Reading Reviews From Member: GubraithianFire
426 Reviews Found

Review #1, by GubraithianFireetc. etc. (and life goes on): Epilogue

9th May 2016:
You did it, oh my god oh my god OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. Ive been freaking out ALL DAY because oh my god, oh my god, I have no other words. Congratulations. Im so proud of you. Thank you for this story for all the stories youve already written and the ones youve yet to write but thank you especially for writing etc etc. HP fanfic, let alone the Albus/OC-with-a-twist genre (can we call it a genre, or did you make it one?) would not be what it is without etc etc. I would not be what I am without it (and, um, without you, probably).

One of these days probably this time in exactly a week Im going to go back and reread this from the beginning, mostly because I remember almost nothing of anything before chapter 20, but partly, also, because I love the narrative evolution thats happening here so much, and I want to see it actually evolve over one sitting instead of over several years. Or rather, the narrative evolution that has already happened. Because this is done. Life goes on, and I fully expect this will too, in its myriad forms, but, you know. I'm trying to gather my thoughts and realizing that I don't have the mental capacity to say very much of anything. I remember when Capers was being finished, I knew essentially what I wanted to say, but for this, idk, it's a harder thing to reckon with, or maybe it's because by now you know exactly what I'm trying to say, and you'd say it so much better than me (and more quickly, and with less parentheticals), and I've probably said it all already at some point or other before, but anyway:

It's been such a pleasure to watch Clemence grow, and you with her, or vice versa. It's been such a pleasure to watch this story get increasingly complex, increasingly vibrant, increasingly dark and unsettling and romantic and definitely not romantic. I'm constantly in awe of how you've navigated all these threads, all these characters, and Albus especially (that closure scene is marvelous), the specific kind of minotaur-in-the-maze our poor Clemence fears she is. (Does this make Pickett Ariadne? I know this is not the myth, but I like the idea that Pickett is trying to lead Clemence out of the maze she and Albus/Theseus made). You imbue so much independent life into all these characters - their psychologies, their dialogues, their very selves - and I know a lot of that is you, and I don't know how you manage to do it, but that you do it, and that you execute it so flawlessly... Gina, you're s u c h a good writer. In case you ever, ever doubt it, or forget it, let me remind you, you are. No one else could have written this story, though many have tried. (Me included, twice; not including Confectionary, which I affectionately think of as having started it all). You are, in every sense of the word, an original. I don't know if Capers solidified your authorial voice more than this, but etc etc is a truly unforgettable work. Except for... all the things... I did forget... ahem.

There's one thing I actually have never forgotten, though. You can guess what that is:

22nd February 2011:

Clemence is such a '30s gumshoe that it's incredible. I love her. And her editing quill and her crew and Pickett, who I already imagine as this brooding sex god in the making. Clemence/Pickett. Clickitt. I don't even know, partner in crime.

And this:

Author's Response: BROODING HENRY. You and your ill-fated ships. I hadn't even considered it, but Clickett is so catchy. Especially compared to Clebus, which sounds like a bad hick name.

I called it from the very beginning, over five years ago, but even I didn't think it would end with a kiss.

♥ here's to climbing out of the morbid curiosity rabbit hole at last

Author's Response: I can breathe finally oh my god. I'm still rereading it like I can't believe it, it's done (it's CANON), it's DONE. God, all of you sing such high praises, I can't; I am melting; I am plummeting my head into my blankets flailing; I am making incoherent noises at 2am.

Even though most of etc's story has changed because my whims themselves changed and not due to some overall plan, it's weirdly appropriate to see Clemence's narration morph from overconfident, devil-may-care gossip reporter to war-hardened leader - to survive, as she would say, when really she doesn't need to do any of this at all. She does it because she cares - so much! - and the remarkable thing is how she's suppressed it for so long.

In the beginning she is Clemence and at the end she is Clemence, yet the difference is so stark, just in the way she talks and carries herself. She's exhausted. She repeats that over and over. Caring in the slightest exhausts her and I understand why the Clemence in the beginning had to exist and how she could have easily continued to exist if no tempting enough of an obstacle came in her way. But it did, and she can't go back, and now we have this wounded-but-very-much-alive, *hopeful* Clemence of the epilogue.

I'm dying a little bit at the Ariadne comparisons, but now I'm picturing it and I can't unsee Greek Myth AU; brb making more incoherent noises.

But mostly dying a lot over everything you're saying ♥♥♥ you are saying things I don't know how to respond to. Clemence's story (in its various forms, fic, OF, etc) is/will be probably the most personal story I'll ever write and I'm embarrassed to say how much I learned about myself while writing it; or maybe I just dug out those thoughts I could never put into words and forced them into words; those questions no one else was asking, Clemence asks. etc answers so few of the questions it raises partly because I don't have the answers and I'm LOOKING for the answers as I write, but I also know they're not meant to be universally answered.

THANK YOU SO MUCH ♥ thank you 2011 gubby for predicting Clickett first and giving the ship its name and for climbing into the morbid curiosity rabbit hole with me; thank you 2016 gubby for being equally flabbergasted that I ended this WITH A KISS of ALL THINGS.

just thank you ♥ ♥ ♥

 Report Review

Review #2, by GubraithianFireVoracious : Into the Dust

6th March 2016:
I'm a bad friend indeed, for not knowing that this fic was in the works and not seeing it when it was up! But Celeste my dear, this is so very cool. I suppose a bit of credit should go to teh for an intriguing challenge premise, but this is all you.

I've missed your one-shots, especially the ones like this - elaborate plotting, delicate character work, inventive structure. Idk how you managed this, but damn girl, this is so very cool. The use of all the documents - the interview transcript with Ambrosia juxtaposed with Verity's draft after meeting Audrey was super clever since you don't recycle the transcript model - in this order, with these characters, was just so smart. The thought of some of the most unabashedly awful, idiotic people in canon being young and hungry and pretty normal, morality-wise, was kind of strange to wrap my head around at first, but it was a really cool, unique thing to try, and you pulled it off. Especially because Verity - that is probably the stroke of genius of this fic, which of course there would be, because this is you. Like, who would have thought that Rita's origin story is about death and truth and trust??? The resolution to the mystery was kind of secondary to me, because clearly the point is watching Verity's devolution (though I wonder: why Dolores, of all people, only because she's so hateful in canon that I can't easily imagine her young). It's going to be bad, we know; it's probably Ambrosia, since we aren't being presented other possibilities for real; but Verity doesn't know that, and what a sad headspace for her to be in, but how great of you to explore it. You're always so inventive and smart and original and real, even with all this elaborate set-dressing, so to speak, with your writing, and it's a pleasure every time. -heart eyes-

(For the HPFF Review-A-Thon).

 Report Review

Review #3, by GubraithianFireetc. etc. (and life goes on): Appy Ever After

5th March 2016:
I keep forgetting that this is the last full chapter (epilogue notwithstanding). You know I can't keep track of, well, anything. But !!! I should have known. I really should have known, mostly because you've been trying to write the last like 2 chapters for the last 2 years at least, so we must be reaching some sort of endpoint. And we're getting there - right? Not that it feels real to me, since it's taken so long to get here lol, but I know it's coming, and after this chapter... dude.

I remember where I was when you showed me the I believe in love as much as I believe in the scarcity of it section. I almost dropped my phone because how? To deal?? I reread it like 10 times, because I know you can write the crap out of a horrid love story, but until I see it before my eyes, it's easy to lose track of the intensity and the specificity of it all, and how you do it. I maintain that it's probably the best thing you've ever written. Your diction is so laser-sharp and precise and perfect it makes me angry sometimes. How do you make so few words do all these things?

That part is matched only by Clemence's breakdown in Pickett's arms, which is not as howlingly precise as are her exchanges with Albus (and Appy, and dream Appy) but hits all the harder for it. Fairy tales aren't forgiving to those who defy their endings. No, no they aren't, especially when you're writing them, or deconstructing them, or burning them to the ground, and letting us wonder just how much of it can be rebuilt before the end. I respect the hell out of what you're doing with this story, with these characters, with these arcs (I'm even a little surprised at how visceral and soul-rattling the breakdown is for Clemence; it's a lot more than I kind of expected, somehow), these ships (... one ship in particular), which shouldn't surprise you at all. But I really truly love how you're doing it.

So... take a breath. You did it. The hard part is over. Now get started on that epilogue, girl.

And please don't leave us (read: mostly me) hanging for too much longer.

I'm writing this review only partly for you, but mostly: For the HPFF Review-A-Thon.

Author's Response: I can't even imagine what it's like to be a reader of this story, after five years and suffering my updates and story whiplash. Also exhausted??

You know I love when you point out the nice stuff because I have zero idea what parts actually resonate. And it's almost always with sentences I never think twice about. I might agonize over the passage around it but the sentences you point out--I can't remember writing them. I can't imagine writing them again (that particular passage--I know I wrote it that one late night but what inspired it??? no idea. plain endurance??). Whatever past!Gina was doing, I'm glad of it.

And I like you mention the part of Pickett being *less* precise, because I was aiming for her breakdown to be a MESS--a culmination of all her repressed thoughts/emotions all trying to push out at the same time. There's no purpose or intent to anything she's saying, except that she wants someone to know about what she's thinking and react to it. Crying is pure catharsis. When she breakdowns, there's only crying, only fears, only this very very vulnerable side to her; she's completely lost her footing from her world and there's no way to regain it, because in truth, she doubts even her own beliefs--they've only ever been backed up by her own confidence, so what happens when that's shattered? Her personality and worldview is not impossible to sustain, but it's such a fragile thing.

Phew. Taking a breath. But a short one.

Sunflowers incoming ♥

 Report Review

Review #4, by GubraithianFireetc. etc. (and life goes on): A Kingdom For My Name

22nd April 2015:
I thought I'd do what I did for Capers and only review the last chapter with final thoughts and congratulations and all (and end up accidentally reviewing the second to last chapter because I thought it was the last chapter...), but that might not happen for TWO YEARS so I'll list out my feels now. Because I have feels. And they are not the ones I think a lot of readers hoped they would be at this point, so close to the end, but they are worth mentioning anyhow, so I can look back on this and shake my head at my past self. You know nothing, Gubby. The one thing I DO know is that I am horrible at formal reviewing now, so I might as well get back into the swing of that too, before I do have to somehow gather myself and write a final farewell review.

We've learned something about savagery since - holy bathtub scene, Batman, they certainly have. For all its absolutely horrendous connotations, savagery is so the perfect word for these two and their love. You know I have my ship in this story, but you never fail to make me question that shippy conviction even for a few moments, because God, are Albus and Clemence perfect for each other. Theirs is a kind of terrible, awesome (even awful?) love and I kind of adore it. Especially because Clemence knows exactly how awful it is. This is... it. This is what we've been building towards for 21 chapters... and we get an ellipsis. It's almost cruel. No, it is cruel. Which is what makes it amazing.

