Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
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Review #26, by CambAngstYear Five: Torture

7th August 2014:
Hello, again!

It's been a while since we've dipped into Isobel's difficulties and I see that they've gotten worse with the stress of her friends' problems. She doesn't seem to comprehend the messages that her body is trying to send to her. I guess that's a big component of any self-harming psychological condition. Also, the way that she projects a lot of her difficulties onto Laurel is telling. Her brain has nearly as many defensive mechanisms as Tristan's. Say what you want about Laurel, at least she's honest about what she's done to herself. It's sad that, in a way, that makes her the least poorly adjusted of the three of them.

Isobel tries so hard to hold the group together while she's personally falling apart. That makes the situation even sadder. Then we reach a point where her mental state seems to go downhill in a hurry. She's flipping on a dime about how she feels towards her best friends. The way she turns on Tristan was a really nice piece of character development. I feel like you're setting her up to receive some very difficult messages in the not too distant future.

Ha! Percy is a jerk. Didn't see that coming. ;)

Snape... hair-growth potion... bwahahahaa! I love it. Poor Madam Pomfrey!

It was nice to see Isobel come back around on Tristan relatively quickly, but also symptomatic of how emotionally volatile she's getting. Tristan was on point in this chapter, letting his self-loathing shine through. It was so sad and so genuine, the way that he doesn't even try to argue with Isobel's harsh critique. And true to her own "den mother" character, Isobel changes her point of view to try to be supportive. The whole conversation epitomized what I feel like Isobel's life has become: she's living for everyone else while slowly killing herself.

Oh, wow. I seriously did not see this coming. Isobel is unintentionally becoming Voldemort's research department. Her research topic is horribly dark, definitely an unintended consequence of her father's work. This is a really clever plot thread. I've never seen the like of it in an HPFF story before.

Great chapter! On to the next...

Author's Response: Hello!

Yes! I introduced Laurel's character at a time in her life when she was least like herself, and only now is she starting to slowly go back to normal. I thought it'd be an interesting way to mess with character development--sort of reverse engineer her. That's why there were no POVs for her during the first half. But yeah, Laurel has, I think, a great many wonderful qualities. And I think some of her strengths are also her weaknesses. But overall, yeah--she's not necessarily the worst adjusted.

After that whole thing in OOTP with Percy telling Ron to stop hanging around Harry, my feelings have chilled significantly toward Percy. I bet he'd be a jerk sometimes to his peers. Hurrumph.

It's weird how much fun I have making these kids bash Snape, considering how much I LOVE THE SNAPE.

"She's living for everyone else while slowly killing herself"--perfect way to put it!

I really wanted Isobel's feelings about Tristan seem realistic, even when they switch, so I'm glad that worked! And I definitely wanted the chaoticness of what her brain is turning into to bleed into her POV, so thank you for pointing that out!

And Quirrel! Voldemort research! I think I was drawn to writing a Hogwarts era for the same reason so many people avoid it: there's an established plot and direction, and it's very detailed. I liked the idea of writing something within those confines, where the possibilities for dramatic irony ABOUND. WE know what's under Quirrel's turban--I couldn't let that fact lie!

Thank you so much for taking the time to review these chapters! Your feedback is really encouraging!



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Review #27, by CambAngstYear Five: The Trouble With Laurel

4th August 2014:
Hi! I finally managed to get all of those awesome reviews answered, so now I'm back to pile some more upon this magnificent story of yours!

I'm a bit torn about how to feel about Laurel's relapse. At least she didn't take matters into her own hand. In a small, weird way, that's progress. For poor Tristan, however, the encounter was the last thing in the world that his frail mental state needed. He already carries so much guilt over... well, over everything, but Laurel's hex-out is certainly high on that list.

Isobel's gift to Tristan was a beautiful, touching moment. His reaction was brilliantly crafted, and her reaction to his reaction was pure Isobel. A short scene, but very well done.

“Be careful with that last one,” Fred warned.

“We reckon it could be poison,” agreed George.
-- Ugh. If only it was that simple. Oops, I utilized foreknowledge. I'll just say that you did a great job of making the introduction of the bottle memorable but not too memorable.

But it was easy to start kissing, and hard to stop. He knew he and Laurel were both spent every moment battling against all the little things, the little mistakes they could make, and that they were both finally exhausted enough to surrender. -- Awesome job of explaining the thought processes -- and failures thereof -- that led Tristan and Laurel to do what they did. It was fantastic, the way that you mixed all of the self-loathing and yearning and weakness and wariness and the ultimate surrender into a seamless path.

And... Laurel told Isobel. Yeah, hard to imagine that wouldn't have happened. Still, it's unfortunate. And poor, sweet, naive Emily just makes him feel that much worse by being her normal self. Nice touch, by the way. When you've screwed up royally, people behaving normally can feel even worse than dealing with anger.

Tristan's conversation with Professor Sprout didn't really go anything like Laurel's. He's such a tough nut to crack. He's one of those kids who is smart enough to keep himself one step ahead of whatever game the adults might be trying to engage him in. Evasion and deception become more important than stopping to think whether the other person might have a point. Tristan obviously knows all the tactics and all the answers. Like Professor Sprout realizes, he's been to counseling before. I loved the two small, tangential ideas in this section. First, the one about American witches and wizards and their different attitudes and approaches. Second, the concept of "backwater" witches and wizards in the UK who choose to live outside of the social norms. You made me imagine hillbillies living in the mountains of Appalachia here in the U.S., distilling moonshine and marrying their cousins. Hillbilly wizards: there's your Dobby award winning idea for the day! ;)

I'm wondering when somebody will have a very important conversation with Tristan. The one where -- and I'm sort of generalizing and also hoping a bit -- they smack him upside the head and suggest that maybe, just maybe, it should be up to Emily to decide whether he's too harmful and toxic for her. Until then, he'll just continue to bathe in self-loathing and deny himself any chance of happiness. Such a shame.

Excellent chapter! I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem. Until next time!

Author's Response: I was very much ALSO torn about Laurel's relapse: on the one hand, it's terrible. On the other, it's realistic. It would irresponsible to suggest that recovery was easy. And, unfortunately, kids find themselves in these situations, and are ill-equipped to deal with them. Laurel is too immature to think of what she's doing to Tristan, he's too immature to know what to do.

As for the potion intro: I really tried to emulate Rowling's style of introduction here (which is inimitable)--so I'm very pleased you thought it successful!

And AHA, this story is, I think, a shipper's nightmare! My goal was for people to not be into what happens, but reluctantly understand why it did. Also: just, teenagers. Far too self-involved for grand romance.

And yeah, teenage girls who share a bedroom and class schedule and grew up like sisters TALK. And of course Tristan, who grew up so isolated, wouldn't have thought of that.

"He's such a tough nut to crack. He's one of those kids who is smart enough to keep himself one step ahead of whatever game the adults might be trying to engage him in. Evasion and deception become more important than stopping to think whether the other person might have a point. Tristan obviously knows all the tactics and all the answers. Like Professor Sprout realizes, he's been to counseling before." THANK YOU! Ah! Just--I'm so glad that all came off!

And yeah, I really enjoyed doing social analysis of the wizarding world--the "wizard hillbilly" idea had a lot to do with contextualizing the Gaunt family!

And, AH! I will avoid saying anything spoilery about that PRECISE conversation with Tristan. I smile, steeple my fingers, and choose to end the response here; lest I, in my enthusiasm, ruin it. (*butitshouldbesuperobviousandonceyouseeityoullrealizeyouknewthat/thoseweregonnahappenallalong!*)

I LOVE YOUR REVIEWS SO MUCH, thank you for taking the time to respond to all these elements! It's SO encouraging--this is my first HPFF, my first long-form fiction, my first writing that wasn't poetry, academic, or copy. It's incredible to see that the things I wanted to come across DID. And I KNOW that you're a great writer, so it means that much more.

You rule,
-Roisin











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Review #28, by CambAngstYear Five: The Little Things (1992)

1st August 2014:
Hello, again!

So first off, I'll disclose that I got impatient yesterday and read all the way through to your last posted chapter. I am going to try -- mightily -- to review each as though I don't know what's coming. We'll see how I fare...

The battle to measure up to "innocent, wide-eyed, whole-life-in-front-of-her" 11-year-old Laurel is just not a battle that "15-year-old, just out of rehab, fallen from grace" Laurel has a chance of winning. I really love the idea, because I can distinctly remember instances during college -- the ones where I was at my worst -- when I pondered what a younger me would have made of my life at the time. Also, I like the references to Laurel's wand and its behavior.

It seems like the competition Laurel feels with Isobel is nearly as much of a lost cause as her attempt to live up to her younger self. I wonder what the Doge-Mostafas would make of it if they knew how inadequate most of the other students feel compared to their "disappointing" younger daughter?

Laurel wanted, for a reckless moment, to say something inflammatory, just to see if her mother might lose it and slap her again. -- Wow. That's one heck of a water-drop for some past or futures event(s). I'm a little curious but mostly just horrified.

Is this your first scene from a professor's point of view? Unless I've forgotten one, I think so. Professor Sprout is so rarely written in HPFF stories. I love seeing through her eyes for a while.

A student’s troubles were rarely the result of one big thing, but rather a lifetime’s sum of little disappointments adding up. -- This chapter has some awesome thematic consistency.

Ooh, another tantalizing nugget about Tristan. It's definitely consistent with my operating theory...

