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11 Reviews Found

Review #1, by HeyMrsPotter 

11th September 2015:
Hello again!

I can totally see why this was nominated for best desrciptions in the Dobbys. You paint such a gorgeous picture when you write, Kiana♥

I love the relationship that Helena has with Helga, I can see why she turned to her rather than her mother. Helga's answer made such sense but at the same time I prayed she would give Helena a different answer, I'm hardcore shipping Helena and Elenor already :p I could really feel Helena's pain in ignoring Elenor, but I suspected it wouldn't last long. I don't think it's going to be easy for the girls from here on, now that the words are out there's no taking them back!

On to the next!

Dee

Author's Response: Hey Dee!

Aw, you are too kind, Dee, as those words just brought a massive smile to my face! ♥

Aw, I love it too as Helga's so cute and adorable and I really just love writing Puffs as they never seem to have any bad traits. Feel free to ship them, because even Helena can be brave enough and ignore the sometimes wise words of Helga as she does have a quiet Gryffindor side lurking away there.

Thanks for this fab review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #2, by UnluckyStar57 

12th August 2015:
Hi Kiana! I'm here for the BvB Review Fest at last! :D

Okay, so I remember reading chapter one of Ides of March a long time ago, and I really loved it. So I'm confused at myself because why didn't I come back to this sooner...? Never mind, I'm here now! :D

I really love how you've characterized Helena. We don't get much information about her from the books, except that she was going to be the Baron's wife, and she obviously wasn't down with that. That little bit of characterization alone gives you lots of liberty to create a personality for her, and wow, you really do a great job! Helena isn't only overshadowed by her mother, she's also trapped by her, in a way. There are so many expectations on her as the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw--not only to be wise and studious, but also to be proper and married... to a man.

The scene in the beginning showed the real tension between Rowena and Helena, and that only served to contrast with the relationship between Helga and Helena, which seems to be much less tense. I like how you described the snow, which gives me the image of enclosure, which is quite appropriate because Helena obviously feels very trapped by her situation. Unfortunately, Helga's advice to her doesn't help very much. She might not understand Helena's exact situation, but I think that even if she did, she would give the same advice. From what I know of medieval times, it was very, very wrong to even think of the same sex in a romantic way, much less act on those feelings. (If you were a follower of Christianity; I can't say for the more native religions.) So that's really tough because Helena feels that to love Eleanor would be to act directly against her faith, but how could it be wrong when it feels so lovely to love this girl?

I also like how Eleanor put it when she was talking to Helena. Like, sure, it's a sticky situation as far as the physical Church is concerned, but would God really hold a grudge against two people if they loved each other--something that Jesus taught as one of the greatest things you can do for your fellow man? (Sorry, been a while since I've brushed up on my New Testament.) But I know that what with the Church being an exclusive thing where the priests read the Bible to the congregation, they would teach very limited views of the Bible, and probably no one would even have one, outside of the very rich and the clergy. So does Helena actually have a Bible, or does she just know the teachings from her father's sermons?

Just a bit of CC before I wrap this up:

If I listen too carefully, too much too, I will be forever bruised and beaten down by them. With Mother she is the lone victor, the wielder of the knife. She alone is the one who has decided who succeeds or fails, and she has clearly dealt her cards for me as Nike, the winged Goddess of Victory, does not fly by my side.

These few sentences sort of lost me a little bit for various reasons. The "too much too" in the first sentence is a bit ungainly in context, and I think it could be improved by taking out the second "too." The "With Mother she is the lone victor" sentence made it seem like someone, maybe Helga, was "with Mother" in being a "lone victor," which doesn't make sense to me. Maybe reword it to simply "Mother is the lone victor...". And lastly, the last sentence is juggling a lot of metaphors, so I would watch out for that. You could improve that by picking one of them and extending it throughout the whole sentence without using all the extra references to back up the point of the paragraph.

