Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
1,171 Reviews Found

Review #26, by CambAngstThe Deathly Children: Of Blood and Intent

1st January 2015:
Hi, teh! I was very pleasantly surprised to find a new chapter. I obviously haven't been keeping up well.

I really liked the first scene with Gellert. First off, the description of Godric's Hollow and Gellert trying to get his head around the lay of the land was beautifully done. "broken fences teething through the ground" is one of my favorite descriptions I've read in a long time. It's absolutely no coincidence that this story won the Dobby for Best Descriptions. Congratulations on that, by the way! The scene with the young muggle boy, Creevey, was excellent characterization of Gellert. It showed how his obsession with the Hallows is redefining the way that he looks at everything, as well as his absolute need to control all things around him. He doesn't just defeat the Creevey boy, he absolutely dominates him and declares an end to the contest when he has decided that it is over.

You made Bathilda seem pretty lovable in this chapter, which is an unusual way to write her. Or maybe I just feel that way because when we see her in the books, she's dead and being reanimated using dark magic by a giant snake.

The description of Gellert's relationship with his mother fits perfectly with the way you've built up the character. There isn't any sort of authoritarian relationship there, merely an odd sort of camaraderie. A lot of the most Type A people I know come from that sort of family, now that I think of it.

I loved what you did with the piece of back story on Ariana's relationship with her mother. I instantly thought of Aberforth's warning to Harry about Albus and how he learned secrecy from their mother. This felt an awful lot like the Kendra Dumbledore that Aberforth was alluding to. So I'm guessing that this potion somehow uses Ariana's blood magic to help limit or contain her outbursts? Sounds like this might be a lot more than just a Pain-Relieving Potion. One thing I love about this story is you've never been afraid to be ambitious with your plot. Having Kendra dabble in borderline dark magic is the sort of plot device that could end up sounding very weird or cliche in the wrong hands. You've put it in a context where it's very believable.

Before I dig into the chapter's final scene, I wanted to say how much I liked the quick little mention of Albus moving into his mother's room. The cognitive dissonance of trying to act like there's no reason not to move in there even though it obviously bothers him a great deal was perfect for his character.

The back-and-forth between Albus and Gellert felt about right. Somebody is definitely leading somebody else along. Although Albus is a very willing participant in being misled. I like how you're dancing that thin line between "are they or aren't they?" Somehow it's more satisfying to let one's imagination wander in this case.

Among the three Dumbledore siblings, Ariana seems to be the only one who's mostly immune to Gellert's manipulations. Somehow her condition gives her an advantage. Or maybe she just has the benefit of a more detached point of view. Regardless, she puts him in his place, after a fashion.

Looking into her brother’s incisive eyes has a lightening effect on her, turning her demure and empty. -- Perhaps she sees enough of their mother in Albus that she feels the need to obey.

I'm curious what Ariana is planning to write.

This was a really beautiful chapter. I couldn't spot a thing wrong with it, and the whole thing flowed beautifully. Again congratulations on your Dobby! Looking forward to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Thank you for your wonderful New Year's review! Aaand of course I have to apologise as usual for being sluggish with my responses. This review certainly caught me a VERY good way.

You're spot on with your analysis of Gellert; he's pretty much a downright bully in that part of the chapter. And the relationship between Bathilda and Grindelwald has always fascinated me since it was mentioned in DH. How did the two get along? Were they close at all? Did Gellert actually treat Bathilda with any affection at all, or was he just using her house as a way to escape his bad reputation in his homeland after his expulsion? There isn't much evidence of their relationship, so I had some liberty with writing the two together. I like to think that Grindelwald would at least not be so completely cold, or that he would display no empathy at all to a single soul. And I'm glad you like how I hinted at the relationship between him and his mother! Authoritarian parents are something of a common feature in stories on this site, I think. :P

Yeah, here's where I start to mess around with the boundaries of canon. Things can either go very wrong (in terms of plot) or they may just work. It is a little ambitious for me; but I sometimes like to work with a little risk in my writing. I'm hoping that this subplot will work, somehow!

Ariana does indeed see through Gellert! She is unaffected by his charms, and this is something that I found so amusing to write, that this 'poor damaged girl' can hold her own and see where things aren't right. Albus is getting a little infatuated with Gellert, and Aberforth is just all rage.

Thank you, Dan! Your compliments and your analysis are, as always, amazing and I'm really happy that you came back to this story. I've completed the whole story (finished it last November), but of course, there's a lot of editing to be done, and it's a massive task. I hope to be able to tackle the next chapter and then post it when I've cleaned things up a bit! Thank you once again! ♥


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Review #27, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Breakfast is Traumatic

28th December 2014:
Hi, Emma! I saw that you were looking for your 200th review. Well look no longer! :)

Slowly, gently and without much awkwardness, you're pulling Olivia and Albus together. I think you're pacing things very well with the two of them. Nothing feels rushed or artificial and they both seem really age-appropriate. Sure, I would have loved to see a kiss as much as anyone, but I don't think it would have been right for the situation.

Joe and Oz were sitting by the fireplace. Joe was asleep against Oz’s chest, and Oz had a lazy arm draped over his shoulders. -- Aww, such a cute couple!

Wow. Clara is pretty thick. She pushed it too far this time, though. I'm not even sure Scorpius will regret the things he said to her after he's had time to calm down. It needed to be said, although not exactly in those words I suppose.

Very different from the things he said to Olivia. I think he'll definitely regret those words. How soon is an open question, but he will regret it. He's burning down his own support system in grand fashion.

I kind of wish Olivia would talk to her parents. I get the oddest feeling that they might know something that would prove useful to her.

Lastly, there's Gryffindor Tower. You make it sound like a pretty wonderful place. I guess compared to a cold, dark dungeon, it could seem that way. I definitely feel like Rose and Louis are up to something here. The way that they specifically brought up Al cemented the idea in my head. Smart bunch, those Weasleys!

I saw one little typo as I was reading:

Scor spat out his words, hanger carved into his whole face. -- anger carved. Otherwise, your writing was lovely as always.

I agree with you that this one was a little light on content, but sometimes you have to kick-start the creative process. Looking forward to learning much more about Cassie's disappearance and Olivia and Al's budding romance!

Author's Response: Dan! Thank you so so much! I'm super excited to make it to 200 reviews and it's extra special for number 200 to be this lovely one from you :)

I agree about the timing for Olivia and Al. I keep worrying I might be pushing them slightly too fast, but I know in most stories they'd probably be together by now :) I hope they stay believable, because I really want them to come across as having a healthy, balanced, real relationship.

People mentioning Joe and Oz always makes me smile. Their relationship is maybe my favourite thing about writing this novel, and the amount of love they're getting from everyone basically fills me with joy.

And thanks for pointing out the typo - I think my proofreading slipped a little bit in this chapter, and will come back and give it a proper edit.

Thank you thank you thank you for such a generous review and for taking me to 200! It's always a bit of an honour getting such lovely feedback from you because I'm consistently in awe of your own writing :)

Lots of love,

Emma xx

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Review #28, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Love: Rose and Scorpius POV

27th December 2014:
Hi, Beth!

OK, so "barfing" probably should have been a dead giveaway, if I'd been thinking about it. And the weird thing is, I have been thinking about it. Quite a lot, actually, ever since the prophecy came out. It seemed like one logical way that the plot could have gone. At any rate, here we are and now there are all sorts of new possibilities.

I thought I'd change it up this chapter and point our your one little typo at the beginning of the review:

“Just dress warm and comfortable,” having one the debate, he hopped off the bed, grinning in self-satisfaction. - having won

It seems a little odd that Rose would be in training to be a Healer, yet dragging out of bed at 4:30 AM would be so unusual for her. We've all heard the legendary stories of non-magical medical residents. That said, if this was her day off and he was making her get up that early... off with his head!

Wow, so given what we learn about Rose at the end of the chapter, well, I'm really glad that she didn't have any flying accidents. Also that she didn't throw up while flying. You did a good job of describing the aerial stunts that they pull off, as well as the feeling of flight. Interesting to see Rose as a Seeker. She's much more often written as a Keeper or Chaser.

OK, putting the ring inside a Snitch was pure genius. I did not see that coming at all.

Ha! Poor Scorpius. Sometimes it feels like the guy can't buy a break. He pulls off the perfect proposal and Rose nearly pukes on him. Not his fault at all, obviously. I'm not sure whether that makes things better or worse.

Aha, so he finally confronts her. Good on him. He's barely got the ring on her finger and he's already trying to set things right with Rose. Not advisable in every relationship, but here I think it pays immediate dividends. It finally forces her to add it all up in her head.

I loved the scene at St. Mungo's. There was an awesome sort of frenetic energy to it. I really felt Scorpius's point of view, being dragged through the corridors, trying to find out what was going on, trying to work it out for himself.

I felt a rush of blood burst from my heart and into my ears. -- Hey, I remember that feeling. And it wasn't even a surprise in our case. Pound. Pound. POUND.

Awesome chapter. I'm 99% sure that Scorpius is the father, which fulfills the prophecy in a way that I don't think Rose was expecting. Really interested to see what happens next! Great job!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan!

Haha - you were so fast to review AND I've taken so long to respond that the chapter has a new name. I just couldn't stomach Barfing and Bloodrush.

Typo is all fixed - thanks!

I guess I'd always figured Rose was still in the coursework part of training (with rounds only in the afternoon)? Hmmm, but good point about the crazy hours.

My plan for this story was that Rose was always a seeker. I've even got a little side story about how her crowning moment was when she beat Gryffindor (with James as the seeker) in one of her Hogwarts matches. I just haven't been able to find a moment to tuck it into the story line.

Eep! Glad you didn't see the ring coming! I knew it was probable that most readers would've predicted the pregnancy (many did in their reviews), so it's nice to hear something was a surprise!

I'm gonna step in here and say that Rose almost puking on Scorpius could be *indirectly* his fault... (or at least he can take half the blame)

I really liked writing the Mungo's scene. I tried not to make it too dragged out, since I think it was obvious where it was heading to the reader - even if it wasn't to Scorpius ;)

Thanks again - this review really made my day!

♥ Beth

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

22nd December 2014:
Hi, Beth! First review! Yeahhh, boye!

I had an urge to subtitle this chapter "Denial, Not Just a River in Egypt". I agree with your author's note that it was a little narrow in terms of scope and purpose, but I also felt like it was necessary. I have a guess as to where you're headed, and if I'm right then you needed to show us this in order to pave the way.

There's not too much to say about the first section. It made perfect sense that Rose would have struggled with Ruth's death and probably blamed herself to some extent. Scorpius and Al and the others were really forceful -- probably appropriately so -- in reminding her that it wasn't her fault. In spite of the fact that it's perfectly reasonable, I'm wondering if maybe the process of Rose withdrawing from them might have started in that moment.

In spite of the tragedy, real life doesn't stop. I like the way you maintain that element of realism. Your characters are busy people with demanding careers and lives. Personally, I've always thought that it's easiest to lose yourself in work when you don't feel like dealing with the stresses in the rest of your life. In a few short paragraphs, you managed to capture the oppressive mundaneness -- is that even a thing? -- that allows Rose to bury her feelings.

