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Reading Reviews for bloom., Chapter 1: bloom
  
22 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Canary in the Mine 

12th October 2015:
Honestly, it's really hard for me to read fanfic nowadays, I try to stick with really short sentimental pieces whenever I get the urge. However, I was roaming on the forums and came across your post on the LGBTQA thread and was really interested on how you portrayed someone who's pansexual and having seen you around TDA, I decided to check it out.

That being said, I teared up after reading it and for a second I wasn't even sure why. Was it for her loss, the aimlessness that was a constant in her life, the hole she felt, curing the disease that killed her daughter? Mostly, I think it was just how easily I could put myself in her shoes and that made the whole story feel a lot more real at the end.

I'm in love with the way that this was written from beginning to end. I love how flippant she seems about how she is roaming through life, being with who she pleases as she pleases, etc. in the beginning. It really solidified her personality for me and made it easier to understand why she did things throughout the piece. I also loved how you didn't focus on the morality of her choices and made it impossible for me to judge her for them. Cheating on her husband, sleeping with a married man - it was like teenaged Poppy, roaming as she pleased to whomever she did and I couldn't hate her for it. That was a big thing for me too - I didn't excuse it because of the loss she endured or the pain she felt, I just kind of accepted it as who she was - not necessarily grounded in the morality of it all - and it didn't have a negative impact on me despite my strong moral standards on cheating :P

I really like reading and being able to understand a character's motivation for things and feeling like I'm apart of that drive - if that makes sense. It's like being on the sidelines, cheering them on and hoping they pass that finish line because I want it for them as well. For a second, I was scared that she wouldn't find the cure and that she became a healer to make her life about it until she did. I'm glad it didn't pan out that way :P

I'm realizing now that I'm super rambly and my thoughts could be coming off wrong so I'm sorry in advance! I have nothing but good feelings towards this one shot, I'm really in love with it.

I love the restlessness and how you portrayed it perfectly. Knowing how it feels and not being able to put it into words, I love seeing it unfold in front of me and being able to realize that hey, I totally get that.

Okay, I'm going to try to end this now. I really loved everything about this. I love how strong of a character you created in a one-shot and how you've left a lasting impression on me of who Poppy really is that I won't be able to shake. I love the language and the realness to everything you wrote - nothing felt forced or unrealistic to me. I love how it ended, I didn't feel like this was unfinished or needed more. One of the best things I've read in awhile. I like how you could've been really artsy fartsy with this, with super poetic language (I honestly expected that from the summary) but I was really pleasantly surprised with the bluntness and glad that you wrote it like this. I'm done now. Thank you for writing this ^_^

-Mali

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Review #2, by RShak 

10th March 2015:
wow. This is precisely what I love about good fan fiction. That someone can ADD to canon, giving a back story that fits in with how the character acts but at the same time make them so much more complex. And I love that there wasn't a romantic easy fix, that she couldn't just fix things with her husband or start things with Genevieve and it would all be okay. You express so well that sense of aimlessness, and the importance of being able to feel.

Author's Response: oh my gosh, you are way, WAY too kind. thank you so much for this super sweet review! i always get so warm and fluttery when people give me such lovely compliments and i never feel like i deserve it, so thank you!

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Review #3, by TheTenthWeasley 

7th January 2015:
Me again. I was going to go to sleep (it's currently 4:30 am here in sunny Scotland), but I had to read something else of yours.
Not long after you tell us about Poppy's pregnancy, I had an inkling as to what was going to happen. I'm not sure if you were aiming for the loss of Marigold to be a surprise (nobody would ever assume Madame Pomfrey would have a child in the books, but still), that's not really the point. The point is that it fits. It's a beautifully written, melancholic story, and everything points so stunningly well to Poppy's character that despite the sadness of the loss of Marigold, I'm still smiling at the direction it gave Poppy.
Your creativity is so lovely. (I'm running out of adjectives to use in my reviews.)

Author's Response: omg, you're so sweet! hope i didn't keep you up for too long - you should have picked a shorter one! :P

i wasn't totally intending for marigold's death to be a surprise, no. in my mind, this fic came so easily and wholly presented to me that i almost felt like nothing was a surprise in it, and i was almost trying to get that feeling across to the readers as well. in a way i wanted it to be an account of her life which was kind of untainted by the narrator's view, if that makes sense? it probably just sounds dumb and pretentious but i can't think of another way to phrase it ahaha

thank you so much for these lovely words, this has really made my day to read!

~Maia xx


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Review #4, by marauderfan 

20th October 2014:
Maia, I don't know how you do it, but every single story I read by you is just 100% brilliant. I can totally see why you won the Dobby award for this story (ps: CONGRATULATIONS!!!), as you have such a talent for writing minor characters! The one you wrote about Madam Pince is one of my favourite stories - you have this remarkable ability to take a kind of boring character that no one really thinks about much, and weave this incredibly detailed history that's packed full of emotion and gives such life to the character. And this one - wow, what an emotional punch.

Poppy was a really relatable character for me, in her kind of drifting and not knowing what she wants. And she just felt so real. I also loved the informal writing style and thought it fit the character so well - it's very no-nonsense, it is what it is - kind of how Poppy acts.

The story of Poppy's marriage and then motherhood and then her baby's death was just so tragic. I had a feeling it would ruin the relationship between Poppy and Dewey, but it still made me sad to watch that all happen. But I think that a child's death often causes rifts like that so it all seemed very natural. I like that there wasn't a lot of drama with her and Dewey. They just were, and then weren't. I only wish she'd told him she'd found a cure for the disease Marigold died of.

I was so hopeful about Genevieve and Poppy ending up together - it seemed like she was good for Poppy. And I have to say I loved the progression of that interaction when they first met, to how Genevieve stayed behind in the library for longer each day, and how in a few short sentences, Genevieve was no longer the rude lady making assumptions at the library counter, and was actually rather sweet. I was pretty sad when Poppy moved on, but not altogether surprised. But I think the end is left open enough that maybe Genevieve will come back. I'll just keep thinking that :)

I also like what you pointed out about school grades versus intelligence. Some people don't learn best in traditional school settings and I think Poppy is probably one of those people - school just didn't interest her, but she was clearly intelligent, as she figured out this cure all on her own and without proper Healer training first! I'm glad she got her research published, although it's sad she will never be recognised for it. It kind of made me think of that woman who discovered the shape of DNA but it was published by Watson and Crick, and now very few people have heard of Rosalind Franklin. But I digress. At least Poppy's cure is being used to save people, which is all she wanted from it in the first place. Good for her!

Anyway, I'll conclude this gushy ramble by saying that I loved this story, and you made Poppy Pomfrey's journey to becoming a healer a very engaging and emotional story, and I'm so glad I read it! I'll never think of the stern Hogwarts matron in the same way again. Bravo on such a wonderful fic, Maia. ♥

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Review #5, by EmeraldFire 

15th October 2014:
This is a really interesting take on a character fans don't normally think twice about. There were some grammatical and spelling errors but otherwise, an amazing one-shot! I'm actually currently going through a 'break' with my fiance and reading this opened a revelation within me that I didn't know was in my head. I think it's going to help with my fiance and I, so thank you for that. Excellent writing!

Author's Response: i'm glad you liked it! nobody else has pointed out any typos and i did proof read this - what ones did you spot? i hate having typos in my fics haha!

sorry about you and your fiance, i hope whatever your revelation was helps :)

thanks for the review! ♥

~Maia


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Review #6, by crestwood 

13th October 2014:
Maia, I can't even express how good this is. I wish I would have read this sooner. I'm trying to sum up what's going through my head, but I literally can't do it. There's so many different feelings here.

