Reading Reviews From Member: MargaretLane
  
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Review #26, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: The Protest

12th May 2015:
Hmm, this is interesting. Elsie seems to have gotten a good deal more confident all of a sudden. Being caught out of the castle by a prefect who is quite a few years older than you would normally be pretty intimidating for a student, especially one as shy as Elsie APPEARED to be. It's looking more and more as if the key word is "appeared."

I wonder if she intended to let the mask slip a little there.

Telling Harry is a good idea. And even if he DID get a detention, it would be worth it to report Elsie if she IS doing something illegal.

I keep forgetting Harry is teaching at Hogwarts again. It actually makes Dawlish's behaviour even stranger, because if Harry is with Albus all year 'round, it would make far more sense for him to be the one to inform Albus of the things Dawlish did. Hmm.

And a few paragraphs later this is explained. Dawlish seems to have a bit of his own agenda here.

I sort of think it should be "I won't go to any more (meetings)" rather than "I won't go to anymore."

I very much doubt a protest would do James's migraines much good anyway.

Pity Hogwarts didn't pay as much attention to parents' complaints when Umbridge was around. The Ministry must have gotten complaints when she was basically torturing students.

Yeah, it's probably good that James is getting some kind of psychological help. He has a LOT to adjust to, and he does seem to be struggling with it, understandably. Hopefully, they can help him get his life back on track.

Hmm, I wonder what James is hiding.

The fact he's so opposed to the idea of counselling is concerning, since it's unlikely to help unless he engages fully with it.

Your update schedule is amazing. I think we can all wait an extra week here and there.

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Review #27, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Chosen Four: The Hogwarts Express

12th May 2015:
*laughs at your Rose being horrified at the idea of eavesdropping* It seems like mine does little else.

I'm not at all surprised Art is horrified by the thought of Dementors. They are pretty horrific.

Hmm, the fact that this Dementor has long-term effects that go beyond leaving people shaking for a while afterwards and actually cause them to need hospitalisation is a good indication of how it differs from the norm.

This sounds a bit awkward: "Daniel Killingston said, one of the Australians on the scene in Antarctica." Something like "one of the Australians on the scene, in Antarctica, Daniel Killingston, said..." or "Daniel Killingston, who was one of the Australians on the scene, said..." might sound better.

Aw, poor Lily. She seems rather more sensitive than her brothers. Of course she is younger too.

Albus always has a string of questions about everything.

I wonder what is going on with Harry. I guess he's just overworked because of the amount of coordination and all he has to do in order to sort out this crisis, but he does seem tireder even than in Deathly Hallows, when he was spending months on the run.

I think it makes sense that they'd solve things better when they are together. If somebody asks a question, it can sometimes start you thinking in a way you wouldn't otherwise. And of course, they all have different strengths. Rose may be a genius, but Albus has greater curiosity, I think and is more likely to bring up a particular issue that she may not have considered.

VERY nit-picky, but the term "vacation" is kind of an Americanism and it seems a little out of place for Albus to think of his summer holidays as "the summer vacation".

And you've written "James's grumpiness returned away." That sounds kind of odd. Should it have been something like "James's grumpiness disappeared"?

And he is SO mean to poor Lily.

Oh, I FORGOT about the mystery with David. Hmm, I wonder what is going on there. Yeah, hating writing letters really DOESN'T explain why he couldn't write and say, "yes, I'd like to come" or "no, I can't come." It's not like that requires a great deal of effort. There HAS to be more to it.

There should be a comma before Marc, in "have a seat, Marc."

David is clearly trying to distract them from the subject of his holidays. They are less likely to ask about why he didn't visit with somebody else around.

Again, VERY nit-picky, but I'd be inclined to have them say, "we HAD to get all of Lockhart's books" rather than "we have to", as they've already got them. "We have to" makes it sound like they haven't bought them yet.

Yikes, I should have realised Albus would now be able to see the Thestrals.

Author's Response: Well, I had a review response all typed out... and then the page refreshed. Sigh. So let me try again.

Our Rose's differ a lot, don't they? My Rose is the voice of logic, trying to keep Albus from doing things, and your characters are flipped.

If dementors were real, they would probably be my boggart. They are terrifying. That's like my one similarity with Harry.

To be honest, Harry being on the run wasn't too bad. They didn't really do much. It was like a really long extended camping trip. Sure, there was the threat of Voldemort hanging over his head, but other than that, there wasn't a whole lot going on. Meanwhile, now Harry is one of the most important officials of the British government. That's a lot of work, and a lot of stress.

Lily is really young- she becomes tougher later on, don't worry.

You have a good point about the whole "vacation" term. It's just so common in America that I often forget that the British don't use it.

And thank you for all the corrections. I will edit that!

James isn't super mean, and Lily didn't even hear James insulting her.

Yup, Albus can see thestrals. That's kind of scary, especially since Harry couldn't see them until the beginning of his fifth.

Thank you so much for the review!


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Review #28, by MargaretLanebad blood: two; a dispute of quidditch

11th May 2015:
I'd forgotten I'd read the first chapter of this.

Really like the first couple of lines. Poor Lily.

And poor Hugo. It seems like he doesn't really know how to deal with the situation. I like the way Rose is trying to be the big cousin and reassure her.

You've written "she realise everything would change". I'm assuming it should be "realised".

You give us a sense of the various characters so naturally - the reference to Louis playing pranks and Rose trying to reassure Lily. Immediately, we can guess a little about the kind of people they are.

Sounds like Lily's summer was spent enjoying the best of both worlds. And hmm, Teddy seems a bit of a campaigner here, as he is in my series. I haven't seen anybody else portray him that way, but it seems to make sense, considering his father. He'd be what? About 27 at this point?

And oh! Lily and Hugo don't seem to get on here. I've come across a lot of versions in which they are best friends, so that surprised me. You seem to be avoiding a lot of the fanon here, which I like, as it's interesting to read different versions. It gets a bit monotonous when characters are portrayed in the same way in nearly every story.

I can see why she doesn't like him. He seems pretty dismissive of anything that doesn't interest him personally. You'd think he'd at least bother to remember the NAME of the game his cousin plays, especially when it's not like there's a great variety of sports his cousins are playing.

*cheers for Hermione telling Hugo to do something for others himself rather than just being "my mum does all that"*

Love the detail about having a day trip to New Zealand.

And I also like the fact that Luna's kids are so much younger. In a lot of fanfictions, it seems like everybody the same age has children at exactly the same time. I do understand why - it means less OCs to create from scratch - but in the real world, people have children at any age from about 15 or 16 to somewhere well into their forties. And Teddy is nearly 18 years younger than Harry, despite their fathers being the same age.

I really like the fact that Lily is clearly very intelligent and yet doesn't get the best grades. It makes her a specific character, rather than just a smart one or an underachiever.

I wonder if her dismissive attitude to exams will affect her negatively in the long run. While they don't prove intelligence and getting as stressed as some of her classmates appear to be is more likely to negatively affect their grades than anything else, the fact is that grades DO impact on your future. Not as much as teenagers often think they will, but enough that it's worth doing the best you can. And I already sort of get the impression that Lily will WANT to do something academic, if only because it is more likely to make people listen to her and allow her make a greater impact on the world.

She seems a bit like Hermione - smart, wanting to change the world and perhaps a little bossy and of the opinion she knows best in all circumstances. The big difference, of course, is her attitude to school and she also seems, in some ways, at least, to be less insecure. She doesn't seem to be so anxious to prove herself.

This story is actually a lot different than I expected. I expected it to be about her finding out she was a Squib and how she dealt with it, but instead, it seems like being a Squib is just part of her backstory and the story itself will involve a good deal more.

I think she is a very realistic and well-rounded character. She's more than just a token Squib and is interesting for more reasons than just because of that.

I would like to see more of her with her family and how her relationship with them is affected by her being a Squib. I'd also like to see what Albus, Rose and James and doing with their lives at this point. Especially since this story seems to be quite an original one, so their personalities and life paths may be a little different than the typical ones too.

