8 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragon 

23rd August 2015:
Ahh...so we DO get some insight into exactly what Laurel went through in her worst hour as well. It's dark indeed, but I'm glad you laid it bare for us because it reinforces the truth you stuck to in the previous chapter where Laurel is still very much NOT okay. I thought you also did a great job handling the thoughts running through her head, the trying to be normal and fit back in, the doubting Sprout, the resentment for those who don't understand or try to avoid the issue (even her friends) and finally the self-loathing. All crucial, all real, and very well executed.

On a more detail level, I thought it was quite nice how you introduced this guidance counselor type role into Hogwarts. While we hear nothing of the sort in canon necessarily, I imagine it would be something that exists, whether it's the student's head of house that has to fill the role or a professor dedicated to it. And Sprout's handling of it was well done too and I think ultimately will be helpful to Laurel.
Hilarious too that Sprout has her own stash growing BTW!

The end though was ultimately my favorite part because it was SO high impact. #1 you bring Tristan and Laurel back together for real by putting them alone. #2 you have them acknowledge they're messed up, without FULLY acknowledging it (at least on Tristan's part) and it's paired off with that great line about it not being the big things, but the little ones that mess people up. It's so true - I think more than they know right now even. EXCELLENT.

Author's Response: The St. Mungo's recollection is a section I'm actually hoping to come back to with editing, because I like the idea but struggled with it a lot. Def could benefit from revision.

And yeah, more of the whole "it doesn't get better overnight" thing. There's definitely an evolution that needs to happen, and stopping the behavior doesn't mean that the underlying disorder isn't still present.

I HAVE to assume that Hogwarts has a guidance counselor! And it makes sense that Harry never met with one, since he had a LOT of support from various professors--like DUMBLEDORE. But yeah, for other kids who aren't dealing with Chosen One-ness, I thought Sprout fit :)

It's interesting because a lot of readers thought that there had to be some Big Thing with Laurel. Like, something would get revealed and then everything would make sense. And that's true of Tristan, but I think for most people, it's never really one big thing. And it shouldn't have to be. Like, someone shouldn't need an Excuse or Justification to be in pain, you know?

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Review #2, by water_lily43175 

7th June 2015:

I love that Sprout does guidance sessions. YES that kind of service would surely have to be available to Hogwarts students, and YES Sprout is the ideal person. Also I love this line: " A studentís troubles were rarely the result of one big thing, but rather a lifetimeís sum of little disappointments adding up." How very true.

Yas virtual confirmation about Tristan's parentage.

And what a lovely job Sprout does in chatting to Laurel. Not at all condescending, just trying to BE THERE.

Ah, yes. It makes sense that Emily and Isobel would struggle to know how to talk to Laurel. It's such a big thing that she's gone through, and I can imagine how awkward Emily and Isobel feel about the whole thing. How do you react around this friend who's become so self-destructive?

And yet poor old Isobel seems about to press her own self-destruct button. Here comes this self-determined discipline again - they all HAVE to stay friends, HAVE to be okay, and she HAS to be the one to hold them together. Even though she can't hold herself together right now. Poor thing. If only she and Laurel could help each other, but Laurel seems a long way off being able to help anyone else through their own mental struggles at the moment.

Those flashback scenes are heartbreaking. And her chat with Tristan at the end ... oh man guys. :( Lovely chapter, excellent depiction of Laurel's struggles. It definitely worked to hold back on her perspective until this moment. NICE WORK.


Author's Response: I'm SO relieved that you thought holding back on her perspective until now worked! I really liked the idea of building up everyone else's ideas about her first before getting into her head, but I was REALLY worried about her first chapter being compelling. After such a build-up I feel like it would be easy to disappoint.

Right?! Sprout WOULD do the guidance sessions, and there would HAVE to be a guidance counselor.

I'm really glad you liked that line. I feel like a lot of readers suspected Laurel might have some sort of DARK SECRET or that there was a BIG REASON for why she was the way she was, and yeah, worried that this answer would be disappointing. Her life is honestly kind of average. A bit sucky, yes, but a lot of people experience sadness and alienation and low self-esteem and it's not usually something that can be explained by just one thing.

