Reading Reviews From Member: nott theodore
1,203 Reviews Found

Review #1, by nott theodoreL'optimisme: Württemberg

21st May 2015:
Hi Laura! I shouldn't be here. I really shouldn't be here - I have to get up in six hours and I promised myself an early night, but I saw that you were one review away from an enormous landmark and now I'm typing as fast as I can to try and be the person to get you there :D

Your description. How? Please, please teach me your ways and share just a little bit of the talent that you've got for imagery. The opening to this chapter was just so beautiful, with Gellert looking out from his prison cell in Nurmengard and watching the snowstorm. I didn't think that I would read something that made a snowstorm sound so incredibly beautiful and magical, but I just have. I really loved the way that Gellert was so fascinated and mesmerized by the scene - which I think is easy to be when you're watching snow fall - but he sees the cruelty in what is happening and still thinks it's beautiful; he picks up on the power there and admires it for that. Just those tiny things, the way that he views a snowstorm, tell us so much about his character and you've really captured him so well.

Since you're switching perspectives every chapter in this story, I also really like the fact that the style of the opening of each chapter is the same, which then follows onto the next stage in their story. It lets us relax back into ttheir narratives but also is just such wonderful writing that I can't help loving it.

The fact that Gellert thinks of Albus when he watches the storm shows a lot too - even after all these years, it is the other that they think of rather than anyone else they've come across romantically in their lives, and that says so much. It's like they still want to share moments with each other even when they're impossibly separated. It was sad seeing Gellert's thoughts on Albus and his guilt, too

I loved the fact that you've already told us now where this story - or at least Gellert's reign - will end, back in the same place his story started; I really like the circular element that adds to the narrative and there's almost something poetic about it.

I'm so intrigued to know if the flowers actually were from Albus or if it was another of Gellert's admirers - I can't tell if they actually are from him or if, now, looking back on the events, Gellert just wants them to be from Albus.

So I know there aren't many Albus/Gellert stories on the archives at all, and I haven't seen any apart from this one which really focus on their lives as a whole as well as telling their romance, but this is such an original story. I have never really thought before about how Gellert started gaining power, and how he influenced people so much and gained followers to the extent that he had power over a lot of Europe and people wanted Albus to stop him before he got to Britain, but this version makes so much sense to me. I really like the fact that it's so different from the way we know Tom Riddle went about gaining power - this is almost a more natural path into it. To start at the bottom and work up, gaining the trust of and getting to know the people who make the decisions until you can influence them to do what you want, is a very clever way of doing it; like Gellert says, he has to change the way people think and that's what he tries to do with his path here, which shows how different to Voldemort he is.

It's both sad and kind of scary to see Gellert being forced to do such mundane work that bored him out of his mind, because we know he's so brilliant. The parallels that you were able to draw there with Albus and his situation were great; even when they were torn apart they were still linked and thought of each other a lot. I can't think of anything that reflects that fact better than seeing the way that Gellert still thinks of himself as making conquests for him and Albus. for their plans rather than just his own. It clearly indicates how close he still feels - in his heart and mind at least - to Albus and the fact that he remained in his mind when he was planning to take power. I'm so intrigued to see if that'll continue to happen as he progresses on his journey.

And I really should go to bed now so I'm going to post this and hope that nobody else ninja'ed and got there before me to the 100th review. No matter, this was a beautiful chapter and I'm so excited for you to reach 100 reviews on this amazing story!

Sian :)

Edit: wah Beth got there before me :( but now you can say you've passed 100 reviews and congratulations anyway! ♥

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Review #2, by nott theodoreLady Mondegreen: Conversations with a Portrait

20th May 2015:
Hi Lizzie! I'm here for the Gryffie Review Swap - I've heard a lot of good things about this story, so I was intrigued to get to read it finally.

I don't think I've actually read any of your stories before, but this was a really good introduction to your writing and now I'm kind of curious to find out what happens in the same universe and what goes on between the different characters in your novel - if I get time, I'll definitely be checking it out!

I really liked the way that you incorporated the word for the challenge into your story by using it in your title and also as the name of the woman in the portrait. I'd actually never heard of the word before, so it was definitely helpful that you included the definition at the beginning of your story so I didn't have to go and look for it, but I think that really helped me to understand why you'd then chosen it for the name of Lady M - it fitted in really well with her way of confusing things and mishearing and misunderstanding things that Lia says.

I really liked the character of Lia, and the way that she was Lee Jordan's daughter - it was great to get a bit of an idea in here of the relationship and background between her and James Potter through the course of the story without overloading us with it right at the start of the story, so that we learnt more about their history without being overloaded with details at the beginning. The information that we learnt through the story meant that the reason for Lia being so angry at the start of the piece made a lot more sense too - James seems to antagonise her quite often, so her reaction to him is more likely to be stronger and angry than to someone else. It was also great that we got to learn more about Lia as a character, such as her temper and little bits like that, through the course of the story.

Another aspect I really liked of the story was that you gave Lady M an opportunity to tell her own story during this piece, even though this is based in a universe that you already write in (and I'm assuming is more about Lia and James). I've read a few stories that include contact with portraits in the castle before, and I really love the idea of people creating a story for the people who live in the frames. One thing I've never seen before was the idea of having a Muggle that had been captured in a frame and become a portrait. I really liked the way that, because of the fact Lady M had been a Muggle, becoming a portrait affected her differently from the other portraits and she couldn't leave her frame to visit other people in the castle, so they had to come and visit her instead. That little detail was really great. I would be really intrigued to know which Queen she served as well!

As Lia told the story of what had happened between her and James that morning, it was really great to see a sort of friendship developing between her and Lady M, as she told the story and they both shared a bit of their lives with the other. I really liked the idea that Lia will go and visit her in the future, now that she knows how to get there and will make the effort to keep up the friendship; it must be so lonely to be trapped in a frame without being able to move, particularly if not many people come past your portrait. I can't help wondering whether Dumbledore would have been able to do something to help her if he'd known about it!

Lady M's bad hearing and her misunderstanding of so many of the things that Lia said made me laugh a lot, particularly the part about the sausages, and why she was so shocked about what James had done. I also liked the fact that her misinterpretations made what James had done look less significant, and Lia changed her mind about him a little bit and agreed to go and help him. I also liked the idea that Lady M had for what to get Harry for Christmas!

This was a really great story - I'm so glad we got paired with each other on the review swap! As soon as I have a chance, I'll definitely be trying to stop by your novel and see what that's like too!

Sian :)

Author's Response: WHOA! Sian!

Look at this MONSTER review you left me!! *Happy dances* You're awesome!!

This is definitely one of my favorite stories, so I'm SO glad you liked it!! I definitely agree that it is a good introduction into my writing and my characters. Lia does play a pretty big role in my novel, so you definitely get a sense of what some of her issues are in that story from this one.

I LOVED the word Mondegreen, but it totally confused me at first, so wanted to give a definition early on just to help the readers out, since I don't actually define the word within the story.

As of now, Lady M is not actually in HIMYF - so she's telling her backstory here because it hasn't been told yet!

The whole concept of Lady M being trapped in a portrait actually comes from another the novel I'm writing - a Founder's era fic, that's actually about the Queen she served, so I will definitely be writing Lady M's backstory at some point.

There's also going to be a conclusion to Lady M's story you'll get to see how she gets out of the portrait...and believe it or not, Dumbledore DOES have something to do with it!

Anyway, thanks for your wonderful review Sian!! I really appreciate it, and I will definitely be along to review your story soon!

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Review #3, by nott theodoreIsabella: Thirteen Candles

19th May 2015:
Hi again, Kaitlin! Stopping by to leave another review for the Red vs. Gold Review Battle!

You probably know by now that I love languages, travelling and learning about new cultures, so I really couldn't resist this story when I saw it at the top of your author's page. I don't know nearly enough about Mexico (although it's on my countries to visit list) and its culture, so I couldn't wait to see how you incorporated your own knowledge of the culture and language into a story set there! And you're right in your author's note - I've not seen any stories set in Mexico before either, so I'm really intrigued by how you'll develop this one!

The description at the beginning of this chapter was really beautiful. You did such a fantastic job of setting the scene and really making us feel like we're there in the fields with Isabella, surrounded by nature and completely immersed in a different lifestyle (from the one that I live, anyway). Mexico already sounds like an amazing country (one of my best friends is from there, I can't not like the sound of it :P) and then your descriptions here are just breath-taking. The colours and the detail that you wrote about the nature there have me wanting to visit the country even more - I just can't afford it yet!

