Reading Reviews From Member: nott theodore
  
1,136 Reviews Found

Review #1, by nott theodorekisses-blood-valentine: Ballad of Evvie and Bernie

26th January 2015:
Hi Rose! I'm here for review tag! It's been so long since I read any of your stories and I was so intrigued about what this one would be like when you mentioned it the other day, so I took the chance to snag you in the tag ;)

I absolutely love this story. Seriously. I had to read it a couple of times through to try and glean everything I could from it, and I still have some doubts that I suspect you intended the reader to be left with (and knowing you, you probably won't answer my questions about them either :P) but I really loved this. It was so different to anything I've read before and I think the non-linear structure is probably what made it so fantastic.

The opening was just brilliant. I was so intrigued from the very beginning, with the use of the italics and the fragmented sort of sense of what was going on. We get a glimpse of that from the lines that you used in the summary but it became more obvious here and I really liked the sense of confusion that reading that first section gave me.

I was so curious about what Benjy was shouting for and what had happened; I couldn't work out at first who was on which side of the wall, and even where that 'wall' was. I had no idea but it made me really curious and I wanted to read on and find out what happened so badly.

Also, my first thought (possibly slightly random) when the blood was first mentioned was that something had turned Bernie into a vampire and that's where the blood was coming from. I was guessing right the way through this about what actually happened though, and I didn't see it coming at all.

Even though we only get a glimpse of Evvie in 'reality' in this story, I really warmed to her. I loved the way that you mentioned the feminist movement and that Bernie and Evvie were involved in it, going to marches and that sort of thing. They seem like an awesome couple and I really like the idea of a witch getting involved in that sort of movement as she becomes more of a part of the Muggle world. I also liked the way that they weren't afraid to be open about their relationship, but at the same time I wonder if that wasn't part of what led to the tragic end.

It's probably kind of strange that I'm only mentioning this now, but I really like the way that you've created a character like Bernie and slotted her so well into canon as Benjy's sister. We really know nothing about Benjy except that he was in the Order, so he could easily have had a twin sister. I also really liked the fact that you deliberately chose to include more diverse characters in this.

The secrets that Bernie and Benjy have from each other are really sad, though. I liked the way that you gave us a short background into their relationship and the way that they'd ended up living together even though that seemed to be the only thing they shared; it gave us a real insight into how they arrived at the scene we see between them. But the fact that they're both keeping secrets to try and protect the other has a horrible kind of irony to it. In the end, it seems that the fact they kept those secrets led to the tragedy and maybe if they'd been more open they could have prevented that outcome.

Then the realisation comes. The scene had such a fragmented nature and I could picture it all so clearly in my head; I can understand why films influenced this story as I had a very clear visual image of this, almost like jerky camera shots at times, and the realisation coming to Bernie in a horrible, disjointed way which didn't feel exactly real. But at the same time we knew that it was. Even with that massive reveal in the scene, I loved the fact that you didn't forget the details, like the way that Bernie connected lipstick with Evvie, and the items that she'd bought for their Valentine's Day celebrations.

If I'm reading this right (and this is the part I suspect that you're going to leave ambiguous and refuse to tell me anything about), what happened is that the Death Eaters had been watching Bernie for a while - I loved that vague connection with the men she'd seen at the feminism rallies, and her initial thought that they'd disapproved of the cause turning out even worse than she could have imagined. But they'd been watching her and managed to capture her and try and torture her to get information on her brother and the Order, and when that didn't work she was put under the Imperius Curse and forced to kill Evvie, then got framed?

Seriously, that realisation is so heartbreaking. It reminds me in a way of what happened to Sirius and the way that he felt about Lily and James's deaths, except this was even worse because Bernie was forced to kill the person she loved herself. It fits in very well with the sort of thing we know the Death Eaters did, and then to take that knowledge back to the beginning and read that section with the new information made everything make a lot more sense. I can't imagine how guilty Benjy would have felt for having dragged his sister into all of this while trying to protect her from danger.

The ending... to reveal that Bernie's in Azkaban, which is not what I expected the place to be at the beginning of this story! And that last line was so chilling and powerful! I think that was probably my favourite line in the story and it just had such an impact, to end it on that note. This really was a fantastic story, Rose, and I'm so glad I caught you in the tag! ♥

Sian :)

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Review #2, by nott theodoreThe Serpent Rises: A Dangerous Game

24th January 2015:
Hello love! Ah, I'm loving all these quick updates and getting the chance to actually read them and review as well!

It was really great to get back to Tor's point of view! I know that we read the prologue from her perspective and I really enjoyed reading the first chapter from Pyxis's point of view, as that gave us a different angle to consider Tor's disappearance and escape from. But this is the first time we've returned to Tor right after what we saw at the end of The Girl From Slytherin and I really enjoyed seeing it. You managed to achieve the midway point than the girl who sounded far more mature in the prologue and the girl that we left at the end of the last novel.

I loved the way that you showed so many different aspects of Tor and Terry's life, their kind of in-between existence and the frustrations and tensions that relate to that. Though they've only been on the run a few days they're already facing difficulties, and I'm glad that you're showing that these are making themselves felt so early on. At the moment the two of them seem to be coping quite well, aside from their desperate need for some money, but I definitely get the impression that things won't remain easy for them, and maybe even the fact of them being on the run together will drive them apart in the end. I hope not, but... I don't know. We saw what happened to Ron during the seventh book, and he'd been friends with Harry and Hermione for years. It isn't easy for anybody.

The Leglimency aspect is really quite scary - the idea that Yaxley is trying to find his daughter when she lets her guard down, and that he's capable of managing that over such distances. No wonder he's so high up in the Death Eaters with those sorts of skills. But I really liked the way that Tor was so aware of that risk and doing all she could to stop it from putting them in danger. At the same time, it's awful for a girl that age to have to face.

The differences in attitude towards Muggles were well emphasised, too. I know that Tor has changed her beliefs quite a lot over the course of these stories, and she's a very different person now than the one that she was when we first saw her, but at the same time she's more willing than Terry to do something like confund Muggles for their survival. I wonder if his attitude about that will change as they become more desperate; I know that Harry and Hermione had to risk that sort of thing a few times to save themselves - maybe it'll be the same.

The introspective section was really interesting. This story has definitely shown the process of Tor becoming a lot more self-aware, but I liked the fact that she still isn't sure that she knows exactly who she is. She's still really young and most people that age aren't certain about things like that, and then placed in the midst of all this, the way she has been, would compound that I think.

This is something tiny, but in a later section you mention the fact that they can't use magic in the vicinity of the hotel as Tor still has the trace on her, which is why she has to travel the Muggle way. How's Terry able to do magic to change her appearance in that case?

I loved the little scene between Terry and Tor as he was changing her features, though - they are so cute together! I'm really glad that they're still in love and able to enjoy that to some extent even in such danger. I really liked the way that he didn't want to let her go and send her into danger the way he had to, but she was so determined that he wouldn't have been able to stop her.

You did a fantastic job of building tension throughout this chapter, by the way. The constant mentions of the thing that she had stolen from her father's office had me wondering constantly what on earth it was that she'd taken, and since you didn't reveal the plan immediately I was wondering what they were intending to do to get the money that they needed.

The train journey was really tense to read, as well! I really couldn't work out that old man - I loved the way that she was so nervous about him talking to her as people generally are in the south so even then it would be weird, but obviously Tor has a lot more to hide. I was trying to work out who the man was when he started talking to her. I wondered if the pink suit might be a clue and he was maybe Dedalus Diggle? (I could just be imagining having read about him wearing pink at some point...) Whoever he is, he's either trying to help her with that mysterious map - and maybe it'll help Tor get out at the end of this, or help her and Terry - or he's planted something that traces her...

And that ending! I can't believe we're only three chapters in and you've already ended on a cliffhanger, as if this story wasn't tense enough already! Please update soon again love, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Sian :)

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Review #3, by nott theodorePlay the Devil: A Closed Circle

23rd January 2015:
Hi, love! So you just seem to be updating everything at once right now and I have no idea how you manage to write so fast and post such great chapters, but I'm very jealous and trying desperately to read and review so that I don't get behind again :P

I was so happy to see Play the Devil updated again! I've missed this story and Rose especially, and it was great to delve back into things here. And even though it's been quite a while since you last updated, because of Rose travelling back to the present day in this chapter it didn't feel like we'd missed out on very much at all.

I really liked how much was going on in the twenty-first century - how there seemed to be so many more people and things around Rose that she had to deal with, compared to the world that she's just left. It really emphasises the differences in the time periods.

The first scene between Rose and Scorpius was really great! So much to comment on but I don't have a lot of time so I'm going to have to try and type quickly because we both know by now short reviews seem to be impossible for me :P I'm still thinking that Scorpius cheated on Rose because of the mention of Cecelia and the way he seemed to shut up a bit then, but it was interesting to see that the sting has gone out of him being around and Rose is seeing him a bit more objectively (well, she's still getting irritated by lots of things he does but slightly more objective than before) because she's developing feelings for Richard and what Scorpius did to her doesn't hurt so much now because of that.

I really liked all the little quirks and aspects that you gave to his character in that scene, since we haven't really seen much of him yet although he's been mentioned quite a bit. The hypochondriac thing definitely sounds annoying! But I'm fairly certain that he's being sneaky about something - didn't he pick up the vial of potion? I'm intrigued about why he said no and what he's going to do with it. And also how Rose will get back to the past again because she must do after other scenes that we've seen.

The scene in St. Mungo's was great, and I especially loved the different ailments that the other patients were suffering from :P It made me laugh that the witch was getting annoyed with their stupidity and directing other people to go in first when she could see their illnesses weren't serious - I feel like that's definitely something a bored receptionist would do! And the donkey thing made me laugh too!

Aw, it was so sweet to see how emotional Rose got to see her mum again, even though her mum couldn't really understand it. It did a great job of emphasising the way that time passes for Rose but not for the others in the present day, and I'm really intrigued about what would happen if Rose ended up spending months in the past - would it translate as just hours in the present day?

Hugo was quite sweet to Rose in the scene between them - a lot sweeter than I was expecting for a teenage boy, but I loved the way that he also got a little protective and then couldn't really care when Rose started telling him about the boy that she'd met. That fit his character so well.

We don't often see the internet making an appearance in stories like this unless it's a wizarding version, but I love Rose knowing enough to head off to the library and use the computers, although it was still obvious that she didn't know what she was doing completely because she couldn't work the mouse properly and didn't know what it was called. But I love the idea of her heading to wikipedia to find out what she can about the people she's met. I am impressed that she resisted clicking on Richard's name, though, because I'm not sure that I would have been able to!

I really enjoyed this chapter and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next, whether people notice that something's changed about her and if she's going to return to the past soon or not!

Sian :)

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Review #4, by nott theodoreUpping The Ante: The Bouncing Properties of Dimes

23rd January 2015:
Hi, Lo! Here for the Gryffie review exchange! I'm really excited that I got paired with you this month because I remember reading the first chapter of your original version of this and wanting to get to your rewrite. Plus its been ages since I read a Maraudets era story so I really enjoyed this!

I think you've got a great first chapter of your novel here! I thought it read very smoothly; even with the different sections the flow was very good and you got your pacing just right. I also really appreciate the fact that you don't dump all the information on is at once. There's still plenty to learn about the plot and the characters in the rest of this novel but at the same time you've included enough that I feel I've got to know the characters, Alexandra especially, through reading this.

I just wanted to say that I really like the title of this as well!

The way that you introduced us to Alexandra throughout this chapter was brilliant. You have clearly got a great handle on her character and that shows because the first person narrative was so consistent and her characterisation was very strong. Having a protagonist like her is going to make me enjoy this even more.

First of all, I love the fact that she's not perfect and doesn't claim to be. She's good at quidditch and those first few paragraphs reveal how much of a perfectionist she is in that area of her life - she's determined to be the best she can be and I think that fits in very well with the Ravenclaw characteristics. At the same time she's not a genius and that was very refreshing, since almost every Ravenclaw character I read about seems to be naturally super intelligent.

