17 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TreacleTart 

12th August 2015:
Hey Roisin!

Still going strong with this Gryffindor Review Battle! Team Red all the way!

Tristan's birthday is on Halloween? That seems fitting considering his dark mood. I would say that the Halloween feast would be a great time to celebrate one's birthday, but Tristan doesn't seem like he feels up to celebrating anything.

This new mix of charms that Laurel is doing seems sketchy. It reminds me of all the countless celebrities who have died mixing uppers and downers. I know she thinks she's being clever and getting away with it for now, but I think down the road everyone is going to start to notice as it takes a hold of her. I wish Tristan would tell her to chill out with it a little bit.

Not sure if I mentioned it before but I find it quite funny that they all call Quirrell "Squirrel" That seems quite fitting.

And the ending where Emily is dancing in the water and yelling that she's from Scotland. I literally snorted as I read it. It was quite amusing.

I'll definitely be back for another chapter soon! Good work!


Author's Response: Halloween was always a night of Stuff Happening in canon, so it made sense to me that it would be Tristan's birthday :) The bummer thing here is that kids aren't allowed to sit at another House Table on feast nights, which ends up making the celebration sucky for him because he's all alone with the snakes :(

Oh yes, the parallel between Laurel's mix and 'speedballing' was DEF intentional. I also wanted that mix to basically mimic the effects of heroin (I worked out how each spell works in terms of neurotransmitters, and what she's on stimulates all the same receptors).

I figured "Squirrel" was JKR's inspiration for the name, so it was too easy not to do :) I also thought it'd be funny to show how little respect they had for them, because: dramatic irony.

Glad you found that bit funny! I wanted genuine Funny and Fun for a lot of these moments, but to still kind of give the reader a bit of pause (to see how kind of dangerous their behavior is, even if they don't). So like, looked at another way, she's high and wading through freezing water. Sort of that "OH PLEASE DON'T CLIMB ON THE ROOF RIGHT NOW" thing.


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Review #2, by wolfgirl17 

15th July 2015:
Hey Roisin,

Wolfgirl here again with another review on your marvellous story!

So to jump right in, I found a couple of typos throughout including:

"Too many fags, and an foolish admixture of Nettle Wine on top of Whiskey, had left him with a sore throat and painfully chapped lips."

I don't think you need 'an' before 'foolish', but I could be wrong??

I must admit that throughout this story, Tristan has certainly been my favorite, though I can't really put my finger on why. I like the other characters too, but I think I like Tristan the best simply because he's stuck in Slytherin when he doesn't really seem to belong there.

Why is he in Slytherin? Sure he's moody and an over-thinker, but he's never come across as being particularly ambitious or all that cunning. Was it just for the purpose of isolating he a little more from his friends??

Have I mentioned that I really like this fic?

I didn't think I would, to be completely honest. I'm usually not a huge fan of a drug/hex-head/smoker/drinker scene, simply because alcohol makes my stomach burn unless I drink way too fast to start and get more than tipsy before the burn sets in, and I'm always more likely to be found at home writing rather than socialising with 'normal' people.

But the characters you've created are so believable. They're typical teenagers with their underage consumption of everything bad for them, but they're also flawed and filled with angst and self-doubts and just a touch of awkwardness. You've really done that age group justice in the way you wrote this.

I especially like how apathetic they all are to Harry being at school, and I love this window into the world of being a Hogwarts student through the eyes of someone not in any way connected to Harry, Ron or Hermione. You've really done such a commendable job with this and I envy you your writing skills.

As always, this chapter was fantastic. I love the chapters that focus on Tristan the best.


Author's Response: Ellie! That was so fast I'm in such awe!

Ah yes, that is DEF a typo, thank you!

It's so interesting seeing who everyone's favorite is! It seems like everyone seems to like a different person, for different reasons. Honestly, Tristan is really the MC for me, even though it's an ensemble cast, so I'm glad you like him :)

Ooh, so yes, why he's in Slytherin: lots of reasons. Some meta, some building to, some subtle. Basically, his Slytherin manifests in different ways. He MIGHT be an ambitious person, if he was actually interested in school or professional advancement. Like, the ambition is there, but doesn't have focus. He's also a bit elite in his own way, only he cares more about muggle music than blood status or social standing. And he's subtle, and could be cunning if he wanted to be, and keenly aware of other people and how to behave (even if he doesn't care sometimes). And he's def not a Hufflepuff or a Gryffindor, and not interested enough in school to be a Ravenclaw. And more on this to come--but also, in this chapter, we see that he kind of accidentally CHOSE Slytherin with the hat without realizing it.

It's a VERY good thing that you aren't into that scene, and I'm certainly not trying to glorify it. It's such a reality for so many young people--including a lot of my friends when I was this age--that I wanted to examine it. But I'd never argue in FAVOR of reckless substance abuse! I'm glad you think it's believable, and complex. I sort of had to show how it could be fun at times, because if people didn't find it fun at times they'd never do it. But yeah, I never wanted to glamorize OR condemn, just paint a picture of something I thought was worth examining :)

Yay, the trio as cameos only! A lot of the idea of this story was seeing how these same exact canon scenarios played out for radically different people. (And I'm not sure if I mentioned before, but Tristan was designed as the anti-Potter. Like, an inversion of Harry, which means he has weird similarities, except the opposite).

Thank you so much for this review! Things get a lot darker from here on out, and I'm super curious about what you'll make of all of it.


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Review #3, by water_lily43175 

7th June 2015:
Bah, I've been meaning to catch up on this fic for AGES now, like months and months, I am a TERRIBLE PERSON. Oh well, I'm here now, let's see how much I get through. :) I have to say, it's been fantastic to see Year Five gain more and more attention and recognition on the forums in the last few months, although admittedly that's made me feel EVEN MORE guilty for not having caught up on things earlier. (Did I really only get through the first six chapters before? Shocking stuff.)