I really enjoyed the way that you segued from the descriptions of the scenery into introducing little details about the character's life and lifestyle, so that we got to know more about her without being overloaded with information. Especially since this is a first chapter and in a setting that's completely different to the books, it's important that we get that sort of information but it's really nice not to have it dumped on us. I think the fact that she's used to a life of farming and further away from the city are going to be important in the future of the story, but it's also nice to know more about the protagonist's background as we're just being introduced to her.

Another thing I think you did well was capturing Isabella's voice; it isn't easy to write from the perspective of someone who's twelve/thirteen, especially in first person. There's probably more description in this than you'd find in most narratives from someone this age, but Isabella sounds like a really observant girl and you're doing a good job of slowly building up her character by including little details about her and things that she does.

The food. I don't know much about Mexican food (I'm very aware that anything that's been exported to Europe is probably an American version which is nothing like the real thing) but here it sounded delicious, and it was great that you included all the food according to the region and the occasion. Basically you just made me hungry again :P

(Also the Spanish words = love. But I'm not going to go on too much about that because I could fill the rest of the review with it. I just really like little details like that which add to the authenticity of a story like this one.)

I'm really intrigued about Isabella turning thirteen and what that's going to mean for her and her family. I'm so curious about the old woman who told her that thirteen could be an unlucky number - it sounds like she's trying to scare her, but then why is she arriving at her door on her thirteenth birthday? My first theory was that in Mexico, witches and wizards begin to receive their magical education at the age of thirteen, and that's why it was so important, but I'm not completely sure, and I'm very intrigued about this old lady's appearance.

This was a really great first chapter, and I'm so intrigued to see what's going to happen next in the story!

Sian :)

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Review #4, by nott theodoreMeals With Muggles : Burgers And Chips

19th May 2015:
Hi Kaitlin! I'm here reviewing for the Red vs. Gold Review Battle!

I've been intrigued in this story since you posted the threads in the Help Needed section of the forums asking about British food and dining experiences - I know you're a chef yourself and I came to this intrigued to see what you'd used the information for. This was such a great story and I'm really interested in the pairing as well as the lovely descriptions of food!

I'm afraid I'm going to have to dwell on your food descriptions first, though, just to get that part out of the way and talk about the actual story itself. I know that you must cook delicious food on a daily basis, but the descriptions here made me so hungry and I'm now craving a pub lunch, which I can't have because I'm over a thousand miles from the UK right now, so your descriptions of food are too good for my own good! I really liked the way that you incorporated some of the other information we gave you, too, such as the fact that everyone is sitting outside on a sunny day to eat, and the fact that Marietta is a regular at the pub and so there's more familiarity between her and the waiter than with Dudley.

I have two tiny Brit-picks that you might want to edit (though you don't have to, of course, they're just suggestions!). First, you have Dudley saying 'anyways' - to me this is kind of an Americanism, and not something most British people would say - since the Dursleys are meant to be representative of the British middle classes, and this story is set around ten years ago or so, I think it'd be more likely for him just to say 'anyway'. We also tend to use waiter or waitress more than server, which also sounds a bit American to me. These are just suggestions if you wanted it to sound a little more British, though :)

Now onto the actual story - I'm really intrigued by the idea of Dudley and Marietta together! I haven't got head canon yet for who Dudley ends up with (if anyone at all) but I find the potential between the two of them interesting, particularly what would happen if they had children together and the kids turned out to be magical.

I liked the way that Marietta was so confident around Dudley, and took the initiative on asking him for lunch. It's nice to see a character who's so strong-minded and I can't imagine Dudley being anything but awkward asking a girl out on a date, to be honest. I really got the sense that Marietta was much happier in the Muggle world, though, as though she found it liberating to be somewhere where people couldn't judge her for her past and things that she'd done as a girl.

Things developed between them really nicely in this story, too - I think you paced their conversation and interaction well and it was great to see Dudley plucking up the courage to ask Marietta on a date at the end of their lunch together. I wondered whether Marietta would actually say that she'd been to a school called Hogwarts, just in case she broke the Statute, but I suppose it would be easy to hide if someone didn't know what it was.

I really liked the idea of Marietta having given up magic after going through what she did, deciding that that world wasn't the right place for her. It's also a really great idea to see Dudley and Marietta bonding over their shared experiences of magic, both of them having bad memories caused by it. It would be great for Marietta to find someone who she could open up to about her past without being dragged back into the wizarding world, and equally Dudley could find someone who understood his own upbringing a bit more. It's a really interesting pairing and I'd be intrigued to write more about them if you ever do!

Sian :)

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Review #5, by nott theodoreLady Slytherin: II: Decima

2nd May 2015:
Hi again! I'm so sorry that it's taken me so long to get back to reviewing this story - I loved the first chapter and came back when life let me to read the rest, but have only just had chance to stop by and leave a review now!

I really liked the way that things developed in this chapter! The plot seemed to develop so much during this chapter and I really enjoyed all the new information that we learnt about the characters and the events.

Rohesia is probably my favourite character; since she's the protagonist, I'm assuming that's somewhat intended. There's something really steely about her, which is unusual for the women that I usually see portrayed in fiction in this period, and I think that only makes me like her more. Women were in a different position socially at this time, but I don't think that means there weren't strong women around - they wouldn't have survived a lot of what they went through if they hadn't had strong personalities. Rohesia is kind of symbolic of this for me. She's obviously had a lot of the future that she was supposed to have taken away from her, and yet she's seen the chance here and she's determined to go and take it.

I really like Lady Weasley too! I like the way that she's more outgoing and couldn't be described as meek, even by the men around her - she's not afraid of that, either. She actually reminds me a little bit of Ginny and the way she isn't afraid to go out and get what she wants, and I like the idea of family traits that have been passed down over the years even if the values of the family have changed dramatically.

Another aspect I liked was the relationship - for want of a better word - that started emerging between Decima and Rohesia in this chapter. Decima might seem very confident and determined but she's also too sensible to write Rohesia off as a rival entirely and she's a lot more worldly and ambitious than Diera, for instance. There's kind of a respect existing between them as they're both worthy rivals of the other for Slytherin's heart.

Salazar was very interesting here - I was so eager to see how you'd portray him as we got to know more of him in this chapter. It doesn't surprise me that he'd want to find more in a wife than someone who is merely a pureblood. I think he seems really mysterious - and perhaps that's what he's trying to be - but I find it believable that he'd want his wife to excel at magic as well, given what we know about him. He's very ambitious and I think he'd be bored of a wife who couldn't match him intellectually, and that's actually a nice change to the way I see him portrayed in most stories.

I really enjoyed this chapter, and I'll hopefully make it back soon to review again!

Sian :)

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Review #6, by nott theodoreL'optimisme: Similes

1st May 2015:
Hi Laura! Sorry about the delay in getting to this review for our swap - I got caught up Skyping my friend and doing other things which distracted me from reviewing. I hope you don't mind me coming back to this story because I really do love it!

I don't actually even know where to start with writing a review for this chapter, to be honest. It was just so beautiful. Your writing is really incredible here and I just want to quote most of it back to you but that would take up the whole review.

How do you manage to capture Albus so well? It's just so impressive - you manage to write him on a level which sounds like it is actually Albus Dumbledore. His ramblings and thoughts at the beginning of this chapter were just so real for me - we've gradually learnt over the course of this story so far about the feelings that Albus and Gellert had for each other and the way that Albus reflects on those feelings and the concept of love is just wonderful.

I think one of my favourite things about your writing in this is that, even though at the beginning the reflection part is a little detached from the main narrative, you still manage to make sure that everything flows and connects together. Albus has been reading poetry which reminds him of Gellert and then we get to learn about the different things that they loved together - their differences in taste and the way they view literature and music and art and the values they impart to those different forms. I don't know why but it just felt so true and real when I was reading that section.

The line about Albus wanting to send Gellert some books and poetry while he's in Azkaban, so that he doesn't drive himself mad from boredom, was so sad - especially after Gellert fearing being imprisoned and trapped with his own company.

Then to return to the 'chronological' part of the narrative was even sadder. Albus is so lonely and sad and that comes through so clearly. His thoughts on Christmas being a time of family were really sad - I always love Christmas and getting to see everyone I love at that time of year, but then the thought of the people who don't have people to spend that time with is really upsetting.

I loved the description of the party that Albus went to - I also loved the little thing about the French not really caring if people really had invites or not :P It just made me laugh!

The party was described so wonderfully - I really got a sense of the exuberance and the celebration. The details that you included were great too - just the little things like Albus smoking because that's what people did then, and he'd got into it like the rest of them - all of that made it so much more authentic and believable for me.