Author's Response: hi!

ah yes you did, and I took your comments on board and did a little snazzy edit edit ;)

hugo is kind of thick-headed like his dad tbh. 'emotional range of a teaspoon' comes to mind. he just doesn't know what to do with himself when the activities don't include quidditch and his other faves. he's clueless to life, esp the muggle world. rose is of course much more active a member of it as she goes to campaigns and rallies with lily quite often

good typo pointer! will edit asap

oooh I haven't had the pleasure of reading much of your work yet but I am so here for campaigner!teddy so I think I might have to have a proper venture over when I get the time, I'm really intrigued! you're right - I can't be bothered to get the figures up right now but he's probably about 27-ish yup as lily is 17 and rose is 19

hmm I wouldn't necesserily say they don't get along but they're definitely not particularly close, no. lily isn't close to many of her cousins aside rose tbh purely because they're all rather clueless to the muggle world and her situation. she's a bit isolated, if I'm honest. hugo is very dismissive though yes and like I said above, entirely clueless. like other than quidditch the only other sports he's likely ever come across are football, perhaps rugby ?? netball isn't a hard game to understand. you'd think he'd take at least a little interest.. get the name right at any rate ;)

~WOO YES GO HERMIONE~

I'm pretty sure rowling said somewhere that luna didn't have children until MUCH later than the others, which is what I was sticking to here even though they're usually similar ages to the other next gen lot in fic. much more interesting to throw in a little older mama luna I feel! and wayyy more realistic.

OH YES lily will soon come to find that exams kind of are important even if she (and I) don't agree with the message of them. she'll soon learn she can't coast through life and she'll be much better off doing as well as she possibly can in her a-levels to give her a good boost for the next step in life.

ooh yes the story isn't going to be about her discovery as a squib. there'll be much moer and although 'squib' won't be background it will be constantly present as a fight for rights rather than an 'oh no I'm a squib welp better just accept it way'. it's going to be about changing the norms, rather than accepting them.

thank you for the input and lovely long review! again, very very helpful ♥ her relationship with ginny is going to be in the next, though unfortunately probably not al or james (though maybe, we'll see)

again, thanks!

- jess, xo


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Review #29, by MargaretLaneActions Speak Louder than Words: Beating Heart: Scorpius POV

10th May 2015:
Hmm, that part about James not hearing anything sounds a little mysterious.

That receptionist is REALLY sympathetic! I'm sure the last thing visitors need is that kind of attitude when they are worried about somebody.

She's probably right to be a little suspicious about somebody who wants to visit the daughter of two war heroes in hospital though. Especially since I'm getting the impression more and more that Ireland's "we give people their privacy" might not be ENTIRELY just self-congratulatory nonsense and that being the child of well-known parents might put people under more scrutiny in other countries.

YIKES, this sounds way more serious than I'd imagined. I mean, obviously falling when pregnant is going to be serious, but I didn't think Rose would be unconscious this long or that there'd be this much panic. I never considered anything like Rose going into cardiac arrest. I really hope she and the baby will be OK. I'd imagine they will be.

Yikes, I really don't think Rose could handle losing the baby on top of everything else. Or Scorpius either. How would he feel if anything happened to the baby or Rose after the way he'd been avoiding them?

Hmm, that's really strange. I'm not sure what's going on here. Could she have been poisoned or something and the effects of the poison caused her fall? I don't see HOW though. Or perhaps somebody in the hospital is in league with Stannous and took a chance to do something with her while they had her under their control. Scary thought.

The Weasley family are so kind to think of Scorpius like that. I mean, obviously, he's one of the people it's worst for as he could lose his child, but so could Ron and Hermione, although that is probably rather less likely. I could easily imagine everybody being so caught up in their own worry and trying to support family members that he'd get overlooked.

And it IS good Selenia is with her.

I really don't think Draco could have helped Hermione at that point without getting himself and possibly his parents killed. He really DIDN'T have much choice.

I think it is understandable though, that Ron would never forgive him, not just for that, but also for the way he nearly killed Ron in an attempt to murder Dumbledore and for his involvement with the Death Eaters in the first place.

I think Scorpius is putting too much emphasis on backgrounds, with his thoughts about how he and Rose can't be the same because their families are different. As Ron said, they are not their parents and just because their parents were different doesn't mean they are.

At least Scorpius has copped on a bit. Now, we just have to hope it isn't too late, but I don't think it will be.

Author's Response: Hi Vicki!

I'm trying to get through all my unanswered reviews and I can't believe how kind you've been to me!

Hmmm - you seem to be pretty suspicious about the Malfoys' deaths... I'm not going to say too much here, but I like your thinking.

My reasons for having Daphne married to a muggle is that I didn't want to kill off *all* of Scorpius's relatives, but I basically needed her out of the picture so that he didn't have his family to fall back on (I know it sounds really cruel). She really does care for him, but she has made a life outside the wizarding world and he isn't really a part of that life. From his point of view, she doesn't care about him - but it's really more like she doesn't understand him.

We get to see a bit of Rose from before her kidnapping here - and she's warm, kind and passionate. Clearly there is some spark between these two.

Thanks again!

♥ Beth


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Review #30, by MargaretLaneLion Without a Roar: A Mysterious Newcomer

9th May 2015:
Yeah, that is really weird. She's missed more than a term, really. She's missed two years and a term. I mean, I assume she's attended one of the other wizarding schools or she'd be WAY behind, but it still appears to be unusual for magical children to change schools. I'm not at all surprised the students are surprised. I wonder why she is and how hard she will find it to fit in with classmates who've spent two and a bit years living together.

*laughs at Harry still thinking in terms of the Muggle world and forgetting that ALL magical children in the UK and, presumably Ireland are offered a place at Hogwarts on their 11th birthday* I think it's realistic that he'd occasionally think in terms of the world he has, at this point, spent most of his life in.

I really don't think you need to explain that he was raised by Muggles or that his parents were murdered though. Anybody reading this is going to know his background. The same is true when it comes to introducing Draco. Everybody reading will already know who he is, so you don't need to describe the colour of his hair, tell us he's a snob or that Harry dislikes him. I wouldn't even bother mentioning he was there. You said the Slytherin students were and since we know he's in Slytherin and that he chose Care of Magical Creatures as one of his options, we'd assume that includes him. So I'd just go from "the Slytherin students were already there" to "the lesson was about to begin."

Hmm, I'm assuming the bruise on her forehead is relevant.

I wonder when she was sorted into Gryffindor. Maybe she had a private sorting in Dumbledore's office or something, since it would be sort of embarrassing to have the sorting hat brought out just for you.

When Harry says, "Leave her alone, Malfoy," there should be a comma before "Malfoy".

Draco certainly seems to be in character here. And her reaction IS intriguing. I'm wondering if she CAN'T speak or if it's something like selective mutism. I'm guessing more the latter. I guess because of the way she's changed BOARDING SCHOOLS, which is hard to think of a reason it'd be necessary and she has a bruise on her forehead, so some sort of trauma appears to be indicated. Maybe she was being bullied in her previous school or something.

Hmm, odd they are having a Hogmeade visit on a schoolday. I think all the ones in the book were on the weekends and I assumed all of them would be during weekends.

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Review #31, by MargaretLaneGhost in the Machine: Sunshine

9th May 2015:
I really like the way you show time as passing here - that it was a year before she managed to make any progress in hospital, then some time longer before she reached a point where she could leave the hospital and then another year while she felt she was stagnating. After all, these things DO take time.

I mentioned similarities between Lavender in "Ice" and the character in the story I am writing. Well, in the chapter, I'm currently working on, my character is going to dealing with facing people for the first time after her trauma and feeling them staring at her. I can understand Lavender feeling the same way. After all, people staring would remind her of how her face looks, which would, in turn, remind her of what happened.

That part about the wizarding world starting to forget is kind of scary. There are a LOT of underlying problems to be addressed - ones that led to Voldemort gaining support. Problems like pureblood prejudice and fear of magical creatures.

Ah! I was wondering how she was supporting herself, as it seems like she is living away from her parents. It makes sense the Ministry would have some fund to support those who were injured as a result of the fight for freedom. Pensions were given to those who fought for Irish freedom, although some weren't given for quite a long time afterwards.

She really shouldn't feel ashamed. The Ministry wouldn't even EXIST in its current form if people like her hadn't stood up against Voldemort. And having health conditions that prevent you from working shouldn't be something to be ashamed of anyway.

I like the Healer's initial reaction. I was afraid they might be over-cautious, especially when she looked surprised, but it seems like she recognises this as a good sign.

But then, of course, she is concerned by the particular job, which I guess is understandable.

I like the ending and the reminder that she can't just go ack to the way she was before all this happened, but that she CAN move on with her life. It's hopeful without being unrealistic.

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Review #32, by MargaretLaneGhost in the Machine: Nightmares

9th May 2015:
I think she is underestimating her recovery. It's like she's expecting to work like a fairy tale or a story where things can be magically fixed by the wave of a wand or something, and real life doesn't work like that. Getting from spending a year in hospital, not speaking or caring about anything to a point where she can go home and take care of herself is a huge achievement. Especially considering the lack of support there appears to be for mental health issues in the wizarding world. The locked ward appears to be more about containment than treatment. And it sounds here as if Lavender has done a lot of it on her own.

