Reading Reviews From Member: MargaretLane
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Review #51, by MargaretLaneRainbow: Change

9th September 2015:
I had a FEELING Hugo's teacher would be a man. Or maybe you mentioned it sometime. You probably did, because a woman is the more typical stereotype when it comes primary school teachers.

And oh, I hadn't thought of the difficulties of entering a new classroom for blind students.

*laughs at him thinking how he'll react if the teacher touches him in a few weeks*

De Valera story for all occasions (which I've probably told you before): I saw a photo of Dev leaving a station and kept looking at the way he was holding his umbrella, because there was something odd about it. Then I remembered he was blind and realised he was using it like a cane, to figure out where the step was, 'cause there is a step outside that station and it wasn't a town he'd have been likely to spend much time in.

I don't know if you've intended this or not, but Mr Huddleson's speech sounds a bit repetitive. He keeps saying "now" and reusing some of the same words. This might be meant as characteristic of him, but just thought I'd mention it anyway.

Shouldn't Tudors have a capital "T" 'cause it's a name? And Romans and Saxons and Vikings should too.

Their history courses seem to jump around a lot. Romans one year, Tudors the next. Ours sort of followed on. I can't remember exactly what we did each year in primary, but we started with the Stone Age at the start of 4th class (in 3rd class we just did myths and some funny stories like Dev breaking out of prison with a key smuggled in in a cake and Sarsfield finding out the password was his own name and announcing "Sarsfield is the word and Sarsfield is the man" which always seemed to kind of defeat the purpose of finding out the password to me) and ended with 1916 at the end of 6th class and it was pretty much chronological the whole way through the 3 years.

It's weird seeing Rhiannon's name after we've been talking about the other Rhiannon.

*laughs at her comment to Mr Huddleson* I'm surprised he puts up with it. I don't know many teachers that would take that kind of rudeness.

LOVE the unexplained comment about Hermione saying not to use magic after Ron did the last time.

Oooh, I like the idea of Hermione running for the International Confederation of Wizards although this may not be the BEST time and surely Hugo should hear it from her and not on TV. I'm still debating whether or not she'll run for Minister of Magic in my series. It MIGHT fit with my plans for year five.

You should probably put a note in, translating "Aireacht na Draiochta," although I guess it makes sense in context, since you've also said "Irish Ministry."

At least Rose is talking fairly coherently now. That's an improvement anyway.

Aw, that part about how being blind seems to make his other problems worse...poor Hugo. Though I guess he wouldn't like me to say that.

LOVE the way Ron is supporting Hermione to Hugo here.

Ah yes, in context that part about wanting to stay in bed for a month sounds way more like a sulk and less like an attempt to hide from life.

I was WONDERING if Ron was as content with Hermione's decision as he appeared. It occurred to me he could just be being careful not to criticise her to Hugo. I wouldn't blame him if he were angry. That's the sort of thing one should discuss with one's spouse, especially when there are children involved and one of them has a disability. If she DOES do this, it will surely mean him taking on more of the childcare and he should be consulted about that.

*grins at Hugo's logic that the staff WANT to keep them helpless* Yeah, because making more work for themselves is really what they want.

An ankle twisting and grazing a knee. Story of my life. Like Hugo, I've learnt how to fall though, I think. I never really hurt myself beyond scrapes.

Hmm, the obvious answer is just that Ron and Hermione got confused as to who was to pick Hugo up, but I doubt it's that simple or you'd hardly have ended the chapter here. And combined with Hermione's strange behaviour, not telling her husband of her plans...hmmm. I've no idea what's going on, to be honest.

It HAS occurred to me that this running for the IC could be a way to avoid Rose. Or just a way to compensate for everything that's gone wrong in her life. But that doesn't explain where she and Ron are at the end of the chapter. *is intrigued*

Author's Response: Yes, I think I told you Mr Huddleson's name actually.

Yes, the "now" is a characteristic thing. He is an annoying guy.

Ah, you caught me out! Yes, I originally had a nice plan of what they did at primary but I didn't write it down (or maybe I didn't have the plan in the first place) and this chapter was like "uh, what do they do in History?" I thought I had them finishing last year with Saxons and Vikings? And then they start this year with Tudors and finish with Victorians. So it's kind of rushing through the key eras in chronological order.

You think it's weird seeing Rhiannon's name - I have to WRITE her!

And the washing up incident is given in more detail somewhere in Rainfall.

Oops yes I need to add that note, thanks for the reminder.

No, Hugo does not like pity! But yeah, poor kid, I am screwing up his life nicely.

Yep, Ron is supporting Hermione in front of the kids. He will support her in anything, but he's annoyed. "If you'd asked me I'd have said yes, but couldn't you ask?" I really like him.

Yeah, Hugo logic... Hugo logic in this entire chapter, tbh...

*huggles you* Yeah, in this case Hugo's moving too fast to catch himself. But he's a bouncy kid. A ten-year-old boy. They get the odd graze.

*whispers* time for a secret: I have no idea where Ron and Hermione are. As I said, characters doing their own thing... I will have to figure that out next chapter. I do know Hermione's under way too much pressure and not reacting well. Like when Hugo was born, but worse in this case - she doesn't like not being in control.

We're both looking forward to seeing what's going on, I think! Crazy characters... *hugs them all, and you*

~ Leo xx

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Review #52, by MargaretLaneRenegade: 1

27th August 2015:
I'm already feeling some sympathy for Lucy. I'm getting the impression that she feels as if she's expected to act more adult than others her age, due to having to look out for her brother, but is being treated like a child. That must feel unfair.

I wonder how come their daughter is called Lucy and if that was the name of Hannah's mother.

Neville's son is Frankie in my series too.

*grins* 11 is probably old to wear a costume in public, but still probably not likely to cause any great comment.

I am REALLY looking forward to seeing which house Frankie will be sorted into. My immediate thought for a boy with Asperger's is Ravenclaw, but that's just because of the "little professor" stereotype. I don't know anywhere near enough about him to make an accurate guess as to where he'll end up.

*grins* Neville does seem to think he'd fit Ravenclaw though. Luna seems to have some traits of Asperger's now that I think about it.

