This is great! I've never been good at writing about dying people's last thoughts, but you do the whole "life flashing before their eyes" thing perfectly! Well done!
I've never really though about Druella Black much... I just thought she was evil since she raised Bellatrix. So I like that you made her to be sort of a good person.
And congrats for being the featured author of the month in the Hufflepuff Times!Author's Response: Thank you! And wow, that's really great to hear - thanks so much!
I like that we don't know anything about Druella - of course, we know she exists because Bellatrix, Andromeda and Narcissa didn't just appear out of nowhere, but was she nice? Evil? Was she an attentive mother or maybe she just didn't care? I loved that - loved that we have so much freedom writing her, yet she's one of the least written characters. And I'm glad that you liked the way I portrayed her!
Thank you so much! (I'm still squeeing about it, haha!) Report Review
Hi there dear! You've left me such wonderful reviews, I thought it was about time I repaid the favor! ♥
This is such an original and well-written piece!! I can officially say that this is the first piece I have ever read with Druella Black as a main character, so HUGE kudos to you on originality, and I can't help but wonder where in the world you got the inspiration for this story!!
I really love how, without actually saying it, you differentiate Druella from her family members and even her husband. The fact that they have different nicknames for their daughters is a small detail, but it says a LOT and it's very powerful!
I really loved the mention of Sirius and Regulus, and it seriously made me wish Druella could just jump out of the bed and go tell Dumbledore everything. I loved the idea of another member of the Black family being involved in the Order, and you really helped the reader to connect with (and even pity) Druella.
Great, Great job, dear!!Author's Response: AND WHAT A NICE SURPRISE IT IS! XD
Aww, thank you! ♥ You didn't have to, but I do appreciate it!
And thank you! It's always great to hear such lovely compliments! I think I've answered that inspiration question in my 'Puff interview by now! ;) (I really need to respond to reviews quicker...)
I love how we know nothing about Druella, and so she really can be the person I've written her to be. As for that sentence you pointed out; it's one of my favourites! XD
Thank you so much for reviewing, Jayde! ♥ Report Review
Hey Hey Hey! Guess who's back! Meh! :D
I've been meaning to come and read this one for a while (considering that you haven't updated Defining Astoria...) so I'm glad to finally be here!
I really, REALLY enjoyed this take on Druella. She's always portrayed as this evil, dark woman who pushed her daughters to the limits, was a proud to be a pure-blood and rejected Andromeda when she married Ted.
Your Druella seemed to be full of regret when it came to her daughters. I can see the love she has for them though. When it came to Bellatrix, Druella sounded like she was a bit disgusted over how her eldest turned out, specially that she joined just because she had technically fallen for the wrong man.
I love the emotions she felt when Andromeda left home to marry Ted. She knew very well that Andromeda would never come back even if Ted were dead or that she would never be able to visit her daughter. However, was it because she was afraid of Cygnus's reactions or because she felt disappointed in Andromeda?
And of course Narcissa would make Cygnus proud. She did what a dutiful pure-blooded woman would do...at least in his eyes.
I really liked the nicknames she had for them! In fact, if I have your permission, can I use the nickname for Andromeda? Seriously, yours is the best one I've come across. The line: Cygnus' Bella, Andie and Cissy. Druella's Trixie, Medie and Narci. Three girls but with two vastly different personalities Was fantastic. It gave me the feeling that they tried really hard to please both parents in different ways.
You killed me, though. When I read what exactly put her in that muggle hospital I just felt so sad for her! I've always felt sad for Regulus because Sirius dies thinking that his brother was just a coward Death Eater when in truth he was one of the first ones to know Voldemort's true plan.
There were some parts that were a bit wordy and got me confused but I still loved this. I LOVE Black family stories when they're not cliche! :D
The end was beautiful by the way. I was glad that, in the end, Druella passed away and couldn't feel the pain anymore. Sad that the secret died with her.