Now might be a good time to mention that I love the fact that both beaters on her team are girls. It's very rare to see female beaters and I really like it here. I have to admit that I was wondering why she'd been switched from seeker to beater but that was explained later so that all makes sense now.

Out of the other characters, I really liked Charlie. I think she seems like a great best friend and very fiery and fun.

Since Sirius is going to be the main love interest in this story I'm really intrigued by the glimpse of him we get here, and how that I going to develop into attraction and a relationship between the two.

I thought you wrote all the quidditch really well, especially from the perspective of someone who's playing. It was enjoyable to read Nd I could picture the game taking place in front of me. I also really liked the way you set up this rivalry from the beginning as its going to be interesting to watch it develop. And in spite of my fierce house loyalties, I was cheering when Tom caught the snitch!

Another aspect I really enjoyed here was the dynamics between all the different team mates and the way we got to glimpse Alexandra's relationship with different members of the group. I like the banter that she had with the members she's known for longer and I'm looking forward to seeing Carter in a non quidditch role to see how they act together then. I'm also intrigued about how the rest of her team will react when she begins the eventual romance with Sirius... I'm thinking it might not be too well given the rivalry there!

Haha, even if Alexandra didn't find their prank funny I did, I love the idea of the Marauders deciding to change the colour of Dumbledore's beard while he's eating. It seems like the cheeky sort of thing I imagine them doing and I can definitely imagine Dumbledore being perfectly aware of what's going on but pretending he hasn't noticed because he's secretly enjoying it :P

I really enjoyed this chapter and I'll be back to read and review the next as soon as possible, Lo!

Sian :)

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Review #5, by nott theodoreSevenfold: no brighter light than the look in her eyes

16th January 2015:
Hi, darling!

Ah, I'm finally nearing the end, and I think this will be review 60 on this story :D (which admittedly isn't as big of a landmark as 100 or something like that, but still exciting - for me at least!)

I actually felt really sorry for Ada in that first section of this chapter, even though she is a killer and has, in a way, been brought to justice for it. But the way that you described her experience was so upsetting, and I loved the way that you appealed to all the senses there to really help us imagine it, as it's difficult to imagine what life must really be like in a place like Nurmengard. You conveyed her sense of hopelessness really well, I thought, and the way she hates the idea of just fading into history without a chance to do more. I'm hoping that in the next two chapters we get to find out about what happened with Erik and Ruth and Ada, too.

Oh no, Louis! I kind of want to hit him round the head for how horrible he was to Emily at the beginning of the section. That was so uncalled for! I can understand why he had to bring Neville in, and why Emily is hurt by it, and he should give her some more sympathy and realise why she's so upset. Anyone would be if their father had been taken to prison for murdering people, especially since it's Neville! His comment was so mean and uncalled for.

And, here we go... I thought that Louis was getting dangerously close to Eugenie and here we have him, being guided along by her and about to kiss her! I'm so frustrated reading these sections because I really think that it's Eugenie who's the murderer, and it can't be a good thing if Louis gets closer to her, since I assume that she'll be brought to justice by the end of this story. Then again, if I'm wrong about the killer then it might be alright...

I do think that Eugenie likes Louis, as well, though, otherwise she's very good at faking her reactions! I felt sorry for Molly seeing how close they'd got, and I'm wondering what it was that she had to show Eugenie that Louis couldn't know about!

The piece of paper that Eugenie found and showed to Louis is really intriguing. I'm torn between knowing whether it was genuine and Theodore Nott really did break off links with Draco, or thinking that it's been fabricated and used as evidence to convince people that Nott is responsible for the murders. I really can't decide which, but I'm currently leading towards the former, as I thought I detected a bit of guilt and regret in Eugenie's attitude and if she was the one who targetted Malfoy that would fit, especially if he didn't actually have the links she thought he did with Nott.

I loved the run-in with Ginny, and all the little things she kept saying :P The idea of Ron finally managing to make Draco vomit slugs just cracks me up - I bet he was so pleased with himself for finally managing it!

Haha, I loved the scene back at the flat, and the way that Louis described it, so disgusted with Steak's presence in the flat and then the fact that he's in his bed, and James's sadness at the alcohol having been vanished :P

I loved the scene between Dominique and Louis! You capture their relationship so well - even though Dominique's the one who's older and should - theoretically - be more responsible - Louis can still reason with her about the fact that she keeps disappearing without telling her family where she's gone. And vice versa: Dominique tells Louis what he really needs to be told about Lucretia and the way that he's behaving around her. I love this, because it really captures the relationship between two siblings once they've grown up, and even if they've not seen each other for ages, they still know each other really well and can give good advice. And then there was the reversion to childhood, too, with the memories of making forts (which would be amazing if you had magic too). I just loved seeing that scene between them and I thought you wrote it so well.

Ah no! So Louis's going to see Ruth/Ada again and hopefully find out who did it! But he thinks it's Emily, and that's so sad, that he'd suspect one of his oldest friends of murdering these people because Neville's under suspicion too... I really don't think it was her, and I do think it was Eugenie, but you have me questioning my beliefs right now and I'm going to have to read on asap to find out!

This was another great chapter - I'm excited to see who it was!

Sian :)

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Review #6, by nott theodoreI Choose You: 1

12th January 2015:
OH MY GOD YOU WROTE ME A STORY YOU WROTE ME A STORY THIS IS AMAZING!

Lo, I can't even write a coherent review right now and I'm really sorry because this is going to just be a mess of rambling and all jumbled up thank yous, but thank you, thank you, thank you for writing me a story! It's so exciting and I still can't really believe that you did this, you're the best Secret Santa ever and this is such a perfect story for me!

Okay, so I want to say that even though James/Lily isn't my OTP at the moment they haven't been replaced and I still love reading about them, so this is perfect, and I don't think I've actually read a story like this one before about them, which traces their relationship from beginning to end in a couple of thousand words, and you did it so brilliantly and gah, it's just amazing!

Also, how on earth did you manage to choose the perfect song? I love Sara Bareilles and I love this song, and to fit it to James and Lily is just so perfect - I'd never have even thought of it in the first place but now reading this, I'm wondering why not. It works so well for them! And I love the way you've chosen just the right lyrics for each section of the story, because that added so much more to it and made it more powerful.

I loved the different sections, and the way that you took us on a journey through their relationship in just short snapshots, not expanding and detailing what went on in between - there was no need for you to write about every moment (there are so many stories that have done that already) because we could imagine it all from seeing the developments between the different scenes.

One of my favourite things about this is that you didn't try and make James appear to be this perfect man - the Prince Charming, as you write here. I always find it so unrealistic that Lily would suddenly find him to be perfect and not get irritated with anything that he does, especially after so many years when he annoyed her with his teasing and immaturity. It seems to be so popular to gloss over that, but I loved the way that here Lily fell in love with the real James - calling him her court jester and showing that she knows what his flaws are and can live with them and love them at the same time, because for me that just captures how I imagine their relationship to be.

I'm so amazed at the way you managed to portray so much in this story - all of the major moments in their relationship, all of the landmarks, so to speak. And yet, in spite of all of these moments being big occasions in their lives, I adored the fact that you didn't exaggerate them at all. I always think it's so easy to make each moment into something perfect and romantic when you're writing a story, but these moments were so real, especially for the time that they were growing up in. Like the marriage proposal - it was perfect, but not because it was traditional in any way. It happened at exactly the right moment for the two of them, and the way that you had James asking when they've just stared death in the face was brilliant.

I think that my favourite of these moments was when James took Lily on a day out, meaning for them to have breakfast and forgetting the actual food :P That's just so realistic and believable for any relationship and that really helped to ground this and make it even better. And then for James to present Lily with their home at the end of that day - ah, I was fangirling so much at that moment it's embarrassing (let's pretend it didn't happen? Secret reader/writer pact, right?)

Even though it was so sad to see how upset Lily was with James for ruining the dinner with Vernon and Petunia, I thought it was great that you included that because it balanced out the story and demonstrated that they more than went through their share of difficulties, rather than having a completely smooth path to love and happiness.

All of these moments were so adorable and sweet though, the first kiss and the 'I love you' moments and then the way that Lily realises James has changed, even if his friends haven't and her friends can't see it. You really did a fantastic job of building up a clear picture of their relationship!

Ah, I meant to say this earlier too (but jumbled review, I'm too excited about having a story written for me) but I love the narrative voice that you use with this! I think you capture Lily really well and I really like the way she addresses these moments to James (you), and that fits in so perfectly with the song too.

The ending! ♥ I was so happy that you chose to end the story there rather than continuing onto becoming parents and their death, because this way it worked so well with the song lyrics, the day that they choose to commit to each other for the rest of their lives. And not just that, but you gave them their happy ending as well and that just made me smile so much!

I'm sorry for this rubbish and rambly review, but I really loved this story, Lo, and I can't believe that you wrote it for me - that's so sweet of you! ♥ ♥ ♥ Thank you!

Sian :)

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Review #7, by nott theodoreMagpie: The Legend of the Gemini Crowns

12th January 2015:
Hey, lovely! Eep, I was so excited to see that
you'd updated this and not abandoned it - and I
know that I've still got to finish reading and
reviewing Sevenfold, but that's
completed and this is technically a WIP and I
don't want to let myself get as behind as I was
last year with all your wonderful stories!

Ah, I loved the opening and the way that there
was a bit of humour injected into the section
with Verity thinking exactly what I was
thinking as far as the wizarding addresses are
concerned; they're unnecessarily precise, I
think! But I was intrigued to see that she
could finally meet with Margaret Macauley and
start to find out more about what happened to
poor Penelope!

Ah, I really liked seeing Verity giving the
croissants to her friend Wendy (also oh my
goodness I'm living in France and you
just managed to make me crave croissants, how
is that possible?!) and how sweet she was
there, although I'm wondering if there's
something going on and maybe Wendy's giving
someone information about Verity or something,
since I feel like you were giving us a clue
when you talked about what kind of drink she
smelled of.

So, the fairy tale (if it can be called that)!
I loved the title for it, and I really liked
the way that your narrative style shifted in
that section - it was still recognisable as
your writing, but it fit better with the tone
of a fairy tale/legend like that than Verity's
voice. And I'm so intrigued by the actual
legend itself! It's so original to come up
with something like that which could have been
included in certain versions of Beedle's works
but then taken out of others, and it was jam-
packed with symbolism and different interesting
things that I thought made it read brilliantly.
It was so rich in detail as well as the
language matching the fairy tale and I just
thought it was a great addition, especially
since we know how much Verity loves collecting
stories as her version of jewels. And I really
loved your explanation of how the Magpie poem
came about, because of this wizarding event
that's then leaked into Muggle culture too. It
was so clever!

Hmm, I'm intrigued about what was going on with
Borgin while Verity was out - and wondering
whether he suggested her taking a break because
he knew those people were coming... I'm
certainly inclined to think so at the moment.
Part of me wonders whether these are Death
Eaters but at the same time I'm kind of
wondering if they're connected to this Order of
the Gemini that Margaret Macauley goes on to
mention during their meeting, especially since
he snapped out a denial when she asked him if
he'd heard of the story. Although I think I
have to agree with his assessment of Sebastian
:P

The meeting with Margaret Macauley was really
interesting, and yay, Verity's finally find out
what Penelope was working on when she was
killed! I'm intrigued about whether her death
was actually related to the Death Eaters at all
now or if she uncovered something while she was
working on this article. Also, please don't
make Verity die in this story! This
possibility just came to me and I'll be so sad
if it happens - half of the reason that she's
mentioned in Jigsaw at all is because of this
story!

That girl that Verity bumped into as she was
leaving... was she following her? Somehow
connected to Macauley? Nothing at all to do
with the plot and just an extra? I think
you're making me paranoid in my search for
details :P

The scene when Verity went to go and visit the
twins was so great - you write them really
well, and I love the way that you capture their
voices and their sense of humour! I don't
think that's easy to do at all and you manage
to write it perfectly, especially the banter
between them, putting each other down and
calling each other ginger and stuff :P

Ah, George is so cute, getting embarrassed and
blushing and stuff around Verity, and being
determined to find a way to make her forgive
him too! I also loved the way that Fred was
there giving him space but at the same time
chipping in every now and then and not being
afraid to put his brother down a bit in front
of prospective love interest - that's
definitely something that I've experienced and
it felt so realistic! Hehe, their nickname for
her was great, I loved the way that Fred came
up with it - for some reason, that really felt
like it fit in his mental processes, from what
we see of them in the books!

