Reading Reviews From Member: nott theodore
  
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Review #1, 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 #2, 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 :)

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Review #3, 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 #4, 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 #5, 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 #6, 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 #7, 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 #8, 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 :)

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Review #9, 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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Review #10, by nott theodoreTwo Words: Cold

20th November 2014:
Hi Joey! I'm finally here for our swap (I got caught up with a couple of unexpected things at work today and then my internet's decided to play up) - I'm sorry it took me so long!

Okay, this story actually really intrigued me from when you put it up on the archives, and I remember seeing you post a status about it, but I was running short on time so I thought I'd take this chance to read it! I love the Every Word Counts challenge, so the idea of Microfiction is really intriguing as well, especially with the way that you're essentially telling five different stories here but that all fit together to make up something bigger.

Let's just say, I'm really impressed with the sheer amount of detail and action that you managed to include in a story that was only 500 words long, not to mention each 100 word segment of this.

I've never read a story that's written in reverse chronology before, so that was something really new for me. I was really surprised by how much I found myself enjoying it, and I think that a large part of that is because you wrote it so well! From reading this section, I realised that for something to work in reverse chronology, you need an ending (which is the start, confusing) which leaves the reader asking questions so that they go on to read back (forward - it's too late for me to be trying to wrap my brain around this). You completely achieved that. The first section had me asking so many questions that I just had to read on, and then once I'd read it all, I read it in the ordinary chronology and again in reverse, just to get the full impact. I think you managed to choose a fantastic plot for this type of story!

From the very start, I was dying to know who it was that had left the body behind and was trying to distance themselves from the murder that they'd just committed - especially since they seemed to be connected to two deaths recently. I was so intrigued, especially with the way that his boss at work wanted to inform him about what had happened, which made me think that the protagonist was maybe an Auror or something along those lines.

With the second section, I was wondering who on earth would want to kill Draco Malfoy, since this was clearly after the war. I thought at first - especially with some of the adjectives that you used here, like pitiful, that it could be someone trying to get revenge for the murders that the Death Eaters committed - some kind of vigilante. But then you go and shock me completely with that last word in the paragraph, and that was such a twist - how you manage that only 200 words into the story, I have no idea!

The rest of this story surprised me just as much! First the resolve to kill him - him being Draco Malfoy, as I realised by this point - because of the contents of the letter that Scorpius had just received. It was so interesting, because under normal circumstances we'd know why and not who, but to flip it made me more curious, in a way. And then we see that Draco's killed someone, and then Rose's fear (and the fact that she was pregnant just about broke my heart). I want to know so badly what it was that made Draco kill Rose, especially when she was carrying his grandchild - because of that I can definitely understand Scorpius exacting his revenge on his father a lot more now, and though I can't exactly say it's justified, it's more comprehensible. This story is just leaving me with so many questions - was Draco going mad, or was he so set against having a Weasley in the family that he had to kill Rose to make sure it didn't happen? Or was there something else entirely, something that prompted this horrible event?

And it's only a tiny thing but there's a sort of mirroring here between Rose's death and Lily's death, with the fact that they weren't expecting their killer to arrive and they were both unable to defend themselves. How sad it is that Rose wasn't even able to protect her unborn child, though :(

The word choice in this was just amazing - it flowed so well, especially for reverse chronology, and it definitely felt like every word you used was chosen because of the impact that it had. I've written 500 word stories before and that's difficult enough, so to manage something in 100 word segments is even more impressive!

I want to know more about these characters now - what on earth was happening before this story started, and after, and all the fleshed out bits in between. I think it can only be a good thing that you've left me wanting even more of your writing. You did a fantastic job with this! Thanks for the swap, and I'm sorry again that it's taken me so long to get round to my half of the bargain - I hope this review helps to make up for it a little!

Sian :)

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Review #11, by nott theodoreThe Writing on the Wall.: The First Night.

20th November 2014:
Hi Margaret! I'm finally here for our review swap (I got caught up in a few unexpected things today, and then when I finally tried to post this my internet cut out, so I'm sorry it's taken me so long!) I've wanted to try and get to this story for a while now and I thought that this was as good a time as any to do it!

I thought that this was such a fantastic start to your story! For some reason, I can't remember ever actually reading a story like this one on the archives, that focuses on the next generation children from the time that they start Hogwarts, and I'm really glad because I was able to enjoy this as if I was reading the books again. Another thing I absolutely loved here was the way that it felt like it fitted in so well with the books - not only does it pick up as soon as we left off with the seventh book, but there's a return to the familiar scene and occasion and that makes me feel kind of nostalgic (if it's possible to feel nostalgia for a fictional world) and I couldn't help smiling straight away. It was also nice to get the sense that we're returning to some of the more innocent aspects of the earlier books with this story, since it's a much safer time.

I really liked the way that you opened this with Albus panicking as the Sorting approached. It makes a lot of sense to me that he'd be so worried - Harry was terrified, and he hadn't grown up with the same amount of expectation. Even though his dad did his best to try and allay his fears, I can imagine Albus being so scared at this point. I thought you did a great job of showing the way that the Sorting seemed to drag on and on for Albus, in his fear, without making it drag on for the reader, too!

Albus's thoughts during the Sorting were very believable and felt in character for him - at least, how I imagine him to be. At this point, we've only got his appearance in the epilogue to go off, so you've got a lot of freedom. I really liked the diversity in names of students that crept in with the first years' names being read out, too - especially the Irish that I spotted in there ;)

I did notice a couple of typos in that first part, though. Nothing major - just 'house' instead of 'hat' a couple of times, and a 'Gryffindor' that's missing the 'R', but if you wanted to edit them out I thought I'd let you know they're there.

Yay! Despite being a proud Gryffie, my head canon for Albus actually puts him in Ravenclaw, so I was really pleased to see him there! I don't know why, but for me he actually fits there better than any other houses. I liked the fact that he hadn't even considered the possibility of any other house but Gryffindor and Slytherin, but I get the feeling he'll definitely fit in with the Ravenclaws! It's great for him that he's got Lucy to help guide him through as well, and that Rose joined him in Ravenclaw. I get the idea that they'll stay really close friends through this story, and I'm glad about that.

Oh my goodness, do you have any idea what you've just done to me with those delicious descriptions of the food at the feast? To be honest, even listing British foods is enough to make me hungry right now, but I thought you really captured the sort of indulgence that I always imagine the start-of-term feast to be. It just seemed so Hogwarts-y to me.

I thought you wrote McGonagall very well here, even if she only made a brief appearance in reminding people of the rules. She seems to have taken a lot of her speech from Dumbledore, but why not when he was such a role model for her?

I liked the way that they all approached the Ravenclaw tower - because it's a different house to the one that Harry was in, I got more of a sense of excitement than I would have done if Albus had been Sorted into Gryffindor, I think. The riddle was really good too (although I found myself hoping that the door knocker is able to distinguish between first and seventh years). The descriptions of everything made me smile - I felt like I was returning to Hogwarts with Albus, and now this is making me question why I've not read more stories like this before, because this is giving me the chance to go back and start over with them!

From what I've seen of them so far, the other boys in Albus's dormitory seem nice! I liked the inclusion of a Muggle-born to remind us more of the sense of wonder and how overwhelming an experience like this can be, especially if you've not grown up expecting it to happen. I think it must have been nice for Albus to talk to someone who didn't know about his father, too.

One other aspect I thought you achieved really well here was capturing these children as characters. They're still only children, quite young at eleven or twelve, but at the same time you haven't written them too young. I find that balance hard to manage, so I'm really impressed by how much these characters seemed to fit in with their age and all we know about them!