First I'm feeling so bad for her. Hearing her father calling her a nuisance can't have been a nice experience.

I really adore the way you explained her family life before going to Hogwarts. We get a very clear picture of her personality from the beginning.

And there's something to be said about a character on this site that is bad in school. I've seen a lot of different characterizations on this site, but I seriously rarely ever see a character that's just bad at school. I think it has to do with us all being writers and enjoying reading and such. That probably makes us all a lot less likely to relate to people who don't have much interest in reading and related things. And all that is to say, I really enjoyed reading about someone at Hogwarts getting horrible grades, because *someone* probably has, in all of the years it's been open.

Her relationship with Dewey!! Wow, this is so unexpected. I saw you say somewhere that this isn't exactly a "romance" story. So, it must not be The Point of this this story, but it's still written out in such detail. He's really nothing like her, but they're sweet together. I did not know which way their marriage was going to go, but this is so much worse than anything I could have thought of.

That baby gave her so much happiness. I thought things were going to get happier from there on. She finally had a purpose. And then.. gone.
I don't think I can even comment on this entire section because it was basically an emotional daze for me. I think that was the point. All of it felt all too real, I have to say.

Their marriage certainly will not survive this. Out of all things that can pull apart people, this is one of those pretty potent ones.

When she starts reading the hospital file, I slowly realize that I'm reading a story about Poppy Prompry Pomfrey, so I can guess roughly where this is going.

This librarian is very snarky. Snarky is always good.

This is a perfect way to give her something to focus on and something to link her into the medical professional that she eventually enters. I can barely believe that you just thought this up and it isn't exactly what happened in canon.

It's so realistic that it takes her so long to really come up with something resembling a cure. I'm glad it didn't take like two weeks because obviously if no one else had figured it out before, it must be difficult to solve.

Genevieve isn't quite a relationship, but I think it's comforting in the moment. I kind of feel bad for her. She's sort of discarded without a second thought. Poppy isn't exactly sentimental though, I saw that coming.

Her and Dewey's talk is very frank and honest. I can appreciate how straight forward he was. It speaks volumes that he was so emotional and she just was not and didn't pretend to be. Most stories would have the crying girl in that situation while the man holds himself together and the reversal is so, so welcome.

I am so happy that Poppy got her findings out there, even if they weren't credited to her. Even better that she didn't mind much. She just wanted to help people for that satisfaction that would bring her.

I appreciate that Fitkins is really trying to help Poppy. The scene in which she holds the baby who's life she saved is touching. I'm just so thrilled about her feeling like she's found her purpose. She has really been wondering about her entire life.

I never would have guessed that this particular character could be turned into someone interesting and fun to read about, really. I just never imagined that anyone could turn her into a full, rich character like this. But, you truly gave this character life. This is my favorite minor character backstory ever. You REALLY deserved that Dobby. I can't stress enough how beautiful this was. It feels like I've just completed a novel. This is the only one-shot I've ever read that felt like a journey. Thank you so much for writing this and thank you for the swap!

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Review #7, by LightLeviosa5443 

7th October 2014:
Hi hon!

Here for the BvB!

I've honestly never read anything about Poppy Pomfrey so this will be a fun first for me. I'm sure it'll be amazing. I'm a paragraph in and my heart is already breaking for her. I can only imagine what it's like to constantly be surpressed and yelled at and not be allowed to grow. And so young too. I think you've named this story very appropriately, Maia.

The fact that the third paragraph is her knowing what awful things her parents say about her, and how they call her a nuisance. Oh my goodness I want to scoop her up and cuddle her and keep her away from these awful awful parents. My heart is breaking! You're breaking my heart! I haven't even scrolled down yet and you're already breaking my heart!! Was this story supposed to do this?

They don't appreciate her. They don't appreciate how wonderfully brilliant she is. Seriously? Who breaks a childs spirit like that. Calling her a nuisance, going bald because she's a wild child. So what? Kids break things and get dirty. Her parents are A W F U L.

OH MY GOODNESS THEY DO NOT THINK THAT ABOUT HER. I bet if they had treated her right from the start she would've been fine. RUDE MEAN RUDE RUDE RUDE PARENTS. I'm failing at 12+ words I can use in this review...

...This story is wonderful by the way...

Awe, she met someone. I'm in love with the language in the story, I'm in love with Poppy's characterization and her and just everything about it. I hate her parents, but I guess their negligence have helped make her, her. I have a very small ball of dread in the pit of my stomach. Something is going to go wrong, isn't it? Maia you're going to have something go wrong... aren't you?

Awe. I feel bad that Poppy feels that way, and that she's only having this kid because of Dewey. I'm sad that she doesn't want it and isn't connecting with it yet. I'm hoping and praying things turn around for her, but like I said before, I have a really nasty feeling they won't. I'm afraid. I might read the rest of this with my hands over my eyes.

AWE SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH HER BABY YAY OKAY THATS GOOD. OKAY YAY.

OMG NO. WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHAT HAPPENED. WHAT. WHAT?! WHAT? WHAT IS GOING ON. Why is Dewey hurting her? Why is no one telling her anything? WHY DID YOU DO THIS. I called this. Can we just clarify that I called this?!
oh.
my.
god.

no. no. no no no no no no no. No. No. I am crying. You have made me cry. I want to hug Poppy and give her her daughter back and make everything okay and I just feel so broken for her right now I am so just omg. I can't believe you did that.

Ugh. My heart is breaking for her more than when she was living at home. I literally just have no words. I have no words. None. Ugh. She's falling apart but I feel like this will be good. Maybe she's finally pulling it together and becoming something. yes. Yes. Go to Diagon Alley with your best red lipstick. You can do it Poppy.

Oh gosh, I'm motivationally speaking to a fictional character that I've been crying over for the last ten minutes.

Woo! Go Poppy with the big words and the confidence and the red lipstick that slays that rude Librarian. I'm glad she's putting her in her place. Good. Slay Poppy, slay. I love her determination to find the information and to get answers and to understand what happened. I love that she's doing something.

Oh my goodness. That's wonderful! THAT'S WONDERFUL! You kind of made up for it! Kind of, I'm still upset about you killing the baby like that. OH. AWE. AWE. THAT WAS JUST THE CUTEST THING. OH GOODNESS. I'M BURSTING WITH CUTENESS. but you still haven't made up for it.

I'm really very okay with this breakup scene. I like it. It's kind of perfect. Does that mean she'll be with library lady (truthfully I can't spell her name and I don't want to scroll back up to look)?

NO. YOU DID NOT DO THAT.

Oh goodness gracious.

No. No no no :(

Oh my goodness. My heart. I literally just stopped reviewing for a couple minutes there because I was so enthralled in the story. Oh that's so fantastic! The way this story is ending is so brilliant!!

okay. that was wonderful and amazing.

and I guess I forgive you for breaking my heart.

That was really just. I have no more words. That's it. This review and my blabbering all over the place used them all up. Maia this story was so incredible. The way you wrote it and the way it flowed and everything just felt like it was so seamlessly put together. I am, once again, in awe of your writing.

xoxo Sarah ♥

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Review #8, by teh tarik 

5th October 2014:
Well, hello there, Miss Dobby Finalist! (Though if by some devilry you don't become Dobby Winner I'll eat my laptop, extension cord and all.)

