Reading Reviews From Member: TidalDragon
  
624 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and a Daughter of Druid: Wandmaker

30th August 2015:
My favorite part of this chapter was easily the beginning. I'm kind of a sucker for wandlore, and I'm always wanting to know more about it. I don't get caught up too much in every single different type of wood like many, but more the nitty-gritty like you had Ollivander talk about in this chapter. Cores, and different approaches and things like that. So i found that portion very cool.

The remainder of the chapter obviously sets up the story that is to come. Umbridge and her schemes it seems will never leave Harry alone and it's a shame after all he's done that he'll once more be put through the wringer by her.

The cliffhanger ending was well handled! It definitely left me wondering what's going to happen next and whether Harry will in fact get trapped as planned or something else will happen (like him becoming too inquisitive for his own good as he does often in canon) and end up springing it on himself.

Thanks for sharing this story with us, Kenny! You are always so inventive with different ideas to write about and to expand the Potterverse!

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Review #2, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and a Daughter of Druid: Godfather

30th August 2015:
Since I owe you two more reviews from the Last 18 Hours Challenge in the House Cup, I thought I'd pick up where I left off here.

Since you've now finished this story and I've read talk of it, I understand a bit where we are headed and in some ways it's interesting to know that in advance. You put an emphasis on the druidic magic with runes early in the chapter, highlighting their rarity, but efficacy. I think this is good because it lends credence to how powerful the magic Harry will have to face will prove to be.

The possibility of an outside influence then gets extended to his dreams and even his conception of himself and his relationship with Ginny. Read in conjunction with the original story ('First Mission') I'm now wondering if all the discussions of legilimency and occlumency feed into this and whether Harry's dreams are already being altered externally by the people seeking to influence him - and start to subtly distance him from Ginny. It's an intriguing concept.

Let's see what you do with it in Chapter 3!

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Review #3, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Father and Son

30th August 2015:
I've made it to the end of this one. I'm still blown away at how you write so many chapters, Kenny. It's incredibly impressive.

Anyway, the only drawback I saw to this chapter was that it ends rather abruptly. Given some of what's been alluded to in this story, I certainly get the sense it will be picked up in later pieces you've written, but it just felt a little odd to end here so quickly.

I thought it was a nice touch that you had Harry connecting with the next generation of students though. He was a bit tough on Andrew earlier before knowing him really and his story, and while he did deserve a reprimand, it was difficult to feel that it was ENTIRELY down to that given Harry's expressions of (at least) irritation that the boy seemed to be attracted to Ginny. Let's hope someone so young doesn't become a real threat - I think that would be a reach. But coming back around to my original point, I thought it was nice how you then brought Harry back to sit down and not only justify himself, but try to understand Andrew and his background and who he is. It shows much more maturity from Harry than we get to see often, but I thought it was nice too because it's one of the first opportunities Harry has had to truly deal with someone who was also on orphan (besides Voldemort, who was obviously bent on killing him).

All in all, this was an intriguing read that I think gives us plenty of background on your conception of the characters to build up future stories centered on them and these characterizations.

Thanks for sharing!

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Review #4, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Snitch Catch

30th August 2015:
Before I forget, one minor thing - try to avoid this type of usage "cabin of Hagrid." Unless there is a reason for the speaker to be so formal, most readers would expect this possessive form: "Hagrid's cabin." I know you're trying to improve writing in English, so I figured I'd just offer this little tip.

Now back to the story! Revisiting the events on the Isle of Skye with Hagrid reminded me of something from that chapter - Avada Kedavra (per GOF) is actually unblockable by magic (aside from Prior Incantatem and "love magic" like Lily).

ANYWAY - I liked that you continued on with the interlude from the action here, which gave us a chance to see some new faces along with old as well as some old faces in new situations. What I thought was clever was the way that you used a joint Quidditch practice to address "revenge prejudice" against Slytherins and the dinner with Slughorn being ostensibly to recruit Harry as an opportunity for Ginny to meet Gwenog Jones. Those were neat moves and I found the last one to be particularly clever. I'm hoping we'll see more of the dinner in the final chapter to confirm that or hear something about it that will do so.