The scene when Ivor Dillonsby approached Albus about the dragon's blood properties was great! I'm so intrigued to see whether Albus will deliberately discover them on his own first or if he actually did take some of the ideas from him - it's also great that you're using a tiny detail from canon, something that Rita Skeeter digs up and might not even be true, and putting your own spin on it and giving it some foundation in fact at least.

This chapter just felt so... wise. I don't know if that's the right word really but I just keep marvelling at how well you captured Albus's voice, the voice of someone who's much older and wiser now and who has learnt from his mistakes and can reflect on lots of qualities and acknowledge his own mistakes and shortcomings. It's such an interesting narration and I just love reading it.

Sorry for the rambling and confused nature of this review, but I really don't know what to say at the moment, other than this was a brilliant chapter, like always!

Sian :)

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Review #7, by nott theodoreUnravel. : Pansy.

1st May 2015:
Hey Erin! Sorry that I'm so late in leaving this review; I ended up Skyping my friend and various other things which took up my time. But thank you for agreeing to do a review swap with me - it's been too long since I read any of your stories!

I really enjoyed reading this story! Pansy's a character who I find so interesting because in canon we find out barely anything about her - I know that J.K. Rowling says she hates her but I really love the lack of history and background we get to her character because, as writers, it allows us to explore her in pieces like this story.

This take on Pansy was so interesting and you just managed to add a completely different dimension to her character, one I'd never thought of before, in a short amount of words. I'm really impressed with this.

The opening gave us such an insight into her character. Although in normal circumstances, beginning several sentences with 'I' at the start of a story could feel repetitive, that had the desired effect here because the repetition gave us a much better idea about the sort of routine she sought to impose in her life and the way she thought about things.

I don't think I've ever seen Pansy portrayed in this way before - she's very obsessive, perhaps to the point that she has OCD in some form - and is doing everything she can to control the aspects of her life that she's able to control. She likes her routine and likes everything to be neat and ordered, and she doesn't like the idea of people not adhering to that.

The refrain that you used, in italics, adding to it each time it appeared in the story, was also really effective. It was almost like a mantra that Pansy calmed herself with, reciting who she was as if saying those words over and over would help her to become the person that she wanted to be. She put so much pressure on herself to be that perfect person and in a way it's no wonder that she struggled and was mean to others if that was what was going on in her head.

The part about the way that she wasn't eating properly was really sad. She couldn't see that she was actually starving herself because she was so driven to become that perfectly beautiful pureblood that she wanted to be. The precision in her bites and the numbers of pieces of fruit was so impressive and I think you've really thought about this story and those aspects of her character.

Another thing I liked was the way it wasn't really clear her whether her parents - her mum especially - were to blame for her being the way she was or if her behaviour was due to some more internalised problems. I think pureblood families are often portrayed as being to blame for their children's behaviour but mental health issues often aren't even considered, so I liked the way that you weren't afraid to confront that stigma here in this story.

The state of the relationship between Pansy and Draco was sad to read about too. Pansy was doing what she could to please him because she had no other choice and she'd never even dared to think of someone else in that way. It's so sad to think of a young girl - even one who was horrible like Pansy - stuck in that mindset and situation and unable to help herself out of it.

You did a wonderful job portraying Pansy in this story and actually making me feel sorry for her too, which isn't easy to do with a character who's so horrible in the books! Thank you for the review swap!

Sian :)

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Review #8, by nott theodoreHallowed be Our Names: Showdown

1st May 2015:
Karen! Hi! Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry that this review is coming so late but I got caught up Skyping a friend and various other things, and then I finally get the chance to come and read this story - which has been on my reading list for ages - and I find out that you mention me in your author's note, which is so incredibly sweet and exciting!

First of all, I love the title of this story - there's something very powerful about it, particularly with all the religious imagery that it conjures up. For some reason it seems to fit very well in my mind with Albus and Gellert and the period this story is going to be about; I'm really interested to see if you're planning on exploiting any religious imagery in future chapters to continue the theme.

I also think this is a very original choice of scene. There aren't that many stories about Albus and Gellert full stop, but I don't remember ever reading one which focuses on this moment - I've only ever skimmed over it in stories, trying to keep it ambiguous, so to see a story delve right into what happened is so interesting.

You did a really great job of creating the tension in this story. From the first line of the chapter, it was clear that there was something very serious about to happen - it was like it was almost inevitable that they were going to end in duelling, as we know will happen. That makes it even more poignant and sad to read.

I thought you wrote the dialogue of the characters here really well, and their body language as they spoke. I thought Gellert's play on words with the nanny/goat comment was clever and in character for the sort of sharp person that we know he must have been.

One thing I would point out is that you might want to just go over your dialogue tags again. A lot of your dialogue should end with a comma rather than a full stop, so, for example, this:
'“We should be on our way soon Albus.” Gellert said'
would be:
'“We should be on our way soon Albus,” Gellert said'
As you can see it's not something that has a lot of impact on your actual story but refining that would make it look neater overall.

I really liked the situation that you had these characters in, Gellert not realising that Albus had intended to take his brother and sister with them on their quest for glory and then it slowly coming to blows. It rings very true - we never get a full account of what was said and done in the books but I enjoyed your take on it.

I felt so sorry for Ariana here! She's so helpless and vulnerable, caught in the middle of this and not wanting to see them fighting but at the same time unable to prevent it. It's just even more tragic when we know what the eventual outcome of this will be, and what's going to happen to her because she does try and help!

Thanks for agreeing to do a review swap with me - I really enjoyed this!

Sian :)

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Review #9, by nott theodoreGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 9

1st May 2015:
Hi farmgirl! First, sorry I'm so late with this - I ended up getting a Skype call from a friend and other various things distracting me from reviewing. But I'm really glad you agreed to do a review swap with me - I realised recently I hadn't been back to read the latest chapter of this story and had it on my reading list anyway. Now that I've read it, you're just going to have to write some more and post again soon ;)

Yet again, this was another wonderful chapter! I really don't know what to say when it comes to reviewing this story because you've already done so many things with it that I never thought you'd manage - I'm really enjoying an AU story, which I generally don't read, and I just keep repeating myself over and over again in my reviews on this story. Sorry if that gets boring, but I can't fail to be impressed at the things you write so well!

The way that you write the twins is so amazing. I really can't get over it - I've only ever written them as young children and I find that so hard to do, because they're such vivid characters in the books but so distinct; I find it hard to capture their personalities and write true to that. But you do it so well - I know that I do say this in every single review that I write for this story but you really do. Their speech especially just makes me feel like these passages could have come from the books if Sadie had been there all along.

I really liked the way that we saw some development in Sadie's character here - she's come such a long way since we first saw her at the very beginning of the story. She's starting to feel comfortable at home with the Weasleys, as if she's a part of the family, and becoming a little better at facing up to her fears that really petrify her. I also loved the little moment when Sadie started - really started, I should say - noticing Fred and him being different from George. It was a nice reminder that even with all she's been through, so much of which we don't actually know yet, she's still a normal young girl. I loved her sassy response to Fred though, the deep buried instincts coming out in her.

The visit to Diagon Alley was great. Whenever I reread the first book or watch the first film again, I always get reminded of how truly magical that first trip to Diagon Alley is - all of us, as readers, spend so much time thinking about this world that we've lost some of the wonder behind the magic in it. But you managed to capture that incredibility when Sadie visited Diagon Alley with the twins, with all the different things that she could see, even though she was apprehensive about the crowds and the sheer amount of people.

I really liked the different shops that they went in and the way that you used them to showcase different aspects of Sadie's personality. She's really good at forging links with animals, she loves reading and she's got a mischievous side as well and enjoyed messing around in the joke shop.

I loved the introduction of the property for the joke shop! It's great to show that they had the dream about the place for a long time before they got the money from Harry and opened up the shop in the fifth book - it shows that their dream's a lot more grounded and cherished and I love the fact that they both feel that they can share that with Sadie, and that they communicate that to each other even without speaking.

And now, you really need to get writing again so I can read more of this story ;) Thanks again for the swap with me!

Sian :)

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Review #10, by nott theodoreRaised Like a Pig for Slaughter : Raised Like a Pig for Slaughter

30th April 2015:
Hi Fin! Thanks for agreeing to do a review swap with me!

First of all, before I get on to all the brilliant things I want to say about this story, I did notice just two typos that I thought I'd point out:
'How anyone could be happy in the wold' - world
'because you were always somebodies pawn' - somebody's

Now that those are out of the way, I can get on with saying what I really want to say about this story. It's been a while since I read any of your work (and, I think, a while since you've put up anything new?) but I really enjoyed this! I have to be honest and say that Snape isn't one of my favourite characters and I only like Snape/Lily stories that are angsty and don't end with them together - so naturally, this fit the bill perfectly.

