Oooh, the plotting of this story is excellent - in a short chapter, you moved the plot forward in a way that felt natural, with just the right amount of suspense at the end. There's an inevitability to Cho and Cedric's story, but the different setting and circumstances still leave things open-ended. He's still as likely to die, but how? When? Or will he? That's one of the most pleasing aspects of the AU, to play with readers' expectations in an entirely new and interesting way. You're doing wonderfully with the structure of the short story, finding the perfect balance of character depth, plot complexity, and narrative detail to make this world come alive without requiring the extended length of the novel. I'm very jealous!
I can also see your growth as a writer compared with At Great Personal Risk, and it's exciting how much more amazing you've become over the last year-and-a-half. This chapter struck me as extremely polished, so it was too hard to resist squeeing over your writing. Your descriptions, dialogue, everything is perfect. ^_^
The historical accuracy in this story is much appreciated. I liked that Cho's expectations of the absolute worst - the field hospital near the front housed in a tent, etc. - were not reality, but that doesn't change the fact that there are other types of problems, particularly with water supply and hygiene. Miriam's warning against falling in love with the patients because they were likely to die of their wounds, or in the case that they healed, they would merely return to the front, was an excellent way to emphasize the bitter realities of war. Stories of nurses and soldiers falling in love are too often romanticized, and you contend with that cliche in a satisfying way. Miriam wants to protect Cho, who's still so young, ensuring that Cho sees the difference between the romance and the real.
The integration of the Muggle and magical worlds in this story is fascinating. I'm sure you'll introduce more of the context as you go, but so far, it's refreshing to see a smooth integration - Muggle characters neither being afraid nor prejudiced against magic. Instead, Miriam (practical as she is) sees the benefits, the hardier health, the usefulness of the house elves and of magic as a whole. I wonder if this integration of the two worlds will impact how the plot develops, whether there'll be Muggles who try to take advantage of magic to turn the course of war, or just to make money off of magical advancements. I love the world that you've created in this story because it opens up a lot of potential for plot and character development. :D
I'm excited to see where you'll take this next - it's great to see someone taking on Cho/Cedric within an AU context of this depth and intricacy because it's a sadly neglected ship, just as Cho is a sadly neglected character. Amazing work with this!Author's Response: Oh, that's great to hear! I wanted to attempt a short story where I could keep the plot at a reasonable pace and still tell an interesting story. I do like AU a lot, although I don't come up with good bunnies for it very often, because you really can make the world your very own and still choose characters and events that you love to include in that world. Some of the most interesting stories I've read on the archive have been AU, actually.
I still wanted this to be a love story, perhaps one with a sort of classic feel to it, but I purposefully set it against a very bleak backdrop. Cho's job is going to be to bring a sense of light to the atmosphere of darkness that permeates a place like this, and to try to draw Cedric out of it and onto a path of healing. I think part of the point of this chapter, besides merely introducing Cho, was to force her right into that dirty, painful place and ensure that she toughens up a bit. She needs to become a sort of crutch for Cedric.
As a side note, Miriam became one of my most beloved parts of this story. She's very hardy and no-nonsense and those tend to be my favorite sort of female characters. She doesn't play a large role, per se, but I still think she's important to the overall tale here.
It's really comforting to me that you like the almost seamless blending of the Muggle and magical worlds. There are still skeptical Muggles about, but you're right, I wanted to use Miriam's practicality as a vehicle for creating a little niche for magical medicine, just to introduce that idea as a possibility. I figured that things were so difficult here, many would be willing to take what they could get, even if it was a little unfamiliar or scary.
I also feel that Cho/Cedric and those two characters in general have been sorely neglected, which is sad, because I really had fun writing them and exploring their ship. Hopefully you enjoy the next chapter as much as this one. Thanks for your wonderful review :)
-Amanda Report Review
It's been a while since I've read Tom/Minerva, even though I love the ship. I was looking forward to see what you did with the ship, and it was definitely worth the wait. :D What's great about this story is that it leaves one thinking afterwards - I keep finding myself looking back at parts to revisit the imagery or language. There's just so much going on in this story, and it's been exciting to pick it apart.
It's a complex ship to not just write, but also to conceptualize, as you've demonstrated in this story because there's plenty of tension between the characters as well as between the characters' desires and their... I can't think of a better word: destinies. That especially comes through in your portrayal of Minerva, who fights with all her will against her desire, and what I love about her characterization here is that paragraph when she creates that metaphorical barrier around her heart and spirit. It's normally such a cliched thing for a romance, but you recreate the cliche by making it feel like an arduous process, like someone building a bunker. It underlines both her fears regarding his power (over her, over anything really) as well as her own weakness for him, despite all of the things he's proven to be. She can't change her feelings, but she can repress them, which suits her canon character perfectly.
It is mostly a story about Minerva, but there are also some very interesting aspects to your portrayal of Tom. That paragraph near the end when Tom speaks of his love stood out because the mixed pain and hope in his eyes has nothing to do with love - it's the pain in recognizing that his power has failed, that she's beyond his grasp. He tries to win her back with cliches, relying still on the thing that had initially drawn her to him, but he doesn't see how she's armed herself against that very thing because he's so wrapped up in himself. It fits Tom's character, but it's also something sadly and startlingly realistic.
One thing you do need to do with this story is check for typos - there are a couple of small ones that, while they don't interfere with the story itself, do pose a distraction to readers. Otherwise, it's an excellent story, and it'd be wonderful to see you post more Tom/Minerva. :D Report Review
This is amazing. I don't know what else to say, not anything that's cohesive beyond "zomg so cool!" because that's what first came to mind while reading this story. It's original and refreshing, not to mention beautifully written, with an attention to all five senses that wholly immerses the reader within the tale. The descriptions in this opening chapter have me seething with jealousy because, with them, you simultaneously explore both setting and character, allowing Cedric's thoughts to carefully guide the narration in a fantastic example of "showing". And it also captures the feeling of being a patient, physically trapped, but mentally wandering. It creates an interesting effect that fascinated me throughout this chapter.
I'm interested in how you'll continue to build this alternate universe. You've introduced tidbits here, just enough to pique my curiosity because, apart from the date, this still feels canon. Cedric's desire to help in the war effort and the way that you describe it perfectly suits his Hufflepuff character - he's not in it for glory, but because he feels that he has a duty to contribute. I liked the added incentive of the pretty nurses too because it made him human - he has ideals, but he's still an adolescent boy. This human quality is also reflected in the narrative's focus on the physical, the bodily - the wounds and suffering that go along with war. You immediately remind readers of the cost of war with the details you include about his injuries and how they occurred. They really weren't prepared for that kind of warfare, and you portray its horrors in the most effective (and affective) way. You've captured the history of this alternative universe in just the right way, and that's what I love to see in these kind of stories.
This first chapter makes me want to read on - there's still a lot more readers have to learn, not just about the universe in which this version of Cedric exists, but about how Cho will enter into the equation and how the plot will develop from here, particularly with that magic potion. It's one of those wonderfully creative stories that still give hope that fanfiction still has the potential to do new things. I'll be on the lookout for the next chapter of this fantastic story! :DAuthor's Response: Hi Susan! I'm so happy to see you :)
Aww, great! I'm glad you're intrigued and really like the concept here. I thought it was interesting and definitely different from the norm. You know I love "show, not tell," so it's great to hear that you felt like I accomplished that with the limited perspective and imagery. The whole story isn't written like that, but I thought it would be a neat way to begin.
I felt like Cedric was a natural fit for a soldier. He's young, handsome, adventurous, and talented. Like you mentioned, he's a normal guy who likes cute girls and an active life.
You're right about the injuries. I knew this would have to be Mature because it is tough subject matter at points and the injuries are going to continue to show up, not just for Cedric but also for others around him. War takes its toll in a number of horrifying forms. That's where the desperation comes in--like you said, they're dealing with unfamiliar weapons and the outer limits of human cruelty, and they need to find a solution. I wanted it to be a love story, but not just that.
Cho will make her first appearance in the next chapter, which should be up on Saturday. Hopefully you'll get a chance to check it out :) Thanks so much for this really lovely review!
-Amanda Report Review
Wow! I love what you've done with this story! The second person narration works wonderfully here, especially in the opening paragraphs. I'm interested in the contrast you produced between those first paragraphs and the action going on around Fleur - it was an effective contrast that suited Fleur. One doesn't expect her to kill because she seems to be that stereotypical princess or beautiful ballerina, and readers come to the story with preconceived notions of what Fleur appears to be, then you turn the narrative, transforming Fleur into a killer, a protector, reminding us that she is also part of the Order. That turn was really effective, and by that point, I was engrossed.
