Reading Reviews From Member: Slide
141 Reviews Found

Review #1, by SlideDerailed: cinco

13th November 2015:
Oh God, the cat's back. Ah well. I shall endure. And onward!

I hate morning people. Especially Monday morning people. It's not NATURAL. Then again, I get actual sleep, so Carlotta has rather a better excuse to object to this.

I always enjoy little nods like the cultural confusion of a Sherlock Holmes reference, though that must be horribly isolating for a Muggle/Muggle-born (at least a Muggle-born often disconnects from Muggle society more and more from age 11). All your cultural touchstones are completely alien to wizards. Maybe this is a POINT. Maybe I'm reading too deeply into a joke. :-D

Yeah, a statue commemorating a break-in at Gringotts wouldn't be the best plan in the world. Especially as Gringotts are clearly an organisation with some international reach (Bill's work in Egypt, for eg), so it doesn't pay to mess with goblins! Plenty of other incidents to celebrate. And yet Ron, of COURSE, raises a valid point. I love Ron.

Ahh, hell, she's making ready with money. I can understand that even without the illness; become financially codependent in any relationship is risky, let alone a Muggle in the wizarding world. She's right and sensible to keep things organised. And then it's deeply sad that she needs a bolt-hole just in case.

Oh dear. Rose is a MORE concentrated version of Hermione? The world will tremble. Yesss, George is brilliant.

Oh my God. Pygmy puff names. Carlotta. HOW intentional was this? Has this been a joke three years in the making?! Did you just realise it yourself and BLOW YOUR OWN MIND?! MY mind's blown, ANYWAY.

Yay, Ingrid. I mean, sad, because this was inevitable, but good to see her again. ...okay, with less SPIES and DEATH you're going to have to put up with slightly more mundane crackpot theories. My NEW crackpot theory is Carla is making Ingrid and James spend more time together with a TEENY TINY part of her thinking 'at least they can console each other once I leave James/die.'

Okay, maybe not strictly a crackpot theory if James has jumped to that conclusion himself. YAY my crackpot theories are getting better. I can see why he's upset, though his parting line is RATHER hurtful.

For some reason I am happiest with characters when their damaged reactions are contradictory; Carla wanting Ingrid around for James and then resenting her appearing all effortlessly good-looking just PLEASES me. Poor Carlotta. I find myself oddly more on her side in this, even if I don't think she SHOULD leave James, but he does give the faint impression of shoving his head in the sand. On the other hand, what's he SUPPOSED to do but reject the danger, now he's decided he ants to be with her. Still, calling her SELFISH isn't exactly on.

Yay, Brigid to the rescue. With Firewhisky. Good girl. I HAD wondered idly about 'the whole love thing.' I wasn't sure if I was just being oblivious or over-thinking it. But Brigid is right, really. On all of it. Including Carlotta doing a terrible job of avoiding commitment, bless her. :-D

'You can have more than one friend,' says Carla as the reason to not push Brigid away. OBVIOUSLY polyamory is the answer to her lamentations with James, then.

Great chapter; I'm surprised at the impression you gave that this was a last-minute addition. It feels a very NATURAL part of the catch-up process and the arcs of their relationship, and really is one of the meatiest chapters yet (even with a mighty fine shindig). And you have no idea how hard it has been to write this chapter with a fluffball on me. Good stuff!

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Review #2, by SlideDerailed: cuatro

13th November 2015:
Right, I'm here to review. If the cat lets me. It's a serious risk with his neediness today. Hands are made for petting, you see, not typing. Anyway, I read this on my tablet when it came out so I didn't ACTUALLY review. Let's try again.

James is a winner boyfriend just for plying Carla with support when hungover. Mine just mocks me. Good play, James. And, he's right, we never listen or learn, we just do it again...

It's good to see him being supportive as she struggles; not that I'd expect anything else of our boy, but it's nice to see the relative ease with which they handle it this far into the relationship. Even if her bitterness and reluctance to be helped is still there - and I imagine that wouldn't go away any time soon.

Weasley jumpers are a rite of passage which always make my face leak. This is no different. And I, too, have wondered the logistics of Next Gen family dinners. I'm sure there are SOME occasions Molly wants EVERYONE together, but you'd need the Round bloody Table to get them all sat down. A function room sounds, perhaps, more sensible. :D

Yesss, Maddie and Cato. You go girl. Aaand, brief cat interlude. Right, he's on the legs, that's easier.

Ha, Harry is worth more than James... but Ginny has a point. I can see why Carla keeps covering this situation up with Lucius, though; God knows the clan would turn to chaos and anger and especially James. Oh my God, Louis, I love you so much. And Brigid's solidarity; Weasley grandchildren can indeed be diverting.

Yeah, I can see why Audrey would actually tell. Or Percy would tell. Either way, my affection for the Percy side of the family (well, Percy and Audrey, Molly does not acquit herself well here, poor thing :-D) remains intact. And I'd forgotten how much I like your Ginny; she's always a SENSIBLE sort while still being herself. Though I'm snorting at Molly the Elder enforcing law at the dinner table. Entirely how it would go.

Okay, this chapter is making me hungry, now.

James is worried, but at least he's handling it. I think a few years ago he'd have been a lot more volatile at Lucius Malfoy focusing on someone he cares about (especially as it's understandably for him to worry if Carla, a Muggle, really CAN handle him; she knows him only by distorted reputation). It's still nice to see how their relationship has matured with trust like this, and to see how James has matured. It's harder to tell how much Carlotta has changed - of course she HAS, but we weren't in her head. So we'll see!

Anyhoo, to SNACKS because the Sunday lunch chapter makes me HUNGRY, then Onward!

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Review #3, by SlideEvolution: Aftermath

8th September 2015:
Finally, the prank kicks off. I'm curious as to what was in the notes, though the magic origami action is pretty cute. Poor teachers. Poor students being ambushed by sudden notes! It's good, it's harmless fun.

The exploding cleaning is less harmless - or, we'll see what McGonagall has to say for herself. Okay, I'm not surprised she's seeing it this way. Exploding bubbles was unlikely to be a super helpful thing! I love McGonagall, and of course she had a soft spot for the Marauders, but she is, as ever, fair in her dealings.

Small giggle at James' note to Lily. He really is a bit of a sweetheart deep down, isn't he? Though I can't blame her for being cautious.

Good to see more of Katie and her friends! She's really growing on me.

Ha, go Remus. Cut to the heart of the matter. Though it's fair of James; it's not like he's committed to Lily and she's shown no interest in him, while Katie's friendly and flirty. It was never going to be true love right away with Jily.

I think I'll take a break for now, but I've been seriously enjoying the story so far, and I will definitely be back! Good stuff.

~ Cath

Author's Response: Haha, yes...James was still hoping that the ultimate effect of the cleaning would outweigh the chaos and disruption in terms of punishment, but in his heart knew better in advance given McGonagall's nature.

And the note from James to Lily is definitely to demonstrate that underneath it all, he really does have a good heart, which will hopefully be revealed more as the story develops (including some small moments with Lily even before they're an item).

Thanks again for all the reviews!

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Review #4, by SlideEvolution: Celebration

8th September 2015:
I'm oddly pleased it's Remus and Peter sneaking out to Hogsmeade to prep for the party. They're usually the two who get to do the less rebellious things in fics, but I like to think they can be subtler than James and Sirius! Poor guys, dumped with a party at the last minute - no, I can't fake sympathy, they probably love it deep down.

Katie remains charming; friendly and able to keep up with James. I think she'll do him good, he needs someone to keep him on his toes, for the moment.

Not that Lily doesn't keep him on his toes. Someone has to be the responsible one in Gryffindor House, it seems, and it sure as hell isn't going to be Remus! Though I can see this one going wrong with neither of them really trying to antagonise the other; at least Lily is smart enough to not make this a public fight.

The age line is smart! And... oddly responsible! I guess he really is trying to find the sweet point between fun and irreverent. Ahh, poor James. It's not Lily's fault; it's human nature to not notice something like him stopping from being bad. Especially not after a few short weeks.

I actually expected their conversation to end in a row, but this was interesting and very believable. Though poor Lily must be utterly lost.

I adored Remus in the scene with Lily. It's a really good depiction for him to be a people-watcher like this, and to end up being the unfortunate and probably often unsuccessful referee between her and James. But now things are changing, I look forward to seeing what, if any, part Remus has to play in things.

I have no problem with the POV shifts; it would have been difficult to portray the entire circumstances of the party from just one POV. It might have been do-able, with deep immersion into one of their headspace's - and I'd have probably chosen Lily. But this worked perfectly well. Then again, I'm guilty of changing POVs around lots myself, so perhaps I'm not the writer to ask. ;)

Good stuff. Onwards!

~ Cath

Author's Response: Well here I am, only two months later. Blarg. Yes, you're right not to feel sorry for them. They definitely DO love it - they just prefer to have more time to prepare and show off.

James is definitely trying his best at this point, but not really realizing the level of Lily's bare minimum expectations. Fortunately she notices here that he is trying to be better, though the influence of that realization on her is pretty minimal at this point - primarily being confused. :p

I'm glad you thought that the exchanges between James and Lily and Remus and Lily were believable though. He'll definitely play a role going forward, particularly in dragging realizations out of Lily.

Belated thanks for the great review!

