Reading Reviews for The Orchard
50 Reviews Found

Review #1, by krazyboutharryginny Chains

14th April 2017:
Hi, CTF again.

Wow, it's certainly weird to see Lily in this light. Although Mary thinks she's well-intentioned and Florence thinks she's being malicious, clearly she's not really in their good books. I was a little bit taken aback by what Lily said to Mary, but like Mary I took it as her being well-intentioned. And I still don't like Florence, although at least she came off as caring about Mary somewhat in this chapter, so I'm less inclined to hear her point of view, I think XD

I wonder why Florence wanted to try out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team if she's always professed to hate the sport so much? Very strange. Maybe we'll find out later?

The conversation between Mary and James was certainly interesting. It made me uncomfortable that he sort of joked around about the abduction of the Grace family, but I can see how that would be something he'd do - try to make light of an upsetting situation, even if it comes off insensitively. And his talk about how all the abductions and murders are more off than usual... very intriguing and also worrisome. Sounds like something big is going down. I wonder what...

Another really good chapter, I'm just getting more and more drawn into this story.


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Review #2, by crimson quill Owls

14th April 2017:
Capture the Flag

So this is getting interesting isn't it? attacks on students! it's all kicking off, I like the scene at the start of the chapter when they are discussing it like normal teenagers, the dialogue worked so well. Mafala is trying to see the positive or maybe being a bit naive.

so I basically just have to talk about the relationship between the friends as I really didn't see a lot of the friends during the other chapter that I reviewed. So I basically think that Florence is really the star of this chapter. I love her characterisation, I think she's believable but she's quite sassy and no nonsense kinda girl. she had me laughing in this chapter a lot.

I guess you're building towards something, like the scene with Lily at the end. So severus doesn't want to be seen with her. what's that about? dark forces are coming closer into the castle and I could tell Mary was uncomfortable about in the last chapter she saw snape with the attacked boy when she saw them that night but mary seems pretty uncomfortable as a person. I really want mary to become more comfortable in her own skin, it's my great wish for her! xo

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Review #3, by krazyboutharryginny Lingering Scent

14th April 2017:

Wow, this chapter was really heavy. I have so many thoughts jumbled up in my head and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to manage a coherent review, haha.

So I really don't think I like Florence very much. Her attitude towards her friends bothers me. I kind of picked up on it in chapter 6 but it stood out to me more here. She talks to them so rudely and she acted, in my humble opinion, quite insensitively towards Mary when she had the nightmare at the beginning.

Speaking of which, what on earth happened to Mary?! :( Ugh, it's clearly affecting her so much, I want to reach into the story and help her somehow! The whole scene with Avery and Mulciber made my skin crawl, honestly. I don't know precisely what those two did to her but obviously whatever it was was completely horrid and you wrote her fear and discomfort so vividly that I felt it too.

I found the scene with James and Sirius really interesting too. Sirius is my favourite character and when he said the skeptical line about "one old man saving the world" my eyebrows shot up my head, not because I didn't believe he would say something like that but because I absolutely DID believe he would have that perspective, but it had never really crossed my mind before. So that was cool for me!

Another really good chapter. Can't wait to find out more about what's going on.


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Review #4, by nott theodore Pressure Points

14th April 2017:
CTF Review

Hi again, Zayne! I'm so glad that I get to keep on reading this story, because I'm enjoying it so much - especially since we got to find out more about what happened with Laura and her family, too!

Wow, I honestly felt so, so bad for Laura in this chapter, but there's a little part of me which is also maybe questioning if I entirely trust her?? I mean, I really want to trust her and believe in her version of events, but it seems like there's something suspicious (on her part I mean) about the fact the Ministry have told her not to talk about it to anyone??

Maybe my mind is just very suspicious and I'm not sure I trust anyone in this era haha. But it must have been so difficult for her going through all of this and not being able to talk to anyone, even her best friend, about what's gone on over the summer. I really want to know what's happened, though - I hope we get to find out more since she can't remember it and it seems like it might be connected to the Death Eaters and the war?

It's really refreshing not to see Lily cast as this perfect character in this story, because she often is portrayed that way. I've never seen a story when she forgives Snape after that scene in his worst memory, either.

The other girls actually seem pretty harsh on Mary. They aren't very understanding when she doesn't agree with them and part of me just wants to reach out to her and give her a hug, to be honest. I hope they're nicer to her soon!

Sian :)

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Review #5, by nott theodore Holes

14th April 2017:
CTF Jailbreak Review

Hello lovely!