That being said, this whole chapter was so very well written, and the prose flows so beautifully! I love the way that the lines of description are powerful without overpowering the whole chapter. After all, using beautiful imagery isn't this story's sole purpose, and you do an admirable job of balancing the story's aesthetic tendencies with the plot and struggles of Helena Ravenclaw.

Beautiful chapter, and I will have to be back for more soon!

♥Mallory

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Review #3, by Beeezie 

14th April 2015:
Here again for BvB!

This was really heartbreaking. I hate (hate, hate) the beliefs that Helena is buying into, but I think that they’re (unfortunately) very realistic for the time period, particularly since Helena is Rowena’s only child and there’s some stake in carrying on the family name.

And speaking of Rowena - ooh, I love the way you’ve set up their relationship! Given what little we know about it, it seems likely that it was strained at best - she didn’t just steal her mother’s diadem and run away out of nowhere. I feel like you’ve introduced a lot of nuance and room for tension in their relationship, which I really love. And, in giving Helena a good relationship with Helga, you’re making it so that she does have some adult council that she trusts, which I think is important for the story - otherwise, she’d only be thinking about this to herself!

But the best part of the chapter was (of course) Helena’s interactions with Eleanor. I love how Helena is pulled toward Eleanor like a moth to a flame, even while she’s struggling against it - so much so, in fact, that she’s congratulating herself on managing to stay away from her for a few hours. That’s pretty significant, and it makes the fact that by the end of the chapter she’s decided to pursue Eleanor anyway very believable.

One little bit of CC, though: while the dialogue usually comes across as being a lovely feature of the very different era, there are occasionally moments where I feel like it got a little stilted. I’m not sure if part of it is that you don’t always describe people during conversations (which I think would really help convey the anguish and pain during the scenes with Helena in particular) or if it’s the language itself, but either way, it might be something to look at. :)

Overall, though, this was a wonderful story. ♥ I can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Hey there Branwen!

I know, it's so sad as I really wish I could change and go back and tell them how stupid they are, but their entire belief is so, so, so rigid it took centuries to see the slightest bit of progression in it.

Aw, thank you, I was a little worried about portraying her in such a negative light especially as I'm in a Claw and all so I did feel quite bad doing it but I'm glad that you liked it. I was always interested in way Helena stole the Diadem as it seems like quite a strange thing to do, so I put a little spin on it here and I hope you like it. Yes, I always imagine Helga being a sort of guardian angel to all the Founders children so at least Helena can count on her.

Aw, thank you! I know, they have a very odd relationship but I think the reason why they need each other so much is because they're the only ones who understand what it is to be a lesbian and how they had to fight with society for who they love, but at least with one another they can be who they truly are.

Oooh, I'll definitely look into that as the dialogue is always a rather tricky to think to conquer, especially making it time appropriate so it could probably do with some reviewing, thanks for pointing that out!

Thanks for this great review Branwen ♥

-Kiana


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Review #4, by Aphoride 

5th February 2015:
Hey there, Kiana! :) I was so glad you posted about a review swap, because it meant I could find an excuse to get back to this rather than reading about the beginnings of corporations... ;)

You know, it's been a while since I read the first chapter, but I still remember so much of it, because there's really no way I could forget this story. I don't think this is on my favourites yet, which, tbh, has been a long time coming... so I'll have to see to that once I've finished this ;)

As before, your characterisation of Helena is amazing. I love so much how you develop her relationships with other people - especially Rowena, and Helga, and Eleanor - and I love, actually, how female-centric the cast is. I find female-centric casts harder to write than male-centric ones, so I always love reading things like this. Helena continues to be such a tragic figure, in this: her relationship with her mother is so bad, and I feel for her with that, but at least she has Helga who tries to do the right thing and say the right thing, even though she doesn't understand what Helena's talkig about. What I love most about Eleanor, though, is how she's something of a counterpoint to Helena, almost, with her family loving her and being so happy and bright, compared to Helena who prefers anonymity, or attempted anonymity, at any rate. There's something wonderfully poetic about them.

