Reading Reviews for Ghosts in the Attic
  
39 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngst Inheritance

2nd October 2012:
Hello, dear!

It's somewhat bittersweet. I'm here for the last chapter. And you are very welcome for the Dobby nomination. This story deserves it.

You've taken little Teddy full circle, and it immediately made me think of some of your lovely Teddy/Victoire stories. Thanks for that. I really love the way that you write the two of them.

The way that Narcissa approaches him seemed almost perfect to me. She is on a mission, and that mission does not involve a confrontation with her sister. It seems that she has taken Draco and Lucius's advice to heart and gave up on mending her relationship with Andromeda. But she seems to think that's she's found a way to finally silence that little voice that tells her that there's something unfinished about their relationship.

Her dialog with Teddy sounded perfect to me. She knows that she can't linger. She knows that she shouldn't be where she is. Still there was obviously more that she wanted to say to him. I feel like she wanted to try to explain herself. She wanted to get that closure from somebody that Andromeda would never give to her. But in the end, there was simply too much to say so she doesn't even try.

Andromeda's reaction... hmnnn... I liked it and I didn't like it. I did like the idea that she was not going to ruin Teddy and Victoire's special day by going into all of the awful details of her relationship with her family. Still, I felt as though she leaves him hanging just a bit after telling him what the key might lead to. I'm trying really hard to think what I would have had her say to him. It's tough.

"I'll explain later. For now, just enjoy your wedding." - That isn't really much more satisfying, is it? Maybe just something reassuring, an indication that she's not angry and when the time comes she'll be ready to discuss the matter with him. Of course, she probably is angry, just not at Teddy. Ugh. Maybe it is better the way it's written...

So thank you for a wonderful read! And the very best of luck with your Dobby fortunes!

Author's Response: It has taken way too long for me to respond to this. I actually thought I had - it's not on the first page of my unanswered reviews and I didn't realise I had a second page. :( Which is no excuse. I am a bad author and friend and such.

Anyway. Thank you so, so much for the lovely reviews on this. I had a lot of fun with the story and imagining how the surviving Black sisters would have communicated after the war. I knew from the start that this was how I wanted it to end - I don't love the happy endings a lot of people write for Andromeda and Narcissa because I often just don't find them believable. However, I always saw Narcissa as a little more malleable - I think we have that in common - and this seemed like a good middle ground.

I also have to admit that Teddy inheriting a lot of gold from Bellatrix's vault that mostly came from Bellatrix and selling her belongings - because whatever Narcissa says, that is where it came from - seems a little poetic to me.

I do know what you mean about Andromeda's reaction - I wasn't sure I was happy with it, either, but I didn't know whether I wanted to mellow her reaction out at all because when it comes to Narcissa, she tends not to be very mellow. When I get the chance, I'll look back at this and see if I can tweak it a bit.

Thank you so much for the review and the nomination, and I'm so sorry it's taken me way too long to respond.


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Review #2, by CambAngst Grandsons

14th September 2012:
My first foray into the Review Tag 2.0 thread, and itís for a story Iím really starting to love! Double-win!

OK, one small pat on the back for myself before I delve into your review: In one of my reviews for a previous chapter, I remember saying something like, ďAndromeda wouldnít want Teddy around Narcissa because she would shower him with gifts and heís not old enough to understand.Ē Based on what I read at the end of this chapter, Iím feeling a little bit prescient! Thatís only a guess, obviously, but Iím going with it!

I love the idea of Teddy bouncing off of the walls as he waits to go and buy his wand. This is one of those scenes where I can feel the excitement and nervous energy as Iím reading it. Partly because youíve written it well, but partly because Iíd be the exact, same way! The mentions of James and the rest of Harryís family was also a heart-warming little touch of canon. I love the way you weave those in.

The way you described Dracoís reaction to seeing Andromeda in Flourish and Blottís was awesome. I just donít think it could have been any other way. Andromeda was always described as looking very much like her older sister, and the sight of her must have scared Draco half to death. I also liked Andromedaís reaction to his expression.

The way you walked us through Narcissaís thought process in the second section of the chapter was terrific. It all seems so consistent with how Iíd imagine her feeling. She misses Andromeda and feels hurt by her rejection, yet thereís still a childish, selfish element to it all. She doesnít like the fact that Andromeda can affect her in this way. I really love the way you write her.

Dracoís perspective on things -- that she should simply give up -- is actually pretty sensible. From there, I liked how you segued from Luciusís inability to understand her feelings of loss to their familyís generalized post-war isolation and back to her feelings again. It added a bit of depth to her feelings. Her relationship with her sister wasnít the only thing the war cost her, but itís the only one that didnít eventually come back to her. Their money never really left, and the scorn they suffered gradually eased. Again you mix the longing with a certain sense of entitlement thatís quintessentially Narcissa.

The little twist you put on things right at the end -- the realization that perhaps she wouldnít be able to mend the fences with her sister but she might still be able to do something with Bellatrixís share of the Black family vault -- is really exciting. It suggests that something very interesting could be happening soon, something that will bring the two surviving Black sisters into unavoidable conflict. Something that will force the two of them to talk. I love it!

Suggestions? Well, one thought that came to me is that it could have been interesting to explore Narcissaís relationship with her grandson just a bit more. Not to the point where it distracts from the obvious point of the chapter, but it would be a very meaningful contrast with the essentially maternal relationship that Andromeda has with Teddy. Somehow, I get the sense that Narcissa is a bit distant from Scorpius. I could be wrong, of course.