Sprout was REALLY refreshing for me to write! All the adult characters, actually (I say "all." It's just her and Mary.)

Oh yes, VERY awkward. Her stint in rehab is a pretty big elephant in the room.

Isobel definitely internalizes everything that's happening with everyone else. Like I said, NOT self-absorbed, but to a fault. She takes all this stuff on and it's so upsetting to her that she gets this pathological need for control. And of course it doesn't occur to her that starving herself actually makes her more OUT of control.

Oh the flashback scene. Went back and forth forever on whether or not to include that. I definitely want to work on it more. BUT, I'm really glad that you liked this chapter!

Thank you again SO much for taking the time to review. As with most stories, there aren't as many reviews on later chapters and it's always SO great to see what worked and what people get out of it. SO THANK YOU!


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Review #3, by Slide 

5th June 2015:
UGH it has been MONTHS and it's about time I got back into this story. I just keep wanting to sit down and Properly Review, and you know the cycle. It means I never get around to it. So I guess I'll just try!

Hooray, a chapter from Laurel's POV at last. I admit I have thus far enjoyed her more as a foil for everyone else, but it'll be curious to see her in her own right. Immediately I'm hit with her sense of frustration and yet self-loathing. I've only done the "I live away from my own bedroom" for a couple of years at uni, but I imagine four and a half years of serious growing up mostly away from home is going to make for some conflicting home life. And a strained relationship with her mother, or a relationship which looks like it was already strained.

Seeing Isobel from another perspective is always entertaining; there are more layers in her, probably, in terms of how she presents herself compared to how she is. So seeing who spots the chinks in her armour and who doesn't is curious.

I love flawed parents. I don't know why. It's always so refreshing in fanfic to read about parents who aren't either plain evil or entirely supportive and wonderful. Usually those in the middle only tend to exist to object to someone's love interest and eventually come around. Betty presenting the return of her wand as an act of trust, instead of an act of necessity...

OOH we're in a SPROUT POV! That's different. It makes perfect sense that she does the guidance work at Hogwarts (has that come up in a past chapter? Oh, don't rely on my memory). You know, it's actually very interesting coming back to Year Five after reading The Casual Vacancy; I remember thinking at the time that your chosen style for this story made a lot more sense. Particularly how you develop and reveal backstory.

This Sprout scene, in particular, is feeling very Casual Vacancy - and I mean that in a good way. It does that same job of expanding characters by seeing them through different perspectives, and everyone's a little bit useless in their own adorable way. In Year Five, anyway. But I digress.

Briefly misread description of Laurel's father not as a muggle, but as a smuggler. Very different story. HOWEVER, her family life clearly has some secrets. See above for how you're developing and revealing backstory. And anyway, a very good scene, and pleasantly insightful about Sprout as well as poor Laurel.

Aww, all the feels from Isobel.

The depiction of Laurel's struggle with addiction is very effective. Combining the difficulties with both the minutiae of everyday life and the genuinely tougher parts, like Patronus summoning and trying to avoid falling back on old habits, makes it feel very real. The elements of choice, and the wondering what she GETS out of breaking the habit, and the cycle of defeat - all compelling. And, of course, very real. As is the joking about the horrible incident; it's a very valid thing people do, and those outside of the trauma reacting badly to it - also very real.

'It's all just Protego or Expelliarmus anyway.' Much as I try to expand depictions of combat magic... Isobel isn't wrong. :D

Oh Christ, the flashbacks. Oh, Christ - oh, phew, the conversation with Tristan actually went helpfully, didn't just get worse like I thought it might. 'All the little things.' Words of wisdom from Tristan.

An excellent chapter, as you may be able to tell from my blathering.

Author's Response: Hello!