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Review #5, by SlideEvolution: Just a Game

8th September 2015:
Now we may find out why Alana and Marlene were interested in the Quidditch! Brilliant, I was hoping for more Lily. Who, of course, cares nothing for Quidditch. Evidently I was right, plenty of Quidditch in the story, huzzah.

Wallenby's first proper appearance doesn't disappoint. The girl has spirit. I expect her to break many hearts. And hopefully not get her heart broken. I always have a soft spot for the Hypotenuse in a love triangle. ;-) Plus, smart move abandoning the 'there are probably only 10 people per year per House' directive; odds are good Hogwarts is way bigger than that (grumble grumble JK and numbers). But in a school of a few thousand, I can believe there are a few people in her year Lily hasn't met properly, especially if she's been quite socially withdrawn.

I had wondered if #5 was James. Drawing it on your cheek, eh, Wallenby? You go, girl. I chuckled at her all but holding Lily hostage.

Quidditch is hard to write, but this works well. Keeping it closely in James' head with the commentary bulking out beyond his perspective seems like the way to go. Moving briskly through sections of the match and then focusing on smaller details is working fine.

Yeah, Wallenby's turning into a favourite of mine already. Poor girl.

James' stunt at the end is rather sweet, and a good way for him to demonstrate change. Odds are good he flitted off congratulating himself at the end of previous matches, which wouldn't have been unreasonable! But sticking around to thank his fans after an injury, well, he's turning into a good egg.

Good stuff! Onward!

~ Cath

Author's Response: Haha. Lily is definitely "meh" about Quidditch and it's actually a place where you get to catch the first glimpse of the pretentiousness she denies in herself.

I'm very glad you like Katie and I'm interested to see if it continues. I would say that the vast majority of people despise her (I think because she stands in the way of their James/Lily fix), but I have a real soft spot for her too for various reasons.

Though the reaction isn't the seismic shift he hoped for (and indeed to him is entirely unnoticeable), James's applause effort was (surprise) actually Lily-centered and if it's an unknown victory, it is one - the first time she actually has a inkling that he's really changing.

Thanks for all these great reviews! I've got to take a break for a bit, but hopefully I'll be able to respond to more soon since I've kept you waiting for WAY too long!

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Review #6, by SlideEvolution: Differing Opinions

8th September 2015:
Oh wow. James may have broken. Sirius is right, this might be helpful but it's not going to be hilarious and people might wonder if James is ill. Or spend so long waiting for the other shoe to drop that they don't appreciate his work.

Poor Remus, you can tell he's not usually that successful with women. 'Escorting.' Set him right, James!

You can kind of tell they're growing up a little; that even aside from life changing choices, things a twelve year-old found hilarious aren't necessarily the same thing a sixteen year-old will find hilarious. Stinkbombs have a limited shelf-life to the teenaged boy. But go on, Peter, find your assertiveness. I'm sure no ill will come of that.

I've enjoyed James and Sirius so far, they're a good-natured partnership, but it's nice to see more of Remus, and nice to get the impression that Remus picks up on things others miss. Sirius is a force of nature zipping around; Remus is calmer, more observant, and makes for a good observer of the group.

Good stuff. Onwards!

Author's Response: One of the things I'm definitely trying to balance with James and Lily's independent development is the dynamic of each of their friend groups and the characters within them. The first half of the story I think I do a much better job with the Marauders (that's why we go back and edit, right?), but it's something I want to focus on so I do try and keep Remus and Peter present, interactive, and distinctive. For Remus, I think observant is the best word anybody could use to describe him and I worry that some people think that makes him "too quiet" or "boring" to have been authentic as a Marauder, but I have to disagree and I hope people will see as they all mature how his more reserved nature actually acts as a positive restraint to Sirius's highly contagious impulsivity.

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Review #7, by SlideEvolution: O Captain, My Captain

8th September 2015:
Haha, poor James. Absence of misbehaviour alone is not going to show Lily you've changed your ways. She'll just stop noticing you or paying attention.

I hope we get more Quidditch, or at least the team, they seem like a fun bunch. I'm always a sucker for Quidditch in stories, and this seems a good vehicle for James to develop a dash more responsibility and maturity. Oh GOOD Wallenby's here to mix things up. I hope she's thoroughly charming (apparently I like to suffer while rooting for my romances). Go, Sirius, keep on stirring.


Author's Response: Ahh yes...James really does begin by thinking that simply doing what he's supposed to is going to prove something to Lily. Though the eventual idea that he has to be more comes less from Lily than from other forces, he'll eventually wake up to it.

As for Quidditch, there will definitely be more. The way James develops, the sport is actually a huge part of who he is, WAY beyond the "cool jock" aspect of it that's often employed. And Katie will certainly be here to more than just mix things up ;)

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Review #8, by SlideEvolution: Another Run-In

8th September 2015:
I briefly wondered why Sirius and James are doing Potions if they hate it so, then I figured it'd always be a reputable NEWT. Then I figured they could probably plunder it for all sorts of uses for pranking, which may be their primary motivation...

Ah, Sirius. Cruel, hilarious Sirius, throwing them together. He might just pair them up. Or get James killed. Somehow, the latter still seems more likely. Though I enjoy how poor James has a lot of work to do to make up for past misbehaviour. He really was a rascal.

I have no problems with the pacing here. I think it's always important in a romance for both characters to be fully-realised in their own right, rather than their entire existences revolving around each other. So building them up before throwing them together is good!


~ Cath

Author's Response: Sirius and James are definitely doing Potions for practical purposes. Sirius is actually the one interested in being an Auror at this point, but James (as you'll have noted from the last chapter) is battling with Lily for being top of the class, so he wants to try and match her step-for-step and also doesn't mind having a free class to partner with Sirius and have a little fun.

And James DEFINITELY has a LOT of work to do. Though he's already acknowledged it, incidents like this (and future ones) will show him just how much work is required. Though, as with many couplings, his actual efforts won't be what ultimately wins the day (at least not on their own).

Thanks again for the reviews! I really appreciate the feedback!

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Review #9, by SlideEvolution: Hogwarts Bound

8th September 2015:
Hi Marlene! You, like Lily, are doomed forever. Sorry. Hi Alana! You might not be doomed. Who knows? That's the joy of OCs. I look forward to getting to know them both better, I am always a fan of Lily having interesting friends. And broadening the cast is a necessity of the era, I find. Nowt wrong with that, I like a good cast of new faces, personally.

Ah, Sirius, projecting your own interest onto James. It's cute. Though it does help make it clear why James isn't quite ready to express his genuine interest to Lily out loud; the Marauders don't seem in much condition to take such feelings seriously yet! I'm sure no ill will come on James pretending to like someone else. There will be no comedy of errors, oh nooo. :-) I also find myself wondering if there's anything to Sirius not even NOTICING Lily in this situation, but we shall see.

Marauders resolutions are sweet. It sounds like the sort of thing they'd do.

Good stuff, and onward!

~ Cath

Author's Response: Yes, Lily is a member of an interesting trio, though one of my main goals when I go back and edit is to include an develop them more because I don't think the female characters and friendships get enough substantive development as currently written.

I can DEFINITELY say that Sirius and Peter are not mature enough to handle the revelation right now. Especially Sirius. I'm glad you liked the resolutions though - I wondered at the time of writing if they were too corny, but so far everyone seems to like them so I'll finally mark it as a definitive positive and keep them around in the future, though they may have a touch of tweaking with Remus and Sirius anyway.

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Review #10, by SlideEvolution: Words of Wisdom

8th September 2015:
So often do the family relationships get neglected! And I'm keen to learn more on the Potters (my God, everyone dies in the Marauders era, EVEN PARENTS). I think there are lots of different ways they can be portrayed, and 'loving but detached,' is a good 'un. Francis is clearly a caring father, but somewhat formal; almost grandfatherly in the relationship, which is interesting. He's kind, but hasn't got his hands very dirty in immersing himself in his son's life.

It justifies this as a turning point for James, and I like how it's not JUST coming because of Lily, though she is of course a factor. All good stuff. Onward!

~ Cath

Author's Response: I'm glad you liked the injection of the family dynamic. It's something I've been unable to explore so far to the fullest extent I would've liked, but we'll see what the future holds in edits.

As for Francis (I guess he's supposed to be Fleamont now or whatever :p), it's been interesting how people have interpreted him. I think he definitely comes off more detached and formal here because he's in the middle of work (which HAS created some distance between the two), but he actually is about as involved in James's life as James allows. James just doesn't usually turn to him for a whole lot of guidance and he tends to respect that. As you'll see later, outside of work (or just after finishing work), he's actually a pretty relaxed, jovial guy.

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Review #11, by SlideEvolution: The End of the Line

8th September 2015:
Thirty-seven, oh, Snape, you slightly stakerish boy. I enjoy Snape as a character, despise him as a person, and yet I must pity him now. Even if he so thoroughly deserves to be blocked out by Lily. You go, girl.

It's right of her to reject the idea of an apology being enough; by this point, Snape's internalised far too much hatred. She has become the exception, and Lily's smart to cut him out of her life.

I also really like the falling out of Lily and Snape as an ongoing thing; the choice might have been made, but no ties are ever cut so absolutely and so clearly. Good stuff! Onward!

~ Cath

Author's Response: Snape and his obsession indeed. Though in fairness to him I imagine most of that was in the first two weeks or so and then tapered off. But you're absolutely right about him being cut out - I think we seem to share a similar mindset on him (except the pity :p).