The historical references and everything in this are so, so good, too. I love how religion is a major theme in this and really plays a role - it's so true to that era, and you handle it so well. I felt so sorry for Helena, though, after her talk with Helga, and being so convinced that her mother would just tell her she was doomed anyway - it really wasn't what she wanted to hear, even if it perhaps was what she expected. Though I loved the ending - it was so sweet! :)

Your writing, as always, is amazing in this. Just phenomenal, really. It's such a beautiful style you use for writing this, it really brings to mind the time and the period this is set in, and emphasises how solemn Helena is as a character, and makes the emotions so much more strongly felt. Your description is beautiful, but your dialogue is just brilliant and that always stands out to me whenever I read this. It's just... each word is perfect, you know? I don't know how you do it, it's a real gift...

So yeah, I love this and I can't believe this isn't on my favourites already :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hey Laura!! Apologies for taking aeons to get back to this, I have no excuse other than life. :P

Aw, it means so much to me that it's stayed in your mind so much, as it really is the closest bit of writing to my heart as I've really had fun exploring the issues within this.

I'm so glad that you liked Helena as she is so much fun to explore as there are always new facets to her to uncover as she is an intriguing person. Whoo, I think you're first person to comment on that, but I'm glad that you did because we often usually have a cast of dominant males, especially in historical stories, but the women of the world were pretty impressive too so it only felt right they got their time. Aw, I'm glad that you like the contrast between Helena and Eleanor as it is fun to write too, and to me it almost makes the two of them even more tragic if that's possible. :P

Aw, thank you so much. I've always loved the history of religion as it combines both philosophical ideas and history which are two great loves of mine, so I've had so much fun here. I know, it's so doomed, and there are plenty more twists and turns left for them so the ending might not last for too long.

Aw, thank you so much! ♥ (bah, I keep on saying this throughout the review. :P) That really means so much to me, I can't really describe it but I'm here flailing around nevertheless. :P ♥ ♥ ♥

Thanks for this fab review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #5, by red_headed_juliet 

7th January 2015:
Very nicely done! I normally don't like people's portrayal of Helena, but you've created a very enjoyable, if rather troubled, young woman. The slash plotline is particularly tragic in this setting, mixed in with all the religious undertones, and you've got one original fic here!

Your descriptions are beautiful, and I have a very good sense of what is going on during the story. I will definitely continue checking in on this!

Until next time!

Author's Response: Hi there, I'm so glad that you liked it as it was a lot of fun to create and write. Aw, thank you so much my love for philosophy, history and Virginia Woolf is the main cause for this because when all of three of them together it;s just fab. Aw thank you so much, this review really did make me smile! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #6, by BellaLestrange87 

6th January 2015:
This is for the Blue vs. Bronze review battle!

It's been so long since I read the first chapter. I remember seeing that you'd posted the next chapter, thinking 'Oh I should read this' and then NOT READING IT. *shakes head and sighs* But I finally am reading, and that's the important part.

Right away I can see the gulf between Helena and her mother. When I read the books, I envisioned Rowena as cold, closer to Salazar Slytherin than to Helga Hufflepuff, and you've duplicated my headcanon here, which makes me very happy. Even Rowena's insistence that to be a fool is a horrible fate is harsh, especially when that fate would've been caused merely by not reading a History of Magic book. And her opening sentence is making me think that perhaps Helena and Eleanor are meeting outside, because nothing distracts you better than the person you love.

I love Helga here. It's clear that there's a reason Hufflepuff has a reputation for being a nice house. She's so much more understanding than Rowena is that I think if Helena was a Hufflepuff (by birth, not house loyalty) than this story would have gone a lot differently. And your descriptions of what's going to happen to Helena after she graduates Hogwarts! I'm a bit of a history geek and I love it when people weave historical tidbits/era thingies (for lack of a better word) into their stories. The fact that she's lesbian makes it so much harder to handle.