I'm here at last with your requested review. I read this some days ago and absolutely loved this, nominated this, etc. This story is a fabulous exploration of a minor character. Poppy's whole life in this story, leading right up to who she becomes in canon. Well, who knew that the brisk, purposeful Madam Pomfrey in the books was ever such a purposeless, drifting person once?

And I think that has got to be my absolute favourite aspect of her characterisation: her adriftness. It's so realistic and so surprising, and you developed this brilliantly. Poppy has talent, is intelligent and determined when she wants to be, and of course the main problem is that she doesn't really want to do anything. She seems to exist only in the present moment, and is blinkered by the present, and unable to see any future for herself. And all her relationships are only meaningful in the context of the present; she moves too much and she takes so little baggage with her through life. Honestly, I don't think I've read a more beautifully-written portrayal of Poppy's character.

Her whole relationship with Dewey was lovely. I love how quiet it was, how they just seem to float together, and decided they like each other and stick together, until of course, the awful tragedy of Marigold's death, which changes Poppy's entire life and also starts unravelling the relationship between her and Dewey. The way the relationship ended was apt, and I think it suited both Poppy and Dewey's characters. I love reading about fuss-free relationships sometimes.

Poppy and Genevieve's relationship was a great contrast to the Poppy/Dewey ship. Things happen pretty fast with Genevieve, and I think it was great that Poppy associates her with healing. Despite their initial dislike for each other, Genevieve does bring a spark to Poppy's life, if only an ephemeral one. It's a little sad that they burn out so quickly, but so, so true to Poppy's character. And of course her next relationship with Healer Fitkins is even quicker and with barely any connection between the characters.

You wrote in your request that you were concerned about the ending, that everything felt too rushed or inconclusive. Well, I can assure you that there's a great sense of an ending, and that your fic definitely has a beautiful conclusion, one which slots the whole story neatly into canon. I don't find anything wrong with how the story ended. But if you're still unsure about it, perhaps I can make a suggestion. The ending is a lot sparser, or lighter (in terms of narrative and detail) compared with the beginning and middle sections, so maybe if you pad things out a little, provide more detail (or rearrange the details so more of the earlier sections are transferred toward the end - if you don't want to increase the word count), then you could build up to a stronger sense of an ending. Another suggestion would be perhaps to develop Healer Fitkins' character a little bit more? Fitkins isn't as well-developed as, say, Dewey, but he seems to play a rather important role in your story, and in relation to Poppy. Perhaps increasing the depth of interaction between Poppy and Fitkins toward the ending might help? It will however mean increasing the word count. :P

But like I said, I still think it's brilliant and you really shouldn't worry. :D

Well, I enjoyed this story truly, Maia! Best of luck with the Dobbys, and you should certainly be proud of this story!

-teh

Author's Response: teh!! this review is absolutely fab omg ♥

you must be psychic because i did become Miss Dobby Winner - no need to eat any electrical appliances! I still can't even believe it oh my god, I was up against such amazing stories and I didn't think I had a chance - I might be in a permanent state of shock for the rest of my life?? but i'm so happy :O

anyway, i'm so glad you liked this! I didn't really go into it intending to write Poppy as adrift as she comes across, but she kinda wrote herself after a while and so it turned out like this. But i think it works really well and I'm so glad you do too - it's such a contrast to what she is in canon that it was fun to write her transition between the two! I'm so glad you liked my portrayal of her wow ♥

I was originally going to have Dewey being this mean guy who she doesn't like at all, but in the end it seemed much more poignant and realistic if he was actually pretty nice. Not perfect, but nice, and they could have been really happy - but life got in the way and they both have to accept it. I love writing tragic love stories where nobody is really at fault - it's so complex and i love exploring complex things ;)

Genevieve wasn't even going to be a romantic interest at first but I really wanted to give Poppy a variety of relationships so Genevieve became a good way to do that - I'm glad you liked it! She definitely represents the healing phase in Poppy's life, and more than that an academic kind of phase - Genevieve is full of words and knowledge and while Poppy has never liked books she learns to use them to her advantage while working on the cure, so that is when she falls for Genevieve, but it doesn't last longer than the cure because she passes out of that phase. Poppy's life is very fluid and she's good at letting go of things she no longer needs, which I think can be both a strength and a curse to her.

I'm really glad you liked the ending. I tend to thin out the description towards the ends of fics to show a change of the pace as it reaches the end, but I may edit it and add a bit more at some stage, that's a good suggestion :)

Thanks so much for this amazing review honey!

~Maia


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Review #9, by kenpo 

29th September 2014:
Hello! I'm here for the story search round 2!

Holy.

Oh my.

What?

I don't even know what to say. This was fantastic. It's so long, so I was going to save it for another time, but I didn't even notice the length when I was reading!

There was just so much I loved about this and I don't even know where I'm supposed to start.

I loved the journey she went through. You did such a good job portraying her as sort of a wanderer, who isn't really tied to anything. Then she marries Dewey and finds that maybe she doesn't mind being tied down, then she's so unsure about the pregnancy, but finds that she's in love with her daughter.

I knew that something was going to happen, but that didn't make it any less sad!! You wrote that entire section so well.

And the rest of it... wow. I loved it so much. So ridiculously much. It was so realistic and heartbreaking but also just... I don't know. I think "amazing" is the word that I'm going for. I can see why this appeared in so many Dobby nomination threads!!

I can't tell you how gorgeous this is. I love it. I love that Poppy isn't that great of a person. I love it that she's so flawed and emotionally closed off and doesn't really know herself very well. I love it. I love her. I think I might love you a little bit. A little bit a lot.

AHHH I LOVE THAT IT'S PRESENT TENSE. I kept thinking that through the entire time reading it and I almost forgot to mention it in the review!!! I LOVE IT. It makes it such a cool effect, because you're covering such a wide time-span, but it's still... present. That doesn't even make sense, I'm just trying to make my brain work, but you've turned it into mush so I'm having trouble.

And I love that at the end she isn't even always happy, she's just glad that she can feel.

The feels are strong with this one.

This was magnificent. I'm so excited about this story. Thank you so much.

-Georgia

Author's Response: Hi love! Haha I think the length of my stories intimidates a lot of people so I'm glad you didn't notice it when you were actually reading! ;)

I'm so glad you liked it omg ♥ I often think I struggle to show journeys in fic - I'm not the best at development? I often put so much thought into how I am going to portray a character that they get stuck like that and don't develop, which is something I need to work on. I'm super glad you don't think that happened here!

I love writing flawed characters. I get so bored of reading about these perfect unrealistic characters, or characters who are supposed to be imperfect but have all these flaws which aren't really flaws, like being 'adorably' clumsy or awkward or whatever. I love adding as much depth and nuance to my characters as possible so I'm so glad you think it worked with Poppy ♥

I'M REALLY GLAD YOU LOVE THAT IT'S IN PRESENT TENSE! A lot of people hate present tense fics but it's the tense I usually write in, so I'm often nervous when posting that people will hate it for that. I don't know why I gravitate towards the present tense - some of my fics are in past tense but I've had to make a serious effort to keep them that way - but I think it does have a lot to do with keeping the flow of the fic, well, 'present', and moving. So I'm super glad you liked that aspect of it!!

Thank you so much for this incredibubble review ♥ ♥ ♥

~Maia


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Review #10, by nott theodore 

23rd September 2014:
Maia, this is absolutely amazing!

I saw that this has had a ton of nominations in the Dobbys and I had to come and check it out, particularly because it's been so long since I read any of your lovely writing. Loving minor characters, I have actually thought about what background Poppy Pomfrey has and now that I've read this one-shot, I'm quite prepared to take this as my head canon!