As for the break, it will be mostly clean for Lily from this point, but from Snape's perspective you're correct. He doesn't let this go easily, and as you'll see draws the wrong conclusions about it while he's busy brooding too.

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Review #12, by SlideEvolution: Ain't No Sunshine

8th September 2015:
Hullo! I've been meaning to check this story out for a while (it's the In story in Marauders fic and I really enjoyed Unconfirmed Reports) but now I find myself with a chunk of free time and the impetus. So, onward!

It's always curious to see how people depict James' home life; the impression that he's given quite a lot of freedom alongside his privilege is believable for turning out the brattish chap we meet in Snape's flashback who we know is, deep down, well-meaning. It shows nicely in how he treats Tinka; she's subservient as a House Elf and he takes that in stride, but he's pleasant in how he takes her deference for granted.

This chapter is mostly scene-setting, but it's useful. There are lots of different ways to depict Lily especially, and the idea that she didn't usually show her anger until Snape's Worst Memory is interesting. That this is what elevates James from teasing to a genuine interest also makes a lot of sense! Anyway, I look forward to how this progresses. Good stuff!

- Cath

Author's Response: Sorry it's been almost a month before I responded :( Life's been mayhem!

Anyway, I'm glad you stopped by! I was quite surprised honestly with this voting going on that this story was anywhere near anything let alone having someone call it the "In story in Marauders fic" - I'm kind of blown away right now.

I'm glad you liked the characterization of James and the little glimpse of his home life and the sort of "origin story" of his present dynamic with Lily. As you'll probably see, Lily can be snarky herself, but she rarely gets angry at anyone but James. Why? Well, that's an epiphany she'll have later (but don't worry it's NOT the "OMG I've actually always loved him" variety).

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Review #13, by SlideY5.5: Identical, Yet Inverted

7th September 2015:
So today's the day I found out I have a PROFILE FEED on the forums (am I clued in or what?). And discovered this. SPONSORED BY WEETABIX. I'd actually forgotten about this challenge, but the good news is that you've completely unshackled me from my paranoia of doing something totally indulgent and self-referential. Because I love this.

I fear I'd quote the whole thing if I started, but '"Have you eaten anything today?" asked no one.' made me laugh, like, a LOT. As did the use of the words 'aubergine' and 'crepuscularly', more oddly.

I LOVE YOUR SKY METAPHORS AND EVERYTHING HERE. And everything you mock yourself for is still part of the joyful fun of reading your stuff. ;)


Anyway, yes, ALL CREDIT TO YOU for the "presented by Weetabix" thing :P Also, can I just say how excited I am to read a self-spoof by you?

SO GLAD YOU LIKED ALL THE THINGS! I've been editing the story a lot recently (yo you should totally check out the revisions of ch1 and 2 if you ever have time), so I've been SUPER aware of my amateurish stupidness in the previously published version :P

YAY THANK YOU FOR READING! And thanx for the Weetabix thing, which I always giggle about when I remember :)

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Review #14, by SlideYear Five: Cleaner, More Brilliant

7th June 2015:

Obviously part of the issue for these characters is being underage, but I know I'm as guilty as any writer of wilfully ignoring forms of magical travel apart from Apparition. Which is supposed to be kind of unpleasant and dangerous if done wrong, so the Knight Bus and brooms and Floo are all relied on heavily. But regardless, in a story like this one, I think it's important to use little details like the Knight Bus to ground it in the Potterverse, and you always use them perfectly. It's apt, not like a tour of canon stuff.

The kids are better, but of course they'll still smoke outdoors and break the rules. Because they're still THEM. And still teenagers.

...I envy the wizarding world for having to think so little about fashion. MY BANE.

Yay, Isobel is getting her disorder under control. Laurel's advice sounds wise. And thank GOD she's identified it as an addiction to starvation instead of an addiction to FOOD. I realise that perhaps the saddest thing about this story - you know, aside from Tristan's attempted suicide and parental issues and Laurel's overdosing and addiction and Quirrell's sexual assault... ASIDE FROM ALL OF THAT the saddest thing is that Isobel's eating disorder has been kind of a footnote to those problems. I don't mean that it's not been given the right dramatic weight, I don't mean it's been a footnote in the writing, but those big problems hit all four of them. In another life, Isobel's struggles would have consumed a friendship group with worry and support. In this life, some of them didn't notice just because their own situations were genuinely too overwhelming. That's rather sad.

Just as I was thinking, 'I love Laurel,' Isobel goes and thinks basically the same thing. That's GOOD WRITIN' THERE.

CHUCK WEASLEY. That name has to stick. I love Tonks. For some reason I tend to love Tonks cameos in stories more than I love Tonks-centric stories. It's hard to keep the Tonksness of Tonks when it's all about Tonks. She should whirl in and out, being Tonks at everything. Okay it's late and I'm determined to finish but you'll just have to put up with this phase of my reviewing.

I love it when wizards think simple Muggle things are awesome. Because they ARE.

Yay, the inevitable but still delightful hookup of Emily and Tristan! You crazy kids try something healthy for a change.

Year Five: Sponsored by Weetabix.

And they are, of course, rather alright with their exam results in the end. And it IS the end. I have adored the story, but then, a story about OCs set against the backdrop of canon is right up my alley (and you make me want to brush up my old stories and make them way less... dated, by which I mean terrible). But this has had great characters and been tremendously character-driven, which I adore. Your determined adherence to canon has kept a story where magic is hardly ever a plot point (magic drugs aside) still perfectly rooted in the Potter-world. Sometimes this kind of drama fanfic can feel like you could transplant it to the real world and lose little, but doing that to Year Five would be to rip out the heart of it.

Or one of the hearts. Another's the aforementioned characters, who you've weaved and introduced masterfully. While Isobel remains my favourite, I've loved how Laurel snuck up on me as a reader, introduced far more slowly and more gently than any of the others. I still don't feel like I have a full grasp of her, but that's okay - because she's in a transition herself, so my sense of her being incomplete feels apt, as her OWN sense of herself is incomplete.

Then there's the moral complexity and messiness of issues, which always gets me on board. You neither shy away from nastiness, nor do you condemn or justify, which is just perfect. And again I must commend you on your deft touch. The big, important moments get the perfect amount of attention. You give them all due deference and focus, and don't let them bog the story down. An attempted suicide and a visit to meet one's Nazi birth-father could have had chapters upon chapters dedicated to them, but they weren't THE point, they were just SOME points. And they were handled brilliantly but not over-indulgently.

'Over-indulgent' might be what this review is in danger of becoming, so I shall start to tie it off (I also have a cat asleep on my forearms which is making typing harder). I must absolutely go through the rest of your work, but if there is no sequel, especially no continuation reaching to the HBP-DH era and Second War, I'll just have to throw a tantrum.

This has been a pure pleasure to read. Thank you so much for writing it.

Author's Response: AH this review has been so hard to respond to because I never want them to ennnd!

You know how it feels to put a weird amount of work into a story and then be like "OOH LOOK THE PERSON IS NOTICING ALL THE THINGZ (or at least commenting on them!)"

Confession: 'they all ride the Knight Bus at some point' was totally on this story's to-do list. It might have just been a pit stop on the canon tour.

Ugh, Isobel's ED. I worried SO much because I didn't want to make her arc seem unsatisfying, but then thing is... That's sorta the NATURE of anorexia. I once read an article about how it's impossible (even irresponsible) to write about anorexia at all because to write about it would be to make it seem interesting, and writing is an art so putting it in language is aesthetesizing, but ultimately the author argued, the real experience of anorexia nervosa is TEDIUM and BOREDOM. So yeah, that's tough, because I never wanted this story to seem tedious or boring, so I kind of DIDN'T go too into detail (and I think spending too much time describing or quantifying physical wasting or mechanisms of starvation is irresponsible, too). And, ultimately, it's just not that interesting or glamorous, I think. It just sucks, and then maybe it gets better a bit later, and you look over at your old friend and think "hey, there you are! Huh, you're better now! When did that happen?" No fireworks. So, ugh, I hope it isn't too unsatisfying. TOGGLING REALISM AND GOOD STORYTELLING IS HARD!

(Because my wizard story has to be realistic)

CHUCK WEASLEY IKR! Take it, have it, pass it along. I'm also trying to make "Dom" not be a thing (Nikki, Neeky, Mini, Nik--there are other options!)

That's probably the best explanation of Tonks' characterizations I've ever heard :)

Oh gosh, so I have to tell you something. When I first read your 'Weetabix' comment I started laughing, out loud, and couldn't stop. FOR MINUTES. Like, I got into that slap-happy hysterical thing where you think you're calming down but then start cracking up again. I got so rent with laughter I silent laughed (you know, the almost paralyzing mirth that shows you REALLY mean it). And then I read it again and it happened again.

BUT TO BE REAL, every time I go to London it's like all Weetabix all the time--I blame your people.

This is a very FANFICTIONY sort of fanfiction. When I first wrote this all out, I hadn't yet discovered HPFF or read ANY before, so I didn't realize how much of it was, like, really original stories that could excise the Potter and still stand. I thought it would be a pretty niche audience that would ever have any interest in this story, one which necessarily presupposed Potter nerd-dom, so I played that up and wove in as many meta and thematic references/plays/subversions as possible.