I wonder if Helga guesses about Helena? You say she is "transformed", but, of course, that could mean a lot of things.

"‘You may find that help is easier to find if you did not insist on speaking in riddles and metaphors for every line of your speech, Helena, it does make it a good deal harder to understand. *coughs* Shakespeare *hacks* *wheezes* *dies*

Helena's internal conflict is amazing. Two very important parts of her life (religion and love) are warring and her struggle to choose between them, to decide which one is more important, is excellent.

I'm kind of pressed for time so this isn't as long as I would wish but hopefully I'll have time to read Chapter 3 soon!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Hey Olivia, thanks for this review and sorry for taking aeons to respond to it!

Haha, it's fine as I've taken ages too, so we're quits now :P

Yay for matching your headcanon too, because while I imagine that Rowena and Helga are close as they are both female founders and Helga has the ability to endear herself to everyone, in terms of traits she really is much closer to Salazar. It sort of fits with me too, as I'm a Claw who has a lot of Slytherin traits and I think that's quite a common thing in the site.

I know, she's just so warm and lovely and it's all about love and being nice with her rather than carrying out her personal erudite agenda! I think you are definitely right about it being different if Helena was Helga's daughter, but as we shall see later with Eleanor and her father it's not always despite what your parents may seem like. Aw, thank you so much, I love history too, so writing this story is so much fun and I love it so much and thank you!! ♥

Bahaha, so true!!

Thank you so much, religion and philosophy (which I guess love links) is something which fascinates me as this has profound effect on the human psyche when it may actually be baseless.

Thanks for this great review! :D

-Kiana


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Review #7, by Bumblebore Cudchewer 

25th December 2014:
Helena, you have seemed so detached lately, you must be spending too much time outdoors, because I do find the wind makes your thoughts all discarded and loose.

I'm sure that I've just uncovered a flaw in Rowena Ravenclaw's inference above, and the flaw is that it's utter balderdash. There's hardly a statistically significant correlation between an individual sense of collectedness and wind speed, for crying out loud. This Rowena Ravenclaw reminds me of Mycroft, who still thinks he controls the security of the entre free world. Bah. Allow me to 'hate-ship' my brother and Rowena together.

Ah, this was a highly interesting chapter. A lot of see-sawing back and forth on Helena's part, much to Eleanor's consternation, but it appears that things have settled toward the end of the chapter. Things have settled very delicately, that is.

The conversation between Helena and Helga was frustrating. And the hints of tension between Helga and Rowena were neat. I've never seen those two together before, but I'm guessing angry sparks would fly.

Okay, I might have to leave this review as it is because John really wants his laptop back so he can update that absurd blog of his.

I'll just say that I enjoyed this chapter and I'm still keeping my eyes peeled until I find a crime scene.


Bumblebore Cudchewer

Author's Response: Hello Bumblebore Cudchewer!

Bahaha, you must pity Rowena because even though she was renowned for her apparent intellect, sometimes she lacked the scientific evidence to support her views. I think a ship of Rowena/Mycroft would be spectacular as they both are rather pretentious and think that they're better than everyone else around so this has to happen.

I know, though we must pity her as she has an awful lot to deal with and imagine if anyone found out about her! It would be worse than spending a week in a locked room with Mycroft so she has to be careful.

I know, but Helga and Rowena will certainly have a lot to argue and battle about later on so don't you worry!

Thank you for this wonderful review and I hope the crime scene appears soon for you! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #8, by MargaretLane 

20th December 2014:
Oooh, the magic of the Norse community. That does sound interesting. And it is fairly recent history at this point, so it makes sense it would be of interest to them.

Oh gosh, they have arranged marriages? It must be so hard, in a world where girls and boys are given the same education for girls to have to take a step back after marriage.

You've left out a question mark when Helena asks Helga if one is doing something wrong, "would one carry on with it?"

