Reading Reviews for Year Five
247 Reviews Found

Review #26, by mymischiefmanaged Troll in the Dungeons!

6th January 2015:
Hello Hello! Here for our swap :)

Okay, the opening of this, I really like. I'm glad you chose to include Tristan thinking about his sorting. Given that we know Harry specifically asked not to be Slytherin, it's good to give some insight into why other characters that would have preferred different houses aren't put into them. And it makes sense that eleven year old Tristan would have let his bitterness override his desire to be in another house. And then his present from his parents is perfect :)

You write Tristan so, so well. Was he the first character you came up with for this story? I really enjoy the little touches, like his kind of vague indifference to the fact he does something impressive in Transfiguration. He seems in a lot of ways to be the most well developed of your characters, and I think your amazing writing is perhaps most amazing when in his POV (although, as I've said, Emily remains my favourite character in terms of how she is as a person).

The little bit of Oliver is perfect. You treat all your minor characters with a lot of care, developing consistent characteristics for them even then they're not important to the plot. Like I said with Fred and George last chapter, something you really achieve with Oliver is keeping him in character with what Harry sees while allowing for the fact he'll seem different to character his own age. For Harry, he's the grown up fifth year, whereas for Tristan he's just another guy in his year. You write that really well.

Favourite line of the chapter: "With the exception of the wild Harry Potter rumors, the last week had passed very much the same as the one before." One of my favourite things about this story is how you throw in canon details almost without really caring. It's a really interesting exploration into that whole 'each person is the main character in their own story' idea. Harry's going through these huge things but isn't even really a minor character in Tristan's story.

I think this chapter marks a bit of a turning point for Laurel. We can really start to see here that her hexing problem goes further than it does for the others. It's an interesting character development that she chooses to take Tristan down with her. It shows some selfishness but also shows how far in denial she is. She's trying to convince herself it's not just a problem for her. It's a shame she goes for Tristan, because Emily or Isobel would definitely be more likely to pick up on the fact that there's a real problem. Tristan sees the whole world through this slightly detached lens that stops him clearly recognising the problems and trying to help.

Finally, love love love the Hermione appearance at the end. I don't think I'd clicked that was her the first time I read this. This time it made me laugh :)

This whole novel's so fantastic, Roisin. Rereading it just shows me how amazing it is. You include all these tiny but fascinating details, and every single one of your characters is so real and has so much depth. I love it.

Question: I saw one of your new years resolutions was to write the sequel. Will it be set during the war? I think it would be fascinating to see these characters when the world around them is falling apart (especially because of things like their friendship with Cedric). I'm super excited for the sequel anyway, but just thought I'd ask :)

Lots of love,

Emma xx

Author's Response: Ah! You are such an amazing reviewer!

When I wrote this, I really didn't know anything about fanfiction or its conventions, but I was really interested in the kind of concept of the genre. I loved the idea of playing with dramatic irony (because hey, there are basically SEVEN BOOKS OF PREQUEL for this story!) So yeah, WE as readers know that someone can just choose a House, but Tristan is not a Gryffindor, and never bothered :( [Also, I have that whole HE'S THE ANTI-POTTER thing--so they had the same Sorting experience with a different outcome]

Tristan was definitely the first character I came up with--well spotted! And even though this is very much an 'ensemble cast,' if you will, I definitely think of him as being the main.

AH, you have no idea how stoked I am about your comments on Oliver! That was EXACTLY what I was trying to do--keep them in character, but seen in a different way because a different person is doing the seeing.

And yes! Everyone is the main character of their own story! Plus, I just loved the idea that Harry's running around, and these kids are like "Ummm, okay--let's go smoke."

Your Laurel interpretation is also bang on. Because also, she /wouldn't/ go to Emily or Isobel if she's set on self-destruction. And they have that whole 'feeling liberated by being terrible together' thing. And she just knows the girls wouldn't go for that.

I had way too much fun with Hermione cameos :D

OH GOSH, SEQUEL. So I DO have a war-era sequel mostly written, but then I ALSO have a weird amount of Year 6 written. BUT, I kind of don't want to do Y6, because I really like how this story ends with some finality. Like, it makes a little statement about teenagedom, and so I don't really wanna open them up again as teenagers. BUT, then there's some stuff in there I REALLY like. I've been having an existential crisis about it for a while, and may end up doing some sort of flashbacky/nonlinear thing? Either way, them navigating their early 20s during the war is definitely a thing that will happen at some point!

Yee, thank you so much for this review!

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Review #27, by pointless_proclamations R

2nd January 2015:
Hello again, Roisin.

Here's that long overdue review. I apologise sincerely and profusely for my tardiness. :(

First off, I would despise you for building up as many plot threads as you have that will do nothing by torture me during my time away from this wonderful novel, but I find that I am unable to. Once again, ARGH!

'Super Baby Harry Potter had ended up Gryffindor—to exactly no one’s surprise.' I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS LINE! Your sense of humour is just one of the many, MANY reasons I enjoy reading your work. Other reasons include (but are certainly not limited to):
characterisation—your characters are so thoroughly thought-out, I am awed.
style of writing—your descriptions, again, are beautiful. Your words translate so easily into clear mental images that engage all my senses.
plot—this novel is so unique and different and refreshing and GAHH!

The way you wrote Emily's first year was enough to endear me completely and utterly to her. She seems like such a kind and lovely lass. The wonder with which she saw this completely new side of the world really came through.

And Tristan's parents! They very fact that they'd prefer Siouxsie to fly rather than travel in a cage speaks volumes about their character (and their parenting, I suspect).

Mystery surrounding mysterious 'R' begins!

Roisin, I'm now bashing my head on my desk. Do you want to know why? Because of how much I'm realising that your characters rely on extrinsic factors to make themselves happier. It's extremely frustrating and sad and ARGH! Must you do this to my feels, Roisin? Must you? I feel this raging urge to get inside your story and Tristain, Emily, Isobel, and Laurel a giant hug. You're completely wrecking me here and this is just the third chapter!

My eyes bulge just reading your author's note. You've put so much work into this story and it really, really shows!

Happy New Year!

Author's Response: *Squee* Thank you so much! I am grinning like a fool reading this!

Heehee--I was very pleased with that line, I'm so glad you appreciated it! It was funny to me that Harry might stress so much about his own Sorting, but it would seem really anticlimactic to everyone else :D

I definitely fretted a LOT about transmitting visual info with this chapter (all the non-verbal communication between Emily and Tristan, the comic timing of him getting whacked in the head). I'm sososososo relieved that you had clear mental images!

You make an EXCELLENT point about his parents and Siouxsie! Well spotted! I hadn't totally consciously realized that, it just seemed like something they would do--and you're right! It does speak to their parenting and perspective!

Oh man, these characters definitely DEMAND hugs--or a good shake/slap in the face. I think a lot of people assume that fanfiction is people writing their fantasies (although I don't think that's the case)--but this DEFINITELY isn't anyone's fantasy! I got so frustrated and angry writing this, because it doesn't go how I /wish/ it would go at times. But then that wouldn't make a very interesting story, would it ;)

Thank you so much for this review!


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Review #28, by pointless_proclamations The Hex Head Express

31st December 2014:
Ahhh!!! Is my reaction to every new chapter of yours I am about to read.

Again with you and your descriptions! YOU HAVE SUCH A TALENT FOR THESE KINDS OF THINGS!! It seems so natural that it's so hard to believe that you ever wanted to avoid it at all! 'hectic length of the scarlet steam engine,' 'nearly fell over in their affection,' ooh, ooh and 'his feelings seemed to manifest physically, in his pallor and the dark circles ringing his eyes.'

The first time I read this, I was all 'OH MY GOSH, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS CHARM?!' and then I was all, 'oh, it makes people happy, how bad can it be,' THEN in the following chapters--'WHAT IN THE WORLD HAVE YOU DONE?' You're absolutely genius, by the way. I love the concept of Hex Heads. Ahh, then I went on a mental tangent about the effect of this charm on neurotransmitters. It appears the more you use the charm the higher the reliance you have on it because your body's like 'oh, happy hormones are being produced. Well, then I don't need to do very much of that anymore. Folks, let's slow down the production of happy hormones.' And then when you come down from that high, your deprived of happy hormones. So then you aren't as capable of being naturally happy anymore. And then you want to cheer even more--it's a downward spiral. ALTHOUGH, please correct me if I'm totally off, by the way.

There is something so fascinating about the way you write about the effects of the cheering charm. They appear to be high. This subtle way of comparing the use of the cheering charm this way to drug abuse--I need to hug you.

I squealed intrinsically when Fred and George appeared. You wrote them so well! And the toad! I am super impressed with how canon you're making this. The way you weave YF into PS: absolutely genius.

I really admire the way you just start dropping house names and associating them to your characters, NEGLECTING to associate Tristan to any house. It was remarkably casual, the way you did it.

Your writing gives off vibes that translate into urges and emotions. You're a super effective writer. So, despite how happy they all seem at this point and how it seems that nothing wrong is going on, I'm really uncomfortable (in a good way). Tristan, Emily, Isobel, and Laurel. Despite my being completely against their spell abuse and drug abuse and my feeling utterly enraged by what their doing, I care a whole lot for them.

Happy New Year's Eve,

Author's Response: Hello!

A lot of the descriptions got added later, because I kind of got the hang of writing after I finished the whole thing (and since it was prewritten, I was able to do lots of editing before I uploaded).

Ahaaa, I'm so glad you're thinking of neurotransmitters! Yes, I was sort of imagining that Hilaris works on serotonin and dopamine receptors, and by inhibiting GABA (not unlike chemicals that do the same thing, except the charm stimulates instead of simulates. Since dopamine is involved, addiction is a serious concern!). And then 'tranquilus' would work by releasing endogenous opioids.

But yeah, 'cheering charms' are a canon thing--but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that mind altering charms seem like a VERY dangerous idea!