Love the part about how nightmares can be as bad as Dementors for preventing you from casting a spell. I think J.K. Rowling indicated that Dementors were a metaphor for depression, so it makes sense that being depressed would have a similar effect to their presence.

I wonder if she has any parents actually. They didn't seem to be around either to visit her in the hospital or to care for her now.

It seems like she really needs somebody to take care of her and offer some reassurance when she panics. The way she is trying to comfort herself is so sad, as it makes it seem like there's nobody else to do it for her.

This line sounds a bit awkward: "She was tired of being too terrified of the darkness and what she couldn’t seem to leave her room before the morning sun flooded her flat with light." The "what" seems out of place or something.

I love the detail about Parvati being afraid of the dark until she was a teenager and the way Lavender didn't understand how anybody could be until now. It sort of adds a depth of detail to things, as does the part about how all the remaining seventh years usually slept in one room during the year the Carrows were in charge. I can understand that. I think it would both feel safer to have four people in a room than two and it would also make it easier to forget all the people who weren't there. Seeing the empty beds in both rooms would be a reminder of how many people were in mortal danger.

Poor, poor Lavender. People are being kind of harsh. It's hardly surprising that somebody still suffering the effects of war trauma wouldn't want to take dangerous jobs like being an Auror or working with dragons. But I can understand their reactions too. Everybody's had a hard time and they probably think she's not even trying. And for some people, her obvious trauma might even be a reminder of the events they are trying to put behind them.

And of course, it's possible they aren't thinking that way at all and that her assumption they are is just a result of her depression.

And for reading "Ice", I'm pretty sure she will take this job. I hope it'll help her. "Ice" left that unclear. On the one hand, she certainly seemed better in that than here and she certainly seemed to care about her job, but on the other hand, it seemed as if she was using it to avoid things she didn't want to face.

Having read that part about recording prophecies, I'm now wondering if she has a job. I assumed she didn't, that she hadn't been able to bring herself to even apply for anything.

It does seem like Parvati and Seamus have come through things reasonably unscathed.

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Review #33, by MargaretLaneGhost in the Machine: St. Mungo's

9th May 2015:
I really can't believe I haven't read this story already.

And I really like the way you describe her dreams. It's not at all surprising that those things would turn up in them. I'm imagine most of those who fought in the Battle of Hogwarts suffered SOME level of nightmares.

You describe the sound of glass shattering so well. You can almost hear it.

And you also really capture her mental state. Just the part about how her anxiety paralyses her and how miserable her feelings are.

I'm glad she has some friends who keep coming back. I can understand why so many drifted away. Something like that is hard to deal with and it must feel pointless when she barely acknowledges them. And despite everything they've been through, they're still only teenagers. I don't think I could have dealt with something like that at the age of 18. And of course, most of them have their own problems too. Most people are probably grieving for somebody they've lost or coming to terms with having lived through a war. While they may not be suffering as she is, I'd imagine they do have other things on their minds.

I really like the part about her being able to smell the blood and so on when she goes to sleep. It really shows how her experiences are haunting her.

One slight criticism I would have is that the part about how one day the boy snapped seems to come in kind of quickly. I know there are parts of my own stories that come across that way too, so I'm not sure how to make it seem less rushed. Maybe putting a scene break before it would help?

I like the way you tell us how long she'd been there. It comes in really naturally and it IS important, because the more time has passed without improvement, the more serious her condition appears to be. There's a difference between having nightmares for a couple of weeks after something like that and having nightmares every night for a year.

I did get the impression a long time had passed, but I think knowing the exact length confirms my impressions and indicates just how much she is struggling. Poor Lavender.

Hmm, I think the fact she cares, even a little, is a good sign, a sign some feeling is coming back to her and that she might eventually recover.

All thought it hasn't provoked an immediate recovery (which would be pretty unrealistic anyway), there do appear to be signs of slight improvement.

Wow, the fact that she manages to whisper "congratulations" is a bit step, I think. It shows that she is still able to care about her friends.

I love the part about the unicorn and how much it clearly means to her.

Excellent first chapter.

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Review #34, by MargaretLaneIce.: Ice.

7th May 2015:
This has some weird similarities with my entry to the same challenge - the facial scarring, the Healers saying to take things easier.

I like the way the healers are speaking in sort of vague euphemisms, as if they don't want to address issues of mental health directly.

Oooh, you brought in that part about how your character's "best friend or something" is married so casually and I'm now wondering if the husband knows about this relationship.

And aw that part about feeling like a waste of space!

Oh, the last few paragraphs make things sound rather more serious than I'd imagined them as being up to that point. And they are so sad.

This story is really well-written and intriguing. There's sort of so much left unsaid about the full details of the main character's life.

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Review #35, by MargaretLaneA Single Point In Time: 1984

26th April 2015:
Hmm, this is an interesting interpretation of Narcissa. I always imagined her as adoring her child and wanting nothing more than to be the perfect wife and mother, but we don't really know much about her, and she'd probably be too proud to express any dissatisfaction with her life and of course, adoring your child doesn't necessarily mean you don't get slightly annoyed about having to leave your guests to tend to them. I think it gives her a bit of depth to show her as not enjoying all parts of motherhood, so most parents probably have moments when they'd like to enjoy something without their child.

One thing I will say is that the first description of Draco here made him sound like a baby. Four and five year olds are pretty tall and heavy. She could certainly still carry him, but I'm not sure about lifting him higher on her side.

Like the mention of Belarus, as it's an unusual place to mention and I like reminders that there's a wizarding world outside Britain. Considering the date, he's probably lucky to be arriving in Britain.

LOVE the reference to how the war was reported abroad. And it's extremely believable. In Ireland, the papers were hugely censored during World War II, so no country could use something as an excuse to invade or anything. Doubt that'd be a concern here, but it still fits pretty well.

You give a certain insight into Evelyn's character just by the blank look on her face.

"It had it's own value" - there shouldn't be an apostrophe in "its". That's only when it's short for "it is".

I like the comparison between Harry's name and a "wound." It expresses how painful it is to them.

Coming from a neutral country, I think you have captured how difficult it is to really grasp the reality of a war your country hasn't been involved in. That's phrased badly, but it's clear the war hasn't affected them as it has people in Britain and even though they probably know logically how horrific it must have been, there is a feeling that they haven't quite grasped it on a more emotional level.

I've no idea what the word "kitsune" means and it doesn't really seem like a word an upper-class British woman would use in the early '80s. OK, googling tells me it's Japanese for "fox", so I think she'd just say "fox".

LOVE the last line. It encapsulates Narcissa's world view perfectly.

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Review #36, by MargaretLaneJigsaw: Piece #11

23rd April 2015:
Gosh, that does sound dramatic.

Poor, poor Roxanne. I'm sure living in an era when so many people she knows have faced war, it must make her feel inadequate being upset at something like this. But it's not a competition and seeing something like that IS upsetting. I like the way you show the cousins reacting differently, because people do.

Your Louis is quite different from mine. Not that Louis plays a large part in my story. Ironically, his joking about being a radio presenter, girls loving his voice and so on is pretty much the way my Louis really thinks. I'm not sure what his career will be, but wireless presenter is one I've considered.

LOVE the detail about Tinworth and the football/soccer match (sorry, had to). And the shop taking both currencies.

This phrase: "I know that, if I visit them, Aunt Fleur and Uncle Bill will be bombarding me" sounds a bit awkward to me. "Aunt Fleur and Uncle Bill will bombard me" might sound better. Might be a dialect thing or something, but it just sounded a bit off to me.

And I think the word "know" might be missing from this sentence: "My parents and aunts and uncles talk about us like they think we don’t the extent to which they discuss our lives."

Miranda and Violet are so nasty. I hope Roxanne can keep her cool. They're obviously just trying to wind her up, but it would be hard not to react.

*cheers for Andy* He seems cool.

Fair play to the Seeker for ending things quickly. I think everybody would have felt uncomfortable, continuing that match indefinitely with a player in danger of dying. It would seem like taking advantage, for one thing.

Ah! NOW I'm seeing a possible connection with the murders. What if the villains are somehow involved with the creation of/supply of illegal potions and the murders are in some way related to that. The two victims might know something. Wasn't one of them involved in marketing or something?

Miranda's logic doesn't even make much sense. If she HADN'T been taken off the Armstrong story, there could be some argument about her not being able to accompany him, as she might be needed if something else broke in that, but surely being taken off it just means she's available. I guess Miranda is trying to imply being taken off the story implies some kind of deficit in her that would make her little use in this situation, but it's still sort of stretching it.