Professor Sprout does a pretty amazing job of getting Laurel to unstopper herself emotionally and react. That's far from an easy task with any teenager, especially one who's just been through an experience like Laurel. Everything about the process of getting busted, getting sent away to get help and having to deal with a judgmental family upon your return conditions a person to either clam up and say only what's expected of them or to lash out against any attempt at offering "help". Laurel did some of both, but it seemed like she found a topic worth discussing at the end.

It felt to Laurel like every second of every day since she’d hexed-out, she had to make a decision. She could either go about as she was supposed to, or jump off that cliff into a dark unknown. -- It's a pretty heavy thing to deal with, to be sure. Poignant observation there.

Laurel's struggles in rehab were tough to read, but very realistic. When you go that far down a bad road, it's not usually an easy walk back. Laurel’s face is a mess of snot and unwiped tears--her body’s salt laid bare like a sacrifice. -- Such a visceral, gripping image!

And lastly there was the conversation in the corridor. Tristan, the boy with the mind of a junkie and the soul of a poet. One of the most challenging things about this story, at least for me, is to try to decide whether the individuals in this group would be better off or worse off without the others. Don't know the answer to that yet.

I saw one typo in this chapter:

Returning to that room meant accidentally uncovering old trinkets, things she'd once loved and squirrelled awat, that reminded Laurel of just how far she had fallen. -- squirrelled away

Awesome job. I enjoy this story so much. I haven't found one in a long time that captured my imagination like this.

Author's Response: One of the most challenging, and interesting, things about writing this story was getting myself to remember the teenage perspective, and all of those tricky little feelings. During my first go at chapter one I fretted that I wouldn't do teenagers justice. Once I got deeper, tons of long forgotten memories were coming back. I'm really glad these ideas are resonating!

I liked the wand stuff too. The DH concept of wand allegiance was interesting to me, and I wanted to play with the relationship between Laurel and hers.

The thing with Laurel's mom--definitely wanted to write that quick, rather than overplay it. I figured it was horrifying enough on its own, and I'm glad that came off. I thought it was sadder if Laurel took it lightly, and didn't dwell.

Yeah this is the first Sprout POV, but not the last! I really wanted to write from her perspective specifically because she's not such an obvious choice, but potentially really interesting! Sprout always struck me as tough in her way, but was usually overshadowed by McGonnagall. I also thought it was a nice respite to retreat into the mind of someone more stable, and get a little break from the chaos by having an adult POV.

Laurel's memories of rehab were a last minute addition when I uploaded, and I wasn't 100% sure of them, so I'm glad you liked. I ended up just closing my eyes, hitting 'save chapter,' and hoping for the best.

"Mess of salt and unwiped tears--body's salt"--totally recycled from a poem a wrote ;)

"The mind of a junkie and the soul of a poet"--THAT IS OFFICIALLY MY FAVORITE DESCRIPTION OF TRISTAN EVER. I might steal that line from you when I revise!

Whether they would be better off or worse without eachother--definitely an idea I examine later! But I guess you know that :P

Thanks for pointing out the typo! And thanks again for another amazing, encouraging, delightful review!




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Review #29, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Beloved: Scorpius POV

30th July 2014:
Hi, Beth!

This review will be a bit shorter than my usual because I'm writing it on my phone. Challenging. But don't think for a moment that I enjoyed the chapter any less!

I could see Rose and Al not wanting to wake Scorpius up after the horrible day he had before, but come on, people! Leave a note or something! I can't imagine the gut-wrenching anxiety that caused. I liked that he retreated into cooking as a coping mechanism. You drew out such amazing contrasts between different aspects of Scorpius's family in this chapter. The mother who taught him to cook like a muggle. The father who was cold and withdrawn because he wanted to protect his son from the shame and horrors of his past. The grandparents who died in disgrace for their crimes. And lastly the insane aunt who nearly destroyed his beloved's mother. No wonder he went kind of bonkers. It's a lot to get your head around.

I felt really badly for Rose. I know that's not how she wanted that conversation to go, but I admire her courage in having the conversation in the first place. She couldn't have realized how it would affect Scorpius, and I really hope that she doesn't end up taking his reaction too badly. I could definitely see how she might.

I feel like you redeemed Ron completely in this chapter. It came through loud and clear that he wants -- demands, really -- what's best for Rose. It's not a personal thing between him and Scorpius. His willingness to honestly confront what happened at Malfoy Manor was also pretty big of him. I was also impressed with Scorpius, the way he opened up about his feelings for Rose. I just hope that he can actually get those words out to her sometime soon. Ron's parting wisdom was sage. Scorpius should definitely listen to him.

Awesome chapter! Now I'm on the edge of my seat to see how Rose and Scorpius mend this.

Author's Response: Wow!

You typed this all on your phone with zero typos? I wouldn't even attempt that - bravo!

Hah - I actually didn't even think of leaving a note, but you AND another reviewer mentioned it. What bad etiquette on Rose and Al's part!

Scorpius's cooking with his Mum was a way for me to keep her close to him, even after death. It comes up several times in the story and reflects my own view that cooking a good meal is a way to show love for your family and friends (can you tell I'm from a large, Italian family? - haha).

Rose wasn't sure how that conversation would go at all. She was ready to accept any reaction he had, but she didn't expect him to walk out. She knows that Scorpius has issues with his family - and that he has taken some hits in the past because they were on the dark side during the war.

You hit it just right with Scorpius. The demons that haunt him from his family's past are far from over. He feels a responsibility to pay for them, although they weren't his doing. Probably why he's become an Auror.

Thanks for the note about Ron. He sees the similarities between how Scorpius cares for Rose and how he's cared for Hermione. I don't think he's going to *completely* let Scorpius off the hook for being a Malfoy just yet, but this was a big step.

Thanks again!

Beth


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Review #30, by CambAngstYear Five: Recreational Magic Abuse Recovery

30th July 2014:
Hello, again!

This chapter was a really nice change of pace after the intensity of the last few. Not that it didn't have a highly dramatic moment or two, but most of it felt like relatively normal teenage girls doing the things that normal teenage girls do as they grow up.

"What is with that bleeding shack?!” demanded Emily. - It seems like Emily's family has an entirely different kind of shrieking shack. Ba-dum-dum-tssh. Sorry, probably the worst pun you'll see in a review any time soon. With that out of the way, I thought you did an excellent job of writing that moment in Isobel's life. You didn't overdo it and the girls didn't spend paragraphs and paragraphs debating "what does it mean???".

Isobel just nodded, looking half humiliated, half pleased, and totally overwhelmed. -- This. I think this summed up how most people feel after the experience very succinctly.

Another small reference to Isobel's deteriorating physical condition. At this point, I'm viewing Isobel's physical collapse not as a matter of "if" but "when". She's such a proud girl, so put together and so image conscious. I think this is going to be much more difficult for her than for Laurel.

I loved your description of the waiting room at St. Mungo's. It was just magical enough without being over the top and silly. Aww, poor Neville is visiting his parents. :(

Iman filled in another piece of the picture on Isobel's condition. The beautiful, talented older sister that she can never quite live up to. The poor girl has so many things working against her...

I liked what you did with little Luna. Very sweet and she sounded very much in character. "sick in her heart" It sounds exactly like something she'd say.

Upon that recommendation, Laurel took a biscuit and nibbled it, and Emily second guessed the wisdom of smuggling drugs to someone in rehab. -- I'm glad that point wasn't completely lost on all involved. Poor Laurel also seems to have a lot working against her. I'm sure her friends want to help, they just don't seem to know how.

"Like waiting," Laurel shrugged. "Waiting for the day when you can feel cheerful again all on your own. Waiting for when you stop screaming inside because you can't turn a wand on yourself." -- Amazing description. Sad and pithy and accurate.

"We lost that album in the move," Tristan lied easily. -- Another piece of the puzzle. While I do appreciate the information, I also feel compelled to point out that you had a slight break in narrative voice there, since neither of the girls could have known he was lying. Actually, depending on what Emily learned while they were using that telepathic potion, I guess that's not 100% guaranteed. Either way, it sounded like an omniscient narrator because you didn't attribute the realization to anyone in particular.

Poor Isobel seems to have early development and a weight problem hopelessly mixed up in her head. You really laid out the case for her -- against her? -- in this chapter. Like I said before, not "if", "when".

Excellent chapter! I shall return soon!

Author's Response: Hi!

Yeah, I think the fact that they are on vacation influences the tone a lot. And I try not to let the story ever go too far in one direction, and pull it back another direction, so I'm pleased you liked the change.

Yup, you were exactly on mark about sensing something between Lucas and Isobel! And I'm glad you liked my restraint. I wanted Isobel's experience to be realistic of one way that this moment can play out in a girl's life. Namely, "whilst on Holiday/not a huge deal."

Yeah, I definitely think this chapter and the last give us a lot of insight on Isobel.

And I'm glad Luna came off well! Yes, definitely a formidable canon character to write :)

And of *course* Emily is the one to rethink smuggling those biscuits to Laurel. Teenagers, I think, can sometimes go too far when they go through their "rules are stupid because I know what I'm doing" phase--which isn't to say they're completely dim all the time.

The "Tristan lied" bit--aha. I really like the verb "lied" because it's so revealing, and only one syllable. I've used it in this way before (Tristan's dad asks if he's ever self-spelled before. '"No, never" Tristan lied.') Ultimately, your last guess was right--Emily knew he was lying because of what she learned via potion. If the prose there was confusing, it was probably because I was all like "IT'S A MYSTERY! SO MYSTERIOUS!!1!11!!"

Thank you for another wonderful review! I get really excited when I see one from you!


