Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
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Review #51, by CambAngstHarry Potter and the First Mission: Reconstruction and Funeral

22nd August 2015:
Hi, Kenny! Moving along with my quest.

GryCReMo (Review #24)

You're doing a good job with picking up the stories of some characters that others rarely think about when they set a story in this period of time. I had to check and remind myself that Buckbeak was explicitly written into the Battle of Hogwarts. He seems none the worse for wear here and I love the image of Harry flying over the castle grounds on his back the way that they flew during PoA.

The funeral scene was very moving. All of the individual tributes to Fred and the sadness and tears of the mourners came through strongly in your writing.

Harry's laments for Tonks and Lupin and the obvious gratitude he feels were touching. I hope we get to see him spending a lot of time with little Teddy as the story progresses.

So many funerals, so much sadness! You handled it all with a quiet sort of dignity and resolve that I think was appropriate for people who've suffered so much loss but understand the greater purpose in the sacrifices made.

I like the idea of Harry, Ron, Ginny and the others helping to repair the castle. And I'm glad that Hermione found her parents right away. All in all, a very satisfying resolution to the various plot threads.

It seems like the plot should really kick into gear once Harry and Ron start their training. I'm looking forward to it.

Good job!

-Dan

Author's Response: Hi, Dan. Thank you for choosing this for GRYReMo.

I'm glad you noticed Buckbeak, not many people realise Buckbeak fought together at the Battle of Hogwarts. My favorite HP movie scene was flying Buckbeak and Harry so I'd like to write about them again.

About the funeral scene, the episode was based on my experience in RL, so yeah, many reviewers said so.

Talking of the latter scene, I wanted make it brighter, for the first half is so heavy. So I added their conversation around Reconstruction and Harmione's trip to Australia to retrieve her parents back.

The reason why I started writing here was just because I wanted to tell Auror's story to my son. So if you keep reading, I really appreciate it.

Kenny


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Review #52, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Exceptions

21st August 2015:
Hi, Tori! The timing of your swap was so fortunate. I was having a hard time finding motivation to bang out some reviews tonight for the Gryffindor Review NaNo and you gave me a reason to get in gear. Please pardon me for a moment while I keep score:

GryCReMo (Review #23)

I think Devlin on Calming Draught is my favorite thing you've come up with in a long time. It's a little like he's drunk, only more age-appropriate. So many things that he would never normally divulge are making their way into Snape's waiting ears. Also into the minds of your eager readers.

"I torture myself a lot, too," he said and he could feel Snape's narrowed eyes on the back of his head. -- OK, this wasn't really new information, per se, but I think it's good that Devlin actually acknowledges it at some level.

Such unnecessary knowledge you have placed in a man you mean to dominate,his wolf growled. He felt a thrill up his spine that he always got when their minds worked together; the wolf pulling from his vocabulary, his brain pulling from the wolf's perspective to understand what he meant. He always felt most alive when he was that boyish wolf. -- I love this passage! I love Devlin in general in this chapter, but I really love the psychology of this line and the joy that Devlin sometimes finds in his duality. Such a different take on lycanthropy compared to Remus. Then again, Remus never saw his wolf as anything other than a dangerous, savage parasite.

"I like you. Just shut up and think before you get yourself hurt, Andrew." -- It's always interesting to see the things that count as acts of kindness in Slytherin House. I think Devlin does genuinely like Andrew.

"Let us just consider it a curiosity of mine, and a payment of yours." -- I'm fascinated to see what Snape discovers about this new potion. If someone is trying to poison Devlin, then they're playing a dangerous game on a level that not even Devlin has contemplated. Killing the Dark Lord's favorite toy would have to lead to a most horrific death.

It's always fascinating to see Devlin's interpretations of other people, what he makes of them. Since Voldemort is the yardstick that he uses to measure people in most instances, it's kind of ironic that this half-blood prefect is someone who seems to fair pretty well by that standard.

When Devlin talks with Dumbledore it's a close second to his conversations with Snape in terms of how interesting it can be. Both of them are masters of the art of keeping their own secrets and the art of teasing out the secrets of others. I liked the extra effort that Devlin puts into trying to appear and act "normal" in front of Dumbledore. Even with Devlin's considerable skills, it seems that Dumbledore is able to wrest the upper hand away from him. The dueling club is certainly an interested idea. I sort of agree with Devlin on this one. Seems like there's an above-average chance that someone who isn't Devlin might get hurt. Although it's also possible that Devlin will choose not to put the full array of his skills on display. That would be giving away a lot.

The scene with Harry watching Devlin on the Marauder's Map was warm and touching. Since the horcrux hunt in the tent presumably never happened in your world, this is a pretty close substitute.

You did a great job with the dueling club scene. You paced it really well so that everything built up to the grand finale. And I'm obviously not talking about the duel, although that was nicely done, as well. Devlin was holding back, which I would have expected from him. But when it came to the moment where he had to make the most important choice, he makes the choice that he knows Voldemort will approve of. Even though that choice will only serve to make his life harder, he believes it will keep him alive. So there's really no choice for him.

I saw a couple of things that I think were typos:

Half the time, when people called him Mr. Potter, his reflex turn was simply because he associated it with Harry. -- "his reflex was to turn"?

Last night he had slept, dreamlessly, in what must have been months. -- "for the first time in what must have been"?

Great job! Thanks for the swap.

Author's Response: Hello! I am TRYING to respond to all my reviews. O.o

I enjoy writing him on calming draughts. If you recall he had one during his initial stay with Harry - it tasted like cherries. I also really enjoyed his wolf here, and thought it showcased well how his wolf might have helped him with Voldemort as a child - no matter what they had him drugged on, or spelled, obligated or confounded (all things I can realistically see Voldemort using), his wolf would have remained impervious to such things and therefore been the most logical and informed part of Devlin's brain.

It is definitely odd writing Slytherin's. They have to remain true to age/experience, but also have this underlying personality that makes them see the world as something to manipulate and be manipulated by. Niceness is therefore almost an awkward affair in which someone is always sticking their neck out and acknowledging that they're risking themselves, because that is how they see the world.

I imagine Snape is fascinated too - a form of potion making he's never seen before. I was just watching a marathon of House M.D. and thinking that Snape is probably a lot like House in terms of potions and puzzles. I'm sure he's wondering equally about the potions brewing process as he is wondering who is behind the potion itself.

Devlin has said before that sometimes Voldemort made him better without even knowing it. I think Voldemort (and his environment) probably taught Devlin that blood means very little when one is worried about how much someone can hurt you physically or socially. Someone who can take it all, is probably someone who can dish it out as well, and I think Devlin probably knows that better than most.

"I sort of agree with Devlin on this one. Seems like there's an above-average chance that someone who isn't Devlin might get hurt." I like how you put that. LOL. I think Dumbledore is doing two things: to Devlin he is extending a level of trust, and also illustrating that he doesn't always need to consult Harry (and therefore, couldn't Devlin tell him things that he wouldn't NEED to pass along to Harry?). But also, I see this as a jab at Voldemort himself.

I'm glad I did well with the dueling scene. I really struggled with it!


Thanks for the awesome review, Dan!










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Review #53, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 20. Tenderized Hearts

19th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! Onward for another chapter!

GryCReMo (Review #22)

Yes, Wren, yes! For once, Bunny's fright should be bothering you. Talk about not being in touch with your instincts. If she tripped over a black cat and fell into a mirror, she'd probably run right out and buy some lottery tickets.

I really liked her creepy journey through the castle. Great mood material.

I am officially creeped out that Summers has a magazine article about Albus and his family. Probably not as creeped out as Albus, but creeped out nevertheless.

The confrontation in the kitchen is still really driving a wedge between the two of them, isn't it? Good thing they're teenagers. Shouldn't take very long to forget it ever happened.

Good job keeping the demon bunnies creepy. Beady eyes, fangs... they're the real deal.

Finally! Wren's being honest with somebody about what's been happening. And quite fortunate that Albus happened to be the one. There is hope for these two yet.

So, um... I couldn't help but notice that Summers is messing with the castle doors. A bit of foreshadowing, if I'm guessing correctly? Dillon is on his way.

And just as they're about to have A Moment, Albus faints. I have a bunch of different conflicting thoughts about the rabbit bite and his anti-hex arm bands. Even though they're preventing the healing spells from working properly, it's also possible that the arm bands are preventing the rabbit bite from causing greater harm. Or preventing the harm from spreading. Maybe if Dumbledore had been wearing anti-hex arm bands when he tried to use the ring horcrux, his hand would have fallen off and that would have been the end of it. Maybe I'm just rambling.

As the nurse rolled the gurney into position, Wren called out, "Take his pants off! Check all over!" -- Nice try, Wren. But Pomfrey was on to you. ;)

The old librarian’s eyes reminded her of the baby rabbit monsters, dark and empty. -- So why, oh why, did you just leave Albus alone with the two of them??? Think, girl, THINK!