And oh, yes, that did escalate quickly :P I
wasn't expecting it to happen so soon in the
story but I did expect it to happen sooner or
later - now I'm intrigued to see how she reacts
to it and where they go from here!

This was another fantastic chapter and I'm so
curious about all the developments - I'm really
pleased to see this story back and being
updated! ♥

Sian :)

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Review #8, by nott theodoreL'optimisme: Silence

11th January 2015:
Hi Laura! Finally here for our swap - I've been so excited to read and review this because I have to admit to reading the first couple of chapters and then stopping because I felt guilty not reviewing, but re-reading this chapter has just blown me away all over again.

I'm actually finding it kind of hard to find the right words for this review; I know that I'm going to end up rambling on and not saying anything remotely helpful, but I can't help it. This was amazing - it was so beautiful, the story and the writing, and I'm so impressed and jealous at the same time because of your talent for writing.

Albus/Gellert isn't a pairing that I've ever really read a lot of, to be honest - mostly one-shots, from what I can remember. But this - one chapter in and you have me shipping these two together so hard that it's slightly (more like really) breaking my heart to know that the two of them can't end up together at the end, and to think of everything that passed between them in their lifetimes - I wonder if, had it not been for Ariana's death, they both could have turned out much differently (that sounds like I'm kind of wishing Albus was bad or something and this is all your fault, I hope you know that!)

I love the narrative style that you used in this chapter. The first person was brilliant, and I think you did a great job of capturing Albus as a character; he's not the wise, old wizard that we see in the books yet, but in spite of that there are plenty of elements and character traits that make him recognisable as the headmaster we all know and love. Here he's much younger, more inexperienced - although he's already suffered heartbreak and loss that nobody should have to at such a young age.

There was such a lovely, dreamy quality to the prose here - Albus seemed to drift a little between different events and moments in his life that held significance, although they were all clearly connected and there was no trouble following that at all. But the tone was nostalgic, wistful; he wanted to be back in those days before everything went wrong, waking up with Gellert in his arms. I really loved the way that came across. And I thought the fact that he addressed the story to Gellert made this read almost like a love letter that Albus has written years after their separation, when he knows that the time for their confrontation is coming.

Just going back to the beginning of this chapter - that was honestly one of the most beautiful, lyrical passages of writing I've seen at the opening of a story. You know how much I love languages, and so anything remotely connected to them and the way that language is used I will also love, but I thought it was so clever to have Albus musing on the power of words and silence here before leading that into the story of his romance with Gellert.

The description - well, I'm pretty sure I've already raved about your talents for description in previous reviews on your work, but it was simply stunning here. I'm seriously jealous of the way that you make words flow so naturally and yet so beautifully.

I absolutely loved the recollections of Gellert and Albus together, waking up in the mornings in each other's arms - although there was a tinge of sadness to it because Albus was remembering all of this with regret because it was over, I thought you did a fantastic job of capturing their young love affair, the way that they were drawn to each other and fell in love so deeply during that summer. It was also great to see another side to Albus, one which is much more playful and daring; the images of him trying to jump over garden fences to escape Bathilda had me giggling. I really liked the way that you showed them as young and slightly immature in ways, but didn't undermine the love that they felt for each other.

This was so rich in detail as well, and I'd love to comment on all of them but I simply don't have time or the characters to do so. One thing that I found really intriguing was the fact that Albus mentions the other men that Gellert's reported to have relationships with over the years after he flees, and the fact that this appears in the papers. I don't know why, but I was really pleased that you chose to include that piece of information - because everything in the series is told from Harry's perspective, we never really find out anything about wizarding society's stance on homosexuality etc., so I liked seeing that. Although I felt sorry for Albus when he was so sad about the idea of Gellert with other men!

The scene when they're all arguing with each other and then it escalates into a fight and duel is so well written; the events there were kind of chaotic, and that's how Albus must have perceived them at the time since they never knew who it was that was responsible for killing Ariana. And then afterwards, I loved the way that you wrote his reaction to what had happened, the numb sort of disbelief, and the grief finally setting in after the shock begins to wear off.

The final section was so tinged with sadness that I felt so sorry for Albus reading it, thinking he had to go through that. He had so much regret in his life and in spite of all that had happened, he still loved Gellert - and then he had to do the unthinkable and face him, and eventually capture him. Wah, I'm getting all sorts of feels and this is only the first chapter!

If you can't tell by this review (kind of a monster, sorry for landing you with this :P), I absolutely adored this chapter and I'll be continuing to read and review this even without swapping (although sometimes you may need to poke me about it!). Thanks so much for swapping, lovely! ♥

Sian :)

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Review #9, by nott theodoreSevenfold: everything that happened, everything you saw

9th January 2015:
Hey darling! So unfortunately life got in the way and I didn't get round to reading and reviewing the rest of this story before the end of December/2014, but I've got a chance to read a bit more of it now and I want to try and finish it as soon as possible because I've been really enjoying it (and when I finish this, I'll be up-to-date on all your novels/novellas, I think :D)

I knew it! I was suspicious reading the last chapter about the fact that Ada had been the one to die when Ruth had always seemed so much weaker, and she'd been the one who was ill as well - it made more sense to me that it was actually Ada who survived, but took Ruth's identity as her own so that she could be released and start a new life. In a way I think she went some way to constructing her own legend with that move - by Ada 'dying' in prison, she became both a myth and a hero at once, and the only person left to tell her story would of course be able to tell it sympathetically.

It was really sad to see that Ruth just wasted away, though, especially when she heard that Joachim was suspected to be dead as well - it's as if she just lost all will to live and fight, and even Ada's attempts to sustain her with stories of resistance did nothing. I'm really curious about who Erik is, too, and what conflict he caused between Ada and Ruth - I hope we discover that in the next few chapters!

Draco's alive! Now there's a twist that I wasn't expecting, although I don't think that all of his ranting and raving that people are calling nonsense is that nonsensical at all... I wonder if he knows full well who poisoned him and is just too scared to say, or isn't able to get the words out yet for some reason? He certainly seems to recognise some sort of motive behind it and I didn't really think that he was behind the murders in the first place.

I really loved reading the scene and conversation between Dom and Louis, too, and the way that their relationship works - even though Dom is the older sister, Louis here is the more responsible one who's trying to take care of her. And the part about Steak just arriving in the room with no clothes on made me laugh so much :P

And so Louis finally does what he should have done a long time ago, and goes to talk to Ruth/Ada! I really loved that scene, and all the description that you included - the way that she was so aged and yet I could still sense some sort of pride when she talked about the Sevenfold Killer and what they'd done, as if she still feels justified in her actions. I liked the little hints that we were able to pick up on though, about the fact that Ruth/Ada knows more about the Sevenfold Killer than anybody else alive - of course she does, since she's the one who committed all the murders :P

But all of the things she said were so interesting and intriguing! I get the feeling that she knows something she can't really tell Louis but she's trying her best to help him anyway, by giving him some little hints that will help him to work out who the murderer is if he can process them all and put all the pieces together in time.

Ooh, that detail with the visitors' book is extremely interesting - and I'll say more about that later on. I did promise to tell you my theory in this review, after all, if I still thought it was the right one!

Alfie seems like a really nice guy! At least, so far - part of me is still worried that you've just introduced a character like him now because he's somehow connected to the rest of the mystery, and I don't want him to be! I really liked the way that the others were carrying on like normal, though - and the banter between James and Louis was great - because I think it would be too easy to make it seem like, just because Louis's investigating these murders, everyone else becomes absorbed in them too, but that's not going to be the case.

And now... onto my theory. I've had this for a fair few chapters now and I really hope that I'm right about it, but at the same time I don't want to be because then Louis will be in a really difficult position!

So... this is what we know (I think). The copycat killer is a woman. The copycat killer isn't really a copycat killer at all but is someone who's murdering people according to some sort of method/reasoning, building up to one big murder with the seventh victim and using the Sevenfold Killings link to mask the murders. This person is very cunning and has planned the murders out extremely carefully. They also seem to be able to operate, undetected, inside the Ministry... which makes me think that they're working at the Ministry, at the very least...

I think it's Eugenie Bones. Right now you're either smiling because I'm writing or laughing hysterically at how far wrong I am with my theory, but I'll explain why I think it's her. First of all - obviously - Eugenie's a girl, and she's an Auror too, so not only is she highly talented and strong as far as planning and organisation go, but she's got access to the Ministry and as the Auror investigating these murders can easily throw suspicion in other directions and won't be suspected when she's the one poking around about it.

As for her motives... although I can't come up with a solid motive for every single one of the murders, but I think she's building up to trying to murder Theodore Nott. He's a senior figure in the Ministry and could (by an outsider) be seen as an equivalent to Herr Nacht, but I actually think that her reasons are more personal. We know that Susan Bones was badly treated by Eugenie's father - I think that Eugenie's dad is Theodore Nott, and she recently found out and is taking revenge on him and other people who either helped him conceal it or were involved in the situation in some way. Since Hannah and Susan were best friends, that would also explain why Neville would know and couldn't say anything about it to save himself... and I have no characters left :P Great chapter!

Sian :)

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Review #10, by nott theodoreThe Art of Small Talk: The Singleton State

8th January 2015:
Hey Kiana! ♥ Ah, I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to get to review this chapter but things have been really hectic recently - I was kind of hoping that I'd still get the first review when I got round to it, but it looks like Benedrick got there before me :P

*parties with you for this passing 50K and becoming a novel*

I loved this chapter! I know you've been really hectic and busy but I've missed this story and I was so happy to see it updated again!

After seeing Audrey's mum come back I was wondering how she would react when they finally had to talk about some of the bigger issues that lie in their past, because obviously she doesn't like confronting issues that could be awkward and this one - her mother's abandonment of her - is bound to be difficult to talk about.

I thought you approached it really well, though, and wrote her reactions and feelings brilliantly for the scene that was taking place. I liked the way that she kind of tried to make small talk and divert the attention away from the issue and then suddenly she comes blurting it out and can't help it - and then that leads to a reunion of sorts between her and her mum.

What her mum said, about having loved her too much, is really sweet, and I can understand why Audrey would be able to forgive her after hearing something like that and knowing that it's true, although I'm glad that you didn't instantly make everything okay between them and give them the perfect relationship straight away.

I also adored the detail about her mum reappearing in all the family pictures again, so that she'd actually been there all along - I think it's such a clever idea that someone might go missing from pictures when they abandon their family or something similar. And the little detail about her mum's scent of lavender was great, too - I think that's the sort of thing she'd always remember even if she tried to forget her mum.

The conversation between the girls is always fun to read; the characters are so likeable and vibrant. The line about Audrey's cat being a secret alcoholic was hilarious - it had me cracking up! But I really liked her friends' assessment of the situation between her and Oliver and her and Percy, and that - of course - Audrey doesn't want them to talk about the chance of her and Percy because she's not ready to believe it herself. The little story about Jemima and Charlie fit in well, too!

Ah, a little glimpse of Percy and Audrey together and finally they manage to get through a scene without arguing! I was so proud of them! I'm hoping things can start to develop here between them now ♥

Ooh, that twist about Penelope was really interesting! I didn't like her from the outset because she was so annoying and mean to Audrey but I didn't really expect her to end up tied up in something like this, and I didn't really expect something like this to turn up in the story either - I love all the layers and dimensions to this novel! I'm really intrigued about what they were doing and what they wanted from Audrey's office - is it the potion that she made for Draco?

This was a great chapter, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop from here - I'm sorry that this was only a short review, though!

Sian :)

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Review #11, by nott theodoreThe Serpent Rises: Don't Look Them in the Eye

7th January 2015:
Yes, yes, yes!

This is a phone review and it's going to have to be much shorter than my normal ones since I should be asleep because I have to be up in five hours for work but I saw that you'd posted the second chapter of this and couldn't resist reading it and dropping by with a review!

