Well, I've finally finished this story. Overall, I am impressed with it. Bellatrix Black Lestrange is not an easy character to write by any means, and you do her justice. You didn't oversimplify her, yet you portrayed her in a thoroughly realistic manner without glorifying her.
You've mentioned that you're rather a perfectionist when it comes to grammar, and it shows. Your grammar is always very good. However, in this chapter, you weren't as on top of it as normal. I rarely like to point out grammar mistakes, as I find it tiresome to remember them or note them all as I read, and I find it nearly as tiresome to search the text for them as I'm writing in the review box. It's not like your grammar was horrible in this chapter; I've certainly read much, much, much worse. You just made a few minor mistakes, which I'm not used to from you. If you wish, I can provide a list of the errors, but I think you'll probably recognize most of them should you choose to reread the chapter.
One mistake I have noticed from you on several occasions is the tendency to create a run-on sentence by combining two sentences with a comma. You'll find the first sentence of this chapter is one of those cases. It could be fixed by using a period instead, a semi-colon, or by inserting the word "as" after the comma. Overall, it's a somewhat convoluted sentence; it might benefit from some rewording should you ever chose to edit or develop this story futher.
I've been greatly anticipating the death scene. I thought the account of her duel with Molly from her POV was fascinating. I like that you let Bellatrix feel/know/hear Voldemort's pain/anger/whatever over her death right as she died. However, I think the last sentence was rather on the explain-y side. It's all right, but I'd have preferred if you'd written that the last thing she felt was euphoria or happiness, knowing that her master loved her after all, instead of writing that she "died happy . . . knowing . . ." as if summarizing. That seems like a silly distinction to make though. Sorry.
I found the final trailed-off thought about the lost son to be rather jarring. I wish you hadn't put it in. Moving back toward the middle of the chapter, I really enjoyed your description of Lupin and Tonks' deaths. Ok, I didn't exactly enjoy it (it made me feel sad), but I appreciated it. You wrote that scene quite well, in my opinion.
Overall, good work with this story.Author's Response: I'm so glad you thought I portrayed Bella realistically throughout this fic, as a writer it was certainly interesting trying to get inside her mind.
I guess in my haste to post the final chapter of this fic I may not have proof read as thoroughly as usual, I will have to reread over this chapter at some stage and fix up those errors. Thanks for letting me know.
As for the run on sentences, I know what you mean and it is a bad habit of mine. Actually it is a bad habit I have only picked up since I have been here at HPFF. For the most part I think HPFF has helped me improve my writing, but for some reason I no longer seem to know how to use a comma properly!
I'm glad you liked the way I portrayed the death scene. I didn't realise the last sentence came out that way though, perhaps I could have shown more feelings there rather than just telling.
I know you weren't very keen on the 'child' so I can imagine that the ending would not have appealed to you. I wrote it as a lead-in to the sequel I was planning to write.
I'm glad you liked Lupin and Tonk's scene, I felt it was an important scene to include.
Thank-you so much for your wonderful and in-depth reviews of this fic, they have been much appreciated and given me much insight. :) Report Review
The first part of this chapter obviously was a summary of things we already know. Although not terribly exciting to read (mostly because it lacks novelty), I do feel you had to include it to make a proper transition from the battle at the Ministry to the scene in Malfoy Manor. After all, you can't just pretend that a year and a half doesn't exist.
It's good that you gave Bellatrix and Voldemort another bedroom scene, even if there was no action. That did need to be tied up; from her perspective, at least, it was unfinished business.
The way you describe the scene at Malfoy Manor from Bellatrix's POV is wonderful. I already knew what was going to happen, of course, but having Bella tell the story gives it a very, very different flavor. I thought you portrayed her well, as usual. And Voldemort's comment at the end about incompetence is perfect.Author's Response: I always hate writing those transitions, it's necessary to show the transition of time and explain what has happened, but of course it isn't terribly exciting. Maybe one day I'll discover a more exciting way of doing it.
I really did want to tie up that side of things in Bella and Voldemort's relationship. I know you weren't keen on the whole idea in the first place, but I believe by this time Voldemort would well and truly see himself as being above such things.
Thank-you so much for the complements on my characterisation, and thank-you so much for reviewing. Report Review
Having read your reply to the previous chapter's comments, as well as this chapter, I can definitely see your difficulty in presenting events we are all familiar with, but from a different point of view. All the while I was reading this chapter, I was mulling it over, thinking what I might have done if I was a writer, and I couldn't come up with much at all! I'll bet you spent a lot of time tweaking it.
