46, 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 #47, 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 #48, 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 #49, 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 #50, 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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