Reading Reviews for Year Five
184 Reviews Found

Review #26, by AlexFan Recreational Magic Abuse Recovery

25th September 2014:
Oh wow, look at that, I was actually correct about the whole Isobel and Lucas thing, go figure. The feeling of being right however is seriously being overshadowed by my annoyance that Isobel got off with Emilyís brother, I was so hoping that cliche would be avoided. Iím really glad that no one is shaming Isobel for what she did though and how supportive Emilyís being of the whole thing is really great, itís exactly what a friend should be.

I keep forgetting that this is set in the 90ís so itís always a little shocking to be brought back to that fact by small things, like the idea that your hymn (I had to make that as 12+ as possible while still having it make sense) breaks the first time you have intercourse. This shack seems to have some really mysterious powers, it seems everyone gets lucky when they stay in it.

I liked how you threw in that mention of Neville as well, about him visiting his parents, it was a nice nod towards what he had to deal with all of the time. I loved seeing St. Mungoís from the point of view of Emily because everything must seem just absolutely absurd to her to see so many people with damage done to them acting like itís totally normal.

It was so cute seeing little ten-year-old Luna at St. Mungoís, I can definitely see her being that friendly and making conversation with random people.

ďMaybe we shouldnít have brought drugs to a person in rehabĒ OH GEE YOU THINK I WONDER WHAT GAVE YOU THAT IDEA. Seriously, I love how youíve included Luna in this and I love how Laurel has made friends with her. Luna may be a bit weird but the girl is really good at reading people and figuring out what makes them uncomfortable and what they wanna talk about. ALSO ISOBEL NEEDS TO GET SOME HELP SOMEONE NEEDS TO TELL THIS GIRL THAT SHE IS PERFECT THE WAY THAT SHE IS.

Oh goodness, I canít imagine how difficult it mustíve been for Isobel to have such a big chest at such a young age. Her back mustíve killed her having to carry all of that weight around. Itís times like this that Iím grateful for being small-chested. Still, that shouldnít stop her from playing Quidditch if she wants to, some people are born curvier and some people are born skinnier, itís just the way that people are built and I just feel so sorry that Isobel hasnít had anyone to tell her this.

Iím actually really looking forward to seeing Laurel get out of rehab, if it ever happens that is. If she ever does get out during the story, then Iím really excited with how this new her is going to be and looking at how it can hard to resist self-spelling on some days, because itís something that people deal with even after theyíve gotten help.

Lastly, I am so sorry for taking so long with this review but I have been crazy busy up until now.

Author's Response: GAH, I know--quite the cliche. I really wanted to show how everyone's First Time can be really different, with different contexts and stuff, and "whilst on Holday" is just a rather common story. I'm glad that you appreciated the lack of Shaming, though! That was my way of using-yet-subverting the trope!

Haha, I was all like "Hymn? I don't remember them singing in church!" And good point: that is rather a nineties-era myth! (well, it still persists today, unfortunately)

I had a LOT of fun coming up with the various Magical Maladies that Emily saw at St. Mungos, so I'm glad you found them reasonably absurd! And yes, Neville was definitely a way to show how there's a lot going on in their world that they aren't really conscious of. And that's sort of the tragedy--people often forget that those around them are Whole People, with lives and troubles that are just as important as their own.

SO GLAD you liked Luna! She's very tricky to write!

And yes, I really wanted to show how *THEY* think what they're doing is totally fine and reasonable (because: teenagers), but then point out the negative implications of what they are doing. This story is, I realize, rather a lot of work, as it requires a lot of analysis from the reader, since the characters have really limited perspectives.

Luna was DEFINITELY the best person for Laurel to have around!

I've seen it a lot, that girls who develop young can often get quite a complex over it :( And sometimes adults are kind of too freaked out to handle it correctly, because they don't know how to talk to a child about something they see as age-inappropriate (but really, someone's body isn't inherently an adult topic, it's only that adults attach so much adult meaning to it, which it THEIR fault, not the child's). Ok, rambling.

No need to feel sorry for being late! I don't even think of it as "late"--it's all in your own time!


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Review #27, by Helen J Haslam The Disappearing Room

25th September 2014:
Oooh what a delicious twist with the Malfoys! Really loved this chapter, one of the strongest so far x

Author's Response: Oof, this chapter was SUCH a beast! I'm really glad you thought the many thousands of words were worth it!

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Review #28, by Helen J Haslam Interrupted

25th September 2014:
Hurrah for Tonks! I liked the messy tangledness, it felt like it had been brewing to a boil the last couple of chapters :-)

PS, Sorry for all the reviews, I hope it doesn't feel like spam!!

Author's Response: It does not at ALL feel like spam! Don't be ridiculous! Logging on to see so many new reviews got me so excited!

And thank you for saying it had been "brewing to a boil"--because that was exactly what I was going for!

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Review #29, by Helen J Haslam Torture

25th September 2014:
I loved Isobel being mad at Tristan (and their make up lol) but her hunger pangs were almost physical. Ouch :-(

Author's Response: I definitely wanted Isobel's anger to be, like, believable and well supported--but also for the reader to not necessarily 100% agree with her. So relieved that worked!

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Review #30, by Helen J Haslam The Trouble With Laurel

25th September 2014:
Your character study just gets better and better. I find Tristan so desperately endearing, his demons so present, and his treatment of Emily very believable and pitiful. Great work x

Author's Response: GAH! Thank you! I'm so glad you found him endearing, because I also realize he can be a little frustrating--realism and readability can be a difficult balance!

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Review #31, by Helen J Haslam The Little Things (1992)

25th September 2014:
Very nice to get Laurel's POV finally, it felt worth the wait. I appreciated her defensiveness, and her mum seemed like the nagging, exhausting sort of woman that might lead to a dispirited child with an addictive need for escapism.

Author's Response: SO RELIEVED to hear it was worth the wait! I really wanted to hold off on her POV, in order to really build up what other people thought about her, and I'm so glad it wasn't a let down!

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Review #32, by Helen J Haslam Recreational Magic Abuse Recovery

25th September 2014:
Describing little Luna through Emily's eyes was heart warming :-)

Author's Response: Yay! I'm so glad you liked Luna! She's such a special character, I really wanted to do her justice (and seeing characters from an older POV, I think, gives me a little license to expand them, or change how they come across).

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Review #33, by Helen J Haslam War Children

25th September 2014:
That's so sweet about Emily's little sister! Nice way to work it backwards :-)

Author's Response: :D

I came up with the characters for my OCs, and then in order to figure out specifics, I dug into canon to figure out who they could be related to. (And then I named them accordingly. So since Laura Madley is canon, I looked up common sibling names for Laura, and thought 'Emily' suited the character the best!)

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Review #34, by Helen J Haslam The Big Thing

25th September 2014: I *might* be reading this on the sly in my office, and when the Slytherins trashed Tristan's stereo, I gasped audibly, even though I suspected that might be coming, and very nearly blew my cover, which now seems extremely funny so I'm trying not to smirk and giggle at my desk. Thought you might like to know that ;-)

Author's Response: Ahahahaha!

And it really is wonderful to hear that my scenes have impact--when I write them I (usually) know what's going to happen, so it's hard for me to tell whether or not the SHOCK VALUE works.

Anyway, it's great to hear that that scene worked! I wanted it to be really tragic and awful :(

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Review #35, by Helen J Haslam Troll in the Dungeons!

25th September 2014:
Ooh so I'm guessing *something* happened between Tristan and Laurel after his party, interesting!