Teeheehee, I'm glad you like how I played Tristan's house!

And yay, one of my goals was definitely to play with the difference between what the characters think and feel, and what the readers think and feel. Partially because this is fanfiction, so readers already have SEVEN LONG books of backstory--and then the idea snowballed, and I got into writing this weirdly ambivalent/ambiguous story, where all meaning and interpretation is specific to the reader.


Happy New Years!

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Review #29, by pointless_proclamations Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

30th December 2014:
Dear Roisin,

Triple review swap if you like?

Before anything else: AH!! [flails and squeals and runs around] I'm super excited.

The very first thing that strikes me is your genius way of characterisation. In an instant, you give us readers a clear idea of what kind of person Sophie without explicitly having to tell us.

'The sky was just edging toward the deep electric blue that just proceeds first light,' is one of many examples of your beautiful way of writing descriptively. This is imagery at its finest, in my opinion.

I somehow find your description of Tristan very charming. Perhaps in the sense that he's capturing my interest because he seems like a character very much unlike any I've read of before. Then you proceed to very cleverly hint at his being a wizard and Sophie, otherwise. At this point, you have my attention, curiosity, and admiration.

Tristan is such an interesting character! I'm getting the sense that he wants to belong to a more muggle community, but is unable to do so because of his being a wizard. His character, the way your written him, he's giving off these high-level of discomfort vibes. I'm quite unnerved, actually, but I like it.

Understanding that this is a story about Tristan's fifth year is even more unnerving--as you intended, I suspect. Here are my thoughts: YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT HE'S FIFTEEN AND HE'S DOING ALL OF THIS?! Drugs, clubbing, and copulation?! But instead of not liking him, I have this urge to protect your character. At this point, I realise, YOU SNEAKY THING! You've just made me completely empathise with Tristan.

'Tristan would have been crying, if he ever cried. Had it been his nature, Tristan would have felt immense self-pity for his lot in life. Instead, he found himself mired by self-loathing, eyes dry.' MORE FEELS AND PROTECTIVE URGES! And they just increase with every word following.

This is the kind of story to ruin the way I see the world, destroy my emotions, and make me love you for it.

Your fan,

Author's Response: Hello! And YES, I DO LIKE!

Oh man, it's so crazy that you commented on that specific line describing the sky. So this was the VERY FIRST creative prose thing I ever did, and it was such a new thing for me, that I had no idea what I was doing. Like, "HOW DO I DESCRIBE STUFF!" Description was actually the MAIN reason I'd avoided creative prose for so long! But yeah, that was the first line I ever wrote that I genuinely liked :) Without that line, I might not have kept going!

I'm really glad you found that description of Tristan charming--I very much wanted that exact result, but I didn't want him to be 'super handsome dreamboat heart-throb.'

And YES! Harry Potter was all stoked on being a wizard, and I loved the idea of someone who was the opposite--who had criticisms of the wizarding world, and preferred certain aspects of muggle culture (kind of like Annett, and her respect for muggle science).

Well, he's ALMOST 16, if that helps any! And it's so interesting to me that you feel protective of him--I definitely felt that way WRITING him. I guess that came across!

Eek! I'm so glad you like this story! Definitely down to do more swaps ANY time!


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Review #30, by mymischiefmanaged Behind the Mirror

28th December 2014:
Hi Roisin! So, I've left 99 reviews so far during 2014 and thought I'd like to hit 100 before the end of the year. I've been meaning to get back to reviewing your wonderful work for a long time now, and it seemed like a pretty worthy contender for review number 100 :)

Chapters in Emily's point of view are almost always my favourite in 'Year Five'. I find her such a compelling character, and generally feel she's a bit more likeable than the others, so I was happy to start this chapter through her eyes.

The main thing I want to say is that you write Fred and George SO WELL. You keep them absolutely in character, and we can see how they're the same people we see through Harry's eyes, but you also manage to present them in a slightly different light to acknowledge that they're hanging out with older students rather than their little brother and his friends. I don't know if I've said this to you before, but one of the things I find most impressive about this story is the way that you keep characters consistent with what Harry sees while demonstrating that people are different in different company. I think your characterisation of Fred and George is perhaps the best example of this, although you do it well with Oliver and Cedric as well.

Sir Cadogan is fab. I love the inclusion of the portrait characters in Rowling's work, and think they're often neglected in fanfiction. I like that you've chosen to include him, and all his dialogue is very true to canon (as everything in your story is).

The party is lovely. With your cast of characters you could have made it some absolutely insane, out of hand party full of drinks/drugs, but I think the chatty, relaxed atmosphere you wrote is more true to what this story is about. The fact Tristan's friends are so careful to invite people he'll feel happy and comfortable around says wonderful things about their relationships, and the party has a very inclusive vibe to it which I like a lot. Another of my favourite things about your four main characters is their willingness to be friends with people of different ages and in different houses. It says something nice about each of them that they choose to look beyond the way people are separated to decide who they want to be friends with.

Finally, I totally forgive your lapse from canon to include the Hufflepuff password being "Hufflepuff". It's fantastic, and I bet if Rowling had thought about it she would have done it herself. It fits in so well with this idea of Hufflepuffs being laid back and cheerful and friendly, and I like that they just don't feel the same need to be exclusive about their space as the other houses. I also love how well you write Emily as a part of this House, and fit the Hufflepuff traits into her complicated character.

Sorry about the somewhat rambly review. You know how much I love this story :)

Lots of love,

Emma xx

Author's Response: Emma! It means a weird amount to me that I get to be review 100!

I'm so glad you find Emily likable AND compelling! I almost worried, writing, that since I liked her TOO much she wouldn't be interesting enough. But then I was like OH WHATEVER HUFFLEPUFFS RULE AND ARE THE BEST.

*Squee* That is EXACTLY what I was trying to do with the Twins! Like, they would at once seem younger (because they are getting looked at by older people), but also older (because they aren't around their little brother). And just like, of COURSE they would have partied a little bit! In canon, Ron clearly /wants/ to, but is too busy fighting evil and all (he's all like, "OOH LET'S GET FIREWHISKEY" but Hermione's all like "SHHH WE'RE PLANNING A REVOLUTION AGAINST UMBRIDGE, SIT DOWN").

I read somewhere that Sir Cadogan was based on a real (legendary) Knight of the Round Table known for Chivalry! I was pretty deep in a research rabbit-hole at the time, though, so I could never find it again!

I'm so glad the party came off well! I thought it was more realistic that Tristan and co. aren't the ONLY people that might, like, drink and stuff. Like, Oliver would definitely be a drinker, but I'd see him being pretty moderate about it until he got a little older, and never developing a problem (maybe some binging in his late teens/twenties, but only in as much as is typical for his age).

Hufflepuffs definitely have an unfair reputation for being 'dumb'--so I loved that their password might SEEM dumb, but then actually be really clever (like, it's so obvious that no one would ever guess it).

Eee! This review made me so happy! And rambly reviews are my favorite, so no worries!


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Review #31, by wolfgirl17 The Hex Head Express

28th December 2014:
Hey Love,

Wolfgirl here (finally) with your requested review. I'm so sorry it took me so long. I've been such a slacker. But anyway, let's jump right in.

Have I mentioned that i love the quality of your writing? There is just something about it that make me feel like it's so much more valuable because of the amount of effort you invest in maintaining this brilliant level of quality quality. Whenever i read your work I feel like it's not just a fan-written piece but the same high standard I would expect to find from the likes of bestsellling authors like Jo and Wilbur Smith and Bryce Courtney.

It's just mesmerizing to read. Admittedly when I reviewed your first chapter I mentioned that I was unsure I wanted to keep reading, however that was based on a limited interest that you inspired from me in the characters. I'm so glad you requested to have chapter 2 reviewed because they are growing on me, and obviously you've hooked me with your writing style alone.

I absolutely love your descriptions like "her garlic-clove shaped nose". Where did you come up with this and can I steal it? It's fantastic. I immediately have an image in my head of the type of nose on her face, far more so than simply writing that it's hooked or pert or prone to wrinkling.

And "grumbled to life" as a description for the train starting up. "Nourished by his friends" as a way to describe that feeling of therapeutic motivation that comes from being with friends! Where do you come up with this stuff? It's solid gold!

And Merlin I love the way you had Fred and George describe Ron "probable embarrassment to Gryffindor" indeed. Haha.

Seriously. I'm in love. I'm growing more and more intrigued by Isobel, Emily, Laurel and Tristan by the second. You really must continue to request, lest I make a stalkerish fool of myself by gushing over every chapter like a ninny without any kind of structure or useful direction whatsoever!


Author's Response: There is no possible way I can express how happy this review made me! CAPS LOCK IS NOT LARGE ENOUGH FOR MY SQUEEING!1!1!1!1

I definitely owe a LOT to the excellent feedback I've gotten from reviewers. That specific description of Laurel wasn't even in the chapter until someone pointed out that I should describe her more (that was like, a MONTH ago--that description is NEW). So yeah, this story definitely didn't look like this on the first draft!

And since the whole thing was pre-written, that meant I got to go over the completed story over and over again and make tweaks. BUT, there was a downside to pre-writing: basically, the whole issue with the intro chapter you pointed out. I think writing piece-by-piece makes things a lot more satisfying to read piece-by-piece. Writing all together means the chapters go together, rather than standing alone :( I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO FIX IT NOW! (Needless to say, I'm REALLY relieved that this chapter got your interest!)

As for 'garlic nose,' my friend described her nose that way when I was a teenager and it stuck with me! So really, all credit goes to her :) And if I'm being totally honest about how I got to 'grumbling,' I make sound effects while I write! I also say thing out loud, make faces adopting the mood I want to convey, move my arms around a lot, and do weird gestures with my hands when I'm trying to think of a word or analogy (basically, I look like a TOTAL weirdo when I write!)

I really can't say how much encouragement I've gotten out of this review! THANK YOU SO MUCH!


