Ok, I need to start by including something I forgot in the last chapter review because I was in a bit of a rush: I absolutely loved the ending of the last chapter! The fact that he slipped backwards, that he thought she could never love him, that he went back to the alcohol! Oh brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! That simple decision made your character so much more real and I think it was just perfect. Draco wants to change, for himself and Astoria, but change is HARD. So often in fanfic people forget that. So well done you.
Ok, on to this chapter. Hahaha, the scenes with Daphne were great, I loved all the squealing and consumption of way too much champagne and the uncomfortable dresses...it was almost like a caricature, but it really worked well. And the conversation with her mother was fascinating. The whole arranged marriage concept is an interesting one, but I think it works incredibly well with the whole 'pure blood' system. What's amusing is that in another time and place, her parents would be falling over themselves to marry her off to Draco.
I really like the choice to have their relationship develop through letters, it adds to the anticipation and drama of the whole piece. Nothing brings two lovers closer together like being forced apart (Romeo meet Juliet :P). I like the way that Astoria's feelings for Draco seem to give her this added strength too, the fact that she's now almost planning the 'run off and get married' plan B is a big step from where she was at the start. I like that growth in her.
The Draco/Zabini interaction was really good, such a contrast to Astoria's difficult situation and yet so similar at the same time. Rather than making Draco into someone he's not (my main gripe with draco-centric fics), you bring out the qualities that are apparent in canon and build on them, resulting in the character maintaining integrity and being entirely believable as the same person. His shrewdness, sarcasm and intelligence are all things that we saw in Malfoy from the very first book, and you've brought them all out really well. It's really impressive and you should be proud because it's very difficult to do that with someone else's character.
The final paragraph was perfection. It sums up this motivation for Draco to stay out of the firing line and bring about change in his life. Of course there's not just one reason, but here you've touched on a very real issue that Draco would have faced, a very real emotion and anxiety to stay out of the fight. I just thought it was very clever.
As always, your writing is brilliant and beautiful and I loved reading this chapter. Only one left and I've caught up :( Hopefully there will be more up soon :)Author's Response: Hello, again!
Draco had quite a setback at the end of the last chapter. He was having a rough go of it anyway, and his father's antics pushed him over the edge. In my mind, it was bound to happen at some point. He's dealing with a lot of stress in his life, between preparing for his N.E.W.T.s, trying to keep his relationship with Astoria a secret, worrying about what's going on with his father and trying to walk the straight and narrow path. So he slipped a bit. Let's hope it's not the start of something. ;)
In my mind, Daphne is a pretty horrible bride. She's vain, flighty, spoiled and very high-maintenance. Plus, there were aspects of that scene that were just too much fun not to write. Pansy getting physically abused by the dress fitter? Come on, that's gold!
Astoria's mother is one to keep an eye on. Like a lot of characters in the post-war world, you're going to see her struggle a bit to find a balance between the things she was raised to believe and the new realities of life. And you're right: in the absence of the war, Draco would have been one of the most eligible bachelors in the entire wizarding world.
I see the way that their relationship is mostly developing through letters as being somewhat double-edged. By the nature of the letter-writing process, they do get to learn about each other's thoughts, dreams and ambitions. But they're missing out on the chance to get to know the real human being that goes along with all that deep stuff. I'm pretty sure that will become an issue at some point.
I'm really starting to enjoy putting Draco and Blaise together in a room and letting things develop. They're both Slytherin through and through. They're shrewd, cunning, motivated, high-bred and pretty ruthless when it comes to pursuing what they want, but in a refined sort of way. *Big* contrast to that coming up soon...
Draco has a distinct advantage over Zabini, though. He's been through a lot more. He knows what happens to idealistic idiots like Zabini when real conflict breaks out. And he wants no part of it.
I'm starting to work on the next chapter. I have a pretty good outline through to the end of the story at this point, so hopefully the writing will go a bit faster. Thanks for the awesome review! Report Review
Ok, I'm way behind in my reviewing, but I'm trying to catch up. So here's my next review :)
The conversation with Isadore made me laugh, I loved how she was so determined that Astoria wasn't telling her the whole story. I think it showed a lot about her character too, the fact that she refused to lie to her father and yet she was determined to do whatever she could to defend Draco and stay at Hogwarts where she still had access to him.
Astoria's father is amazing...I just want to reach through my computer screen and throttle him! The conversation between Astoria and her father showed an interesting duality in Astoria I thought. She's this good daughter who wants the approval of her father but at the same time there is this quiet strength in her that gives her the motivation to stand up to her father when she thinks it's necessary. That demonstrates how important her relationship with Draco already is to her.
I thought the conversation between Astoria and Snape was really clever too, that's one thing that's so brilliant about the HP universe, you can bring in conversations with dead people with a little bit of creative thinking :) It was good for Astoria to get a different perspective too.
I really like your characterisation of Lucius Malfoy. He's just sort of wasting away, living in this delusion that everything can carry on the way it did before the war, that they can still overtake the ministry etc. His father's desire to get involved with this movement or revolution or whatever you want to call it is a real complication for Draco and adds a nice challenge to the plot, I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.
I really liked the contrast between the two scenes with the fathers, it was a really clever device and I thought it worked well.
Overall, another brilliantly written chapter that I cannot fault even the slightest bit. Well done, and I'll try to finish off the next two reviews as soon as I can :)Author's Response: Hi, there! Hasn't it been a fun month of April? I'm not sure how next month can possibly top this.
Isadore is another foil that I'm trying -- successfully, I hope -- to draw out some of the things that make Astoria stand out. She's on the mature side for her age, but she is still a teenage girl and therefore prone to a bit of drama, indecision and silliness. Regardless, Astoria is smart enough not to tell Isadore too much at once, lest it be all over the school in a matter of days. Isadore isn't malicious, she's just a hopeless romantic who wants to see Astoria in a relationship so they can gossip about it.
Astoria's father is a little too sure of what he thinks that he knows about a lot of things, including Draco and the war. That said, he is still very concerned for Astoria's well-being, and I hope that came through well enough in this. She will stand up to him to a certain extent, but she knows where to stop pushing her luck.