I'm REALLY glad Laurel snuck up on you, that was VERY much what I was trying to do :) And yeah, I didn't want to tie a big bow around all the characters as if they were all done cooking. 'Coming of Age' always struck me like a weird idea because WHAT age? It's more like 'Coming to Another Age.'

My original idea for this story was 'Hogwarts Stoners' and 'reluctant Slytherin Lestrange child brought up as close to mudblood as possible while remaining realistically plausible,' and it was planned as a rather lighthearted romp. But then I thought about it, and realized it couldn't possible be so light, and remembered that being a teenager SUCKS. So, erm, TADA!

AND YES THERE ARE SEQUELS IN THE WORKS. I am still sobbing about them and stressing out over it, but one day. ONE DAY.

Thank you SO much for leaving me all this amazing, insightful, thoughtful reviews. It really makes it all worth it :)


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Review #15, by SlideYear Five: After

7th June 2015:
Tristan's Uncle Frank. Well. I guess everything's connected.

I have often wondered how much McGonagall and Dumbledore clashed over issues with Harry. How much has she known, how much has she guessed, how much has she simply chosen to ignore or accept through trusting Dumbledore? Not really the point of the story, but for a story which has wonderfully showcased the best of Dumbledore, I adore you reminding us of some of the worst of Dumbledore.

I suppose Tristan picked a fantastic time to bury bad news. I bet the whole school was SUPER confused on how everything went down at the end of PS and COS.

I shouldn't laugh at Isobel learning about Voldemort living under Quirrell's turban. I shouldn't. It's horrible. But it's also kind of hilarious. OH GOOD they also find it funny I'm not a bad person -

TRISTAN TELL ME THE STORY. ACK! I DID think it was possibly the Lestrange brother, but I prefer to cling to my more crackpotty theories (if I must be wrong, I prefer to be hilariously wrong). UGH I am going to need continuations of this story to see how this all pans out in the war, I SWEAR I WILL NEED THIS IN MY LIFE. But this one's not over yet.

Of COURSE he was worried, and of COURSE they accept him, and both were inevitable and natural. I adore Tristan meeting Voldemort on his birthday - because the First War was different, wasn't it, so many more of the Death Eaters had LIVES, and he had to at least PRETEND to be involved in them, to care about them, if only a little.

Isobel and Emily - ah, here we go. I don't have much to say on the scene, other than it's got lovely resolution to it which suits both characters, and yet the dangling threads and questions are also most appropriate and perfect.

Yeah, don't mention Witch-Nazi parents to the Muggle psychiatrist. It won't help.

HNG a reunion with Tristan and Rabastan I did NOT SEE THIS COMING. Okay so it might ease my burning need for the HPB-set continuation, but I may still have to start on my picket signs. Oh HELL, Bellatrix, you're so evil. I'd assumed Tristan's reaction to the Cruciatus was about witnessing the fate of the Longbottoms. Yay, Kingsley's the Auror! This whole run-up is brilliant, I'm GIDDY.

You know, for angst. Angst-giddy. And it was beautiful and brilliant and PERFECT. Again, you set up the complicated issues and questions with no obvious answer, no right and wrong - how 'should' Tristan feel about Rabastan senior? - and yet you don't DWELL. I envy you there; long-windedness and going over and over the same moral issues is something I know I do too much in my writing. You've handled this scene, this culmination of Tristan's entire story, with a light touch that seems effortless and yet absolutely more than enough. More and it would be indulgent. Less and it would be insufficient. But it's JUST RIGHT and I love it.

And the ending gave me ALL the feels.

Author's Response: Yes yes, even the muggles need to be canon.

I don't really blame Dumbledore, but I HAD to assume that that would be McGonagall's perspective. A lot of that scene was inspired by the very beginning of PS and the whole 'baby-on-the-doorstep' bit.

Yes, something that could have been a huge story around school got very conveniently eclipsed by Harry Potter. Which was also a necessary choice, because I needed to handwave away why Harry never heard about any of this stuff with them.

Do not feel bad about succumbing to that Dark Comedy! IT NEEDED TO GET LAUGHED ABOUT!

I think I need to go back and make this all a million times more subtle. I had NO IDEA how savvy readers would be! Like, I'm glad it still seemed to have at least a bit of surprise, but most readers had Rabastan near the tops of their lists.

I also think that, with Voldemort, he kinda considered Tristan to be sort of an investment. Or like, something that belonged to him. The child of his followers, a pureblood, and one day, another body for his chess board. :(((

I'm REALLY relieved you thought that this was the right amount for this scene. I worried I'd rushed it, as it's pretty BIG, but yeah... Just, what else is there to say once all the stuff has been established? It sucks and it's complicated and it's weird. DONE. I still think I want to go back and add more description, but it's SUCH a relief to hear that the amount of analysis was right. I'm a fan of your work and super trust your judgement!

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Review #16, by SlideYear Five: O.W.L.s

7th June 2015:
This chapter will apparently be from the POV of OWLs, based on formatting history. ;)

I want some Honking Daffodils in my yard. But it's nice to see the girls patching things up. Tristan is obviously going to be a harder one to sort things out with.

I think I'm now more anxious about these guys' exams than I was about MY last exams. HA YES quiz Laurel on Cheering Charms. Beautiful.

Yeah, Emily. Where DO vanished objects go? Which is a good question, but perhaps more important: ARE YOU DESTROYING MATTER? Bloody wizards.

Tristan, saviour of the giant squid! On the one hand, it's kind of satisfying, mostly because Malfoy & co try to stand up for themselves. But, as is apt for this story, it's still a sixteen year-old threatening some twelve year-olds.

You're right, Emily, if the animals didn't die, you're probably okay.

Oh, Christ. Oh, the giant squid might have saved him. Yeah, this was upsettingly not surprising, even if I didn't see it coming. I'm very interested to learn it wasn't planned! I mean, characters DO stuff, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been similarly blindsided as a writer, but it's all come together most believably. Also, we were kind of due a crisis of a climax, after Laurel's Ordeal (I will find my Campbellian monomyth in ANY story, I promise you). But now I also MUST press on, of course.

Author's Response: BAH. Yeah, that would seem to be what's being indicated ;)

I was so worried about getting the tension of the exam bits right. I was worried I was rushing, but then maybe rushing is GOOD because it has the frantic pace, and then I think my own worry just made it all a mess of nerves. So that worked out.

"Are wizards destroying matter?"--a question that needs to get asked a lot more often. Like, always.

HAH, seeing Malfoy as a tiny was infinitely satisfying to me.

And, the terrible thing... Sorry... I realized while writing that it WOULD happen and AT THIS POINT (Harry also missed his History exam), and I'd accidentally built up all this perfect foreshadowing for it. The Lake had kind of become its own character, and then there's the whole thing with CV and the river. I was SO upset when I realized what Tristan was going to do--which is stupid, because I was theoretically in charge of this story. So then I fretted, and considered how to save him (hence the squid scene). After MUCH deliberation, I decided that saving him wasn't just the sentimental thing to do, and that him dying would be too much. A RELIEF. I NEVER would have INTENTIONALLY planned for a story to feature suicide--but then once that decided to happen, I made sure to plan for it and build to it accordingly (the great benefit of pre-writing)--which is why the whole first bits of this chapter are actually pretty light. NEVER TRUST LIGHT IN THIS STORY. Well, I guess that advice is a bit late, now you've read it all.

Again, SORRY.

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Review #17, by SlideYear Five: The Presence of Love

7th June 2015:
Aw, poor Emily. How do you write that kind of letter? In simplicity, it seems. The penultimate paragraph of this section is kind of brilliant; 'If he'd loved her, he would have. But he didn't, because he did.' Love love love that - what it says about Tristan, what it says about love, how it so succinctly covers that beautiful complexity. I adore those kinds of emotional contradictions.

And the scene with Laurel is lovely as another flash of the 'real' Laurel, the one we're discovering bit by bit on-screen, instead in everyone else's memories.

Oh, the mention of Dumbledore reminded me of LAST chapter stuff, so, seguewaying - the Qurrell/Isobel stuff (ugh, putting it like that was not my best move) did 110% NOT either victim-blame and/or make Isobel out to be dumb. And I think the most absolutely perfect way you painted Isobel as not foolish for going with Quirrell was having her remember Laurel talking about Dumbledore walking her back. Like, genius; comparing the situation to one with Dumbledore makes it seem SUPER safe, trustworthy, kind, the PERFECT false sense of security. Soo, not sure you needed the reassurance, but that whole thing was handled to perfection - dramatically but also 'morally,' for lack of a better word.

And back to THIS chapter. Ha, Emily trying what Harry will try much later with the passwords. Oh my GOD sad Dumbledore. I just can't cope with this. DISAPPOINTED Dumbledore. This is the cruellest thing you've ever done. I think it's 'weary,' that's the word-choice which is punching me in the face; you painted him as bouncy and exuberant and then reminded me he's an old man. Christ. Though there's also a very strange disconnect of the most Potterly of moments - a conversation with Dumbledore in his office - combined with something crushingly mundane - the selling of drugs. It's kind of head-spinny, but I actually like the juxtaposition, bringing all the magical matters crashing to mundane Earth.