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Review #32, by shez The Hex Head Express

25th December 2014:
First of all I just wanted apologize for the tardiness of this review. The last couple days have been a whirlwind of relatives and shopping and general chaos. But I’m here now—onto Y5!

“dishwater blonde hair” I really like your word choice here as it lends realism (which is obviously what you’re going for) Too often in fanfic authors romanticize their characters, aka, describe the way their curls fall down their back, or make them Barbie lookalikes. Also I appreciate the minimalism.

Bahaha Tristan ‘educating her’ about (muggle) music. I wanted to chuckle because this is SUCH a teen thing.

Also, I wanted to say I REALLY like the way you write conversation in a group. I know its a challenge for some writers (myself included), but you make it feel seamless and organic. And although this is mostly intro chapter to the characters—it never feels dull or like some big info dump. You never have to explicitly tell us that Emily’s a muggle born (or half blood) while Laurel and Isobel are most likely purebloods—we can figure it by the dialogue (Also, Tristan’s brooding made me chuckle. It’s actually sort of cute!). Oh, oh, and it’s refreshing to read about a friend group of primarily girls and one guy (Usually it’s the other way around). I expect there are romantic feelings floating about hehe (From the Cheering ‘do me’ comment, I’m going to guess Emily fancies Tristian).

And because I haven’t read the books in years and my canon knowledge is shaky at best, I googled Cheering to see if it’s a real spell (Duh, it is). I think it’s really cool you were able to incorporate canon details like these. This story definitely deserved those dobby nominations!

“And then a toad hopped right into Emily’s lap” OH MY GOSH NEVILLE!! *fangirls*

Also, WEASLEYS. I love that whole exchange, the wit and banter (those comments about Ron and Percy) was so entertaining!

I can’t wait until they have a run in with Harry or more of other the canon kids. OR SNAPE. OH MY GOD SNAPE. TRISTAN AND SNAPE. PLEASE, CAN YOU TELL ME IF THIS HAPPENS??

This really does feel like an extension of the books. I can actually SEE these characters existing in the peripheral of the first book.
Pertaining to your end note—I vaguely recall Rowling, in some interview, saying that she’s bad at math and she doesn’t really know how many kids are in Hogwarts. But it’s still impressive that you’ve done such thorough research. I find canon to be constraining at times, for me personally, but the fact you manage to make it for you is awesome!

So, I’m really enjoying this even though it’s so far from what I usually read. I’m pretty picky about my hp fanfic, probably ridiculously so, but I LOVE what you've added to my beloved canon world. Reading this was a treat. I’m excited to see where it goes! And I intend to drop in (though probably pretty sporadically) and leave more reviews!

Author's Response: This review is so much better for being ON CHRISTMAS! Thank you!

I straight up stared at photos of my Laurel faceclaim (young Chloe Sevigny) trying to think of critical things to say about her (I mean, Sevigny is definitely a beauty, but I like that she isn't traditionally pretty, and has done a lot of films and photoshoots where she isn't dolled up).

Haha, connecting Music Snobbery with Wizard/Muggle cultural difference was super fun for me ;)

All of the conversing in this chapter went through a WEIRD amount of rewrites and revision--like, I wouldn't be able to count. 30 complete re-edits at least. I'm really glad you think the final result worked, and felt organic and all. This is a really expository chapter--in fact, the first several chapters are all setting things up and exposition. I think the introductory phase is so long partially because I wanted to avoid info dumps. And since this is a character driven story, I really needed to give the characters shape for everything that comes later to work.

Oh man--CHEERING CHARMS. Like, the more you think about it, the more you MUST assume that if you teach 13/14-year-olds mind-altering spells, they WILL abuse them!

The Twins were super fun for me, because there's just a slightly different perspective. I really wanted them to seem in-line and consistent with the books, but then see them in a different way by offering a new POV and different contexts.

YES SNAPE! I'm glad you see it! THAT DEFINITELY HAPPENS! Snape is also a really fun character, because WE know so much about him that Tristan and co. don't (dramatic irony was basically the most FUN thing about writing this story!)

Which brings me to the periphery thing--I'm so glad you think it fits! I wrote this before I really knew what fanfiction was, so it is rather a different interpretation of the genre. This story is very kind of aware that it is fanfiction, and plays a lot with meta references and the like.

I'll also say that the tone of the story doesn't stay this light. It's funny, because I originally conceived of this as such a fun/wacky/silly idea (HOGWARTS STONERS). I combined all these various elements and ideas I wanted to examine, and then ended up with a much grittier story than I'd thought. Also, you know, TEENAGERS. MUCH ANGST FOLLOWS.

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Review #33, by Slide Recreational Magic Abuse Recovery

20th December 2014:

I'm sorry, I'm just - I'm dead. I laughed loud enough to scare the cat and it's early morning and he's not impressed. Right. Sorry. GOOD. HERE. REST OF THE REVIEW.

ISOBEL, you slept with her sister! ...okay, no drama. Emily is cool with it. Lucas seems cool. I must amend my previous concerns: good for you, girl! I think this was handled with about as much attention and gravitas as it deserved. Addressed, fussed over 'cos they ARE teenage girls, and yet the world hasn't bloody moved and it's not the romance of their lives or any such.

Her crash and burn over this eating disorder is not going to be good. I'm glad Emily's noticing it; she's much more likely to DO something about it than I suspect Isobel was going to do anything about Laurel. I give Isobel credit for observing and analysing, but for something delicate and emotional and requiring that kind of social confidence? Call Emily. OR they could continue to be teenagers and fail to do anything about anything.

That does sound more likely.

'Succeeded by proxy.' Yeah, Emily, close enough. I hope Iman's noticing what's up with Isobel, though sisters aren't always the best people to hear these truths from!

Oh nooo anti-charming pamphlets. They're about as awful as one would expect. Oh, small Luna cameo, yay! ...oh, Xenophilius is laid up in rehab... less yay, not surprising.

YES, Emily. SECOND GUESS THE WISDOM OF SMUGGLING DRUGS INTO REHAB. These kids. It might only be biscuits but the principle is entirely ill-founded! You wouldn't smuggle in booze, either!

Poor Laurel. Kid doesn't deserve this. I mean, it could have been a lot worse, even aside from almost dying, but she's still in a hell of a place. I'm not surprised her mother blames Tristan, even aside from him being in cahoots with her, it's just natural to want to blame somebody, but I hope that never reaches his ears, he doesn't need that. I'm glad Isobel's being told she did the right thing, it seems she entirely did.

Well, all of this rehab stuff was thoroughly and appropriately depressing. It seems Laurel's in the right place, but it's a long as all hell road, and Luna needing to be with a social worker is just icing on the depressing cake.

HA no baby photos, I'm onto you. Oh, so's Emily, I feel less smart.

So this chapter veered wildly between making me almost suffocate from trying (and failing) to not laugh, and depressing me. GOOD WORK.

Author's Response: I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED THAT LINE! I first got that idea sitting in a university dorm--like, so much has probably happened in those walls...

I really wanted to show a lot different First Times, and different reactions to them. Whist on Holiday and Not A Big Deal is definitely a thing. You can also think of it like a calculated and logical decision--because OF COURSE Isobel would make a calculated and logical decision.

Yeah, it's funny that Isobel is kind of the Mum of the group, because Emily might actually be better suited.

Pamphlets are necessarily terrible, by their nature.

I'm SO GLAD the Xenophilius thing makes sense, and seems to fit. That's a rather BIG backstory to give such a major canon character; a dangerous game.

Oh teenagers... They're perfectly well meaning, and then they smuggle special biscuits into rehab...

Isobel definitely did the best thing, and definitely in a difficult situation (I wanted Finite there to kind of mirror the real world, where withdrawals can be really dangerous, or even fatal).

*Shuffles feet* They lost the baby photo album in the MOVE.

Thank you so much for all these reviewwws!

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Review #34, by Slide Muggle Magic

20th December 2014:
Sneaky Isobel, with all of her cooking for the family only to dodge it herself. I was wondering how she got away with it, but it seems hers are the domineering kind of parents, having a good old time trying to care and instead contributing to those body issues, sigh. They seem well meaning, but, well, parents. Her dad's job is AWESOME, though. Poor bugger, nasty Department of Mysteries.

HA, I bet Dumbledore and Doge were a thing at one point, too. Poor Doge, clearly way more into Dumbledore while Dumbledore was into Grindelwald.

And the Amazing Hippy Family of Emily's! Yipes, they really are dedicated hippies, aren't they? Oh noo, hot brother. Alert, Isobel. Don't go for the brother. It's rarely a good idea. Still, Lucas seems cool and SENSIBLE, checking up on them. Alas, he'd probably be able to be a much more useful tempering influence if he was physically capable of it, but, Hogwarts isolation. I'm glad Emily's clearly capable of being honest with him about her habits... even if I suspect she's pretty dang wrong about Tristan being 'off all that now.' Maybe not magic, but...

I suspect Isobel's not going to have as big a problem with food when it comes in Baked Form! Heh, fun chapter. It was nice to see the girls' family lives, explained an awful lot more about them. Everyone has such a rich and distinctive home life and family!

Author's Response: Oh yes, her parents definitely aren't EVIL or anything. I was really interested in showing different types of families and parenting strategies. Isobel's lucky in a lot of ways, but then there are very unique problems that come out of privelege :(

Oh Dumbledore and Doge SO had a thing! I mean, RIGHT?! My mom originally thought Doge was female, because the obituary was so CLEARLY written by a former lover. But then Dumbledore got confirmed gay, explaining EVERYTHING!

Ha, I snort-laughed at your 'alert Isobel' comment.

I definitely think there are some real problems associated with the concept of Boarding School--at least for SOME kids. Emily and Tristan would definitely benefit a lot from less isolation from their families.

Oh man, mind-altering foods are actually an EXCELLENT method of convincing anorexics to eat (assuming they're into that kind of thing). It's basically exploiting one problem (substance use) to combat another (eating disorders).