You've written Fleur perfectly here. I haven't read very much about Fleur in fanfiction, but going from what I remember in canon, you've captured the complexities of her character, navigating her relationship with the Weasleys and the way that she understands her appearance, particularly how others view her and label her as the Veela, or the beautiful girl. There's a lot more to her than that, and I liked that you revealed her little frustrations against the way that people perceive her. Those Aurors at the beginning wouldn't even believe her capable of killing, and one knows that if she looked like Bill, they would never have questioned that success of that kill. What's interesting about the second half of this story is that Fleur uses her appearance as a tool against Fenrir Greyback. She's so aware of her beauty, but not at all in the way that Ginny and Mrs. Weasley once thought. Fleur knows how beauty functions, and she's willing to take advantage of it when necessary, but otherwise, it frustrates her because no one takes her seriously.
The other aspect of her portrayal that stood out for me was that she thought of the Weasleys as her family. That is an incredibly important thing, and you include it in a brilliantly subtle way, revealing the depth of her emotional connection to the Weasleys and how much its grown since the end of HBP. It is something that the Weasleys just do - as they've done with Harry and Hermione, taking them in without question - but what's important is that Fleur has done the same. She has made them her family too. It's a small detail in your story, but it stood out as an amazing choice.
There's more I could discuss, but I've gone on long enough with this review. *hides* I really enjoyed this one-shot. It's polished and wonderfully put-together, but also a fantastic character study - in short, everything I love to see in a story. :DAuthor's Response: Hi ♥
I'm so happy that the turn from beautiful, stuck up floor to the Fleur that was a triwizard champion, who married a man when his entire family basically had a death warrant out for them, was effective.
I hate coming across a great Weasley fic, only to find out that the parts that Fleur is in, she's a snobbish, air headed woman. She made so many sacrifices. Leaving France, her home where she had safety and marrying Bill... accepting what part his family had in the war and becoming part of all that. He was nearly killed before they were married, then their wedding was destroyed, and she still stuck with him and aided whenever she could.
You summed it up perfectly. She knows how to use her beauty. She knows what beauty can do. She used it so long ago to get support for the triwizard tournament, but then we got to see that all crack a bit when she thought her sister was in danger. It can be a tool when she wants, and an annoyance when she needs to be taken seriously.
I wondered if people would dislike what I've done with her feelings for the Weasleys. Yes, they weren't best friends when they met. Fleur is blunt and outspoken, and was tactless in certain things she said. But once they moved past those things, I really think she would have considered them family. I'm so happy that you think the same ♥
Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I really did not want to respond to it, because I'm sure I just sound like a puddle of mush. Haha. This was the first piece I tried with second person, so I'm sure there are some rough parts, but the fact that you focused on the good and just made me feel like I did something really decent with this... thank you ♥ Report Review
To begin by responding to your author's note, I think that the structure of this story makes a lot of sense. You maintained it steadily throughout the story, providing a snapshot of each character and ending with that repeated line, which reminded me of a song, one of those 1960s or 70s ballads that always manage to break one's heart with the suffering they contain. This structure also brought to mind a chorus of the dead - I imagined that the ghost of each character was reciting their own part, then disappearing into the background again.
And the story darkens with each character, which is very important. By including Remus's "second chance" at life with Tonks and Teddy, you include that ray of hope that doesn't exist for Sirius and Peter, who were never allowed complete redemption. Sirius was almost there in OotP, but Peter never even receives anything - he's shunted into darkness because of his... whatever it was. Mistake. Betrayal. We can never know. That is what's brilliant about the ending - we really don't know why Peter did what he did, how it happened, and what he thought about it all. JKR does provide that slight glimmer in DH, but it's so hardly there that it might as well not be. I can see him trying to take advantage of the situation, trying to make use of time, using the quick talking he'd learned from James and Sirius to talk his way around Voldemort, but he was never strong enough. None of the Marauders could have done it.
Lily's part is the most dreamy, as Romantic as a poem by Keats or Shelley, filled with nature and beauty. I thought it was James narrating that part, with Lily narrating the next because while he simultaneously idealizes her and points out her more humourous flaws, she points out his strange combination of lovable smiles and frustrating ways. This is the only part where the structure isn't as consistent because the last three parts about the other Marauders are focused solely on themselves - the voices of each section more closely suit the personality of that character, relating more intimate details of those characters than you include in the Lily and James sections, both of which are clearly distanced from that character. Your narrator provides no history, no personal touches - the characters are revealed from the outside only. At least with Lily's part, this could be set down to the frustrating nature of canon, which limits Lily's character to this idealized vision of femininity, difficult but still perfect. Yet your expansion of Remus and Peter's stories to include more history and psychological depth reveal that you're not afraid to push beyond canon. Work on the part about Lily and also consider doing the same with James. The language and phrases in those parts are lovely, but they need more of the character behind them to make the reader feel the tragedy of that "casualty of war" line. All I see now is that beauty has died in the first part, and the happiness has died in the second - I see the abstract, but not the particular, the person.
There is one far less significant aspect of this story on which you could improve, and that's the paragraphing in Peter's section. It's surprisingly distracting to read those very short paragraphs, and they lose their potency as a result. I suggest combining some of the paragraphs, leaving only those lines separate that contain the most emotional punch - you'll know which lines if you read it aloud because they'll end on a note of finality.
Your experiment with this story is very exciting, and I think that you did a fantastic job with the structure and style, putting together something that allows you to cover all of these characters in a refreshing, yet highly structured way. I hope that this review proves helpful to you. I'm very glad to have been able to read it, and it's wonderful to have another excuse to read one of your stories. :DAuthor's Response: I'm so happy you could stop by ♥ your reviews are so awesome. I'm a bit scared to reply right now, because I want to make sense... I'm afraid I'll just be all puddley.
You know what I actually thought of while writing this? The play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. It's been a long time since I've seen it, so forgive me if some of this is incorrect. But throughout the play it's the stage manager narrating it. We never learn of his connection to it, he's sort of just this faceless thing pushing us along. Somewhere in the play, maybe in the third act, one of the main characters, Emily, revisits her life as ghost. That's what I thought of when I wrote this. Me being the stage manager and taking each character through their life to revisit certain parts of it. So it really made me happy that you sort of saw them as ghosts telling their parts before slipping back.
Something definitely felt off about the first two sections but I thought I just felt that way because I was trying a new style. But what you've pointed out makes so much sense. I want to keep Lily's section a bit more... romantic feeling, then the others, but now that I've read through it with your words in mind, I really want to edit it (and James's) to reflect who she was in a deeper sense, like the three boys. Thank you so much for pointing that out ♥ When I do edit it, I'll of course credit you in my AN for your help.
And the paragraphing! I can't believe I didn't realize how annoying that was. Thank you again.
I'm so relieved that you think my little experiment went well. That's such a huge compliment coming from you ♥ I'm excited to edit this piece up a bit and makes James and Lily's sections more... honest. That's the best word I can find for what they're lacking. They have the superficial things in there, like you said, but they're missing the sort of darker honestly that the other three had. No, there story isn't as tragic as the other three's. They got to die before they witnessed everything just crumble apart and best friends turning on best friends. But they definitely deserved more than just the glossing I gave them. Ahh, I'm sending you a big internet hug. Thank you ♥ Report Review
You're developing the story excellently, and the tension between Ignotus and Dominique in this chapter was well written. They have this strange understanding between them that's unspoken and, I think for the most part, is something they don't quite understand. I don't blame her for needing time to think. Although there's much that she could safely reveal about the "Tale of the Three Brothers", she has to be careful in case she accidentally says too much. It's actually refreshing to see a main character who takes the time to sit back and think before launching into something - it lends itself perfectly to her job as an Auror. Another important point is that Ignotus doesn't press her for the answers even though he's burning to know. It's part of an intriguing dynamic between them that, alongside the plot, really make the story a success.
The last two scenes were perfectly done, with a lot of emotion, be it anger or grief, expressed in a realistic, moving way. That scene at the end... wow. You only give a snapshot of Cadmus, but you put a lot into it: the descriptions, the sadness, the foreshadowing, all fantastic. The first part of this chapter wasn't at the same level, including more telling than was necessary - there's too much plain action there (he did this, then that, then this, etc.), but you quickly made up for it in the rest of the chapter. :)
There were two other little things that stood out to me in this chapter that you might want to take a look at. Herfordshire is a county, not a village, so I don't know if it was intentional to name the village that, or if you meant the larger geographical area instead. The second was the use of the word "hunch", which didn't come into use until the 20th century, so it wouldn't be appropriate for this historical period.