My first thought was to use Dumbledore's portrait for the conversation Astoria has at the end, but Snape just felt more natural. He's so much more blunt, and I think blunt was what Astoria needed at that moment.
By the time he appears in Deathly Hallows, I already had the impression that old Lucius was a shell of his former self. Azkaban was not kind to him. He isn't a fanatic like Crouch, Jr. or Bellatrix who came out of Azkaban even more hardened than they went in. I always had the impression that Azkaban broke him. By the end of the war, I don't think his mental health is good at all. Now he's sort of trying to recapture the "glory days" when he was a big, important, powerful man and not just a sorry, humbled shell.
I'm glad you liked the two different fathers. One very strong, one on the verge of collapse, both having a lot of difficulty dealing with post-war reality.
I'm so pleased that you're enjoying the story! Thanks for all of your awesome reviews! Report Review
Ok, I've been meaning to write this for a couple of days and I am FINALLY getting around to it!
I liked the way this chapter started, kicking right off where the last chapter left. The feel was the same as well, which I was really impressed by, sometimes you see this fantastic cliffhanger and then in the next chapter it doesn't seem to match but this flowed beautifully. I love how long it took Draco to get up, it fits in with what I was saying last time about the reality of the situations. He's been attacked and then apparated with another person some distance; of course he's going to be having difficulties.
Draco's thought process towards Astoria in this chapter showed a lot about his feelings towards her and the effect she is already having on his character. The fact that he is worried about her when he's the one who can't even stand up properly shows real affection and even the beginnings of love.
The fact that he trusted her enough to share the things that he did in the café continues this theme and I almost got the feeling that he was just as surprised as anyone else that he was being so open with Astoria.
The comment about the dark mark being a bad tattoo made me giggle :)
I thought you did a great job of showing a range of moments between Draco and Astoria in the chapter too, from the arguing and banter at the beginning, to the trusting and in-depth conversation right through to the beautiful tender moment behind Honeyduke's. I thought the addition of the little kiss on the cheek was perfect, it was so sweet and innocent and such a contrast to the passionate and evil madness Draco would have experienced during the war.
The conversation between Astoria and McGonagall was perfect. I was glad that Astoria stood up for Draco, although I thought she was incredibly plucky! The way McGonagall threw in that little compliment of Astoria's spell work made me smile - such a McGonagall thing to do!
The writing was perfect again :) I didn't spot any errors. Oh and bonus points for use of the word 'caveats' !!! I am impressed!
A great chapter and I'll try to get the next review written a bit quicker!Author's Response: Hello, again!
I didn't want there to be any implied passage of time between the end of the last chapter and the start of this one, because that would probably make people angry after last chapter's cliffhanger. Draco is very beat up physically when they arrive, so he wasn't going to be going anywhere in a hurry. But he is very concerned about Astoria, both her physical condition and how she thinks of him. Even when he's in no shape to object, that Malfoy pride is never very far below the surface.
The scene inside the cafe is what I'd been waiting to write ever since I started the story. A very genuine moment when Draco finally lets his guard down and opens up about some of the horrors that he witnessed and participated in during the war. I think it was vital for Astoria to see that. Otherwise, she would never know for sure that her father's opinion of Draco was wrong.
Glad you liked the tattoo comment, by the way. I was proud of that one. ;)
McGonagall is always a teacher first in my mind. And Astoria's comments may have more of an effect on her than we first realize.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed this. I think it was my favorite chapter of the story so far, although I always try to do better. ;) Thanks for all of your awesome reviews! Report Review
Gryffie review tag is going down! :)
This is such an interesting idea for a story, I've never read anything quite like it so I'm excited to see where it goes :) The era is unique, but with a school as old as Hogwarts there must be thousands of stories like this to be told.
I this it's incredibly ambitious to write in the style of the era (if that makes sense) and you do it very well. It's clear you've taken great care with the choice of words and it gives the story the feel of a Bronte or Austen novel, yet with a slightly more modern flow to it, which makes it more accessible and readable for a modern audience.
You did a great job of setting the story giving us an understanding of who Merissa is and what her family situation is like. She seems understandably anxious about Hogwarts, but at the same time there were a few comments that indicated she's also excited about the prospect of a boarding school, and one that teaches magic too :) The fact that she was spying on her parents shows a real independent spirit so I'm excited to see how that develops (there's so much potential for a character like that at Hogwarts!). And the control she seems to have over her sisters shows leadership qualities which might serve her well too.
As far as improvements go, I only had two things. Firstly, the formatting is a little off-putting with such large spaces between the lines, so you might want to look at fixing that. The other things was, that whilst this chapter had enough to interest me in the next one, it was lacking a lot of description, both of the surroundings (except for the fact that it has at least 2 parlours and a nursery we know nothing about the house) and the characters, in particular Merissa. It would be nice to know a bit more about the heroine of the story, appearance, character, what some of these odd occurrences she and her sister caused were, etc.
Language, spelling and grammar was spot on, I can't fault you there. And the story flows very nicely. Overall, I really enjoyed the chapter and I'm definitely going to be reading on! Well done :)Author's Response: Thank you very much!
The formatting should be fixed. I ran afoul of Murphy's Law while submitting the first time.
I will be working on a second revision for the chapter to include more descriptions and character appearance as well as thinking up some magical antics.
Is it a little bit stalkerish that I've been checking for this update since you told me you'd put it in the queue? Yes? Oh well, call me crazy stalker then.
Oh, poor Chleo, just can't get their act together can they? I really felt for Charlotte in this chapter. I thought you captured the complex 'girl' emotions really well: Charlotte is upset about her boy problems but also jealous of Lily because Ellie loves her now and then Lily is trying to help her out with stuff and it's all too much! And then Lily is trying to befriend Charlotte but gets angry at her because she knows how hard things are for Ellie, but she must also feel a little guilty because poor Charlotte doesn't know about the Lycanthropy. And poor Ellie is sick and trying to deal with her feelings for James and...and...oh it all makes my head hurt! We girls are complicated characters, are we not?