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Review #35, by Slide War Children

20th December 2014:
It might not be a very KIND thought, but I can't really blame Tristan for being a bit relieved Laurel's not 'his problem' any more. It's not explicitly cowardly to be relieved to be out of a very stressful and difficult situation. The guys COULD have done more for Laurel - but realistically, they weren't equipped to do so, and while it's horrific it degenerated so badly, they're kids. There are a lot of complicated issues here, and Tristan can't HIDE from problems, but, yeah. He's not a bad person for this thought.

Why am I pleased to see Snape? I guess he's been pretty mysterious in this so far. OH NO HE'S BEING MORE MYSTERIOUS, DAMN IT SNAPE.

This is not his birth family. Can't be. I recall the reference a few chapters ago to him thinking of his mother as 'Mary'; it's been weeks since I've read this so I couldn't remember if that oddity had been addressed sooner. Longbottom reference (did he witness what happened to them?), his name being a 'nickname' which stuck... no. HA. Taking him home from the hospital. I see through your allusions intended to throw me off the trail.

Sega and old Sonic. PERIOD. DRAMA. (apparently, I see from the Author's Note, complete with mild anachronisms. We'll forgive you)

Oh, Tristan. Right, amazing time for you to completely descend into a spiral. Inevitable, but you don't do anything by halves, do you? I really like the direct comparison between this and Laurel's charm blend; when it's recreational charms there's an inherent sense of whimsy or harmlessness for us, readers (Cripes, I almost called us 'Muggle readers'). Even with what happened to Laurel, it's magic, fiction. Tristan descending into harder mundane drugs and describing the sense as being comparable to magic ties everything together in a very Real sort of way.

Poor kid. Very curious on how this will all pan out.

Author's Response: Oh good--I'm very relieved that I'm toggling 'realistic and flawed' with 'still sympathetic' well. It can be such a difficult dance!

I LOVE writing Awkwardly Nice Snape :) He's one of the most interesting characters to me, and also tricky to get right, because it's so hard to kind of tease apart his feelings and motivations. I really love writing him, in all his weird complexity, and the challenge of coming up with inscrutability like the books. Like, he's at once this weirdly controlled person (amazing Occlumens, managed to be a double agent, etc), but then he's also weirdly ardent and passionate and loses his temper and stuff. DELIGHTFUL.

Hahahahaha, you are too clever for my 'taking home from the hospital' tricks!

IN MY DEFENSE, they take turns with the sega controller, rather than playing in a multi-player mode, so NOT AN ANACHRONISM! (I originally had them each have a controller and play together--before being compelled to look it up and check!)

Laurel's blend had been intended to be an analog to opiates, and I'm really glad this sequence did it's duty in explaining how TERRIFYING that is! Because, yes! It just seems so clean and easy and fine, using a spell. But the more you think about it, the more you HAVE to think that the concept of mind altering charms is a dangerous one. There is simply NO WAY that that doesn't have serious consequences!

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Review #36, by Slide The Big Thing

20th December 2014:
Sooo I've just been full of fuzzy feelings for a certain recently-concluded animated show and its romances, and obviously this means I need to throw myself back into this old ball of angst.

I just realised I was predicting Laurel's self-spelling in the chapter called "Self-Spelling". IT'S LIKE I'M A FREAKING DETECTIVE OR SOMETHING.

Oh good, Emily. We need someone with their finger on the emotional pulse right about now. Also, Emily's clearly too stable for this group. I'm waiting until we discover that she's secretly a pirate and nobody understands, or something. She can't be this even-minded. Though a part of me's wondering if Isobel's going to have a much greater reaction to Laurel's self-spelling than the others; weirdly, this didn't occur to me before, and all of them are entirely entitled to freak out as much as they please over the incident. But Isobel definitely suspected, was Laurel's housemate, knew her longest. And, above all, was there at the crash moment. That's going to sear in your dang mind.

Don't take the trippy as all hell Divination potion, kids. Or - or, okay, take the potion. That's good, too.

Oh my God she's so high. I shouldn't be giggling like hell over this but I totally am. It might be magical but I couldn't possibly comment on conversations I've had just like this. And it's an entertaining ambiguity as to whether this is magic or just some trippy substance which is prompting honesty in Emily of ideas and questions she's contemplated all along, and is prompting Tristan to be honest in his replies. Well, until she reads his mind.

I'm a little more sympathetic to wizarding society, and would assume it has some greater elements of art and culture than the books show, than Tristan. But he certainly has a point in his assessment. I also don't think that fearing the loss of culture which is going to be at the heart of a lot of pureblood prejudice got very explained in the books. We saw prejudice stem more from superiority than fear.

And then we get the hate of it in Marcus Flint's mind, which is very believable and yet still pretty sickening. Aw, this is all good stuff, with clues on the Big Thing and a very believable show-down with the Slytherins and reactions to it. But there's definitely something with Tristan's family that isn't sitting right. Didn't he say his mother was a Gryffindor, and Muggle-born, except he's commenting in the flashback that it runs in families... Hrm. I may just be sleep-deprived and mixing my clues. OH nope, Emily's noticed it too.

And again Snape doesn't react badly. Something up with him. Though I suspect he's sympathetic to Tristan's situation in Slytherin House, but, hrm.

Fun chapter! All the clues and ruminations of Stuff alongside the emotional arcs.

Author's Response: In your defense, I did throw in a little red herring in the self-spelling chapter (namely, Isobel self-spells to induce vomiting).

BAHAHAHA, Emily secretly being a pirate--YOU ARE ON TO ME. (And you're right, she will have her day in the, erm, 'angst spotlight.') And yeah, Isobel and Laurel are the closest, so Isobel's definitely more affected.

YEE! The ambiguity of the magical potion! You may have noticed that I'm a BIG fan of ambiguity and ambivalence ;) There's definitely a literal magic element, but how much is debatable. And either way, the magic is of a much subtler variety than, say, Charms.

Hah, Tristan is basically speaking to the silly complaints of people on the internet (mostly Cracked videos and the like).

So much of blood purity prejudice is CLEARLY absurd--like, even if there ARE 1000 students at Hogwarts, and even if only a minority of British magical children attend rather than being homeschooled (which seems unlikely), that is one TINY population. They'd have LONG since died out if not for intermixing. I had a lot of fun trying to conceptualize these attitudes, and the sources and manifestations of these prejudices (and I'll admit, the whole 'loss of culture' thing was very inspired by, say, certain people rattling on about 'the birth rates for immigrants' and stuff).

I shall keep my lips sealed as per your analysis of Tristan's 'big thing!'

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Review #37, by maryhead The Hex Head Express

20th December 2014:
Hi! It's maryhead here for an incredibly late requested review! Seriously, I am a horrible person. But I think this has already been established months ago.

Sooo... this chapter. Wow. I mean, it is the first chapter set on the Hogwarts train that I've actually, truly, absolutely enjoyed reading. It begins more or less like any other "1st of September" kind of chapter, with the train and the main character dragging a heavy trunk and looking for a fellow student or a free compartment, but then... It changes. It becomes different and original, sad and sinister, a curious thing considering that the protagonists of this update laugh most of the time, chatting and joking like any normal teenager would do. But that's the point, isn't it? The allure of normalcy draped around the issue of drug addiction. It is an incredibly interesting issue to discuss in a Harry Potter fanfic, actually refreshening in its originality. There are so many elements I would love to point out and so many emotions I would like to convey with this review that I don't know where to begin. Trying not to ramble as I usually do, I will divide this comment into the main aspects I would like to cover:

.Characters: Although this chapter still appears more like an introduction of sorts rather than the actual story, you managed to introduce a great deal of characters without appearing too rushed or exceeding in overly-detailed description. You are depicting each protagonist gradually, shade by shade, careful not to forget any detail, but at the same time still focused on the difficult goal of intrigue and attract readers. Isobel, Emily and Laurel seem highly interesting characters, with a good deal of flaws and a more or less evident presence of metaphorical demons in their past or minds. They are estranged, rebellious in their own way, but also slightly childish which is good, considering they are all teenagers. I have to say none of them struck me more than Tristan, though. His darkish mixture of brooding "muggle" teenager and magical background is interesting and enjoyable. I loved the element of the headphones and the fact that he tries to listen to as much music as he can before entering the school territory... To tell the truth I really felt bad for him in those scenes, because I wouldn't know how to survive without my music for nine months! I also liked the way he looks clearly depressed, but still tries not to behave like a complete spoilsport, playing along and joking about his own bad mood.

General structure: focusing solely on this chapter I wouldn't have much to say. The style is impeccable, elegant and smooth. I have just a tiny observation, made solely because of my obsession with symmetry and equilibrium throughout a story. You see, in the previous chapter you gave us a good, solid background regarding Tristan's home life and personality, and here we are faced with a chapter that smoothly follows those premises, portraying the way in which the boy has reacted to the unfortunate happening with the muggle girl. With the other members of the group, however, this doesn't happen: Laurel, Emily and even Isobel are included in a scene that could have already been an active component of the plot, without a background to support their behaviour or feelings. I am not "complaining" about the lack of details regarding the three girls, because I am the first one to appreciate gradual introductions, as I mentioned before. However, it would have been nice to create single chapters, or sections of a single chapter, dedicated to the task of building up some sort of background for Tristan's friends too, maybe describing the visit to Diagon Alley or other events that lead up to the 1st of September. I am not sure if I've explained my idea well enough... It's just... there is a jump from a chapter to another, not only chronologically (which would not be a problem), but also in the shift from a point of view to another. As if you zoomed in on Tristan in the first chapter, and then you zoomed out suddenly, giving us a bigger picture without having let us take a closer look to the other three characters of the story. Probably you wrote this chapter in this way because Emily, Isobel and Laurel will not be the main OC of the story, so they don't need a detailed background, but still, the sole fact that the POV was Isobel's and not Tristan's led me to believe she would have had the same importance in the story. As I said, however, this is only a personal observation, caused by an obsession of mine, so I will certainly be wrong in my assumption.

