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13 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TreacleTart 

12th August 2015:
Hi Roisin,

Back for another Gryffindor Review Battle review. Team Red!

Man this is sort of like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Isobel is wasting away from an eating disorder. Laurel is in St.Mungo's from self-spelling overdose. Tristan and Emily are regularly getting high. I'm concerned for them. I really am.

I can't believe that Emily and Tristan went to get high even after their friend OD'd. I would think that would be a major buzz kill.

The whole Slytherin attack was sketchy and I was really sad to see Tristan's radio get smashed. I'm surprised that he didn't lose his mind when that happened, but I guess he was pretty stoned. Good thing that Emily was a little bit more aware of what was going on.

I have to admit that I was slightly confused by the whole instance in the hallway between Emily and Tristan. I get that the potion they took sort of opens them up to hear each others thoughts, but for some reason it all happened so fast that I was a little thrown and had to go back to re-read it.

All in all, I'm enjoying this story so far. I'm curious to see what happens next.


Author's Response: "Trainwreck in slow motion" is a comment I've gotten a LOT on this story, usually at about this point ;) YOUTH IS TOUGH, MAN.

Yeah I think the ridiculousness of Tristan and Emily doing that potion is pretty obvious to adults, or just when seen objectively. Writing this involved recalling a LOT of stuff from my teenage years, and ridiculous behavior like this was such a THING. Like, even having a friend nearly die from one drug isn't enough to dampen the teenager's complete delusion of their own immortality.

I do think he very nearly lost his mind when that happened. Like, yeah, lucky that Em was there to anchor things.

Thanks for pointing out the corridor passage, I'll definitely look closely at it when that chapter comes up for revision. Trying to be psychedelic-yet-vague can be tricky :P


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Review #2, by Shinicha 

28th July 2015:
The things are getting intense and there is truly not one incredient of teenage drama missing!

Unfortunately I have never read the Casual Vacancy, however I love your writing. The scene in Hogsmeade was ..wow, just incredible. Not because my wish for psychedelic drugs has come true ( :P ), but because of the smartness with which you wove in the future-present-trippy parts. Also, I am now bursting to know what the BIG THING might be. When Tristan first didn't want to reveal his middle name that started with "R", I irrationally thought of Riddle (which doesn't make any sense whatsoever, since it's a last name PLUS hardly anyone realized the connection between tom and voldy).

But it must be connected somehow to the Big Thing, no? Since he also talks about his "family"... but at the same time, judging from Emily's reaction it was something he did himself, when he was small? Ah, so many questions...

Behind all your characters' declared independence from the rest of the student-body you get their fragile emotional (teeny) state very well across; the fact that they do care a lot and in fact almost all their problems stem from exactly caring a lot about what "society" thinks of them.

By the way, for some inexplicable reason Isobel refuses to have black hair in my head!! I tried telling myself so often, and still she remains the blonde I saw in my mind when I first read the name. Why might that be??

Overall I'm really, really impressed with the effort and research you put into this fic. I'm sorry that my reviews are so useless .-. but believe me when I say that I enjoy it immensely, love it dearly and admire your writing a lot!

And btw, thanks to you I listened to Blur for the first time in my life (don't ask me how I managed to bypass them ...) and I love the song you mentioned. So thanks :D

Author's Response: 'No ingredient of teenage drama missing'! Yes! That was exactly what I was going for! I really wanted to see how all these Teen Drama conventions would play out in the Hogwarts context, since a lot of them never came up in canon (which makes sense, since Harry and co were a bit preoccupied fighting evil). But yeah, like, what's Hogwarts like for normal kids? Or rather, what's Hogwarts like for the kids who'd rather smoke under the bleachers than watch a Quidditch game?

So reading CasVac DEF isn't required for reading this, but, funny anecdote: an RL friend of mine got super spy status and found this online and read it all (luckily, he was down). Then, some months later, he read CasVac and said "it reminded me of Y5 a lot," and I was like "OTHER WAY AROUND, BRO."

And YAY I'm so glad you found Smartness in, erm, yeah psychedelia :P That was super fun to write, because I liked that canon idea that there are older and more subtle magicks outside of wand-waving.

You're def not the first person to think Riddle, and I won't lie: I do kind of dangle that thread.

Your point about their preoccupation with what 'society' thinks is very apt. Like, I think rebellion is important, and so is criticizing the status quo, but young/dumb kids CAN take it too far. When they decide that certain lines are dumb, they can also cross lines they maybe shouldn't. In a way, I think canon explored the same questions, but more to do with rule breaking. Like, when is it ok to break rules/laws? Sometimes the trio do it for good reasons, and sometimes it works out, but sometimes it doesn't, and the story is a lot about them learning how to be smart and thoughtful about it.