Regarding my comments about Kreacher in the last chapter, I definitely agree that he was eager to betray or hurt Sirius and so forth. What I meant about him speaking too plainly was that JKR portrays him as a rather pitiful, lonely, muttering figure, not one who stands up and rapidly and efficiently reports only the most important information to the Dark Lord. I was merely surprised that, since Kreacher was apparantly away for a few days, you described a scene in which he divulges information much like a trained secret agent or something, within minutes of his arrival at Malfoy Manor. Surely he would have been treated cautiously at first to ensure he wasn't merely following orders to come and spy on the Death Eaters. Later, he might have been coddled a bit (for a house-elf, anyway, that might include praise about his loyalty or the like) to ensure his continued loyalty. That's just how I imagine it.
I've rambled on plenty about the previous chapter, and that is partly because I don't have a whole lot to say about this one. I found this chapter slightly eerie; knowing the scene through Harry's POV, Bella's version of events is very strange to read. She really is a frightening individual, but you write her in a way that we can see just how deranged and unstable she is. Although I have previously considered the liklihood that Voldemort "punished" Bellatrix after escaping from the Ministry, it was always in a detached and distant way. The final paragraphs of this chapter really brought it home for me, though.Author's Response: You are right that this chapter was just as difficult as the previous one to write considering I had to change it enough so that it wasn't plagiarising JKR's work while at the same time trying to stay as canon as possible. I did spend a lot of time writing and re-writing this chapter to make sure.
I can see your point about Kreacher, although I think perhaps Narcissa may have talked to him first before bringing him before the Dark Lord. But I can see that perhaps Voldemort should have been more suspicious.
I spent a lot of time trying to picture this chain of events through Bella's eyes and I'm glad I was able to portray her deranged and unstable nature.
Thanks so much for your review. Report Review
I feel like vital bits got left out . . . everything happened so fast! Where are all the details? Part of the problem is that I'm tired and should leave the rest of this story for another night. If I felt more like concentrating, I could string the details together better. Still, I felt like this chapter could have been fleshed out a bit more.
The conversation with Kreacher wasn't at all how I imagined it. For one thing, although he must answer questions he's asked (at least by Bella and Narcissa, I assume?), I can't see him speaking so clearly. I always figured Voldemort would have used Legilimency against him and made inferences from what he was saying. He was gone for a while, so I doubt the rapid-fire interrogation is really how it happened. The conversation wasn't subtle enough and happened far too quickly.
I thought the scene near the beginning with all the Death Eaters around the table was good. The sentences about Bellatrix "smiling condescendingly" and Voldemort "not accusing" stuck out to me especially. Generally speaking, when you are trying to describe what people or places look like or what people are doing, sometimes the descriptions are a bit on the bland side, like a list. But when you get into the characters' minds and personalities, you're really, really good. Maybe I'm prejudiced because that interests me more, but you have a strength in that area.
You know, I feel really dumb for not thinking of Disillusionment Charms. I always wondered how/where the Death Eaters hid in the Dept. of Mysteries. I always thought it was weird that Harry was so totally focused on finding that prophecy that he didn't notice anyone else around. It never even occured to me that the Death Eaters might have been Disillusioned! I'm sure they were though . . . how else to explain?
Oh, one more thing I liked: how you give Voldemort this theory about the blood to explain the connection he and Harry have. That's a great idea.Author's Response: I had quite a few problems when writing this chapter. The biggest problem was that I had to be very careful that I wasn't plagiarising anything from the book, which was really hard to do. My original chapter had a lot more detail, but I cut a lot out to ensure it wasn't just a retell of OotP. I wanted to stay canon, but I had restrictions on how close to JKR's work I actually wrote it.
I always thought Kreacher was quite happy to go against Sirius and the Order, especially when he felt much more of an allegiance to the Black sisters than to Sirius. As long as he didn't directly defy an order from Sirius he could share whatever he liked. I also figured he was reluctant to return to Sirius again, but in the end he was told to go back so as not to arouse suspicion. I guess we all perceive things differently.
Thanks for your critique about my descriptions. It is good to know that you think I have a strength in getting into my characters' minds. I will endeavour to work on my other descriptions.
I'm glad you liked the theory about the blood.
Thanks for reviewing. Report Review
Another brilliant chapter. Definitely the best so far, in my opinion. I especially loved the description of Bella scratching the walls. It's horrifying but so realistic. I wouldn't have thought to include that, but it's perfect.Author's Response: Thank-you so much! I'm glad you liked my descriptions in this chapter. It was interesting as a writer trying to get inside Bella's head at the height of her insanity. Thanks for the review. Report Review
I thought this was the best chapter yet. The first part was such a brilliant description of Bellatrix and her experience in Azkaban. I was very impressed. I liked this chapter a lot.