This was a really great opening chapter to your story, and I'm hoping I can make it back soon to continue on (since there's plenty more of it to read)!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. Hope you weren't up too late writing it. *grins*

Yes, while these are mysteries, I'm avoiding major warfare and Dark Lords, because I kind of feel that another war or another Dark Lord's rise would kind of take from the Trio's sacrifices. I like the idea of their having created a safer world for the next generation. So while villains exist in this series and may hurt individuals, there isn't going to be a whole society living in fear.

I tend to stick in Irish characters when I get sick of trying to think up British surnames. And I couldn't imagine Fionnuala being other than Irish or Scottish anyway. I also have a few references to Irish wizarding customs sprinkled here and there. Just for fun.

Have fixed those errors. Leaving out the "r" is rather typical of my spelling patterns.

My immediate thought for Albus was Hufflepuff actually, but I have an older story that predates both Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows in which a son of Harry's ends up in Hufflepuff and Albus reminded me a little of that character from the little I saw of him in the epilogue, so I thought if I put him in Hufflepuff, I'd end up basically writing the same character again. So then I thought I could develop a personality for him that worked with Ravenclaw. While you can't really tell from one or two conversations, especially since Albus was clearly in a situation where any child would be a little subdued when we saw him, but he didn't strike me as predominantly courageous or ambitious.

*grins* I remembered to say "bacon" rather than "rashers". To me "bacon" are the thick slices you eat with cabbage, whereas the thin slices you have for breakfast or with chips and sausages are "rashers".

I love next gen. stories because there is so much freedom. We don't know much about the characters' personalities and we certainly don't know what'll happen to them at Hogwarts or how the wizarding world has changed since the war. I've read some next gens. that have investigated how the wizarding world would deal with the advent of 21st century technology. In the '90s, "I'm going to boarding school and there's always a queue for the phone, so I'll probably only be able to write" was perfectly credible. In today's world, with mobile phones and the internet, not so much. I've sort of glossed over that, as my characters aren't particularly connected to the Muggle world and I don't have any good ideas in that way anyway.

The riddles get progressively worse as this series goes on. And I'm still only two terms through their second year! I am rapidly running out of ideas. This one is one of the best, I think.

I'm glad you think my characters are convincing for their age. It is a hard age to write, because they're not really children, not little children, any more, but they're not teenagers either and it can be hard to balance between not making them act like 15 year olds or 8 year olds.

Really glad you liked the opening chapter. Hope you get a chance to read some more and that you enjoy it. I know there is a LOT there. I think of the story as really starting at the end of chapter 4 or in chapter 5. The first three chapters are basically introducing the characters and so on.

Thanks again for the utterly amazing review.


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Review #12, by nott theodoreWhen Summer Fades: syzygy

19th November 2014:
Hi, Kristin! Thanks for agreeing to another swap - it means I get a chance to come back and read more of this wonderful story!

Oh wow, I really wasn't expecting this chapter to begin the way that it did. We got to have such an insight into Regulus's mind in the last chapter, and everything was focused on him - like he realised here, he'd used Summer in a way, as an outlet for his own problems, without ever thinking about what she might be experiencing. Even so, since this is set during the war, I'd expected that whatever was wrong with Summer, and the reason for her having been missing from school, would be related somehow to that. The fact that it wasn't had a real impact on me, and I was so shocked and saddened by the news that Summer had cancer! In a way though, I'm glad you chose to do something different by using that in this story, and you pulled that off really well.

I really liked the way that Summer's news took Regulus by surprise but also made him step away from his own thoughts to some extent, and think about others too. I think that was a really important thing for him to go through, knowing that Summer had been there to talk to him and listen all the way through their growing friendship, and he realises now how much value that has, and that's the sort of person he'd like to be more like. From that realisation I did start to see more of an effort on his behalf to pay attention to things.

It was so brave of Regulus to decide to go to the hospital to see Summer on Christmas Day, especially with all the danger that put him in as far as his family were concerned, and especially the fact that he had to use Voldemort as a sort of cover story. His thought about Sirius liking Summer made me sad, because I really wish that his brother could have known and realised there was another side to Regulus, unlike the coward that he told people he was! And another tiny detail I liked was the fact that you fleshed out Regulus's character much more in a couple of sentences here than most stories ever seem able to do - the fact that he does enjoy Christmases at home touched me, because I've only ever read from the perspective of someone who's disaffected with their perfect pureblood family. It was so refreshing to see that someone was looking forward to spending time with their family, and that he and Sirius had used to joke around just like brothers will do at Christmas, even if they were meant to be behaving. I know that seems like a bit of a ramble and probably doesn't make much sense, but I just really liked the way that you included that!

Aw, I felt so sad when I saw Summer in hospital and Regulus started to realise that she was really ill and this could be serious. And the talk about their families was really telling - the fact that he's coming to be aware of how prejudiced his parents are, and the path that they've led him down, now that his eyes have been opened to something different.

It was so sweet to see Regulus searching for something that could try and cure Summer, and stop her from dying! I thought you wrote his feelings and emotions through that separation really well, and his increasing despondency with the situation that he's living in, and the people around him. I thought it was great to have him coming across the Elder Wand and Horcruxes in his search to try and find something to save Summer - that's a perfect explanation for how he came to realise what Voldemort was doing later on, and I adore details like that one!

Jasper finding out that he was writing to Summer rather than anyone else made me feel really nervous! I'm going to trust, for now, that he'll keep his word - we know that Regulus lasted as a Death Eater until he died trying to bring down Voldemort, so I'm guessing that his friend didn't expose him. And as long as Jasper stays true to his word, I'm really glad about that because it shows that Slytherins can be loyal and do good things, and I really think that people writing them - especially in this time or the second war - are too prone to suggesting there's no ties there.

And oh my goodness, that ending! It was just so melancholy and sad, and made me really apprehensive for reading on to the next chapter (which I definitely will do soon!) because I don't want Summer to end! Those last few sentences were really beautiful, though, almost lyrical, and they just ended this chapter so perfectly!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Sian gahhh this review (well, all your reviews are) just so nice! ♥

For some reason I wanted Summer's problem to have nothing to do with the war, in a way to just remind Regulus that the whole world doesn't revolve around his allegiance to the Death Eaters. I'm so glad you liked that aspect and thought it worked.

You're so right - he really needed to step back. In the previous chapter he learned what it meant to have a good friend, and in this one he learns what it is to BE a good friend.

It definitely spoke a lot for him that he was willing to go to a Muggle hospital on Christmas. Agh I know, it still makes me so sad that Sirius never knew that his little brother was a silent hero :'( I am so glad you liked that bit about the Black family Christmas, as well! I refuse to believe that the Black family was all evil and fun-hating - but they are often portrayed in a very black and white way. (Pun totally intended.) The way I envisioned Regulus, his family is really important to him, and as Christmas is a rather family-oriented day I thought it seemed natural that he would like it. And I love the idea that Sirius and Regulus were close when they were little. :) Anyway thanks for mentioning that, I'm so glad you liked it!

The whole experience has been really eye-opening for him, but he's still not sure what to do about it. It is wonderful to hear that you thought his feelings and emotions came across well, and that you liked the Horcrux foreshadowing ;)

YES, that is 100% what I was hoping to convey with Jasper/ about Slytherins during the war. People are almost never just good or evil - there's a lot of grey area in between and even those aligning with Voldemort's aims can have some good in them - it's what makes them human. So yes, I'm so glad you pointed that out :)

Thank you so much - I'm really glad you liked those last few sentences- I think those are my favourite of the chapter.

Thanks for your incredible review!! ♥


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Review #13, by nott theodoreheaven: can't help me now

18th November 2014:
Hi Sarah!

Okay, so first I need to apologise for being so late with this review - especially after you were so quick with yours (and it was lovely and amazing and thank you so much! ♥). My internet kept cutting out and I just couldn't post this (and ended up getting side-tracked by writing something too *blushes*), but I wanted to make sure you got it before I went to bed (it's nearly two in the morning here...)