Your choice of second person was great for me - I love reading and writing second person narratives and I really think it adds something different to the story; you feel closer to the protagonist than you often do in other narratives, even first person, because it's reaching out to the reader and joining them with the character's experiences. Here I actually felt something close to sympathy for Snape, which, considering how I feel about him generally, is an achievement!

I think that one of my favourite things about this story was the imagery that you used - this piece relied heavily on description and metaphor and there were several conceits that you employed throughout the story which worked really well for me. I really enjoyed the image of Lily being the antidote to the poison that was life - a poison that Snape had consumed or was consuming him, perhaps. Those few repeated sentences worked really well to show the way that their relationship worked.

I also liked the way that you took the line that Snape says about Harry in the books, worried about sending him to his death, and applied it to Snape himself. J.K. Rowling draws so many parallels between Harry and Snape that I found that really interesting. One thing I think you could do with that idea is extend the metaphor a little - at one point you mention rubbing salt into Snape's wounds - you could maybe like that to seasoning/preserving meat in some way if you wanted to really draw the ideas and images together even more.

You also did a great job of covering Snape's life in this one story, taking him from the beginning to the end, when the house he's built on shaky foundations comes crumbling down. I thought you explored his character very well, too, giving him interesting motives for doing the things he did; I think the one part that really struck me was when you described the way he'd had to build his own foundations because his parents hadn't cared enough to do so, which meant that some bad things got mixed in there. That made so much sense to me for his character.

I also really liked the way that you showed Snape's thoughts about Lily - she was his flower, the antidote to the poison, but he couldn't take her and in a way I wonder if he relied too much on her to become good, to survive things, and when she wasn't there for him anymore and chose James, he succumbed more to the Dark side. I also really liked the way that he was drawn to her at the beginning because of the way that she made him feel happy.

I really, really enjoyed this story Fin, and thank you for swapping with me on it!

Sian :)

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Review #11, by nott theodoreholocene.: the hallow bright.

30th April 2015:
Hi Kiana! I saw that you'd written this a while ago but I've been so busy that it's just been added to my reading list and now I've got a bit of time to read it finally!

You know that I don't actually tend to read song fics very often, because I find that often the lyrics cut up the story too much, but I really liked the way that you used them here - very short quotes from the song, and the way that you inserted them, centred, between sections, worked really well. It seemed more like a segue into the next section or a title like I've seen in other stories that you've written.

When I started reading this, I was wondering if you'd actually intended it to be set in the same universe as standing in the way of the light because I could see a lot of links with the story and I felt like you were characterising them in the same way. I really enjoyed the continuation of their characters in this story because I loved reading them in the first story and it was really beautiful, so I think that added something extra to this piece too. It was great to see a continuation of your version of how Draco and Astoria lived their lives after that.

I really enjoyed reading this continuation from Draco's perspective, though - in standing in the way of the light we get to see Astoria struggling with her own demons and the way that Draco comes to play a role in her life and help her out of that, but here we see the opposite side and the relationship between the two of them automatically becomes more even because of that. I really liked the way that you used this story to explore both their relationship and Draco's own difficulties facing up to what he's seen and done, and trying to become the person that he wants to be.

As ever, the description in this, and the imagery that you used in particular, was just wonderful. I really love your word choice - it seems, especially in your one-shots, that you choose every single word deliberately and with a lot of care so that it fits perfectly and conjures up brilliant images in the reader's mind. The triplication works really well here too - I think it could be overused if this was a longer story, but with a short piece like this one it fits well.

I felt so sorry for Astoria when Draco abandoned her right after she'd given birth to Scorpius! That was such a sad scene. The fact that he felt so incapable of being a good role model and taking care of his own son because of all the things he'd been and done was just really upsetting, and it did a great job of showing the way that the shadows of the war hang over people like Draco who was really just a child when it all happened. I can't imagine what Astoria must have felt like, particularly with her background and the fact she'd just given birth to their son, but the fact that she accepted him when he returned speaks volumes about their relationship and the foundation of it - more with the mere actions than another thousand words could probably have told us.

This was a really great story, Kiana!

Sian :)

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Review #12, by nott theodoreBreathe: i. Consequence

22nd April 2015:
Hi Kayla! I'm here reviewing for the Red vs. Gold Review Battle!

I really enjoyed reading this! I've seen you posting about it on the forums, and how excited you were to write and publish it here, so I couldn't resist coming and checking it out when I got a chance to. It's also been ages since I read any Marauders stories and your head canons for this era made me really intrigued to see how you'd write them.

As a prologue, this worked so well. It was only short, but there's plenty here to draw us into the story and make us ask questions about what's happening so that we'll want to continue reading. I thought you did a fantastic job of creating the hook with this!

One thing I thought you did really well in this story was setting the scene without making things really obvious and telling the reader when it is, and what's been happening. This is the summer after their fifth year, if I'm right, when Sirius has tried to trick Snape into going into the Shrieking Shack on a Full Moon and putting him at risk of being attacked by a werewolf, and also putting Remus at risk of exposure. I've never seen a story like this before, opening in this time when Sirius is trying to earn his friends' forgiveness. This normally seems like an issue that's fairly quickly resolved between the friends in stories, and to be honest, I haven't read that many stories that are even from Sirius's point of view.

I thought the way that you characterised Sirius here was really interesting, too, and I really enjoyed reading about him. It's quite different to the majority of Sirius-centric stories that I've read, where he comes across as arrogant and confident, but seeing him alone, stuck at his family's house for the holidays without any contact with his friends, definitely exposes another side to his character that I thought was really interesting. Here, he seems much more insecure, feeling that he's not worthy of his friends' attention and forgiveness, and punishing himself for the mistake he made. When you think about the different things that he had to go through growing up, not being accepted because he was different to his family and ended up in Gryffindor, the way that he grew to have different beliefs to them, I think it's really likely that he'd be so insecure.

Another aspect that I thought was great here was the way you gave us an insight into so many aspects of his life. The home life and the way that his parents don't seem to care for him that much, going off to Paris together on holiday and leaving their children at home, shows the sort of life that he has when he goes back there during the holidays.

You weaved your head canons into the prologue really well, too. I liked the fact that you didn't make them really obvious, not over-emphasising them, but having the information appear in a way that felt like it naturally had a place at that point in the story. The fact that James is part-Indian comes across with his family visiting the relatives they have in India every summer, and him being there now, and then the ending showed the fact that Sirius is also dealing with problems over his own identity. I'm so intrigued to know whether anything has happened yet between him and Remus or whether he's just got feelings for him at the moment and then Snape calling him that is making him feel worse and more confused and upset over things.

You did a lovely job with this prologue, Kayla, and I really enjoyed reading it!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Wow, Sian! I don't even know what to say! Thank you so much for this absolutely wonderful review!

Stories about this time in Sirius' life are a lot more common on other sites, I find. I don't think I've seen any other ones here.

Chapter 2 is in the queue, and I really hope you'll enjoy it as much as you enjoyed this chapter (if you come back to read it). I think it gives a lot of further insight.

Thank you again for this amazing review!!


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Review #13, by nott theodoreThe Writing on the Wall.: The Gryffindor Quidditch Team.

17th April 2015:
Hi again! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this story *hides* I've missed reading about Albus and the start of his time at Hogwarts, particularly as I was certain the mystery was going to start soon, but this has been the first chance I got to come back and read and review.

I don't know if you realise how much those opening sentences read as though they could have come from the books themselves, but that was the first thing that struck me when I started reading this chapter. I'm not sure what it was about them, but you did a great job of emulating JKR in that opening section. I had to read it over a couple of times to appreciate it :P

Even if Albus doesn't realise it, it's quite normal for James not to approach him much at school. At least, as far as I'm concerned it is; maybe there's something more behind it that I'm meant to suspect. But in my experience, older siblings don't always seek their younger siblings out when they're starting school, because they've already created their own little world there. I am the older sibling, though, so it was interesting to see it from the perspective of someone younger.

Even so, it was really sweet to see that James was so nervous to try out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and he wanted Albus to come along and watch him at the try-outs, to have support in the crowd. I liked the way that he gradually got more cocky and confident as he was talking to Albus about it, as if just being with his little brother helped him to (at least act) be that way. We only see a glimpse of James from the epilogue and I think a lot of people characterise him as someone who's constantly confident, but when you remember that he was actually winding up his little brother, this portrayal of him feels much more accurate.

I liked the fact that both Albus and Rose were so interested and excited to get the chance to go and watch James try out for the Quidditch team. Even if James has better things to do than spend time with them generally, it stills suggests they're quite a close-knit family who like to support each other.