Uncle Jack!!! Love the little reference there to yourself :P That made me laugh.
I love the name of this chapter. 'Icy Pits' made me think there was going to be a long conversation about cold armpits in here somewhere. I'm kind of disappointed that I was wrong...:P
Only one little error (maybe) I picked up, Charlotte talks about her father's 'scared' face but I'm thinking you meant it to be his 'scarred' face?
the plant metaphor! That came out of left field...actually it wasn't even in left field, it was hiding in the stands somewhere beyond left field. I'm not totally sure what it meant but I'm thinking it's something along the lines of if you only keep to the surface of things and never delve deeper than you're going to miss out on so much. But I don't know, I could be interpreting that wrong.
Looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here, I hope there's some more Rose/Scorpius in the next chapter too :)Author's Response: Oh I wouldn't say stalkerish...*checks windows just in case*
You don't even know half of it, Bec. I would write something, read it out loud, decide it wasn't complex enough, add something else, etc. I got all of my ideas from my little sister who is having "boy problems" right now.
SO FREAKING COMPLICATED! And people wonder why I stick to writing from a guy's perspective. Shesh.
I pulled an Alfred Hitchcock there for sure :P
Gah, errors. I'll go fix that right now.
The plant metaphor will be important later on. Actually, it made reference to a few other chapters (PM if you want more detail about this aspect), but it'll be even more significant once I get the resolution moving.
Gah, this chapter...anywho, thanks for reviewing Bec! Report Review
Did I ever tell you that I have a selective stammer? I don't think it's ever come up, but I do :) And it only developed as an adult. Mine only occurs when I'm EXTREMELY upset or anxious but when it does I can barely speak without stammering and it is the most frustrating thing ever! So my point is that I sort of get how frustrating it must be for Stewy and I think you've captured that incredibly well. The way that he makes the tongue movements before speaking the word, even though he believes/knows it won't do him any good, or the way he just tries not to talk unless he has to. It's heartbreaking but kind of beautiful at the same time.
I love the description of Stewy as the group's leader. There seems to be a lot of wisdom in him, but it's all a bit hidden at the moment. He's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a stammer. I can't wait to see where you go with that.
Ah POV changes again! You do like them, don't you? I have to say though, that like SUAKM, you do it quite well here, it's almost like a camera changing focus from one character to another as the first character leaves the room.
I loved the moment when he said the word 'library' without stammering. It was such a great moment and the fact that Stewy noticed how Roxy's 'big brown eyes' lit up makes me wonder if his feelings for her are something more than he realises. After all, he doesn't seem to mind her teasing so much...just saying ;)
Anyway, it was great, I loved it, write me more :)Author's Response: Sorry for the delay in response ;) I'm not the most trustworthy person when it comes to that kind of thing.
I should get away from POV changes...oh well, I just won't do that in Joke Wars. Anywho, you haven't told me about your selective stammer. Speech disorders have always fascinated me!
Like any boy, he doesn't understand his feelings all that well yet. I'm hoping to just catch him as liking her as a friend, and then I'm going to develop that more.
So that next chapter is in the queue, and I hope that change of tone doesn't give you whiplash :D Report Review
Another brilliantly written chapter. *sigh* you spoil me, you know that? Although it does make writing a review that's not just line after line of "brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!" a bit more of a challenge, but I'll do my best :)
I really love the way you focus on what your character's thought processes. I always feel like I'm right inside their brain and understand the motivation behind all their actions. I mean this is only chapter 4 and I already feel like I know Draco and Astoria better than I've known some characters at the end of a 20 chapter novel! Your attention to the detail on your characterisation of your main characters is incredible. I'm imagining you sitting in some study somewhere with page upon page stuck to walls with details about them :P
The thing about not being able to do magic in Hogsmeade surprised me because I'd always thought students could do magic in Hogsmeade. So at first I was a bit like "Uh...is this right?" But by the end of the chapter, I understood why this detail was so important and it didn't matter anymore if it was canon or not, because in the context of this story and especially this chapter, it fits in brilliantly.
Astoria's ruminations on Harry and Ginny were perfect, the way she longed to not always be 'proper' and just be this free, impulsive teenager was not only a great spot of character development, but added some foreshadowing for her future actions (in both this chapter and the next). I did feel (and this is totally a personal interpretation of canon thing) that Ginny and Harry's display felt a little bit too much for them. I don't know, I just couldn't see them acting that way, at least not this soon after the end of the war. But as I said, that is completely based on my interpretations of the characters so there's not really wrong or right about it and it certainly didn't detract from the story. PLUS, as I already mentioned, it was a great catalyst for Astoria to think about her own feelings and secret desires.
Oh Draco...poor old Draco, I did feel for him in this chapter. Just can't catch a break, eh? Once again, you've captured that balance between Draco being someone you feel sorry for and someone who's getting what he deserved. I adored that way it just seemed to be never ending, like it wasn't this one little fight that he walked away from, but first it was Ron, and then Hermione and then the three that attack him at the end. By the end of the chapter I was practically screaming at the computer "Oh for the love of Merlin, just get out of there!!!"
I just want to stop and say how much I loved Ron in this chapter. I love how there was this bully-esque feel to his character, not in an unrealistic way, but in a "I have the power and you're not going to push me around anymore Malfoy" way. I could see years of pent up frustration at being picked on by Malfoy and his cronies, as well as everything that happened during the war (and I'm sure he's directing some blame from others like Bellatrix at Draco too). And the fact that Ron punches him? Heh...that was such a Ronald Weasley move :)
And Hermione's little cameo was great too, the 'mudblood' moment seemed to echo back and reflect both their interactions as younger students but it also made me think of Snape's worst memory (not that there's really an comparison between the characters and their relationships, but it just made me think of it). I especially loved her parting shot “I should have had you expelled for that, Draco. Professor McGonagall probably would have just handed Gryffindor the House Cup for getting rid of you. But you do need to learn a lesson. And I have to admit, that was fun.” Hehehe :)
I'm loving Astoria so much, although I would err on the side of caution just because sometimes I feel like she's a little too perfect. I mean I love the contrast between her being so beautiful and almost angelic as opposed to Draco who is just so tortured and trying with all his might to change but struggling with it. But I could see myself getting irritated by Astoria if she doesn't develop a more pronounced flaw. Just a thought.
