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15 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

3rd April 2015:
Number three, Isadore? Seriously? Where am I going to get Dizziness Draught and an ostrich feather?

An ostrich feather.

AN OSTRICH FEATHER.

WHY?

I think the boy has some sort of phobia about teeth. With Bertrand, I was just getting started and he got a little too excited and, well... Oh, donít make such a face, Astoria! It happens to thirty-four percent of wizards according to an article I saw in Witchís Wiles.

You should have won a Dobby for Best Supporting Character here with Isadore. With her statistic she reminds me of me unfortunately. Ha-ha. Bertrand, oh, the poor bloke. And Richard with the teeth phobia. Maybe Isadore, if you wouldnít use your teethÖ

Iím just going to move on.

Once youíre settled, Iíd like you to begin reviewing the case files of the curse victims weíve selected for our initial trial of an experimental memory-reinforcing potion weíve been working on.

Draco really canít catch a break but come on there had to be a catch. In all honesty you canít escape your past. He has to accept it and move on from it. Taking the job will allow him to work through everything he had to deal with. It will be hard but then if that moment ever comes where they can help one of the cursed it will be rewarding for Draco. Then again maybe this isn't the job for him because it will be a constant reminder of who he was but who knows maybe that's the medicine he needs. You know what I mean? So he never turns back into who he was or get caught up into something bigger than he is.

Author's Response: Isadore is a wellspring of dubiously beneficial advice. If you gave me 10 seconds to decide how she spent the rest of her life, I would definitely say that she ended up writing a column for a less-than-totally-reputable periodical sold in grocery store checkout aisles.

Readers were actually pretty evenly split on Isadore. And it was completely bimodal. They either thought she was great or they hated her. No in-between. Obviously you would have been able to give Astoria much better advice than Isadore.

It seems that even when "good" things happen to Draco, the silver lining has a pretty dark and ominous cloud. What's interesting in this case is that his past is both the reason that he got the job as well as the reason that the job is likely to make him miserable. Madam Blishwick doesn't even realize she's making him uncomfortable. She's so immersed in her own work that minor details like that go right over her head.

Yay, I'm all caught up! Good luck with your NaNo project! See you soon!


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Review #2, by wenlock 

22nd August 2014:
I like your story a lot so far. Especially Astoria. I like her innocence and ability to see the good in others. Reading this chapter, I found myself hoping that she will just relax and not worry about expectations. I like your portrayal of Draco's recovery. It is very realistic and in character. I hope the rest of this story continues to be this good.

Author's Response: I'm glad you like Astoria. Early in the story, I worried that she was too mature for her age. I really tried to make her more age-appropriate as the story went on and show some of her flaws.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. I'd enjoy hearing your reactions. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #3, by Roisin 

28th July 2014:
I have to admit, I feel like the girl talk went on for a bit longer than necessary. But I might feel that way just because it was so euphemistic. In my experience, girl-talk rivals or exceeds locker-room boy talk in terms of vulgarity. But, I'm also of a very different social strata than these girls, and from a considerably more progressive and liberal community. Also, I doubt it would be appropriate to go full vulgar anyway for the story, and would hardly recommend changing it.

Draco and Madame Blishwick was brilliant, and painful, and wonderful. There was something really cinematic about his running to puke. I almost couldn't stand how amoral she was--how lightly she took his experiences and actions, how brazenly she spoke about his value. And his reaction was so on point. You truly have portrayed the boy who cried to moaning Myrtle about his feelings while plotting to assassinate Dumbledore.

Too often, writers around here want to make Draco this really alluring badboy, which reduces the harm he caused, underplays his nastier flaws, and incorrectly characterizes his fragility.

What I'm trying to say, is I know what story I'm gonna be nominating for some Dobby's.

Author's Response: Yeah, I'm a little too fond of my Archives account to go full-on vulgar. And I don't imagine Astoria and Isadore would behave that way, either. Isadore might if she was in different company, but Astoria is too "high society". Also more than a little sheltered and naive.

It didn't take long for Draco's career to take a dramatic turn for the worse, did it? Madam Blishwick isn't evil at all, she's just too much of a pure academic to be able to comprehend the discomfort her research causes people who've lived the nightmare that Draco's been through. I'm glad you liked his reaction.

Wow. I'm not quite sure what to say to that, other than thanks! I appreciate all the kind words.


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Review #4, by Veritaserum27 

17th June 2014:
Hello again!

Ah, the trials of a teenager in love. You've done a fabulous job describing all of Astoria's insecurities. They are very realistic and gut-wrenching. Compounded by the fact that their romance is forbidden, now she has to figure out what he wants! It seems that Isadore doesn't quite have as much experience as she purports.