Tristan's little dialogue with the Sorting Hat is rather wonderful. Poor kid, his head really isn't in a good place at the moment is it? And actually, as an aside, I think that point about the only communal areas being the common rooms is an interesting one. There really isn't all that much encouragement for inter-house friendships, is there?

"Free Time, and Also: Animals". I would LOVE this class.

Oh, Laurel. She's heading down a slippery slope, fast. And it seems as though Tristan is following her path. At least in Isobel they have a friend who is slightly more rational and seems able to spot the warning signs. Hopefully not too late!

Although having said that, it's probably not a good idea to carry on Cheering. Oh kids.

Oh my god. Isobel giving Hermione hair advice. I love it.

I'd forgotten just how refreshing I find this fic, the way it tackles the same sort of issues which affect young people in everyday life, and yet don't seem to affect the kids in the Potter books. Of course, I understand why JK doesn't address this - she covers enough as it is, without throwing in depression and drug use. But it's a really interesting thing to bring into the magical world, and it's really well carried out.


Author's Response: OH MY GOSH, YAY! I'm so excited that you're back! I really really enjoy your reviews and this is so heartening! I actually just got a beta, and I plan to go back and polish this story now that I know more (the story itself will stay the same, I'll just be tweaking awkward sentences and the like), so this is a really great time to be getting feedback :)

Yes, the lack of communal areas! The curfew is pretty early and there are so few warm days, so having a friend in another house must suck! I'm glad you mention the thing with the sorting hat, too. That was meant to play as an inversion of Harry's experience [because Tristan is an inversion of Harry! ;)]

Cheering Charms--such a bad idea. The more you think about it, the more you have to think that being able to make yourself artificially happy WHENEVER you want HAS to have some serious implications.

I totally agree with your point about the HP books being QUITE enough to go on--it would have gotten really busy had this all been included. And Harry's WAY too busy recklessly fighting evil to have much time for reckless teenager experimentation. But I just loved the idea of watching Real Teenage Crap play out at Hogwarts! I had no idea, when I wrote this, if anyone would even like it, so it means SO MUCH to me that you enjoy the idea, and think I'm carrying it out well!

Thank you A MILLION TIMES for taking the time to review!

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Review #4, by Charlie Darwin's Favorite Finch 

22nd May 2015:
Twitter tweet chirpchirp!

My sincerest apologies for my absence in these past few days. The Darwin turned his strange whirring machine off and I could not figure out how to fix it. However, it was I, the green warbler finch (and best of all the Darwin's finches), who created the playlist for you. I have the most musical ear of the bunch, although I am not as familiar with music from the 1990's as I am with music from the 1870's. Wagner, anyone?

Tristan continues to reveal himself as a character who is constantly at war with his own identity. Perhaps he is Slytherin-esque at heart, but his Sorting could have gone very differently if he had chosen to contest the Hat's decision. It is clear that he never wanted to be in Slytherin, but perhaps he allowed himself to be Sorted there because he felt that no other House would accept him without a fundamental change in his nature. And that sort of adaptation comes over centuries and millenia, like my delicate beak, perfect for snatching insects out of thin air.

...But that's beside the point, is it not?

Tristan and Laurel are worrying me greatly. Teenage rebellion is all well and good, but their increased tolerance of Cheering Charms and the dangerous mixing of several charms seems to be having a snowball effect. I can only hope that they can find some way to shake this dependency.

Tristan's birthday could only be on Halloween, of course! As always, the parallels between canon and this story are incredible. I find it very appropriate that Halloween was overshadowed by the greatness of the birthday party that preceded it--Tristan is certainly not the type to enjoy huge celebrations, especially when he cannot enjoy them with his friends.

Witnessing the gang behave under the influence of Charms was quite a treat. They do some loopy things, indeed. Emily was especially adorable, and I think that I may ship her and Tristan. This is strange to me, as I came to Inglesland on a ship named after a dog. I hope that something concerning their relationship--whether for worse or for better--happens soon.

The Darwin is returning. He is beating his head against the wall and muttering about people who don't accept his theories. I must go comfort him with a song.

Tweet at you later!

Green Warbler, or
The Darwin's Favorite Finch

Author's Response: You are very, very right about Tristan's Sorting! I wanted to make a very clear parallel with Harry there in order to show a fundamental difference between them (Tristan, you will discover, is the "anti-Potter"). And that's the thing, isn't it? Tristan isn't a Gryffindor, because he didn't have the guts to just ASK for another House. And I do think he's a Slytherin, but I also think he would have had a way better time in Ravenclaw. (This character genuinely annoys me sometimes, like, GUH WHY YOU GOTTA BE SO SELF-LOATHING ALL THE TIME, TRISTAN)

A lot of the fun of writing this story was kind of downplaying major events in canon. It's an odd sort of toggle, that, because it's sort of funny that these stoned teenagers are like "um, what?" when things happen to Harry, but at the same time there's a real darkness to it because, as you mentioned, their behavior is pretty troubling.

I'm really glad my vision of Emily in that scene came off! I had really specific ideas in my mind about how I wanted her to behave, and I'm really glad it worked!

Hahaha, it seems like every Finch is getting closer to getting the name of the ship right :D


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Review #5, by pointless_proclamations 

11th May 2015:

I am here again! You know, for an absolute crumbling of my feels.

"Iím going to be in Slytherin, arenít I?" was the first thing Tristan had thought, over four years ago, inside the dark Sorting Hat.

"You must agree that the Slytherin bits are obvious," the Hat had responded.

"Go ahead then, get it over with."

^I love that. I really, really love that.

And my heart breaks for a guilty Tristan. The poor--I want to call him baby, but he isn't really one--Tristan!! [wails] You can be good, you are. . . sometimes. He's broken, his self-esteem is broken, waican'thebehappyyy. . . and that jealousy he feels because he doesn't get along with anyone from his house, Roisin. And that his house mates have put him in the Slytherin Hex Head and 'Mudblood' boxes even though that's not all there is to him, but that's all they see and all they care to see! But he doesn't fit into a stereotype!