Huh, that's so interesting what you said about Isobel! It's such a brunette-y name in my mind! And while she is supposed to be half Arab, maybe she can have dyed her hair in your mind-cast :)

You're reviews aren't useless! I so appreciate all of your feedback and analysis, and it's so on-point and interesting :D (hence this absurdly long reply)

(And YAYAYAY BLUR! So stoked that I was able to introduce you!)

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Review #3, by Pixileanin 

27th July 2015:
Hey there, I needed to get on with the getting on, so here I am. When I started reading this chapter, I immediately had to stop and wonder what I was writing at the time that you were writing this. I don't know why that first sentence made me think of that, but it did.

Ah yes, I was writing that kooky rabbit story. Anyway, I don't know why or even if that's important, but I was just curious. Sometimes life has a way of getting away from me.

"Emily noticed, also, that she knew things."

What exactly was in that potion?? Maybe I don't want to know. Getting that close to someone is risky and dangerous, but Emily is the right person to do it. Poor Tristan though. I don't think he was ready to be so transparent, even though she was able to soothe him. So there's the Big Thing, which we don't know, but Emily does, and then somewhere down the line you show us that Emily feels like Tristan has been hinting at it all along.

I love the tender, yet sad moment that these two have together in the Corridor. I have best wishes for them, but it seems like a long, hard road. Or maybe you just tease me. Harumph with the teasing!

So back to the potion thing, which I have to say the execution of was completely brilliant. You managed to make social commentary sing in the midst of being under the influence of mind-altering substances, and it hit like a splash of psychedelic colors. And the bit about Emily bouncing around inside other peoples' heads was both cool and disturbing at the same time. Those boys, ugh! I didn't want to see what they were thinking, but man oh man did it make an impact.

Brain bleach. Poor Emily. I don't even blame her for not telling Isobel anything. There were Deep Thoughts, and it really wasn't Emily's place to tell anyway. And when is she going to say something to that girl about the not eating? It seems like she's wise to the situation, but maybe there's just too much stuff going on for her to take it in. You've overwhelmed your characters to the point of breakage. So many issues!

Another fantastic installment!


Author's Response: Hm, now that you said that I'll be keeping an eye out in your story, see if I can't have a similar ~woOoOoOo~ moment.

Dimethyltryptamine and MAO inhibiting harmala alkaloids. That's what's in the potion. Heh, it really IS a real thing! And all of Emily's experiences with it were based on research into the shamanic rituals and beliefs around what the potion does (it's used sort of as psychic medicine, apparently) and first-person accounts by people who've done it. As far as I can tell, it IS risky and dangerous, and should probably only ever get used under the supervision of a Shaman. But you know, Emily. Close enough.

But yeah, the Potterverse was all inspired by British/Western European mythologies and stuff, and basically said "all this stuff is literally real here," so I liked the idea that the same might be true for other cultures. Like, this 'potion' really is psychoactive, but it's /believed/ to be magical and involve psychicness and stuff, so I was like "YUP, THAT TOO--REAL."

Ooh so glad you liked the commentary in there! Anti-muggle-born prejudice is so obviously silly to us, so I really wanted to challenge myself to think what /real/ and /vehement/ hatreds a person might have, and make them as compelling as possible (even if they were stupid, all things considered). I have a lot of suspicions about what might motivate hate IRL, so I definitely drew upon that here to invent the perspective of those Slytherins.

As for Isobel, and why no one has done anything, that's sort of a reflection of an unfortunate reality. It can be months and months, sometimes years, before teenagers realize their friend has developed an eating disorder--even when it OUGHT to be obvious. I'm guilty of this too. There's also the fact that readers get to see from everyone's POV in this story, so the whole picture is there. We get everyone's clues. The characters each only have bits and pieces.

Man, writing such a downer story means always ending responses on a super downer note!



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Review #4, by water_lily43175 

7th June 2015:
Oh man, I love the whole first scene of this chapter, with Emily and Tristan. So well-written. Also, I LOVE Tristan's view of the wizarding world. I mean, I don't necessarily AGREE with him, but wow, they're all fairly legitimate points. This is getting DEEP. And I love it.

OH NO you don't just stamp on Tristan's tape player! Grr moron Slytherins.

Wait. WAIT. Tristan's mum was a Gryffindor and his dad's a Muggle ... so how does being Slytherin run in the family? BIG THING I want to know what it is.

So lovely to see the gang as innocent, untroubled eleven year olds. Well. Not 'untroubled' per se but certainly a lot less plagued by their issues and insecurities than they are now. Sigh. NEXT NEXT NEXT.


Author's Response: Ellie! You absolutely RULE! Care for my first-born?

Yeah, I don't agree with Tristan's analysis either, but I was interested in the idea of someone being critical of wizarding culture. A lot of these ideas and criticisms came from various things I've seen online sorta making fun of the Potterverse, and I liked the meta idea of folding those things in.