Poor Astoria, she is so confused, she is even worrying about Pansy now! It is so clear to everyone else that Draco absolutely worships Astoria. Why is it that she can't see it?

All in all, I'm actually enjoying seeing Astoria act like a regular teenager. Up to this point, she and Draco have had an atypical adolescent relationship. They've been attacked by dark wizards, waylaid by prejudiced parents and sidetracked by Draco trying to put his life in order. This chapter is a nice break from all of that.

I'm actually surprised that Draco didn't realize the plant was part of the test. He has spent so much time in the presence of wizards where everyone had an ulterior motive and every small maneuver had other implications.

I love the descriptions of Draco brewing the potion. I felt like I was really there with him! He is a very talented potioneer. I like that Madam Blishwick can get the best of Draco. He doesn't know what to make of her.

I also really like that Draco's work will eventually be helping those who were affected by dark curses. It almost brings him around full circle. He can help people that were once on the Death Eater's torture list. However, her reason for choosing him is very awkward for him, indeed. Part of his job will be to recall the absolute worst moments of his life.

Okay, so I just had a thought. Let's say that a certain Mr. (more evil than anyone alive) Gamp finds out that Draco has "limited authorization to use Unforgivable Curses..." He may have much darker intentions for Draco's role in their plot.

Uh-oh. This just went form silly teenager to way, way darker. As always, you've taken the reader on a crazy ride.

Thanks again!

Author's Response: Hi!

Again, I have to give a lot of credit to Jami and sophie for helping me craft Astoria's teenage love life struggles. I'm glad it all played well and you're right, Isadore doesn't know nearly as much as she'd have Astoria believe.

Sometimes it's hardest to see the things that are closest to us, which is definitely where Astoria sits at the moment. Her anxieties about Pansy stem from two things. First, Pansy is older and more, erm, experienced. If the battle for Draco's heart was purely a matter of who was most entertaining in the sack -- and obviously it's anything but -- then Pansy would be the hands-down winner. Second, Pansy has already been with Draco in the way that Astoria feels she needs to be. In her own mind, Astoria feels like she's fighting an uphill battle on two fronts.

I actually really enjoyed having Astoria's character backtrack a bit on the maturity scale. I felt like it was needed because she was simply too mature in the early chapters.

I think that a big part of why Draco wanted a job in the first place is that he craves normality. He wants to have at least a part of his life that's free of the drama created by his past and his family. For that reason, he was really hoping to have a nice, normal job interview and he was behaving accordingly. I really, really enjoyed writing the scene where he brews the potions. I love the nitty-gritty aspects of writing it, plus it's natural "introspection time" for Draco.

Hmmnnn... Honestly, that aspect of Draco's new career never occurred to me in the context of his struggles with Mr. Gamp. It's a very interesting thought, now that you mention it. Madam Blishwick has a fairly unhealthy fascination with the worst moments of Draco's life, as you'll soon see...

This story can't go very long without some darkness. It's the nature of the characters involved. But there's light at the end of the tunnel!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #5, by Pixileanin 

22nd April 2014:
"Astoria felt cold fingers of panic creeping up her spine. Maybe coming to Isadore for advice wasn't such a good idea after all."

Ahem. That's what instincts are for, Astoria. Use them. Use them wisely.

"...and I think the boy has some sort of phobia about teeth..."

You know, I put all the staining fruit in the freezer before I sat down to this chapter. I really WANTED to give Isadore a fighting chance here, but argh!!! I can't decide whether she's really been there or she's still blowing hot air. Or a little of both. Who's to say? Although, that line about the Sorting Hat was awesome.

I really liked the pure frustration Astoria is having with the entire concept of imagining something that no one is willing to come out and describe to her. Bless her, but she's trying to understand and get what she can out of the conversation, anything helpful at all, and all it's doing is putting more worries in her head. I can only hope that she's not taking her best friend too seriously. Oh, who am I kidding? You're doing this to her on purpose, aren't you?

I knew girls like Isadore. From a distance. My best friends and I always believed that Sorciere Magazines were full of tripe anyway. Except the brownie recipes. Those were awesome! Okay, okay, occasionally I would fall for the latest trend in lip gloss, but only when I was feeling particularly weak.

Madam Blishwick's laboratory scene just makes me want to get my hands dirty. All the cool stuff is in there, I just know it! It was fun, seeing Draco all serious-minded with his work, trying so diligently to do the job right, to get some recognition that didn't involve any condescending attitudes or whatnot.