I was less impressed by the pregnancy. It drives me nuts when writers do that. Draco and Hermione have sex once, she gets pregnant. Harry and Ginny have sex once, she gets pregnant. Lavender and Ron have sex, she gets pregnant. Rose and Scorpius. Et cetera. It's so irritating (even if it does happen in real life). Anyway, I'm just curious why exactly you wrote the pregnancy in, especially as Bellatrix and Voldemort never know about it? Is it just some extra drama? Is the story going to come back to the child? Why is this child important? Is it supposed to "redeem" Voldemort somehow, by turning out right from similar circumstances? Was Bellatrix's unawareness of her pregnancy a way to show how very far her mind has gone?
By the way, if it turns out the child is really Draco Malfoy, I will have to scream. (I know you won't do that. Ages are wrong, for one thing.)Author's Response: I'm so glad you liked this chapter! I really wanted to get inside Bella's head in this chapter.
The pregnancy I knew would be controversial and not everyone would like that aspect. I included it for several reasons. Firstly I have a plot bunny involving the child, though at this stage I don't know if or when I will get around to writing it. But I also wanted to show how far gone Bella's mind is gone at this stage. She is so insane at his point that she doesn't even realise that she is pregnant or that she has given birth. I guess it was a bit of added drama too.
And don't worry, the child is definitely not Draco Malfoy lol. In fact I don't intend for the child to be a canon character at all.
Thanks for reviewing. Report Review
There's a lot of "telling" in this story, if that makes sense. A few examples from this chapter: You tell that the Dark Lord set out to kill Harry Potter. You tell that the Death Eaters are waiting confidently. You tell that they don't notice eight aurors showing up. Some of these statements and events come across almost as a listing of facts. The "flow" seems "off" to me, a bit. I dislike saying that, because it is so vague (and I have no idea how to fix it myself), but sometimes I don't know how else to describe it.
I thought Wormtail was too articulate. He described everything in great detail. Would he really have noticed that Harry's scar was lightning-shaped, for instance? Or would he have been very cowardly and cringing and eager to get away as quickly as possible after checking out the scene? In that case, he might just have noticed the blood, not the shape of the gash. (Sorry, nitpicking here). I thought his speech was a good way to let the Death Eaters know about Voldemort's downfall, though. In most stories I've read, the Death Eaters know about it through some sensation or color-change in their marks. I've always thought that's quite reasonable. However, given that Voldemort himself wasn't marked, your way makes a lot of sense too.
I thought the best part was when Bellatrix is screeching that the Dark Lord is still alive. You really make her character come alive at that time and at several points after that as well. There were definitely flashes when I could almost feel her pain. I think it would have been stronger to focus on her POV, rather than "they" near the end of the story, though. Maybe saying that she noticed the others around her also performing the Cruciatus Curse, or something along those lines, instead of saying what all "they" were doing. That would have made her pain and desperation even more clear to the reader and more consistend with the rest of the story, which has been mainly in Bella's POV so far.Author's Response: I totally understand about the 'telling' and it is usually something I try to avoid in my writing, but I guess I didn't pull it off very successfully. It's all a process I suppose and something I can work on in my writing in the future, so I appreciate your critique.
I think Wormtail would have noticed the shape of the scar, only because it was so unusual. I thought having the Death Eaters learn of Voldemort's demise through Wormtail would be realistic, since we know that Wormtail was present. Perhaps they did feel something in their marks and didn't recognise it, I don't know. But I think the fact that they are told about it gives them the chance to deny it and not believe the person who tells them.
I'm glad you liked my characterisation of Bella in this chapter. I really wanted to portray her pain over the loss of her master. One of the pitfalls of writing in third person is the ease in which one can stray away from the main character when sometimes it would be better to stay focused on that character. I guess that is something else I need to work on.
Thanks for reviewing. Report Review
I know a lot of people assume that Bellatrix was in love with Voldemort (or in lust or whatever), and I agree. In my opinion, though, it was always unrequited. She adored him, he used her. Voldemort does seem somewhat affected by her death in Book 7, but personally, I don't think they ever had a physical relationship. I just don't think Voldemort's personality and mental issues would allow him to have a relationship with a woman, even a faithful female member of his Death Eater "family."
I could say more on that topic, but I just wanted to bring it up because when I first saw where this chapter was leading, I was thinking, oh no, this is going to be some unrealistic, romantic thing. However, it wasn't like that at all. I think you wrote the scene the only way it could possibly have happened. I was very impressed. I can see it happening that way.
I'm glad you aren't glorifying Bellatrix or Voldemort, making them just senstive and misunderstood, tragically romantic figures. They aren't. They are dangerous, unbalanced people. I'm really impressed with your writing in this chapter (except for the beginning where you again list how faithful the Death Eaters have become, etc, etc).Author's Response: I agree that it was unrequited, and my portrayal of Voldemort's relations with Bella in this chapter have nothing to do with emotional feelings on his part, he is simply using her to as a way of satisfying a physical urge. My feeling is that even Voldemort must have had certain urges at some point and I'm sure he gave in to those urges at one time or another. To me Bella seems the best candidate to do this with as she is a pureblood and a loyal follower. I'm glad you liked the way I portrayed the scene. I don't think there was anyway it could have been romantic, it just would have been completely out of character. As I said, I see it as Voldemort simply satisfying an urge, there is no feeling involved.