The theme here, that runs throughout the story, of Poppy being a drifter of sorts, works so well. I really liked the way that it started off seeming quite an insignificant detail - something that obviously affected her and her character, but when she's a child she doesn't really need to have a lot of focus and direction. But the fact that even her father picked up on it and that it wore him out when she was so young didn't exactly set her up for a really promising future.

I really enjoyed the way that you described her experiences of school. For us, it's so exciting to read about Hogwarts and the lessons, but I guess for a lot of children, especially those who've been raised in magical households, learning magic wouldn't be anything exciting or new. She's just like a lot of people who aren't that interested in school - they have to go, but it doesn't hold much interest. I found it interesting that she did enjoy Herbology and Potions, because they were more "vocational" subjects, and at that point I did wonder if she was going to settle down and go into healing at that point, but I think it was even better that she didn't. It made her seem all the more realistic and believable as a character.

In a way, I was also surprised that she fell for Dewey the way that she did, especially after having been so sure that she'd never end up with any of the people that her parents tried to set her up with. I quite liked the way that you wrote her parents setting her up with Dewey, though, because even if they didn't know exactly what to do to help her, they did care about her and wanted to make sure that she'd be alright.

Her time with Dewey was so sweet! I loved the way that you highlighted the contrasts between the pair of them, but even so I was rooting for them. It went so fast but I liked the fact that Poppy was surprised too that she was getting married.

The pregnancy was great as well! I thought you did a great job of describing it realistically, especially that Poppy didn't feel an immediate connection to the baby when she found out that she was pregnant, even though Dewey was thrilled. I haven't seen that very often, but it does happen and it's great that you included that.

Oh my goodness, the scenes with Marigold were just heartbreaking. I have to admit, I kind of expected that something bad would happen because in canon Poppy Pomfrey doesn't seem like the sort of person who's got a family as well as her work. But it just happened so quickly and the description in that section was so beautiful - everything built it up to make it even more devastating when the Healer came back and said that there was nothing more they could have done. I just wanted to put my arms round Poppy then and give her a hug, because I could see how heartbroken she felt - those precious few hours she felt that she truly had a purpose in life, but then it was snatched away from her by something she didn't understand.

The sections after Marigold's death, with Dewey and Poppy slowly falling apart, was upsetting to read but very realistic too. So many parents struggle to stay together and remember why they were together after the death of a child, and Poppy and Dewey were only together for a short while before tragedy struck. It's completely believable that they'd slowly fall apart like that.

I couldn't help but smile a little when Poppy went to the library and decided that she was going to find out everything that she could about the condition that had killed her baby. It was great of her to do something like that and she suddenly had a purpose again, which is really what she needed. In that sense, it took the tragedy to help her find her calling, but all the same I think that she'd have been happier if she could have had Marigold alive!

The relationship with Genevieve didn't surprise me either, because in a way it did seem like something more natural to grow out of what the state of the relationship was with Dewey and the fact that she was spending so much time at the library. The break-up with Dewey also felt natural, because they'd drifted so far apart - Dewey was so apologetic and I felt so sorry for him.

It was amazing that Poppy managed to create a cure for the disease, but I felt sorry for her when she couldn't really do anything afterwards and she just drifted from place to place without any real sense of purpose. She'd done something incredible in creating that cure but she still couldn't see that she'd achieved something so brilliant.

Healer Fitkins was a character who surprised me a little bit, especially the fact that he cheated on his wife with Poppy, but I was really pleased that he got Poppy to meet the baby whose life her cure had saved, and she realised that she could do something and regain a purpose. The ending was so much more optimistic and hopeful and I was so pleased that Poppy managed to find that she could feel again!

This was really beautiful and I loved reading it - it definitely deserved all those Dobby nominations!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi Sian!! omg thank you so much for this INCREDIBLE review! Sorry it's taken me a pathetically long time to reply, but every time I tried I would just start squealing from how sweet you are and get distracted XD

i'm so so glad you liked the story! i still can't believe it won a dobby omg ♥

it was very strange for me to write an aimless character since that's totally the opposite of how i am myself, but it seemed to fit so well for Poppy. it definitely caused a lot of problems as she grew up but in a way that aimlessness is what enabled her to properly find her own path so it turned out well in the end, even with a lot of sadness along the way!

i often think about magical students going to hogwarts - having grown up with magic, Transfiguration to them must be like what Maths was to me, haha! so even though we may think it sounds incredible it wouldn't feel incredible if you'd grown up with it, so yeah I think that links a lot to Poppy's dislike of school. she's a very physical and literal person which is why she liked Potions and Herbology, things which meant she could get her hands dirty, which definitely leads well into her becoming a healer, even if it is years later that she does!

yeah, her parents definitely cared about her, in their own silly way :P she was probably just as taken by surprise by falling for Dewey as we were, haha!

i am slightly baby obsessed so pregnancy and babies creep into a lot of my fics, ahaha, but i always try to show it as realistically as possible. the same with things like school, Poppy doesn't think well in the abstract, so I think it's realistic for her to maybe not bond with her baby until Marigold was born and Poppy could physically hold her, see her, all that.

i wrote the whole scene with Marigold's death stream of consciousness because i wanted to get as much raw emotion across as I could, so I'm really glad that scene was hard hitting for you! i'm very lucky and have never experienced anything similar myself so i tried to put myself in Poppy's shoes as much as I could and tell how she would feel then... it was very sad :(

I felt sad writing Poppy and Dewey's relationship falling apart, but I knew it had to happen. Poppy was too broken after Marigold and she needed to fix herself before she could ever think of being with another person again.

i was very proud writing the scene where Poppy decides to find out what killed Marigold! even though she was still very broken at that stage, it really showed a kind of turning point for her when she realised she had to do something about it all or she would fade away.

Genevieve very much represents a time of learning for Poppy, and I think because Poppy is such a physical person, all the studying and books became much easier when she had a physical being to relate them to, which makes it only natural she fell into the relationship with Genevieve. I'm really glad you think that was realistic, as well as the break up with Dewey - which was a long time coming by that stage.

ending this was super hard, so I'm glad you liked the ending with her meeting the baby she'd saved and reconnecting with her emotions :)

thank you so much again for this amazing review! ♥

~Maia


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Review #11, by BellaLestrange87 

11th September 2014:
This is for the Blue vs. Bronze review battle!

This is amazing. I didn't think I could sympathize with Madam Pomfrey. When I read the books I never considered her backstory; she was just there. You made her a fully real character, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

Poppy's experience in school corresponds to that of a normal magical child. If she's been raised in a magical environment her whole life - which she has, since her dad was ecstatic at the thought of her receiving her Hogwarts letter - then learning about magic wouldn't be cool and exciting - cue Hermione - it would be boring.

When you wrote that her family thought she was a Squib, I began comparing her to Neville Longbottom. His uncle dropped him out the window to test for magical ability, and Poppy, according to you, showed only weak signs of magic. Both of them went on to middling grades at Hogwarts, where their teachers weren't exactly... apreciative of their efforts in class. Like Neville, Poppy enjoyed Herbology, and both of them went on to greater things in adulthood. They were both awkward kids.

About the arranged marriage - if Dewey's father was a low-level Ministry employee, why would Mr. Pomfrey want Poppy to marry him? Unless Dewey's dad was on the fast track up the ranks?