"adding Tranquilus to Hilaris" . . . That means that one could get away unnoticed using Hilaris by adding Tranquilus? This makes me feel a bit uneasy.

Aww, and even Flitwick is a bit prejudiced against Slytherins for being Slytherins? That's ARGHH!!

"the constant level of Cheer and Tranquil she stayed on these days. . . " No Laurel, NO! The neurotransmitters, they're getting messed up and this is not good, so not good. Dependency increasing. Natural happiness decreasing. Feels obliterated.

'"I feel,Ē Laurel said in a mild voice. "What do I feelÖ"' This, you sneaking, thing you, I want to hug her.

"Tristan got told off by a bossy first year, and to her frustration, Tristan found her hilarious. Her friend, the youngest Weasley, had to drag the offended little witch away." HERMIONE!!! I am in awe of all these times you add these PS moments into Y5!

Roisin, you have this extremely volatile mix of dark issues regarding the decreasing mental healths of this group of friends as their reliance on spells increase and humour. They're having fun, yes, but it's also self-destructive. Having fun, I suppose, makes it harder for one to realise that it's detrimental. Though, they must know when they're not on a Hilaris. Then it becomes a cylce or a downward spiral as the lows get lower.

Much love,

Author's Response: Em!

Ah yes, Tristan's Sorting is pretty META. It's supposed to be kind of a tragic irony, because READERS know that he could have been Sorted into any House if he'd just asked nicely. Not sure if I mentioned this already, but Tristan is supposed to be kind of the "Anti-Potter." Like, identical but inverted.

Also, I'm really glad you think Tristan doesn't fit neatly into a stereotype :D

I totally worked out how those spells work on neurotransmitters and stuff! Hilaris basically just forces dopamine to release (with a small side-order of serotonin, endocannibinoids, and norepinephrine), while Tranquilis basically affects the GABA. When combined, "Hilaris Tranquilus" ends up acting on the whole suite of endogenous opioids, with the norepinephrine getting balanced out by the hyper-efficient GABA (open chlorine channels). So yes--supremely dangerous behavior. That said, dosage is pretty critical. Someone like Emily is taking much smaller doses much more rarely, reducing her risk of chemical dependency and other nasty complications. (I get into how dosage/intensity works later in the story, but it's actually a canon reference to PoA).

As for your point about Fun, a lot of that has to do with my not wanting to paint a unilateral picture. See, my first intentions for this story were something of a light-hearted stoner romp, because OF COURSE some kids would figure out the recreational potential of mind-altering spells. But the more I thought about it, the more dangerous I realized that would be (see above). Then I also started remembering all the ANGST of this age--not to mention, I didn't want to glamourize substance use. So yeah, I ended up with something that toggles Silly Fun with Harrowing Angst. Glad you're enjoying it! IIRC, it's what being 15 felt like :p

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Review #6, by Pixileanin 

29th January 2015:
Aww, the whole Cagogan scene from last chapter was subtle, yet sweet. Emily's discomfort is telling. I wouldn't say that the whole of chapter six was "fluff" because it still showed character progression on several levels. I found it interesting that the Head Boy was at the party, and I loved how it kept growing into a bigger and bigger event than Emily had intended. I suppose that's how parties are at times. The big thing for me was how Emily goes through all the trouble, and how Tristan thanks her for it - it's something he appreciates, and he wants her to know that he appreciates it. Sweeter than an owl note.

"So long as it doesn't turn into Self-Spelling..." Uh oh. What does that mean?? I wondered why the kinds didn't just spell themselves to begin with. I have a bad feeling that there will be more coming on this, and that the consequences will be bad.

Hufflepuff as a password was fabulous. and now we know Emily's secret way with food and drink. It makes total sense, since they're so near the kitchens and all.

So Tristan's a Halloween baby. Symbolism? I guess time will tell. He's not keen on it, whatever it means. And I may have forgotten, or this might be Tristan leaking information, but I have no idea who Mary is. We're being thrown back into Tristan's head again, and he's such a reluctant puppy, with his undeserving attitude. But the thing that makes him adorable is that he recognizes the kindness in others, and (at the moment) isn't exploiting it. I wish he didn't give thanks by sulking in his unspoken inadequacies.

Laurel. You've put all kinds of flags up around her. If her friends are noticing, there's got to be something to that.

That was a well-placed lesson about Gamp's Law and Augamenti. I always had this theory that the water comes from somewhere, which is why it would be an exception. Scientifically, it can be pulled out of the air on a molecular level - not so with something like, say, fried chicken or cupcakes. It doesn't rain chickens... off topic... anyway...

I think I would pay money to see a class of students let loose in the middle of a bunch of pure-bred Kneazles, the way you described them. *stuffs morbid thoughts back into dark closet*

Ahh, and Flitwick is noticing something. I feel things turning. Okay, and now Laurel with her Tranquilis/Hilaris, and the girls see the happy/calm, and for now, are okay with it. I can completely see that. It's a special genius, a special desperate genius move on Laurel's part to mask the symptoms.

I'm glad Isobel lifted the Charms so we can see what's going on with Tristan and Laurel, but I'm wondering why she did it at that moment. Was it because that's when she noticed that something was off and she wanted to prove it to herself? I liked how it coincided with the announcement of the troll. was it some kind of protective move, just in case things went badly, so they'd be in their right minds? Ahh, I might be overthinking. Please excuse me.

"People! We're people!"

*crumbles under teen drama/angst/self-discovery/hex-induced-pseudo-epiphany-moment*

On the surface, it was a silly line. But underneath, I felt that.

I must admit that I learned something from Isobel about curly hair care when she helped/berated the girl who could only be Hermione - and yes, the insensitivity of the comment that was meant to be helpful... did I just say that twice? Ack!

This is such a character-driven piece, and you are excelling at that. You make me FEEL them, almost until it hurts, and by not using many words either. As a fanfiction, it's pulling in canon all over the place and everything is glued to the HP world.