I absolutely loved this story! I honestly don't normally go for song fics, so even though I wanted to read this after seeing your status last night, I was a bit nervous because your writing is always so good and I didn't want to let my aversion to song fics get in the way :P But I thought you did a really good job of choosing the song lyrics and fitting them into the story so they felt like they actually enhanced the telling of it, rather than just disrupting the flow which I think often happens.

I've read a few different versions of your Lily Luna now and I'm really impressed with the way you write her. Each of your portrayals of her, in the different stories that I've read, is subtly different, but I like the way you manage to pair her with different people and put her into different scenarios and still make sure certain traits shine through. (Also this is making me want to read your NaNo novel even more now, so you should make sure you keep writing it ;))

I thought the different sections of this story worked really well, especially with the dates and the song lyrics. The dates did a great job of setting a sort of time frame in my mind of Lily and Alastair's relationship, and that helped a lot in terms of the sort of themes you used here.

The way that you started this was so great, with Alastair approaching Lily at the party and trying to chat her up with an awful line which doesn't impress her at all - I thought it was great that they both referred to their siblings when they first met, and it kind of already established some sort of link between them from the very beginning. And I can definitely imagine Albus and James trying to warn Lily off from guys like that :P

The development of their relationship was really cute, too. I thought you did such a great job of portraying the different aspects of the time they spent together - one side more physical and another more emotional, and I think that the varying lengths of the sections helped to contribute to that, too. Changing the lengths a little bit made this more interesting, and even the shortest sections seemed to be the perfect length for that particular moment.

Alastair was so cute! It was really sweet to see the way he was actually interested in Lily as a person, rather than just wanting to have some fun at the party, and that he stuck around and put so much thought into the different things that they did together. It made me smile to see him trying to convince Lily that he was planning for the future and that he wanted to stay around for her, and for the two of them to be together.

On the flip side of that, I'm really intrigued about why Lily was so convinced that he was going to leave her and that it was all going to end. Maybe that she's had bad relationships in the past, or that she doesn't feel worthy of having someone around (which is stupid, because she does). But I found it really interesting and sad at the same time, because she was so adamant that things were going to end between them that she couldn't fully enjoy what time she and Alastair did spend together.

I was so sad to see that Alastair did actually leave Lily, and that what she'd been so worried about happening actually came to pass, because I was really rooting for him and convinced that he was going to stick by her. It was really sad! But then to see the ending, and see that he was there and they were reunited, made me feel all warm and fluffy. In a way, thinking about it, I kind of feel like they had to separate for Lily to realise that she wanted him to stick around and had to hope for that rather than being convinced the whole time that he wouldn't be there.

I'm now imagining that Alastair is the unnamed husband in the other one-shot I recently read, .

The whole 'remarkable' theme tied everything in this piece together really well and I thought it helped it to flow a lot, so that it was really smooth writing. And I also wanted to comment on your writing style, which is lovely, because when I was reading this I got sucked in straight from the beginning and read right through to the end without stopping, and it just captured my attention completely.

I also want you to write more stories about Lily and Alastair, please :P I want to know what happened to them when they broke up and the conversation when they get back together!

This was a really great one-shot, Sarah, and thank you so much for offering the swap! (And sorry that I'm so late!)

Sian :)

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Review #14, by nott theodoreSevenfold: ember in your name

14th November 2014:
Hi, hi, hi!

So NaNo is over (for me) and I finally have the time to get back to this story and come and leave a review for some NaNo encouragement, as I've been an awful mother and have been neglecting you as my wonderful NaNo daughter... Anyway, hopefully this helps to spur you along!

I really enjoy the way that you start each chapter with a scene from the past, with Ada, and then switch to Louis for the second part. It's great to get to know both stories at the same time, and the parallel narrative is so interesting - the only annoying thing is that I'm left wanting to know more about each period and what's going on in them both (not annoying for you, but for me when I don't have much time), and find out what's going to happen!

Aw, poor Ruth, she really doesn't sound like she's doing well - although I don't imagine many people would do in Nurmengard, to be honest. It's kind of a morbid entertainment to listen to Ada tell the stories about the murders that she's committed, but I can kind of understand why she wants to hear about them - they probably give her a sense of power and the hope that people can stand up to Grindelwald and his followers.

As a side note, I just wrote a one-shot about Grindelwald last month and called his second-hand man Heinrich Nacht without even having read this chapter :P

The next two murders that Ada committed are really intriguing me. I like the fact that we got to know about them naturally, since Ruth was asking for the story, but also the fact that things seem to be starting to turn as well. Originally I can see Ada being cast as a sort of hero, and a symbol of hope, but for some people she's probably becoming someone to be feared, even those who don't support der Meister. If they weren't really supporters of Grindelwald then it makes sense people would be angry, and in a way it seems like she only killed them for the sake of it - almost as though she enjoys it now, which is chilling.

I'm really curious about Erik and the way that he seems to have come between Ada and Ruth at some point, too...

Another thing that's great about these sections with Ada is that they sort of foreshadow what's going to happen in the next section with Louis, only there's not enough information there to really tell us who the targets will be. It makes me feel kind of helpless, just like Louis does, because it makes the murder of another two people feel sort of inevitable. I'm just hoping that they really do manage to stop the modern day killer before the seven people get murdered!

And then the switch to the present-day, with Louis, again. I was already feeling tense because of knowing what would happen, but I eased into a false sense of security a bit because Louis's narrative is so easy to read and enjoyable.

All of the politics at the beginning was really interesting - I definitely feel like it's something that Louis should swat up on a bit, since he's working in the Ministry and will have to work for one of these people when they get elected. And Bones's comments were interesting, too, although I think a bit more prejudiced that necessary - it's very different to the way that Louis and his family have been brought up, I think.

So, I'm not surprised that Runcorn's denying it, but equally, I don't think that he did it. I have a theory that's been forming over the last few chapters, and if it ties in with the next chapter I might even reveal it in a review (I don't want to mention it too early on in case someone reads it and it's right :P).

And Molly's research is going well (though not well enough, judging by the end of this chapter), and I loved the conversation when she asked Louis about Eugenie Bones's relationship status. He was so awkward about it and his feelings are all confused, and it really makes me laugh. This guy definitely needs some lessons in making up his mind where girls are concerned!

The scene at the care home was really sweet, too. I loved the way that you wrote Molly's character, although it's horrible to think of her older and frail - I could understand Louis wanting to help her but having to remember that she was normally independent and he shouldn't try and take that away from her. The conversation he had with her was very interesting, too, although kind of sad looking back over those old pictures and realising what had happened to people in them and their families. Especially Susan's family - they suffered so much, and now I'm really curious about who Eugenie's father is, too. Maybe someone who died during the war?

Ha, I wonder what Nana Molly would say if he told her about Lucretia - I bet she wouldn't be best pleased!

Okay, Louis was being a complete idiot to Emily, and that was completely unnecessary and now I'm annoyed at him. He has no right to try and decide who she sees whatsoever, and she was completely right to walk out. He really needs to decide if he likes her or Eugenie or Lucretia because he's just being annoying as far as that's concerned, and of course James is going to agree with him. *rolls eyes*

Hmm, there are definitely hints and clues in this chapter that seem like they could fit with my theory about the killer, but I'm not willing to say yet.

Haha, that dream was so funny to imagine happening!

And there we have it - another cliffhanger, leaving us guessing the identity of the next two murder victims! I wish they'd been quick enough to work it out and stop them but this copycat killer is clearly very prepared. My current guess is that Runcorn and Nott are going to be the two victims of this murder, but I'm not sure. If they are though, it'll fit with my theory quite well!

This was another great chapter, and I'm about to run out of characters so I'll stop rambling and just say good luck with the rest of NaNo - you're amazing and you can do it, and I'll be back for more soon!