I don't know whether you'd call this a typo, but it read strangely:

Summers led them down an unfamiliar staircase that veered off to the right of the Potions Wing. It veered off to the right. -- That's a lot of veering.

I'm enjoying catching up on all of these chapter that I haven't seen since I beta read them. Back again soon!

Author's Response:

Hi Dan!

Onward it is! Poor Wren doesn't know which way is up anymore. She's just trying to keep one foot in front of the other at times.

Yeah, Summers might have too much time on his hands if he's reading those kinds of magazines.

LOL! Hopefully, they'll forget this whole story ever happened one day. It'd be like mass amnesia. "Tell us about your sixth year." "Erm... did we even have a sixth year? I think it started after Christmas."

Yep. Real. And Creepy. Just the way I like them.

Very fortunate that Albus was there at the right time finally. Small, minuscule steps. And ahh, the castle doors. You weren't supposed to see that bit... shhh!

It could have been a life saver, those arm bands, but they weren't invented yet, so alas, we lost Dumbledore. But really, I'm not too up on my hex band theory so I'm not sure if they actually work that way against ring horcruxes or not. Better take it up with McGonagall if you want a definitive answer on that one.

Yesh. Pomfrey has been hearing those lines for YEARS, I'm sure.

Hey, stop yelling at Wren. She's already having a hard enough time of it. It's not entirely her fault that she's hooked up on Bunny's mind meld and can't think straight.

Took care of that veering thing. Thanks. Didn't want any future readers to get vertigo when they go down those stairs.

Ah, it has been a little while, hasn't it? But then you do catch all the important stuff.

I'm enjoying these reviews! Thanks so much!

Pix


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Review #54, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 19. Hearty Heart Heart

18th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! Another evening, another review. Slowly counting up...

GryCReMo (Review #21)

Nothing can ever happen easily for Albus and Wren, can it. They have a nice little double-lunch-date planned, and, WHAM! Scorpius goads Rose into going upside his head. I like the approach you've taken to Scorpius trying to worm his way into Rose's heart. Brainy girl, goofy guy... the combination definitely works. Neither one of them know quite how to dial it back, however.

OK, the whole conversation about vampire right was like adding insult to injury. How can these kids be so oblivious? It's like the year when Snape dedicated every DADA class that he substituted for to teaching the kids about werewolves. Sorry, forgot to put "teaching" in finger quotes. But my point stands.

I do hope that McGonagall gives Summers a good once-over. Perhaps a magical decontamination of some sort. At the very least some sort of admonishment for sleeping during class. This chapter did leave me very curious as to what she and Neville might be up to in parallel to the main plot arc.

So McGonagall finally got rid of the old fruit bowl painting at the door to the kitchens. About time. It seemed like everyone knew about that pear.

The world is moving way too fast for poor Albus. Consequently, he throws yet another monkey wrench into the works between himself and Wren. I get where he's coming from, but dude, you gotta be a little more sensitive. Or sensitive at all, for that matter.

Rose finally came clean about being smitten with Scorpius. And all it took was assaulting him in a fit of frustration. It would have been nice to see Wren take some ideas away from that confession, but unfortunately she's too busy receiving telepathic warnings from her demon bunny. Man, that rabbit has lousy timing!

This chapter was a nice, bite-sized break to the pace you've been on for the past few. I liked that. It gave me a chance to mentally relax for a bit before what I'm sure will be an action-packed next few chapters. Until next time!

Author's Response:

Hey Dan! You're doing great with that count. Probably better than me.

You're right. Scorpius and Rose are both intensely... intense about things. One or both of them are going to have to calm down or nothing's going to get done. It was fun to play with, even though it's frustrating for everyone involved.

JUST like the werewolf thing. Just like it. Let's wave everything in front of everyone's noses until someone wakes up. Ahh, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

LOL! I loved the fruit bowl, but it seemed so outdated. There's got to be some kind of portrait rotation or those portrait people are going to go crazy from boredom. That, and the house elves would never get a moment's rest.

Summers needs a good reprimand, I agree. Not sure how much of one he's going to get, or if his incident would make it into his file or not. Hmm...

Let's just say that Albus is about as frustrated as you are at this point, but he has no idea how to channel that frustration into anything more constructive than digestion.

I'm kind of proud of how that whole Rose admission thing came out. She might hate me for it, but I can live with that. As for Wren... well... umm...

Thanks for coming back again! Sometimes we all need to step back and breathe. I'm glad it was well-placed for you.

Pix



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Review #55, by CambAngstLying Josephine: Eye of the Storm

17th August 2015:
Hello, again, Tanya! Guess what? I found some extra time! So congratulations, you're now at 200 reviews! Whee!

GryCReMo (Review #20)

Wow, what a kick in the feels! You managed to pack a massive amount of emotion into one chapter, and you did it without sacrificing anything about the way you write your main character. You never give in and have her scream and yell and spill out all of her roiling emotions. Yet she manages to express so much without saying anything at all. It takes a crazy amount of talent to do what you're doing here.

I absolutely love the way you wrote Fred's "confession" to Josephine. The two of them balance each other out so brilliantly. She speaks a word or two at a time and he's infected with permanent verbal diarrhea. I should state for the record that he's extremely lucky that Angelina didn't fling him off of a tall building for that little stunt with the teddy bear. But it's such a Fred thing to do. The twins are pretty tone deaf when it comes to the possibility -- nee likelihood -- that other people won't find their pranks all that amusing. I love the fact that Angelina is able to frustrate Fred so. For starters, I think he needs some of that in his life. Someone he finds as infuriating as other people might find him. It's very humanizing.

Before I get into the heavy material in the second scene, I have to say how much I LOVED the mis-transcriptions you created for the Quick Quotes Quill. Those were hilarious! Especially the long array of poo-related ones.

Both George and Josephine go through a lot of stages of grief in this. Starting from George's accidental near-mention of Fred's role as Chief Supply Orderer, the conversation spirals into a lot of dark, difficult territory. I love the fact that you weren't afraid to explore some of George's less logical reactions. The fact that he's still angry at anything and anyone that might have done something different to prevent Fred's death. And Josephine's reactions to his emotions are spot on, even if she can't find the words for them. To wit:

It's okay to miss him. You're allowed to miss him. You're allowed to be sad, to be angry, to break snow globes; to be anything you need to be because you miss him. I miss him, too. You are not alone. I love you.

No, not that one.


Oh, you know I wasn't leaving out those last four words. ;)

George's thoughts on his mother rang perfectly true to me. She's hurting every bit as much as he is. So much so that she can't see how her grief is spilling over onto him. It isn't anyone's fault, per se, but it's clear why George would want some space.

The moment the door clicks shut behind him my head falls heavy into my hands, and I, as quietly as can be managed, fall apart. -- A perfect ending line to this heavy, emotional chapter.

Beautiful job and congratulations on reaching the 200 review mark. It's very well deserved for this amazing story!

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Review #56, by CambAngstLying Josephine: Breakable Girls and Boys

17th August 2015:
Taaahhhnnn---yyyaaa! I heard you were close to 200 reviews on this story AND I'm makig my way through GryCReMo. Such fortuitous timing! Please allow me to take a moment for my own scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #18)

Fred is a special kind of annoying. And Josephine is a special kind of stubborn. I don't want either one of those statements to come off as cheap and flip. Fred is literally impossible to ignore if he's decided that he wants your attention. And Josephine has that special type of stubbornness born out of a paralyzing fear of doing or saying something if it might be the wrong thing. We're in "irresistible force vs. immovable object" territory here. It's nice to see that irresistible force won.

The snow globe was such a cool idea! Honestly, it was cool enough for me before it started talking. That was like extra decoration on a cake that was already iced.

Utter, utter git. -- But it works, because the git gets the girl. Ha! I slay me.

And then we move on to the sad half of the chapter. :-|

You did a really great job of writing it with an awkward, claustrophobic feel, like the world was collapsing around Josephine and George and -- at least from her point of view -- everyone else in the shop. It seemed painful for both of them. When George throws in the towel at closing time, it's pretty obvious that he's done enough "recovering" for one day.

Fred's voice in her mind, urging her on to try to help George recover, was a good plot device. It really doesn't matter whether it's real or just in her head. (Obligatory: why should that make it any less real?) The imperative is there to try to ease George's pain.

I really love the way you paced the scene in the back room of the store. I have to imagine that you're always tempted to have Josephine move a little faster, to have her step a bit out of character and rush to George's side. But you resist the urge and keep her true to form and I really appreciate that.