I loved reading this from Pyxis's point of view! It was such a different perspective to start the story with, going back in time from the prologue but switching to the events at Hogwarts which leaves a lingering uncertainty about what's actually happened to Tor and Terry. It's such a clever way to start the story and keep us reading (as if me continuing to read was ever going to be in doubt!) and I really loved the insight that we got here into Pyxis and the way he thinks about things.

As a quick aside, I love the choice of the lyrics for the chapter title (not only because I love Les Miserables) - they fit so well and could symbolise a number of aspects here.

Back to Pyxis... it was great to see his concern for Tor at the beginning of this chapter when he hadn't got a letter from her in over a week; a little detail like that makes it clear that her escape has been concealed so far as much as it can be but it was clear that it was going to come out somehow. But he really cares about her and even though in the months before this she was becoming more distant from him and the others she'd grown up with, I'm really glad that he feels that friendship is still there.

Phin is just so horrible in this! At the beginning of the series I thought he and the others were all nice guys, but I think this really shows clearly the way that war can bring out the best and the worst in people and in Phin it has clearly brought out the worst. He's so awful when he talks about Taurus and in a way I'm glad that Taurus left the school - it would have been hell for him to stay. And I wonder if he and Tor will come across each other in the next few months.

The humiliation of Flitwick made me sad and angry at the same time. I can see why so many students were outraged by that and also a lot of them too scared to do anything. If even the teachers are in danger then what hope do the poor students have?

I found the little snippet about Demelza and Jimmy really interesting...and it has me asking lots of questions, perhaps more than I'm intended to! I'm glad that Pyxis let them off and that shows he is really still conflicted and trying to find his place in this war. I also can't help wondering if the two Gryffindors were out as a couple of doing something related to the DA, and maybe that's whoDemelza was referring to by saying we... Maybe Pyxis will end up helping them, in some way.

You wrote the meeting with their father so well! I really liked the way that we knew what it was about but there was still some suspense there since Pyxis didn't know, and perhaps they'd have news of what had happened after the end of the last novel. The build up worked brilliantly, with little details like Daphne being distraught and then Mr Nott trying to tell them in private. I can easily imagine that Yaxley would want to keep it private and I can't quite tell if his determination to get Tor back was because he loves her or because he's ashamed and embarrassed and wants her punished. Malfoy's outlook was scary though, but I'm hoping that was more bitterness because he'd been punished for her escape.

The tensions between all the boys in the room at that point were really realistic, and I liked the way they played out.

Pyxis's reaction was so believable! I loved the way that he was clearly experiencing so many emotions at once, hurt and anger andfear and betrayal... He doesn't hate Tor, or her escape wouldn't upset him so much, but I loved the way he was battling to hide information from his father at first but then I was terrified that he was going to give her away and also get himself into trouble, so I'm glad that Theo seemed able to stop him before it was too late. I just hope that none of the others really picked up on what he might mean.

I can see Pyxis going one of two ways now after this news... I think either he'll retaliate against what Tor has done and embrace the pureblood mantra more,or I think he could slowly come to see her reasoning and work with the DA while she's away. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your stories in this universe are all in agreement and that he survived, though!

The moment towards the end between the brothers was sweet, even if Pyxis was so angry and hurt about Tor escaping. I'm really looking forward to seeing Tor and Terry in the next chapter and this was fantastic!

(Oops, so much for the short review attempt... I'm beginning to think it's impossible with your stories!)

Sian :)

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Review #12, by nott theodoreThe Serpent Rises: Prologue

2nd January 2015:
Hi, darling! So you were very sneaky in putting this up without me noticing, but I was so excited to see that you'd posted the first chapter for the sequel already! You know I love this title but this was such a great start to the story!

Hopefully you don't mind me commenting on this, but I just wanted to say how much the quality of your writing has improved since the first prologue that I read, coming up two years ago now. Of course your writing has always been amazing, and lovely to read, but it has developed so much in the last couple of years and it always impresses me when I read your work. The words just flow so brilliantly and become so evocative.

The prologue here was very different to that first prologue I read. Of course we've seen that scene now towards the end of TGfS so I'm assuming that we'll discover the truth of this scene before the end of this novel as well - I hope so, at least! Whereas the prologue with Terry being interrogated was terrifying and made me ask all sorts of questions, this wasn't quite as scary as we know that Tor has got through the war, and while I'm still asking questions they're different because I'm more familiar with the characters.

Tor seems to have grown up so much in just this prologue compared to the end of the last novel. That change can't have been. easy to write but you captured it so well. This narrative was the voice of someone young who'd been forced to grow up before she should because of circumstances. I can't imagine what she's seen and done in that time, and I'm looking forward to finding out!

It was great to see that her opinions on blood status haven't changed from the girl we saw at the end of the last novel, and that she hates having to own the name Yaxley as her own in order to sign the documents. I loved that detail, by the way - the idea that all purebloods or people connected to the Dark Lord would be forced to sign documents assuring their loyalty afterwards, as a sort of preventative measure. I'm not sure it's right, particularly with people as young as Tor, but I can understand the idea behind it and believe that it could happen.

As for what's actually happening in this scene - I'm so curious! The dark haired boy mentioned...is that Terry? I'm really hoping that it is and that he survived the war with Tor! It seems like it could be as she seems to trust him to some extent but there's a distance between them that I was surprised to see if it is Terry. I wonder whether, rather than Terry dying, he and Tor simply begin to drift apart, and that's the reason she ends up with Draco. I don't want that to be the case but this prologue makes me think it might be!

I'm really intrigued about who is at the door as well, where the two of them are and who's been calling to try and see Tor with her refusing to meet. There are so many questions that I'm asking already from this short prologue!

Sorry this review is a little on the short side but I'm on my phone and trying not to land you with a monster this early on in the year! This was a wonderful chapter though and I can't wait to read the rest of the novel and find some answers to my questions! ♥

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hey Sian!! :D I know I have so many other reviews of yours that I want to give thoughtful responses to but I just couldn't resist this one. It means so much to me that you're continuing to read this story and all of your support is just amazing.

Ahh, thank you!! That means so much to me. The change in the writing is part of the reason with why I'm only doing minor edits to the original chapters of TGFS: I like having them there as relics of how I've grown as a writer. You've helped me so much over the past year and a half and some of the credit certainly belongs to you for all your support. Thank you so much! ♥

This scene will be right around the end of this novel, similarly to the scene at the end of TGFS. I wasn't sure if I should write a prologue or not as I did find it limiting at times at first but TSR is pretty linearly mapped out whereas TGFS wasn't at all, so I'm excited to bring the story there.

She has grown up a great deal! Because I know where Tor ends up and I have a good idea of her voice as a seventeen/eighteen year old, it's so odd for me to look back at how naive she was at the very beginning. I'm so glad you could tell that she grows throughout the course of the novel from the prologue, it's very helpful!

At this point Tor has gone through great trauma with the war and she's really looking at the world negatively - and for good reason! She also feels quite angry with herself and guilty about her family and her own actions. I felt that the government would be really paranoid about the Death Eaters and their children and that would take precedence over being sensitive for people like Tor, which is sad but felt realistic for this time of panic.

Hehe, so sneaky of me that almost all of the main male characters have dark hair, right? :P Well, except for Draco. I'm glad that you're asking these questions and analyzing the way they interact and who he might be. :D

This review wasn't short at all! I loved it - thanks so much, dear!!! ♥



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Review #13, by nott theodoreA white, white world.: A gurgle of clarity.

27th December 2014:
Hi Kiana! As I'm out at the moment this is a phone review so there may be a few typos, but bear with me!

This was beautiful! I really haven't read many stories about Alice at all, and I don't think I can actually remember reading a story set after her illness and yet told from her point of view. You really managed to get inside her mind well for this story and convey her thoughts and emotions - the most prominent of those being confusion and bewilderment - effectively. Even though it was sad at times this was still a lovely and poignant story, and I loved the fact that it had a happier ending for Christmas!

The triplication that you used again here, repeating the same word or phrase at the beginning of a paragraph, was so great in this story. In your story about Snape, it really emphasised his obsession with Lily, but here it had a different effect. It worked brilliantly to emphasise the real confusion that Alice feels about what is going on around her, the way that she tries her best to make sense of what is happening at a time when nothing seems to make sense to her anymore.

I really liked the progression in this story from the beginning, how you started with the beginning of Alice's illness after the torture, when she's surrounded by Healers in the hospital who are trying to help her but at the same time probably dealing with it in the wrong way; there was something almost antiquated about the treatment she appeared to receive at first, with the way that she was subdued. At that point, not long after arriving in the hospital, Alice seems to have an awful existence and I thought you portrayed her fear and confusion really well. But after that point there were subtle differences and things did seem to get better for her slowly, although of course she never regained the life she had once had. It's so sad to thing about what she lost when she was still living after the war.

I loved the way that Alice gradually started to recognise some of her surroundings, even though she couldn't put a name to all of he familiar things and faces. When she started to acknowledge Frank and notice more about his presence it was really sweet because even though she couldn't remember who he was, he was still a comfort to her.

Augusta was so well written here! I think she is such a difficult character to write, but I liked the way that Alice didn't recognise her but liked the stories she told, and that the reader could see through the dialogue how difficult she was finding it to deal with the aftermath of the attack on her son and daughter-in-law as well as bringing up a young child. But I was so glad she was able to give Alice some hope and comfort too.

I think the parts about Neville were the sweetest and most poignant to read. When Alice first vaguely recalled a baby it was so sad to think she couldn't even properly remember her son after what the Death Eaters did, but by the end of the story I was smiling at the reunion. In the glimpse we get from the books, Alice does seem to recognise Neville when he visits and it was lovely to see the first time that happened here. And for Augusta to bring Neville at Christmas and for it to happen then was so moving.

This was a lovely story, Kiana! I hope you're having a wonderful birthday! ♥

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hey Sian! *hides because I've taken ages to respond to this*

Aw, I'm glad you liked it as I've actually only ever read one about Alice which was when the attack was taking place and just the power and imagery in the story has stayed with me, so I've always wanted to have a go at writing Alice, so when this challenge came up and I saw the prompts, I knew I couldn't turn down writing this. I think the fact it takes place at Christmas is probably why I decided to write it, because it means Alice is allowed some hope for once, she can possibly have a glimmer at the end of the tunnel, and I really wanted to have that idea even if it was only for a day.

Haha, yeah, I realised that when I was writing too because though they were both obsessed with things, it was very different things as Snape was with Lily whereas Alice was obsessed with trying to get her past back. I'm really glad that you liked it because I think it's so hard to be able to conceive whatever went on her mind, so it means a lot to me that you thought it was similar!

I know, I think the fact she had this fantastic life before with a great career, girl power, and a husband and son it makes her current condition even sadder, and somehow even sadder than Frank's some reason (though I don't really know why). I always imagine the Muggle world to be slightly more behind in the times, especially when it comes to mental health hence why they knocked her out in that scene. I'm glad that you liked the steps in the relisation because while I know that full awareness never occurred, I imagine she got part of her sense back.

Well, I guess they say true love never dies so that's why she can still sort of remember Frank. More seriously though, I think if you have bonds of love as deep as Alice had for Frank, Augusta and Neville she's bound to remember something even if it was a teeny, tiny thing, so that makes her life seem a little bit better.

Aw, thank you, as she was probably the thing I was most unsure about in this whole story. I think Alice would probably recognise her least out of everyone because obviously there was no romantic love or blood tie, but I imagine they did get on really well beforehand anyhow.

Aw, I know, he's such a cutey, I imagine him being this totally adorable and chubby baby whose cheeks you just always want to squeeze :P I know, I think that scene in OoP is what inspired this as she still seemed to love Neville so much, and treasure those little things she could give him and that was so sweet, I wanted to show that here.

Thank you for this amazing review and sorry for responding to it a month late! :P ♥

-Kiana


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Review #14, by nott theodoreThe Ides of March: Melancholy were the sounds.

26th December 2014:
*sings* Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Kiana, happy birthday to you!