One thing I found a little odd about this chapter was the way that Al and Selenia were sort of dancing around Scorpius regarding Rose's emotional distance. Dom was more blunt, but that felt more like an exception. I could definitely see Scorpius making some of her excuses for her, at least at first. He's protective of her, after all. It just seemed strange to me that the other three would feel such reluctance to bring it up to him. At any rate, once they were over the hump I liked the rest of the conversation. Al, Selenia and Dom wind Scorpius up like a toy soldier and march him off to confront the problem head-on...

And he blows it. Well, not completely, but he certainly doesn't drive the conversation through to where Al, Dom and Selenia wanted it to go. For her part, Rose plays him like a finely tuned violin. You've brought her full-circle at this point, trading one avoidance mechanism -- Get up, wash, get dressed, class, rounds, study -- for another -- Get up, study, nap, study, distract boyfriend, sleep.

I'm kind of torn after this chapter. On the one hand, Scorpius is there for her and that's good. He's keeping her from sliding back into that dark, dark place where she started the story. On the other hand, because she has that safety net, she doesn't seem to be dealing with the underlying problem. Is her new coping mechanism healthier than the old one? Yeah, probably. But she still has a long way to go. I love your wonderfully imperfect characters. Their flaws help to define them and in the end the struggles make the triumphs so much sweeter. Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

Ugh! I'm sorry for taking so long to respond to this. Let's put it this way - I became a TA nearly a week ago, have had the next chapter ready to go - but I still haven't even uploaded it yet! Maybe tonight...

This chapter does lay a little bit of groundwork for the next round of the story, so I do feel kind of bad about a light chapter and then a series of fluff, but I really did try out several different avenues and I'm sticking with my original plan.

I agree with you about using work to keep your mind off serious stresses in your life. I definitely do that. :) It was an easy route for me to write that into the story.

I think you may be right about Albus and Selenia's reticence. It isn't very characteristic of Al to try to sugar-coat things, especially if he thinks someone he loves is in danger. I'm going to look at that bit.

So... I know you've read the next chapter to see that Rose's "mechanism" is probably symptomatic of another er... condition rather than finding another avoidance technique for dealing with the stress of her torture. In that respect, she's actually much further along than the group realizes. Perhaps I should've hammered that point home.

Ooo! Thanks for all the kind words - I really like the imperfect characters!

♥ Beth

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Review #30, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Impressions Left and to be Made

20th December 2014:
Hi! I was excited to see your new chapter up!

Devlin's monthly transformation seemed fairly low-key in Voldemort's company. The Dark Lord didn't seem to have any issues with providing Devlin with everything he needed to make the experience more bearable. In a really strange way, Voldemort was almost gentle. Like he wrapped another layer or two of velvet around the knife. I liked the euphemism, "the untested aspect". Lycanthropy is really the one thing that differentiates Devlin from Voldemort at this point. I guess that's one reason why neither one of them really choose to fixate on it too much. It doesn't confer a tactical advantage to either side in the game that they're playing.

Ooh, I'm so excited! We're finally getting around to dealing with the horcruxes. I thought you did a great job addressing a challenging topic. Since the entire first novel focused on Devlin and his "recovery" from his captivity, there wasn't a lot of room to take on a subplot that size. In turn, that left you with a gap to close in the sequel. The idea that Harry abandoned the hunt as an activity too dangerous for a family man was a sensible way to go about it. Now that Harry's coming to grips with the fact that Devlin will never really be free as long as Voldemort is alive, it makes sense that Dumbledore would begin to redirect him back to dealing with the root cause of Voldemort's immortality.

"There is something he's not telling us," she said, "probably because he isn't quite sure...but still, he's hiding something, Harry."

Harry shrugged.

"With Dumbledore, there always is."
-- I see they're both familiar with the man. ;) For a character who hasn't had a lot of screen time, I think you have a really good handle on Dumbledore. Even in the first novel, I could feel him occasionally pulling strings in the background. I get a feeling he's about to come closer to the forefront.

The idea of Harry and Alexandra sharing a night of passion after stealing a horcrux from Gringotts was awesome. There's something about it that's perfectly Harry. And then it seems that she broke his heart. And then she found out she was pregnant. It's a timeless Harry Potter fan fic love story.

Awesome! Finally, we get more of Alexandra's back story. Most of it, I think, unless there are some holes that I'm not thinking of right now. If she was looking for work as a Curse Breaker at age 16, it's obvious that she inherited quite a bit of her father's brilliance. Also his take-no-prisoners approach to life. Thank goodness her mother was there to temper Voldemort's influence with a healthy dose of maternal protectiveness. Alexandra seems to have come away with the best of both parents.

They were fighting for the same thing and that thing was even more important now. She would keep him safe by reigning in that recklessness just a bit. -- Most of my favorite romantic Harry stories have an element of this. Somebody has to slow the guy down and get him to stop throwing himself in front of curses all the time.

I have a question. The answer might be forthcoming, but I figured I'd ask anyway. Is Natalie still alive? Still in hiding?

Anyway, the grandmother-grandson interaction was really sweet. She's obviously fond of the boy, since she was willing to put aside her dislike of magic for him. And the big reveal at the end of the section was really well done. For some reason -- maybe just the fact that I won't think Voldemort would have sullied himself if she was a filthy muggle -- I had assumed Natalie was a witch. Still, the way that she reveals the wand had a lot of gravity to it. The bigger revelation was the fact that Natalie came from a Death Eater family, one that tried to leave the fold. Alexandra is a shining example of how your ancestry doesn't matter nearly as much as what you choose to make of your life. Hopefully Devlin internalizes that lesson at some point.

Hmmnnn. So I enjoyed Devlin's verbal sparring with Bellatrix. It's always fun to see him get the upper hand on her. At the same time, I'm curious what she's playing at. She must realize by now that Voldemort will never abide her harming Devlin in any way. I'm sure she feels very jealous of Devlin and the special bond he shares with her master. You've got my brain spinning between this encounter and Greyback's forthcoming appearance. Is there a chance that Bellatrix would try to use Greyback to eliminate someone she views as a rival for her master's attention?

Ugh. I'm not encouraged by the fact that Devlin is now running from Aurors in his dreams instead of to them. Then again, there probably isn't much an Auror could do to protect him from Voldemort.

"Morsmordre." -- Oh, boy. Looks like Devlin might be going on a raid soon. Things are really going downhill quickly.

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

He stumbled to the table to join her, wishing this drunken feeing hanging about him actually had any guilty actions behind it. -- feeling hanging

She face still made it seem as though she would enjoy tearing him to pieces, but her eyes were like they had always been and though he did not know what it was they were, he knew it offered him a small fraction of protection from her other-wise brutal nature. -- Her face

This was a wonderful chapter, as always. You're drawing Devlin tighter and tighter into Voldemort's clutches. I'm really excited to see what happens next! Happy Holidays and thanks for the swap!

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Review #31, by CambAngstJigsaw: Piece #2

12th December 2014:
Hi, Sian! Happy Holidays!

I was hoping I'd get a chance to come back to this soon, and there you were at the end of the Gift thread. I had to jump on it!

Before I hit the substance, once again I wanted to say that your writing was beautifully done. The chapter read so smoothly, it was easy to lose myself in it. Your descriptions are beautiful and vivid and you capture Roxanne's emotions and reactions really well. She's obviously feeling a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of what's been assigned to her, but she also has sparks of insight and desire to show that she can hack it.

You set the scene really well in this chapter. I like the way that you kept the visual descriptions kind of sparse and you kept in mind that Roxanne was outside at night. So you filled in the gaps of what she couldn't see with details like the stars and the salty air. I had an easy time placing myself there alongside of her, trying to piece together the blurry shapes of unknown figures moving around in the darkness.

Richard seems like kind of an enigmatic fellow. He acts sort of blasé about his job, but behind the act there was a seriousness and dedication to the way that he carried it out. The fact that he's Pansy's son -- at least that's what I'm guessing -- makes him even more intriguing. It sounds like his mother was mostly famous for being a vacuous sort of socialite, so that might leave him with even more that he feels he has to prove to the world. But, he's too aloof to want anyone to think that he has anything to prove. A very nuanced character you have here.

The thing that nobody ever told me – at least, the thing I never believed or truly appreciated – is how much waiting is involved in stories like this. -- I thought this was a really good note of realism. Even while I'm enjoying the fanciful nature of a story about wizards and witches and murder mysteries, you keep it all grounded and accessible with small details.

Hmmnnn... So I take it that a simple missing person case would ordinarily be the domain of the MLEP? Interesting twist that the Hit Wizards have taken over the case. I like the way you're gradually pacing the delivery of information.

My hearts sinks; I can’t help feeling inadequate when the only question I have asked goes unanswered -- I took it a bit differently than Roxanne did. It seems to be like her question wasn't answered because it's very relevant to the mystery.

I have to say, my first reaction was to see Roxanne's ex as sort of a jerk. I guess it's understandable that he'd want to maintain some distance after getting out of a serious relationship that plainly didn't end well, but his overall attitude is very dismissive. Looking beyond the surface, I can't help but wonder if he has other reasons. Does he expect this investigation to take more dangerous turns? Is he trying to steer her away from it?

You've really done a good job setting up your main characters and putting the story in motion. Both of the main subplots involving Roxanne are really interesting. I'm excited to see where you take them all!

Author's Response: Hi, Dan! I'm really happy that you wanted to come back to read more of this story!

Ah, you're too nice to me when you write these reviews - I can't stop smiling to read these things from you, because your own writing is amazing so it means a lot that you like the writing in this story! Knowing that my description here was good enough for you to be able to picture it makes me really happy.

Richard is certainly enigmatic - or at least, that's how I intended him to come across. You're right about the connection with Pansy too, being her son. He's definitely interesting to include and write.

I try my best to include those sort of little details that add a bit more realism to the story - obviously it's set in a magical world, so it can't be entirely believable, but I want it to seem as realistic as possible. I'm glad you picked up on that.

From my research and what I can find in canon, I think the MLEP would be the first people to arrive, but I didn't want this story to be just about Aurors like so many others, since their domain seems to be investigating Dark magic specifically. The Hit Wizards fit in as a sort of middle ground; the fact they've taken over the case is quite significant.

As for your reaction to Daniel, I'm going to say nothing except that your questions are very interesting and pertinent to the story, so it's good that you're asking them!

Thank you for this amazing review, Dan - I'm so pleased you're still enjoying the story!

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Review #32, by CambAngstYear Five: The Presence of Love

7th December 2014:
Hi! I was hoping I'd be able to help you get to review #200. Having kids often seems to get in the way of goals like that. Instead, I'll just get you started on the next 200 reviews. ;)

The past few chapters have been really rough on your characters, so this chapter was a really good change of pace for me. Secrets (some of them, anyway) were revealed, issues (a few) were confronted and conflicts (one or two) found at least the beginnings of resolution. It had a few bumps, like any of your chapters, but overall this was probably the most upbeat since the big party.

Poor Emily. The depths of her confusion where Tristan's concerned would be hard to overstate. You did a really good job of capturing the essence of her struggles and the way that it wears on her.

Once again, you wrote a scene featuring Dumbledore with a lot of finesse and sensitivity. You're really very good at it. You keep him so measured and circumspect. He never gets bent out of shape over anything immediate. It's all about the long game with him. The effect he has on Emily is profound and perfectly written. The wisdom in his words and actions feels perfectly like him. I also loved the subtle way that he gets his message across, both about Emily's transgressions and about her friends.