Wonderful writing!

Author's Response: FINALLY! With this review complete, my unanswered review count will be down to zero for the first time since January!


Ah yes, can't be 'fluff' because I exposited! (This story has a RULL long exposition phase)

The Head Boy, and all the other people there, were sort of there to showcase how, realistically, many teenagers will do SOME amount of partying. Like, it isn't black and white, with people divided between straight-edges and hex heads. There's a whole gray scale of 'normal' and 'moderation.'

And yeah, teenage parties blow up VERY fast, if I recall correctly. Once word begins to spread, a rager soon follows.

The idea of mind altering spells existing in canon is something I thought a lot about. Like, if you CAN just magick yourself into being happy, why wouldn't you? There has to be something keeping people from indulging in magic all the time (side effects, social stigma, etc). So I figured it would probably be like RL substance abuse, where 'self-spelling' carries similar connotations to drinking alone or shooting up.

Tristan's birthday does have a bit of meaning--well spotted :) And Mary is his mum (Mary MacDonald from canon). I also love your point about giving thanks by sulking in his inadequacies, very apt!

BAH! Your thing about fried chicken and cupcakes made me snort-giggle. And yeah, I too sort of imagine that water is basically taken from the air/atmosphere/whatever.

And yeah, this chapter is DEF where the tide begins to turn. This is basically the end of the exposition phase. Laurel's charm blend is sort of her being like 'this is what I do now--all the time.'

You def weren't over-thinking Isobel's reasoning, you hit the nail on the head! She DID suspect something was up and DID want to prove it, AND she didn't want them to be blitzed with a troll around. Perfectly well analyzed.

Ah yes, the epiphany of someone who fancies themself and outsider--someone who'd rather smoke under the bleachers than sit in them and clap.

I have Hermione-hair, and it took me YEARS to figure that one out!

Yes, 'character-driven.' Another way of saying 'not much plot' :P But in all seriousness, I'm so glad that these characters are compelling to you! And I did want this to be a very fanfictiony-fanfiction. Like, I thought a lot about what fanfiction MEANT and what it's capabilities were, so I def took ALL sorts of canon (including simple ideas) from all the books and had fun looking at them and appropriating them and seeing what else they could do.


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Review #7, by mymischiefmanaged 

6th January 2015:
Hello Hello! Here for our swap :)

Okay, the opening of this, I really like. I'm glad you chose to include Tristan thinking about his sorting. Given that we know Harry specifically asked not to be Slytherin, it's good to give some insight into why other characters that would have preferred different houses aren't put into them. And it makes sense that eleven year old Tristan would have let his bitterness override his desire to be in another house. And then his present from his parents is perfect :)

You write Tristan so, so well. Was he the first character you came up with for this story? I really enjoy the little touches, like his kind of vague indifference to the fact he does something impressive in Transfiguration. He seems in a lot of ways to be the most well developed of your characters, and I think your amazing writing is perhaps most amazing when in his POV (although, as I've said, Emily remains my favourite character in terms of how she is as a person).

The little bit of Oliver is perfect. You treat all your minor characters with a lot of care, developing consistent characteristics for them even then they're not important to the plot. Like I said with Fred and George last chapter, something you really achieve with Oliver is keeping him in character with what Harry sees while allowing for the fact he'll seem different to character his own age. For Harry, he's the grown up fifth year, whereas for Tristan he's just another guy in his year. You write that really well.

Favourite line of the chapter: "With the exception of the wild Harry Potter rumors, the last week had passed very much the same as the one before." One of my favourite things about this story is how you throw in canon details almost without really caring. It's a really interesting exploration into that whole 'each person is the main character in their own story' idea. Harry's going through these huge things but isn't even really a minor character in Tristan's story.

I think this chapter marks a bit of a turning point for Laurel. We can really start to see here that her hexing problem goes further than it does for the others. It's an interesting character development that she chooses to take Tristan down with her. It shows some selfishness but also shows how far in denial she is. She's trying to convince herself it's not just a problem for her. It's a shame she goes for Tristan, because Emily or Isobel would definitely be more likely to pick up on the fact that there's a real problem. Tristan sees the whole world through this slightly detached lens that stops him clearly recognising the problems and trying to help.

Finally, love love love the Hermione appearance at the end. I don't think I'd clicked that was her the first time I read this. This time it made me laugh :)

This whole novel's so fantastic, Roisin. Rereading it just shows me how amazing it is. You include all these tiny but fascinating details, and every single one of your characters is so real and has so much depth. I love it.

Question: I saw one of your new years resolutions was to write the sequel. Will it be set during the war? I think it would be fascinating to see these characters when the world around them is falling apart (especially because of things like their friendship with Cedric). I'm super excited for the sequel anyway, but just thought I'd ask :)

Lots of love,

Emma xx

Author's Response: Ah! You are such an amazing reviewer!

When I wrote this, I really didn't know anything about fanfiction or its conventions, but I was really interested in the kind of concept of the genre. I loved the idea of playing with dramatic irony (because hey, there are basically SEVEN BOOKS OF PREQUEL for this story!) So yeah, WE as readers know that someone can just choose a House, but Tristan is not a Gryffindor, and never bothered :( [Also, I have that whole HE'S THE ANTI-POTTER thing--so they had the same Sorting experience with a different outcome]

Tristan was definitely the first character I came up with--well spotted! And even though this is very much an 'ensemble cast,' if you will, I definitely think of him as being the main.

AH, you have no idea how stoked I am about your comments on Oliver! That was EXACTLY what I was trying to do--keep them in character, but seen in a different way because a different person is doing the seeing.

And yes! Everyone is the main character of their own story! Plus, I just loved the idea that Harry's running around, and these kids are like "Ummm, okay--let's go smoke."

Your Laurel interpretation is also bang on. Because also, she /wouldn't/ go to Emily or Isobel if she's set on self-destruction. And they have that whole 'feeling liberated by being terrible together' thing. And she just knows the girls wouldn't go for that.