Your writing was beautiful in this. I couldn't see a thing wrong with it. In fact, from now on, if I don't say otherwise, just assume your writing was brilliant. ;)

Great job! I shall return soon, but probably not soon enough to keep someone else from scooping review #200. :-/

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Review #57, by CambAngstSweet Sorrow: Only A Memory

16th August 2015:
Hi, Alishya! I am deep in the throes of progress (or something like it) on my attempt at GryCReMo. I wanted to start by reviewing stories from all of the authors who sighed up for the challenge. Pardon me for a moment so I can keep track of where I am...

GryCReMo (Review #17)

I think I worked out the piece of James that Lily is missing at the start of the story. We'll have to see whether I'm right or not.

I loved all of the imagery and childhood memories you evoked in this. Their relationship was such a long time coming, and such an improbable thing by most accounts. It started off on the wrong foot and proceeded to get much worse before it got any better.

Like the first day of school, your certainty radiates. You're certain I'll be a part of your life after Hogwarts. I didn't believe you, but your assurance created doubts. -- I really like what this says about James Potter's story. If someone believes something strongly enough, it can come true no matter how much others may doubt it.

Our journey ends when the eyes I'm staring into are only my own. -- I'm not sure whether you meant staring into Harry's eyes generally or staring into them in her final moments, but either way it's a poignant image.

I think I noticed one small typo as I was reading:

The smile you wear that day melts the hearts of girls for the next six years to come, but you've only harden mines. -- only hardened mine?

Nice job! This was really enjoyable.

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Review #58, by CambAngstDouble Trouble: All's Fair in Love and War

16th August 2015:
Farmgirl! I am so going to do this GryCReMo thing. Really, I am going to succeed. I will keep telling myself this, emphatically, until I either succeed or, you know, I don't. Regardless, I can hear the dulcet tones of Journey's Don't Stop Believin' in my head. Before we get on with the review, allow me a moment for my scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #16)

OK, now to this story. And I will confess right from the get go that I have not read the first half. I suppose I should. That would be one more review down. But I decided that I was going to start with stories from the other GryCReMo participants.

You know I love your world in which Fred and George continued to be Fred and George after the Battle of Hogwarts. It seems that your world only gets more glorious as they age.

Muriel is still threatening people with her will? She's one hundred and twelve! How much money can she possibly have left at this point? And she's so grumpy. Is there anyone she hasn't written out of her will?

albeit a bear dressed in frumpy robes and a hat covered in molting canaries -- slow clap. Brilliant.

And then Hurricane Molly makes landfall. Oh my goodness. It would appear that Fred and George have stolen something from her that's more precious than all the gold in the Malfoys' vault if she was able to carry it out an armload at a time while the Malfoys were forced to stand and watch. They've taken away her chance to plan and cook and fret and obsess over tiny details and make everyone thoroughly miserable with all of the preparations required for not one but two weddings at the Burrow. Oh, the humanity!

Belly-dancing house elves. Why was I not offered the option to have belly-dancing house elves perform at my wedding? I hereby refuse to even consider a ceremony to renew my vows unless somebody brings me belly-dancing house elves.

They’d watched Bill get married, and Ron, and Harry. The moment their mum heard the word “wedding” she turned into a giddy, crying, planning monster. -- This. This is really all the back story you'll ever need.

So Aziza and Akila. Is there another story I should be reading to become acquainted with this devious pair? Two ladies who wanted to eschew a traditional ceremony in order to pull a fast one over on all the families and friends involved definitely sound like marrying material for Fred and George. I would like to know more.

“Looks like Muriel found the cake!” he said between chortles. -- Cheers, Fred and George. Cheers to you two magnificent gentlemen.

You did a great job with this. I can't find a thing wrong with it. Looking forward to reading whatever it is that you write next!

Author's Response: Hey Dan,

I'm so so so very sorry to keep you waiting for review responses. I've kinda given up on having free time lately, which stinks, but it is what it is. Still, I wanted you to know that I always love your reviews! They are the best!

I'm so honored that you stopped by my way on your review journey.

You know me, I do love keeping Fred and George alive. I have to admit that this doesn't quite exist in the standard universe for this sort of thing that I have created. It's more of a one-shot stand alone, what-if kind of thing written just for this paired writing event. But, it was still loads of fun. And who DOESN'T love Fred staying alive?

I believe the Muriel is operating on the assumption that as she IS 112 she can do whatever she likes. LOL. And maybe she has hoards of gold stashed away? hehehe

Erm...the molting canaries. Did I mention this was written in a very short time, very late at night? Yeah...

I think I'd like to read that scene you mention about Molly carrying out the Malfoys' gold while they watched. I think you should write it.

But yes, the twins took the thunder right out of her perfect party planning sails. Sneaky boys.

Belly-dancing House elves - see said comment about time and writing. hehehe But, I'll see what I can do about getting them on your ceremony to renew those vows. I'm sure they would be honored.

As for Aziza and Akila, I have to admit they were one time creations for the boys in this one story. So sorry! I have no more backstory for you. Maybe, someday, you can find out about other OCs and the stories I have in mind for them with our boys, which DO have back stories. If I can ever find my muse again.

The cake was fun. I should say poor Muriel, but you know what, I'm convinced she secretly likes it. It keeps her young. Heck, maybe she's even an on the sly benefactor of the joke shop. LOL.

Thanks so much! You are always the best reviewer a girl could have.

And again, a million apologies about the tardiness of the response.


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Review #59, by CambAngstObsession: Obsession

16th August 2015:
Hi, Lauren! I'm slowly moving along toward my GryCReMo goal and I decided to start with stories from the other participating authors. Ever since I got hooked on Roots In Water's Wilted Flower I've had an odd obsession with post-ear Pansy stories, so this one definitely caught my eye. Before I go on, please indulge me for a moment of scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #15)

On to the story!

This was remarkably consistent with the way I think of Pansy. Her obsession with Draco (being his friend, dating him, marrying him, bearing the next generation of the House of Malfoy) was pretty creepy. And she's not exactly the deepest, most interesting person to be around. It seems that the majority of what she finds important in life (pureblood social order, presenting herself well and finding the best possible husband) are things that were drilled into her head by her parents, not things that she discovered through broadening her mind and experiencing life. Overall, it wasn't surprising to me that Draco never saw her as much more than a plaything and quickly lost interest in her once he became a Death Eater and had to focus on staying alive.

And then she has a tantrum. Again, not even a little bit at odds with the way I think of her. She grew up without ever wanting for a single material thing. She had servants at her beck and call and parents who doubtless treated her like a princess. People like that don't deal well with the word "no".

Poor house elf! In a sense, it's like he's been ordered to attack his mistress. It must have been very confusing for him and more than a little bit frightening. I like the way you wrote him. In spite of the fact that he obviously lives in fear and squalor, he still had a sense of ultimate loyalty to Pansy.

Your writing was really lovely in this. It all flowed very well as Pansy's depressing and anger increased. I did see a few small typos, however:

You finally find yourself stood amongst a pile of ruined possessions at a lost as to what to do next. -- at a loss

Every way you consider it, all the exits looks the same. -- all the exits look the same

Great job with this!

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Review #60, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 18. Hearts of Curiosity

15th August 2015:
Hi, pix! I'm making my way through the author pages of everyone who signed up for GryCReMo because... well, because I needed to start somewhere. Allow me to pause for a moment to keep my own little count:

GryCReMo (Review #14)

It's been quite a while since I've poked my head into your rabbity world, but you'd be amazed how fast it all came back to me.

Sloan. Man, that guy is a jerk! Now he's a vampire rabbit-enthralled jerk, to boot. I do not like him getting Wren and Albus in trouble. Not one bit.

I thought you did a fantastic job with Neville in this chapter. I love the way he struggles with the cognitive dissonance of trying to be an adult authority figure while simultaneously recalling the fact that all of the adult authority figures at Hogwarts during his own school years were -- to put it bluntly -- pretty much useless. Seriously. Aside from Dumbledore's "holy crap, how did that even work?" master plan for Harry's defeat of Voldemort, I can't think of a single situation where the adults in books one through six did anything other than slow Harry and his friends down. Now poor Neville is trying to justify to himself how he can follow proper procedure when his daughter is claiming to be confronting her own mysterious dangers and he can't quite do it. Good on you, Neville! Be the Hogwarts Adult who finally breaks the mold and doesn't end up looking like a fool.

Nigel Summers had yet to be given a detentionee, and even though he was technically an intern, he was also the part-time caretaker. He would have plenty for them to do. -- Gah! Neville, take off the Bad Idea Jeans, man!

"There really is a giant rabbit in the Restricted Section. Or it might not even be a rabbit anymore... if it ever was one. It's huge and it smells bad, and it's dangerous. We were going to tell you about it first thing this morning anyway. Please, you have to do something about it!" -- OK, yeah Putting myself in Neville's shoes for a moment, that is quite a bit to take in before breakfast. Maybe I'll cut him some slack here.