Yikes. The trip to Scotland with Isobel and her father was a frosty experience.

For most of the story up to this point, Emily has seemed a bit younger than her friends in several ways. This was the first time, I think, that we've gotten to see her as a brooding, disaffected teenager who rebels against the perceived hypocrisy of her parents. Although in her case, I think her parents' hypocrisy goes beyond perception. Still, it's easy to identify those teenage feelings of how unfair life is.

Laurel's confrontation with her mother was healthy in a very odd sort of way. Not that Laurel was right to say some of the horrible things she said to her mother, but that's just how angry teenagers react. Wow, I am NOT looking forward to that phase with my kids. I'll give her mother a lot of credit, though. For once, her mother was able to see Laurel's lashing out for what it really was. She was able to stay calm and let Laurel work her way through the anger until they were actually talking. The end result of the conversation was far from perfect, but it was an improvement. It had to start somewhere.

Seconds later, she appeared in the alley behind her neighborhood gastropub, startling a fox, and continued on her trajectory towards Orsett Street and home. -- I see what you did there. ;)

I feel almost as bad for Tristan's mother as I do for anyone else in this story. The self-destructive course that Tristan seems hell-bent on pursuing would be bad enough by itself, but she also sees the reason why. His self-hatred is heart-breaking, especially for the woman who took it upon herself to raise him.

It's nice to see the friendship between the three girls gradually knitting itself back together. You never wish anything like what happened to Isobel on anyone, but it seems that her horrible experience with Professor Quirrel has at least shown her that she needs her friends as badly as they need her.

Emily's back story was awful. To me, and this might sound odd, the most awful thing about it was how unexceptional it was. Older boy takes advantage of young, impressionable girl who revels in the attention and approval he offers. It happens all the time. That realization is a terrible thing in and of itself. The fact that her troubles didn't start with anything so exotic as being the orphaned son of a notorious Death Eater shouldn't make her struggles any less real.

Then again, with the Defense department’s track record, Squirrel probably wouldn’t be coming back next year. -- Ha. If she only knew...

I saw a couple of typos that have somehow managed to survive:

There’s been an owl from Hogwarts explaining what Emily had done, and her parents were furious with her. -- There'd

Or because you’re life’s gone in the bin, so it became my job to be so clever and get good marks so you could have something to brag about, and you wouldn’t look so bad. -- your life's gone in the bin

It's been ages since I left you a review, which I definitely feel bad about. Especially considering how long it's been since I finished this story. I'll try to rectify that soon. Awesome job, as always!

Author's Response: Dan! Hello! Yee, thank you so much for pushing me over the 200 mark!

Something I hadn't planned for Emily, but really enjoyed developing, is how she's really The Philosopher of the group. I mean, Tristan does a lot of thinking and all, but it's not at the same maturity level that Emily does. She's the one seriously considering the nature of morality and reality, and the idea that experiences are really collections of narratives. She extrapolates Greater Meaning out of her dramas, and she grows the most, intellectually.

Speaking of which--SO RELIEVED you liked that bit with Dumbledore! That was one of the HARDEST parts of this WHOLE STORY to write! I nearly cut it, and scrapped multiple versions. Dumbledore is just so intimidating to write, because it's so inherently presumptuous! Like, I am a pale interpretation of a Grown Up--MILES away from being a Wise Old Man.

Oh yes, definitely Emily at her brattiest! As sort of the moral center of the group, and consistently the most stable, her behavior says a lot about where things are at.

And AH! I'm so happy about your analysis of Laurel and Betty's interaction! :D That was EXACTLY what I was going for! Betty took a pretty bad character assassination by being physically abusive. BUT, you know, NUANCE. A person can be a lot of things.

Wait--what did I do there??? I MEAN *caughs* yes, that was super intentional because I am very clever! (The Author is dead, so whatever. Something can have meaning even if I didn't consciously realize it... Now I just have to figure out what that was!)

Dude, yeah! Mary was actually probably the most directly modeled on myself (she's my Mary Sue, if you will). I really wanted a sympathetic character in her, and since I'm the one writing it, I thought I could best argue her case from my own perspective.

And I wanted all of the parents to be imperfect in some way--because teenager-dome is just HARD, and everyone's different, and there's no Right Way. Since I'm not a mom myself, my naivete came as an advantage writing Mary; I don't know what /I/ would do in her position, so neither does she.

So yeah--that brings me to Emily. That's also her parents' flaw. So like, I don't agree with parents who are really strict and obsessive about protecting their daughters from Boys and Sex (which causes its own problems, and doesn't necessarily save them from assault [see: Isobel]). Then again, Emily's are pretty permissive, and that happened basically under their roof. Which isn't to say they are really to blame--bad things just happen. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

I almost didn't write Emily's backstory (I cut it and put it back SO many times), but I realized I HAD to. As you said, because its maddeningly common. To leave it out would have been, I think, dishonest. And, it kind of plays an important role in her relationship with Tristan, and why they take SO LONG to get together. Her journey to finally OWN her sexuality is probably the most inspiring of the whole story.

As always, thank you for leaving the BEST REVIEW EVER!


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Review #33, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Baffled: Scorpius and Rose POV

6th December 2014:
Hi, Beth!

New facts are tumbling out all over the place in this chapter. From big ticket stuff like the wording of the prophecy to small details. I loved the mix of heavy and light moments and the heights of mad love versus the harsh grounding of reality. All in all a very well balanced chapter.

I love how the dialog at the start of this chapter picks right up where the last chapter left off, except, um, things have happened in between. A lot of things, apparently. And then they happen again. A few more times, actually. I have to chuckle, because they sound exactly like a couple in their early twenties who are madly in love. If we could all maintain that kind of stamina later in life...

I see I'm not the only one who can get a bit nauseous if I'm too hungry. Then you add apparition on top of it, yeah I'd say you don't want to see goulash right after that experience.

James's girlfriend is a profoundly annoying human being. Leave it to the American girl to always be the more annoying character in a HP fan fic. ;) I'm not sure whether you're leading anywhere else with this. At this point, I find my suspicions aroused by a lot of small details in this story. Samara seems like the odd one out, at least socially, in the group cohabiting in Grimmauld Place. Leave it to James to be clueless enough to bring a questionable entity inside the protection of the Fidelius. Good thing Samara can't share the secret...

Hmmnnn... I guess there is no canon certainty as to what spell Molly used to kill Bellatrix. From the description in the books -- the emphasis JKR put on the fact that the spell struck Bellatrix directly above her heart -- I'd always assumed it was something more base and violent in nature than the Killing Curse. But, like I said, we don't know for sure. It could just as easily have been the Killing Curse. We know that they were both dueling to kill.

I kind of liked the "pensieve player". It's like a portable DVD player for magical folk. Only it didn't sound especially portable or user-friendly. ;) But it's definitely easier than having a handful of witches and wizards dive into a pensieve together.

The prophecy itself sounded very... um, prophecy-like? Is that a thing? I don't know, it's hard to explain. Prophecies in Harry Potter are like good pizza or being in love. You can't explain in words exactly how to recognize either one, you just know it when you see it. And this was definitely prophecy-like. I liked the combination of specific on some points and vague on others that you achieved. There's just enough said to point to Rose and possibly Stannous, but an awful lot that was not said. I still think the "child born from a family of death eaters" is much more likely to be Scorpius. "A lost soul descends from those who were the dark lord’s retreat" The Dark Lord lived in Malfoy Manor for around a year before the final battle. Just sayin'

Rose, Stannous thinks it is Stannous. We have no idea who it could be. -- Finally, somebody's talking sense here!

Good old Harry. He really seems to have a talent for getting to the heart of Rose's anxieties and putting her at ease. I guess it helps that he's the only other person who's been the subject of a history-altering prophecy.

Uh oh. Looks like the long reach of Stannous found poor Ruth. Especially considering the curse that killed her.

Suggestions? Not much of a substantive nature in this chapter. In the prophecy, I think you should have capitalized "Death Eaters" and "Dark Lord". Otherwise, you're in great shape!

Awesome chapter! I really enjoyed this one.

Author's Response: Hey there Dan.

As usual, your review has completely blown me away - thanks so much!

Yeah - this chapter is a biggie. Rose and Scorp are hot n' heavy.

As it turns out prophecies are *really* hard to write. I'm still not happy with it, but I couldn't hold up the entire story because I wanted to tweak the wording one more time. And I thought it was really important to have it written down as part of the story - rather than to just have the characters discuss it.

Haha - I get carsick really easily - so I imagine that I would have a difficult time with just about any type of magical travel. I can't decide whether apparition would be worse (spinning around, but arriving quickly) or floo (less spinning, but a longer, rambling trip). I would probably pick the quicker one - get it over with. Portkey sounds the worst - a hook around your navel? You might as well just take all the contents of my stomach while you're at it.

Yeah, Samara is ultra annoying. But we always have to deal with those types of people. She works for the Ministry - in International Relations, so Harry cleared her for having the secret to the fidelius charm - but I think you're right - it's probably a good thing she can't give it out.

I did research Molly's spell when writing this - and you're right - there isn't a certainty if she used avada kedavra or not. From what I've found, they just call it "Molly Weasley's spell." Now that I think about it - the actual spell isn't important, because she did kill Bellatrix and I wanted that point made in this story - that there is a different set of rules when you're fighting for your children's lives ;)

I know we differ on our views of Harry as an adult, and I'm glad you like him in this chapter. I've always thought he became rather Dumbledore-esque in his later years. Once he was no longer a moody teenager and had a piece of the darkest soul inhabiting his body - or the weight of the future of the entire Wizarding World on his shoulders, I think he would be able to act with more calculation and draw on his experiences - rather than passion and gut instinct. He's older, wiser and calmer. But - I like the different characterizations of him too ♥

Yeah - poor Ruth :( Just when it seemed Rose needed her...

Thanks - I've already got those changes put into the queue!

♥ Beth

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Review #34, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Battling with Fate

1st December 2014:
Hi! I'm here for our swap!

Poor Devlin. I don't think he has much of a chance of really coming to terms with what he's done. Not in his present company, at least. Voldemort is simply about doing. Coming to terms with consequences is something for lesser beings to worry about. He's right and McGonagall's also right. There's no going back, there's only acknowledging the change and learning to deal with the consequences.

You know what just dawned on me? I just realized that one of the oddest experiences I've had through reading your story is seeing Voldemort in the daytime. In the books and especially in the movies, Voldemort always appears in the dark of night. With the exception of the final confrontation with Harry, I don't think he ever appears in the same scene with the sun. So to envision him casually reading a newspaper over breakfast is a peculiar image, indeed.

Wow. Devlin's whole approach to Voldemort has changed. Somewhat by necessity, I suppose, but nevertheless he's playing an incredibly dangerous game now. The sort of familiarity he displays toward the Dark Lord, the conversational way he speaks to him... none of Voldemort's followers would dare. I don't know exactly how to feel about this, but obviously it's working well enough to keep Devlin alive.

Ooh! I absolutely love the subtle game of wordplay between Harry and Geoffrey. Geoffrey is able to tell Harry exactly what he needs -- but doesn't want -- to know.