Sian :)

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Review #15, by nott theodoreWaltz: Waltz

14th November 2014:
Hi Tanya!

So I have to confess, I actually read this just before NaNo started (although how on earth I went so long without reading it, I don't know, because I've been hearing people talk about how amazing it is since it went up on the archives), but of course with all the NaNo frenzy I didn't have time to leave a review until now! Anyway, hopefully this will give you some extra encouragement too - not that you need it, since you're doing amazingly! :D

This story really was as amazing as everyone said! I don't tend to read that much Rose/Scorpius anymore but I'm getting all excited for Christmas and this was a really perfect story to put a smile on my face, and I think this is one of my favourite versions of the pairing that I've read!

To be honest, it's kind of hard to know what to say in a review of this so I should probably warn you now that I'm just going to be rambling about your great writing :P

The title of this has always intrigued me, and I kind of thought at first it was going to be about Rose and Scorpius at a ball or something (I know, that was an original guess, right?), so I really liked the way that you started off with those first few lines which made me realise I'd been completely wrong about it. And then I think that using a waltz as a metaphor for Rose's OCD was a great idea, and the way that you employ the theme throughout is just so great.

I've seen so many different versions of Rose in fanfiction - the girl who's really intelligent, boring, a rebel - but I honestly think this is one of the most original portrayals of her that I've seen. I felt so sorry for her here, but I really thought you did a great job of conveying the way that she goes through life with OCD, everything in a pattern of three, so that everything's perfect - it seemed so realistic and believable to me. You got over the 'compulsive' aspect very well too, since it didn't seem like something she had much control over and she really had to fight it.

Aw, I hope that her roommates are more sympathetic in normal circumstances, but I can understand that it would get irritating to see Rose waking you up every morning with her routine, even though you still want to sleep. I loved the way you highlighted how something that can seem so minor and insignificant can be a big deal to Rose, like the number of steps on the way down to the common room fitting into a multiple of three.

And the way you introduced Scorpius to the story was fantastic! It wasn't something big and dramatic; they'd just gradually become friends of sorts over time and it wasn't something they really seemed to think about as a big deal. I really liked the understated nature of them being friends because I think there's so often a tendency to dramatise that aspect, or make it a romance immediately or something, and I found this much more believable and nicer to read.

Scorpius was so adorable, too! I really liked how underconfident he was because of his stutter and the fact that he was so different from all those stories that portray him as this cool, arrogant guy who is really popular. Rose and Scorpius were kind of like two misfits who found each other and became friends in this, and I really liked that. Scorpius (and Rose, for that matter) was a character that I just warmed to immediately, as soon as he appeared.

Ah, the dreaded mistletoe! The poor things, innocently planning their trip back home for Christmas and making sure that everything is precise, and then they get trapped by the dreaded mistletoe. And the trick that gets played on them if they don't kiss while under it sounds just awful, but at the same time something very Hogwarts-y!

I really liked the way that you showed how nervous and stressed the two of them came when they realised the situation that they were in. Scorpius's stutter became so much more pronounced and Rose's compulsion for everything being in sets of three came through much more violently, even in her speech, as though it would help her somehow in getting out of it. And at the same time, I loved the way that you showed that, even though they were really nervous and scared, they both had feelings for each other and wanted to kiss in a way, there was just a lot that seemed to be preventing them.

The gradual build-up to them kissing was so well written, Tanya! It was so sweet to see Scorpius pushing through the stammer to say her name and get out the words, and then the kiss - it was written so perfectly, not at all exaggerated but just really sweet! And I loved Rose's surprise at how much she enjoyed it, and Scorpius's question afterwards seemed to be perfect for the moment, too.

Those last few lines - what can I even say? They were just brilliant and I thought they captured the relationship between them perfectly. The two of them can learn to be together if they want to be, and I think the mistletoe was kind of the trigger they needed to actually force them to admit their feelings (in a sense - there's not been much admission going on here, except in their own way there has been). It was just so sweet and perfect, especially for Christmas!

Okay, I'm going to end this review here before I bore you by rambling on and using up all my characters. But here's to review 50 on this story, and good luck for the rest of your NaNo!

Sian :)

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Review #16, by nott theodoreTwo: A Perfect Blend: Blended Christmas

14th November 2014:
Hi Carla!

So, I know that you said you were just commenting to say thanks for requesting your banners (although how could I not? They're beautiful and I want to claim more, I just don't have stories that fit - yet :P), but you were actually the fifth person to comment on my status yesterday who hadn't already received a review from me, so here I am! This is for some NaNo encouragement (and you're doing amazingly with NaNo, by the way!) and to say thank you for those beautiful banners!

This was adorable! I came straight to this story because it was written for Christmas and even though we're not quite halfway through November yet, I am ridiculously excited for Christmas and can't wait for it, so I couldn't resist this one. And I loved the way that you wrote it, building up the picture of Rose and Scorpius's usual Christmases at home and then their first away from home, and then their first together. The progression was really good and interesting too!

So, starting off with the first Christmases Rose spent, at the Burrow with her family. They were perfect! You managed to write them just exactly how I imagine a Weasley Christmas to be, especially in the next generation. I loved the line about the fact that it didn't seem like the Burrow would be able to accommodate all those people but it always found room for them - that's the sort of place I imagine it to be, and that's what Molly's like, finding a place in her heart for the people who need it! You painted such a magical picture of Christmas in that section, with all the family crowding round and all the presents and the decorations and everything. It was just such a sweet image of Christmas!

Also, the food! SO MUCH FOOD!! Which is, of course, exactly how a Weasley Christmas should be, but now I'm absolutely starving from reading about it and trying to stop myself from leaving my laptop to find something to eat/mourning the fact I can't eat Christmas dinner for nearly six weeks. But that just shows how well you described it :P

Scorpius's Christmas, in comparison, was kind of depressing. I'm glad that you didn't make it sound like it was completely awful and that his parents didn't care about him at all or make an effort for Christmas day, because I don't imagine that they're like that, but at the same time, after reading about Rose's Christmas it's kind of sad to see Scorpius there, the only child, with his Christmas day 'perfect' in order and expensive presents.

I really liked the second sections, too, when the two of them spent their first Christmas away from home and at Hogwarts. Rose was there because they wanted to stay together as the cousins, and they'd managed to send their parents away, and that contrasted with Scorpius's reason of wanting to really escape the Christmas he would be spending at home. I like to think that Scorpius got to see a hint of what a Weasley Christmas was like then, which kind of prepared him for the later ones! But it was really nice to see Rose giving him a present too, and it meaning so much to him.

The final section, with Rose and Scorpius's nervous entrance to the Burrow on their first real Christmas 'together' was really well written. I could sense how scared they were about the family's reaction, and I liked the fact that there was a reaction - if she hadn't told her family who she was bringing as a date, then they'd have reacted to anybody, I think! But I'm glad that they tried to cover it up in a way and didn't let it 'ruin' Christmas, as I think a lot of stories would have happen. It was sweet to see Albus's happiness and the way that Hermione was welcoming, and Ron's 'welcome' which contained a thinly-veiled threat not to harm his daughter (which is so in character for Ron, it was great!). The last few lines were really sweet, too, and this whole story gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling and made me even more excited for Christmas than I already was!

This was a really lovely story, Carla, and keep going with NaNo - you'll hit your 50k in no time!

Sian :)

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Review #17, by nott theodoreGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 8

14th November 2014:
Hi, farmgirl! So I've been meaning to catch up with this story for ages, and I don't even know how I managed to miss an update from months ago (except I was completely snowed under at this point with uni work). And you commented on my status, so here's some NaNo encouragement too! :D

I really loved the way that you opened this chapter, throwing us right into the chaos that's just a normal meal in the Weasley household. I loved the mention of George elbowing Ginny, both of their retorts, and the way that Ginny had already wised up by this age and was more likely to plan revenge than go telling tales to their parents. I feel like it's the sort of thing that she'd have to do to survive in a family like that, and Fred and George have always seemed pretty proud of the way she grew up and know she's a formidable foe!