Clemence's retelling of her own story in that italicized fairytale portion versus what she thinks is the reality is also super telling. She resists the easy, trope-y reading of every possible story, even her own, and her eagerness to downplay her ~heroism~ is so typical, it hurts. God forbid Clemence Fitzgerald be the romantic hero leaping over baddies to save the fainting love interest. But this is who she's supposed to be now. And the unease she has with that role and everything she's being told she is - a gruff but heart-of-gold heroine, the ice queen melting because of luuurve - is so brilliantly underlined by her conversation with Dom and Janey. But we aren't the problem, she tells them: that's so purely Clemence that it comes across as kind of venomous. What on earth could Clemence Fitzgerald, of all people, stand to learn from the rabble that blindly idolizes her and the story she's fallen into by accident (or so she's desperate to believe)? Her answer, we learn, is nothing. Even in this period of supreme discomfort and disillusionment and, now that I think about it, sheer disgust with the role of Potter's girlfriend, she doesn't know that she needs to learn and grow.

Instead she's so desperate to not learn and not change that she'll back herself into a bomb shelter-esque space in the heart of a giant magical stone castle, and block out everyone and everything that unsettles her, even slightly. That line, I care enough to pretend that I care, that's such a rare feeling to see articulated, and it really resonated with me for reasons, but it's so great because it explains Clemence's attitude towards almost everything. And increasingly, it seems, her attitude towards Albus. Love (particularly their love) is so far from being her fairytale end-all/be-all that it could be scary for what it means for Clembus.

Albus isn't faring much better than her in this love-as-goddess-worship/love-as-obliteration-of-self point of view, but he's trying. Or is he? Idk, I vacillate on what I think of him depending on how hot he is in a particular scene, but he isn't super into growth either, is he? And why would he be, if he has now everything he wanted?

Anyway: it's kind of remarkable how Clemence has blocked herself into a corner actually by obtaining more nominal power/scope than she had before and thereby potentially widening the horizons of her own possibility. She's stuck in a dungeon because she won a kingdom, and just as importantly, because she won the king. You know how I love those kinds of arcs for the cruel, quick-witted characters I like to write and read about, and it's being executed so well here it gives me chills to think about.

I cannot wait for the descent. It's going to be messy and possibly heartrending, but it's only a matter of time.

(Not a year, though. Please not a year).

Author's Response: I've let this review sit here since April to remind me what this chapter was all about. You could always explain what I wanted to say better than I could, which I know seems silly because I said the thing via story, but etc is such a discovery process that I honestly don't know what I mean to say sometimes until someone else tells me.

Your formal reviews are such a treat btw *u*

Albus's entire character screams 'I Knew You Were Trouble', but it's such an addicting thing to be loved. Out of context, they're perfect in matching each other, and that's the tragedy/reality of it. A version of them could exist together happily - a version where Clemence is much more like how she started in the story than how she is now. But in that version, she never changes, and there would lie another tragedy entirely. Clemence paradoxically puts so much weight in emotion, and boiled down, I think that's what everyone cheers for--Clemence experiencing something great enough to believe in it. For all she's done, she still only believes in herself. Which segues into the trust issues next chapter.

"God forbid Clemence Fitzgerald be the romantic hero" - basically your entire paragraph is perfect. As I was writing, I only knew it as Clemence resisting her label. These are the two sides of Clemence - the one inexplicably linked to Hogwarts lives and beyond, and the one that believes she can remove herself from all that and rise above. Perhaps that's what draws her into these 'out of context' situations with Albus, because they both desperately want to be where they never need to be a hero nor take responsibility. But the two sides are leaking into each other, and I think it's most telling in how she feels she deserves better than Albus. Former ruthless, casual-snarky Clemence doesn't deserve better, and if she truly believed she were still that person, she would have no issue being with Albus.

I didn't expect that line - 'I care enough to pretend that I care' - to resonate so much. Writing Clemence, I dredge up that part of me that never entirely feels resolved. I remembered what it was like to "learn to care"; the rule is, your feelings need to be genuine, but at the same time, you're supposed to have certain feelings to be a decent human being, and too often, these both couldn't be true at the same time for me. I could either be myself or I could be a decent human being, and everyone else could only see choice #2 because it ought to be easy - natural - to do that. No, it had to be very much learned and - until it became natural - faked. The bomb-shelter heart is much more than protection for Clemence; it's become her identity.

'[Albus] isn't super into growth either, is he? And why would he be, if he has now everything he wanted?' - Albus's lack of growth isn't an accident pretty much because of this. He still suffers no real consequences. Is losing Clemence a great enough catalyst to cause him to change, though? The two previous times that she nearly slipped away - after she's attacked by the girls in the loo and after she's attacked by Appy - were opportunities for him to do *something* but he doesn't. And he still got what he wanted, so why would he?

Thank god you love these arcs because she wouldn't have any other kind :'D but that's me - wary of authority and power. I wouldn't trust a story where power is a real prize.

♥ this review is perf and you are perf. I ultimately may be writing etc for three people, but it means everything to know I'm not alone. That is enough of reason to keep writing.


 Report Review

Review #5, by GubraithianFiregladly beyond: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me

9th December 2013:
When I heard (cough from Gina cough) that you had a new giant one-shot, this one about Scorpius and Rose -- which is secretly one of my favorite ships -- I dashed over immediately to read it. It took a while for me to process what you'd written, so now that I have my thoughts kind of in order, here I am~

Firstly -- I'm never quite sure what to expect from your stuff, teh, because on the one hand you do things like Growth and on the other you do The Network (which I read and adored btw - loved that subject matter and how you pulled it off). And I love that I don't know what to expect. I think I'd been told that Rose was a ghost in this story, but I don't think I was really paying attention to that, because the reveal -- that whole beginning section, actually -- was really subtle and organic and generally fabulous without being over-the-top; I didn't realize just what was happening until just before Scorpius did, so then I went back and reread the beginning. Just the way Ghost Rose and Scorpius interacted ("'Why would I want to do that? You weren't here'" and "'Tell me things'" especially, because that's such a strange way to phrase that)... it really was great. I loved it. The swearing, the familiarity, the nonchalantness between them underscored by the fact of the complete reversal in the very nature of their relationship.

The 'present day' parts, so to speak, were really strong throughout, whether Ghost Rose was there or not. Lily(-Lou) felt a little much for the story, if you know what I mean, but she settled into the fabric of Scorpius' life well. That scene with her in Scorpius' flat was magnetic; I didn't think anything else would match up to it until the very last scene, the dialogue about how Scorpius is the one who doesn't exist -- genius.

It's the reflections of Rose and Scorpius' past relationship that didn't click with me as well. This isn't a fault, exactly, because I think that to a degree you meant the reader to agree with Lily when she says that they are/were an alien couple. They did have a very, uh, idiosyncratic relationship, built more on familiarity or habit or mutual weirdness than love necessarily (or even, in some instances, affection). Rose and Scorpius as individual characters are absolutely well-drawn -- their respective relationships with their families, their physical chemistry (sometimes lack thereof) -- but idk, they didn't really click with me when you focused on what their life together had been. I'm almost 100% sure that's what you meant to do, in which case, maybe you did the job too well? Which, again, is not a bad thing! You absolutely pulled off what I think you wanted to, but I just couldn't emotionally connect to it until you got back to Ghost Rose in the present. That lent their relationship an urgency, a dysfunctional quality that... worked better for them, kind of? It's still a vaguely morbid relationship (obviously more morbid in the present), but it's one that operates on a plane that is a little more accessible, weirdly (it has to be kind of morbid that the ghost-person relationship is the more accessible one to me).

That said, I really, really applaud you for writing a relationship like Rose and Scorpius', as sometimes uncomfortably 'alien' as they are. It's absolutely an innovative way to do this kind of story -- neither Rose nor Scorpius moves on, but it doesn't feel as depressing as it could be in another author's hands. There's something lost by the end, something Rose can't reclaim and something it doesn't seem that Scorpius is/ever will be ready to reclaim, but it feels way more subtle and organic and kind of transcendent than I would have thought. And it's an admission that they missed out in Rose's life. Maybe it's a sign of a slow approach to maturity, maybe not -- that's what makes it great.

I don't know if I enjoyed this fic overall as much as I appreciated it, if that makes sense (and hopefully this review made some sense)? It was great in places, and great in places that I couldn't connect with, but it's a really stellar story as a whole. Excellent work :)

Author's Response: GUBBY ♥

I've been so excited to respond to this review because you raised a lot of interesting points and THANK YOU FOR THIS LOVELY THING & I owe Gina more praise and thanks and worship for promoting this fic further.

If the stories on my AP are very different from each other, it's because I love trying out new styles & all sorts of subject matter & I often select a style which I feel best conveys the content. This fic here is again, different from any other thing I've written on my page; I'd say this is the first time I've actually taken a contemporary relationship and really broken it down and explored it, trying to examine just /what/ makes people tick, and /why/ they get along with each other. I do this more often in my OF than in fanfic. You made an incredibly perceptive comment in your review about how the relationship is "built more on familiarity or habit...than love necessarily". EXACTLY. In this fic, I was trying to explore a modern day relationship between two isolated twenty-somethings who, yes, were drawn to each other because of their similarities, who aren't necessarily 'compatible' with each other...I dunno, with many real-life adult relationships, I do find that traditional concepts of love and chemistry and compatibility are not as relevant. I've also come to the conclusion that adults can be just as immature as children :P I was trying to convey a fic where the individuals in a relationship are not just alienated from things like family and society, but also from each other; Scorpius & Rose do have some sort of intimacy problems in this fic, physically and emotionally, possibly due to a lack of meaningful communication...maybe. They've been together for quite some time now, & somehow they've stagnated & their relationship has not made progress; I've thought of them as rather passive characters who take comfort in each other's stasis & perhaps they aren't truly happy with their own lives.

I do agree that Lily's character is a little jarring, especially in contrast to Scorpius and Rose; I did intend her to be quite a harsh character, as self-absorbed as Rose and Scorpius, but far more insensitive. I'm trying to think if there's a different aspect of her characterization which I can bring out, but it's a bit tricky with Scorpius' narration, and the fic's length is a bit exhausting to manage at the moment. But I'll keep thinking on this, so thanks for your comment on her! I was a bit surprised that you thought their relationship 'idiosyncratic'. I might consider changing some of the things Lily-Lou says - when I was writing it, I thought I was simply taking a rather standard portrayal of Rose/Scorpius in fic, & writing it in a bit more detail, exploring certain moments in their relationship, moments that, I suppose could be seen as idiosyncratic or strange, maybe because I take them out of context. I did try to convey a conflicting sense of both estrangement and intimacy between the two with each flashback scene, so yeah, maybe I did the job, as you mentioned? :P I alternated between past and present with the intention of showing how much or how little the relationship has changed over time. That being said, I'll definitely have a look at those flashback moments; while I don't necessarily feel that everyone should be able to identify with those two, I don't need them to be too over-the-top or eccentric.