You're very welcome for the reviews. I had a little flurry from someone recently and it completely made my day, my week! So I'm more mindful to do it for others now. But I only do it for the stories that capture me like this has :-)

I keep meaning to say how much I identify with Tristan's music problem. It's crossed my mind many times before how I'd deal with the music issue, as I literally don't do anything without listening to music, and guessed maybe vinyl would be the way. But perhaps they have to by recorded magically, so even that wouldn't work. Basically, this is the only major downside to Hogwarts as far as I can tell!

I also liked the fact he brought up the boarding school issue, and interesting to suggest that doesn't happen in Salem. (Side note: is that cannon, or something you made up? I created my own US school in my story with abandon, only calling it Salem by coincidence, and upon finding out it's sort of cannon I've not wanted to read up on it for fear of contradiction!)

I think the highlight of this chapter though was Tristan's reaction to his birthday and presents from his parents. I have a couple of guys in my life who react similarly and your portrayal was realistic and again, sensitive. It's fantastic to see a protagonist struggling with realistic symptoms of depression x

Author's Response: Hello! What a treat to get another amazing flurry!

Gah, music, right?!?! That would be soOoOoOo hard to live without music for so long!

As for American schools--during the World Cup in GoF they mention something about a Salem Institute, but it is not necessarily defined as a school. So basically a little of both.

EE, thank you so much for the kind words!


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Review #36, by Helen J Haslam Behind the Mirror

24th September 2014:
It may have been a fluffy chapter, but it was utterly charming, possibly my favourite so far.

And no, I don't think I spotted anything with the booze, oops! I'll have to keep an eye out later for nettle wine and whatnot ;-)

Author's Response: Yay! I had a LOT of fun writing it, so I'm glad to hear you thought it was fun!

Thank you so much for this little review flurry, it's really made my day!


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Review #37, by Helen J Haslam Three Times Charmed

24th September 2014:
I really love your writing style, it's got a strong descriptive tone that's detailed but not distracting. Also, I want to know who Laurel saw in the pub!!

Author's Response: Blargh--that bit really needs some rewriting! I never meant to imply that she saw anything important in the pub, only that it was super grimy. So happy to hear you like the style, though! :)

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Review #38, by Helen J Haslam R

24th September 2014:
Ha! You've cast Hannah Murray as Emily, perfect. I'm appreciating the character tiles at the start, it's helping me remember them better :-)

Author's Response: I'm really glad to hear that they are working! I spent forever trying to choose faceclaims and photos, and I had all these weird rules that made it harder (had to look like an actual teenager, couldn't be too glamourous, had to look like they could be wearing robes)--so glad it paid off!

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Review #39, by Helen J Haslam The Hex Head Express

24th September 2014:
Lol, this sort of feels like Skins at Hogwarts, I'm enjoying the darker tone with the cannon background. It feels like a very rich work, smattering in familiar names around your cast. I most appreciated though, the sensitive nature of Tristan's night with Sophie. It's refreshing to see a boy react like that, and his depression rings true, it's not hammed up. Nice work Hx

Author's Response: Yee! I'm so happy to hear that comparison :D I really loved skins for being so realistic, and for covering so many topics without being, like, pedantic. Thank you so so much for the kind words!

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Review #40, by Helen J Haslam Dozens of Little Televisions (1991)

24th September 2014:
Hey! I decided to check out your story after it got so many Dobby nominations. I had no idea what to expect but this is a very strong opening, well written and totally original. Looking forward to reading more! Hxxx

Author's Response: Hello!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review! I'm so glad you liked the beginning :)

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Review #41, by Yoshi_Kitten R

22nd September 2014:
Hello, I'm back again!! Sorry it took me so long to get back here. I'm such a slow reader sometimes, lol! But I was SO happy to see that you enjoyed my reviews as much as I have been enjoying this story so far! And at least now I know why Tristan's face-claim looks so familiar: I LOVE Being Human!!! Ugh, I miss that show SO MUCH!!! I watched the US version, but once it got canceled here I looked up the UK version, and that was where I had seen Craig Roberts before, lol! =P

So Tristan IS a Slytherin then! I kinda thought so, but I wasn't too sure. You definitely had be guessing for a minute there, lol! That is a very interesting revelation, considering his heritage and all that. Though I am beginning to feel like there is more than meets the eye on his mother's side of the family here. How else would you explain his unusual interest in Harry Potter (last chapter) and then in Neville Longbottom (this chapter) huh? Does he, or perhaps someone else in his family, actually know about the prophecy somehow? Are they involved with any Dark Wizards? Tristan's last name sounds SOO familiar, but I just can't seem to place where I have heard it before. And what is up with this mysterious 'R' middle-name?? The only R's that I can think of right now are Regulus Black, and Rudolphus & Rabastan Lestrange; all of whom are also Slytherins... Could Tristan's family have any connections to those wizards?? I wonder, I wonder. Guess I shall just have to read on to find out!

But anyway, I was glad to see that Tristan is, in fact, in Slytherin; as now there really are people from ALL the houses represented in their little group. Way cool how you did that, btw. Gotta love that house unity!! I am even more curious to see how the 4 (or 6 if you count the twins) of them met tho. Will that information be revealed in a later chapter, perhaps? If not, have you ever considered writing a prequel or something to show how they all originally became such good friends? I'm sure there are a lot of people who would be interested in seeing how "The Hex Heads" were formed, haha!! I've also seen that this story is completed now as well. (You got done posting all of this SO FAST, btw!!) And I was happy when I saw that, cuz it means that I won't have to wait for updates between chapters now. But at the same time, I feel like I really don't want this story to ever end, haha!! Have you given much thought to writing a sequel to this?? I think it would be way cool to see a "Year Six" story, as I would very much like to see how all of these characters respond to the whole Chamber of Secrets ordeal, lol!! ;)

Can I just say that I love Emily!?! I think that she is my personal favorite of their group. I know we haven't really seen much of Laurel yet, so I really shouldn't be picking favorites already; but I can't help it!! Speaking of Laurel tho; she really does seem to have a bot of an addiction to Cheering going on here, doesn't she? I hope that she realizes this is becoming a problem and gets help at some point, but I'm sure that I will have an opportunity to share my thoughts on all of that in a future chapter. For now I shall just stay focused on EMILY, as I do not wanna run up my word-count, lol! I just love her personality, and I like how much closer she is with Tristan than the other two are. Their note-passing scene was so cute! Not sure what direction you're gonna go with their relationship here, but it would be really cool if those two got together, I think... I love how quirky she is to. You really don't see too many stories that feature Hufflepuff characters, so this is such a refreshing thing to read.

I think that you handled the Sorting Ceremony brilliantly, and I love the little backstory that you created between her and Dumbledore. Also, I absolutely adored the fact that Tonks kind of took her in from the beginning. She really is so open and accepting of everybody, and I love how you brought that into her character here. And look; you even managed to bring Cedric Diggory into this as well, which was awesome by the way!! Tho thinking of Cedric just made me realize that the Hex Heads won't be at Hogwarts for the Tri-Wizard tournament. Which is sad, because I feel like Emily would have been really proud to see a fellow Hufflepuff as the Hogwarts Champion... I really enjoyed reading this whole chapter in Emily's POV. She really does have SUCH a great sense of humor! This line was probly my favorite line in the story so far tho: "Super Baby Harry Potter ended up Gryffindor - to exactly no one's surprise"

I was happy to see that Emily and Tristan had potions class together, and I loved the little entrance that they made. Good for them for choosing to defy the social norms and sit together, haha! The ending of the chapter was great too. Your characterization of Snape was spot-on. It's so typical of him to give all the credit to a Slytherin, even if it is for someone else's work. I hope that Emily doesn't take this too personally though, as Snape just cannot help himself sometimes, lol.. Honestly though, you just write everything SO perfectly!! Even your end-notes are AWESOME!! You have clearly put so much time and effort into this Novel, and it has truly paid off so beautifully!! I just cannot put into words how much I freaking LOVE this story right now, haha!! Thank you so much for writing it, Roisin!! This is truly spectacular work, and you deserve every single Dobby Award that you are about to win for this, lol!! Idk how soon It'll be before I can get to the next chapter, but this is definitely NOT the last time you will be hearing from me, lol. I cannot wait to read this entire story and see how everything plays out here!! =D


Author's Response: Hello!