I really felt for poor Sadie in the midst of this. It was also lovely that George was the one to notice her - I think that the twins can both be really perceptive when they want to be, but they're often not written that way, so to me it makes sense that they would pick up on something like Sadie not having the food that she needs, because she's too scared to get involved. I smiled when he made sure that Sadie managed to get some food and helped her to combat all the noise without drawing any attention to the fact that she was the one needing more food. It was very sweet and tactful of him!

I've said this in most of my reviews, but you really write the Weasleys - especially the twins - so well! I also really liked seeing the hint of maturity that's often forgotten when people write the twins, as George mused on the unfairness of the different situations.

As for him jumping up and leaving partway through dinner - I'm not entirely sure that Molly would allow it, but I am curious about why he left and took Fred with him! I know that their family suspected that it had something to do with their pranks and joke products, but I wonder if it wasn't something that George thought of that they could use to help Sadie...

Ah, Arthur. He's another character that you write wonderfully and I really liked the way that he was more accepting of the fact that the boys are determined to make mischief and that they want to open the joke shop - he always seemed happier with the idea than Molly, anyway.

The two flashbacks in the final section of this chapter were so contrasting that it really had a big impact. It was so sweet to see the interaction between Sadie and her father, and the happy family life that they had. Sadie's just so cute there, all innocent and untouched by what would happen to her later, and I loved her enthusiasm about playing with the Snow Blower. I think that just made it even sadder to think of what happened to her family, though.

Arthur's conversation with Sadie was really sweet, too. He's so caring and I liked the link between him and Sadie's father with their shared love of Muggle objects. (I did notice a few typos in this section, one of them where you write 'Brittan' and I think you mean 'Britain', so it might be worth giving this a quick read through to catch those.) I'm glad that Arthur knows that Charlie found the farm that he was looking for, in the end.

I certainly wasn't expecting Arthur mentioning a wand to Sadie to have such a violent reaction! I'm guessing that the flashback we got to see there is what Sadie has experienced at the hands of wizards and part of the reason she doesn't speak... it's so sad to think about what she's been through! But I, like George, am really worried about how she'll cope at Hogwarts, if even the thought of a magic wand causes such a terrible memory - how will she survive being completely surrounded by magic?

This was another great chapter and hopefully I'll be back soon to get to the other one that I hadn't even noticed you'd posted! And as for NaNo - good luck, and you can do it!

Sian :)

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Review #18, by nott theodoreA Beacon of Light: It is Gone

13th November 2014:
Hi, Pheonix! (I don't know your name so Pheonix it shall have to be!)

Here's the NaNo fairy, spreading some much needed encouragement around HPFF! :P Don't worry about getting behind on your word count, there's still over half a month left and every little helps!

I really enjoyed this story - I thought it was a very original plot as well. I've not seen any stories set during this period and, even though it was for a challenge, I thought you did a really good job of capturing the period that it was set in.

Choosing to write from the perspective of a Muggle-born witch was really effective for that, I think, as her family would have been more obviously hit by the depression than a magical family might be, especially considering that they have different money and stuff. I thought you did a really nice job of building up the glamour and decadence that the protagonist grew up in - it reminded me a lot of Gatsby, although of course seeing the era from a child's perspective she doesn't have quite the same experiences! But I also really liked the way that having built that up, the protagonist was so used to being surrounded by all this wealth and splendour that she couldn't stomach the thought of not having everything she'd always known. I think that showed really well how young she is and the fact she really doesn't understand what's going on - to her, she's always had these things, so she should continue to have them.

You did a fantastic job of painting how bleak this period was for some people. The beginning really contrasted with the descriptions of what the girl's life had been like before, with the dirt and grime and poverty juxtaposed with the resplendent family. I thought that worked very effectively to show the changes in her circumstances and built up a real feeling of empathy with the protagonist.

For your first attempt using first person in a story, I think you did a really good job! You drew the reader into the narrative well, and I felt a lot more empathy with your protagonist because of that. She was so young to go through something like this and I feel like the injustice really sings out through this piece. She's started off not understanding and her reactions showed that, but the voice of the girl that's telling the story is much older and more hardened to the world and what goes on in it, I think.

I'm also really interested in your protagonist, Edith! (I just realised that I forgot to use her name throughout this review because it's not used much in the story, oops!) The imagery of the light going out for her when she had to leave Salem was really sad, although I really hope that things started looking up for her when she moves to England and finds herself at Hogwarts! I'd be really interested to see more about this character, maybe even tying her in a little more to canon so that we could fit her in with characters who were at school at this time, maybe?

This was a really enjoyable story, and I wanted to say good luck with your NaNo! You can do it! :D

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hello! You can just call me Pheonix if you'd like. Or Phoenix, if you'd like the word to be spelled right. :) I'll pretend that when I created my account I purposely spelled "phoenix" wrong... yeah, totally... *blushes*

NaNo fairy! That's a brilliant title!

And I'm only 2K behind right now, which is pretty good (Hooray!) so I'll respond to this now.

Yes, I wasn't sure whether wizards would be affected by the depression but I figured that muggle-borns definitely would, so I did it from the point of view of a muggle-born.

I've actually never read Gatsby before, but I've heard a lot about it.

I've used first person a lot of times since this, but this was my very first attempt! Of course, it was simple since i'd read first person frequently, so it wasn't a big change.

I had to slip Edith's name in the story somehow without saying "Hi, my name is Edith" because that would be a terribly boring opener. That's one thing that is annoying about first person.

What canon character was at Hogwarts in the 1930s? I think Dumbledore was out by then, and I don't think Voldemort is early enough... hmmm.

Thank you so much for this sweet review, NaNo Fairy (AKA Sian)! :)


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Review #19, by nott theodoreFeel Alive: Feel Alive

13th November 2014:
Hi Georgia!

I'm here like a little NaNo fairy bringing some encouragement (hopefully)! Don't worry about being behind, because you can do it! And even if you're behind, you've still got plenty of words that you didn't have before and that's worth something!

This was so lovely! It's one of those one-shots which just makes me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside because it's so cute and sweet. I love Hermione and Ron together as a couple, although I don't really read much of them, and it was so brilliant to read this story which explored Hermione's love for Ron and their relationship.

I think one of my favourite things about this was the anaphora in each new paragraph; it made it feel almost methodical in a way that suits Hermione's character so well. I can imagine her trying to rationalise why she feels certain things about someone and what causes that, but there are so many different things that she feels because of Ron that it's clear that she's realised it isn't always completely rational.

There were so many different aspects of their relationship that you picked up on and I really loved that! I liked the fact that Hermione said Ron was able to make her angry and sad and the happiest person, that he had a bigger effect on her than other people, because that really captures what their relationship's about, as well as long-term relationships like this one in general. Someone who knows you just as well, if not better, than you know yourself, but can make you feel so much, and not all of it good.

I'm really pleased that you focused on some of the negative elements of their relationship as well, and didn't portray it as the two of them just living happily ever after. It wasn't some rosy portrait of their marriage, but it did a great job of conveying a realistic and believable relationship. Yes, they argue and fight and he's careless and Hermione acknowledges that she's got her flaws too - but it doesn't matter, because that's normal, and they still love each other.

The little mentions of things like the fact that Ron leaving the toilet seat up irks her, and tiny details like that, were just amazing. They showed how much their relationship had progressed and the fact that they were married and living together and it was a lot further on than where we saw them at the end of the books (not including the epilogue, of course).

I also loved the fact that you didn't just skim over the bad things that Ron's done to Hermione in the past. I feel like, if Hermione was denying those or smoothing over them, it wouldn't be in character but it would also reveal some cracks in their relationship. The fact that she knows he's capable of that and they've moved on together speaks volumes about the two of them as a couple.