Thanks for your review. Report Review
I wasn't overly impressed with the first paragraph: They soon became great followers. They also introduced Lucius Malfoy. That's not very exciting, it sounds like summing up a report or making an elaborate list.
However, once you got into the main event of this chapter, the writing was excellent. Man, you're really getting into Bella's character! I'm sitting here feeling shocked and horrified over what she's done. I wasn't expecting anything so cruel, but it really is perfect. Anything less wouldn't convey the full horror of her actions.Author's Response: Hmm, I hadn't realised I had written it like that, it does seem a bit bland now that you mention it. I guess I just wanted to get to the meat of the chapter and so rushed over the 'in-between' details.
I'm glad you are getting into Bella's character, I wanted to get into the 'shock factor' of her actions and show her for the cruel woman that she was. I view Bella as a deeply sadistic character.
Thanks for your review. Report Review
Before I even get to the words, I want to say that Death Eater mask in the chapter image gave me the chills. It's really spooky!
I liked the interaction between Bellatrix and Rodolphus in this chapter. The chapter was again extremely short, but you did get into Bellatrix's head some. I'm getting a better feeling for her as you're depicting her.
One thing that I may or may not be right about is that I think you're describing Voldemort's appearance as he appeared after he got his second body (fourth book). Whether I'm right or not, this is not a big deal at all, for your story. Based on Dumbledore's memory of him bringing Death Eaters to wait in Hogsmeade while he requested a job, I had the impression that before the night he killed Harry's parents, he still looked mostly normal. Yes, his eyes were gleaming red at times, and his features were changing, but he wasn't so blatantly snake-like yet.Author's Response: I was definitely aiming for a chilling vibe when I created that chapter image, so thank-you!
There are a few chapters in this fic that are a little short - sorry about that, it's just the way they turned out when I wrote them.
I was hoping to explore Bellatrix's character slowly when I wrote this fic, so that the reader gets to know her more and more as the chapters progress.
I tried to describe Voldemort as I pictured him at that time. My impression from his visit to Dumbledore at that time was that he was already starting to take on an unnatural, snakelike appearance due to the corruption of his soul. But of course I could be wrong, that was just my perception.
I appreciate your critique, thanks for reviewing. Report Review
I've been eyeing this story ever since I first decided to read all your stories. I've been dying to read it! But, I was disciplined and read all the one-shots first. Normally, I don't especially enjoy Bellatrix stories (although I did like one written by another of my favorite authors, MyGinevra). I am so interested to see what you do in this story!
As for this first chapter, it was short and boring, but it gets that bothersome background and history stuff out of the way. By "boring," I mean, not action-packed. It does set the mood though, and provides a glimpse of how you are going to portray Bellatrix. Good start, so far.
By the way, thank you for all your lovely responses to my reviews so far! The review/response is one thing I really enjoy about this site, as opposed to reading a regular, printed novel (something I do quite a bit of).Author's Response: I agree this chapter was a little on the 'boring' side and quite short, but I wanted to set the story up by showing a little of the Black sisters' household before beginning the actual story. Hopefully you will find the following chapters a bit more exciting.
I love the review/response system on this site too. It's great to hear feedback from people who read my stories, I feel it really helps and encourages me as a writer.
Thanks so much for reviewing. Report Review
I love the chapter art you have so far. Are these yours?
I think I mentioned this before, but I thought Rodolphus was a classmate of Tom Riddle's. I'll have to re-read HBP but I thought one of Slughorn's memories included Lestrange at one of those tea parties. Either way, this is your story and you can do what you want, correct? That's one thing that irks me on some reviews I receive. It's like, why are you having them be so nice now or whatever. Sometimes I want to say, Hey! This is my story and I can have them running around in underwear if I want to. But I digress...
Again, nothing stands out in the way of errors. I'm not the best with punctuation so I will rarely comment on that ;) The only thing I might suggest in changing is: "Rodolphus laughed meanly." I think maybe 'callously' might work better. Again, just a personal opinion.
So was he using Legilemancy (sp?) on her? If so what would he see? Would he have read her attraction to him I wonder?
The portrayal of Bella & her husband, to me, reminds me of one of those scenes in an 1800 type story where there is an arranged marriage and the subjects have common personalities but no love for one another. They can easily get along with the common thread they share. But of course will never be a fulfilling marriage.
That's all for now. I will surely come back for more!!Author's Response: Yes, the chapter images are mine, I make all my own graphics. I'm glad you like them.