You know, I'm absolutely fascinated by the pathetic fallacy that is coming into this story more and more in each chapter I read. It's a technique that I absolutely love and so it's brilliant to see the way that you're exploring the weather in this story and it's growing more and more reflective of the world and the war that is raging on around them. It's also fascinating to see that Mary seems to enjoy it so much because the war is such a dangerous thing, but even while it mirrors the war, the weather is like an escape for her I think.

Again, the description in this chapter was beautiful, especially with the weather but also the scenes in the castle, too.

Regulus seems to be appearing whenever Mary doesn't want him to be there, and he's got a definite talent for it. I really can't tell what exactly his agenda is but I think that we've got a lot more to find out here.

The scene with the Marauders was really interesting - Mary is such a complex character and it's so nice to see new facets to her. I can understand a lot of things which make her quieter now, but the fact that the friendship seems to still be there on James's part at least.

That was a real contrast to the final scene... the Slytherins were just so awful to her but it was fascinating to see Mary at the end, when she couldn't deal with what's happening. We have so much more to learn about her!

Sian :)

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Review #6, by krazyboutharryginny Confession

14th April 2017:

So this chapter was really interesting for me, because it was really neat to see Hogsmeade during this time period through the eyes of... well, not an outsider, but someone who's not a Marauder or really Marauder-related. Like for example, the Shrieking Shack. Obviously it's presented as a creepy, mysterious place that's thought to be haunted in the third book, but we soon find out the real story. I know that after PoA I never gave much thought to the Shrieking Shack except as it related to Marauding adventures. So it was an interesting reminder for me, when Mary was freaked out by it, that the vast majority of people had no idea what was going on with the Shack. Another detail I really liked was Madame Rosmerta being new.

The whole scene with Regulus was really well done. It was clear how freaked out Mary was and the whole scene was so suspenseful.

Also, that little scene in Scivenshaft's was great. Such a mysterious vibe, with Mary feeling drawn to the shopkeeper like that and him telling her such a creepy story.

And then that ending! Oh my goodness! Poor Laura. That's so horrible. I've never really thought about how trauma might affect magic (assuming that's what happened and she wasn't cursed or something) but tbh I think it makes sense that it would.

Great chapter! Pumped to read more.


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Review #7, by crimson quill Holes

14th April 2017:
So Capture the Flag!

So, I'm reading this story out of order so excuse me for that! So I really like the marauders era so I'm pretty excited to be reading this story.

I really like how starting with the weather, mentioning how bad it has gotten really. I liked the symbolism as how dark mary is feeling and with the war coming too. you described it really nicely which created some really good imagery.

I really love regulus as a character so I'm loving his little scene in this. I love how you wrote him. why was he helping mary eh? will he appear in future? is this little scene important? I have questions, mainly because I love regulus. I need more!

so, Mary is obviously very troubled. it's really rather sad that she has so many issues. you used some really powerful turns of phrase to show this, ones that really stood out to me is 'memories that held her captive' was really affective. I found it really rather chilling to be honest. It got the point across really well though. you have a talent for your language. I think Mary talks about needing to disappear from the marauders was really sad. she doesn't want people to know her. this issues are intense stuff. I can't believe she run away the boy who was hurt but I guess she couldn't handle everything though. xo

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Review #8, by nott theodore Confession

14th April 2017:
CTF Review

Hi Zayne! Wow, I honestly can't believe how long it's been since I read this story, and I hadn't realised that I'd got so behind, but I'm really glad that I get the chance to come back. Mary is such an easy character to like, and one who's so different to a lot of protagonists, so it was lovely to come back to this and find her so familiar to me.

I loved the description in this chapter, especially a couple of phrases which stuck out and created a vivid picture in my mind - the spindly Hufflepuff and the tug of war that was going on in the sky. They both conjured such beautiful and creative images.

I really liked the details that you included in this chapter, too - they're just so wonderful because they show the level of thought and effort that you've put into this story. Like how Mary was scared of the Shrieking Shack and the ghosts that she thought haunted it - it kind of made me smile since obviously I know it isn't the truth, but it's a detail that fits really well with the period.

The scene in Scrivenshafts was so interesting! I love the way that Mary is quiet and thinks of things that other people never come up with, and asks the different questions. The tale about how the shop got its name was great to read, if slightly sinister.

I got chills reading the scene with Regulus. I loved the way that you dragged out the tension with him being shrouded in shadow and Mary not able to place who he was.