I had way too much fun with Hermione cameos :D

OH GOSH, SEQUEL. So I DO have a war-era sequel mostly written, but then I ALSO have a weird amount of Year 6 written. BUT, I kind of don't want to do Y6, because I really like how this story ends with some finality. Like, it makes a little statement about teenagedom, and so I don't really wanna open them up again as teenagers. BUT, then there's some stuff in there I REALLY like. I've been having an existential crisis about it for a while, and may end up doing some sort of flashbacky/nonlinear thing? Either way, them navigating their early 20s during the war is definitely a thing that will happen at some point!

Yee, thank you so much for this review!

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Review #8, by Slide 

19th December 2014:
Oh, Tristan. It's the date of your birthday, be a little more chirpy. He's so SOULFUL (by which I mean, such a moody teenager). Bless. He and Laurel got 'stuck' there to drink all of the booze? Not their smartest move ever. Sounds like they paid for it if he had a multi-day hangover. Of course, no lessons learnt. Or, no good ones. As it should be.

I cannot believe that all other Slytherins are not worth Tristan's time. No doubt there's a whole slew of odious personalities, but I'd be confident half of this is Tristan refusing to give individuals chances. If he can give Oliver Wood the wrong impression, no doubt his moods can drive other Slytherins away. Poor fellow and his self-loathing.

Laurel has to have started self-spelling or something else equally unsuitable. There's no way she's just suddenly skipped off the habit without the others picking up on it. I do appreciate their rather innocent ignorance, leaving her kind of alone to her bad habits from not realising how bad it really is/could become. It's realistic without painting them as utterly irresponsible.

I had just been pondering the Auguamenti issue about it and him using it to hydrate them in the room and conjuring food. I'd absently assumed it to just be... well, non-nutritional water, a kind of empty substance which one could consume but which wouldn't actually sustain the body. And here Tristan demonstrates he's got a perfectly good brain when he finds where he wants to apply it, but isn't going to recognise this as a valued trait in himself.

"Free Time, and Also: Animals." I love it.

Oh, TRISTAN. I want to shake him and also hug him. A tremendously apt display of how anything can be twisted into a negative with depression.

I SEE. Tristan's in on what Laurel's doing these days? I look back and realise that Isobel and Emily, earlier, were doing the theorising while he remained judiciously silent. I'm still feeling there's more of this to sniff out, though. Crisis is looming, and if Laurel crashes while doing something Tristan's keeping schtum on, this isn't going to help HIM, either. There'll be tears before bedtime...

Isobel continues to earn favourite points from me for assessing the troll situation and de-charming her friends in a crisis. Smart cookie.

Oh, I see the 'more to sniff out' is that this new charming is making her need to charm EVEN MORE - Bloody hell. Nothing good can come of this.

...Isobel gives Hermione hair-care advice and is NOW CEMENTED AS MY FAVOURITE. Sure, doom and gloom is coming, but that girl rocks. Good stuff!

Author's Response: Tristan is the actual MOODIEST. There are times I want very badly to slap him. And no, no lessons learned EVER (because of course they're like totes immortal and everything).

You are so right about Slytherins! But that's the thing--Tristan really IS a Slytherin, albeit the traits manifest differently than they do in someone like Draco. The tendency to pre-judge people is a long established fault many Slytherin's share, so ironically, Tristan is prejudiced against SLYTHERINS. I'm certain there's a few good ones wandering around, he just refuses to give them the time of day.

I'm so so so glad you dig that whole thing of their being a little ignorant, and arguably yet REASONABLY irresponsible. I definitely wanted the characters to be realistic, and flawed, and TEENAGERS--but I hoped they would still be sympathetic and likable too!

Tristan is definitely very clever and very talented, but as his professors would say, doesn't 'apply himself.' [I suspect the water issue has something to do with it being inorganic? Or maybe it isn't really making water out of nothing, but like, pulling water vapor out of the air???]

Your analysis of Tristan (and desire to both shake and hug) are tremendously on point :)


Oh man, I am a survivor of Hermione Hair. It took until I was about 15 to figure out NEVER BRUSH IT DRY! It's a one-way ticket to puffy-town!

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Review #9, by Nadja 

15th December 2014:
You have an impeccable taste in music and this story is amazing! Thank you for writing this masterpiece!!

Author's Response: *Squee* I'm so glad you like it! Thank you so much for the review!

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Review #10, by TidalDragon 

7th December 2014:
Ahh what a happy return to your delightful story, with everything done so carefully! I knew from the beginning that Laurel seeming normal had to be a false dawn. Mixing charms is, I suppose, probably dangerous if done haphazardly (like mixing certain drugs) and certainly a gateway to more serious issues.

Perhaps my favorite part of this chapter though was the deeper exploration of Tristan's history at Hogwarts. We already knew he was a melancholy character, but now we know more of why. It certainly must be a burden constantly burying yourself in your own perceived inadequacies and I suppose this is another reason Tristan does and acts how he does. While I don't get the sense your tale is headed for any kind of perfect, happy ending (and rightly so), I hope he gets that issue addressed in some way.

On a minor note I did see this sneaky little failed deletion: "His resulting hangover was been so great that it had persisted..." No biggie, but I know you're updating with CIs and such so I thought I'd mention it.

All in all another enjoyable chapter of an incredibly enjoyable story!

Author's Response: Ah! Thank you so much for the reviews :D

Yeah, I definitely play charms as being somewhat analogous to chemical substances. With the 'cheerful/tranquil' hybrid, I was basically trying to engineer something akin to opiates.

Heh--not sure if it was obvious or not, but Tristan's experience was in a lot of ways an inversion of Harry's. I tried to go with dramatic irony with his whole Sorting story, because basically, he experienced the same thing as Harry. But then Harry stood up and fought it, and asked for Gryffindor, while Tristan just resigned. And for that reason, he /wouldn't/ be a Gryffindor.

ooh, thank you for catching that sneaky sneak there! Will scurry and edit straight away!