And gah, thanks for your lovely comments on the ending! Glad it doesn't feel downright depressing. The whole thing is merely a glimpse, a small glimpse into what their lives really are. And I love reading readers' interpretations of how things will turn out for those two (if things still can change). I'm glad you were able to appreciate the fic; that's an absolutely wonderful compliment. I'm glad it made you think a bit, ponder things, disagree with certain aspects and all the rest.

Thanks again for this amazing review, gubby! ♥ ♥ Hope I did your favourite pairing justice!


 Report Review

Review #6, by GubraithianFireClash: Sink

25th September 2013:
Somehow this felt more like a filler-y chapter to me, and I'm not sure if you meant it to be. There seemed to be a lot of telling with the lead-up to the closing of Hogwarts; it's all great stuff, but the momentum wasn't quite there. Once we got into Scorpius and Albus' confrontation, it picked up again, because you write the dynamism of their relationship so well that it pretty much excuses the slightly slower pace and (very) slightly lowered stakes at the party.

I remember that in my first review I wanted to say that Albus reminded me of some other fictional hot psychopath who scared the living daylights out of me, but I couldn't remember who he reminded me of. I didn't remember for another few weeks, but now I do: J.D. from Heathers. Your Albus reminds me of that mass murdering crazy hot person who made me so uncomfortable I barely made it through the movie. (I'll be very honest and say that I'm mostly reviewing now so I can tell you that JD reminds me of Albus -- unless I have something specific to say, I don't tend to review, cough). I don't know how far Albus is going, but obviously murder and warfare and horrible stuff are all in the cards, and that scares me too, because your writing is no less visceral than a graphically violent movie. It means something when Albus is torturing animals and Obliviating poor girls' memories (poor, poor Daphne -- I really liked her for those few moments even if the scene itself didn't quite do it for me); it's kind of expected at this point that he would treat animals and girls the way he does, but it still hurts, and that every new escalation of violence or manipulation doesn't feel like a retread of what we've already seen speaks really highly of this story.

I still do think this one felt like filler, and I think that might be because of the lack of Rose. Again, I understand why we're not always going to see her, but this chapter feels kind of odd without her; she is her own brand of crazy, but she's also kind of a grounding presence, and without her, Albus feels even less human than usual. Scorpius is a great supporting character, but this relatively early in the fic, he's not quite an anchoring presence for the reader (and clearly, not for Albus either). I'm sure we'll see much more of him in the future, but it's just something to keep in mind for now.

All that said, I'm so excited to dig deeper into this story! Fabulous job :)

Author's Response: I definitely know what you mean about this being a filler chapter--it is. I wasn't very happy with it; it is a bit slower than I wanted and a lot of it has to do with that party scene. I went a little overboard writing Albus' interaction with a girl that wasn't his cousin haha. For all those readers who want romance!

Yikes! I should probably watch Heathers now, shouldn't I? To see who this crazy hot mass murderer is. Is it weird that I maybe based Albus off the Joker from dark knight and Norman bates from Psycho (but younger and hotter). haha, probably not healthy.

Yes, Albus is slowly teetering-tottering a very wicked path. A lot of it has to with that fact he thinks his actions are justified. He sees himself as a scientist and has a very ends-justify-the-means approach to things and though he feels a flicker of disgust time to time, he surpresses it quickly enough. He is becoming less human isn't he? We'll see where that goes ;)

I agree that Rose tends to make the plot move forward. We'll be seeing more of her next chapter. Thanks for reviewing again! I really appreciate it!

 Report Review

Review #7, by GubraithianFireClash: Him

2nd September 2013:
I'll start this review off by saying I haven't been so excited by a WIP in years so holy crap, you are off to an astounding start. I've been reading fic for a long time so I often feel like I've seen it all, so to speak, but you have surprised me so very much and I can't believe it because it hit me right out of the blue. The person who recommended this to me forewarned me that this was actually really legit evil, but legit evil in fanfic gets down to... murder, typically, which is a pretty blase crime to deal with, plot-wise, in fiction. This, though, is so intense and hardcore and straight-up inventively evil that I am exercising an AMAZING amount of self-restraint in keeping this review to a 12+ vocabulary. I cannot sing the praises of these first two chapters alone enough. Your characterizations and your plot and even the structure of the story -- I'm always kind of wary of old person narrates super complex story to naive next-generation person stories but you addressed my worries very deftly because it's not all linear retelling of Rose's life story -- is superbly well-handled. It's such a complex story and... idk, it's very hard to even gather my thoughts coherently or rationally because there's so much to think about. Oh, also, your writing is very, very good. So many times you see amazing plots floundering about with less than precise stylistic choices, so I was both very relieved and supremely excited to see that not only are you creative, you also have the technical writing skills to back up such a breathtaking, dizzying, terrifying story. Outside of some missing periods and other minor grammar things, it's impeccably done. I would go through all the things I loved but this paragraph is long enough, so:

Merlin's beard, your Albus freaks me out. I kind of have a thing for evil Albuses but I've never ever read an Albus who is literally evil. Well, not that he's evil (yet) necessarily, but he's definitely the scariest character I've read in fanfiction possibly ever. He gets under your skin, he doesn't even sound like a human, in some ways. Therefore I'm weirdly and worryingly attracted to him, though he makes me very uneasy. Rose I unabashedly love, though; the old lady grandmotherly Rose caught me off guard at the beginning, but Rose on trial, Rose in Vincent's house (I loved that his house-elves are German!), Rose with Scorpius and Albus... there isn't a side of her that I don't love of her as a character. She's an immediately appealing and yet immediately distancing main character: we root for her, we kind of love her, but she scares us a little, unsettles us for reasons we can't quite put our finger on. The rest of your characters, though not as fleshed out as these two, are similarly well-drawn; your Harry, Vincent, Scorpius, and even poor Hugo are all extremely intriguing people, and Vincent himself is compelling beyond belief. I do not trust him at all, but he's compelling as any other person here.

There isn't a piece of this story that is out of place. You've clearly put a lot of work into the planning and are putting a lot of work into its execution, and I love seeing that effort and meticulousness and gosh, I feel like you're muahaha-ing at your audience because clearly we're unprepared for where this is going to go. I for one cannot wait to see.

Author's Response: Wow. I love this review, and I love that you love my story. This review totally made my day (and of course it took me forever to figure out how to reply).

MUAHAHAHA yes I have very surprising plans to take this story down a dark road and hopefully NO ONE sees the end coming. I hope.

This story took a long time to formulate and I'm glad to finally have it on paper, err, computer screen. Initially it was two different tales, one about Rose and another about Albus, but then I wanted my characters in the same realm so this happened haha. I was definitely going for sinister and malicious with Albus, away from the 'bad-boy with a heart of gold trope', but I wouldn't go as far as to say he's EVIL evil, just because...idk. There are more layers to his personality than are evident right now. I find characters that are in the grey more interesting than, say, pure dark Voldemorts. So Albus isn't immoral as much as he is amoral (at the moment). And don't worry, your attraction is only natural haha. Many characters in-story feel the same way about him.

And Rose, well, she's a different kind of crazy. Hopefully a little more understandable though, with her brother and all. I like your analysis of her. Agreed, there's just something you can't put your finger on...

Thank you so much for the fantastic review and I'll do my best not to disappoint. I hope you review again!

 Report Review

Review #8, by GubraithianFireAnd Capers Ensue: Epilogue

12th July 2013:
I'M STARTING THIS IN A WORD DOC BEFORE YOU POST because the review box puts a lot of pressure on me and I don't want this to JUST be incoherent run-on ramblings. I HAVE THOUGHTS AND I'M GOING TO EXPRESS THEM ELOQUENTLY AND RATIONALLY!!!

Okay... so... let's start with: My automatic assumption with WIPs is that I'll never see them completed. I'm not sure why I thought this because you're generally pretty good with finishing the major WIPs you start. (I'm not counting Play, although maybe I should, because Play!!!). We'd just become friends, we were already writing fics because of each other (CONCSIGDHFGHD for one, Off-Kilter), and Jo had seen that one banner "We broke Hogwarts!!!" and wanted to see the story. So you wrote it. And... I don't know why I'm recapping this but I just remember thinking This will be great while it lasts. So as I'm sure you can imagine, this is a big deal. Well done. You did it. Two and a half years later, here we are, here you are more importantly, and you've won awards and acclaim and popularity, and I can't think of anyone who deserves it more for a story like this.

I mean, you know that this is not your typical Harry Potter Fan Fiction story. It's action/adventure bildungsroman with fluff and humor and romance and dead Scorpius and... everything you could possibly want in a story. And it's done so well, and you've grown so much... I think it's chapter 13, the one where Albus and Rose and Lucy and Fred explain to Bea that she demands too much and they kind of fight it out, that I told you I loved the most. You were afraid it was a little too angsty, that it was too much for Bea and for the story, but I think it was a real turning point for you as a writer and for the characters. You've grown so much, Gina, and it's so wonderful to constantly be impressed by what you do literally all the time (no matter how rough the first drafts may be, Bea tinkering with George Weasley cough). You work so hard and put so much thought into it and it truly shows. You think it's flaily in the beginning, and maybe it is, because I haven't gone back and reread it since the chapters were first posted, but from what I remember and I'm sure everyone else remembers too - it's a geniusly constructed, well-written, emotionally resonant story, and it means as much to its readers as it does to you.

I am RIDICULOUSLY jealous of you btw, because I couldn't pull this off, and I have a feeling a lot of people feel the same. I've been inspired by everything you write because I am at heart a covetous person, but I'll have you know that not once - not once! - have I tried to do anything approaching the scope or heart or inspiration of Capers. I am not 1. Creative enough 2. Smart enough 3. Dedicated enough to do anything like this. I am not capable. I love stories with the kind of heart this one has, and I can't recreate it or do something similar and I don't know why, but I don't want to try it. I don't want to try it because I could not do it nearly as well as you did Capers, and Bea and Scorpius and Fred and Anjali and Albus and the whole gang, the laughter and the tears and the explosions and cupcakes and this utterly perfect fairytale epilogue (I forgot this is supposed to comment on the actual epilogue, technically, probably). I could not do this, and I would not want to try, because you did it perfectly.

I've seen my HPFF friends complete their fair share of WIPs in ~my time~ (I am a dinosaur, so I need to clarify that) but I've never been so deeply invested in someone else's WIP, I've pretty much never cared so much about a fic - and again, I'm a dinosaur, so that might mean something. And I am 100% aware that I've made this review more about me than about you or the story or the characters but as long as it's about how you made me feel, it counts, too, right? I hope so. I'm not going back and changing this, I hate editing (edit: I DID HAVE TO EDIT BECAUSE THE REVIEW BOX DOES NOT LIKE WORD DOC APOSTROPHES), I could probably write something better than this wordvomit but I don't feel like it. This is from me to you:

Congratulations, I'm so proud of you, I love you, I love this, I'm so happy to say you're my friend, you're wonderful, this is wonderful, thank you for including me, thank you for giving all of us this amazing wonderful fic, this is probably too lo

(edit once in the review box: IT WASN'T TOO LONG!)