The last thing I want to mention was the originality of your animagus transformation. There's nothing really to say (other than basic transfiguration laws) what fuels that process and I thought it was interesting you made it similar to casting a patronus in that positive thoughts can be helpful. I wonder...did you mean for them to be necessary as with a patronus or simply helpful (like a positive frame of mind generally increasing your likelihood of success with most things)? Just wondering since I've never seen anyone actually write about it that way (or honestly write about LEARNING to become an animagus at all).

On to the final installment!

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Review #5, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: A Reason for Living

30th August 2015:
My favorite thing about this chapter was that it showed some vulnerability in Harry. What we haven't had a lot of in the story so far (and this is not a criticism, just an observation), is an opportunity to examine the heavy impact of the war on the major characters. While there have been some scenes dealing with it, by and large, the demands of keeping society afloat and catching the criminals who are still at large has taken precedence in terms of both time and attention. But even in those times, there would have to be moments like in this chapter, where even the strongest characters have doubts.

I also liked (surprise, surprise) that you pulled back the curtain on what's going on with Harry and Ginny. Though I know pairings aren't central to your story at all, I think it's a good thing to explore both for readership (because let's be honest, readers always want to know what's up with the couples) and also authenticity because part of recovering from the war is also discovering where people fit into each other's lives - if the old feelings and relationships still work or not.

I'm interested to see what the last two chapters have in store for us...

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Review #6, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Undercover

29th August 2015:
I have returned!

Now we're getting into the real intrigue with the various plot points coming together and the scheme being revealed more fully chapter by chapter. It's obvious from reading this piece straight through that you put a lot of time and care into laying out the plot progression and various elements to keep certain things hidden until their proper moment.

Here it worked out well because we were then left wondering scene-to-scene what would happen with Draco and Lucius's loyalties. I'm not surprised by their decision given the state of the wizarding world and their political, self-serving natures, but it was still a challenge perhaps in the moment for them.

You've left us on something of a cliffhanger here though, so I'm going to race on to the next chapter so I can see what happens next.

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Review #7, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Mentor

29th August 2015:
Howdy Kenny!

For a change of pace, this time around I'll kick things off with plot. I like this development around the Mark and the nightmares and a possible revenge plot. I think that's a very realistic likelihood assuming any Death Eaters remained at large following the Battle of Hogwarts. The Lestranges would be a family that would have particular interest as well because their anger is multiplied by Bellatrix's death.

On the other hand, the manner of discovering the content of the nightmares and thus the plot felt, for me, like a reach. Certainly Harry is a powerful wizard. Certainly wandless magic is possible. And certainly he could take something away from having navigated Voldemort's mind after discovering the connection that might help him with legilimency. But per canon, Harry was generally AWFUL at occlumency and as you've set up with the book, the two being quite interconnected, I find it hard to accept he would not just succeed the first time, but so immediately pinpoint precisely what he was looking for in the sea of Malfoy's mind. And wandlessly to boot. If you came back and made it a bit more of a challenge, in addition to boosting realism, I think you could also give yourself and opportunity to show off some of that great description we've seen in earlier chapters by immersing us in the tumultuous experience of trying to get in (and if he does, struggling to focus or find anything specific). Just some food for thought.

See you in Chapter 9!

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Review #8, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: The Potions Master

29th August 2015:
Hello again, Kenny! I intended to return earlier in the week, but was unfortunately delayed.

The main thing I'd say about this chapter from a writing perspective is to proofread when you come back. You nailed a lot of the language earlier in the chapter, but when certain words were revisited typos emerged.

Mechanically, I think a lot of what I've said before applies, though this chapter being a bit longer made it slightly more apparent. You have a talent for slipping in nice nods to facial expressions, body language, etc. that some authors miss, but because of the line-to-line transitions it doesn't stand out as much or make quite the impact on the reader that I think it could.

As far as plot goes, I think you're continuing to cultivate this really interesting atmosphere post-War where there have been so many casualties and wizarding society is still so unstable that they have a desperate need for younger people from around Harry's time at Hogwarts to step up in a lot of places and multi-task, even as students to help paper over gaps and ensure their world keeps on functioning as it needs to. Well done with that.