The scene inside Voldemort's memory of killing James and Lily was really well done. I didn't like reading it, but that was for all the right reasons. I did like some of Devlin's reactions while he was inside the memory, but it kills me inside to see the way that Devlin was forced to cover his tracks once he's expelled from the pensieve. I have this horrible feeling like he's losing more and more of himself to this identity he's had to assume to survive. Will he be able to find himself again if he ever manages to return to Harry and Alexandra?

I loved Harry's rumination on how his children changed him. I could relate to all of it. Maybe not directly to the part about Devlin being taken, but I could definitely relate to all of the sentiments. It was really sad to read about the effect that Devlin's most recent kidnapping has had on Emma. Poor kid!

Interesting! So Harry never went on the horcrux hunt in your timeline? It seems as though he perhaps had the chance to do so, but declined. I hope we find out a lot more about how Harry's later years of school unfolded in your world.

I don't know what I found more unnerving, Devlin's nightmare or Voldemort's reaction to it. Actually, I do know. Voldemort's reaction wins, hands down. My hat is off to you for that particular way you write the Dark Lord that makes him very nearly human yet so far from it.

You just keep coming at me with round after round of this odd, running conversation between Voldemort and Devlin. He could feel the edge of the knife slicing through the velvet under which it hid. -- No kidding! It's almost as though Devlin is daring Voldemort to kill him.

"I am hurt that you think I would risk your life thus. I have not been experimenting on an adult, Devlin." -- Blank. I had other things I meant to say about this section, but now my brain is just blank. Holy Toledo...

OK, I did not see this coming. Not at all. So Voldemort is going to get into politics? And use Devlin to reinforce his relationship-by-marriage with Harry in order to make this happen? Did not see that coming at all. My mind is sort of blown. I think I might need to withhold judgment for a chapter or two before I comment on this.

Ah, my darling Astoria! I was wondering whether we might see her in this story, or whether she was married to Draco at all in your timeline. She does make an excellent informant for Harry at this stage of the game. She's lost her husband and she must realize that her son will eventually be killed. Voldemort is most likely saving him so that his death can occur at the moment it will have the greatest impact. At the moment it will send the most effective message. I do hope we see more of Astoria.

So your editing was rough in this chapter. I highlighted a number of typos, more than I have enough characters left for. I'll PM them to you.

This chapter was jaw-dropping. So much new information mixed with familiar scenes and memories. I am really excited to see where things go next!

Author's Response: That's actually an interesting observation about Voldemort and daylight! I had not really thought of it, but it is true! I think Voldemort is attempting some psychological strategy with Devlin - mimicking the home environment he's been in, distancing him from the camp so as to distance him from all the conclusions he may have been 'fed' (because Voldemort believes Devlin is his) about his time there. He's meddling with the line that divides Devlin and Dubhan.

I really enjoyed writing the scene with Geoffrey! :)

Voldemort's memory was probably my favorite scene to write recently. I've had the idea in the works for ages (Devlin had the knowledge already in the sequel to this) but I had been trying to figure out where best to place it. It sort of illustrates that no matter how much Voldemort makes an attempt to be relatively 'nice', he can't help himself; he likes to see people hurt. In some ways, he is just as pleased that Devlin managed to (falsely) not be upset as he is displeased that he didn't get to hurt him. In some ways, Devlin covering may inevitably lead to Voldemort trying harder and harder to get the reactions he can't help but want. After all, even Voldemort is afraid of death - yet in the face of Death, Devlin feels a calm sort of defiance. To think of how Voldemort perceives that, is where I sort of see how this could escalate.

You will really enjoy the next chapter. It mostly reveals Alexandra, but also Harry through her. :)

Voldemort is creepy, but I had to remember to be true to him. In Riddle and Rescue we get into his head a few times and Voldemort admits to watching him in his sleep, because it is the only time he screams and it is a half-satification that he knows there is SOME WAY in which he is able to torture him.

Devlin is playing a dangerous game. Lets just hope he's good at it.

HAHA - yeah, I enjoyed the potion conversation too. LOL

I think you *mostly* understand, but not quite. By connecting Devlin Potter to Lord Voldemort's blood publicly, people will begin to doubt Harry Potter - the savior who is now revealed to have married Lord Voldemort's daughter. Does that make it more clear? Voldemort plan would never be to piggy back on a better man (mainly because that would admit someone was better) but to destroy him.

I can't say more than that. :)

I had fun with Astoria! :)

Yes...the editing was rough. Not sure how that happened, but I guess I didn't do a great job rereading it as I thought I had. :)

Thanks for the awesome review, Dan!

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Review #35, by CambAngstThe Ruins of Hogwarts: Ruins

1st December 2014:

I saw your post in the new story thread and I couldn't resist. I love a good Harry/Ginny story.

I loved the bittersweet tone you created in this. There's so much for the characters to be happy about, but also so much loss. The engagement ring was a great plot device. The symbolism of a happy future that might or might not ever come to pass was perfect for the mood and setting.

Harry's reactions to his surroundings were spot on. You did a great job of juxtaposing the happy moments when Harry was a First Year with the devastation and sadness that fills the aftermath of the battle. I really liked the memories you chose for the comparison.

I think my favorite thing about the story was the idea of the rebuilding of the wizarding world -- Hogwarts as well as the lives of the survivors -- being done on top of the ruins of the old world. It was symbolic on a lot of levels. Nothing ever would have been the same after the battle. Everything would have felt like a recreation of a life that no longer existed.

If there was one thing I wasn't so wild about, it was Harry slipping the ring onto Ginny's finger. Something felt very premature about that gesture. Also a little inappropriate, considering that the ring was meant for someone else entirely.

Overall, this was a great story set in a very important moment. Your writing was beautifully done. The story flowed really well and I didn't see any typos or grammatical errors. Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hi! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing my story! I really appreciate your feedback :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed my story! This is actually my first one-shot in a few years, so it is encouraging to hear that I did a nice job. It helped that I was very inspired by the Euphoria and Heartbreak challenge by SecretPassion :) Also, I was inspired by the Titanic. Whenever I watch documentaries about the Titanic I get very sad because the juxtaposition of all of those ornate, high-end pieces of art and everything, and the complete destruction by water... I just get so emotional. So that's what I was hoping to convey here. I'm glad you liked the tone!

Thank you so much! I think the idea of rebuilding after tragedy is a confusing one, personally for me. Because on the one hand, it is important to get back up and move on, but I struggle with replacing that which was once there with new versions.

Thank you so much for your comment about the ring. I understand that it could be received as a bit inappropriate, but I wanted to convey that Harry wanted these young lovers' lives to live on, through another relationship that thrived on Hogwarts. If Lucy and Christopher could not get out alive and have their happy ending, at least their spirit could, in Harry and Ginny. Another layer of this, is that Harry has just been through so much, both with the battle and with looking at his old life in ruins. He now feels that waiting for frivolous things is not worth anything. Harry knows he loves Ginny, and he knows he wants to be with her, and he doesn't want to wait another second on anything, and he knows that Ginny loves him too, so he just puts the ring on her. There is also another layer to this gesture: Harry has lost a bit of himself in this war. They all have. So maybe before, Harry would have wanted to create a perfect, romantic moment with a nice proposal, but Harry doesn't see the point of those types of gestures anymore. It is rather sad, I think! But that is something else I wanted to get across here. This war has changed everything and everyone, including Harry's personality slightly. I hope this makes sense!

Thank you so much for your review! I really appreciate your time. :)

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Review #36, by CambAngstSeven: Seven is the most magical of numbers.

30th November 2014:
Hi, Beth! I thought I'd take in a little Sunday night reading after putting the kids to bed.

I'm really impressed with what you accomplished here. I'm sure this wasn't an easy thing to pull off, always being forced to bring your paragraphs in at a certain word count. I'm imagining myself wringing my hands over whether to cut one word that I really needed or try to come up with six more that I don't really need. Agony! My hat is off to you for making it all work so seamlessly. And I mean that, by the way. The story reads really seamlessly. It doesn't feel like something that was written to a specific word count.

At every stage of Sirius's star-crossed life -- no pun intended -- I thought you did a good job of capturing the essential things that define him. His rocky relationship with his family, his immense loyalty to his friends, the losses and torment that he suffered... all of it came through in great detail. I thought you had a good balance of things that we know from canon and things that you created to flesh out the story. The scenes from the books that you picked to focus on were all good choices, very poignant moments.

Let's see, what else? I liked the way that you touched on the conflicts between Sirius and Dumbledore. Dumbledore had a lot of failings as he tried to steer Harry on the correct path, and I always thought that Sirius was at the heart of a number of them as well as the main voice pushing back against Dumbledore in others. How much danger could Harry have been spared if Dumbledore had listened to Sirius's protests against Harry participating in the Tri-Wizard Tournament? How much more prepared would Harry have been if Dumbledore had followed Sirius's suggestion and shared more information with Harry sooner? And face it, if Dumbledore had insisted on finding out Sirius's side of the story before Barty Crouch chucked him into Azkaban, isn't it possible that Wormtail could have been prevented from bringing Voldemort back from Albania? So many missed opportunities...

Great story! You did a really good job with this!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan!

Wow. This was a real nice surprise! Your reviews are always so awesome - so thanks for taking the time to write it.

Actually - I pre-set the word limit for each paragraph before I started the story. I was very specific and I wanted the story to crescendo and then wane back to the really short paragraphs at the end. That way, the story was exactly 777 words.

Wow. Seamless? Thanks so much. I was also trying to convey a different emotion with each paragraph, I'm so glad it came across! It was actually harder for me to pick which moments to flesh out from his life than to actually write them!

I'm so happy you noticed my Sirius/Dumbledore conflict. I also felt like Dumbledore really missed out on using Sirius to his full potential.

Thanks again - this review made my night!

♥ Beth

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Review #37, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Wounds

28th November 2014:
Hi! Here for our swap, and excited to finally get to review this.

I felt so many different things for Devlin as I read the first part of this chapter. Relieved that he passed the test. Sad for the piece of his humanity that he was forced to surrender in order to survive. Somewhat sickened by the horrible reality in which a child could be forced to make such choices.

nothing, nothing, nothing -- I can't think of any other way he should want to feel in that moment. It seems to me like anything he allows himself to feel would probably destroy him, whether out of remorse or because allowing himself to give in to all those churning emotions would make him appear weak in front of Voldemort.

"Is he the only one?" -- Wow. I've seen a lot of cold lines delivered over a lifetime of reading fictional literature. I think that ranks right up there among the coldest lines I've ever read. If this whole magic thing doesn't work out, Devlin could have a great career as a mafia hitman.

Ah, Nagini! It seems like Devlin is acquainted with a number of Voldemort's horcruxes at this point, although I'm not sure whether Nagini has been made a horcrux at this point in your timeline. After Devlin reveals that he can speak to snakes, I have to imagine that he is once again firmly tangled up in Voldemort's head. In my last review, I think, I speculated that Voldemort would send Devlin back to Hogwarts just to be able to follow the experiment he's made of Devlin through to its logical conclusion. To see the boy who's tangled up in his head walk the same path that young Tom Riddle walked. I have no idea whether you're going to do that, but I'm more convinced than ever now that Voldemort wouldn't see any chance of Devlin betraying him. In fact, that might be the ultimate way for Voldemort to make his point to Harry. "I'm so confident that the boy is mine that I'll send him right back to you and Dumbles when I've finished showing him what I want him to see."