I've started working with ex-offenders recently, so this entire conversation about actions, consequences, and leading on to prisons and rehabilitation (and the condemnation of Azkaban) is most apt - and then I snorted at Emily worrying Dumbledore was going to send her there. This is what your writing does! I get all ponderous or infused with socialist righteousness, and then I giggle. BUT, Dumbledore handles this beautifully. She's aware her actions have consequences, there's a lesson learnt, there's no gratuitous punishment (gratuitous in that exam season is no time to make a point) - but her parents being told WILL help make sure this sinks in, and they'll doubtless have something to say.

Ahh, the awkwardness of parents when their kids are fighting. Though Emily's not wrong in her condemnation of her parents' hypocrisy. 'It was the sixties,' isn't a get-out-of-jail free card!


You've done a fine job of walking around the truths of Laurel's life until you've needed to reveal them, bit by bit: saying she lives in Godric's Hollow sounds twee, idyllic - the truth is something different. And, of course, paints a very eye-opening picture.

Isobel, Voldemort's going to know how to fly now. I hope you're happy.

There HAVE to be satellite Gringotts banks in wizard-friendly settlements, NOTHING ELSE MAKES SENSE. But in other news, I wholly appreciate how Laurel is becoming (or always was?) the acutely observant and honest and more even-handed one. Either showing her old self, and/or changed by her experiences.

Saint Mungo's using the 'once a user always a user' mantra kind of makes me recoil, though I've found it interesting how some people I've met with a history of drug use refer to themselves perpetually as addicts, even if their usage is years old - and some just as ex-addicts. I commend you on how you brush through these issues, give them the attention and complexity they deserve, but you don't get bogged down when it would be so EASY to go in circles on these issues. SHOULD Laurel define herself as a hexhead? In some ways it's very important. In others, that's not the most important question.

I again love how the parents are creeping in more and more to the plot and the issues. They were always there, but they fill in so much of the wider context and are genuinely interesting in their own right. But then, dealing with damaged teenagers REQUIRES dealing with parents. That particular Philip Larkin poem springs to mind.

UGH I am kind of tearing up at Isobel finally going to Emily this is embarrassing. But more helpfully, I love the animosity fading almost at once; such a genuine thing, sometimes, after fights between friends. Once the initial barrier is broken, bitterness can evaporate. Sometimes. And now Emily makes a whole lot more sense.



Emily, out of all of them, is definitely the best at abstract ideas. I think it's why she handles things relatively better, because she's more comfortable with ambiguity and more accepting that sometimes there aren't right answers.

YESYES, the Dumbledore and Laurel walk DEFINITELY was supposed to normalize it. But REALLY a student shouldn't think it odd when a teacher offers to walk them somewhere.

SO GLAD that /disappointed Dumbledore/ was devastating! I thought that HAD to be the most soul shattering flavor of Dumbledore--and he's hardly the yelling type (LOOKING AT YOU, GAMBON)

Wow, I'm SO stoked that, as someone who works with ex-offenders, those ideas resonated to you. This is one of the FEW points in the story where I do sort of offer my perspective and try to argue a point and preach, because it's something I'm PRETTY SURE is true. Punishment for the sake of punishment never made sense to me, and most evidence seems to suggest that it doesn't work (be it in parenting, or education, or criminal justice).

"I get all ponderous or infused with socialist righteousness, and then I giggle"--THAT. That is the highest praise this story has yet gotten!

Dumbledore's diary must be a strange read. "11am, give massive revelation to my child-soldier assassin about his family. 12 noon, discuss the fierce battle between good and evil with my triple agent. 1pm, explain to a teenage pot dealer why her actions were irresponsible."

So yeah, Emily's parents aren't perfect either. Or maybe I'm being too hard on them. The other kids smoke, even if their parents weren't hippies in the sixties. And something bad DID happen to Emily basically under their roof when she was a kid, but something bad ALSO happened to Isobel at SCHOOL. So yeah, no method is fool-proof.

Yes, I definitely don't know the answer re: once-a-user-always-a-user. In the one hand, Laurel's really young, and wasn't actually using for all that long, if you think about it. Does she really need to take that on as part of her identity? At the same time, maybe accepting that as part of herself--really accepting it, and forgiving herself and loving herself anyway, might be the sort of thing she needs. I don't know! She doesn't know! And I've never been an addict, so I'm not really to be trusted to argue one way or the other. But it's a thing to think about, at least!

I'm really glad you appreciate my kind of reluctance to do much grandstanding. I know it frustrates some readers, since SO much gnarly happens in this story--but I figure they don't need ME to tell them it's bad. I already showed it being gnarly, and they come to their own conclusions just fine :)

I LOVED WRITING THE PARENTS. Teenagers were easy, since I've been one, but it was an interesting exercise to consider the parent perspective (probably for the first time ever).

Oh Emily... So I would never sex-shame someone, even a teenager girl (I grew up in a city so 15/16 was pretty standard, and I know it can go older or younger in other environments) But for teenager to have SO many partners seemingly starting from age 14, in a school as small as theirs (so it's not like there's a wealth of options) is sort of a red flag that something might be going on. And that something is almost always a recent experience with violence or abuse... on that depressing note, thank you SO MUCH for this (and the other!) reviews! Most reviews I get focus on story and character, and I SO appreciate that you discussed some of the larger themes and ideas here. I'm just so pleased that it WORKED or rings true or is just generally interesting :)


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Review #18, by SlideYear Five: The Question

6th June 2015:
I just saw you called the last chapter 'The Disappearing Room,' so my uncertainty and wild guessing about the Room of Requirement now looks WAY more dumb. That'll teach me.

I'm curious as to why Isobel is hiding Laurel's wand instead of just hanging onto it herself, though I suppose she'd have to hide it in a super-brilliant place in Ravenclaw Tower for it to be safe overnight from Laurel in a moment of weakness? Poor House Elves.

Brilliant lie, Isobel, to get out of trouble. Now let's see if you can do yourself some good despite yourself! Perhaps not. But perhaps you can do the rest good. Considering Emily's managing to, instead of pulling herself out of a toxic situation, pulling herself into a DIFFERENT one, an intervention seems wise. But then it would be easier for Isobel to fuss over other people's problems than her own!

Okay, even if she's brusque and undiplomatic about helping. Though I'm kind of adoring her cutting to the heart of matters with Emily and then with Laurel. Both in harsh truths and the gentler, but still important ones (like it not being all Laurel's fault). And, HRM, questions raised for your Isobel, let's see where this goes...

Isobel, are you teaching Voldemort how to fly? Don't do that.

Oh holy hell, didn't see that coming. This is disastrous on so many levels. The twins are such sweethearts. Such sweethearts possibly making the situation so much worse by sneaking her out the grounds.

I love how this story comes achingly close to brushing with Important Canon, only to veer wildly back into teenaged dramas immediately after. :-D

'Fred'll lecture my ear off,' says Georga. HA. Ear off. George. I see what you did there.

Oh my God I want to hug Hagrid. Of course Isobel won't tell anyone, or I'm 99% sure she won't, but he's so sweet and supportive here.

I should probably accept defeat and go to bed, but also accept I review your stuff 'best' after midnight for some ungodly reason. Loving all of this, still.

Author's Response: The main reason for Isobel using the kitchens (for erm, ME not her) was to bring back the idea of "taking advantage" of the house elves. Hufflepuffs kept the kitchens a secret for fear that other Houses would take advantage, and while Isobel has the absolute BEST of intentions, that's totally what she's doing. And, like, the kitchens were the only place I ever introduced the Isobel knew about but not Laurel, so it seemed like the writerly thing to do?

Laurel might spend a lot of this story self-absorbed to a fault, but Isobel is the opposite, also to a fault. She gets so wrapped up in other people's business and really takes it on, which I think feeds her problems because it gives her this mindset of wanting control.

Bah--you're comment about teaching Voldy how to fly made me snort-laugh AGAIN. I read once on cracked that even if humans /could/ fly, it would result in broken bones. It seemed like SUCH a Voldy thing to do to just 'patch it up' after.

I'm REALLY glad you didn't see that coming, because Isobel didn't either (and we have the privilege of knowing who's camped out under that turban). It was REALLY important to me not to victim-blame Isobel, or have anyone think she was stupid for walking with Quirrel. Again, I hoped it would click after.

I timed all the major events in this story to coincide with major canon events JUST so I could brush up on 'em! But that's being a teenager, right? I think they're allowed, at this stage in their lives, to think that they are the center of the universe. Little do they know, all this really BIG stuff is happening just out of view.

Hagrid might be even HARDER to write than Dumbledore! So glad you liked him!

Thank you SO MUCH for this review storm! You have made my WEEK!

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Review #19, by SlideYear Five: The Disappearing Room

6th June 2015:
Ha, I can totally see Tristan expecting Emily to still stick around. Poor Tristan, it's not an unreasonable expectation, but good for Emily for looking out for herself in a situation like this. She does rather deserve it.

Of course, buying her brother's weed off the twins to have some semblance of contact with her is kind of amazingly pathetic. I must salute it. Oh my GOD, if Hufflepuff lost the Quidditch game because Emily got them high at practice, that's kind of amazing.

Drinking the Draught of Tranquility? No good will come of this.

Angry portraits offended by teenaged snogging are the BEST. Oh, you two crazy, destructive kids.

For some reason I randomly assumed they'd found the Room of Requirement. If so, I must commend you for your rather brilliant deconstructing of the trope of characters sneaking in there for illicit sex. Obviously it usually has more rose petals and silk sheets under such circumstances. And if it is the Room, then that makes a lot of sense, Dumbledore trying to hide the Mirror of Erised in there before realising this is just no use. It's a good idea to try.