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Review #11, by Midnight spark 

4th October 2014:
Tristan... I feel for him. It must be a bad feeling that he aren't so good friends with his own House mates. But no one can replace his friends, they are great!

I love it that Tristan is feeling guilty for not being a better son. Adds more originality to this fic. :)

THERE'S CEDRIC! Merlin, I miss that guy.

I knew there is something wrong with Laurel! Why would she want double Cheers?

Aw... the friends are having fun! Aren't they high today!

Bossy first year? Do you mean Hermione? I know she was, you provided a hint: youngest Weasley.

Haha... Harry Potter caught the snitch in his mouth... I love that scene.


Author's Response: Hello!

Yes it must be awful to not have any friends in your house. Curfew is around 9pm, and Tristan doesn't strike me as the kind of fellow to ever get to bed before midnight--that's so many hours to kill with only awful people for company!

I'm glad you thought there was a level of FUN to the Quidditch match, because while I did sort of want to imply a darker level underneath it all, I still wanted the superficial fun-ness to come across!

Thank you so much for taking the time to review!

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Review #12, by Gabriella Hunter 

8th September 2014:

This is Gabbie from the forums and you know what the deal is! I'm right on time for this chapter since its about three days instead of say, a week like the last few times. Hahahha.

So, I'm really starting to worry about our group of Hex Heads. I had a feeling that their constant Cheering would get them into some trouble but now I'm starting to see that the side effects are taking their toll and it was an interesting contrast for Tristan to be the one to notice. Before, he seemed up to Cheering and general Hex Headedness but now, I can see that he's tired and floundering a bit. I wonder what would happen if he straightened up a little? Its stretching it a bit I think but Tristan's feeling ungrateful and a bit angry with himself and I wonder how that's going to translate into his life later on in this story.

The popularity boost from the birthday bash didn't really make Tristan happy, I could tell and while he went through the motions of his classes without really being there. I did like that little bit when he was in Transfiguration though, he has the talent but I don't think that he's reaching for it, it sometimes seems like he's a bit afraid to but maybe that's just me? The fact that he was even worrying about his OWLs for even a minute suggests that he's not at as apathetic towards his studies as he thought.

Anyway, Laurel. What on earth is going on with that girl? I've been worried about her for the past three chapters or so and I'm really scared now, I think her drug habit is getting a little out of control and I'm with Tristan, I don't really like her new batch of friends either. That last little bit with the girls and Tristan had me worried though, they're really running wild right now (Good Hermione reference in there as well, don't think I didn't notice!). The consequences are not going to be pleasant.

As usual, I liked that you added in canon but didn't stray away from your actual plot. The entire thing with the troll was mentioned but not spoken of excessively, which I could appreciate and I'm actually happy that Harry hasn't even said two words in this story. Hahahaha.

Anyway, another great chapter and can't wait to hear from you again!

Much love,


Author's Response: Hello!

Oh man, yes! they have been running absolutely wild, wearing themselves ragged, and pushing too hard against the boundaries. They aren't, as they believe, indestructible, and cracks are beginning to manifest.

Your comment about the popularity boost not *really* making him happy was so on point! And yeah, Tristan really does have a lot of natural talent and cleverness, but as his teachers would say, he just doesn't *apply* himself.

hah, you know Laurel had a problem when even TRISTAN has his reservations!

Writing them running wild at the Quidditch match was really interesting to me, because *they* had a lot of fun--but I also wanted the reader to feel something that they didn't, and give the whole thing a little bit of a foreboding feel/make the reader feel uncomfortable with their behavior. But at the same time, I'm locked into their POVs, so they had to express that without themselves consciously realizing it. I'm SO glad that worked!

Thinking about it, I don't think Harry even says ONE word in this story ;) Since the gang are all OCs, I would be breaking canon if Harry knew who they were, or ever interacted with them.

OK, let me scurry over and give you your review!


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Review #13, by crestwood 

6th September 2014:
Hello again!

This story can become quite sad, really. Even some of the lighthearted parts of this chapter have some pretty depressing undertones if you think about it. The group is getting pretty into those charms aren't they? Laurel especially, doing two charms to balance out her mood and then doing another Cheering charm to fool the others..that doesn't seem very safe, if you take into account the real world parallels. I wonder if you can build up a tolerance for charms and begin needing stronger ones to affect you. I feel that, in Laurel's case, we're soon to find out.

Tristan's sorting was unfortunate, especially since we know that he probably could have just asked the sorting hat to place him in another house and it probably would have bend to his will. I'm glad that he doesn't get around with the stereotypical Slytherins in this story, but at the same time I do wish that he had at least one friend in his own house.

For some reason, your face claims are really working for me. I love having that mental picture of the characters and they all look so great.

About your making sure that none of their schedules conflict with Harry's, that's so impressive! I mean, I have the Harry Potter wiki bookmarked myself, but you've gone above and beyond.

Funny that the main group is good in Charms class, because of course they are. Tristan actually seems to be reasonably good at most of his classes, although he doesn't really care. Also, I really enjoy a character who doesn't care if his house gets docked points. There must be someone with no house spirit in all of Hogwarts, but they never seem to get their own story. This IS that story.

Author's Response: Hello!!!

Yes and most definitely. They've been kind of pushing so many things--boundaries, their own tolerance--that something's gotta give. This chapter is very much the levies starting to get to stressed before they crack.

I definitely did a lot of research into real-world substance abuse to create parallels here, and Laurel's mix is kind of like a speedball (although the ultimate effect is supposed to be a sensation like opiates). I definitely think tolerance would become an issue (and there's canon for magical toxicity/tolerance: felix felicis!)

