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5 Reviews Found

Review #1, by horcruxxx 

25th December 2015:
Hi!

I have to say I really enjoy reading this story. Even though it's set up in the familiar HP world, I feel like I'm reading something completely different from what I know and I love how original your story is.

Can't wait to read more!

/And even though I don't ship it entirely, I will keep reading it until I do ;)/

Monika

Author's Response: Hey Monkia!

So sorry that I've been frightfully slow with answering reviews, lately. I've been on hiatus, but am just coming back. I really appreciate your lovely review, and your taking the time to write it! You're a star!

--Penny


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Review #2, by merlins beard 

15th October 2015:
I'm back again, reviewing for the Slytherin October Review Exchange.

Well, I'm not quite shipping it, because it's just so wrong, but I constantly have to remind myself that it isn't real. The way you describe tom and his emotions, it would have easily fooled me. I don't blame merope for someday just thinking he's in love with her even without the potion and not giving it to him anymore.

I really, really don't like Cecilia. (The name is inducing bad feelings already, but that's not even it), she's just a hateful cow who thinks she owns the world. I bet if we weren't seeing them through Merope's eyes, Tom would be fairly similat to her. The way we get to know him is just as accurate as any lovesick teen's version of their favourite star. Reading this feels like reading my diary from back when I was 12 and had huge posters of Orlando Bloom and Robbie Williams (yeah I know, it's embarrassing) covering the walls of my bedroom... only that Merope's object of desire is much closer to her, much more tangible...
The other thing that's different here is that Merope is able to brew a love potion.

You're really playing with my emotions here. Half the time I don't know if I should be slightly disturbed, disgusted or if I should find it romantic and sweet...

You're also really good at writing this era. It was so easy for me to picture the scene in the stables, even the clothes and the people... this story is going on my reading list.

I can't wait for more.

~Anja

Author's Response: Hi again! Thanks for the second review!

Yay! I mean, darn that I couldn't trap you into shipping them, but good on you for having morals! ;) And I'm glad that you have to remind yourself that it isn't real. That's one of the things I wanted to get across. In the books, we only ever see love potion at work with Ron and Romilda Vane, but I figure that would have been a cheap Weasley's Wizard Wheezes one. No offense meant to Fred and George, either. I'm just saying those were meant to be inexpensive joke items, and Amortentia is the real deal--or rather, as close to fabricating it as you can get. I figured that would be just the thing: the potion *is* so powerful, and Merope is a witch with a lot of raw talent (Voldy had to get it from *somewhere*), so she really ends up getting swept away. This is her fantasy, and she *wants* so badly to believe that it's real. Besides, it's so convincing. She just really loses touch with reality.

Cecilia is *awful*. If she had access to love potion, she'd be using it left and right, and her intentions wouldn't be nearly so good, I can tell you that.

"She's just a hateful cow who thinks she owns the world." --YESSS!

As far as Merope's view of Tom...my idea of it is kind of two-fold. I think that Tom gets a bit of a bad rap, and kind of unfairly. Like, yes he did leave his pregnant wife. But that was also after he'd essentially been drugged and forced into a relationship he didn't consent to. For *months*. I think his reaction is pretty understandable, even if it is tragic. The only other "bad" thing that we know about him is that he was a bit of a jerk when he was around Cecilia. And maybe he does just takes pleasure in being cruel, but in my headcanon it's more that Tom is a bit weak. He's a people pleaser. So he laughs along when Cecilia laughs and he says things that maybe aren't kind (but *are* true) when he thinks that no one else can hear. I think that's a pretty human problem, even if it is a weakness.

Basically, my idea of Tom is that he isn't terrible, but he *is* a bit of a coward. Merope sees him unclearly because she's cast him as a hero, and he most definitely isn't that. But I don't think he's necessarily awful--just nowhere near as great as she makes him out to be. She doesn't love Tom; she loves her *idea* of Tom. It was a fantasy that she needed in order to survive, really, but she lost sight of what was real. :'(

But if you want to read it as, "He was just a mega jerk, and the potion covered it up," that's fair! All readings are valid!

Hey, no judgement! We are all fools in teenage crushdom.

That's the ONLY other thing that's different? HAHA! :D I'm totally choosing to read that as: if you could have brewed a love potion at age 12, you would currently be Mrs. Orlando Bloom.


MUAHAHAHA! YES!!! I am playing emotions like a fiddle--the fiddle of HEARTBREAK! thank you :) That's one life goal I can now check off the list, and I am delighted.

Aw, thanks so much! I love writing in historical eras, and I'm so glad that you were able to see it all in your head. And that you're adding it to your list! Thank you so much!

--Penny


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Review #3, by Mi 

2nd October 2015:
Well I never imagined I'd find Voldemort's mother and father cute!