Otherwise, this was another great addition to your story. I'm getting more excited about the plot and characters with each chapter I read. Beyond the canon facts, I have no idea where you're going to take this, and that makes the reading experience more fun - I love it when authors take stories in new directions and do something amazingly different. :DAuthor's Response: Ahh! Susan! Thank you so much for your review! You really make my day when you come drop off wonderful things like this.
I'm really glad you're enjoying it. Truly. And thank you so much for that input. Haha, I actually had no idea about the Hertfordshire thing. I know nothing about the geographical aspects in the Europe area, especially in the 1200s. And thanks with that input on "hunch."
Thank you so much for all your help! I do find that I still come across some difficult aspects when trying to write this time period. Thanks for helping me straighten them out, and thanks for leaving the awesome review! :) Report Review
Wow, what a way to end the chapter! One thing I love about your writing style is that you're brilliant at action and fast-paced scenes. There was a fantastic breathlessness of the brothers' ride to their brother's aid. Additionally, I like the way that they are both still loyal to Antioch even though they know what kind of person he has become - his corruption has not affected their blood ties, which suits the historical period as well as the Potterverse as a whole, in which bonds of blood have an incredible impact on each character's actions.
Another great aspect of this chapter is that you don't make it explicit what happened to Antioch. There are hints, but you never outright say that Antioch was killed because of the elder wand even though the other two brothers know that's the case. The elder wand lurks in the back of the reader's mind, and becomes a more powerful object as a result. I don't know if you meant to do that or if it's just me over thinking things, but you've added a strong cloud of mystery around the three brothers' gifts from Death that really enhances the atmosphere of the story.
Ignotus is in a difficult position regarding Dominique and the cloak, too, and it was wonderful how you gave him that moment of internal conflict - it made him a more interesting character, and I look forward to see how you'll develop him further.
There was just one line that I was having trouble with in this chapter: It had a braid in the front and was pinned back. This description of the servant's hair was awkward. Perhaps you instead meant "he had a braid"?
This was an excellent chapter! I'm glad to be revisiting this story, and I'm eager to continue reading to see how you're going to work through all of the problems you've set forth thus far. There's so much you can do with this story - it's definitely one of the most creative stories on the archive. :DAuthor's Response: Susan! Thank you so much! Really your reviews make my day. They are so beneficial for me because, really, sometimes I feel like I don't know what I'm doing with this at all. Really, I don't, and then you step in and save the day!
And thanks for pointing that out to me! Definitely a mess up that I must have missed. :P
Thank you SO MUCH for that compliment! And also, thank you for nominating this story for Best Unusual/AU ship! It means THE WORLD to me! :) Report Review
Oooh, this is chilling! You've done very well at setting a dark, eerie tone for this story. You describe just enough to sketch an outline of the place and the premise, but leave so much more for the reader's imagination (and curiosity!) to play with. It not only makes me want to read more, it also heightens the horror because the monsters remain unknown, abstract shadows that are more frightening than any real creature. It makes for an incredibly effective introduction - a hook to drag readers in and force them to turn the page... only there's no page to turn... yet. ;)
It's been a little while since I last read something of yours, but I have to say that you've improved a lot over the last two years. Your descriptions are really good - vivid and engrossing - and your use of the first person is strong in this prologue. Although there's not that much to go on, I still have a feel for how this character could turn out as the story progresses. The reference to the invisibility cloak makes it explicit that they're a Potter, but I can also see it in the language and style. This character has a real fighting spirit which I have a feeling will help drive the remainder of the story. I may be wrong, but this is just what I'm getting from this prologue.
I enjoyed reading this and look forward to seeing more! It sounds like it will be an exciting story to follow. :D Report Review
I'm very tempted to make my review a very long "why?" followed by a million question marks. How else can I respond to this story? It's just so painful! There isn't anything more sad than taking a canon ship and portraying it at its inevitable end - no matter how many times they've fought and risked their lives, it would have to eventually come to this. It's what few authors write of, though, and those who did would rarely take the risk to show it in such a realistic, yet moving way. It's like the beginning of Up, where it's just life, and there's nothing one can do to prevent it from happening. You've done an excellent job in creating a sad story, and what stands out about it is that you achieved "sad" without stepping into "tragic" and outright angst fiction.
I really like your portrayal of Molly here, not only because it's perfectly canon, with her practical thoughts and brave independence, but you show how she doesn't give up, even in the face of adversity. She keeps going without losing heart, although at times it comes close. Molly and Arthur's story isn't yet finished, and she hasn't given up on him - she still has him, painful as it is that he doesn't remember. That's worse than his imminent death. The deathbed scene will be one-sided - his goodbye will be to someone who has cared for him, not to the wife he loved, and that hurts a lot. Molly and Arthur are a rare example of a successful long-term relationship in the series, and I think readers take it for granted that they'll always be around, even far into the next-gen era. That's another reason why your choice of characters for this challenge is perfect.
What stood out most were the little details, like the way that she almost laughs to think that he'll be arriving in a car, and the subtlety with which you refer to Fred. I also liked when her own mind drifts in the hospital while she avoids facing the truth - it's easier to think of the children's ward, of life in its early stages, than of Arthur's life at its end. It's excellent characterization and excellent writing. :D
The one sentence that I think could flow better is the first one. It took me a couple of times to get through it - I think it's still "grammatically correct", but the way that you've arranged the clauses isn't as clear as it could be. It's up to you, though - that's the only thing I can imagine critiquing here. Amazing work, all-round! I wish you the best with the challenge - this one should at least place, if not win!Author's Response: Hello, I'm happy to see you here! :)
Ugh, the beginning of Up just totally gutted me, so for you to draw the comparison makes me think that the emotion came through okay here, hah. I couldn't bring myself to make this unequivocally tragic, like following it through to the deathbed scene. I really wanted to make it like Molly was tough right until the end, pressing on on behalf of her family. I even more wanted to emphasize that she's doing that in spite of her own failing health.
I had a similar thought--a lot of people do seem to assume, especially in next gen fanfiction, that Molly and Arthur will just always be there. Unfortunately, old age takes its toll on wizards and witches too, even if they get a few extra years on us Muggles. I've wanted to write Molly and Arthur for a while, and what I really wanted this to be about is her fear of losing the wealth of memories and love that she's come to hold in the Burrow, as she watches it all slip away from her husband. They are the sort of panicked thoughts I think a lot of people have concerning death--why does it have to end? Must I give all this up?
I'm happy to hear that you liked the details. Molly is really the storehouse for memories here, the true center of the Weasley family. It's great that you felt like all of that fit in well with her characterization, because she was very intimidating to tackle. I wanted to get her right and to make her seem relateable.
That first sentence gave me some trouble, and you're right, it's still not really where it should be. I'll have to go back when I get a second and tweak it a little more. Thanks :)
Thanks so much for your wonderful review!
-Amanda Report Review
Wow! I've sat here for a while attempting to formulate something. Even thoughts are difficult to put to words after reading this story. You've evoked so much emotion, painful, haunting emotions, that I've been left reeling, even before the story ended. It was the series of snapshots that hit me hardest, perhaps because they illustrated Colin's death in such a frank, bleak way. No figurative language, no softening the blow - you show the moment as Dennis would have captured it in his memory, that sight that can't be anything but horrifying. He may have died a hero, but like his father said, what does that mean to them? He's still dead.
While reading this, I couldn't help but see the parallels to your Lavender story - the way that you not only explore a somewhat minor character, but you also give equal weight to the people around those characters, the ones they affect in their day-to-day lives, like the Creeveys and Doris. Colin wasn't just a character in Harry's story, he had his own story. It's a step beyond what most writers do when they take on minor characters. Perhaps they'll show the minor character's side of the story, but they rarely give those characters this much depth. You pay wonderful attention to the little details of life, from Doris's liver spots and banal existence to way that Dennis can't stand the sight of the tape marks on the wall. They're little things, what some would deem unworthy of the story of a hero, but they're the important part of the story, the part that makes it real. It's something that's even hard to find in published literary fiction, so to see it in fanfiction makes me incredibly happy.
It was an excellent decision to make Dennis the narrator of the story. Not only did I like how you sprinkled the narrative with dialect, but I also liked seeing Colin from this point of view - it's at once close, yet far. There are aspects of Colin that Dennis will never understand, yet Dennis is the closest person to Colin, knowing him better than anyone else. This produces an interesting effect in the story, setting it apart from other first-person narratives - we see into Colin's life without seeing into his mind. Isn't that like what a photograph does? It's a snapshot of an existence, but what goes on behind the face is still beyond our reach.