Ah! Thank you! You are the FIRST person to point out that Tristan could have just *asked* to be in a different house! That dramatic irony is what was supposed to make that memory so tragic! Then again, it might be a uniquely Gryffindor quality to argue with the hat in the first place. Either way, Tristan wouldn't have. He surrenders too easily :(

And I am SO VERY STOKED you liked the faceclaims! I spent about six months looking into different possibilities, and was quite pleased with the ones I chose! (Then I went back and revised the story, with those faceclaims in mind). I definitely wanted people who realistically looked like teenagers, so I chose actors who came to prominence as teenagers doing indie films. That way, they had enough moody/artful photoshoots to choose from--rather than all high fashion modeling and glamour. (I also made it a million times harder on myself, because I wanted them to wear ROBES, so they had to be photos that involved black or dark coloured sleeves). I'm just gonna go ahead and facepalm right now for being so obsessive.

Speaking of which--THEIR CLASS SCHEDULES. Making schedules for them actually made plotting out the story WAY easier, because I knew where they'd be and when :) (Also, just in CASE some reader pointed out that I'd previously said they had some class at some time, and then changed it).

And YES, Tristan is actually very bright--just massively unmotivated. He has so much resentment for the wizarding world that he doesn't even want to excel at school, since he doesn't like having to be there in the first place. :(((

Eeeh--I definitely think you really *get* this story, and it's so amazingly heartening to see you pick up on and appreciate all these things!

There are not enough Xs or Os in the world!

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Review #14, by AlexFan 

27th August 2014:
Tristan seriously needs to get his stuff figured out with these contacts. He rips them or forgets to take them out, isnít that bad for the eyes or something? Why doesnít he just wear glasses?

TALK SMACK ABOUT GRYFFINDOR ALL YOU WANT BUT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A GRYFFINDOR TRISTAN. EVERYONE. EVEN YOU WANT TO BE A GRYFFINDOR AND YOU DONíT EVEN LIKE THEM. Also, Tristan feeling like he isnít good enough for his parents is a very real feeling, I know that feeling well. Sometimes we forget that our parents love us no matter what and instead put ourselves down because we believe that we arenít good enough to be their kids.

If Tristan thinks that Kettleburns class was boring he just had to wait until Hagrid was the Care of Magical Creatures teacher, then heíd never be bored in class or have time to lounge around because heíd be running for his life away from hungry monsters.

I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR YOUR ATTITUDE PROBLEM TRISTAN. Sprout is just trying to be nice and helpful in her own little way and he has to go and swear at her like that. I get heís got his own problems but thereís no reason to take it out on a teacher that is obviously worried about his health. If Iíd been her I wouldíve just taken thirty points just to spite Tristan (not that heíd care since he doesnít seem to care about much).

Well at least McGonagall realised that you couldnít send the Slytherins to the dungeons. That was always something that I found funny, the fact that Dumbledore sent everyone to their common room and the Slytherins towards the troll. Brilliant idea.

Trust Tristan to turn the Quidditch game that Harry nearly died into something really boring. I didnít have patience for Tristan in this chapter. So much stuff happened and he didnít even react to any of the things that happened. This boy has just completely turned off his emotions and stopped caring about things. This is like when you get really excited around a friend but they donít understand why youíre so excited and they just kind of stare at you like, ďPlease stop.Ē

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much for leaving your honest feedback! I really hope this chapter didn't turn your off of the whole story--I wanted things to be really realistic, but I also recognize that realism can be SUPER ANNOYING (because: teenage boys).

Tristan and his contacts: hahaha, yes, he really is terrible at it. Partially, him constantly sleeping in them/tearing them is because my best friend was ALWAYS messing up her contacts when we were 15/16. The real reason, though, is that it's a way for me to draw attention to the fact that he even wears contacts at all--very much in lieu of glasses. See, I wrote Tristan to be very much the "Anti-Potter." In some ways, they actually have very striking similarities--but inverted.

Which brings us to: GRYFFINDOR! I am definitely a proud Gryffundor :) Tristan is for sure full of sour grapes about the whole thing. I'm not sure if it came off, but Tristan's memory of his Sorting is a lot like Harry's (the hat suggests Slytherin, which bums the boy out). Thing is, Harry fought it, whereas Tristan just gave up. It's especially tragic, since WE know that you can actually pick your house. But the fact that Tristan didn't think to fight the placement proves that he really isn't a Gryffindor :(

Hahaha, what you said about Kettleburn vs Hagrid--VERY true!

And UGH, I KNOW! I really like Sprout in this story, and Tristan is such a jerkface to her. I went to High School with some boys who had some serious behavioral issues (quite worse than Tristan, actually), so I kind of channeled that for that scene--tried to get into that headspace. I hope you think it worked!

And YES! That is EXACTLY why I put that thing about the troll in the dungeons in there! hehe

And oh no! I hadn't intended the quidditch match to be boring! Woops!

Your analysis of Tristan is definitely spot on, and I hope that this story gives you enough reason to have patience with him as more details come to light!

Thank you so much for this review--it was a really valuable perspective!

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Review #15, by marauderfan 

12th July 2014:
Okay, 10 chapters to read. I'm stoked.

Poor Tristan. Gah, sleeping in contacts is the WORST. Aw, and leave it to him to spend his birthday feeling sorry for himself. I must say I loved the conversation between him and the Sorting Hat though!

Um, I wish I'd had a class in school that just consisted of playing with cats. That sounds like the most awesome class. Free Time and Animals!

It makes sense that Tristan and co. would be really good in Charms class, shame their 'talent' for it can't get recognised haha. I loved the conversation between the Gryffindors and Tristan in Herbology. They have such a weird quasi-friendship now and it's pretty entertaining.

Also, I love that Tristan chooses to sit with the Bloody Baron. I mean, who else should I have expected him to sit with? Haha.

Ooh, there is something weird going on with Laurel...she's got a serious problem if she's always on some hex or another. And of course Tristan won't speak up about it. I guess its up to Isobel to notice. I hope she notices soon.

He then reminded himself that those were the sorts of thoughts that made him an (non-12+) -- Hahaha! This is what I love about Tristan. He is fully aware of how moody and annoying he is, and makes jokes about it (to himself).