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Review #31, by CambAngstYear Five: Muggle Magic

28th July 2014:
Hello, again! So you've reviewed about a zillion of my chapters today and I'd feel bad about tagging you again. Hopefully another new reader will tag you and discover this awesome story!

Gah, poor Isobel! I don't know if you've read the book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but Isobel makes me think of it. In the book, Famine -- one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse -- is forced to reinvent himself after modern agriculture limits his opportunities. So he becomes a fad diet guru and essentially convinces vain people to starve themselves. Isobel's problems obviously run deeper than vanity, but the cabbage soup diet brought me right back to the concept. Unrelated tangential note: In the book, Pestilence is forced into retirement after the discovery of Penicillin, and is replaced by Pollution.

Isobel is hiding so many things from her family, I don't know how she keeps it all straight. I have even more respect for her intelligence after reading this chapter, although that intelligence is being applied to frightfully self-destructive purposes.

Wow, Doge and Dumbledore as a couple. It's not impossible to wrap my head around, but tricky. I think maybe a one-shot on the topic could help. ;)

I'm feeling... something for Isobel's parents. My knee-jerk reaction is to say "dislike", because a lot of her body image issues seem to arise from the way they're treated her in the past. It's horribly ironic that they would have noticed the issues when she was nearer to the heavy end of the spectrum and they seem oblivious to it now that she's inching toward the dangerously thin end of the spectrum. Except that they aren't completely oblivious. Her mother seems to have half a clue, she just isn't doing much with it. Maybe "disappointing" is a better word?

Ha! Emily's parents seem like the best kind of muggles. They're fascinated by magic, they live off the grid, they have a son who works at a growery... I love all of the back story that goes along with them. It's easy to see how Emily ended up the way she did. A smart, loving, carefree girl who's also a bit on the sensitive side because she was likely sheltered from some of life's crueler realities as a child.

At least Isobel's dad didn't come off like a complete jerk during the conversation. He's a little self-important, but not at all in the Lucius Malfoy sense.

Lucas seems like an all-around solid older brother. One thing I noticed that might or might not be a continuity error was the following in the author's note: Levinia was disowned by her family shortly after becoming pregnant with Emily, and moved to the Highland’s with Jim to set up a small, sustainable, organic farm--mirroring the American 'back to the land' movement of that era. If Lucas is the older sibling, did Levinia's parents approve of her husband and ideals for the first child but not the second? Just seems a bit odd. Not a big deal, though. I like the fact that Lucas asks the girls about recreational magic and what happened to Laurel. He probably sees enough "drug people" in his job that he's hip to some of the dangers.

I really liked the conversation between Lucas and Isobel. Might there be just a hint of a romantic interest there? I felt a little something...

Another awesome chapter! I'm looking forward to the reunion at St. Mungo's, even though it might not be so much fun to read.

Author's Response: No, I've never read it, but sounds super interesting, and I generally like Gaiman.

As for Doge and Dumbledore as a couple: reread Deathly Hallows with that in mind--totally implied! Or not. But enough for Isobel to get the same idea :)

Yeah, Isobel's parents are pretty imperfect--partially because of their desire to be perfect. They aren't bad people, but I've seen parents like these, who don't realize how much they're hurting their children in subtle ways. I had a friend who pulled an Isobel in her late junior-early senior year because of the stress of applying to college. Her mom was actually proud of her, and only realized later that her daughter's weight loss was a bad thing.

And for some reason, I really enjoyed writing Ahmad. He's a fun combination of intelligent, kind, arrogant, and oblivious. I imagined him as looking like the Hedge-Fund guy from Skins:Fire.

"A smart, loving, carefree girl who's also a bit on the sensitive side because she was likely sheltered from some of life's crueler realities as a child." Yeah! Exactly! Well, mostly! You'll see!

Ah, it should have said 'Lucas', not 'Emily.' Indeed a continuity error. Thanks for catching it! I don't edit my end notes nearly as thoroughly as my chapters!

Thank youuu for another review!

:)
Roisin


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Review #32, by CambAngstYear Five: War Children

28th July 2014:
Hello, again! Sorry for the long absence, but certain trade-offs were made to allow for the House Cup even and the piper had to be paid. Anyway, I'm back again and using the Common Room review thread as an excuse to kick this off.

TRISTAN had three times started a letter to Emily apologizing for avoiding her and explaining himself, and had three times torn the parchment to shreds. -- After the events of the last chapter it would have been easy to roll right into a thriving Tristan/Emily ship. You've set it up well. Nobody would have held it against you. Instead, you back them up a step, which is pretty much the way that actual angsty teenagers would behave. Pacing, pacing, pacing. This story always has excellent pacing!

Whoa! Of all the things that could possibly happen to a Hogwarts student, I think Snape trying to be supportive and comforting would be near the top of any decent list of the weirdest, most unsettling experiences. Like Tristan, though, I couldn't take any of it at face value. Snape just doesn't do things like this. And then at the end, the other shoe drops. Longbottom Maybe the R name I was looking for wasn't a surname? Maybe Tristan's middle name is actually Rabastan? Rodolphus? You really keep the mystery going!

Aww, it's so sweet that Emily wrote to Tristan's mom. Whether the teenagers realize it or not, that's something solid right there.

"Child of Sorrow" I feel like more and more pieces are falling into place. He was born during the Dark Lord's first rise to power, but well before Harry.

I like that he sees a choice with regard to Sophie where his mother only sees something that had to be done. She's a witch, he's a half-blood who prefers the muggle world in many ways. Makes sense.

Poor Eddie has so many things working against him that I have the utmost respect for the fact that he's willing to make a go at talking to Tristan. Given my doubts about whether Eddie is actually Tristan's father, my respect is that much greater. Poor bloke is trying so hard to do the right thing and I think he really might have gotten there if Tristan had been in a mood to give him have a chance. Kind of ironic that Tristan holds the muggle world in such high regard and yet he completely blows off the earnest muggle sitting in front of him with a hand held out in sympathy.

Ah, the visit to the dealer's seedy apartment. I might or might not be in a position to say that you captured the details of the experience sublimely. Drugs tend to lead you to hang out with people that you'd never in a million years associate with for any other reason. Also make decisions about your personal consumption that you wouldn't make otherwise. Again, excellent description of the physical effects of that decision.

Oh, wow. So Sophie had a boyfriend. Reintroducing her earlier in the chapter when Tristan's mom was talking to him was a small touch, but a really important one. It's a good thing Sophie's boyfriend buys the story about what happened. He didn't sound like anyone you'd want to mess with and Tristan was being stubborn about going out unarmed.

I hope that Tristan finds the wherewithal to buck up and go see Laurel. Probably won't happen, but I'm hoping anyway. He does, however, lower his walls just enough to sign his full name. Baby steps...

Great chapter! It had so many small things in it that added up to an excellent whole. Your writing was also error-free and it flowed very nicely. Loved it, can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Ha, no worries! Although, your detailed and thoughtful review makes me feel hella guilty for the many nonsensical and repetitive ones I left on Detox.

Yeah, Tristan/Emily can't be that easy. It's only chapter five--where's the fun in that?

Hah, being offered tea by Snape is definitely one bazillion times more unsettling than being shouted at. Snape's fascinations and relationships with students are endlessly interesting. He spends 6 years verbally abusing Harry, but sacrifices himself for him. He weirdly loves Draco, despite that Snape's WHOLE LIFE is avenging Lily, and Draco is of Death Eater stock.

This story flowed in weirdly chronological order during the plunny phase. I came up with Tristan, and knew I wanted to kickstart the story with a woefully timed memory modification--BECAUSE THAT IS SO SAD. That whole idea, that the magical world could be a cruel place in novel ways, was really interesting to me. I also like that Tristan and his mates are kind of anti-statute-of-secrecy, and so were the Death Eaters/Grindelwald and co, but for very different reasons.

Your point about Eddie is really interesting. I feel like, in his own incorrigible way, Tristan actually gave his father more patience right then than he would anyone else for precisely those reasons. I mean, he was more honest than most kids would be in the same situation.

I had WAY too much fun writing the scene with "Spider." I actually researched the history of Sonic the Hedgehog to figure out if it was era appropriate to have multi-player mode, or if they had to switch.

Glad you liked the Sophie play-out! Wanted to remind readers that Tristan started the year in a really crappy way, lest I strain their capacity for sympathy too much with his prat-ness. I really CANNOT IMAGINE how traumatizing of a first time that would be--how lonely it would make someone feel, if the other person couldn't even remember it (and not in a real-world roofie way--which is entirely different).

Thank you for taking the time to review!!!


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Review #33, by CambAngstGhost in the Machine: Rebirth

24th July 2014:
Hi, Beeezie! I don't know whether you remember, but this story was actually one of the first that I ever wrote a review for on HPFF. It's been on my favorites list for ages and I've been dropping in on it every few months to see if it had been updated. I saw your Chapter Updates post this morning and I couldn't wait to find time to check it out.

You closed the loop on Lavender's self-imposed exile in a way that felt natural and complete. She's been down a very dark path and it took a very long time but she's finally found her way back to the light. I loved Seamus's persistence and his refusal to give up on her. The contrast you drew out between the type of support he's given her (pushing her recovery to the point of being annoying) and the type she's received from Parvati (being understanding to the point of enabling her problems) was really clever.

I liked the way you paced things. Nothing about her recovery felt like it happened unrealistically quickly. It takes time for her to accept Seamus's offer and it takes time for her to convince the Healer that she's ready. It all came together in a nice, organic sort of way.