Moving right along, we find a small collection of creepy people being creepy together in a dark, claustrophobic, creepy place. Even when he's being enthralled, Sloan can't stop being an egotistical, self-important, whiny jerk. "Why do you need other friends, Dillon? Why not just use me up and drink me dry instead?" That actually sounds appealing, if only the consumption would stop with Sloan.

"Looks like you brought the fun back with you," Trudy said, sliding off her bed and scooping up a bottle from Rose's desk. She squinted at the label, and then dug around in one of her drawers for a tea cup. -- Note to self: Do not party with this Trudy girl.

Even though she's going about it in a very annoying way, I'm glad to see that Rose is trying to help Wren. She just needs to get over herself first in order to do it, which seems like a bit of a stretch when she's full of James Potter Rule-Breaking Glory. Oddly enough, she does seem to get over herself once Wren starts to spill. I definitely see a lot of Hermione in Rose. Turn something into an adventure and she gets excited about the project, even if it's not very safe.

Finally! Neville is armed with evidence and he's on their side. I'm really intrigued to see how that works out for him. He's definitely tougher than Pince or Summers. Hopefully he can start to put things right before they get a lot more wrong.

Lastly, we have the Smeed and Burns show. Have I mentioned that sometimes they give me this vibe that sort of reminds me of Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show? I have no earthly idea where that's coming from, but it's a thing with me. Don't judge. Smeed seems to be one piece of information away from figuring out what's going on. He hasn't managed to tie the rabbits together with Dillon. Once he makes that leap, I think the rest is going to come together for him.

He thought back to the strange, yet familiar presence he'd felt when he met Hannah's daughter. -- This takes me back to Dillon's memories of his mother. What if she was in some sort of trouble with the vampire community. What if that's why Smeed finds this "presence" that he feels around Wren familiar? Just a passing thought...

Awesome job with this! I will be back as I try to climb this mountain of reviewing!

Author's Response:

Hi Dan! Fancy seeing you 'round these parts!

I'm so glad you're participating in the reviewathon. I've pretty much given up on maintaining a frenetic pace with it, and as you know, I have a hard time reviewing and writing at the same time. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue reviewing through the last of my revisions, since the writing bit is finished.

Ahh, balance.

Sloan = jerk. Yep. That's about it.

Neville. Poor guy. I hated putting him in this position. Of all people, he would understand from personal experience how difficult it is to get adults to take you seriously when things go square, but Wren's put him in a real bind, and her explanations taken at face value do seem quite ridiculous. Ah, I did that on purpose. Bad me.

Rose. I know I haven't made her the most sympathetic friend in the world. Actually, she's close to being a jerk herself, without the outward "meaning to be a jerk". I felt like I needed to do something different with her from what we usually see, and also giving her that self-centered vibe would make Scorpius think twice about trying anything. Either that, or he just goes for antagonistic girls in general. Hmm... stop making me rethink my story when I'm almost done!! :P

Ah haha! Trudy. You know those people that you have to be around so you just put up with them even though you have almost nothing in common with them and you don't hate them but you can't seem to warm up to them either? I think they're making the best of things.

Heeheee! The Smeed and Burns show. That should be my next fic. Oh, and there's a small reason for that familiarity. Now I have to go back and see if that bit was edited out, or if it comes up later. It was a small thing, but it popped into my head and made all kinds of sense later. *flips through document* ... I have no idea where it went. I'll look it up later.

Good luck on climbing that mountain! You are fantastic for this!


Pix


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Review #61, by CambAngstRace Against Time : Chapter 1

15th August 2015:
Hi, Meg! I am on my mission to complete GryCReMo and I wanted to start with stories from the other authors who are participating. Please allow me to pause for a moment to keep track:

GryCReMo (Review #12)

I really liked the premise you're starting out with. You have to wonder how Sirius's old friends and romantic interests reacted to the news that he'd escaped from Azkaban. I suppose I don't need to wonder any more because you're going to tell us! :)

Emmeline's emotional recovery after the Potters' deaths seemed to be paced pretty well. She still has a wounded heart, but it was mostly scabbed over until she saw the Prophet. And now the wound is raw and open again. Her physical and emotional reaction to his escape was nicely written. Not overdone, but appropriate to the magnitude of the betrayal that she (believes she) suffered.

I’m going to be a bit late today. Personal Matter. -- If Scrimgeour is any kind of Auror at all, it probably won't take him long to put 2 and 2 together.

You set up Remus's character in a pretty unique way. Basically everyone writes him as being isolated and down on his luck, but to have him living in alcoholic squalor is a twist I haven't seen before. To that end, I actually felt like he recovers himself a little too quickly. One moment he's passed out drunk in his bed and the next moment he's offering Emmeline tea in his kitchen. I think you might have benefited from making him more out of sorts until she shoves the newspaper under his nose. That could be the sobering moment for him.

Aside from that, I thought your writing was superb. Everything flowed really nicely and you did a good job of pacing the chapter and mixing dialog and narrative. It was easy to feel the emotion coming through. Good job!

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Review #62, by CambAngstAll the World's a Stage: And One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts

13th August 2015:
Hi, Lizzie! I'm on my quest to complete the GryCReMo reviewing event and I decided to start with stories from all of the other participants. Please indulge me while I take care of my scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #11)

Now, on to your story. I think a lot of people on HPFF know that I have twin boys, who happen to be 7 years old at this point. I don't know whether you have children, but you did an amazing job of capturing the sort of behavior, logic (or lack thereof), story-telling and enthusiasm that you'd expect from kids this age. You just nailed it. The kids seemed perfectly age-appropriate and I loved the way they played their parts and interacted with one another.

Poor Ginny. I could see a lot of Molly in the way you wrote her as a mother. She's keeping her frustration under control pretty well, trying hard to relax and enjoy this precious moment. But, dude! They're completely trashing the house! I thought you struck a pretty good balance with her character, making her tolerant but not too tolerant.

Harry was really good with the kids. He indulged them so much and played along so gamely. It's exactly the type of father I'd picture him being after his miserable and joyless childhood with the Dursleys. I could never see Harry being angry with his kids or denying them anything.

"Can't tell you," Lily said wryly. "Spoilers." -- Slow clap. Brilliant.

"Do you think anything is going to explode?" Ginny asked, eyeing the sheet covered objects nervously. -- Umm, funny you should mention that, Ginny.

Lily is adorable. She played her older brothers like violins.

It took me probably a little too long to make the connection between "Vicky" and Viktor Krum, but then it became clear that the kids got most of the story from Ron and it all fell into place. Nicely done.

Poor kitty! That image was hilarious, though.

With a loud bang, the cushion exploded, the white stuffing flying everywhere, covering the whole room like a layer of thick snow, as the room filled with the smell of burning fabric and hair. -- Definitely my favorite moment in the chapter.

You did a really great job with this. I enjoyed it thoroughly and like I said, the kids felt very well written.

Author's Response: Dan!

Okay, I'll admit, I've taken FOREVER to reply to this review because it's probably one of my favorite reviews I've ever received and I really enjoy rereading it, since it never fails to make me giggle. :D

Anyway - no, I didn't know that you had twin boys, but the fact that you liked how I've written the kids here means A TON. I work as a nanny, but the kids I take care of are much younger, so one of my greatest fears was that I'd make these kids seem younger than they are, so THANK YOU!

Hehehe, I had a lot of fun writing Ginny - the way she reacts to everything is pretty much *exactly* how I react to the kiddos I watch whenever something similar happens. If I've learned anything, sometimes the mess is worth the memories it creates.

It actually was a bit hard for me to decide how I wanted to write Harry, so I'm glad you liked him here! I felt like he'd be the more "laid back" parent for the exact reason you mentioned. He'd never want them to have to experience what he did.

Those quotes are some of my favorites - especially Lily's. I mean, of course she'd get away with murder when it comes to her brothers.

The bit about Vicky was intentional, so don't worry. I wanted it to take a minute... I think it makes the reveal a bit funnier... ;)

Why thank you! I'm rather proud of the kitty part. And the cushion exploding bit. It seemed like something that would happen with the Potter kids around.

Thanks so much for your wonderful review! It's made my day several times over! :D
Lizzie


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Review #63, by CambAngstYear Five: O.W.L.s

13th August 2015:
Roisin! I've embarked on my GryCReMo campaign and I decided to start with stories from the other participants. So here's my little bit of scorekeeping to start off:

GryCReMo (Review #10)

How long has it been since I first read this? Months? Where the heck does time go? Anyway, I was able to lose myself in it like I'd never put it down. I really, really love these characters you've created. I've been over and over this point, but I don't know if I can repeat it often enough. They're so real. So balanced. So perfectly flawed and fallible and human. Someday I think I'd like to see you try to write something with characters that are one-dimensional and cliched, just to see whether you're capable of it. On second thought, don't do that. It would be a waste. ;)

Sigh. I don't like seeing the four of them apart like this. Especially Tristan. I don't think he realizes how much damage he's doing to his own psyche here.