And those last couple of lines! ♥ They were just so lovely and captured the way I think of Ron and Hermione so well. I see them as balancing each other out in their worse habits and helping each other along through life as an equal partnership, and that's what you wrote this as. And the last line just gave me all the feels!

This was a lovely one-shot, Georgia - keep writing! Good luck with your NaNo, and I believe in you!

Sian :)

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Review #20, by nott theodoreWhen Summer Fades: equinox

13th November 2014:
Hi, Kristin! Sorry it took me a little longer than expected, but here's some NaNo encouragement - you're doing amazing and don't give up, you'll make your goal! :D

This actually has been something I've been wanting to read for a while now, especially when I noticed it was the Hufflepuff featured story as well! I really enjoyed reading this!

Regulus is a character that I find really interesting, because he's really so important in the events in the books, but he's barely given a mention - and normally, when he is, it's Sirius talking condescendingly about the little brother that he believed was a coward. It was amazing to see this portrayal of Regulus! I've never seen a story written from first person perspective about him, but you did such a great job of getting into his head and making him realistic and believable.

From the very start of this chapter, you began to build up different elements of Regulus's character and that really helped me to get to know him. I felt like your characterisation of him was original - he's normally quite a two-dimensional character, I've found, and is either one thing or another, and with this you managed to incorporate elements from all of those and make him quite ambiguous in a way. He's so desperate to please people, and we can really see that from the beginning; he's the one who's been left behind when Sirius found his way out and, having seen his parents so disappointed and angry, he wanted to make sure that he didn't fall into that category. I can see that echoing later on with other people - he wants to be liked by everyone, but hasn't quite realised that's not possible. He wants to get on with his Slytherin housemates and share in their beliefs, but he's drawn to Summer and wants her to like him too. It's really interesting to see the fact that he's quite naive in that way, but completely believable that he would be.

His mention of the way that he'd joined the Death Eaters was kind of scary, and a little chilling, to be honest. These poor kids were brainwashed from such a young age that they're happy to join up when they're still just children and it's so sad. It's obvious that he doesn't really realise the impact that being a Death Eater will have on him, either, or what he will be forced to do - for now it's more about status than anything serious, and while he know what the others do, he seems to think of it as a little separate to him. From this point, I can imagine how you'll develop this and he'll come to want to leave the Death Eaters. I suspect that Summer will also have an impact on that too! Although his sense of paranoia is already so strong that I feel like it's going to get a lot worse for him in the future, which makes me sad because you've made me really like Regulus!

Summer was a lovely character, too! She really fit well with her name (and there's a real seasonal theme at play in this story, which is great). It was like a breath of fresh air to see her appearing in Regulus's life - they've been taught to hide emotion, and besides, I'm not sure how much love and happiness they have to dole out when their parents have brought them up on hatred, but Summer is the sort of person who has a smile for everyone. She actually reminds me a bit of one of my friends! I love the way that she didn't take it personally when Regulus was mean to her and bounced back from the insults with a bit of sass - she's independent and strong, and it was great to see her persevering with him. And at the end I loved the traditional role reversal which showed Summer as being the strong one as Regulus struggles. I'm wondering what happened when she was missing, though - did something happen to her family? And I'm eager to see the romance developing between them, but I think it's great that you haven't felt the need to start with it because you've had a much better chance to develop their characters with this chapter because of that.

The writing in this chapter was really lovely, too; I didn't spot a single mistake and the narrative flowed beautifully. I'll definitely be back for more soon, and good luck with the rest of your NaNo!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Sian! ♥ Agh, I've been sitting on this review for days without responding to it just so I can read it over and over because it's amazing! Wow, I can't believe you'd been looking forward to reading this for a while, aww :)

Thank you, I'm so glad to hear you thought Regulus was believable! You're so right about him being important but not mentioned much in the books, it's quite sad really. You've described Regulus in this story perfectly how I intended, so I'm glad he came across that way!

That's the way I saw the Death Eaters - if people are joining up as teenagers, maybe a few know what they're getting into, but I felt like not all of them could, and especially in pureblood families like the Blacks it would be a status symbol to be included. As Regulus at that point was kind of lost and trying to find himself, he latched on... There is definitely more paranoia and hard times to come :( Poor Regulus. I am so glad you like him as a character though!

Ah, I'm so thrilled you like Summer, as well as the seasonal theme of the story :) She is definitely quite opposite to Regulus' typical company, which is really something he needed. I'm glad you liked the traditional role reversal too ;) The explanation of Summer's absence is in the next chapter.

Thank you SO much for your review and the NaNo encouragement, I appreciate it so much! ♥ ♥


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Review #21, by nott theodoreBlood Lust: Blood Lust

12th November 2014:
Hi there! I was just browsing the recently added pages and recognised your penname as a new Gryffie and thought I'd pop along and take a look!

This was a really great piece! I haven't read much about vampires in terms of fanfiction, really, so I was intrigued to see how you'd include it in this piece, and I found myself really enjoying it!

First of all, second person is one of my favourite narrative voices, especially in a piece like this one which is short and powerful. It really draws me, as the reader, into the story and I found myself intrigued by the descriptions of the bloodlust that the vampire was feeling, as well as being able to understand his (?) motivations for wanting to find a human and being able to satisfy that bloodlust. Although it's still horrible, I thought you did a great job of making it a little more comprehensible.

I also really liked the way that you characterised the vampire. It was great to see the way that they were driven by the bloodlust but the fact that at some point there had been an internal battle over feeding off humans, so there's still a strain of their human conscience left in them even though they've become a vampire now. The little comment about how they used to be a witch or wizard was interesting too - it must be even worse for those from that community who are transformed because of the awareness about them, I think. The detail about the sides that vampires were expected to take during the war was really interesting as well!

I actually really enjoyed the way that you built up a set of characteristics for the way vampires worked and lived here, as well! I thought it was great that you had them unable to really feed off animals that weren't humans, so they had no alternative and couldn't deny their nature (unlike in certain unmentioned stories), and there were a few other characteristics that you included that I thought made quite a distinct version of a vampire in this story, and that was great to read about!

I think one of my favourite things about this story was the fact that you only use pronouns and don't mention any names. We know that it's set after the war because the vampire looks back to that time, but we don't know who the characters are and that ambiguity is great! I really like the fact that I'm able to come up with different characters to fill these different people. I'm kind of hoping that the woman is someone like Umbridge rather than someone I actually like though, haha!

And the last line was great - so powerful and chilling! It was a fantastic end to a fantastic story!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Wow! Hello Sian, that was one of the sweetest reviews ever. :) I think you just made my day 100 times better!

I've never written in second person before so I was quite fearful that I wouldn't get it right or it would sound silly. I'm pleased that you seem to think it's easier to get drawn in to the story when it's written this way. I really wanted to get people to understand that even though the need for the vampire to find blood was too overwhelming, an inevitable desire that helped with survival. I too pictured the vampire as a male in my head too, yet I didn't mention it as I wanted to create a sense of mystery behind who the vampire was (let's refer to him as 'he' from now on in this response, shall we?). I felt like the readers could picture anybody there, that be themselves, somebody mentioned briefly in the books, a 'good' character or an essentially 'bad' one etc.

I wanted the vampire not to be ignorant of feelings and emotion, but because it's been such a long time since the first feed and he's had to do it repeatedly he has forgotten how to be sad for them any more. It's like being autopilot. That's a good point! I'm happy that you picked up on that. Yes, the vampire used to be part of the magical world but the memories and then the stereotypes brought up were too much.

I didn't want to copy off any of the other vampire kind of stories. I created my own version of a vampire and put that into words instead of trying to copy any other version of vampires that may be written. I never saw them as being able to drink from animals other than humans (and I certainly didn't see them as the sort of creatures to sparkle, seen as they're supposed to be dark and scary) so it's good that you felt like I achieved that.