Research: As I wrote in my first review, this work shows an impressive dedication to JK's original work, even though the plot in itself has little to do with the adventures of little Harry (for now). I loved the way you included the twins, giving structure to their characters, and I also appreciated the way in which you briefly mentioned Harry himself, pointing out the way magical people see him as the baby who had survived the Killing Curse rather than a normal teenager. Oh, and the toad scene was amazing! :)

I would have so much more to say, but I am running out of characters, so I will have to stop my ramble ;). Again, I want to apologise for my delay. It was disrespectful of me, and I am ashamed of my lack of organisation. Anyway, great job with this story, and don't hesitate to re-request if you want to!

Author's Response: Oh my gosh, THANK YOU! This review is amazing!

I'm really glad you liked my version of the 'hectic Hogwarts Express' trope. And yes! The reader is meant to have a somewhat different perspective than the characters. Like, they're all just carrying on and having a great time, but then the reader should have some cause for pause. (The more you think about it, the more it becomes obvious that teaching mind altering spells IN THIRD YEAR is a VERY BAD IDEA). Substance use and abuse definitely didn't get MUCH mention in the Potter series, though is does kind of creep around the periphery. And really, EVERY school has its delinquent clique--even Hogwarts!

Guh! I know right! Living without music for that long, especially as a teenager, must be absolute TORTURE.

I definitely see what you mean about the stylistic incongruity of this chapter vs the last. SO, the thing is that every chapter rotates POV, and each of the characters think differently, and engage with the world differently. So Tristan's chapter involves a lot of reflection, while Isobel's involves a lot of observation. She's much more attuned to the people around her, which is reflected in how the chapter gets written. I wonder, after you've seen other chapters, if you think this tonal rotation justifies the change in style here. Either way, I think you made a really good and useful point. The other girls' family stories get presented at different points and in different ways (which reflects plotty reasons--like, Tristan starts with family info because his straddling of both the magical and muggle world informs a lot of his character). That said, there is absolutely no reason I can't introduce Isobel's parents in this chapter, before she gets off the Hogwarts Express. I hadn't thought to do that, but I may absolutely give it a shot now!

I'm really glad you dug the way I wrote their perspective of Harry--kind of disconnected, because he's more a symbol and celebrity than a person to them. Like, in canon, we HEAR that people think of him that way, but everything is his POV.

Don't even worry about being 'late' on this review! This was so thorough and analytical and HELPFUL--and I too take forever responding to reviews.

Thank you again!

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Review #38, by Slide Self-Spelling

19th December 2014:
Yaaay, Isobel. Being right about Emily and cheating. Putting things together with Laurel and Tristan, though the theory that the two of them have hooked up is not an unreasonable one to reach under the circumstances. Oh, and then she seemed okay coming out of the bathroom? Self-spelling. Jeez. DISASTER in the air.

(It's 2 AM and I MUST read on so you're just going to get my sleepy ramblings for this review)

(I think the differences between Transfiguration and Alchemy sound interesting)

Poor Isobel and her weight! I bet she's perfectly healthy... er, aside from what she's cutting out of her diet... and could happily rock around with a rocking body, but noo, being a girl and being a teenager and being remotely curvy is time to have body issues. I want to grab her and tell her she's BRILLIANT already. Don't get an eating disorder, girl. Ugh, more catastrophes looming.

But for now she's noticing Laurel, and good for her by being too busy being concerned by her friend to be proud about her schoolwork. I mean, she deserves to be proud for it, but when her back's to the wall, we're seeing Isobel's priorities.

Aw, Ced. You're a good egg. I kind of like how Flitwick's becoming an 'antagonist' teacher here! In a very mild way, but like with the last chapter mentioning him overlooking the gang's skills in Charms because he knows it comes from some charm 'abuse'. It would make sense that he'd be a teacher a bit too disconnected from teenagers and their problems to understand the right way to deal with it, and to end up throwing around some mild disapproval and perhaps some power as an authority figure. Perhaps well-meaning, but not understanding and not being helpful.

ISOBEL. NO. BAD. 'The delicious feeling of it being empty'? No! You're going to kill me with these kids. No wonder she's getting worse with controlling her eating when the situations with her friends are spiralling out of control. This girl seriously needs a hug with her self-defeating; she's competing with Tristan for failing to recognise her own qualities.

Aaand this situation with her eating habits escalated 'quickly'. Not in terms of it not being seeded, because it absolutely was, but it's degenerated at a much quicker rate than I'd expected. This is painful to read, in the... satisyfing, well-written sort of HORRIBLE way. The way she still goes back to the same sort of habits - trying to out-do Laurel in knowledge in the corridor, committing to working on her essay a good while longer needlessly, is almost unsettling. We have the climax of the scene of her making herself vomit, but everything goes right back to that unsettled drive and struggling for control, which makes sense but is also really just like trouble's barely ducked back beneath the surface.

I like it.

And at the end of it all she still manages to pull through in this frankly HORRIFIC incident with Laurel, possibly saving her life by being smart and decisive.

Ack, you're gonna be the death of me with this story. SO GOOD. Aside from the tackling of sex, drugs, rock 'n roll like the books never did with hormonal teenagers, I think it's the differing perspectives on canon characters I'm enjoying... not the most, but a lot. Oliver being seen as something other than a good-hearted, Quidditch obsessed nutter, while still being sympathetic. Flitwick who obviously has no idea how to handle this. Oddly I'm not sure I take Snape's reaction as COMPLETE indifference, though Snape's a terrible and unsympathetic teacher. I suppose I'm used to him being outright HORRID if he doesn't like someone; mild indifference is practically affection from him. But he can't have a vested opinion in every student.

ANYWAY. Good stuff. The descent into darkness begins!

Author's Response: Going in reverse chronological order because I am a rebel! THANK YOU FOR THIS REVIEW FLURRY :D You have made my day!

Oh man, coming up with fake magical academia, or just generally having scholarly discussions was SO MUCH FUN.

One of the most exciting things about having this ensemble cast is seeing how different readers have their favorites! I really enjoyed making each of these characters, and it's amazing to see how they resonate with people!

And yes, her self esteem issues are particularly upsetting for me for incredibly superficial reasons. I just happen to think that her faceclaim (Kat Dennings) is THE PRETTIEST PERSON EVER ZOMG. It would be a TRAGEDY if Dennings ever lost her curves!

Yes about Flitwick! Ah! Your analysis is so on-point! I definitely don't have any bad feelings about Flitwick, but yes--he just doesn't really know how to handle them, and his sort of style just doesn't gel very well with them.

Isobel definitely sort of internalizes the problems that are around her. She tries so hard to stay in control, and definitely can't see that she's actually LOSING control to her eating disorder :(

[Also, so stoked that you found that scene 'horrific!' I rewrote it SO MANY TIMES to get the tone down!]

EE! I'm so glad you like these little different POVs of people! I never wanted to get too far off the reservation with any of them, or go OOC, but it was fun playing with whatever wiggle-room there was around more minor characters!

And you are SO SPOT ON about Snape! Yes, 'indifference' here is most definitely a calculated and intentional kindness! (There's so much dramatic irony available for writing Snape circa 1991).

BLARGH, thank you sososososo much for these amazing reviews!

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Review #39, by Slide Troll in the Dungeons!

19th December 2014:
Oh, Tristan. It's the date of your birthday, be a little more chirpy. He's so SOULFUL (by which I mean, such a moody teenager). Bless. He and Laurel got 'stuck' there to drink all of the booze? Not their smartest move ever. Sounds like they paid for it if he had a multi-day hangover. Of course, no lessons learnt. Or, no good ones. As it should be.

I cannot believe that all other Slytherins are not worth Tristan's time. No doubt there's a whole slew of odious personalities, but I'd be confident half of this is Tristan refusing to give individuals chances. If he can give Oliver Wood the wrong impression, no doubt his moods can drive other Slytherins away. Poor fellow and his self-loathing.

Laurel has to have started self-spelling or something else equally unsuitable. There's no way she's just suddenly skipped off the habit without the others picking up on it. I do appreciate their rather innocent ignorance, leaving her kind of alone to her bad habits from not realising how bad it really is/could become. It's realistic without painting them as utterly irresponsible.

I had just been pondering the Auguamenti issue about it and him using it to hydrate them in the room and conjuring food. I'd absently assumed it to just be... well, non-nutritional water, a kind of empty substance which one could consume but which wouldn't actually sustain the body. And here Tristan demonstrates he's got a perfectly good brain when he finds where he wants to apply it, but isn't going to recognise this as a valued trait in himself.

"Free Time, and Also: Animals." I love it.

Oh, TRISTAN. I want to shake him and also hug him. A tremendously apt display of how anything can be twisted into a negative with depression.

I SEE. Tristan's in on what Laurel's doing these days? I look back and realise that Isobel and Emily, earlier, were doing the theorising while he remained judiciously silent. I'm still feeling there's more of this to sniff out, though. Crisis is looming, and if Laurel crashes while doing something Tristan's keeping schtum on, this isn't going to help HIM, either. There'll be tears before bedtime...

Isobel continues to earn favourite points from me for assessing the troll situation and de-charming her friends in a crisis. Smart cookie.

Oh, I see the 'more to sniff out' is that this new charming is making her need to charm EVEN MORE - Bloody hell. Nothing good can come of this.

...Isobel gives Hermione hair-care advice and is NOW CEMENTED AS MY FAVOURITE. Sure, doom and gloom is coming, but that girl rocks. Good stuff!

Author's Response: Tristan is the actual MOODIEST. There are times I want very badly to slap him. And no, no lessons learned EVER (because of course they're like totes immortal and everything).

You are so right about Slytherins! But that's the thing--Tristan really IS a Slytherin, albeit the traits manifest differently than they do in someone like Draco. The tendency to pre-judge people is a long established fault many Slytherin's share, so ironically, Tristan is prejudiced against SLYTHERINS. I'm certain there's a few good ones wandering around, he just refuses to give them the time of day.

