Reading Reviews for Growth
31 Reviews Found

Review #1, by NightHerald dull as dirt

4th March 2018:
This is so good!Your writing is fantastic. Poor Merope needs more love.

Author's Response: Aww, what a lovely compliment. *blushes* Thanks so much for reading!! :D

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Review #2, by ascendio dull as dirt

15th November 2015:
Holywow! I've seen your work around before and I really wanted to jump into the magnificent-looking "Let Perpetual Light", but I thought I should start with one of your one-shots, and let me just say that I WAS NOT READY! I'm stunned! Your use of language is so creative and cinematic and I could picture everything in my head with different camera angles and complex lighting and atmosphere and everything and wow wow wow it was so evocativeee so in depth so complex

You created a disturbing and beautiful portrayal of Merope, and the fact that she's so rarely seen in fanfiction makes this even more of a treasure. I felt so sorry for her and what she had to go through, but I couldn't approve of what she did, using love potions to be with Tom Riddle, but you can't demonize her because she wanted happiness and she deserved it and she just couldn't get it and ugh. (That bit about her mottled scalp haunted me.)

The whole story had this earthy feeling to it, but there's also this spiritual life flowing through the words, and it's such a beautiful juxtaposition of the physical and the mystical and I don't even know if that made sense? In other words, I feel like if this story were to physically manifest, it'd be a tree with blood running through it. There were so many lines that made me stop and reread and then cry over their brilliance and all I can say is that I'm a huge fan (and also hugely envious).

(I wonder what your other stories will do to me...)

Thank you for writing this!


Author's Response: Hey there Mo,

First I'd like to apologise for how long it has taken me to respond to your lovely reviews. I'm so sorry. *hides* And I'm so unworthy of receiving such beautiful kind comments from you!

Thank you so much for reading, for choosing to read my work, and for taking the time to leave such an amazing and detailed review. Your comments were absolutely wonderful, and I'm so humbled and honoured to read them, and all the things you said about this story of mine.

I'm glad you could picture everything vividly in your head; this fic is perhaps one of my most descriptive fics on my AP, and perhaps I went a bit overboard with things...I don't know...

And Merope is such a sad character in canon. Though here I wrote her quite harshly; I feel a bit bad for doing this, because really, I'm a softie and I don't really enjoy writing too much horror/dark/angst. :P I was trying to write her without judgement or moral justification for her actions, simply the way she was portrayed in canon, and an in-depth exploration of what she must have gone through in those last few months of her life.

"In other words, I feel like if this story were to physically manifest, it'd be a tree with blood running through it."

^ Aww, thank you so much. ♥ It sounds creepy and all, but this is a bit of a creepy story and life and natural growth isn't always shown in a wholesome way. And your comment has sparked off all kinds of ideas and images in my head of trees with living blood running through their, sorry. :P

Thank you so much once again, Mo! ♥ You're wonderful, and your beautiful reviews made my day!


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Review #3, by pottered  dull as dirt

9th August 2015:
ohmygod ohmygod this was so beautiful and so heartbreaking, my heart actually hurts after reading this, like, it feels like my heart weighs a ton.
i feel so, so bad for merope ): the way she was treated by burke made me so angry. He probably saw her as a helpless woman who would take anything at the time and used that as an advantage /:
i loveee your writing. Your descriptions and the way you fill in emotion in your words is so incredible. I almost started crying at the third semester lol
this was just wonderful!

Author's Response: Hiya! ♥

Aww, thank you for such a lovely review! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read and comment. It can be quite a difficult and very heavy piece to read, because Merope goes on such a downward spiral. I would imagine it quite depressing to read, as it was to write. And you're right; Burke absolutely took advantage of her. Poor Merope.

I'm so flattered that you like my writing, the descriptive bits and all. This is one of my more descriptive stories, so it means heaps to me. ♥ I'm sorry you were near tears! *hands tissue*

Thank you so much!


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Review #4, by katethemuggle dull as dirt

24th June 2015:
When I stumbled across this story, the synopsis immediately caught my attention because it was not about Harry, Snape, Draco (etcetera), but about Merope Gaunt. She is a character I haven't often seen tackled in fics and I believe this is the first time I have ever read one where she is something more than a mere mention - an anecdote - while the focus is elsewhere. It was intriguing from the very beginning because not many writers choose her as the muse for their writing. Very original and creative (but while still keeping the canon points JKR gave us) - props for that.

Now, on to a proper review rather than just my rambling of praise and comparisons...

(I intend to do this by section of the story, so please bear with me)

First trimester: I really connected with her. I was able to visualize her and her situation. I had so much empathy for her as she realized that the 'love' she had just not real, it was an illusion. I can not imagine being an 18/19 year old child, drunk on the idea that this man who I've had under a love potion for quite some time while I am simultaneously carrying and preparing to bear his child, and having him abandon me. Now, from his and an outsider's perspective I can see why he left - he never truly loved her, for one. And through his eyes I would feel afraid. Being a muggle, it would be hard enough to date a witch. But when you take in to account that their whole 'relationship' if you may, was a scam, that makes it scarier. As far as he is concerned, if she can and will do that, how far will she go? What else will she do? But, from her perspective, I understand. She wants love, acceptance and a family tree that is not stained with bleakness and cruelty. She wants to escape from living a life like the one she grew up in and saw Tom Riddle as her ticket out. Sad, sad, sad. And then you throw in her being pregnant as well...unbelievably sad.

Second trimester: This was when I started to truly see her as a mother. She was doing everything she thought of to try and possibly get the money to take care of her child. She knew in the back of her mind that there was no way she could do, but she still was trying. She didn't sit in a corner and cry - she was proactive and tried to provide for her child. It was heartbreaking, especially when you think about the real-life, modern day mother experiences similar hardships around the world. Despite the future of this baby (which she had no way of foreseeing) an expectant mother should not be alone and broke and set to live like that. No one should live that way, but especially not someone who is responsible for nourishing a baby who's only reliance is on her. His health depended on her health during the pregnancy. Scary, scary.

Third trimester: I started to truly feel like she was thisclose to breaking, that she couldn't handle much more. When they said it was counterfeit...I sort of saw that as a 'this was it' moment. As if that was her last glimmer of hope, gone. It made me sad. I looked at her as a scared, broke, teenager who's about to have a child - not as the woman about to bear the future most dark wizard to ever live. That was rough. All the lengths she was going to just goes to show what a mother - a true mother- will do for their babies - anything. Her cravings were fitting and appropriate - although strange. When she apparated I was relieved she was alright and then of course she went in to labor. When she gave him up...oh, I wanted to hug her. She truly believed she was giving him the best life and she would someday reunite with her son. Too bad life had other plans...

Overall, lovely story albeit heartbreaking. Terrific writing, I truly enjoyed and it made me think.


Author's Response: Hi there! ♥

First, I'd like to apologise for taking such an awfully long time to respond to this beautiful monster of a review. I'm sorry: my only excuse is that I've been incredibly busy, both on the forums and in RL, and I've had to manage a backlog of reviews. Second, thank you so, so, so, much for this fabulous, detailed review! I very much enjoyed reading your comments and your analysis, and I'm incredibly grateful that you stopped by this humble fic of mine and read it to the end.