I also thought it could have benefitted from just a little more insight into Andromedaís thoughts and feelings after she figured out who Draco and Scorpius were. At some point, I imagine it would have dawned on her that her estrangement from Narcissa was depriving her of more familial connections than just her sister. And the same holds true for Teddy.

Small things, of course. Your writing was terrific in this chapter. It all flowed really nicely and it read fast and easy. There was a nice mix of narrative and dialog. Everyone sounded in character. I really might have to go read the next one to find out what happens!

Author's Response: And once again I have taken too long to respond to your lovely review. They're just always so lovely and thorough and I don't want to give them a simple, "Thanks for the review, bye now!"

Tonight, though, I am answering all of my backup of reviews (... I hope), and then I won't fall behind anymore (... I hope). :P

Your guess was absolutely right. There are other things, of course, including the straightforward resentment that Narcissa and her family are alive where Tonks and Ted aren't, but there's also the simple fact that Andromeda doesn't trust Narcissa not to overcompensate with Teddy (as is seen in the last chapter, which I hope wasn't an anti-climax). Narcissa has so much guilt, but her way of dealing with guilt tends to fall into the "If I give you things maybe you'll forgive me" type of approach, which isn't very healthy (at least not for Teddy - Scorpius makes out fine).

I see what you mean about exploring Narcissa's relationship with Scorpius a bit more. I do go into some detail about it in other fics, and I think as a result I failed to do so with this. I can't edit while the Dobbys are going on, but I will try to edit some clarification in when they're done.

Likewise, I think that Andromeda actually doesn't really think about missing out on a relationship with Draco or Scorpius - she never had a relationship with Draco, and given what she knows about him, she's okay with that. She's got nothing against Scorpius, but the same sentiment is true there, too. She and Teddy (Teddy in particular) both already have more family than she can take - the Malfoys wouldn't really add to it (in her opinion, anyway). Unfortunately, that's also one of those things that I know, but didn't communicate well. Again, once the Dobbys are over I'll edit this up a bit.

Thank you so much for the review, and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. It's greatly appreciated. ♥


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Review #3, by CambAngst The Birth Announcement

7th September 2012:
Hello, again! I told you I'd be back, I just didn't think it would take this long. Life, life and more life... I guess it beats the alternative!

So before I start, I saw three little typos and I wanted to mention them before I forgot:

-- "But life had been hard on Andromeda Tonks, and she felt the weight of it every day she rolled out of bed and looked at the photographs and Ted and Nymphadora that still sat on her dresser." - should be photographs of Ted and Nymphadora.

-- "After enjoyed the heat for a moment" - enjoying?

-- "The injustice of it Ė that Andromeda had fought on the fight side" - the right side?

So, with that out of the way, let's talk about the substance of the chapter. I, for one, cannot imagine going back to raising an infant again after all of the trials and tribulations of getting a child all the way to adulthood. Especially on your own. That's not to say that Andromeda had no help from her friends, but I can completely relate to her weariness. At the same time, the fact that she's been through the experience before gives her a different perspective than a first-time parent. She's apt to be more patient and understanding. I think you captured all of that very well.

Her reaction to Scorpius's birth announcement was so raw and virulent! I felt the emotion really strongly. I think the reasons behind her anger, as you expressed them from her point of view, were spot-on. The war was inherently unfair in that way. So many on the "winning" side paid such a high price for the victory while the Malfoys walked away with the most important things in their lives -- their son, their freedom -- intact. I'm sure life wasn't always kind to Lucius, Narcissa and Draco after the war, but the would always have one another. And, you know, their huge piles of gold. ;)

In much the same way, Andromeda's half-truth that she shares with Teddy made sense to me. She knows that Teddy is going to discover most of these things for himself eventually. But she's just not in any hurry to have that happen. In a way, I guess it's a little unfair to Teddy. You could argue that he should be able to meet his extended family and make his own decisions. But, given that Narcissa would likely lavish gifts on the boy due to her guilt, I can understand why Andromeda would want to keep the Malfoy's away. He's not old enough to understand what they helped to take from him.

This part of the story really made me stop and think about what Andromeda did tell Teddy about his parents' death and her family's role in those events. Not much, I'm guessing. At least until he reached the age where he was going to learn about it anyway and he was maybe better able to understand. If I could persuade you to make a one-shot of that, I'd be incredibly interested to hear your version of Andromeda trying to explain Teddy's Black heritage to him.

Lastly, we come to Narcissa's reaction to her sister returning the birth announcement. Overall, her reaction was exactly what I'd expect. No arguments here. But you did slip a couple of interesting little nuggets into it that made me stop and think. The mention of how she doesn't completely approve of Draco's new, more liberated attitude toward mudbloods was even a bit jarring. When you combine that with her admission that she misses her sister, it makes her sound a little selfish. It's as though she wants to have Andromeda's company back without admitting that her own prejudice played a key role in why her sister hates her so much. That was an interesting wrinkle, and if it was intentional, well done! I think it adds just a bit of complexity to her.

Overall, a lovely chapter! I'd promise to make it back sooner next time, but I think I promised you that before. :-/ Better to just say that I'll be back as soon as I can.

Author's Response: Ugh, typos. The bane of my existence. Thanks for pointing them out - I'll fix them as soon as the Dobbys are over. (Speaking of which, thank you so much for the nomination!)