I loved the reality of the effects of fighting, and how by the end Draco was just this puddle who could barely move. There's nothing worse than a battle sequence where the character casts perfect shield charms and executes perfectly aimed curses while their opponent seems to miss every time. I mean unless you're Voldemort duelling Dennis Creevey, that just ain't gonna happen! You write in such a realistic manner, to the point where it sometimes makes the reader uncomfortable - not in a bad way, but in a 'empathise with the character' way. It's not something you see a lot, and the fact that you're willing to push that boundary is impressive, you certainly don't see a lot of that in fan fiction.
Your technique is incredible - as always. It just flows so beautifully and is so effortless to read. The only error I picked up on was this sentence: “Well? Don’t you and the Weasel King need to run off and find Potter so you celebrate?” I'm thinking it should be 'so you CAN celebrate?' but otherwise, it was just about perfect.
I'm sorry if my thoughts are all over the place in this review, it's late and I'm tired, but I feel like I've been a bit slow with these reviews so I was determined to write this before going to bed tonight!
Great chapter, great story. I'll be back soon to review the next chapter :)Author's Response: Hello, again! This review sort of set me on my heels. It was so long and detailed. I read it through a few times and I was thinking to myself, "where do I even begin to respond?" It's a good problem to have. I guess I'll just start at the beginning!
I'm obsessive about following characters' thoughts and feelings. You should see the notes I make for myself in comments when I'm working on a chapter. It's like I write a parallel narrative just for me so I can keep track of what's going through each character's head, even if it doesn't end up in the final version. At any rate, I'm glad that it shows. Really, what's the point of writing from a certain character's point of view if you're not going to really get inside their head and explore?
I admit, I sort of guessed about not being able to do magic in Hogsmeade. In the books, it always seems as though there are only two places where underage sorcery is allowed: Hogwarts and the Hogwarts Express. In the movies, there's no rhyme or reason to it. Like you said, it worked well with the plot in this situation.
With Harry and Ginny, I wanted to put an alternative version of romance in front of Astoria, one that flies in the face of her upbringing. So admittedly I was thinking more about her than about Harry and Ginny when I did it. That said, since Ginny doesn't get to see Harry when she's at school and he's off doing his Auror training, I could imagine her being very excited to see him. ;)
Draco has a really rough go of things in this chapter, doesn't he? Again, I'm not sure that the objective was to make anyone feel badly for him, but to show that he's going to be living the consequences of his role in the war for the foreseeable future. In retrospect, I feel a bit bad about how I wrote Ron in this. Part of me feels like he comes off as too much of a bully, but then I remind myself that we see the events through Draco's eyes. I guess it serves its purpose.
Hermione, on the other hand, was a joy to write. Her sense of right and wrong is so strong, and for Draco it cuts both ways in this chapter. He completely loses his composure after Ron humiliates him, and he snaps at the one person who was trying to help him. I liked making Hermione very human in terms of how she reacts.
I agree with you about Astoria, actually. In future chapters, I've tried to show more of her flaws and portray her age a bit more realistically. In this chapter, I think she's a bit torn between crushing on Draco and feeling the need to mother him. I guess the two aren't completely mutually exclusive.
Draco is a mess by the end of this chapter. Whether or not he wants to admit it, he really needed Astoria's help. He also has a very strong survival instinct, though. He wouldn't have survived the war otherwise. At any rate, I'm glad you liked the fight scene. I really enjoy writing them.
Thanks for spotting that typo. I'll go in and patch that up!
I thought the review was actually pretty easy to follow. And I really enjoyed reading it! Thanks so much! Report Review
Heya! Reviewing for the Gryffie 'review the person above you' thread.
Wow...this is the second story of yours that I've read and it was another winner :) I really liked the way you introduced the two characters separately, gave a bit of insight into where they were coming from and then connected them together. it made their conversation that much more meaningful.
Oh poor Colin! I actually had tears in my eyes at the end and then when Blaise pushes him in the lake...! I laughed out loud because it was so unexpected, and yet it was absolutely perfect for the moment (especially considering that they'd just talked about falling in the lake) and a really good way to end the story on a high note that made you laugh and feel good without it being overly mushy or disrespecting the tone of the rest of the piece. You have a good understanding of balance, knowing just how far to push an idea or emotion before pulling back.
I loved the characterisation of the two, they were very believable, and I thought Blaise's remorse was perfectly measured, not too think and over-the-top but enough that you liked him as a character. I loved where it's talking about Harry's name on the monument and then you have this quote: "Privately, Blaise thinks that this is a bit dramatic. After all, Harry had only been dead for, what? Five minutes?"
What a perfect way to show the Slytherin pride that is still in there, even though he is working so hard to be a better person. Those few sentences added so much depth and reality to that character, really clever.
You have lovely writing technique, I don't think I spotted any errors, or if I did, they didn't distract me from the story, so that's really good too.
I only have good things to say and I will definitely be back to check out more of your writing in the future! :)Author's Response: Thanks so much for the AMAZING review! It completely made my day :D
Yes, i do love that line. My secret inner Slytherin coming out in my writing. Sh.
Thanks for the beautiful review!
~Gilly Report Review
Ok, sorry I've been a bit slow, I decided to read all the validated chapters and then come back and review them.
I was surprised at first that McGonagall was so rough on Draco, but then I remembered that she wouldn't know what Harry or Snape or Dumbledore knew about him and her actions are sort of justified then. I liked your interpretation of her, she felt tlike the McGonagall we all know and love. Her comment about how she thinks the governors were wrong to let Draco back in the school reminded me of when she'd stand up to Umbridge...you really don't want to get on Minerva McGonagall's bad side, do you?