No, there aren't many Merope fics on the archives compared to fics about other certain characters. There are some great Merope stories (and I'm not talking about this one :P ), but they're few and far between. She's a fascinating character to explore, and an undeniably tragic one. Most fics of her that I've read centre around her failed relationship with Tom Riddle Sr., but I chose to focus on the pregnancy aspect of her character. After all, she was pregnant and she must have felt so terrible alone in that last nine months of her life. I, too, can hardly imagine what it's like to feel so abandoned and wretched and shunned by everyone. Merope truly had been dealt out of the worst cards in the books.

I'm glad you understand the unpleasantness and unhealthiness of the Tom/Merope relationship. Love potion can be a funny thing, but when one examines the concept in greater detail, it can take on a more sinister angle. There was definitely nothing true about the love shared between the two.

Merope didn't especially care about her pregnancy, until the second trimester when she felt the baby moving within her. Somehow, it evoked a sense of maternal sentiment in her, and perhaps drove her to become a little more responsible for her own health and wellbeing, for the baby's sake. She may not have succeeded terribly well, but she did try. During pregnancy, second trimester is generally the best time for expectant mothers.

Third trimester, and things can get scarier. Poor Merope. I do indeed feel sorry for her here. For me, all hope dies in this chapter, and the death of hope symbolised the birth of Voldemort...or something like that.

Anyway, thank you so much once again for your fantastic review! This really means a lot to me, and I'm just so glad that my work is being read, and that you even took the time to review. ♥ ♥ Thanks again!


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Review #5, by Roisin dull as dirt

20th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Gryffindor

It's amazing to see what in your writing is similar, between such different stories. This one (again, one I've read tons o' times but never reviewed) is so serious and dark, but there are weirdly similar things to background noise. Like, in the list of what she smells, you include "dead insects," which is unexpected yet perfect, but here, isn't played for humor.

The idea that Merope has lost so much hair because of the potion is a devastating one. Like... that hardly helps when Tom comes to...

All of your descriptions of the physiology of pregnancy are so chilling and horrific, which is brilliant. I mean, physiology is pretty easy to make icky, being all blood and gutsy, but we're just so used to pregnancy being Beautiful and Majestic. It's a really off-putting and clever maneuver.

It's also really interesting reading this after "White is for Witching" because of the whole pica connection.

Also the way you juxtapose the theme of Growth, like plants and things that should be all natural and Naturey, with her bizarre, unnatural appetite and pregnancy. And then even the plants and things seem sinister.

I take the very ending to maybe be her death? It's interesting how this one (if I'm right) compares to Sirius'. The language becomes sparse, and there's again this theme of deterioration and forgetting (which is probably apt), but here it's very understated. Both work tremendously well.


Author's Response: Thank you, my dear!! ♥ ♥

This story is now pretty old! Pica and all was definitely influenced by Oyeyemi, whose writing, as you know, is something I really love and admire. There are definitely similar elements from this story, especially the ending, with other stories, like the Sirius one. Although I like to think (and I hope) that the end of the Sirius story had a bit of a greater impact on the reader despite the outcome being already known. Merope's story was more of a downward spiral, with a brief uplifting spike in the second trimester, and then downhill from there. (Sorry, my grammar is terrible; I hope I'm not sounding too unintelligible. :O ).

Pregnancy is not always a pretty thing. Some women suffer terribly from it. Their bodies change in ways that are not always radiant or beautiful. They can suffer from things like oedema and pre-eclampsia and all the usual aches and stuff. Pregnancy has a lot to do with the body, and anything to do with the body can be reimagined into something icky. :P And pretty much anything in the world can be likened to the body, or written in the context of the body; thus, everything has the potential to be icky...sorry for rambling. :P

The ending is indeed her death (as things goes in canon, at least). I'm pretty sure Merope died after delivering Tom. The prose does become a lot sparser at the end, compared with the sensory overload of the previous segments. Whereas in Sirius's story, the ending becomes a sensory overload of sorts.

I'm glad you made the comparison between my stories. Seriously, nobody analyses my work as well as you, and it kind of allays my own self-doubts about my writing. Thank you for all your lovely reviews, for leaving me so many thoughtful comments! ♥


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Review #6, by nott theodore dull as dirt

2nd August 2014:
Hi teh! I just realised how long it had been since I stopped by and read some of your wonderful writing, so I thought I'd better rectify that! And then I realised that I read this ages ago, before the Dobbys, and thought I'd reviewed... *blushes* Sorry it's taken me so long!

This was amazing, truly. It deserved both of the Dobbys that it won so much, because I'm in awe of the story that you've told here. You know how much I love minor characters and stories like this one which take them and give them a whole life, something that makes them real and makes us feel for them. It's fantastic that you've managed to do that here, show Merope Gaunt alive even though it's the last nine months of her life, and really, she seems to be dying day by day.

The imagery in this piece is simply stunning. From the very beginning of the story you manage to pick some really interesting and unique images to compare Merope's situation to, and I loved the way that you began each of the three sections with something more descriptive, detailing what the pregnancy was doing to her body and what was happening inside her.

I thought it was a brilliant idea to split this story up into the three trimesters of her pregnancy! There's so much room for outlining the development there and showing just how desperate Merope becomes through the course of the nine months that she has, up to the birth of the son that she loves so much.

One of my favourite things was the detail that you included in this piece. The fact that Merope realised that she was pregnant and decided that it was time to stop giving Tom Riddle Sr. the love potion that she'd been using all the way through - that's something I'd probably have forgotten all about if I'd been the one to write this and showing that in her first trimester really emphasises how awful things will become for her. She's left alone, abandoned by the man she fell in love with, and she can't return to her family who would hate her for loving a Muggle. At the same time she can't support herself and she has to go through her pregnancy entirely alone, which is really terrifying.

I'd never heard of pica before and I thought that the way you included it was really interesting! I felt so sorry for Merope when she was having to eat dirt and all sorts of things because she couldn't afford the things she needed. And then things just keep getting worse for her throughout those last six months especially, when she has no food and she has to sell the only things that she owns which are of any value - and even then, Burke doesn't give her a fair price for them, and I can't help thinking that while he's congratulating himself on getting a good deal, Merope's dying unnecessarily and how different would things have been if she hadn't?

I seriously wanted to hug Merope through this, because you showed beautifully and brilliantly just how depressing and difficult her life was. There weren't really any happy memories for her to cling onto as she went through her pregnancy, because her life with her father and brother had been terrible and then Tom left her. The baby growing inside her was her hope for the future and I loved the dream sequence that you wrote, when she chose his name.

The line I found most powerful was when Merope decided she wanted to raise her son as a Muggle and they'd be happy together, because it got to me so much. She was so wrong, so completely wrong and she never knew or found out just how wrong she was about that. In a way I'm glad that she didn't live to see what her son became, but at the same time I don't think he'd have been that way if Merope had survived. And then when you got to the birth scene, the ending was so powerful and poignant and gah, it was just brilliant.