And then the plant interferes in the worst possible way. I love how Blishwick calls him "Edgar" as if he has a personality of his own... which he probably does. I want an Edgar. Hahah! Oh, but then she pulls out the real reason she's interested in him, and that doesn't sound very pleasant. Draco's verge-of-panic reaction was very well-done. I was right there with him, envisioning the horrors of what may be expected of him. Why indeed, are they torturing doxies? The whole thing tastes bad. He wants so badly to put all of that horribleness behind him, but it's coming back around again. To see the academic side of the Unforgivable Curses, to know that these people in the lab really have no idea what it's like to actually do that to another human being, to have it reduced to some curiosity, must be absolutely horrific.

At least he's able to see the morbid humor in his situation at the end. It's not funny, but since he's already given up his lunch, he's either going to laugh or cry about it.

Does this mean I have to defrost my blueberries for the next time I see Isadore? I hope she's wearing white...

Author's Response: Hi, pix! Sorry for the embarrassingly long time it's taken me to respond to this.

Sure, Astoria could stop paying attention to Isadore's awful advice, but what fun would that be? It's gotten her this far.

Isadore has *sort of* been there, in the same way that a lot of teenagers *sort of* experience these things. Has she been there often enough to really understand everything that happened? Of course not. So she fills in the gaps with things she reads in magazines and her own over-romanticized imagination. I was particularly fond of the Sorting Hat line, myself. You can leave your staining fruit in the freezer because this chapter will be Isadore's last appearance in the story.

Of course I'm doing it to her on purpose! Astoria is a planner and a compulsive over-thinker, so situations like this are torture for her. More to the point, however, I'm setting the stage for things that will happen in upcoming chapters. Astoria's anxiety about the things she doesn't know and whether she compares favorably to Draco's past girlfriends will play a major role very soon.

I, um, don't think there are brownie recipes in Sorciere. Unless the brownies are laced with some sort of love potion.

I really, really enjoyed writing the scene where Draco is brewing potions. I love that sort of nitty-gritty, technical magic, even if I do have to make up all of the details. It was also nice to have a scene where Draco is squarely in his element, even if it doesn't last for very long.

And it doesn't. You would shake your head in disbelief if you knew how many names I went through before I decided on Edgar. I doubt you actually want an Edgar. He's a pain, especially when you're baking brownies. Always messing with your ingredients.

Yep, the real reason Madam Blishwick wants Draco to work for her has a lot less to do with his potioneering skills than his wartime experiences. I think your read on her is just about right. She's a very pure academic who doesn't fret much about the social context of her work. The fact that other people might find it horrifying -- even traumatizing -- to experiment on doxies with the Cruciatus Curse doesn't really occur to her. It's going to lead to some very difficult moments for Draco.

Like I said, you've seen the last of Isadore for this story. Although I'm really tempted to write a one-shot or maybe a short story about her, just to see whether I can get you to throw fruit at your computer. :p

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #6, by UnluckyStar57 

6th April 2014:
Um... Hi. :)

I'll start off by saying that the realm of "girl-talk" that Astoria and Isadore were in is a realm that I have never yet entered. I know that there are scores of teenage girls who talk about this sort of thing, but despite being older than Astoria and Isadore, I've never felt the need to *ahem* contemplate those sorts of things with boys.

So sorry for being all awkward about it and such. I'm just not sure if that's the way teenage girls talk about things like that, because I don't have any knowledge of that sort of talk. However, I cracked up at all of the innuendos and various metaphors. That was pretty clever and hilarious. Even a prude like me can understand them, hahaha! I especially liked the one about Pansy... :D

Ah, more things that I don't have experience with: Job interviews! :D Draco definitely had a scary job interview, but I think he pulled through just fine. The potions thing was extremely taxing, but it makes sense that Madame Blishwick would want to see his potions work in action. After all, she can't get a true sense of his skills just from his resume (a fact that is applicable to Muggle jobs, too, I think). Hahaha, Edgar the plant? I loved it when Draco lost his temper and Incendio-ed the darn thing. It was about time!! Also, I figured that old Edgar was there for a reason, and Madame Blishwick proved my suspicions right, the sly thing! I think that it was cool of her to put the plant there as a distraction.

However, her mannerisms bugged me a little bit. I have a feeling that she's SO academic and intellectual that she doesn't understand Draco's point of view. His experiences from the war weren't just incidents that could be compartmentalized and analyzed thoroughly. His mind is still a mess, and it's going to take him even longer to recover if he has to keep identifying people and studying the effects of the curses that he once used on other people. Perhaps Madame Blishwick will never understand, but hopefully he can strengthen his resolve enough to succeed at his new job.

See you next time! Sorry I wasn't much help with the girl-talk stuff... :P

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

No biggie on the girl talk. It's definitely not for everyone. I had a fair bit of help to coach me through it, but I'm always curious how it plays with others.

I really enjoyed writing all of the little innuendos and especially the dig at Pansy. She's a really fun character to beat on.