Astoria's thoughts about Draco were very realistic and genuine. You've captured her quite well as this young, idealistic yet very strong girl, and despite the madness that is still going on in the wizarding world, she is obviously experiencing something of a crush on Draco. The girlish conversation about fancying Draco was so perfectly placed among everything else that's going on - it makes you realise that wars and prejudice can't stop these basic teenage emotions :)
Wow...the scene in the potions classroom was perfect. I felt so uncomfortable for Draco when he was trying to be quiet and keep out of the way while others were determined to attack him. It creates this brilliant conflict in the reader because on the one hand you feel bad that he's trying to change and people are treating him so badly, but on the other hand, he wasn't really very nice to these people. Yes, their ideas about his involvement during the war might be uninformed somewhat, but he still was on the wrong side and even before the war, he was the worst kind of school bully, who used to pick on people just because he could and used his influence and power to hurt others. I both feel sorry for Draco and feel like he deserves to have his life to be made difficult. I think it was pretty naïve of him to think this sort of thing wouldn't happen when he came back to Hogwarts though.
I love that Luna stepped in to defend him, it was such a perfect Luna move. I think Luna sees a lot more than people ever gave her credit for. She is incredibly perceptive and sees that Draco maybe isn't the black and white character the others have palmed him off as.
The writing was brilliant as usual, I didn't spot any mistakes. I've really enjoyed what I've read so far and I'll be back to review the next chapter soon :)Author's Response: Hi, there!
I agree that McGonagall was very harsh on Draco, but she has her reasons and they aren't just about the things that he did or didn't do during the war. I actually imagine that Harry did tell her, Kingsley and the other surviving members of the Order about the fact that Draco lied to Bellatrix and Narcissa lied to Voldemort. Otherwise, the entire Malfoy family almost certainly would have wound up in Azkaban. I think her opposition to Draco has more to do with the surviving students at Hogwarts. Many of them lost friends and family members to the war and the majority probably know at least one person who died. Having Draco -- an admitted Death Eater, even if his family did switch sides at the end -- back inside the castle would have been very difficult for a lot of the other students, as we see later in the chapter. More than anything, McGonagall is trying to protect the very fragile recovery that's starting to take root at Hogwarts. And given her deeply-engrained sense of right and wrong, I'm sure she also believes that Draco is a coward for participating in atrocities just to save his own life.
I'm glad you like Astoria. At times, I'm worried that she sounds too mature in this story. So I did try to make her act a bit more like a typical teenage girl in this chapter.
The scene in Slughorn's classroom was my favorite part of this chapter. Luna is a character that I always find myself wishing I could work into my stories more often. She's fun to write but terrifying at the same time because getting her words to sound right is so tricky. Luna is like modern art or being in love: you can't explain what it means to "sound like Luna", you just know it when you read it.
As far as whether Draco "deserves" what almost happened to him, I'm honestly not even sure myself. No matter how much he changed because of the war, the reality is that for the vast majority of seven years at Hogwarts, Draco Malfoy was not a good person. Even after the war, he's still prejudiced and more than a little arrogant. But he's also learned that his prejudices aren't worth killing or being killed over.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed this chapter. It's definitely one of my favorites in the story so far. Thanks for another awesome review! Report Review
Oh wow. The beginning of this chapter was just incredible. Like terrorising and haunting and just amazing. It gave such a brilliant insight into the fear that Draco is experiencing and shows just how much the war and his interactions with Voldemort are ingrained into Draco's psyche.
The scene in the café was a really good way of showing the struggle that Draco is feeling about his decision to change. It isn't like he decided to be a better person and then 'bam' he's changed. It makes it so much more realistic that he's still struggling to keep away from alcohol. Even his actions towards Blaise and the other people in the café show that he is not this perfect person, there is so much pride and rage and darkness inside of him. I think that aspect of his characterisation is spot on - I cannot stand this attitude that some people take that Draco was this innocent victim who is so inherently good inside. He's still an arrogant, prejudiced bully who was horrible to a lot of people in his life because he had the power to. He does want to change but there's still that tension between the sense of entitlement he's always had and what he thinks might be a better choice.
I love that you have some people on the 'good' side who are still pretty aggressive and violent. With Harry, we saw someone who had such a good moral centre, who didn't believe in killing or hitting someone when their back was turned. I suppose with Dumbledore as a mentor he developed a real maturity about that. But the reality is that not everyone is like that. The oppressed can be as vicious and the oppressors if they are given enough power, these sort of things are rarely black and white and it shows such a sophisticated understanding of the world that you've shown these shades of grey in the survivors of the war.
I find Astoria's father to be a fascinating character! The fact that he thinks his prejudice is alright as long as he isn't trying to take over the world is brilliant. He's so quick to blame others for his own misfortune, he doesn't see his drop in status as something that is justified or a reason to open his mind and look at things differently; he sees it as a crime that has been committed against him by the death eaters - he believes he is the victim in all this when it's attitudes like his that caused the problems in the first place! I love the irony of him carrying on about how arrogant the Malfoy's are when he is his own brand of arrogance!
Again, the writing was beautiful, I couldn't spot any mistakes and I was captured by every word. Can't wait to read the next chapter :)Author's Response: Whew! I'm really glad that you liked the nightmare scene at the beginning. I'm always worried about how that's going to come off. I had this really clear vision in my head of how it all looked, and I feel like it didn't come off quite right. At any rate, I'm glad it worked for you.
Draco is struggling a lot at this point. He's a recovering alcoholic, but all of his old "friends" still drink a lot. He's also struggling quite a bit with his own values. It isn't that he doesn't still think that his blood status and family history make him superior to others; he definitely does. But he knows that he's going to have to tone it down enormously if he's ever going to be accepted back into "polite" society. Zabini doesn't realize any of this. He's still living in his own world of post-war disaffection and rampant alcohol abuse.
The wizards inside the cafe aren't inherently bad people. But like most witches and wizards they suffered from the harsh conditions imposed by Voldemort's Death Eaters during the war. They probably lost people that they knew, either because they were muggle-born or just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So Zabini's diatribe sets them off.