There are a few inconsistencies with canon in this fic when it comes to ages, as I didn't do a lot of research on that aspect when I first started (the ages of the three Black sisters are mixed up), but I believe it may have been Rodolphus' father that went to school with Riddle. I'm not too concerned about the age factor though, as long as the plot is consistent.
The Legilimancy was a way for Voldemort to test her loyalty and ensure she wasn't a traitor or anything. He probably would have sensed her awe and admiration for him though.
I really did want to portray that sense of stiffness in Bella's marriage, where there is no love but a mutual respect for each other.
Thanks for reading and reviewing, I can't wait to see what you think of the next chapter. Report Review
My first time ever reading and reviewing one of your stories! If this is on Gluttony, I will copy and paste this on both. In case of another crash, you have something to refer back to.
I like to refer to any spelling/rephrasing issues when I review. I couldn't find any spelling errors in this chapter. However, in the second paragraph you used the word "had" alot. If you were to remove it here and there in the paragraph, I think it would still read the same, just without the word "had". Just a personal opinion.
Ok now onto the review. I loved your description of everything, from the house elf disappearing out of sight as though she had never been there to the description of the room and the three girls anxiously awaiting their fate.
I'm glad you incorporated Narcissa's acceptance of her future husband, finding him quite handsome. When I would read those characters in HP I drew a sense of love (or as best a sense of love those two could have) for each other if not a certain respect which might have grown into a form of love.
I always considered Bellatrix a bit shy of a full deck. Maybe due to her time spent is Azkaban. But maintaining pureblood status and power is obviously part of her being and I can see her readily accepting her marraige to a man she doesn't love for the honor of it only. I forgot Rodolphus was a schoolmate of Riddles and he would be older than Bellatrix.
You, of course, have Andromeda as the rouge daughter who will marry for love. I just realized that this character is a bit Jane Austenish. I'm sure other's might have picked this up- I'm always behind the times in my observations.
Your ending to the chapter is intriguing. She met a man who would ignite a passion she never knew she could feel, a consuming passion. (BTW- you used "enlight a passion"- did you mean "ignite' or "light"- sometimes phraseology in the US is different than in other countries.)
Nice beginning to a story. I will read on.Author's Response: I'm glad you decided to drop by and review this story. I don't have it posted on Gluttony, just here on HPFF. I've been periodically saving my reviews to my computer though in case of another crash (which reminds me I should do that again soon).
I'm very much a perfectionist when it comes to spelling (it comes from being a teacher I guess). I hadn't realised I'd used 'had' so much, I'll have to go back and check that out.
I think there was definitely love and respect between Lucius and Narcissa, at least that is what I gathered from the books. I saw her marriage as most likely being an arranged one, but I think she was happy with her chosen husband.
I think Bella may have always been a bit 'shy of a full deck', but I think it was Azkaban that really sent her over the edge in terms of insanity. I don't think she ever loved Rodolphus, I think she only married him out of honour and duty.
I never really saw the 'Jane Austen-ness' in Andromeda's character either until you mentioned it, but she does seem that way with her fantastic notions on love.
I'm glad you found the ending intriguing, I wanted to end the chapter strongly and lead in to the main story. I did mean to say 'ignite' thanks for picking up on it, I shall fix that up.
Thanks so much for your review. Report Review
This was a worthy end to a really fine story. I particularly liked the way you narrated the duel between Bellatrix and Molly.
And I think Bellatrix did die happy. She was, at the end, V's last and best lieutenant, his closest, his most valuable. I can't imagine she'd have wanted to go out any other way.
That heavy-lidded boy: am I reading . . . sequel?Author's Response: The battle between Bellatrix and Molly was obviously an important one, so thank-you for the comment.
Yes, I think Bellatrix died the way she would have wanted to die - fighting for her master and one true love. And I think it would have made her happy hearing Voldemort screaming for her as she died.
Ahh, the heavy-lidded boy *evil laugh*. I am definitely considering writing a sequel about him, but at the moment I have a novel and short story to finish, plus I've just started writing a horror, so it won't be for a while yet.
Thanks so much for reviewing this story, I've enjoyed your comments. Report Review
Wow, another complex chapter. This one covers virtually the beginning of HBP to the escape from Malfoy Manor in DH.
The bedroom scene was very good. In particular, V's speech about the gods, was superb, incredibly inventive/original and totally in character.
That scene at Malfoy Manor (which is pretty well documented somewhere -- I forget where it is) was well done and exciting. Sometimes life as a Death Eater seems like one big fat oops after another.