Hello, just stopping by before I go to bed, I've been saving up my review for this chapter since you posted it :P

This was an amazing update, once again - I'm always so impressed by the way you manage to consistently post such high quality writing. The narrative here was so poetic and lyrical, it was really beautiful to read it, and I also think it fits so well with the time that it's set in, with Helena coming from the Founders era and the language being more elaborate - at least in prose - at this point, too.

The opening section, short though it was, grabbed me and pulled me straight back into this story. I know you love patterns of three and this one worked really well, with the contrasts that Helena makes between existing, living, and being. I really liked the way that, at such a young age, she had already come to separate her life into those different states and recognise the differences that it meant for her as a person and what caused them. I think it's also a great way to illustrate the impact that Eleanor has had on her life.

Rowena is really horrible! I think this characterisation of her is one of the most interesting I've ever seen, because even though I've not read a lot of Founders era stories, the majority of stories I have read portray her as an intelligent, caring woman, a mother figure only surpassed by Helga. But in this story she's completely detached from Helena, almost as if she isn't related to her in anyway, and she just sees her daughter as a burden. It's strange when I think that Helena's father doesn't seem to have been around for a lot of her life, but at the same time I know that in rich families, parents were a lot more detached from their children at this point.

Rowena's behaviour also makes a lot of sense because I know this story is building up towards Helena's decision to flee her home instead of getting married, and to steal the diadem. Rowena is so derogatory about her daughter - the fact that she chooses her husband without consulting her doesn't really surprise me, as young people in Helena's class had very little say who they married at this time, but in other aspects it is so insulting. She really underestimates her intelligence and I think it's great that you demonstrate that intelligence isn't everything.

The imagery that came into play with Rowena, the way that blue seems connected to her mother for Helena, was lovely, and you know that I love little details like that.

I wondered, when they talked of strange behaviour, whether Rowena and Godric have noticed anything about the relationship that Eleanor and Helena have, although I'm thinking that they don't as they wouldn't have accepted it so easily.

Even though Rowena is so mean to her daughter, so inconsiderate of her feelings, Helena is still conscious of trying to please her, with the way she walks and tiny things like that. It's very hard to please Rowena, though!

All of Helena's musings on the differences between men and women were so interesting to read! I could understand the way that she would question those details and her identity as well, and it does seem ridiculous that men and women were expected to have normal relationships when married if they weren't allowed to spend time together before that.

It was so sad to see Helena talking to Eleanor about the marriage that she's being forced into once she leaves school, and the way that it's safer for the two of them, in a way, but at the same time it's against their true nature and all their feelings for each other. The inclusion of the references to hell and the devil were nicely placed there, showing that they both question, at times, what they're doing and feeling, and what they've been brought up to believe in. Even though Helena seems to accept it to an extent here, I think that before long she'll realise that she can't be without Eleanor and that's what's going to trigger her escape.

It was so sad to see how alone Helena felt at the end of this chapter, too, with the way that she didn't have anyone to really turn to with her problems, even if they were slightly taboo at this point. It wasn't a happy existence at all!

I'm intrigued about what the Baron's presence will do - I wonder whether Eleanor will become jealous, or if they'll be forced into the open and perhaps that causes Helena to flee? I'm looking forward to the next chapter! ♥

Sian :)

Author's Response: *hides* I'm so sorry about how long it's taken to get to this chapter, I am a terrible person and I hope you forgive me! ♥

Aw, I'm so glad that you liked the language as I was a little worried that I was overdoing it because it's so much fun I have a tendency to get carried away by it all, but that means so much to me to hear that!

I'm so glad that you liked that, because whilst I was writing this we were briefly exploring what it was to be in philosophy, so that really caught my interest and it somehow floated into this story. Bahaha, my love for the rule of three, I need to calm down on it but it's so good. I'm glad that you liked it, as it does show what a difference one person can have in your life which is amazing once you think about it.

Okay, I'll quickly explain Helena's father before going to Rowena as that might help a bit, but I've been deliberately vague when it comes to Helena's father as you'll find out later on but the reason for why he isn't there has a lot to do with why Rowena is the way she is. I do feel sort of bad depicting her in such a horrible way, but I think though intelligence is obviously a good thing, it has the ability to make you very detached and cold and Rowena has grown in love with the idea of it so much that she rejects everything which doesn't fit with the ideal of it if that makes any sense.

I'm glad that you liked the different take on intelligence because whilst there is the erudite form of intelligence, there is also the emotion and common sense forms of it which Rowena clearly lacks as she overrides everything that her daughter. I'm glad that you liked the set up for her escape for it too, as making Rowena like this does make it clearer why Helena did what she did.

As for the strange behaviour, I think they are aware that perhaps their daughters are flightier and much more away with their dreams, but they definitely aren't making a connection between the two of them yet.

I know, it's so sad as Rowena just isn't worth the amount Helena loves her :(

Bahaha, that was my sneaky bit of feminism in there, and it was much worse before with the patriarchy of the Medieval society crushing all women's dreams but I had tone it down considerably :P

Ooh ooh ooh, I'm liking your theory there, as all of those things do definitely play a key part in what happens in the final chapter. The pressure of time is an obvious one as that will rush them into doing things, hell will force them to question what is right and wrong further and whether the divine really controls all their lives, and all of that sort of leads to the escape. In a way...

Thanks for this fabulous review and sorry for taking aeons to respond to it! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #15, by nott theodoreSevenfold: gone away, i watched you disappear

14th December 2014:
Hi, darling!

Ooh, things are getting so exciting in this story and it's sucked that I've been away from it for so long, but there's only a couple of chapters left now and I'm determined to finish reading and reviewing before the end of the month - let's hope that nothing drastic gets in my way!

Also, I'm not ready yet to commit to telling you my suspect, but if I still think it's the same person as I have for the last few chapters after reading chapter nine, I'm going to tell you then. (Hold me to that :P) For now, I'll just say that I think revenge is probably the motive behind it.

The opening was really well written, and so powerful. I wondered if, after seeing Ada die in the last chapter (or possibly die, if she didn't stay alive and just take Ruth's name and I'm so intrigued and suspicious of everything you're writing in this story), we'd still return to her and see more of the dual storyline, because I think it works really well, so I was glad that we did! I really liked the impact that the encounter with Herr Nacht seemed to have on her; he'd been the long-term target during the killings, but when she eventually got there and he spoke to her, it was something she hadn't been expecting, which made her falter for a moment.

I think my favourite part in that section was when Ada looked in the mirror and saw the killer that she'd become, a different person from the young girl who'd borne the name Ada Treuherzig. I really liked the way that she'd prepared for the murder for so long and yet was unprepared, and by giving away her name she let go of her freedom as well and got caught. I also loved the way that the name Ada Red came about, since before this point her identity wasn't known.

I'm also wondering if, whether she'd been successful in killing Herr Nacht without being caught, she'd have continued with the murders and eventually maybe even targeted Grindelwald himself? Or had she always planned to murder just the seven people?

Ooh, ALSO wondering what happened to the sixth victim, and why she didn't want to talk about it...

And then back to the present again... the transitions are always done so well in this story and I was pulled from the past, and made to care about what was happening in the present straight away with the scene that opened that section.

Poor Neville! I'm convinced that he didn't do it, even though the questioners did quite a good job of linking him up with the event and the motives that might lie behind it - I hadn't even considered half of them, to be honest. But he's Neville and if it's him then I'm going to be really sad and upset. I'm so curious about why he took the Invisibility Cloak really, if it had always been his intention to go to Azkaban or if he'd done it for somebody else... The promise that he mentioned seems to have wrapped him up and made him look more suspicious as well, because he won't break that promise and tell people about what's behind it, but that means he's in more trouble. It's so sad.

I'm really glad that you included the detail about Emily having been pulled off the case completely and banned from entering the Ministry too until the issue with her father has been resolved. I think that's very believable, but the sort of detail that's often overlooked. It wouldn't be fair to keep her on the investigation with divided loyalties that way.

Oh, I loved the section with Dominique! In a way it felt like a bit of light relief in the middle of all the death and murder in this story, although there were definitely some serious themes in there as well (not sure I approve of the way that she got the guys to let her talk to Louis, for instance). But I really loved Dom's character and the way that she was so determined to protect the animals in the woods that she got herself arrested. I'll admit that charging the Muggles on a unicorn wasn't the best idea, though :P And I agree, the Ministry should be doing something to protect magical creatures from Muggle construction!

Steak was also great, and I loved the way that Louis just silenced him and the other two carried on playing Exploding Snap as though it was fine :P

Forgive me, but you know I'm a French nerd - I think 'Il n'y a personne d'autre pour m'aider' would work better, and Dom would use 's'il te plait' instead of vous since Louis's her brother.

It was great to learn more about Eugenie too, and the way that Louis's getting to know her... it almost sounded like she'd deliberately chosen him to work as her partner and I'm curious about why, other than the comment about Emily and him falling in love, since there was some definite flirting going on. And her past and the story about her father is... interesting. Very interesting.

I wasn't expecting Malfoy to be the next victim! I don't know why I wasn't suspecting him, maybe because people still thought that he'd been the one to do it and he seemed more of a suspect... although unless he has a really convoluted plan, it wasn't him :P I do have a suspect very much in mind and the latest murder fits with it, though! I'm excited to find out if I'm right!

Great chapter, once again!

Sian :)

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Review #16, by nott theodoreSevenfold: unchain my heart, let me be

6th December 2014:
Hi, Jenna!

Okay, tiny French correction before I start the rest of the review, but it should be 'pour vous aider' rather than 'aidez'.

What a powerful start to the chapter! Until this point we've not really moved out of the war and Nurmengard in the first sections of each chapter, and now the war is over and Ada's dead. It's such a sensitive period of history to have chosen to write about and to use as a backdrop for that part of the story but I think you did a great job of writing about it, and communicating the sense of disbelief and horror that was echoing across Europe at the time. There was relief, in some measure, that the war was finally over, but things were changing and shifting so much with the way that countries were being carved up and boundaries redefined, and then on top of that there were the terrible losses to deal with, at the same time as the news and the facts about what had actually been happening during the war started to properly come out and be known by normal people.

Your description of Nurmengard was so bleak as Gilbert approached it - I loved the way that he behaved though and tried to help the prisoners there. I could really sense his disgust as he saw what Grindelwald had done in his own fortress, and even the slight distaste for having picked up some German because of what had caused him to have learnt it, although it became very helpful for him in this scene.

And Ruth is alive! I suspected something when I saw Mrs Coffman at the Shining Gurdyroot as the names seemed to be so similar, although as I read that section she acted so suspiciously that part of me is wondering if Ada was actually the one who survived and assumed Ruth's identity, especially because of the fact Ruth seemed to be so ill beforehand. But now I wonder - whichever of them it was - whether they've inadvertently told the stories of the Sevenfold murders to the current killer, and given them the idea behind it.

And onto the present day again, with Louis watching the bodies being recovered. I have to admit that I was surprised about who it was that died, especially with Goyle as he never seemed to me to be someone who'd really been inducted into the Death Eaters, but the two of them do fit the profile of the previous murders better and also fit with the theory that is forming about who the killer is and their motive for the murders.

You had me wondering all the way through this chapter who it was that Harry had lent his Invisibility Cloak to, mentioning it so constantly and never revealing his name until the end - that was so sneaky! But Harry was so worried about having held back the information and I could tell that it was someone he really cared about, and didn't want to hurt them by revealing their involvement, so I was really worried it was someone in the family or something but to be honest it's just as bad with who it turned out to be! But it was great that you managed to build up so much suspense and tension throughout the chapter and I was just reading on to try and find out who it was.

Louis's interaction with McLaggen was really well written too, because I could see all the tension and conflict between the two of them and the way that betrayed some of the past between the two of them, and the rivalry there. Plus it made me way more curious about what was going on and who it was that McLaggen was going to arrest!

Ooh, I really liked the scene with Molly as well - it's great to see another of the Weasley cousins helping on the case but in a different capacity and I love the way that you've crafted her character too. I'd already guessed that Ruth was alive after seeing that scene in Nurmengard, and now I'm hoping that they can go and visit her and get some sort of information from her that'll stop the rest of the murders, or at least let them know who is going to be targeted next. I don't think that she's been involved in these ones, but I do think that she might know something which would help, maybe that she's told someone the story of it or something.