I'm on to Chapter 8!

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Review #9, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Back to Hogwarts

26th August 2015:
Huzzah! I got some of my Harry/Ginny fix in this chapter which is always a good thing. I enjoyed their in-person reunion after some time away. A little awkwardness, but a lot of attraction and emotion. I will say in terms of characterization that I thought Ginny came off a bit more damsel-ish with blushing over Harry's shirtless body and letting him have influence over the tryouts, but that's something that if it's balanced out later could be attributed back to a lot of things. Just food for thought.

As far as the rest goes, I think you're doing a good job planting more of the seeds for change and what you want this story to become. With six chapters left I'm going to be interested to watch and see how those nuggets will be resolved or IF they will be in this story, or in future ones (since I know almost all your stories connect in some way and this is - I believe - merely the first chronologically).

I have to go to sleep for now, but I'll be back to hopefully review the other half tomorrow and a couple more of your stories to boot.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Kenny!

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Review #10, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: The First Training Week

26th August 2015:
Well, well. You tricked and then un-tricked us with that Romilda Vane bit. I thought I had her pegged before she introduced Blaise to the lunch, but in the end she was right back to her old games of trying to flirt with and "win" Harry. I'm glad nothing came of it in the end. I think that much would've been too easy and too soon. As a more minor point, if she's going to be doing plenty of flirting, I'd also consider varying what she does. Batting her eyelashes is certainly fitting, and even obvious, which suits her character even more perhaps. But at the same time, it can't be her only move, so I'd think up some others.

One thing I was confused about in the early assignment (which demonstrated Harry's dedication nicely - I don't remember him ever getting so caught up in a book since Snape's old potions text) was that I had thought at first they were ordered to make the catch WITHOUT wands, but everything they did proceeded with them. Perhaps I read it wrong, and if so, disregard, but otherwise I'd tweak that early phrase so it matches up with what happens.

On to Chapter 6 for me!

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Review #11, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Auror Headquarters

26th August 2015:
While this chapter was a bit a slower and more transparent, I felt that it served its purposes well: (1) getting us to the next stage of development and (2) setting up some interesting new elements that readers wouldn't have expected going forward - like Romilda Vane, Blaise Zabini, and some other minor characters being among the first class of Auror trainees.

One thing I liked about their introduction as well was the way you used it as an opportunity to remind people who may have questioned some of the other choices initially of exactly what they've been through - also a reminder to us as FF writers that we too often forget the specific losses and sacrifices of others when we write in this era.

Now that you've injected this elements, I'll be intrigued to see how you use them and what purpose they ultimately serve to the story.

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Review #12, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Eighteenth Birthday and Independence

26th August 2015:
The story is definitely growing now, and I like how you're letting it take a fairly natural progression, not having "too much" happen too soon (at least not in the focal part of the story).

My favorite part of this chapter was the way that you expanded on your use in the previous one of the weather or nature as an indicator of mood or for foreshadowing.

I also give you credit for sticking to Head Girl Hermione and Quidditch Captain Ginny. A lot of people give authors a lot of stick for giving them those two roles post-War, but I think it really ignores the reality that they're easily the best choices for the roles. It's one of the things I think people often ignore about CERTAIN cliches - they CAN be used so frequently because they ARE plausible. It's just up to the author to carry them off effectively. Given your creativity thus far in this story, I don't think you'll find that an insurmountable challenge and I'm looking forward to see how both develop in their roles.

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Review #13, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Reconstruction and Funeral

26th August 2015:
Hello again!

So, to piggyback off my last, I think it was really telling that my favorite parts of your chapter here were those that were more introspective or descriptive. The large paragraph where Harry feeds Buckbeak was the first example, but the best one to me was actually simpler, shorter, and more subtle. This line: "Harry stood there and looked up at the sky. A breeze began to blow over the hill." In that moment, that single line said more than any dialogue was ever capable of - keep that in mind.

I want to underscore however that this doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your dialogue. Though tags and structure are areas to think about, the points you have the characters express are good ones and the interactions you choose are wise and not "easy" ones. Lord knows you tackled Hagrid, who I'm still afraid of writing.