This is one of the reasons why the end is perfect. I was at first curious why you shifted things back in time, but then with the last few lines, I understood. Colin was always the one taking pictures, but that's the only picture of him. He spent so much time recording the world around him, recording things that wouldn't normally be captured, but what he missed out on was himself. And now that he's gone, there's only that fragment - a happy one. It offers a bittersweet ending because there was happiness in Colin's life, and that's what's captured in the image - not the horror of his death, nor the emptiness of the time he was petrified. It's beautiful.
This review is not helpful - all I've done is ramble on and squee my way through the story. It's an amazing piece of writing and I wouldn't want to even try to think of anything to critique. I'm excited to see what you will post next - your writing is of a very high quality and it's a pleasure to have the opportunity to read it. :)Author's Response: Susan ♥
So...THIS is the review that overwhelmed me so completely that I was unable to respond! So much so that I had quite a backlog of reviews to respond to! First, apologies for taking 102938 years to reply to your incredibly lovely review.
Gah! I'm just...absolutely floored by all the praise and compliments you've heaped upon my humble little story! Colin would be very happy indeed :D Dennis - not so much, he's a little indifferent, but I'm sure you understand :P
Ah, the snapshots bit. Yes, I wanted to portray Colin's death in the bleakest possible way - well, not really, but just in a sort of deadened voice - Dennis' voice every time he thinks of this. Dennis has a simple down-to-earth sort of voice, so I try to limit the amount of figurative language in this story :) I was even worried that the descriptive parts were a little too descriptive for Dennis. But he /is/ an observant kid after all.
That's such a lovely compliment you gave me, about giving equal weight to the minor characters (especially those who are OCs) in my stories! I certainly want to portray them with just a little more depth; they may not be fully rounded characters, but if I'm including them then I always feel the need to elaborate on them, to treat them fairly. And of course, I've gone on enough about details and how they sort of matter in this fic, the tiny random observations that do absolutely nothing except piece the fic together, bit by bit.
And yes, I already explored the POV of a character about to die/died as you've seen in A Lightness. Here, I wanted there to be some distance between Colin and Dennis - they're close as brothers, with Dennis being slightly in the shadows (though he doesn't mind much), but they aren't like the Weasley twins; there's stuff that Dennis won't understand about Colin, that frustrates him sometimes. I'm glad you like the POV of this story!
And I'm sososo happy that you thought the ending was perfect! It's one of the parts of the story that came to me so easily. Yes, I had to end on a moment of hope :) I didn't want the whole thing to be flat and angsty the whole way through. DENNIS WILL BE OK I PROMISE ♥
Thank you so very once again, Susan, for your stunning review. It's just absolutely made my day/week/year, and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to sit down and writing such a long detailed response! ♥
teh ♥ Report Review
Here for the review tag! I like nabbing these chances to read more of your work, and seeing a Snape story was impossible to resist. I'm only sorry that the banner doesn't suit the story quite as well as it should (if you want me to redo, just say).
You write an excellent Snape! He's a challenging character to grasp because he's multifaceted, but it's also easy to oversimplify his character. Your portrayal of his childhood and youth is nothing short of amazing, and I enjoyed the exploration of his relationship with his mother. I've never seen it done in this way before, and it struck me as a very realistic snapshot of a woman caught up in an abusive relationship. She tries to console her son and show him love, but just like Snape himself noted, she never tries to save herself - she just apologizes over and over. It's painful because there probably is no way for her to escape - either she can't see a life outside her own, or something else keeps her chained to Tobias. What stood out most to me was the kind of role you gave Snape as a protector rather than the boy in Snape's memories who cowers in the corner. He becomes a very strong character because of the circumstances of his home life, but it also makes him feel more hate than any child should feel. You provide the roots of the character that we see in the series, revealing how he became so conflicted, a true "grey" character navigating that troubled balance between love and hate.
I couldn't even tell that it was outside of your comfort zone until you mentioned it at the end - only then did I go back and see how the second part lacked confidence. It's very good, but as one of your previous reviewers said, it does feel a little rushed - or perhaps not as in-depth is the more accurate way of putting it. I was very much drawn in by the depth and style of the first part, so the second part, while sweet and pretty on its own, doesn't feel like enough to balance the heaviness of the first section. But perhaps that was what you'd intended, setting off the darkness of the Snape's home life with Lily's light innocence. I like how absolutely confused Snape is when confronted with Lily - she's so trusting and kind, and it's painful to see how alien those things are to Snape. You allow him to become more than the creepy boy who watches Lily from afar - he's swept up in her kindness and it's easy to see how he became enchanted with her because, for the first time, someone is treating him like a human being.
What I would like to see is more umph in the ending. That's not a particularly technical term, but what I mean is that it needs more of an emotional punch. For Snape to start trusting someone is hugely important, and even if you don't want to allude to the breaking of that trust later in their lives, there still should be at least one more sentence that emphasizes the significance of that moment.
Wow, this review has become longer than I intended. Needless to say, I'm very glad that I was able to read this story. You did a wonderful job with the characters! ^_^Author's Response: Hi!! Thank you again so much for picking up both review tags ♥
And! I LOVE my banner! It's not going anywhere and is exactly what I had in mind when requesting.
Snape was easily the scariest person I've had to write so far. Or chose to, I suppose, since I don't have to write anyone :P.
I really wanted to carry this story through four stages of apology. But when I got into the section with him and Lily then tried to continue onto Hogwarts days, I just couldn't keep my own opinions of Severus out of it. The most important thing for me was to portray him in a way that I thought would do the Severus that Amanda loves justice. And I'm just not good enough yet to separate my own biases from a character... he ended up getting that bitter taste no matter what I tried. Hopefully when I improve on showing a charter in their own light and leaving out my biases, I can come back to this and finish it the way I wanted it to play out. I'm not happy with the ending feeling rushed either... especially when I know what the full story could have read like, but I'll get back to it someday soon hopefully!
Hahah I think umph is the perfect technical term for what the ending could use! I do hope I'll be able to give his a proper one soon...
I'm so happy that his childhood home life felt realistic to you. The only way I can see a man craving the kind of power, being able to shut off his own emotions when needed so accurately, was if he was taught to do that very, very young. And, as sad as it is, needing to have the power to control his own emotions, the strength to shut off what he was feeling and care for his mom, felt like something that could only be built on a very abusive upbringing.
Showing what brought him into that grey area, how he can truly love lily but treat her son with such cruelty, was very important to me. Because we know he wasn't always the nicest man. He made young children scared to make a mistake, but if he was taught to be terrified to make a mistake, then it wouldn't seem so wrong to pass that on, would it? I get, for the first time, just why people do love writing him so much. There's so many faces to him, and even if I can't do him justice in his later years, at least now I am interested in reading stories that can :P.
Phew! Now this response has gone on much longer than I meant it to! haha! thank you so much for this amazing review, and hopefully I'll eventually give it a proper ending. You know how much I love your writing, so you enjoying something of mine is such an incredible compliment ♥
It was hard to decide which of your remaining stories to take on for the review tag, but I'm glad I chose this one. Quality Gothic stories are always worth the read, and this one is no exception. It's chilling in much the same way as a Poe or Lovecraft, with that combination of psychological and physical horror, the character tearing apart from within at the same time that the outside world tears him apart. I'm amazed at how you've captured the Gothic atmosphere in a minimum number of words - you put forward the right kind of images and allow the reader's mind does the rest of the work. It's because of this that I wasn't surprised to see that you'd been influenced by Gothic horror. It's not weird or melodramatic at all - the style and mood are perfectly suited to the story.
You especially made fantastic use of the Inferi. They're oddly neglected in fanfiction, even stories about Regulus, so the way in which you associated Regulus with the Inferi throughout was fascinating to see. I hadn't thought about the connection between the Inferi and the Drink of Despair, but the drink has such a weakening power that one becomes zombie-like. For Regulus it's only the final step in the long process of his demise.
I especially liked section VI when even the sentence structure unravels (fragments, dissolves...), thoughts and images flashing through his mind. There's a logical randomness to his final thoughts, but I'll resist the temptation to (over)analyze and just say that this section was the most chilling. You don't need to describe what he's doing - it's obvious from the turn of his thoughts that the Drink of Despair has taken hold of his mind and only death remains. What did surprise me was that ending. It's brilliant. His identity is subsumed into this worship? envy? of Sirius - when he loses himself, he becomes his Other. Once again you include a novel's worth of material in a single sentence. It's freaking amazing.