I'm so so so glad you dig that whole thing of their being a little ignorant, and arguably yet REASONABLY irresponsible. I definitely wanted the characters to be realistic, and flawed, and TEENAGERS--but I hoped they would still be sympathetic and likable too!

Tristan is definitely very clever and very talented, but as his professors would say, doesn't 'apply himself.' [I suspect the water issue has something to do with it being inorganic? Or maybe it isn't really making water out of nothing, but like, pulling water vapor out of the air???]

Your analysis of Tristan (and desire to both shake and hug) are tremendously on point :)


Oh man, I am a survivor of Hermione Hair. It took until I was about 15 to figure out NEVER BRUSH IT DRY! It's a one-way ticket to puffy-town!

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Review #40, by Slide Behind the Mirror

19th December 2014:
The Last Good Day - yeah, I was feeling like we've kind of finished our Ordinary World, now it's time to start ruining everything with all of the setup in place!

Fred and George, I love you. You write them well; sometimes it's so easy to get them being a bit too... creepily prescient in terms of finishing each others' sentences. But this feels like a natural banter and routine than anything else.

Laurel... you are absent for a reason. I HAVE MY EYE ON YOU. Spellotaping a note to her head sounds like what friends do.'s what I'd do. Okay, even though she shows up later, missing something as significant as the birthday cocktails is not irrelevant. And nobody really reacts to it; they should, but they're clearly too jaded by now. But her not using any charms at the party is WEIRD.

Transfiguring rocks for decoration and furniture... this makes sense. There are times Potterverse's magic makes the whole rest of the world, and economics, make no sense! Oliver Wood being a good dancer is pretty amazing. Having a great dance with Isobel is even more excellently fun.

I take back what I said about the twins and their weird synchronising - kidding. This is what happens when you give 13-14 year-olds booze, people! Let that be a lesson to you! And I can't fault the Hufflepuff password logic, which upsets me.

I really enjoy this chapter, there's just not a huge amount to say about it! The party's well-written - parties can be a pain to get the atmosphere of, young characters doing silly dancing and drinking and all that flows naturally, when it can be hard to get such an essentially physical kind of environment down in prose without it being clunky. Tristan and Emily are clearly getting closer, though it's hard to gauge what's 'progress' and what's just how it's always been, when we're coming to these characters several years into their relationships. Perhaps she's always been this overt. Perhaps he's always been this clueless. BOYS.

Ah well, Onward, to Torment and Angst, I'm sure!

Author's Response: Oh yes--there's only so long they can keep going as they are.

I was so intimidated to write the Twins! Luckily, because I love them so much, it's like KNOWING someone--they very much wrote themselves!

Your reviews make me giggle out loud a LOT :D So all has been revealed to you already about Laurel, but I'm really happy to see that you had those reactions at this point! (And liked the spellotaping bit--I was particularly proud of that, though it hadn't gotten any comments before)

Bahahaha--I so nearly didn't write that dance-off, and then felt like, SCREW IT I AM WRITING A MICHAEL JACKSON DANCE OFF. (Plus, I wanted to redeem Wood a little. Like, 'sorry I made you such an aggressive prat before. Here's some sweet dance moves to make up for it!')

Synchronised puking, bahahahaha. SORRYNOTSORRY. Gosh this is a self-indulgent chapter... Like keeping the Hufflepuff password joke even though it broke pottermore canon.

I don't usually listen to music when I write, but ended up making a playlist to get into the mood of this chapter. I'm so glad you think the whole tone and writing and all came off!

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Review #41, by Slide Three Times Charmed

19th December 2014:
Somehow you've done the 'character looks at themself in a mirror' excuse to do a full description and made it work. I think it works cos you're combining it with 'action' of her getting ready, which stops it from being info-dumpy, but kudos! Much amusement at labouring over the issue of spots. Teenagers. Also much love for poor Isobel with her weight woes, and I rather appreciate that she cares about her looks and her grades.

Oh, Laurel. Counting down the days to your inevitable disaster. Ha, good for you, Tristan's old love life. Angelina's awesome.

The character assessments going on here are great. They're painting further pictures and yet are very much through Isobel's eyes. And she, while probably the most attentive and logical (by my reading) of the foursome, is also STILL a teenaged girl, with all of the biases and attitudes therein. It makes her flawed but not demonised, and you can kind of see the sort of person she'll grow up to be once the veneer of teenagerness is over. As such, I'm reserving judgement on if she's JEALOUS of Emily and Tristan, or if she's simply being a bit of a snobby, judgemental teenager.

Enjoyed the segment on Tristan changing his tune re: Filch, and Isobel's frustration with his attitudes. Very realistic. Young people indignant about things they should care about but also being undiplomatic! More apathetic friends not enjoying being told they're wrong for not caring!

Oh my God, the high antics of Laurel and Isobel are giving me life. Doilies are hilarious. ...socks knitted with plugs. That - I can see that. Never occurred to me before. I'm kind of upset by how much sense this makes. Just, this whole segment has got me ugly giggling.

TAPES. This is such a period drama. And Blondie.

I am going to run on the theory that Quirrel likes Isobel because she is justifying his inner evil.

Fun chapter! A really good one for the girls, especially, in terms of teenaged girl dynamics, mentalities, and friendships.

Author's Response: Bahaha, yes, totally guilty of mirror description! I'm glad you think I was able to get away with it!

And yes--there's a real coolness to Angelina (I mean, she ends up with GEORGE), so she seemed an obvious choice for a former fancy!

Eee! Rotating POVs is SO FUN because they do see things differently (and then since this is FAN FICTION, I can also toggle with all of the preexisting knowledge readers have!) As for the Emily+Tristan thing, there's definitely a mix of factors at play.

Isobel's definitely something of a sheltered pure-blood, with a decently liberal family. The sort of people who think Death Eaters are awful, but still far from social justice warriors. She's definitely complacent (I mean, she assumes Voldemort is dead after all, and that the worst is already behind them).

Those antics were SO fun to write! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading them. And yes, TAPES. This story is very 'hey look, the 90s!!'

I feel like Quirrel's reasons for aligning with Voldy had a lot to do with a desire for knowledge/being attracted to the power available in dark arts. So yeah, his liking of her is definitely motivated in part by his the opportunity for self justifications.

Yee, I'm so stoked on settling in and replying to these reviews! BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER THANK YOU!

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Review #42, by BellaLestrange87 Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

19th December 2014:
Hello! I just got out of school for our two-week Christmas break, so I'm going on a review spree to celebrate, and you're first!

I've heard so many good things about this story, but I haven't ever gotten around to reading it, and I don't know why. Anyways, I've finally started, and I really enjoyed this first chapter. It's obvious that you've put a lot of effort into this story, especially in developing the characters. Even though Sophie is a minor character who, as you said, will only appear in this prologue, I got a feel for who she was and why she was choosing to sleep with Tristan.

I like how you didn't make it immediately obvious that Tristan was a wizard. It was nice to have that Muggle point of view and see her reaction to his (failed) attempt to preserve the Statute of Secrecy. Her reaction to him trying to hide his house from her was exactly what it would probably be. Although, if they did drugs together, why would she think he would be worried about having druggie parents and having to hide the evidence?

Once I realized that Tristan wasn't a Muggle, all the hints that you'd been giving off this chapter coalesced. The fact that he hid his house from her, trying not to let her see his wizarding lifestyle, and his cleaning of his room. What she assumed was a 'massive pant and book-hiding spree' probably was - him hiding his robes and textbooks. It probably would've ruined the moment of her using him as a rebound from her ex-boyfriend if she had asked him just what the heck Charms was. Imagine: "What's this wooden stick for? What an odd-looking piece of paper!"

I loved her reaction to the moving pictures. If I didn't know what they were, I would be just as clueless as she was. The fact that she turned the picture frame over to see the back made me laugh. Her thought that they must be dozens of little televisions was a good one - relating it back to something a Muggle would be familiar with.

And when Tristan's parents found her! It makes a lot of sense that they would be more scared than anything, especially when Sophie explained that she knew him through a Muggle friend of hers, and therefore wasn't a witch. Tristan's father stepping in to tell her a lot of nonsense about digital technology was an excellent way to save the day. It would be a lot easier now - digital frames. I think my dad got my grandparents some for Christmas a few years ago.

The mix of wizard and Muggle in Tristan's house is good. I don't think either of them would want to lose their heritage, and the blending of the two is well done. I like how you have modern paperbacks beside older leatherbound wizard books, and a cauldron in the living room fireplace.

Another thing I liked was how you used a canon character in their Ministry-set role. As you noted, the wizarding world isn't that big, so you can't really have a huge cast of characters that don't know each other.

Excellent first chapter!


Author's Response: Ah! Thank you so much for this amazing review!

I definitely went back and forth on Sophie's character--I didn't want her to be totally unrelatable, since her POV opens the story (and I really wanted to use that device, to kind of reintroduce the magical world). A lot of this story involves mirroring devices used in canon, so I kind of copied how PS opens with Vernon Dursley's POV.

Thinking about, well, TEENAGERS, it seemed obvious to me that something like this MUST happen from time to time--muggle getting snuck into a wizarding house.

It's also really fun, because since this is FANFICTION, the readers already have a big knowledge base that the characters don't have (oh my gosh, me and dramatic irony--SO MUCH FUN).

Bahahaha--it definitely helps that this story is set in 1991, when flatscreen technology didn't exist yet! Nowadays that would seem way less shocking!

I really enjoyed writing the mixed muggle/magical house :) We never really got to see a mixed house in canon, and I loved the idea of it.

I definitely reused as many characters as I could! No OC is totally original--their last names are all pulled from canon and the like (and Tristan's mum is Mary McDoncald, from DH).