Ah yes, that is an incongruity, isn't it?

Writing them as 11-year-olds was slightly tough, since I'm not sure I know what 11-year-olds are :P I'm very relieved to hear that you enjoyed it!


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Review #5, by Charlie Darwin 

31st May 2015:
Er, umm, hi there.

It's me, Charlie Darwin. I guess you know about me from my crazy birds leaving comments on your story. Sorry about that; I hope they weren't too weird. They got a little hooked on the story, and whenever I stepped out, they went wild.

But now that I'm reading this chapter to see what they've been getting themselves into, I'm intrigued. I'll have to review the rest of them as the year progresses, and hopefully my busy schedule will allow time for that. It's not easy to write stories, as I'm sure you know, and writing treatises on the origin of species is no menial task. I'm sure I'll get to publish it eventually, though...

Anyway, about your story: As a good Victorian, I am always ready for some social commentary, and I love Tristan's conflicted worldview. Not that it's a good thing to be confused, mind you, but the world is full of many contraries and it's best to straddle the lines wherever possible. Tristan struggles with this because his own House has rejected him and he is part of a world that demeans his love for another world. That's harsh. It's like trying to reconcile religion and the new concept of natural selection with these people, sheesh.

The Peruvian potion was very intriguing to me. I know some people do opium hereabouts (I wouldn't try it myself, though), and the sensation seems like it would be similar, without the magical side effects, of course. Emily and Tristan's friendship is bound to become more complicated after this, especially after her memory of Tristan's comment "It runs in families." Did he have a family member that was in Slytherin? At this point, I cannot be sure, which is why I must read on!

Isobel seems to be getting much thinner, although it is clear by her actions that she does not believe she is. I pity the girl and hope that she will get better. It is not easy to watch your friend suffer through illness or drug-induced complications, and I pray that she gets help soon.

This was a very raw chapter. The attack on Tristan and Emily by the Slytherins was simply horrid, and I gasped when the music player was destroyed. One of Tristan's only beloved links to the Muggle world, gone in an instant. It's truly terrible. I especially appreciated the inversion of the line "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt," because that accurately describes pain in an honest and tragic way.

Very brilliant story, Roisin, and I hope to revisit this in the future.

Charlie Darwin

P.S. Each of the finches claimed to be my "favorite," but they're actually all a royal pain in my behind. Who knew that beaks could vary SO MUCH within the same species?!

Author's Response: Hello!

You have been such an amazing Secret Santa--thank you SO much!

Yeah, Tristan is definitely someone who straddles two worlds. Harry adapted to wizarding society really well and it totally suited him, so I was curious to explore how someone else might fare.

The Peruvian Potion was super fun to write :) Emily's got most of the raw data when it comes to what's up with Tristan. Mind reading is a pretty tricky business (lots of flashes and feelings), but she knows him well enough to have put everything together.

Oof, the more weight Isobel loses the worse she feels about herself :( Those sorts of hallucinations are woefully common among people struggling with eating disorders. And yeah--she's pretty overwhelmed after everything that's happened and doesn't have quite the tools to cope (and honestly, her friends are only teenagers themselves--hardly trained professionals).

I'm really pleased that you use the word 'raw'--that was very much what I was going for! (What with everything that just happened, they are pretty raw). And that the radio destruction had impact! I got genuinely SAD writing that, and really hoped the tragic violence of that moment came across. The inversion to the Vonnegut quote is something my friend once said during finals and it really stuck with me--so clever!

Thank you again SO much for being SUCH a fantastic Secret Santa!


(And, to answer your question: NO ONE KNEW there was so much variation within a single species! ONLY YOU! YOU challenged the concept of Fixity, and suggested that variation should be THE focus of study, rather than some assumed deviation from a platonic ideal!)

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Review #6, by Slide 

20th December 2014:
Sooo I've just been full of fuzzy feelings for a certain recently-concluded animated show and its romances, and obviously this means I need to throw myself back into this old ball of angst.

I just realised I was predicting Laurel's self-spelling in the chapter called "Self-Spelling". IT'S LIKE I'M A FREAKING DETECTIVE OR SOMETHING.

Oh good, Emily. We need someone with their finger on the emotional pulse right about now. Also, Emily's clearly too stable for this group. I'm waiting until we discover that she's secretly a pirate and nobody understands, or something. She can't be this even-minded. Though a part of me's wondering if Isobel's going to have a much greater reaction to Laurel's self-spelling than the others; weirdly, this didn't occur to me before, and all of them are entirely entitled to freak out as much as they please over the incident. But Isobel definitely suspected, was Laurel's housemate, knew her longest. And, above all, was there at the crash moment. That's going to sear in your dang mind.

