Reading Reviews From Member: Slide
  
148 Reviews Found

Review #1, by SlideDerailed: siete

9th April 2016:
Let's get this DONE. Wait, I'm behind on TWO? *coughs*

The village phone box in Hogsmeade has to suck. I mean, that's gonna be COLD this time of year - or wizards make it super plush and maybe like it should have an immortal madman flying around inside it. Yeah, that sounds like them. And yay on culture being another gap between Carlotta (and Muggle-borns) and wizarding society; like, surely it's not just about bloodlines and such, there is a huge CULTURAL rift between these sets of people and that has to be hard to deal with, especially when wizarding society seems to demand Muggleborns get subsumed by the wizarding world. ANYWAY story.

Having to lie to her parents has to be rough. And the absolute separation from her old life. But of course everything has to go so irritatingly real-world when parents wield siblings against you like secret, sneaky, inferiority weapons. Because stories about magic and how it's awesome and inconveniencing are better when paired with real life woes. :-D

Cannot read about Cecilia without giggling about Carlotta and the naming convention now.

I must say it's an extreme cut-off Carlotta's had to do. Understandable with James' job, though arguably HE could whisk back and forth to London, but then it's not as if she'd easily find prospects in the wizarding world better than the Three Broomsticks. No matter what she does she's going to have a foot in both worlds, but right now she's being eaten whole by one world which is never QUITE going to be hers.

You're right, Lily, stealing stationery is the God-given right to all who work in an office. Oh god, family members on the same team. It's awful, how do people cope? Imagine that Order of the Phoenix match where Ron AND the twins played? I made the horrible mistake in Not Fade Away of having both Mulcibers and both Carrows in the Quidditch team, Slytherin must have been weeping with confusion.

I don't know who Lily gets this compulsiveness from. If Hermione were a blood relative... then again I guess Molly could be like a WHIRLWIND when trying to sort stuff, so Lily must get it from her grandmother.

Ahh, parents. Good stuff! And excellent portrayals of the troubles in integrating in the magical world.

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Review #2, by SlideFirst Kiss: First Kiss

4th April 2016:
Here from Twitter! Aw, YEAH, Remus/Tonks!

Stonking opening line. Sets the scene and reminds us of Tonks being Tonks. Stonking scene-setting, too. 'Tasted like a sponge.' Ugh, hospital food memories!

Gobstones club mixed with wine-tasting sounds worrisome. It's still sweet to see the people rallying around Tonks, especially Hagrid showing particular care, because OF COURSE Hagrid cares for EVERYONE. I don't know why I feel sorry for Kingsley, but I do.

Some gorgeous turns of phrase in this. Andromeda's aristocratic traits refusing to be 'washed with the rest of the dirty laundry' is a particularly striking one.

Very believable to imagine Remus and Tonks grew closer from Sirius' death, if only for a time (it's likely why he also started driving her away, but it'd be a complex sort of journey). And Tonks' reflections feel spot on, and probably the sort of thing Remus needs to hear. Then them bonding over hospitals is ALSO believable, and the kind of thing which didn't occur to me in this moment but I feel like it should have? Which is a sign of good writing, I reckon. ;-)

Fabulous ending. Not just for the squee factor, but Tonks outright rejecting his self-pity is very Tonks and very satisfying. Even if we know they've got a whirlwind of a year ahead of them, there had to be ups and downs (especially for them to go from 'we can't be together' to 'we're married' over about 2 months), and this is a particularly compelling up. An up with down bits. Alas, very believable for this couple.

Good stuff!

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Review #3, by SlideOut of the Magical World: The Night of Sorrow

4th April 2016:
Here from Twitter!

I like the scene-setting at the start; it's simply done, but perfectly effective. And poor Cho! Even if there's more coming, it's easy enough to see why she might leave the magical world, considering how cruel it's been to her. I have to be mildly amused that she and Cedric bonded over Harry, and rivalry with Harry! It's also nice to see some reflection of Cho and Harry bonding over Quidditch; despite it being where they met, canon didn't much use it as a shared interest to bring them together (or maybe it did, and I'm still blocking out their date as the most secondhand embarrassment I've ever felt in my life).

The contrast is good when you set the scene for the hospital room; it's a good juxtaposition from the original scene-setting, and the similar terms used for description ties it together. It blends present and memory effectively.

Cho going to the party and how it feels is believably painful. Returning to where you once where and no longer fitting in, especially when other people have moved on and bonded without you, is rough. Cho went a different path and her struggle to connect is believable.

Quite a gut-punching ending! Not just the dream, but the return to the present, and the reflection of 'maybe next spring'; these are the kinds of things we tell ourselves even if it'll never happen. That's perhaps a scarier future for Cho - not leaving the wizarding world, but that she might never truly enter the Muggle world. I hope she does find some balance one way or another!