You should TOTALLY check out the other things he's been in! Sumbarine is pretty brilliant! And Skins:Fire got pretty universally bad reviews, but I ADORED IT (and slightly fell in love with his character). (By slightly I mean a lot).

So the Slytherin reveal: YAY! I was hoping for that to have some impact, but also not to be totally unexpected. AND YOU ARE RIGHT, you DO recognize his last name! As for R names, don't forget about Rookwood, Riddle, Remus, Rosier, and Rowle (to name a few) ;)

And yes! There is a bit of a flashback to how they all met! Glad you were hoping for that!

I may have posted all of this quickly, but I didn't WRITE it quickly! I spent over a year working on this, and only started uploading once I'd finished (but then I invariably ended up editing EVEN MORE).

I'm SO GLAD that people like Emily! I sort of wanted her to be the favorite, because Hufflepuff definitely doesn't get nearly enough love. But if you think about it, they have some of the BEST qualities!

Heheheh, Cedric went through an awkward phase! It was SOSOSO sad for me to write him, knowing that he died D:

SO GLAD you liked Snape, too! I'm sort of obsessed with him, and I LOVE HIM TO DEATH, but it was really fun for me to write him being (as he traditionally was) just super duper maddening!

SQUEE! Thank you SO much for all your kind words! I'm going to do a joyful little jig now! I so appreciate your taking the time to leave so much detailed feedback!


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Review #42, by crestwood The Question

20th September 2014:
Okay, I'm back to once again immerse myself in this wonderful story.

It says a lot about the distance that has grown between Tristan and his friends that they haven't noticed his absence at all throughout the week. The fact that Laurel is still giving up for wand to Isobel willingly is probably the biggest sign of her recovery that we've seen all story. But then again, the way her relapses go, I can see what spurred her to realize enough is enough. The House elves fear of wands is a really huge contrast to Griphook's assertion that Wizards should share the secrets of wandlore with other magical creatures. House Elves seem a bit brainwashed compared to goblins honestly.

I always love a bit of Sprout POV. I'm happy that Isobel was at least upset at the idea of Tristan hexing out. That shows that she has some sort of sympathy left for him deep down.

I wonder how Emily will react knowing that Tristan took all of the blame rather than let anything come back to her. I feel uncomfortable with Isobel and Emily fighting like this. It just seems like they *should* be friends.

It's interesting that Laurel says that Emily's the best and Tristan says that Emily's "better" than the other two. It seems everyone holds her in the highest regard. Which, I suppose is because she's the nicest, by far and the most stable and put together as well. So, in that sense, she is the best.

You've made Isobel give Voldemort the idea of unassisted flight!! That's such a perfect piece of canon. Genius, really.

I am SO confused. Quirrel with Voldemort on the back of his head kissing Isobel?? WHY. This is the grossest thing ever. She's weirded out and doesn't even know about the whole Dark Lord under the turban thing. I have so many questions about that scene. I wonder whose idea that was, but then again, I'm not sure if I even want to know. She is going to be scarred for life.

George calling Tristan an enigma is the perfect description of him. That's exactly what that boy is.

Funny that Isobel and the twins have worked out that Tristan's dad isn't Eddie and then figured that Emily knew. It just goes to show that the signs have always been there if they cared to pay attention. Especially with him looking a lot like a pureblood.

You include every single bit of canon possible, even Lockhart's book on the radio gets a mention.


Hagrid was just buying the dragon egg I suppose. His line about teenage folk wisdom was gold.
I always love seeing people answer the riddles to enter the Ravenclaw common room. I wonder if you come up with those yourself. They always strike me as insightful and yours always seem to have a relevance to the plot as well.

I feel like this story has made me a better reviewer as it's taught me to pay attention to every little thing because you pack so much meaning into it all. Seriously, I've learned LIFE LESSONS from this story. Still amazing in every way, it is.

Author's Response: Yay, hello!

Laurel giving up her wand is definitely a HUGE step for her! As for the elves, oh man, I have so many *feelings* about House Elves! So after the big fuss about Winky having a wand at the World Cup, and how she really didn't want to steal a wand for Barty, I wanted to include that cultural difference. Because, the way I see it, House Elves aren't like some sort of slave race. I think that they are actually these super powerful beings (can apparate ANYWWHERE, can do magic without wands), and so *power* only doesn't corrupt if it's used for *service.* The only time we ever see a properly treated elf in his element, is Kreacher in DH--but, he's far from a servant. When treated with proper respect, he serves the Trio more like a mum, and commands them to sit down for dinner and all. ANYway, I just think that exploitation is a big theme about elves, which is why the Hufflepuffs kept the kitchens a secret (they didn't want people to take advantage, as Emily says). So here, Isobel really is kind of taking advantage of them :( Then again, it's hard to argue with her reasoning.

I'm gonna skip ahead to the biggy here: the Quirrel assault. GOSH THAT WAS SO HARD TO WRITE. I ended up writing very little instead, and being as terse with the language as possible (because really, who wants any more detail than that). I feel like "teacher/student" is a trope that crops up a LOT in teen-drama-media, and it's one I have issues with (I HATE seeing it romanticized, because it's pretty much universally creepy and terrible and inappropriate and a power imbalance and exploitative, etc). For that reason, I decided to include it to subvert it, and show how awful it is (and Quirrel was really the only candidate for a teacher-villain here). As for how it came to pass, I think that Quirrel is pretty far off the reservation at this point. He's been drinking unicorn blood, and playing host to the Dark Lord, which has violently compromised any lingering sense of proper behavior he might have had. Additionally, I feel like he's existing in this weird state of both hubris and anxiety (he referenced getting "punished" regularly by Voldemort in PS). I think that it's a confluence of these factors that lead him to basically throwing himself at the pretty young girl who seems to admire him, because really, OF COURSE HE WOULD. So, basically, I think it was Quirrel's idea. Now, as to Voldemort's involvement in that decision making: that's open to interpretation. Canon isn't clear about whether they can do any psychic communication, but if so, it's actually a pretty dark implication. It's not like Voldy would egg him for sentimental reasons, and so if he DID, it would be more... practical. Which is rather awful. Like, basically treating Isobel as some expendable thing to keep his servant/host in high spirits. TERRIBLE.

Also, the idea that Voldemort ended up breaking his legs and then "just patching them up" later seemed like such a HIM thing to do.

Oh gosh, Lockhart's book! I definitely counted up how many weeks it would have been a best-seller for, and then shook my head at myself.

Yay! The Ravenclaw Riddles! I thought SO HARD about them when I tried to come up with clever ones, and man, writing riddles/deep questions that are plot-relevant is SUPER NOT EASY. I am sososososo glad you liked them!

and AH THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am consistently so amazed by the level of thought you put into your reviews, and I appreciate them SO MUCH.


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Review #43, by CambAngst The Question

19th September 2014:
Hello, again!