The studying and exam scenes are some of my favorite parts of this chapter. I love the amount of detail and creativity you put into little things like plants and spells and runes. You never get lazy and take a mulligan on the details; you make every one count. To me, that's one of the hallmarks of your writing. Did you hear that? You have hallmarks!

"I can't help it," Emily moaned. "Where do the vanished objects go? What if they make me vanish an animal? It's cruel!" -- She is so adorable! Hufflepuffs are such special people.

"Ballpoint pen," he scribbled on his test paper to demonstrate. "Like a quill, but less annoying."

"Casette tape," he jammed it into the portable stereo and pressed play. "Would play music under different circumstances."
-- OK, maybe I like this a little bit better than the studying. ;)

I absolutely adored Tristan putting Malfoy and his thugs in their place. Moments like that, you realize there might be a little Gryffindor in him after all.

The general consensus was that he’d fallen in.

Emily knew better.
-- Yeah, I think we all do. The small array of personal comforts that Emily found at his spot at the wall sealed the deal. I love the way you wrote that. You didn't say too much. You just left it to the bare minimum needed to tell the story. There's no joy or life in a moment like that.

The ending of this chapter was a beautiful kick in the gut. Succinct and perfectly matched to the moment.

I saw one little typo as I read:

Their friendship with Emily rekindled, the three spent most of their evenings on the seventh floor near the portrait of the little night, reviewing thick stacks of notes, and chain-smoking. -- little knight

I'm so sorry that it's been so long. I always tell myself I'm going to come back and finish reviewing this story and... yeah, stuff. Anyway, I have motive and opportunity now, so I will be back before GryCReMo is through. Lovely job as always!

Author's Response: WAIT WHAaAaAaAT?!?!?!

YESsSsSsS!

Oh man! Dan! I LOVED getting your reviews on this and I'd COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that there were more reviews coming! What a brilliant and fantastic surprise!

Now, sad face, because /this goddamn chapter/

I'm so, so sorry. Still. Just... My apologies. Back when I was first writing the first draft of this I had this like OH NO moment, where I just realized that Tristan was going to jump in the lake at some point around the History exam. I didn't plan it, I just realized he was GOING to do it as if it weren't up to me. It was totally unplanned, but the lake had become this weird loaded symbol, and kept coming up in these odd ominous ways. Like, it took on a life as a sort of character of its own.

And then Harry missed his History exam because of his Sirius vision, and I'd established early on about Tristan skiving off from that class, and the parallel and unintentional building just became a /thing./ So yeah, I didn't plan it. And at least I saved him (via squid).

But all that didn't make writing it any easier. It was a huge struggle to figure out what to say, how much to say, and how to say it. Restraint seemed to me the best option, because the tragedy sort of spoke for itself and didn't need explaining. I'm glad you liked that.

So now the fun stuff: oof, I positively /scoured/ the internet for every bit of fifth-year cirricula (and even threw in a bit of sixth year, since Umbridge's rules probably cut out a lot they would have learned), in order to get all the details right. And this chapter was the only one where I consulted canon. I reread the OWLs chapter of OotP and kind of diagrammed it, even doing plays on some of JKR's phrasing.

I think the "ballpoint pen" line might be my very favorite of the entire story :D Well actually, I'm revising right now and there's a new line in "Hex Head Express" I quite like too ("Isobel thought she best resembled a bowl of custard that had been left out overnight and developed a skin.") [I'm proud of that one because zomg I think Isobel's FC is the prettiest thing that ever prettied, and so I really struggled for an apt-yet-critical thing to say about her]

BUT NOW I'M RAMBLING.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou for this amazing surprise!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #64, by CambAngstBeautiful Mess: Beautiful Mess

12th August 2015:
Hi, Frankie! I'm trying to get off to a strong start on GryCReMo and I decided to go through everyone who's participating and review some of their stories first. First, so I can keep track of where I am:

GryCReMo (Review #9)

This story was really adorable. I was so pleased with the way you had Ginny react to the disaster that she finds after walking through the door. A lot of people write her as a parent in a way that's very similar to her own mother. If Molly Weasley had come home to a scene like this... well, I have to imagine there would have been some yelling. Ginny takes a completely different approach. She appreciates to fun moments that her husband and children have shared in her absence. If anything, I almost feel like she wished she could have been there.

I loved the footprints in the flour. That was a brilliant way of telling a story that the main character wasn't present for. The image was so clear in my mind.

The scene in Ginny and Harry's bed was heart-warming and sweet beyond words. It just makes you want to grab them all in a big hug.

There's not a whole lot I can suggest in the way of improvements here. I'm especially impressed because I skimmed through a couple of your older stories before picking this one and I can see a lot of improvement in your writing. Great job!

Author's Response: Hey

Thank you so much for your review. Especially the last comment! I've only been writing for a few months and that is a high compliment. I am happy with this and I am glad you are too.

Frankie


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Review #65, by CambAngstMeant for Two: You and Me

12th August 2015:
Hi, Kevin! I'm making my way through the list of people who signed up for GryCReMo, starting off with reviewing some of their stories. Let me get my personal scorekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #8)

I sort of liked that you left the identity of the narrator undefined. It sounds like either Katie Bell or Alicia Spinnet, although Demelza Robins is also a possibility. Obviously someone who played Quidditch with Harry and Ginny.

I thought you did a fantastic job of capturing the narrator's inner struggle and the way that she wants to perceive Harry's words and actions. There are so many little moments where it seems like she's reading something totally different into the situation because it's what she wants to believe. But you kept it very subtle, which I thought was a great bit of writing.

Her hands and mine are nothing alike. Chasers know these things about each other, especially when they’ve done each other’s nails before. -- Slow clap... This is not something that most male writers are likely to pick up on, let alone use it as cleverly as you did here.

She’d waited so long for you. How long had it taken? I could be patient too. Things always happen for a reason. -- Ouch. Denial, not just a river in Egypt. Following this up with the scene were Ginny stops by to show off the engagement ring had a lot of impact. The story is officially spiraling downhill for the narrator at that point, although she is still too deep in denial to accept it.

At the head table, I’m all alone. I’ve never been the life of the party and tonight is no exception. Nobody’s noticed the brown-haired girl, sitting silently in the fancy dress with her dull face resting in her hands and her eyes gone dim. Nobody ever does. -- That was a really sad image. I feel terrible for her, but obviously that's the point. Even faced with overwhelming evidence, she can't quite let go of the fantasy.

Your closing line was great, the perfect way to capture the hopelessness of her situation.

You did a brilliant job of writing this. Everything flowed really well and I thought you did a great job of picking the right words to compliment the mood of the narrator and the story. Great job!

Author's Response: Howdy Dan! Thanks so much for stopping by!

I'm glad you enjoyed the mystery narrator, though by your guesses I can see you picked up on the clues.

Part of what I definitely wanted to achieve with this was the misinterpretations that come with unrequited love, while also finding a way to give the piece a sort of ethereal, dream-like quality that simultaneously allowed readers to buy in with her.

And now for the great reveal...who WAS it? Your first guess! Katie Bell! Though it would obviously be quite different if I end up doing it, in some respects I wanted to use this story as practice to see if I could get myself tapped in enough to creating emotion around Harry and Katie in my own head to see if they could be an endgame pairing in an AU fic I'm planning. I still haven't decided, but writing this convinced me I could feel enough about it to make it viable, so I call it a success in that regard.

Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful feedback! It is MUCH appreciated!


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Review #66, by CambAngstHarry Potter and the First Mission: Life Still Goes On

10th August 2015:
Hi, Kenny! I'm starting off my GryCReMo campaign with stories from the other participants and I finally made it to you. First off, let me get my little bit of housekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #7)

It doesn't matter how many times I read a story where somebody picks up right after the final battle, I always enjoy it. It's so much fun to me to see different authors' takes on what happened next and compare them to each other and to my own thoughts.

I really like the fact that you didn't forget about Kreacher. He turned out to be a fairly important character in the books and it makes me smile when people continue his newfound loyalty to Harry. I think you can tell a lot about where somebody's head is by the way they write Kreacher.

"The heart-shaped mark club" Love it! I wonder whether that will be important as the story moves on? I also like the brief, manly show of emotion between Ron and Harry. Too many authors either make it really awkward or shy away entirely from having the two of them be happy that they both survived.

Harry and Ginny's reunion... hmmnnn... I tend to prefer that things be a little more complex. He did leave her, after all, plus she thought that he was dead. In my mind, that always left her feeling a lot of different emotions: anger and loss and hope and fear and love and... well, lots of stuff. But I always love it if the two of them get back together fairly soon. I guess you just made it sooner.