I can't think of any critique, though I noticed in one of the recent reviews that there is a revised version, so I'd be interested in seeing that. I didn't have any difficulty with the divisions - although fragmentary, they leave many avenues along which to connect them, and they work together as a whole to characterize Regulus, revealing what goes on in the secret corners of his brain. The structure is what makes the story so effective.
It's great to have had the chance to read another of your stories. I admire both the complexity and the brevity of your writing style - it always makes for a more intense reading experience because the story stays with me afterwards. I have to sit and think it over, re-read parts, if not the whole, and to me at least, it's the mark of excellent writing.Author's Response: Okay. So. This review has been sitting in my Unanswered Reviews for almost a month now; I kind of don't want to see it go, but c'est la vie... anyway, sorry about this late late response.
You just (presumably) unironically compared this fic to both a Poe and a Lovecraft, you know that? Wow. Jesus Christ. Even after all this time of reading and not responding to this review, that still floors me.
It's always surprised me that people don't write more about Inferi. I mean, zombies! In the Harry Potter universe! Is that not just the coolest thing ever? And zombies are just a good metaphor for anything, really.
The best forms of torture in the Potterverse are the purely cerebral ones, too - the Cruciatus, Dementors, creative uses of the Imperius curse or Legilimency or Veritaserum or Amortentia (and now you know what kind of fic I read...), as well as the Drink of Despair - and they all have this zombifying identity-stripping effect on their victims, which doesn't leave a lot of division between them and Inferi.
Section VI was probably the one I had to work the hardest on - it's got its own timeline and everything - so I'm really glad that that stood out to you. And that final line! It's probably my favourite ending to anything I've ever written because, quite frankly, you managed to pick up on basically everything I was trying to say. I don't know how you do it.
Anyway. I always love your reviews, and I'm thrilled that you left one for this, so thank you so, so much! :D Report Review
Wow! I was not expecting to cry. This is incredible, but the best part about this story is that it creeps up on you, lulling readers into a false sense of security with the careful description of Snape's routine and his outward absence of emotion. He seems so logical and ordered, but the very precision of his actions as he unwraps the gifts reveals a frightening intensity of feeling that he's repressed for so long. That's an aspect of his character that many seem to forget, or at least neglect - he's caught between this overwhelming emotion and a brain that tries to resist the chaos of feeling. He even locks away the thing that represents his "heart" because it's a weakness, or so he regards it. But it isn't, not really. His love for Lily is his strength, and by repressing it, he's showing that he still hasn't forgiven himself.
The letter itself was the breaking point for my tears. Reading Lily's candid voice and her hopes for the future was painful because, and I'm sure you expected this, my mind would flash to the things that happened instead - how Harry and Snape did meet, how Snape was Harry's teacher, and what came of everything in Snape's life thereafter. It's amazing how you portray Lily because, just from her letter, I got a very vivid impression of her personality, from her optimism to her practical streak and her affectionate nature. You give her a strong voice, and it's easy to see why Snape feels so deeply for her. She would understand and appreciate both sides of him.
This one-shot is perfectly canon in its style and its way of including those little references to magical things that signal a quality Potterverse story. You capture not only the characters spot-on, but you also capture the world around him, and that's always a treat to find. I'm just thinking now that this is the first time I've read something of yours, and I'm wondering why I haven't before because you're a fantastic writer! Just in this thousand-or-so words, you do so much, and I admire that a lot. Amazing work!Author's Response: Wow, how did I not notice this review? Sorry about that! I'm usually really quick about replying, especially when someone awesomely nice like you takes the time to write a long one.
I'm really just so honored that you stopped by my page, Susan. I'm a HUGE fan of your graphics and your writing (even if I'm not able to review it as often as I'd like due to darn real-life time constraints). Thank you so much for your compliments. Reviews are always nice, but when they're as unexpected and thoughtful as this, it really means a lot to me.
It's funny to me how I probably would have never written a truly canon Snape if I hadn't been asked to do this Christmas drabble for a friend. The thought of canon Snape at Christmas is really heartbreaking because we can basically assume from his "home" at Spinner's End that he's totally alone without even any family anymore. Because it was for someone else, it was important to me to have Lily be a part of it since she is his entire life, even after she's gone. Even though it's "only" childrens/young adult fiction, I think Snape is one of the most tragic men in literature, rivaling even someone more classic like Heathcliff. I barely ever wrote fan fiction before Harry Potter, and when I did in the past it was nowhere near the amount of time and care I've put into my Snape stuff. So, sorry this reply is getting long. Hahaha. I can kind of talk about him forever.
I never expected to make someone cry with this, so that's such an amazing compliment. Thank you :) I wrote this before I had any children of my own, so looking back on it, it's even sadder to me. I took note last year of the day when my son turned the same age as Harry the night Lily died, 15 months exactly, and I can't even fathom having to leave him at such a young age where he wouldn't remember anything about me. Now that I have a child I still wouldn't change anything about her letter, which makes me a little proud of myself a few years ago when I wrote this.
Anyway, thanks again and sorry for the delay in replying! This was such a nice surprise to stumble upon when on my way to answer a different review. I love love LOVED that doing some judging for the TGS awards last year gave me an excuse to put off chores to read "Out of Time" because it's a phenomenal story. I'm just tickled pink you liked something of mine as well :)
~Renny Report Review
This is heartbreaking! As soon as I saw it was about Colin, I had a feeling that it would lead to such an ending, yet I couldn't not read it all. You're right that Colin doesn't receive as much attention as he deserves. JKR puts forward so many different kinds of heroes alongside Harry, showing her readers that anyone can be a hero for doing even the smallest of things. And Colin is a hero. He could have saved himself, and no one would have called him out on it - he was too young to be there, but he wanted to help. He didn't even want to do it to prove himself as a wizard or a fighter - he just did it because he was answering the call, as you put it. There aren't any words to describe my emotions after reading this story, and thinking about what Colin did. People use the phrase "a true Gryffindor a lot", but Colin is that - a real Gryffindor, incredibly courageous, reckless, and selfless all at the same time. And you've captured all of that in this one-shot.
Another aspect of the story that I greatly admired was the way that you described the battle. It's chaotic and frightening, and Colin doesn't really know what's going on around him - he doesn't even know the name of the wizard who tries to help him - yet the descriptions make every object Colin comes into contact with intensely vivid. It made me think that Colin has an acute sensibility, a more powerful awareness of things than most people possess. It's a very tactile story, and it draws the reader in more deeply.
I don't know if any of this is making sense. It's an excellently written one-shot, which isn't at all a surprise. However, what is a surprise is the intensity of emotion and thought this story has evoked from me - I hadn't looked at Colin in quite this way before, and I'm very glad that you have given readers the opportunity to revisit his character (and his death). JKR may have provided such characters as Colin in a few vivid brushstrokes, but you've enhanced that portrait in an amazing way here.Author's Response: I'm so glad you liked this story -- and that you returned once again to read a one-shot of mine! I truly don't think you know what it means to see your name pop up here, time and again. ♥
Colin is, I feel, one of the fandom's more unappreciated characters, and I agree wholeheartedly with you that he's the near-perfect personification of a Gryffindor. There are countless heroes in the Harry Potter books, not just Harry himself, which is very important. It's one of the reasons I think I admire the books so much: It's Harry's story, but it's not all up to Harry, in the end. There are so many strong people standing beside him at every bend in the road, as it were.
Battle scenes have never been my forte, but hearing you enjoyed this one really made my day! It's almost easy at times to throw yourself into a scene to the fact that you experience emotions, and then you write just those emotions down. You know? I'd be full-out panicking in his situation, and so I think that's where the panicking comes across. I don't think a review of yours could ever NOT make sense, unless it's because I've turned to such goo from the loveliness of your words that it's hard to read.
In all seriousness, really -- thank you /so/ much for this review. ♥ I'm thrilled to have given you a different angle from which to view Colin! Report Review
This is an exciting start to your story! It's very good - my eyes were glued to the page from start to finish. You've got so many great things going for this story. It's unique, both as a next-gen and as a time travel story. The choice of Roxanne was an excellent one, as she needs more stories written about her, and the way that you've portrayed her so far really works. I also like the action/adventure feel to this story - the pacing was done very well, with just the right balance of movement, description, and dialogue. You've put a lot of work into this piece, and it shows. :)
That introductory scene was especially gripping with its vivid descriptions and tense tone. That was the perfect way to begin - it's not often that I see someone putting so much detail into the physical effects of time travel. Writers will include little things about spinning heads, etc. rather like apparition, but here you've put a lot more thought into it, and it makes for a very effective opening.