I loved the brief scene with Geoffrey. It's getting more clear to me how he and Devlin are connected. It's a lot stronger than I used to suspect.

Harry must not be thinking very clearly. Well, he's obviously not thinking very clearly if he hasn't slept in days. There's no way Voldemort is going to start a fire, draw massive amounts of attention to a camp, and still be there when the Ministry arrives. It feels very much to me as though Harry was meant to find this place.

The scene with the books was chilling, once Devlin puts the pieces together. I love the way you wrote it and especially the way you paced it. You let Devlin puzzle it out for himself, until he realizes what all of the things in the room, himself included, truly have in common.

The final scene of the chapter had this amazing, surreal quality to it. Maybe that's just because it's so easy for me to put myself in Harry's position here. So easy to imagine what it's like to charge into a scene where every parent's worst nightmare might be realized. Even though you delved into a lot of detail -- and did a great job with that, by the way -- it all still felt distant to me. Disconnected somehow. After his men find the body, I felt tightness in my chest, like grim dread. You did an awesome job with that section. I don't know what else to say.

I saw a few typos as I was reading:

He had placed the Auror's, and the few other departments he had any sway over, on high alert the moment Devlin was taken. -- Aurors

He could do things without meaning too that served to amaze everyone around him, or do things while he meant them deeply, but he could never grasp the inside workings of magic so infinitely so as to manipulate them at the slightest desire. -- without meaning to

"Look, that one isn't burnt at all," Gant, a young by steady Auror, called out, pointing toward the far end of the camp. -- young but steady

This will definitely go down as one of my favorite chapters. The short, choppy scenes were perfect for the subject matter. You paced the whole thing perfectly and the effect was amazing!

Author's Response: To be honest, the first scene really gave me trouble to write. I had managed to get so much into Devlin's head that I felt his nothingness along side him, and wanted to convey that as much as I wanted to convey the story. I'm glad it all came together.

I think Devlin had begun to see his dissociation for what it was during his time with Harry and therefore as a weakness. He is humiliated and crushed to realize he has no better method through which to cope, though. It is another reminder that he is just a child, talented as he may be. His mind protects itself like a child's.

Nagini - oh yes, that was fun. After the initial fear I think he realizes the same and jumps at the opportunity to prove his sameness to Voldemort.

I am carefully not going to respond to what will happen with Devlin...

I don't think Harry suspected that Voldemort would be there, or even went in believing Devlin would be there. He only brought a handful of men, and did not engage the Order. When his men find a body, however, his logical mind betrays him and he is every bit a father.

I loved the scene with the books. I've been working on that conclusion since nearly the beginning of the whole series! I sighed with relief after I had wrote it! LOL

Thank you for pointing out the typos!

I'm glad you loved the chapter so much. I think this might lose it's ranking to the next one, though. ;-)

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Review #38, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Broomsticks and Breathing: Scorpius and Rose POV

25th November 2014:
Hi, Beth!

After a few very intense chapters, I can honestly say that I don't mind a little fluff. It was a nice change of pace and it gave all characters involved -- especially Rose and Scorpius -- a chance to settle down and ruminate on everything that's happened. The time apart seems to have done our two lovers a world of good. They realized that they missed one another. They're adorable!

The couple needs a break from one another, so the guy gets drunk and plays sports while the girl goes shopping and gets a makeover. I'd say your thought process was on very solid ground there. ;)

Even though I knew the answer before I'd asked, I'd tried to pull the Hogsmeade duty for this weekend. -- Ha! In your dreams, lover boy. I definitely agree with Harry here. I don't think Scorpius had any idea how badly his head had gotten messed up over this. Props to Albus for doing such a good job of getting Scorpius's mind off of things in this chapter. Not that it was unpleasant work, but I'm sure that he would have rather been making up with Selenia.

James was standing up on one of the tables, singing some quidditch fight song with one of his teammates, their arms draped around each other. - Now that's a funny image.

Rose came off as a much more balanced character in this chapter. She's enjoying her freedom, having her fun, but she can't completely shake the responsible side of herself.

Choosing a specialty was another ordeal I wasn't looking forward to. I truly enjoyed every course I'd taken. I had no idea how to narrow it down. -- I feel echoes of a certain individual who borrowed a time-turner so they could take all of the electives.

Ha! Poor Ron. If you're a Weasley, and you're trying to operate undercover, wouldn't you start by changing your hair color? He's hopeless!

My lungs filled themselves with air that didn't smell like a hospital or a three hundred year old dingy house. -- This. The perfect encapsulation of Rose's situation and why it must have meant so much to her to find this freedom.

Ha! I love the image of poor Ron and Harry running into Rose and Selenia outside the lingerie shop. Talk about a splash of cold water in the face. Their little girls and boys aren't so little anymore.

The end of the chapter was paced really nicely. It felt like things were touch-and-go there for a second. Scorpius didn't seem like he was sure what to do and Rose wasn't quite sure how to take that. But their feelings draw them back together, and suddenly everything is right in paradise.

I saw one lonely little typo while I was reading:

She loved flying and I bet missed our days of Quidditch at Hogwarts just as much as Al and me. -- I bet she missed

I loved this chapter! As much as I enjoy the plot of this story and all of the mystery and intrigue and guessing that comes along with it, I can't get enough of your Rose-Scorpius love! Looking forward to the next!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan!

I think Rose and Scorp deserve a fluffy chapter too! Plus, writing all the emotional turmoil was straining for me too - haha!

I'm actually feeling a little guilty for being a bit too cliche with my choices for how the girls and boys spent their respective weekends.

Yeah, Scorpius doesn't realize the extent of how deep he's embedded in this (perhaps there is a double meaning here ;))

I feel like Rose's true character is *finally* emerging here. Her sense of humor is coming out and she's getting to feel the freedom from her restrictions, but it is a bit more than that. She is truly experiencing adult life for the first time.

Ha! You always find all the little nuances I put into my story! ♥ I'm laying a little groundwork here... more to come with how Rose and Hermione both can't decide on which courses when it comes time to narrow it down!

About Ron. First off, we are only seeing him from Rose's point of view. She is never going to see her Dad as the superior Auror that he truly is. The second part is that Ron actually isn't trying to hide. He's pretty much taking the stance of basically daring anyone to come near his daughter. "Just try it, you Death Eater scum! Why don't you see the fury that rains down upon you when you mess with Ron Weasley's daughter!" Sorry - I'm getting a bit carried away.

Wow! You found the only line that I added when I edited this chapter! I felt like it was really needed to express the freedom that Rose felt - at long last. So glad it came through.

I had to add a bit of humor - and lingerie vs. parents is always humorous!

Rose and Scorpius are very different together in this chapter. I wanted their relationship to grow a bit - and to show that they connect on different levels as well.

Thanks so much for this review! I love all of your reviews!

♥ Beth

I fixed the typo - it's in the queue! Thanks for pointing it out. Definitely more plot coming next!

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Review #39, by CambAngstJigsaw: Piece #1

22nd November 2014:
Hi, Sian! I've heard so many good things about this story. I'm really excited to read it.

The beginning drips with intrigue. You definitely dropped some interesting clues into the mix. The protagonist's struggles with the teapot, as well as what his tea is lacking, caught my attention. The easy guess would be that he's an addict of some sort struggling from withdrawal symptoms. Or perhaps he's a werewolf, out of sorts from the effects of a full moon spent without access to Wolfsbane. No matter what, it definitely drew me in. And then he's placed under the Imperius Curse by... somebody. All in all, it was a great hook for your story.

From there, we drop into the much more mundane life of Roxanne Weasley. I really loved the way you paced the delivery of plot and information. I was several paragraphs in before I knew with certainty that we were talking about Roxanne and not Rose. It had such a nice, organic flow to it. I vastly prefer this to stories where the main character spends several paragraphs of the first chapter dumping information either through rumination or directly addressing the reader.

I think Roxanne's life is going to make a very good contrast to the mystery that it seems like she's being thrust into. It's impossible not to feel sorry for her and her friend Jane. Especially Roxanne, though. Her family is so famous and her cousins seem to have found careers in keeping with their parents' reputations. It feels like she's pursuing something she loves, she just hasn't gotten much of a chance to enjoy it yet.

I loved the scene you created in the pub where Roxanne and Jane meet to commiserate. The scene had a very down-to-earth feel to it that was easy to relate to. The details were vivid and the scene was easy to imagine.

Am I reading between the lines correctly to infer that Roxanne was either engaged or almost engaged? I'm really curious to know more about Daniel -- how he and Roxanne broke up and why he's so close to Freddy that it created a rift between Freddie and Roxanne. It seems as though Roxanne might have done something that she regrets deeply.

And right at the end, you draw your two plot threads together. It appears that Roxanne is about to get more than she bargained for as she embarks on this new assignment.

Your writing was really, really good in this. The chapter was so polished and refined, it was obvious that you put a lot of time into both writing and editing it. I can't say enough about how much you've improved as a writer in the time you've been a member of HPFF! Brilliant job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Thanks for stopping by and leaving me TWO reviews for our swap - it's so generous of you! And of course it's always great to hear what you think of my stories!

I'm really glad you thought that the first section was a good hook to get people intrigued in the story. I wanted something that grabbed people's attention before the switch into Roxanne's life. And I'm glad that you were picking up on the clues in that section already!

Phew, I'm glad that it didn't feel like this chapter was an information dump! I was really concerned about getting the flow right and making sure that the reader got enough information about the characters but without overdoing it. I'm glad the pacing seemed okay.

For me, I really wanted to have a realistic protagonist who was having some struggles with her life - the early 20s aren't as easy as they seem to be portrayed in most stories, and I wanted to reflect that. Some of her cousins are definitely in more suitable occupations, but they're not all having success, as you'll see in later chapters :)

I loved writing the scene between Roxanne and Jane - it came very naturally and I like the friendship between the two of them, so I'm pleased you liked that!

My lips are sealed on Roxanne and Daniel and what happened between them, for now at least - if you get the chance to read on, you'll find out in a couple of chapters.

Thank you so much for the compliments in this review, Dan! It means a lot to me that you think I've improved a lot as a writer - I'm always trying to get better and it's nice that other people can see a difference as well as me feeling one! Thank you for this brilliant review!

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Review #40, by CambAngstWorship You: Storm

22nd November 2014:
Hi, Sian! Here for our swap!

Ooh, Sinistra and Bellatrix. I never would have thought of such a thing, and, well, I guess Bellatrix didn't either. But Aurora obviously did. I love the fascination from afar that she has for Bellatrix. It's not quite like she's pursuing something forbidden, only something unavailable. Something always present but never attainable. Because you're right, Bellatrix worships the Dark Lord and her love and devotion are for him alone.

You've definitely shown a different side of Sinistra here, with her stories of being a haughty Slytherin, looking down at students from the other houses. I rather liked it. Just because a person was a certain way and thought certain things while in school, that doesn't mean they're destined to end up a certain way. Sinistra changed her point of view. Matured, in a way. Bellatrix did not. The Dark Lord gave her the option of never accepting reality for something different from what she believed as a young woman.