Looks like Harry's going to deal with the Elder Wand straight away. Probably for the best.

As far as constructive criticism, I guess one thing is that this chapter is very heavy on dialog and sort of light on narration, description and Harry's thoughts. Sometimes you can say more about what's going through a character's head by having them react, feel and think rather than talk. That's my main suggestion.

Cool start to your story. Now I want to know what happens next!

Author's Response: Hi, Dan. Thank you for stopping by. It's a great pleasure to find one of my fellow authors I respect, leave review on my story.

This is my first fanfiction in English, I'm sure there're lots of grammar things to fix.
Besides I know most of authors take much time writing their angst before jumping their Auror training, but you know, I'm very obsessed with Auror's tale, I might be in haste to the next step.

Your constructive suggestion is really right. This was my first, I had less experience in writing and reading other authors' good stories at that time.
Kayla was helping with beta on this and the next two chapters. And I got your opinion, I have a task to do next. I'll try fixing these little by little.

Thank you again for spending time on this before your housekeeping.

Kenny


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Review #67, by CambAngstGoodbye: Ginny

10th August 2015:
Hi, Sara! I'm starting off my GryCReMo attempt by reviewing stories from the other participants and you just came up next on the list. So first, let me get my little bit of housekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #6)

You made Ginny's feelings completely relatable. The thing that people always associate most with Fred and George is laughter, and I can't imagine many things worse than trading that laughter for tears. Putting myself into Ginny's shoes -- you made that very easy, by the way -- I get that feeling like I'll never be happy again. On some level, we know it's not true, but it's so easy to become trapped in the moment.

The imagery of the tear stains on the wooden coffin was really well done. It has this terrible finality to it.

I like the voice you gave to Ginny's thoughts and feelings. She sounds like a young woman who's been aged prematurely, still showing some traits of youth but without the joy.

I saw one small typo as I was reading:

I want to remember to way you lived, not the way you died. -- I think you meant to say "the way you lived".

The only thing I felt a little iffy about was the last bit. I don't disagree with the concept of Fred looking down with a sad smile, but the phrase "could be referred to as heaven" sounded a little like you were trying to please all possible comers. Honestly, I don't think you need to do that. If you believe Fred's in heaven, I would say so. If you don't, then describe what you do believe. Either way, I don't think anyone could find fault with you.

You really did a nice job with this. I'm curious to see what you've done and will do with the other Weasley siblings.

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Review #68, by CambAngstthe earth and the sky: the earth and the sky

9th August 2015:
Hi, Adi! I thought I'd begin my GryCReMo campaign with stories from the other participants. Let me get my little scorekeeping thing out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #5)

I guess I could have picked something shorter, given that this is a numbers game, but shorter doesn't usually mean better. I'm really glad I picked this story. I think it gave you so much opportunity to show off your creativity and writing ability. It's obvious that you spent a really long time on this and I think that time paid off. This is an amazing story.

You paced this story brilliantly. The story takes Draco and Astoria from low points to high points and back again, and throughout it all you never feel like you're rushing or dragging. For a story this long, I know that's a really difficult thing to do.

I loved the running themes that you come back to again and again. Need vs. want. It's a simple, powerful concept that really goes a long way toward defining love vs. infatuation. There's also the idea of love overcoming hardship. Aside from it being one of the trademark Harry Potter themes, I think it added a lot to the impact of Astoria's death. You couldn't help but feel like their love was going to pull things out one more time and it really pummels you right in the feels when that doesn't happen.

The way that you wrote both Astoria and Draco was really, really well done. They're real, accessible people. They have good traits and bad, strengths and flaws. They make some good choices and they make some mistakes. Through it all, they're drawn to one another and that's what makes the story so powerful.

Your writing was simply beautiful in this. It felt like you weren't afraid to try anything, and that led to some really spectacular effects.

I've gotten to read some really great stories so far, which I guess is one of the major points of this event. This is definitely one of them. Great job!

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Review #69, by CambAngstThis Treasure: You Make Me Smile

8th August 2015:
Hi, Sian! I thought I'd kick off my GryCReMo attempt by reviewing some stories from the other participants. So I started going down your author's page and then I came to... to this story. OK, more on that in a sec. First, my quick scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #4)

This story. Honesty time: I read this story almost immediately after you posted it. I saw your status update and thought it sounded interesting so I read it. And shortly after reading it, I picked my feels up off the floor and tried to put them back into my chest. They didn't fit quite right -- swelling and bruises, you know -- so I waited a couple of days until they sort of fit back where they were before I read this. Then I tried to write a review, and all the anguish came rushing back in a second. I would guess that I've tried to write this review three different times and failed each time. I can never figure out what to say. So here goes...

I'll start with a question: How did you survive the process of writing this story? It's intense enough to read it. I can't even imagine writing something so sad and powerful. It would have been the end of me.

Your writing in this story was genuinely beautiful. Over and over, I found myself in awe of the way that you chose perfect words to match the mood and the setting of each moment. You were able to alternate seamlessly between the vivid details of Ron's memories and the stark, harsh relief of the present time. The way you set each scene went along beautifully with the content.

Gah, this passage:

‘You know, being here, with you,’ Hermione began, slowing her pace to meet Ron’s eyes. ‘And after everything that’s happened… well, it sounds silly, but it almost feels like we’ve got eternity now. Like we’re immortal.’

A second passed in silence as Ron considered what she’d said. ‘Maybe we have got eternity, Hermione. And,’ he blushed but held her gaze. ‘This doesn’t seem like a bad way to spend it. With you.’


It was the perfect expression of those small conceits of being young and in love and it was the perfect contrast to the story that's being told in the present time.

Every scene you picked from Ron and Hermione's past fit brilliantly into the overall story. In spite of how long this ended up being, I can't think of a single thing I would take out. Not a word went to waste here.

Bet you thought you’d got rid of me, didn’t you? Well it’s not going to happen that easily, Ron! I hope that everything goes okay with the kids; if you need me, I’m always here. Remember that, love. -- Another gut-wrenching line. At every turn, you remind us how Ron never had any reason to question that he and Hermione would spend the rest of their days together. And then comes another cold dose of reality.

The way you ended the story was so lovely. Perfect in its simplicity and devastating in its raw emotional power.

There! Somehow I made it through. Let's agree that you're never going to do something like this to me again, OK Sian?

Seriously, though, for me this is the single most beautiful story that you've ever written. I didn't think I could feel that way about a story where two of my favorite characters suffer such a tragic loss, but it's true. This was amazing.

Author's Response: Hi Dan! I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to reply to this fantastic review - I've had a backlog of brilliant, thoughtful reviews from people that I've been trying to tackle gradually and somehow had the luck to keep receiving more - which is lovely, but unfortunately I've been so busy I'm a lot slower responding than I hoped! Anyway, I'm trying to get all of them cleared before 2016, so I wanted to say thank you again for this wonderful review!

Argh, I don't even know what to say to this (which, honestly, is part of the reason it's taken me so long to reply. It's quite hard to respond when the words won't actually work...) - you're so kind to me and I'm both sorry and not sorry that you struggled to review this, if that makes sense.

It was so difficult to write this story - I think that I've mentioned this already in some MTA responses to your questions, but it was really difficult. I shied away from writing it for a good couple of weeks because I just couldn't imagine writing it, and then when I finally tackled it, I was crying right through the final scenes. I'm so pleased though, that I managed to convey that emotion to the reader; I really wanted to feel something when I was writing it and for the reader to feel a little bit of that too.

Gah, thank you so much ♥ It means so much to me, especially coming from an author like you - I really put a lot into this story and to hear that you thought the writing was beautiful makes me so happy. I'm really pleased that you liked the way that I contrasted between the present time and the happier memories and the mood that I managed to capture.

The scenes were so hard to choose in a way - I really wanted to pick out the little things that truly make up a relationship, rather than the grand moments, and I'm glad that people seem to think I've achieved that. It's also way longer than I was expecting it to be, but it's fantastic that you don't think it should have been shorter.

Thank you so, so, SO much for this fantastic review. It's taken me far too long to respond to and even now, I've just come up with a response that kind of rambles and gushes at you, but I really do mean it when I say thank you so much for this!


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Review #70, by CambAngstTrapped: trapped

8th August 2015:
Hi, Kayla! I thought I would start my GryCReMo attempt with stories from the other participants. So let me get my little bit of housekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #3)

Like you, I've never suffered from PTSD, but I've observed it from a distance. I think you nailed some of the key symptoms: feelings of being trapped, feelings of isolation and the nagging feeling that other people are talking about you. The irrational bursts of anger and the struggle to differentiate reality from delusion were more extreme symptoms, but come on, the guy was surrounded by Dementors for 14 years. I can't imagine that experience doesn't leave a person with some heavy psychological trauma.