I love Dumbledore. It's so hard to get his whimsy right, though, and you do it better than any fic writer I've read. The perfect balance of whimsical and insightful.

Oh good, it seems I was right about the Room of Requirement. Phew, I thought I was crazy. Poor Tristan's desires from the mirror are understandable and saddening.

Snape, why can't you be supportive to OTHER children of your old friends, hmm?

And Tristan does what is probably a noble thing in taking the blame. I love how ambiguous and awkward it is - why SHOULD Tristan take the blame for other people, though arguably it would be unfair for poor Laurel to suffer more. But his logic is sound even if blaming him is unfair, so I have to respect his choice here.

...okay, this scene with Lucius and Mary is bringing my crackpot theory back, if ONLY because of the reference to Narcissa - why else would it matter what she knew about Tristan? Oh, you and your wily ways with labelling photographs unexpected things! I must know!

On the other hand, this has opened us up to whole new insights as to how Tristan's mind worked; I was confident on my guess (in terms of Death Eater parents, rather than my crackpotting), but the specifics paint a much more disturbing picture - even if it makes a lot more sense for him.

And I thought I was going crazy with the High Fidelity reference until you confirmed it. It's been so long that I thought I was just slightly sleep-deprived and mad. :D

Poor Tristan! Great chapter.

Author's Response: It sucks to admit, but Tristan really HAS sort of taken advantage of Emily and his assumption that she would always be there. GUH, it just sucks. Because he kinda DESERVES someone to love him unconditionally, after the life he's lead. He has his parents, but since he's at boarding school, they aren't really around. Then again, that's a LOT to put on Emily, and she too deserves to think of herself just now.

There is exactly no other reason Hufflepuff could have lost so badly. I am forced to assume that they were all just high out of their minds.

I liked the idea that the sum of Hogwarts' parts result in a larger whole which is sorta sentient. Also, angry offended portraits are funny ;)

ON THE RoR: if it COULD have just been any random classroom or cupboard, it would have been. BUT, I needed to have the Dumbledore convo and mirror (and he's hardly move the mirror to just some other rando classroom, since he tells Harry that it's being moved somewhere he can't find it, and I needed something convincing to get over the implication that it had immediately been moved to the restricted 3rd floor corridor). AND, I needed Laurel to wake up alone, but DIDN'T want to have Tristan actually just leave her there. SO, yeah, RoR it had to be!

UGH Dumbledore is SO hard to write! I'm really glad you thought this was at least close! There's just something so PRESUMPTUOUS about trying to write someone so wise...

This story is just SO MUCH ambiguity layered on ambiguity, with some ambivalence thrown in for good measure. Life is hard, I guess? Being a teeanger sucks? THERE ARE NO RIGHT ANSWERS. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED, AND IT'S ALL MUSHY. THERE A MULTIPLE TRUTHS, AND THEY ALL HAPPEN AT ONCE, EVEN IF THEY ARE IN CONFLICT. Emily probably gets it better than anyone else.

Tristan represents a much clearer line of cause and effect than the others. Hates being confined/enjoys time outdoors? Was confined as a child. Gets really despondent when lonely/needs a lot of attention? Suffered terrible neglect in early life. Extreme self-loathing and pathological obsession with all things muggle? DEATH EATER PARENTS.

YOU ARE THE FIRST ONE TO PICK UP THE HIGH FIDELITY REFERENCE! Just... Early nineties! Muggle london! Record store! It HAD to be done!

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Review #20, by SlideYear Five: Interrupted

6th June 2015:
Oh, sweet Emily, you keep being oblivious about why Isobel's mad at Tristan. AND YET she knows more and isn't telling, I'm going nuts. Unhelpfully this fuels my mad theory. The two of them smoking together is rather adorable, which makes me suspect horrible things are coming.

Mercifully this sequence with Laurel has proven my crazy theory about Tristan's parentage wrong, though I'm thus not so surprised on the child of a Death Eater (or associate) likelihood. I SHOULD, thus, have twigged a past association being the reason for Snape's sympathy towards Tristan.

My 'bad feeling about this' is intensifying. On the other hand, this duelling sequences, Laurel and then Emily and Tristan, is so acutely propelling that I'm mostly just gobbling up the chapter instead of pausing to scribble my notes.

But of course Laurel interrupts. :-D Oh, no. 'He should have chucked it in the lake right then.' That's one of them sentences. No good will come of this.



Though I adore Laurel's fractured panic here. It's so real, so genuine, but it also really gets across the SITUATION, of how many problems are rolling together. Not just her mentality and struggling to deal with it.

*flips table* THERE IT IS. There's Emily's damage. It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? You crazy kids. In other news, references to Weetabix are making me think altogether too much about breakfast cereals at Hogwarts. There's a LOT to contemplate this chapter.

Isobel wins my love again for trying to do right by Emily in telling her about Tristan and Laurel. It may or may not be the right thing, but she's at least being assertive and not foolish and it's with good intentions. It's rare for the foursome to do something ACTIVE to help one another, especially if it's risky. And done in a bit of an overbearing manner. And yet I cannot help but love Emily a little bit more for lying, because she has every reason to lie.

It was so shocking to read Emily being satisfied in having a nasty thought about her friends that I laughed inordinately loud at her bursting into tears immediately after. Poor girl.

I adore how Bonky helping is very sweet, and sincere - and then you wildly avert a stereotype like Bonky giving some sort of MESSAGE to give Emily a whole new perspective to fix her problems. Bonky is nice. Bonky says nice things. Bonky does not save the day. Poor Bonky.

And then Tonks DOES give the important messages. Very sad from a reader's perspective, and I suspect the foursome will be okay in the end, but she's so entirely right about different social groups in different phases of life. Media, and the Potter books, try to convince us of lifelong friendships struck up from the very first, but it's nice to see it being pointed out that sometimes this isn't just unrealistic, but unwise.

Anyway, this chapter was a ROLLERCOASTER. I'd call it the best one yet, and it probably IS, but I know 'best' chapters are almost always the product of all the ones which came before in a story like this. So it would undermine the groundwork for me to elevate this chapter above its fellows. It's ALL brilliant.

Author's Response: "Something is adorable. Horrible things must be coming." You know me so well.

I'm really glad that the Snape thing wasn't obvious at the time, but clicks in retrospect. I'd never written ANYTHING before this, let alone a mystery sub-plot, so I had no idea if it was too obvious or too subtle.

Also pleased to hear that the POV alternation did what I wanted with pace! This is the first time there are rapid POV shifts, or, indeed, a lot of POV shifts in one chapter, so I hoped it would come off. There's just so little that actually HAPPENS in this story (I prefer to use the euphemism "character driven") so I tried to make kinda simple stuff as exciting as possible, since there's zero action ever.

Ooh yes, Omniscient Narrator stepped in to condemn the potion. There are actually a few things going on there ;) [one of which was a bit of foreshadowing that I hadn't even intended. Then I was like, "oh crap, I know what's gonna happen..."]

Bah! Your reviews, more than anyone else's, make me snort-laugh.

Oh Emily... I still feel guilty about doing that to her. I just LIKED her too much, and realized that that was a mistake. It clouded my judgement with her character, and it meant she wasn't being fully utilized. But yeah... the guilt...

Yeah, I still don't know whether telling Emily was the right choice, but you totally nailed it that at least Isobel's intentions were genuine and pure. This is something that will continue to develop, but Emily hates the idea of being cast as naive.

I SUPER didn't want to make the House Elf infinitely wise and silver-bullet-y. Bonky is great here--she offers sympathy, a bit of advice, and support, but yeah. She's not Dumbledore.

It kinda hurt to give that advice from Tonks... I mean, I'm actually still surprisingly close to all the friends I had as a teenager, but there are a few I lost touch with who I really loved once. It's sad thinking about it, at the time, that it could happen someday. But when it does... There's a reason you lose touch.

Oh THANK YOU SO MUCH! I really hoped readers would appreciate the way I built to this. This story was all pre-written, and written all at once, so it has a narrative arc over multiple chapters rather than an episodic structure with an arc within individual chapters. I know it means losing readers, but it means SO MUCH to get a review like this where someone appreciates how it all comes together. THANK YOU!

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Review #21, by SlideYear Five: Torture

6th June 2015:
I really like the CI for this one. A particularly haunting choice on quotes and image.

I hadn't picked up on Isobel not strictly being the smartest of the lot, though it makes a lot of sense now you mention it. While she tries very hard to come across as the hyper-bright one, something wasn't quite ringing true. I think it's because the others don't pick up on it, and neither does she herself. OR I'm not so attentive. :D Anyway, onward!

And immediately, OH NO, Isobel, you were so close in looking towards Laurel for some sort of lesson and you picked THE WRONG LESSON. Then again, Isobel in general is clearly not the right person to be supporting Laurel at the moment - for her own sake, if not Laurel's. Though at least she can give good guidance on the Tristan issue - and is rather right on why it's different to Emily's experiences. Not to mention that Laurel's invoking about six, seven months prior. Things change.

This situation with food needs to - unfortunately I'm feeling it may need to hit a crisis, because I'm not sure anything ELSE is going to precipitate change, and that's a depressing thought. The others have noticed but they're not doing much, and again, it's not their fault as they're hardly equipped to intervene.