I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems and everything flowed really smoothly. Congratulations on marking this story complete, and great job!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I do remember - I was really touched and pleased, because this was kind of one of those stories that took on a life of its own once I started writing it. It's definitely one of my favorite things I've ever written. I've had the last chapter half done for ages, but I had a block on how I wanted to finish it. I'm really glad you think that I did it justice.

I'm also glad you liked the way I described the different supports Lavender got from the people around her. People like Seamus can be really annoying when you're in a bad place, and you can definitely start to resent them... but IME, they're also the ones who are often the most effective and helpful.

Thank you so much for the review, and for your support throughout the story. I really appreciate it.


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Review #34, by CambAngstEpitaph of a Good Man: Elvis and Freckles- Take One

24th July 2014:
Hi, Rose!

Poor Tonks is working herself to death! You are a harsh mistress to your characters.

Occasionally my mind floated over to Moody. He seemed more my type. -- I... um... eww.

Wow, the scene in the Hall of Knowledge. Hilarious! If Tonks is going to be successful in this cloak-and-dagger business of being in the Order, she really needs to learn to be more discreet with her research.

Scrimgeour, Dawlish... it seems like the Auror Department is full of creepers. More Dawlish than Scrimgeour, I guess. It's more likely that Scrimgeour has a notion that something is going on inside his department and he's trying to keep tabs on what. Dawlish on the other had, pure creeper.

Aww, Tonks and Remus are cuddle buddies! Nice bit of back story on the Death Eater raid on the Tonks home. I found myself wishing you'd gone just a bit farther with the story, like explaining how the confrontation ended. If the men were sent by Bellatrix, I have to imagine they would have had orders to "erase the stain from the Black name", i.e. kill everyone they found.

Remus's stuffed rabbit was simply adorable! The name was a really nice touch.

Then there's Dawlish again. I hope Tonks hexes some significant portions off of his anatomy.

I didn't see any typos or other problems. Great chapter!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

I am quite hard on my characters. You have no idea (yet).

Um. I can explain but I'll do it later.

Tonks did nearly fail her stealth section of auror training... subtle just isn't her thing. And, I had to put in some awkward for her.

The Auror Department is full of creepers. Dawlish is certainly the worst as his motivations are more towards obsession with Tonks rather than keeping Dumbledore's people out of the Ministry.

I'm glad you liked the cuddle buddy scene. In one version I had a bit more color in the Death Eater story but I took it out because it felt a bit too extreme. I liked to think the Bellatrix would have been satisified with go torture them a bit but leave them alive (this was a pre-DH thought).

:D His rabbit was one of those things that I've used as a plot device throughout this story. I've also featured it in another story about Remus.

Unfortunately, Dawlish makes it through that scene relatively unscathed. Everyone hates Dawlish in this story.

Thank you for a fabulous review! (and wahoo for no typos!)

-Rose


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Review #35, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Draco Malfoy Makes A Joke

23rd July 2014:
Hi, Emma! Tagging you from Review Tag!

I really liked this chapter as a follow-up to the first. The first chapter felt a bit... exaggerated in places. Everything in Olivia's family was falling apart simultaneously and -- please don't take this the wrong way -- it had a slight "Griswold Family Christmas" feel to it. That's not at all a sin for first chapters. You need something bold to rope readers in. This chapter, however, was the perfect way to keep them involved. It was solid and easy to visualize and it had a lot of substance and gravity.

Cassie is a marvelous Slytherin. She's the sort of girl I always imagined as the true spirit of that house. She's not a dimwitted wannabe socialite the way that her mother was usually written in the books. She has an edge to her, but a big, warm heart where her friends are concerned. She seems like the type who makes a very small number of friends and becomes incredibly close to them. To the rest of the world, she's hard and intimidating. She also plainly loves Scorpius with a fiery passion. I liked her dialog, I liked the way you described her... she was just all-around awesome.

For his part, Scorpius is definitely a worthy heir to the Malfoy name. He has that somewhat haughty, aristocratic air about him, but he's also clearly defined himself as a different individual from his father. He engages in things that Draco never would have done, but he also brings a sense of style and panache to those activities. I'm not sure how much of that made sense, but the gist of it is that I really like the character.

Draco was pretty awesome, too. He's obviously mellowed with age, although plenty of that snarky condescension is still there. He behaves much more like a parent than anyone we saw in the last chapter, albeit a parent who isn't really going out of his way to police the children's every move. I'm guessing that's Astoria's job in their family. I liked the references to his past dealings with Hermione and Pansy. Especially Pansy.

Let's see, what else? The sketch book was a nice touch. I think it fit really well with Olivia's character. The dialog in this chapter was tight and snappy, which fit really well with the mood. Lastly, I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem! Great job!

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for the review. I'm really glad to get some more feedback on this chapter. I was worried that chaper one seemed a bit overly dramatic so it's good you think this chapter balances it.

I'm really happy you still like the characters and don't think Draco is to OOC. I felt like he had a lot of room to develop as a character and thought once his Father had gone to prison he probably had a chance to mellow out a bit.

Thank you thank you for taking the time to review. I'll make sure to come back to your stories at some point soon.

Emma x


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Review #36, by CambAngstEpitaph of a Good Man: Longest Day

23rd July 2014:
Hi, Rose!

So the good news is that I didn't think this dragged too badly. But I could definitely tell the difference between places where you were retelling the story from the books and places where you were writing "your own story". The characters didn't have quite the same sparkle in the sections from the books. Part of what I love about this story is how you bring the different personalities to life.

In her brief appearance, Ginny was definitely one of those personalities. You could see a bit of her concern for Harry, and Tonks reacts to it in subtle but neat ways.

When they arrive at Privet Drive, i liked the way that you made Tonks the adult that Harry was most able to relate to. He seems closest to Remus, but Tonks is the one who puts him in a comfort zone.

After the last chapter, I felt like Tonks moved a bit fast when she kissed Remus. Here, she's backing up a bit and being friends instead. I think that makes sense, even though her dreams indicate that her actual feelings are a lot more conflicted.

A few small typos:

I walked into the kitchen where a small coterie there already. -- was there already

I couldn’t resist asking who Moody he knew that lost a buttocks. -- either "Moody" or "he". I love this line, though!

Moody made it sound like we were going to be attacked mid-flight. Alastor sounded somewhat excited. -- This one wasn't a typo so much as it just read oddly. It sounds almost like Moody and Alastor are two different people.

All in all, I thought you did a good job even though you weren't completely comfortable with retelling parts of the books. Looking forward to more!

Author's Response: Dan!

I'm so sorry I took this long to reply to your wonderful review. I've been JulNo-ing like there's only 31 days in the month.

ha, I remember when I wrote this it was one of hte longer chapters I had penned to date. Possible the longest. I do dislike the sections where I was trying to follow the books versus make the story align with the books.

I've considered not having that scene with Ginny in the chapter. I'm glad it was nice to see - I'll definitely keep it in!

I like to think that Tonks is pretty good at putting people at their ease - just part of her personality.

Yeah, she definitely wasn't going to have a "we kissed, let's go out" moment with Remus. It was just a spur of the moment decision, not an intention at something larger (at least not yet).

Thanks so much for pointing out those typos - I know this story needs a lot of work. :-/

Phew - I am so relieved this chapter is okay. Maybe I'll work on re-writing it for NaNo but I usually cringe through chapter 3 when I read it.

Thank you so much for an amazing review!
-Rose


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Review #37, by CambAngstEpitaph of a Good Man: Good Luck Charm

23rd July 2014:
Ooh, Dora gets a bit saucy at the end of this one!

I liked the thoroughness of the way you wrote the chapter. You took your time with the descriptions and the narrative and made sure to hit on all of the major events that take place. From Moody's obsessive -- borderline paranoid -- detailed planning exercise to the questions that Tonks fields from Vernon Dursley when he calls to confirm his "prize", you really put a lot of effort into make the chapter fleshed out and complete.

I did get a bit confused at the start of the chapter. In the first paragraph, you made it sound like Molly didn't want help preparing dinner. Then in the next paragraph, she asks Tonks for help. This sentence also gave me issues:

Molly wanted help with supper; she said dinner wouldn’t happen if one person had to bear to the brunt of the work. -- You use "supper" in one part and "dinner" in the other. Having lived in both the South and the Northeast, I know that they're sort of interchangeable, but I think that might throw some people.

You slipped in the little bit about the atom pattern, which I really liked. A lot of people lose sight of the fact that Ted Tonks is muggle-born.

The conversation between Remus and Tonks at the end was appropriately awkward and wandering for two people who are sort of attracted to one another but not at all ready to deal with the feelings. I wasn't quite sure about Tonks laying a big smooch on Remus here. It felt a bit soon. I'm really interested to see what the aftermath of that moment looks like.

I saw something that might be a typo as I read:

After coming reaching our decision, Moody delved into his explanation of our departure. -- "After reaching our decision"?

Nice job. Moving along...

Author's Response: Hehe, Tonks is quite, um, adventurous at the end of this chapter.

My obsession while writing this chapter (and story) was to make plausible connections between Tonks/Remus and various canon details. I am really glad those details weren't tedious. I know they felt that way to me when I wrote this (way back when) but it was also my first foray into decent story telling. (Total tangent, but my only writing before this was two to three sentence paragraphs, almost no description, and annoying streaming thoughts in the narrative. *shudders*)

Oh, yeah, I only meant that she didn't want Tonks to help. I can see why that's confusing though (also about the supper/dinner interchange).