There's one question that I'm dying to know the answer to after reading this chapter. I was also dying to know after the first time I read it, and foreknowledge has given me no closure. The question is, who decided to kiss Isobel, Voldemort or Quirrell? Or was Quirrell's self-control weakened by the presence of Voldemort? Or was Voldemort's disdain for most aspects of the physical realm weakened by the presence of Quirrell? I'm dying to know your take on this.

Oh, the poor elves! You manage to incorporate so many neat little touches like that into this story. They're all small things, but they add so much depth and texture.

I like Professor Sprout. She's kind, but also professional. She has expectations for the students and she's not afraid to show disappointment when they aren't met. I'm curious what she took away from her conversation with Isobel.

For once, we have a conversation (argument) between Isobel and Emily where I didn't see anyone clearly emerge as the better person. Emily seems to feel pretty ashamed -- and she should -- that she didn't even realize Tristan had been suspended. Isobel, for her part, first tries to mother Emily like always and then when she's rebuffed she hits on one of Emily's biggest insecurities. Don't be so dim! Before moving on, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this: "I swear," she said, sparing a backwards glance. "It's like you're in love with me." -- I see what you did there.

Ah, so like a couple of Ravenclaws to feel the need to deconstruct every aspect of the situation and analyze it in detail. But in the midst of it, Laurel drops this bit of insight: "I'd actually be glad of it if they got together. I suppose it's just that I'd like to be a person who could be loved like that." -- Sorry to keep parroting your words back at you, but this chapter is full of characters letting out their deepest fears and anxieties.

Snogged by a lisping man twice your age who has Voldemort embedded in the back of his head. I don't have words for how creepy that is. Again, you drip a tiny bit of "canon to come" into this chapter and I loved it!

I really thing you did a good job of capturing Isobel's shock and horror and sense of having been violated. She has so many emotions running through her at once, she more or less shuts down for a while until she can get past it. Very realistic. Good on Fred and George to be in the right place at the right time.

"Oh, we're not students," George calmly replied, their uniforms ever conspicuous.

"Yeah, we've just come from a fancy-dress party," Fred invented wildly.
-- My takeaway here is that Aberforth needed the money. ;)

Ooh, so I'm not the only one who was wildly speculating about Tristan's true heritage. Good observation by Fred and George on his appearance.

Hagrid was so kind to Isobel and the twins. Perfectly in character, I'd say. Now that I think about it, Quirrell probably really had to hustle to get from the castle to the Hog's Head in time to ply Hagrid with the dragon's egg.

Wrapping the chapter with another highly relevant question from the Ravenclaw common room door was clever, and I liked the parallels to last chapter.

Not much farther to go, but I know you're working on big things. Looking forward to them, as always!

P.S. - "ear off", never too soon!

Author's Response: Hello!

Ah! Ok, so as for whose decision it was. I did want to leave it a little open, but I imagined it as being pretty much Quirrel's decision. I mean, this guy is in a really crazy place at this point in the story (drinking unicorn blood and all that). Plus, he's sort of experiencing both EXTREME hubris, as well as massive anxiety, stress, and pressure from Voldemort (as well as some "punishment" that he tells Harry about, but never offers details). This confluence of factors is what leads him to throw himself at the pretty-if-too-thin girl who seems to admire him so much. (Because SCREW TEACHER/STUDENT. An AWFUL trope that should NEVER be romanticized!)

As for Voldemort: it all sort of depends on personal Head Canon as to how much mind-and-body sharing is involved. So, that's up for people to make their own decisions on based on individual head canon. I myself am not sure there's a telepathic link there (since they communicate vocally in canon), but Quirrel wouldn't have done it if it would make Voldemort angry. So, at the very least, we're left to assume that Voldemort approved of the decision for at least *pragmatic* reasons (keep his servant happy). That, alone, is pretty darn terrible and awful.

I'm so glad you felt for the elves! I have SO MANY FEELINGS about their exploitation! I mean, Isobel's reasoning was pretty solid, but that's the whole issue Emily had originally mentioned about "not taking advantage." There's a reason Hufflepuffs never told the likes of Ravenclaws about the kitchens before.

I'm SO GLAD you thought that neither Emily nor Isobel seemed like the better person! That's ALWAYS how fights go, but it's hard to recognize that when you're in one.

And it's been super interesting to see how many people pick up on my Isobel clues, and when! Some people expressed suspicion as early as Chapter 2, other people got through this without saying anything!

Quirrel may have been my revenge against a certain High School English Teacher >:( (seriously, that trope needs to die a HORRIBLE AND PAINFUL DEATH! I can't even BELIEVE the audacity of ABC family--a little bit of normal substance experimentation or casual swearing or consensual teenage intimacy is Verboten, yet they CONSISTENTLY romanticize wildly inappropriate and creepy relationships--so long as it's "just kissing").

Ugh, yes, it is a pretty tight timeline. I sort of justified it to myself my thinking he left RIGHT AFTER Isobel ran off, while she wasted a lot of time stopping and crying with the twins in the secret passage. But I'm really glad you liked Hagrid! I SUPER wanted him to be in character, and SO glad you liked him!


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Review #44, by teh tarik Behind the Mirror

18th September 2014:

I can't get Billie Jean outta my head now.

Whatever the booze clue was, I didn't notice it. Or anything strange. Except perhaps, it kept multiplying before the party started. But I thought that was because more and more uninvited guests with seemingly unlimited access to booze were turning up and adding to the party. And everything being drunk to the last drop at the end.

You know, I read that last sentence in a funny way: Every last drop of alcohol had been drunk.

I somehow mistakenly attributed the definition of 'drunk' to 'intoxicated', rather than 'imbibed'. So imagine how weird it is thinking about alcohol being intoxicated. (If you didn't intend this, I just might cram this as an offhand reference into Background noise. :P But if you did, then don't worry.)

So, this is the most detailed party I've ever read in a fic on this site. My god, I just wish I was there. SERIOUSLY. And most parties I've seen take place in the Room of Requirement, but since your story follows canon very strictly, I don't think most people would have known about the room during Harry's first year. So using one of those caved-in passages then Fred and George know about fromt he Marauders' Map was a brilliant touch.

Emily is just, honestly, the best. And Tristan seems oblivious. Or unresponsive. But one of the scenes I absolutely adored and giggled over was the whole chaperone thing with Sir Cadogan. Good lord, Cadogan's characterisation was completely amazing: his old-fashioned speech, his offer to be their chaperone, etc.

And Laurel being relatively happy without any Cheering seems suspicious, I dunno? Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Maybe this has something to do with the mysterious self-spelling as mentioned by Stan Perkins?

So THAT is how F&G discover the entrance to the kitchens. Emily showed them! While they were both rip-roaringly drunk! Well, the Hufflepuff Wisdom has been spread. There can't have been a better way in which they discover the secret of the kitchens, seriously.



Author's Response: BILLIE JEAN HAS BEEN STUCK IN MY HEAD SINCE I WROTE THIS! I seriously listened to it on repeat while writing!

Oh man, the last drops being drunk! I hadn't thought of that, but I kind of like it! (And, ps, that was the clue! Basically, when Emily left the party room, there was a lot of booze left, and the next morning, it was gone. WHERE DID IT GO?)

I considered the RoR, but it shows up later, and YES, since it doesn't show up on the map, the Twins didn't know about it yet. Plus, it just seems too *easy.* I mean, it would have responded with way too much awesome stuff, and then that would have taken focus over the *human* fun at the party. Plus, if such a big party had been there, Harry/the school would have probably found out about it sooner.

I read somewhere while researching that Sir Cadogan is a reference to a mythological Knight from Arthurian legend, who was known for Chivalry. Could never find it again, though! He might have been one of my favorite people(?) to write!