Aw, poor Lucy. That part about thinking she's not a great big sister because she's hoping he won't be in Hufflepuff.

I like the fact that his story is written from the point of view of a Hufflepuff. It's a house that doesn't appear too much in fanfiction that I've seen.

I absolutely LOVE seeing the different ways people portray the next gen characters. A lot of people seem to portray Molly and Lucy as twins.

And now I feel sorry for Frankie - a year of being social!

And then having a meltdown in the middle of the train. Poor kid.

And poor Lucy, having to explain she can't do her first patrol as a prefect. Even though Dominique has no say in her being prefect, it'd still feel like you were already failing in your new position.

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Review #53, by MargaretLaneUnbearable: Unbearable

24th August 2015:
Poor, poor Hermione. I always wondered how she dealt with this. It was such a horrific experience and she seemed to just brush it aside and move on.

I LOVE the first paragraph. It really shows her utter terror.

And I think it's totally in character for Hermione to feel she has to remain strong, not matter how horrific the events she's going through.

I can't believe this is your first story. It is so atmospheric and so well written. The only bit of constructive criticism I'd give is that the last line seems a bit rushed and doesn't quite fit with the line above. Putting a line before it, indicating Bellatrix is speaking might help with that.

All in all an excellent story. Hope I get to read more from you.

Author's Response: Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to review, it means so much to me. I wasn't expecting any at all! I'm happy that you think I kept Hermione's character as I tried really hard to do that, so I guess it worked. :)
I will work on that bit and hopefully I can improve upon it so that it doesn't as sound rushed, thank you for pointing that out. Thank you again for such a lovely review.


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Review #54, by MargaretLaneYou Don't Own Me: Don't

22nd August 2015:
I decided I had to read this in order to get the background to "Winding Road." Plus, it seemed like a pretty interesting dynamic and it was pretty clear there was quite a lot going on.

Second person can be a difficult viewpoint, but this looks like a pretty good use of it. It sort of gives the impression Scorpius is thinking all this and maybe sort of debating with himself as to whether or not this is a relationship he should be in.

It might sound better to say "visited Rose" rather than "visited with Rose."

And it makes sense that Rose and Albus would see that the relationship is not a good one but would kind of underestimate how difficult it might be to leave. From the outside, it's easy to think, "just end it" or "just eat what you want. Don't worry about what he thinks." But that's probably not that easy when it both seems that the guy is genuinely dangerous and when Scorpius loves him.

Oooh, the fact that Scorpius has to hide the things that are important to him really show just how dysfunctional this relationship has become.

And I'm sure nothing good is going to come of Corbin walking in at this moment.

Oh gosh, the way he set fire to the letters was really chilling.

Well done to Scorpius for making the decision to leave. It can't have been an easy one, especially when Corbin appears to be so good at guilting him out.

Love the way Rose points out that Corbin's comment about "stealing" Scorpius is an indication of how he views him as his property.

I also like the way it's made clear at the end that Scorpius will still need to recover both physically and emotionally from what he's been through.

Author's Response: Hi MargaretLane!

ooh, thank you so much for a wonderful review. I'm so glad you liked how Scorpius and Corbin were portrayed as well as Rose and Albus as his friends. I really wanted to get out that it's not a simple thing to leave relationships like this.

Thank you so much for the detailed reactions and feedback ♥


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Review #55, by MargaretLaneWinding Road: Finding Home

22nd August 2015:
I've been meaning to read more of the entries to this challenge, so this is a good excuse to read yours.

I like the way the story begins with a dream that sort of introduces us to the situation and gives us a hint at what Scorpius has escaped.

It's interesting that Malfoy Manor never felt like home. I wonder why that was. I don't expect it'll be explained here though, as the focus of the story is probably on the relationship he's just escaped.

This line: "could I still be trapped in the abuse and merely fantisize about being back in London with those who love and care about me?" would probably sound better if it were "fantisizing" instead of just "fantasize."

I like the way he uses the language of his accounts to describe the harm his ex-boyfriend has caused.

You portray the family and their relationships so well. Just the way he calls them "Mother" and "Father", rather than "Mum" and "Dad", indicates a degree of formality, as does the way his mother never questions whether he is being entirely honest and yet, it does seem like they love him and are concerned about him. They just seem to be struggling to express it because of their own backgrounds.

And the fact that Draco is willing to work on a campaign with Hermione shows just how concerned he is about his son and how angry he is about what happened to him.

I can understand why Draco would feel the need to maintain formality, considering the horrific time he had during the war. Returning to normality - normality for a rich pureblood family - and ignoring the way their way of life has been shown to be problematic, resulting in "gold and family not going as far" seems like a likely response.

I really like his anxiety in the restaurant. I don't know exactly what Corbin did to him, but it seems like he is a real threat.

I do see a couple of places here where the dialogue seems a bit formal, like "I am finished." "I'm finished" might sound more natural.

I'm not surprised the Healer seems pleased. I thought Scorpius seemed to handle the situation really well. That'd be a frightening scene, even without the history between them - somebody threatening an attack in a restaurant. Add in the previous abuse, the fact that Scorpius clearly loved him at some point and the fact that he is suffering the effects of the previous abuse, so is likely to be more vulnerable to any kind of stress, and he seems to deal with the situation quite well.

And I love the comment about how confusing it is at the end. It must be hard to know somebody you once loved is likely to go to jail, despite how much of a relief it must be to know you're now safe from them.

Author's Response: Your reviews are always the best! I always appreciate how thorough and specific you are. I imagine your experience teaching and grading helps with that (it also makes me think you're a great teacher too).

The Malfoy Manor comment is a throwback to something Scorpius commented on in another story (Pure Intentions) when he was struggling with not feeling his parents accepted him for being gay. It was also an austere place to grow up with more rules than love.

the accounting section was kind of fun for me to write. I use a lot of business analogies in real life and it was nice to include one in my writing.

The family formatlity felt essential for the Malfoy family. In a way it reminds me of my grandparents with the stiffness they show towards emotion. They care but aren't great at showing it or actually talking about issues. I felt that if Draco were to care, he would want to do something business/political that he could hope to change. It would be hard to use money and influence to fix Scorpius' emotions but the law, that's something he can impact.