I forgot that I described them like that! For a solid minute or so I wondered if atom was a typo and if so, what it was for, but then I looked at the chapter and felt quite embarrassed (just not so much so that I didn't tell you ;)). I do have Tonks aware of a few muggle things throughout the story. I'm not sure I'd make that choice again as even Ted is shown to be a bit oblivious to muggle stuff in DH.

It didn't seem right for either of them to be smooth at that juncture. Remus just isn't very comfortable around women (and - as you'll read if you go onto the sequel - is battling a slight attraction to Tonks). I do get feedback that a kiss between them was quite soon here. I stand by their kiss as it wasn't romantically driven. Tonks did it more on a lark than because of burgeoning feelings for Remus (arguably, she does find him attracted but she wasn't trying to kiss him out of an act of love or to further than mostly unacknowledged feeling).

Ooh, thanks for pointing that typo out. I am a very bad editor. I do have it in my mind to one day rewrite this with complete sentences and decent descriptions. Sometimes the narrative is punchy.

Thank you for a fantastic review!

-Rose


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Review #38, by CambAngstEpitaph of a Good Man: Clumsy Meeting

23rd July 2014:
Hi, Rose!

I'm really intrigued with what you're doing here. The story reads like a pretty straightforward "fill in the missing moments" novel so far, but the title promises so much more! It leaves me feeling kind of eager.

I really like the way you've set up Tonks. A lot of authors write her as a rather clownish character, full of goofy, irrelevant thoughts and constantly tripping over everything. You did have a few little stumbles to keep her in character, but you didn't overplay it. She also comes off as being eager, intelligent and more than a little insightful. She was still age-appropriate, however, which was a nice touch.

The way that you passed on the "love at first sight" cliche and gave Tonks a relatively small, platonic interest in Remus was also a great idea. I think it's going to greatly improve the pacing of the story, giving both characters a chance to get a feel for one another and explore their own reactions and feelings. Also, cliches are, well, cliche.

Your other characters were nicely done, especially Sirius. He had the fairly reserved nature of an older, more mature version, but with the occasional flashes of temper and excitement.

Great first chapter! I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems and it all flowed really nicely. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!!

I'm kind of terrified and excited that you're reading this story. First of all, it is seven years old. so... yeah. Just keep that in mind. :D I also wrote this before DH came out which will probably give away the ending when you get there eventually.

If i hadn't seen her depressed, brooding side in HBP, I wouldn't have known how much depth to give her. I mean, she is young, fairly light-hearted, and bubbly. But she's an auror who is tough enough and good enough at her job to be asked to join the Order. I think I was close to Tonks' age when I wrote this so it was a very easy mode to slip into.

Tonks doesn't feel like a love at first sight girl to me. I honestly haven't read many other Remus/Tonks stories but that doesn't seem like the right way for them to go. They do certainly take their time while still being close enough for Tonks completely falling apart in HBP a bit understandable when it happens.

I'm so happy you like my characterizations so far! Sirius definitely goes through a wide range of emotions and issues through this story (as long as he's in it at least).

Thank you so much for a lovely review! Like I said above, I'm both excited and terrified that you're reading through this.

-Rose



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Review #39, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Christmas Is Not The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

22nd July 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room!

I was really impressed with the quality of your writing. Your mechanics are really solid and I only saw one mistake -- see below. I thought that the tone and the wording were also really good. It wasn't overly colloquial or informal like a lot of Next Gen stories I read. It had polish and a feel of sophistication to it.

Wow, what a nightmare the holidays are for this poor girl. As the old saying goes, you can't pick your family. I thought the sorts of long-running tensions you created between the various characters were easy to relate to and felt very natural. You didn't overplay them, either. The whole dynamic was very believable.

The pacing of the chapter and the way that you delivered basic information was a pleasant change from a lot of Next Gen stories I've read. Far too many stories set in this era start out with the main character doing a big back story download to the reader. Instead, you got the key information across gradually and within the context of the story. It took a long time, for instance, to identify Pansy Parkinson as Olivia's mother, and that was fine. I greatly prefer this to stories where the author dumps out all of the name, rank and serial number information for the main characters right away.

You main character was easy to get into and relate to. She struggles with a lot of the same issues that any sixteen-year-old would be dealing with, as well as a few that are unique to the magical world. I liked the way you wrote her inner monologue and her outward relationships with her cousin and older family members.

The one typo that I saw:

I don’t have my apparition licence yet and Mum won’t let me fly on day’s I’m supposed to look presentable because it messes up my hair. -- days

All in all, I think you have a really solid start and I'm interested to see where you're taking the story. You don't seem like the kind of author who's afraid to tackle big challenges and difficult topics. Good job!

Author's Response: Hey, thanks so much for the review and thanks for pointing out the typo - I hadn't noticed that one and will definitely make sure to change it when I come back and edit this chapter. I really found your feedback helpful. Let me know if you ever want to review swap.

Emma x


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Review #40, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakages: Scorpius POV

22nd July 2014:
Hi, Beth! It's always a nice surprise when I check in with this story and there's a new chapter posted.

I didn't really think about the timeline until I was reading your author's note at the end, but now that I think about it, Rose must have been running on fumes throughout this chapter. She made it through the aftermath of the mass-splinching, she got it on with Scorpius, she went out to a bar, she survived a death eater attack, she had that huge emotional moment with her mother... Wow. She literally must have been on the verge of collapse.

I feel like some readers might not agree or approve, but I have to say that I thought you got Ron exactly right in this chapter. He doesn't deal with change well, nor does he deal well with adversity when it's personal. He tends to get angry, look for scapegoats (Hermione in the early part of Sorceror's Stone, Harry in Goblet of Fire and again in Deathly Hallows) and say nasty things that he regrets later. The fact that everyone is telling him that he's wrong would only tend to make him angrier.

With Rose, I thought you hit a pretty good balance. She was very immersed in her work, which gave her the confidence to challenge her uncle. "Harry spoke first, since everyone else was pretty much tongue tied, in awe of her... well..." Yeah, that. ;) At the same time, you didn't overdo it. She still can't quite bring herself to tell her father off. She's hurt by his cruel words and lack of understanding. Instead, you gave her small shows of defiance, like holding Scorpius's hand or tucking into his embrace.

Scorpius's emotions made perfect sense to me throughout. He's worried about Rose and angry at the mistreatment she's suffering from her father. At the same time, he knows he's on thin ice, job-wise. And I think he had faith that Harry wasn't going to let Ron go too far, which probably helped.

The way you wrote Harry in this chapter was, for me, a big improvement over the chapter where Rose finally tells him about Stannous. I could feel a bit of fire and emotion there, tempered by the fact that he was presiding over a meeting full of people who work for him. I did feel like it was a little too late and a little too formal when he finally told Ron off. Given how well he knows Ron, I would have expected him to try to slow the Ron Train down a bit earlier and a bit less administratively. Then again, maybe he just knows a lost cause when he sees one.

I think the character I was most confused by in this chapter was Albus. Up to this point, you've painted him as something of a hothead who's viciously protective of Rose. Here, he watches her absorb a mountain of abuse from her father and he really only steps in to try to defend Scorpius.

I really liked the PoV changes in this chapter and I thought that every scene added something. Ron's scene added some very necessary color and depth to his anger. Without that, I think Ron would have come off a bit caricatured. Instead, you made his feelings seem natural and believable. For a moment, I was tempted to believe that you were dropping a cliffhanger on us, but I think they're just going to tell Ron the truth about what Stannous did to Rose. The final scene from Rose's PoV added a little closure and certainty to her feelings at the end of this very long, very hard day.

I didn't see a single typo or misplaced word in this chapter. Great editing, and overall great job!

Author's Response: Hello again,

Wow. This review was amazing. I love all your reviews, but this chapter had me a bit worried. In truth, I was actually the most concerned over my portrayal of Scorpius. I really didn't want him to come across as wimpy. He also has a bit of a temper (only from time to time) and I chose for him to remain calm and focused here. I guess the dude it just really in love ♥ .

So glad you approve of Ron and Harry. I've gotten the most comments on Ron (as you predicted). I think Harry is trying to be delicate with Ron here - Rose is his daughter, after all and she came to Harry first. When Ron just explodes, Harry goes on the offense.

As far as Albus goes, maybe I didn't convey enough the seriousness of his injuries. He was in bad, bad shape. He should've been at Mungo's with Dom, but he refused. At this point, he is barely listening. He feels a bit better when Rose administers her care to him, but not completely recovered.

I might have to fix the last part from Ron's POV. More that a few people have commented on not entirely knowing what happened. It wasn't a cliffhanger or anything else. I just didn't want to write another scene about someone else finding out about Rose. Not that Ron's reaction isn't important or significant, but we've already seen, Albus, Dom, Selenia, Scorpius, Harry, Ginny (to some extent) and Hermione. I was thinking it would be overkill.

Thanks again!

Beth


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Review #41, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Smudges

15th July 2014:
Hello, again! I'm back for your latest chapter!

There were so many small things that I liked about Devlin's conversation with David and Maria. Cumulatively, they made for an awesome scene. I liked Devlin's annoyance at the beginning when David seemed to be addressing Harry rather than him. I liked the way Devlin seized the initiative and took control of the conversation. I liked the fact that the propriety of events -- the relative weight of things he should be proud of vs. things he feels ashamed of -- still isn't quite right in his head.

Maria steps in and does Devlin some big favors with her explanation of "the middle" of the events. I've never considered using the Imperius Curse to "fix" somebody, but I can definitely see how it would have felt that way from her point of view.