What I liked most about this chapter though was the constant contrast you developed between creation and death, burial and rebirth. It was a great theme to carry through at this point in the story.

On to Chapter 3 for me!

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Review #14, by TidalDragonHarry Potter and the First Mission: Life Still Goes On

26th August 2015:
Howdy Kenny! I'm here for both GryCReMo and to pay you the reviews I owe you from the House Cup!

I want to start by saying I like the premise of this story and the tweaks you've made, like Harry actually starting his Auror training at Hogwarts. While it's a deviation from canon, I think it present a lot of opportunities to explore some emotions and character dynamics in a different way. Kudos for taking it on, while still meshing with the concept of Harry training as an Auror that year.

As far as mechanics go, there are two things I'd examine if you're looking for ways to improve the chapter. First, I'd be careful with the balance of dialogue and other components (like description and inner thought). While it's not a universal thing, I've found that the most engrossing stories tend to have a balance (on the whole) of around 60-40 dialogue-others. Though that number can change from chapter-to-chapter or depending on how many characters are involved with the story itself, I think it's a pretty solid general rule to make sure you get plot progress, reader involvement, and depth.
Second, I'd look at sentence structure (particularly with dialogue) to make sure you're not always hitting similar lengths, tags, order, etc.

All in all though I'm interested to see how this story develops and what unique changes your tweaks wreak on our heroes.

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Review #15, by TidalDragonDon't Forget Me: My Hero

25th August 2015:
Wow! This was hauntingly powerful. First, I think the choice of second person really helped make the piece. It helped us connect on a more visceral level with the angry, accusatory tone in the beginning and too travel with it to the end where we felt Albus's desperation.

The way you handled Albus's thought patterns - very fitting for someone who is losing himself (probably in isolation) - was excellent because it not only tied so well with those emotions, but also accented his instability.

The last cool thing I noticed was how the sentence lengths you chose made the story almost symmetrical, rising for shorter, earnest beginnings through a detailed midsection, to a quick crescendo that culminated in a final desperate plea.

This was an incredibly impressive piece and it always blows me away what an author can do with 500 words (not least because I'm always so long-winded). But despite the economy of language your descriptions and expression of Albus's inner thoughts were still complete. Always. And exceptionally so.

Congrats on such a great story! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Review #16, by TidalDragonDon't Leave Me: 1.

25th August 2015:
Howdy! And happy birthday!

Even though I'm usually a canon nut, this story was a very well done snapshot piece at the end of the final battle. Though I'll confess to not quite understanding this near-global fascination with Theodore Nott, I thought you did a great job in a very short time with the dynamics of the piece and the characterizations. Lavender desperate. Pansy and Blaise composed despite the circumstances, at least until the reach the point of no return. And Nott I don't know so well, but he had his own solid voice still.

One thing that was quite interesting was how the story felt like it was kind of swirling around Theodore even though he's the one dying there. He has his moments of prominence, but there's so much conversation around him and about him that it gives it an almost ghostly feel - very fitting given the implication at the end. And it made the end all the more powerful.

Thanks for sharing this story with us. I hope you're enjoying your birthday festivities (and the accompanying reviews)!

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Review #17, by TidalDragon'Eyes' with an 'L': Boom

24th August 2015:
Seriously, I don't even know how you come up with these brilliant ideas, Roisin. Much less execute them. Deaf Lily?! Incredible. And I think it honestly reinforces this connection with Snape, gives it so much more of a purpose than "childhood friends she was too kind to ditch quickly at school because she's so nice and reasons."

Even with that element injected though, you were able to use it to underscore the end of their friendship and connection. We know it all ended because of his seduction by the Dark Arts and Lily finally refusing to accept it any longer, but you drove the point home using the deaf Lily tweak, with the idea of deafening the world and it was very cool to see.

As always your piece was well-researched. I learned about Cochlear implants from Bones myself, but it was interesting how you also used that and the deafness to shape the Evans family dynamic as well.

And because I'm a HUGE James/Lily fan, of course I loved that he ended up winning her over with genuine interest in signing and asking her out on a date finally USING sign language. Awesome!

Thanks for sharing this! Congrats on the challenge!