Thank you again sososo much for this review! *squee*


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Review #43, by AlexFan Cleaner, More Brilliant

17th December 2014:
Oh my goodness! This is the final chapter! I can’t believe it! It’s been such a long ride!

I loved the reference to Doctor Who that you made! And if you were to look at it from a magical perspective, the show would be absolutely boring to witches and wizards because this is the kind of stuff that they can do and they’d probably wonder why people are so fascinated with it. “His police box is bigger on the inside? My cousin did that once, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Oh God, 90’s-early 2000 fashion was just an adventure, I look back at some of the clothing and I just cringe because of how horrible it looks, I can’t believe that was considered fashionable once upon the time.

I’m so happy that Isobel is slowly becoming a confident woman again and learning to love herself for who she really is. That’s really great to see and I’m so incredibly happy for her! She deserves to be happy, and I hope her family never puts her down about her appearance ever again (or else!) I’m just in general so glad that everyone is recovering and becoming better people and leading healthier lives (you know, underage drinking and smoking aside).

I can’t believe that the story is finally over! I know I joined the crowds a little late on everything but I’m so glad that you requested from me and that I got to read this awesome story. You’re a truly talented writer and you’re more than welcome to come and request from me again if you want (and to let me know if you start another novel!)

Author's Response: Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for being an AMAZING reviewer, and reviewing this WHOLE THING! It means the world to me!

Ahahaha--yes, making things 'bigger on the inside' is pretty par for the course in the magical world :p

I'm still super bummed that the movies were set in modern day! Part of the fun of this story was being SUPER aware of the era (including the ridiculous fashions!)

I definitely think that the Doge-Mostafa's learned their lesson. They aren't truly bad people, just sort of inconsiderate--now that they've seen their daughter nearly starve herself to death, they just want to see her healthy and happy. They for sure learned their lesson about body-shaming!

And yeah, all the kids aren't gonna just up and be super Reformed and all--they'll still party a bit. But moderation is key!

Thank you so much for all of your kind words and encouragement! You are the best!


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Review #44, by Nadja Troll in the Dungeons!

15th December 2014:
You have an impeccable taste in music and this story is amazing! Thank you for writing this masterpiece!!

Author's Response: *Squee* I'm so glad you like it! Thank you so much for the review!

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Review #45, by AlexFan After

12th December 2014:
I’m going to apologize in advance if I start making no sense throughout this review as I am sick and who knows what might happen.

Okay, first off, thank God that Tristan is alive, I honestly thought that he wasn’t going to make it and like I had to prepare myself to deal with his death. I remember how in Philosopher’s Stone Harry noticed someone else in the hospital wing with him who was curtained off and I like how you connected Tristan to that time in canon (seriously, I love how you connect every small canon thing to your story).

On another note, can you just imagine the rumours at Hogwarts about Harry after he killed Quirrel. Like, an eleven-year-old murdered a teacher with his bare hands, imagine how that must’ve terrified some people.

I never thought that I would read a sentence like, “I snogged Voldemort is what happened.” Yet here we are.

OH MY GOD WHAT?! HE IS BELLATRIX AND RABASTAN’S SON LIKE WHAT THE HELL I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING. I mean, I knew that his biological parents had been Death Eaters but I never thought to make the connection, at least we know why Narcissa was so willing to take Tristan in, and now the story that his father told him makes sense. That’s just, wow, that’s a really big thing. Talk about a plot twist. Can you imagine how different Tristan would’ve turned out had he lived with Narcissa and Lucius.

I feel like everyone is beginning to start over and get to know each other better now. Despite everything that has happened, I think all of the characters are in a much better and healthier place than they were at the beginning of the story. And I love how you added even more depth to Isobel by making her question her sexuality. It’s something that a lot of people begin to question and explore as they grow older and become more educated. I love how she came to acknowledge that she didn’t like men the way that she liked women and how perfectly okay she was with that.

Oh my gosh I’m so happy for Tristan and the fact that he finally got some closure! He was really brave to go and see his father in Azkaban. And I can definitely see what he was worrying about, wondering if you would grow up to be as cruel as your Death Eater father had been. A huge weight has been lifted off of his shoulders now that he sees that he is nothing like his father. I’m so glad that Tristan finally sees and appreciates the parents that he has that replaced Rabastan and Bellatrix.

Author's Response: Yes! I'm sure there's another explanation for who was in the curtained off bed--but it just worked so well!

And yeah, we hear Dumbledore say that the rumors are running wild, but we never really got to SEE the rest of the school's perspective. So that was definitely fun to play with.

Aha! Yes, he's Rabastan's son! (He's actually Bellatrix's *nephew* though--his mom is named Belvina--because Bellatrix was married to Rodolphus, not Rabastan. But you are sick so I won't blame you for missing the 'auntie Bella' line!)

And YEAH; had he been brought up by Narcissa and Lucius... Terribleness...

I hadn't originally planned on Isobel being gay, but just as soon as I started writing her POVs, I realized that she was (which is why she was always vaguely wondering about other peoples' sexualities). She sort of had a crush on Emily, but didn't realize it--which motivated a lot of her behavior.

Understanding the basis of Tristan's self-loathing does rather validate the intensity of his angst, huh! And such a big part of early Potter was the idea that we are defined by our choices, and that no one can just be BORN evil. So I drew that out in Tristan in a big way (also, I just really wanted to examine the experiences of a Death Eaters child).

As I've said before, Tristan really is the anti-Potter. Both were adopted after losing their parents in the war, but Tristan loves his adopted parents while Harry hates living with the Dursleys. Harry loves Hogwarts and wants to live there year-round, while Tristan loves the muggle world and resents Hogwarts. The Potters are heroes, the Lestranges are villains. Harry grows up not realizing that he's famous, Tristan grows up knowing exactly how infamous his parents were (but lives in obscurity under a false identity).

Gosh, I can't believe there's only one chapter left! Thank you so much for coming along on this strange little journey with me!

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Review #46, by Moonyxluna Three Times Charmed

10th December 2014:
I THINK I'm on chapter five? YES. okay.


ahem. I have a lot of feelings about that topic.

AHH I have eyelashes just like Emily and it is miserable. I feel her pain. I totally understand.

I am going to stop rambling about makeup issues now.

I love Isobel's voice in the beginning. I love that she loves her friends and embraces their outsider persona and just doesn't give a (oh, twelve plus ratings) about what the people around her think. And I thought the little suspicion of Emily and Tristian was interesting, coming form Isobel.

hahah.. You've got to be pretty gone to get kicked out of a joke shop. I love the way the humor sort of writes itself here, with Filch, and then Tristan complaining/not complaining about Filch rapidly.

It's all so entertaining and so just.. REAL. Like.. I didn't know how much I wanted this story until I started reading it.

How many times can I say 'I love...' in this review? I really feel like now that I have each of these four fleshed out in my head, that they are some of the greatest really original OC's I've ever read. I want so much more of this.

Ah, Hufflepuff magic for getting coffee! I wish I had that :p



Author's Response: *Squee* Thank you so much! :D


And yes! The lot of them definitely have an anti-conformity thing going on. And I'm so pleased you liked the humor, and thought it was realistic and all! I really wanted to channel that sort obnoxious teenage behavior, but also recognize how FUN it can be while it's happening.

And just, that you think it's realistic, and think these OCs are good--THANK YOU! Part of it was that I wrote the whole thing out first, then went back and edited a LOT before uploading. So I really got a chance to kind of know them while I wrote, and could go back to tweak things to get their characters right.

I have INFINITE amounts of admiration for people who manage to write such excellent novels while doing it in an episodic way. I would NEVER be able to keep my story straight if I was writing and uploading one chunk at a time. (I like, went back and changed earlier things SO MANY TIMES)

Thank you SO MUCH for this amazing, joy-inspiring review! You are a day-maker!


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Review #47, by CambAngst The Presence of Love

7th December 2014:
Hi! I was hoping I'd be able to help you get to review #200. Having kids often seems to get in the way of goals like that. Instead, I'll just get you started on the next 200 reviews. ;)

The past few chapters have been really rough on your characters, so this chapter was a really good change of pace for me. Secrets (some of them, anyway) were revealed, issues (a few) were confronted and conflicts (one or two) found at least the beginnings of resolution. It had a few bumps, like any of your chapters, but overall this was probably the most upbeat since the big party.

Poor Emily. The depths of her confusion where Tristan's concerned would be hard to overstate. You did a really good job of capturing the essence of her struggles and the way that it wears on her.

Once again, you wrote a scene featuring Dumbledore with a lot of finesse and sensitivity. You're really very good at it. You keep him so measured and circumspect. He never gets bent out of shape over anything immediate. It's all about the long game with him. The effect he has on Emily is profound and perfectly written. The wisdom in his words and actions feels perfectly like him. I also loved the subtle way that he gets his message across, both about Emily's transgressions and about her friends.

Yikes. The trip to Scotland with Isobel and her father was a frosty experience.

For most of the story up to this point, Emily has seemed a bit younger than her friends in several ways. This was the first time, I think, that we've gotten to see her as a brooding, disaffected teenager who rebels against the perceived hypocrisy of her parents. Although in her case, I think her parents' hypocrisy goes beyond perception. Still, it's easy to identify those teenage feelings of how unfair life is.

Laurel's confrontation with her mother was healthy in a very odd sort of way. Not that Laurel was right to say some of the horrible things she said to her mother, but that's just how angry teenagers react. Wow, I am NOT looking forward to that phase with my kids. I'll give her mother a lot of credit, though. For once, her mother was able to see Laurel's lashing out for what it really was. She was able to stay calm and let Laurel work her way through the anger until they were actually talking. The end result of the conversation was far from perfect, but it was an improvement. It had to start somewhere.

Seconds later, she appeared in the alley behind her neighborhood gastropub, startling a fox, and continued on her trajectory towards Orsett Street and home. -- I see what you did there. ;)

I feel almost as bad for Tristan's mother as I do for anyone else in this story. The self-destructive course that Tristan seems hell-bent on pursuing would be bad enough by itself, but she also sees the reason why. His self-hatred is heart-breaking, especially for the woman who took it upon herself to raise him.