You've piqued my curiosity with this introductory chapter. I want to know what's going on and why it's happening - you give wonderful little hints like the reference to Mrs. Tonks, and I'm also wondering why she specifically needs that kind of identification from the forger. The time travel contraption is also fascinating, but it's not as significant as the story behind her mission - that's another key thing for a time travel story. It's refreshing that the method of time travel isn't the most significant aspect of the story, as it often becomes - you carefully foreground her mission, which is a great choice.
There was one little typo I noticed - "he getís the chance". It should read "gets" instead. Otherwise, the writing was impressive and nicely polished. Excellent work on this story so far! I look forward to seeing what you do next with it. :D Report Review
You have a good start to this story here! It's exciting when authors take on the minor characters and give the "other Slytherins" more depth. There's so much you can do with them, and I think by doing some work to improve the structure and style, you definitely give the characters the kind of spotlight they deserve.
It was refreshing to look into the lives of lesser-known Slytherins, and both Tracey and Theodore are excellent choices. I would have especially liked to hear more from Theodore because there was a real imbalance between the two characters - we hear a lot of details of Tracey's life, but only a snippet of Theodore that's directly related to the scene. If you are willing to do some major structural work, you might want to consider limiting each chapter to a single POV - that way, you eliminate confusion and maximize each character's role as narrator. I actually liked Theodore's narration better - he had an interesting voice, harsher and more to the point. He noticed things in a different way, and I wonder what he saw Daphne do - it put an intriguing slant on things to hear that their relationship was only for show, and it would be wonderful to learn more about Theodore's motives and backstory to better understand where he stands in all of this.
One thing that I see other reviewers haven't mentioned too much are the inconsistencies of Tracey's narration. At times, she sounds very formal in her thought patterns, at times making her wordy, then you slip in slang phrases like "I was on autopilot". If she's going to have a certain speech pattern, be it formal or informal, try to stick with one or the other, and also make it suit her personality and background.
Definitely keep going with this story because the characterizations and premise are well-worth it. I'm interested to see where you'll take this story next. :)Author's Response: Hello Violet! First off just let me say thanks for this awesome review! It really means a lot to me! I'm so glad that you think this is a good start! I will look at trying to add in more for Theo's pov but if I were to make each pov its own chapter, that would take my chapter count to well over 100 and I think that would make it a bit excessive. For this story I have 8 main characters and in each chapter 2 povs will be shown. I will also try to make sure that everything is all in one voice. I'm glad you enjoyed this though and can see potential in it! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing!
~Slytherinchica08~ Report Review
With a story like this, it's hard to decide where to begin a review. It's not just a story, but a life. You give Lavender completeness, an existence outside of that rather silly girl in HBP who receives mostly passing references in the other books, someone many people seem to dislike. Your vision of Lavender makes her real, a girl who happened to have crushed on Ron Weasley, even if she was really meant to love someone else. She has a family, dreams and aspirations, a whole world outside of "Harry Potter". All of this makes it a thousand times more tragic when it's all snuffed out in the blink of an eye. She's fearless and amazing, words that few, including myself, would not think of using to describe Lavender Brown.
You do a brilliant job with the characterizations, not just with Lavender, but also of the Patil sisters and Trelawney, all characters that deserve more attention in fanfiction. Even if they don't take centre stage, you still give them fantastic depth through Lavender's words. These characters have a lot of potential, and it's great to see someone explore that potential as well as you have here.
When I first saw the length of this, I didn't think I could make it through, yet once I started reading, it was very hard to look away. It didn't feel very long - it helped that you divided the narrative into those separate scenes, but there was also something about your style that just flowed really well. The descriptions and emotions were intense, but the pace was well-measured, and that's a challenging thing to accomplish with a story like this. It's amazing to see and it makes me excited to read more of your work.
It was a pleasure to read this story and have made its banner! Happy New Year!Author's Response: Hello there Violet! Aaahh thanks for this amazingly wonderfully awesome review! And thanks again for the gorgeous banner and chapter image :D
A life is precisely what I wanted to write :) I wanted to write Lavender's life from when she was a child to her moment of death. I didn't mean it to go so out of hand and swell out into a staggering 9000+ words! I'm glad and ever so grateful that you chose to read on despite the length of it. It was rather difficult to write seeing as I began to lose focus as the story progressed. It took me a long while to finish the story, but it seems like my efforts have paid of because you enjoy it :D And I'm so happy that you like the characterisation! I've been trying to keep Lavender true to herself, but at the same time write her with compassion, without judging her in any way. I sort of intended her to be sentimental and somewhat silly in this fic, but also courageous, sensual and aware. I don't know if I've succeeded in bringing those characteristics out in her.
The edited and tidied version (along with your chapter image) is now in the queue :)
Well, thank you so very much once again for your fantastic comments! Your review's completely made my night :D Happy New Year to you too!
-teh Report Review
What painfully purple prose is this? Doth thou raiseth forth the spirits of all great authors against your noble self in rage for the crimes you've dared committed against the English tongue? From the mixed metaphors to the hilariously-chosen brackets, this was indeed a work of true brilliance, unlike any other ... and I desperately hope it remains that way. :P
I'm glad that you don't know what went on in this story - it makes two of us. The prose is certainly thick, but it was fun to pick out the jokes, be they the more obvious one-liners like "hot, hot Amazon" (that one killed me with laughter) or the sneakier metaphors and imagery. There was an awful lot of dirt, refuse, and oddly disturbing descriptions that produced a wonderfully ironic effect. Butterfly wings caressing one's cuticles? It's just so creepy! If this character was coming after me, I'd run as fast as I could, too.
What's sad is that there were images that I really liked, such as the goosebumps as Braille one. On its own, it's clever - something I'd like to use. That's what gets me about this story: I've written this way, hopefully not quite to this extent. It's a big temptation to make a story sound "poetic", flooding it with images and words just because its "cool" or "pretty". But it has to be measured, with a consistent, limited set of images and a clear focus on the subject matter, no running away with words for the heck of it.
This story was fun to read, but also thought-provoking. Style really has an important place in a story - it can make or break it, no matter what kind of plot or characters it contains. What Rachel said about "making intelligent fun of something" is the perfect way to describe what you've done here. You always come up with the best things!Author's Response: Hahaha, thank you for dropping by to read this extremely purple prose! This one-shot was the result of my annoyance at overly-stylistic stories that are full of pretty words but actually make very little sense. TenthWeasley puts it best when she says: "Too-thick imagery does not mean amazing writing" - but there seems to be something of a trend where extremely ambiguous, metaphor-laden things fool readers into believing they are secretly more meaningful than they really are. In reality, the author just threw a lot of nice-sounding words together in a way that doesn't totally make sense, but readers 'interpret it in their own way' - meaning that the author had no idea what the hell he/she was doing and hopes the readers will just assume. /end rant.
I'm poking a little bit of fun at myself, too, because I've written my fair share of purple prose. I've got a one-shot called "Silhouettes" that makes me gag whenever I reread it. So imagery is one of those things you have to measure carefully, and use it when it fits and elaborates on the scene rather than mucks it up with confusing tangents. I'm learning not to abuse it just for the sake of trying to make readers 'ooh' and 'aah'.
Thank you for reading and reviewing! Report Review
This is awesome! It's been a long time since this kind of plot has been exciting and interesting to me, but your story gives the Marauder era and the Lily/James ship new life. I read this prologue with a giant grin on my face, knowing how it was going to end, but still enjoying every minute of Lily's rational explanations and her friends' perfect revenge. This story is going to be so much fun!
Lily's characterization in this is probably one of the most creative I've seen. She's a challenging character to write at the best of times because it's easy to fall into cliche, but you're far from that point here. I love the idea of making her a scientific genius (at least in her eyes :P). What's great about the way you portray this is how she compares her Muggle knowledge of chemistry and mathematics with the shortcuts and weird things that are instead learned by magical folk. She's proud to be a Muggleborn in this respect because it opens up the world in different ways for her - but of course, she restricts herself by being so rational. One just knows that she's going to become emotionally compromised because of this - how this happens will be the fun part. ;)
What's also great about this story is it's humour. You've hit on just the right style and language to make this scene hilarious. Lily may be brilliant with numbers, but she's also incredibly blind. You don't overplay this fact, which is perfect - it's hinted at subtly, even ironically, enhancing the humour of Lily's situation. She's accidentally set herself up, and her friends will definitely be enjoying themselves (unless/until Lily succeeds, that is, haha).
"It was mental. But it's for science!" *bursts into giggles* I'm looking forward to updates on this story - it's a delight to read so far!Author's Response: Omg Susan I love you XD You always leave the nicest, most detailed reviews, seriously.