I liked the touchstones from Sirius's story that you used to draw out the nuances of his suffering. His terrible relationship with his family and his guilt over James and Lily's deaths were certainly things that gnawed at him. Snape's constant goading plainly didn't make things any easier. I have definitely seen people with psychological problems react poorly to other people's attempts to "help". The picture holds together very well.

Your writing was really good in this. I couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. You do a really good job choosing the right words to make your descriptions vivid and your narrative tight and high impact. Nothing read awkwardly and the whole story flowed really smoothly.

Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! It's awesome to get a review from you :D

This is definitely intended to be a portrayal of a more severe case of PTSD. I actually even looked into what's known as "PTSD with psychotic tendencies" when writing this. The other thing is that Dementors are meant to be a physical manifestation of depression, so his very feelings of depression would act as a trigger for flashbacks (and in the case of PSTD with psychotic tendencies, hallucinations), making the frequency of these events much higher.

When writing, I was also very aware that Azkaban was not Sirius' only trauma, and that going through that experience could almost heighten the other bad experiences he'd gone through and take them from "bad experience" to "trauma" because of how long he would've spent dwelling on them - if that makes any sense!

I'm so glad that you thought this was well written :) Thanks so much for the awesome review!

-Kayla


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Review #71, by CambAngstThe Forest: Run

8th August 2015:
Hi, Kaitlin! I thought I would start off my GryCReMo reviews with some of the other participants. Allow me to get my scorekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #2)

Your story was short, psychological and tense. I liked the sense of foreboding that you created and I liked the memories that Dean used to try to fight off the ever-present feelings of dread and hopelessness. You did a good job of setting up his past life with his muggle relatives and how poorly that life prepared him for trying to survive under the tyranny of Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

The protective spells he used to try to hide himself reminded me of Hermione, Ron and Harry casting spells to hide themselves in the woods. It seems like those spells worked better for the trio, however.

All of your details fit in perfectly with the canon surrounding Dean's time on the run. If there was one thing I would suggest, it's that I would have liked to see some more original events and details. I think I really would have enjoyed seeing you stretch that awesome imagination of yours and come up with new sub-plots to Dean's story.

I like your concept that Dean got his warning from Seamus to go on the run. It seems like the sort of thing Seamus would have done for his friend. Then you closed that plot loop nicely at the end.

Overall, your writing was lovely. I couldn't find a thing wrong with it. The story was a smooth, easy read.

Good job!

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Review #72, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Believing: Scorpius POV

8th August 2015:
Hi, Beth! I was excited to see a new chapter up and I read it right away. And I guess procrastinating on the review actually worked in my favor, since I will use this review to kick off...

GryCReMo (Review #1)

aka "Gryffindor Common Room Review Month". At least I think that's what it stands for. Wouldn't that be CryCRReMo? At any rate, neither here nor there.

There's that "crotchety old hospital aide" again. Astatine. It sure seems like you want me to suspect her. And it is very suspicious that she seems to be around whenever something bad is happening or is about to happen to Rose. Very suspicious, indeed. I was thinking back to the blond hair that Rose saw right before she fell. Astatine would have access to Selenia, possibly able to put her under the Imperius Curse. Again, that doesn't perfectly explain why Selenia would save Rose's bacon in the last chapter. Or maybe it just doesn't explain it yet...

Ron and Harry did a really good job of calming the situation and getting Ron to put his brains ahead of his emotions. I really like the way you wrote each of them in this chapter. Harry is a leader. Ron is an over-protective father/Gryffindor. Scorpius is a rational, supportive fiancee. It just works and holds together really well.

It feels like all the cards are on the table now. At least most of them, anyway. So the fact that Rose survived Stannous's enhanced Cruciatus Curse cemented the fact that she was the subject of the prophecy. It's not that she couldn't die, it's that she didn't die. "...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not..." Ooh, I also like the small detail of Healer Lawrence sending Astatine out of the room. If she's really working for Stannous, Stannous is now working with incomplete information. The parallels to Voldemort and Harry's story get even stronger.

So Stannous believed in the prophecy, but he had to prove it. And prove it repeatedly, it would seem. To me, this makes him a somewhat deeper character than your garden-variety madman. The way this is written makes him sound almost like a disciple of a prophecy that, to a dark wizard, would have semi-religious overtones.

Hmmnn... The picture frame. I see what you did there.

You sure know how to put a person at ease. Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione having dinner in the hospital room. Such a nice family atmosphere. And Rose is being so good about accepting Scorpius's apologies. They really are a perfectly matched couple.

And then the ending. Wow. Part of me believes that Scorpius is having a nightmare. I kind of hope he is, to be honest. It's kind of hard to imagine how that many Death Eaters could have gotten inside the hospital without somebody raising an alarm. But then again, it might not be a dream. In which case the next chapter will be very interesting. Ooh! One other possibility, I guess. Could this be part of Scorpius's S.N.A.K.E. exams? Seems way too cruel, especially to Rose. Hospitals aren't known for being great locations for law enforcement simulations.

Oh, who am I kidding? The next chapter will be very interesting no matter what. Already looking forward to it! Great job!

Author's Response: Hiya Dan!

OMG - I was reading about your GryCReMo and the explanation and I thought, "I think it needs another 'R'..." and then you wrote that...

It was all very funny as it unfolded in my head.

Astatine (element #85 - I'm a super nerd). Do I *want* you to suspect her, or am I making it too obvious... Or is the fact that she's too obvious a decoy... hmmm..

And all I'm going to say about Selenia is that she has black hair with a purple streak. But there are other characters with light hair - lots of them (mmmwwahahaha)

I don't have a good enough word to express the way I'm so, SO relieved that the Ron-Harry-Scorpius scene played out. I messed around with that one for a bit.

Yes! I knew if any reader would pick up on the parallels in the story to Harry, it would be you! I really, REALLY wanted to write a next-gen story where they had their own battles to fight - apart form AND along with the original trio. I wasn't really intending any religious undertones, but Stannous does see himself and a pretty important dude. He's the son of Bellatrix, after all. But I did want to have a villain that was darker than most - with no conscience and a dark need to pick up where his mother left off.

Food puts everyone at ease. At least everyone in my family. ;) Rose is a really, REALLY forgiving person. She doesn't harbor any hard feelings about Scorpius working out his issues. It's just her way.

Oh Geez - you have really good guesses (close...). Aaannd since I've taken ridiculously long to reply to this review, there are now two more chapters posted. I know. I'm terrible. I've just about finished my unanswered reviews and I have no intention of letting them pile up like this again.

Thanks again Dan - this review really helped me to feel better about the story!

♥ Beth



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Review #73, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: It's Time to Go Now

1st August 2015:
Hi, Roisin!

First off, I'm honored by your mention of Detox in the author's note. This is a great story and I'm really happy to have played some tiny role in it. The parallel is interesting, because neither Blishwick (yours or mine) ever saw themselves as a villain. Rather, they believed that the ends of their work justified the means, no matter how ugly the means might have been. There are differences in scale and scope (doxies vs. drug addicts) but the underlying principle is the same. Oh, and for the record, my Blishwick never killed Alice Longbottom. :p

Seeing Perry puke all over Blishwick's barrister was... satisfying. I was wondering how you were going to resolve that situation, and I definitely approve.

I really like what you did with the Wizengamot chamber scene setup. For me, it leaned more toward that harsh feel of the Wizengamot from Dumbledore's memory of Karkaroff implicating Barty Crouch, Jr. and less toward the pompous, aristocratic feel from Harry's trial. I like the former better. It's about one step removed from what you'd imagine for a drumhead trial being conducted by a secret society of evil sorcerers in their lair deep underground.

I thought you did a good job with Hermione. She's obviously more of a commanding presence at this age, but no one single individual can ever seem to silence a room full of entitled politicians. It's like trying to bring order to British Parliament. The illusion of decorum is always temporary. In spite of her age, she still feels like Hermione. When Roxanne goes off-script, I got that put-upon feeling from Hermione that I got used to whenever Harry and Ron would fail to study or dramatically change the plan in the books.

I guess if anyone was going to have a chance of imposing some sort of order on the Wizengamot, it would be McGonagall. At this point, there would be three or four full generations of Britain's magical population who would need to fight a subconscious urge to clam up and be on their best behavior whenever she glared at them. That said, there was just... something that bugged me a little about her being in this position. It's hard to put my finger on. Given my perfect druthers, I guess I would have preferred an OC here.

Blishwick! Gah, that guy needs some serious Dementor time to correct his 'tude. Unfortunately he won't be getting that, but at least he didn't get away with it. You did a great job making him a condescending, self-important ideologue with a hopelessly flawed set of priorities. His dialog was great.

Poor Rosie. Obviously she's not a completely innocent bystander here, but it feels like her heart was in the right place. At least she only got the community service, which probably won't bother her in the slightest.