This was a lovely little story, thanks for writing it. Good stuff!

Author's Response: Hi, Slide! Thank you for kind offer and fabulous review! I'll post it on the forums. Your insight really encourages me. I'm in a kind of writer's block now. My muse may come back again soon.

Yes, as you noticed, I tried to write about the bond between Cho and Harry over Quidditch. Honestly, I thought romance between her and Harry would be developed in the latter of the HP books, but J.K.Rowling didn't, Harry ended with Ginny, which I like but sometimes I think what if Harry chose Cho instead of Ginny? There are lots of plunnies related with Cho and Harry.

It was hard for me to write Cho's angst, but I thought I had to, because Kevin's challenge theme was to create the destruction and the connection between two things or people. But it was very fun to struggle through, too.
The description at the hospital room and the ending description were the spots I spared my time the most. So your review made my day!

Kenny


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Review #4, by SlideMy Happy Ending: You Are Spring

2nd April 2016:
I have sent myself here from Twitter!

The crowd of redheads. Yeah, it's got to be pretty terrifying to be a non-Weasley at a Weasley family do, or at least an event where all the Weasleys appear. ALL THE GINGER.

I could detect the bitterness in all of the endings our narrator describes, but I'd assumed that was a wry acceptance; these being Dominique's words is delivered as a real gut-punch, and I like it. The quote used for the summary is most excellent, and I absolutely see why you used it! It's a lovely summary of the whole character.

Also, it sounds weird - before I'd stopped and thought, I'd assumed our narrator was female. Maybe that's just because most first person present fics are, or maybe that says something about me? I actually like it, it's a kind of unusual turn on the 'girl mopes around after guy' traditional tale. Even if it's not that unusual. I am rambling. And Mark Thomas' summary of himself is lovely, too, especially the ancient oak bit. Absolutely paints a picture.

This whole story is beautiful as a declaration of love not just for a person, but for a PAIRING; it's Mark not just mourning losing her, but mourning losing THEM. Which sounds kind of self-evident, but it's the moments of them together he's missing as well as her. I kind of like that; it strengthens the idea of losing a relationship rather than a person, which makes it kind of sadder.

The claim to write loads being something he knows is a lie is so upsettingly true to life - with any graduation, let alone with a former girlfriend. You say these things because you must, and sometimes you mean it and sometimes you know it's fake.

Lovely story. A lovely whole goodbye; unsurprisingly it's a piece about endings, but you do a great job of painting this on-off relationship as being a chapter of a life in itself, as opposed to something that just featured in a life. Mark doesn't seem to expect his words to get anywhere; he just has to get them off his chest, say this ardent declaration to move on.

And the optimistic cynic in me says he's only eighteen, and his capacity to healthily reflect on his life so far means he has a good chance of finding happiness again in the future. I don't usually root for a one-shot OC to sort his life out and be happy, and it's not the story, but I hope it happens. ;)

Good stuff!

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Review #5, by SlideThe Last Five Years: Still Hurting

2nd April 2016:
Sent here by the little blue birds of Twitter! Chose this one of yours 'cos I have a rather soft spot for Blaise. :)

Immediately I have questions and theories (aside from who 'she' is); with the keys issue, a Muggle-born? Ooh. You start to build the tension, along with these questions, the moment our narrator opens the door, and I rather enjoyed that. The delicate pace of it, going over the room inch by inch, builds up the lives of the two characters but also the apprehension as to what's coming - and, of course, the dawning sense of inevitability. Because it becomes so clear to us, the readers, that he's gone before she realises or accepts it, and that makes it all the more tragic.

So I rather enjoyed this as an introduction even before I got to the end and the author's note, and I think the idea sounds like LOADS of fun. I will absolutely earmark this for future reading, and see how the characters come together - and apart.

Good stuff!

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Review #6, by Slideedges: and we will stumble through heaven

2nd April 2016:
Here from Twitter. Also from procrastinating! Stylistically I'm a weird fan of this sort of thing - I don't tend to seek out big, non-linear, present tense stories, but I experiment with it myself and love supporting people when they experiment? Plus, Wolfstar. What's not to love.

Remus living on a mixture of fear and thrills in his new friendship is believable and very sweet - there's a liberation in this new way of life, not just for having friends but what his friends are like. It's a kind of emotional recklessness I could understand from his way of life until now. And the foursome with stars in their eyes, dreaming of being a big future is as sweet as it is depressingly doomed.

Sirius the death-seeker, or at least the one with no fear of death, is also thoroughly believable and in-line with who he becomes in canon. It makes a beautiful contrast between the two, of fear and fearlessness, Sirius destroying himself from within and Remus SHIELDING himself from within. Rather loving all of the duality within this; it's what the best characterisation's made of.

Might be a formatting issue at 'He doesn't say I was worried about you' and 'he also doesn't ask How are you feeling' - I get not using punctuation to help keep the flow, but maybe italics?