Then in the end, he tells David the small lie that he must in order to protect Maria and himself. I don't know what, if anything, you have planned for Devlin and Maria, but the two of them really seem to work well together. I found myself wondering whether there was any implied relationship between that sentiment and what happens in the chapter's second scene.

Harry was not in the kitchen, and he used his magic to unlock the top cabinet and bring a hand full of cookies down to him. They were the kind with chunks of chocolate in them, and he liked them almost as well as he liked cheese pastries. -- I always love the little things you come up with to help us remember that this terribly world-weary soul is only ten years old.

So seeing your parents kissing -- kissing for real, not just pecks -- is always really hard for kids to figure out. And Devlin has so many other complications layered into the equation that it's remarkable his head doesn't explode. I really loved the little aside about what kisses were meant to signify in the world of the Death Eaters. Domination and power made perfect sense, because that seems to be the only thing that most Death Eaters are really striving for.

"Hey, little dude," Harry said; his voice was wispy, not in a bad way. -- Busted! And Harry goes all Jeff Spicoli on us. Did not see that coming.

"Maybe we should let Uncle Sirius have this conversation with you," Harry said, beginning to steer him into the hallway, laughing. "He knows all about kissing girls." -- Oh, boy. Somehow, that doesn't sound like the best idea to me. Devlin could become quite a ladies man.

There was thattug again and he suddenly knew he had missed the opportunity to shut up. -- One of life's worst moments: that moment when you realize you should have shut up just before the last thing you said. Poor Devlin. Actually, poor Harry, too. Also, you're missing a space between 'that' and 'tug'.

There was a lot of subtle brilliance to this chapter. Devlin cleared the air with Maria's father, but that wasn't the brilliant part. You took a very commonplace situation, one that happens between fathers and sons all the time, and you showed it to us through Devlin's peculiarly curved lens. Now he seems to be convinced that romantic affection is this very mysterious thing that he needs to decipher. He's even worried about protecting Emma from it! It's cute and funny but also a great reminder of how much ground Devlin needs to make up on so many different fronts.

Aside from that missing space, I didn't see any typos in this one, so kudos for great editing!

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Review #42, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakable: Rose POV

14th July 2014:
Hi, Beth! I just eat these chapters up as soon as they're posted!

Whew! I was worried at the end of the last one that Rose and Lily wouldn't make it. Once you land them safely on terra firma, I really liked the progression of this chapter. Rose went from being a shaking, blubbering mess -- granted, one that was able to apparate two people to safety without losing any parts -- to seizing control of the situation by the end of it. As is always the case with your writing, the transition was paced beautifully. There were steps forward and small setbacks along the way, which adds to the realism. Things aren't linear in real life.

I really liked the way you wrote Ginny in this. She's not dismissive or blasé about the situation, but she behaves like she's been there before. Because I'm sure she has. Many times. She understands how she can best help her husband: by staying calm and not rushing into the middle of an already dangerous scene. She was fantastic at reassuring Rose and helping her to focus on the thing that she can control: herself.

I loved Rose's inner monologue in this chapter. I pretty much love it in all of your chapters, but this one was even better. You could feel the frenetic energy pouring out of her, punctuated by the moments of total exhaustion. It was a huge roller coaster ride, which I'm sure was exactly what Rose was feeling in the moment.

When you're tweaked to the point of coming unglued, there's nothing quite like unleashing your frustrations on a dueling dummy to calm those frazzled nerves! Awesome scene.

Wow. So now Rose knows the whole truth about her mother. The mother-daughter circle comes complete, in a way. I hope this will be a big step toward Rose accepting her experience and being able to talk about it with the people closest to her.

Who could have known I was at the pub?

Everyone.
-- Are you intentionally having a laugh on me here? :p

The end of the chapter was just awesome! Rose, in total control! No, you silly boy, you will not go to that stupid briefing right now. Lay your delectable booty down on this couch while I throw down some healing on you! Aunt Ginny! Don't just stand there, go get the snake fangs!

Honestly, if you take "typical" Harry Potter scenarios out of context, they're hilarious.

I saw one typo as I was reading:

My fingers pulled the unruly curls tights and twisted it back into a ponytail without thinking. - "... pulled the unruly curls tight and twisted them..."

Awesome, awesome chapter! It so much fun to see Rose coming along like this. Can't wait for the next!

Author's Response: Honestly Dan, it isn't fair when the review is more entertaining than the chapter!!

I'm glad you appreciate the realistic measure of her recovery. I hope it's coming through that she's getting better, but I can't ignore the fact that there will be small setbacks.

Ginny. I've been on a bit of a crusade to bring to light some of her struggles. Both in this story and in few others that I've written. She is often portrayed as the sickeningly sweet "girl next door," the helpless damsel in distress, or the bitter woman who was only after Harry's fame or money. This all falls short of the mark for her. She is a powerful witch in her own right, but chooses professional Quidditch as a career and to top it all off, has to kiss her husband goodbye every morning and not know if he will actually come home that night. I don't think Harry would be content ever doing anything other than fighting dark wizards, but he needs someone to balance him. Ginny is perfect for that. I don't think this role came easy to her, but I think they learned together how to support each other so that they found a rhythm to their relationship. This is the Ginny we see here.

**Beth ends her daily Ginny rant.**

The dueling scene came to me because I thought Harry would want to, in some way, relive the days of the DA. Some people have a punching bag in their cellar, Harry Potter has a dueling range.

Yeah. I thought about the way that the Hogwarts generation would deal with telling their kids about the war. And I think that they would probably answer any questions their kids had, but not offer any of the gory details. Especially concerning Hermione's torture.

Haha - not having a laugh, but I knew you would pick up on that line!

"... lay your delectable booty down on this couch while I throw down some healing on you.." THIS is what I'm talking about. Too funny!

I'll fix that typo! I'm actually considering a beta for this story. It seems that no matter how many times I look at the chapter myself, little things still slip through.

Thanks again!

Beth


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Review #43, by CambAngstYear Five: The Big Thing

13th July 2014:
So wait, Emily gets to know Tristan's secret now but we still don't??? No fair! I'm starting to get a few guesses, though.

First off, though, it's killing me that neither Tristan nor Emily is picking up on what’s going on with Isobel. Tristan or Emily or any of the teachers or the Ravenclaw prefects or... well, anyone, for that matter. Granted, we're the all-seeing reader who's lived inside of each character's head for at least a chapter now, but it's still hard to imagine how everyone could still be missing the warning signs. Emily especially, since she's -- in a relative sense -- the most sober and well-grounded of the bunch.

The way you wrote the Peruvian potion was amazing. I don't know how much of this is research vs. first-hand experience -- and in the interest of keeping within the ToS, you probably shouldn't tell me ;) -- but you really nailed it with this one. The visual effects, the sense of disassociation and drifting, the feelings of interconnectedness with the world at large... all of it was perfectly in line.

And then it seems like this stuff actually does something more than overpower their serotonin receptors. That was a pretty crazy touch, and one that really brought the two worlds -- drug culture and magical -- together brilliantly. I loved every second of the way that we finally got to dig deeper into Tristan's character and his past. And it happened without all the unnecessary angst and posturing, all just completely matter-of-fact.

"I don’t think you’re contagious… or stupid," Emily gently offered in the brief pause after "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ended. -- Ha! I love that lyric. I was in my junior year of college when that song made it big and trust me, it was very contagious.

Ooh, so this potion even connects you with the glitch in the universal way, so to speak. You keep coming up with new ways to make me hate Higgs and Flint even more. Even though the things that Emily learns during her brief psychic connection with Flint were terrible, they were really insightful in a way. I love the amount of thought you've put into things for this story.

The scene with Emily and Tristan back in the "safe" corridor at Hogwarts was really sweet and touching, which doesn't happen all that often in this story. My speculation, based mostly on what I read in this chapter but also based on Tristan's mysterious middle initial, is that Tristan's muggle father isn't actually his father. I have a sneaking suspicion that his actual father is a pureblood Death Eater, perhaps Evan Rosier? Augustus Rookwood? Regardless, I think that's the secret that he's been trying to keep. I think that's why his middle name is such a stigma and I think that's why he didn't fight his sorting harder.

I hoped that the alone time between the two of them might grow into something more, but that would have been a lot to expect under the circumstances. Although I guess that, looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more.

Ah, the big give-away! I knew there was more to the flashback of Emily meeting Tristan than just the cuteness value, and on the second reading I picked up on those six little words: "It tends to go in families." If Tristan's mom was muggle-born, it seems very unlikely she was a Slytherin. If, perhaps, she was unintentionally impregnated by a pureblood fanatic -- sexually assaulted, even? -- it could go a long way toward explaining why she married a muggle and tried to take a step back from the magical world.

The more I think about it, that could also explain why Snape is so fond of Tristan. If Tristan has a muggle father yet he actually comes from an old, pureblood family, he and Snape would have that in common. So many possibilities!

I really loved this chapter! It was awesome in so many different ways. Great job!

Author's Response: Gah, I know, right? But, if memory serves, teenagers can be a bit self involved, and eating disorders often take a few months before they are obvious. Plus, those robes are really baggy.

I did online research for the Peruvian potion, but fractals writ in pink and green are something I've seen under different circumstances. That potion was incredibly fun to write, and the foray into psychedelic magic was, I thought, I nice digression from the rest of the story. I really liked the idea that, in a fictional magical world, folk magic is literally real. Also, divination being such a vague discipline, I liked writing about a magic more subtle than wand waving and incantations.