And aw, the way Helga thinks Rowena would be better able to answer such difficult questions. That seems to fit with everything we know about Helga and Rowena. Not that we know much about them, but we do know Rowena valued wisdom and was presumably, herself, wise and Helga seems like something of a self-effacing person.

And I like the way you portray the religious values of Rowena and Helga. Again, we have no idea what they believed, but it is certainly credible that Rowena might be the sort of person to believe only in what could be proven and Helga the sort of person to have faith in a higher power.

And of course, this is long before the era of Biblical literalism, so Eleanor's attitude to the scriptures is hardly surprising.

Love the imagery at the end of this chapter.

Author's Response: Yes, and I thought it would be something that Rowena would like to explore as it has some sort of mystical and intriguing quality about it, or maybe that's just me who thinks that. :P

Yes, they do, I think they prefer to say helping to find a partner as they would like it if love was there too, but you'll find out more about it later on!

Thanks for pointing that out to me, I just went and fixed it!

I know, it's strange how it is like that because in this case the answer does require some humanity and compassion so Helga is perhaps the better person to answer it rather than Rowena.

I'm glad you liked as it was interesting to try and figure out what they would have been interested in and why they believed in it, because it really is left open to us but there are hints of Christianity within Harry Potter so I thought I would try and incorporate a bit of it here.

Thank you for another wonderful review, it really did make me smile! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #9, by tangledconstellations 

19th December 2014:
Hey again lovely! ♥

I really, really, REALLY enjoyed this chapter :D In some ways, it felt stronger than the first. I found myself identifying and understanding the characters even more so. You've really set the wheels into motion now, and it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next chapter. I think it's great that you've ended this chapter with Helena committing herself to her feelings for Eleanor. It makes the potential next chapters very powerful and driven, because now you've got a character that has made a decision for themselves and has got something (in Helena's case, her love for Eleanor) that is worth sacrificing things for. The stakes are set higher for the chapters to come, because now we know Helena is willing to risk a lot for Eleanor, we just don't know in what ways that might materialise later on.

This chapter honestly did work really well as a continuation from the first. You needn't worry at all, although I totally understand where you're coming from. I think it's easy to worry that the chapters don't quite slot when you yourself have had time away between each one, because then you get concerned that your readers will view them that way too. But for me, I didn't feel as though the style or the tone or anything changed. Rather, it was a natural progression. Helena was a little different, but it was a good different and an example of a welcome character growth. Time has passed since the first chapter, so we can't expect her to still be head-over-heels for Eleanor as explicitly. Instead, it was really effective that at this point you were starting to show the doubts creeping in. I totally go back on the point I made in the first chapter's review about maybe should Helena be more concerned about her sexuality - I should have waited until I read the second, ha ha! Sorry about that - but anyway, in this chapter you showed that really well. I was really engaged when reading of her conflict, as she walked away from Eleanor and refused to look at her. Those moments in particular were very engaging, very visual (no doubt because of your really lovely style). It was very convincing, especially as now you've provided us with more of a religious backbone and you've pushed the pressures of Helena's mother and Aunt to the forefront a little more.

Helena as a character is one that I've already found myself really liking. And, actually, Eleanor too. (I don't know why I surprised myself by writing that - I think I've trained myself to be suspicious of liking characters early on, ha ha!) Having Eleanor as perhaps the more headstrong, defiant one of the two adds a certain attractiveness to her. I'm glad that it's the inside of Helena's mind that we can see in this fic, though, because it heightens the contrast between them. I think if this was from Eleanor's perspective it would be difficult to understand either of them in such a way that being inside Helena's mind provides us with. Helena is just as headstrong in some ways, but she's more concerned with the pressures from her family, from society etc. It grounds their love story in reality, which is important. Yet saying that, Helena is STILL so in love with Eleanor. Seeing her constant conflict, the way she is almost trying to save them both, is really special. It makes their feelings more real and their feelings worth fighting for, too.