I'm glad you think I captured Andromeda's difficulties - obviously, I have never even raised one child, let alone my grandchild as well, so I was a little worried about how it would come off. I'm glad that you felt like it came off realistic. That's always very important to me.

And yes, that's *exactly* it. I don't even know if I believe that the Malfoy should have been punished - I definitely don't think Draco should have been, and I'm pretty convinced that any supporting role Narcissa played (I don't think it ever went beyond that) was rightfully made up for in the eyes of the law when she lied for Harry (whatever her motivation). Lucius, on the other hand, I'm less sure about. He wasn't totally happy about having Voldemort around, but who would have been? I do feel like Lucius lucked out of prison time, and beyond that, Andromeda's feelings clearly would not have been limited to "what's right in the eyes of the law." Narcissa got to keep everything Andromeda lost. Her trying to give Andromeda money in an earlier chapter only made it worse. She meant well, but how is Andromeda going to take that as anything but Narcissa being condescending and entitled?

I will definitely consider making a one-shot in which Andromeda explain's Teddy's Black heritage to him - that's actually a really great idea, and I'll tell you when I get it done! (Now it's taken root in my brain. I will have to do it. :P)

The little bits at the end that you found jarring were definitely intentional, and I'm glad they came off the way they did. I see Narcissa as someone who maybe have recognised the error of her ways on one level, but keeps on having the same prejudiced opinions on another, you know? "Oh, no, I would never call some that to their face! Of course not!" Except that she's totally still thinking it.

(I may or may not have family members that are like this.)

Thank you so much for the review! ♥


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Review #4, by CambAngst The Photo Album

6th August 2012:
Hi, there!

To answer your direct question, I thought you did a terrific job of capturing Narcissa's voice. I wasn't 100% on all of the particulars, but this sounded like her, even if one or two thoughts seemed a little out of place. I'll explain below.

The idea of Narcissa cleaning out the unused rooms in the manor in preparation for Draco's wedding was a really clever way to both advance the timeline and put her where she needs to be -- physically and emotionally -- for this scene. Her ideas about the value of old, well-cared for things seemed very consistent with her personality, as well.

The one thing that rang a little odd to me was that she would still be so committed to the idea of blood purity. She's come to the realization that the ideal is nothing that's worth fighting a war over and I think that's perfectly in harmony with where her character was at the end of the war. But statements about the dilution of good wizarding blood sounded a little too Voldemort-ish to me. Maybe she's just come a lot farther in my headcanon than she has in yours.

I loved the fact that she was throwing away everything that reminded her of Bellatrix. That was real progress. Rejecting her elder sister and everything that goes along with her seems like a very important step to relinquishing her past and moving on.

Lucius - I was rather fascinated with what you did with his character in this chapter. He really has changed a lot. He seemed unconditionally supportive of her and I actually felt a genuine willingness to reconsider his thoughts on Andromeda. It surprised me, but I liked it. Maybe he'll finally have a heart to match his amazing, beautiful, flowing hair? ;)

Again, small steps. I really like the fact that you're taking both of your leading ladies up the long, steep, rocky path to reconciliation. Nothing is too easy; nothing happens too fast. You're capturing the small moments that eventually lead to a big change, and I think it's a brilliant approach. Well done!

Author's Response: Hmm. I think that you're right that she came a lot further in your headcanon than mine, but in your headcanon, isn't she a good deal older? I think that she does let those ideas go little by little, especially once her grandson gets involved with halfblood Rose Weasley, but at this point, I see her as still reintegrating into the general Wizarding world - if I was a halfblood or a Muggleborn, I know I'd be wary of trusting any of the Malfoys, especially the two older ones! She does get there eventually - in fact, I'm about to start writing a scene in which she meets Rose about 20 years down the line from the point, and she's a lot more accepting. I just think that for someone like Narcissa, it was probably a long, slow road.

I'm glad you liked the fact that she was getting rid of everything that reminded her of Bellatrix; I agree that that represents progress and the beginning of her really being able to move on from her childhood and the ideals she was raised with.

I'm glad you found my portrayal of Lucius interesting! I do think that his being somewhat open to reconsidering his opinion on Andromeda represents a pretty drastic change (though I also think that part of it is that he's saying what he thinks she wants to hear). I do think that he was probably a bit more sympathetic to his family when they were alone than we ever saw in the books, because Harry was seeing everything through a very different lens. I always had the impression that Lucius cared deeply for his family. However, I also think that he *did* rediscover his heart a little when he had to watch his wife and his son be terrorised in their own home, and was probably more prone to sympathy and being softer in general after that.

Thank you so much for the review, and I'm sorry that it's taken me awhile to answer it - I've had RL stuff going on, but do know that I really, really appreciate it.


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Review #5, by CambAngst An Unwelcome Visitor

4th August 2012:
Hello, there, my fellow nail-biting point counter! Thanks so much for doing all you've done to help Gryffindor take the cup! Here is your review.

This is a pretty awesome win-win for me, because I wanted to come back to this story, anyway. I love this idea of the surviving Black sisters slowly coming to some sort of an understanding about their shattered relationship and the terrible things that befell them during the war.

So I felt just a bit of progress in this chapter. Mostly on Narcissa's part. It took an awful lot of courage to show up on Andromeda's doorstep after being ignored for so long. I can't imagine that Lucius was especially supportive of her attempts to reconcile with her sister, either. Not that he probably has much say in the matter. Depending on how you've chosen to imagine him, he's so often just a broken shell at the end of the war.