Anyway...I think that's it! Thanks for the wonderful read! :D
Until next time
--Rosie/PerelandraAuthor's Response: Hello, Rosie! XD
I've updated Defining Astoria by the time I've managed to respond to this review; so I hope you like chapter three! :)
I'm one of those people who think that most Slytherins were actually people who got a lot of flack for no reason - I mean, Wormtail betrayed his best friends, but nobody called Gryffindors double-crossers. And Marietta Edgecombe sold out the DA to Umbridge, but Ravenclaws aren't called untrustworthy. So yeah, writing human Slytherins is one of my favourite things to do, which is why I'm so glad you loved my portrayal of Druella! ^.^
I think Druella does love Bellatrix, but she doesn't condone what she does, hence her disgust - although you could say that that disgust was aimed at Voldemort and Bellatrix was tainted by association. :P
Ahhh, you'll have to decide for yourself on that one! ;) Plus, it wouldn't have been Cygnus who would react badly if Druella and Andromeda remained in contact - so would everyone she knew, especially Bellatrix and Narcissa. You have to feel for the poor woman - one path means she loses one daughter but keeps two, the other means she keeps one daughter but loses two. :(
Haha, I love those nicknames too! I actually use them in my new one-shot about Narcissa and Andromeda! XD I've already posted this on your HPFF page, but yes - of course you can use those names! Out of curiosity, which one did you have in mind for Andromeda? And I'm glad you think my names are the best! ♥
Awww, sorry! But it's great that you were able to empathize with my characters! XD And eh, sorry for the wordy bits. This is actually a six-year-old one-shot >.<
No problem! Until next time,
-Katie :) Report Review
Hey I'm back with another random review!
I really enjoyed this narrative, as it kept you guessing for a while as to who it was. I was pleased to find that it was Druella, as you don't often many stories about her. I really liked your characterization of her, especially the way she observed all of her surroundings as I found that really interesting! It was also nice the way she described Tonks as beautiful, as it showed that despite her being a half blood she wasn't shunned!
I loved the description of her being the white sheep and the black flock, it was a really clever pun! It was nice to see that there are some nice Black's out there, besides Sirius, and that the whole family isn't completly mental!
It was interested to see how her daughters have developed, especially Bellatrix! I liked how you showed that she wasn't born an evil fanatic it was more of a transition into becoming one. I liked the bit about Andromeda always being a star because in a way she was!
One CC is perhaps break up some of your longer paragraphs, as sometimes I lost my concentration which detracted from the flow.
Other than that it was a great story, and I really enjoyed Druella's story and her reflection on her life so far! Kiana :)Author's Response: Hello again!
It was my intention to keep Druella's identity a secret at first, and I'm pleased that you enjoyed that aspect. Additionally, at the time I wanted to write someone who wasn't written about that much, and Druella seemed like a good option. Tonks, I think, would have been publicly disowned by Druella like the rest of the family did - I don't Druella would -ever- have admitted her true opinion about Tonks to anyone else but herself. So in a way, she was shunned, but at the same time, she wasn't. :)
Haha, thank you! It just came naturally to me; the phrase comes from the fact that white sheep are common. As the Blacks regard themselves as anything but common, it made sense for them to be a black flock, which is very rare. Of course the name had some part in it, but it was more about common vs. rare. And I have no idea why I just typed all that since you probably didn't want to read that. >.<
Well, I think most of them were nice! Sirius is obvious, but Andromeda married a Muggle-born, Narcissa saved Harry's life (for her son, but still) and Regulus eventually turned against Voldemort. ;)
I'll take note of that; as I said in my A/N, this one-shot is quite old and as such, my writing standard isn't as good as it is now. But I plan to eventually edit this, so I'll look at breaking up the longer paragraphs when I do that. :)
Thank you! I'm really happy that you enjoyed this one-shot! ♥
-Katie Report Review
Hi! Here for your requested review!
First off, I must say that, being your first story on HPFF, this is very well-written! I remember my first story was quite awful :P
I liked your choice of plot. The concept was really unique and well-thought. I liked the idea of Druella being in a Muggle Hospital on life-support for 10 years without anyone knowing. I also liked how you wove the idea of her knowing all these "Black Family secrets". Her thoughts about her family were written well, as they provided a lot of information, but didn't come across as boring at all :) Her knowing about the horcrux and joining the Order came off as a pleasant surprise. I liked it very much!
I especially loved this quote: "Cygnus' Bella, Andie and Cissy. Druella's Trixie, Medie and Narci. Three girls but with two vastly different personalities. Their childhood personalities and the women that they grew up to be." I think it said so much about the three daughters, and their mother's thoughts. A short but very explanatory sentence indeed.