She really seems to have it in for Roxanne. Maybe Roxanne is a better journalist than she realises and Miranda is worried about her likely rise.

OK, this stuff about Jane is really weird and I can't figure out if Aggie knows more than she's saying or not. That emphasis on "friend" and the unexpected grin makes it seem like maybe she does.

My immediate thought is that Daniel and Jane are having an affair, but it doesn't seem to explain all the facts. It would explain Aggie's strange emphasis on "friend," why Daniel spent six months acting like somebody having an affair, why Jane's been avoiding Roxanne and where she is when she's claiming she's working. But it doesn't explain WHY she left her job. I can't really think of an alternative explanation though.

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Review #37, by MargaretLaneThe Story of You: The Story of You

22nd April 2015:
I'm not even sure WHAT to say about the opening paragraph of this story - it's just so perfect, almost poetic. And it is, in my opinion, in character for Albus, to describe things in terms of books. And as for the dreams of riches and glory. It's such a majestic image, yet we know it will be a hollow, even harmful mirage in the end.

Second person is something I'm often wary of, but THIS is exactly how it should be written. It reminds me of one of the few published novels written in the second person I have come across, one where it was handled so deftly, I could almost hear the accent. Here, it's not so much the accent I hear as the thoughtfulness and reminiscence. There is an element of Albus addressing his younger self or something.

I love the way you show how Albus's intelligence isolates him from the rest of his family.

LOVE the part about how part of him knew he had to take care of his siblings and was resigned to the idea that that was far more important than a "gap year," but that another part still resented it. I think Albus's attitude was very understandable. What 18 year old wouldn't feel some resentment at the thought of giving up a glittering future to care for an ungrateful and wayward younger brother and a sister with mental health problems. However much they loved them, it would hardly be natural if they didn't feel some reluctance.

And I love the line about Gellert being "as golden as your summer was supposed to have been." It both captures his infatuation with the other boy and also shows how Gellert becomes a substitute or replacement for everything he feels he's lost - his old schoolfriends, the trip abroad, the challenge of academia, the planned future.

I really love the way you introduce the issue of the Deathly Hallows. It would be a difficult subject for either of them to raise, as it isn't something a teen would necessarily admit to believing in to somebody they were trying to impress, but the way it happens here REALLY makes sense, Gellert seeing the sign and thinking Albus already has a belief in it.

The imagery of the hurricane is really interesting, as it would usually be a negative, frightening, threatening one, yet Albus uses it as a positive one. But it's more usual interpretation lurks in the background, reminding us of the turbulence Gellert will bring into Albus's life and how he will not only blow down the walls of his prison, but also so much of what he cares for.

It's actually an interesting question - what would have happened if Albus and Gellert had carried out their original plans? Of course, it could never have happened, since Albus would have been hard put to leave home and go on that journey and I think if he did, the gradual revelation of Gellert's true character would have forced them apart anyway. But if they did: would Albus have been able to rein in Gellert's excesses, creating perhaps a rather less vicious regime. Of course, forced government is never good, but there ARE degrees. Or would Gellert (or even the conviction he was doing what was right and the end justified the means) have corrupted him completely and created an even more powerful regime. I find it hard to imagine Albus countenancing things like Grindelwald's infamous prison. Perhaps even, Gellert could have been defeated sooner, if a breach between them caused a fight in which Albus defeated him.

I like the way you connect Albus's view of the romance with the books he read. There's a feeling that none of this is reality, which of course, it wasn't.

And you've actually made me appreciate the romance, which isn't easy, but then again, you once made me feel some sympathy for Crouch's predicament and after THAT, anything is a possibility.

I LOVE the way he cannot entirely cast Gellert Grindelwald as the villain, because even after everything he later did, he still remembers his more endearing characteristics. And of course, the end of his life indicates that he wasn't a complete villain. It doesn't justify anything he did, but it does add some complexity to his character.

And I love the part about him only being "the fool, the half-wit." Again, it is almost poetic.

One thing that seemed a little off to me. In the late 19th century, I think it would be difficult to find books about men who loved men.

And I LOVE the part about him stealing the pen from life.

This is a fantastic story. 10 out of 10.

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Review #38, by MargaretLaneCold Blood: Code Red

21st April 2015:
Yikes, I wonder what has happened to Harry. This IS mysterious. I really hadn't expected it to end with something like that.

I like the way Harry is more concerned about Harry than Hermione, because he knows Hermione'll take care of herself, but firstly, Harry might not - barreling into danger is sort of his thing - and secondly, they don't know if he's in a position to do so. If he has been murdered (which I doubt) or kidnapped or injured, which is more likely, he might not be able to do much about it.

Hmm, I wonder if the character speaking in the "you" part is Marietta or somebody else. Perhaps there is somebody else in this conspiracy, something going on.

The reference to Dumbledore makes it seem like it's somebody older, somebody who had a part in the war.

*grins* I was WONDERING if Hermione was pregnant when she mentioned feeling queasy.

That is a really intriguing ending. Looking forward to the sequel.

Thanks for the mention in the end note.

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Review #39, by MargaretLaneCold Blood: Clearing Up

21st April 2015:
Apologies for the delay in getting to this. I can't remember why I didn't read it when it first went up - was probably busy with one thing or another and then it kind of got lost among my "must read" list. Anyway, I'm getting to it now.

Oh, gosh, EMBARRASSING, Ron showing up at that moment.

Hmm, I wonder is there any more to that push. You've drawn a lot of attention to it which makes me wonder if it's as minor an issue as it seems. I mean, of course, it was serious enough at the time, but I've a feeling something more might come of it.

And that part about Harry's mind becoming blank and him punching the wall is a little ominous. I understand that he wants to protect his wife, but it IS over the top.

Love the linking of a divorce scandal with a pureblood going against tradition by dating a Muggleborn scandal. It makes sense the wizarding world would find the combination scandalous, especially as, while the wizarding world seems liberal in some ways, things like divorce and unmarried pregnancy seem uncommon, indicating they may be frowned upon.

Harry seems like he's heading for some kind of breakdown. I'm surprised Ron is more worried about him than Hermione. She's normally more perspective than he is.

I wonder what Hermione feels isn't right - whether it's something to do with Harry, something to do with the case or both. There could be a connection, though I can't see what.

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Review #40, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: Quidditch Protocols

21st April 2015:
I'm glad Meg seems happy. She's had a pretty upsetting time too and it's good it hasn't affected her too badly.

The sentence "the awkward went both ways" might sound better if you said "the awkwardness".

I can definitely see why Albus is worried about James. I would never have imagined him reacting to something like this that way. Mind you, I never imagined something like this happening to him at all. But his behaviour does seem out of character. For somebody like Rose or Amanda or even Matt, time alone might be what they needed after a crisis or a major change to their life, but James doesn't seem like the sort of person who'd feel better alone and he definitely doesn't seem the type to enjoy being in the library. It SEEMS to be just because it's quiet.

Though, of course, he could be thinking about his future. I think it's not necessarily a bad thing he hasn't made any decisions about that yet. After all, he's only recently realised he'll have to rethink his whole future. That isn't something you do overnight.

Yeah, I think Harry and Ginny are likely to be understanding of the risks involved in Quidditch. I totally understand the demand for an inquiry though.

Aw, that concept of Kiddie Quidditch is absolutely adorable. I LOVE IT.

Oh, you've written "none of us wold be prepared for being recruited by a team," leaving out the "u" in "would."

I wonder would some of these parents worrying about the dangers of Quidditch react negatively to the idea of their child attending school with a werewolf too, if they found out about Matt. It's kind of understandable he's so anxious when you think that people probably WOULD react quite negatively.

And all this talk of changing Quidditch rules and opposition to Kiddie Quidditch reminds me of when our P.E. teacher wouldn't let us play soccer, because she apparently considered it just a well, less robust version of (Gaelic) football.

Hmm, I suspect Hermione would be rather attuned to the idea of students eavesdropping considering what she and her friends got up to in their schooldays. John and Albus would want to be careful if they don't want to be caught.

In this case, I think the age of the board might go in favour of what the students want. People who've seen things done this way for 50-100 years are less likely to see any need for change than a younger person with children who'd be attending Hogwarts in a few years might be.

OH! Now I'm intrigued. This actually kind of sounds like the ending of a story, like the mystery is about to be solved, but as it's still only March, I doubt that is the case. Although of course, you'd probably have plenty to get you through the final term between James's injury and his N.E.W.T.S. and the Quidditch and everything.