The final scene with Laura really made my heart break for her. I'm so glad that we got to find and that Laura has finally been able to tell someone what happened, but I'm looking forward to find out more!

Sian :)

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Review #9, by mrsdeanthomas421 Worms and Secrets

22nd March 2016:
I love this story!! Lily is so well written- thank you for making a believable, flawed Lily Evans. Too often I think we get the image of perfect, beautiful, smart, kind to everyone Lily. It is nice to see a more human character! I think she is really just overwhelmed at the disappearance of Laura. Her decision to abandon Mary to the Slytherins maybe wasn't quite as much out of malice as it was of frustration, eh? Keep up the good work. I'm riveted and can't wait to see more of Regulus!

Author's Response: Hi! Thank you so much! I'm always so worried that people are going to throw rocks at me for making Lily less than perfect. She's always been difficult for me because every time your hear someone speak of her she seems like the fantastic woman who could do no wrong. I don't believe anyone is like that. I wanted to challenge that and show that human side of Lily who may not have been all wonderful all the time. Who made bad decisions, whose boldness and passion rubbed off on people the wrong way sometimes. I want to paint someone who is lost. So i'm over the moon that you think she's realistic and aren't going to throw rocks at me for her characterization.

Yah, i'd say you're close. A mixture of frustration, anger, confusion, maybe a little bit of selfishness. I don't think she'd want Mary to be hurt necessarily, but she doesn't know what to think anymore and when Lily is frustrated or mad in this she often just reacts and doesn't think all the way through what her actions could do.

Thank you so much for your review!

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Review #10, by Penelope Inkwell Chains

17th September 2015:
Mary caught herself staring at the cracks in the castle walls for too long sometimes. The places where the mortar was the only thing keeping the stones together. She imagined it chipping away slowly, crumbling as the hands of time clicked away.
--I really liked this opening. It set up Mary's mindset for us without telling us outright. And it was just a very nice bit of writing.

Ha! Florence on the Quidditch team. That'll be fun times. Poor James.

I do wonder about Lily there. It's odd to say that they mean no real harm. I mean, she seemed to think that the Dark Magic the Slytherin boys were getting up to was dangerous when she broke things off with Snape. I wonder if she just wants to believe that, because she can't bear to believe the worst of it? Or maybe she was a bit more protected for a while, by being Snape's friend. If that's the case, I wonder if it'll change now.

Mary couldn’t help but notice the strange shadows they would cast and how the dark would flee with each step they took. Mary tried to let that comfort her.
--I liked this bit, too.

I can definitely see why Florence and Lily wouldn't get along. Mary's right--they're a bit too much alike. Very opinionated, very protective.

I wonder what it is, exactly, that happened to Mary. Was it getting attacked by Mulciber? But then it also seems like something's happened with her family. She's such a sad, careful girl, and for all her living in the moment, she seems really reluctant to interact with anything or anyone. She seems a bit more at ease around James, but apart from that, even Mafalda and Florence seem to set her on edge, and she's so uncomfortable around Lily and Laura. I hope she can break through a bit of this, soon, but it seems as though she's really been through something awful.


There was a slicing chill to the air that some students swore that it was from more than just the cold.
--This sentence seems to be stuck between two different directions. I think this should either be, "There was a slicing chill to the air and some students swore that it was from more than just the cold," or "There was a slicing chill to the air that some students swore was from more than just the cold."

That is what Mary felt, though, if anyone where to look at them they could assume they were the best of friends taking on the windy Scottish autumn together.
--I don't think you need that comma after "though".

maybe she thought it may atone her for something.
--most properly, you wouldn't say "atone her"; you'd just say "atone". I think it would also be more correct to switch "may" to "might".

Man, the mysteries just keep on stacking up: what's happened to Laura? Why did she want to talk to Mary? What was the deal with what Regulus said to Mary? Why did Lily call the Slytherin boys 'harmless'? Why did those people disappear? What's happened to Mary, to make her so lost and timid?

Why on earth does Florence suddenly want to play Quidditch?!

So many questions. You do a good job of linking in little mystery after little mystery, making us curious. I wonder what Mary thinks of the other Marauders, too. And I'm curious about whether she'll connect with Lily, eventually, or whether they'll remain at odds.

Good work, and congratulations again on your Dobby nomination! That's huge! :D


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Review #11, by Penelope Inkwell These Walls

17th September 2015:
She kept to herself as well and would only sometimes sit with her dorm mates at tea time when she couldn’t bully a word out of her Ravenclaw friend.
--It was really interesting to see Mary's perspective come out with the word "bully". From Lily's perspective, or even from Florence (who would probably do the same thing), that word wouldn't be warranted. I like the way you're slipping bits of characterization in subtle places.