Ah, again with your beautiful writing style! Every now and again you slip in these wonderful lines that just make me melt and totally absorb all of the feelings and loveliness from the piece. The last lines of this chapter were utter perfection! There is a really low, gentle rhythm to these two chapters that I think is maintained through the scattering of these really powerful lines. It's almost as though it's the work of Eleanor, or Helena's feelings for Eleanor. They keep the piece moving, reminding her of how she feels and what this means. The stuff in between is all the other stuff, like...doubt, and plot, and conflict, etc. But those lines transcend that. It's those lines that blow the reader away and that exist for Helena as a grounding device, to keep her headed on the right course. Which, for Helena, is to Eleanor and no one else!

I really loved these two chapters, and I'm really looking forward to when you next update. (Hopefully soon!) Let me know when you do, and I'll drop by with another review for you. These were two really well-written and powerful chapters, and I hope the rest of the story progresses well for you. It has so, so much potential right now!

Laura xxx

Author's Response: Hey Laura, and wah, wah, wah thank you for this lovely review, it really has made my day! :D

Haha, that's quite funny that you preferred this chapter to the previous as I wasn't too sure about this one as it was more focused on doubt and less action and more thought so I wasn't sure how interesting it was to read, but you've made me feel a lot more confident about it now, so thank you for that! I get what you mean about Eleanor and Helena now having a grounding because declaring your feelings for one another, and the fact it's based on faith is no easy feat so this will continue to effect them throughout the story.

Phew, I'm glad you thought there was natural progression because as well as there being a big gap in between the first two chapters, this was all written during JulNo so detail wasn't very high on my priority list and I wasn't sure how much attention I paid to it during editing too. Haha, no I still think your comment about Helena's doubt is valid for the first chapter as she's still unsure about so much it makes sense for her to really wonder whether Elenaor's feelings for her are genuine or not. I'm glad that you liked the conflict in this chapter as that and unrequited love go so nicely together it was a lot of fun to explore. The pressures of her mother are even more dominant in the next chapter and for the rest of the story because I think as Rowena has such high standards when it comes to intelligence, it's sort of carried through in social things too, as I always imagine perfection being linked to it, which is why she's like that.

Hahaha, don't be surprised as it always takes me a while to like characters too as I always think you should be suspicious of them as they usually are up to no good. I prefer it from Helena's mind too as she's so much more observant and reflective I think you understand their relationship much more easily because of it. Whereas with Eleanor, while she loves Helena too, part of it is for the excitement and the journey too so it would be a little too crazy being in her mind. You are right about Helena being more concerned by external things too, because I always imagine Ravenclaws looking at the greater picture first and she can see all the potential consequences from them being together so she holds back that little bit more.

Aw thank you so much, that means so much to me and if I could do the :wub: face I would but sadly it doesn't show up in reviews. Wow, thank you so much I'm not really sure how to respond to those lovely comments as I'm a bit in awe right now but they mean so much to me so wah thank you!! ♥

Haha, I actually finally got my act together and updated the story yesterday if you do want to read the next chapter as that would mean a lot to me and thank you for this fabulous review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #10, by marauderfan 

24th November 2014:
Kiana! I'm finally here for our review swap - sorry for taking FOREVER. :p

I've had my eye on this fic for ages so I'm really excited to start reading it. Founders slash?! Oh be still my heart. I love it already. Not only are there so few Founders fics on the archive (relatively), but to find a slash one is so incredibly rare because of the societal constraints of the era. I love that you've taken on this challenge.

Your Helena is wonderful - the way she talks and thinks about things is just so Ravenclaw-y. She speaks in riddles and spends considerable time thinking about the mysteries of the universe, what is and what is not truth and good. Her relationship with her mother is interesting too - I can see the seeds of dissatisfaction which will eventually become the rift between her and Rowena leading to Helena running away with the diadem.