You're absolutely right about Astoria's father. He's no saint. There really are no saints in this story. He's prejudiced and more than a little bit arrogant. He's also very naive about Voldemort. He truly believes that Voldemort was some sort of mentally unbalanced charismatic who never would have risen to power without the support of wealthy, old families like the Blacks and Malfoys. Obviously, that isn't true, but Mr. Greengrass doesn't know how powerful Voldemort truly was. So he assumes that the Blacks and Malfoys were playing kingmaker.
I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for the awesome review! Report Review
Hey! Here for the Gryffie review swap :)
Ok, first of all, I am going to try really hard to give you a nice, useful review but I might have trouble because this chapter was amazing! Seriously, how have I never read any of your stuff before? You're an incredible writer and just to prove it, I've never been a Draco fan, won't usually go within ten feet of a fic with Tom Felton on the banner, but after reading this chapter I think I may be on my way to becoming a Draco Malfoy convert! *gasp!*
Ok, so since I can't think of any CC, I'll tell you what I thought was particularly good so you can keep doing it :)
The start was great, it instantly drew me in and made me want to read more. I was actually curious for a while about where he was and what time it was etc, which sort of put me in Draco's drunken, confused shoes. The bit about him being sick...well it's not really my thing, but I can appreciate the purpose it served. It made me feel uncomfortable, and yet that also worked to help me understand just how messed up Draco was. It was a rather dramatic way to say "Draco is at rock bottom...he's completely stuffed!" And I thought that was clever.
Oh and the comment about how his family had been victims just as much as everyone else was so clever - it was one of those 'make you think' moments, where I actually warmed up to Draco's predicament a bit.
I also like how long Draco's attempt to find food took. You got the feeling that this was becoming a real problem for him and he wasn't going to get out of it easily, which re-enforced that whole 'rock bottom' thing I was talking about. And then it made Astoria seem like such a knight in shining armour when she came along! I loved the role reversal there - she was the one rescuing him. It was emasculating and I think that was good because it probably contributed to him later realising that he had to change.
Ok, so I'm not a fan of the whole 'love at first sight' thing, but I can accept it because she was rescuing him and being kind to him and that made it all the more believable. I liked the addition of the disapproving father...nice little complication there!
I liked the way you used the letter to his mother to show that he wants to change. It's sort of the action side of things, not just the character thinking about it, which has me hooked for future chapters, wondering what exactly he's planning to do etc. I did think the language in the letter was a bit formal, but then again Malfoy always was a bit poncey and I suppose it's very plausible that he would speak and write to his parents in a more formal tone.
As I said before, your writing is just fantastic, I love the choice of words, your deliberate characterisation and very vivid descriptions - I could see everything quite clearly in my mind. I only feel sorry for you that my story isn't anywhere near as good as this!
I'm really looking forward to the next chapter :)Author's Response: Hi, there!
Hmmnnn... Not sure I'm trying to turn anyone into a Draco fan with this. He's still a bit of a ponce, with a lot of the same prejudices he held before the war. But to me he definitely changed a lot between the end of OotP and the end of DH. I started exploring the change with a story called Marked that covers the aftermath of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. And since Jami begged and begged for a story about how he and Astoria fell in love, this seemed like the next logical thing to try.
I definitely wanted the beginning of this chapter to have a very ragged, disoriented feel to it. Draco is at a very low point in his life, as you say. I'm not sure I'd call it "rock bottom" because I actually imagine he was closer at certain points during the war. But during the war he really didn't have the option of getting better. Here, he finally does.
I think that Draco and his mother were victims of a sort. They never asked to be thrust into the middle of Voldemort's attempt to seize power. Lucius was just an idiot, although he would up getting in far deeper than he ever intended, I think.
When you're stumbling around drunk, it always takes forever to find something to eat. I remember that clearly from college. What I was hoping to show with Astoria's appearance wasn't necessarily "love at first sight" but rather having Draco see something that he suddenly realizes that he wants very much. At this stage of the story, Astoria isn't as much of a person to him as she is a symbol of a life where somebody cares enough about him to help him out and try to understand the issues that he's living with. Obviously that changes, but for now he isn't really in "love at first sight."
The letter was one of those "moment of clarity" things that most alcoholics go through when they're at the bottom. He knew that he might not feel the same when the morning rolled around, so he felt like he had to do something to make sure that he didn't fall right back into his old ways. It definitely was on the formal side, but I tend to think that's how upper-class pure bloods write.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story! For some reason, this one has been a lot harder to write than my earlier ones, so it's good to know that it's turning out alright. Thanks for the awesome review! Report Review
Oh my goodness! Laughing so hard right now! Like literally out loud uncontrollable laughter! There were so many brilliant one-liners in this, I can't even begin to quote them all, but I have to say the bit about the potion made of his father's bones and Harry's blood giving him bad breath? Genius!
Ah, thank you, that's just made my day :)Author's Response: Aww, thank you for reading and reviewing. I'm glad you had so much fun. =) It was pretty hilarious to write as well. =P Report Review
Ok, so I caved and read it, and just as I predicted I loved it and am now annoyed that there's only one chapter up.
Go write me some more darn it! :)
Seriously, a great first chapter, I am definitely intrigued about the relationship between Lily and Stewart and Roxanne and Stewart. I have the feeling that maybe Roxanne isn't as nasty as she seems to be, but maybe I'm wrong.
Stuttering is such a good complication to give your MC, how did you come up with it?
I'm too tired to be witty, but honestly I thought this was great and I can't wait to read the rest. :)Author's Response: Ha...yes...writing more in the WIPs I have instead creating new ones. I should do that...
Why is it that I always get awesome ideas for new novels when I'm trying to finish one? Gah! *throws hands in the air*
Oo Roxy! I like Roxy! She's fiesty, right? Sorry...I just woke up and I should not be responding to reviews right now, but...oh well.
Good question! I used to have a stammer, and I go back into stuttering when I get really flustered or angry. So...right, there's that and the fact that I just wanted to write stuttering dialogue.
I'm really awful at coming up with awesome answers to questions like that :P
Oh, what a wonderful happenstance! I'm too tired to properly articulate my thoughts!
Thanks for reading this silly work :D Report Review
She's so close! Work it out Lily you dolt!
I am very happy that she decided not to get Bradley to follow Matt around, that would be a death wish on the relationship if ever there was one!