She found herself gazing more out of the window in the foggy evening air than reading. She watched the raindrops fall on the glass and zigzag all the way down like shooting stars. Drops of wishes that all too quickly disappeared into the night air. The tip of the chimney of Hagrid’s hut and some of the branches from the Whomping Willow seemed to carve their way through the fog.
--Love the imagery here!

“First years are coming,” Florence said and pointed behind her. Peeves let out a howl and zoomed past the three of them with exuberance.
--This girl. Honestly, she cracks me up :)

Oh! For some reason I had thought that Mary was a Muggleborn, but I suppose she's a Pureblood, isn't she. Ahh, okay. Now I can see it. Well, then I suppose she's just rather sensitive to atmosphere? Or did something happen to *her* family? I wonder...

“Gods, Mary, why are you awake? Why am I awake?” she complained. She yawned and dropped her head onto Mary’s lap. “Friday’s are rubbish. I woke up and saw that I still have this nasty colour of varnish on my nails still. It made me want to get sick on Mafalda, to be honest.”
--every line Florence says is just a gem. You're doing a great job with her. It's good to have someone to lighten the mood a bit.


It was strange for those involved to see such an alive, vivacious girl suddenly cave into oneself.
--I think that, in this case, "herself" might match up better than "oneself" does.

The worst came from Lily who didn’t know what do to with herself now that her friend was back, but a friend so changed didn’t make it any easier for the Gryffindor who was used to getting her own way.
--I think there should be a comma before "who didn't"

It gave an eerie appearance to the grounds as though they were apparitions.
--I believe there should be a comma before "as though". Also, your use of they suggest that the grounds look like apparitions, but I think that you're referring to the branches and the chimney? Might be good to clarify that.

Another good chapter. And I'm just as nosy as the rest of the student body, because I want to know what happened to Laura. I also really like that you've cast James and Mary as old friends--it's nice to get a glimpse of him from that perspective. Oh, and I like that you included Peeves! Poor Peeves, left out of the movies. I like seeing him make an appearance in people's fics!


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Review #12, by Penelope Inkwell Welcome

17th September 2015:
Hi! I'm stopping by, trying to read through all the Dobby nominations--CONGRATULATIONS! by the way.

So, this is really interesting. I've never read a Marauders Fic that didn't start with either Lily's friends or the Marauders themselves, but this one seems to start out with another social group. It's interesting to see Lily from the perspective of people who aren't friends with her, who see her as an outsider.

Florence rolled her eyes and threw the polish out the window.
--I feel like in a very short time, you've been able to tell us a lot about Florence's character. This says a lot. She pops off the page. She would annoy me like crazy in real life, but reading about her makes me laugh :D

They began chatting about the long summer which really was no summer at all and was unseasonably rainy and cold the whole time.
--I love that you included this detail! It's like when the weather went sour when the Dementor presence increase in the books. And it makes a lot of sense, since Voldemort is on the rise.

I think it was very realistic to depict Mary as being sort of disillusioned with the wizarding world as anti-Muggleborn sentiment rises. After all, Muggleborns aren't that common, so her friends probably can't totally relate to what she's feeling (although, to be fair, she does seem to be trying to hide it, rather than talk it out).

I wonder if maybe she'll connect with Lily? It could be a bonding point, between them, that they're both having this experience.

And I wonder what happened to Lily's friends!


So, as a rule, I always give a bit of CC, because I find it super helpful as a writer. However, it's my observations and opinions; sometimes choices are stylistic and not meant to be 100% grammatically accurate, sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes you might just like it the way it is, and that's okay! I'm just pointing out some things I noticed, and you can do whatever you want with them. You're the author--you do your thing. :)

The weather was startlingly cold for September First.
--in this case, I don't believe you'd capitalize "first".

Especially since she recieve a free train ride where nothing happened.
--"recieve" should be spelled "receive", and it should also be past tense, so "received".

She said there was no particular reason for this and that it had become a habit since first year however no one pointed out that it hadn’t always been that way. They let it go like they always did as they sat down beside Florence who was sitting about halfway down the Gryffindor table.
--I think the first sentence might flow a bit better if "however" was changed to "and". And I think there ought to be a comma after "Florence".