Don't take the trippy as all hell Divination potion, kids. Or - or, okay, take the potion. That's good, too.

Oh my God she's so high. I shouldn't be giggling like hell over this but I totally am. It might be magical but I couldn't possibly comment on conversations I've had just like this. And it's an entertaining ambiguity as to whether this is magic or just some trippy substance which is prompting honesty in Emily of ideas and questions she's contemplated all along, and is prompting Tristan to be honest in his replies. Well, until she reads his mind.

I'm a little more sympathetic to wizarding society, and would assume it has some greater elements of art and culture than the books show, than Tristan. But he certainly has a point in his assessment. I also don't think that fearing the loss of culture which is going to be at the heart of a lot of pureblood prejudice got very explained in the books. We saw prejudice stem more from superiority than fear.

And then we get the hate of it in Marcus Flint's mind, which is very believable and yet still pretty sickening. Aw, this is all good stuff, with clues on the Big Thing and a very believable show-down with the Slytherins and reactions to it. But there's definitely something with Tristan's family that isn't sitting right. Didn't he say his mother was a Gryffindor, and Muggle-born, except he's commenting in the flashback that it runs in families... Hrm. I may just be sleep-deprived and mixing my clues. OH nope, Emily's noticed it too.

And again Snape doesn't react badly. Something up with him. Though I suspect he's sympathetic to Tristan's situation in Slytherin House, but, hrm.

Fun chapter! All the clues and ruminations of Stuff alongside the emotional arcs.

Author's Response: In your defense, I did throw in a little red herring in the self-spelling chapter (namely, Isobel self-spells to induce vomiting).

BAHAHAHA, Emily secretly being a pirate--YOU ARE ON TO ME. (And you're right, she will have her day in the, erm, 'angst spotlight.') And yeah, Isobel and Laurel are the closest, so Isobel's definitely more affected.

YEE! The ambiguity of the magical potion! You may have noticed that I'm a BIG fan of ambiguity and ambivalence ;) There's definitely a literal magic element, but how much is debatable. And either way, the magic is of a much subtler variety than, say, Charms.

Hah, Tristan is basically speaking to the silly complaints of people on the internet (mostly Cracked videos and the like).

So much of blood purity prejudice is CLEARLY absurd--like, even if there ARE 1000 students at Hogwarts, and even if only a minority of British magical children attend rather than being homeschooled (which seems unlikely), that is one TINY population. They'd have LONG since died out if not for intermixing. I had a lot of fun trying to conceptualize these attitudes, and the sources and manifestations of these prejudices (and I'll admit, the whole 'loss of culture' thing was very inspired by, say, certain people rattling on about 'the birth rates for immigrants' and stuff).

I shall keep my lips sealed as per your analysis of Tristan's 'big thing!'

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Review #7, by TidalDragon 

7th December 2014:
#200! What a milestone for your brilliant story! Enjoy it!

When you first started talking about psychic potions I thought we were headed down the type of trippy road I'm not typically fond of - a bit TOO deep down the rabbit hole I've never explored for my taste. But what you did with it (and the music) was in fact incredibly clever, making it a device to reveal such a huge part of Tristan (of course to the member of the group he's perhaps closest to). I'm intrigued to see what all the other revelations are that came out in the Corridor. It seems obviously that Tristan isn't reacting well and must remember what happened too. Perhaps he's staying away for fear his confessions were really all too much? I don't know, but you leveraged the high and its effects very well.

Obviously Isobel is indeed in the throes of a disorder (perhaps two) now as well, which is difficult. Hearkening back to my last review, I'm glad it hasn't been as overt thus far like Laurel's constant charms, as I think that would've been too much right on the heels of another catastrophe, but still I'm interested to see how it goes.

There was one typo I noticed at the beginning, but I think that's about it.

I'll be back for more eventually!

Author's Response: THANK YOU!1!1!!1 :D You rule!

Aha yes! Since magic is a thing and all, I couldn't resist the idea that South American folk magic might be LITERALLY real! I was interested in the idea of nonwestern magic, since all the canon magic comes from Western European mythologies. So yeah, looking at other forms and traditions and saying ALSO REAL to them was a lot of fun. And later in the Potter books, we saw these more sort of subtle, nuanced, and less formulaic types of magic (stuff beyond "magic word+wand=effect.") That was so fascinating to me, and something I really wanted to explore.

And then, music is magic. Even muggle music. It isn't that important to the story, but it is implied, that music is inherently magical.

For Isobel, I took a lot of cues from a New Yorker article that basically argued that no one should ever write about eating disorders. The author pointed out that in reality, EDs are Boring and Tedious--pretty much the opposite of what art wants to be. So yeah, most depictions are really inaccurate, take place over a short period of time, and engineer Dramas that don't actually ever happen. Or, they focus too much on the physical side of things. It's a mental illness and addiction more than anything, so that's where the real problem lives--not in a wasting body. And wasting takes a LONG time; starvation is a slow death.