Beautifully written - as always :) There were a couple of minor things like quotation marks where they shouldn't have been, but it was just the tiny little things we all seem to miss during the final edit (I always have a tiny mistake somewhere - even if I edit five times!)
Love this story, love this ship (now that I'm allowed to love ships again :P), love the writing.Author's Response: She is! She'll get there soon. Letting Bradley snoop around Matt's life would've been the end of it. It would've wrecked her relationship with Albus, too.
I'll have to give it another read for editing. No matter how many times I edit it there's always something! I'm so glad you like the story! And, haha, yes, you can like ships again! :P Thanks for reading and reviewing! :) Report Review
how does this not have more reviews? Gosh, I was crying by the end, that was just so beautiful and tragic and moving. This story is so real, so honest about what people must have gone through after the war. I just loved it.
Beautifully written, well done :)Author's Response: Awwe :')
Thank you so much for taking the time to review!
I really appreciate it and I'm glad you liked the story :D
~Gill Report Review
Ok, so I've heard some great things about this story and I'm finally getting around to reading it, but it might take a little time, but I couldn't resist after looking at your beautiful siggy on the forums all the time!
You write really well, your descriptive writing is just beautiful, it's easy to see the people and places in my mind. I also really liked the way you opened with a description, like a really detailed description because by the time we got to any dialogue/action I was like "What's going on! I have to know!". :)
Sometimes I felt like the language was a little too formal, or stilted...hmmm not sure if either of those words are right for what I'm trying to convey, and it wasn't amjor thing, it's just that sometimes it was a little too well written...ok I'm not making any sense, am I? Sorry about that :(
I also thought that you made a really good choice about where to start the story, and the comment that James and Lily were occasionally friends was good too...It also seems as though you're going to go beyond that 'I hate you now I love you' thing you get in a lot of James/Lily fics, and I am very happy about that.
Overall, I really liked this chapter, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story. I'm not really a marauders fan either, but I think I'll enjoy this :)Author's Response: Aww thank you so much for stopping by! And that signature is amazing, isn't it? It was made by the same TDA artist that made the Before They Fall banner and all but one chapter image! I love her.
I love sort of panning out before starting a scene, and I'm really happy it worked well for you here ♥
Okay I've gone through and tried to fix what I think you were talking about. I've been needing to give this a sprucing up lately, and you're review pushed me to do so, thank you ♥ I think the problem was that it kind of jumped... not enough to make it feel like it was jumping, but some of the transitions felt too complicated. I hope that's what you were getting too, because I've reworked some things and I think fixed the issues you were talking about that made it seem... stiff. Hopefully! Thank you again for pointing that out!
I can not rant enough about the 'I hate you I love you' stuff. Obviously there will be some arguments in this, but those really stem from Lily just having a hard time dealing with death of her parents. And not 'James you're a __' kind of arguments :P.
Thank you so much for stopping but and leaving such a lovely review ♥ I hope I've fixed the issue you pointed out!
♥ Jami Report Review
Meh...it was alright I suppose...
Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh...I want to read more!!!
Sterling is fabbity fab, he's so funny and with a title like 'joke wars' and a character like that, I just know it's going to be brilliant! And I love that he and Albus aren't the same age...it will make things more interesting I think.
Write more...now. Seriously, I don't care what you're doing, even if you're performing brain surgery I want you to stop and go write another chapter.
Hang on, why are you reading reviews when you're supposed to be performing brain surgery? That's highly unprofessional. Tsk tsk...now really!
Sorry...feeling a smidgeon silly this evening. Ok maybe more than a smidgeon. But I really did like this chapter :)Author's Response: Oh wow! YES!
I had Sterling as a character in a different work, but I took him out, and he haunted me. Seriously, it may sound insane, but I couldn't keep writing my novel until I gave the kid a story of his own.
My secret...it's out :O How did you know? *throws scalpel on the floor and runs to the corner to cry*
I like silly, no worries ;) Yay! I feel motivated to write the next chapter :D Report Review
I just...I don't even...gah!
So funny...so sweet. That was seriously cuter than a bunch of kittens teaching a bunch of puppies how to dance the Macarena (you're imagining it, right? Cute huh? Well this story was cuter than that!)
I like Rachel, I'm kind of sad this was a one shot because I'd like to read more about her, like why she seems to be so sad and doesn't laugh, and her relationship with her parents. And James was sweet too :)
Just...great :)Author's Response: This story is one of those first ones that I put up. It is filled with grammatical errors :P I'm glad you got past those. I should fix them sometime soon...maybe.
Mental image! I can't stop laughing right now :P
Oh geez, I love writing one-shots because there is the challenge of developing your characters in such a short story >:D. Basically, I'm very happy that you like Rachel!
Woot, I'm thoroughly enjoying the reviews you leave Report Review
Gah! Why am I reading your stories? Kicked me right in the feels, that did!
I loved that she thought he got ten owls when he only got seven...so cute!
:)Author's Response: Heh, this is another older piece of mine :P
I just re-read it a day or two ago...it's a wee bit embarrassing, but I still crack up at the man-hands part. Every single time.
Oh yes, the confusion that keeps the two apart is over test scores :P silly Lily
Thanks :D Report Review
Aww...so cute! I just adored this! James was great (I always like me a sensitive Potter boy, I hate it when they're too arrogant), and I loved Rebecca...but then again that's my name so I always grin like a little kid when I see y name in books or stories or hear it in movies!
I loved the time jumps, it flowed really well and added a lot of depth to the story. It also created that delicious anticipation, the constant wonder of what had happened between them in the past.
Just lovely :)Author's Response: Rebecca is your name? :D I have a mild obsession with girl names that start with the letter "R". I'm sure you have noticed :P
Ha, I freak out whenever I read my name in stories too! I just read a story the other day with a very insignificant character named Jack. Instantly became my favourite character :P
Oh good :D I know some individuals don't like flashbacks...I guess it's a form of lazy writing? I use it so often...right, anyway. I love the many reviews :D!