The little note of Sirius being insecure in how to show affection is lovely. Also love the timing of the Prank and Sirius running away from home; hadn't really thought of those two incidents coming so close together before, though it makes sense to time the reconciliation with Sirius' big change. It would take a LOT to reconcile from the Prank.

Oh, Remus reliving Sirius' laughter post-James and Lily's death, after you set up his laughter as such a beautiful and terrifying thing, is just perfect. Horrid, but perfect.

Really like this; it's a great piece juxtaposing the characters andthe nature of their damage, the nature of how they deal with that damage together and apart. The non-linear setup really works, letting us see them from all different angles and build up a picture of completion, instead of just time.

Good stuff!

Author's Response: Hello!

First of all, I am so sorry for the super-late response. :(

Second of all, thank you so much for this absolutely wonderful review!

It's always a huge relief to be told my characterization is believable, as being OOC is a big fear of mine. All my headcanons and the way that I write these characters is very much in line with what I pulled from and took away from my own readings of the books, but I know a lot of people see these characters very differently, so it's always really great when I get reviews like this!

I see so much duality within the pairing of Wolfstar, as well as within both of the characters, so I really wanted to include that duality in this piece and make it almost a theme.

Oops! That bit actually does have italics in my word doc - the formatting must have gotten messed up! Thanks for pointing it out - I've fixed it :)

The Prank and Sirius running away from home are actually about a year apart in canon, I think, but in my story "Breathe" I ended up changing the year he ran away from after 6th year to after 5th year, making the two events much closer. I kind of like it better that way, timeline-wise, so I left it like that in this story. But that actually is a little bit AU.

I'm so glad that you enjoyed this! Thank you again for this really lovely review!

-Kayla


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Review #7, by SlideDerailed: seis

15th February 2016:
*staggers in* I'M HERE. And now I need to remember what's going on. OH YES DRAMA.

Good for James for acknowledging fault, good for James for defending his right to make his own choices. Entirely understandable Carlotta can't just go OH OKAY. This is sad but also delicious. Because I'm mean.

YES Lily, STEAL the Prime Minister's stationery! Stationery is very important. OH it's the Quidditch idea you mentioned. Yesss. Oh NO FRED ISN'T THERE TO BE BEATER WITH GEORGE. *throws everything out the window* I wonder if he can play with his son. That would be nice. Or Quidditch is too painful - you know I could just read on, you've probably thought about this.

Poor Carla, having to catch up with the Quidditch family tradition. Woe betide anyone marrying into the family who's NOT a Quidditch nut. I wonder if your weird family Quidditch correlation thing was intentional or another weird moment?

*gasp* Scorpius doesn't have a Weasley jumper? SCANDAL. Keep him as a substitute, anyway, Lily, no problems there.

Yess, go Lily, exploit your family's fame for a good cause. Good girl.

Haha, Ginny's woes about being outplayed by her sons being trumped by Angelina. Yeah, poor girl. I do love Angelina. Ooh, drama for Brie. Mystery! I love mystery, I get to make madcap theories. I HAVE ONE but we'll see how it pans out. At least this fixes the Scorpius issue. FOR NOW. HA, he's already suffering.

Oh no, Brigid is legit TROUBLED by this mysterious non-Quidditch thing. My theories begin to flounder. But OH WELL Scorpius is talking I better pay attention. Poor kid, it's pretty understandable, and honestly, if being a berk when he was eleven is the worst thing he's done, the Malfoy family is improving by leaps and bounds. It's not a hanging offence.

D'aww, Scorose. I struggle with other Scoroses (I DON'T LIKE CHANGE), so I'm glad I'm getting over that. It's nice they're happy and NORMAL.

oh GOD I forgot about Hugo and Alice I must now go scourge my brain sorry review over BYE. Good Stuff!

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Review #8, 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!

Author's Response: Ha, Artemis is TOTALLY inspired by Oz. It's all so clear!

I'm having far too much fun with all Carlotta's cultural references. And don't worry, it IS a point - living with someone who doesn't understand any of the things you grew up with would be slightly difficult, I think.

You have no idea how many times I went round in circles about the money thing. At first I had Carla pooling all her money into James' account, and then I realised this is a girl who is worried about burdening him, she's not going to keep all her money in wizarding currency and leave herself with very little Muggle money to get by on. But then, would it feel right for her to have moved to Hogsmeade and yet still be hesitant about another aspect of integration with James and his life? But I think she would have jumped at the chance to run a pub and live near Hogwarts without having thought about the implications, and only realise after that she had just annexed herself onto James' world. And now she's worried about continuing down that road without a get-out.

Because we are all wonderfully flawed and contradictory human beings.