Only I am conscious of this, in this prison of my adoration. You, my darling – may I call you that? – stay ignorant, blissful in your constancy to him. -- Nice description of the chains of unrequited love.

Then there's the final battle. What a bittersweet moment for Aurora. Watching her beloved fall, knowing that it was necessary for the greater good but still losing a piece of herself.

This was a lovely little piece. I didn't see anything I could nit-pick as far as typos or grammar or characterization. I'm definitely not going to short-change you by just reviewing this; it's far too short. I'll be back later to hit Jigsaw, but I wanted to get this done right away. Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

I don't think I'd have thought of Sinistra and Bellatrix before I wrote this piece, to be honest! I'd decided to write the story without an E and after a couple of different attempts, this is what came from it - I was quite pleased with the result, though! And you're right about the way that she viewed Bellatrix, with a one-sided love.

I'm glad you liked the different portrayal of Sinistra here! I've never really read any stories about her before so I wasn't sure how people portrayed her, but I liked the idea of her having a different background and a sort of secret that she always had to hide. Another thing I wanted to show was that just because they had similar beginnings doesn't mean they'll do the same things, and just because she loves Bellatrix doesn't mean she'll follow her path.

I'm glad you liked that description! I thought it tied in well with Bellatrix being in Azkaban at the same time - neither of them could escape.

It was definitely a bittersweet moment for her. There's not much more I need to say here - you captured what I wanted you to see perfectly!

Thank you so much for this review and for the swap, Dan!

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Review #41, by CambAngstHealing: The Truth Hurts

17th November 2014:
Hi, farmgirl! It's taken me a bit to get around to writing this review. Based on the number of people who got in ahead of me, it looks like I'm not the only one who's been eagerly awaiting a new chapter. :)

I was really excited to catch up with Ron and Hermione in Australia. It's been quite a while since we've seen them -- in elapsed time, at least -- and they're definitely one of my favorite components of the story. Hermione comes across so very genuine in this chapter. All of her feelings, from the warmth and appreciation for Ron taking the job in the ice cream parlor to her amusement over his fascination with muggle comics to her shock at discovering her parents, were written very well. The moment when she sees her parents was uplifting and crushing at the same time. Obviously she shouldn't have expected them to recognize her -- she took their memories, after all -- but her reaction is still perfect. It must have been devastating, in a way, to see that they've moved on without her.

Poor Harry. If he can't find any other way to try to save the world, he settles for un-evilizing the attic of Grimmauld Place. Nice to see Kingsley show up and try to slap a bit of sense into him. Verbally, if not in practice. Somebody definitely needed to deliver that speech to Harry, and I think it had to be someone who is actually able to hold something over Harry's head that he prizes. The job in the Aurors was one of a very few such things. And the comparisons to Sirius were also really well done.

Exciting chapter! I'm eager to see what comes next!

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

12th November 2014:
Hi, Beth! I read this chapter as soon as it was posted and, well, you know how the process of making time goes. Better late than never. :)

First off, I have a big picture reaction. I'm sure a lot of readers come to this story because of the genres and main pairing and they're expecting more of a traditional Rose-Scorpius love story. I absolutely love the fact that you've taken things in a different direction. I love that you're not afraid to put the love story on the back burner for a few chapters and allow this very deep, complicated plot surrounding Stannous and the prophecy to develop. Whatever ultimately happens between Scorpius and Rose -- I have my strong suspicions, but I shall remain open-minded ;) -- will be so much more meaningful because of the powerful elements of mystery and danger. Bravo!

The first time I read through this, something was bugging me about Hermione's reaction to the prophecy and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. On a second reading, I think what it's missing is a brief dose of skepticism. Hermione was never the sort to accept Divination at face value. But she also knows from first-hand experience that prophecies -- real ones -- are powerful things. I think Hermione's reaction was a great way to bring home the gravity of the prophecy if she had been a little more reluctant to accept it as genuine. Once Harry and Ron are able to convince her that it's real, I like the way that it leaves her shaken.

The prophecy itself was awesome. I was speculating that it had something to do with Rose and the Lestranges, but you made it so much deeper. For one thing, it is somewhat ambiguous. I could see this going different ways. It was definitely ambiguous enough to give Stannous a very different interpretation from what I'm thinking. For another, it's about Rose's child, so it's like you have a built-in sequel. Yay!

The scene where Rose finds her determination not to let Stannous win was really well done. It had a few bumps, a few near setbacks, but in the end those only made her stronger. It was great to see the family rally around a new cause. I enjoyed the role that each character played, including James with his little bits of comic relief. Rose was simply awesome at the end, when she picks him to duel with. Scorpius's reaction also made perfect sense to me. He's too close to the situation and too emotional to be able to get a grip so quickly. I hope he comes around soon enough, like the others seem convinced that he will. I wouldn't want to go too long without coming back to the love story. ;)

I thought the scene back at Grimmauld Place had a really good balance to it. It was too early to throw Rose and Scorpius back into each other's arms and you gave them one, brief moment just to show that they're still able to communicate a bit and left it at that. It will do for now. Everyone is obviously upset with everyone else. You added some real depth to Albus's character in this chapter. The blow-out with Selenia and the fact he had to take her memories really hurt him. Not that I want to see him hurt, mind you, it was just very well written.

Ooh, the cloak! I wonder what sort of trouble Rose is going to get into with that? Or out of? Actually, I'd prefer out of to into.

I think I saw one lonely little typo in this chapter:

"Harry! Dad's alarmed voice broke the deafening silence and I jumped. -- You missed your closing quotation marks after "Harry!".

Great job!

Author's Response: Hiya Dan,

Just getting around to answering this - so sorry, but, as you said - the whole making "time" thing is a bit tricky.

*Breathes a sigh of relief* I'm so glad you liked this chapter. It is the crux of the story. I really wanted this story to be more than just a ScoRose (yeah, I said it) love story. I feel like the best stories have more than just a love story to guide it. I really wanted to show that Scorpius and Rose were connected on a deeper, magical level. But that can't happen without some other, deeper stuff going on!

So - I agree that something was off about the chapter. I read through it so many times and I ran through a bunch of scenarios. I was focused on Albus - I was'nt sure if his reaction was realistic. I also thought he might try to run home to Selenia the first chance he got. I settled on the way it was originally written because I thought he would stay for Rose's sake and be there for her, until he felt she was alright with everything. But I think you're on to something with Hermione. I'll have to look at it again. Hermione usually goes for skeptical first, but she was just informed that her daughter was missing...

Eeep! So glad you like the prophecy. Sequel? I actually hadn't thought of that. I'm still trying to muddle through this one!

Yay! Rose is standing up for herself - as she should. Harry and Ron really were treating her differently than their other cases. She is right on this one. She is of age, and has the right to make her own decisions.

Yeah - Scorp can't take this. Rose is his everything. And she knows that and understands enough to give him the space he needs, but is *finally* fighting for what she needs.

Albus is the epitome of Weasley passion first, ask questions later. Selenia is his true other half, but everyone crosses the line at some point. She can't let this go - yet.

Yeah the cloak - put that in your back pocket. It comes out later on :)

Off to fix my typo! Thanks so much for this awesome review!

♥ Beth

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Review #43, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Not Your Devy Anymore

1st November 2014:
Hi! I'm here for our swap!

Voldemort is starting to get really strange, and to be honest it's creeping me out a little. Saving Dubhán's books? Making a point of telling Dubhán that he saved them? It's like the Dark Lord's suddenly become sentimental, a character trait which fits him about as well as a bikini on a hippogriff. Then there was this:

"Thank you," he said, instead. Voldemort bowed his head in acknowledgement. -- That gesture is so difficult to imagine.

I see where Devlin's thought process is going in this chapter and it's genuinely terrifying. If Voldemort is starting to see him as Devlin rather than Dubhán, that's a very bad thing indeed.

It's a very strange state of affairs when Bellatrix Lestrange appears in a story and it actually serves to lessen the tension. Bravo for creating something truly unique.

"Harry Potter never changed me." Devlin would know, better than most boys, how to create the strongest lie. The strongest lie was always the truth. -- If I think about it, this statement is basically true. Devlin has always been the same person. What he shows to Voldemort -- or to Harry, for that matter -- is what he thinks they expect to see. Devlin, Dubhán and the sharpness -- the trinity of your story -- are pretty much always the same. It's just a matter of which one is most in control at any given moment.

Fate seemed to be pushing him toward the ground under the humble guise of gravity. -- I absolutely adored this line.

The ending scene, with the Auror Damian, was completely chilling. Once again, we see the absolute mercilessness of the Dark Lord. None are permitted to touch what is his. None are permitted to fail him. Death Eaters suffer just as the Aurors do if they forget this lesson, or if they simply can't avoid it.

I felt so sad for Devlin when it was all over. I don't think Emma could ever hate him, but I'm really worried about how he's going to feel about himself.

Looking ahead, I actually feel pretty sure that Voldemort is going to send Devlin back to Hogwarts. The Dark Lord has satisfied his curiosity. He and Devlin are still tangled up in his mind, perhaps more now than ever. He's confident that Harry hasn't changed Devlin. It seems likely to me that Voldemort would be interested in seeing Devlin continue to walk the same path that he walked. We'll see if I'm right.

I saw a few small typos while I was reading:

She face made it seem as though she might tear him to pieces, but her eyes were like they had always been... -- Her face

When he had been at camp, many people had called Voldemort Master or My Lord or sometimes even The Dark Lord, but it has been years since he has heard the reference. -- had been years since he had heard

"Were you aware that his Auror had previously come in contact with him?" -- that this Auror

Sigh. I want him to be Emma's Devy again. Maybe that door is closed now, but I hope he can open new ones. Thanks for the swap!

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Review #44, by CambAngstRainfall: King's Cross

22nd October 2014:
Hi, there! I saw your request for hugs today. Unfortunately, I don't know how to send those across the ocean. But I can do reviews, though. So I hope this is almost as good as a hug.

I really liked the way you wrote your opening chapter. You grounded the story in time just by way of a few details about Rose and Al leaving for school and being sorted. You didn't dump a whole load of back story on the reader, sticking to a few key points that are obviously very important to the story. I have a good sense of the people who are important in Hugo's life, but there's plenty left to discover as the story plays out. To me, that's really good pacing.

Hugo read completely natural and believable. He was age-appropriate and the uneven sort of way that he reacts to the various situations caused by his blindness -- from being very accepting in some cases to sort of immature in others -- felt perfectly natural for a 9-year-old boy. He's obviously made a lot of progress in life, but he's still struggling to figure certain things out. It obviously doesn't help that he's dealing with some challenging life issues. His older sister just left for school, so now he's effectively alone a lot of the time. Hermione seems to work an awful lot, which sounds about right for her.

Lily was like a ray of sunshine in this chapter. She's so attentive and thoughtful and it seems like she just gets Hugo. She understands what's helpful to him and she knows when to back off. I'm excited to see how their relationship develops.

All in all, this was a great start. I hope to get a chance to read more.

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Review #45, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: That Boy

19th October 2014:
Hi! Here for our swap!