You asked me about your writing style. Well, to me your writing style seemed pretty good. If this was how you wrote some years ago, I am sure you must be writing some pretty amazing stuff right now :)
The only critique I'd give you here as that your grammar and sentence-phrasing seems to be a bit off at times, and you tend to switch tenses a little bit here and there.
For example, I think that this sentence could have been phrased better - "Unable to move due to the amount of agony she suffers – such a large amount that no amount of medication will cure – unable to talk, and only just breathing." Something seemed a bit weird about this sentence, especially when I read it out loud, so I suggest changing the phrasing a little bit. Same goes for a few more sentences in the story that seem a little too long-winded and choppy.
Also, I noticed your grammar seemed a little off in places, for example once you said "without never looking back" - when it should have been "without ever looking back". Such small typos are scattered around the story so I suggest giving this another read and fixing them or getting a beta to proof-read this.
But apart from the slight grammar problems, I think this was a very nicely written one-shot. Your narrative was smooth with good pace and flow. I liked your descriptions too, and of course the concept. Your writing style can definitely be even better if you just work a little bit more on your grammar :)
All in all, good work!
Feel free to re-request :)Author's Response: Hello! Oh, I fully assure you that my first stories were ridiculously awful - that's why I didn't post those on HPFF. ;)
Thank you so much! I really appreciate all of your comments and the highlighting of what you liked! I'm rewriting the one-shot to get it up to my current writing standard, and I'm glad to hear that the major plotline should be kept. :)
I loved that quote too! I wanted to highlight the fact that Bellatrix wasn't always evil, and her sisters weren't always the people they are, and I'm glad to hear that that came across well.
Aww, thank you! :3 I do think that I've improved since I first wrote Black Family Secrets, but I will admit that my grammar wasn't as great as it was back then! I'll definitely try to change the flow of those choppy sentences, and thank you for pointing out those typos - I proofread and submitted this in the middle of the night, which would explain those typos that I missed. :P
My grammar has improved by now (I hope) and I will definitely be re-requesting! Thank you for your comments; they'll be really helpful when I sit down to work on revamping this! XD Report Review
Oh, hey there Katie :) First of all, goodness, your writing has changed over the years! And Fiona Phoenix existed even back then? She's certainly been around. I really should get down to your MTA page and fire you a round of questions.
You have a very striking opening line and a first paragraph which is just filled with mystery and tension. It's such a conflicting portrayal of Druella, those first few paragraphs, with her will to live solely for the reason of punishing herself, and then her change of mind.
I really loved the amount of detail you went into when having Druella describe the other Black family members. Characters like Bellatrix, Narcissa, Andromeda and Regulus really came to life from the brief glimpses you provided of them. But of course, the most complex character is Druella herself; it's interesting to see just how very different she is from the rest of the family - unlike most of them she's just filled with affection for her daughters, and compassion for the others. She doesn't judge any of them for their beliefs, and she remains distant from all that blood purity ideology that has led to so much conflict within the family, and estrangement of certain members. And in the end, her picking a side and joining the Order of the Phoenix was a nice twist, completely unexpected - and it really highlighted her strong sense of morality. That being said, I do wish she'd retained some ambiguity about her character all the way to her death...earlier on in the story, she referred to the Muggles as "filthy sub-humans" (although clearly her beliefs have changed). I think it would have been wonderful if you'd gone into some detail to portray this other, more sordid side of her personal views, and what made her change. It would have added layers to your characterisation of her :)
I do think you might have lost a bit of focus somewhere in the middle of the narrative; I think it would be neater and tighter on the plot and story development if Druella's recounting of the family saga were constantly linked back to her current condition.
I think you've done a great job with providing an account of the Black family saga in all its drama. I'm probably going to start referring to Bellatrix as Trixie from now on. Never heard of her being given such a nickname :D It's too good! Also, I love that bit about her and Cygnus and their different nicknames for their daughters!