OH MY DAYS CARLOTTA AND THE PYGMY PUFF NAMES. I'd love to say that I planned this from the start and I've been waiting for four years to slip this in. BUT I would be lying. I named Carlotta, and then named Cordelia, and then decided that James would have a naming system, and only THEN did I realise Carlotta fitted said pattern. So I had a little giggle to myself, then promptly forgot about it. Then when it came to writing this scene I remembered it all over again and had to write it in.

tl;dr I WISH IT WAS INTENTIONAL BUT I BLEW MY OWN MIND.

I find it interesting that you say James seems like he's shoving his head in the sand! It wasn't the intention, but while I was writing this conversation it did occur to me that he was giving off that vibe. Of course, that's exactly the last thing he's doing; none of this is an issue to him and as far as he's concerned, dwelling on any of it just completely undermines the point he's trying to make! But to poor Carlotta it feels like he's rejecting everything she says.

You're right to have mulled over the "whole love thing", it HAS been conspicuously absent thus far. And that's partly because even by the end of Rails they weren't ready to say it to one another, and I feel like it's the sort of thing that would be A Big Deal, and I don't want to cheat any of you guys out of the moment by saying "they've already said the I Love You thing so commence the weekly declarations". I THINK I know what I'm going to do with that Moment, but things may change if I think it feels too contrived to not have it happen earlier. STAY TUNED.

We've sort of discussed the friend v boyfriend thing in my Oblivion review re Scorose v Scorbus, but yeah, the way Carlotta sees it, Brigid has her own life and her own friends and her own marriage, and if she was to lose one friend then sure, she'd be upset but she'd be FINE. Which in some senses is true, but Carlotta underestimates how much Brigid does love her. They started off as just being friends through James, but they've become crazy close in their own right now.

James, on the other hand, is in the process of MAKING a new life WITH Carlotta, and THAT'S why she feels like it's more important that she worry about James. Because if something happens to her, then that life they're making together gets pulled apart.

Which is more important? Personally, I wouldn't suggest that either is. But I think Carlotta views it differently. Plus, she also considers that she could live her life without any romance and be okay, but to cut all her friendships out of her life would leave her pretty damn lonely - she could axe One Man but not Many Friends. Which is very not the case. If she and James WERE to split up, she'd miss him every single day.

And now thinking of a future for Carlotta without James in it is depressing me. Cheers for the review :)


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Review #9, 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!

Author's Response: Hey, look, I'm finally here to reply.

You wouldn't believe how much thought I put into the Weasley jumper thing. Because like you say, they're an absolute rite of passage, and I feel like Molly wouldn't just knit them for ANYONE, and I kept going back and forth over whether I thought Carlotta should have one or not. Eventually, I decided she would, because I think Molly would come to realise that marriage isn't always what signifies the turning point between whether a relationship is a genuinely serious, jumper-worthy one, and it would have felt ridiculously exclusive to have Carlotta sitting there hosting a Weasley lunch without some knitted goodness of her own.

That, and her birthday's not for another ten months, and I don't know if the fic will run that far into the future, and she needs to have one at some point during the story otherwise it really WILL feel wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if my Weasleys all see each other TOO much. I read other Next Gens where only certain family members actually meet up on a regular basis. But then they've always been a close-knit family, so hopefully it doesn't feel too odd that I have them all floating around at one point or another.

Plus, Louis though.

I really hoped Molly the Younger wouldn't come across as the villain of the peace in this chapter. She wasn't meant to be cruel, just a bit obtuse at times.

When I first wrote this chapter, I had James being a bit crazy about Lucius, but it didn't feel right, because it just wouldn't be the way he'd react to it now. So I ended up tweaking it, and it felt much more in character to have him being all calm about it. He HAS matured, and so it wasn't right for him to be reacting badly to that. How grown up he is these days...

Aha, I reread the Potters in Greece, WORST THING EVER, I'd never realised before just HOW many times food gets mentioned. All I wanted was roast beef and treacle tart (not both at the same time) and I was stuck on a yacht in the Aegean, far far away from proper British food. It broke me.

Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #10, 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 #11, 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 #12, 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 #13, 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 #14, 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.

Onward!

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 #15, 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!

Onward!

~ 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 #16, 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 #17, 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 #18, 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 #19, 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 #20, 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. ;)

Author's Response: IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO FIGURE OUT I HAD ONE OF THEM!

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 #21, by SlideYear Five: Cleaner, More Brilliant

7th June 2015:
WOO LAST CHAPTER but also BOO LAST CHAPTER.

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 :)

xoxo
Roisin




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Review #22, 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 #23, 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 #24, 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!

DRAMATIC MEANINGFUL MUSIC. Ha, good choice.

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.

Onwards!

Author's Response: RESPONDING TO THIS REVIEW IS SO HARD BECAUSE I KEEP GOING OVER THE CHARACTER LIMIT!

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 :)

xoxo
Roisin



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Review #25, 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!
xoxo
Roisin


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