I really wanted to build up everyone else's perspective on Laurel before getting into her head--and also, her head would have been weird to occupy when she was hexed all the time. And probably very boring, too, as she'd kind of anesthetized herself to everything. I've never lived away from my own bedroom (my mom rented my old room out just as soon as I left) but one of my biffles had one of those situations. I'd spent a LOT of time sleeping over at her house as a teen, and helping her clear it out one time was like, I dunno. A really weird experience. She'd, like Laurel, sort of been using it as a locker to dump crap, and it was so odd coming across old things (like old notebooks of mine from highschool that got wedged under a shelf somehow).

You're super right that Isobel, probably more than anyone else, Presents Herself. She has a Summer birthday, so she's actually the youngest of the lot (almost a full year younger than Tristan), but she's always trying to act like the Mum. I think she's more of an adorable sweetie than she lets on, and kind of keeps an icy mask on a lot of the time. (And this isn't a bad thing, but while she's the most active in her studies, she's not actually the smartest. Her POVs tend to have a lot less intelligent language and she uses parentheses a lot).

FLAWED PARENTS! Obviously, family is really important to people and their experiences, and especially children and teenagers who aren't fully independent yet. I definitely wanted to examine a lot of different styles of families and parenting, and I think all of the parents in this story have their strengths and weaknesses. Betty is the least likable, but even she isn't all bad--having a teenager is just really hard and confusing (I imagine?) The parents are all just as confused as their kids. (Oh, and if you're curious, I imagined Betty as looking like Samantha Spiro from Grandma's House).

It got mentioned in Ch4 that Sprout did guidance, but pretty in passing. I DEFINITELY was inspired a lot by Tessa Wall (though they have their differences). I took a LOT of devices and ideas from Casual Vacancy for this story (I'd just read it when I started writing). An RL friend of mine read this story and then CV, and said of it "it reminded me a lot of Y5." Then I was like, "OTHER WAY AROUND, BRO." But yeah, CV was the first time Rowling explored things from multiple perspectives (and she did it SO well), and I loved the idea of bringing multiple perspectives into her Hogwarts world.

Laurel's struggles required a huge amount of imagination on my part, so I'm glad it seemed compelling! I've known a lot of people to suffer from addiction and been involved in some community organizing and stuff around harm reduction and service providing, so I had some stuff to go on, but I'm really glad that her POV was convincing and seemed, like, thorough.

Ah yes, all those little things. I didn't want every character to follow the same arc or be different permutations of the same thing. Tristan has a Big Thing, so many readers assumed Laurel did too. But she doesn't have any DARK SECRETS or anything and her life has been pretty average. But yeah, there's a lot of ways that people can hurt, and people will have Feelings even if there isn't a major trauma to pinpoint.


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Review #4, by Gabriella Hunter 

8th October 2014:

This is Gabbie from the forums with your review and it's good to be back. It hasn't been that long since my last review but I had wanted to sneak on over here and find out what's happening with the gang.

I think that this might be one of my favorite chapters, to be honest. I think that writing about mental illness is very difficult and writing about the aftermath of addiction is even harder. I think that you did a brilliant job of showing the ups and downs of what would happen to a person when they were put back into their life.

Laurel's entire conversation with her mother was cringe-worthy. I felt that Betty wasn't offering her any real support and was more embarrassed than anything, it wasn't what Laurel needed and I felt sorry for her--their relationship doesn't seem to be a healthy one. There was also a lot of unsaid blame going on too that I thought you wrote very well, her mother clearly wanted to say, "This is your entire fault for being a waste" or something along those lines. It left a very unpleasant taste in my mouth.

Now, the group accepting Laurel back was very realistic. There was some awkwardness of course but they were glad that she was back and while it was obvious that something had changed between them all, I liked that they stuck by her. I'm just wondering if Laurel wants them to be there as much, she seems to be drifting and reevaluating her own connections with life and the people she's known.

Now, I liked the POV change to Mrs. Sprout. I wasn't expecting it but I thought it showed that meeting with someone for the first time in a therapy session can be both a bit uncomfortable and freeing. I was able to get an understanding of her character as well and her own faults too and I liked the little bits we got about Tristan too. Little mysterious guy is mysterious! Haha.