OK, well, I think that's all I have for this story. It's so surprising and wonderful to see someone's writing develop over the years! Anyway, this is quite a lovely but tragic oneshot of a life! I enjoyed it; it's just incredibly well-written and detailed for a first one-shot! See you round in the forums :D
-tehAuthor's Response: Haha, it certainly has! I think I wrote it in 2005 or 2006 - and no, Fee wasn't around then. (Technically she was - see my first blog for a full explanation.) When I dug this one-shot out of the dusty computer file it had been located in, I realized how awful it had been at not keeping in touch with canon - I had incorrect names for Druella and Cygnus, Alphard didn't exist and Walburga's maiden name was Rosier. :3 So, I fixed it to be canonically accurate to post it, and included Fee just for fun. :P
That's so great to hear! Thank you for all of your nice comments - those parts of the one-shot I'll keep (although I'm considering not including Sirius and Regulus as another reviewer mentioned we know so much about them from the books already, so I'll have to think about that one) and I'll do my best to add in Druella's former personality. Perhaps I should include flashbacks to important scenes in her life?
Yup, that would be an indication of how young I was when I wrote that - I tended to lose the plot quite easily (and probably still would if I didn't have awesome reviewers like you) so I'll get right on fixing that.
Thank you! And haha, go right ahead! I can't remember where I got the idea of Trixie from, but I thought it described a young Bellatrix very well, with it being a "sweet" name, so I used it!
Thank you so much! I'm glad that you like it! XD Although I think you misunderstood me there - it was the first one-shot I posted on the archives, but not the first one I actually wrote. (That first one was the beginning of Sheer Abandon - I'll send you a link to the blog in question, methinks) See you round the forums! :D
-Katie Report Review
Hey! I saw this link on the formus and decided to come by and have a look! I can hardly pass by a fic on the Black family, anyways. They should get their own spin-off series, considering the amount of intrigue, tragedy and complex history that can be found just in one branch, let alone the entire tree.
I really liked the beginning and the end of this one shot. The idea that Druella would go to a Muggle hospital and suffer for ten years is very poignant and somehow, despite being on the melodramatic side, makes perfect sense.
This part was also a nice touch and set the scene well for later revelations, drawing a line between wizard drama and muggle drama :D. "She has seen doctors come and go, seen medical students grow to become senior consultants, seen nurses' personal lives intertwine with their professional lives. Three times she has seen a man propose to his girlfriend, who is a nurse at the hospital, in front of her colleagues and her patients. She has seen two women say yes, and one woman say no. She has seen fights, screaming, and so many other things that would give a hospital quite a bad reputation if their patients knew that these situations occured behind closed curtains."
You did say that you were inviting harsh criticism, so I will take the libery to point out several points where I think the one-shot has space for improvement.
First, there were just so many names and so much telling, it got a bit difficult to get through, especially since HP reader know most of these things. I'm not sure how you could spice up the condesced family saga, but maybe focus more on trends within the Black famly and less on individuals? The main issue is the morality of the Death Eater movement, maybe establish that as some sort of red ribbon around witch the rest of the story is built?
Also, you plant a question in the reader's mind at the beginning: what did Druella do that caused her so much regret and pain? In the end, you do answer it, but throughout the main bulk of the story, the question and suspence get slightly lost. I would advise you to drop some hints to keep the reader interested. For example something along the lines of "Little did she know what this decision would cost her" or "As much as she loved them all, these were times when one was obliged to pick a side and the penalty for indecision was harsh"...XD I don't know, something omnious that would colour the tone of the text more consistently.
Ok, I hope I could help! I quite enjoyed this :D
Cheers!Author's Response: Thank you for coming to review! As I mentioned in my A/N, I wrote this one-shot a long time ago and you can obviously tell that my writing skills have really changed, since I've literally lost the plot! :P And I completely agree with you on the Black family; in fact I have a WIP that features them heavily. *hint hint* ;)
Thank you! I actually remember writing that part of the story without a clue as to who I was writing about- that it was Druella came into the story later. I like the paragraph that you highlighted too! Thank you for pointing out what you liked; I'll definitely be keeping those bits when I re-write this one-shot, as they're evidently the strong points here. XD
Take as many liberties as you like! I'm one of those people who actually -likes- having their stories ripped to shreds (phrased constructively of course, like you have) so that I can improve. :3
I see what you mean- I'll try and tone that down somewhat. Maybe cutting out Sirius and Regulus' stories and focusing on Druella's immediate family and how they reacted to the whole Death Eater movement in detail would work? I also see you point about dropping hints; I'll definitely do my best to add those in during my rewrite. :)
Thank you again for reviewing, and you certainly helped! XD Report Review
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