Yes, That Boy. That boy who will have me feeling a certain level of anxiety every time I think of him until we find out what happens. That boy who's once again faced with a situation where every word, every reaction, indeed every thought could be a matter of life and death. Life is unfair.

First off, whew. I was glad to be correct about who Voldemort decided to kill. I guess it makes perfect sense, all things considered. Felix would be a loose end if he was allowed to live. Also, he was annoying.

"You should have let me do that," he said, knowing and not knowing, all at once, why he had. -- Perfect response. Devlin -- or I suppose I could say Dubhán -- manages to say something that helps to keep himself tangled up in Voldemort's head.

"I have always been convinced you were just like me," Voldemort said. "They try to change us - to ruin us, but we are superior to them." -- Breathing a big sigh of relief here. It worked! They are still tangled up. I loved the interplay between Devlin, Dubhán and the sharpness here. We hadn't seen that for a while.

Wow, I did not see Scorpius stepping up like this. I guess he's realized that he has no more value among the Death Eaters. His only hope at survival is to find value somewhere else. It was interesting to see how he and Maria manage to finally work together. Each of them brings certain pieces of knowledge to the conversation, and each of them has strengths and weaknesses.

"Do you honestly think Felix was the only one behind this? And don't you think they knew where you would go? To the nice kindly Dumbledore. That's a horrific idea. That is, unless you want to go back too, Ms. Watson?" -- Scorpius knows an awful lot. Not only about what's happened to Devlin, but also the things that happened to Maria. I'm pondering the possibility that he's also a plant. That the Dark Lord means for Devlin to be "rescued" and Scorpius is part of that plot, wittingly or unwittingly. For now, color me suspicious.

I love the way you set up the scene in Little Hangleton. It all fell into place as soon as I started to read.

Devlin wondered if this was how his own expressions appeared when he did not feel them genuinely. He looked side-long at Voldemort and he suddenly chuckled. "Our similarity is uncanny." -- Remember that line from the last chapter where Devlin is talking to McGonagall and he thinks that Voldemort has made him even better than Voldemort. This instantly made me think of that.

The conversation between Devlin and Voldemort as they approach the Riddle home was beautifully done. I could feel the tension in Devlin as he works to observe and memorize the reactions of the new, non-snake-looking Voldemort while doing and saying all the right things. And that last line about the Chamber of Secrets alluded to so much more to come.

I'm curious whether Voldemort realizes what it means to have Geoffrey being in the hands of his enemies. Actually, I'm guessing he does. One more thing that makes be believe there's a larger plan at work here.

I like the little bit of overlap you've been writing into each scene with Maria, Andrew and Scorpius. It's a neat narrative technique and it grounds each scene in time.

"He is an arrogant Auror with a brain the size of a pea. By whatever misfortunate miracle, he is also Head of his department and one of the most powerful Wizards of our time." -- That was handily my favorite line of the story so far.

I really like the way you wrote Scorpius in this scene, although it doesn't make me any less suspicious of him. It's certainly possible that he's unaware of his role in the Dark Lord's plan. See, now I'm completely convinced that this plan is a real thing.

Love the way that Devlin uses images of Emma to strengthen his resolve. It makes Devlin even more special in a way.

So Devlin has only six days worth of his cruciatus potion left. Somehow, I have the feeling that he's not meant to be with Voldemort for that long. I could be wrong, I suppose.

I could only find one typo while I was reading:

Instead, a look or anticipated terror had closed off his face. -- look of anticipated terror

Awesome job! I can't wait to see how this all plays out!

Author's Response: Did you think he'd ever be that boy again? It was such a struggle getting into that boys head again. A while back in the first book I really had to tell myself to forget I knew he'd eventually return to Voldemort, because I found it hard to get into the mindset of Devlin. Just when I truly had stopped struggling to write Devlin, he's returned to Voldemort, and here I was/am, struggling to get back into "that boy's" head. :)

Felix had to die. Left alive, I just didn't feel the shift as much. Voldemort doesn't keep people alive. Felix was just a means to an end. And yeah, he was also annoying. Voldemort and I sorta semi-agreed on the decision.

I can't tell you much about Scorpius, but there are equal reasons for him to try and impress Voldemort as there are for him to decide to seize the opportunity to become valuable to Harry Potter. Right now, he's pretty worthless to both parties, which isn't a good place to be for a pureblood boy.

For fairness, Maria's kidnapping was widely publicized, as well as her return. I imagine an Auror's daughter managing to escape and then be rescued by the Aurors (which some creative tracking methods if you recall) would have made headlines. It's just the sort of story people cling to in times of war.

"that last line about the Chamber of Secrets alluded to so much more to come." - actually, I wonder if you remember the little tidbit in the Ministry in the final chapter of Riddle and Rescue. Of the SOMETHING in Harry that Devlin recognized. If Devlin could just have some time to think, he might actually be able to put something together, here. ;-)

If Voldemort even knows he is still alive. What worth does Geoffrey have to Potter that Voldemort would understand? He has absolutely no worth to Harry, and frankly, without his tie to Devlin, Harry may have simply thrown him into the hands of the Ministry to be imprisoned or executed.

Scorpius' future is on a need-to-know basis, right now. ;-)

You underestimate my meanness. I decided if I had to reshape my plot to avoid physical violence to Devlin, then I would have to turn it all into something more psychological. Six days is his countdown. Don't mistake it for your own. :D

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Review #46, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Kidnapping Convergence

18th October 2014:
Hi! I'm here for our swap.

I really love the fact that Devlin's taking the bull by the horns when it comes to his lycanthropy. Granted, it's a different day and age from when the marauders started school, but part of me thinks about how differently things could have turned our for Remus if he'd chosen this approach. The way that Devlin reveals himself to his fellow was pretty awesome.

Three weeks into school, on the cusp of a new month, he started to finally wonder if perhaps Grandfather had lost interest in him beyond what information he must receive from Green and the older Slytherins. -- Sigh. That would be nice, but I can't really see fortune smiling on Devlin like that.

Wow, speaking of Remus, he sort of puts Devlin on display here. Seems like Devlin is up to the task, as well. I was a little surprised how Devlin allowed himself to excel, given how he's tried to conceal his skills from McGonagall and the rest of the school. Then again, McGonagall wasn't asking him to attack or defend himself. I imagine there's also a bit of werewolf interplay going on between Devlin and Remus. Dominance displays and such. I loved the feelings it inspires in Devlin when he realizes that Harry never betrayed his deepest secrets, not even to Remus.

One thing I wanted to mention about the first scene with Will is that it took me a couple of readings to figure out who was who. It wasn't clear at first that the Slytherin boy Will is pinning to the wall was different from the first-year that the Slytherin boy had been bullying. Maybe a bit of clarification up front would make it easier to follow.

That said, I loved the idea behind the scene. Will and Devlin reach something of an understanding in their mutual defense of the poor boy that Voldemort nearly killed to make a point. Then Devlin extends the ultimate olive branch, a chance for Will to learn how his father truly died. As Snape said: Devlin was playing a dangerous game. -- Incredibly dangerous, but Devlin seems to understand the idea of nothing ventured, nothing gained.

"There are lots of things in life that no one asks your permission for," Devlin said. The boy shivered next to him. Will looked at them both. -- Amen to that.

It seems like Devlin has grown tired of playing dumb for McGonagall's benefit. Not that it benefited him all that much in the first place, apparently. I love the way you chose to write McGonagall here. She isn't at all surprised that Devlin's been sandbagging his attempts at Transfiguration; it doesn't even come up. She can see all of the telltale signs of a Potter boy planning something, as well as the ghost of a young Tom Riddle. While reading this, I had never quite put it together in my head that she would be very likely to see things in Devlin that remind her of her former schoolmate. The whole conversation between the two of them is awesome, especially Devlin's explanation.

Sometimes, without even knowing it, he had made Devlin better than himself. -- Every so often, you write a chapter that's filled with deep, philosophical truths. This is definitely one of those.

Wow! I forgot that another of Voldemort's contemporaries continues to live inside Hogwarts Castle. That was an awesome catch with Myrtle's reaction to Devlin.

Even when he's about to be taken back to Voldemort, Devlin's first thought is of Maria's safety. "Shhh," he said, shaking his head. "Don't scream, Maria. Don't scream." I don't think I can mention this often enough: I love the two of them together. I really hope that she goes to someone for help.

The scene after Felix delivers Devlin to Voldemort was intense. I love the way you wove so much psychology into it. Devlin is completely tuned in to what Voldemort expects him to be, what Voldemort wants him to be, what Voldemort values. Devlin puts Felix immediately in his place, asserting his own worth and power. For that reason, I'm pretty sure that the Killing Curse at the end of the chapter is directed toward Felix. I guess I'll find out soon. All of the little mind games with Voldemort, like calling Devlin by his birth name, ratcheted up the tension. I am so excited to see what comes next. Fortunately, your new chapter just validated, so I don't have to wait. :)

One typo I noticed:

Just as she was a woman who knew mistakes could not be undone but only acknowledge, he was a boy who knew righteous anger was not the answer and that conflict did not usually achieve what one wanted. -- acknowledged

Awesome job!

Author's Response: With Devlin, I think it ends up being clear to him that it is the ONLY way to deal with it. As he says, everyone else saw the bite and really - I bet a bunch of those boys already knew anyways. Devlin did not want it used against him.

Working backwards in my reviews is always a bit strange, but also fun. Obviously, you knew better than Devlin - Voldemort is still interested.

I don't think Remus was really thinking in that moment. Devlin clearly wasn't 'listening' and he did his typical teacher move -make the distracted kid prove he was listening by preforming the task-. I think Remus had a moment of dawning realization and afterwards probably didn't see how he could have made the mistake.

--One thing I wanted to mention about the first scene with Will is that it took me a couple of readings to figure out who was who.-- I re-read the scene and can see what you mean. I'll make an effort to fix that!

I'm glad you liked the conversation between McGonagall and Devlin and that it read realistically.

The ending scene was tense to write, as well, so I am glad it all read well.

Thanks for the review, Dan!

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Review #47, by CambAngstWe Lived: We Lived

16th October 2014:

Slash isn't always my cup of tea, but I really like the concept of Albus and Elphias being lovers. It helps to tie together a number of small things that JKR wrote into Deathly Hallows. Even though she's human as the rest of us and probably frequently adds certain things to her writing "just because it sounded good", I like to convince myself that every little detail and nuance has a purpose. It's a fun bit of self-deception, one that makes for the most interesting discussions.

Albus was carefree in those days. Sixteen years old... -- Isn't it fun to imagine Dumbledore like this? I love the image of him as a brilliant, cocky young man who has yet to be worn down by the demons that follow him through his later years. He's such a tragic character in the books. It's so easy to forget that he was young and ambitious once.

It's really interesting to imagine what might have happened if Elphias had decided to abandon the Great Tour and remain behind with Albus. Granted, he was not an intellectual "equal" to Albus, but he seems to have held more sway over his friend than anyone else. Would he have been able to help Albus see Grindelwald for what he was before it was too late? Could he have saved a love-struck young Albus from giving in to his less noble ideals? In many ways, it seems like Elphias made things worse instead of better. Tormenting his friend with tales of the lavish, glamorous travels that Albus was unable to take part in. I missed Albus. With every fibre of my being, I missed Albus. -- Elphias seems almost passive-aggressive in a way, bragging to his home-bound friend while missing him dearly.