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Review #41, by MargaretLanePast Tense: third.

18th April 2015:
*laughs* This is a little coincidental, as I am planning to have a Muggle character teach Muggle Studies in my characters' third year, which I'll be starting soon.

Poor Connor. It's really disappointing when you don't get into the course you'd hoped for.

I'm glad you addressed the question of how he is going to be able to see Hogwarts and the way she can see it, but he can't. Yeah, this sounds a bit obvious, but some stories gloss over stuff like that or it just feels like the author's forgotten about it. I'm saying this badly, but I guess what I mean is that the conversation between them feels realistic and I am interested to see how they will get around it. I'm still debating if my Muggle Studies class should take place outside the castle like Hagrid's classes.

As a history teacher, I'm inclined to agree with Steph on a lot of things. Except one - the comment about their being no sources or bibliography at the back of the textbook. I don't think I've ever SEEN a secondary school textbook with sources at the back. Maybe it's different in the UK, but that's sort of one of the way secondary school texts differ from university ones.

I could go on a rant about Binns' teaching and his dismissal of mythology and legends. THESE CAN BE IMPORTANT HISTORICAL SOURCES.

*laughs* I REALLY, REALLY love the part about her thrill at seeing a room with her name on it, because when I was a college student doing work experience in an after school programme, I was at one point given a room to take some of the young people in for homework (before that I'd been helping the qualified staff) and spent the whole time thinking about "my homework room" and going in to make sure everything was set up properly. It just feels so realistic for somebody just qualified and getting used to themselves as a "professional".

And nobody at Hogwarts really comes close to deserving the title of "Professor" in the Muggle sense. It just seems to be their word for "teacher." But as Steph is probably used to it as a term for only the most highly qualified lecturers, I'm not surprised she'd be thrilled to be given that title.

Hmm, the Headmistress is raising more difficulties than I would have expected.

*laughs* An honours degree is a LONG way from failing, but I guess it feels that way to him right now. Poor Connor.

I like the fact that Steph's friends aren't all overawed by magic and delighted at the chance to enter the magical world. Even canon seems to assume everybody would choose it, given the choice, but I don't really think that's true. The world has a lot of flaws and I like the fact that you're exploring them here.

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Review #42, by MargaretLaneActions Speak Louder than Words: Blackout: Rose and Scorpius POV

18th April 2015:
Oh, the summary for this sounds ominous. Hope Rose will be OK.

Aw, poor Rose, but it's hardly surprising she's so unhappy. She's dealing with so much. She's actually an amazingly strong person. I think most people would struggle to deal just with the idea that a guy who tortured them is not only still out there, but is still looking for a chance to hurt her again. And she's not only dealing with that, but also with Scorpius's issues and with an unplanned pregnancy, which, while it's very welcome, could have waited for a more convenient time. Considering everything, she's dealing really well, but it would be amazing if there wasn't some reaction.

I hope Scorpius cops himself on soon. I totally understand his immediate reaction, but not speaking to her for days or weeks on end isn't on. A few hours to get over the initial shock, yeah, but after that, he should deal with things like an adult. Of course, he's going to be upset, but avoiding Rose won't help him or her.

LOVE the reference to a vaccine for Dragon Pox. I always like these little details that show the world as a dynamic one. They add a degree of realism to a story. And I LOVE Charlie's involvement. I would never have expected him to discover something like that, but since he's in close contact with dragons, it's not exactly surprising.

I'd like that puzzle solving too. But then again, I would HATE to be a doctor.

That is a really interesting exam, but also a really tough one. If QUALIFIED Healers made mistakes, it's tough to expect trainees to do any better. But it would definitely be more fun than just writing what you've memorised. And it's a better test, as it shows they can apply their knowledge.

That sounds like a REALLY good idea, that she take a year off. Her maternity leave would probably be most of that anyway, if she were working. Not sure how long maternity leave is in the UK, but it's six months here, and I'm pretty sure that's considered rather short by the standards of most of Europe. Of course, it might be different in the wizarding world. And it would be better to take a break if she's not sure what she wants. It's an important decision.

Oh wow, I assumed you'd just included this as an interesting description of an assignment and to give us some insight into what her course is like, but if they were murdered, perhaps it has something to do with Stannous.

I've a feeling Rose has noticed SOME connection with her own experiences. OH! An idea has occurred to me. I was about to say I can't think what it could be, but while typing the first sentence of this paragraph, the way she was tortured occurred to me. The woman in this case has been tortured too. Maybe she's noticed some indication the same spell was used.

Oh gosh, I hope the baby is OK. I'm expecting it will be. I think this is probably a way to make Scorpius realise how much the baby, and Rose, mean to him. But you never know and this story has surprised me before. I really, really hope the baby'll be OK.

Three weeks is far too long for Scorpius to be behaving as he is. Not too long for him to be processing it, of course; that could take years. But too long for him to be treating Rose so terribly on the grounds that he's upset. None of this is her fault. It's just becoming selfish at this point.

To be honest, I sort of want to yell some sense into him. He's talking about how what he wanted was snatched from him, but the only thing that's stopping him from having it is himself. I'm sure it doesn't feel that way to him, but it's true.

He needs somebody to yell at him like Harry did at Remus. The situations are rather similar.

Author's Response: Hi there!

Gosh - you review so fast and I've taken so long to respond - sorry!

Yes! Rose *is* really strong! She still doesn't see it the way she should, but she's come so very far from the beginning of the story. I've really tried to make her recovery be at a pace that was believable - but she *has* gotten much, much better.

Scorpius, Scorpius - he really is being a fool, here. He's pulled himself away from everyone. The shock of his family's actions during the war is too great for him to bear. I know that is not always the way that other authors have chosen to portray him, but in my view, Draco -ever the coward - wouldn't have ever volunteered the information about the war. He also truly loved his son, and didn't want him to live with the stigma hanging over his head - so he took the easy route and never mentioned it to him.

:) Glad you like the dragon-pox... I originally had Hagrid as the discoverer, but I changed it to Charlie.

I should probably look at the requirements for that assignment. It would make more sense for the trainees to only have ONE unsolved assignment. You're right - if Healers with years of experience couldn't solve it - perhaps they dole out just one really difficult one in the hopes that "fresh eyes" might see something else.

Haha - I guess I should research what the maternity leave policy is for the UK. Here in the US, it's abysmal. The law states that an employer only has to HOLD a woman's job for six weeks - no pay at all. Even that law is dependent on the size of the employer as really, really small businesses aren't even held to the 6 week rule. Fortunately for me, I was allowed to use up my sick days for the six weeks, but any time after that I had to take without pay - up to a total of 10 months. In addition, I had to cover the cost of my family health insurance during the unpaid leave time - which is NOT CHEAP in the US. Also - when I returned to work, I had almost no sick days left (which had to be used for personal or family sickness) - so I had to cross my fingers that the baby didn't get sick - which is really unlikely when they are in daycare with other kids. Okay, I'm done with my rant about how archaic our maternity leave policy is in the US.

BUT - my intent with this story is to explore the pressures that Rose feels being torn between her family and her career - that will come a bit later :)

Yes, let's ALL yell some sense into Scorpius - he is being a complete prat!

Thanks again for this review! I smiled every time I read it (which was quite a bit)


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Review #43, by MargaretLaneJigsaw: Piece #10

17th April 2015:
Apologies for the delay in getting to this. I've been pretty busy for the last week or two and of course, the rare good weather hasn't exactly inclined me to spend any more time inside than necessary.

These letters have started reminding me of the Basilisk's game. And hmm, we still don't know who the Basilisk really is.

One tiny, nit-picky thing, you've written that "Higgins instructed Miranda and I". It should be "Miranda and me," since you wouldn't say, "Higgins instructed I."

Hmm, that part about how Miranda doesn't seem particularly anxious to find out more about what is surely one of the more interesting stories to which she has been assigned is intriguing. I hadn't considered her as a suspect up to this point, but that makes me wonder. Though of course, if she WERE the villain, she'd probably want to know how the case was progressing, so as to know if anybody had any suspicions.

Her attitude is odd though. I wonder what is going on with her.

I'm now sort of suspicious Miranda is going to go out while Roxanne is with Higgins and deliberately leave her behind. It sounds like something she'd do.

Love the metaphor of the spider curling up in its web.

Oh, I wasn't expecting Roxanne to be taken off the story, though I suppose it's hardly surprising. It's bound to be assigned to the more experienced reporters. And Miranda clearly knew. Poor Roxanne.