I wanted to make Draco's job interview as uncomfortable as I could make it without the poor guy running out of the Ministry, screaming. You read Madam Blishwick exactly right. She's too absorbed in her own work to have a clue how uncomfortable it makes other people. Especially somebody like Draco, who survived the horrors that she finds so fascinating. Edgar was the very least of Draco's troubles.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #7, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

19th March 2014:
I rule the land of immaturity; people are free to join. :P I can't help it, just reading it is fine, but then I imagine the look on poor Astoria's confused face and... I giggle. As in present tense, I'm still giggling. Thankfully, my iPad has predictive text. :D

How can she be jealous of Pansy? Ugh. Don't bring Pansy into this, Astoria, Draco knows I'd kick him if he thought about it. I have faith in them; if he's willing to impersonate someone to be with her around people who hate him, he must think she's something special.

Isadore probably shouldn't give advice, she's bad for the most part, but is still an awesome friend and I still love her. :D

Yay for fighting for what she wants; she's right, it's their problem. *crosses fingers things go... well, though... in the end*

I'd have burnt the plant in the beginning; you can tell how much patience I have. But Draco was doing so well, even with the setbacks in the beginning with the guard and the assistant.

He got the job! And it's bringing his past right back to him, but I believe in Draco and his new start - he may never fully get over what he saw and did, but if his job helps others than it might help to end the nightmares one day, to see that he's doing good.

His boss seems a little creepy. Not bad guy creepy, just 'whoa, don't get too close, we shouldn't talk much' creepy. The kind of creepy my Al finds... everyone. :P

Onwards!

Sam.

P.S. I've read your responses. How can people not love Isadore? She's awesome! And I've never had an IPA, so I'll hold you to that. Jack and coke, that's my drink... or lager. :P

Author's Response: Poor, poor Astoria. All she wants is a set of directions. A book or a diagram or an instructional pamphlet from the Ministry. Alas -- and it's for the best, really -- no such thing exists. She's going to have to figure this out on her own and it terrifies her.

I think her anxiety about Pansy is pretty natural for a girl her age. Pansy is older and **far** more experienced. I think she realizes that Draco is willing to go to great lengths for her, but she's also worried that Draco might decide that it's not worth it to have to go to such great lengths when there's low-hanging fruit like Pansy available. I hope that didn't objectify Pansy too much. Actually, I don't really care if it did. ;)

Isadore is not a great source of relationship advice, that's for sure. She's extrapolating based on a small amount of personal experience -- and things didn't actually go all that well for her -- and a lot of stuff she's read in magazines.

Astoria is willing to fight for her relationship with Draco. That's part of why I love her.

Draco's interview was one of the most enjoyable parts of the story for me to write. I got to delve a bit into the technical aspects of potioneering, which was fun, as well as explore Draco's anger-management issues. He did get the job. In fact, he probably had it before he even interviewed. Madam Blishwick just wanted to see what he'd do under pressure. She is sort of creepy. She's a very pure academic who is so hopelessly caught up in her research that she's lost the ability to see how it might affect other people or the world at large.

I enjoy responding to your reviews. Your take on things is always unique and it's fun to see different facets of the story through fresh eyes. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #8, by MissesWeasley123 

26th October 2013:
Hahahahaha.

That was me throughout the beginning of the chapter, because I have to admit, "Ten Ways" - that bit was hilarious. I actually liked Isadore in this chapter, mainly because she was waaay too bold and the amount of information she was giving out was hilarious. She was giving out too much info, actually ;)

You didn't at all ruin my views on Astoria, I understand completely why the things that she though of were thought of.

Are you sure your name is Dan? You seem more like a Danielle to me... It's crazy how you get into the mind of a teenage girl, though I suppose Jami's been extremely helpful, being a girl and all, and especially with all the work she's put in for the girl talk in BTF :P But even if she did, hat's off to you for even being brave enough to include that. It's very gutsy of you.

I really, really like Madam Blishwick! She's like a more laid-back version of McGonagall, and I am interested in her personality immensely, because she's very strange also. I'm still undecided about her - I like what depth you've given her, but I'm not sure whether she's good or not. Her point about his past intrigued me a lot too. It made me very sad how she managed to remind him - or torment as you put it - about his past. It made me very sad, and that's why I think this Blishwick lady is a bit twisted too, like Gamp.

Edgar was a nice touch and I like the little things you added, like this, to make it just that much better:

His species is native to Jiangxi province in China, and they're quite resilient. Their blossoms are actually a key ingredient in a very promising new restorative draught that we're working on.

That bit was really nicely done. It made me smirk at your cleverness yet again!

Draco's really trying hard to become more independent and that was so much fun to read. There's a glowing ball of pride in me for him, because it's fantastic how his evolution into a young man is turning out.