Writing his anxiety was a struggle. Corbin was rather abusive and controlling when he and Scorpius lived together. When Scorpius moved out he became quite unhinged and used magic against him.

I felt like Scorpius having a moment where he could stand up to Corbin was a huge breakthrough to the Healer (and Scorpius, though he doesn't know it at the time). i'm glad the ending comment worked well. I've known people iwth that kind of conflict. I mean, it's always great to have a resolution but in a way it's impossible to completely be done with the past.

thank you so much for a wonderful review!!


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Review #56, by MargaretLaneThe Death Of Sir Nicolas: Tusks

18th August 2015:
I'm surprised I haven't gotten to this sooner, probably because you update so quickly, it's easy to miss stuff. I'm in awe of you.

I love the beginning and his reluctance to tell the story. Going by his attitude in the books when people ask him about being "nearly headless", it seems very probable that he WOULD react like that.

I don't usually like physical description, but the way he describes Lady Grieve seems to work. It kind of gives the impression he's pretty enchanted with her.

He sounds so like a typical knight, dreaming of the lady he adores but who he can never lift his eyes to (apart from anything else, they were usually married). The word or two from her part in particular.

LOVE the part about how "in retrospect, I should have told her..."

Oooh, that part about their seeming like they were there for a festive occasion is creepy. Especially since it is probably pretty realistic.

I really like the way you describe his reaction and how terrified he is. It's realistic.

Yikes, you describe the beheading so realistically.

And I really like the way you show him making his decision as to whether to go on or remain on earth and the reasons he decides to remain.

Aw, the ending is kind of sad, though it's nice that he's found a kind of family among the staff and students. It must be sad though, to see so many people leaving.

Author's Response: Hi Margaret,

That's very kind of you to say. Really I think it's just because I have nothing else going on in my life. :D

Oh good! I'm happy that his trepidation about telling his story comes across as real.

Yeah, I'm usually hesitant about physical description too, but sometimes when you have a character in love or infatuated with someone, it's sort of hard to write them as not thinking about the other person's appearance.

Retrospect is always when everything becomes clear.

Oh yeah! I did a lot of research on midieval executions to try and make this accurate.

Sorry about that. You know how I like my descriptions.

The ending is sort of bittersweet. While I think Nick has some regrets, I suppose he could've ended up in a worse place.

Thanks for the review!


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Review #57, by MargaretLaneJigsaw: Piece #15

18th August 2015:
Poor Roxanne. Not that being single is necessarily a bad thing, but it seems like it's not what she wants at the moment. Personally, I think she is much, MUCH better off without Daniel, but it's obvious she doesn't see it that way. And losing a job is always upsetting. Probably not as catastrophic at 23 as it would be if she were ten years older, with children and a mortgage, but that's probably not much consolation at this point.

Good on Jane. Now that she knows what she wants, I hope it works out for her.

That really is a horrible dilemma to be in - she can't get a job without a reference and she really needs another job to get a reference.

Paul seems like a decent guy. He'd have every right to be annoyed about the way she ignored him. And I like the way he seems genuinely sympathetic about her break-up, regardless of his personal opinions.

And I'm really glad she's starting to see that while she made mistakes, it wasn't just her fault. She really had been glossing over Daniel's part in things and his faults to a point that was almost worrying. It was like she felt she had to apologise for his mistakes as well as her own. I hope she comes to realise that he has a few apologies to make - and some explanations to do to people like Fred about the fact he was wrong about her cheating - if they are to get back together. And at the moment, he doesn't even seem that invested in getting back with her, let alone willing to make amends.

When you refer to the teams they both support, you've written "he two teams" when it should be "the two teams."

Poor Roxanne. But I'm sure George at least will understand. After all, his own early career choices didn't exactly strike his mother as the best ideas. Sticking to the rules in order to please authority and keep your job isn't exactly something I'd see him being too concerned about.

Author's Response: I think it's really difficult for Roxy because she's never really been single as an adult. For her it's like learning how to live more independently, and with everything else going on, she's not doing a great job at that. If she was able to move on and occupy herself with different things, she'd probably have a much better chance of moving on from her past relationship.

The moment with Jane wasn't really planned, but I'm glad that she's decided what she wants and that she now has some direction to go in.

I think that realisation that it's not just her to blame for everything that's happened between her and Daniel is part of how she's starting to grow and develop through this. She's not in a great position with her personal relationships with people, but I think she's got some other things to concentrate on now, and now that Jane is back in her life properly she'll have less reason to blame herself, I think. Nothing helps like a good friend :)

Thank you for the typo, and for the great review!

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Review #58, by MargaretLaneJigsaw: Piece #14

18th August 2015:
Roxanne's reaction to the ostentatiously upper-class ambiance reminds me a little of when we were in college (or "university") and we had some talk about post-graduate study in one of the staff areas and felt sort of out of place.

I LOVE the details about the limitations of the phones.

Coincidentally, the first chapter of my 3rd year story which I've recently posted has my characters talking about how Muggles should make a Quidditch computer game and stuff. And about how unused a lot of wizards are to Muggle technology.

Hmm, there's something odd about Prichard's reaction. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm sure it's relevant. His change of demeanor has to mean something.

OK, no, I really DIDN'T expect that ending. But it might turn out to be a good thing. She's now free to pursue what she wants to. And if she DOES get some information about these murderers, I'm sure the papers would be fighting to buy her story.

Author's Response: That was kind of based on some of my experiences from the beginning of university; not so much the places but the idea that people are judging you because of the money that you have. It's not a nice feeling to think you're inferior and it's hard to get past, but I really wanted to show that she's growing in confidence a bit.

I'm so pleased that you like the details about the phones! I thought it was something that could be interesting and even important to include because I wanted there to be a plausible explanation for the phones, rather than me just including them because I wanted to.

Hmm, I definitely think you might be onto something with your perception of Pritchard's reaction...

I'm glad that the ending was unexpected! I didn't want people to predict it, and it certainly changes what's going to happen with her investigation of the murders.

I'm really pleased you enjoyed this chapter, and thank you for another lovely review!