I loved little Teddy and the way that you've imagined his relationship with his godfather. Harry obviously takes a very genuine interest in the boy, and Teddy seems to adore Harry in turn. I also noticed the way you snuck in that little reference to Victoire. Isn't it amazing how little bits of headcanon slip into everything we write?

Andromeda obvious made progress of a sort, as well. She could have hexed Narcissa. I don't think anyone would have blamed her or come to Narcissa's defense. She could have screamed and cursed at her. She could have simply slammed the door in her face. But she chose to listen; not to change her mind, not to be swayed by her sister's words, certainly not to forgive... but she listened.

The reflections that the sisters share on their insane sibling were also telling. I think Andromeda nailed it. It wasn't that Narcissa liked Bellatrix or approved of the majority of what she did, but Bella was a convenience to Narcissa that she was unwilling to give up, no matter the awful things Bella did. Narcissa never had to do her own dirty work. People deferred to her, I'm certain, because they had no desire to feel Bella's wrath. It was like having a person bogeyman at your beck and call.

You keep coming up with clever little angles to explore, and I know that is what's going to keep me coming back. It will probably be a while, mind you. I'm buried up to my eyeballs in the aftermath of the podcast reviewing challenge. But I do look forward to finding the time!

Author's Response: "Isn't it amazing how little bits of headcanon slip into everything we write?"

Oh, yes. My headcanon is especially persistent about that - little mentions of OCs (especially Van Dedworth) have a way of working their way into an absurd number of stories.

I'm glad you liked little Teddy! I get tense writing kids, because I don't have all that much recent experience with toddlers, but I obviously couldn't exclude him - he's such a big part of Andromeda's life.

I also definitely agree with your take on Narcissa and Bellatrix. In the scenes where we saw them together, it seemed to me that Narcissa had some deeply conflicted feelings about Bellatrix. On one hand, Narcissa did seem to trust and even confide in her sister to some extent. On the other, there were certainly a lot of points where she seemed to find Bellatrix to be downright frightening. It's an interesting dynamic, and I enjoyed exploring it in the next chapter.

Thank you so much for your review. I'm glad you liked this chapter! :)


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Review #6, by CambAngst Prologue

1st August 2012:
Hi, there!

I was looking for something new to read and this story definitely piqued my interest. Based on the way that JKR left Narcissa's character in a rather awkward and vulnerable state at the end of Deathly Hallows, I've always wondered whether she would have attempted to rebuild her shattered relationship with her sister. So I'm excited to see your take on the topic.

The way you built up Andromeda's character in the beginning was really well done. You achieved a really nice blend of the despair and vulnerability of a recently widowed, middle-aged witch facing the daunting prospect of raising her infant grandson by herself and the imperturbable, aristocratic strength of a daughter of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.

Her recollections of Ted and Dora were so touching and poignant. The dog was such a striking touch. It made everything feel very accessible and easy to relate to. Also the pictures in the hallway.

When she finally realizes who the letter is from, I thought her reaction was pitch-perfect. Angry rejection, tinged with just a bit of longing and doubt. This is how the healing process begins. The letter itself was also well done. Not gushing or over-the-top. But still a big step for Narcissa.

Your writing was terrific in this. Everything flowed nicely and there was a good mix of description, narrative and Andromeda's inner monologue. I didn't see any mistakes or grammar issues.

I'm looking forward to reading more of this. It's a very interesting topic and it seems that you have some good ideas as to how to approach it.

Author's Response: Blegh, sorry it's taken me so long to respond - RL has been a bit stressful, and I haven't had the time to give your reviews the attention they deserve.

Thank you so much for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed this prologue! I actually edited in a lot of the details in this - the dog, the photographs, etc - later on, after I'd gotten a couple helpful reviews suggesting I add in a bit more detail. I'm really glad that they worked for you and helped bring the story and the situation to life.

Thank you so much for the review.


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Review #7, by daretodream Inheritance

23rd July 2012:
I absolutely love this story!

I'm sorry I haven't reviewed at all so far, but I saw this chapter had no new reviews and I thought that was an absolute tragedy. You should know what a wonderful story you have on your hands here (actually, all of your stories are lovely, and I promise to review more often from now on!)

I adored your adaptation of what would have happened between Andromeda and Narcissa after the war. It's exactly how I pictured it myself! Having them not make up certainly wasn't the easy decision.

I think that this conclusion to the story was absolutely perfect. That Narcissa's last attempt to make amends involves giving Teddy his inheritance, because what else could she do?

An absolutely marvelous story that I enjoyed very much! Thank you for the lovely read! 10/10

~Cassie

Author's Response: I'm glad you liked it so much! Don't worry about not reviewing before this - reading this review really touched me, and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. There's nothing I appreciate more as a writer than hearing that a reader enjoys a lot of my stories - it makes me really happy. :)

I'm glad you liked my interpretation, as well as my decision not to have them make up! A lot of people write them as just suddenly being happy and forgiving once the war is over and Bellatrix is dead, but I never figured that to be the case, especially not for Andromeda.

Thank you so much for the review. :) It really made me smile.


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Review #8, by BK The Birth Announcement

3rd March 2012:
I really like this story, and yes I got the mythology reference.

Author's Response: Haha, I just always like to be super careful about credits. :P Thanks for the review!