The details of Elphias's later life were sad. As sad, in their own way, as the particulars of Dumbledore's younger years. You've built a lot of kinship between these two. It's no wonder that they remained close. But my own anxiety, my fear of inadequacy, my broken heart, prevented me from thinking it could ever develop into something more. -- This was probably the saddest part of all. Elphias allowing his own self-doubt to close a door that he had never even properly tried to open.

I knew to let him keep his secrets. -- This one line was so powerful and deep. It shows an understanding of Dumbledore beyond nearly anything else in the story.

This was a lovely piece, my friend. The best kind of slash, in one person's humble opinion, is the sort that tells a story so compelling and relatable that the genders of the characters are almost an after-thought. This story is the epitome of that. Great job!

Author's Response: Hello!

So I'm pretty sure that *something* between Elphias and Dumbledore is just unspoken canon! My mom read Doge's eulogy as having been written by a woman, and almost wouldn't believe me that it was a male character. Then I explained that Dumbledore was gay, and she was like "AHA." Plus, that whole scene with Harry and Doge at the wedding almost explicitly references it!

As for Rowling's intentions, I actually think you're pretty safe assuming things are there on purpose. She cut thousands of words from every draft, and hacked out whole sections, so anything that remains is likely important :)

Yeah, it was super interesting for me to reverse engineer them into young men. And yeah, to have Doge really kind of behave in an immature way. He admitted in his obituary that his letters were probably careless or cruel, in retrospect, so I was super interested in fleshing out what that meant. I figured "jealousy" was the most likely motivator, given the events.

Yeah, I went SUPER sad with the Omar Shafiq thing. We got told, in canon, how everyone's greatest fear was coming home to find the Mark - so I really wanted to use that in this story. And then, for Elphias/Dumbledore, I was kind of inspired by "My Antonia" (which is as close to a perfect book as anything that exists), and how that bittersweet love ultimately transcends the physical. It was hard, for me, not to give Elphias and Dumbledore a "happily ever after," but canon wouldn't allow it. The whole point of Dumbledore is that he still believes in love, in spite of everything.

The keeping secrets thing was also kind of a handy way to avoid opening that can of worms - but yeah, that's an element of Dumbledore that Harry only understood later, so I liked the idea that someone else might already know it.

I'm so glad you liked it! This was my first foray into slash, and if I had a OTP, it would be this one :)

Thank you so much for the swap!

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Review #48, by CambAngstGravel on the Ground: As the Days Go By: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

16th October 2014:
Hi, farmgirl!

I love the air of mystery these chapters have. Or maybe "mystery" isn't the right word. More like "unfamiliarity", perhaps. It's not that I don't recognize the characters, but the situations are completely unfamiliar and I find my brain spinning to try to figure out where they fit into the broader narrative of Gravel on the Ground.

The first section is pretty obvious, I guess. It's well established in GotG that Sadie's father was a good friend of Arthur Weasley. It was neat to see how it happened, though.

The second section was much more interesting. It immediately had me wondering how much Charlie's sister and mother might have had to do with the terrible fate that befell his family. What was it that drove such a divide between mother and daughter? It could have been something completely pedestrian, or it could have been something more.

I really enjoy reading these little asides and I'm looking forward to seeing how they all tie into the whole!

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Review #49, by CambAngstGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 9

16th October 2014:
Hi, farmgirl! I meant to review this yesterday, but better late than never, I suppose. Also, you get to wake up to my reviews two days in a row. :)

There was something about seeing Mrs. Weasley doing a simple task like laundry that I really liked. Ugh, what's the word I'm looking for? Maybe "settling". I think small, mundane details like laundry and cooking and cleaning take a story with some very big mysteries and characters who've suffered some awful tragedies and make it all feel grounded in reality. I know it's kind of a big leap. "Yes! She's doing laundry! This story could have happened in real life..." But I hope you know what I mean. It's not all devious plots and powerful spells and good vs. evil, sometimes people have to stop and wash their clothes.

I really like the way you wrote Harry in this chapter. He isn't stealing the spotlight from Sadie at all, but his presence has an effect on everyone involved. She finds him comforting, in a way. A reminder that she still has some roots in the life that was torn away from her. Harry seems to remind Mrs. Weasley that places like Diagon Alley are special, and it helps her to see the trip as more than just an opportunity for Fred and George to get into trouble. As someone who has twin boys, I can emphatically state that it's very easy to obsess over the possibilities of your kids causing mayhem to the point that you forget about how neat something might be.

Ha! I love the show that Fred puts on for the room. One of my favorite things about how you write Fred and George is that while their methods may be devious, their intentions always seem pure. Mostly, anyway. They love to make people laugh. Even Mrs. Weasley can't completely keep herself from enjoying the spectacle. Then there was this line: Laughing silently, Sadie found the whole thing very amusing and, strangely enough, a bit comforting – to be surrounded by a real family once more – a completely normal (if not slightly insane) family. She's come a long way from the feral girl living on the streets of New York.

What was wrong with a truck or a nice, stable subway train? -- Wow. The floo must be really horrible if it makes a subway train seem stable.

"You know, when you put it like that, I guess we do have a pet." Fred straightened up and grinned. "We have Ron." -- Awesome!

I loved the scene inside Flourish and Blotts. Sadie has found her element, it seems. And Fred and George are obviously starting to collect the tools needed to craft their pranking empire. The little knocks on Hermione and Percy cracked me up.

Gamble and Japes proved to be a huge success. The guarded, ever-wary look that had haunted Sadie since the moment she arrived at his house finally slid completely away, replaced as they wandered the well-stocked shelves with a wonderful yet totally silent laugh. -- Heart-warming. She fits in so well with the two of them.

One of the formative moments of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Excuse me while I brush away a sentimental tear. I love that you included this scene.

I noticed a couple of small typos as I was reading:

Clutching her glasses tightly with one hand and clinging to Fred’s arm with the other, Sadie gritted her teeth as she was jostled and bumped like a lose marble in a shaken can. -- "loose marble"

They immerged fifteen minutes later with bulging pockets, Sadie's faltering smile firmly back in place, and Fred silently praising Bill and his timely loan of cash that morning. -- "They emerged" I think is what you meant to say. I looked up "immerge" and it's a real word, but it means the same thing as "submerge".

I enjoyed this so much! I suppose the next thing would be for Arthur to take Sadie wand shopping. I'm really interested to see how that goes. I also hope we get to see Sadie interacting more with Harry soon. I'm dying to find out how these two orphaned cousins relate to one another. Great job!

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Review #50, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bedlam: Scorpius and Rose POV

15th October 2014:
Hi, Beth! I'm afraid I couldn't be the first reviewer this time, but top 3 isn't so bad. ;)

First off, I'm going to allow myself a small pat on the back for guessing right about Rose's destination. **pat, pat** I'm also going to breathe a small sigh of relief that it wasn't someplace like Stannous's oceanside condo. I don't think I could have handled that revelation.

I see it didn't take Hermione long at all to piece things together from Scorpius's question. Interesting that Ron was the one to make the connection and figure out where Rose went. It makes an odd kind of sense. Ron obviously has a lot of experience dealing with the women in his family.

"I really need to see if she's all right," I didn't even try to hide the tears brewing in my eyes. "If she wants me to leave, I will, but I... have to see for myself." -- The boy is head over heels, isn't he? At the moment it's debatable whether he's deeper in love or in trouble, but I'm guessing that love will soon win out.

If you have to flee your own personal Azkaban, wouldn't it be best to go to the Head Auror's house? -- Well, best and also safest. Even when she's being irrational to a fault, Rose seems to make good choices. She's solid like that.

I know I've given you a spot of grief about Harry in some of your earlier chapters, but in this one I thought he was pitch perfect. He's fatherly, but not to the extent where it feels smothering. I'm confident Ron would have smothered Rose. Harry seems no less caring, but he's also understanding. He's ready to be forthcoming with her, even though he knows that what he's going to reveal will be difficult for Rose. It's plain that he doesn't love her any less, but he's treating her like an adult. Honestly, the Weasley family could use more of that.

Looks of relief poured over my friends and family, but I was still too angry to even acknowledge them. -- Yep, she's a Weasley.

From there on out, the conversation degrades into a melee. I loved the way you wrote the different sides of the argument. I do sort of wish that you hadn't written it as such a clean-cut male-female disagreement (Dominique aside), but I could see how the points of view were lining up. Ginny seemed ready to take on everyone (Ron, Albus and to a lesser extent Harry) on Rose's behalf.

Mum was yelling at Dad, Dad was yelling at Aunt Ginny, who was yelling at Al. Selenia was trying to catch her breath. Dom was arguing with Fred and James, who were getting more demanding by the second. Jax was trying to calm down his girlfriend. -- Marvelous. It's a full-blown Weasley family throwdown. The hexes were definitely about to fly before Harry intervened.

Ooh, another cliff-hanger. Something is definitely up. So, if I'm right about Stannous being tied into the Lestranges somehow, I'm bubbling over with speculation about what this prophecy is going to say. I'm guessing there will be some parallel drawn between the mother and the daughter. Perhaps Rose is the one destined to rid the world of the scourge of the Lestranges? My mind is spinning at an alarming rate here.

No typos in this chapter! Excellent job. Can't wait for the next one!

Author's Response: Hey Dan!

Yes. You get a pat on the back for that. Nice job (totally not patronizing you or anything - haha). I seriously can NOT read your reviews while at work, because outbursts of laughter are too hard to explain, especially when I'm blurting out words like "oceanside condo..."

Yeah, Hermione is a quick one - and Ron. Well, I'm not exactly one of those writers who has an entire vault dedicated to each character's motivation and back story - unless you count all of the thoughts that bounce around in my head.. BUT in my version of events, Ron is well, not very good with fully understanding his daughter, or effectively portraying his emotions to her. I think it's because he just wants to protect her so much, his first inclination is to conjure a giant bubble around her and follow behind it forever. That being said, he KNOWS that Harry will always have Rose's best interest and so understands that she feels less oppressed by him. However, that doesn't mean he's not going to stand up to Harry, should the occasion arise...

As for Scorpius, he's just a lost soul at this point. He *can't* have anything happen to Rose. It puts a bit of a blinder on him.

Rose's reason for going to Harry's house was more to plead her case, than a carefully thought out plan. She's just justifying it to herself.

*Exhales giant sigh of relief* You approve of Harry! It's easy for him to be a bit more understanding, as Rose isn't his daughter and he *does* love her so much, but is at least willing to see the big picture. I think Harry knows that Rose could, being of legal age, choose to say - "Forget all of this" (trying to keep this 12+) "I'm gonna take off on my own - see-ya!"

I'm glad the giant all-around argument came off alright. That was not easy to write. I actually completely forgot a character and had to go back and put in some more actions/dialogue to compensate. I wasn't really intending to make it sound like it was men vs. women, it just seemed that way to Rose. I should look at that part again.

So... about Stannous. You're right, but not right. I know that makes no sense. BUT much will be revealed in the next chapter and I hope, hope, *hope* that you will be less disappointed and more surprised and shouting at the computer screen, or whatever. ♥

Thanks again Dan, for everything!


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