While Isobel's internal lashing out at Tristan made me at first cringe, I realised I had to see some truth in it. It can be incredibly hard to support someone going through depression, especially if you have your own troubles AND you don't know what's going on with the person. Isobel's not in a great place to be sympathetic, so it's so easy to see Tristan as his illness; she's clearly capable of remembering who he really is, but it's been overshadowed now. Briefly I thought a little less of Isobel for the lashing out, but I must be more sympathetic. She is in the worst situation of any of them for thinking well of him.

Let's see if this ends up in an open lashing out.

I see Isobel favours my mastered classroom technique of getting an easy answer offered early to avoid engagement later. PENELOPE CLEARWATER, I have been SO forgiving of you in this story, but what kind of historical answer is 'the early middle ages'? That's perhaps a FIVE CENTURY WINDOW!

I keep having this deranged theory that Tristan is the son of the Lestranges. I'm not sure I've voiced it because it's the kind of theory which is either hella brilliant or hella WRONG.

The team label is brilliant. I must commend your research in British slang. :-D

...Percy, you little British Slang Word I'll decide on later.

Aww, the conversation between Isobel and Tristan was nice. And a good example of that kind of situation with a friend; there are times where the good parts shine through and you forget why they're so frustrating, or you understand the parts that were frustrating.

Cedric and Tristan WOULD make a beautiful couple.

Haha, Isobel manages to inadvertently NOT arm Voldemort with new forms of torture. Brilliant. And your author's note again demonstrates your creepy levels of research. Respect.

Author's Response: Oh the CI text for this chapter. The story is set a few years too early for Fiona Apple, but uh... ShHhH!

Isobel's relative intelligence isn't an important point--just a subtle character nuance. Not anything super important to pick up on, and it doesn't really matter. It's just one element of the difference between who She is and who her Persona is.

Yeah, there totally WAS a lesson there, and she missed it. But she's really bad at recognizing things right now, often believing the opposite. She thinks her anorexia is a way of gaining control and maintaining something even, when really it makes her more out of control and uneven :( She doesn't realize it, but the starvation has affected her mental state, making her erratic and emotionally unstable.

Ugh, that's the thing with anorexia though--it's very slow. It doesn't really have crises until after a lot of time has passed. Lasting damage might be happening, but the body adapts to keep someone functional (which often has grave consequences of its own--physical and psychological.) And this is rough to say but... Isobel's ED is pretty 'garden variety.' That does NOT mean that it isn't terrible, but... Well, I just deleted several rambling paragraphs about some RL stuff with my friend, but that's neither here not there, and much too big a bummer.

Very well said. I wanted Isobel's feelings to be SOMEWHAT valid, and her criticisms to seem at least a bit convincing, but you're VERY right to recognize that she's missing the issue of depression. I think that's in part because she is not equipped to handle it; she's only fifteen, she's got her own illness to contend with, and she's a pureblood (doesn't know a great deal about psychology).

Ah yes, a very clever technique. I should really follow it, but I'm much more of the Hermione school of thought (raise hand at the beginning, and then also every single time after that.) HAH! Yeah, Penelope's answer was pretty lame :P Being a Ravenclaw doesn't necessarily mean that you're smart, only that you care about school and grades (I go to an Ivy League school and while there ARE a lot of geniuses, there's even more 'I just care a lot' types. Most of my highschool-drop-out friends actually possess more raw intelligence).

The Lestrange theory isn't bad! But you've already read the next chapter, so you know what's up.

Glad you dug the name! My dad lived in London when I was a teen and I have a British stepmother, so I know some tricks ;) I do worry though that the voice in this story isn't always convincing. I TRIED to use English actors as faceclaims to better get a handle on the dialog, but gave up and used Americans for Isobel and Laurel. If you EVER have britpicking suggestions I'd really appreciate it!

Indeed, it's much easier for Isobel to hate Tristan in the abstract. There's just too much history and affection there, and Tristan is already so self-loathing it was easy for him to pick up what Isobel was angry about.

Teehee--I kept trying to introduce as many doomed ships as possible just to see if readers would bite! (Crestwood totally ships Trisdric. No biters for Isover/Ollibel yet)

"Creepy levels of research"--the most apt word choice yet.

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Review #22, by SlideYear Five: The Trouble With Laurel

5th June 2015:
Huh, did we already know Tristan could see thestrals? Damn my memory. WELL NOW I KNOW. Yet more clues for my wall of crazy conspiracy.

And so do we see how fragile Tristan's moods are; on the one hand, the music catapults him upward, breaking him out of that cycle, but on the other, he's clearly much, much quicker to descend.

Then descend into the situation with Laurel. On the one hand, it doesn't seem ideal for the two of them to feed off each other; on the other, they both feel completely misunderstood and/or like they'd be letting down Isobel and Emily if they were honest.

And THEN they all feed off each other's damage and buttons. Which is very compelling from a reader perspective, but yet again makes me want to facepalm. I love these poor, damaged kids. Really, send the lot to Sprout. :D

Oh hey a Sprout scene.

I LOVE the comparison with the Death Eater gangs. Obviously these guys aren't about to become genocidal terrorists, but the simple reminder of such people living as teenagers and how they interacted with society is so nice.

Mmm worldbuilding. All beautifully logical and also with its implied consequences. I love it.

A great chapter for rounding out not just Tristan's descent, but offering all these clues on everyone else's.

Author's Response: That was the first Thestral reveal, no worries!

'Fragile' is an excellent word to describe Tristan's moods. And yeah, he's very quick to close in on himself and start digging himself into sadness holes that he can't get out of. It's weird, I'd originally planned on Tristan being this handsome, sexy, whatever character who was a lot more charming, but I think he turned into something more interesting. Then I went and decided on Craig Roberts for a faceclaim (whom I find ODDLY attractive, but is not traditionally good looking) and I think imagining him playing the role resulted in something more complex and less lame.

Laurel and Tristan are definitely different in the mind department, but are similar in that both suffer from self-loathing. They have this idea that they can just Be Themselves together, but since they hate themselves, they end up just indulging that together and making poor choices.

Yes! My mom used to say that sometimes people who are kind of pushing against boundaries or rebelling from the status quo can take it too far, and lose sight of what lines not to cross (think Michael Alig). So while the Hex Heads are NOT the Death Eaters (or Michael Alig), there is something of a similar MO going on.

Ah yes, the rural wizards! The canon note that some families home-school, combined with the American stereotype of "hicks" or "hillbillies," plus the existence of the Gaunts, plus the Village Witch archetype resulted in that inexorable headcanon!

Thank you sososo much for these reviews! I started reading Starfall, so expect a flurry from me soon :D

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Review #23, by SlideYear Five: The Little Things (1992)

5th June 2015:
UGH it has been MONTHS and it's about time I got back into this story. I just keep wanting to sit down and Properly Review, and you know the cycle. It means I never get around to it. So I guess I'll just try!

Hooray, a chapter from Laurel's POV at last. I admit I have thus far enjoyed her more as a foil for everyone else, but it'll be curious to see her in her own right. Immediately I'm hit with her sense of frustration and yet self-loathing. I've only done the "I live away from my own bedroom" for a couple of years at uni, but I imagine four and a half years of serious growing up mostly away from home is going to make for some conflicting home life. And a strained relationship with her mother, or a relationship which looks like it was already strained.

Seeing Isobel from another perspective is always entertaining; there are more layers in her, probably, in terms of how she presents herself compared to how she is. So seeing who spots the chinks in her armour and who doesn't is curious.

I love flawed parents. I don't know why. It's always so refreshing in fanfic to read about parents who aren't either plain evil or entirely supportive and wonderful. Usually those in the middle only tend to exist to object to someone's love interest and eventually come around. Betty presenting the return of her wand as an act of trust, instead of an act of necessity...

OOH we're in a SPROUT POV! That's different. It makes perfect sense that she does the guidance work at Hogwarts (has that come up in a past chapter? Oh, don't rely on my memory). You know, it's actually very interesting coming back to Year Five after reading The Casual Vacancy; I remember thinking at the time that your chosen style for this story made a lot more sense. Particularly how you develop and reveal backstory.

This Sprout scene, in particular, is feeling very Casual Vacancy - and I mean that in a good way. It does that same job of expanding characters by seeing them through different perspectives, and everyone's a little bit useless in their own adorable way. In Year Five, anyway. But I digress.

Briefly misread description of Laurel's father not as a muggle, but as a smuggler. Very different story. HOWEVER, her family life clearly has some secrets. See above for how you're developing and revealing backstory. And anyway, a very good scene, and pleasantly insightful about Sprout as well as poor Laurel.

Aww, all the feels from Isobel.

The depiction of Laurel's struggle with addiction is very effective. Combining the difficulties with both the minutiae of everyday life and the genuinely tougher parts, like Patronus summoning and trying to avoid falling back on old habits, makes it feel very real. The elements of choice, and the wondering what she GETS out of breaking the habit, and the cycle of defeat - all compelling. And, of course, very real. As is the joking about the horrible incident; it's a very valid thing people do, and those outside of the trauma reacting badly to it - also very real.

'It's all just Protego or Expelliarmus anyway.' Much as I try to expand depictions of combat magic... Isobel isn't wrong. :D

Oh Christ, the flashbacks. Oh, Christ - oh, phew, the conversation with Tristan actually went helpfully, didn't just get worse like I thought it might. 'All the little things.' Words of wisdom from Tristan.