I've had to go into therapy a few times in the past so I thought that you wrote that entire scene very well. It's difficult talking to someone about your problems and how you really feel but I think that Laurel made some progress towards the end, when she finally broke down.

Isobel on the other hand seems like she's trying to take control of everyone and hold them all together. I hope that this doesn't backfire! The ending with Tristan and Laurel was really good too, they have something together that the others wouldn't really understand. Broken things with just the pain connecting them, I thought that was really beautifully written.

So, all in all this was a great chapter and I can't wait for the next!

Much love,


P.S.: I liked the end notes especially, it makes your universe all the more powerful.

Author's Response: Hello!

I'm so glad that you liked this chapter! I knew I was really building up to the Laurel POV, and I'm so glad it didn't disappoint once it happened.

And yes, Laurel's mom is lacking in a number of ways. She was actually one of the very first characters I developed for this story (when I was looking for canon characters for everyone to be related to). That the canon Betty Braithewaite wrote a gushing review of the terrible Dumbledore biography definitely suggested a flawed person to me, and that fact influenced Laurel's characterization a lot. I even have a faceclaim for Betty (Samantha Spiro in "Grandma's House"), even though it never shows up in the CIs.

I love your interpretation of Laurel as "drifting and reevaluating." Just as Betty is lacking, and can't be the support Laurel needs, and the healers at St. Mungo's were lacking, so are her friends also ill equipped. They all have their hearts in the right place, they're just all so young, and not entirely prepared or mature enough to be there the way she needs. It's a difficult situation for them too, and no one ever gave them any instructions about how to deal with her.

I loved writing Prof. Sprout! I might have written that whole section from Laurel's POV, but I was really inspired by Rowling's Tessa Wall in the Casual Vacancy (also a guidance counselor). Plus, I thought there was a benefit to having an adult voice jump in to interpret the situation.

I'm so SO glad you thought it was realistic! Realism was really really important to me, and I wanted to treat every one of the important issues in this story with as much tact as possible.

Isobel's need to control is definitely huge - and the more out of control things get, the more furiously she tries.

Writing that section between Laurel and Tristan was really interesting, as a kind of 'blind leading the blind' thing. Whether or not their relationship is healthy and whether or not their relationship is important are, I think, two different questions with two different answers.

Thank you so much for this thoughtful review and analysis! I really really appreciate it!


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Review #5, by AlexFan 

5th October 2014:
Oh wow, Laurelís mom doesnít seem to be a very nice person. I mean, I get that sheís worried about her daughter but she seems to be making it even more difficult for Laurel to recover properly. How is she supposed to get back to normal when her mother is breathing down her neck and making comments at the fact that Laurel is having trouble with her magic. And I know why she doesnít trust Laurel but she could at least do a better job of hiding it, if she showed a little more trust Laurel might believe that her mother believed that she could get better.

You keep taunting me with Tristanís middle name, am I ever going to find out what his middle name is or is it just going to be a mystery until the very end. Tristanís file makes it sound like heís some sort of top secret government agent or something (I was watching spy movies last night forgive me). Just out of curiosity, but why would so much information be blacked out in his files (or anyones files?)

I think Sprout is very good as a councillor. People are generally very closed off when it comes to talking to their therapist, and it makes sense that Laurel would feel like this was just another place where someone would look at her and see a failure. I like how Sprout managed to convince her that that wasnít what she was there to do and that she was there to genuinely help Laurel.

Itís so sad to see how everyone has just kind of given up, y0u know. Tristan is depressed but he wonít see anyone about it because itís like, whatís the point of ever being happy and Laurel just sees herself as a burden and a huge mess that she thinks everyone is being forced to clean up after. She doesnít seem to see the point of why you should bother caring about anything anymore or why you should make an effort towards anything. I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO BE HAPPY AND HAVE A GOOD LIFE.

Author's Response: No, Laurel's mom isn't super great. I was hoping that by introducing her, it might help explain where Laurel's head had been out/where some of her behavior comes from. And I think your analysis is spot on! Laurel does need someone to believe in her--I hadn't exactly thought of it in those words, but it's exactly right.