I've a feeling she won't give up that easily though. Well, she can't or there wouldn't be much of a story.

Yikes, I definitely didn't expect that ending to the chapter. I suppose I should have figured out there'd be some significance to the match when you went into it in such detail, but I got so caught up in what was going on that I didn't think about it.

I wonder if this is in some way connected to the murders. I can't see how it COULD be: even if she has been murdered somehow, it doesn't seem the same KIND of murder as the other two. And yet, I feel there must be some connection or you probably wouldn't bring it up. Hmmm.

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Review #44, by MargaretLaneTidal Wave: Tidal Wave

17th April 2015:
The first paragraph plunges us straight into the story and sets me wondering. I want to know why Pansy is so angry and what exactly is going on in her head.

You also write it really well. Your imagery is fantastic.

I would say though, and this is a minor thing, but I'd leave out the "on the table" in the first line. It kind of states the obvious and distracts a little from the impact of the statement.

I also like the way you give us an immediate insight into the relationship Pansy has with her mother. It is clearly an unhappy one and helps to explain some of Pansy's behaviour in the books.

This sentence is quite awkwardly phrased: "All her life she’d been close with Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini, and on more than one occasion had day-dreamed about what it might be like to one day be wife to one of the boys in her life." I'd be inclined to write it as, "all her life she'd been close to Draco and Blaise and had often dreamed that one day, she might marry one of them."

I think they way she refers to Hermione and Ginny is very much in character. Not that we KNOW that much about Pansy's character, but we do know she was raised in a pretty prejudiced, pure-blood supremacist environment, so it would make sense for her to find it difficult to understand how anybody, let alone Draco, who was raised in a similar environment, could choose Hermione over her.

I also like the way you delve into a point of view we rarely see in Draco/Hermione fics. The question of how Pansy feels at seeing the boy she fancies in love with somebody she has been taught to see as beneath contempt is something I don't think I've ever read and I must admit, it didn't really occur to me as a question either. But it's an interesting one.

*laughs* That is SUCH a typical Ron comment. Hermione would probably hex him if she heard him say something so blatantly misogynistic as to imply that girls should choose their attitudes based on what might attract a guy. But he just doesn't THINK, does he? I don't think he really IS that misogynistic. I think he just says things without properly thinking through how problematic they are.

You have Pansy saying, "you came over her". I assume it should be, "you came over here."

It's quite a while before it becomes clear where they are. I'd assumed they were at Hogwarts until Pansy has made it clear they weren't.

I like the way she expresses her disdain for Ron by referring to him repeatedly as "Blood Traitor." It seems like something she'd do.

And you sort of draw a comparison between the situation they are both in here. Neither can imagine how the person they fancy can prefer something they have complete disdain for.

I'd be inclined to put commas around "even in hell" in this sentence: "Although even in hell I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone as awful as you." "Although, even in hell, I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone as awful as you."

I always find it a little odd that in the wizarding world, where people live longer, they seem to marry so much younger, but given how many people in that world seem to marry in their early 20s, it makes sense Pansy would feel that at 26, she should be at least thinking of marriage.

I was WONDERING how you were going to get from her being appalled at the thought of dating a blood traitor to some kind of relationship between her and Ron, but I think you did it very convincingly. I like the way she hates herself for what happens between them and sees it as a mistake. It fits with her attitudes about going out with the "right" people.

Author's Response: Thanks so much for reviewing for me! I'm glad you liked ti and that you think I caught Pansy's character. I was worried I might not have done her justice. It's so nice of you to come over and leave me a review. Thanks so much!

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Review #45, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: The Break-Up

14th April 2015:
Poor Albus. It must be awful to feel everybody else is doing so much better than you. Obviously, it's not a race or anything, but it must make him feel a bit incompetent.

I'd almost forgotten about Elsie. Hmm, I hope we get a bit more info on her and her family soon.

I don't think Kaden should be so dismissive of the harm done by committing crimes while impersonating people. After all Young nearly went to Azkaban for a crime he hadn't committed because of Boone's impersonation of him and Boone didn't even mean that. Some of the people jailed for crimes they didn't really commit during the Troubles are still suffering PTSD and other issues after their experiences. It might not KILL people, but setting somebody up for a crime you committed is still pretty serious and likely to have very severe lifelong implications for the person impersonated, especially if they never manage to prove their innocence and either spend their life in Azkaban or come out to find they are unemployable and depending on the crime, possibly treated as a pariah.

I can't help liking Burke, but I don't think funding his research is really justification for what he did. And I do wonder how much was about helping people and how much just his love of research.

And in the following line, they mention Young.

I don't think Burke is a bad person, but I do think you can believe somebody's done something seriously wrong and still believe they did other things that were good. Few people are one thing or the other. It must be hard though, to learn somebody you admired was involved in something seriously wrong. Somebody I admired was once accused of something illegal - not by the police or anything, just by somebody whose testimony I wouldn't be too convinced by anyway, but even that was enough to make me question how I judge people and to make me feel pretty uncomfortable, so I can kind of imagine how Kaden feels.

I wonder if Meg has already broken up with James. It doesn't SOUND that way exactly. It sounds more like she's looking for him to break up with him or something (yeah, I'm making assumptions from the title), but she might be worried if he disappeared after they broke up and it would certainly explain his disappearance.

Oh, the conversation between James and Albus is so sad. You've really managed to capture how much James has lost and how he is trying to hold onto any bit of hope that he might be able to play the game he loves again. The thought he'll never be able to play even for fun is even worse than thinking he'll never have a career in it.

Aw, I actually sort of like the way the break up happens. It's clear the whole situation was just too heavy for a teen relationship - well, for Meg; some teenagers could deal with it, but she doesn't seem to be able to - and it would probably be worse for them both in the end if she just stayed with him out of guilt or loyalty or because she was afraid other people would judge her. She'd probably end up resenting him and he'd feel guilty or resenting her for making him feel worse. It's probably for the best if they can break up amicably and remain friend, even though I'm sure it'll still hurt. But it's probably the least bad option.

I like the way you had Meg react actually. While some people would probably deal pretty well with a situation like this, others wouldn't and at her age, it's quite likely she didn't expect the situation to get so heavy. In fiction, it seems like the world is often divided up between those who deal really well with these situations and those who just don't care and cut the person off completely. Reactions like this seem to be underrepresented.

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Review #46, by MargaretLaneUnconfirmed Reports: [S1:E1] Pilot/"The Pluckley Anomaly"

13th April 2015:
Wow, this is a pretty long chapter. It sounds like a really original story though, and I've always been intrigued by the Unspeakables. There are so many ways you can interpret them. Looking forward to seeing how you do.

Really like the introduction. The shoes clacking sort of create a bit of suspense. We wonder where he is going and why and who he is.

And you somehow manage to create a very formal and businesslike atmosphere straight off. Not sure how you do that.

You've also managed to give us an impression of the characters before we even meet them. Cuthbert is boring and rambles, Atwater is a born politician or high ranking civil servant. And when he does appear, he speaks in such typical "civil service speak". You characterise these people perfectly, important in an all-OC story. Or mostly OC; I don't know, of course, whether canon characters will appear later.

Hmm, sounds like Samuel Hatch has a unique role. I'm looking forward to seeing what it is.

LOVE this comparison: "this portion would undoubtedly be the mediocre bowl of pre-entrée tomato basil – ubiquitous, yet entirely devoid of substance."

I like the mention of the time-turners being replaced. And I'm now wondering when this is. Probably after 2000, because he refers to '96 as if it were quite a while ago. And I can't imagine replacing time-turners would be the priority in the immediate aftermath of the war.

I've a feeling Samuel will turn out to have underestimated his new colleague.

This might be a different versions of English thing, but "it's both yours now" didn't sound quite right to me. "It's both of yours" might sound better, unless, of course, you are trying to show his speech pattern.

And this might be personal preference, but the references to hair colour are starting to seem a little out of place. It's generally best to use characters' names or pronouns, unless there is some reason that the viewpoint character WOULDN'T describe somebody that way, like they are trying to distinguish between two people of the same gender whose names they don't know or they are attracted to somebody and thinking of them in terms of their attractiveness.

And since there is only one man and one woman present for most of the time, "he" and "she" are probably the best things to use. They don't stand out or sound awkward, no matter how often you use them, whereas words like "the brunette" and "the older agent" really do.

Hmm, he seems to have some prejudices against Slytherins, hardly surprising in the post-war period.

I like the reference to the lack of communication between departments. It's typical of the sort of bureaucracy between government departments and very believable.

Hmm, I wonder if the bizarre design for the age of the house is relevant in some way.