YEE! I'm so glad you like how I did the kitchen reveal! And RIGHT?!?! Harry might not have known about it, but the Twins MUST HAVE been drunk during some of their discoveries because *of course they were.*


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Review #45, by CambAngst The Disappearing Room

18th September 2014:
Hi! It has been far too long since I've reviewed one of your chapters. I need to get back into the groove.

Poor Tristan. For somebody like him, isolation is a very bad thing. His self-esteem is precarious to begin with, and the way that his friends are avoiding him is definitely not helping. It's kind of endearing, actually, that he feels jealous of Cedric Diggory. And it was really sad that Isobel and Laurel simply ignored him. Especially Laurel, when you consider that so much of what's happened is because of the lie she told to keep Isobel from knowing about the pictures she found in Snape's office.

Wow. Just when I thought Tristan's exile from the group couldn't get any sadder, we see that he's buying drugs he doesn't even need just to have an excuse to talk to Fred and George. That's... wow. Things are really going poorly for him. While it's interesting to see Fred, George and Emily being so "enterprising", I also feel scared for all of them. I have a bad feeling (had it the first time I read this, even without foreknowledge) that this party is going to end very badly. I loved the mention of Sir Cadogan's war in the Internet, by the way.

Tristan and Laurel's mad rush through the castle had the feel of those movies made to scare teenagers away from drugs, one of those scenes with weird, jerky camera work where the protagonists are reeling about, getting freaked out by everything they see and heading for some sort of catastrophe in the end. Except we know what's waiting at the end and it isn't premature death or injury. It's another type of personal destruction, but one that's also purely self-inflicted.

Tristan closed his eyes, feeling the sting of that sentiment. This was what he appreciated about Laurel: their friendship was destructive, and messed up in a thousand different ways, but it was always honest. Nothing was left to implication, nothing was concealed, and they never said anything except what they really meant. -- Can't argue with one word of that.

I thought the way you wrote Dumbledore was spectacular. He behaved exactly the opposite of what Laurel was expecting, which was perfect characterization for him. Spot on. You just nailed it! Dumbledore is strangely intimate with Laurel -- NOT IN THAT WAY!!! He shares some thoughts and observations with her that he didn't share with Harry until much, much later. "Now while that may seem a simple thing, the great flaw of this mirror is that it provides no instruction," Dumbledore stopped. -- Gah! How do you do it??? That line was perfectly, flawlessly Dumbledore!

One more, and I promise I'll stop repeating your own words back to you: Without stopping to think, Laurel turned around and hugged the headmaster around the waist. He did not appear upset or surprised when she did, and gave her a warm pat on the back. -- That was, perchance, the sweetest moment in the story so far.

Excellent job with what Tristan sees in the Mirror of Erised. I wouldn't have expected anything else, unless perhaps he'd seen himself as a muggle.

Tristan's life had become such an unbelievable mess by this point that it was hardly even surprising when he agreed to take the fall for everything his former friends had been doing. I'm still struggling to completely wrap my head around the way that Snape coddles Tristan and looks out for him. The reaction upon discovering all of the contraband... anger mixed with disappointment. I hope, at some point, you have a chance to explain the connection between these two, if there's more to it than meets the eye.

Ah, finally we have the secret of Tristan's birth and adoption! What a lucky kid! I can't imagine how awful it would have been growing up with the Malfoys. Lucius would have had zero sympathy for Tristan's disabilities. If he hadn't managed to catch up on his own, I think there's a fair chance he would have found himself abandoned in an orphanage somewhere.

I think I'm running out of characters here, so let me just say that you did a good job water-dropping a few more tantalizing details into Tristan's panic attack, and I think it's perfectly obvious that he would have considered disappearing into the muggle world for good. But even that is denied to him.

For a long chapter, this one flowed beautifully and didn't feel drawn out at all. It was definitely the best chapter yet. Great job!

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you SO MUCH for these back reviews! I'm really impressed with your ability to offer feedback to the chapter as-it-stands in the story even with foreknowledge!

Isolation is definitely a really big theme in this story when it comes to Tristan--isolation and confinement. It was one of those things that I hadn't totally planned out when I started to write, and I kind of can't believe how naturally it all developed.

I'm so glad the mad dash through the castle worked! I worried over writing that sequence a lot, because I really wanted a specific tone, but I also wanted them to be so out of it that I couldn't offer a huge amount of information Laurel wasn't in the position to notice. I'm so relieved to hear you found it cinematic!

I'm really glad you pointed out the lines that you did! For the first one, I was particularly proud of "the sting of that sentiment. This was what he appreciated..." I tried there to add another, more unconscious, layer to their relationship: one of a kind of emotional masochism.

DUMBLEDORE! I'm sososososo glad you liked him! He's probably the most ambitious character of all to try and write, and I had to think REALLY hard about Wise Stuff for him to say. This whole sequence with Laurel also wouldn't really have been possible if he weren't gay :) THANK HEAVENS FOR THAT! Since we all know he is, there is no question as to the propriety of the proceedings, and it let me do a lot in terms of gentle intimacy. (And teeheehee--Dumbledore gets the idea for the mirror to TELL Harry how to get the stone! I thought a lot about the powers of the mirror, and decided that must have been some clever enchantment that Dumbledore added later. Plus, you know, it's cool to sort of suggest that these kids were *just* off-screen during PhilStone, or running around in the background).

Snape's relationship with Tristan was definitely, in part, inspired by Snape's relationship with Draco. I wouldn't say it's the *same,* but that he has such a complex and hard-to-wrap-your-head-around relationship with Draco let me do something similar with Tristan.

Gosh, with all of Tristan's latent anger, childhood trauma, and predisposition to snobbery, he would have been THE WORST Malfoy!

Thank you sososososososo much for this review!!!

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Review #46, by crestwood The Disappearing Room

17th September 2014:
The best thing that happened to me today was that my review got (almost) caught up. You may wonder why I am informing you of such a thing and why a cleared review thread would go so far as to make my day. And to that I answer, in the most dramatic voice I can muster, "My review thread is the only thing between me and getting to the end of Year Five and it will delay me no more!"

I don't believe that this story is best read with such long, twenty four hour breaks in between each chapter. This story merits my sitting down and getting acquainted with it. I want to give my days to probing the inner workings of and monumental questions posed by this story, rather than just my nights. I am going to severely miss these characters when I finish, yes, but I have heard talks of a sequel and I am soon putting all of my faith in those rumors floating about and going for the plunge of finishing up this story and saying goodbye to my good friends the Ex-Hex Heads. (try saying that five times fast!)

I haven't even begun reading yet. I'm just trying out new ways of telling you how much I appreciate this story's existence. I will just never be able to comprehend that you've never written fanfiction before this. If this is only the beginning, you can be certain I'll be here for the rest.

But, I'm ahead of myself. I'll actually read the chapter now, I think.

You start out this chapter with the personification of the weather and that's quite beautiful. Tristan is ever the observant fellow, noticing that Emily has stopped speaking to not only himself, but Isobel and Laurel and deducing what she must really be upset about. With any other character I would find it strange that Tristan is fully aware that he's jealous of Cedric getting to spend time with Emily and is still convinced that he doesn't deserve to be around her. I believe some people might come to the conclusion that Tristan is selfish because of how cold he can sometimes be, but I don't think that's true. I think Tristan is so incredibly selfless that it's harmful. He completely puts the well being of Emily above his own. No matter how much he likes her, he's convinced that he'd be bad for her and that she's better off with the Hufflepuffs, so he actively gives away his happiness in exchange for hers. If only he realized that he doesn't have to be bad, he'd probably understand that their happiness is not mutually exclusive, but his mind will never allow it. I think what everyone brushes off as his personality, (although he *is* a naturally dark person) may be severe warning signs of depression. And somehow, I doubt you're just throwing those around for no reason, never to come back again as a relevant plot point because that's just not how you seem to work.