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Review #18, by TidalDragonFalling Out: Not About Love

24th August 2015:
Well, I read this one too because...Draco/Rose...WHAT?! Though this is more a retrospective than a true exploratory piece, it still caught my attention and was interesting to me for a lot of reasons. Though never so extreme there are, in some respects, echoes of my own life in this tale that make it a little weird and unsettling - namely the fundamental misunderstanding two people can have of each other when they're both reaching for a connection - not even love perhaps - and then it's supposed to become something, but they wind up disconcerted with what it is, one more so than the other (the instigator), but the both of them in the end.

I'll be honest and say I can't see how this would play out truly in Next Gen on the realism scale, but it certainly makes you think and I think works well with the song you selected.

Thanks for sharing!

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Review #19, by TidalDragonY5.5: Identical, Yet Inverted

24th August 2015:
Roisin! This is hilarious! I would say that is all, but I have to give you more than that for this masterpiece of self-awareness. Isn't it amazing how when you get to (or in my case toward) the end of something, and look back at what you've done with a novel critically you are able to clearly make the kind of observations that weren't as obvious to you when you were moored in it? Though when we write we're obviously making deliberate choices about a lot of these things, the little oddities that pop up in any story, no matter how meticulously researched, how epic in its psychology and treatment of heavy issues, or how well-written?

I think my favorite here definitely has to be Emily "acting generally cute and sweet." That is absolutely her M.O. and what's even funnier about it is how she had the reputation of sleeping around - she ends up the definition of what my mock trial coach once called the "happy-hearted ho" though.

There is so much about this story that is just amazingly on-point though - I haven't read the other entries, but you have my vote for this challenge! :p

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Review #20, by TidalDragonYear Five: Cleaner, More Brilliant

24th August 2015:
AH FERNGULLY! I watched that movie SO MANY times as a kid!

I won't have anything crazily substantive to say about this chapter as it is an epilogue really. Toward the top I did honestly feel that it switched around a bit fast, but that's nothing major in the grand scheme of things.

One of the things I liked a lot about this post-script was that it DIDN'T tie everything up in a nice little bow. Much though I may have wanted it, though there's progress with Tristan and Emily, they aren't yet Tristan/Emily. Though there's progress with Isobel and Laurel, they don't (and rightly so) consider themselves cured. And though there's progress toward next year, and better days, there's still uncertainty lurking in each of their minds as to what exactly it holds.

The downside of an activity like GryCReMo is that I don't get the chance to be as detailed or analytical as I'd like to be. I have to be faster (especially when I'm, you know, about 70 reviews off pace), but what is really great about it is is finally getting to finish stories you keep wanting to, but keep putting off because you have to write this, or review that out of your thread, or whatever other excuses I've come up with not to get here faster.

You deserve every plaudit this story gets Roisin, because it's absolutely brilliant. The writing small-picture isn't pretentiously complex, but on the macro-level the characters and story are layered with such depth and so many nuances that it's incredible.

Truly this is professional grade!

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Review #21, by TidalDragonYear Five: After

23rd August 2015:
I did NOT figure it out ages ago, primarily because like all good bozos (especially those reading late into the night), I didn't even THINK of first names, just last names the R could be. Pitiful.

But it was a very interesting "ending" since you've said 22 is more in the form of an epilogue. It was strangely cathartic for me as a reader even to hear Tristan's story - the depth of what he had been exposed to - and to see him finally begin perhaps to accept himself.

Isobel's reveal on the other hand, came as little surprise. I suppose it would just be too much perhaps (though maybe I'm speaking too soon) if she were into Emily specifically, but I was gratified to be correct that it was Emily's snapping "Are you in love with me?" (or whatever the exact phrasing was) that was meant to be a focal point of that chapter.

What was most gratifying though was to see people finally rally around Tristan. Though he has a long road ahead (as discussed before that final journey to see Rabastan), at least we can see that he has support. He hopefully believes in his ability to deserve his parents' love now and has his support system back, so I'm hopeful for his future.

Now, I press on to the final lines of your magnificent tale - Chapter 22.