Hmm, I wonder what the owl's hooting is warning of.

Yikes, she must have read quickly.

Hmm, I wonder what a seven stone is. And I like the detail about how people said lethifolds were fictional.

Kellyn is pretty confident in herself. She's not afraid to speak up and disagree with Samuel, even though she'd only just started in a new job.

I would have expected them to use miles rather than kilometers.

Hmm, I'm probably being overly suspicious here, but I wonder if there is some relevance to her headache. I can't imagine why there would be, but I suspect you included it for a reason. I just can't think what the reason could be.

Hmm, these references to the Ancient Runes are pretty interesting. I've rarely seen runes play an important part in stories. And I have never seen such detail about the history of them. I really like the hint that in other wizarding schools in other countries, runes might be a core subject. English speakers tend to be notoriously bad at languages anyway and it seems to be the same in the wizarding world. Hogwarts teaches no foreign languages, yet all the visiting students and staff can speak English, implying they DO learn it. So that might well have an effect when it comes to the teaching of runes too.

I really like the difficulty they had getting the runes to work. It makes sense that it wouldn't work easily.

This sentence could do with a few commas: "In the Speaker’s office two days again she’d been entirely done up and even on departure she’d failed to entirely abandon cosmetics and well-coiffed hair." I'd be inclined to write it as "In the Speaker's office, two days ago, she'd been entirely done up and even on departure, she'd failed to entirely abandon cosmetics and well-coiffed hair."

*laughs at the comment at the end that "unconfirmed reports" are "their words". I'm guessing that's a hint as to what the next chapter will involve.

Author's Response: You beat me to the punch! I was totally planning on getting home tonight and being the first to complete the Prefect Review Exchange! Oh well...better luck next time I suppose.

First off, thank you for such a thorough and detailed review. And thank you again for not pulling punches. PART of why I've been delayed moving on is wanting to get great CC like this, so it's very appreciated.

To speak to the length of the story, I'll say that the vision of this piece is actually (as the title of this chapter suggests) to be an "episode" in a "series" styled somewhat after a TV series.

Since Hatch and Landreth and definitely going to be the main characters throughout, I'm glad you liked them and their dynamic well enough (though I'll pay heed to the whole hair color thing - I tend to do that in longer stories to avoid repeating names and pronouns so much, but you make a great point about it possibly being more annoying).

I'm also MOST glad that you liked the dynamic with the Ministry and the first "different" kind of magic that the duo were forced to deal with. The whole idea behind the plot of this story anyway will be all the different things they have to deal with with from phenomena, to spells, to objects, to creatures, to whatever (with some broader arcs and villains/antagonists in there too).

You're absolutely right about Hatch underestimating his new colleague though. He'll start to learn about that soon enough in a variety of different ways and parts of the remainder of the season will involve peering into each of their pasts to give a better idea of their true identities and how they came to be in their present positions.

Thanks again for all your thoughtful feedback! It means the world!


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Review #47, by MargaretLaneLily Potter And The Lunar Problem: Hogwarts

13th April 2015:
Can't believe I'm only getting around to reading this now. I love sorting chapters. It's so interesting to see where the main characters end up. It gives an insight into their characters. I can see Lily in Gryffindor actually; so far she seems to have dealt amazingly well with her condition. And I also love meeting the classmates and teachers and seeing how they're developed.

And of course, THIS story also has the issue of how Hogwarts will deal with the full moons. Even with Wolfsbane, I doubt they'd just let Lily transform in her dormitory. Apart from anything else, she probably wouldn't want her dorm mates knowing. Maybe she'll use a teacher's study or something. Or the Shrieking Shack. I expect that's something SHE'D want to know fairly early too.

Harry hasn't been at Hogwarts since the battle? That's sad. I guess he'd have no great reason to, but you'd think with both his boys there and a good friend teaching there, he'd have called there some time. I wonder if it's just because he never had reason to and didn't want to get in the way, or if he's deliberately avoiding it. It must bring back pretty bad memories after all. Poor Harry. And now he's dealing with his daughter's condition, which must be very upsetting for him too - knowing she'll go through such pain each month and possibly face a good deal of prejudice. I'm looking forward to seeing if attitudes towards werewolves have changed much since Harry's day. Or at all.

Oooh, one Death Eater is still on the run? I'm guessing you didn't mention that just in passing. I think that's a clue and that whoever it is possibly played a part in Lily's being bitten.

And as I assumed, Lily is given information about how to deal with the full moon before she starts Hogwarts. She'd have to be really. It would be too scary for her if she were waiting until the last minute for information.

I'm sorry she has to transform in the Shrieking Shack though, as it's far from pleasant.

I think you set up the situation well. Everything Madame Pomfrey says makes sense and they seem to have provided for most eventualities.

Hopefully, the injuries won't be TOO bad, as she can use Wolfsbane, so the werewolf won't attack itself. A person's whole body being transformed is bound to be painful though. Poor Lily.

Like the comment, "before Lily could say Quidditch."

While it's unlikely to arise until the next year at the earliest, I wonder if this will prevent Lily having an opportunity to PLAY Quidditch for her house. After all, she'd probably be unable to play in the days after the full moon if there was a match then.

I'd like to see a little more of the conversation that passes between Lily and her new classmates. I don't really know anything about them, except that Eloise is Muggleborn. I'm sure we'll get to know them better as the story progresses, but it's nice to get an indication of each person's personality when you first meet them. It makes them easier to remember and lets us build a connection with them.

And poor Lily. It seems like she just wants to be treated as normal, but of COURSE her brothers would be worried. It's scary enough to be going away to boarding school at the mere age of eleven, without adding a recently acquired, lifelong and very painful condition. I really like the way you show them irritating her by wanting to help. Often in fiction, people either know exactly what to say and do or they just seem not to care at all. The fact that their very concern is getting on her nerves is really realistic.

LOVE the way Hagrid refers to Lily as "little Lily Potter."

Poor Ben. That REALLY isn't a nice way to begin your time at a new school. I don't blame him for glaring at them.

There's a lack of agreement in this sentence: "whose family had always refused to tell her about Hogwarts, no matter how much they begged." The first part says "her" and the second part "them". It would sound better as "whose families had always refused to tell them about Hogwarts, no matter how much they begged."

Really good chapter. I think it's the best one yet. Looking forward to meeting the new teachers, finding out more about Lily's classmates and hearing more about this Death Eater.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. I love all the feedback that people are giving me, and your suggestions make sense. Oh, and not to give anything away, but you have ideas in your review that I've been planning on using.

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Review #48, by MargaretLaneBruises: Terror

12th April 2015:
OK, I'm really glad you posted about that review swap, because I went to read this yesterday, then realised how long it was and thought I'd leave it until I'd more time and it was only when I saw your review swap that I remembered, "oh yeah, I meant to read that."

Yikes, that part about being strapped to the bed sent shivers down my spine. It must be such a terrifying experience - just waking up to find yourself tied down like that.

You really capture the sense of being trapped and terrified and her lack of understanding as to what is going on in the first few paragraphs. I really feel her lack of control.

The fact she can't remember anything must be terrifying too. You create the atmosphere so well. There's a real FEELING of horror and confusion as to what has happened here. But whatever it is, it's clear it's nothing good.

Oh gosh, that part where she thinks he means to torture her is terrifying.

So she knows her age anyway. I was beginning to wonder if she'd completely forgotten everything.

You write the sensory stuff very well - the taste of iron in her mouth, for example. I find that kind of descriptive stuff difficult, so I am always impressed to read it.

I was WONDERING about her parents. She never mentioned them, which, I think, was partly why I'd wondered if she'd forgotten everything until she mentioned her age. And why are they being prevented from seeing her? This gets more and more intriguing.

The mystery as to what is going on and why she is in some kind of psychiatric hospital works really well, I think, as it allows us to empathise with her confusion. SHE doesn't appear to have any idea why she's there and neither do we.

Hmm, the procedure? That gives a little clue as to what's going on. It fits with her legs being weak anyway.

Yikes, it sounds like the procedure was some attempt to remove her magical powers.

And I'm wondering WHY her parents seem to have such little understanding of them. If she is 17, she should have received a visitor from Hogwarts six years beforehand, explaining it all. Even if they had religious objections to magic or something, they'd still at least KNOW what it was. Or maybe they do. We are only hearing the doctor's words and they may not have told him everything, since it would sound pretty crazy.