I feel so flattered right now :D Report Review
I liked it...but then again I've always thought stories are better with a good dose of hopelessness (is that how you spell it? Seems like too many s's...). I like the depth of James' character, and I thought there was something very real about the fact that he didn't want to lose Rachelle, even though he doesn't love her. That's a very human thing I think, to just not want to be alone. I do sometimes think James talks or thinks in a way that doesn't quite seem in character, like his reflections on the moon (see what I did there?) or in the previous chapter when he was talking about the books...but then again they are the parts of the story that I think are the best written, so i don't know how to feel about it!
I liked Leo's stand against his parents...wow they really are pieces of work, aren't they?
I'm very happy that Rose and Scorpius are friends again, I am not adverse to a bit of ScoRose provided it's written well...and you do write it well.
Bring on the conflict and hopelessness I say!Author's Response: Oh what a crazy happenstance, I just commented on one of your status updates :D
You will definitely like/hate the next chapter! James goes into this whole monologue...like in Hamlet, when Hamlet fakes (well, maybe, that's up for debate) being insane. But, he does do reflections similar to his one about the moon/hemingway novels, so we'll see if you think it's realistic. I'm excited to see how you'll respond to it :D
Anyway, yeah I didn't think James would actually be happy with losing Rachelle, because junk like that is hard...and complicated...and, argh! Now I'm remembering some of my own break-ups :/
Leo's parents make me laugh, but yeah...they are quite the scandalous pair :P
Oh, you flatter me *blushes*. I think what I like most about writing my ScoRose is how oblivious Scorpius is! He's such a fun kid.
It is coming *insert evil laugh* Report Review
I'm confused...Vivian's nana sells wizarding books in a muggle bookstore? Can she do that?
Oh, and I worked out why the dialogue doesn't seem to flow. You keep starting a new paragraph directly after closing the speech, but it should all be part of the same paragraph, same sentence actually. For example, "sounds like someone was slipped a love potion," Teddy spoke, nudging James again. See how it's all in the same paragraph? If you break it up, then it becomes stilted and difficult to read. You might want to fix that.
It will be interesting to see how James goes about finding out which world Vivian is from :) Report Review
I like this concept, it has the makings a really interesting story. Vivian seems like a very sweet character, I can't wait to read more of her.
There are times when your sentence structure doesn't flow very well, particularly in the dialogue, and there's a few little grammar errors here and there. Keep working at it and I'm sure it will improve.
Also, it's such a little thing, but according to canon, James doesn't have green eyes. In the DH epilogue it says that Albus was the only one on Harry's kids to inherit his and his mother's green eyes.
Looking forward to reading the next chapter! Report Review
As, this story was really sweet! And being a short story worked so well because you kept it concise and didn't waffle with unnecessary paragraphs.
I really loved the dual development of Molly and Campbell's relationship and Molly's personal revelations, you paced it really well, and even though they fell in love very quickly, it worked as a sort of 'whirlwind' romance. Molly's perspective on her family and how that changed as the story progressed was really good too.
I think sometimes the writing was lacking a bit, it wasn't always as finished or as mature as it could have been, but it did seem to improve slightly throughout the story. That's also something that improves the more you write and deconstruct our own writing, so for a first story it was fine (and much better than a lot of other stories I've read). One thing I did think was that the opening paragraph of the first chapter was a bit too robotic and not very attention grabbing, and I think first paragraphs and first sentences really need to be given a lot of attention when they're being written because it can determine whether or not a reader will give your story any attention. I did however, love the connection between the beginning of the first and last chapter and the way her outfit for work showed the changes in Molly's life. Very clever!
Overall, a really great, sweet, fun story that was super easy to read and very enjoyable. I can't wait to see what you write next. :)Author's Response: I have to agree with you about my writing, although thank you for saying that it seemed to improve during the story. There are so many fantastic writers on this site and I'm trying to read as much as I can to learn from them. I still have a long way to go! And I've realised since I posted this that the opening paragraph does need to be a lot more interesting to grab people's attention, so that's also something I'm working on!
I wanted this to be a short story to really portray the whirlwind romance with Molly and Campbell. I've never actually tried writing anything like this before so that was new for me as well, and I was very wary of exaggerating everything too much. I'm glad you saw a development of the characters through the story, though, and you're the first person who's noticed the connection between the first and last chapters!
Thank you so much for this review, it was really helpful and I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
nott theodore :) Report Review
I still love this story...such perfect pacing, such interesting characters. I'm a happy girl :)
Ok, so there was one thing about this chapter that bugged me, like really bugged me - more than it would bug a normal person. It was the thing that Matt said about his parents being obsessed with fish and chips when they moved from Australia. I'm assuming you're not Australian, because I am and I can tell you that no Australian would be fascinated by fish and chips because they're just as big a part of our diet and culture as our British anscestors. We all grow up eating fish and chips and seriously, there are at least four fish and chip shops within walking distance of my house! Every pub sells it, most restaurants have it (well not the fancy ones but you know what i mean) and it is so normal to us that I can't imagine an Australian reacting the way Matt's parents did.
Like I said...such a stupid thing to get hung up on, but for some reason it really bugged me. So...yeah, sorry 'bout that!
Otherwise, I loved it. I love that Lily's dated such morons that when a guy is a gentleman she gets all confused; it's kind of endearing :) Oh and I loved the joke about scaring the 'you-know-what' out of Sir Thumbs. "Not literally, but with Sir Thumbs, you never know." Hehehehe...so funny :)
(Bonus point: correct usage of the word 'literally'. One of my pet peeves!)Author's Response: Aww, I'm glad you're enjoying it so much!
You assume correctly that I am not Australian. I adore Australia and really want to visit, but sadly I haven't been able to yet. I'm surprised no other Australians pointed out the fish and chips thing before because I wrote about that in my fic about Matt's childhood. Thanks for letting me know, though! I'll edit that at some point.
I love creating all the idiots Lily has dated. It's so much fun! Sir Thumbs is a very hilarious cat to write about. Incorrect usage of the word "literally" is a pet peeve of mine, too! I mean, why change a word's meaning to its complete opposite? Thanks for reading and reviewing! :) Report Review
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