None of them knew what to expect this year or what was waiting for them, but as the hat opened its slit to sing optimism crept into their dreams for this year had to be better than the last.
--This sentence would flow better with some different comma placement. Something like this would work well: "None of them knew what to expect this year or what was waiting for them but, as the hat opened its slit to sing, optimism crept into their dreams, for this year had to be better than the last. New beginnings always meant that it seemed."

Good job with this first chapter. I feel like I've got a bit of an idea what all the characters were like, and I'm really looking forward to seeing (a) how Lily is going to fit into all this, and (b) what happened to her friend?

Good work!


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Review #13, by Beeezie Games Continue

20th July 2015:
Ooh, I know it's not the point of the story, but I love the intricacies you're working into the Marauders' personalities and relationships. For Peter to be the maniacal Quidditch fan and Sirius to be kind of "eh" about the whole thing is such an interesting choice, but when I think about it, it makes sense - particularly the former. Peter did always worship them. (Loved that scene, btw - you did a great job with it.) And aha, Sirius is talking to Eleanor! I want them to work out so badly, but... sad face. Lily really annoyed me in this chapter, though - first she insults Mary, then she drags Mary and Mafalda down to the pitch when they're clearly not interested in going, and then she ditches them immediately? Ugh. I don't blame James for not mentioning her and for moving on. Maybe moving on? Why did he want Mary to meet Helen so badly? I'm so confused and there's only one more chapter up! Zayne, I want to know what happens! Particularly with Laura. Poor Laura. Whose note Mary hasn't even read yet, I don't think. Ugh, Mary, you should get on that.

Why is there only one more chapter?

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #14, by Beeezie Clock Tower

20th July 2015:
I love how dedicated Mafalda is to her studies - it's tempting to see it as simple studiousness, but - and I may be reading too much into this - with the scene and tone you've set for this story, I'm starting to see everyone's behavior in part through the lens of coping mechanisms - and through that lens, I can see why hyperfocusing on schoolwork would be an escape. The Ministry is a good reason, and it's a reason that makes sense, but I have a hard time believing that's all of it, especially since she's stretching herself so thin. Mary even seems to acknowledge that, a little, after Regulus talks to her. And speaking of which: what is up with him. I just genuinely don't get it. He doesn't seem particularly aggressive or hostile and threatening. He's just... there. Making comments. I don't get him, and I don't know what's in Laura's letter, and I so want to know both! I guess the only thing for it is to read on.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #15, by Beeezie Owls

20th July 2015:
I just realized that some of these chapters don't have any reviews at all! For goodness sake, why? This is such a riveting story! When this race is over, I'm going to have to remember to go recommend it in the story rec threads, because it's wonderful.

I appreciate the way the Gryffindors in general have banded behind Dirk Cresswell. I mean, I get that he's not particularly likeable, but it seems like a wonderful example of 1) even someone who's not super likeable doesn't deserve to be cursed and 2) people get your alliegance in certain things even when they aren't super likeable. If the Slytherins are banding together, so should everyone else. Florence actually grew on me a lot this chapter - I still think she's kind of mean-spirited, but I'm also thinking that it's her armor against stress and genuine fury, and that's something I understand much better. The reference to how her perfect sister always used to harp on intrigued me - I'm not sure if it just means that she finished school or if something more sinister is going on. (Florence is still mean-spirited, though. Mocking Mafalda about studying hard because she'll never be first in the class? Really? Florence, uncalled for.) The new rules make sense to me, especially if Dirk Cresswell was seriously injured (which he certainly seemed to be), but - and maybe this isn't where my mind should be right now, but it was an idle thought that popped into my head anyway - if there are any Slytherins who aren't into this whole pureblood supremacy thing, this must really be awful for them. That said, it's protecting everyone else, so oh well. I did find James's response really interesting, though - he seems to be writing to someone in the Order/who he trusts to deal with the situation about the incident, and he's comfortable admitting exactly what he thinks happened. I actually really, really love your James - when I'm done with this, I'm going to need to go see if you have any James-centric fics. I'm also curious about whether you've written anything about Lily, because this is by far the most flawed Lily I've read - and that's not a bad thing.