I like the way you described pregnancy. It sounded so realistic. I've never been pregnant, but I would think that it would be hard to shake off morning sickness and cramps and not being able to put on your socks by yourself for a child. Admittedly, I don't know, but pregnancy probably isn't all 'I felt a kick' and 'We're going to have a baby!'

The way you portrayed grief is perfect. You perfectly described the way your stomach drops when you hear the news, and the pain you go through as it registers, as well as how you turn into a human robot after, in trying to cope with the loss.

I have to admit, when I first saw Dewey he seemed a bit too much like the perfect husband - devoted, kind, willing to do anything - and then when their marriage fell apart it felt natural. I don't know why, but their marriage felt too perfect, even before Marigold died.

That scene in the library, when Poppy goes to research Polygemagianatura disorder - what a name - was really well done. If she looked someone who has stayed at home for the last while, she wouldn't know how to dress properly. Or, if she had a 'Eureka' moment, she would be too excited - or purposeful would be a better word, in her case - to change. The librarian's sneer was good, and for some reason I drew a parallel to Molly Weasley. She's someone who would be looked down on by snobs, even though she's an extraoardinarily capable witch.

I only have two very minor bits of CC. First, if Poppy came from a magical family, her parents would be magical, and they would know how to magically mend rips and tears, so they shouldn't be as mad about a small tear as they were.

Second, wouldn't Poppy be able to claim her research as her own after becoming a Healer? If she wasn't able to do so as a normal witch because she didn't have the qualifications, surely she would be able to after being qualified?

Those are only two small things, though. This is an awesome piece of writing. Great job!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Hiya! Aww I'm really glad you enjoyed reading this! I never thought about Madam Pomfrey at all while reading the books - I don't think anyone really did - so it was so much fun getting to dive into her character and explore.

I definitely think a comparison to Neville is apt! While there are differences - Poppy was more unmotivated whereas Neville tried harder but still struggled - they both went through their own process of 'blooming' and ended up as incredible wizards. What an insightful thought!

The Pomfrey's weren't an incredibly successful or wealthy family. They didn't really care about the low-level of Dewey's dad's job, more just the fact that Dewey was a nice stable boy, and was headed for a stable job in the ministry itself, and could therefore would be able to look after Poppy. It wasn't about money or status, more about just a future for her - after they'd realised she wasn't going to apply herself and get a job, they thought the only thing she could do would be to get married, and just wanted to find someone who would be good for her. I dont think they minded who that was.

I've never been pregnant either but I have read a lot about it and it's definitely not all a joyous experience! For people who bond with their child while pregnant it can be easier to endure all the discomfort but for Poppy she was so unsure whether she even wanted to go through with it that it was even worse. But when Marigold came she did realise it was all worth it.

I'm incredibly lucky in that I've never lost anyone, so I don't really have any experience with grief myself. But I tried to get into Poppy's head as much as I could and kind of just let her write that bit - it was all stream of consciousness and I hardly edited it afterwards, so I think there's quite a lot of raw emotion because of that, and I really hope that made it realistic and poignant.

I liked Dewey, but I knew from the start their relationship wouldn't last. He was by no means perfect but he wasn't a bad guy, and in some other life they would have been perfect for each other. I like writing that kind of tragic love story - where it's realistic that it's ended, just because the world got in the way.

I love the comparison to Molly! I actually thought about that a little while writing this. They're both very maternal characters but there's so much more to them that.

With the dress it wasn't so much about the rip - which her parents could fix magically, you're right - as it was about Poppy's behaviour. They had told her not to get the dress dirty or ripped and she didn't listen to them. She was being disobedient and what they thought was 'unladylike' which is why they were more mad.

She probably could claim her own research after becoming a healer. But I don't really think she cared about the credit at that stage so it wouldn't have bothered her - she had kind of moved on from that stage of her life and all the research had been done in such grief that she didn't really want to think about it. Plus, Healer Fitkins was the one who did all the clinical trials etc, so she wasn't solely responsible. Also the story pretty much ended after she became a healer so I didn't have time to explore it haha.

I'm really glad you liked the story overall! Thanks for this gorgeous review ♥

~Maia



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Review #12, by slytherinchica08 

9th September 2014:
First of all, I must say that this is a fantastic piece! The writing of it was so wonderful and it really brought to life Poppy! You know, I had never really given Poppy much thought before this but now you show me this version of Poppy and how it came to be that she ended up as a healer at Hogwarts and I just can't picture it any other way. This one shot was just so beautifully written and I never once felt that the flow or pacing of this was off. I thought that it all blended so well together and made me visualize this version of Poppy.

I loved the whole plot line of the story too. The fact that Poppy was always a bit of a wanderer without much purpose but then after losing her child finds herself even more lost until she begins researching about the disease and making a cure for it. It was all really touching, even hitting on her small relationships that she had had but yet still single in the end. I also liked how the healer she had ended up playing a larger role in this story too. First in helping to get her cure off the ground, and then second to try and help her realize that maybe a healer was the route she should go.

Gosh you know, I could really go on and on about this one shot as it really was just a wonderful piece. I think the only thing I could suggest for you would be to edit out the extra spaces in between paragraphs. But really, that's it. This was truly a wonderful piece and I very much enjoyed it! Great Job!

~Slytherinchica08~

Author's Response: thanks so much for this gorgeous review!! i had never thought about Poppy before writing this to be honest, but i'm really glad I got her in this challenge. It was really fun to write about her and her story felt very natural - hopefully i can convince everyone to make this their headcanon for her backstory! ahaha.

i'm really glad you liked the plot. i love exploring people's motivations and how their experiences and lives have shaped who they are, so when i wrote this i started by putting Poppy in a place which was almost as far away as possible from what we know of her in canon, and then tried to figure out how to get her from one point to the other. once i started writing it really felt very natural, like i was writing a story i already knew, or even like she was writing it herself. so i hardly thought about the plot at all - it was all defined in terms of her emotional response to it.

eek, i hate this formatting. i find HPFFs editor really hard to use so i often end up with these big spaces in my stories, it's awful! at some point i will try and edit them out, though i don't know how successful it will be...

thanks so much for the review x

~Maia


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Review #13, by True Author 

9th September 2014:
Wow, this was so amazing that I don't really know what to say. You made me feel so many things in just a one-shot that I can't figure out where to start...

Well, I'm so glad you wrote this. We often forget that some small characters like Madam Pomfrey are also humans and they might have a story too. Now I've really started to see not just her, but so many other characters from a different point of view. It's great that you are doing something so unique. Well done! :D

Some of your descriptions were just too beautiful. I couldn't handle them. Like that scene where Marigold is born, everyone's happy and then oh my god, she dies!! Those emotions and that shocking death! That scene surely is my favorite. I also liked how that rowdy girl changed into a woman when she holds her baby in her hands. It was very touching.

Another amazing thing was the way you made her get interested in the medical field. It's just so realistic that a woman like Poppy would desperately want to know what exactly was wrong with her baby and tries her best to do so. It was very very believable.

Oh, I really hoped she and Dewey would end up together! :( I sort of knew they wouldn't, but I always hoped. They make such a perfect couple. They balance each other out. But alas! I think what happened was for the best...

Overall, this was one of the most wonderful stories I have ever read. And the summary is beautiful too! I'm definitely going to read other stories on your author page. I loved your writing style!

I usually don't read one-shots over 5000 words and I'm also kind of uncomfortable with slash, but I'm very happy I gave this story a go. Now maybe I won't judge stories by their length and the ratings!

Well done! It was fun swapping with you and thanks for your review on Through The Darkest!

Ashwini

Author's Response: Awh thank you, I'm really glad you liked it!