(... that's disappointing)

(I'm going to regret so much of this very soon)

XOXO Gubby

Author's Response: So I don't have internet at home right now, but I kept the window with your review up so I can answer it. Lawd knows that this is going to take out a good half hour.

Our friendship began on a foundation of minor bribes and complete lack of faith in each other (ok, I really didn't think you'd finish 'Off-Kilter'), I wouldn't expect any less ♥ And Jooo, I always forget, unless I reread the beginning A/N, that she's the primary reason why Capers was written in the first place. Because she liked the tagline and that's it. Every other plunny from that time is still festering in the pit (etc. wasn't even one of those plunnies, snort). And now not knowing all these characters would be weird in the chills-down-the-spine way, like suddenly forgetting your family.

It's funny - the chapters that I struggle with most become my favorite ones in the end because I agonize over it for so long that it ends up being better edited. And Ch 11 is one of them (ze first angsty one). If you compare it to Ch 10, it's really /different/, and that's why I was initially wary. I had nothing to compare this new style to. Like the first time I wrote angst + humor, pure action, humor with a corpse in the room, /an ending and a new beginning/. I'm grateful for these chapters because the agonizing's where I learn. I agonize because I think I can do better, and I throw away first drafts and cherished scenes and start over. You're someone I go to when I'm doing all this, and you see all my worsts and frustration and doubt, but in the end, /you're right/. I can't be prouder of this fic and where I am now c:

and NIX NIX NIX ALL THAT YOU SAY OF YOU BEING UNABLE TO PULL THIS OFF. I'll only accept #3, because I am overly dedicated to things, but creativity and smarts is not it. Spend enough time on it, and I'll eventually think of something, but most of it is me feeling burnt out and ready to make more stalker jokes and food metaphors. I could never fathom of writing glossy evil like you do, and to me, I know I'm writing only what I know. I'm pulling from experiences left and right, and when those fail - tropes and other fiction. I'm still new to all this, in the grand scheme of things. Capers and etc are the two kinds of stories I wanted to write, and I'm always worried that one day I might run out of characters. But I can't fall into thinking like that, plain and simple.

By the time I got to the end of your review, I already realized that this was mostly a love letter and not a review, but I am always glad (more glad, even) for your emotions!!! because, I don't know we don't get to do this often and YOU'RE DEAR TO ME?? C: And I don't know, I feel like Albus beaming with pride with a Snitch in hand (and I did win Snitches, so). When I think about that adage about writing for 'one reader,' you are one of those one readers. And I also extra appreciate dinosaur gubby because now I'm imagining you with your own plethora of (HAPPY DINOSAUR NOISES) -insert rocking back and forth dinosaur gif-

nvr 4get this review ♥ ♥ ♥

 Report Review

Review #9, by GubraithianFireAnd Capers Ensue: Open at the Close

4th July 2013:
THIS AIN'T NO EPILOGUE BUT IT COULD BE although I'm glad it's not BUT IF YOU WERE FEELING REALLY LAZY AND/OR EVIL you could have ended it here and no one would know. Then again epilogues are not meant to be complete endings, they really are a 'hello again', and the ~last chapter~ is where the main body of the story should wrap up. And it has, and that last image is so perfect, so that's why I got so crazy about this because I don't know how to deal with it.

I'm sorry I was overenthusiastic about just this BUT I THOUGHT THIS WAS THE LAST EVER CAPERS CHAPTER. Do not blame me for getting emotional and then confused and then even more emotional! I don't think I've ever looked forward more to a fanfic ending and also dreaded it because... I can't explain it adequately but Capers is your story and it is... IT JUST MEANS A LOT TO ME BECAUSE I LOVE IT AND YOU AND YES I AM THROWING A FIT AND NO I'M NOT CALM. It's all out of love and pride and all sorts of fuzzy feelings though. And a little evil jealousy obvi. BUT MOSTLY LOVE!

I give up.


You know how I'm the no-personal-space type who clambers onto people when I love them a lot, and that is what I do to my Capers readership and characters. I cling and love and don't let go and have sudden emotional sobbings for no reason. SO I UNDERSTAND THE FIT. BECAUSE I'M PROBABLY CLINGING TO YOU AS YOU HAVE THEM. (as the cat would say, if you fits, I fits [but would it fitzgerald, asks the etc cat])

...Ahem, anyway, this really is the ~ending~ in any case, and I'd be tempted to mark it completed except it's not. There's just a wee bit of (relevant) future fluff to top it off, But this is it. I'm letting them go off to their own lives now. THIS IS KIND OF MOSTLY IT. CREY. And I wanted to blubber a lot in my A/N but I don't think I can do that and then write an epilogue, so I'm just going to do it when the epilogue rolls around.


 Report Review

Review #10, by GubraithianFireGrowth: dull as dirt

24th May 2013:
I saw this in the recently added and recognized the author as the one who wrote that beautiful Lavender one-shot so naturally I was eager to see what you would do with Merope (so hi again~). And my oh my. I'm looking at the other reviews left for this story and they're saying that you disliked this, which boggles my mind because this is so so so good. You have exceedingly good taste in minor canon characters whose life stories you dissect in one-shots, which I'm sure extends to your other stories.

Merope in some ways, I think, is easier to tackle in fic than Lavender because there's kind of a consensus on the broad strokes of her character that there isn't with Lavender, if you know what I mean? Like, as far as I've seen, Lavender is construed as either an idiot or a misunderstood secretly strong young woman; there's no such binary assumptions about Merope because her place as the tragic mother heroine is pretty well-established in both canon and fanon, when she is written about at all, which is pretty rare. But that's not to understate how well you place Merope within that trope, because seriously, that was beautiful and horrifying. I'm really glad I hadn't eaten for a while before I read this hehe. Somehow it didn't click for me that what Merope was doing with eating the dirt and plaster and such was part of a condition until your author's note, though I have heard of that condition. I read it as more of a comment/symptom of the abject misery of the poverty she's lived through all her life than a symptom of her pregnancy on its own. Either reading, which I suppose are not binary themselves, gives a terrible, frightening, grotesque sheen to the pregnant canon character story, which is always unicorns and rainbows and explosions of morning sickness and cute cravings. This story went to places I definitely wouldn't have expected but I'm so, so glad it did -- almost no matter what an author does with this skeleton of plot, it is going to be compelling, but this was magnetic and horrible.

Your language all the way through was fabulous, though, which made the grotesque nature of your imagery (I think someone said earthy imagery, which is a really good way to describe it) all the more jarring and off-putting. In the best possible way, I mean. I could talk about what sentences I loved and why (that first paragraph totally sold me on the whole story, but also comma of a child, the cicada thing with Morfin, the adder Morfin nailed to the door... God just everything) but that would take a while and it's probably something you've heard in all of the other reviews. So I'll hold off on that and just say... this was gorgeous. It takes a lot to get me to read fic these days and I'm really glad I've found yours, because you are a huge talent, you shape sentences with astonishing ease and a pureness that is always gorgeous no matter the context, you have a great sense of how to mold canon the way that suits the stories you want to tell -- I'm hugely impressed. Well done.

Author's Response: a;fklhjuicvnjhsghdyahas


So I've read through this review a few times now. And I am still not sure what I ought to say. First, thank you so much again for a second brilliant and incredibly perceptive review - this wasn't a short read, and I'm so incredibly grateful that you even took the time to check this story out even if you don't read fic anymore ♡ (I got a bit sad when you said you don't read fic anymore, but I noticed you've been around on the archive for a REALLY LONG TIME according to your profile page, so I guess I understand. I joined HPFF a few months ago, and still find this place quite exciting :D )

You've pretty much got the whole story pinned down. There's not a lot to it, apart from what's there. You're right, we all know Merope's tragic story and how she's such a pitiable figure in canon, a product of joyless and bleak circumstances. There are quite a few Merope stories on the archives - not many, but they do exist and some of them are quite brilliantly written as well. So I did try to write something that would hopefully be different from what already exists (and most of these either detail Merope's relationship with Tom, or her childbirth and death), There wasn't a lot of stuff on her pregnancy. And that must have been an incredibly traumatic time for her, nine months of being alone and pregnant, of not knowing how she will cope...I'm not sure if she knew that she wouldn't survive childbirth...but she /was/ selling her locket to Burke, so I assume that she was trying desperately to live. Pregnancy can be something quite terrifying, if you aren't prepared for it and if you don't have the necessary emotional support from others...and so many things can go wrong, if you think about a very pessimistic manner.

Gaaah, your comment on the language and the sentences ♥ ♥ This was one of the more difficult stories to write, precisely because I put in so much care and effort into the sentences, to make them smooth and nice-sounding :P Diction, sentence structure, imagery...all these were things I paid a lot of attention to in this fic, and by the end of it I was jsort of sick of everything and probably felt that it was truly rubbish...which is why I first threw it into the queue with a big angst-filled author note declaring how much I didn't like this. Yep, I can be very dramatic. But I've edited this a little and put some distance between the writing and myself, and I think I'm a lot happier with it now. Especially after all the amazing feedback.

Thank you so so so much once again for this amazing review ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡
It's honestly gaaahaksjfhljkljaksfhljk ♥

teh ♥♛

 Report Review

Review #11, by GubraithianFireA Lightness: not quite her name

3rd May 2013:
justonemorefic just showed me this and at first, as I'm sure you can imagine, I was veeery hesitant because it's about 10,000 words long, but she was quite insistent and I was certainly curious about this crazy long Lavender Brown one-shot. I do love minor canon characters like her but it's so hard to find fics that get them right, so I hardly ever read anything about them. This, though -- this was beautiful. I was constantly reworking my way through your paragraphs, especially the ones that ended sections, because they were just straight-up gorgeous. And yet none of it was showy gorgeous, you know? It's not like you're beating the fact that you can string together these (Googling: synonym for gorgeous) breathtaking series of words over the reader's head; it never feels like you're trying to show us just how far and how splendid your imagery can go. It's subdued -- but obviously not, in places, like that psychotic Viola scene which creeped me out like whoa -- and so subtly complex that you can't help fall in love with it. I truly fell for Lavender first and foremost, obviously, whose voice you capture with a lyrical quality and a kind of airy eeriness that I haven't seen in a very long time; you have a light touch and an instinct for how to humanize and deepen these characters, like Parvati and Padma and Trelawney, without us feeling like their canon roots aren't there at all. The way you wrote this, the backstory you gave (I loved the quiet Padma/Lavender relationship, and that single moment when Parvati walks in on them right before the battle might be my favorite part because it's just a moment, and there's no time for an argument or tearful explanation) kind of melts into canon; it makes sense that we wouldn't see these things from Harry's point of view, and we see why he would essentialize and caricature these girls the way he did. It's just a very smart, deliberate, but light fic, and I adored it. Really well done~

Author's Response: hwahh

...I think I just stepped on my jaw which fell to the floor...