It certainly sounds as if their daughter has never been to a magical school, which could explain her apparent lack of control over her powers. I have often wondered what happens in the case that a Muggleborn refuses their place at Hogwarts - I would expect many would. Would they continue to have those strange things happen because of uncontrolled magic or would they begin to gain a certain amount of control over it, just because of the maturation process - probably not enough to cast spells, certainly not without a want, but enough to stop it erupting unintentionally, or would their magic fade from lack of use? I think it could be written any way. Hmm, this would make an interesting fic.

It sounds like the "procedure", whatever it is, has succeeded in removing her magic. That's kind of creepy.

And that part with Katherine is so sad. It's nearly easier when she can just hate and fear the people, whereas when it somebody who seems nice, but who she still distrusts...that must be more frightening and disconcerting.

Hmm, that sharp aching pain is intriguing.

I'm a bit confused by the fact she seems to shake her head to express agreement, when a shake of the head usually expresses dissent and a nod agreement. I keep thinking she's disagreeing, but then people react as if she's agreed.

One mistake I've noticed is that the doctor says, "your parent's are coming to see you." There shouldn't be an apostrophe in "parents". That's the first mistake I've noticed though.

Oh, the fact she can't remember her parents' faces is CREEPY. That must be REALLY frightening.

Hmm, the use of the word "witchcraft" rather than magic is interesting. It's an old-fashioned kind of word and this story definitely seems 20th or 21st century. My feeling is that her family, and probably the doctor, belong to one of those religious denominations that believe magic is evil - I think those groups might use terms like "witchcraft," though I'm not at all familiar with them, so I don't really know.

Another TINY thing I'd say is that I'd be inclined to put a comma before "Sarah," when they say, "your sister, Sarah."

Somehow I've the impression Sarah is younger than her. Just from the way the parents refer to her. And a few lines later, this is confirmed. It's pretty impressive that you could express that just by the parents' few comments about her.

Yikes, that part where she feels something is wrong about going home is ominous. I wonder if the parents have treated her badly because of her "witchcraft." They SEEM loving, but the fact that they had her put through the procedure is a little concerning, although of course, they MAY have believed they were acting for the best. And now this anxiety.

Yikes, a lot of that sounds REALLY creepy. Well, obviously beating a child and having them sent to an asylum is more than creepy, but there's something creepy about how normal Sarah seems to think it - "you know how he gets" - and how Caroline has no memory of this. I guess that explains her anxiety about returning home.

And poor Sarah - feeling guilty for not being able to save her sister.

I think the part where Sarah says "it gets worse" is a bit insensitive, because it's like saying it's worse that something might happen to her than that something DID happen to Caroline.

I would love to read a follow up to this, finding out what happens with Sarah and if Caroline manages to protect her.

And I am delighted they failed to remove her magic.

Excellent story and very original.

Author's Response: Hi Margaret,

So I have to tell you first that I smile every time I see one of your reviews pop up in my unanswered reviews section! You give such amazingly detailed feedback that it really helps.

I'm so glad that the opening did what is was supposed to. I wanted it to be terrifying, confusing and disorienting. I kind of hoped the reader would be in for the ride with Caroline as she figures things out.

The descriptive stuff is something I really work hard at. When I decide what I'm going to write I always imagine the scenario and then try to imagine how I would personally describe it if it was happening to me. Then I take the descriptions that fit the story best and incorporate them.

You've hit the nail on the head in regards to "the procedure". I read a book awhile back called "My Lobotomy" and that's kind of what triggered this little foray into muggle medicine here.

You've stumbled across one of my Americanisms. In the US it is acceptable to say shake your head yes and shake your head no. I could see why this would get confusing within the story. When I re-edit I will probably adjust it to nodded as you've suggested.

In regards to the words witchcraft, I sort of intended this story to be taking place in the Southern States of the U.S. where very fervent religious belief is a bit more common. I imagine her parents thinking that her magic is coming from the devil and trying to rid her of it.

Caroline's relationship with her younger sister Sarah is in my eyes, her saving grace. Sarah triggers the memories. Sarah gives her a reason to fight on. I think that it's safe to say from here on out the two of them will be alright.

I don't know if I'll ever do a follow up on this one. I kind of like that it has an ambiguous ending. It kind of leaves it open to imagination I suppose.

Thank you once again for taking out so much time to leave me such detailed feedback. During re-edit I will definitely fix the typos as well!

~Kaitlin


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Review #49, by MargaretLaneAfter: One.

11th April 2015:
Wow, you got this up quickly. I thought I was moving quickly, being part-way through the first chapter of mine.

Poor guy. I don't know if you'd even come to terms with a child's death, particularly when it seems like Cedric was his only child. And six months seems like a pretty short time to have got anywhere near coming to terms with it.

Oh, that part about the tensions between Amos and Elaine and how their grief is driving them apart is so stark, so sad and so believable. It sounds like they are grieving differently and unable to support each other.

Ooh, that part about the green light made me shiver.

Oh poor, poor Amos. How guilty he must feel about encouraging his son to take part. But of course, he couldn't know what had happened.

I really like the fact that Dumbledore clearly does not believe it when he tells them time heals all pain. He, of all people, must know that is not true, as it's obvious he has never fully recovered from the death of his sister, almost a century before.

I found it interesting the way you chose to tell this story backwards. It worked well to have it end with him first being told that time heals all wounds.

I think you expressed his grief very well here.

Author's Response: It's funny, I hadn't written much in a long time and then when I was given Amos for the challenge inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks, I just had to get his story written.

This is pretty much my head-canon for Amos after Cedric died, I think after losing a child it would be pretty tough to keep a marriage going, especially if the parents are grieving in different ways.

I'm glad you commented on the backwards narration, I was hesitant about it at first and even changed it to the right way around but it just didn't seem to work as well.

Thanks so much for the lovely review!


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Review #50, by MargaretLaneBecause my name is Ava Yaxley: because my name is Ava Yaxley

10th April 2015:
I was considering writing a story about the child of a Death Eater, but never got around to it. I'd imagine it would be a VERY difficult position to be in.

I really like the "Acts of Equality." It's always nice to see some detail about how the wizarding world recovered from the war and rebuilt itself.

I'd be inclined to put an "or" in this sentence: "And the children who ended up in the orphanage were most often those who had parents in Azkaban, whose parents had died resisting capture by Aurors or hit-wizards." "Or whose parents had died resisting capture by Aurors."

Poor girl. The way she is being treated is very unfair, though I suppose in a way it's hardly surprising. People are bound to be angry and scared too. But she can hardly help what her father did.

This sentence: "Even though house divides and stereotypes had faded a good deal, there was still expected that the sons and daughters of Death Eaters and other criminals would find their home in Slytherin," might sound better as "it was still expected" or "there was still an expectation."

Oh, she's the same age as Teddy Lupin.

If she's correct about how the teachers are treating her, that's totally unprofessional. But I guess teachers are people too and some of them have issues that they allow to impact on their teaching.

You've written "neither of us could bare to return to the orphanage." I think it should be "bear."

Wow, 7 N.E.W.T.S. appears quite impressive. I'm never sure what the normal amount of N.E.W.T.S. to do is, but didn't Hermione do 7. If so, I think we can assume that's a pretty impressive amount. And then to get 5 Os.

I do think she's being a little pessimistic though. Although I can understand why - in your late teens, it does feel like these things are a one-off, now or never deal. But she probably has another 100 years alive, judging by the lifespans wizards seem to have in canon. And the more time moves on, the less the war will dominate people's thoughts. And of course, people her age won't care as much as older people, as they won't have any memories of the war, so when they start to move into the "hiring" positions, she will have a far better chance of getting a better job.

This is such a sad story; the way she's been treated is terribly unfair.

Author's Response: For quite a while I was planning on writing something about the 'Acts of Equality' and how the wizarding world rebuilt after the war, but then I came across that quote from the Merchant of Venice and I hit upon the idea of focussing on events from the perspective of one of the children who grew up amongst the prejudice of a war they were barely alive for.

Thank you for pointing out the spelling and grammar mistakes (I'm awful at spotting mistakes in my writing).

Yes, Ava is the same age as Teddy Lupin, or a month or two older than him, born during the war only a few months before her parents died. Thinking about it, they have quite a lot in common.

The way the teachers and the nurses at the orphanage treat her is completely unprofessional, though, as you say, teachers are people too and it is understandable that they still carry with them the terrible memories of the war they lived through.

I think that Ava would have poured everything into working for her O.W.L.S. and N.E.W.T.S. because she wanted to prove to everyone that she actually is worth something. But yes, she definitely is being a little pessimistic, and while she thinks that everything is over for her she will definitely have other chances and opportunities.

Thank you very much for your review!


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