A really brilliant chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, Nadia!

This was definitely one of my favorite chapters to write because it had so many quirky little subplots running through it. Overall, just a lot of fun.

That's exactly how Isadore was meant to be in this chapter. She's "that friend" who knows just enough about s-e-x to be dangerous, then acts like she knows a lot more than she really does. Wait until the next chapter. It gets even more hilariously awkward. You pretty much nailed my technique for getting into the mind of a teenage girl. Lots of help from my trusted advisers. And they both agree that they would not go back to being a teenage girl again for all the chocolate in Switzerland. Well, OK, maybe for **all** the chocolate...

Ha! You're actually the first reviewer who's responded positively to Madam Blishwick. She is a very strange individual. She torments Draco, but she doesn't really mean to. His experiences during the war are like a goldmine of empirical data to her. She's one of these very pure academics who sees everything as one giant laboratory experiment without really grasping the human cost that goes along with some of that data. She is a bit twisted, just not in an innately dangerous way. More like indirectly dangerous.

Edgar was one of those funny little ideas that kind of took on a life of its own the more that I wrote. I'm glad you liked him.

Draco is trying very hard, but it seems that life deals him some sort of setback to go along with every victory he achieves. But he's not giving up. I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #9, by Remus 

7th September 2013:
Hola! Its review your favorite people night! :D That, and avoiding the next chapter of HPo4. XD

Right from the beginning this chapter had me giggling. I love how you have the girls behave just like regular 17yr old girls. The magazines, the articles, the lists...it really did feel like they had a Witches version of Cosmo magazine.

Where am I going to get Dizziness Draught and an ostrich feather?--What kind of 'THING' is this! *curious* Hahaha

Isadore here is just perfect. She's the friend that you love but there are times that you just can't put up with what she says or does. The things about Pansy. OMG! I couldn't stop laughing! She the typical 'know it all' girl when it comes to the topic but in reality doesn't have...err...that much experience herself. And just wants to appear cool to her friend. To appear more 'sophisticated' and 'grown up.'

The whole Draco part was a fantastic read. I like how I finally get to read about him being outside the school and family life and attempting to be a responsible adult. However, poor Draco, as much as he tries to bury his past, it continues to haunt him. However, this might be able to help him heal and move on instead of ignoring what's tormenting him. What I'm excited to read about is Draco in his new job. He'll be at the bottom of the food chain, answering to people who he might consider bellow him...so this will be sort of a test. Also, being underneath a female with authority will be an interesting read.

Blishwick though...there's something about her that I'm not so sure about. Maybe she's just a woman who is trying to advance medicine...but at the same time I think she has other motives. Like I said, not sure. This is you! I don't trust your OCs! XD They could turn out out to be the next evil witch/wizard.

This was another great chapter, Dan! So sorry that I've taken forever and ever to read but I haven't forgotten about my favorite pair! :D

until next time!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Hi, Rosie! I have a lot of experience with using reviewing to avoid writing lately. Reviewing, reading, trimming my nails, scrubbing the cat... you name it. Something about this chapter is driving me crazy.

I'm glad that you liked the girl talk between Astoria and Isadore. As you might imagine, never having been a teenage girl, it wasn't easy to write. Lots of love to Jami and sophie for help with that section. What was she going to do with Dizziness Draught and and ostrich feather? I'll just leave that to your imagination. ;) Isadore is **exactly** That Friend. She's trying so hard to be helpful when she's actually just feeding poor Astoria's insecurities and doubts.

Draco's new job is going to be quite the experience for him. It's the first time in his life that he's ever voluntarily given up so much control. He's very focused on "The Prize", aka reinventing himself as a respectable young man who's worthy of courting Astoria. To make that happen, he's willing to make some sacrifices. Madam Blishwick is definitely an odd duck. You'll find out a little more about her in a couple of chapters.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Like I said, the second with Astoria and Isadore was something of a collaborative effort. I really wasn't sure how it was going to work. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #10, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
Yes! Finally someone who doesn't care about Draco's heritage. But honestly the woman seems dense to talk about curses that way when she could probably see his pain. Anyhoo I still look forward to reading more about Blishwick. Also, the "girl talk" is so much like I expect from girls that age. Guessing their way through, appearing to know more that what they do. I suppose that's what makes this chapter all the more enjoyable! Honestly I'm beginning to enjoy Isadore a lot =)

Author's Response: Hello, again!

Madam Blishwick is pretty dense when it comes to the emotional impact her life's work might have on other people. She's a very pure sort of academic who has a hard time understanding how anyone can fail to see the inherent beauty of her research. In my mind, she's loosely modeled after figures like Edward Teller.