This was really perfect, teh! A belated congratulations on your well deserved win!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Sian! ♥

First, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the torrent of lovely, lengthy, detailed reviews you've left on my page. They made my entire weekend. :D You're an absolutely fabulous reviewer, and it means a lot to receive your amazing reviews!

Aww, and thanks for your squeeworthy comments on Growth! It feels like an age since I wrote this and posted it up, and until today, I'm still very surprised at how successful this piece is. I didn't think many people would like reading about Merope Gaunt.

I wrote this story with the intention of focusing on her pregnancy, so it made sense to me to split the fic up into segments according to the trimesters of her pregnancy, and the different series of changes she undergoes for the whole nine or ten months. And it is indeed a very terrifying time for her, because everything pretty much goes wrong. She's completely unprepared for the child, and yet it keeps growing and growing, and she keeps moving closer and closer toward that dreaded date of delivery. There are so many rosy happy pregnancy stories on HPFF, but it's quite tricky to find some which deal with the negative effects of pregnancy and childbirth, or even of mothers who aren't and will never be ready to be mothers. Merope can't take care of herself, much less a child.

And yeah, I'm glad you picked up on that moment of hope at the end of the dream sequence! Second trimester is generally one of hte happiest times of pregnancy - well, for most women. The morning sickness goes away, and women start feeling the feel-good hormones and the baby starts kicking, and it's a bit of a miraculous period, really. But of course, for Merope, it doesn't last. :(

Ugh, reading your comments about this story makes me wonder how the devil I could ever have written something so depressing!?!? Seriously, this is probably the most depressing thing on my page. There's no hope at the end, at least I don't interpret the ending as a hopeful one. :( There could have been so much more to Merope's life, but she chose to leave it all behind.

laskdjlak thank you so much, Sian! This was a wonderful review, and all your wonderful, analytical comments made me remember this story and think about it all over again. ♥


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Review #7, by anonymouse dull as dirt

27th June 2014:
This is an amazing story and had me entranced from the beginning!

Author's Response: Hey there!

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! ♥ I'm so glad you enjoyed this; it really means a lot to me. :)


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Review #8, by Mariano_Pingitore dull as dirt

23rd May 2014:
Excellent work! Merope is a wonderfully intriguing character, I loved this story!

Author's Response: Aww, thank you so much for taking the time to read and review! ♥ This really means a lot to me, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story! Merope is indeed a very interesting character, and it's a little sad that she isn't explored much in fanfic compared to other characters. Thank you again! ♥


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Review #9, by TooMuchMagic dull as dirt

13th April 2014:
Hello! I found this one-shot through the Dobbys page and thought I'd check it out since I've never read a Merope fic before.

All I can say is, this is probably the most vivid, colourful, wonderfully creepy imagery I've ever come across on the site! I'm honestly quite grossed out right now haha, everything from squishing cicadas to grabbing handfuls of dirt and plaster to eat... I feel a bit like I should take a shower or something, which is great because it means you hit it right on the head with the grotesque details!

Little things I liked were "comma of a child" and "the morning air is balmy enough to feel like a hand, touching her cheeks". Beautiful!

And I really felt for Merope. Having to pawn off a family heirloom to survive and take care of her child, having such a horrible family, having to resort to love potions, having too little magical control to even do simple tasks like mend a hole in the wall...

Great one-shot. Thanks for totally creeping me out haha. I'll check out more of your work, you seem to be a very talented writer :) 10/10


Author's Response: Hey there!

TEH TARIK IS GREAT!! (And I don't mean myself) :P

Wow, thank you so much for this fantastic review! I'm glad you decided to stop by and read; this really means a whole lot to me. ^.^

I was trying to write a more descriptive piece with this one, and this was also written for a horror/dark challenge on the forums...therefore it's natural that some creepy imagery would have come out of this! :P I'm glad you found it unsettling. Merope's story is an incredibly tragic one, and I'm not sure she even had a moment of redemption in either this fic or in the books. I was quite unrelenting in my writing of her.

Oh thank you so much once again! This review was just such a lovely surprise to receive! ♥ If you do check out more of my work, I hope you'll enjoy them; not all my pieces are as descriptive as this one. :)


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Review #10, by MissesWeasley123 dull as dirt

9th December 2013:
hehehehehehe I am so camping out here for forever and ever and ever and ever.

You have such a knack for the little things. And those little things are really what makes all of your pieces stand out. This piece of dialogue literally made me be on the verge of tears.

"This is the locket of Salazar Slytherin, an heirloom passed down the generations in my family, the Gaunts," she pauses, "I want thirty Galleons for this." -- this was agonizingly painful. I felt so bad for her, because her life just sucks. Her entire life has been horrible, and I just don't even know how much it would suck to be in her place. Her life is just so sad, and you show that wonderfully.

So many parts were creepy as hell, and I was feeling rather feminist in some places. The part with Burke definitely was one, that just made me so angry. And then with those two wizards who tease her and it's so disgusting and creepy, and again, the scene you've painted is so vivid and so real.

By now, her body is out of proportion. Her belly pushes out the front of her dress into a tight lump. Her shoulders and ribcage are skeletal. Her fingernails are flaking, her hair falling out more than ever, her teeth shaking in their gums. Her feet and her legs on the other hand are ballooning, swollen with water. When she presses a spot on her leg, her fingertip leaves a small dent, which does not fill up. Her flesh is dull and inelastic. -- this. Just, wow. My mind is blown at that imagery. It's just so good, and I love it so much. That opener of her third trimester just had so much in it. It showed what she'd become over time and it was horrifyingly beautiful and I don't know I'm confused ohkay.

That second last paragraph, where she's cradling him and saying that they'll be okay.. but they don't and agh. That last ending just killed me. It was worse than your gladly beyond ending, because ah! There's that feeling if she didn't give up... Voldemort wouldn't be Voldemort and god, you're so talented.

Fabulous, absolutely thrilling and beautiful writing.

Author's Response: I MEAN FREE FOOD LIKE THINGS WITH SUGAR AND CREAM AND CHOCOLATE *dumps a cartload of chocolate and sweets on Nadia*

TWO reviews from you in such a short period? *cries* I am not worthy!!! THANK YOU NADIA! ♥ Thank you for coming to this older story of mine and breathing some fresh review life into it! And if I remember correctly, I believe you were one of the people who also nominated Growth for the Dobbys, so I can't thank you enough for that ♥ ♥

I'm glad this story brought out your inner angry feminist, because let's face it, the blokes in this fic (Burke, Riddle Sr., Marvolo, Morfin) are a bunch of...of...I can't think of any suitable 12+ words which would adequately describe them. And I'm glad you liked that sentence that Merope says! It was quite deliberate that she sounds so resolute, so determined, even if that resolve lasts for only a moment. :( I suppose Merope is that kind of character, and I do sympathise with her a lot in this respect, how downtrodden she is, and how disadvantaged she is in surviving the harsh world out there, having had such an awful miserable childhood.