Thank you for catching the typo, will fix it straight away! And thank you SO MUCH for this review flurry, and for helping me hit this milestone :DD


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Review #8, by Gabriella Hunter 

14th September 2014:

I'm so happy to be back, you really had me worried with that last chapter. I was a little upset that we didn't get much mention of Laurel in this chapter but I think that you've hinted at other issues that deserve my attention. I thought that it was really reckless of Emily and Tristan though to try that Peruvian Potion after what happened to Laurel but I think both of them were trying to escape other more, unpleasant memories and I found that to be an interesting contrast. I wonder what's going on with Isobel at the moment and its obvious that her bulimia is getting out of hand, I'm wondering just how sick she must be to not be walking around in her make up. Has something else happened to bring about this change? I can't help but wonder about that.

But anyway, Emily and Tristan's moment together was both haunting and absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the power of the potion too and what Emily saw in her friend, the Big Thing, which you've hinted at more than once has me really curious and it really showed Tristan as a very vulnerable person. Its obvious that he's hoarding a lot of pain in himself but I'm curious to know what happened and what's so terrible that he's hidden away for so long. I wonder if Emily will ever say? I doubt it but its obvious that she was a bit disturbed by what she saw, though that ending scene with them was wonderfully beautiful.

Also, Slytherins are jerks. What was interesting was the amount of lust that the boys couldn't help but feel for Emily and the blast of hatred was a good mix, confusing feelings for someone, I'm sure.

Now, the flashbacks were lovely. I really got a chance to see all of the characters back when they were younger, hinting at things to come in later chapters? Emily though was the sweetest person in the world and I really enjoyed how she eventually became friends with everyone. I've had very emotional conversations in the loo as well, they can be quite intense. Hahahaha.

Not sure what's going on with Tristan either, what's he doing skipping class? The nerve! I can't wait for the next chapter, don't be shy about stopping back!

Also, the music in this chapter was very spot on, it gave me chills. I think that you weave this in so well that it really helps me to sink into your characters and also, it gives me a chance to remember all the angsty goodness that I listened to when I was their age.

Much love,


Author's Response: Hello!

Ugh, I DEFINITELY agree that Emily and Tristan were being reckless. I remember seeing people behave like that when I was that age, and FIRMLY CONTINUE TO BELIEVE that they were indestructible even when evidence mounted to the contrary. I hope it came off as "unfortunate but realistic" rather than just "STOP IT YOU FOOLS!"

Yay! I'm so glad you liked that scene! The effects of the potions were really interesting for me to write, and I loved the idea of mixing "literal magic" with "trippy psychedelic." And I really hoped it all worked as a "forwarding the plot" device. I liked the idea of being able to reveal some information to a character, but in a way that was vaguer and more subtle than just a straight up declaration of the facts. Also, it let me string the mystery on longer ;)

UGH, those Slytherins! I have a lot of suspicions about the interior lives of properly prejudiced people (headcanon: Death Eaters totally buy muggle nudie mags on the sly). I'm really glad that you found that interesting, and thought it worked!

Right!?! Restroom-friendships are POWERFUL! And just, yee: writing young-Emily was so fun for me! I also really hoped to convey a lot about Laurel there, so I hope that worked!

So many times writing this story I just wanted to SHAKE Tristan, or SLAP HIM. The fool!

Super glad you liked the music too! I know it can really potentially put readers off, but like you said, teenagers listening to angsty music is such a THING. I really tried to make sure the music always had a *reason* to avoid gratuity. One of my all-time favorite fics is "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" (it's so amazing, I can't even), but the author ended up offering two different versions of a chapter. The first involved a parody of the "Ghost Busters" theme (and it was brilliant), but readers on that site were just SO allergic to any music in fics that he ended up doing a music-free edit. So glad that hasn't been the case here!

Thank you so much for the review!

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Review #9, by crestwood 

6th September 2014:
The way you wrote the Peruvian potion was truly masterful. I love the idea of the shape of reality to be comparable to a fractal. The fact that they appear again and again in nature supports that beautiful sentence. This line, "Sometimes moments that seemed to be separated by years were in fact pushed up right next to one another" IS EVERYTHING. I hope you know I could write an entire essay about the implications of that line. The connection with the world that Emily felt in that moment gave me chills and left me contemplating and analyzing everything.

Then you lead into the Big Thing. This thing is apparently too big to see all at once, which makes a lot of sense because of the way you've been slowly revealing information about it to the reader. Brilliant. Everything is falling so perfectly into place.

The Wizards don't have souls line was so poignant. Emily's idea that there are a lot of truths that simultaneously exist is sneakily inserting principles of relativism into a story that I thought would be a fun little teenage dramedy. I want you to know that, with this chapter, you have officially written something so much more than that.