This was absolutely lovely to read! How Tom gently teased and coaxed a response out of her, the building of the tension was sublime. I much preferred this chapter to the first (that could just be my inner romantic). The first seemed to have a little too much into it - like it could have been separated a bit more. This was a lot more coherent and had a purpose.

I think your descriptions are really good and I kind of love the fact that Tom rides a mare instead of a stallion or gelding. Don't know why, but it's just great.

I really like this story and can't wait to read the next bit!

Author's Response: MUAHAHAHA! My evil plan has succeeded! :D

I really wanted readers to kind of get swept up in the romance, just like Merope does. She wants so badly for it to be real, so I was hoping to create the same response in the audience, so that, even knowing the truth, they'd be wishing it was real, too. So I am THRILLED that you find them cute!

I totally agree with you on the first chapter. It's a bit long and should be at least two separate chapters. I had to cram it all into one so that the story would make it through the queue before the deadline--it was written for a challenge. I've been meaning to edit it, but I can't until Dobby Award voting is over. But thank you for the CC. I appreciate getting it, and it'll help remind me to make splitting that chapter a priority once I'm allowed to edit it again :)

Thank you! You know, I really loved that bit about the mare, too, and I was never quite able to explain why, either. But I'm really glad that it caught someone else's eye and that they felt the same way about it.

Thank you for your lovely reviews! I can't wait to *post* the next bit! Things have been a bit crazy 'round here lately, but I should hopefully have the next chapter up soon!

--Penny


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Review #4, by alicia and anne 

21st September 2015:
YAY! I AM BACK TO THE NEXT MEROPE AND TOM CHAPTER! I can't wait! :D

Awww oh Pauline, looking out for Merope, and if only she listened, but she loves him so much and it's easy to see just how much she's taken with him.

I know I've said it before, but I'm so glad that she's coming out of her shell now that she's not in her brother and fathers shadow. You've done such a brilliant job at showing her doing that, getting that confidence up and becoming a more powerful witch.

They're quite adorable, and I wish so hard that it was because Tom liked her himself and not anything to do with the potion. Part of me thinks that possibly he would have liked her without the use of it, by some of the things that he's done.

I love how much Tom loves his horse as well :D That guy is such a catch and I know why Merope is so taken with him.

Oh he is smooth, and I know that it's the potion talking, but I wish so hard that it was him!

The way that you write him with Merope is fabulous! You've written his love amazingly, even if it is artificial, it just seems so real and it's making me so sad that it's not.

AH THEY'RE KISSING! THEY'RE KISSING!!! AND YES!!! IT'S AS EPIC AS I IMAGINED IT WOULD BE!

Oh my god! Please let it be real, please please please! Please say that the potion didn't work and that Tom is speaking the truth, I want it so badly.

I NEED SO MUCH MORE! I LOVE THIS AND YOU SO MUCH AND YOU'RE SO BRILLIANT! I need to just spend an entire day just reading your stories over and over and being more in love with your writing... and I'm not even sure if this makes sense because I've had an hours sleep and worked most of the day... but still! I have a lot of love and. hang on a minute... is this chapter laced with love potion?.

Author's Response: Tammi! Hi! Thanks so much for coming back :D

Oh, Pauline. She does try. Alas, to no avail!

Thank you! I'm so glad you like Merope's burgeoning power. I figure she is Voldemort's mother, after all, and he was a powerful wizard. Without schooling she may not be able to tap into her full potential, but I'd imagine she would have some native talent, you know? Besides which, I also think it explains a bit about her feelings and why she is *so* convinced that she's in love with Tom, even before she really knows him. It's one part the fantasy she created to survive her abuse, of course, but I also think that she's experiencing freedom and power and agency and hope for the first time in her life, and that's so potent. She attributes her happiness to being near Tom, and I think that would be a contributing factor, but maybe not the true root of it.

They are cute, aren't they? As to the possibility of Tom liking her without the potion, I wanted to set up that it was possible. The hard part would have been his noticing her, but once they did...it was mentioned somewhere in the books that the villagers, hearing of their elopement, just figured the two of them probably had a lot in common, because they were both essentially outcasts (the Riddles were unpopular). And I liked that idea. Whether he'd have married her--that would have been a toss up. But I think he *could* have loved her naturally. However, who has ever shown Meriope love? How could she believe that it would just happen naturally? She may believe they're right for each other, but I think Merope would struggle to believe she could be lovable, all on her own.

Yay! I'm so glad you love Tom's horse fondness! I think of Tom as a bit of a mixed bag--he's not very brave, by nature, and has a tendency towards pridefulness, and, while charming, he's a bit selfish. But he does love his horses. He can be funny and sweet. And he can also be considerate, despite his selfish tendencies. Love can bring out the best in us. It's a shame about those circumstances, though.