Right, this is such an intelligent and eloquent review and I really hope I don't come off as an idiot in this response :P I have no idea why or how this little (or very long) fic of mine, sitting at the bottom of my list of stories managed to pick up such attention and such fantastic compliments from you and justonemorefic but I'm just so incredibly grateful and honoured and gaaah. Thank you so much ♥ I completely understand your hesitance at reading such a monstrous oneshot; in fact, it's been quite some time since I re-read this story from start to finish because I know it well enough and it /is/ 9000+ words after all. That's what happens when I try to write someone's life from start to finish, encapsulating those moments that would be important for Lavender - and without too much generalised skimming. In my headcanon Lavender died (but I didn't mention this specifically in my ending, so anyone can interpret otherwise :P ), and because she died so unjustly I wanted to do her silly trivial life absolute justice. And that's sort of something I tried to explore here: the sensation of being alive itself, of being aware of being alive, and everything that is so incredibly banal, yet exciting and ultimately, human.


Oh, goodness, I'm just so happy that the description and the word choice works for you, and that it fits Lavender's voice, maybe. I was very conscious about that - I wanted to be absolutely true to Lavender's voice but I also wanted to be descriptive in certain sections of the story; diction and sentence structure were kinda crucial in this fic. And, lightness of touch with the narrative is /precisely/ the effect I was aiming for with this fic, so thank you so much for commenting on that ^.^

Also, humanising ALL the characters is also something I was going for. And I'm incredibly flattered that you were able to empathise with the more minor characters (Trelawney, Padma, Parvati etc.).

Thank you so much for this amazing review kfjasahgsda I'm a complete mess of feels here. This review has made my next weekend ♥


 Report Review

Review #12, by GubraithianFireinvictus.: friday: part two

10th February 2013:
Somehow I didn't notice that there was an update and I feel really bad about it buuut whatever, here I am~

It's so hard to review this story (I would posit that's why you don't have as many as you deserve, but what do I know about reviewing trends? Next to nothing). Mostly it's because I'm never 100% sure of what I'm seeing, and also because I have a terrible memory and remember broad strokes instead of specifics, but I don't really see how this chapter might be construed as a betrayal, as you say. It just felt more real, and that is kind of a weird point to make because I've said before and I'll say countless times again that this story is uniquely universal even as specific and insular (IN A GOOD WAY!) it can be. But it felt more tethered to reality, and I think it's the dialogue, the removal of Rose from interaction with others. And yeah, usually Rose is mentally removed from others, but the physical removal, the eavesdropping, her silence (she has barely any dialogue in this chapter, right?), even the profanity from Albus... it felt more real. It was something new. Maybe that's the possible betrayal you're seeing? That everything is falling apart (again, Rose notes, and ugh how terrible and heartbreaking)?

I'd rather things fall apart. Stasis is antithetical to plot! Or okay antithetical is a strong word. But stasis of the sort Rose might crave is bad and she is definitely in need of an intervention, as much as I love her interior life (and that's a realism of a different sort than the type that this chapter represents). But no one is really ready to do it. Maybe Scorpius is, and I guess he thinks/hopes he is, but I don't think he's prepared either. To face truly what Rose is and/or has become. I don't know that his love, if it is love, would fix her, even if he hopes and Rose thinks it would. What Albus is advocating, if he is advocating anything specifically, wouldn't help either, but of course, he's not wrong. It hurts for Rose and the reader to hear, because we're so deeply, unprecedentedly involved with her that there are times where it's hard to tell where she ends and the reader is meant to begin (does that make sense? I think it doesn't. Just, the empathy/sympathy levels in this story are incredible even though we know Rose is a really distinct screwed-up person). And Molly. Oh, poor Molly... again, my terrible fic memory means that I don't remember exactly what Rose and Percy are up to, but her pain is palpable. And Rose, naive narcisstic Rose, thinks that it's impossible for Molly to know about it. She's both frightened by and intoxicated by the idea of her own agency; no wonder she can't account for others', especially her family members'.

(I feel like one of those self-righteous morons in discussions who are just sprouting intellectual-sounding things without knowing what any of it means rn so please forgive me if I'm coming off that way; it's so hard for me to be coherent about what you write that I end up writing myself into a box where I can only respond by going to the opposite end of the coherence spectrum. I'd like to settle for 'UGH Y U SO PERF' but this is a ~public space so instead I wrote... everything I've written here so far. ACK SRY BB I'M NOT WORTHY).

Seriously, though, I'm not worthy. I am so honored to be counted as someone important to you and to the story, but I'm not worthy. This is on a totally different level. I skimmed last chapter to catch up and there was a line from Rose wondering if humans can see the divine or the fantastical or fairies or something like that -- I think this story is proof that we can. We may not always understand what it means, but it speaks to us in different ways, chilling and striking ways, and just being exposed to it is a wonder in and of itself.

/awe couched in pretension



sobs cry gasp

Your input has been so so so so SO extremely helpful. I don't even know where to start, truly. I guess I will start where you do...

I think you're right, it's that it was such a departure from Rose's little world and all of a sudden people were actually saying things, and they were intense!!! things. So I'm glad that for you it wasn't a what is this story even doing moment in a bad way. Rose doesn't have much dialogue which isnt' a far cry from other chapters in a literal sense, but she also has a lot less mediation here. She's listening for maybe the first time though I don't think anyone's said anything this important in maybe the whole story.

awyertyateruterueywrtuweyrtuayer I can't even respond help i'm a lump help a lump of FEELINGS

I don't know if Rose actually needs "fixing," so I'm really glad you brought it up--I think Rose needs to, um, sort out her priorities and suck it up and be a good person and to do that she's going to have to escape her own little world, as I have taken to calling it. But you're so right. I don't know if what Scorpius wants to do for Rose is going to help her; I don't know if he knows what she needs. I don't know if I know what she needs, but I'm going to offer her something and see how it works out.

It's my fault for not touching back on things more, because the political plot was originally going to be very important to how things unfolded here, then Rose went completely bonkers and took me with her deeper than I expected. Or I took her deeper than I expected to. I think in a way that we feel for people all the time, every day, knowing that they're really horribly messed up, and there's a certain glamor and simple pleasure in that, the human ability to love, to really, deeply, care. Part of the magic of empathy is something I could have only hoped to invoke in this story and I'm always in awe that it's produced such palpable and intense reactions. But very very pleased.

There's not really a better way to describe it than that Rose is both frightened and intoxicated; that's perfect. I won't add anything. ILY

No; I know you enough to know that none of this is to appear as something. You're not like Rose (or me heurheuhrue) in that, and I can really tell that the beauty of what you've written here is genuine. I think beauty is always genuine, actually. I think that's just how it works. I'm a bit fed up (not with you ofc ♥) with the obsession in the literary world with whether or not something's pretentious. All of writing is pretentious, so we have to sort of leave that concern behind when we enter into writing. Writing is performance. That's what it is. It's acting upon people, it asks things of people's emotions and minds. It means to appear a certain way.


 Report Review

Review #13, by GubraithianFireWelcome to Blunderland: { 20 }

8th January 2013:

That is all. LOLJK it's not all, because I left this for precisely one year (!!! congratulations and such!) without reviewing so I think this is as good a time as any to fix that problem. And AAAH this is so weird stylistically and characterization-ly and it's awesome. It's love triangle deconstruction and history things!!! and action and politics! It just makes me so happy :')

And okay I swear that Albus is evil. I love floral more than florpius (is that what it's called? I forgot) but I am 95% sure Albus is evil. This might be my evil!Albus bias peeking through and corrupting what's there in the text, but he is not all there, if you know what I mean. I won't believe he's good until the very end and what I hope is a supremely happy ending, but even then, I'll probably just have a Blunderland AU in the back of my head where he steeples his fingers and muahahas his way through ruining poor innocent Flora's life.

Sorry I'm not sure where that comes from either.

And umm what else. I was quite surprised to realize that I really don't like Scorpius. It's the first of your Scorpii that I don't like. And it's not just that, again, I like floral better than florpius. His character is very well constructed and great but as a person, he just rubs me the wrong way. He's quite conceited and just... lots and lots of self-pity. Flora is like that too (that rant from a few chapters ago where Scorpius tears her apart was amazing), but her lack of agency is endearing and his is grating; if he were narrating, I imagine it would be a lot of moping and whinging, whereas Flora is just a cheerier, less depressing person. I agree that he wants to have the bruises as badges of honor~ or whatever, but I don't see that as... a good thing, kind of? It reminds me, weirdly, of vigilantes and Batman, but Scorpius as Batman is the single most hilarious thing I've thought of all day. BUT I DON'T WANT HIM DEAD! I hope he's not dead. And his relationship with his parent(s) is, as usual with your Scorpii, brilliant. OH! And I like... sauna. Was that the Scorpius/Fauna ship name? Well I do (I adore Fauna. Moar Fauna pls!).

And it would be TERRIBLE of me to ignore talking about Flora because it is her journey I personally am most invested in (that's not sarcasm btw -- Albus is kind of just there for me unless I think he's evil, and Scorpius, as I said, is not my favorite). Flora, again, is so cheery and content to be bewildered by life. It too gets grating, which is why I liked when Scorpius called her out, but never so much that it actively puts me off the fic. She's adorable, she's rather self-aware, she is one of the best-integrated OC Hogwarts students I've seen in a while. She just fits, you know? And every time Albus tries to get ~physical with her, she's not suddenly preoccupied by his six pack or gleaming hazel-green eyes, she's just freaking out, and I love that. You see OC girls 'freaking out' whenever their crush or whatever kisses them or something, but they always get over it and get on with it. I like that Flora seems naive (and I love that she doesn't understand wizarding politics -- not that I condone it -glares like a good history/politics student-) but is very quick to stand up for herself (FRIENDZONE RANT!!!). Yeah basically I adore her.

I'm sorry this review is really weird and manic and I'm really sorry -- but I am really happy to have caught up after, ahem, a year. I'm so proud of you Julia! It's mega mega mega zoomified. But now I feel like I should have just waited until the end so I wouldn't have to wait for updates! D: Sigh. I'll live.


Author's Response: Happy 'that crazy night in skypeland when Julia decided to write a love triangle fic' anniversary! I will admit it is weird stylistically. There are commas and unecessary speech things all over the shop and almost every paragraph starts with 'so' and ends with 'stuff'.


I am 95% sure Albus is not evil (we're talking Mr Burns evil, amirite) but he's certainly not the shiny manic pixie dream boy he purports to be. He's basically just an average bloke with a bit of polish and nice teeth.

YES THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT I mean, I love writing him, but I don't like this Scorpius either. He rains on every parade. He is the ultimate buzzkill. He is so wrapped up in himself like an origami crane that he doesn't even bother to realise that Flora spends all her time chasing after him and making sure he's alright. SO I LOVE YOU FOR SAYING IT. And yes, plot twist: Scorpius is batman.

On a serious note, I'm so glad you commented on Albus and Scorpius like that. I don't think either of them are that nice, really (but this is coming from the author who knows all about them). Albus has a bit of a hero complex, a smidge of Harry's 'saving people thing' in a world where people don't really need saving...yet. And he's very selective about who he saves. And meanwhile Scorpius is staggering around wailing WOE IS ME and getting into fights for sympathy. They're a pair of gits, if I'm honest.