Officially, it's a mystery until the very end--but the basic gist of the point of it comes across earlier! And as for why his info has been blacked out, you will see!

Yee! So glad you liked Sprout! I really enjoyed writing her, and definitely thought she would make a great therapist!

Oh trust me, I want everyone to be happy and have a good life, too! It's a rocky road for them to get there, as is often the case :( I'm really pleased that you feel for these characters though!

Thank you so much for the thoughtful review!

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Review #6, by crestwood 

9th September 2014:
I'm back again to review for today!

I've given up attempting to pick a chapter as my favorite because each one I read seems like my favorite until I read the next one, but I can now say that this is the first chapter to make me actually cry real tears. Some of that may just be the mood I am in and the fact that it's 6 am and emotions aren't terribly stable this late, but most of it was the conversation between Laurel and Sprout.

Laurel's response to why she judges herself the way she does literally caused me to cry. I expected her to continue on with her pretending to be fine and it just took me off guard honestly. I loved the entire meeting so much. It was one of the most honest moments of the story so far. Sprout is just a wonderful teacher and authority figure. We don't get to see much of her in canon, but I like to think that she would have been this helpful to her students.

I don't like Laurel's mother very much, I must say. I understand that she's worried, but she just seemed really condescending and apparently she slapped her at some point, which really doesn't surprise me considering how she acted in this chapter. I can see that it's not her mother or her father not being there that caused Laurel to end up how she did though, but rather, as you say, 'a lifetime's sum of little disappointments adding up.' That was a beautiful way of wording that and is something that I have thought about plenty of times reading this. It's like you read my mind and have a phrase that captures my every idea.

Tristan is really shirking his responsibilities as far as schoolwork goes...to the point where I am not sure how well he'll do with his exams at all. He seems to be on a fast track toward terrible marks. The story about Laurel sneaking off to get high at St. Mungo's was heartbreaking and definitely paints a picture about the strength of her addiction.

I can't believe you made sure that Laurel's wand was made of Bay wood! That's so clever and only goes to show, once again, that you put the most attention to detail imaginable into your stories. Lithium happens to be my favorite Nirvana song and one of my favorite songs of all time and I can't believe you used that lyric to such great effect! I daresay Tristan and Laurel's relationship perfectly encompasses the point of that line and now I think it'll have two layers of meaning to me. You've already strengthened my love of so many songs within this story - most of all Tainted Love thanks to that dance scene - and this is just one more time you incorporate music beautifully into your writing. It almost seems to go without saying that I loved the chapter at this point.

Author's Response: Ah! Thank you!

So It was such a long, long time before a Laurel POV, and I REALLY didn't want to disappoint. A lot have people have wondered when it was going to come up, and I wanted it to be a major point in the story. I'm so glad it had impact! (And I totally know what you mean about 6am reading--I recently burst into actual tears while reading a one-shot, and then started crying again while reviewing!)

So many people have expressed curiosity about what was going on with Laurel--and I was worried it might be disappointing that it wasn't some Big Thing (Tristan already has one of those). I'm SO relieved that you thought the whole "lifetime of little things" was poignant! I think it's really true!

I loved writing Sprout's POV! She's McGonnagall's best friend, so I figured she had to be pretty awesome :) I also liked the idea of injecting some adult perspective into the story, since we've only seen Laurel from the POV of her peers. I also wanted it to be something of a break, and allow for a more kind of cogent/mature analysis.

Man, I was SO close to cutting Laurel's memory of St. Mungo's, because I wasn't totally happy with it. It *actually* came to me in a dream, so I wanted to include it--but I fretted a lot over its execution. I reallyreallyreally hope it worked!

Laurel and Tristan's names were the first I'd decided on right from the outset--and I *always* knew I wanted her to have a Laurel wand! (Luckily, canon suggested precisely the attributes I wanted, since the symbolism is precisely why I gave Laurel that name!)