I love writing about minor characters for precisely that reason. In canon they're just used to further the plot or whatever without being given much of a chance to have their own personalities or lives so being able to humanise them and work with what's essentially a blank slate and try and see how they would end up where they do in canon - it's just so much fun for me.

I tend to stream-of-consciousness write which is why I think there's a lot of abstract description, and I'm so so glad you like it! The scene with Marigold was actually one of the easiest to write, because by then I was so in Poppy's head that it was like I was feeling it all with her, and it totally just came out - I didn't even edit it at all.

I didn't plot much from the start but I knew that I wanted her to get into the medical field after losing Marigold... it actually took a much different path than I had originally thought it would but I'm happy with the result, ahaha.

Awh, I couldn't make her and Dewey end up together, sorry ;) Realistically tragic romances are kinda my thing :P I love the idea that they were probably soulmates, but being soulmates doesn't always mean you'll end up together. The world just got in the way. I'M PROBABLY REALLY MEAN BUT I LOVE WRITING SITUATIONS LIKE THAT.

I really hope I've managed to change your mind a bit about slash ratings on fic! Some people can be uncomfortable reading it because it seems unfamiliar, but really, a same-sex romance is just the same as any other, and if a fic's written well enough you won't even focus on the fact that the couple are same-sex.

Thanks so much for this awesome review!!

~Maia


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Review #14, by Midnight spark 

8th September 2014:
Hey, it's Sana with your review!

Omigosh, I just melted like pudding in to this story... It was a better experience than eating nutella out of the jar.

I'll never be able to think of Madam Pomfrey the same way ever again.

You've captured her emotions perfectly - her confusion, her sadness- every emotion was perfect. I felt like it was been played right i front of my eyes. To say the truth, I was crying when I read, or rather saw, the scene about Marigold. Only three fanfics have succeeded in making me cry so far- forget-me-not, Romeo in Ivory and this one. That's how great it was.

I have no other words to describe how beautiful it was. You deserve the first prize. It was well-deserved. It was made for you. Congratulations and thank you for that AMAZING review on my story!

Love,
Sana

Author's Response: ahh, oh my god thanks! better than eating nutella out of the jar is possibly the biggest compliment my writing has ever got, omg :O

i'm so glad you liked Poppy so much! i love writing fics exploring the lives of minor characters and she was absolutely perfect for me to write about, so i had so much fun with this fic.

oh my god Romeo in Ivory made me cry so much :O i can't even believe you're comparing my messy fic to that beauty, but thankyou so much!

thanks for this fab swap!

~Maia


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Review #15, by Gabriella Hunter 

7th September 2014:
HELLO!

This is Gabbie from the forums dumping this review on you and my goodness, thank you for this wonderful swap! I wasn't expecting this at all when I started reading and I'm pretty sure that I could have just melted into this story without any complaints. Goodness.

Okay, after swooning and being generally gushy, here's my review. So, I've never read ANY story about Madame Pomfrey before this and the direction that you took with it was just brilliant! I was floored, shocked, in awe and all that goodness. I was seriously considering asking this story to marry me, it was that good.

This bad-girl angle of Poppy that you've written is just so delicious, complicated and gritty that I can't imagine her any other way now. I liked the transition from girl to woman and the hurdles along the way, from her marriage to Dewey to the loss of her baby. You covered some major ground there and I was completely wrapped up in her grief, her anger and that sense of purpose that kept her going. I never though that you would have crafted something like this from such a secondary character but I am amazed!

I'm not even sure if I can really gush about this with the finesse it deserves but just know that you made my night! :D

Thank you so much!

Much love,

Gabbie

P.S.: Thank you for your review for my Percy/Audrey, it was beyond lovely.

Author's Response: Hiya! Thanks for the swap! I'm so glad you liked Bloom :D

I had never read a story about Poppy before either, or even really thought about her, so I was really happy when I got her in this challenge as it gave me a chance to do something totally different and challenge myself with it. I love writing for minor characters because exploring where their motivations and personalities have come from is always so interesting.

i'm so glad you liked Poppy's growth over the fic. I really just wanted more than anything to create a character that felt real, complex, flawed, and 'gritty' like you said. the tough and messy parts of life are the most interesting to me - that's why i love your percy/audrey so much!!

this review made my day, thanks so much honey!!

~Maia



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Review #16, by potterfan310 

7th September 2014:
Hey,

This is beautiful!! ♥

I've never thought of Poppy being someone who got married or had a child so young. But this is just beautiful and the whole flow is just perfect as it goes from one bit of her life to the next effortlessly.

I practically never read stories about anyone such as the staff at Hogwarts so this is so nice to read for a change. The way you've characterised Poppy is amazing, I love how she is so headstrong and determined to find out whether her daughter could have been saved. The fact that she was inspired by wanting to helping those with children are born with the same condition, shows how strong she is despite everything she has been through whether it be at home or with her now ex-husband.

There's a part in Poppy that as I've read this, I've related to. The ambition to go into the medical field is one of mine too, especially as I have a connection to a specific field. The ending was perfect, the fact she had helped to save Nicholas and was then able to see and hold him, all the feels. ♥

She got there in the end which is what I love the most, she never gave up on her daughter or even in finding a cure. ♥ I literally have no words to describe this one-shot because I love it so much. ♥♥

-Potterfan310

Author's Response: thanks so much!!

I had never really thought about Poppy at all before I started writing this, but I'm glad you think this worked, even if it was an unexpected approach! i really like challenging people's ideas of what a certain character's life might have been like :D

I seem to be writing about the Hogwarts staff quite a lot for challenges lately! it's always so much fun to take a character we know nothing about and tell their story, try and figure out how they got to the place they are today.

going into the medical field is a big and awesome ambition, so good luck! i couldn't really relate to that at all - my mains area of work is creative writing, ahahah, but i do also work with babies and toddlers sometimes, so i could really relate to the nurturing side of her and why she would be so good at working with children.

you're way too sweet, i'm so glad you liked it! ♥ ♥

~Maia


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Review #17, by newgenerationlover 

7th September 2014:
Well thanks for making me cry *crosses arms and pouts* Goodness me, this was one of the best stories I have read in a while. Your writing is just impeccable and your character are so realistic and fascinating and just gah! You need to teach a class on creative writing. I think it should be called How To Make Your Readers Cry in a One-Shot 101 ;)

I looovvveeeddd Poppy! I don't think I've read any stories about her before but after this, I definitely want to. Your backstory for her is unlike anything I would have thought of. Her first being a girl who just wants to have fun, not caring about work; to being married at a young age, getting pregnant despite her wishes, and then having the baby, once she finally came to love her, get ripped from her arms, literally; to becoming determined and a healing prodigy. Her character just has so much life and I love it so much. You did such a wonderful job with this story, good luck with the STOM nomination :P

-Mary

Author's Response: ahaha, i'm sorry to make you cry! but wow, thank you so much, i'm so glad you liked it :D ahhh, i could never teach a class on writing! i'm a STUDENT of creative writing! ahaha, i am nowhere near ready to be teaching other people how to follow my weird messy writing tips XD

i had never read a story about Poppy before I wrote this, so I'm so glad you liked her!! I really don't know where this backstory came from - I just kind of sat down and thought about what would be an interesting motivation to be a healer, and thought that losing a loved one and wanting to cure the disease they died from would be perfect for a person who was slightly obsessive. then i sat down to write, and it spiralled from there! but it all felt so natural that these things should happen to her, like it's the way it all should be and i wasn't making it up, just telling a story that already existed - so i'm so glad you liked how it all tied together.

oh my god, thanks so much for the SOTM nomination! another one of my stories was nominated too, ahaha, i can never believe that people would like my weird writing this much!! thank you x

~Maia


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Review #18, by Veritaserum27 

7th September 2014:
Hi Maia - here for the review swap!