Haha, thank you for saying that too! Team Flora ftw. Idk, I guess this comes from when I read the Hunger Games - everyone would just ask me 'are you team Peeta or team Gale?' and I'd be like 'er - I'm team Katniss?'. And the thing about Albus getting ~physical, yes. I remember when I read Divergent and there was that passage of Tris facing her fears to become Dauntless, she overcame her fear of physical intimacy (which seemed so randomly placed lolololol) with Four in like, five seconds. That doesn't happen. Trust, my dear OCs, trust~

(Also glaring as a good ex-history student but only pseudo-glaring because I only really pretend to understand politics and parade around like 'yeaah i'm a lefty feminist look at me' but I just regurgitate other peoples' opinions mostly).

Anyway. I'm vair glad you like Flora and are suspish of Albus (the bus of Als) and Scorpius (the Pius

Only three chapters left, so three weeks to go!

Thank you so so so much for your AMAZING review and I love you lots and lots ♥

 Report Review

Review #14, by GubraithianFireThe Anatomy of Genius: The Anatomy of Genius

1st January 2013:
SUSAN! Firstly Happy New Year and I hope you're well. Secondly ahh I adored this. It was absolutely not what I expected from hearing that you'd written a James/Lily one-shot. This reminds me of... I think it was The Third Man, or whichever of your other stories that examined the pedestal James puts Lily on? I'm pretty sure it was The Third Man but my memory is really awful so I may be wrong but anyway -- you know how hard it is to find Lily/James stuff that transcends trope. And I don't think I've read anything that ends on such a note as this and I love it.

I see that some reviewers have said that this needs more but I don't think so at all. I think it's such an innovative take on Lily and on James. James as a privileged but talented wizard isn't rare, but making him so naive (and so perceptive, evidently) and so cut to the quick by Lily's constant evisceration of him, whether verbal or otherwise, has never been done with this level of expertise and empathy. It's never examined, but as Sarah said, it couldn't have been easy for James to put himself out there and constantly get rejected, and his pain is palpable that it makes my heart twist a little, a little sick.

And Lily, of course, navigating the spaces between one life and another, between boys, her struggle for the success canon tells us came to her almost as easily as it came to James -- never better. Perhaps one of my favorite Lily portrayals ever. I'm just constantly impressed by what she said and amazed by her brusqueness; you see Lily being harsh to James all the time, but it never cuts as bitterly as you did it here.

Tbh, though, I have a feeling that most of my praise is colored by how floored I was by the ending, because that was where things really picked up for me. James walking away in the middle of what we as readers and devourers of other pop culture and literature and stuff are conditioned to believe is a ~significant moment~ was something I've never seen before and it elevated the whole thing, which was remarkable to begin with but not something supremely lazy me felt like reviewing immediately, to something really super remarkable. (Wow, I'm eloquent. Very out of practice in reading and reviewing so blargh please forgive me!) It makes me look at everything in a different light, in a much darker light than the one I went into the fic expecting. Just. ack I really liked this. After all this time you never fail to bring something new to these parts and I love, love seeing it.

Author's Response: Gubby! It's always a pleasure to receive one of your reviews! Thank you very much for reading this story, too. It does build from "The Third Man" in its examination of Lily, and a bit also from "Seasons of Discontent", though that Lily was quite a lot darker. In "Genius" I think I've finally found a characterization of Lily that feels right - there's something far more natural about her here that I've not been able to capture in any other story. It probably means that I'll never be able to write about her again, haha (not that it'd be a bad thing to stop writing about her - she appears in half of my one-shots XD).

I can't even start to describe how happy your compliments have made me. I can't even explain how this version of Lily came to be, but it's fantastic that you like how she turned out in this story. There had to be something that brought them together, yet I've never been satisfied with the way I've seen it done (or done it myself). Both characters underwent a significant change within themselves, whether willingly or not is never certain on Lily's side. If James had remained, it would never work between them. He had to leave in order for Lily to experience her epiphany, to realize that she has misread him. This is also why I never explain why he had drunk himself into a stupor - it might be about Lily, it might be about something else entirely. What is important is how Lily reads the situation and reacts to it. It goes back to the way in which she builds him up onto a pedestal while she observes him at work. Is he really the careless genius she has believed him to be? Probably not. But for some reason, she places him on the opposite side of the spectrum from herself. It is in many ways a safeguard, but from what? I wouldn't blame her for being wary of any pureblood who came her way. She's already in a delicate state after both Petunia and Snape have betrayed her. There's a lot going on in Lily's mind, her emotions a whirl of uncertainty. Perhaps that's what makes her so interesting in this story.

I hadn't realized how much the story was focused on her. It should have been obvious, but I distracted myself but thinking of this as a "pre-relationship" story rather than a character study. We have to read between the lines to find James, but maybe that's always been the case. He "rescued" Snape from werewolf!Remus for a reason; Lily fell in love with him for a reason. There's a lot that one could do with James - I imagine that a sheltered, well-loved young wizard would be slightly naive. How much of his behaviour in the books is bravado, I have no idea - maybe more than we think.

It's absolutely wonderful that you liked the ending. It needed to be sharp, something to make the story memorable, if frustrating for some readers. Like you've said, it makes the story feel darker - perhaps deeper or more intense. I never thought the story would end in this way - it was supposed to be a fluffy story... - but it forces Lily into a position that she can't avoid any longer. It's the kind of ending that I love to find when reading stories.

Thank you again, Gubby! ♥

 Report Review

Review #15, by GubraithianFireUp For Grabs: {TO MARKET, TO MARKET, TO BUY A FAT COW}

7th December 2012:
The summary of this fic totally reeled me in, because omg it is so perfect. I love love love this. It's been so long since I've read anything that isn't next gen or other major canon character-centric and especially not something like this. Yes the stereotypes were notable, but they were executed so well. I love Ma, I am seriously crushing on Vinod, I love the quick but thorough peek into Parvati and Padma's relationship (they're so sweet and sisterly!) and gosh, this was just wonderful and adorable and well-executed. It made me happy. (I am definitely going to read your stuff more more often than once every few months because you're so good omg!).

Author's Response: I've read this review a billion times but haven't been able to formulate the words to reply? BASICALLY: thank you so much. This is one of those reviews that's really clear and honest and that panicky people like me don't have to ask questions about. Like 'did she like THIS part though?' and 'What did she think about THIS?' which I honestly do a lot of :c So thank you Gubby! Thank you so very much.

 Report Review

Review #16, by GubraithianFireIssues of Epistemic Modality : Three full stops (dot dot dot)

6th December 2012:
I only just got around to finishing Abstract Nouns and now this, and I haven't read stuff in a long time and haven't reviewed for longer, but God, this is just too cute. I loved both fics -- I love Molly, I love her concerns and neurosis and grammar fixation (which, holy wow, that is more in depth knowledge than I knew was possible), I love her relationships with her family and friends. And Dexter. Oh, Dexter. Their relationship is so perfect in that it's absolutely not perfect. Somehow I think I preferred them before they got together because the sheer volume of supposed insults and passive-aggressive post-it fighting (I adore that anyway) became... I don't know how to explain it but I feel like it became overkill, like you were beating the point over the reader's head. But only a little bit, and never to a point where they became obnoxious. However that's my only criticism, because I think you've created one of the most wonderful weird but healthy relationships I've ever read. It's definitely my new fic otp (not that I want more about Molly and Dexter, exactly, because you put a bow on their story wonderfully). AND I also really appreciated the way we keep seeing Roxanne and Erin and occasionally Lucy pop up and we get to track their lives too. It's all so richly drawn, I feel like I knew them and their problems, though how much Molly can be trusted as a narrator is something I think is up for debate. Still... this is really amazing. I am utterly in love, and... gah, I don't really have anything else to say. This was wonderful. Thank you for writing Abstract Nouns and this, thank you for such indelible characters and such a compelling/not nauseating relationship. Really, this was marvelous. And a whole lot of other superlatives.

 Report Review

Review #17, by GubraithianFireinvictus.: wednesday

14th September 2012:
Oh my God, Lily. I'm sorry I'm not very coherent rn but oh my God. You know I'm bad at keeping up with fic nowadays, even worse at actually reading it at all, but I've never been gladder that I am reading something than I am right now because oh my God. I'm sorry, I'm out of practice at reviewing too, but since there aren't any on this chapter yet I thought I might as well take a crack at it.

I mean... I just... your writing really blows me away because somehow it just gets under my skin, in a way, and it's like you're telling me truths I never knew, maybe never wanted to know, and it feels so organic and deliberate and real and beautiful and terrible and adjectives and adjectives and even more adjectives. I think the first person narrative really heightens the feel and the atmosphere; typically I don't like first person especially in fic because there's a certain template of styles you get when you let an OC girl narrate an entire story, and you know what they are, but this is so rich and textured, but it reads very smooth. I remember going through the first chapter and since I was short on time and not very enthusiastic about reading anything (!!! horror), I was just skimming, and it was difficult to read just by doing that.

So then I went back (I really wanted to see why this was getting the praise it was -- not that I was surprised of course, given that this is you) and once I got into the pattern, it just... it was like going downstream on a river, and sometimes it was gently curving and sometimes it was trying to drown me (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY), but it was flowing inexorably somewhere, to some greater ocean and hopefully catharsis/closure/etc for poor Rose (POOR ROSE OMG, and I thought I was always awful to my myriad Roses). I don't presume to know where you're going with this, but I don't want to know, because I want to experience it and lie on my back and let your story take me away /terrible metaphor.

This chapter in particular... well, it was a doozy. I see Rose attempted suicide (or do I see? I'm never sure what I'm looking at with this story), and also meeting Scorpius obviously is exciting. It's interesting that he still seems to love her or want her ('seems' being the operative word?), because somehow I assumed that they were totally over and Rose was pining for him in her own self-aware way (I hesitate to call Rose's sense of self 'self-aware', exactly, because I think that she both thinks she knows who she is/what she's doing AND at the same time has no idea about either of those things, so much of her behavior is extraordinarily self-destructive and she knows it but doesn't somehow, and I worry for her but I'm so drawn to her but ahem I use parentheses a lot in this review). But what almost eclipsed meeting Scorpius was getting more of Rose with her family, or rather her thoughts about being with her family. All of those sections, all of her worries about the family friendships become perfunctory and obligatory -- God, that is weirdly powerful stuff. Maybe just to me, but agh, it just chills me. Like: I have put so many secrets into this friendship that it has deteriorated to something like a family bond, something like obligatory, perfunctory companionship. And Now, I find, I am trying to keep myself inside, I am trying to get out. I think you have possibly shaken me all over again. I can't pinpoint what it is that strikes me so much about those lines and the others like it (You are not god, you are not god being another btw), but it's so straightforward and it shoots straight at my heart and I just want to cry, and I feel my own blood quickening and how. Yes, it's melodramatic, but it's so... it's ordinary, and it's something Rose is actually saying, and the disconnect between what anyone would ordinarily say and what she has said... good God I think I'm going to cry.