Ah! Lithium! I always thought that line was so interesting. And you know how sometimes you *think* you know the lyrics of a song perfectly, and later realize you were actually just kind of making noises during some parts? I never knew they were saying "we broke our mirrors" until I was reading through Nirvana lyrics for this story. Anyway, I really challenged myself to write that idea, and flesh it out. It means SO MUCH to me that you thought I did it well!


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Review #7, by CambAngst 

1st August 2014:
Hello, again!

So first off, I'll disclose that I got impatient yesterday and read all the way through to your last posted chapter. I am going to try -- mightily -- to review each as though I don't know what's coming. We'll see how I fare...

The battle to measure up to "innocent, wide-eyed, whole-life-in-front-of-her" 11-year-old Laurel is just not a battle that "15-year-old, just out of rehab, fallen from grace" Laurel has a chance of winning. I really love the idea, because I can distinctly remember instances during college -- the ones where I was at my worst -- when I pondered what a younger me would have made of my life at the time. Also, I like the references to Laurel's wand and its behavior.

It seems like the competition Laurel feels with Isobel is nearly as much of a lost cause as her attempt to live up to her younger self. I wonder what the Doge-Mostafas would make of it if they knew how inadequate most of the other students feel compared to their "disappointing" younger daughter?

Laurel wanted, for a reckless moment, to say something inflammatory, just to see if her mother might lose it and slap her again. -- Wow. That's one heck of a water-drop for some past or futures event(s). I'm a little curious but mostly just horrified.

Is this your first scene from a professor's point of view? Unless I've forgotten one, I think so. Professor Sprout is so rarely written in HPFF stories. I love seeing through her eyes for a while.

A studentís troubles were rarely the result of one big thing, but rather a lifetimeís sum of little disappointments adding up. -- This chapter has some awesome thematic consistency.

Ooh, another tantalizing nugget about Tristan. It's definitely consistent with my operating theory...

Professor Sprout does a pretty amazing job of getting Laurel to unstopper herself emotionally and react. That's far from an easy task with any teenager, especially one who's just been through an experience like Laurel. Everything about the process of getting busted, getting sent away to get help and having to deal with a judgmental family upon your return conditions a person to either clam up and say only what's expected of them or to lash out against any attempt at offering "help". Laurel did some of both, but it seemed like she found a topic worth discussing at the end.

It felt to Laurel like every second of every day since sheíd hexed-out, she had to make a decision. She could either go about as she was supposed to, or jump off that cliff into a dark unknown. -- It's a pretty heavy thing to deal with, to be sure. Poignant observation there.

Laurel's struggles in rehab were tough to read, but very realistic. When you go that far down a bad road, it's not usually an easy walk back. Laurelís face is a mess of snot and unwiped tears--her bodyís salt laid bare like a sacrifice. -- Such a visceral, gripping image!

And lastly there was the conversation in the corridor. Tristan, the boy with the mind of a junkie and the soul of a poet. One of the most challenging things about this story, at least for me, is to try to decide whether the individuals in this group would be better off or worse off without the others. Don't know the answer to that yet.

I saw one typo in this chapter:

Returning to that room meant accidentally uncovering old trinkets, things she'd once loved and squirrelled awat, that reminded Laurel of just how far she had fallen. -- squirrelled away

Awesome job. I enjoy this story so much. I haven't found one in a long time that captured my imagination like this.

Author's Response: One of the most challenging, and interesting, things about writing this story was getting myself to remember the teenage perspective, and all of those tricky little feelings. During my first go at chapter one I fretted that I wouldn't do teenagers justice. Once I got deeper, tons of long forgotten memories were coming back. I'm really glad these ideas are resonating!

I liked the wand stuff too. The DH concept of wand allegiance was interesting to me, and I wanted to play with the relationship between Laurel and hers.

The thing with Laurel's mom--definitely wanted to write that quick, rather than overplay it. I figured it was horrifying enough on its own, and I'm glad that came off. I thought it was sadder if Laurel took it lightly, and didn't dwell.