I'm so glad that you found in interesting! One of my biggest worries about doing ships like Jily is that I'll write them too cliche, which no one wants to read about, so I'm happy that I managed to put a different spin on something that's done so often.
I also hate it when people write muggleborn characters without having them hold on to any significant part of their heritage. Like, their whole world has become magic and they don't care about anything else, even though the majority of them go home and spend their summers with muggles, and they all spent the first eleven years of their life living without magic. So I wanted Lily to still have a strong connection with the world which she grew up in, and I'm glad that came across well :)
And you have no idea how much that humour comment means to me XD I'm usually awful at writing stories that aren't filled with angst, so to hear it didn't sound like I was trying too hard to write something funny is a wonderful thing to hear.
Thank you so much for the kind words, Susan. You really are too nice to me :D
xx Molly Report Review
This story is extraordinary. I don't know if I can necessarily be of any help and say more than the other reviewers before me because I'm made speechless by this story. It's a very thoughtful story, and I keep pausing while writing to think over the things that happened, the subtle style and repetitions throughout that paint a very sad, yet very real picture, not only of Snape's life, but the lives of many. Like he sees at the end, his whole city is trapped in that bleak, terrible cycle of life, its people browbeaten and downtrodden. Everything was always against them, probably from birth, and Snape too is caught up in that cycle.
What's most powerful about this story is the style. You keep everything subtle and brief, which leaves so much more to go between the lines - you say much without saying it, and that's a true mark of skill for a writer. The little clues that Snape catches are set in stark contrast to the shrieks that fill the house, but they lead to the same sad conclusion - you don't need to say what's really going on. Snape dances away from it, refuses to put a name to it, just like he refuses to visit his mother's grave and face the actuality of what happened.
There's also a fantastic attention to details in this story, the little details of banal things that give life to the story and its characters, more life than they'd often receive in a novel-length work. I love the off-hand reference to Lily most of all because too many Snape stories focus on her role in his life, but you remind me here that his mother was another, more important guiding force. Lily's abandonment is like another straw on the camel's back - it doesn't break him, but it does increase his negative view of a world that seems hopeless.
This story is a fantastic examination of Snape, both in youth and as an adult looking back. It's interesting how JKR made Snape return to his childhood home, just as she did for Sirius - both wizards return to places where they were traumatized, but instead of Sirius's stubborn hatred for Grimmauld Place, you show how Snape accepts Spinners End and the city around it. His experience has taught him to understand that it wasn't just he and his mother who suffered - it was a larger problem that involved everyone. This is what makes the story so thoughtful, how you expand it beyond Snape's personal angst.
I'm very glad that I had the chance to read this story. It's definitely going on my favourites list. This is one of those rare gems that the archive yields, and it deserves a lot more attention.Author's Response: Hello! I've finally gotten here and I'm so sorry for the very late response!
One of the things I appreciate about JKR's characters is that they are painfully realistic. There is no added fluff because the series is a children's fantasy novel. The underlying themes are very real. The tale of domestic abuse, though rather subtle, is evident in more than one character. It doesn't have to be physical either. Snape's story was no exception. One of the things that made me respect him was the fact that he'd come from very harsh means. People are very good at hiding things from others and at the same time, people are so caught up with their own problems that they fail to see what's in front of them. When the story opens, Snape, as a young boy wonders - as he watches the town - if he is alone in this. He wonders, if for a moment, that what he's going through can be easily relatable to his neighbours. In the end, as you've mentioned, he realises he was never really alone. I've mentioned to a reviewer that even if Tobias Snape's actions are inexcusable, it's probably the only thing he knows having lived in such a place all his life.
Since this is such a sensitive topic, I wanted to be as subtle as possible, but still allowing the audience to see what was really happening in Snape's world. While that was my intention, you extend it to Snape being in denial about it, which I happen to like a lot. I should go back and add a note that the scene with Snape in the room trying to block out the shrieks is based on his worst memory in OoTP. That was the inspiration for this entire one-shot. It is what made me stand up and properly notice him as a character, and like Harry, I was stunned. For me, there's more to why he never visits his mother's grave. A bit of it can be guilt as well. After his father's explosions, young Snape always went down to tend to her afterwards. Even if he did not feel protected, he felt that as one of the few important people in his life, he could have done something for her. Maybe this could explain his valiant effort for Lily's sake too.
Most reviewers have said the same thing when it came to Lily's brief mention here. I wasn't planning to mention her at all, but at that point in his life, his view of the world changed, even with his mother's admission that he shouldn't have to be in such an environment.
I like the comparison that you draw here with Snape and Sirius, and it's something that I never thought about before. I think Snape becomes a very accepting cynic at the end of his life. Yes, this is what the world is, and nothing about that is going to change. Perhaps it took him years to see it. After his mother's death and his failure to protect Lily, he comes now to look at his hometown through different eyes.
I'm so happy you liked the story. I'm grateful for the discussion you've brought to my page and it makes me reflect on what I've written.
Thank you so much. Report Review
This was very good! I've seen you around the forums many times, and I'm glad to finally have the chance to read one of your stories! :)
What I liked most about this story was the way that you examined George's character after the war - those beginning paragraphs when you described how he was still trying to cope with his twin's death and the pain he kept experiencing was powerful. It's just what I thought George would be like afterwards. Yes, it's been a year, which is a long time, but he's also suffering from the loss of half of himself. I love how you give a clear idea of his uncertainty - he's on the cusp of moving on, which is a great place to begin this one-shot.
One thing I'm having difficulty with is the place of Natasha in George's life. Why on earth would he date someone like her? She's everything his family fought against, so why involve himself with a girl who can't stand Muggles and Muggle-borns? It could be a strong reaction against the pain of his brother's death, one of those crazy things people do when grieving and depressed, but I'm not convinced. Perhaps you explain it in the other story - in this one-shot, however, there's not enough to properly situate her within his life (especially when he's so willing to throw her off for Angelina in the end anyway). It can be fixed by providing a little more explanation, even a line here and there will do, just to help readers along.
Other than that, you write the canon characters excellently, giving a sense of how life would have been for this particular "generation" after the war. They fought too, and they're scarred, some more heavily than others, yet they still stick together and help each other through. You also do a great job with the pacing, including those short, one-sentence paragraphs in just the right places. :) I look forward to checking out more of your work in the future!Author's Response: Hello!
Thanks for stopping by and checking out some of my work. Its always so flattering and plus, I was intending on reviewing one of your stories last night but Christmas food got the best of me. Hahah.
I shall do that soon! Promise!
Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by for this one-shot! I'd had the idea for it for a little while and it literally slapped me in the face one day and I decided to actually type it out.
I think George is probably the hardest person to write for. Like, ever. I had such a hard time balancing his pain and how he had changed during the past year! It took forever for me to get that just right and I'm really glad that I was able to express that well. Its such a relief, I was really nervous that I hadn't done it well. Angst is what I like most but I sometimes get so scared about delving into some of those emotions! D':
Ah, Natasha. I've gotten quite a few complaints about her in this one-shot and in the story "This is Angelina" where she shows up. I should have gone into more detail on why George was with her because just those few paragraphs really don't give you much. That's my fault as the author though because I was focusing so much on how he felt about Angelina, who he totally kissed and such! Hahaha. I think its explained in more depth in "This is Angelina" so you can check that out if you want. I think...not quite sure. Hahahah.
Oh, thanks so much for liking all the other characters. I tried to show a sense of what it was like for them all, they all had fought and lost many things. I think I went down the line too, with Alicia, with her scar, Lee and his drinking, Oliver with his temper. They're all completely different from how they'd been before and I'm glad that was able to be understood! :D
Phew, I was worried about the pacing of this but you liked it? Thanks so much! *Blush* I thought I'd made it a little too long and that it jumped a little. But this makes me really happy! :D
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again for one of my stories! I'll hop on over to yours soon too and I'll most likely be stalking the forums!
Much love and thanks so much!
Gabbie Report Review
Another great chapter! It was, of course, exciting to see more from Anastasia, how she works undercover as well as in her more usual environment. She's so cool and controlled, yet you carefully reveal her emotional reactions, even if she does not outwardly show them. Both Moody and Riddle seem to evoke the same guardedness from her, and it's interesting to see the similarities between the two wizards - both fanatical about their beliefs, not to mention very driven, deliberate and calculating yet wild in their tempers. Seeing them from Anastasia's point of view provides a fresh perspective that I'm probably getting too excited about. :P
The scene with Augustus was equally of interest, and perhaps it's just because "Skyfall" is still fresh in my mind, but I could picture the workings of the Auror Department as being similar in nature to those of MI-6. You even had a Q! The airplane is amazing - definitely one of the most fascinating magical objects I've seen in fanfiction. It's extraordinarily powerful, which makes it perfect for the Cold War, basically the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, except that it doesn't affect Muggles. It's a pleasing change from the brush-off that Muggles often receive from wizards, both in the series and in fanfiction - I suppose it's easy to forget that the wars were fought to protect Muggles. You're including very important aspects of the history of both worlds in this chapter, and it's great to see that kind of attention to detail.