The fact that you describe Kurt Cobain's voice as sounding like the inside of Tristan merely means that he is only becoming closer and closer to a perfect picture of what I was like in high school. Connecting with Kurt Cobain on a deeper level, with a Vonnegut quote on his mind to boot. This story doesn't just feel like it was written for me; but about me.

The things Emily finds out about Marcus while they're mentally connected are kind of startling. He hates her because he is attracted to her and believes that she is worthless because she is stealing magic and influence from his family line. This takes the childhood 'if he's mean to you, he likes you' thing to a whole new level. I know that Umbridge said that muggleborns must have stolen their magic, but I didn't realize that anyone actually believed that. If anything, purebloods should realize that their efforts to continue the purity of such a small population will end up nothing but disastrous. Them stomping on his stereo was incredibly low of them. I can't even believe that happened.

So, Emily now knows the full extent of The Big Thing. I can't wait to find out what it is. Flipping the quote to be 'nothing was beautiful and everything hurt' was hauntingly beautiful and made my stomach do this strange lurching thing. More Bowie never hurts. Isobel's troubles only seem to be getting worse and worse. I'm afraid she may be the next to crash. The flashback of Emily and Tristan's first conversation was both touching and telling. I have a feeling the Big Thing is going to explain more than even I expect. This chapter was absolutely flawless.

Author's Response: !1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!I have no idea how to properly respond to this amazing review!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!1!

That potion was something that, looking at it, I've kind of been writing in my head for *years.* It was sort of a way to combine so many trippy philosophical ideas I've had into one thing. There's a touch of physics, biology, mysticism, and general psychedelia!

That Nirvana sounds like the inside of Tristan is based on a time when I was 17 when the Pixies sounded like my own interior! I'd had a terrible injury, and was hospitalized for over a month (all better now). I had a lot of *feelings,* and they weren't good. But the Pixies sounded like how I felt, but in a fun and exciting way. Music was really a wonderful tool for taking all this energy and transmuting it into something that felt good again. And I think that's why teenagers are *especially* sensitive to music, and *need* it so much--because their feelings are so much more immediate and scary.

Really, SO much of this story was inspired by my life, or the lives of people I know.

And I really pushed myself to be realistic in this story, even when it was hard or uncomfortable, and it's SUCH a huge payoff to hear that it resonates with you!

Ah! Marcus! So the whole blood-purity argument is so OBVIOUSLY stupid and flawed--but then again, so is so much prejudice in the real world! I have a hard time wrapping my head around racism, antisemitism, homophobia, etc. To think that people ACTUALLY have such absurd ideas, and feel them STRONGLY is crazy to me! So I really wanted to draw out Marcus' hatreds here. Also, that he's privately attracted to her has a lot to do with my own (overwhelmingly validated) suspicions about hateful people. (Headcanon: Death Eaters covertly purchase muggle nudie mags).

I can't REALLY take credit for inverting the Vonnegut quote. A very brilliant friend of mine once said that during study week at college (when I asked how he was doing), and it stuck with me. He was also massively hungover at the time.

Also, inverted, it has a more symmetrical rhythm!

Just: !


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Review #10, by AlexFan 

29th August 2014:
They really donít seem to be learning their lesson, do they? Laurel just landed herself in St. Mungoís because she completely lost control of herself, and hexed out, and yet all of her friends are STILL doing their recreational drugs. Like they are fully aware of what happened, has it not occurred to them that maybe the best thing to do would be to stop so that they donít put themselves in danger like Laurel? Theyíre terrified of what happened to Laurel and they worry about her but apparently what happened to her didnít terrify them enough to get them to stop with the drugs or get help if they canít stop on their own.

Tristan makes a good point about how muggles have gotten a lot farther than wizards and without magic, wizards seem to be stuck in the past and unable to move forward because itís kind of like theyíre so afraid of what change might bring. Theyíve cut themselves off from the world so thoroughly that the majority of them donít even know what a television is or a phone. How can you live in the 20th Century and not know about technology? Wizards look down on muggles so much and refuse to admit that muggles are farther along than they are yet they go ahead and steal the Hogwarts Express from them.

As a sidenote, Iím not in the best of moods right now so Tristanís ďwizards donít have souls,Ē philosophical crud is not something that I have the patience to deal with right now. (Also, Iím fairly certain that Tristan is depressed since he has a total lack of enthusiasm for anything and doesnít care about much which fits in a lot with most stories that Iíve read from people that struggle with depression.)