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Review #9, by marci The Birth Announcement

1st March 2012:
i am really enjoying this story so far. keep up the good work

Author's Response: Thank you for the review! :) I'm glad you like it!

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Review #10, by Indus The Photo Album

17th January 2012:
Lucius never gets it, does he? I'm glad your Narcissa does, and I understand Andromeda completely. Her sister killed her daughter, and in many ways, because ideas are as deadly, if not more, than actions, Narcissa did her part in Dora's death. And if that can happen to one child, what can happen to another? Especially considering that dark creatures, Teddy's father, were hated by good wizards as well as bad.

Author's Response: I'm glad you're enjoying my characterization of Narcissa and Andromeda. :) Thank you so much for the review!

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Review #11, by TheHeirOfSlytherin The Photo Album

30th December 2011:
It's interesting seeing the sisters' different views after the war. A very good thing, I think. I don't know if I wanna say it gives the story more depth... But it builds on it... Am I making sense? LOL.

I love the way you've wrote it, that's the main point.

It was good of Narcissa to keep the album. I'm glad she did. :)

I can't wait for the next chapter.

10/10!

Sam.

Author's Response: Yes, you're definitely making sense! :) Thank you!

I'm finishing up the next chapter now... hopefully I'll be able to post it soon. :)


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Review #12, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Prologue

30th December 2011:
Ah! Interesting prologue. I love stories about the Black sisters. Usually the one's I read are when they're in Hogwarts or around that time. It's different to read one about them after the war. Good different.

There's only one thing I noticed: "In was almost a week before Andromeda remembered the letter again."

I assume it's meant to be "It was almost a week..."

Other than that, it's perfect. The broken relationship between the sisters that we can see now has me think; will they ever be sisters again? Will Andi see her as she's the only family she has, as well as Teddy?

I look forward to finding out how were you take this story.

Sam.

Author's Response: Oops, yes. Definitely "it." Thanks for pointing it out. There's always one typo that seems to slip through...

I love stories about the Black sisters, too. It's just such an interesting dynamic, and it was so unexplored in the books that there are so many different ways you can run with it. I'm glad you like my take so far. :)

Thank you so much for your review!


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Review #13, by Secret Santa The Photo Album

19th December 2011:
Narcissa's POV! A lot of people don't like it when authors change from one character's perspective to another, but this story needed it. I have been itching to see what Narcissa is really thinking ever since the letter back in Chapter One and I'm so glad that you gave it to us!

I like that Narcissa still uses the term 'mudblood' and still strives for pureblood to run throughout her family. It would be unrealistic, I think, to have her see the errors of her ways and become completely reformed. It's a very clever thing you did with having her still have her prejudice. That is such good characterisation.

It's interesting that she calls Sirius her 'stupid, muggle-obsessed cousin' when she shows such regret now at not attending Andromeda's wedding. God, I love what you have done with Narcissa. I can tell that she wants reconciliation with her sister. Or maybe not even reconciliation, but some sort of closure, perhaps, on their relationship? Yet, she hasn't let go of her pureblood ways. And that is just so in character. I know it seems like a trivial thing to say, that someone is 'in character' but I can't think of any other way to say it. It's brilliant.

That reflection of Narcissa's was so well written. It's almost like she doesn't know what she wants. She is confused and, again, so in character. I would even go as far as to say that she is a tiny bit selfish. She wants a relationship with her sister but she is expecting too much, I think.

That part about her being a mother was also really interesting. It made me think of DH and what she did to Harry, all in the name of making sure her son was safe. It is that mother part of her that makes me think that Narcissa is really caught in the middle. I think that she had all the potential to be 'good' but just didn't have the courage to do so. And maybe if she had made the right choices, she might have indeed been 'good'.

I have mixed feelings about Lucius in this. On the one hand, he is so gentle in this and comforting to Narcissa. On the other hand, I kind of wish he had died in the battle. It's good, though. You are making me think so much while writing this and I love it. I think that Lucius is in character, in a strange way. As Narcissa acknowledged, he isn't a good man, but his presence in this chapter just seems to fit. I don't know why or why, but it does.

God, you really make me think. And I love it. You just have all these layers and subtexts and just, argh, it's so good!

Author's Response: Yes! That is exactly what I was going for! Awesome!

Some people write Narcissa as having basically done a complete turnaround after the war, but I never bought into that. I find her to be an absolutely fascinating character, because throughout the books, especially later on, her love for her family - Draco in particular, but also Lucius - really comes across loud and clear. However, at the same time, she's clearly not one of the good guys.

I haven't written anything very Draco-centric, but I do think of him as having changed a lot after the war (and Scorpius says as much at some point in one of my stories). I don't think of him as being especially pleased with muggleborns on the whole, but I think that he learns to tolerate them and is able to befriend a few here and there. However, he was much younger, and I really believe that he didn't quite understand what Voldemort and genocide and death really meant until it started happening, and I think that he ended up discovering that he didn't have the stomach for it.