I liked the detail about Brian objecting to the presence of Ravenclaws in the stands, watching the Gryffindor trials. I think that any serious captain would probably suspect sabotage, even if the innocent little first years aren't likely to be able to steal much in terms of information. It was good that Dominique was there to calm things down, I think, or Albus and Rose could have found themselves in a more awkward position.

The try-outs were so interesting to read! I haven't read many stories that include characters trying out for the Quidditch team, but I enjoyed reading this chapter. I also thought it was great that James was trying out to become the Keeper - I've only seen him as Chaser and Seeker before, so it was an original touch to have him playing in a different position. And it was certainly tense to read the trials as they progressed; the fact that James was a Keeper meant we had to wait even longer (like the characters did) to find out whether he'd manage to make it onto the team. Then, finally, when he gets his turn to fly, there's another contender for the position who's just as good as he is - well, almost. I was glad that James managed to get on the team, although I did feel sorry for Claire. It was great to see James being sporting about the fact that he'd got the position, and trying to console her.

Dominique reminds me a lot of my cousin, actually - I thought you captured the dynamic between her, as the slightly older cousin, and the others well. My cousin and I are obviously a fair bit older than these characters, but her dialogue reminded me of the way my cousin used to speak to me when I was that age.

Hmm, the ending has me really intrigued. I know that you said that the introductory parts would start to segue into the main plot at this point, so I'm wondering about whether or not there's something going on here. Professor Blackburn could just have been in a bad mood, or be one of those teachers like Snape who hands out detentions to students they don't like, but I don't know if she has any reason at all for disliking Albus and Rose other than the fact they were in the corridors in the evening when she didn't seem to want to be seen. And I noticed that Slughorn wasn't completely sincere in his response to her, either, so I'm very curious about what's going on here. I'll be keeping my eye out for more clues in the next chapters!

Ah, I feel sorry for Albus and Rose, too, with an undeserved detention that they have to serve. And I liked the vulnerability that you showed in Albus here, and the way that he doesn't want to tell anyone, not even Rose, how nervous he is about the detention. It felt very appropriate for his age.

Sian :)

Author's Response: Glad to see you back. This chapter is sort of the start of the real story in my opinion.

I honestly don't even know what to say about your comments about the first few sentences. I try to make the feel of the story fit with J.K. Rowling's world, but the idea that they sound like they could have come out of the books...thank you so much. I honestly thought you were going to point out some mistake I'd made with them when I started reading that.

*laughs* I WOULD have been willing to approach my little sister when she started 1st year (equivalent to Hogwarts' 2nd year) and I was in my final year, except that I was expressively forbidden from doing so. She told me straight out that if we meet up, that's fine, but not any more than that.

Al is so anxious to impress James and be noticed by him, but James is too busy trying to be a cool teen to take much notice of his little brother.

Brian takes Quidditch rather seriously. He's a minor character but that detail about him is in my head.

There'll be a little bit more in the next chapter about that detention and you'll probably get a fair idea as to whether this is a personal thing against Rose and Albus or what. Their family is pretty well-known, of course.

Slughorn IS rather insincere, particularly when dealing with people he doesn't consider worth his time for whatever reason, so it may be no more than that, or on the other hand, there may be somewhat more to it. He will actually comment about Blackburn to Rose and Albus later on, now that I think of it.

Thank you SO much for this review. Your reviews are SO detailed and amazing. Thank you so, so much.

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Review #14, by nott theodoreOil and Water: oil and water don't mix

17th April 2015:
Adi! ♥ Guess who finally made it here?

(When you say 'hit me', do you mean that to be metaphorically, with reviews, or literally? :P)

I was really frustrated with myself that I didn't get time to complete the story I wanted to submit to the Logophile Challenge, but I'm so glad that you did! You used the word 'crepuscular' so well through this story, so that I was wondering until the end what the word actually was (as in, it wasn't overly obvious what you'd been given, but you weaved the word and its connotations in seamlessly).

I've asked you before whether or not you always write your head canon in your stories, and you told me no, and I'm still always amazed by the different interpretations you're able to give one pairing. This felt almost like a reversal of your wonderful one-shot Forget Me Not, with the way that Rose and Scorpius took such different roles in this compared to the other story. I'm just so impressed with the way you're able to portray the same characters, and their relationship with each other, so differently and yet at the same time still tell their story so convincingly.

Your description in this story ♥ Rose, as a writer, tells this story so beautifully, her narration lyrical and poetic and the imagery is so amazing in this. I actually read it through a couple of times just to appreciate the description and metaphor that you used in this piece. It was so lovely, the way that you highlighted the contrasts between Rose and Scorpius and captured their broken, slightly unhealthy relationship against this beautiful, serene background.

So much symbolism. You know how much I love symbolism, and in a piece like this, which was relatively short (at least compared to some of your other pieces :P), it worked so well - it had a real impact to act as a metaphor for their relationship. From the very beginning of the story - the opening sentence - there were symbols of the way that their relationship worked and the way that it made Rose feel. Wishing that she could move and get away from Scorpius's arm; his weight is pressing down on her, suffocating her, stifling her creativity as he stops her from escaping to the outdoors and putting pen to paper. And then later, with the ice and fire, and the way that the sun's rays turn their hair to hay and fire - substances that shouldn't mix, or one will be burnt, consumed, by the other. It indicates the way that their relationship works, that they shouldn't really be together because they - not only because of their families, but also because of the people they are - don't mix well.

And bringing into that the title, Oil and Water - I love the way that you don't actually tell us who is who, leaving us to decide it for ourselves. Rose could be oil, rising to the top and overcoming Scorpius and the strange relationship they've had, or it could be Scorpius, who is only there for the surface, the material, and can't go any deeper in the way that Rose can.

I found your portrayals of Rose and Scorpius so interesting, as well, in comparison to your other versions of them. Rose, here, was the one who cared far more for Scorpius, loving him and yet still falling out of love, disillusioned, finally, with the way he treats her, acknowledging that he's always the one who leaves, that sometimes she doesn't want him to return, and that she's a better writer when she's afraid of losing him, because she can pour out her soul into the words. It isn't Scorpius himself that inspires the words for her, but the emotions that he creates, the experiences that he gives her.

In contrast to that, Scorpius seems so unfeeling. He's there for fun, almost using her - although it's told from Rose's perspective, so we can't be sure that he actually knows she feels differently before she tells him - and removed from the situation. He's a far different character and while it's a case of opposites attracting, at least as far as this broken relationship is concerned, they're simply too different to have a successful, loving relationship together.

And I've probably rambled on for long enough now :P But I'm so impressed with this, especially the fact that you wrote it so quickly, and the way you manage to constantly deconstruct and reshape and rebuild Rose and Scorpius in a different story. You're amazing, my dear!

Sian :)

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Review #15, by nott theodorele ciel saigne pour nous. : la lune et l’étoile.

17th April 2015:
Kiana! ♥ So I've been slacking on reviewing your stories, apparently, because you've suddenly started updating things and I've missed it (next time, tell me :P) but now I've noticed I'm here to spend a bit of time on your page - choosing between this and Ides to review first wasn't easy, but since the title was French, this one won (surprise, surprise, I know)!

Wah, so the title - I knew straight away, of course, that this was going to be angst and also feature some of that beautiful imagery that you manage to incorporate into all your stories. But it always seems more appropriate when authors include French with characters that either are French or have French heritage, so I loved the fact that you used it here even more than normal. I thought you put the French to great use, too - it just worked as section titles and the few words that you included had more impact too.

The imagery ♥ You know this is something that I always end up mentioning in my reviews of your stories, but I can't help it, because I notice it every time that you write something new and it's just so beautiful to read. The description is so lyrical, almost poetic, and your use of metaphor always finds a way of adding more meaning to the actual story itself - in this case, casting Victoire and Scorpius as the moon and the stars and then continuing the theme throughout, and the sea as their constant background/almost companion. Gah, it was just so amazing and I really love reading your stories even if it's just for the description and imagery you include.

Victoire and Scorpius is a bit of a rare pairing (I think - I don't really read many unusual pairings so I probably wouldn't know :P) but I found it so interesting to read about here, even if I do have Victoire and Teddy together in my head canon. I really liked the way that you told their story, in short snapshots, because really it didn't seem like a long, drawn-out love affair, and it was kind of more like a burning passion that was extinguished too quickly. Telling the story in short segments really worked to communicate that.

The nature of their relationship really captured my interest too. I've never read anything about them together and obviously there's quite an age difference, but you didn't attempt to explain how they ended up together and that left it to the reader's imagination. But I got the idea that this was something secret, perhaps illicit - the fact that they always meet outside, against the backdrop of the sea and bleeding sky, makes me think that they were hiding their relationship from other people. The way that they act together, the passion that you describe in their meetings, also makes me think that it was maybe an affair of some sort.