Whew! I'm really glad that you liked the girl talk, seeing as how I've never been a teenage girl. I sort of muddled through it with a lot of help from my female HPFF friends.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #11, by Courtney Dark 

20th July 2013:
You know it's gonna be a good chapter when the very first line makes you laugh out loud.

Astoria and Isadore's conversation was very, erm, interesting to say the least! I found myself struggling not to burst out laughing several times. Poor Astoria, so awkward and uncertain while Isadore was so inappropriate and confident. I've said it before, but you write girl talk extremely well!

And then Draco's point of view was extremely different. I've always liked reading about rather simple things, like potion brewing and charm work, so I really enjoyed this section of the chapter! And I have to say, I'm not quite sure what to make of Madam Blishwick as of yet. She seems a strange sort of person, and I definitely see what Draco means by his past coming back to torment him.

I think I might as well read the last chapter up now...

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hi!

I really, really enjoyed writing Isadore and Astoria's conversation, although it made me more than a little nervous. I've never actually been a teenage girl, so I wasn't really sure I was getting the details right until I got some feedback from my fabulous HPFF female support team.

I'm a sucker for ff stories that delve into "technical" magic, like theory of spells and the nuts and bolts of potion-making, so I also had a good time with Draco's interview. Madam Blishwick isn't evil, really, she's just fascinated by the evil in an academic sense. Sort of like historians who love studying World War II concentration camps.

Ooh, you have no idea how much I've enjoyed reading and responding to all of your lovely reviews! Makes me want to crank out that next chapter in a hurry...


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Review #12, by pastenchantments 

21st June 2013:
Lol. I am slightly worried what Astoria is going to do. Great job, as usual!

Author's Response: She has some ideas, but not the best ones. You'll soon find out.

Thanks for taking a moment to review!


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Review #13, by Jchrissy 

16th June 2013:
Finally! Iíve had to delete about half of what I wrote Friday night, so letís put some coherent thoughts back into this review.

The girl talk turned out really well. Having a friend as inappropriate as Isadore is something that could really come in handy in instances like these. And from the way she lectured Astoria about what they read in the articles, Iím fairly convinced youíve flipped through your wifeís cosmo magazine :P

I loved Astoriaís shaky nature with it all. She knows she wants to do something, though probably not everything, but not knowing how is creating a lot of turmoil for her. Though her naive nature is probably something that will astound Draco more than disappoint. He had someone who was knowledgable about all this, as Isadore points out, and that wasnít enough to stick them together. But of course Astoria is a teenage girl, and thatís an impossible age to think rationally :P.

Oh my gosh. The line about her not being able to see Draco. I donít even know what I feel about that, haha! Itís like when you witness an overly private moment and feel like you should look away but donít want too.. thatís how I feel :P Definitely gave me an awesome giggle.

The idea that sheíd start on safer grounds, like a massage, definitely felt like a good solution. She gets the chance to get use to that more intimate setting and to gauge his reactions more, plus she probably wonít be as shaky from nerves that way :P

Dracoís entire section was one of my favorite so far. You know how much I love when magic is described, and creating things with it, so watching him handle the potion was a lot of fun. I was excited to see how careful he was with it, though still seeming completely confident in his abilities

That plant really had me confused at first. I was worried it was just a normal plant, behaving badly as sort of a test for is temper. They know his past and we werenít entirely too sure of what was thought about it, so I was afraid that it was her own way to see if Draco could handle it without losing his temper.

Than when I learned it was the opposite, a test to see if heís able to do anything necessary to preserve his potion and not let interactions ruin what he has going, I was super exciting. I actually really liked Madam Blishwick. She was to the point, didnít play games with Draco, and made it clear that his past did have some to do with her interest in him. Her job and what she can do with the potions she invents seems like the most important thing to her and she wants to put the people who are going to be most helpful in achieving these on her team. I actually can see her and Draco getting along very well in the future, and Iím anxious to see how the boy whoís always tested authority to the max will handle working at the bottom of the food chain, having to take orders and be a nice boy :P.

Awesome chapter, Dan! And it feels like both Draco and Astoria are really headed in a solid direction. Iím excited to see how her plan plays out, and even more exciting to see what she thinks of Dracoís new job!

Author's Response: Funny how vacation sometimes leaves us with *less* time instead of more, huh? Here is your rested and relaxed - hah! - review response, straight from the wilds of Southwest Virginia.

You and sophie deserve so much credit for how the girl talk turned out, I don't even know where to start saying thank you. I actually managed to avoid getting my greasy fingerprints on any of my wife's magazines, thanks to all of your help. I'm really pleased with that scene and like I've said to a couple of other reviewers, I'm in awe of female authors on HPFF who manage to tackle "guy talk" scenes, because the ratio just isn't as favorable for you ladies.