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Review #59, by MargaretLaneJigsaw: Piece #13

18th August 2015:
Firstly, apologies for the delay on getting to this. I'm still catching up on fanfiction.

I wish this wasn't something that needed to be said, but I really like the way she isn't too enthusiastic about dressing up. So many stories act like dressing up to go out is the highlight of every woman's existence. And it annoys me when that doesn't seem to fit with anything else we've seen of the character.

I also really like the introduction of a character who hasn't had a boyfriend or girlfriend. And a couple of characters who are single.

And I don't see why Dominique can't stay single forever. Plenty of people do.

Molly seems to take after her dad in a lot of ways.

Author's Response: Please don't apologise! Like I said, I'm super behind on review responses, let alone reading and reviewing, so it means a lot that you're even here at all :)

I'm glad you liked that little aspect of her - it's something that frustrates me, too, because there are so many characters who suddenly get this makeover and it's really strange and doesn't make much sense for the character. It's probably something that Roxy and I share :P

Dominique can definitely stay single forever, if she wants to - it was more meant to be a comment about her mother's expectations than my own. And I really wanted to include some characters that are still single - it's definitely an age when people start pairing off more, but it's also an age of change and break-ups naturally happen and there are still plenty of people who don't have boyfriends or girlfriends too, and there's nothing unusual about that. I really wanted to include that in the story because I'm trying to make this story as realistic as possible and that's something that definitely happens in real life.

Molly is certainly like her dad. She's actually in another of my stories that I really want to rewrite at some point (my first fanfiction, which was terrible!) and her and Lucy definitely conflict over a few things.

Thank you for another lovely review!

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Review #60, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: One More Year

11th August 2015:
*grins* It's somewhat appropriate to read about the O.W.L.S. and N.E.W.T.S. today, as the Leaving Cert. results come out tomorrow.

I think it should be "any more time in Azkaban" rather than "anymore."

Also, some of the terms sound a bit American. I'm not sure they have plea deals in England and while I know the wizarding world could be different, it seems a little odd for it to mirror American Muggle customs.

LOVE the term "Leaver's Ceremony". In Ireland, we tend to have a Graduation Mass, which is a stupid name really, as it takes place before the final exams.

Can't say I look back now and think I had it easy my final year at school. In fact, I tend to think "HOW did I do that?" They say being back doing your Leaving is one of the most common nightmares among Irish adults. I mean, I get what Meg means - at school you do have a lot of support you lose afterwards. But I also think part of the reason people look back on childhood and teenage years as "easy" is because problems you've got through are always easier than the ones you're facing today.

And I've just realised how much time is to be made up when you don't have the Mass that took up most of ours.

Since we hadn't done our exams yet, obviously we didn't get diplomas. We don't get diplomas for finishing school anyway. We did get angel pins though. Think I still have mine. We weren't called up to receive them though. Each class got theirs from their religion teacher, so five people were getting theirs at a time.

I've gone a little off topic here, but this has brought back some memories. I guess leaving school is always a significant time in ones life. And it must be more so for Hogwarts students, as they are LIVING at the school, so it's leaving their home in a way too.

I like how gracious James was to Lisa.

To be honest, I'm getting sentimental with them. I love this series SO much and it's one of the few I've read that has gone so far. (I've just started year three of my series, so it's become a real series and not just a story and a sequel.) I'll be really sorry when it's over.

But I LOVE the idea of a story about Neville and Hannah's kids. Personally, I'd rather that than a story about James, but that's just personal preference. While his situation here is really interesting, he's not a character who greatly interests me.

Great story. Years 5 and 3 are probably still my favourites, but this is definitely up there, maybe next after them.

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Review #61, by MargaretLaneNot One Line: Don't You Dare

7th August 2015:
A story that placed in an angst challenge has to catch my attention.

Hmm, the beginning is intriguing. I'm left wondering who's speaking, who they are looking for and whose grave they are likely to be at.

I like the fact he forgave her in order to move on, but is not willing to get back with her. It's more nuanced than "I forgive you and everything is OK" or "I hate you and will never forgive you."

I'm still not sure exactly what happened though. I'm intrigued by the implication that a death drove them apart.

Oh, it's their child who died. And she was so young. I can easily understand why that would drive them apart. It seems like she needed time to herself to grieve while he needed a supportive relationship and he saw her as pulling away/not caring, while his reaction probably put pressure on her. It would be nice if they could come to some sort of understanding of each other and find a way to grieve that allowed them to remain together while giving them both what they needed, but it seems like that wasn't possible.

Author's Response: Margaret!

You're back! YAY! I love getting reviews from you! They're awesome!

I have to say, writing from 2nd person for this story was a lot of fun. It turned out much better than I thought it would, and I totally fell in love with writing in 2nd person.

Ah, yes - I truly believe that forgiving someone doesn't necessarily resolve the conflict between two people. Because this is a situation where everything WON'T be okay, but Scorpius NEEDS to forgive her in order to move on with his life. Holding onto that anger would've made things worse for himself in the long run, and I'd imagine he wouldn't want to be stuck in that headspace for the rest of his life.

So, yeah, I wanted it to be much more complex than 'forgive and forget' or 'I will never forgive you'. Real life just doesn't work that way.

I've always figured that the death of a child would have a major impact (obviously) on the parents - but it could go several different ways. While some couples are able to work through it together, others just can't seem to make it work, even if they have the best of intentions. I've seen this happen in real life, and let me tell you, it sucks.

Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing Margaret! You're amazing!

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Review #62, by MargaretLaneLord Banchory and Lady Ravenclaw: History Forgets

6th August 2015:
Aw, that part about history forgetting them is kind of sad.

And ooh, I LOVE Othello. It's by far my favourite Shakespearean play, partly because of Emilia, but that's beside the point.

The whole scenario strikes me as SO creepy, Rowena sending her daughter's murderer to find her, not realising what he will do.

I like the way you give a kind of softness to him. It's not easy to create sympathy for a murderer.

I have sympathy for Helena, feeling in her mother's shadow like that, but she also seems a rather haughty and immature character, as if she never got over being second fiddle.

It seems like he feels he's got some right to her, as if in some way, he feels she's under some obligation to love him back, some obligation she is failing to live up to.