It's nice to see the friendship between the three girls gradually knitting itself back together. You never wish anything like what happened to Isobel on anyone, but it seems that her horrible experience with Professor Quirrel has at least shown her that she needs her friends as badly as they need her.

Emily's back story was awful. To me, and this might sound odd, the most awful thing about it was how unexceptional it was. Older boy takes advantage of young, impressionable girl who revels in the attention and approval he offers. It happens all the time. That realization is a terrible thing in and of itself. The fact that her troubles didn't start with anything so exotic as being the orphaned son of a notorious Death Eater shouldn't make her struggles any less real.

Then again, with the Defense department’s track record, Squirrel probably wouldn’t be coming back next year. -- Ha. If she only knew...

I saw a couple of typos that have somehow managed to survive:

There’s been an owl from Hogwarts explaining what Emily had done, and her parents were furious with her. -- There'd

Or because you’re life’s gone in the bin, so it became my job to be so clever and get good marks so you could have something to brag about, and you wouldn’t look so bad. -- your life's gone in the bin

It's been ages since I left you a review, which I definitely feel bad about. Especially considering how long it's been since I finished this story. I'll try to rectify that soon. Awesome job, as always!

Author's Response: Dan! Hello! Yee, thank you so much for pushing me over the 200 mark!

Something I hadn't planned for Emily, but really enjoyed developing, is how she's really The Philosopher of the group. I mean, Tristan does a lot of thinking and all, but it's not at the same maturity level that Emily does. She's the one seriously considering the nature of morality and reality, and the idea that experiences are really collections of narratives. She extrapolates Greater Meaning out of her dramas, and she grows the most, intellectually.

Speaking of which--SO RELIEVED you liked that bit with Dumbledore! That was one of the HARDEST parts of this WHOLE STORY to write! I nearly cut it, and scrapped multiple versions. Dumbledore is just so intimidating to write, because it's so inherently presumptuous! Like, I am a pale interpretation of a Grown Up--MILES away from being a Wise Old Man.

Oh yes, definitely Emily at her brattiest! As sort of the moral center of the group, and consistently the most stable, her behavior says a lot about where things are at.

And AH! I'm so happy about your analysis of Laurel and Betty's interaction! :D That was EXACTLY what I was going for! Betty took a pretty bad character assassination by being physically abusive. BUT, you know, NUANCE. A person can be a lot of things.

Wait--what did I do there??? I MEAN *caughs* yes, that was super intentional because I am very clever! (The Author is dead, so whatever. Something can have meaning even if I didn't consciously realize it... Now I just have to figure out what that was!)

Dude, yeah! Mary was actually probably the most directly modeled on myself (she's my Mary Sue, if you will). I really wanted a sympathetic character in her, and since I'm the one writing it, I thought I could best argue her case from my own perspective.

And I wanted all of the parents to be imperfect in some way--because teenager-dome is just HARD, and everyone's different, and there's no Right Way. Since I'm not a mom myself, my naivete came as an advantage writing Mary; I don't know what /I/ would do in her position, so neither does she.

So yeah--that brings me to Emily. That's also her parents' flaw. So like, I don't agree with parents who are really strict and obsessive about protecting their daughters from Boys and Sex (which causes its own problems, and doesn't necessarily save them from assault [see: Isobel]). Then again, Emily's are pretty permissive, and that happened basically under their roof. Which isn't to say they are really to blame--bad things just happen. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

I almost didn't write Emily's backstory (I cut it and put it back SO many times), but I realized I HAD to. As you said, because its maddeningly common. To leave it out would have been, I think, dishonest. And, it kind of plays an important role in her relationship with Tristan, and why they take SO LONG to get together. Her journey to finally OWN her sexuality is probably the most inspiring of the whole story.

As always, thank you for leaving the BEST REVIEW EVER!


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Review #48, by TidalDragon The Big Thing

7th December 2014:
#200! What a milestone for your brilliant story! Enjoy it!

When you first started talking about psychic potions I thought we were headed down the type of trippy road I'm not typically fond of - a bit TOO deep down the rabbit hole I've never explored for my taste. But what you did with it (and the music) was in fact incredibly clever, making it a device to reveal such a huge part of Tristan (of course to the member of the group he's perhaps closest to). I'm intrigued to see what all the other revelations are that came out in the Corridor. It seems obviously that Tristan isn't reacting well and must remember what happened too. Perhaps he's staying away for fear his confessions were really all too much? I don't know, but you leveraged the high and its effects very well.

Obviously Isobel is indeed in the throes of a disorder (perhaps two) now as well, which is difficult. Hearkening back to my last review, I'm glad it hasn't been as overt thus far like Laurel's constant charms, as I think that would've been too much right on the heels of another catastrophe, but still I'm interested to see how it goes.

There was one typo I noticed at the beginning, but I think that's about it.

I'll be back for more eventually!

Author's Response: THANK YOU!1!1!!1 :D You rule!

Aha yes! Since magic is a thing and all, I couldn't resist the idea that South American folk magic might be LITERALLY real! I was interested in the idea of nonwestern magic, since all the canon magic comes from Western European mythologies. So yeah, looking at other forms and traditions and saying ALSO REAL to them was a lot of fun. And later in the Potter books, we saw these more sort of subtle, nuanced, and less formulaic types of magic (stuff beyond "magic word+wand=effect.") That was so fascinating to me, and something I really wanted to explore.

And then, music is magic. Even muggle music. It isn't that important to the story, but it is implied, that music is inherently magical.

For Isobel, I took a lot of cues from a New Yorker article that basically argued that no one should ever write about eating disorders. The author pointed out that in reality, EDs are Boring and Tedious--pretty much the opposite of what art wants to be. So yeah, most depictions are really inaccurate, take place over a short period of time, and engineer Dramas that don't actually ever happen. Or, they focus too much on the physical side of things. It's a mental illness and addiction more than anything, so that's where the real problem lives--not in a wasting body. And wasting takes a LONG time; starvation is a slow death.

Thank you for catching the typo, will fix it straight away! And thank you SO MUCH for this review flurry, and for helping me hit this milestone :DD


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Review #49, by TidalDragon Self-Spelling

7th December 2014:
Hello again!

Well, things have finally come to head with Laurel. I think the choice about timing of that was natural as I was wondering how long she could go without serious trouble and indeed it's struck. I'm interested to see how you handle her return and rehabilitation, as well as the effects of those things on the group and individual people. Challenging stuff that.

We've of course now segued more deeply into Isobel's own problems too. I thought you did a great job handling her own distorted thinking about her self-worth. I think many would consider her discipline a positive thing - she's overachieving really - but you've done well showing how someone with a problem would look at the other side of that coin. I'm interested to see if the purging increases on Isobel's part and if it becomes folded into her "discipline" thought regime.

What's also interesting about casting Isobel's demons more fully into the open is that it honestly feels like a lot. Naturally, everyone is going to have problems, and often people with issues seem to fall together, but on some level it feels like grappling with all these things openly in one fic may be a bit much. Obviously you have the writing skill to be up to the challenge and I'm interested to see how it develops, but it's just a thought I had.

See you on the next chapter for what (I think) will be your 200th review (CONGRATS!).

Author's Response: Oh yes, it will indeed be challenging. And your guess is spot on--it definitely ends up affecting both the individual AND the group.

Isobel isn't really bulimic, because it isn't something a know too much about. But I've known a lot of people to suffer from Anorexia Nervosa--it seems like for most of them, they end up purging out some point (sort of out of desperation). But AN is very much an addiction to starvation, so it usually doesn't become a habit.

I think you're right, because discipline definitely isn't a bad thing. I think peoples' greatest strengths can also be their biggest weaknesses. And especially when someone is young, they haven't totally sorted themself out yet, so many otherwise great qualities can also manifest as problems. (Like how curiosity and open-mindedness might also make someone more likely to experiment with drugs).

And your right, it is a LOT. It's very much a teen dramedy, and so in that vein, it's very ALL OF THE ANGST/ISSUES. I didn't do teen pregnancy, though! (a small mercy). I do try and pace things out, and pull certain things to the foreground, while others recede back. I hope you think that works out!

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Review #50, by TidalDragon Troll in the Dungeons!

7th December 2014:
Ahh what a happy return to your delightful story, with everything done so carefully! I knew from the beginning that Laurel seeming normal had to be a false dawn. Mixing charms is, I suppose, probably dangerous if done haphazardly (like mixing certain drugs) and certainly a gateway to more serious issues.

Perhaps my favorite part of this chapter though was the deeper exploration of Tristan's history at Hogwarts. We already knew he was a melancholy character, but now we know more of why. It certainly must be a burden constantly burying yourself in your own perceived inadequacies and I suppose this is another reason Tristan does and acts how he does. While I don't get the sense your tale is headed for any kind of perfect, happy ending (and rightly so), I hope he gets that issue addressed in some way.

On a minor note I did see this sneaky little failed deletion: "His resulting hangover was been so great that it had persisted..." No biggie, but I know you're updating with CIs and such so I thought I'd mention it.

All in all another enjoyable chapter of an incredibly enjoyable story!

Author's Response: Ah! Thank you so much for the reviews :D

Yeah, I definitely play charms as being somewhat analogous to chemical substances. With the 'cheerful/tranquil' hybrid, I was basically trying to engineer something akin to opiates.

Heh--not sure if it was obvious or not, but Tristan's experience was in a lot of ways an inversion of Harry's. I tried to go with dramatic irony with his whole Sorting story, because basically, he experienced the same thing as Harry. But then Harry stood up and fought it, and asked for Gryffindor, while Tristan just resigned. And for that reason, he /wouldn't/ be a Gryffindor.

ooh, thank you for catching that sneaky sneak there! Will scurry and edit straight away!

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