I loved the way that the relationship and their roles in it reversed in the course of this short piece. At the beginning, Scorpius seems to be the one who's more in love with Victoire, who cares more about her - she seems to be in control, more distant from him, and he's waiting for her and wanting to know her decisions about them. Then, eventually, he gets tired of waiting for her to make a decision and all of her hesitation, and once she's finally ready to choose he isn't there, and he becomes the one in control. I found that reversal really interesting to read and I can picture a relationship of sorts between them with the way that you've conceptualised it here.

This was a really lovely read, Kiana, and thank you for introducing me to another pairing I hadn't read before! I'll be back soon to review Ides ♥

Sian :)

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Review #16, by nott theodoreThe Art of Small Talk: Bam, Bam, Bam! Goes My Life

14th April 2015:
Hey Kiana! Yay, I'm so excited to see another chapter of this story up (and I just sneaked to your page to see Ides has been updated too, I have so much to read)! Although this review might be a bit rubbish as I need to go and get food and so I have to rush a bit :P

The conversation at the beginning of the chapter was interesting - I feel like there's something I'm blanking on but I'm really curious about why Eileen was annoyed with her and whether it also somehow links into everything else that's happening in Audrey's life at the moment. It might do, or it might just be that Eileen's having a bad day and taking her mood out on Audrey. But it was emphasised more than that would be, I think, with James saying later that Eileen's never annoyed at her and stuff, so I'm inclined to think that there is something behind it and it's got some significance for the plot. I just don't know what yet :P

The conversation with James was suitably awkward :P I had to laugh at the way that Audrey was dealing with things though and that her assessment of herself included owning a cat as being a sign of a mature adult. But I liked the way that she decided just to bring it up and out into the open because that way it was easier to deal with. It was sweet to see that James was so relieved to hear her talking about it as well, and the fact that she was okay with him being with Oliver. It was sad that he pointed out that so many people can't deal with him being gay and ask questions about whether he's really sure about it and stuff, but I thought it was a realistic portrayal of the sort of thing that happens.

Audrey's internal monologue was brilliant, once again. She's just such a vivid and likeable character and I really enjoy reading the story from her perspective. I know that I say that in pretty much every one of my reviews on this story, but it is true and it's one of my favourite things about this story. She's so funny with the way that she thinks about things and gets carried away with thoughts in the middle of a conversation or something.

I really enjoyed seeing George and Angelina again too! I'm starting to appreciate how difficult it is to write them but you do such a great job, and I really loved the way that George acted here, and his dialogue just seemed really in character. It made me laugh that Audrey arrived at one of the worst possible moments, probably, with the discussion about love potions going on - both Verity and Angelina expect that Audrey will be on their side and then it turns out that Audrey's actually the one who produced the potion for the shop. Oops!

Hmm, the hints that George was dropping about Percy are really interesting - I wonder if Percy's confided in him and said that he likes Audrey! I definitely think that Percy likes her and is probably more ready to admit it to himself than Audrey would be, and even though she's awkward the problem is likely more deep-rooted. When I think of all the things that have happened in her past, especially with her mum leaving, it's not going to be easy for her to form close bonds with people because there's always going to be that fear of them leaving. Anyway... I'm intrigued to see Percy again and how things develop between them!

Oh wow, I was not expecting the end of this chapter, not at all. I thought you did a fantastic job of creating the tension with the Aurors arriving and knocking on the doors - even though Audrey wasn't really involved so much in the war, I think those fears would still have existed for her, and it's clear that for George and Angelina and Verity, those fears haven't gone away. George is still ready tor react as well, as if the instinct to protect himself and the people he cares about will never go away. It's kind of sad to think that the war had such an impact.

The Aurors were really rough in the way they handled finding and arresting Audrey! I was kind of surprised at that, since she wasn't actually resisting in the first place or running away from them or anything, so bashing down the door and then stunning poor Verity was really terrible. But I was even more shocked at the fact they arrested Audrey for making that potion to help Draco! I wouldn't have thought that it would actually be something worth arrest!

I don't know what's happened to Draco, but I think that Penelope might have had something to do with all of this. And I'm worried about Audrey being able to get out, too, because she's not always great in situations that require quick-thinking and I don't want her to end up in even more trouble! I'm kind of thinking that Percy might turn up and do a Mark Darcy and help her get out of prison, but that's the only theory I can come up with at the moment :P

This was another great chapter and I was really happy to see it up - everything is so hectic for you right now and it can't be easy to find time to write as well, but I love reading this when you do get time to update! ♥

Sian :)

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Review #17, by nott theodoreL'optimisme: Bulgaria

13th April 2015:
Laura ♥ (This review is taking me a ridiculously long time to write because I keep getting distracted, and I'm also very tired so keep reading things wrong in this chapter, but I'm finally here :P But just a warning in advance if this review is worse than usual and even more rambly...)

The opening of this was just... wow. There was a real shift in tone there from the last time we saw Gellert in this story, when he seemed more wistful and nostalgic. Here he really seems to have been ensnared by the lure of power and he's consumed with it completely, going down that path even though he knows where it will lead him.

Also, the imagery in that opening section. I mean, your description is always stunning and beautiful, but the imagery there was just incredible. I reread it a couple of times, just thinking over the way that you used fire and all the things it could symbolise in this story (which I'm not going to list, because I'm sure you know them all and were intending them to be there when you wrote it, so). It was just really powerful and evocative to me, and to open the chapter with that just gave it such an impact.

I think that in this chapter we seem to get more of an insight into the differences between Gellert and Albus, too, and especially the ways that they grew apart after going their separate ways. Gellert can't stand being still; he's the sort of person who always has to have a purpose, a motive for doing something, and he wants the sense of power that being able to move around gives him. Stripping away his independence and freedom when he's imprisoned after being defeated in the duel is the worst thing that could happen to him, and I loved the way that you touched on that. You've thought so deeply into these characters and know them so well, and it really comes across in your writing.

There was also a real shift in the way that Gellert thinks about Albus in this chapter, too - a lot more bitterness and some jealousy, too. Albus is the one who, though he's often content to sit in contemplation, still has his freedom while Gellert's in prison. And Gellert seems to be very ambitious but also tries to be true to himself, in a way; he's kind of ideological in his plans for domination and power. Because of that it's even worse to him when Albus disassociates himself (as much as possible) from the schemes and dreams that the two of them once had. There's a lot of bitterness and resentment towards Albus because of that, I think, and Gellert's trying to convince himself that he doesn't feel anything for Albus anymore, but the fact that his thoughts come back to him so constantly throughout the course of the chapter proves that he's not fallen out of love with him.

Is it okay to say that I also found it a little scary to see how well you managed to capture Gellert's mindset when he was setting out on his plan for world domination? :P You capture him so well in this, and you could really feel the greed and determination there.

I loved, once again, the way that you segued from one location to the next. Bulgaria comes into play, and Bulgaria's the natural next step because we know that Gellert stole the Elder Wand when he was still a young man, so it makes sense for him to then go there - in search of something, with a purpose. The sorts of things he needs to distract him from thoughts of Albus, really.

I could have probably drooled over that last section for the amazing description and imagery that was contained in it. I won't, partly because I'd want to analyse every line and I don't have anywhere near enough characters for that, but seriously, Laura - how do you keep doing this? Throughout this chapter - the fire, the hunter imagery, and then the sky, something that encompasses the two of them no matter where they are. And those last two lines... just, erm, wow. I don't actually know what else to say.

This was really beautiful, as always, and I apologise now for the complete confusion that this review must be because my brain is slowly shutting down as I write it :P

Sian :)

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Review #18, by nott theodoreBruises: Terror

13th April 2015:
Hi Kaitlin! Here for the Red vs. Gold review battle!

I chose this story because I feel like I've seen you posting statuses about this being the best thing you've written so far. I might just have been imagining that, but I wanted to read it anyway and it was really impressive!

I loved the creativity that shone from this story. The banner challenge in itself is such a good idea, and I'm so excited to see all the different stories that it inspires, and this was such an original and interesting story to come from your banner. You not only created a whole new character for this story, as well as fleshing out her whole background, but managed to capture the reader and pull them into the narrative as well - I was so gripped reading this, determined to find out what was going on and what would happen to the protagonist!

From the very beginning of this piece, I found myself asking loads of questions: where was this happening? Who was the character this was happening to? What was actually happening? The fact that I was asking all of those things just goes to show that you've crafted a great opening to the story - we don't know any of these details because the protagonist herself doesn't know, so we're even more drawn into the narrative because we go on the discovery process with her.