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Review #22, by TidalDragonYear Five: O.W.L.s

23rd August 2015:
It appears I was right in my fear for Tristan. There's only so much an individual can take, but I have to say that it's incredibly disappointing to me that even amidst all their problems, even amidst their division and his self-imposed post-suspension isolation, none of these friends did anything for him. I suppose in reality that's how suicide can be. People can see pain or frustration or self-criticism, they can see abuse and yearning, but in the end few ever suspect that someone will go so far as to take their own life, no matter how frequently it happens. Though I've long suspected we'd reach this point, in truth, I somehow knew it was coming when Tristan stood up to the other members of his house. A bold act preceding his departure - something to be remembered by (in his own mind) or something to give him the courage to carry it out later? He'd obviously planned it quite fully given that he timed it for exams, and the last one, the one he was always expected (at least in part) to skip/miss even by those closest to him. How long, I wonder had he been planning?

Now, I await what happens next. Hopefully help. Hopefully some measure of happiness. And because I can't resist a good ship, in ANY story, even when it's about SO MUCH MORE - hopefully with Emily.

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Review #23, by TidalDragonYear Five: The Presence of Love

23rd August 2015:
Very interesting installment. It's encouraging to see that there's some healing going on here amongst the quartet and that things seem to be brightening or at least really being brought to light and confronted. Isobel, though Emily's monologue suggested otherwise, I would hope will have benefited from her house arrest somehow.

Emily though - how awful. To be taken advantage of so completely and at such a young age. It certainly explains something about her that's gone unexplained for some time, but ugh. I just. Anyone who would do that disgusts me. And I know from my line of work that there are far too many, but still - they say people get jaded about it, but never. Just...words can't even describe what I'd like to do to this Andrew character.

I'm also glad that Laurel and her mother had it out after we learned more about that dynamic as well. One can only hope it will create a more supportive environment or at least engender some more trust between parent and child for her as well.

The one I remain worried for is Tristan though - the same fears - and he's the one who's still been most disconnected, despite Emily's letter. I fear with three chapters left, something's got to give with one of them before the end.

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Review #24, by TidalDragonYear Five: The Question

23rd August 2015:
Hmm. Well, naturally I'm wondering if this "thing" Emily has dredged up is that Isobel IS attracted to her. Certainly it would explain her protectiveness and above-and-beyond anger at Tristan and Laurel on her behalf. I suppose I'll have to wait and see how that plays out.

Aside from that question though (and the Quirrell attack obviously - a little odd for me, to be frank), I thought this chapter added a lot more levity after a series of just soul-crushing stuff happenign to people and so it was a bit of a welcome relief in that way.

I also enjoyed that Hagrid made an appearance in this chapter. Though truthfully I'm not that huge a Hagrid fan, and I'm horribly afraid to try and write that speech pattern (kudos on your handling of it BTW), somehow the Hogwarts Era just doesn't feel "right" without him making some kind of appearance, and it enable you to feather in more of that canon with the card game and the dragon egg and all that jazz. If I didn't know from the chapters already, I'd know from this that we're getting close to the end of the line.

Can't wait to see how this all ties up...

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Review #25, by TidalDragonYear Five: The Disappearing Room

23rd August 2015:
Ahh the shrapnel truly has been set flying. I was glad to learn more of Tristan's background, even if it is incredibly awful. And it's quite intriguing to think that Draco almost had an adopted brother. I wonder how he might've turned out differently if that had really transpired. Now I need the origin of the mysterious "R" and the true identity of his parents. I need it Roisin. I NEED IT. Oh...his middle name isn't Roisin is it? :p I really wonder what will become of Tristan upon his return to Hogwarts as well. Will his former friends rally around him or will the disintegration continue? Surely, Laurel owes him, but the pressure from her parents may be too much. And Isobel's would obviously frown on him, though they'd have their own problems with her soon enough I'd imagine.

The thing I definitely wanted to heap praise on you for those is DUMBLEDORE. I have written him TWICE in Evolution and the most recent was a mangled, tangled MESS. But you have gotten his speech down brilliantly, and made his appearance as impactful as it should've been. Very interesting what he had to say about Laurel...I wonder what impact that and the freedom of fear from expulsion (for the moment) will have on her as well.

Onward onward, ever onward!

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