Poor Astoria is way out of her depth, so I'm glad that came through well. And I agree, Draco will be impressed at some level that she's gone to so much trouble. He'll probably also be more than a little bit startled. Which do you think will win out? ;)

I felt like I was dancing a tricky line with some of the visual imagery in this chapter, especially the bit about whether she would be able to see Draco. I guess that's what an M rating is for.

I really enjoyed writing Draco's section, once I got into it. I took a lot of inspiration from your scenes showing Lily in Slughorn's potions classroom. There's something about immersing the reader in the nitty-gritty details of ingredients and preparation that seems to lend itself to writing good introspective narrative.

Wasn't Edgar fun? I'm a mean, horrible author because I love tormenting poor Draco so much in this story. I think of it as a form of payback for seven books worth of life being awful to poor Harry. But in this case, it gave him a chance to have a moment of triumph, even if it does confuse him.

Madam Blishwick is an odd duck. I'm not quite sure how I feel about her, myself. She certainly isn't evil, but evil fascinates her in an academic sort of way, like an historian studying the concentration camps of World War II. She's so caught up in her work that she's more than a little tone deaf to the moral and ethical implications of some of her research topics. Not exactly a great boss for somebody like Draco, who I've decided is suffering from a form of PTSD.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it, and thank so much for all of your help! I'm looking forward to digging into the next chapter, once I can get a break from my vacation. ;)


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Review #14, by MissMdsty 

14th June 2013:
Girl talk! Aside from the general humor surrounding Astoria's ... predicament, I was actually blown away by how girly the talk was! You captured the spirit of curios, confused and scared teenage girls perfectly. Another thing I loved was the humor of the situation. It's a very thin line between funny and inappropriate in these kinds of situations and you described things in such a way that made us understand what they were referring to, all the while making it hilarious to read!

Now, onto the Draco part. Just when I thought this couldn't get any more interesting you just set the awesome level so much higher! The interview part was a delight to read, just like the parts where JKR herself described the various magical ingredients and such. As a writer I am in serious awe of the level of detail you put into that! I am blown away and can't find enough words of praise for how perfect that was! Even Edgar was such an interesting addition. And I love that you named him Edgar.

Now, this new OC, Madam Blishwick gave me the creeps. It's like in those old thrillers, where you know something's wrong with her but you can't quite put your finger on it! I don't know what bothers me the most. The fact that she wants to study the effects of the Imperius Curse, which to me is the most dangerous out of the bunch (because you can't see it. You can tell when somebody's being tortured, or hear them if you're close enough... and well, you can tell if they've been killed, but you can't tell if somebody is being manipulated into doing something against their will), and her interview is seeing how well Draco waits until blowing up a plant. I understand the subtle motives behind this, but it's creepy. Like, Ollivander style creepy... "The Dark Lord did great things, terrible, yes, but great."

She gives me the impression that Draco is more to her than an employee but an actual test subject. And just like Draco, that idea makes me sick to my stomach.

But in half a chapter you've introduced this new characters that I am dying to know more about and that is awesome to me!

Another brilliant chapter! I am looking forward to seeing what happens next and how the weight of the new job description impacts Draco and Astoria's relationship.

Author's Response: Hello, again!

See, I told you there was going to be more girl talk. I have to give an enormous amount of credit to Jami and sophie for that scene. They gave me so many good ideas and suggestions. My hat is off to all of the ladies on HPFF who manage to write good "guy talk" scenes, because it definitely helps to have someone who's been there read it over and there just aren't that many of us in the HPFF community.

I really enjoyed writing the potion-making part of Draco's interview. I'm a complete geek for "technical magic" and really getting into the nitty-gritty of how it all works. I only draw the line when authors start making up total mumbo-jumbo, like wizards having "magical cores" and such. I named Edgar after Edgar Bones, Susan Bones's uncle who died during the first war. Seemed like a good choice.

Madam Blishwick isn't really evil, but evil fascinates her. She is a student of dark curses, and she studies them with the same sort of academic zeal as an historian poring over the pictures and records from World War II concentration camps. The inherent evil of the subject matter isn't *completely* lost on her, just mostly. And it's easy enough to her to convince herself that the "greater good" her research might lead to outweighs any niggling ethical dilemmas. In short, she's Draco's worst nightmare: someone who will constantly remind him of everything he's trying to forget and do it in such a way that he can't even justify getting angry at her. Not that he might not get *unjustifiably angry*. ;)

Poor Draco and Astoria always seem to have something weighing against them, don't they? Tune in next time and see how it all plays out. And thank you so much for all of the kind words and encouragement!