I never actually thought that purebloods hated muggleborns because they actually viewed it as their magic being taken from them (I now realise exactly how entitled purebloods actually think that they are). Saying that muggleborns are the reason that youíre not as good as you should be at magic is like people who say that their kids become autistic because of vaccines. I donít think any of these pureblood elitists realised that if the magic was only kept to pureblood, they would eventually die out or their DNA would become so similar that some biological mutation would probably end them.

Author's Response: No, they definitely didn't learn their lesson. Well, I think they'll be a little wiser about Cheering Charms, but it was far from sweeping. That's one of those quirks about the age I really wanted to get across: how casually selfish kids can be, how easy cognitive dissonance is, and how ardently they believe that they are indestructible.

Yeah, it's definitely interesting: if you have magic, then you don't really need to innovate. Another interesting thing, that didn't make it into this story, is where wizards get their food. Are their wizarding farmers, or do they just buy food that muggles have farmed? Food is an exception to Gamp's law (alongside, I think, currency)--so it can't just be created. Hmmm.

Oh yes, Tristan is certainly depressed :(

I remember in DH, when Umbridge was questioning Mary Cattermole, and she insisted that Mary must have stolen her wand--because she was muggleborn. That, and then the idea of "declining culture" because of muggleborn influence (how common names or traditions are lost/diluted) kind of coalesced into the Slytherins' prejudice. And I loved what you said about how it's like the anti-vaccers (I've studied infectious diseases a TON, and NUH UH). Yeah, all the purebloods are already distantly related, and inbreeding is VERY BAD (leads to tons of X-linked diseases). But, it kind of fits with history: royalty and aristocracy were/are very inbred, for similar reasons (and haemophilia is super common).

Thank you so much for your review--it was wonderful seeing your insights into this chapter!

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Review #11, by CambAngst 

13th July 2014:
So wait, Emily gets to know Tristan's secret now but we still don't??? No fair! I'm starting to get a few guesses, though.

First off, though, it's killing me that neither Tristan nor Emily is picking up on whatís going on with Isobel. Tristan or Emily or any of the teachers or the Ravenclaw prefects or... well, anyone, for that matter. Granted, we're the all-seeing reader who's lived inside of each character's head for at least a chapter now, but it's still hard to imagine how everyone could still be missing the warning signs. Emily especially, since she's -- in a relative sense -- the most sober and well-grounded of the bunch.

The way you wrote the Peruvian potion was amazing. I don't know how much of this is research vs. first-hand experience -- and in the interest of keeping within the ToS, you probably shouldn't tell me ;) -- but you really nailed it with this one. The visual effects, the sense of disassociation and drifting, the feelings of interconnectedness with the world at large... all of it was perfectly in line.

And then it seems like this stuff actually does something more than overpower their serotonin receptors. That was a pretty crazy touch, and one that really brought the two worlds -- drug culture and magical -- together brilliantly. I loved every second of the way that we finally got to dig deeper into Tristan's character and his past. And it happened without all the unnecessary angst and posturing, all just completely matter-of-fact.

"I donít think youíre contagiousÖ or stupid," Emily gently offered in the brief pause after "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ended. -- Ha! I love that lyric. I was in my junior year of college when that song made it big and trust me, it was very contagious.

Ooh, so this potion even connects you with the glitch in the universal way, so to speak. You keep coming up with new ways to make me hate Higgs and Flint even more. Even though the things that Emily learns during her brief psychic connection with Flint were terrible, they were really insightful in a way. I love the amount of thought you've put into things for this story.

The scene with Emily and Tristan back in the "safe" corridor at Hogwarts was really sweet and touching, which doesn't happen all that often in this story. My speculation, based mostly on what I read in this chapter but also based on Tristan's mysterious middle initial, is that Tristan's muggle father isn't actually his father. I have a sneaking suspicion that his actual father is a pureblood Death Eater, perhaps Evan Rosier? Augustus Rookwood? Regardless, I think that's the secret that he's been trying to keep. I think that's why his middle name is such a stigma and I think that's why he didn't fight his sorting harder.

I hoped that the alone time between the two of them might grow into something more, but that would have been a lot to expect under the circumstances. Although I guess that, looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more.

Ah, the big give-away! I knew there was more to the flashback of Emily meeting Tristan than just the cuteness value, and on the second reading I picked up on those six little words: "It tends to go in families." If Tristan's mom was muggle-born, it seems very unlikely she was a Slytherin. If, perhaps, she was unintentionally impregnated by a pureblood fanatic -- sexually assaulted, even? -- it could go a long way toward explaining why she married a muggle and tried to take a step back from the magical world.

The more I think about it, that could also explain why Snape is so fond of Tristan. If Tristan has a muggle father yet he actually comes from an old, pureblood family, he and Snape would have that in common. So many possibilities!

I really loved this chapter! It was awesome in so many different ways. Great job!

Author's Response: Gah, I know, right? But, if memory serves, teenagers can be a bit self involved, and eating disorders often take a few months before they are obvious. Plus, those robes are really baggy.