Amazing job.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #16, by Beeezie Holes

20th July 2015:
Oooh, Mary, I am right there with you. In the immortal words of Mrs. Whatsit - wild nights are my glory. (Madeleine L'Engle, I love you.) There's something particularly wonderful about a storm when it's reflecting conflict that you're feeling - it's like the weather is reaching out to comfort you. I don't know, personally if I lived in a place where every other day was a storm I'd be happy. I love storms. I'm wondering about Florence's suddenly taking to the Quidditch pitch, even in the rain - it seems like there's a lot of inner turmoil she's feeling that she needs to take out somewhere, and the Quidditch place is where she's choosing to do it. As a Beater, she's certainly got opportunity. I've felt like she's just needlessly aggressive, but I'm wondering whether she has some trauma that's making her act out, too - even if it's just the stress of the war. If that's the case, I still think she's mean-spirited, but I get it a little more. It's certainly more adaptive (IMO) than Mary's response, which is essentially to freeze like a deer in the headlights. I get it, I do, but my feeling is that it's easier to redirect momentum than it is to create it. Unfortunately, nobody gets to choose how they react to trauma. I do wish she'd open up to somebody, though, and I hope that she blows up at Lily at some point about what foul people those guys - including Snape - are. My heart went out to Dirk Cresswell (I'm assuming that's who that was?) too - what a horrible thing to have happen to you, and having someone come upon you and not offer support... I mean, again, I get that Mary doesn't have the energy to deal with anyone else's pain, but this is just such a terrible situation.

It's a wonderful chapter, though.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #17, by Beeezie Pressure Points

20th July 2015:
Huh. That's... okay, that makes her response to the trauma make a lot more sense to me. Not that it didn't before, but that brought it from heartbreaking to terrifying. I'd assumed that she just wasn't home for it, but it seems like she was home - her memory was just erased. I'm not sure if it was magical or repression, but either way - oh my god, that's terrifying. IMO, there's very little that's worse than not knowing, and I feel like you generally know when something important is missing. I'm wondering whether Mary has some experience with that, and that's why Laura opened up to her - she sensed it. I did wonder why it was so important that Laura's parents' deaths were hushed up, though - I can see it if she'd made that call, but she says that the Ministry did. People are dying left and right - what makes Laura's parents so different, and why do they think no one would notice? Regardless, though, if that's what Mary experienced - yeah, I get that. It's scary. But I can understand why Mary couldn't really deal with it, and why she couldn't look at the Ravenclaw table during the feast. She's too overwhelmed by her own pain and anxiety to take on someone else's - mistery only loves company to a point. And right now, while I still don't love Florence, her hostility toward Lily is making a little more sense to me - as is Laura's reticence to open up to her. Unfortunately, though, I wonder if that's part of what's pushed Lily back toward Snape - he's familiar ground, isn't he, and at least he likes her, from her point of view. But if I were one of her housemates? Yeah, I'd be angry, too.

Great chapter!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #18, by Beeezie Confession

20th July 2015:
Aha! Unless this is a different Eleanor, there is a connection between ATG and the Orchard! Eleanor's a fairly common name, of course, but still, it sounded like her! If that's the case, I appreciate it and approve. I love seeing little connections between fics. At any rate: I can see why it flew off your fingertips, and I certainly flew through it! (And not just because I'm speed reading for the HC, which is totally going to leave me with a headache.) This was a great chapter - I felt like you covered a lot of little stuff in ways that really added to the story, and I'm curious to see how things like Regulus skulking around and Mafalda's date play out. And then, of course, there's the revelation from Laura. On one hand, I guess it isn't surprising - something that affected her to such an extent had to be traumatic, and that's one of the more traumatic things that can happen to you - but on the other, I'm a little curious about why she wouldn't at least tell Lily, even if she didn't want to talk about it. Then again, once you tell someone that, especially someone close to you, I can see how they might not let you not talk about it. Huh. Regardless, though, I feel so bad for her, and I can see why she's struggling with magic now - though it does make me very worried for her, because I feel like she could easily be next.

Great chapter!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #19, by Beeezie Lingering Scent

20th July 2015:
Wow. Florence, you are super, super self-centered. And I say this as someone who adores Cordelia Chase. Mafalda was pushing Mary after the nightmare in an appropriate way, but I can't imagine anyone ever opening up to Florence when she behaves like that. And, it's super hypocritical to tell Mary that she needs to open up when you hide things like mysterious letters yourself. Distaste for Florence aside, though, I continue to feel like you're really handling Mary wonderfully - there are so many little insecurities and uncertainties along with the obvious things like nightmares that make it clear to me that there's something haunting her - e.g., feeling like Sirius was always insulting her. I'm starting to see why, though - Mulciber and Avery are such nasty pieces of work, and at this point I'm feeling quite annoyed with Lily for insisting that they're harmless. No, Lily. This is not what harmless looks like. (Florence is still being a jerk, though.)