This is a really interesting interpretation of what happened. It's not exactly as simply as him being a brutal murderer and her the innocent victim - both seem like sort of haughty characters who feel they should be in control, which I guess makes sense given their backgrounds, and they both seem almost offended that the other will not bend to their will, leading to an almost inevitable struggle.

And that explains his remorse.

Oooh, that part about their forgetting is sort of creepy.

Author's Response: Margaret!

Othello is definitely in my top five favorite Shakespeare plays, which is why I was pretty excited to get that quote! :D

Definitely a creepy scenario - no doubt about it. I took advantage of that fact, I'm afraid.

"It's not easy to create sympathy for a murderer." - Huh. I'd never thought about it like that. But you're right! I did that!

Whoa. When you put it that way it sounds way more impressive that I was thinking it was. All I wanted to do was create some really complex characters that were outside of what one might expect from the books, but still stay true to their characters.

I think with both Helena and the Baron, I wanted to show that while they deserved some sympathy, because there were some unfair aspects of their lives, their pride and stubbornness was their downfall. They BOTH have major faults, and refusing to change destroyed them.

Ah, yes. The bit about their forgetting was something I added at the last minute that seemed to enhance the overall mood of the story. I feel like after a long time (meaning several thousand years) a ghost would eventually forget themselves as they were forgotten by the world. It's almost inevitable that they would be forgotten, so why not forget themselves at some point as well?

Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing, Margaret! Your reviews are awesome!!

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Review #63, by MargaretLaneSentience : Debate

6th August 2015:
This is a really interesting idea for a story. I certainly never thought of manticores being sentient. Though with a human like head, I guess it makes sense.

VERY nit-picky, but I think "early on Thursday morning" might sound better than "early Thursday morning," especially since we don't know what Thursday morning it is.

After he describes himself as the oldest living manticore in Britain, you've written "with in my village" when it should be "within".

I like the detail about their not having names. It gives a sense of them as being different from humans.

I actually think those examples are more proof that manticores have been misjudged. If they have to go back 700 years to get a second example of violence done by a manticore, it seems like they rarely commit violence. After all, we could probably find two horrific crimes committed by humans within a matter of hours.

You have the manticore saying, "we suffer from the safe danger," when talking about Basilisk attacks. I presume it should be "the same danger."

And Kingsley said, "this is a trail over rights" when it should be "trial."

I think the results of the vote are a clear indication of how the wizarding world has changed under Kingsley. Before the war, I am pretty sure that no matter how convincing he was, the Malfoy types would vote against reclassification and would have enough support, especially since there seemed to be those that feared them, to carry the day.

That debate about whether it is worthwhile trying to reason with those who oppress you seems to be a recurring debate in civil rights and independence movements.

LOVE the way you portray Kingsley here.

I SHOULD have guessed Hermione was the young witch, but I didn't. I assumed it was an original character.

Author's Response: Hi Margaret,

That's been the number one reaction I've gotten. Most people seem to think of Manticores as very impulsive because of how they're described in cannon, but it's only ever from a wizard's POV.

I'm glad you like that they don't have names. I was worried about making them too human and I thought the lack of names might help to differentiate them.

Exactly! The only two instances of manticore violence that we ever see in cannon were ages apart. Humans murder humans on a daily basis, so it seems hypocritical to label a species as dangerous if their track record is two killings per 700 years.

The wizarding world definitely is changing under Kingsley. I think he would be the type of leader to spread tolerance, so this seemed fitting to me.

I'm so happy that you picked up on the parallels to civil rights. With all of the civil rights issues occurring in the U.S., I sort of used this to write about something I've been thinking about.

Kingsley is my favorite character of all. I've written him more than any other character so far.

I thought having Hermione show up at the end would be a nice little nod to cannon.

Thanks for this lovely review!


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Review #64, by MargaretLaneBlink: Denial

4th August 2015:
OK, I've been meaning to read some of the other entries to the After-Effects challenge anyway, having something of a fondness for stories that deal with the effects of trauma.

Coincidentally, my entry is five chapters too, but they are rather shorter.

Hmm, this box is intriguing. I wonder if "Colin" is Colin Creevey and if so, if this will relate to the war or even to your entry to my challenge.

Hmm, I wonder how old this character is. She's starting to remind me a little of when my sister was 8-10 and we used be talking at night and she'd be worried our mum would come in and find out she was still awake.

Oooh, that part about not being alone with her thoughts and the things that once made her happy sounds ominous. Sounds like this isn't a case of a kid messing around at night, like my sister. Sounds like there's something more at play. Oooh and that comment about what she's done - or he's; I don't think you've said if it's a boy or a girl. Sounds like they are blaming themselves for something.

And Uncle this is presumably Dennis's child.

And now we're getting a little more information - the child is at Hogwarts, so over 11, they've had some accident and are still struggling to walk and they feel they've lacked courage.

You build suspense well here. The way you give information, bit by bit, leaving us wondering exactly what happens makes me want to read on and find out. And I already have sympathy for this character, even without knowing much about them. They're clearly having a VERY rough time.

LOVE the kitty's name. And I'm a bit amused, 'cause my entry also included a kitty.

And hmm, the graveyard. Sounds like somebody may have died in this accident in which Ellie was injured.

I wonder if her MOTHER has died. If so, that's pretty awful.

You've written "Dad's weren't supposed to be vulnerable," when it should be "Dads."

Three hours at church. My old parish priest would LOVE to read that. He used get yelled at and stuff because his Masses used to be like 50-55 minutes long. Mind you, he used just laugh and talk in his next sermon about how people gave out to him.

Wouldn't Amelia's absence from school be noticed if she stays away that long?

The "a sixth year Ravenclaw, like I was" sounds a bit awkward. Something like "a fellow sixth year Ravenclaw" might sound better.

Would Baptists really come to mind so quickly in Britain?

I think religion is an interesting topic to address in fiction, so long as it neither becomes "such a character convinces everybody else his or her religion is right" or "look, such a character belongs to such a religion. Isn't that hilarious?" And it doesn't look like this is in any danger of taking either of those approaches.

Really interesting first chapter.

Author's Response: Margaret!