Well, okay, I'm not going to cry. But I do feel very... strange. I feel like you've mined something of me and put it into this fic and that sounds strange but it is really... personal and universal and incredibly specific and caught up in its own mythology, but it gets everything right. Rose's neuroses and paranoia and fears and worries, and OH I FORGOT, Percy going behind his daughter's back? And what Rose says (the Sometimes, I feel it's good for me line)? Just impossible. Insane. This just sweeps the audience off their feet and puts them in some new place when it's done. It's so strange and so magical and it strikes a chord. I'm sure anyone else reading this will say that different lines spoke to them, different characters and concepts, but there's just so much here and I don't know how you do it and oh my God.

 Report Review

Review #18, by GubraithianFireTask One Challenge: Level Two Mission: Obstacles

12th July 2012:
Sarahhh I loved this. Like, adored it. Because there are more characters than just Neville and the dragon, because it's smart and straightforward and full of awesome in so many ways. Mostly in that you didn't go for the easy way out, and you certainly incorporated all the prompts seamlessly. This could have been an ordinary one-shot (although nothing you write ever strikes me as ordinary), it was so well put together and cohesive and stuff. The one thing that really shocked me, though, was Neville using Imperius on the dragon. I know that it's not illegal on animals and such, but... I don't know, it didn't seem like Neville. That may just be me talking, though, and I am by no means a Neville expert. He's a very difficult character to get right, because it's easy to overplay his wallflower-y tendencies and/or easy to ramp up the awesome factor (this is something I think the movies did and that makes me keyboard smash a lot), and that's when Neville becomes... more a creature of fanon than canon, if that makes sense; that's when I get taken out of the story, and it's that danger that makes me wary of Neville fics. But all that said, your Neville is courageous and awesome but not in overbearing ways, and he's a shrinking violet in a very human way, and Neville is best as a human instead of a caricature. So (cough word vomit cough) -- I adored this. So charming and action-packed and well-characterized and "Tons and tons of spiders." :)

Author's Response: HIII GUBBY. ♥

It seems that I cannot write Neville without Ron butting his head in somewhere, being clueless and fun. And ha, yes, this is rather straightforward in comparison to a lot of the other entries. If I'd taken a while to sit on the challenge before writing it, reading the other entries, I might have tried to do something more creative. As it was, I logged on and read the challenge, and immediately started writing. Didn't go back to the forums until I'd posted it.

Fair point about Neville. I suppose my only argument is that Neville was only using the curse to make the dragon sleep, so it wasn't anything malicious; but basically, I just needed a way to use the Unforgivable Curse prompt. I didn't want to take myself too seriously in this fic (hence him tickling a dragon), so I just went with it.

I find Neville to be such an awesome character because in the first six books he was so hesitant and had so many reservations, but in the absence of Harry's defiance, he really came into his own - reviving Dumbledore's Army, trying to steal the sword from Snape's office, sneaking out and graffiti-ing things. So I dunno if he would still really have all of those wallflower tendencies at this stage of his life. The war really changes people, and after a year of standing up to Death Eaters and fighting, proving himself to be a hero, I'm not sure if the fanon interpretation isn't canon, as well. XD

Bahaha, spiders. Poor Ron. I am forever making him the brunt of someone else's joke. He's just primed for it, really.

Thank you bunches for stopping by to read this and review! I always love hearing your feedback - it gets my brain thinking.

 Report Review

Review #19, by GubraithianFireA Dragon's Heart : A Dragon's Heart

11th July 2012:
I've only read a few entries, but of all of them, yours seems the most... story-like, if that makes sense? I've been reading sweeping stories with jumpy timelines, examinations of the champion's character in multiple scenes and special extended metaphors and all that. But this seems the most like a short story, with a linear plot and clear narrative, which was refreshing for me. I couldn't have applied the prompt to an idea so seemingly simple because a story isn't a story for me until I overthink it like whoa, but I'm really glad you did something like this for Susan (trying as hard as possible not to mix up Susans in my head, hehe).

It's not simple at all, though, which is what makes it actually spectacular. It's all a metaphor! There is no dragon! (I was going to say 'kudos for the incorporation of the dragon/blood uses/breeds, which again all seem simple/obvious on first glance but that isn't the case'... and I think I should say it anyway because the kudos are well-deserved). Your Susan (... Susan's Susan lol) is so beautiful, so strong, and the memory of Alecto Carrow and that awful year of Hogwarts (I really wish we'd had a glimpse into what that was like in canon) is threaded into who she is now, and it's just... again, beautiful. Her fight with her dragon also worked really well -- it's so hard to get action scenes to work, let alone with dragons, of all things, and the idea that this dragon is everything Susan went through wasn't spoon-fed to the reader. It's still there, though, just under the surface, and I love that you don't spell it out.

So basically: I thought this was lovely. It was a straightforward narrative, which was something of a cunning path to take with the challenge, I think, and it worked really nicely. No especially frilly frills, nothing that didn't need to be there -- this was just a well thought out, deceptively simple story, and another great read from you, as always :)

Author's Response: It figures that the one time I try to write a "normal" sort of story, everyone else does fancy stylistic things. But hey, I like to be different, and writing this way actually proved to be more of a challenge. God forbid I should write a linear plot with more metaphors than a sentence can hold, but I agree that this style better suits Susan (not me-Susan but Susan Bones) as a Hufflepuff. She's practical and realistic, and while she's got the bitterness many of my characters do, she expresses it in her own way, which made her interesting to write.

Haha, it's the simple story that is anything but - I hadn't noticed that, but now that you mention those things... *brain explodes* Talk about overthinking a story. I wish I'd been able to go into more detail about the Carrows' regime and its effect on Susan - there is a whole novel there waiting to be written - but I'm really glad to hear that just those brief glimpses were enough to give Susan more depth, revealing the roots of her strength and determination. It's equally wonderful to hear that the action scene was effective. They are difficult to write, I agree! I had this idea of making Susan see Alecto's face and hear her voice in the dragon's as a way to strike more terror into her, but that probably would have been overdoing things. It's still there between the lines because it was such a strong idea in my mind as I wrote this, and I'm glad that it still showed through somehow. :)

Thank you so much for this, Gubby! Your reviews are accompanied by an angelic choir in my head, they're that amazing to receive. And this one, for a story that I really didn't have much confidence in (confidence isn't even the right word - I just didn't have enough time to properly think everything through), has brought up the self-esteem and made me look at this story with a much kinder pair of eyes.

 Report Review

Review #20, by GubraithianFireMagic: it certainly does love you

11th July 2012:
I did kind of suspect that Cho became a dragon (... Cho did become a dragon, didn't she?) but I'm SO IMPRESSED with how you did it. Somehow I'm reading it as more a figurative 'becoming a dragon,' and I don't know if that's your intention, but the bits about being being fueled by brandy intrigued me. I just skimmed through the other reviews to see if I'm being delusional, but Lily's review said something that I'd like to echo: this seems like a story that's profoundly sad at its core, which I guess any story that has 'overcoming adversity' as a major theme must be, but there's not a sense that the adversity, in whatever shapes and forms (and I love how you articulate the shapes and forms with the dragon breeds and their names), is completely gone, or even capable of being completely gone. I haven't read very many of the stories with these prompts, but I think that's something I hope to see in the rest of them, so thank you for setting such a high benchmark in that very important respect.

Also, your Cho! Again, haven't read many of the entries, but I love seeing Cho in this light, in stages of her life, and so succinctly described! I love the paragraph about her being thirteen and losing her mother; I don't know if I quite followed it because there are a lot of pronouns and my brain hasn't really worked at unraveling fic in a while, but I really liked the aura you set up in a few lines. And I love that you didn't dwell on Cedric especially, on his death and the aftermath instead of any specific memories of their relationship. I think that's a very smart, savvy choice, because I feel like that's something that happens when one loses someone young in life (in fiction, at least), where the death overshadows the reality of the relationship. And of course, the lines about how protective 'they' were of their Boy Who Lived were really astute and true and everything I believe to be the case as far as Cho goes in fanon. Oh, and the most notable line, I think, was the last one, because it's all full circle and beautiful and simple. (I love love love how you shape your sentences. Your syntax is complex but effortless and not run-on-y and I love that).

And... yeah.

 Report Review

Review #21, by GubraithianFireSilence in the Deep: In the Heart of the Darkness

25th May 2012:
I don't know what it is, but Heart of Darkness allusions always get to me, as you well know. It's such a terrifying and engrossing book, and you evoked the same emotions with this. I've never thought about Severus and Lily in a Marlowe/Kurtz dichotomy (if anything I would have done the reverse, with Snape as Marlowe and Lily as a Kurtz figure), but this is so lovely and corrosive and intense. You do all of those things so well, obviously, but the intense is what gets to me every single time. As far as I can remember, no author's ever wrung the emotions and the intensity out of mere words like you without fail do (like in Out of Time, which just iaiprhskd idek how to deal with that -- congrats on finishing, by the way!). I've seen that Snape/Lily has experienced a little revival lately, and while I always sidestep the ship because it can be so emotionally manipulative, this was just... eee.

It's rare enough that we ever see one from Lily's point of view that doesn't explicitly bring up the role James plays in this, but one where Lily is attracted at all to Snape... eee. Your myriad interpretations of Lily are always among my favorites because you don't reduce her (or, perhaps more appropriately, deify her) to the pure angelic pedestal of honor and whatever. This Lily is fallible, feels things other than saintly pity and/or toootally 'justified' repulsion towards Snape, is lost and confused but not exactly in an idealized/romanticized way, if that makes any sense? Marlowe and the Intended never quite know what it is they're chasing. There's a very tenuous innocence, perhaps, but it's dashed away in Marlowe when he finds out (something resembling) the truth and sort of undercut when Kurtz dies and leaves the Intended hanging. It's tragic, of course, but again, it's not just the romantic sort of tragic. It's genuinely horrifying, and not in a swoon-y horror way, and there are elements of the romantic tragedy and the real horror (the horror~) in this, which I really, really liked. (I haven't read it in three years so my memory may be a little hazy, forgive me).

... anyway I really liked this. As usual. So.

Author's Response: Gubby! *glomps* It's always great to hear from you and see you around (a new story I see? It's long as anything, but I will read it *is determined*). Thank you very much for reading this (because school is... you know) - seeing that you'd reviewed too is a treat, and I really appreciate it. ^_^

Mush aside, I'm thinking over your idea of making Lily into a Kurtz figure. Somehow, I find that terrifying, but it would be brilliant to try it - with my luck, Lily would turn out to be a horrifying goddess devouring the flesh of the men who love her. Snape is definitely more suited to Marlowe - making him into a Kurtz was tricky, and if anything, he represents more of the disappointment Marlowe experiences at actually meeting Kurtz. I'm starting to think about what this would have been like the other way around, and I must stop and continue responding. Yes.