From the first point that I read her name, I was racking my brains for a mention of a Caroline as a canon character, but couldn't remember one. It became clear pretty soon that it was an OC, though, especially with the way the setting was described; to me it felt like it was somewhere in the States (and because you'd deliberately left clues to that) and I placed it sometime in the twentieth century, although I wasn't entirely sure when. I couldn't help wondering, when I heard the surname 'Johnson', if Caroline was somehow distantly related to Angelina, but I think that's probably stretching things too far :P

The way that you structured this story was really well thought-out as well. The different days broke things down so that we got a much better insight into the way Caroline was processing time, counting in days rather than weeks or months, and the fact that you build this story up over a relatively short timescale helps increase the tension and the curiosity about what exactly is going on. I really liked the way that they varied in length, too, some shorter and some longer, focusing on specific moments. It gave a great idea of how Caroline's life in captivity was.

As for what was happening, it was so fascinating to read! When I started reading this my first thought, especially when capture was mentioned, was that it was something to do with Dark Magic or the Death Eaters. But it quickly became clear that the 'treatments' and the 'procedures' weren't magical, and were some form of Muggle medicine. I realised quite soon after that that the story was focusing on somebody's 'treatment' for witchcraft.

Even though I find it fascinating, I've not actually seen the Muggle perception of witchcraft dealt with very often in fanfiction (I wrote a story about it myself, but set in a very different time period :P) but it was both interesting and heart-breaking to see what happened to Caroline here because of her magic. And while we think that Hogwarts and all of that magical world is fiction, it's sad to remember that these sort of treatments were actually carried out on people for no real reason.

I really enjoyed reading the scenes with Caroline's parents. Things didn't seem as threatening or as tense when they were there, but really, they were the cause for all her suffering in the first place. Having seen the way that you wrote it, I do think they did it out of love for her and fear of what was right/wrong and what might happen to them as a family, but even so, it's an awful thing for them to have submitted their daughter to. When she didn't remember them at first, and they were devastated by it, it almost felt like a just reward for what they'd done.

Sarah was so cute in this! I got the impression earlier on in the piece that she was younger and I liked the way that Sarah had been the one who first reignited the memories of home for Caroline, and when Caroline was able to return home that bond between them was reinforced. You captured their sibling relationship so well, and Caroline's protective nature when it comes to her sister, the one thing that's enough to wake her from her stupor and show that the treatment didn't even work anyway. I'm so glad that she's not going to sit back and let her sister go through what she had, and that she's not actually lost her magic!

And, um, I'm sorry for this rambling review which quite probably didn't make much sense, but I'm exhausted and English is proving difficult at the moment :P But I really enjoyed this story and you did a great job on it!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi Sian!

I'm so happy you chose to read this story! I was very excited about it when I finished it!

I'm thrilled that you thought my usage of the banner was creative. I always tend to go off on tangents that stray from the normal with challenge prompts.

Getting the reader to ask questions and be a bit confused was my goal. I wanted it to be slightly disorienting and confusing in the beginning because I wanted the reader to be pulled into Caroline's struggle.

Caroline is definitely an OC and you were right. This is supposed to be in the States, more specifically the South. I imagine this taking place somewhere in the 1950's.

The structure was a bit nerve wracking for me because I was worried it would get too redundant. By the time that I finished the 14th day, I was really worried that most readers would clock out around the 11th day.

Funny how easy it is to mistake muggle medicine for torture. Some of the procedures that have occurred in medical history could certainly be classified as such.

I've been toying with the idea of writing a novella around a character who's magical, but from a non-accepting muggle family. I imagine the struggle could be quite intense. Maybe one day I'll get around to it! It is incredibly sad to think about how much this story, this scenario, and these types of treatments happen in the real world, but for vastly different reasons.

I'm not sure the good intentions of her parents justifies their actions. They've basically mutilated their child for no reason. I can't imagine any good parent doing that.

Sarah is absolutely Caroline's saving grace. She triggers the memories. She is the strength Caroline needs to keep fighting back. And in the end, she is the motivation for Caroline to keep them both safe.

Your review made perfect sense and absolutely brought a smile to my face! Thank you so much for putting in so much detail! It made my day to read this!


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Review #19, by nott theodoreWhat The Heart Wants: The Light

10th April 2015:
Hi Ashwini! I saw you posting about this story on the forums and I thought I'd come and give it a read!

I thought this was a really original and sweet idea for a story! I love Ron and Hermione together but I haven't actually read much of them for a long time, so I was intrigued to see what moment you would choose to write about. I don't think I've ever read a story which focuses on Hermione's thoughts and feelings when Ron's just left them in the seventh book before, so I really enjoyed reading your interpretation of the events and the way that she felt.

I loved the way that you began this story! That simple sentence had a lot of impact for me, and really showed the fact that Hermione felt so drained when Ron had left her. You did a brilliant job of showing what Ron meant to Hermione in that section - the different things that she was feeling and thinking about in his absence really highlighted how much he meant to her.

I was so glad that you included the distinction between Harry and Ron, as far as Hermione's concerned, from the start of this. It's Ron who Hermione gravitates towards, even though she's doing what she believes is right and staying with Harry to help him find the Horcruxes and defeat Voldemort. Ron is the one who brings her laughter and comfort in the dark times and when he's gone she misses all of that.

Another aspect I really liked was the way that Ron being missing made Hermione reflect on all her memories of the two of them together, and to consider the way that her feelings developed and she came to love them. I liked the fact that it wasn't instant, because in the books we do see the way that it developed gradually, from their first year to when she first noticed feelings for him, and then started loving him.

The little details that you included in this piece were brilliant, too - you captured Hermione's character so well! Like the fact that life without Ron was as spiritless as a room without books for her - that was such a tiny character detail and added a lot to the story for me.

It was so sad to see how much Hermione missed Ron and the way that she wanted him to come back, to be a light to guide him back there but she didn't believe she could be. And then to see the switch in the narrative to Ron, who you also captured really well, and the way that he was wishing exactly the same thing. It was so sweet that when they were separated, they still had the same thoughts of each other, and they were reunited because of that love. So many feels! ♥

This was a really sweet one-shot and I really enjoyed reading it, Ashwini! I would never have believed that you wrote it in such a short space of time either!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hello Sian! I'm so glad you decided to give this a go, I really do need some feedback here! I usually write a bit darker stories than this one so I was very anxious. But now your review has given me quite some relief! :D

Actually, that's what I realised a while ago as well. I absolutely adore Romione but I hadn't written them and it was too long since I had read a story featuring them as protagonists so I decided to devote my free time to them and gave this plunny a go.

I believe that only during this time in the books Ron and Hermione realized how deep their love ran. They missed each other so much that they came to know that it was too hard to live without each other and I wanted to explore this. :D I'm happy you liked it!

That's exactly what I love the most about the relationship between Ron and Hermione. Firstly, it wasn't love at first sight, which I practically hate :P and I liked how their love developed through the years of friendship. It's great that you like it too. :)

Haha, thank you! The part from Ron's PoV IS rather cheesy and too much fluffy for my liking! ;) But anyways, you guys say it's good and I like stepping out of comfort zone for once!

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful review! I really appreciate that!


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Review #20, by nott theodoreUnconfirmed Reports: [S1:E1] Pilot/"The Pluckley Anomaly"

7th April 2015:
Hi Kevin! I'm here for our review swap (and I'm so sorry that it's taken me so long to get here, but with everything that's been going on in real life recently, I'm still catching up with all of the things I've been missing out on and this was first on my list).

Also, I'm really glad that we got paired together because I've been meaning to read this for the longest time - since it first went up on the archives - and it's finally stopped giving me excuses to not read it :P

I really like the concept that you have here. Since you told me about this story, and the idea of an 'episodic' approach to a story, I've been so intrigued about how you were going to write it. I love the way that from the very beginning of this story, even with the chapter title, you make it clear that it's inspired by TV shows with the fact that this is a pilot. Since it is a pilot, I hope that you realise people want more of it and the rest of the series will come soon ;)

I love the set-up that you have here in the Ministry, and the way that we get to learn more about the way things work in the Ministry. I've always wondered what the Unspeakables actually do, and the fact that they - or at least some of them - investigate things that the Aurors and other people in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement don't was great! I definitely think that you did a good job of showing what they do as a job and how it's different to the other investigative roles we see in the series. One thing that helped distinguish them and their work from the Aurors et al. was the way that they actually thought about them in the narrative.