Narcissa, on the other hand, knew what it was all about. She wasn't a death eater, but she was a supporter of Voldemort and she was clearly okay with what he was doing until he started putting her family at risk. I didn't want to airbrush that away because that's a huge part of what makes her compelling as a character to me - the bad guys can love people, too, and not just in the creepy way that Bellatrix loves Voldemort. That's also part of why I wrote Lucius the way I did - so many people portray him as this guy who's pretty much uniformly terrible to everyone, and who mistreats his son and wife, and I don't see him that way at all. He's a death eater and a terrible human being and I agree that he probably should have died at the end of the last book, but that doesn't mean that he's incapable of loving other people, and I wanted to show that. (Wow, am I making any sense at all? Fail on me. :P)

Yay! I am very glad I'm making you think and that you like this so much! :) Thank you again. You have really made my day with these. You rock as a secret santa.


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Review #14, by Secret Santa An Unwelcome Visitor

19th December 2011:
Gosh, Teddy is absolutely perfect in this. Sorry to continue my gushing from earlier about him but he's perfect.

You have his dialogue perfect, down to the way that he pronounces things. And the things he gets excited about. It's the little things, like how he had to carve six pumpkins before he had enough. Those little details add so much to this story and I can tell you have really thought it through!

Another little detail is how Andromeda has stopped wearing earrings. It's another little thing that adds so much, you know? It shows her age and her maturity and it is just another layer to her character. Such a small thing but it adds so much. I love it.

God, Harry is exactly how I pictured him to be as godfather. And it was interesting how Andromeda had her reservations at the start. Of course she would have. She barely knows him. And I think that she would have always felt a bit detached from the Weasleys. You really thought her character through and it's definite food for thought.

That small line about Molly made me smile. Again with the little things!

I got this sense of awkwardness with Narcissa. Uneasiness, even. And regret. God, how do you do it? How do you make me feel so many things while I'm reading your writing? No, tell me. Please. I wish I could do it!

This line: "I believe you." Narcissa smiled faintly, and Andromeda added, "I just don't care." God that is just... that is so profound. And so true. I was expecting Andromeda to not believe Narcissa but the fact she does and doesn't care speaks volumes about her relationship with Narcissa. That's so sad.

The interaction with Narcissa and Andromeda was so intense. It started out as aloofness, then hostility and then it built up into anger. And I loved that. That's so true of how people interact in day to day life. It's only when you build up to anger that the true feelings come out. And that's what you had here.

I also get this sense of how Andromeda is just fed up with it all. She just doesn't care. It's too much of a burden for her and I like that. A lot. It's different to anything I have ever read, but now that I think about it, it's so true. I can easily see her reacting in this exact manner if it ever happened to her. She is older and has more important things to worry about, as you mention in the last line.

You really make me think, you know that?

Author's Response: Okay, I keep wanting to make a heart with the thing that's on the same key as the comma and a 3, but I know from experience that the review response form doesn't like that. So I keep stopping myself at the last minute.

I'm really glad you appreciated all the little details! I really love adding in those things, because I know that when I'm reading it's always the little things that really make the story pop and come to life, you know? It's all about the details. The earrings bit, I admit, was based on personal experience - anyone who's spent any time with small children knows that it's a very bad idea to wear anything they can yank out. :P

I'm so glad that I make you think! I really try to introduce that into a lot of my writing, especially in stories like this and Ghost in the Machine. There are so many sides to every story, and often there's not one person who's clearly right or wrong. It's often about the shades of grey, and I really wanted to portray that here. It seems like I succeeded. Yay!

Thank you. So much. You make my day awesome and special.


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Review #15, by Secret Santa Prologue

19th December 2011:
Yes, it's me again. I know for a fact that I'm not annoying you with these reviews so I'm not going to stop. Well. No. That's a lie. I don't know for a fact. But I'm assuming that you're not. And you have very little say in it, short of coming to me and threating me to stop. But you don't know who I am. Nyah nyah.

Teehee.

You should know that when I got to the end of this, my right leg (which was crossed over my left) kicked up, my left shoulder hunched in, my head tilted up, I closed my eyes and made a small strangled sound. Yes, that image probably doesn't sound all that appealing but I tend to do strange things like that when I get frustrated/love something/get excited/all of the above.

In this case, it was all of the above.

Firstly, I love that Teddy was a baby. HOW CUTE BABY OH MY GOD SO SMALL AND TINY AHHH. Sorry. That was my clucky moment. But, still. Little thing, all asleep on Andromeda's shoulder. Aw. Aw times a million.

Moving on...

Thank you for tackling the Black sisters. And to do it in their older years. I always loved their dynamic. I love reading about sisters because they seem to have this bond that no other relationship can ever have and all three of them are just so different that it can make for really good writing.

Like this. Especially like this.

And what's even more interesting is the timing of it. It's after the battle and it somehow makes it more genuine. It isn't just conflict between them during their younger years, but Narcissa's letter actually seems heartfelt.

That has to be one of the best letters I have read in fanfiction, by the way. It's short. It isn't overly emotional. But I can tell it's genuine. I don't know if it came easily to you, but I would have agonised over that letter. You did it perfectly.

Andromeda's reaction was also perfect. Poor thing. Having to deal with that onslaught of memories (which were so sad, seriously, my heart broke for her when she was looking at the photographs) and then this letter would have just been the last straw for her.

I absolutely adored her characterisation this. I get a real sense of helplessness and grief from her and it's just so sad. I never really thought about a relationship between her and Narcissa in the future after the battle and this is the first time I have encountered it.

So there is just one thing for me to do: continue reading! :)

Author's Response: You are definitely not annoying me! You are making me feel awesome and happy (and in the mood to go reviewing, which is yay)!