It's funny that Tristan is kind of taken aback by how small his world has become. I don't think he really even realized how much he relied on the group for human interaction. He must not be coping all too well if he convinced himself to attend a Quidditch.

I wanted him to send that letter so badly. Furthermore, I wanted to know what was on that letter, but that's besides the point.

After everything that's happened, it's nearly insane for them to be drinking the stolen Draught of Tranquility. Not even just because it's bad for them. This is the very thing that would have gotten Laurel expelled if she was found to possess it! And they're out in the open just drinking it by the lake! Oh, man these kids have no fear.
Tristan is right about the amount of punches pulled in his and Laurel's friendship: approximately zero.

Tristan is now on weed, that potion, Alacratus (which you compared to cocaine!!) and a Cheer to boot. This is probably the worst concoction he's been on through this entire story. You write these blurry drug fueled hazes so well. I love the paintings' reactions to their wild behavior. And this line "Tristan and Laurel had left themselves out by the lake a long time ago." is just amazing. You really drive home how out of themselves they were by having Laurel feel as though she'd never felt so out of control. After everything that happened to her.. that's saying a lot.

When Dumbledore walked into the room that Laurel was in, knowing what book this takes place during, I already knew exactly where she was. I can't believe you've had her only see herself smiling in the mirror. That takes J.K.'s little bit of symbolism and giving it this whole new profound meaning. That honestly made me just so sad for her. I guess when you've been so low for so long, happiness really is your deepest wish, isn't it? That was just one of the best scenes of this entire story so far. You did such an excellent job capturing the wisdom of Dumbledore's dialogue. When Laurel hugged him I was just so sad and happy all together and I don't know how to even react. This was super unexpected, but such an awesome surprise.

You're going for tears in this chapter apparently.. having Tristan see himself as the Bryce's biological son. I don't even have words..
And now he's having his dormitory search and they're finding all of his things.. and he hasn't been selling and he didn't steal the potion.. this is a bad chapter for Tristan. When he says that doesn't have friends anymore it was just so well placed and made worse by the fact that he's right.

I knew that Tristan was adopted, but to find out how close he came to being a Malfoy is scary.. I am now imagining an alternate universe in which he's Draco's older brother and he certainly doesn't have the heart of gold that I've come to know.

I didn't see a day coming when I saw a HP crossover with High Fidelity, but here it is. Even that turned sad, since it discouraged him about his job prospects should he choose to return to the Muggle world if he fails out. Honestly, this is the saddest chapter yet. I'm just feeling really bad for everyone.

Running out of space, amazing job!

Author's Response: I definitely agree with you on that point! I "completed" this story before even finding HPFF (and oh man THANK HEAVENS for HPFF, so much better than anything I could have hoped for!), so it really wasn't originally intended to be serialized. I tend to read stories in bursts, and usually devour a few chapters at a time--if not the whole thing at once. I so appreciate all the people who stuck with this story chapter-to-chapter during uploading, and I'm actually really glad that I had to do it that way, because I ended up doing a lot of revision to this story for that reason. But, I'm also really glad that it's all up now, so that people can read at whatever pace they like!

I MAY have written like three paragraphs of (very bad) fanfiction when I was like 10, not knowing what fanfic really *was*. Anyway.

I'm so glad you mentioned the weather-personification! Definitely says more about the person observing it, than the weather itself ;) And your analysis on Tristan re: selfless vs selfish is super great. "Self-destructive" is certainly in there somewhere to, but the thing about being self-destructive is that it necessarily hurts the people around someone too.

A secret: I really wanted to know what was in the letter too! I tried, at one point, to write out all of Tristan's unsent letters to Emily, but nothing I came up with was as good as straight up imagination.

I'm SO GLAD you liked their hazy dash-through-the-castle! I really fretted over the tone of that sequence, and of what information I was able to give from Laurel's (addled) POV. You were spot-on about them taking substances just TOO FRIKKEN FAR by the Lake, so I really wanted *something* to offer condemnation (hence the paintings). Plus I liked the idea that Hogwarts has a level of semi-sentience, and would try to kind of fight them off.

I *so appreciate* what you said about being low for so long you only want to be happy. That was definitely what I was going for there, and was very much supposed to show just how DANGEROUS the idea of mood altering charms are. I mean, that's been obvious in the story, but I wanted to show it on a more emotional level. I also kind of wanted to redeem Laurel there. She's behaved so badly throughout the story, and been really thoughtless and self-absorbed, but giving her such a pure desire kind of legitimizes the motivation behind her actions.

I'm SO. GLAD. you liked Dumbledore's characterization! Without a doubt, he's the most difficult of all to get right, and writing him at all is rather presumptuous. I read his mirror scene with Harry several times to get him right!

I definitely sort of think that Tristan takes punishment for granted. He just assumes he deserves it all the time, and surrenders easily :(

RIGHT?! Tristan would have been AWFUL as a Malfoy!

Hahaha, High Fidelity! When I decided to send him to a record store, in this era, in London, I just couldn't resist! I ended up researching a lot into the High Fidelity fandom (which exists), to find out the precise location of Champion Vinyl!

Thank you for another amazing, insightful, encouraging, FANTASTIC review!


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Review #47, by teh tarik Three Times Charmed

16th September 2014:
Oh, hey, hey! I am BACK with another review for you.

First, yay! Year Five (and you, too!) got a score of Dobby nominations - and you completely deserve all of them! Congratulations! Your fic is absolutely wonderful, honest and very smart in its portrayal of teenagers (you've probably heard this compliment dozens of times, but it really is true!)

OK, I'm so glad we get to see things through Isobel's POV again. I know there's already been one chapter through her POV, but I felt like I didn't know her as well as I know Emily and Tristan, so this chapter was wonderful. So Isobel is a top student and a make-up expert who has some issues with body image. To the point that she feels the need to control her food intake portions. It's a little sad that she would be so insecure about her body, but gah, I remember being a teenager and feeling like I'm in constant warfare with my own body. I think you've handled the issue very well here.

And in contrast to Isobel's fixation with her body image is Laurel, who seems to be a wee bit too addicted to Cheering. It sounds like she's quite psychologically dependent on Cheering now - like she can hardly get through the day without her mind being in an altered state. I can see how she's tiptoeing on the edge of something here; there's a possibility that she be lose herself in a downward spiral anytime. After all, Laurel seems to be the most emotionally volatile of the group.

Hahaha, I'm more in love with Emily than ever. I'm guessing the only Quidditch captain she did not bed is the SLytherin one. Her being a Muggle born and all that. And Tristan going on about the othering of the non-magical world made me laugh. Isobel and Laurel's Hogsmeade trip (no pun intended) was hilarious. Shoplifting and annoying shop owners in general.

OK, in your request you mentioned suggestions on how to improve language. I'm at a bit of a loss here; I'm not sure how to advise you, because I think your language fits the tone and atmosphere of your story perfectly. Your narrative is very crisp and clean, and I don't think you should clutter it too much with too much descriptive prose and all. Though if you really want to look for things to describe, I guess you could include some details on the state of Hogwarts, especially as time passes (and time certainly is passing in your fic). If it makes you feel better, I really love your opening paragraphs! They're descriptive and detailed, and I loved reading about Isobel's careful application of makeup - the swooping cat-eyes and the way she tries to curl her hair. They're all great. You shouldn't worry too much! I think you know your story well, and what it needs.