Wow. So the spawn of Skeeter actually contributes something worthwhile to society. I admit, that twist caught me completely by surprise. Nicely done.

I noticed one small typo as I was reading:

"The right thing!" The Healer laughed. "Do not be so sentimental. Your conscious is not more precious, Miss Weasley, than the life saving innovations possible if my plan works." -- conscience, I believe.

I'm very interested to read your epilogue. I'm hoping that it shows Roxanne on the outside, after she's served her time. Hopefully there will be some greater good to come from this whole mess. Maybe she can even back-door her way back into Healing.

Great job!

Author's Response: Yes, exactly! Haha, when I was coming up with names for Blishwick I was like "well you know who he kinda reminds me of..." I'd go so far as to say that the two Blishwicks are related, only that's impossible. This story can't be in-universe with Detox because it's implied to have a radically different Astoria (and Scorpius, actually).

Oh the puking, I struggled a LOT to get the comic timing on that right. So glad you found it satisfying.

Oof, this court system was quite... Baroque. It seemed a bit loose and whatever in canon, so I kind of rolled with that and pulled in some stuff about the Italian court system (which I only know about from reading a weird amount of books on Amanda Knox [who was DEF innocent]). And then yeah, the chaos of Parliament too.

Aging-up the trio is very scary to me so I'm glad you though I did Hermione justice. Because yeah, I wanted her to be recognizable as the character from the books, but with the increased authority granted by age and status. She was always an easily frustrated person, which I think is partially the result of being very passionate. She probably would have had to learn how to compartmentalize a bit as she grew up and had decades of experience in the Ministry, but wouldn't ever become completely un-ruffleable.

OK McGonnagal makes sense, I swear! So Dumbledore if you remember, Dumbledore was actually chief Sorcerer of the Wizengamot WHILE he was headmaster! His title was briefly stripped during OotP, but otherwise, he held that position. So it would make sense that McGonnagal would have held the position at some point too (and she's definitely VERY fair). I felt like the person presiding here had to be some sort of major player, and McGonnagl just seemed to fit the bill best. Plus she's funny when she's not amused :P

Rose was definitely involved in order to show how complicated these things can be, and how even otherwise good people can kind of fall into making bad choices. Like, the drug trade isn't just composed of shadowy bad guys; it's a disorganized, chaotic network of people doing things for all sorts of reasons.

Yay I'm glad the twist worked! I figured that Marga wasn't really a /bad/ person, or at least, not totally immoral and evil. And she never exactly lied about Roxanne, and had some measure of evidence for everything she printed (even probably believed a lot of it herself). So of course she'd take the opportunity to get juicy information about a renowned healer out there. It's just that in this situation, the information is actually true and her help is actually helpful.

Whoops, edited! Thank you!

Epilogue will be up soon! Thank you so much for reviewing, Dan!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #74, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: The Game Is On

22nd July 2015:
In the event that you are currently having misgivings, know that everything is going according to plan.

You know, I've really got to side with Roxie on this one. "Plan" is such a strong word for what's going on here. I'll just take a deep breach and keep reminding myself: Gringott's, polyjuice, dragon... serenity.

One of your many cousins (ginger, if that narrows it down at all) -- Huge help, there, Scorpius. Were they also magical? ;)

You've made quite a case in this chapter for Healer Blishwick being the mastermind behind the silver. Which tends to make me suspicious. Is she trying to throw us off of the trail of the real mastermind? Probably not. The patent application is pretty damning evidence. Unless Blishwick was merely "consulting" for the real mastermind and saw an opportunity to make a fast buck for himself.

Perry must have gotten an excellent grade in Charms if he could manage psychic cryptography, Roxanne thought. -- This might have been my favorite line in the chapter. Call me nerdy. You know, because I'm nerdy.

I love the way you managed the passage of time in this chapter to drive toward the big crescendo. It was really well done and it gave the whole thing a great sense of urgency.

Poor Hugo. Sounds like a lost soul if ever there way one. So lost, in fact, that he's not even involved.

Rose lived on the outskirts of Hogsmeade, because of course she did. -- That one made me snigger, too.

Scorpius has quite the flair for chronicling his own (mis)adventures. I'm sure there's a book deal in this for him when it's all over, assuming he can get himself together enough to write it.

I also love the little digs Scorpius keeps making about Roxanne and Blishwick's affair. He knows how to keep her just angry enough to stay motivated.

"I suwwendow!" she yelled, cheeking the evidence. -- I really liked this as an end to a very tense, action-packed scene. A little humor always goes well with that.

Finch-Fletchley frogmarched her through the Ministry for all of her former colleagues to see. -- This line struck me as a little odd. It seems like her former colleagues would have seen her as he marched her out of St. Mungo's.

Hymn... so why did he swallow the evidence? Maybe he doesn't trust the Aurors who will surely do a halfway decent search on him at some point. Regardless, the evidence isn't lost, just... temporarily unavailable. And yucky.

Neat chapter! It feels (maybe I'm wrong) like the plot is starting to wind down toward a conclusion. Looking forward to reading more!

Author's Response: Gringotts-polyjuice-dragon! That was totally my inspiration for this!

Aha! The ginger thing, SO: actually. That was def meant to read as a joke, as you took it, but think about it. There's a reason I included a picture of EVERY SINGLE COUSIN in the CI for 'Meet the Wotters'--and if you remember correctly, only 3 are gingers (and Lily is said to be back in Germany), so that hint actually DOES narrow it down a lot!

Oh man, you are way too clever for me. You're getting all up in sEqUeL territory!

"So lost, in fact, that he's not even involved"-BAH! That is a HILARIOUS analysis!

I super enjoyed writing as Perry. I wanted it to still be good enough to read, but then sort of slightly flawed--like, some weirdly purple sections and odd word choices and a lot of adverbs. Getting the comic balance was a little tricky, but I had fun with it nonetheless!

'Just angry enough to stay motivated' is so on point. Perry is a lot better at reading Roxanne than she realizes.

GOSH, stupid MINISTRY line. YES, that was supposed to say St. Mungo's! I've edited it now. UGH, all through editing my eyes kept getting drawn to that line but I couldn't figure out why! THANK YOU!

And yes, you're absolutely right--there are only two chapters left, but one is the epilogue. So plotwise, we're almost at the end.

YEE! Thank you so much for this review!



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Review #75, by CambAngstPain Makes You Beautiful: Rated Mature for themes and content.

16th July 2015:
Hi, pix!

I guess I could nit-pick you over the canonality (is that a word?) of how Peter came to have the secret to share with Voldemort, but that's about as much criticism as I can offer.

Your range as a writer is amazing. I was re-reading some of Rabbit Heart last night, trying to ramp back up on that story and take in some of the edits you've made. It's hard to believe that I'm reading two stories by the same person. The depth of Sirius's anguish and the flippant disregard for everything as he crashes downhill are heart-wrenching. The raw, emotionally over-charged way that you wrote this tears at the heart strings. Heck, it tears the heart OUT and throws it down and stomps on it until there's nothing left but a red stain.

I've rarely seen somebody do such a good job with the physical aspect of a same-sex relationship. You manage to take those scant details and make them fit perfectly into the broader themes of attachment and need and disaffection and self-destructive dependency. Remus's affection has a drug-like effect on Sirius, giving him a pale sort of hope in the face of an impossible situation.

I have to mention what you did with Peter, and how you drew out the similarities between his behavior and Remus's. I don't think I've ever seen someone do such a good job of presenting the confusing and ambiguous situation that would have confronted James and Sirius as they tried to figure out who the traitor was. Two possibilities, both moody (no pun intended), mysterious and unapproachable in their own way.

You did an incredible job with this story. pix does it again!

Author's Response:

Dan! You read my angsty angst piece!

I seriously wanted this to be completely canon-compliant, but there was this idea I had and when I had it down, it was too rooted in this piece for me to alter it, so yeah. We'll just pretend that that's the way it happened... (squint squint) Although now, I think I could go back and edit to make it work... but I am loathe to do so at this point. I think I'm going to let it stand as it is.

Ah, well. I think I'm STILL allergic to this angst stuff. It felt like I was going into anapylactic shock writing this way. The language alone made me squick all over the place, but something like this just couldn't be censored and still achieve the same effect. I'm glad this was only a one-shot, or I would have needed serious fluff-therapy afterwards.

Actually, I need several hugs. This was excruciatingly hard on many levels.

You got it all. Themes, everything. I am so relieved that all of that came through. Also, with Peter. Thanks for bringing that up. I can't believe that he was part of the group without being a true friend on some level. He had to have had their trust, and the point of betrayal would have been a huge shock, completely unexpected, but more obvious in hindsight.

Thanks for reading this thing. I am now going to wrap myself up in something fuzzy and eat chocolate.

Pix


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