I always wondered whether all those crucios administered by her master appealed to the masochistic side of a pretty strange personality. Her father probably ignored her; at least Voldemort was taking the time to punish her.Author's Response: For some reason it's not letting me respond to your last review, so I'll respond to it here:
The Battle at the Ministry of Magic:
It was definitely difficult writing canon events, yet making sure it was sufficiently in Bellatrix's POV, not just repeating events. The three quotations rule was a little frustrating as Bellatrix had some really good one liners that I would love to have included but couldn't because of the limit. Thanks for the critique about the "Are you kidding?" line - the original line was "You jest?" so of course I had to change it, which proved to be quite difficult, unfortunately the changed line did not do the original line justice. I remember struggling with that line quite a bit actually.
And now for this review...
Success and Failure:
Again it was difficult staying in canon, but keeping the chapter unique to Bellatrix.
Voldemort was a harsh master, and did not appreciate any stuff-ups. But Bellatrix appears to have the personality of someone who would enjoy the torture. I think you may be right about her father never paying enough attention to her.
Thanks for both of your reviews for these chapters. Report Review
This was an outstanding chapter. I think it's difficult to do a fresh take on a familiar event, maintaining your character's POV while holding to the canon events; and you did an excellent job.
Once again, I have to comment on the pacing. You moved this chapter along like the reader was watching a movie. In an action sequence, that is terribly important. You also slowed down the action in the right places (as when Bella went ballistic after Harry said the V word), to create the necessary amount of detail and description.
I know the rule about only 3 quotations is a pain in the . . . .neck. (I've run up against it myself.) I thought you did a good job creating substitute dialogue. The only line that stopped me was Bellatrix's "Are you kidding?" Bella, in a word, talks fancier and more archaic than that. "You jest?" (Maybe that's what she actually said and its off limits?) You toy with us? But that one phrase did not sound like B.
But other than that [skips back and reads it over again] you did spectacularly well with recreating -- and filling the gaps with -- original dialogue. The little scenes with Longbottom, Tonks and Harry sounded just right.
The entrance of Voldemort, and Bellatrix's response to the slightly later entrance of Dumbledore -- I could see her there covering, then peaking out a bit, then taking cover as the battle raged. Then, oh no oh no oh no. (Does this mean it's over between us?)
Excellent chapter. Report Review
This was well-done, and I liked the dialogue. However, I am in awe of your knowledge of the events in OOP, and your deft use of them in this chapter.
The only thing thing that threw me a bit was the absence of Snape, and the concurrent absence of his information. As he is a double agent with a foot in each camp, he would already have told V that Dumbledore is reforming the OOP and, presumably, who the members are. And, of course, Kreacher broke no house elf law in coming to the Malfoys. Sirius, exasperated with him, told him to "get out," and he obeyed.
The part about Nagini was ingenious.
The chapter itself was well paced, and I liked the way you used multiple characters.Author's Response: This chapter took a lot of work! I basically had my copy of OotP open the entire time I was writing it. I had to rework the whole chapter several times to make sure it was too similar to OotP actually. I wanted it to follow canon, but I also wanted it to be original at the same time, it was definitely a challenge.
At this point I think Snape may have been secretly seeing Voldemort to relay information, but I believe Voldemort wasn't exactly sharing the source of his information with his Death Eaters at this point. If we look at Bella's reaction to Snape at the beginning of HBP I get the impression that Bella has only recently found out about Snape returning to the Death Eaters and is still not accepting of him back into the fold. Of course this may just be my interpretation. You are correct that Kreacher broke no house elf law in coming to the Malfoys, Narcissa just assumes that he has.
I'm glad you liked the part about Nagini. Thanks so much for reviewing. Report Review
The image of Bellatrix clawing the walls until her fingers are bloody is a vivid image of her frustrated need to be out and reunited. As you describe her anticipation, I can just see her waking each morning to pace the cell like an anxious tiger in a cage, senses heightened and waiting for some sign of change, some hint that redemption is coming. You really wrote that part well.
Your choice at the end -- that they were no longer lovers in the physical sense, that he had changed, that she accepted whatever is objective was -- was also really well done. I realize it's sort of canon (Voldemort in DH is telling her to back off), but you fit this alteration in relationship nicely and logically. (After all, he had to go through a bodily resurrection, and I suppose that might affect one's sex drive. Or one's appetite generally, for that matter.)
Another really good chapter -- kudos.Author's Response: I definitely pictured Bellatrix as waiting anxiously each day for any sign that her master and one true love would be coming to rescue her. I'm sure she fantasised about it daily. I really did want to focus on that anticipation in this chapter so I'm glad you thought I wrote it well.
I felt there needed to be a shift in Bellatrix and Voldemort's relationship at this point, after all Voldemort had lived many years as a body-less creature and been through the process of his resurrection, he would be much changed after this. I think the end to the physical relationship was more than just a loss of sex-drive on Voldemort's part. I think at this point he had a clear objective to kill Harry and everything else was not important. I think also after proving that he was immortal (in his eyes anyway) he also felt that such earthly desires really were beneath him and that he could be aroused by his own sense of power.