Okay, first of all - *claps loudly and cheers* - WOOT! Way to go! You've braved reading this GIGANTIC chapter! That's an impressive feat!

I really didn't mean to make it that long - it just ended up that way and since I was pressed for time, I didn't end up editing it down to something a bit more manageable.

Once the new year rolls around, I'm going to be doing some major editing so that it's not quite so ridiculously long.

Yup, it's definitely Colin!

She's actually 16. And did I really not mention that she's a SHE until that much later? Whoa. How did I manage that? I might have to fix that a bit.

I'm glad you like how I've been revealing things. I'm a pretty big fan of - if you're writing a mystery - giving the reader clues as you go along, so that they can put the pieces together themselves before things actually happen.

And then I like to put a plot twist in there just to throw everyone off. I'm a bit evil that way. *cackles*

Hahaha. Yes, the kitty's name - I just HAD to include some sort of reference to something geeky in here. I do it in every story I've written. I just can't help myself.

Plus, I've always wanted to get a cat and name it J.R.R. Tolkitty.

*taps nose* You just might be on the right track there my dear.

Oh, thanks for those notes, I'll definitely correct them when I'm rewriting this.

Hahaha! Believe it or not, 3 hours is the standard for Mormons. It's broken up into three segments, each an hour long, so there are different classes, and it's not just one person talking the whole time. I'll actually end up going into more detail in the next chapter when they go to church.

If she's missing for just the weekend? Hmmm, I dunno. I always figured that as long as everyone thinks she's in the castle, and she's snuck out, then as long as she gets back in, no one would even know, since the teachers don't even see the students during the weekend.

Hmm, Baptists - I don't actually know if they would be thought of that quickly - I'll have to do some research...

Yeah, those are definitely two things that I'm going to do my best to avoid doing with religion in this story. I'm going to be VERY careful about how I write it, because it's a topic that's not written very much for a reason - it's hard to write religion in a way that's not humorous or preach-y.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing again Margaret! You're incredible and I love getting reviews from you!!

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Review #65, by MargaretLaneClimb: Climb

4th August 2015:
Hmm, the start of this sounds really intriguing. Umbridge sort of ruined Order of the Phoenix for me, because she always strikes me as sort of 2 dimensional. She's just evil and there's no indication of motivation or any redeeming traits. So it's always nice to read something that delves into her viewpoint a little. After all, nobody sees themself as a villain.

And it's pretty brave to write her in second person as it's a point of view that sort of puts the reader in the character's place and she is a character many people would find it difficult to identify with.

Oooh, that part about her being a halfblood with a Squib brother and feeling like that would interfere with her ambitions does give a little more insight into her motivations.

I think it should be "one of the other office ladies'" rather than "one of the other office lady's."

Oooh, that part about her modifying memories is a bit creepy.

And I LOVE the way she's planning revenge on those who insulted her favourite cardigan. It's just so Umbridge - petty and vain and girly, but utterly lethal.

The part about how she plans to get close to, and manipulate, Fudge is creepy too. It shouldn't be too difficult. He's so clearly out of his depth and at some level, I think he knows it, though won't admit it even to himself. His wild swinging between complete dependence on Dumbledore to near paranoia about him says to me that he is a man who is very insecure in his position.

I'm almost amused at her suggestion that disenfranchising werewolves is OK, but people might balk at genocide.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, Hermione's changes to the Ministry play a part in my series and I'm seriously considering the villains starting a campaign for Umbridge's release in year four.

It's interesting how she includes half bloods in her campaign, despite being one. Even Voldemort didn't go that far.

And the part about Fudge having a tragic work accident is pure Umbridge, as is the way she expresses it.

She's a difficult character to charactise, I think, but you've done it really well here. I can totally believe she'd think this way.

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Review #66, by MargaretLaneBroken Love: Chapter 1

4th August 2015:
LOVE the reference to the fury of a thousand angry hippogriffs. I always like to see those kind of wizaring phrases. It adds a kind of depth to the world, especially when they make sense as that one does.

And I think you write the argument really well. Considering we don't KNOW either of these characters, we don't have a background and we don't really know what they are arguing about, it could come across as kind of contrived to just launch into an argument, but it doesn't. It sounds absolutely natural.

And you get across the impression that this is NOT a one-off and that there is long running tension between the characters without it seeming like you are forcing the information on us or like a kind of "as you know, Bob..." speech.

I also LOVE the reference to James Potter. Again, you introduce us to a character and give us a sense of him in a very natural sounding comment.

One slight piece of concrit - you seem to use the characters' names a lot. Since there is only one guy and one girl in this story, saying "he" and "she" a bit more might sound more natural.

Poor Lily. I can easily understand how she feels guilty about leaving him, because it DOES seem like he is pretty dependent on her, but I can't help feeling that the more she forgives him, the more this will escalate.

And I think it's bad that she feels guilty. Understandable, but it means she's less likely to challenge him or to leave him if he doesn't change.

In "Grandpa Weasley," I'd be inclined to give the "Grandpa" a capital "G."

Poor, poor Lily. That's an awful situation to be in.

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Review #67, by MargaretLaneThe Lucky One: Madness

4th August 2015:
You know, reading about the lack of privacy in the wizarding world makes me think there may be some truth in Ireland's boast about "giving people their privacy". Well, it more just sets me thinking really and it does seem like the personal lives of people like politicians gain more attention in other countries. I have an idea of the names of Barack Obama's kids, whereas I don't know the names of our President's or Taoiseach's.

Love the way people are assuming there's something between Luna and Neville when they're only friends. It fits with the way Rita was making out Harry and Hermione were dating. And people do have a real habit of assuming romance when a guy and a girl are friends.

Poor, poor Luna. I was thinking she didn't really sound like herself in this story. It's sad that she's been changed so much by the effects of fame. And not fair.

And yeah, the way that event is treated as a "scandal" rather than as a crime being perpetrated against her is pretty horrific.

The end is really ominous. It seems like she's really not coping and who could blame her. I think it's particularly sad that she seems to have dealt so well with being held captive and probably tortured by the Carrows and being bullied at school, but that being a heroine led to the events that have traumatised her.