I have to admit that I was intimidated by the word length and I started reading this before posting that I would do the swap. I read the entire thing without stopping to post because it was so engrossing.

You've captured such a realistic view of Poppy's life, and everyone's life, for that matter. I think that, as writers, we try so hard to make sure that the message we want to send is clear - characters are black or white and actions are good or bad. The sides our characters choose are dark or light. Writing in the gray area is nothing short of a challenge - and it often comes off as unfinished or wishy-washy. But life is a gray area, and it is so hard to capture that in writing, but you've done it!

This is utter perfection. Poppy isn't portrayed as a really lovable character with insecurities, she is completely flawed and lost and beautiful and sympathetic and frustrating.

At the same time, you kept the story moving and made me want to reach into the words and guide her along. With every turn, I thought that she was going to find her purpose. At Hogwarts, when she fancied Potions and Herbology. Then when she met Dewey and it seemed that they were so awkwardly, differently, fit for each other. When Marigold came along (perfect name, by the way), she felt that purpose she'd been seeking for a few brief moments and the complete emptiness and loss of the way she was physically and in all other ways ripped from Poppy was heartbreaking. The grief that followed was real in the way you conveyed her feelings of emptiness and the front she put on for the outside world. Sometimes, I think the people around you need to know you're alright and, even if you aren't you put up that facade for them, and for you, because dealing with the torment is personal and simply too painful. You showed this beautifully, artfully.

I thought Poppy would find her purpose and be saved by discovering the potion - but there is no magic that can miraculously heal the grief - and she still had to come to terms with the fact that while she felt a purpose finding answers, it did not bring her child back. I think that is why she couldn't stay with Genevieve.

She needed to touch and feel. She had to feel and smell and hold baby Nicholas to know that she had made a difference. It goes back to when she was at Hogwarts and she only liked the classes where she could touch and see what she was doing. The books were there - she learned how to use them as an adult, but Poppy was more of a person who learned and felt from physical contact - as evidenced from her trysts at Hogwarts.

I also love your use of the one-sentence paragraph. It was really effective and not overdone. In a story of this length (I'm a slower reader - getting better, but still it takes me a while to get through longer chapters), it moved the story along and pointed the reader to the emotions you were trying to evoke.

At the end, we see Madame Pomfrey - as she is in the books. You've given us her life and I now can say this is my new head canon for her character. She chose a career that lets her use bright mind, her desire to be hands on with others, and we still can see how she carries the loss that will always be a part of her.

Awesome story! Loved it.

Beth

Author's Response: Hiya! Wow, thanks for this incredible review!

Ahaha I have such an inability to write short oneshots it's ridiculous. A lot of people have been kinda intimidated by how long this is but the general consensus seems to be 'i didnt even notice the length while reading it' so i suppose that's good ;)

'Writing in the grey area' is basically everything I aim to do. While black-and-white characters and situations can work, particularly in longer stories, I often find them boring. Because life is in no way black and white - and my life in particular has never been - so exploring all those tiny nuances of a character which make them hover on the border of good and bad just feels like such a treat to me! Psychology is fascinating to me, especially people's motivations and how those motivations are linked to their pasts, so that's something I always try and get across in my writing. Nobody is ever a certain way for no reason. Not in real life, and certainly not in fic.

I am so glad you enjoyed her journey here. It was quite frustrating for me to write her so aimless for so long, as I've always been an incredibly driven person and my goals haven't really changed since I was a kid. It felt very alien to me when I was writing her, but at the same time very natural for HER, which is why it turned out this way. I actually picked Marigold's name because it's a medicinal plant often used for pregnancy ailments! /themoreyouknow.

The scenes of her grieving Marigold felt so natural to write in a way I can't really explain, and I am so glad people seem to be finding them realistic and moving. They were totally stream-of-consciousness writing and I haven't edited them at all so knowing that the raw emotion came through well is so great ♥

You so, totally get it about Poppy being a physical person. Hearing that her potion was helping people had no impact on her; all the theoretical work she did, while she COULD do it, had no impact on her. She is a physical person, both in her sexuality and just in her sense of self. She needs to touch things to believe them. I think that's why healing is a perfect fit for her (I say that like I wrote this character and then made her go into healing rather than the other way around, haha!) because it's all about the physical, it's very grounded, it utilises herbology and potions which are the practical things she understands. I always think of my characters in terms of elements, and Poppy is Earth, no doubt about it. In my mind she kind of represents the universal Mother - all to do with nurture, and nature, and earth, and being grounded. That might just be me being a hippie as usual, but that's how I love to think of her and I'm so glad you picked up on her physical focus!

I am so glad you liked the story and thank you so much for this review, it really means so much to me! ♥

~Maia


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Review #19, by Roisin 

3rd September 2014:
This is such a beautiful one-shot! Thank you SO MUCH for writing something so big and ambitious and lovely!

I love the way you conceptualized of the matronly Madame Pomfrey. I never would have seen her as aimless or sexual--but every moment you wove into the story had exceptional gravitas and enough detail for me to believe it. The tea stains on her wedding dress--just so many little observations that accomplished so much!

The one thing that could be improved is that the unfurling of the story is often visible. Something happens, and then the information follows that moment, rather than preceding it to set it up. For example, you might do well to introduce that Healer Fitkins is married before Poppy sleeps with him--maybe even she could notice/ruminate on his wedding band at St. Mungos? And I felt like Poppy/Genevieve's relationship went from zero to ten in one sentence--I'd have liked that more fleshed out.

But really, I only pick on these things because it was so good overall!

You made Poppy such an incredible, dimensional, and readable character. I really liked her! And you get away with writing such an unexpected youth for her, because even within the story her life seems to contradict itself. She goes from a bit wild, to being married off in a very standard and boring life, to prematurely world weary--from aimless to focused.

And there was a some gender stuff going on here, and appreciated both its presence and its subtlety. You really wove how her being a woman in that time-period affected her life, but it was more part of the fabric of the story than the focus. That was smart and perfect!

And I really liked the friendship she had with her ex-husband. He definitely seemed a kind sort of man, and I appreciated that their relationship, while imperfect, did have a lot of love there. How he admits to having feelings for another woman, how she admits to an affair--but they are very civil and even intimate in that moment. And I was really happy with the way you handled Poppy's sexuality throughout. She was realistic and dynamic, and nothing in this story was ever reductive.

I could just go on and on about how much I loved this. It was so well realized, and juggled so many subtleties with incredible grace. Just overall, a really affecting story! This is definitely one of those things that you read that sticks with you.

THANK YOU!

xoxo
Roisin

Author's Response: Ahhh I'm really glad you liked the story so much!! Thank you so much ♥

I absolutely love seeing how many layers I can give a minor character; how many unexpected traits I can make actually seem to work in them. And adding in little details (like the tea stains - I'm glad you picked up on that!) are really how I love to write and I think they add so much more dimension to a character than if you just write a huge paragraph explaining everything about them, haha.

Hmm, those little after-the-fact clarifications aren't something a lot of people do so I definitely see your point, but I actually don't write very chronologically most of the time so I think that's part of why they slip in there and I feel like it works with my writing because of that? Maybe in this fic, since it was mostly chronological, I could have done a more classic set up for things like Healer Fitkins being married, but in most of my fics it just about between past and present and I kind of like taking people by surprise with things like that. When I write novels I don't do it so much, but my oneshots are always a little bit more ~artsy and stream of consciousness, hahaha.