The third trimester details! All were of her less-than-ideal pregnancy symptoms, including things like oedema. THE UGLY SIDE OF PREGNANCY (YES THERE IS AN UGLY SIDE OF IT :P).

Depressing last paragraph! :( :( This is definitely more depressing thatn the Scorose one, because I really wanted to maximise the depressingness of this fic. It was for a horror/dark challenge, although I'm thinking this fic is more along the lines of 'dark' rather than horror.



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Review #11, by navyfail dull as dirt

6th August 2013:
This one-shot is nothing short of fantastic! The descriptions were great and I love how you captured Merope's character. The division of the story was nice: first trimester, second trimester, etc. The mention of pica disorder fit her character is a way. And how you added the Borgin and Burke's parts were lovely.

When I read that part with those two wizards that were waiting for her outside of Burke's, I felt very bad for her. She may have done some wrong but she didn't deserve to be treated that way.

Merope's life was quite sad. She is one of the characters in Harry Potter that I wanted to know more about. Thank you for this one-shot. It actually does feel like this is her real story.


Author's Response: Sama! ♥

Wow, thank you so so much for such a wonderful surprise review! This was honestly so unexpected and your compliments were so lovely that I'm still reeling from all the wonderful praise you've showered on me!

Merope certainly didn't have the easiest of lives, and this fic is meant to be a rather bleak portrayal of the last few months of that miserable, pitiful existence of hers.

I'm so happy that you like the descriptions and the story structure! I was certainly trying to write a more descriptive piece, and a lot of work went into crafting those sentences and descriptions (hopefully I didn't go overboard with them...:P ).

Thank you so much for reading, and for leaving this fabulous review, Sama! It's absolutely made my day ♥


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Review #12, by Indigo Seas dull as dirt

20th June 2013:
Here for the review exchange! :) Firstly, I was so, so excited when I was paired with you because I've heard so many lovely things about your writing and I've only ever had a few opportunities to read it and (I know I'm rambling, but-) it's really, really gorgeous. My vocabulary is not quite what I want it to be right now, but really - it's beautiful.

I could definitely go out and pick various sentences that I particularly liked, but these stand out to me:

"Inside Merope, there is a comma of a child, picking up shape, unfurling its fuzzy outlines."


"Meropeís spine curves over the hummingbird centre of her body."

I mean, the way you describe things is really beautiful. You're taking very natural elements like rock and dirt (or the hummingbird that I just mentioned) and you craft these descriptions in such ways that your sentences just sing. Really, be super proud of this; it's so, so pretty.

And your sentences are just the right lengths, too. Sometimes you'll have really long sentences (a personal favorite of mine) and then you'll have tiny ones in there too to mix things up. Your use of fragments is masterful: they're not all over the place so they don't slow the story down, but they put pauses right where the reader wants them. It's excellent.

I could really go on and on but now I feel like I'm embarrassing myself, so I'll just tell you that it was really, really gorgeous (I keep saying that!) and the story was lovely in a twisted, heartbreaking way. I'm so glad I got to review it!

xx Rin

Author's Response: Rin! ♥

Gaah, thank you so much for this absolutely wonderful review :D Your compliments were just a;skjd;asah I'm so flattered to hear that you've heard so many things about my writing. It's such a great feeling when other writers know of you (uh, also puffs up the ego a little bit ahaha...).

I'm so happy to see you commenting on things like diction and sentence structures and sentence lengths and descriptive technique! Because that's what I really focused on in this story. My other stories are less attentive to detail and style and diction; they're more about characterisation and plot (sort of). But in this story, I really went through each sentence, trying to put things together, see which words and images worked and which didn't. This fic really gave me a lot of grief to write, but it's definitely worth all that. I'm honestly so happy when reviewers pick up on the details, and I noticed in your own writing the amount of care that goes into constructing your sentences, and how organic and fluid they are, so it really means a lot to receive this compliment from you.

Thanks again for this amazing review, Rin! I'm so glad we were paired up for this month's exchange ♥


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Review #13, by randomwriter dull as dirt

17th June 2013:

This really took me somewhere else.
Great work :)

I thought that there might be some tense issues in between, but that seems pretty intentional, so it's fine. Also, this phrase- 'a thin fine down covers its body'- didn't make too much sense to me... Maybe a typo?

That aside, you have chosen the prefect words to convey Merope's sense of hopelessness and desperation, with a hint of determination. Simply prefect in that sense. Also, brilliant characterization. This has a nice flow to it :)

Good work :)
This is going to favourites, though it isn't my type :p

Author's Response: Hello there :) Thanks for this lovely review, and for favouriting! I'm glad this story took you "somewhere else" - hopefully somewhere not too pleasant, because this story was originally written for a genre challenge (horror/dark) and I wasn't trying to make this a sweet fluffy piece of writing :)

The whole story is written in present tense; that being said, there are flashbacks embedded throughout the narrative (I refuse to separate them into italicised segments :P ) and in these flashbacks, the tenses shift to the past. I guess this might throw some readers off if they aren't paying close attention, but it's how I like to write my flashbacks ^.^

As for "a thin fine down covers its body" - I am missing a couple of commas in there (I removed many commas because I don't like them in this story...taking a great deal of artistic license here...). And the word "down" is actually a noun, not a an adverb or a preposition or adjective...from dictionarydotcom this means, "a growth of soft fine hair". In terms of the pregnancy, this feature, this "down" is called lanugo, and foetuses and newborn babies are usually covered in lanugo. So, yeah :)

Thank you for your lovely comments once again! Especially on the characterisation! I hope I clarified some things for you.


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Review #14, by _relative dull as dirt

24th May 2013:
So I wanted to leave a review, but I just couldn't think of anything else except, wow.

So, it really doesn't do this piece justice, but wow.

Author's Response:

Hello! Gah, thank you so much for taking the time to read and review! It wasn't a short easy read, and it means so much to me that you enjoy this. Also, I absolutely love random reviewers ♡ Thank you once again for reading, AND favouriting!

teh ♥

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Review #15, by GubraithianFire dull as dirt

24th May 2013:
I saw this in the recently added and recognized the author as the one who wrote that beautiful Lavender one-shot so naturally I was eager to see what you would do with Merope (so hi again~). And my oh my. I'm looking at the other reviews left for this story and they're saying that you disliked this, which boggles my mind because this is so so so good. You have exceedingly good taste in minor canon characters whose life stories you dissect in one-shots, which I'm sure extends to your other stories.

Merope in some ways, I think, is easier to tackle in fic than Lavender because there's kind of a consensus on the broad strokes of her character that there isn't with Lavender, if you know what I mean? Like, as far as I've seen, Lavender is construed as either an idiot or a misunderstood secretly strong young woman; there's no such binary assumptions about Merope because her place as the tragic mother heroine is pretty well-established in both canon and fanon, when she is written about at all, which is pretty rare. But that's not to understate how well you place Merope within that trope, because seriously, that was beautiful and horrifying. I'm really glad I hadn't eaten for a while before I read this hehe. Somehow it didn't click for me that what Merope was doing with eating the dirt and plaster and such was part of a condition until your author's note, though I have heard of that condition. I read it as more of a comment/symptom of the abject misery of the poverty she's lived through all her life than a symptom of her pregnancy on its own. Either reading, which I suppose are not binary themselves, gives a terrible, frightening, grotesque sheen to the pregnant canon character story, which is always unicorns and rainbows and explosions of morning sickness and cute cravings. This story went to places I definitely wouldn't have expected but I'm so, so glad it did -- almost no matter what an author does with this skeleton of plot, it is going to be compelling, but this was magnetic and horrible.