I was less pleased with this chapter initially, but after some edits I got to the point that I was quite happy with it, and I'm really glad you agree! (I'm big on editing my work. I'm doing it constantly.) The photographs in particular were something I added, and I was really pleased with what they added to the scene - and again, yay you agreeing! :P

I'm glad that she comes across that way to you, because that's exactly what I was going for. She's lost almost everything. In a lot of ways, I expect that Teddy grew up to be a fairly well-adjusted person, despite having never known his parents, because he had a loving family. Andromeda, on the other hand, would I think have a lot of difficulty with everything, because she has so much to miss and so little to replace it with.

I've read one or two fics of Andromeda and Narcissa after the war, and they always seem to end in this tearful reconciliation because suddenly all the old wounds are healed. That always seemed like a copout to me. Old wounds aren't always healed, especially not when they're to the magnitude that Andromeda's were, and I think that simplifying it like that is a huge injustice to her and to Narcissa.

:) Thank you!


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Review #16, by Michelle Wood The Photo Album

15th November 2011:
this chapter was amazing! no, brlliant! no... I can't even find words for howgood it was.(and that's coming from me, the one with oh-so-too-well-knowen ADHD who gets bored from praticurlly everything)
keep on writing!

Author's Response: Aww, thank you so much! I'm working on the next chapter now. :)

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Review #17, by nitenel The Photo Album

11th November 2011:
A good chapter! Results will be up later this afternoon!

Author's Response: Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! :) Can't wait to see the results.

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Review #18, by imaginary lines The Photo Album

8th November 2011:
imaginary lines here with your requested review!

interesting (: i should start off with admitting like a little fan that i adore your writing. i really do. i think you have such talent, and that came across in the first three chapters. you brought canon characters to life and you kept their personality throughout the chapters.

i think nacrissa was a little oc for her, but i understand her want and need to go through the photo album. she wants to feel connected to her estranged sister, and this is the way she knew how.

andromeda is an interesting character. i've never really learned much about her, but i think the way you portrayed her was true to what we knew about her character. having a boy to raise would put a burden on someone, and knowing that her family has hated her for years would put bitterness. and understanding how she can't forgive nacrissa for having a family while she has lost everyone is understandable and heartbreaking.

i really enjoyed the chapters so far!

Author's Response: Oh, you're so sweet! :) Thank you! That totally just made my day! :)

And yeah, I think I'm going to rework the Narcissa chapter a little bit, just to explain her motivations a little more.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for the review! :)


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Review #19, by apocalypse The Photo Album

6th November 2011:
Hey, this is apocalypse, here with your review!

Let's begin shall we? The first thing I have to say is that I was surprised to see Narcissa's PoV in the story this early. I hadn't really expected that. And as I read on, I realised that this was not the Narcissa that I would have imagined. From Andromeda's point of view, she had seemed different, almost human. Here it felt like the humanity was forced upon her, trying to make her sound sorry and guilty, but proud and superior at the same time.

After reading this, I did not understand why Narcissa's sorry all of a sudden. Of course, she misses her sister, but she realises that now? She's still the same person who hates Muggleborns yet she wants Andromeda to forgive her? Why? Does she really deserve it, considering her train of thought? This PoV did not really clarify that..

In the previous chapter, you had nailed the characterisation perfectly. Here, it got slightly messed up in Narcissa's case. She was clearly.. conflicted? If that word fits.. I hope you know what I mean..

Moving on, the album was a good idea. It showed how much Andromeda had wanted her family to be a part of her life and how much they had shunned her. The album was the only souvenir Narcissa had and it was nice that she had finally looked for it.

Lucius was a shock. He was actually being nice..? How had he changed so much? There was hardly any explanation for that. I had expected Lucius Malfoy to be slightly more mean and bossy, ordering Narcissa to get over her little issue and move on and concentrate on their son who was getting married.

Apart from the marriage news, there really wasn't anything on Draco. I really wanted Narcissa to think about him more. I hope you bring it up in the future =)

I really hope that this review helped you.. =) Thanks for requesting and I can't wait to see where you take this story..!

Author's Response: I can see what you mean - when I get the chance, I'll probably go through and clarify it a bit.

Lucius... I think that maybe we just have different takes on Lucius's character, which is where the confusion comes in. I don't see him as universally mean or bossy at all - sure, he came across that way to Harry, but I think that the way he acts with people he clearly loves would probably be quite different. Based on what we see in the books, Lucius and Narcissa seem to have quite a strong relationship, and I never interpreted it as him being domineering. Different interpretations, I guess. :)

It definitely helped me. :) Thank you!


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Review #20, by Remus The Photo Album

3rd November 2011:
I have a complaint...

This is just too short! I wanted to read more! Haha!

You're definitely humanized Narcissa a lot more, something we rarely see in the books. However, I'm glad you wrote her in a way that she still believes in blood status and hating muggle borns. Despite whatever happened to her and the family in the war, nothing would've changed her view of blood status. It's the environment in which she grew up in and is now her firm her belief system. People rarely never change. Specially adults.

Your writing technique when it comes to details and imagery has definitely improved when compared to the first chapter. The details you have at the beginning of the chapter with the dusty rooms was great to set the imagery for the entire chapter.

Anyway, you sort of left me hanging so I hope to see something soon!