As always, it's a pleasure to read more of your work. Your writing style is engaging and also polished. Hopefully you have more of this story in the works - I look forward to seeing what happens next! :)Author's Response: Thanks a lot for the review, and now I'm finally getting around to responding!
It's been very fun for me to have some creative license with Moody and Riddle since we know very little about this stage of their lives in canon. Between the two of them and Anastasia, I'm trying to show three people with similar personalities and abilities and explore the paths they end up taking.
I have to admit that the scene with Augustus was very much Bond inspired, and it seemed almost obligatory to include a nod to Q. I was definitely going for the nuclear weapons analogy with the plane, I needed something to give that added dimension of danger.
Thank you so much for the support you've given this story so far. It's certainly my most ambitious literary undertaking so far, and it means a lot to get feedback on it, especially from someone of your level. The next chapter is currently in the queue, so it should be up pretty soon. I'm planning to make the story 16-17 chapters, and hoping to finish writing in the next month or so, so we'll see how it goes! Report Review
I really like how this chapter started out with the interactions between Thalia and the two Marauders. She has a great narrative voice - it's strong, and gives readers a clear idea of what she's like without you needing to describe her in detail. I hope that you write mot of the story through her POV because using too many first-person narrators in a single story can be confusing, especially if you don't make it clear who is narrating each chapter.
It would also be interesting to hear more about Thalia's father. The way you describe her family life in that paragraph and immediately connect it to her place in Gryffindor house is well-done, especially since she doesn't see herself as brave, but she sees that it could still develop. I like her perspective and opinions about the world around her - it's definitely a strength that sets her apart from other OCs I've read about.
Now the one thing you should be careful of is falling into the trap of cliches. One major one is describing each character in turn with great detail - it not only slows down the plot, but it's not necessary to know exactly what the characters look like. You could throw in those details slowly over the course of the story whenever they become relevant. Not much else happens in this chapter - that's why I'm worried about the descriptions. If there was more action, they'd probably not stand out so much.
It's also interesting that, of the five girls, Thalia makes herself out to be the least interesting - the one who just gets along at life. She doesn't focus on her appearance, nor does she seem to have anything positive to say about herself. :P Watch that you don't make too much of a contrast between herself and the others like this - it can't just be that she's humble or uncaring of her appearance, not when she pays so much attention to the appearance of her friends. ;) These are just things one picks up after reading too many Marauder-era stories over the years.
Good work with this chapter! It does need a close read-through for punctuation (sorry, I'm being very nit-picky!). It'll be fun to see where this story goes next!Author's Response: Thanks so much for another review! I was worried about the descriptions so I'll bear that in mind next time I introduce a new character. I don't like cliche stories either so I'll try and not make it one :) I have a beta reader as well now so hopefully the punctuation problems will now be sorted out. Thanks again for the review! Report Review
This is long overdue, but finally I've had the chance to read this chapter! You have certainly adjusted the Black family tree to suit the story, yet you've done so in a way that suits the individual characters. I wasn't sure about it at first, but then I took note of the way you made Bella the youngest, when Margaret Dashwood is the untamed, outspoken sister. It works equally well Narcissa to align Narcissa with Elinor and Andromeda with Marianne - I'm interested to see how you'll handle her storyline later on. ;)
The one thing I'm uncertain about in your creation of the AU world is the date you've set - 1977 seems too late. Although you make it fit Benjy Fenwick's death, it does raise too many problems with the timeline that probably aren't necessary. It only strikes me in this chapter because of Sirius's age. I'm just curious as to why you chose 1977.
What I like best about this story is that you do follow a male character, which is not only refreshing for a romance story, but also for a story based on Austen. I know that it was part of the challenge, but you've done a fantastic job with Lucius's character, making him sympathetic and dynamic, torn in multiple directions by his family, his duty, and the strange occurrences taking place around him. It's fantastic how you show him displaying outward calm while he's actually experiencing quite a lot of turmoil within - it gives him added depth and makes his point of view more interesting to follow. But it also reveals the contradictions and frustrations within pureblood society, which is perfect for a story that's reworking Austen's novel. Sense and Sensibility is scathing in its social commentary, and you're capturing a good measure of that here.
I'm looking forward to seeing how you keep developing this story! What you've done in creating the AU world and working closely with Austen's storyline and character is impressive! :DAuthor's Response: I was very surprised to see this pop up here, but pleased nonetheless.
Yes, I have. And it continues to plague me. I'm still trying to prepare for later parts of this story and who should be introduced as whom. I'm still a bit nervous about certain things. I thought about them for a while - the three Dashwood sisters and the three Black sisters and compared them. At once, the only thing I saw in my head was Narcissa being Elinor, who I like to refer as 'the glue'. Andromeda and Marianne have similar characteristics as well, and I think you might enjoy what I have in store for her - this one I definitely had to plan in advance! Even though Bella is made the youngest here, I don't see how she could be anyone else, but Margaret.
I chose 1977 because I wanted to align everyone's ages with the characters in the book. With Lucius as my main character, I wanted to keep his birth year the same, but have him the estimated age that Edward was, when S&S began which was 23. Honestly, I've thought about this for a while before you pointed it out because I thought the year was too soon to Voldemort's fall, and Lucius and Narcissa are now meeting. So your worry is not unfounded. Since I saw this review I've thought about it some more and I'm contemplating fixing the timeline before anything goes any further. It is AU after all, so more manipulation can be achieved.
I lamented getting a male character, but then I thought about all the things that happened that we weren't told much about, or never saw first hand. For example, that awkward moment when Edward finds Lucy and Elinor in the same room. While we got Elinor's perspective, it would have been interesting to read about Edward's inner turmoil! Heee :)
I'm really biased when it comes to the Malfoys (or any Slytherin). I like to think that there is something else living behind that porcelain Death Eater's mask. I'm a bit determined to tell my version of his story and what happened to him that he turned out how he turned out. At the moment, everything is all a bit much. I'm glad you said that there are a lot of contradictions because in the following chapter, you'll see a good example of that. As much as they'd like to think, the purebloods are not that different from anyone else.
Thank you for your incredible feedback and kind words. I really appreciate them!
Lia Report Review
Wow, Molly! This is a powerful story, with amazing depth, not only of feeling, but also of character. You've conveyed a lot of history and plot, a full novel's worth, in a one-shot, not even a long one-shot at that, and I'm in awe of the result.
There's a lot of things I really like about this story from the atmosphere and descriptions to the way you've portrayed the characters. You also include wonderful details, little banal things that emphasize Hermione's depressed state and how she's trapped in this very limited, domestic world. Ron feels a connection to that place with his admiration of the view and the water (via the diamond), but it's not where she belongs. It's the greatest difference between them, that he is used to those little comforts while her curiosity and need for adventure eat away at her. It fits very well into canon, which is something I always like to see when authors tackle Draco/Hermione - it's the greatest challenge of that ship.
It's not like anything I've seen done before with a Ron/Hermione/Draco triangle, and it's very refreshing in the way that you situate Hermione between the two wizards. She's the strongest of the three, and I don't think she realizes how similar the two of them are, how one has physically run away while the other has psychologically faded - they're both absent in their own way, so deeply affected by the war that they can't properly function. What's sad is that it's Hermione who suffers most - she can't have what she desires, and instead has to sacrifice herself to look after Ron. And the depth that you give her character is incredible. I can easily see this story working outside of the Potterverse; it has a darkly realistic feel that makes it compelling.
There was one little typo in the line "she reaches up to where her hands still rests upon her shoulder" - it should be "his hands" I think. That would make more sense.
Needless to say that I really enjoyed this and I look forward to reading more of your stories! It's great to see you on HPFF, Molly! :DAuthor's Response: Gah, Susan, this review just made me flail all over the place. Thank you so much n_n xx
I can't stand Dramione when it's done unrealistically or in a way that couldn't fit it with canon, and I especially can't stand it in stories where Ron is portrayed as this terrible villain - I much prefer to have Hermione at equal amounts of fault for the failure of their relationship as him, so I'm glad that much sort of came across in the story.
Thanks for pointing that typo out, btw. I'm a notoriously bad proofreader XD
Thanks again Susan! Such a lovely review, it made my night xx Report Review
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