Well, I adored this chapter! Am definitely coming back for the next one! Lovely writing, dear!


Author's Response: Hello!
Thank you SO MUCH! I'd be lying if I said I hadn't crossed my fingers for a Dobby nod, but I absolutely DID NOT EXPECT such a strong reaction! I have no idea what to do with myself except run around giggling and hugging strangers! THANK YOU! THANK HPFF! AKHFWNVFKJGWKJG!

It's definitely a SHAME that Isobel is so insecure. I very consciously chose a faceclaim for her of someone I find just TOO GORGEOUS to exist (Kat Dennings), who is also not a *thin* person (rather spectacularly curvy). Because I don't think that body-image has a single thing with what someone actually looks like--girls just be insecure :( I'm so glad you thought I handled it well, because it is such a sensitive and common topic, and I felt a lot of responsibility to be accurate.

Mind altering charms is such a LOADED idea! I mean, it's IMPOSSIBLE that some people wouldn't become reliant!

Yay I'm so glad you like Emily! I think she is, just objectively, my favorite (because: Hufflepuff). And I really wanted to give her that reputation and backstory, because highly sexually active girls tend to be stereotyped or two-dimensional (in basically all of the media).

Haha, "othering" the non-magical world! For that idea, I took a lot of nods from conversations I had in college!

I suppose, as for suggestions, if you ever see a bit of prose you just find really clunky, or a cliche kind of word-choice or anything, then just don't hesitate to point it out! You use language really creatively, and I'm still very much a beginner, so any ideas or concerns that ever pop in your head would be great to hear!

Thank you SO MUCH for the review! It means a huge amount to me that you are reading this story, since I am SUPER FANGIRL over your writing! (And there are a lot of stories of yours that I've read and yet to review!)


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Review #48, by crestwood Interrupted

15th September 2014:
I'm glad that Emily at least notices that Isobel isn't eating much. She pays a lot more attention to the rest of her friends than anyone other than Isobel herself, who refuses to take a look inwards. I am not surprised that Tristan has decided to continue keeping his secret from his friends. I mean, that's what he's been doing all along and he knows that Emily isn't going to tell them, so in his mind nothing has changed. And he knows that Emily is much more accepting than them, having been the reason he was invited into the group, (if I remember correctly) and just generally the nicest as well.

Tristan and Emily's 'almost' kisses inside of those bubbles are just what you'd expect of those two. Seems like a thinly veiled way to be close, without being emotionally close.

It's actually a huge step forward for Laurel to be losing some of her nihilistic attitude, even if it is causing some stress. She is in a really bad situation as far as exams go, with so much school missed and failing out of school doesn't seem like it'd go well in the Wizarding World.

Right when I saw that the envelope said 'For Tristan R. Bryce.' I knew she'd find out. This means I was right about Tristan's father being a Death Eater, which narrows down things a bit. The Big Thing is so big that even if I've guessed right, I'm pretty sure it's going to feel so good to find it out for certain. I am just blown away by the way you've revealed this secret a little at a time, I don't know how you keep yourself from spilling all of it in like the fifth chapter just to see people's reactions. I'm honestly scared of what Snape will do now that Laurel knows he's a Death Eater. I mean, I know he's good at this time period, but that doesn't mean he's nice.

I love Tristan's assertion that it's not just because Emily's muggle-born - it's because she's better. He has a pretty solid point there, I think.

Wow, I don't think you're going to expel Laurel.. are you?

I find her being rather bold for having found out that Snape is an ex-Death Eater. For all she knows, he's still active and would have no issue using Dark Magic to cover up his past. Of course, he's not going to, but I think she's especially brave to stand up to him that way in light of not knowing that.

I can't believe you cut off their kiss. I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but I can't believe. you set it up all so perfectly. Laurel getting caught by Snape just as Tristan and Emily are out walking by the lake.. of course THIS is when it all happens. There's no other time it could have, in this story. Things couldn't have gone right because that'd be too easy and none of these characters ever really have it easy. Amazing how all of the storylines connect, I'll tell you.

It's really mature of Laurel not to tell Isobel about Tristan's secret and instead deflected with the fact that he was in the process of snogging Emily when she found him.

I wish Tristan would take back that note to Emily. His insistence that he's a terrible guy is just really, really troubling.

It was so sad to watch Emily pretend to know about Laurel and Tristan. I don't think this is going to go over so well for Isobel's cherished group dynamics.

Emily is going to integrate with the other fifth year Hufflepuffs.. interesting. I can imagine that she'd be the one most likely to be accepted into other groups, as she is the most outwardly normal and stable of all of them.

Ah!! I love the letter from Tonks! Her advice is perfect and she might be exactly who Emily needs looking out for her. Clearly her thoroughly messed up friends may not be the most reliable source of help for whatever emotional issues she may be going through. Isobel patronizes her, Laurel can't see anything but herself and Tristan just blames himself for everything. Not exactly a bunch of role models, I'd say. I think I can feel the way the shrapnel is set to fly and things look to get worse before they get better. This is only getting better, somehow.

Side Note: Your nomination for Best Reviewer means SO much to me!! Considering how much I love and respect your work, having you appreciate my input is something I don't think I'll ever forget. Just.. thank you so much, really.

Author's Response: Oh Emily the Hufflepuff! Definitely the most compassionate of the bunch, and you remember correctly: the very reason he has friends at all!

And SHOTGUNNING! I had nearly forgotten about that little facet of teenage flirtation, but once it came back to me, I KNEW I had to include it ;)

Laurel definitely has a ways to go rebuilding her life. It was such a weird and difficult thing to write about, because there's so much anxiety and frustration implicit to that. So it could easily come off as either inaccurate, or just a CHORE to read, so I really struggled with navigating that complexity. I hope you think I did it well!

Hahah! The Big Thing was originally fully revealed in Chapter 10! But then since the other characters didn't know, it was almost silly to string along this mystery that the reader was totally aware of. So right before I uploaded Ch10, I rehauled the whole thing and pushed the reveal to the end. I wouldn't be surprised if you guess it all way in advance, since you've so far managed to pick up on every little nuance in this story :)

I love your comment about Laurel being brave there! You're totally right, and she has no reason to think he's as reformed as we know he is. I really do think Laurel has a lot of great qualities, and it was interesting for me to basically pick her up at her very worst.

EE! So this chapter was probably the most exciting for me to write! It's the first one that switches between POVs so much, and has a really different pace to the rest of the story. I'm SO GLAD that it came across! (I also sort of thought of it like this: POVs start conforming less to chapter-by-chapter rotations at this part of the story, because all of their lives are getting so mixed up).

It's so interesting seeing the different responses to Laurel here! Some people were really angry with her in this chapter, and they were totally right to be so, but then you see her as being "mature" and "brave." I think each analysis is totally valid. I really wanted so much of this story to be open to interpretation (hence the little "moral relativism" thing you picked up on in Chapter 9), and I just am SO SUPER STOKED that it worked!

Oh man, that note he wrote to Emily is one of many times writing this that I just wanted to smack Tristan SO BAD. UGH!

There were only so many ways I could get away with including Tonks in this story, and I basically took advantage of ALL OF THEM! Sometimes the hardest thing writing this is switching from "immature and half-formed teen perspective" to "wise mature perspective." Like, I actually sat around and brainstormed about Wise Things Dumbledore could say. And then Tonks would necessarily have a different flavor of mature wisdom from Dumbledore, or Sprout, or Mary.