--Perelandra

Author's Response: Aw, sorry! That definitely makes me feel happy, though - it's one of the highest compliments I can get as a writer. :)

I'm really glad that you feel like I've humanized Narcissa without whitewashing her faults - that's totally what I was aiming for, but I was afraid I wouldn't be successful. :)

Thanks for your review, and I'll try to update asap! Right now I'm waiting for my first James/Lily fic to clear validation, but then we'll see. :)


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Review #21, by Remus An Unwelcome Visitor

3rd November 2011:
Hey! Perelandra here with your review! Sorry it hast taken a while...kinda of a crazy life I've been leading lately, hahaha!

This chapter was definitely enjoyable to read!

Even though we never REALLY get to know Andromeda I like how you painted her. She definitely moved on from Ted and Dora's death but the pain is still there one way or another. Tedd alone is a constant reminder of what her crazy sister did.

The small thing though. In here you wrote "And all she had to show for that desire was the gravestone of her daughter, who was living proof that Bellatrix cared more about blood than family." Considering that Dora is dead how is that "living proof"? Honestly that's the only little thing that made me stop in my tracks for a second.

I absolutely loved the whole Narcissa/Andromeda interaction. I honestly felt horrible for Narcissa. I was cheering for her and cringed at the parts where Andromeda just totally goes off on her.

This was definitely a fantastic chapter. On for the next one!

Author's Response: The phrase "living proof" doesn't necessarily refer to someone that's alive - it just means that it's a good example of something. :)

Thank you so much for your review - I'm really glad you're enjoying the story! :)


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Review #22, by adluvshp Prologue

3rd November 2011:
And finally review number 3 xD

Wow, another sweet piece of writing. You really know your characters well :) I really liked this one. Again, as in your other works, the emotions were very on-the-surface and I could really feel the story. Andromeda was characterized well and I like the little flow of memories. The narrative and the scene descriptions were overall good!!

This made a nice read!!

10/10

Cheers!
AD

Trick or Treat!!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! :) I've edited this chapter something like ten times, and I find it very difficult to be objective at this point, so I'm really glad you liked it.

Thanks for the review! :)


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Review #23, by CloakAuror9 The Photo Album

3rd November 2011:
{I didn't review the second chapter because I thought I already did..is that okay?}

I love the way you made it Narcissa's PoV. I think it was really great seeing her thoughts for a while because not much people took over that challenge. It was also interesting to know that you didn't made Narcissa 'oh-so-soft' or one of those ex-death eaters who just went off with the good side in praise of Harry Potter. You kept basically Narcissa the way we knew her from the books (again, I say books because I prefer them than the movies...not that the movies are bad or anything)

The moving pictures added a more 'realistic' effect, and it was always an aspect that intrigued me. There was also the mention of Dobby *sob*

The flow was really great like the other chapters only this time it was Narcissa's Pov. I think it was a great improvement with using Narcissa's Pov instead of Andromeda.

Hoping to witness Draco and Astoria's wedding soon,
CloakAuror9 xx

Author's Response: Aha! That's what happened! I wasn't going crazy - you did review this before. :P

I'm glad you think that switching to Narcissa's PoV is good, and that I executed it well! I was a little worried that it would chop up the flow, but when I started to think about it, I realized how important Narcissa's side of the story is as well, and how important it is to tell it.

Thank you so much! :) I'll update as soon as I get the chance.


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Review #24, by EnigmaticEyes16 The Photo Album

2nd November 2011:
I liked this chapter. I had to restart it at first, because originally I didn't catch that it was from Narcissa's pov, even thoough Narcissa is the first word in the chapter. But I really liked how you showed the relationship between Lucius and Narcissa. I especially like how you protrayed Lucius, instead of being an overbearing tyrant, he's a loving husband who simply made a few mistakes. He doesn't get mad when she interrupts him, and he doesn't like to see her upset. It's like they really are a couple, and a loving one at that, and after all these years. It's nice.

Author's Response: Oh, I'm really glad you liked my portrayal of Narcissa's relationship with Lucius and, of course, Lucius himself! I thought a lot about how I wanted to portray them, and ended up deciding that while Harry definitely saw the more negative side of them, the glimpses we get of them indicated something much deeper than just a cold, uncaring family. I was hoping it would come across as realistic, and I'm glad it came across that way to you!

Thank you. :)


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Review #25, by CloakAuror9 Prologue

1st November 2011:
{For some reason, I think I've reviewed this one before...but it seems to me that wasn't the deal.}

Beeezie, my friend! You have once again did something only you can do. You wrote a story perfect enough for me to be speechless because of its beauty.

Characterisation: Is realistic. You made them seem like the people we knew from the books. (I say books because their more original than the movies, or so in my opinion. :P ) Although, I'm not really sure with Andromeda...but I guess that could be sorted easily.

Flow: Very interesting! Although it would be great if you could've made it a little bit (when I say 'little bit' I actually mean a lot, just trying not to exaggerate xD) Its making me so anxious for some reason. :3

I'll try and review the other two tomorrow because I'm running out of time. For this I give you...10 out 10 :)

How's halloween?
CloakAuror9 xx :)

Author's Response: I know, I thought you had, too! I was going to ask for you to just look at Chapter 3, and then I thought, hang on a sec... Bizarre.

And yes, I know what you mean about the flow - I'm going to go through and try to revise it (again) at some point soon. (Depending on how NaNo is going, haha.)

My Halloween was good! A bit more uneventful than the last few, but I didn't want a crazy halloween, anyway. :P Hope yours was good, too! :)

Thank you so much, and I'm really glad you like this one as well! :)


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