And yeah, I think it's really easy to take Nirvana for granted now that it's on such constant radio rotation. But it *was* such a big deal for so many people once, and their emergence meant a lot for many young people. Since I'm going for era-accuracy, I didn't want to underplay that. One of my big issues with the Potter movies is that they didn't set them in the 90s (and they didn't wear ROBES).

Oh man, the Higgs and Flint thing was so interesting to work on. I really wanted to challenge myself to properly conceptualize the prejudice. Also, I'm certain that seeing yourself from someone elses POV must be shocking--how things you do are interpreted in bizarre ways you wouldn't imagine (wet hair at breakfast). I definitely also wanted to imply that prejudiced people have weird and repressed fascinations--because I think that is often true in the real world. (I would imagine that Death Eaters secretly read Hustler).

"Looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more," that was a brilliant analysis! Oh man, wait until you see some phrasing way later--you might be psychic now, too!

I'm really stoked to see your speculations! I'd never ever ever tried to write a mystery before, but I've read a lot of Christie and Rowling's new books. I think the best mysteries are those where a number of possibilities are available to the reader, so I'm really pleased to see people's theories! Since I know what's going on, I wasn't sure if it was to obvious, or to obscure, but I think people are picking up on exactly the right things at precisely the right times!


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Review #44, by CambAngstRecipe for Disaster: A Recipe for Disaster

13th July 2014:
Farmgirl! How on earth did I never see this before? Just goes to show you easy it is to miss things. Then I saw it nominated for Story of the Month and I knew right where I was headed.

The premise of this is nothing short of hilarious. Poor McGonagall! If she's not struggling to manage her unruly, mischievous students, she's struggling to manage her adventurous, sweet-toothed boss. I loved the panic that the elves brought to the start of the story and I loved the way that you very gradually built up Minerva's head of steam. For a short piece, the pacing of this was brilliant. You did such a good job of interspersing her thoughts, letting her anger grow and focus. Excellent work.

And the visual of Dumbledore and Dobby cooking taffy was off the hook. I can see it all so easily, the twinkle of barely restrained glee in Dumbledore's eyes and the earnest joy on Dobby's face as he helps with something that he doesn't understand in the slightest. One of the talented illustrators of the Potter fandom should seriously take this up.

I noticed one tiny typos as I was reading:

The topics those Muggles think off to write books on! -- think of

Awesome, awesome job! This brightened my day!

Author's Response: *Shrugs* I have no idea how you didn't see it. I really thought you had read everything of mine. But I was totally excited to see a new review from you so I'm glad you missed it until now! And Story of the Month? Me? WOW! Guess I should really go poke my head back into the Common Room and come out of hiding.

Writing this was really fun, even though my muse got derailed in the middle and it took me a year to get back to it. I love when I can write Dumbledore being quirky and a bit silly instead of all serious as he got toward the end. And Dobby is always a hoot.

I've developed a real fondness for McGonagall and it was so much fun to push her to the limit of her patience here. LOL. She really is the only responsible adult around sometimes, isn't she.

That would be amazing to see a picture of this! I'd draw it myself but it would look like a pile of sticks... But I am so very glad you liked the picture I tried to paint in the story.

There are apparently quite a few typos in this, though. I had several pointed out to me this weekend. Looks like I will be doing a careful edit of this story soon. Thanks for catching them though.

Thanks for a review that brightened my day! As always, you are the best.

- Farmgirl


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Review #45, by CambAngstWordless: Wordless

11th July 2014:
Hi, Sian! Just one or two more reviews before bed. Just one or two more...

House Cup 2014 Review

Wow, this was really, really lovely. You did an amazing job of capturing the true value of a lifelong friendship. The depth and the strength. And you picked two characters that are pretty near and dear to my heart. I'll let you in on a little secret, one that I don't think I've ever put in a review response or MTA response. A lot of people asked what happened to Hannah in Conspiracy of Blood. Why she wasn't part of the story with Neville. What I had planned on -- and I just never found a way to work it into the plot -- was for Hannah and Susan to be in a relationship that started after Neville and Hannah separated. I still have it penciled in to possibly include in a one-shot some time.

Anyway, this review is about your story, not mine. Your description of the funeral was very appropriate to the event: stark and empty and kind of cold. And things don't get any easier after the service. You captured beautifully how I've always felt that wakes feel to the grieving family members. It's supposed to be an uplifting sort of event, but it's really more of an ordeal. A chance for dozens of people to awkwardly attempt to comfort the survivors, but in reality it only forces them to wear that stony outward face for even longer while they're suffering on the inside.

It just dawned on me that there isn't a single word of dialog in this entire story, and I thought that was a fantastic choice. The story is all about quiet comfort through the presence of a dear friend. I don't think words were necessary at all. In fact, they might have detracted.

The little details about Susan and Hannah's lives that you introduced helped to round out the picture and ground the extent of their friendship and mutual dependence. It was a nice touch.

Your writing hit just the right tone for me: serious and mournful, but not weepy or hysterical.

Great job! Go Gryffindor!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

I'm really glad that you liked the way that I portrayed the funeral and the wake in this story. They're meant to be for celebration, but it's very rare that they can be that for those people who really miss the deceased, and this was definitely the case here. Poor Hannah, having to appear because it's what's expected of her but not wanting to at all.

I didn't want to include dialogue since I had the last line in my head from before writing this, and it didn't feel necessary to expand things with dialogue - the quiet comfort is what's important there.

I'm really glad you liked my characterisation of Hannah and Susan as well, and the details about their friendship.

Thanks for this great review, Dan!


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Review #46, by CambAngstFitting In: Heart to Heart

11th July 2014:
Hi, Kevin! I'm lumbering ahead with more reviews for the House Cup. I liked your first entry so much, I decided to try another. So:

House Cup 2014 Review

You are very brave. It is definitely not easy to tackle the mother-daughter dynamic. It isn't even like it's just one dynamic, after all. I'm sure it's very situational, depending on whether mom needs to be encouraging, stern, teaching, conspiring, soothing, or any combination of the above. In spite of the complexity, you pulled this off with apparent ease. I didn't feel like you were struggling with it at any point.

As to your thoughts in your author's note, I thought you did a good job of keeping Ginny in character. You really sold me on her from the start, when she doesn't hesitate to gently hex James and Albus in order to make her point. There's a thinly-veiled menace to the way she handles them, the unspoken fact that she is not going to allow them to get the best of her, no matter what it takes.

When she goes into Lily's room, I thought she handled it in a very sensible and consistent fashion. She didn't harp and cajole like Molly might have, but she gently and insistently offered Lily her ear (and her shoulder) until Lily decided she was ready to talk. When Lily breaks down and cries, I thought it was one of the sweetest things I've read all day. I like it when 11/12-year-olds actually behave like 11/12-year-olds in stories, not like miniature adults. Ginny shared her own life experiences to illustrate her point, which was very effective, it seems.

I saw a couple of small typos while I was reading:

Suddenly the boys found their lips without making a sound. -- lips moving without making a sound?

To her surprise, the young girl curled inward like she hadn’t in years, burying her face in her mother’s chest a beginning to sob. -- and beginning to sob

Otherwise, this flowed very nicely and it was a fast, easy read. I definitely enjoyed it! Good job!

Author's Response: Hello again! Thanks so much for reading this too!

You're always so thorough noticing these typos. Most of mine come from rolling on too fast and skipping letters or words as you can see. Ugh.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked the characterizations of Ginny and Lily. I was definitely worried about Ginny, probably more so than I might be for other characters because she's my favorite and I get really irked seeing people portray her in ways that she isn't and I just did NOT want to be one of those people.

Writing Lily was a challenge here too, because I wanted her to be difficult and set against getting any kind of support, but also be vulnerable so the interaction between she and Ginny could happen. Doing that when she was younger was also tough, because originally I had planned something different to be the catalyst (when she was older, and Ginny could go deeper into things) and so I had to walk that back and make her very different.

Thanks again for another great review!


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Review #47, by CambAngstAlways: Immeasurable

10th July 2014:
Hi, Kevin! Getting in a few more reviews before bedtime. The most important four words of this review:

House Cup 2014 Review

Just kidding, but they are important. Anyway, on with the review.

I thought you did an awesome job with this. This is a tiny thing, but you want to know something I really appreciated a lot? The fact that you didn't identify this as a House Cup piece in your summary or in a note at the beginning. Because in the absence of that, I honestly had no idea this was written for the House Cup. And that is high praise, my friend. What I'm saying is that this didn't have that "written in a hurry to meet some arbitrary prompt(s)" feel to it. It feels like something that you'd been thinking about and wrote because you wanted to. That's pretty rare in challenge and House Cup entries.

Your description of Remus's passing was one of the most non-cliche I've ever read, and I loved that. No sudden feeling of peace, no life flashing before his eyes, so sudden flash of green followed by nothingness. Just a simple passing over from one place to the next.

I wasn't sure at first why he'd come to James and Lily's house, but it came to me pretty quickly. He was happy there. Also, James and Sirius were already there. I loved the little details, like the arrangement of the furniture and Remus's almost absurdly practical wedding gift.

Random thought of the moment: Where do you think Peter woke up after Voldemort's silver hand choked the life out of him? I'd like to think maybe in a cage in Ron Weasley's room in the attic of the Burrow on a hot, stuffy day. For all eternity...

OK, enough of my pondering, back to your story. The introductions of James and Sirius felt perfectly in character for the two of them. I'm not sure what you would have done with Lily if she'd returned from her walk, but I don't think the story loses a thing without her. This is more about old friends reunited, supporting one another.