Your language all the way through was fabulous, though, which made the grotesque nature of your imagery (I think someone said earthy imagery, which is a really good way to describe it) all the more jarring and off-putting. In the best possible way, I mean. I could talk about what sentences I loved and why (that first paragraph totally sold me on the whole story, but also comma of a child, the cicada thing with Morfin, the adder Morfin nailed to the door... God just everything) but that would take a while and it's probably something you've heard in all of the other reviews. So I'll hold off on that and just say... this was gorgeous. It takes a lot to get me to read fic these days and I'm really glad I've found yours, because you are a huge talent, you shape sentences with astonishing ease and a pureness that is always gorgeous no matter the context, you have a great sense of how to mold canon the way that suits the stories you want to tell -- I'm hugely impressed. Well done.

Author's Response: a;fklhjuicvnjhsghdyahas


So I've read through this review a few times now. And I am still not sure what I ought to say. First, thank you so much again for a second brilliant and incredibly perceptive review - this wasn't a short read, and I'm so incredibly grateful that you even took the time to check this story out even if you don't read fic anymore ♡ (I got a bit sad when you said you don't read fic anymore, but I noticed you've been around on the archive for a REALLY LONG TIME according to your profile page, so I guess I understand. I joined HPFF a few months ago, and still find this place quite exciting :D )

You've pretty much got the whole story pinned down. There's not a lot to it, apart from what's there. You're right, we all know Merope's tragic story and how she's such a pitiable figure in canon, a product of joyless and bleak circumstances. There are quite a few Merope stories on the archives - not many, but they do exist and some of them are quite brilliantly written as well. So I did try to write something that would hopefully be different from what already exists (and most of these either detail Merope's relationship with Tom, or her childbirth and death), There wasn't a lot of stuff on her pregnancy. And that must have been an incredibly traumatic time for her, nine months of being alone and pregnant, of not knowing how she will cope...I'm not sure if she knew that she wouldn't survive childbirth...but she /was/ selling her locket to Burke, so I assume that she was trying desperately to live. Pregnancy can be something quite terrifying, if you aren't prepared for it and if you don't have the necessary emotional support from others...and so many things can go wrong, if you think about a very pessimistic manner.

Gaaah, your comment on the language and the sentences ♥ ♥ This was one of the more difficult stories to write, precisely because I put in so much care and effort into the sentences, to make them smooth and nice-sounding :P Diction, sentence structure, imagery...all these were things I paid a lot of attention to in this fic, and by the end of it I was jsort of sick of everything and probably felt that it was truly rubbish...which is why I first threw it into the queue with a big angst-filled author note declaring how much I didn't like this. Yep, I can be very dramatic. But I've edited this a little and put some distance between the writing and myself, and I think I'm a lot happier with it now. Especially after all the amazing feedback.

Thank you so so so much once again for this amazing review ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡
It's honestly gaaahaksjfhljkljaksfhljk ♥

teh ♥♛

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Review #16, by marauderfan dull as dirt

24th May 2013:
All I can say is wow. This was really spectacular! I have never read a story quite like this before. Great use of imagery and detail - you conveyed so much just through the descriptions of what is going on around her as a parallel to her pregnancy. I'm so glad I found this story. Merope is such a weird character - it's hard to like her, which makes her very interesting to read about (if that makes sense). Fantastic job on this and I'll definitely be checking out other stories you've written!

Author's Response: HELLO ♥ ♥

Thank you so much for all your wonderful flattering reviews! Honestly, they were so unexpected, and they completely made my day. And thank you for your lovely comment on the imagery and descriptive detail of this story! You're right, I focused on what is going around her, and the physical changes of her condition, and attempted to use descriptive detail and the action to convey Merope's emotional state and internal world (hopefully I achieved something with this baha!), rather than angst about too much in the narrative.

And it definitely IS difficult to like Merope, I agree. She's not portrayed favourably in the books, and she's something of a wreck, and I really wanted to bring that out in this story, not only show her pitiable state of abandonment, but also the idea that she's a product of her loveless circumstances.

Thank you so much for this amazing review! Have some hearts and diamonds! ♦♥♦♦

-teh ☀

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Review #17, by WeasleyTwins dull as dirt

24th May 2013:
Hello teh! Here for a bit of review tag (I apologize in advance if the review is short, I've got to go to work soon).

Oh. My. Holy. Harry. Potter. Really, now really, what in the name of JK Rowling was that?! Brilliant. Utterly brilliant. Oneshots definitely showcase your talent because you can fill it to bursting with such ridiculously astounding descriptions. I am so jealous and in awe right now. You are a genius. GENIUS. Have you ever considered writing literary fiction? You should.

The things you choose to describe are wonderful - that first paragraph. I cannot even manage to say anything remotely coherent. It was perfect. And Merope, oh goodness, she disgusts me and yet delights me at the same time. That longing for Tom, the Pica disorder, what Tom Jr. does to her psyche, it's all so intriguing. And yet, I find myself completely repulsed by her.

I could write a dissertation on this oneshot. I really could. There are so many things I want to tell you, but I'm still in shock. I'm sorry this didn't make a bit of sense and is so short (really, I apologize). This is a wonderful, WONDERFUL story. It will be an HPFF classic.

Fantastic job, darling. I LOVE it.


Author's Response: Shelby ♡


GAH THANK YOU FOR THIS REVIEW ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ Honestly I'm just so happy that you liked it, the descriptive detail and everything. This is probably one of the few stories in which I've put a lot of effort into the description and imagery to establish a tone, a mood, an atmosphere. Honestly, your compliments are just leaving me a bit speechless and I wish I knew how to respond a little more eloquently!

This wasn't meant to be the prettiest of stories, and it wasn't the easiest to write, either. Merope had a terrible life :( And the last few months of her life must have been so hard - JKR glossed over this in the books, but seriously, if you think about it, Merope's entire existence has just been nothing but a portrait of pain and lovelessness. I'm so glad you found my portrayal of her intriguin but rather shocking.

Thank you so much for this absolutely lovely review, Shelby ♡ Don't worry about the length of it; I'm so elated that you even took the time to read through and review! *hugs*

teh ♡

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Review #18, by ChaosWednesday dull as dirt

1st May 2013:

I know you were probably hoping to get a review on a different story, but I've been meaning to have a lok at this since the challenge, so here I am!

I see why you would consider this to be your least favourite, but not because it isn't good! It just seems as if you picked up many themes and it was difficult to weave them together into something as compact as a 4000 word one-shot.