Yeah this is the first Sprout POV, but not the last! I really wanted to write from her perspective specifically because she's not such an obvious choice, but potentially really interesting! Sprout always struck me as tough in her way, but was usually overshadowed by McGonnagall. I also thought it was a nice respite to retreat into the mind of someone more stable, and get a little break from the chaos by having an adult POV.

Laurel's memories of rehab were a last minute addition when I uploaded, and I wasn't 100% sure of them, so I'm glad you liked. I ended up just closing my eyes, hitting 'save chapter,' and hoping for the best.

"Mess of salt and unwiped tears--body's salt"--totally recycled from a poem a wrote ;)

"The mind of a junkie and the soul of a poet"--THAT IS OFFICIALLY MY FAVORITE DESCRIPTION OF TRISTAN EVER. I might steal that line from you when I revise!

Whether they would be better off or worse without eachother--definitely an idea I examine later! But I guess you know that :P

Thanks for pointing out the typo! And thanks again for another amazing, encouraging, delightful review!

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Review #8, by marauderfan 

12th July 2014:
Oooh, Laurel's POV!

Stratigraphic layers of rubbish -- haha, this just made the geology nerd in me very happy. Aw, sounds like Laurel's parents have been more suffocating than supportive. (Parents? Or is it just her mum?) I can certainly understand why her mum feels the need to keep an eye on her after everything that went down, but she's not doing it in a very supportive way.

Also this kind of makes me think about how all four kids turned out in the light of how their families are. Isobel and Laurel don't seem to have much from their families apart from scrutiny, and as a result they're both pretty messed up with destructive behaviours. Emily's family is wonderful and I think she is the one with the fewest problems at this point. And Tristan... I think he has the support he needs from his parents, because they really try, but nothing will get through his thick skull when he's so intent on blaming himself for his real heritage - again a family problem, a secret, which is destroying him. Gah!

There you go again with the "R". Okay, here's my guess, the R stands for Rookwood, which was his original last name before he was adopted.

Ah ok, it is just Laurel's mum. I love Sprout's POV, by the way. She really is trying. Maybe she will end up being the support Laurel never got from her mum or from the Healers in St Mungos - or even from her best friends sometimes. Aw, Laurel - I want to give her a hug :( I'm glad Isobel did.

It does seem like Laurel is going to succumb to depression at some point, I can already tell by the things she's thinking and her completely hopeless outlook on life. The scene in the corridor also really pointed out how much has changed since the beginning of the year too, how rather than sitting there to enjoy each others company as they used to do, now they are immersed in their own problems.

Um, I'm not sure I like where this is going with Tristan and Laurel. Is she trying to get with him? She can't be that oblivious to Emily's feelings, or that selfish... or maybe she is. Oh dear, I smell drama. The plot thickens. Perhaps I spoke too soon about Emily having the fewest problems.

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: The "stratigraphic layers of rubbish" bit was an idea I had, that was never addressed in the Potter series, about how it must be weird to go to boarding school. Harry lives at Hogwarts, and hardly thinks of Privet Drive as his home, so that wouldn't be an issue for him. But to spend so little time in your own bedroom, and have it be a kind of flophouse during school breaks must be a weird experience. I based a lot of that off my friends who went to college, but whose parents kept their rooms intact. Then, after a few years, their rooms aren't their rooms anymore--but the room of someone much younger, and poorly maintained.

Yes! Isobel and Laurel's parents can be VERY harsh. I think that has a lot to do with their being Ravenclaws. A lot of pressure. Laurel's name was very intentional--Laurels are symbols of achievement.

I definitely wanted Tristan to be, well, someone readers kind of want to slap. But, at the same time, the more than comes out about him, the harder it is to be angry at him.

I'm glad you like Sprout, too! It's interesting for me writing the adult POVs, and seeing their maturity contrast with the kids' immaturity. Some of the bits I wrote about Sprout were inspired by Tessa Wall in the Casual Vacancy.

I think Laurel is just really vulnerable right now, and needs a lot of affection and reassurance. After everything she's been through, she just doesn't have the space to consider other people as much as she should.

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