Of COURSE I would nominate you best reviewer! You consistently leave such analytical, insightful reviews, and do such an amazing job unpacking the nuances of every chapter. And I've seen your reviews on other stories too, so I know you somehow manage both quality AND quantity! I can't even begin to explain how valuable your reviews are, because all of us here are trying to learn as writers, and it can be really hard to objectively see what works and doesn't work about your own writing. I think the single most important thing for me in writing/posting this story here was learning what my strengths were (and that I even had any!)--that's something I get too keep forever now, and has really encouraged me to continue writing, and make it a Real Thing I Do!


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Review #49, by UnluckyStar57 The Hex Head Express

15th September 2014:

WHY didn't I come back to this story sooner?! I feel really bad about the delay, but you know, life got in the way. :/

BUT I'm back! And oh my gosh, the first chapter might have been fueled by Tristan's angst and whatnot, but this chapter was plumb HILARIOUS. I can't offer you any sort of constructive criticism about the plot/grammar/spelling/dialogue/et cetera because you've absolutely perfected it all. Gosh.

To preface the rest of my review: I am comparatively innocent in comparison to your fifteen-year-old characters, and I don't really condone the use of mid-altering substances (because I'm that sort of old-maid-librarian-cat-lady type). But in the context of this story, I definitely approve because there were so many silly things that happened that would not have been possible had the characters not been so into substance use. :)

First of all: Cheering Charms=drugs?! You know, that makes far too much sense, and you're totally brilliant for using such a charm in the context of this story. After all, they DO alter your mood, and if no one feels like partying, using magic to cheer them up is a simple and fun fix. :D I loved the mention of Trevor the Toad after the four cast their charms--because I definitely knew exactly whose toad it was, and I knew that the firsties would be looking for him later.

FRED AND GEORGE ARE TOO MUCH I CANNOT HANDLE THEM BOTH AT ONCE. They are completely adorable despite their mischievousness and hijinks. All those jokes about Percy... And Harry's clothes!... And Ron! I laughed all the way through that scene--your sense of humor is obviously incredible, and I'm in love with this story already.

I love how you've taken the House stereotypes and twisted them a little bit. The most obvious example is Emily the Hufflepuff, who is a nice girl with a taste for partying and mind-altering substances. I'm super happy to see that she's not being labeled as a "scarlet woman" or any synonym that would degrade her, because that's such a common label in fanfic and it needs to stop. So yeah, I really loved your characterizations of all of the girls!

Just to get this straight: Emily is a Hufflepuff. Tristan is a Gryffindor. Isobel is...? Laurel is...? I don't know if I missed an important detail, but I wasn't quite sure what Houses the other two girls were in. Maybe that information is divulged in the next chapter if it isn't in this one. Sorry if I just accidentally missed the memo!

One question: When you wrote "Slytherines" in the sentence "If Slytherines weren't so categorically opposed to muggle drugs...", did you mean to write "Slytherins?" Because here's the thing--if you meant "SlytherinEs" (with the E on the end), then I am 100% okay with that. It made me think of Snape from A Very Potter Musical, and that is ALWAYS a good thing. If you actually meant "Slytherins," well, that's okay, too. :)

Okay, after revisiting this story and reading the hilarious and superb second chapter, I can totally see why this story keeps popping up in the Dobby noms. You definitely deserve at least one or two awards for all of your brilliance. :D


Author's Response: Hello again!

THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is really the first piece of prose fiction I've ever done, and I just had NO IDEA whether or not the comedy would even work! I'm sososososo glad you found it funny!

You know, I'd be interested to get your opinion going forward, because I'd HOPED that this story would still be readable even if people have very little tolerance for substance use. I really wanted to kind of submit a lot of this story *without comment*--to leave the readers their own room for interpretation. And I NEVER wanted to glamorize or condone (but also didn't want to preach). Anyway, I'm very interested in your honest opinions!

Heehee--Trevor! I just couldn't get over the childhood-destroying idea that while Harry was having his magical first journey to Hogwarts, some kids a few departments down were experimenting with recreational magic!

The Twins were SO MUCH FUN to write! I really feel like I *know* them, you know? So writing their manners and dialog seemed so, I dunno, *spontaneous!*

THANK YOU SO MUCH about your comments on Emily! In this story I wanted to both use common teen dramedy tropes, but then still sort of subvert the stereotypes (because real life *rarely* conforms to such narrow characters). I also feel like Hufflepuffs don't get enough love, so I really wanted to write a Puff and do them JUSTICE!

AhaAaAa, so all their Houses are revealed in the next chapter--super glad you're thinking about it! (Here it's mentioned that Emily is a Puff, and Isobel/Laurel are Claws--but it gets reinforced soon).

GAH! THANK YOU for the note on "SlytherinEs"--definitely a typo (I ALWAYS want to spell it like that!) Will fix it in my next edit!

Yee! Thank you SO MUCH for the kind words! I'm in what I think I could best describe as a state of shock! I am not exaggerating when I say I'm about 30% convinced that I'm still dreaming, and 70% JUST WHAT?!?!?!

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Review #50, by marauderfan Cleaner, More Brilliant

15th September 2014:
Wow, I can't believe it's the end! This was such a genuinely wonderful story, and I'm so impressed with your storytelling abilities. Even with not much of a plot to work with (life at Hogwarts without all the Voldemort stuff), you created such a rich, engaging story. I loved your attention to details, original ideas, the additional depth to the established canon, and ultimately the realness of your characters. They were all so dynamic, with different flaws, passions, ideas, strengths, and their friendships both as a group of four and individually one-on-one were so realistic and sensitively written.You handled some pretty dark topics in there as well and did it with a lot of tact, and I'm impressed how you handled those. I really can't say enough how much I loved your characters and after following their stories for these 22 chapters I feel like they're old friends of mine, as you feel about people you grew up with, or at least were around to see them change.

And even in the end, things aren't perfect for anyone. Some things still suck, and things are still moving forward. But it's better than it was before, and hey - that's as real as it gets. Great ending.

This review wouldn't be complete if I didn't gush about your writing style. You truly have a gift - your wielding of words and subtle details and especially satire, is just fantastic. You put a lot of planning and thought into this story and it shows - there are no plot holes or things that don't make sense -everything read just like I was seeing it happen in real life. I love the narrative voice you used in his story. Also, I (as well as like 37487 other people) nominated you for the best new author Dobby Award, just so you know. Your writing is awesome! ;)

I'm so, so glad you happened to click on my review thread months ago and dropped a request, because ever since then I've been glued to this story like that really sticky glue you use to fix things when duct tape doesn't work. And now... there's no more story so I'm going to stalk your author page to pass the time until you write a sequel, or another novel, or really anything - if you wrote about a day in the life of Francis the Flobberworm, I'd still read it.



Author's Response: THANK YOU SO MUCH! *sobs*

I don't even know what to say in my last author response of this story! Thank you so much for sticking with this story, and basically coming on this crazy journey with me! You were my first regular reviewer, and your encouragement is the real reason I was able to push through and get this all up!

AND JUST AGJKVFYWMBASJGW THE DOBBY NOMINATIONS. I genuinely CAN'T. I am so overwhelmed with joy and shock!

This was my first ever foray into writing fiction of any kind, and the positive reaction to Year Five has been (and I'm not exaggerating) LIFE CHANGING. I'm taking a creative writing class now, and have committed to learning more and continuing to write. I had no idea whether I'd be any good, and I've learned just a crazy amount!

Seriously, reading your reviews has taught me SO MUCH, and means more to me than I have words to explain!

And what you said about feeling like you know these characters is kind of the most flattering thing ever. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Just overall, everything about writing this has been such an amazing experience, and it meant sososoSO MUCH to me that you read and reviewed this story!


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