The last scene was really interesting and enjoyable to read as well, especially getting to know a bit more about Eugenie's past and her family, and the bit of potential romance there with Louis and Eugenie too! He seems to be kind of confused about who he likes but it was intriguing to see that, as she seems so professional normally that she wouldn't contemplate flirting like that. It is quite a stressful situation, though.

And now... okay, I'm not going to say who my suspect is here yet because we're only just over halfway through the story, but I do have a suspect and nothing that's happened in this chapter has made me change my mind about that. It's someone that plays quite a major role in the story and I also think that the motive has now been explained, too... I get the feeling that these copycat killings are either being carried out to throw the Aurors off the scent of why the real target is/will be killed, or that there's a personal grudge against all the victims and that it's building up towards the last one, who's the main target. But there have been four murders already and I'm getting a bit worried about whether or not they'll actually be able to stop the killer before the next three happen!

And oh my goodness, I definitely wasn't expecting the ending! It was a great way to end the chapter, very dramatic and now I can't wait to know why Neville had the cloak, and what he was doing with it and where it is now - I don't think that it can have been him, who killed all those people, but I want to know what happened!

Sian :)

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Review #17, by nott theodorethe earth and the sky: the earth and the sky

23rd November 2014:
YES YES YES it is finally up and I really hope I get first review on this and if I don't I think there's a strong possibility that I may cry.

So, I've already said this, but this is absolutely amazing, Adi! I tend to shy away from reading longer one-shots - especially when I should be doing other things - but this one is just so beautifully written and such a fantastic way of telling Draco and Astoria's story that I couldn't resist. Seriously, this was absolutely beautiful. Gut-wrenching and tragic and extremely devastating - yes, all of those. But beautiful in spite of (or perhaps because of) that.

First - the title. I think it fit so well and I really loved the way that you wove those themes throughout the story, that Draco and Astoria were the earth and the sky and that they needed each other to survive, to get on in this life. I loved the imagery that allowed you to use - your description is always stunning, but I think this piece is honestly one of your best as far as that's concerned - and the way that you used the comparisons to describe their relationship.

Then the sections. It's something that I actually really like and I think it worked perfectly in this piece. This needed to be a one-shot (partly because you'd have killed me if I'd had to wait for subsequent chapters to find out what happened to the two of them) and those sections helped to break it down, show the different stages of their relationship and the way that it developed over time. I liked the titles that you picked as well, and think they fit so well with what was going on. This one-shot covered a really long time period but each section helped to keep my interest in what was happening, and knowing there was more meant that I just had to read on.

So, to the actual content of the story (it's only taken me 2000 characters to get here). I loved the opening section (I loved all of this story but anyway). I think your characterisation of Draco was brilliant there, and you really showed the way that he was broken after the war, that he felt like he couldn't be fixed by anything or anyone, because he'd done so many things wrong. It was so clever to have them drawn together by the fact that he needed help and Astoria loved helping people. But I loved the fact that you showed it wasn't solely because of Astoria that he changed - Draco had to decide to change himself and his lifestyle first before she could do anything for him.

I really liked the gradual way that they grew together in that section, too. At first it was just that they seemed to be thrown together - Astoria was someone who could help Draco, and he needed that. And then they realise that they actually like spending time in each other's company, even when they're not talking, and the gradual nature of that was something I really enjoyed. I was so proud of Astoria when she shoved Draco away when he was drunk, not returning to him; after that, it had to be him to make the first move and apologise and he finally did, and that's why they could move onto the next stage in their relationship.

The second section - fear and joy - how can you make me feel so many different emotions in just one part of a chapter? You captured it so well with those three words, and I loved the way that you continued writing their relationship. There was love there, there was happiness, there was hope. They were young and free and they'd found each other and had so much to live for again, which after everything they'd been through was such a difference for the two of them. I was so happy to see that they got their piece of happiness, there at the beginning - although it wasn't an easy path, with Astoria's father not wanting Draco to marry her. But they got through it all and had their perfect wedding day and they were together, and I was just smiling so much.

And then tragedy strikes. Again and again and you're making me want to cry as I read this, even though I've seen these words before. My heart went out to both Draco and Astoria as they were trying so hard to start a family, and they thought that they'd finally succeeded but she lost the baby. It was just heartbreaking, and yet at the same time incredibly real because it's a tragedy that strikes women all over the world, and it's so sad.

And oh my goodness, I can't believe what happened next. I don't want to believe that it could happen. I remember that day so clearly and although I was nowhere near it, I thought you captured the chaos and the fear and the dread so perfectly. For Draco to be caught up in that was horrible, especially when they were planning their new beginning. But I found it realistic that they couldn't cure his deafness - there's not a cure for everything. Finally, though, they had their happiness when Scorpius arrived. But it was so heartbreaking and sad to see the way that they struggled and I loved that you showed marriage isn't easy, it's hard work no matter what, and even more so for the two of them. But they did it together.

The disease... I don't have words. It was so poignant and sad to see Astoria's life slowly slipping away and the fear and anguish that the two of them were feeling, facing the sudden end. Her death was written so well, so beautifully... it was just perfect, albeit tragic.

And Draco's reaction afterwards was also completely believable, and I could see him just struggling to continue. He and Astoria meant so much to each other and were the reason to go on and now he doesn't have her. I was so glad that you decided to go with that bittersweet ending, that Draco and Astoria got reunited and that she'd been waiting for him all along. Of course. It was such a beautiful ending to the story!

And this refrain 'Had there ever really been any other answer?' was perfect!

I'd write so much more but I'm about to run out of characters and can't, but this is incredible and I loved it!

Sian

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Review #18, by nott theodoreWhen Summer Fades: solstice

22nd November 2014:
Oh my goodness, Kristin - this was perfect!

(Hi, and here for our swap ;))

The opening of this chapter, when Regulus described the way that he felt after Summer had died, was so heartbreaking. I know in my first review on this I predicted that there was going to be romance between them at some point, but I'm so glad that there wasn't, in the end. I'm glad that it wasn't because of love - romantic love, anyway - that Regulus changed his mind about things here. It was like Summer unlocked a part of him that he'd been hiding and denying existed, and because of that he was finally able to do the right thing.

It was so sad to see the way that his life was after Summer had died, though, as if the light had gone out completely. And while I wouldn't say that his life was worse for having known Summer, it did make things harder because he'd known the sort of person who was compassionate and kind and loved life for living, and that was not what he had left. I really wish that he'd been able to go to Sirius after Summer had died, and explain what had happened, but I think the fear of being rejected by his brother again stopped him from doing that just as much as the duty he felt to his family stopped him from leaving it all behind.

I was really glad to hear that he tried his best to keep in touch with Summer's parents, though, and that he didn't just cut himself off from them completely. Of course, that just made things even worse when I got later on in this chapter.

You wrote Kreacher so well! His actions and his speech was just so perfect it felt like it could have come from the pages of the books. I felt really apprehensive, knowing, unlike Regulus, what he had just volunteered Kreacher to do - the poor elf! I honestly feel like he wouldn't have asked Kreacher to do it if he had known, and he was careful to take care of him afterwards. It was so lovely to see that different side to Regulus here, the fact that he was actually kind to his servant, unlike what we'd been led to believe purebloods were.

Oh goodness, the scene when Regulus went to the manor house for the meeting... that was just so horrible. Really well written, of course, but at the same time so shocking and upsetting to read. He must have felt so horrible to see Summer's parents there, the Muggles who'd been chosen for the Death Eaters to play with - and the fact that Anne recognised him at the end was even worse, because she'd believed he was so good and kind to her daughter, and would have felt so betrayed to see him there with the others and not doing anything about it. And you captured the Death Eaters really well, I thought, especially Bellatrix and Voldemort - to them, Muggles aren't people, they're just objects, things that are there for their amusement. It's truly disgusting.

I was really glad you included that moment though, as awful as it was to read. I feel like this was the real turning point for Regulus; the change had been coming for a long time, the disillusionment, the realisation that somebody his age shouldn't have to be involved in something like this. But it was seeing Summer's parents murdered so carelessly, and then Voldemort's attitude afterwards, that really prompted him into action. I loved his defiance and assertion that he wasn't a weak child - and I think because that's what Voldemort thought him to be, Regulus was able to get away with what he did. But I can just imagine Voldemort bragging about the way that he's become immortal, not believing that anybody except for him would even have the intelligence to understand it. He was his own downfall in almost every way.

Even though he couldn't save Summer, his research to try and find ways to help her did have some value, since Regulus knew that Voldemort was making Horcruxes. Having grown up in that world, and having been a part of the Death Eaters, it was so brave of him to choose to go and defy Voldemort and do what he could to try and bring about his downfall, to make sure that he could be killed. I really admired Regulus there, because he knew that it was likely he would die.

I thought you wrote those last scenes so well, and they were really effective. I know we get the bare bones of this story in the books, but the way that you've written him approaching Kreacher and then the journey through the cave has just become my head canon! It was so poignant to see those last moments that Regulus experienced, his reality shifting because of the potion, the confusion because of Summer's presence in his mind... all of it worked so well, fit so perfectly.

And those last lines, that he was finally going towards the light - they were just stunning. It was such a perfect ending, Kristin - so highly symbolic. Regulus isn't only going to be able to join Summer but he's also found his way to the 'light' after turning from the darkness that he'd been forced into for most of his life. Wow, it really just took my breath away. What a wonderful chapter to end a wonderful story!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Omg, this review. I don't even know where to BEGIN responding to it as it's all just so lovely I kind of want to frame it on my wall.

I'm glad you liked that aspect of it, that it wasn't romance. For some reason I felt like this was the type of thing that could only work with friendship - there's a certain power to friendship that gets overlooked in a lot of stories/movies/etc.

Yeah, he was definitely not in a good place at that point (or really, this whole chapter). He had seen how things could be different, but had no idea how to make a change. Yes, I think you're so right - things could have been so different if he had gone to talk to Sirius, but like you said he probably was too afraid of being rejected again after all the choices he had made before. :( Summer's parents were kind of all he had left at that point reminding him of the happiness he'd had once, and he had sort of become friends with them. But... yeah, that only made it harder :-/

Aah, thank you - it is so great to hear that you thought Kreacher was written well! I really enjoyed writing him in such a sympathetic way and showing this other side to him that wasn't really seen much in the books. I think if Regulus had known, he wouldn't have sent Kreacher - he did care about him. Although we know the Malfoys mistreated Dobby it doesn't mean that all purebloods mistreated their house elves - given how attached Kreacher was to the entire Black family, I think they were probably quite kind to him.

I'm glad you appreciated that moment with Summer's parents, as terrible as it was with the Death Eaters just playing with Muggles; that was definitely a turning point when he decides he needs to act rather than just wallow in guilt - even though he knows he'll probably die too. I'm glad you thought the characterization of Bellatrix and Voldemort was spot on as well. You're so right, Voldemort really was his own downfall, ignoring those he thought to be lesser than himself.

asdk;fhawkjnjsa; ee, thank you! I'm thrilled to hear that you liked the last few scenes and honestly I'm so flattered that you view that as your headcanon now O__O thank you!! It's wonderful to hear that it fit seamlessly with his history with Summer as well.

Thank you, I'm so glad you liked the ending lines and thought they were stunning, wow, just ahhh thanks ♥ I absolutely love the meaning you've taken from it and the symbolism, and I'm glad it came across as beautiful. Gah, thank you so much for reading and for your amazing reviews!! ♥


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Review #19, by nott theodoreDetox: Making Choices

22nd November 2014:
Hi, Dan!

It's been so long since I read any of this story but I hope you don't mind me choosing the next chapter of this for our swap, because I've been wanting to find out what happened next to Draco and Astoria!

This was a really great chapter! I liked the way that you opened it, almost abstractly, as Astoria watched a scene that she wasn't a part of, and wasn't anywhere near being a part of something like that. It was really interesting to see Harry and Ginny behaving like that, just so happy to be together - I suspect that a lot of that is because of the fact that they were under so much stress the first time, now they feel like they can just be free. I liked the way that Astoria felt a little jealous when she watched the scene, too, as if that was something that she was hoping to have some day. It was a big contrast to see Harry and Ginny and then Astoria, going to meet Draco, not really knowing what the two of them were to each other, or if there even was anything between them. I thought that was really effective.