But, honestly, I thought some of the imagery was magnificent. And it spoke volumes to me as I am terrified of all things that go in the direction of body-horror. And pregnancy is probably one of the most surreal and distrubing things nature has ever come up with :P

My favourite descriptions would probably have to be the scenes in Borgin and Burge's, just because you really used the setting to magnify the horrors of Merlope's pregnancy and her physical disintegration. The way you describe Burke's eyes really defined the darkest side of the world Merlope lives in for me: "Burke has wet eyes that seem to wobble in their sockets, sticky yellow drops caught at the corners. There is a boil on his lower eyelid, making the small flap of skin droop toward his cheekbone. And strangest of all, the long feathery eyelashes, each slow blink bringing them together" neutral gazes, corruption, abuse. Something about the delicate eyelashes sticking really completed the image for me. So good job on that.

Also, I loved this: "Behind him, the Kappa opens its scabbed eyelids and extends its webbed hands, its thin flesh pancaking against the glass." As a parallel to Tom wanting to break out of her belly, it really worked for placing him in all this filth that defines the world of dark magic and shady deals before he is even born. He is in a bottle, powerless but not miserable...his motivations are unclear but he is not pure. I think this was a very elegant solution and I admre you for coming up with it!

I enjoyed how you tried to look for imagery among the behavious of plants to illustrate Merlope's pregnancy. It's interesting that you chose to connect insects to that as well, and there were parts where it worked nicely. But I found sometimes that you overdid it a tad and began mixing insects and plants to a degree that became more confusing that illuminating. For example the first paragraph: "Something has changed in Merope Gaunt, a thrumming of insect wings, a pulse kickstarting into life. Her belly is a pouch of warm soil, crisscrossed with red veins. Seeds can take root here, splitting into small plants that will inch up and up her body, their tendrils will wrap around the soft masses of her organs and the trellis of her bones before sprouting out of her mouth and into the sun." if you are trying to describe the phoetus, then is it a winding plant, or it is it a winged insect? Also, maybe you could use the actual word "insect" less and stick only to the adjectives and verbs that would remind the reader of the behaviour of insects? Then maybe the imagery would be less confusing.

I suppose what could have tied up the story more tightly would be a reason for all the horror-imagery, you know? Tom is eating away at Merope from the inside, the burden of her guilt and the punishment for her decisions. Somehow, despite all of the distrubling imagery, he doesn't come accross as something unsavory. It's just a bit difficult to figure out what you are trying to say when everything (both the outside and the inside of Merope) are described similarly.

Well, I hope this could help! I wasn't trying to be critical and must admit I enjoyed your ever astounding ability for beautiful descriptions here as much as in anything else I've read by you :)

Author's Response: Whiskey ♥

Gaah, thanks for this amazing review and for all your critical feedback! It was really interesting to read your thoughts about this piece, and your interpretation of the imagery - because this story relies quite heavily (a bit too heavily for my liking, in fact) in imagery to illustrate a theme, and to carry the story forward. I myself am not a big fan of stories with heavy but generalised imagery; also, I very much prefer the literal to the metaphorical / figurative :) Hence, I wasn't too sure about this piece. Actually, now I remember, I edited this piece months ago, but I've been a bit too lazy to upload the updated version. Anyway.

I didn't focus much on baby Voldy in this story - except in the dream bit, and his influence on Merope. I meant him to be more of a neutral force in this story, but some reviewers including you have seen him as already unsettling and somewhat tainted - and I must say that yes, I think it's quite possible to interpret him this way. It really made me think about my own story and see it in a different light :)

As for the imagery - there's quite a lot of different things going on, isn't there? :P There are images of plants, insects, earth, eggs even (though this is extraneous and is purely there because...I dunno :P ). I didn't mean for them to be teased apart with each component analysed, but mmm, you're right. It is VERY TELLING that when they're taken apart bit by bit, it becomes a bit confusing. What I intended was for all these images to work together to create an overall motif/theme of natural life, or growth / flourishing.There's a kind of duality of growth in this story - Tom is flourishing well and dandy but at the same time, his growth is kinda parasitic on Merope, pretty much stunting her. Everything is flourishing about Merope, inside AND outside, except the essence of Merope herself.

ACK THIS PROLLY DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE *buries head under pillow*

Gah, I'm just floored by your compliment on the descriptive detail ^.^

GONNA TIE UP THIS RAMBLY RESPONSE NOW :D THanks sososo much for this wonderful review, Whiskey! You've really made me think about my own story. And that's always a good thing ^.^


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Review #19, by Jess the Enthusiast dull as dirt

18th April 2013:
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea why you don't like this story because I think it's fantastic! Wow! I've never read a Merope story before, but you really drew me in and this was a fascinating read. Great job! I really loved it and this is definitely going onto my favorites!


~Jess :D

Author's Response: Hello Jess!

GAAAH THANK YOU SO MUCH ♥ I really should remove that author's note :P It's just that, this is the first fic I've written, which relies so heavily on imagery and descriptive detail to carry the story forward. And by the end I didn't know if I had overdone it or something :) But the feedback so far has been jawdroppingly fantabulous!

THANK YOU for this lovely and totes unexpected review, AND for favouriting!


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Review #20, by Toujours Padfoot dull as dirt

17th April 2013:
H.O.L.Y. C.O.W.

This has got to be one of the most amazing one-shots I have ever read. I cannot fathom your dislike for it! There are so, so many things I am going to quote back at you because the writing left me so awestruck, and even though I am regurgitating basically a quarter of the story, I had to narrow down the list because it was so long.

I don't even know where to begin. Seriously - SPEECHLESS. So I'm just going to rail off some of the lines that I thought were particularly beautiful. Which was difficult because it's like searching for one star in a whole ocean of stars. There is nothing about this fic that I could possibly nitpick, nothing that could be improved. It is perfect.

And afterward she would lick the back of the spoon and kiss the purple stains off the sides of his mouth.

These same vines that have broken up the house are also holding the ruins together.

She would pick off the papery shells of cicadas from the bark and show it to him and he would crush them, laughing at the crackle beneath his thumb, the golden flakes of desiccated insect skin drifting down to the ground.

I love how earthy your descriptions are. The imagery is impeccably placed. Nothing is extraneous. Everything has just the right amount of detail, and your use of sensory details is omg. The insect skins, the girl of clouded clotted dirt, transforming the act of drugging a man into loving someone into this simple, well-of-course-she-did sort of thing. It reminded me of a little girl chasing after a puppy, desperate to bring it home and keep it and squeeze it.

He opens his mouth to speak and his voice is different, too - slower, more tentative. "Is that - what you will call me?"
- Favorite part. Honest to God, that scene made me hold my breath. And when he turned around and it was Tom-but-not-Tom, and he uttered that one line in that marveling, sinister-under-the-surface way that only Tom Riddle Jr. can speak, I just sat back with my hand over my heart and couldn't even read on for another minute. I just wanted to absorb it. SERIOUSLY, HOW CAN THIS BE ONE OF THE LEAST-FAVORITE THINGS YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW JEALOUS I AM OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Sorry for yelling. I get carried away.