I love the way this seems so believable. Nobody means harm, everybody is behaving in a way that is natural enough under the circumstances (except that guy who broke into her house), but it's making it virtually impossible for her to live her life. And Luna does seem like a pretty private person, so it makes sense she'd find that level of intrusion difficult to deal with.

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Review #68, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: Wrongfully Imprisoned

3rd August 2015:
Poor Elsie. She's had a terrifying experience and she's just a kid really.

Yeah, that does seem rather confusing as to whose jurisdiction the murder falls under. Probably better if the wizarding world tries it, because things like his alienation from his family would be hard to fully explain in a Muggle court.

And I'm not at all surprised Harry'd carry his wand at all times, between being an Auror and the danger he was in during the war.

Oooh, Felix and Elsie's parents have been arrested. That's yet another trauma for Elsie. I'd love to see more of her and Felix and how they feel about the whole situation, especially since Felix at least, will probably feel some guilt about having caused his parents to be arrested by going to Albus. I guess it's unlikely we'll get much detail though, as they are unlikely to confide in Albus.

Poor Matt. I think Boone's situation has really shaken him. Understandably.

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Review #69, by MargaretLaneBoarding the Train: The End in the Middle

3rd August 2015:
Apologies for the delay in getting to this. I wanted to be sure I wouldn't forget it when the other entries came in. AND July is a CRAZY busy month for me.

Hmm, I really wonder who this little girl is.

I guess this must be really hard for Colin's father. He's the adult; he must feel it's his job to protect his sons, but in this situation he is completely out of his depth. He doesn't even know the full details of what's going on and he certainly has no way of fighting them.

I find it a little surprising Colin didn't tell his father sooner, but then I find it surprising Fudge didn't get a string of complaints about Umbridge from various parents.

I really like the way Colin responds to his father's anger. He's under so much pressure.

You've written "Creevey's" when it should be "Creeveys."

Hmm, I guess the reason they are going to so much trouble to find them is because they think they might have some link to Harry.

Yikes, I didn't expect that to happen to Nicholas. Poor Colin; he's bound to blame himself. After all, if he and Derek hadn't been wizards none of this would have happened. It probably wouldn't even if they hadn't accepted their places at Hogwarts. Of course, they couldn't know and there's very little he can do about being born with magic, but I would still imagine it would feel like his fault. Poor boy.

Author's Response: Margaret!

No worries about the delay - it's taken me far longer to respond to this!

Ah, the little girl. You will find out in the end, once I get around to posting the rest of it. I don't think you'll be expecting it though. ;)

When I was coming up with the plot for this story, I came up with them being on the run, and then realized that Colin's father would've really had no idea what was going on or what to do, and I can imagine that it would frustrate him to no end - especially because he was seeing his son take on a burden he wouldn't have wanted him to have, and wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

I figured that Colin probably didn't tell his father about Umbridge because he didn't want to worry Nicholas. But by the time this is happening, everything is much much worse, so revealing it wouldn't really do more harm.

Ah, thanks for that correction - I shall fix it when I update next.

Yeah, Nicholas dying was a necessary evil I think. I honestly couldn't figure out a way in which he would survive the scenario. I mean, if he was left behind, then the Death Eaters would have caught up to him and killed him, and since I needed Colin and Dennis to get captured for the sake of the plot, I figured he wouldn't survive that either because he's a muggle. :( Sad, huh? I wish it didn't have to go that way, but alas, it just is (at least, in my brain).

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing, Margaret! I'm glad you're enjoying this story so far!!

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Review #70, by MargaretLaneThe Forest: Run

3rd August 2015:
Dean definitely counts as a Muggleborn for the purposes of this challenge. Even if he is halfblood, the Death Eaters consider him Muggleborn and he therefore has the experiences of a Muggleborn.

I love the beginning. I think you're really good at atmospheric writing.

I like the comment that "this was no childhood game." It's like he's struggling to truly grasp the seriousness of the situation, which strikes me as really realistic. I think it would be hard to really keep in mind that one false move could get you killed or possibly worse.

This is REALLY nit-picky and may just be personal preference, but there are times when the writing seems a little formal. Like "Every time that he started to feel a sense of panic creeping up on him, Dean would close his eyes and imagine himself playing hide and seek in the forest behind his grandmotherís house." I'd be inclined to say something like, "every time he started to feel a sense of panic creeping up on him, he'd close his eyes and imagine he was playing hide and seek in the forest behind his grandmother's house." The formality of the phrasing kind of slows things down and, in my opinion, takes a little from the sense of panic you're creating.

Like the detail of his taking care that the cave is secure.

I like the part about how lonely he feels, but it does feel like you've jumped into it a little. I'd like to see a little more build up.

I really like the way Seamus sends him the warning.

I'd also be inclined to build on the part where Dean thinks about his friends. It seems a little rushed, like he's just letting each pass through his mind for a mere moment and I think he would dwell on thing more. I'd like to get more of a sense of how important it is that Harry's alive, how he occasionally begins to lose faith and of the worry he has for his friends.

Yikes, the appearance of Scabior and his colleague is scary. I like the way they sort of appear suddenly and are as much of a shock to us as to Dean.

And their dialogue seems very much in character.

I absolutely LOVE the ending. You really sum up how close he and Seamus are and you leave us wondering exactly how the encounter with the Snatchers will go.

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Review #71, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: A Squib

28th July 2015:
A Squib. Hmm, interesting.

Poor Matt. That must be most unpleasant and stressful too, coming the week before the exams, when everybody else is getting study done.

Hmm, so Felix doesn't entirely approve of what his sister has done. And he seems to regret his own previous actions. Unless of course, he's trying to lead Albus into a trap, which is possible too. It could be something he and Elsie cooked up between them.

Yeah, I don't think you can entirely blame Felix. It would be VERY hard to go against your entire family, especially when you're only 15 or 16 and completely dependent on them.

And the fact he said to get Harry makes him SOUND genuine. I'm still not entirely sure, but I THINK if it were some kind of trap, it would be easier not to involve someone who'd actually been head of the Auror department.