The descriptions, again, were really lovely in this chapter. I could see such clear images of the different characters in my mind, and in that opening scene the snow covering Hogsmeade just felt so like a scene that I imagine from the books, or could see in the films, and that was lovely.

Of course, things had to go wrong. Nothing could just be as simple as the two of them meeting in a public place on a day when everyone else is doing the same.

Ron was such an idiot here, I wanted to shout at him. It's definitely not out of character for him to decide to make trouble for Malfoy, just because he can - I get the feeling that at this point, Ron would probably feel quite indestructible, and the temptation of going after Draco and getting one up on the boy that had bullied him and his friends throughout school was too much for him. Not that that makes it right or acceptable, of course. But it's in character that Ron would try and pick a fight and use his status to get away with it.

I was proud of Draco though, for trying to turn away and avoid the fight and the confrontation. That shows a lot more maturity than he started this story with, and there's already been character development here, which is great, only four chapters in. I do feel like he tried his best to avoid the confrontation though, and didn't want to make a scene. But I can't exactly blame him for having retaliated when Ron started beating him up, because nobody would just take that if they had another option.

The descriptions of the crowd gathered around Draco and Ron, just watching and not doing anything except trying to help Ron along, were really horrible. (The fact that it was happening, not the descriptions themselves!) I can imagine that after the war there'd still be a lot of tension, a lot of people at Hogwarts who resented the fact that former Death Eaters had been let back into school with them and people who'd lost loved ones in the war. I think you capture the sort of tension there very well.

The scene when Hermione came to Draco's rescue reminded me a little of the James/Snape/Lily scene that happened in their fifth year, which we see in the books. I'm not sure if that was your way of ending any hope people might have for a Dramione from this story, but I appreciated it :P I can imagine Hermione trying to help when she sees that Ron's being an idiot - and that she'd make sure Ron knew about it too - but after all she went through in the war, I doubt she's likely to take kindly to Draco calling her a Mudblood.

Astoria was right - he did deserve what he got from Hermione, although he hadn't provoked the initial fight with Ron, and I can understand why his wounded pride would prompt him into doing something like that. But I also really liked the fact that Astoria was watching from afar, not wanting to get involved and let Draco know that she'd seen everything that was going on. She's really sensitive to his moods and very perceptive - plus I can't imagine many people siding against the 'Golden Trio' after the war is over, to help a former Death Eater.

I am glad that she did step in afterwards, though. Draco was very brave to try and defend himself and fight, but it was hardly fair that three of them came after him when he'd already been through a fight with somebody else. I can imagine this happening though - people seeing the opportunity to take revenge and using it. There would still be so much bitterness, and even though official policy was to reconcile, I can imagine that wouldn't sit very well with a lot of people.

I'm really intrigued about who those people were, trying to kill Draco - why? What did he do to them? And to be honest, they're just as bad as Death Eaters themselves if they're willing to kill someone in the middle of a street, and then kill a girl they don't even know as well, just because she's there and trying to help defend Draco in an unfair fight.

The action towards the end was really well written, too, and very tense! I could hardly believe it when those words escaped from their lips, and I'm pretty sure that Draco managed to get the two of them away and neither were killed (since we're going with canon here), but it was very dramatic and an intriguing ending to the chapter!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi, Sian!

No problem at all. I can never really remember who's at what point in my longer stories. I'm always just happy to be reminded.

For the opening of the chapter, I wanted something that would plant seeds of internal conflict with Astoria. Her upbringing is so proper that she can't possibly approve of what Ginny and Harry are doing, but she can't deny that she'd like to feel the same passion that the two of them feel. I think it puts her in the right mindset for what happens next.

I'm really glad you liked the descriptions. I try very hard to set a scene in my chapters that the reader can sink into and hopefully lose themselves for a bit.

Yep, things go very wrong for Draco and Astoria. I think it would be a pretty boring story if they didn't. It starts with Ron and escalates from there. Ron is, as you've surmised, mostly just being a jerk because he can. It isn't that he doesn't suspect Draco of wrongdoing -- he does -- it's just that those suspicions come down to nothing more than, "it's Malfoy, he must be up to something." For his part, Draco actually does his best to avoid the conflict. Some days, you just can't win for losing.

I hadn't really thought of Hermione/Ron/Draco in terms of Lily/James/Snape, but I can definitely see what you're getting at. Hermione tries to do the right thing, and Draco takes it the wrong way entirely. He pays the price for his lack of thoughtfulness. Astoria's right, he definitely had that one coming. I'm glad you picked up on the way that she tries to allow him to collect himself and regain a measure of dignity before she approaches him. She and Draco are from the same world. She understands how important dignity is to a pureblood scion like Draco. In some ways, even at this early juncture of the story, she understands him better than he understands himself.

You'll find out in the next chapter why those people were trying to kill Draco. It's actually a pivotal part of the first "breakthrough" that Draco makes in opening up to Astoria and trusting her. I really hope you enjoy it!

Thanks so much for the swap! I really enjoyed reading your work and also your review!


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Review #20, by nott theodoreCliffhanger: Cliffhanger

22nd November 2014:
NO!

Okay, I should probably start this properly.

Hi, Fin! I'm here for our review swap!

This was amazing! I've been wanting to read it since I saw people mentioning it over on the forums, especially when it got nominated for Story of the Month in the CR, and this was really powerful. The Every Word Counts Challenge is one of my favourites, and I love seeing the way that different authors choose to interpret it - you certainly used those words to the full here, and had a real impact with this short story.

I loved the way that you launched straight into this. You don't have many words to use so you might as well dive right in with the action of the story, but I think that made it hit the reader even more when I read it.

Straight away, this piece made me ask questions - there were so many that you provoked in just that first paragraph, and I was desperately reading to find out the answers. You definitely provided those answers, but they actually made me sadder than I think not knowing would - not that that's a bad thing, it just means it's an upsetting story to read!

Your description in this was so good! I always think that the Every Word Counts pieces are a brilliant time to really make an effort with the description and yours stood out in the first line of the one-shot. I thought the personification of Death was really interesting, but what struck me more was the way that you described the noose around the man's neck - it was so chilling! The word snuggled made it seem like a comfort to the man who'd died and that just made this story even more upsetting, and made me want to know who it was that had died immediately.

I did notice a couple of typos that you could probably just fix to make this piece even more polished:
'when the found him' - they
'The Phrophet would have a field day' - Prophet

Oh, you really just cut me with this story. I thought you hinted at the dead man's identity very cleverly with just one line that told us who it was. The fact that Fred would have been proud of the way that he'd chosen to take his life made it clear that it was George who had died, but that made it even sadder. I do hate the thought of the twins having to continue on and George having to live without Fred after the Battle, but this is actually even worse. Your descriptions of the pain and the suffering that he went through after the war was over made it so poignant and moving - he really seemed to feel that he had no choice, that he just wanted to be with Fred again.

The description of this as the second war, and the different ways that you manage to explore the psychological suffering that war causes, was really impressive - you packed so much into just 500 words. I think that's one thing that's so important, but so often forgotten. After a war is over, the suffering and scars continue on and it's impressive that you managed to tackle something like that within just a short piece of writing.

As for the narrator - that makes me even more upset. I'm guessing - though I suppose it could be any of the brothers - that it's Ron, as he was closest to the twins in age and looked up to them a great deal. The idea that he's tried to survive his own suffering but doesn't think that he's going to survive much longer is really terrible. The whole one-shot read in an almost detached tone, as if Ron couldn't quite believe what had happened to his brother.

Those last few lines were brilliant, and had a really powerful impact - they were a great way to end this story, although it's a horrible thought. You did a great job with this; it's a very poignant and moving piece of writing.

Sian :)

Author's Response: YES!

Hi Sian! :D

Thanks for the swap! I had a lot of fun reviewing your story.

I don't even know how to approach your review and where to start replying because you've said so many nice things. I really didn't expect to get nominated for SoTM! That was an awesome surprise. :)

I noticed the typo's after I posted, I will go back and fix them at some point! :D

I'm pleased that you pointed out the word snuggled, I did think for a while over that particular word choice before eventually deciding to go through with it.

My headcannon is a little different to the norm I think. I have read so many fics, which I have really enjoyed, that make no reference to the 'mental war' after the war. It's always glossed over. I understand why people write it like that though!

I did write it as Ron but as you already said it could be any of them which in my opinion, is a very depressing thought!

Thanks again for swapping and for this wonderful review! :)

Fin




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Review #21, by nott theodorePython: Python

21st November 2014:
Hi Sathya!

I was really wondering how you were going to tie in the title and the Halloween challenge, especially when I saw that this was about Mulciber. And that line that you use in the summary - it's so powerful and intriguing and I couldn't help but be absolutely pulled in by it.

The use of second person was really great here. It drew me into the story and made me feel a lot more empathy for Mulciber than I'd expected to do, especially when you consider some of the things that we know he's done. Plus it's one of my favourite narrative voices.

The only thing I can think of for CC is that I think the date should be 1998 instead of 1997, if it's at the end of the war, anyway, since the Battle of Hogwarts was in May 1998...

I actually felt really sorry for Mulciber as he was in chains, the sense of desperation that came across really well. He's not really written about a lot, I don't think - at least, I can't remember ever having read something about him - and that made it even more interesting to me, to see how you were going to interpret him. The Ministry official seems kind of happy in the fact that Mulciber is being imprisoned and while that's quite horrible I also thought it was realistic - I imagine there would be a backlash against Death Eaters and those who'd been associated with them after the war by a lot of people, wanting revenge.

The section with Mulciber as a child was really scary! I felt so sorry for him there, trembling as he was being interrogated by his mother - it was so horrible and I was nervous too, for what was going to happen. The truth snake was a really good invention, as terrible as it is - I don't want to believe that somebody could use something like that on their own children! But at the same time I thought you did a great job of showing that there was once reluctance to be a part of Slytherin and all of the things that seemed to entail on Mulciber's part - by the next section it's like there's a kind of inevitability and he had to accept his fate with his family.

I loved the way that you used the mention in canon of Mulciber having done something to Mary MacDonald and then provided your own explanation of it - I don't think I've ever seen that in a story that's not a novel length Marauders fic, so that's great that you remembered that tiny detail. It was awful to see him torturing her like that, and how much he'd changed from the frightened little boy, showing no mercy to poor Mary. I wanted to yell at Slughorn for pretending he didn't see it - he's a teacher, and he needs to grow a backbone!

That final section gave me even more chills. It was so scary to hear - especially since you were using second person - that Mulciber was going to receive the Dementor's Kiss, but then also that there was this snake coming for him. That worked so well as the recurring theme, the breath being squeezed from someone, and for him to suffer that way at the end seems kind of like poetic justice, as horrible as it was. That last line was so scary!

Great job with this, Sathya!

Sian :)

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Review #22, by nott theodorePunishment by the moonlight: Punishment

21st November 2014:
Hello!

Wow, this was so chilling and scary! I think you did a really good job writing this story, especially with the way that you built up the tension and the fear in this piece until the ending.

That first sentence had a big impact. It seems like something so simple, so short, but when I read it I just knew that something was going to happen.

Ah, so this woman works with werewolves and creatures like them. No wonder she's so scared at the sound of the howling outside her window. I really liked the way that everything gradually unfolded here, the reader getting to find out more information as things went on, which just made me even more tense.

Fenrir Hollander, I'm assuming, is Fenrir Greyback, before he gained a 'werewolf' name? It's impressive that Fenrir already makes me nervous, just hearing the name. That law feels really unfair, especially when you consider that he wanted to be able to take care of his mother, but I suppose this was a much less lenient time as far as werewolves were concerned. Although it's sad to think that maybe if this woman had granted him leave to live there, maybe he wouldn't have turned to killing and injuring the way that he did.