I'm not always sure how well I write character development so I'm so glad you liked Poppy's development here! Showing her transition from aimless to focused was hard and I'm really glad I seem to have pulled it off.

I'm a rampant queer feminist so I always try and slip some gender suff into my fics, ahaha. Especially since, while I didn't work out the dates exactly, this was probably set in the 50s/60s/70s, when gender discrimination was much more overt than it is today, I thought she would definitely be up against some stuff like that. But I didn't want to make the whole fic focus on it so I'm really glad it seemed integrated well!

Ahhh, this whole review is just so lovely. I am really glad the story has stuck with you and thank you so much!!

~Maia


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Review #20, by Gladis Gudgeon 

3rd September 2014:
That was fantastic. I never thought about Madame Pomfrey very much before, but the way you capture her is so interesting. I really got a feel for the character and the way she came to be a healer was so creative. I wouldn't be surprised if you win the challenge. I entered a story myself, but my story doesn't even compare. 10/10

Author's Response: i'm so glad you liked it! i had never thought about Poppy before writing this either to be honest, but I'm so glad I got her in the challenge as I really enjoyed writing this!

Your challenge entry was awesome! Well done on honourable mention, you really deserved it. I still can't believe I won, to be honest - I wrote this in about two days!

Thanks for the review xx]

~Maia


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Review #21, by mymischiefmanaged 

3rd September 2014:
Hi Maia, I came to this story from review tag but it was on my reading list anyway so I'm very happy about it :)

This is absolutely wonderful. You've given Poppy such a wonderful character and story behind who she is, and it's heartbreaking but beautiful.

I love how you've somehow captured her changing voice as she grows older, from the childish start to the final coming to terms with who she is. You've managed to give her such incredible character development in one chapter and that's just amazing.

I would have liked to see her start the job at Hogwarts, but you've set up this story so that we can see how it would happen anyway. She cares about people's children and that's enough.

Everything about Marigold and Dewey was so sad but very well written. I especially liked Dewey's lament that they could have been soul mates because it's so clearly true. He was the first person that affected her and that she loved but life came between them.

I'm adding this to my favourites. It's one of the best one-shots I've read.

Thanks for writing something so beautiful!

Much love,

Emma x

Author's Response: Hiya! Aww, I'm so glad you liked it!

I honestly didn't even put any thought into developing her voice, it just naturally changed as the story went on. I always feel way too much connection with my characters when I'm writing so as she went through each event I could just feel how she would have changed and my writing seemed to change itself accordingly, ahaha.

i was originally going to follow through to her start at Hogwarts - and I might still edit it and add more later - but the challenge deadline arrived and I just had to end it where I could! Originally she was going to become a qualified healer, and go to work in the maternity ward with prenatal diseases. But it was bringing up too many memories of Marigold and felt too close to her own experience, and she was starting to feel miserable again. Then the position of Healer opened up at Hogwarts, and her boss recommended her for it, and she thought it was perfect because it allowed her to channel her passion of helping young people but in a different way that didn't feel so close to her own loss. It also meant she could get a fresh start away from where she was living. But yeah, I ran out of time to write that! I'm not sure if I should just leave it here or add that on, to be honest.

Originally I was going to have Dewey turn out to be kind of a jerk, but I thought it was much more sad and also more true to life if he was a good guy who she loved, and circumstance had just prevented them from the life they could have had. that speech by him was actually the very last thing I wrote, in my final edit - a spur of the moment thing, but I feel like it really made that scene, so I'm so glad you liked it.

thank you so much for the fave, and the awesome review! x

~Maia


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Review #22, by Ravenclaw333 

3rd September 2014:
So. I'm almost at a loss for words after reading this story. I saw your status about how you haven't written in a long time and this is such an incredible piece to return with. I'm absolutely in awe of you and your ability, and this was just a privilege to read.

Your interpretation of Poppy is absolutely perfect. You've given her a voice and brought her to life - and having read winter, cry. as well I can safely say your ability to do that with minor characters is unparalleled not only on this site but in all areas of the HP fandom I've seen. You've made her defy all expectation of what she may have been like as a young woman, but in a way that makes any other interpretation of her seem impossible, or at the very least fundamentally lacking. I'm not sure if that made any sense, but I hope it does.

The life you've given her is tragic and painful and utterly perfect, and I felt every emotion alongside Poppy thoughout this whole piece - her waylessness, the way she drifted through school and drifted into a relationship and then a marriage, and even drifted into parenthood before that fleeting moment that changed everything for her - and the hollow emptiness following it and those brief, all-consuming moments of purpose - I'm sorry for regurgitating the plot a little bit but I can't remember the last time I resonated so much with a character, with everything they went through, despite it being so vastly outside the realms of my own experience.

There were moments of this that I adored - the whole description of her holding Marigold and everything fading away, and the rawness of her grief immediately following was absolutely masterful, and her first meeting with Genevieve when she said what she was researching and the pride she felt in defying expectations - "She will not be reduced to a single impression" was one of my favourite standalone lines of this piece, and showed another side of Poppy that made her complex and real.

I don't really have words to express everything I thought and felt reading this piece, but I hope it's sufficient to say that I'm in awe of you and of this story, and it is hands down the best one-shot I've seen on this site for endless reasons. Absolutely stunning writing, and I can't wait to read more of your work.

Author's Response: Hi hon! WOW, thank you so much for this incredible review ♥ sorry it's taken me so long to reply - I've kind of been too blown away by the loveliness and not known what to say!

I'm really happy that this story got me back into writing because I've managed to write quite a lot in the last month or so, after taking quite a long time off from it, so it feels amazing to be back to fanfic and the response this story has gotten has just blown me away!

Oh my god, I am so not sure how to even respond to the loveliness that is your compliments ♥ I adore taking minor characters and trying to flesh out their lives, trying to understand what their motivations are and what in their pasts has caused them to be the way they are seen in canon. It's something I believe deeply in real life as well - someone can be absolutely horrible to you but I don't believe in judging them for it, because I just know there's something in their pasts which has caused them to act that way, and it's not really about you. I really try and carry that philosophy over to my writing and hopefully show people there is another side to everyone, and it means so, so much that you think I do it well.

I really can't explain how I came up with this life for Poppy, and a lot of it wasn't planned when I started writing, but I think it works for her character and I'm so glad you do too. I've never experienced the aimless feelings she does here so I couldn't relate too much - ever since I was a little kid I've know I want to go to University, become a professional writer of some kind, get married and have four kids, which is where my life is headed now - but that just made it even more interesting for me to explore her and get inside her head. I really felt so connected to her while writing this so some of it was quite painful for me almost as much as it was for her - but in a way, it was more like Poppy was writing the story, because she was so in the forefront of my mind the whole time.

The scene with Marigold felt like one of the most natural to write - it was totally steam of consciousness and I didn't edit it afterwards - so it means so much you liked that and thought the raw emotion in it came through. And I'm so glad you picked up on "she will not be reduced to a single impression" - i don't think anyone else has yet, but it's one of my favourite lines that I wrote in this, and I really think it sums up Poppy's whole struggle (and everyone's struggle, really, between the complex beings we are inside and the strictly-labelled way society likes to see us).

This is one of the most amazing reviews I have ever gotten, I just want to say thank you so, so much for all these lovely things ♥

~Maia


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