I sort of like the way Harry here sounds a little like Dumbledore when he let Harry come with him all those years ago. And it makes sense that Albus being of age would make no difference to him. It strikes me as a little odd in the books the way 17 year olds were allowed take part in things like the Battle of Hogwarts. When we were at school, it didn't matter if you were 18+, the school still had responsibility for you, so like you still needed parental permission to leave school premises at lunch and stuff.

Poor Elsie. She was in an awful bind and she's so young.

And yeah, it does say an AWFUL lot about the Willinsons that they are more ashamed of the fact he's a Squib than the fact he's a murderer.

This does explain why he committed the murders the way he did. However it raises another question - how he could overpower people who actually had magic.

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Review #72, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: Progress

21st July 2015:
I like the suggestion that Albus's reluctance to do something dangerous and stupid this time might be a sign he's growing up.

Those are SO like the accommodations available for the Junior and Leaving Cert. - extra time, sitting it in a separate room, obviously a scribe or doing it on a computer rather than then quill, since they don't exist in real life. I've been the supervisor/scribe for students sitting exams in separate rooms.

And "reasonable accommodations" are exactly what they are called.

Pretty sure the equivalent of being allowed a list of spells wouldn't be allowed here. There are pretty strict rules as to what is and isn't. But the wizarding world is so small that they probably don't have kids requiring accommodations every year and need to make them up "on the hoof."

*grins* I think my James is going to end up working in Weasleys, if I get to that point of the series, but in his case, it'll be by choice.

How old is Elsie? About 13? That strikes me as WAY too young to go to Azkaban. And even Hagrid wasn't sent to Azkaban at that age when it seemed like he caused somebody's death. I can understand Albus being annoyed, but I really don't think sending a 13 year old to Azkaban would be any kind of an answer. Mind you, I'm not sure fining her parents is either. Well, in this case, it probably does, because it seems like the whole family is involved, but in a lot of cases, the parents might not even know. I wonder could she be expelled. I guess it'd depend on why she lied and how much pressure she was under and stuff. And whether Hogwarts considered it any of their business.

This REALLY does sound like Ireland. There are SOME accommodations the schools can give, but they are things like allowing a student a special chair or letting them take a break to take medication or something, not stuff like James needs.

And special education IS behind here too. I.E.P.s still aren't legally required.

It's pretty common for people to repeat the Leaving Cert. here, if they don't get the grades they need for whatever course they are applying to. I can understand why James wouldn't want to though, especially when he's not exactly going to be apply for a course with high requirements anyway.

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Review #73, by MargaretLaneGame On: Just Don't Get Caught - Freda&Georgina - Hufflepuff

20th July 2015:
House Cup 2015. Ravenclaw.

I like the comment about how Ginny kind of liked Andrew and how he would have got on well with Fred and George. It sort of gives us an introduction to him and lets us guess at the sort of person he probably is.

I think Ginny is being a bit harsh here. There is a BIG difference between getting the group in serious trouble and just remaining outside things. Most of the school didn't join Dumbledore's Army, after all. But it's in character for Ginny to be sort of judgmental of those who don't.

LOVE the line about how she hated noises more than using wands.

That part about replacing the cat plates with toilet seats is amusing. I wonder if Andrew did that. If so, I reckon this will be declared a draw.

*grins at Ginny winning* But they all won really, because Umbridge was beaten.

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Review #74, by MargaretLanedanse macabre: inviolate.

18th July 2015:
OK, I said I'd read that and I actually have some free time now, so I'll make a start.

Yikes, that line about him being "inescapable" made me shiver.

Poor poor Ginny. That part about it feeling as if he's still draining her is so sad.

It makes sense she would be quite badly traumatised by that. I mean she almost killed a number of people, including her one of her brother's best friends AND the guy she trusted with all her secrets turned out to be taking advantage of her and to be the most evil wizard of her age AND she ended up almost being killed. That's a pretty heavy level of trauma for an eleven year old girl.

Poor girl. There's a real feeling of permanence here, as if she will never recover from the trauma of what she went through.

And you capture the creepy feeling so well.

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Review #75, by MargaretLaneAlbus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret: The Funeral

16th July 2015:
Apologies for the delay getting to read this. I'm still busy correcting and heading towards the deadline, so that's the priority right now.

And wow, 49 chapters means this story is almost over. I'm intrigued to know how it'll end and if we'll find out who the killer is and all. I'm stumped. I'm sort of sticking with my guess of the librarian, but just because I can't think of anybody else more likely. She doesn't seem particularly likely either.

My longest fic is 45 chapters long, so this has beaten it for length.

Of course, Elsie and Felix's mystery relative is very likely to be involved in the killing.

The whole question of motive and WHY the killings were done as they were is probably more interesting than the killer's actual identity.

Poor Harry. I guess Godric's Hollow would have sad associations for him.

Wow, Burke seemed so obsessed with his potions, it would never have occurred to me that he might have been basically a dad. I assumed his connection with Mila was basically that of a fond, but not particularly close uncle. This adds a whole other dimension to what we know of him.

And that is SO like Slughorn.

Oooh, I never connected Burke with Borgin and Burke's. It's such a common name, I didn't think much of it and I guess I was thinking more of Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman. Wonder if it's as common in England. Probably not.

*laughs at the comment about her saying nothing about selling illegal potions* Yeah, like she's going to mention that casually when talking about her uncle's death.

Love the part about Burke leaving his research work to Kaden. It makes a lot of sense. He'd want it to go to somebody who'd continue it.

Author's Response: No worries! Real life always comes first. My longest fic is In Moonlight's Shadow, which topped off at 61 chapters if I remember correctly. I didn't want this one dragging on quite that long.

No, the librarian doesn't seem likely as the killer. But I'm not confirming or denying that guess. Same with Elsie & Felix's mystery relative.

Ah, the motive of why. You're right; that is even more interesting. I might not get into the why in this fic, though. That might be saved for the next novel.

Burke was very obsessed with his potions. Giving him custody of Mila wasn't originally planned, but I did want to give Burke another "role" so to speak and that fit. Haha, I loved throwing in that bit about Slughorn.

It is a common name, but the wizarding world is small. It does make sense for Kaden to continue Burke's work. Thanks for reading and reviewing! :)

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