Merope's hand drifts to her head, fingering the bald patches where the skin is so thin and stretched that it feels like she's touching her wet skull.

Burke has wet eyes that seem to wobble in their sockets, sticky yellow drops caught at the corners. There is a boil on his lower eyelid, making the small flap of skin droop toward his cheekbone. And strangest of all, the long feathery eyelashes, each slow blink bringing them together.

- I love both of these. It's not pretty imagery. It's kind of gruesome, and made me shudder a little, and that means you did your job. This is the pregnancy of the mother of the most evil wizard who ever lived. Intermittent flashes of ugliness, pictures that make us wince uncomfortably - are absolutely essential. It's the sort of tone that doesn't just lie flat on the surface. It sinks into the readers. It gives them chills. I hope you know how fantastically talented you are for being able to incite these reactions, because it's not a talent easy to come by.

Behind him, the Kappa opens its scabbed eyelids and extends its webbed hands, its thin flesh pancaking against the glass.

The small vipers and adders, slithering through the dead leaves, finding her as she chanted to them, laying their chins on her lap and braiding their bodies against her legs.

Perfect. Perfect and creepy and perfect. I am so sorry for the amount of gushing I am doing. I am honestly just so blown away by how amazing your writing is. Every single sentence is a gem.

Her family. She would sell them all for less than ten Galleons.

The sound of a woman gasping, calling for help and help is another pair of arms pulling her up as the world contracts around her, falling like a thin sheet and moulding itself to the shape of her body.

He tests his new voice and the soggy vowels waft into the space between him and Merope.

Just... *dies* This is unbelievable. Your word choice. You choose your words so deftly and they are just seamless, they pack the biggest punch. The world contracting around her brings to mind this chasm of pain, convulsing into darkness. And the 'soggy vowels' - once again, it's your word choice. You have such a way with the English language. Even Tom Riddle who is barely a minute old is still the canon adult Tom Riddle somehow. We can see it right there, stamped in him from the moment of conception: an evil that will claw its way into the world at any cost. Even if he seems nothing but beautiful and perfect. He's just this sinister little creature.

I feel so horribly for Merope, especially since she'd been planning to raise him as a Muggle and her son was the only thing she had left, but standing out there in the snow, preparing to slip away into death, it was sort of liberating. Merope is free.

Thank you so much for linking me to this! ♥

- Sarah

Author's Response: mmmpfffhh mmmphhdfhh

I have no idea how to respond!!!??!111!!

Honestly, this review just made my entire millennium. As you may know, I fangirl myself silly over your own amazing speechlessness-inducing writing, and to receive a review like this from you is just.just...can I just take the easy way out and smash my keyboard and let you gauge the extent of my feelings by yourself? AKLSFHBFAJKL

Right. I should probably edit out that author's note at the bottom; this story has been edited for minor things, actually, and I forgot to upload the newer version but anyway. I suppose I've never written a story that has so much imagery and description, that relies on these to drive the narrative forward. My other stories are much sparser and I hardly use figurative language and all. Also, I wrote this for a challenge and rushed through it and I honestly thought it wasn't very well-written at first. But I'm incredibly gratified that you found the prose seamless and the word choice deft, because these are precisely the effects I was aiming for. I wanted to keep the language relatively simple but smooth, and be really really picky about the words I used. It was an extremely laboured writing process (no pun intended). All the other lovely reviewers have gushed about the description and imagery, but I think you're the first one to point out things like diction and the individual sentences so thank you so much for that ♥

There are actually plenty of Merope stories around, but most of these tend to focus on the Tom/Merope ship, or on her abusive upbringing in the Gaunts' home. But I was especially intrigued by the period between Tom's desertion of her and her childbirth and subsequent death. I can only imagine what a truly horrible time it must have been for her. I suppose she was freed by death, but it wasn't an easy death :(

Can I just say that I'm ecstatic that you thought this line was lovely: /These same vines that have broken up the house are also holding the ruins together./ OMG I HAD TO REWRITE THAT LINE SO MANY TIMES. And now it's my favourite line in the whole story. I mean I'm not the best in describing buildings and trees and stuff like that and that dream scene was a major headache.

Anyway. Thank you sososo much for this amazing review! Eeep. Still in awe of it and I probably will be this way for quite some time. Gonna leave some hearts for you before I sign off ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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Review #21, by academica dull as dirt

7th April 2013:
Hi! Here from Review Tag!

I really loved this. Your ability to make the most of imagery is astounding. As of now, I can only dream of writing a long, detailed piece like this one, and yet these are some of my favorites to read. I would pick out a favorite phrase or two except I don't know where to begin. Mostly, I loved the way you described Merope's changing ugliness, the way pregnancy was cruel to her malnourished, unloved body. I also really liked how you showed the change between Tom in love with Merope and Tom after the effects of the potion had worn off--I almost wish you had described more of why Merope had decided to stop giving Tom the potion.

My favorite part, though, was Merope's vision of Tom Jr., the first time she really fell in love with her baby and decided to start doing what she could to take care of it. It was such a weird contrast, such a grotesque person loving something so purely, and you could detect that love right up until the moment when he finally stopped crying.

I was also impressed by the fact that you researched pregnancy and tried to make it realistic. It's a breath of fresh air after seeing so many easy, pleasant pregnancies depicted in other stories. I thought you were just capitalizing on the filth that was Merope's life and her home with the pica, but to add it in as a realistic element gives it a whole new sort of importance for me. Great job there.

This was a delight to read overall. Wonderful work!


Author's Response: Hello Amanda,

gaah, thanks for this absolutely lovely review :D This piece is definitely heavier on the imagery and descriptive detail than my other pieces! I'd been relying on imagery and figurative stuff to sort of build an atmosphere of despair and to accentuate Merope's hopeless situation and how ineffectual she is in dealing with her the state of her life. Without being too dramatic, I hope. I really enjoy writing stories that are a bit more flat in tone rather than dramatic.

And unlike many writers, I can't write a short sharp piece focusing on a single aspect of a character's life and delving really deeply; I'm not skilled enough :P So I have to make my things a bit longer :)

I'm glad you liked Merope's dream of Tom Jr.! I was worried that it might be taking things a little far, but this /is/ magic after all, and I dunno, it might be possible. Also, pregnant women can have really weird dreams :P It's one of the effects of pregnancy.

I'm glad you liked the detail about pregnancy! I really did have to make it realistic seeing as the entire story was going to revolve around this, and while I'm familiar with pregnancy, having been pregnant before, I did have to look up the more severe side effects such as oedema and of course, pica (which isn't that common). I chose pica because nutrition / nourishment is really important during pregnancy, and Merope lacks the desire to take care of herself after her abandonment by Tom (as was mentioned in HBP), Also, all kinds of growth (healthy growth and parasitic unhealthy growth) and nourishment are sort of recurring motifs in the story :)

Ooh, long review response :P Thanks so much once again for your fabulous review, Amanda! I really appreciate it.


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Review #22, by caoty dull as dirt

2nd March 2013:
Hello. I'm here. Finally. Sorry. And this review, like all the ones I leave for you, will be almost entirely incoherent.