Thanks so much for the review. Report Review
You do an excellent job with this story keeping it canon, but at the same time showing us something new and different. I like the ending with the baby--a classic horror ending.
This also shows the dichotomy between Bella and her sister Narcissa. Narcissa stands up for her family here, by not divulging that Harry's not dead--at the same time, Bella is rejoicing over Harry's death and looking forward to finishing the fight at the castle. In some sick way, she's just as pushed by her love/obsession for V-baby as Narcissa is pushed by genuine love and concern for her family.
You do an excellent job showing the path from sociopath, borderline insane to full-blown psychopathy and dangerous insanity.
This is a story that I would recommend to others.Author's Response: I'm really big on canon writing, as in I like to stay as canon as possible when I write. I also love exploring the little stories that were never told; the stories from the perspectives of other characters.
There is really such a big difference between Narcissa and Bella, despite the fact that they both have similar ideaologies (the purity of blood). Really Narcissa is much more like Andromeda. Bella's obsessive love for Voldemort is quite sick, so far removed from Narcissa's motherly love for her son, though ultimately it is a driving force for both. If Bella had known about her child would she have the same motherly love for it as Narcissa does for Draco? I really don't think she would be capable of that kind of love.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this fic, I'm so glad you liked it and I am flattered that you would recommend it to others! Report Review
This was a very well written chapter, and up to the last third or so, I was about to say it was fantastic. It was. The descriptions of the prison, the atmosphere, the dementors -- all these descriptions were rich and dark and imaginative.
The way you set out Bellatrix mental state, and the way you compare it, and the words that you use -- superb.
My problem is with the whole pregnancy thing. I realize -- really, I do -- that the Wizarding World is not exactly in the forefront of human rights when it comes to their treatment of prisoners. Even so, she is a married woman giving birth to a child who, under traditional law, would be presumed the legitimate child of her husband. (Are she and Rudolphus not having sex? How does anybody know whose child it is until it's delivered?) She has two sisters. Why didn't the ministry notify Andromeda or Narcissa? Aren't they entitled to custody of their niece or nephew? Or some unincarcerated relative of Lestrange? Presumably the kid will have a nose and look something like Tom Riddle, which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Sorry to go off on a tangent, but this part bothered me.
Not to detract from your writing, which is continually excellent.Author's Response: I'm glad you liked my descriptions, I really wanted to set the atmosphere and describe Bella's descent into total madness.
The pregnancy was always going to be a controversial point in the story I think. I suppose there are probably many reasons why the child was taken to an orphanage rather than given to family. Of course there was no point giving the child to Rudolphus as he was in prison too. (And to answer your question - it had been along time since she and her husband had had any sexual relations). As for Bella's sisters: remember she was estranged from her sister Andromeda and I'm sure Andromeda would have wanted nothing to do with Bella or her child. In the case of Narcissa, I think Lucius would have had some say in the matter - remember he was trying to disassociate himself from the Death Eaters at the time. Rudolphus's brother was also in prison and I'm not sure if either of their parents were alive. Apart from this, I think perhaps the Ministry might have been wanting to cover up the pregnancy and birth. Thanks for your comments and your review. i appreciate it. Report Review
If my name were Bellatrix, and my husband called me Trixy, I would crucio him on the spot. (In Kill Bill, the Uma Thurman character's name is Beatrix Kiddo, and she's just as scary as Bellatrix. I wouldn't call her Trixy, either.)
Aside from that quibble, this was a FANTASTIC chapter. Bellatrix's kill-the-messenger reaction to Pettigrew, when he showed up and announced that the DL was gone, was absolutely on the money.
The scene at the Longbottoms was harrowing and inventive. That's another canon scene that we are left to imagine -- the torture of the Longbottoms, what could have been done to them that left them in that state of permanent brain damage. I will just say that I think you nailed it. The way the scene progressed was complete logical, brutal -- and tight. As I've said with other chapter, there was not a wasted word here. (Okay, mayby Trixy. Just kidding.)
Great job.Author's Response: "If my name were Bellatrix, and my husband called me Trixy, I would crucio him on the spot." lol :D Husband's can make up such silly nicknames for their wives. I always thought Remus calling Tonks 'Dora' sounded silly too.
It certainly wouldn't have been a Bellatrix story without the scene where she tortures the Longbottoms, it is an incredibly important part of her story. I'm glad you thought I did it justice.
Thank-you so much for another lovely review! Report Review
I was blown away by this chapter. I always pull back at the prospect of writing, or conceiving of, a sexual relationshp between V and Bellatrix, because I see him as so devoid of human feeling as to be virtually asexual. I've seen it done well maybe once before.