Next chapter!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #20, by Beeezie Chains

20th July 2015:
Oh, Lily. Completely harmless? Really? I have a hard time believing that, and I have to side with Mary on this one. It's interesting to see Mary explicitly turn the assumption I made in chapter one on its head, though, and attribute Lily's idealism to her being more removed from the wizarding world. I can see how that would work, too, actually. God, what happened to Mary, though? It's clearly not just "things have gotten bleaker," though that obviously doesn't help. Florence is continuing to irritate me. I was glad to see James walking with Mary instead of her - James is much more interesting and less aggressive. See, Florence, you can have fire without being a huge jerk about it and criticizing your friends. (I really don't like her. It seems almost like she's doing it on purpose, though I'm probably just a conspiracy freak.) I can see how Lily's friendship with Snape would have hurt her among her housemates, though - it makes total sense that they'd hold it against her when he was bullying and hexing them.

I am already mourning that there's not more to this story, and I still have a lot to read. Zayne, you are amazing. I'm so glad I decided to read this rather than flitting around between short one-shots.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #21, by Beeezie Ancients

20th July 2015:
You made me so excited when Laura sought Mary out, and then you dashed my hopes immediately. You are terrible. (And wonderful.) I love, though, the way that Mary's reactions are very clearly individual and based on her own experiences, not gratifying the reader's reactions and curiosity. It makes her feel thoroughly developed as a character, and it really makes me wonder what's going on in her head - and in her past. Because that's the key, I think - the more I read, the more I'm convinced that there's something deeply traumatic that's happened to her. I'm not sure if it's whatever Lily was referring to with Snape in the memory in DH or something else entirely, but either way, my heart goes out to her. I also love the intricacies you're introducing in terms of her relationship with Florence - it's sad, but sometimes people fit so well together and then just... stop fitting. I feel like that's happened here - whatever Mary says, it just feels like Florence is criticizing her rather than encouraging her, even in a tough love sort of way - but regardless, it's so hard and painful to go through, and it's not something that it seems like Mary has the emotional capacity to handle right now.

Yeah, I hope I finish this before we're done with our reviews, because I'm going to keep going until I do. Zayne, I love you.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #22, by Beeezie These Walls

20th July 2015:
Ahhh, I was wondering whether something had happened to Laura. Well, you're just hammering in "THIS IS A WAR" from the get-go, aren't you? I have no idea what happened to her, but she's clearly shell-shocked and dealing with some pretty major trauma. I find the way you're having her withdraw rather than act out to be interesting - it's such an individual thing, but I've always been more comfortable with acting out than with catatonia (probably because that's how I react to stress). Florence is really getting on my nerves, though. She did last chapter as well, to some extent, but it's intensified this chapter. I like snarky, sarcastic characters as much/more than the next person, but she's not just being sarcastic and snarky - she's being mean-spirited, and it feels out of place in a setting like this. I do understand why she'd be a little peeved at Lily, but just... really? Come on. I like Mary's conversation with James much better, though it did make me realize that my assumption about her being Muggleborn was off-base. I guess Death Eaters don't discriminate - they'll go after blood traitors, too! Equal(ish) opportunity bullying/murder is such a beautiful thing. (See, Florence, that's sarcasm.) It was so interesting to hear his perspective, and I was really annoyed at Florence interrupting him.

Loving this story.

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #23, by Beeezie Welcome

20th July 2015:
So on one hand, I usually try to read things with less than 2500 word chapters for TAR. On the other, I like you and your writing, so I'm going to come down on the "I will read and review faster if I'm enjoying the fic and have got a lot to say." So here I am. I'm curious, because you mentioned Mafalda in ATG, too - is Orchard set in the same "universe" as ATG?

Regardless. I really loved the juxtaposition here between Mary and a lot of her fellow students. I can appreciate meeting the train with a "Oh, come on, another year?" in normal situations, and this situation isn't normal - there's a war going on that Muggleborns are major targets in - IMO, even more so than Muggles, who can hide in a crowd a little better, and I can see that having a significant effect on Muggleborns who've got to be feeling fairly disenchanted with the wizarding world just now. However, I also felt like you did an amazing job of balancing how Mary's a little soured to the wizarding world right now. However, while I definitely got an undercurrent of that throughout the chapter, I appreciated the fact that it flowed with the narrative rather than weighed everything down with moroseness. You did an amazing job of setting the scene for the story, and you introduced a lot of really intriguing interrelationships that I can't wait to read more about. Lily's not being a prefect did confuse me a bit - I thought canon was that she was? but whatever. I'm not super invested in the Lily-the-rule-follower interpretation anyway. :P

Great job!