The canon stuff in this chapter is fantastic. I loved Hermione telling them off for being unruly. And Tristan's description of the Quidditch game was brilliant, since he has no idea what's going on and honestly doesn't care, and what was SUCH a big deal in the book is kind of just whatever to him. Weird broomstick - who cares. :p

A few typos I thought I'd bring to your attention:
and head off to the lake together-- should be 'headed' (past tense)
and at one point you said 'overt' when you meant 'over'. Anyway, small things. Excellent chapter!

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Ah the Sorting hat convo--it was so sad to me, because *we* read CoS, and know that Harry chose Gryffindor, Tristan could have just as easily. But of course he's Tristan, and didn't think to try it.

Hahaha, the kitties. I thought it was funny that Kettleburn's class is ostensibly the opposite of Hagrid's. As CambAngst said in his review, Hagrid's is more "Animals And Also: Mortal Danger."

Yeah Wood and Tristan worked it out, but they're still hardly compatible. Wood is still the jock Tristan jinxed, and Tristan is still the kid who jinxes jocks.

The Bloody Baron seating was a last minute realization, I'm glad you liked that!

And yeah, I think of Tristan as having a lot of great qualities. He's clever despite himself, has a sense of humor, and can be positively charming when he feels like it. It's just he spends more time accentuating the negative in his thoughts than the positive.

Thank you for catching the typos! Will edit straight away!


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Review #16, by CambAngst 

10th July 2014:
Hi, there! I'm continuing my march through your story. It's an opportunity to enjoy it and feel good about it at the same time. Win-win.

House Cup 2014 Review

First off, love your chapter image. The model is perfect for the way you're been building Laurel up.

Poor Tristan is kind of a mess, emotionally. It seems like he comes by a lot of it honestly and I'm guessing that the highs and lows of repeatedly charming with Laurel and the others are affecting his moods, as well. Addiction is a harsh master, and I'm sure that he's in deeper than he realizes.

This new combination of charms that Laurel is using sounds like a pretty bad deal. You have one charm canceling the euphoria of the other, allowing her to function "normally". That sounds like the very essence of addiction if I've ever seen it.

Tristan's sorting brings up some interesting points. We know from history that the hat makes mistakes sometimes. Or as Dumbledore said, "Sometimes I think we sort too soon." Then again, it's possibly that Tristan wouldn't be happy no matter where he was. His self-loathing is reaching pretty scary levels. He doesn't even seem to feel worthy of a nice gift from his parents or a tiny check from his grandmother.

It seems like sometimes Tristan excels in spite of himself. With both McGonagall and Sprout, he makes a good impression and then almost immediately ruins it with self-destructive behavior. I feel badly for him, but ultimately the situation can only be considered his own fault.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals' -- Ha! Brilliant description of a class where the students were basically instructed to play with kitties for an hour. I wonder what they would have called Hagrid's class? 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger'?

This chapter gave a different view of more than just Laurel and Tristan. Emily seemed pretty out of control, as well.

"Wait, look," Isobel pointed. "People! We're people!" Isobel explained, indicating to the swarm descending on the Quidditch pitch.

"Letís go be people!" yelled Laurel, and she took off sprinting in the direction of the game.

Not a great sign when you're ambivalent on your personhood.

Interesting to see the Quidditch experience through the eyes of a non-fan. I guess all of the plays would be a bit confusing if you had no idea what was going on.

I feel like you're building toward something here. I can't say exactly what, but I don't see the foursome's activities being something they can sustain for an entire school year, especially with OWL's at the end. I'm really curioius to find out what. Good job!

Author's Response: Glad you liked the image! I spent a lottt of time choosing faceclaims for the characters. I ended up choosing actors who came to prominence as teenagers doing indie films. That way, they would have enough moody pictures (rather than glamor photos), and would look realistically young enough. I thought that image was incredibly perfect for the chapter, and even though she clearly isn't wearing robes, used it anyway. (In canon, they wear ROBES--I take this very seriously! I tried to only use pictures where they look like it could be robes, unless the chapter takes place in the muggle world.)

Oh yes, that charm blend is a monster. Honestly, I was basically trying to make it roughly equivalent to opiates. I'm glad that the VERY BAD IDEAness of it all came across!

Tristan's history with Sorting was, for me, totally tragic. He was basically in the same situation as Harry, with the hat suggesting he should be in Slytherin. But whereas Harry fought the idea, and ASKED to be in Gryffindor, Tristan resigned himself. One gets many opportunities for dramatic irony when writing fanfiction :)

"Tristan excels in spite of himself"--that's a really spot on observation! Cheers for that whole paragraph! I definitely wanted him to be sympathetic, and for readers to understand his behavior the way you do, but also kind of want to slap him.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals'--ahhh, so glad you found that as funny as I did! 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger' is so good that I wish I'd set this story in 1993!

And I'm glad for your reaction to their states-of-mind just before the match. I wanted them to have fun, but I didn't want to romanticize their charm-use.

As for the match itself, I've never really understood sports myself, and I really liked the idea of them all being fish-out-of-water at a game.

Aha, as you know, you were SPOT ON about their behaviors being unsustainable. So good on you! And I'm so pleased that that was paced properly!

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Review #17, by emmacweasley 

21st June 2014:
Yay, an update! From your last review reply - I HAVE seen skins, i love love love it. If this is indeed a combination of HP and Skins it makes very much sense why I'm so enamored with it.

My favorite bit this time was the first part, I think, when Tristan was upset because his parents were being great parents and he wasn't being so great. I totally understand that feeling, and it made me smile.

I also really loved the inclusion of Hermione and Ron. I'm super into seeing them from this point of view - the irrelevant baby first years.

I know not much about this review has been constructive but it's like 6:30 AM and i've yet to go to sleep. I'll make up for it next time, promise!

Great job, again!

Author's Response: No worries! Thank you for reviewing (:

Yeah, skins was brils--since it's one of the first accurate teen dram-edies I ever saw, I can't not give props.

Thanks again for offering feedback!

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