I like that she calls Helga 'Aunt' and that she goes to her for advice - I love the idea that the Founders' families were close with each other like an extended family sort of :)

The religious aspect of this makes it quite interesting as well, as it seems to be the one thing really tying Helena down from making her love known. I was glad at the end when she admitted it to Eleanor (and that Eleanor likes her back!) but I have the distinct feeling that there will be many more struggles for them - for Helena personally.

At least, so far, no one else knows, so they are safe in that at least. But I have a feeling that is a temporary thing :-/ And, well I'm getting way ahead of myself, but I have a feeling that Helena and Eleanor's love (once it's discovered) will be a strong motivation in the Bloody Baron's murder of Helena - it'd certainly be much more of a motivation. I know that's far in the future at this point, but I like how the story already adds so much to canon and the stage is set for the things we already know happened.

This is really good so far! Can't wait to read more. :)

Author's Response: Hey Kristin, it's fine I took ages replying to this so we're quits. :P

Bahahah, I'm so glad that you were excited by the idea of it as I think most people were just thinking what the hell was going on in her mind to think up that. The challenge of it is definitely proving to be lots of fun and it's what makes writing it so exciting.

Aw, thank you, it was so much fun to write someone so Ravenclaw-y but actually nice too as Rowena isn't the nicest person around shall we say... That relationship will definitely be explored a lot more later on as Rowena does have quite a few demons in her own past so it's not all her fault that she's acting like that in a way.

Aw, yay for families. Though when you find out what Slytherin did you might not think that they're so close after all. :P

Yes, the religion definitely plays a big part in holding her love back, even more so than society which I guess just shows how important it is for them. Sadly, it will continue to be a burden even after the resolution here so you'll just have to watch and wait.

Ooh ooh oooh, that's a good theory and it does link into that story in a way but how exactly you'll just have to see. I do hope you like the reason though.

Thanks for this fab review, Kristin! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #11, by nott theodore 

12th November 2014:
Kiana! ♥

Yay, I finally finished NaNo which means I can review some of the stories I've been missing out on, and this one was at the top of the list! And I get first review on this chapter! *dances*

Okay, so you probably know that I really love the idea behind this story and I think the whole concept of it is so original. I've never seen a story casting Helena like this before and it just already provides such a perfect explanation for why she might have run away from the man she'd been meant to marry before she died. I really love the way that it could so easily fit with canon.

The opening was really great. Rowena seems like a really harsh mother to Helena, and she seems to be very strict with her and not care about much other than intelligence and her daughter's education - she's certainly not the sort of person that Helena could ever confide in or really go to for help, which is really sad. The rift is already evident here, too, and I can see how that led to Helena later taking her mother's diadem and running away. I'm so intrigued to see how you're going to build up to that!

On a side note, the first sentences that Rowena said to her daughter, about the wind blowing away her thoughts, made me think of Luna for some reason :P

I also really liked the way that you managed to show that Eleanor and Helena's (did you intend for their names to rhyme? :P) relationship has moved forward and progressed between the last chapter and here, because they've been meeting and they know they have feelings for each other and stuff, without feeling the need to show lots of scenes of them together. In a way, I think that skip forward in time and the changes being hinted at is actually more effective.

Your descriptions! ♥ Seriously, Kiana, they're beautiful - I can picture everything in it so well, and the description of the snow hitting the windows was just amazing. It fits really well with the time period that this is set in, as well, and it's so rich in detail and I just love that.

Helena's life seems so... bleak. I felt so sorry for her in this chapter, reading all her chaotic thoughts and the sort of future that she's facing. It makes me so sad that women had no say in their lives at this time, and their future would just be decided for them and that they'd have to be prepared to do whatever their husband said when they were married. It would make you feel so helpless and powerless and I think you captured that really well - for a lot of people, nowadays especially, leaving school and becoming an adult is like the start of a new adventure, but at this time Helena knows what she should expect and it's not promising.