Tammi, thank you so much. You are the SWEETEST! I cannot tell you how much your kind words mean to me. And also HAHAHAHAHA! It might be. I'll never tell ;)

This review has made SEVERAL of my days. I'm smiling so much. So many warm fuzzies! Thanks again.

--Penny


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Review #5, by Dirigible_Plums 

9th September 2015:
Hey,

I'm back again. I have to admit, I've been looking for a good Merope/Tom story for a while and I'm glad I've found one! I do get a bit worried sometimes though because I almost feel myself rooting for them until I remember that this is all artificial. I guess it's just the fact that they're so different that seeing the gap between them crossed is so intriguing. Once again, the way you've written about it so - poetic, really. It matches the era and the characters incredibly well.

There were a couple of minor mistakes that I noticed. The first is: 'and from within she could here [hear] the small sounds of large creatures'. The second is “Tom, don’t be so tiresome. You’re just being asked [to] put in an appearance while we discuss the important things.” [NEW LINE] 

“Yes. The important things. Like table linens.” And finally: "Which stallion?” Cecilia challenged. [NEW LINE] 

“You’ve not seen him yet. He’s out in the paddock right now.”

Plums xo

P.S. I was just wondering if - in this story, at least - you thought that Merope/Tom MIGHT'VE worked out naturally or if his friendliness in the last chapter was just, well, that.

Author's Response: Hey Plums! I'm so happy to see you back!

You know, I don't think I've run across another Merope/Tom story, though I haven't looked, specifically. Writing this makes me want to, though--I'd love to see other people's takes on this pair.

I TOTALLY feel your pain. Half the time I'm writing and I'm like, "I want to root for you...but that would be wrong? Right? Yes. Wrong. Totally wrong. Don't go there Penny."

That's sort of what I wanted the audience to feel, but I didn't want it to start pulling me in, too! Drat! ;)

Thank you so much!

OOoh, and thanks for pointing out those errors. That CC is *really* helpful, and I'll make those changes once edits open back up! :D

In regards to your postscript...kind of. The books mention that, when Tom and Merope ran off, people were surprised, sure, but most of the village just figured that the two of them found a connection based on the fact that nobody really liked either of them. They were both outcasts of a sort--people found Tom unpleasant, and Merope odd.

I think that there was a sort of chance. Maybe, if Tom had managed to really *see* Merope, he could have fallen in love with her naturally. However, I doubt that he'd have married her without the potion. My idea of Tom is that he's a bit of a weak person. He's not without good impulses, but he doesn't always heed them. And it's very subtly hinted that Tom isn't in love with Cecilia, but the bit of him that *is* fighting off the love potion--the reason that he isn't falling at Merope's feet immediately--isn't just the lower dosages. It's the fact that, above all, Tom is in love with himself and his position. (It's not an overt hint, but you might see it if you know it's there). Maybe he'd have found the strength to marry Merope if they fell in love, but there's just as good a chance that he'd have married Cecilia anyways.

But then again, people can surprise you. Look at Slughorn--another weak and cowardly person, but he fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and dueled against Voldemort himself.

Tom wouldn't have been so friendly, so quickly, without the potion. The first dose, from yesterday's tea, is definitely already at work when she arrives at the stables. But it's just enough to peak his interest a bit. (Admittedly, Tom's a bit of a flirt. But it's not all false. At least half the reason he finds her interesting *is* the love potion. But it's possible that the other half is because, once he looks, he actually finds Merope to be kind of interesting. It *is* kind of cute how shy she is, and he'd be pleased by the fact that she's clearly smitten, herself.)

So yes, that might suggest that there was a chance. If he could have just taken enough time to notice her in the first place, who knows where things might have gone? But then, it's understandable for Merope to assume that he'd need the potion to discover his love for her. Who has ever loved her? When has she ever had reason to believe she was lovable? How could she put all her trust in that? And the worst of it is that she really does mean well. She's truly convinced that she just needs to prime the pump--that he'll fall in love for real if the potion can just allow him to see that she *is* lovable after all.

So, basically, I meant to get two things across. (1) That Tom was never quite the hero she imagined him to be (most of the things she appreciates about him initially aren't moments when he's *wonderful*; they're moments when he's better than any other man in her life, but really he's just being decent, and (2) That maybe things *could* have been different, if Merope had let events run their course instead of trying to force someone to love her.

Which was a really long and round about way of saying...yes-ish. I didn't want to say there was, for sure, a chance. But I did want to imply that there might have been.

Thanks so much for this lovely review! It was really fun to answer, though I apologize if I got crazy wordy!

--Penny


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