You did it well.
You kept them both in character. You kept Voldemort's cold, near-asexual quality, Bellatrix's strangely submissive attraction, the credibly violent overtones.
The scene with Regulus was nice. It fit Regulus character, showing his essentially ethical nature. Of course, if you're going to commit adultery, it's always nice to have a lover who can make it so you don't have to worry about your husband. It simplifies life for everyone.
The only thing that bothered me slightly was the A/N at the end. My thought was that either you should have included that information in the story (if it will later become significant), or you should have let it go as irrelevant. If the POV is truly omniscient, (I'm no writing teacher, but) I suppose you can state what it was he realized. If the POV is that of Bellatrix, she probably didn't notice or couldn't interpret the look on his face. V didn't notice.
Aside from this minor quibble about (of all things) an Author's Note -- which is a real triviality -- this was a fantastic chapter. The sex scene, which would seem to be really difficult given the participants, was extremely well done and very much in character.Author's Response: Thank-you so very much for the wonderful compliment! It certainly was not easy writing a sex-scene between Bella and Voldy whilst keeping them both in character, because as you say, Voldemort is devoid of human feeling. I also wanted to create the violent overtones that you mentioned, because they are both incredibly violent people. I am so pleased you thought I pulled it off well.
The information about Regulus is not important to the story at all, it was just a little side story I added in. I probably didn't need the author's note, as you say, but at the time I guess I felt I needed to point out the significance of Regulus in that scene in relation to the series, though it bears no importance on my own story.
Thank-you so much for the compliments, the critique and the review. Report Review
I totally can see the Dementors forcing Bella over the already thin line separating her from total madness. The pregnancy thing disturbs me just a bit, but then I remind myself that it's your vision in the story and not mine and push the disbelief back farther into my head.
I do also like the concept of her not knowing about her pregnancy or not understanding that that's what's happening.
Dementors have always presented a problem for me in their inherent cruelty. England does not have capital punishment, yet they have Dementors, arguably a fate worse than death.
As always, well written stylistically.Author's Response: The pregnancy is supposed to be disturbing - to think Bella and Voldy might actually have achild together out there somewhere - scary thought!
Bella definitely wasn't far from the precipice in terms of total madness, she didn't need much push from the Demenors to get her all the way there, but she did well and truly go over the edge while in Azkaban.
Dementors are horribly cruel creatures, we know Dumbledore was totally against their presence in Azkaban. I'm pretty sure Shacklebolt got rid of them when he became Minister for Magic.
Thanks again for your review. Report Review
The cruelty of the DEs is clearly shown here. Even after torturing the Longbottoms for so long, they still continued. They must have known that the Longbottoms weren't lying, but still refused to accept it and continued to torture them out of sheer perversity and refusal to accept.
I do think it unlikely that they would torture the Longbottoms in their own house all night and then sit down and have tea to talk it over in the same house (exaggeration, I know). Rodolphus in particular I think would have the sense to take the Longbottoms elsewhere, or at the very least leave after torturing them.
Other than the one minor quibble, I found this delving into grief-stricken madness and lack of acceptance of Voldy-baby's death quite interesting.Author's Response: I believe the Death Eaters were feeling quite desperate to prove their master was still alive, they would be feeling agitated and lost without him. Their continued torture of the Longbottoms shows their denial, but also was a way for them to vent their anger and frustration.
I didn't really think about them leaving after the torture, but perhaps they didn't either. It had been a long night and they were stressed out about not knowing where Voldemort was, it is possible they just weren't thinking straight at that point in time. Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it lol.
Thank-you so much for the review. Report Review
I actually really like the aside of Regulus in this chapter, it reinforces that he was not fully committed to the cause, or became disenchanted (pun!) with it as he saw more that Voldemort wasn't just about purity of blood, but also dominance and cruelty.
The scene with Voldy-baby and Bella in bed was told very well, without getting too graphic about exactly what was going on. I'm sure a lot of people will tell you that Voldy would not have human needs in this way, but I must disagree with them and support you. The desire is too strong, even subsumed by his other wants, the Dark Lord is still human, no matter what he claims.
Very well written and an intriguing idea brought to life.Author's Response: I just had to add the little bit about Regulus. Regulus must have figured out Voldemort had Horcruxes somehow, and I think a little slip of the tongue on Voldemort's part was mostly likely how he figured it out.
Lots of people do argue that Voldemort would not be with anyone in that way, but I could not in all honesty believe that he died having never done it. I've always thought that no matter how strongly Voldemort believed he was immortal, in the end he was still a man and men have desires. I think Bella is the only candidate he would deem nearly worthy enough to do it with. And I do think that Voldemort would hate himself (and Bella) afterwards though, for giving in to such mortal desires.
Thanks so much for the review. Report Review
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