I am really glad that she had Helga to talk to, though, even if she can't talk to her mother about anything personal. It must be good for her to have a sort of mother figure who's warmer and welcoming, and that is how I picture Helga to be - she was happy to take everyone, no matter what their qualities were, after all. But I thought you did a great job of capturing the confusion that Helena's feeling over her emotions and relationship with Eleanor. At this time, I think even in an atheist's eyes, it's not likely to have been accepted, and then to add to that Helena's background includes religion and the fear of damnation and hell and sin, and that just makes it even worse for her to deal with. I find it really interesting that her mother openly rejects the idea of religion, though - it fits with what I've seen of her character so far, and with the kind of image of someone who's an intellectual I suppose. It's really no wonder that Helena's so torn about what to do and believe, and I think it was really sweet of Helga to try and help her and advise her, even if that advice wasn't necessarily the best - or at least, it's not the sort of advice I would give to someone now, but it's not easy to judge the past by today's standards so it fits really well.

Wah, I just feel so sorry for Helena as she's trying to avoid Eleanor because she doesn't want to sin and go to hell, and she's trying to do all she can to gain forgiveness. But at the same time she's so deeply unhappy because of it, and poor Eleanor doesn't understand what has happened, and it's so sad. But I thought it was great that Eleanor didn't just give up so easily and that she was the one who was so assertive in her beliefs that love, in whatever form, can't be a sin. I think that fit so well with her character and I can really picture the way that the two of them fit together as a couple, balancing each other out in a way. And aw, the ending was so cute!

I think you've done a really good job of taking some very difficult and sensitive issues to write about and writing them well here, and I love all the different themes that you're exploring, especially the way that religion seems to conflict with Helena's feelings, even more so in this period, and the way that she has to try and find herself. If you couldn't tell, I loved this chapter!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hey Sian, and wah thank you for this lovely review! :D

I'm so glad that you liked this background to Helena as I have read several stories about why she ran away to the forest and got killed by the baron but it's usually because he's the main reason for it, and it's all his fault whereas I thought it would be fun to write why she did it from another perspective so this story was born!

Haha, Rowena is anything but Luna in this story :P I'm glad you do like her slightly evil side because I did feel quite bad writing it being a Claw in all but it makes it much more interesting to read. I suppose because she prides herself on intelligence and perfecting her knowledge she almost doesn't view her daughter as a person but rather a thing which can be shaped to her own vision which is why I think she treats Helena like that.

I honestly didn't intend for their names to rhyme, as I was inspired by Eleanor of Aquitaine for Eleanor's character and the name was appropriate for the era so I was like let's go with it, and it was only after that I realised they rhymed. :P Yay for skipping forward in time, I suck at writing romance which is strange as most of my stuff is romance based so it may have been for that reason too. :P

Aw, thank you so much!! ♥ That's the great thing about historical stories as you can almost spend more time focusing on descriptions as it's more appropriate in a way!

I know, it really wasn't that great for a women. One would think that Helena would have more privileges given who her mother is and the fact she could have an education but it was still so limited compared to what a man could do and have and it's just so sad. Helena looking for independence both from her mother and social independence (if that makes sense? :P) is a continuing theme throughout the story, so whoo for that!

I'm glad you liked the chat with Helga, though I do feel a little sorry for Helena as it just made her even more confused about everything. :P I definitely agree with it being wrong in an atheist's eyes too, because in many parts of the world it's still a taboo today! But aside from that she's got the whole do I follow the religious path or not thing going on, which is just adding to her confusion as you said. Helena will continue to be confused as she carries on throughout the novel and I think even in her dying moments she's still a little unsure about whether she did the right thing or not.

Haha, no Eleanor is very much her father's daughter and goes after what she wants without caring too much about what other people will think. It's what makes house integration a good thing as Eleanor can teach Helena to be braver and fight for what she believes is right whereas Helena can make her more reflective and perhaps pause now and then.

Thank you for this amazing review and it means so much to me that you like this story!! ♥ ♥ ♥

-Kiana


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