Ravenclaw - House Cup 2015

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Review #24, by Unwritten Curse Ancients

19th May 2015:
Hi again! I'm back for your third review. Sorry it took so long.

First, I have to get something off my chest… OMG REGULUS BLACK I LOVE HIM GAH. Okay, now I'm done.

But really, I adore Regulus Black. He's such an under appreciated character. So even though he's kind of being a jerk in this chapter, I still loved seeing him and knowing that he's part of the plot in some small (maybe big?) way. I'm really curious what the Slytherin boys are alluded to that happened in Mary's past. I hope I didn't miss anything, but I'm assuming you're leaving breadcrumbs and we'll find out in a later chapter.

You keep drawing me in with the Laura plot line! Why did she approach Mary? What was she going to say? And why is she in Ancient Runes when she isn't usually? I'd say you're doing a great job at sustaining the intrigue/tension. I'm certainly intrigued!

And Mary. Mary is the type of person I wish I was, but at the same time I'm grateful I'm not. Does that make sense? She's so organized and studious and she's a great friend and the "mom" of the group--all good qualities that will take her far in life. But at the same time, keeping everything together all the time is HARD. She's bound to explode one of these days, and I wouldn't want to be her (or be around her) when she does. She's kind of like Hermione in that way.

Anyway, I've really enjoyed reading these three chapters. If you'd like to continue this exchange and read/review three more chapters, just let me know on the forums. (Although I think you were asking to just read three chapters and leave a review at the end… Oops!)

-- Gina

Author's Response: Hi Gina!

I'm so glad you like Regulus! I'm so enjoyed writing him in and exploring his character. He is so under appreciated and I think he could be fairly complex! I guess we'll see the part he plays! Haha. I am a fan of bread crumbs. They are my favourite thing ever!

I suppose you'll have to find out about what is up with Laura :) she continues to play a decently large role in the fic so have no fear!

I like Mary too, but I'd rather not be her. I'm far too outspoken and straightforward. I get what you're saying though, it would be hard to be her and how she keeps everything bottled up inside her and just keeps pushing herself forward with no thoughts of how it will effect her later. I'm curious to know what you'll think of her as the chapters progress!!

:) Thanks for your lovely reviews! I've really enjoyed doing the swap, even if it was a review a chapter! I'll definitely let you know about continuing the swap when I have some more time! Thanks for the review and sorry for the length of time it took me to respond!

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Review #25, by Unwritten Curse These Walls

11th May 2015:
Oh, how eerie! I really like this plot line with Laura. It's so sad, but so realistic… to be affected by war in this way… it's just… *sigh* I don't know how you do it, but you create this tone that's spot on. I think it has to do with the details you add in--just simple ones, like the candles and the birds and Mary reading a book at dawn. I need to do more of that in my own writing, because those little details have really brought your story to life. I admire that.

OMG James. Sometimes I hate him and sometimes I love him, and this is one of the times that I love him. How precious that he and Mary were childhood friends. I love that they can now chat about things as serious as war, but in a roundabout way--through talking about Wilkes, who has changed. Again, such a *normal* thing--friends drifting apart--yet within the context of war it's haunting.

Also, part of me hopes there's some Mary/James action about to happen. But at the same time I don't, because of Lily. I ship Jily always. It's not my OTP or anything, but… I hate seeing them apart. But since they don't get together until, what, seventh year (?) then I suppose I'd be okay with some Mary/James action. Yeah.

And as to your questions at the end--I still hate Florence. Why are they friends with her? WHY? I just don't get it.

- Gina

Author's Response: I hope I can continue that plot with Laura and not mess it up. I find that carrying a plot forwards I have trouble with. Or feel like I have trouble with doing so because I meander my way through a story writing those descriptions and tone into it that I think makes a story move a bit slower.

James is fun. I think it's interesting writing him from Mary's POV because we see another side of him we don't if this was in his POV or Lily's. We just see the side of their friendship and how they interact with one another. It also helps that they've just known each other so long that they are incredible comfortable with one another, even if they don't hang out all the time anymore. It's a bond that won't disappear. Furthermore, we see, perhaps, the softer side of James. He's still a bit of an arrogant toad and prankster, but people act differently or show different sides when they are with certain people. We see him this way with Mary. I have no comment on Mary/James :) That would be an interesting thought.

Thanks for the review! I hope you warm up to Florence, but it's okay if you don't. She can be really terrible. It's always good to know I can write a character realistically that people hate, so I can take that away from this :) Thanks for stopping by!

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