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Review #15, by patronus_charm 

14th June 2013:
I read this yesterday but I couldnít form a coherent review because of all the puns about Dracoís, erm how to make this 12+, thing ;) Iím going to attempt to write one again, but if it makes no sense itís a good thing because all the jokes and puns worked :P

You write girl talk really well! Isadore was fantastic in this by the way, I think all her remarks about what Astoria should do to Draco and what sheís done really made the chapter. I liked her being humorous in this because it made a nice change for it to be a little light-hearted.

I really liked the use of formal language in that section like here ĎThe two teenagers had sequestered themselves in her auntís parlorí. I think the fact that it showed that these two are pureblooded girls and that theyíre meant to be virginal and whatnot but the topic they were discussing was possibly the further thing from it so it really added to the humour of the scene.

I think this line was my favourite of the whole thing ĎYou didnít take any potions beforehand and you spent the next ten days keeping me up half the night, fretting about how you were going to look in maternity robes.í When we first met her I never imagined Isadore to be that type of person but now I think about it itís really fitting.

Poor Astoria in this section! Though she seemed keen to please Draco I couldnít her but notice she seemed a little out of her depth and it was really nice that you showed that as it showed the difference between her and Isadore, and Draco for that matter. I always did wonder what actually went on between Pansy and him and I enjoyed the little backstory here.

I could probably quote that entire section for the use of the brilliant puns and general one liners but that would take up the whole review. However, I could resist pointing out this one ĎSheís been on more little wizards than the Sorting Hatí I am dying. I honestly never knew that you could make so many magical puns about it (Iím not sure if the word is 12+ or not so Iíll be on the safe side), you have a real talent for them :D

I was a little disappointed that we didnít get to see the follow-up of the conversation because judging from the way Astoria reacted to it I can imagine it would be awkward but I did really like the next section despite it. I really liked seeing how much this work with Madam Blishwick meant to him because I never got that impression he cared that much about schoolwork during the books but here itís really nice to see how much care he put into it.

One thing which really impressed me was the way you wrote about how Draco approached the potion making. It seemed really scientific to me and that he was actually making a potion. I deliberately never write potion making scenes as I just donít know what to write so I was really impressed by that. Also the contrast between this and the first section was superb and it impressed me how easily you can switch from one to the other.

Iím not entirely sure whether I like Madam Blishwick or not. I feel as if I canít understand her and I canít predict what sheís going to do. I donít know why, maybe Iím just being paranoid about everyone being secretly evil, but there is something there which I donít like. Iíll keep my eye on her and who knows, she may end up being my favourite character!

The brief flashback Draco had to the war really was an excellent inclusion to the story. I think thatís one of the things which really make post-Hogwarts stories by drawing on the events which happened in the past. I mean, theyíre not going to be constantly affected by them but those little memories really make it great.

Wow this review is turning out to be massive so Iím going to stop it here! That was another excellent chapter :D

-Kiana

Author's Response: Hi, Kiana!

Keeping reviews 12+ can be tricky sometimes. The more fun a chapter is, the trickier it can be. I applaud your ability to keep it clean while getting your point across!

I have to give so much credit to Jami and sophie for the "girl talk" section. They gave me lots of ideas and picked out a number of things that needed to be tweaked, twisted or just plain deleted. When you ladies have to write "guy talk" scenes, I really wonder how you do it, given the dearth of male authors on the site. My hat is off to you!

Isadore is certainly more worldly than Astoria, but she doesn't know nearly as much as she pretends to. I think a lot of her "experience" came in the form of ill-advised teenage experimentation, which explains why she spent ten days costing Astoria sleep. In the beginning, it's killing Astoria to see her friend more or less guessing at the details, but the more she thinks about it, the better she starts to feel in a relative sense.

You liked the Sorting Hat crack, huh? That was my favorite, too. :)

I'm not sure what you had in mind as "follow-up", but you will definitely see the aftermath of this chapter very soon. Suffice it to say, Astoria plan doesn't go quite like she's expecting.

I actually really enjoyed writing Draco's potion-making. I believe a lot of people are able to ponder things better when they're doing something. Especially something quiet that requires concentration. And I love guessing at what sort of things might be involved in brewing different things.

Madam Blishwick is a character I feel kind of sad about because I put a lot of time and effort into building her up in this chapter and we really won't be seeing much more of her. She isn't evil or malicious, she just has an enthusiasm for dark curses that's similar to the way historians get excited when they talk about World War II. It's an academic exercise to her, one that she gets very excited about because it's her life's work.

Poor Draco is really struggling to suppress the bad memories that his conversation with Madam Blishwich evokes. He's so desperate to be successful in his new career that he's putting himself in a very bad position...

Don't worry about the length of your reviews. I write long ones all the time. And I really enjoy reading and responding to them! Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support!


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