Yes, well I had a couple of names in mind for the victim, and I was actually going to say who it was at the end. But when I wrote it out it just took away that edge of intrigue and appeal for me. Let's just say that she can be whoever you want her to be from the characters - within reason of course, I mean it has to be a woman - just think of one you took a disliking to.

Thank you for the wonderful review! :D

I'm afraid that my response has become rather wordy so I'll stop writing now. Thanks again!

- Becca.



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Review #22, by nott theodoreThe Fires of St Anthony: Alpdrücke

12th November 2014:
Hey Laura! You're doing so well with NaNo and I thought I'd come and cheer you on a bit more - plus, this sounded awesome when I saw the summary in the first place, and I've been wanting to read it since you posted it!

Okay, so first question: are you sure you wrote this during NaNo? Honestly? Because if that's the case then I'm even more jealous of your crazy writing talents than before - there's no way that the first chapter of my NaNo was anywhere near this quality. From the very first sentence in this chapter, I was struck by how good the writing was - your word choice is just so amazing, and your descriptions are fantastic. The opening, with the sea and the ship about to set sail, was written so beautifully and you gave a real sense of the movement and let me picture that scene really clearly, even though I wasn't even sure who 'he' was.

The switch into the present (although it's kind of past and the first section was written in present, but I'm tired and confusing myself so ignore that :P) was really interesting as we settled into the story a bit more and got to know a bit more about the main characters and see the beginnings of the plot unfolding.

I love the idea of Durmstrang students learning how to be pirates, for some reason :P

Oh wow, Durmstrang sounds like a really scary place to go to school. I'm not sure that I'd fit in there, even as a teacher! I really liked the way that you built up the intrigue about the different entrances that first years had to the different magical schools, with the way that Hogwarts works, and then Beauxbatons on top of that (I loved your idea for how the first years had to get to the school - I don't know why, but to me it seems like something that would happen in France :P), and then I was wondering what could possibly be worse, only to find out Durmstrang is truly horrific! I'm hoping that those myths don't actually have any factual foundation...

Considering you said this is your first foray into proper horror, you've done a fantastic job! I thought it was a really good idea to intersperse the main narrative with those sections in italics, without ever really giving us enough detail in those sections to let us know what's going on. I could tell that there was a lot of danger involved, but I'm curious now about what was happening in those! For some reason I feel like - although they're written in the present tense - they're almost flashbacks of what happened when this curse first struck or something similar... Either way, it was really effective and hiked up the tension a lot when I was reading, because I kept wondering what was happening and what was going to happen!

Haha, I also love the picture you paint of the Durmstrang staffroom. Now I see what you mean when you said they drank a lot more vodka than you'd realised :P I can totally picture this happening, though - what a way to start back at school! It's like they can't bear to be back and teaching and so they're just drowning their sorrows or something, otherwise it's a strange sort of time to have a party. I bet Anthony's going to find his classes interesting tomorrow!

Goblin Gander sounds like a really fun game to play - I love the name for it and the fact that you've invented it for this story! I completely agree with you about them seeming to have a lack of entertainment, and the little details like that always make stories better for me.

I liked the fact that Anthony was referring back to his own experiences at school here, and remembering that by the time his seventh year arrived, all the fun had stopped. It really helped to remind us more about what Anthony's life was like at school, and I liked the image of him with the other Ravenclaws playing Goblin Gander in the common room. He's one of those characters that isn't written about much in fanfiction and he's barely mentioned, really, in the books, so those little details help to flesh him out a lot.

That ending was scary! I'm not entirely sure what happened and how much of his perception and understanding of it was affected by the alcohol he'd been consuming, but I felt sorry for Anthony and how scary that was as an induction to the new school! Maybe that was why he needed the drink, for the shock... Matyas was scarily calm about what happened though and now I'm wondering if I should suspect him of having some involvement or of just knowing what's going on. At the moment my current theory is that the apparition was somehow related to the curse that's around the school, and that the boy was an Alpdrücke, from the title of the chapter. I'm now off to go and read about this mythical creature because I've not heard of it before...

This was a great first chapter, Laura, and I'm really excited to read the next one when it's up!

Sian :)

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Review #23, by nott theodoreshe's thunderstorms: she's thunderstorms

12th November 2014:
Adi!

Sneaky, sneaky, posting this during NaNo - you're just lucky that I finished early and had time to review it now!

Anyway, here's some mother/daughter encouragement and thanks now that I've actually finished and have time to be a better mummy!

I loved this! It was so clever that you managed to tell four short stories in just 250 words each, but putting them together told a larger story that was even more poignant for the way that you used the different stages of it to build it up. It was really enjoyable!

The pairing... Dean/Luna? That's what it seems like to me, because of the first section when he thinks of the two of them being beside the sea together and enjoying that time during the war, when they could forget about the danger around them and be young and free for a bit again. That definitely seems like Dean and Luna to me, and then the ending sort of confirms it too as I know you like canon just as much as me and wouldn't leave them together at the end when JKR has said Luna married Rolf. Even if it made me really sad!

The use of second person was really great! I love second person in stories like this one, because it worked well to draw me in as a reader but at the same time it allowed you not to reveal who the characters were, without it getting confusing. It didn't seem repetitive either, which I think second person - especially if you're not using any names - can sometimes be.

The descriptions were so lovely! I could picture everything so vividly from this, and it's really great that you managed to paint such beautiful pictures for each scene in just 250 words for each section of the story. The only other way I think you could have possibly added to this - and it's something entirely personal, since it's the way I view Dean - is by adding in some more references to the fact that he's got a talent for art, a bit earlier on than you do, because I think you could really play on that to bring out more description, if you wanted. But you've only got a short amount of words and you did a fantastic job even without that!

You built Dean and Luna's relationship up so well, and I loved reading about it! I liked the way that it started, the two of them together at Shell Cottage, having been rescued from captivity, and then spending time together, Dean seeing Luna as the person to sort of save him from the terror of the war. I really liked the way that it went from there, with the tentative first kiss - which you described perfectly - to the fact that Luna decided to leave, and Dean was strong enough and loved her enough to let her go.

Gah, the ending was so sad and poignant! Even though I really like Rolf and Luna as a pairing, you made me feel horrible about them here because then poor Dean was left on his own and that's not really fair, he loved her so much and waited for her all that time! You're so mean, Adi!

The lyrics that inspired this tied in so well, and I liked the fact that each section of the story had its own little title and then there was the circular nature of the narrative too, which I really love. It was great to see that although Dean found all these different aspects to Luna's character, she still had the same effect on him even as they grew and changed.

This was really lovely, Adi, and I enjoyed reading it so much! (Next time, you're telling me when you put a story in the queue, rather than trying to sneak it in unnoticed!)

Sian :)

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Review #24, by nott theodoreAn inky black heart.: The ebony vessel.

12th November 2014:
Hello again, Kiana!

Mwahaha I told you that I'd be catching up with your stories once I finished NaNo, so now you know that I meant it - you're not getting away with posting a load of chapters and stories and me getting really behind again!

So I'm pretty sure that you're aware of my thoughts on Snape/Lily - that is, I don't like them as a pairing generally, except when I see it portrayed realistically and kind of darkly like this, because then I think it captures the relationship (if you can call it that, towards the end) between them really well and I generally prefer them written like this much more than other stories. But also massive kudos to you for trying writing them, since I don't think I could do it without going on a massive rant about Snape's character somehow :P

For 500 words you managed to pack such a lot into this story, although that really shouldn't surprise me because you are a brilliant writer and you always convey so much with your words. But well done on it because I felt like you told a proper story here, the story of Snape's obsession with Lily, and explored it really well in that small word count.