You have an amazing eye for detail, and it really stands out here. Merope's scalp after making so much Amortentia is one that stuck with me in particular - actually, all of your description about how Merope's body slowly disintegrates, almost, as the baby grows is just beautiful, even though it's actually kinda ugly and may have put me off having kids for life.

The underlying theme of, well, growth is very strong throughout this one-shot, and you know how much I like underlying themes. Merope and Tom Sr. are shown as not growing, with Tom's stone-ness and Merope's disintegration and soil-ness, which is reflected and reinforced by her pica. Which was, by the way, very One Hundred Years of Solitude-y, so you get points for that too... especially since I just loved the Rebeca/Jose Arcadio 'ship.

Anyway. Moving on. The imagery you associate with growth... I may have a slight fear of plants from now on and it'll all be your fault. That's all I can say, really.

There's always a danger with these character-centric fics that the magic of the Potterverse is forgotten by the author - I know I do that a lot - so your ability to interweave magic and Wizarding culture with this kind of story is impressive, and it feels completely natural. It's lovely. Well done.

One minor thing I can't seem to move past: you know how at the beginning, in like the chapter summary, you've introduced the idea of dullness, right... I don't see it enough in the rest of the fic to leave an impression, and I'm wondering why it's even there. Could you explain that one to me, please?

Anyway. Thank you for entering this into the challenge. :)

Author's Response: caoty ♥ hollooo.

first, to answer that minor thing: does the catchiness (sort of) of a summary justify its irrelevance? :P Because obviously there's nothing about constellations in this fic and I'm not fond of reading about constellations in fanfic anymore. But I read that bit on Wikipedia and was quite interested in how JKR got the name for Merope (the one from mythology who married a mortal and became mortal and faded away some crap like that). As for the 'dull as dirt' bit, which is the title of the chapter although it really doesn't need a title because it's a oneshot...well, I think that might be slightly more relevant. I just combined a couple of things: first Marvolo calling her a 'sack of muck' in HBP, and Harry describing Merope as really 'defeated-looking', and also at first he was unable to distinguish her from her surroundings, because she was the colour of the dirt floor or something like that. Whatever, I'm making it a lot more convoluted than it actually sounds. As for how exactly dullness is relevant to my story...erm well...Merope is kinda dull isn't she? :P OK, sorry, this paragraph is an absolute waste of space. You're like, the only reviewer who is sharp enough to pick out all the tardier bits of my writing despite what you keep saying about your reviews being useless and incoherent blah blah etc.

Ah, 100 Years of Solitude ♥ I started reading this like, three years ago and still haven't finished. But I love the book to bits and am still reading it at a very very very very slow pace.

I thought the plants in my fic were actually the good guys :D It's the humans that are the bad ones :P But ah, your comment made me grin. And reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan's stupid movie, forgot the title because it's something really's the one where all the plants in the world start emitting neurotoxins which make people commit suicide.

Gah, thanks so much for all your amazing compliments ♥ Always love a review from yooou! And thanks for holding the challenge, really pushed me to the limits, this fic.

you're too awesome.

♥ teh

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Review #23, by TheHouseElf dull as dirt

2nd March 2013:
This is a beautifully written one shot! I pitied Merope right from the get-go when she was first written by JK, but this just took that pity to a whole other level. The depression that she's in is clearly epitomised in the scenes at Borgin and Burke's and as a reader, I wanted to shout out to her, and tell her that she's being conned. I loved your portrayal of Tom too, he's a tough character to get around, because you hate him for his condescending manner, but can empathise with him slightly as he's effectively been trapped by Merope with a love potion. The descriptions were deliciously crafted too, the little details, the smells, all of it :D The Gaunts remind me of the Ewells in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and Mayella Ewell and Merope Gaunt are definitely kindred spirits :P

A stunning and sentimental one shot that made me weep like a little girl, definitely one for the favourites xD

Author's Response: Aww, thanks for such a wonderful review :D So much lovely praise ♥ Merope isn't the easiest character to write; she has such a tragic end, but she never really had much of a life to begin with :( JKR said part of why Voldy grew up to become the way he was (utterly incapable of love and empathy etc.) was because he was conceived via love potion and not actual love. Well, you can always extend the cause of the problem even further back and claim that the Gaunts' made life such a misery for Merope that she was driven to do what she did ;) Misery and human cruelty certainly do travel down the generations and always result in the worst.

And yeah, now that you mention it, the Gaunts and the Ewells really are similar. I never noticed that; it's been years since I read To Kill a Mockingbird!

Thanks for your lovelylovelylovely review, and for favouriting :D And thanks for the swap!


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Review #24, by Lady Asphodel dull as dirt

1st March 2013:
Well this was quite an interesting read. I wish I could write as descriptively as you. :) You did a great job exploring Merope's character and the insight of her past.

Keep up the great work!

From the review tag,


Author's Response: Thank you for reading and reviewing ♥


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Review #25, by ValWitch21 dull as dirt

25th February 2013:
Excuse me? What's that I read in your author's note? A little messy and silly? Crappy ending? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

This is one of the most disturbingly well-written one-shots I've read in quite some time, and really, you put my writing to shame.

You got into Merope's head so well, and you made her far more sympathetic to the reader than JK did. I don't think I've ever read such an accurate (in my opinion) portrayal of her, and this was beautiful all the way through. Her being affected with pica is so fitting and realistic, yet so original and horrifying at the same time.

I liked her musings about the Muggle world, and the fact that she wants to raise her son as one. The irony in there is killing me.

The way she keeps being cheated for the family heirlooms she sells broke my heart -- if there's one thing I hate, it's unfairness, and this got me seriously angry at your characters. I WILL REACH THROUGH THE SCREEN AND KICK YOU angry.

And he told her the locket was fake! What a sly {insert non 12+ word here}! How dare he! I hope karma slaps him across the face before I do.

That ending was beautiful. It wouldn't have made sense if she didn't die suffering, having spent her whole life as such, but I still wish you'd given her a speck of hope. And she did get it, kind of, but not to the point where I can leave this story light-hearted.

Another of your one-shots that I've loved... It's time for me to go and find something happy on your author page!

Author's Response: Hiya Val :D

Thanks sososo much for this lovely and totes unexpected review ♥

And would you please scratch out that ridiculous comment about putting your writing to shame!?!?! At least, scratch that out in your head :D

Ah, I'm so glad you found this to be a sympathetic portrayal of Merope! I was having a lot of trouble myself, writing her with empathy. And this being the horror/dark genre and all.

They're not my characters; they're JKR's :P She made them the way they are, Burke was a swindler in the books, Marvolo was abusive, Merope was 'defeated-looking' etc. All I did was go into a bit of detail into some of their worst character traits :P So...JKR's the one to blame, not me!

Oh yeah, there's nothing happy on my author page apart from A Lightness. And somehow you didn't find that too cheerful...I thought that wasn't angsty at all :P

THANK YOU SO MUCH for this absolutely lovely compliment-loaded review Val ♥


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