This story is very much in the wake of "Out of Time", so the crazy intensity of that one is still with me. Maybe that's what helped with Lily's thought process - one Lily ended up being like the other in many ways. It's fantastic to hear that this story is intense, and I like the word corrosive, too, because there's so much slime and fluid in this story - both characters are stained by the potions they brew and Lily sees her own blood as poisonous to others. The setting eats away at them both, destroying what could have been a fluffy moment. You always come up with the best ways of describing these kind of things - thank you! :D

Lily in this story is kind of like Eve - curious, impulsive, striking out in a new world, and she tastes the apple. Does she regret it? Does she like it too much? She has gotten what she wanted... maybe... and discovers that something is very wrong with it - it's the discovery that the Intended isn't allowed to have because it destroys all of the illusions and perhaps it even kills love. Maybe this is the turning point for Lily when she decides to leave Snape to his own devices, or maybe it's a beginning of something that was effectively dashed by the "Worst Memory" incident. You're right that she's so fallible and confused on this quest into the underworld - all of it goes wrong for her, and Snape probably has no clue what's going on. The story can be seen as exploring Lily's desire (oh god, Freud would love this reading) and her rejection of it in the end stands for the repression of desire for Snape that she exercises in the world above ground. I like what you've said about it using a different kind of tragedy. It's not romantic, and it's not meant to be a romantic story, though it could have been if the context was different. I can't even describe what it ended up being, but perhaps that's what makes it horrifying - it can't be named. Even in the book, Marlowe doesn't know exactly what "the horror" is supposed to represent - he can guess at it, but it remains unknown. Snape can name his "horror" - his love for Lily - but Lily can't. She remains, like Marlowe, in the dark.

No pun intended.

Thank you for this, Gubby. You've made me think about the story - like really think about it - and I love it when reviewers give me the chance to look back at a story and see it anew. Your reviews are always amazing! ^_^

 Report Review

Review #22, by GubraithianFireNever Let Me Go: I

14th May 2012:
I've wanted to check out your work for a while now, so naturally I pick the night before my last final to do so. BUT ANYWAY, I saw that Susan reviewed this and was flaily and anything that leaves Susan flaily is clearly something worth procrastination and holy wow. I didn't really think that much of the beginning because it's something I've seen time and time again, characterizations and style and all that; not that it was bad, just nothing mindblowing. And then, and I don't know how you did it, but holy wow, it was just... intoxicating and kind of dizzying. So much depth! With these sorts of fics it's the emotion that counts, and so often it doesn't really resonate with me because, again, it's something that I've seen done for ages, but it really hit me with this one and I don't know what it is exactly, but it did and argh! (I'm sorry for rambling btw, I am incapable of anything but verbose rambling.) Again, I can't really put my finger on what it was, precisely, but lines like "Words like knives, but eyes gazing deep, enduring with sick pleasure every jeer" were sheer luminous syntactical gold, and it is so rare to find inventive/atypical syntax in fanfic so that made my inner language nerd ecstatic. And the ending was, like, weirdly cathartic and heartbreaking all the same, so :( but :') at the same time. (You know you're not entirely in your right mind when you can't explain things without the use of smilies.)

I don't really read fic as much as I used to anymore, and God forbid I ever actually review something, but I'm really glad you wrote this and that I read it. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but this was really spectacular and compelling and emotional and all those things I want to find in fic, and I'm glad to have finally read your work and hope to more in the future~ when I'm not supposed to be studying. Cough.

Author's Response: Ooh, thanks so much! I honestly appreciate it, and considering the fact that I didn't give the plot as much thought as I should have (I would say as much as I "normally do" but that's not much at all, is it?), it really means tons that it worked out alright and that people have enjoyed reading it. Thank you very much Gubby, and I hope your fanfic reading doesn't come in the way of you prospering in your exams - the way they clearly did mine .__. Also why is that line getting so many mentions (okay, two) I DON'T SEE THE MAGIC OF IT AT ALL in fact I've forgotten what I was thinking of when I put that in place lol. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 Report Review

Review #23, by GubraithianFireOut of Time: In Search of Lost Time

21st April 2012:
So, um, hi. Remember me?

I just... I don't understand anything and it's glorious but also really, really weird and brilliant and ugh. Susan, you are a genius, and I say this all the time, but you really are. I mean, okay, my head is spinning and my brain is broken and my heart is racing and this... what even. I wish I could be more articulate or at least use more actual words, but I swear, my heart is breaking and there are so many implications to everything Lily does and now will ever do, and the weight of that is making me shudder, so what Lily is going through I can't even begin to begin to imagine. I remember feeling like this at the end of chapter 10 (which I reread in preparation and died upon said reread), but this is just so, so much worse, because Lily is alive and dead and not-dead (I think there's a difference, but I'm probably wrong so ahem)? I... is this the real life/is this just fantasy, I don't know what to say. Time travel has never really been my cup of tea because I simply don't have the mental capacity to plot it out or comprehend it, and this cements all my intense, intense fears of it/admiration for it and I don't even know what I'm saying right now but holy crap Susan you are a genius and we all bow down to you.

-possibly redundant but extremely necessary/deserved bow down-

Author's Response: Gubby! *glomps* I didn't think you had time to read, but you've read mine all the same and that's fantastic! (Well, not for your studying. :P) But really, thank you so much for taking the time to read this story - I can't express how much it means that you like it. ^_^

Heart breaking and head spinning was just what I was going for when writing this story, a drive that's only increased as the story has come along. It's been an incredible experience writing a story like this where plot and character are well-balanced, not to mention a story as intense as this one. Traumatic comes to mind to describe this story, and having the first person narration makes Lily's trauma the reader's - I didn't think about that when starting out, but it makes the story so much more than a regular time travel romance. I dreamed of it working out this way, but never thought it would actually /happen/.

You're the only one so far who has still asked whether this is real or fantasy - I wrote the story with both as strong possibilities. Lily could have dreamed the whole time travel experience (getting the details from books and things she's heard, I suppose), and continues dreaming, coming back into reality before dipping back into the dream again. She questions it, too, but overall, it's easier for her to see the "dream" as real. It's less open-ended in the epilogue, but in the final scene of the ending, I purposely exaggerated the descriptions and colours so that it felt dream-like, as though she'd just lost herself to the dream (another possibility I played with had her dying, hence all of the water imagery, while another has Lily and Moody as Alice's parents). Lily definitely is existing in a liminal space between life and death - whether it be that half-life in which the Longbottom's life (particularly Alice) or the place where Dumbledore and Voldemort exist after death. At the same time, it all may have actually happened.

It's much easier to take credit for the complexities of this story now that I've finished writing, but at the time, I didn't think through the whole thing - some arose to fill plot holes, others to develop character, and still others because they sounded cool. But together, they made something insane, didn't they? It was interesting to explore time travel in this way, and while it's scary that it only intensified your fear of it, it's fantastic that it was also able to increase your admiration of it. Time travel deserves more serious attention - it shouldn't just be used for convenience, but as something highly problematic.

*bows down to Gubby* Thank you so much for your support while I wrote this story. You may not think it much, but it really did help me get through this... mess. I've finally written something that I'm proud of, and I couldn't have done it alone. ^_^

 Report Review

Review #24, by GubraithianFireWelcome to Blunderland: { introduction }

9th January 2012:
Eee, dedicated to me? I do declare! -flutters fan and giggles- I adore this already. You hit all the beats of the teenage love triangle~ introductory chapter and you do it so well! I've secretly been waiting for another one of these quality next gen romances and no joke, I'm so glad it's you who is embarking on this very very very dangerous/addictive journey. It will suck you in and won't let you go (unless you're me and you hop off the train to doom/fanfic infamy a few months in because you're bored and hate your characters and stuff). Love love love Flora and Fauna (omg lol forever) and, of course, Scorpius. And Albus. Albus! My brooding avenging angel! At least I think you will be all three of these things. Flora is adorable or, excuse me, adorkable. Anddd this is my review for you, I love you and all you choose to be and all the things you write and you are just a demigod of... drama... dance... I will think of something else starting with the letter 'd' eventually, but in the meantime, yay! ♥

Author's Response: I SAY I SAY. Ofc, Gubby. I had something of an epiphany whilst reading Confec and then your blog, and, all of a sudden, this great by quirky hipster love triangle came stumbling awkwardly into my head, knocking over all my other WIPs in the process.

Please. I already hate all of my characters. Except Albus, who is my brooding avenging angel. And I sort of like Scorpius because he's pure Julia McHipster headcanon, asthma and broken home and all.

Adorkable or tweepulsive?

(psst: drama, dance, dinosaurs)


 Report Review

Review #25, by GubraithianFireOut of Time: Borrowed Time

4th January 2012:
I know I've been remiss with reviews lately (although I can't really remember if I've ever not been remiss with reviews tbh), but I've been following this fic and your others closely. This one especially just kills me with every update, and I always start moping and nursing my poor broken heart after I read. But this chapter. This chapter, I can't even... I don't know how to begin to describe all the emotions this fic evokes. It's delicately stunning, but it's also the type of fic where I feel like I'm being bashed repeatedly over the head -- in a good way, I promise! I have awful fic memory, so reading this fic, I never remember exactly what happened in the chapter before (note to self: read this all the way through, since this deserves an attentive reader), but I do remember that it made me extraordinarily sad, and I'm in awe of how you keep this delicate/desperate/sweeping/epic mood throughout. Lily and Moody's love story is extraordinary, and it takes my breath away every damn time, and I know I'm being slightly incoherent/rambly/repetitive but I can't help it. Just... gah, the feelings, Susan! I am, I'll admit, surprised that there is so much left of the story to get to, but I can't wait, and I'm very curious about this slightly different style and the direction you'll take this story in. Thank you so much for writing this, truly, you're an inspiration.

Author's Response: :O :O :O

I have broken Gubby's heart with each chapter?! That is good (artistically), but it is also very bad (morally). It's supposed to be sad, and I'm pleased to hear that it actually is (and not just in my head - I've become too emotionally attached to this story, my first "actually planned ahead and going through with original plan" plot). I wanted to be emotional without being over-dramatic - most of the time, Lily doesn't reveal much of the drama and certainly doesn't reveal in it. She's very quiet, and so is he, for all his action and passion.

Delicate is the perfect word to describe how this story feels to write - I feel the need to pay 20x more attention to word choice and rhythm in this story than any other WIP. It's more like an extended version of my one-shot style, which is something I've never been able to carry through an entire longer work. There's no straight storytelling in this story - every word counts - and maybe that's why I enjoy writing it so much, as well as why it's so emotionally consuming to write.

ANYWAY (getting off-track!), I'm not set on three chapters - specifically, two chapters and an epilogue - but I've left room for Lily to sort herself out and put together the pieces of the puzzle. The first part of this may turn out shorter, depending on how sparse the style ends up being. The main problem is in returning to her own time - how does she work through the things she has seen and felt and lived?

Thank you for this review! It was definitely the most uplifting moment of the day to read this review and flail about. To have you like this story so much is absolutely fantastic, the best possible compliment. ^_^

 Report Review
If this is your story and you wish to respond to reviews, please login

<Previous Page  Jump:     Next Page>