The style was different but really interesting and I thought it worked well - it was kind of like stream of consciousness, almost, and sort of showed how deep Snape's obsession with Lily is and also how chaotic his thoughts about her are. I kind of got the impression that he was obsessed with her but in a way he didn't want to be, and that love tortured him, and you captured that really well with all your word choices.

The descriptions were probably my favourite aspect of this story. Your writing and language is always so beautiful and lyrical, but I thought the colours in this were great - especially when the black seemed to always refer to Snape, as that ties in so well with his outward appearance as well, but here it's his heart that's black, maybe because of - or in spite of? - this twisted love for Lily.

I thought you did a fantastic job of capturing his obsession as well, especially with the way that you used the lists of three over and over again, things changing slightly sometimes - the repetitiveness of that really emphasised certain aspects of how he felt about her and demonstrated the obsessive side to his love brilliantly, I thought. I love devices like that, and it was used so effectively in this story.

Also, second person ♥ I really love second person too, and in a piece like this one I think it works so well because I really got drawn into Snape's thoughts and the way that he felt for Lily.

You also captured the nature of his love really well - it was sotwisted that it was really creepy and actually kind of scary! Like the fact that he thinks he loves her but also that he needs her, that there's a lot of lust involved, but then the darker side as well, when he becomes really possessive. I could imagine that tying in so well with the character we know from the books, because his love was obsessive and he wasn't happy when somebody else wanted her, or she spent time with others - even her sister. The 'Kill. Kill. Kill.' part was really chilling! And then I can imagine someone with this mindset kind of wanting to take revenge on Voldemort because he killed the person that Snape loved, but also that he was so obsessed with and it's all very twisted and I can't explain it properly, but it makes sense in my head and could fit really well with canon.

This was a really powerful piece of writing, especially within just 500 words, and I really loved reading it, Kiana!

Sian :)

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Review #25, by nott theodoreThe Ides of March: Nothing thicker than a knife's blade.

12th November 2014:
Kiana! ♥

Yay, I finally finished NaNo which means I can review some of the stories I've been missing out on, and this one was at the top of the list! And I get first review on this chapter! *dances*

Okay, so you probably know that I really love the idea behind this story and I think the whole concept of it is so original. I've never seen a story casting Helena like this before and it just already provides such a perfect explanation for why she might have run away from the man she'd been meant to marry before she died. I really love the way that it could so easily fit with canon.

The opening was really great. Rowena seems like a really harsh mother to Helena, and she seems to be very strict with her and not care about much other than intelligence and her daughter's education - she's certainly not the sort of person that Helena could ever confide in or really go to for help, which is really sad. The rift is already evident here, too, and I can see how that led to Helena later taking her mother's diadem and running away. I'm so intrigued to see how you're going to build up to that!

On a side note, the first sentences that Rowena said to her daughter, about the wind blowing away her thoughts, made me think of Luna for some reason :P

I also really liked the way that you managed to show that Eleanor and Helena's (did you intend for their names to rhyme? :P) relationship has moved forward and progressed between the last chapter and here, because they've been meeting and they know they have feelings for each other and stuff, without feeling the need to show lots of scenes of them together. In a way, I think that skip forward in time and the changes being hinted at is actually more effective.

Your descriptions! ♥ Seriously, Kiana, they're beautiful - I can picture everything in it so well, and the description of the snow hitting the windows was just amazing. It fits really well with the time period that this is set in, as well, and it's so rich in detail and I just love that.

Helena's life seems so... bleak. I felt so sorry for her in this chapter, reading all her chaotic thoughts and the sort of future that she's facing. It makes me so sad that women had no say in their lives at this time, and their future would just be decided for them and that they'd have to be prepared to do whatever their husband said when they were married. It would make you feel so helpless and powerless and I think you captured that really well - for a lot of people, nowadays especially, leaving school and becoming an adult is like the start of a new adventure, but at this time Helena knows what she should expect and it's not promising.

I am really glad that she had Helga to talk to, though, even if she can't talk to her mother about anything personal. It must be good for her to have a sort of mother figure who's warmer and welcoming, and that is how I picture Helga to be - she was happy to take everyone, no matter what their qualities were, after all. But I thought you did a great job of capturing the confusion that Helena's feeling over her emotions and relationship with Eleanor. At this time, I think even in an atheist's eyes, it's not likely to have been accepted, and then to add to that Helena's background includes religion and the fear of damnation and hell and sin, and that just makes it even worse for her to deal with. I find it really interesting that her mother openly rejects the idea of religion, though - it fits with what I've seen of her character so far, and with the kind of image of someone who's an intellectual I suppose. It's really no wonder that Helena's so torn about what to do and believe, and I think it was really sweet of Helga to try and help her and advise her, even if that advice wasn't necessarily the best - or at least, it's not the sort of advice I would give to someone now, but it's not easy to judge the past by today's standards so it fits really well.

Wah, I just feel so sorry for Helena as she's trying to avoid Eleanor because she doesn't want to sin and go to hell, and she's trying to do all she can to gain forgiveness. But at the same time she's so deeply unhappy because of it, and poor Eleanor doesn't understand what has happened, and it's so sad. But I thought it was great that Eleanor didn't just give up so easily and that she was the one who was so assertive in her beliefs that love, in whatever form, can't be a sin. I think that fit so well with her character and I can really picture the way that the two of them fit together as a couple, balancing each other out in a way. And aw, the ending was so cute!

I think you've done a really good job of taking some very difficult and sensitive issues to write about and writing them well here, and I love all the different themes that you're exploring, especially the way that religion seems to conflict with Helena's feelings, even more so in this period, and the way that she has to try and find herself. If you couldn't tell, I loved this chapter!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hey Sian, and wah thank you for this lovely review! :D

I'm so glad that you liked this background to Helena as I have read several stories about why she ran away to the forest and got killed by the baron but it's usually because he's the main reason for it, and it's all his fault whereas I thought it would be fun to write why she did it from another perspective so this story was born!

Haha, Rowena is anything but Luna in this story :P I'm glad you do like her slightly evil side because I did feel quite bad writing it being a Claw in all but it makes it much more interesting to read. I suppose because she prides herself on intelligence and perfecting her knowledge she almost doesn't view her daughter as a person but rather a thing which can be shaped to her own vision which is why I think she treats Helena like that.

I honestly didn't intend for their names to rhyme, as I was inspired by Eleanor of Aquitaine for Eleanor's character and the name was appropriate for the era so I was like let's go with it, and it was only after that I realised they rhymed. :P Yay for skipping forward in time, I suck at writing romance which is strange as most of my stuff is romance based so it may have been for that reason too. :P

Aw, thank you so much!! ♥ That's the great thing about historical stories as you can almost spend more time focusing on descriptions as it's more appropriate in a way!

I know, it really wasn't that great for a women. One would think that Helena would have more privileges given who her mother is and the fact she could have an education but it was still so limited compared to what a man could do and have and it's just so sad. Helena looking for independence both from her mother and social independence (if that makes sense? :P) is a continuing theme throughout the story, so whoo for that!

I'm glad you liked the chat with Helga, though I do feel a little sorry for Helena as it just made her even more confused about everything. :P I definitely agree with it being wrong in an atheist's eyes too, because in many parts of the world it's still a taboo today! But aside from that she's got the whole do I follow the religious path or not thing going on, which is just adding to her confusion as you said. Helena will continue to be confused as she carries on throughout the novel and I think even in her dying moments she's still a little unsure about whether she did the right thing or not.

Haha, no Eleanor is very much her father's daughter and goes after what she wants without caring too much about what other people will think. It's what makes house integration a good thing as Eleanor can teach Helena to be braver and fight for what she believes is right whereas Helena can make her more reflective and perhaps pause now and then.

Thank you for this amazing review and it means so much to me that you like this story!! ♥ ♥ ♥

-Kiana


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