An excellent chapter, as you may be able to tell from my blathering.

Author's Response: Hello!

I really wanted to build up everyone else's perspective on Laurel before getting into her head--and also, her head would have been weird to occupy when she was hexed all the time. And probably very boring, too, as she'd kind of anesthetized herself to everything. I've never lived away from my own bedroom (my mom rented my old room out just as soon as I left) but one of my biffles had one of those situations. I'd spent a LOT of time sleeping over at her house as a teen, and helping her clear it out one time was like, I dunno. A really weird experience. She'd, like Laurel, sort of been using it as a locker to dump crap, and it was so odd coming across old things (like old notebooks of mine from highschool that got wedged under a shelf somehow).

You're super right that Isobel, probably more than anyone else, Presents Herself. She has a Summer birthday, so she's actually the youngest of the lot (almost a full year younger than Tristan), but she's always trying to act like the Mum. I think she's more of an adorable sweetie than she lets on, and kind of keeps an icy mask on a lot of the time. (And this isn't a bad thing, but while she's the most active in her studies, she's not actually the smartest. Her POVs tend to have a lot less intelligent language and she uses parentheses a lot).

FLAWED PARENTS! Obviously, family is really important to people and their experiences, and especially children and teenagers who aren't fully independent yet. I definitely wanted to examine a lot of different styles of families and parenting, and I think all of the parents in this story have their strengths and weaknesses. Betty is the least likable, but even she isn't all bad--having a teenager is just really hard and confusing (I imagine?) The parents are all just as confused as their kids. (Oh, and if you're curious, I imagined Betty as looking like Samantha Spiro from Grandma's House).

It got mentioned in Ch4 that Sprout did guidance, but pretty in passing. I DEFINITELY was inspired a lot by Tessa Wall (though they have their differences). I took a LOT of devices and ideas from Casual Vacancy for this story (I'd just read it when I started writing). An RL friend of mine read this story and then CV, and said of it "it reminded me a lot of Y5." Then I was like, "OTHER WAY AROUND, BRO." But yeah, CV was the first time Rowling explored things from multiple perspectives (and she did it SO well), and I loved the idea of bringing multiple perspectives into her Hogwarts world.

Laurel's struggles required a huge amount of imagination on my part, so I'm glad it seemed compelling! I've known a lot of people to suffer from addiction and been involved in some community organizing and stuff around harm reduction and service providing, so I had some stuff to go on, but I'm really glad that her POV was convincing and seemed, like, thorough.

Ah yes, all those little things. I didn't want every character to follow the same arc or be different permutations of the same thing. Tristan has a Big Thing, so many readers assumed Laurel did too. But she doesn't have any DARK SECRETS or anything and her life has been pretty average. But yeah, there's a lot of ways that people can hurt, and people will have Feelings even if there isn't a major trauma to pinpoint.


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Review #24, by SlideDerailed: tres

1st June 2015:

Prone to saying "yah" rather too much - snerk. And personally I'm quite sure Lucius Malfoy is capable of misbehaving with the eyes of the wizarding world upon him. I guess we'll see! I never did buy him dodging a prison sentence, but Pottermore proves me wrong on this count (and I don't recall you being specific in Railsverse if he dodged Azkaban entirely post-Second War, or if he's out after 25-30 years, which wouldn't be unreasonable).

I am of course most curious about your Scorpius Malfoy, and how he's turned from bully to going out with Rose - which says things about both Scorpius AND Rose herself.

It's fun to see James, still, from someone else's point of view. From in his head, we could often take his tolerance of people like Scorpius as a virtue, a capacity to look beyond reputation, but Carla's not wrong in this less-charitable assessment. A lot of people have a lot of reason to be upset, and James should probably make sure he's being compassionate to THEM, too.

BUT STILL IT'S THE EXCITING SHINDIG. Announcements! Ballrooms! It's like a magical Austen! Snarky Carla - ouch, ouch, wasn't expecting the invocation of 'Parky.' Suppose she's entitled to mention it as she pleases and she's doubtless tense, but poor both of them.

Oh Freddie, now you and Brigid are happy I can love you without reservation. YES, Ryan and Della are engaged. *fist-pump* HUGO. Stahp, Hugo. Stop. At least his inducing of nausea has led us to Louis, about whom I have NEVER had reservations in loving.

You know, it took until Roxie's arrival before I realised this was a very-suave update of the many faces of Railsverse and what's changed in the time-skip. Smooth.

Still curious about Scorpius. I like him and Carla being somewhat allies against the Weasley Brood and their involved extended families. Ah, Lucius did have another stint in Azkaban. Good!

Yay, Lily, Kit, and Maddie! Very judicious selection of character updates. God, writing Next Gen is SO HARD if you want to cover ALL the canon characters, AND their logical additions (other halves, that sort of thing), AND your own characters. You handle the entire thing better than any I've seen, and definitely better than me!

Harsh call from Audrey about the illness. I can understand it, and rules like that are there for reason, and Carla is a rather unusual case (though doubtless not unprecedented). It's still pretty harsh to know that even if magic can't cure her, it could alleviate the symptoms and people are CHOOSING to not do so. However justified.

Aw, poor James. Your name brings money, boy. Do it for charity.

And, ugh, the torture room. I always have a morbid fascination in how any story which deals with reconciliation of the Wotters and the Malfoys post-war deals with the Manor itself. Hrm! Nott and Goyle, though as-yet no indication on if it's Junior or Senior, and their deference to Lucius doesn't really elaborate!

Percy to the rescue! D'aww, I love Percy, he always deserves moments of awesome. And, yes, Lucius is up to something! Or he's connected to people who're up to something, I am so THERE for when this plot explodes!

Good chapter! Mighty fine shindig!

Author's Response: If I ever actually insert Carlotta's friend Yvette into this story (and I'm pretty certain I WILL) then she'll be a scream. YAH.

Obviously yes, Lucius escaped Azkaban in JK's canon. I'm the kind of person who wants to accept the new things she reveals as canon (except the stuff about the Quidditch World Cup because it absolutely tramples all over Rails) but I refuse to believe that Harry and Kingsley let Lucius Malfoy escape Azkaban just because Narcissa lied to Voldemort. I think he'd let Draco and Narcissa off, but Lucius is a different kettle of fish, he was 100% committed in a way that Draco definitely wasn't, and I think Narcissa perhaps showed some sort of remorse or regret for her actions. Although she was maybe just trying to save her son's skin. EITHER WAY, I can understand Harry letting her go free, but not Lucius. The only way I can rationalise it is that he did it for Narcissa's sake, in that he didn't want to sentence her to living a life without her husband.


We will definitely see more of Scorpius. As I think I've said before, Scorose was set up in Rails mainly to allow for how that affects things in Derailed.

I think one of the most interesting things about writing from Carlotta's POV is seeing how we view James differently as a result. Even I've been surprised by how she reacts to a lot of his traits that we've seen before as being GOOD traits. But then, James has an incredibly pure heart even after what he's been through, whereas Carlotta has a very cynical outlook on the world, which definitely comes through in the narrative.

Freddie/Brigid makes me so happy. And Louis continues to spoil the show. He has a corker of a cameo in the next chapter as well.

We're going to see a lot of Carlotta's struggles as she tries to straddle both worlds, and Audrey's line on her illness is one of them. Audrey isn't WRONG - and it's interesting because Carlotta's own stance on this goes against the general attitude that she's tried to adopt in terms of integrating into the magical world, which will become clear in future chapters - but it's a hard pill to swallow. Pun not intended.

Who knows what Lucius is up to! Except for causing trouble, which is definitely his speciality.

Thanks for reviewing! :)

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Review #25, by SlideHamartia: two.

24th April 2015:
I have a small burst of pride in Slytherin solidarity at our gallant hero's coming out. Of course, it's difficult to say how a pureblood-dominated society is going to be with such matters, though I do approve of the explanation you give. I also like seeing the virtues of the House, and having one another's backs with politics thrown in sounds most appropriate. I can totally see Slytherins with an Old Boys' network in the working world; I doubt Slughorn was the first to propagate such a notion.

We know nothing of the Selwyn family other than they are one of the Sacred 28, so I enjoy seeing them developed here as a non-Slytherin family, giving some hefty history to the other Houses. It's so easy to make them Yet Another Pureblood Supremacist household. And the Latin has tickled me.

The passage of time is handled artfully. You're setting up snapshots of life and history at Hogwarts, a combination of sweeping explanations - like spending time in each others' common rooms - and then specifics, like the Hallowe'en kiss. It's a very effective match to summarise what's happened and still keep it real.

I also share your interpretation of Slytherin feeling 'got at' by the rest of the school, and for Snape's favouritism, flawed as Snape is, to be an effort to redress the balance. That dang House Cup theft. But the idea of the seventh years having a sense of unity is nice, too, and kind of realistic as people start to grow up.

And after all that sweeping prose, the dialogue is just as pleasantly punchy. I snerked at, 'Then I don't know your first name.' It's very effective chemistry, two kids being caught up in one another without a Deep and Meaningful bond (yet, I mean, there for the moment clearly hormones at work getting in the way of TALKING) and, honestly, it's rather believable for teenagers.

Excellent stuff. I am greatly enjoying this.

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