I really wish the woman hadn't just dismissed all thoughts of it and not worried about what the consequences might be. She might have been better off if she had thought for a minute first. The description of the way he saw that picture of her children was really creepy.

And you wrote the attack really well. The tension and fear just kept on mounting and I thought the woman's panic was really well conveyed. It was obvious how scared she was for her children and how much she wanted to be able to protect them from anything that might harm them. I wish she hadn't been so confident - I thought, if anything, she'd stay in the room with her children rather than locking them in it to try and keep them safe, although in a way I can understand the thinking behind it. It's just so tragic, though.

And it's horrible to think that this was the first time that Fenrir had done something like this, but that he went on to repeat it again and again, with people like Lupin - it was the children who suffered because of their parents, and that's just so cruel.

The ending was horrible - in a good way! I'm kind of glad that you left it ambiguous and we could guess at the outcome because we didn't know what happened to the children - whether he'd just taken them, or killed them, or whether they'd transformed into werewolves themselves. I think the fact I'm still asking those questions made this even scarier and more chilling!

Sian :)

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Review #23, by nott theodoreLady Slytherin: I: Anatolia

21st November 2014:
Hi there!

I saw you posting about updates for this on the forums, and since I really enjoyed getting to read some of your work during the House Cup, I decided to come and give this a read!

The opening of this chapter really drew me in and made me curious about the rest of the story. The fact that the character - Anatolia Black - had woken up from a sleep that lasted one hundred years made me wonder what was going to happen, and what had caused it; there was something of a fairytale about that section, with the obvious comparison, and I'm intrigued to see whether or not Anatolia will have a greater role to play in the story or if she was just a means of introduction.

Something that I discovered reading some of your work during the House Cup was how talented you are at crafting beautiful descriptions, and this chapter was really no exception - especially in the opening section, when we're introduced to the scene that Anatolia can see from her portrait. Throughout the rest of this chapter the description was beautiful too, and really painted some vivid pictures in my mind of the scenes that were taking place here.

I'm going to give a little CC, so I hope you don't mind! Though I can understand why you've chosen to use contractions and so on, one thing I did wonder about was whether Twilfitt and Tattings would have a shop in Diagon Alley in the same way that they do today. When you bear in mind that this was over a thousand years ago, with the Statute still not signed and therefore wizarding and Muggle society much closer, I imagine that these two might be more likely to be reputed tailors who make dresses and robes to measure, rather than a clothes shop in the conventional sense, which I don't think tended to exist then. That's just a tiny detail, but something I picked up on and thought it was worth pointing out.

Hmm, I'm really intrigued by the introduction of Rohesia in this chapter. She's not that likeable immediately, but I get the feeling that she's not actually intended to be at the moment. She's ambitious, though - I can already see her determination to be the one to get the celebrated Salazar Slytherin to marry her. And she's also quite mysterious, and I'm really intrigued about the background to her and the Selwyn family. I wonder whether her retreat from society was just because of money issues, or whether something else took place and that places more significance on her return to society at this point.

I really love the little details that you've included in this chapter, like the locket. It makes me smile to think that Umbridge was actually right to say it was a Selwyn locket, rather than Slytherin's - that makes me think Rohesia's going to be successful in her quest, and the locket will be passed down through the generations, although it's quite funny it doesn't originally come from the mighty Slytherin.

I really like the set up you have for this story, too. It reminds me a bit of a modern day TV show, with a quest for an eligible bachelor or something, but set back in time which makes it even more intriguing, especially since at this point one of the main aims of any family was to get their daughters married well.

I also really like the idea that Salazar is suddenly determined to find a wife after having left Hogwarts. Before he's probably been so concentrated on setting up the school that he's not even thought about it, but now he needs something to do. And even though we haven't met him yet, I'm really intrigued about him. I can already see him as some kind of ancestor to Voldemort, with his arrogance and the assumption that people will all wait for him. I'm looking forward to seeing how you write him when he appears.

The conversation between Rohesia and some of the other ladies was really interesting too, giving us a little bit of a glimpse into the society that they've grown up in and Rohesia's isolation from it. I really loved the way that you characterised Lady Weasley, choosing to do something different with her rather than portraying her ideals and beliefs in blood purity to be the same of the descendants we see in the books. I think that would be so easy to do but I enjoyed this twist - especially because I find it so believable. The Weasleys are a pureblood family, after all, and for some reason that means that they've not married into none pureblood families for a long time in the past.

This was a really great first chapter and I'll be reading on soon!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi!

Wow, this was quite a review! I hope I can satisfactorily address some of the points you brought up :)

Anatolia has a role, but it's not really of a participant, but more of just someone who watches and who the audience is supposed to identify with (as distant viewers themselves). And thank you so much for the lovely compliments about my description!

I never mind CC! I do feel the need to explain why I included Twilfitt and Tattings, though. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility for them to have existed that long ago. Ollivander's has been open since 382 Bc, which is quite a time before the Founders. It's a good point about the shops, though I imagine they served only the richest clientele, such as most of the families mentioned, who could afford such clothes rather than be stuck with muggle tailors or making their own.

As you will see, Rohesia is not meant to be likable at all, and nor does she care to be. And you're quite right about Umbridge! I put in that detail happily--Umbridge was technically right, though she definitely didn't know it.

I noticed a few other readers pointing out the set up was like a book or a TV show because I think we've all been exposed to this concept before. All I can say to that is the genre is definitely marked 'Horror/Dark' for a reason. Not all is as it seems.

In this story, it's not quite that Salazar hasn't thought of having a wife...more like his plans didn't pan out, so he returns from Hogwarts, angry and disillusioned. And ready to 'settle down', and make heirs. He shows up next chapter and I do hope you like him!

The Weasleys are blood traitors now, but I figured they weren't always that way. Once upon a time, they were surely as snotty as any of the other pureblooded families and from there came my idea of Lady Weasley. I'm glad you like her -- she's one of my favorites in the story.

Thank you so much for such a detailed and lovely review1 If you do read on, I hope you enjoy the other chapters as well!

Thanks again,
Celeste


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Review #24, by nott theodoreMonster: Monster

21st November 2014:
Hi, Angie! Here for review tag (unfortunately I've already read and reviewed chapter 9 of The Worst, so I can't do that for you).

This was so chilling! The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up right now, it was just so tense to read what was happening through this and see the sort of inevitability to it. I was hoping and hoping that nothing would happen and go wrong, but at the same time I kind of knew that it would and that made reading this a very tense experience!

I love the use of second person here. It's one of my favourite narrative voices to use, and I think in a one-shot like this one, when you're trying to instil fear into the reader, it works really well. We weren't just watching as Rose went through her life, scared of monsters; we were Rose, and that made this story even more powerful and interesting. When she felt fear, we felt fear; when she became a monster, so did we. And that made it really scary because with the second person it was as if it was our fault, although we couldn't do anything about it!

I thought your choice of character was great here, too - I assumed that it was Rose, although I don't think that it's ever mentioned at all. She fits really well and I think this story was made more scary because of the fact that we only see her as a cute child in the books, and that's what she starts out as here before going on to become the monster in the title.

I think - if you want to make it a bit more in line with Rose's character and family - you could probably include a little mention of her brother or cousins or something like that in this. And as far as CC goes, I just noticed a couple of typos ('her' instead of 'your' etc.) so it might be worth reading through this again quickly.

The development of this story worked really well, especially with the short sections which built up to a horrible ending. It was so cute to see Rose as a young girl, all scared of the woods. It seemed like it was just a child's fear and that she didn't really need to be scared, and of course she believed Hermione when she told her that monsters didn't exist. The progression then, to a teenager who was more confident and knew that rationally she shouldn't be scared, but couldn't help being, before the fact that she actually got captured herself and attacked... it worked really well and I found it very effective to show the different stages of fear and the sad inevitability of this. Rose had always been so scared of monsters and yet she became one herself.

The ages worked really well, too, to highlight the progression and passing of time without making it too obvious. As a refrain it added a lot to the story.

Your descriptions of the vampire attack were so scary and chilling! I thought you did a fantastic job of describing the vampire and the way that it appeared from nowhere and Rose had no chance of getting away. At first I'd thought that maybe she'd be attacked by a werewolf - probably because of The Worst - but this was even better. The blood red eyes were so chilling.

And then it's like the story comes full circle, and Rose is sent to go and attack her mother, the woman who'd tucked her in bed at the start of this and told her that monsters didn't exist - and Rose proved that she'd become one. It was so sad to read that section, especially the fact that Rose is already becoming detached from her life as a human and being absorbed by the bloodlust and the new master that she has.

This was a really fantastic one-shot, and it was very chilling - it definitely worked if you were trying to scare us!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hey! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing.
I am pleased you found this chilling and tense as that was my aim.
I'm very unsure about writing second person so your comments make me happy - thank you!
It is mentioned that it's Rose towards the very end when she meets her mother, but I'm glad you caught the hints too!
Thanks for the little tip about including mentions of her family, and the typos. I'll look into it.
I'm glad you liked the progression thing I had going on here as well.
I am happy you enjoyed the descriptions as well, thanks.

Cheers!


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Review #25, by nott theodoreThe Fires of St Anthony: Bäckahäst

21st November 2014:
Hi, Laura!

Yay for chapter two! You're making me feel really bad about how slow I am updating things right now, but I'd still rather read this story than edit my own chapters, so...

I'm glad you put the note about the alphabetical sequence being unintentional, because I was going to comment on that :P Although you could of course just be tricking us...

I really liked your descriptions of the way that the students sail the ship to Durmstrang, and all the tiny details about where it sets off from and where it ends up eventually. Your description in that section was just stunning, particularly when you were describing the way that it sank into the water and the last views of the land that the students got. I can definitely imagine some of the students being really scared - I would have been, if it was my first year there - at the fact that they're going underwater on the ship. It's good that there are older students to look after them - and I also found it really interesting that you put into place some sort of system. I was wondering how on earth they'd manage to sail a ship to somewhere they didn't know, but it makes sense because the older students are there to provide the knowledge for the younger ones and the cycle just goes on and on.

Haha, I expected that Anthony wouldn't have the easiest start to his first day at work, with the amount of vodka he was consuming the night before, so I was laughing a bit at the way he was struggling through his classes and had avoided asking for some sort of potion to help take away the hangover, although that would have been a much better idea!

I've got so much sympathy for Anthony right now. Not just the hangover, but starting a new job and teaching a subject in a different language, not being able to think of the right words in that language - this all sounds so familiar and I kind of want to tell him that he's not the only one struggling through it, and that yes, teaching is hard and so is speaking another language all day! Even more so if you're hungover. I feel your pain, Anthony!

I was reading those sections when the girl was talking about Clothilde with an increasing sense of dread and fear. Originally I thought they might be in the past, explaining the curse, but I actually think it's even more effective that these are the present, happening at the same time as everything Anthony is doing, in the same school - and yet there's this sense of inevitability about the whole scene that lets me know that there's no way to stop what's happening to her. I kind of wish that the students had known that something was wrong with Clothilde in the shower and that she wouldn't ordinarily have been in there for so long - I want to shout at them to check on her, and then maybe they'd be able to help her. It's so sad that the first victim's already been taken! Although with the first chapter, it looks like they were trying to go for Anthony first...

The deputy headmaster's arrival was well written - I could understand Anthony being worried about losing his job or something on the very first day there (although to get drunk the night before might not have been the best start, if he wanted to keep it). And then the way that the deputy headmaster instantly spots two kids messing around, when Anthony hasn't seen them - that really marks Anthony out as a newer teacher, I think, whereas the other's got a lot of experience. But yes, this meeting in the staff room sounded worrying and it's not likely he'll be fired there - it had a real sense of the Chamber of Secrets to it, in fact. It felt like I already knew what had happened to Clothilde when I realised that they were being called together for that.

The meeting was great - in a sad way, of course. I thought you wrote the tension really well and I could see how nervous and worried the teachers were about something having happened, so for Anthony this is really a baptism of fire. It's such an awful thing to have happened - poor Clothilde! And I'm really nervous about what else will happen to the other students if this was only the first day and the first killing...

This was a really great chapter, Laura! Sorry it took me a few days to get round to reviewing it!

Sian :)

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