I did online research for the Peruvian potion, but fractals writ in pink and green are something I've seen under different circumstances. That potion was incredibly fun to write, and the foray into psychedelic magic was, I thought, I nice digression from the rest of the story. I really liked the idea that, in a fictional magical world, folk magic is literally real. Also, divination being such a vague discipline, I liked writing about a magic more subtle than wand waving and incantations.

And yeah, I think it's really easy to take Nirvana for granted now that it's on such constant radio rotation. But it *was* such a big deal for so many people once, and their emergence meant a lot for many young people. Since I'm going for era-accuracy, I didn't want to underplay that. One of my big issues with the Potter movies is that they didn't set them in the 90s (and they didn't wear ROBES).

Oh man, the Higgs and Flint thing was so interesting to work on. I really wanted to challenge myself to properly conceptualize the prejudice. Also, I'm certain that seeing yourself from someone elses POV must be shocking--how things you do are interpreted in bizarre ways you wouldn't imagine (wet hair at breakfast). I definitely also wanted to imply that prejudiced people have weird and repressed fascinations--because I think that is often true in the real world. (I would imagine that Death Eaters secretly read Hustler).

"Looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more," that was a brilliant analysis! Oh man, wait until you see some phrasing way later--you might be psychic now, too!

I'm really stoked to see your speculations! I'd never ever ever tried to write a mystery before, but I've read a lot of Christie and Rowling's new books. I think the best mysteries are those where a number of possibilities are available to the reader, so I'm really pleased to see people's theories! Since I know what's going on, I wasn't sure if it was to obvious, or to obscure, but I think people are picking up on exactly the right things at precisely the right times!

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Review #12, by marauderfan 

12th July 2014:
I'm not sure how I feel about Emily and Tristan going off to take hallucinogenic potions just after Laurel was carted away for over-hexing... they do seem to have themselves under control a bit more than she did, but maybe that's only temporary. Anyway, I loved the way you wrote that scene and what they saw and how time was folding in on itself like a fractal, it was beautifully written, kind of floaty.

The scene with Tristan and Emily in the hallway is really sweet, though slightly annoying to read because I know Emily knows Tristan's secret now, but I still don't! :p

Eleven-year-old Emily's way of introducing herself to Tristan is perfect and adorable. Okay, but now back to Tristan. Something doesn't add up. He says houses run in families, but his dad is a muggle and his mum (Mary Macdonald?) was a Gryffindor. I was just thinking about this and Mary would be way too young to be having kids at the time Tristan was born. My best guess is that Tristan was adopted, potentially from a family of pureblood dark wizards who gave him his middle name "R". So many questions. reading on now. :p Btw, the pacing of this story is excellent. There's enough info to progress the story, but you conceal enough to make me want to keep reading! Another great chapter!

House Cup Review 2014

Author's Response: Right!?! I think that Emily kind of realized there was something tacky and unwise about it--but Emily's also the most stable of the four. She's only charmed three times (the train, Hogsmeade, the Quidditch match) all term, so she isn't too worried about over-partying.

I really enjoyed writing the potion! Emily's visions are based a bit on some of the teenage philosophizing I did as a kid--the gist of which was "everything is connected, and it's all mushy." Plus, as I mentioned in the A/N, LOTS of research into real-world psychadelia. And I hope it comes across, but Emily's chapters change a bit after, in the way she thinks about things.

And yay, the introduction. Since this is a coming-of-age, I thought flashing back to them as children was important, because they're currently in their transition state.

And ah! What you said about things "not adding up" PERFECTLY mirrors something Isobel says in the most recently uploaded chapter! :D

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Review #13, by emmacweasley 

6th July 2014:
House Cup 2014 Review

This is one of my absolute favorite chapters, and I think it all has to do with the description of the crazy potion they take. I really like the fact that there were doubts on whether or not it would work - western ideology always has a tendency to doubt anything "magical" that comes from the eastern cultures. And because of that, I also really like the fact that it worked, and it worked WELL. Emily and Tristan have a super great connection in this chapter, and its obviously not completely because of the potion. I'm still waiting for them to really get it together, you know.

Anyway, I also really appreciate how you've let Tristan's secret out a little by little over time. It feels much more natural that way.


Author's Response: That potion was so interesting to write! I liked the idea that sometimes magic is more subtle and complex than simple wand motions and incantations. The quote Fred and George appropriated: "a magic beyond all we do here" Spoiler: music, even when made by muggles, is literally magic in this story!

And yes-yes-yes, Western bias is a huge theme here :)

And I'm so relieved that you dug the pacing of the Tristan reveal! I wrote this all out and edited before I started uploading, but last minute I totally overhauled how I paced that mystery, and I'm realy glad it worked!


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