There are a few tiny points of CC that I'd mention to you. One of them is the way that you write the time - things like 1956. To me it looks more like a year than a time and I had to read it a few times before I worked it out. The other is I'd just read over some of Kieran's speech again - I feel like you've probably got his voice in your head when you're writing, but to me I'm reading it with a real mix of British accents and it sounds a bit strange. It's not a big thing but it just confused me a little bit.

The characters and the introduction to them was done brilliantly. Hatch and Landreth seem like very different people and I can definitely see the way that they reflect the sort of duos that you tend to get on a TV detective show. Hatch doesn't seem impressed with Landreth at first but she proves her worth and the fact that she's actually got a talent for detecting.

The mystery was really interesting, too! I'm so intrigued by it and I loved the way that it unfolded through the chapter, and that it got solved in the chapter too. I'm so curious about whether it will have links to other 'episodes' too!

This was a really great start to your story, Kevin, and I really enjoyed it! Sorry for the lateness in the review and the shortness (compared to most of my reviews, anyway :P) of it too. I'm looking forward to future chapters/episodes - maybe there'll even be some two-parters?

Sian :)

Author's Response: Howdy Sian! No worries. Life = mayhem right now for me too!

I was excited we were paired together too! It's been too long since I read anything of yours - let's not even start talking about how behind I am on Jigsaw...

Since you speak of "the rest of the series" it will certainly be coming. First, I wanted to gather some feedback on the piece, but my goal (if I can reach it at this point) is to clean up the end of this episode and then get through the next two for Camp NaNo. I'm pegging the whole project at about 25,000 words so we'll see what I can do (hopefully lots better than I have been).

I'm really glad you liked the intro to the Ministry and the two main characters. As the series progresses I think you'll find that the approach to making Hatch and Landreth seem in many ways like a stereotypical detective duo is a bit of a nod to the familiar that will erode over time. While their overall personalities will remain largely intact, they definitely won't stick to the veteran-rookie archetypal relationship for long - at least not the extent they seem to fit that mold in this chapter.

As far as plot I will say that there's a reason the end is rather abrupt here and that we don't get a lot of information. While it won't be developed immediately, it is actually the first cog in the first major arc of the series - indeed editing in some more tidbits toward that end is what I have to finish up before moving on in earnest. Two-parters is something I haven't schemed out so far, but it's definitely not out of the question. Once I finish Season 1 (hopefully still this year, though we'll see since I also want to finish Evolution and don't have loads of free time), My goal will be to have the subsequent seasons last a year, with an episode a month.

As far as the CC goes though, it's very valid and much appreciated. Part of the reason for Hatch expressing time that way is his background, that element of which will come to light later this season, but I will consider inserting colons in there instead. With the speech for Kieran...yeah...I actually modeled it after this hodgepodge accent I used as a mock trial witnesses that ended up sounding as a mixture of multiple accents (but I nearly won a witness award with it - and I was almost never a witness. Shows how gullible we Americans are about even quasi-British accents :p). Kieran's background is a actually a potential reason for that, though I'm not wedded to it (primarily because I'm not sure if developing a "hybrid" accent is realistic at all. Though I would honestly need SERIOUS guidance to tweak it really.

Thanks for this wonderful review, Sian! It was really helpful for me as I start to move back into writing the series again!

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Review #21, by nott theodoreMy New Life: Beginning of Classes

19th March 2015:
Hello again! I'm here with another review for the HPFF Fundraiser!

It was really interesting to read about Nikki's first day of classes at Hogwarts! There was lots going on in this chapter and it was so interesting to read about it all - you packed a lot of information into this chapter and it really was great to read it and find out how Nikki is gradually getting to become a part of the wizarding world.

The fact that Katie is the only one in the Gryffindor girls that year to come from a magical family is really interesting, and at least means that Nikki won't feel so out of place as she gets used to life at Hogwarts. I also like the way that the Weasley twins are both starting to notice her around and be friendly - that's definitely going to be helpful in the future, I think.

The different classes that Nikki had on her first day were really interesting, and although we know what happens in those sort of lessons, it was interesting to read about them and what happened to Nikki in them.

The one that interested me most is when the conversation was overheard by Nikki and she heard them talking about her and Lily Evans. I'm wondering now if Nikki is supposed to somehow be Harry's older sister, although I hadn't expected that before. I'm intrigued about whether we'll find out more in the future on that!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your kind reviews. I am afraid my writing takes after my conversations lol somtimes I just don't know when to quit. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. Thank you once again for reading and reviewing!

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Review #22, by nott theodoreMy New Life: The First Day

19th March 2015:
Hi again, here with another HPFF Fundraiser review!

Ah, this was a really interesting chapter to read as well! I was a bit worried for Nikki about what her first day would be like because she was so apprehensive and nervous before she went to Hogwarts, but I'm really glad that it went well!

I thought you did a wonderful job of describing the castle and the approach to it. It sounded so beautiful and I could picture the castle in my mind very easily. It was clear to see the sense of awe that it inspires in the young first years crossing the lake to it for the first time - it really is magical!

You also did a really good job writing Hagrid's speech, even though he didn't say much overall. He's always a difficult character to write, I think.

Ah, so Nikki's in Gryffindor! That's great (Gryffie myself :P) because it ties her in more to canon and we get to see her with characters like the Weasleys and Katie Bell, so that really places her firmly in that setting. I thought the letter that she wrote to her parents and siblings was really sweet as well, though. It would be important to keep in contact with them, especially for Muggle-borns, so it was sweet to see her thinking of them straight away on her first proper day.

Sian :)

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Review #23, by nott theodoreMy New Life: Into the Unknown

19th March 2015:
Hello again, here reviewing for the HPFF Fundraiser!

This was another really interesting chapter. Into the Unknown is a really good title for it. I can't imagine how I would have felt if I was leaving my family behind at the age of eleven and travelling on my own to a magical school. Especially when I didn't even know that it existed just a few months before. It's not surprising that it seemed to pass so quickly for Nikki and that she was dreading the day arriving. But I really thought you did a good job of writing her emotions and thoughts when she was on the train, not knowing what to expect when she arrives.

I liked the appearance of the different Weasley brothers in this story. I always like including canon characters because it helps tie a story like this into the timeline we already know, and so that was great to see here. Plus we never see enough of Charlie in fanfiction!

The question about sorting is a good one - it's a scary prospect to someone who doesn't have any idea how it's going to work!

I liked the different perspectives at the end of this chapter too. Mia seems more wary of Nikki and almost jealous of her magic whereas Wart is more supportive. I'm interested to see what it'll be like there in the holidays.

Sian :)

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Review #24, by nott theodoreMy New Life: Diagon Alley

19th March 2015:
Hello again, here with another review for the HPFF Fundraiser!

I really liked this chapter as well! Once again (and this is the last time I'll mention it, as I think you'll get the idea from now on), I think it would be good to shorten your paragraphs and make the story easier to read. Partway through there's a really long paragraph which was kind of difficult to focus on and read.

I really liked the way that you wrote a little about the process for Muggle-born children (or in this case, someone who's grown up as a Muggle) when they start Hogwarts. They need someone to explain things to them and their family, and it would be pretty much impossible to get into Diagon Alley and get all the things you need if you've never done it before.

It was interesting to see Mia's jealousy creeping in here. She reminded me a little bit of Petunia actually, but I can understand the reason she wanted to join her parents and Nikki and I'm glad she did get to go eventually. I also liked the way that they mispronounced Diagon Alley because they'd never heard of it before.

McGonagall's not easy to write but I thought you did a good job of capturing her character in this. I also thought you did a great job of capturing the wonder and excitement that Diagon Alley holds, particularly for someone who's never been there and is visiting for the first time!

Sian :)

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Review #25, by nott theodoreMy New Life: The Final Decision

19th March 2015:
Hello again! I'm here reviewing for the HPFF Fundraiser again!

(I also realised I typed Maria instead of Mia by mistake in the last review, sorry about that!)

I enjoyed this chapter, as well. Things are moving quite slowly so far, but I think that it's really good that you're taking time to focus on the decision process that Nikki and her family are going through when she gets her Hogwarts letter. I don't think I've ever really seen it written about in detail before so I found it really interesting to read about. I don't think it would be an easy decision for any family, let alone this one. If you're adopted, the last thing you would want would be to be told you don't belong with the rest of your adoptive family.

I liked the way that her family helped her to come to terms with the fact that she needed to go to Hogwarts, though. You could tell that they really cared about her and that they had her best interests at heart, even if she didn't realise that and was maybe too young to appreciate it. Even Mia didn't betray her, but wanted to have all these fantastic opportunities, and that really shows they love her.

So now the decision's been made, and I'm looking forward to seeing what'll happen next!

Sian :)

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