Gah, what an awful moment when the complete, horrible truth crashes down onto Remus. He couldn't bear the weight of it without his friends. But they're there: James offering spiritual support and comfort while Sirius summons creature comfort and some good humor to help the process along.

I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem in this and it all flowed really well. You did our house proud with this! Good job!

Author's Response: Howdy Dan! Thanks for another deliciously detailed review!

Not putting that House Cup bit in the summary was actually a mistake! At first I thought we actually HAD to have that in there, so your review kind of made me panic that this hadn't been counted, but looking back it obviously did so that was a relief! I appreciate you saying that it didn't seem rushed though! Ironically, this is actually the one I wrote the fastest, but I think that's just because I feel pretty "at home" with the Marauders and so it was more in my wheelhouse than my other two prompt pieces.

I'm glad you found the characterizations and the setting believable too. I definitely struggled with where they'd first meet because I didn't want it to be too elaborate or too cliche, but somehow James and Lily's house just felt right.

I'm also excited you liked the transition. When I thought about it, I figured that so much of what is depicted of that transition in art, film, literature, etc. seems so grandiose. My idea of the "afterlife" is something more of a "second life" and so I wanted to do something that was more of a mundane "phase switch".

As for Peter...I actually like to think that his life after death involved being on the outside looking in. That his "setting" would be basically being forced to watch how the people he betrayed strode forward, found solace, and thrived in new ways after their passing. Where was Peter in this moment? Watching the type of reunion he would never be able to be a part of. Aching unbearably.

Thanks for the great review!


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Review #48, by CambAngstLike His Father: Like His Father

10th July 2014:
Hi, Karou! Trying to wedge in a few more reviews before bed. So without further ado:

House Cup 2014 Review

With that out of the way, I liked the way you characterized Neville here. He's at that point in his life where he's finally starting to gain a bit of self-confidence and step out of the long shadow of his parents that he grew up in. Neville's always struck me as a guy who had to be pretty strong. His grandmother didn't give him any other choice. Here he gets a nice little moment to shine in front of the group, and he handles it the right way. He enjoys his success, but he doesn't go all "Aw, shucks!" over it. He's starting to expect to succeed.

In the corridor where they were being stalked by Mrs. Norris -- you have a typo in her name, by the way -- he assumed a leadership role. He gets them all safely back to the common room. Another small milestone for him.

The scene with his parents' picture was touching and poignant. You handled it really well, with a lot of sensitivity and finesse.

Great job!

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Review #49, by CambAngstYear Five: Self-Spelling

10th July 2014:
Holy crap! So I think I mentioned something in my last review about feeling like something big was about to happen. I honestly wasn't expecting it this soon. Anyhow, one small formality:

House Cup 2014 Review

So it finally happened. You'd been building up to it for a while with Laurel. I really want to commend you on your pacing of this story. Your plot lines move in a nice, even, natural-feeling progression. I can't really think of anything that's come completely out of the blue in this story, but it isn't as though you telegraph every last development, either. Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints.

I can't decide whether I think Tristan or Isobel will be the next to crash. Tristan doesn't seem to be as bad off as Laurel in terms of charm abuse, but I'm not sure how much more the kid can take mentally. If Isobel doesn't eat something soon, her body is probably going to start to shut down. Even Emily seems to fall off the wagon from time to time and take her substances too far. They're not a healthy group of individuals.

The Defense lesson was a great foil to keep drawing out Laurel's problems. It was interesting to watch all of the cognitive dissonance surrounding Laurel's reaction. Isobel and Tristan both should have figured out what was going on. At some level, I'm sure that both of them did. But they're also so caught up in their own problems that they don't seem to want to create even more difficulty and confrontation by calling her out on it. So the conspiracy of silence goes on.

Isobel's anorexia/bulimia is reaching scary proportions, as well. In general, I think you've done a very realistic and gripping job of showing the troubles that these kids are struggling with. You don't overplay it or blow the drama up to ridiculous proportions. All of them believe -- as I think most sufferers of such conditions do -- that they have things under control. It doesn't seem that serious to them, even though when we see it through another character's eyes, we definitely know it's serious. That's some really good writing.

The scene where Isobel finds Laurel in her bed had a very surreal, "this isn't happening" kind of quality to it, which was perfect. Everything about the rest of the school's follow-up reaction was also well done, from Flitwick trying -- and mostly failing -- to be helpful to the other Slytherins being complete jerks about it. Snape, oddly enough, seemed to be the only one who realized that sometimes less is more. Laurel is, presumably, where she needs to be now.

Second chapter in a row with no typos! Great job!

Author's Response: "Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints." High praise, that!

Your "conspiracy of silence" comment was great! All these kids have stuff going on, but they only have eachother for support. And so their support systems are woefully inadequate. Kids go through these kinds of things at that age, even if they aren't at boarding school. But, I thought that in that context, it could be even more dangerous.

I'm really glad that you think her eating disorder was handled properly! I read once that people always fail when they write about that subject, because they end up romanticizing the stoicism and stuff. Which is irresponsible. The writer of this op-ed suggested that what eating disorders TRULY are, is boring and tedious. Now, since I'm going for accuracy, but also trying to write something interesting and engaging, "boring and tedious" is a difficult task to do in the right way. So yeah, really glad you think it's all coming off well.

And I'm really happy the overdose was surreal! It was such an important scene, I really wanted to get the tone right! And as for the fall out: YES. I lovelovelove Snape, and writing him from the perspective of students who hate him is really fun, but I also wanted to give him a moment to shine.

Thank you for these reviews! I can't say how encouraging it is to see all these little things I worked on coming through, and working out. It's an incredible luxury to get chapter-by-chapter feedback, so I thank you!


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Review #50, by CambAngstYear Five: Troll in the Dungeons!

10th July 2014:
Hi, there! I'm continuing my march through your story. It's an opportunity to enjoy it and feel good about it at the same time. Win-win.

House Cup 2014 Review

First off, love your chapter image. The model is perfect for the way you're been building Laurel up.

Poor Tristan is kind of a mess, emotionally. It seems like he comes by a lot of it honestly and I'm guessing that the highs and lows of repeatedly charming with Laurel and the others are affecting his moods, as well. Addiction is a harsh master, and I'm sure that he's in deeper than he realizes.

This new combination of charms that Laurel is using sounds like a pretty bad deal. You have one charm canceling the euphoria of the other, allowing her to function "normally". That sounds like the very essence of addiction if I've ever seen it.

Tristan's sorting brings up some interesting points. We know from history that the hat makes mistakes sometimes. Or as Dumbledore said, "Sometimes I think we sort too soon." Then again, it's possibly that Tristan wouldn't be happy no matter where he was. His self-loathing is reaching pretty scary levels. He doesn't even seem to feel worthy of a nice gift from his parents or a tiny check from his grandmother.

It seems like sometimes Tristan excels in spite of himself. With both McGonagall and Sprout, he makes a good impression and then almost immediately ruins it with self-destructive behavior. I feel badly for him, but ultimately the situation can only be considered his own fault.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals' -- Ha! Brilliant description of a class where the students were basically instructed to play with kitties for an hour. I wonder what they would have called Hagrid's class? 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger'?

This chapter gave a different view of more than just Laurel and Tristan. Emily seemed pretty out of control, as well.

"Wait, look," Isobel pointed. "People! We're people!" Isobel explained, indicating to the swarm descending on the Quidditch pitch.

"Let’s go be people!" yelled Laurel, and she took off sprinting in the direction of the game.


Not a great sign when you're ambivalent on your personhood.

Interesting to see the Quidditch experience through the eyes of a non-fan. I guess all of the plays would be a bit confusing if you had no idea what was going on.

I feel like you're building toward something here. I can't say exactly what, but I don't see the foursome's activities being something they can sustain for an entire school year, especially with OWL's at the end. I'm really curioius to find out what. Good job!

Author's Response: Glad you liked the image! I spent a lottt of time choosing faceclaims for the characters. I ended up choosing actors who came to prominence as teenagers doing indie films. That way, they would have enough moody pictures (rather than glamor photos), and would look realistically young enough. I thought that image was incredibly perfect for the chapter, and even though she clearly isn't wearing robes, used it anyway. (In canon, they wear ROBES--I take this very seriously! I tried to only use pictures where they look like it could be robes, unless the chapter takes place in the muggle world.)

Oh yes, that charm blend is a monster. Honestly, I was basically trying to make it roughly equivalent to opiates. I'm glad that the VERY BAD IDEAness of it all came across!

Tristan's history with Sorting was, for me, totally tragic. He was basically in the same situation as Harry, with the hat suggesting he should be in Slytherin. But whereas Harry fought the idea, and ASKED to be in Gryffindor, Tristan resigned himself. One gets many opportunities for dramatic irony when writing fanfiction :)

"Tristan excels in spite of himself"--that's a really spot on observation! Cheers for that whole paragraph! I definitely wanted him to be sympathetic, and for readers to understand his behavior the way you do, but also kind of want to slap him.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals'--ahhh, so glad you found that as funny as I did! 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger' is so good that I wish I'd set this story in 1993!

And I'm glad for your reaction to their states-of-mind just before the match. I wanted them to have fun, but I didn't want to romanticize their charm-use.

As for the match itself, I've never really understood sports myself, and I really liked the idea of them all being fish-out-of-water at a game.

Aha, as you know, you were SPOT ON about their behaviors being unsustainable. So good on you! And I'm so pleased that that was paced properly!


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