Reading Reviews for Traitorous Hearts
  
256 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dreamgazer220 The Edge of Insanity

26th June 2016:
HAI PENNY I'M BACK!♥

I'm so happy that we get to read more from Draco's perspective. I've probably told you a million times (so here's a million plus one) how much I love what you've done with him. He's really obsessed with Astoria's memories, isn't he? I'm not sure if I find that endearing or creepy; I can definitely see that he needs it as a break to keep him from going insane, but at least he knows that she would freak out if she ever found out what he was doing with her mind. And it's interesting, too, that he keeps memories of her being a child, of being more vulnerable and more real. It makes sense, though, that he'd choose this given their first interactions with the parlor.

AND OH MY GOD IT WAS HIM THAT SHE SAW! Well, she didn't see him, but he was one of the Death Eaters! I don't know why I wasn't expecting that to be the case but I was so excited that it was!!! Really well done, a nice little twist right in the beginning to keep things going.

You really do such a great job with the pace of this story, though. You manage to keep things fresh and interesting, even when we're just getting a peek into someone's mind, such as Draco's at the beginning of the chapter.

I KNEW IT WAS ALBERFORTH! Huzzah! More canon ties! I love it so much :) You write Neville and Luna so well; Luna had me chuckling at her light, blunt observations about Alberforth and poor Neville is trying so hard to get negotations going. It's so lovely to see him really starting to try and be a leader, it's great growth for what we see later on in the book when Harry comes back to school. He's really come into his role here, and it's so great.

I love that Astoria stayed hidden at first, and that Neville seemed to understand why. I definitely loved that she remained in the shadows to keep watch, but when she finally heard enough, she stepped right in! It reminded me of the moment with the fork and I just went, "YES." You're really giving us someone to root for, Penny, and your character archs are amazing and deserve an A+. Or would that just be an E for Exceeds Expectations? ;)

What I love about Astoria is that she's very no-nonsense. Not many people can argue with her the way that Draco can, not many people can see through her fortress and we got to see that here with Alberforth. He tried to keep to his stance, but she ran him down. I don't think she was downright cruel, but she made her points very clear, and I was relieved that Alberforth decided to help them after all.

This was another amazing chapter! I'm getting sad, though, that I'm on my way to being caught with this story. I don't want it to end, I love having chapters to read.

Keep up the great work!

♥Jill

 Report Review

Review #2, by whykay Beyond Blood and Bone

23rd June 2016:
Great story! Keep going, excited to see how Astoria fares in the BoH.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for this encouraging review! I really appreciate it. And oh yes, the BoH is fast approaching. Cue anxious nail-biting ;) It will be, as they say A TIME. Thanks again!

 Report Review

Review #3, by Shinicha The Weight of the Curse

13th June 2016:
Im happy to see the story continued! I love how you describe the small and subtle changes within Astoria. I'm really looking forward to hearing from Draco again!

Author's Response: Hi! Thank you so much for writing this really sweet review! It was so encouraging to me after a long day at work :D I really appreciate it, and I'm glad you're looking forward to hearing from Draco!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #4, by dreamgazer220 A Rattle of Keys

11th June 2016:
PENNY HI! ♥

I've missed this story. I've been meaning to come back and read, but my heart just hadn't been in reading fic the last few weeks. It feels so good to be back!

I'm always so amazed at how well you can capture a scene. Even in something that's only 2000ish words, you describe everything so well and it really feels like you're there in the moment. I felt like I was creeping with them along the passageways, and you did such a great job with everyone's reactions to what they were doing.

There was some definite Astoria snark in this chapter, and you know I always appreciate some good snark. Trusting rooms and portraits definitely doesn't seem like something that would come naturally to her, but it would come natural to someone like Luna. Can I applaud you on how well you write her? Well, you really just write everyone so well. I think I've told you before that this story really does feel like the other side/missing moments from book 7, and I so applaud your talent in that.

I love the dynamics you've set up here. They're an interesting personality blend, but I can see them working together quite well in the future. Luna's ability to trust blindly will parallel well with Astoria's skepticism, and Neville's boldness is just so wonderful. I really enjoyed the image of poor Neville trying to hide himself in a firebox. But did he manage to hide himself successfully?! I'm not so sure, and Astoria definitely seems to have her doubts too.

So, if they're (likely) in The Hog's Head, does that mean the person that's coming is ABERFORTH?! Oooh, intrigue. And cliffhangers are evil, but I can definitely see that this was the perfect place to end the chapter.

Another brilliant job, my dar!

♥Jill

Author's Response: Hey Jill!

I completely understand your heart not being up for reading fics these past weeks. I kind of had the same thing going on. But I'm trying to slip back into the groove of things. I'm so glad that you came by!

Haha, yesss. Astoria's snark was, for a good while, the only real humor that this fic had. Obviously now that the D.A. is involved, there are some other sources of comedic relief, but I definitely wanted to make sure her sarcasm still remained a feature, and I'm so glad that you enjoy it!

"I think I've told you before that this story really does feel like the other side/missing moments from book 7,"
--you...I just...cannot imagine a nicer thing someone could say to me?? THANK YOU! *attacks with hugs* That seriously means so much to me.

Yeah. The three of them definitely work well together here, though poor Astoria is fretting the whole time. Neville's boldness moves things along, Luna's trust has a surprising tendency to be useful, and Astoria's focus on subtlety, as well as her hard edge, all combine so that they kind of complete each other.

It *could* be. But there *are* other options. After all, someone just glimpsed Astoria through the window. Was it Aberforth? Or could it be someone else?? ;)

I'm pretty sure the cliffhanger was elise's idea, so credit where credit is due. I've been really happy with it, and I'm so glad that you liked it! Can't wait to see what you think of the next chapter! And I'll be over to Haunting Shadows soon!

Thanks for the lovely review, Jill!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #5, by Lympha Beyond Blood and Bone

11th June 2016:
Amazing story! You write extremely well and it's great to read about the other side. A bit sad but very interesting. I'm looking forward to the next chapters!

Author's Response: Hi Lympha! Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review! It's so encouraging. And I'm so glad you're enjoying reading about the other side of the war, behind the scenes of Deathly Hallows. I'm having great fun writing it (even if it is a little sad. I promise there are more happy parts in the future! It pays off!). Thanks again!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #6, by alicia and anne The Lady of Greengrass Hall

23rd May 2016:
Now she is a powerful woman! Able to get the secrets from men without really trying, and trusted to pass those secrets on. If only the others knew of her power. :P

Ah, poor Lavinia, I guess she wanted to go out in more of a blaze of glory, I know I would if I was her.

I love the way that she's drinking her tea, so delicately but radiating such power. She seems to have a lot of mannerisms of her mother. They fit her well.

I am loving the way that they talk to each other, how much is there in their body language without words ever having to be said.

It's brilliant!

I am also loving Lavinia Greengrass, even if she is evil. She's brilliant isn't she? I want to learn so much more about her! See various spin offs about her!

And I think that it was definitely an inside job regarding her death. I just wonder who!

YES!!! BRING THEM DOWN!

I am loving this! your writing is remarkable and I am in awe of your talents!

Author's Response: Lavinia was indeed a powerful woman. And others not knowing that about her was the greatest irritation of her life. On the one hand, flying beneath the radar is what allowed her to be such a good spy; on the other, she wanted glory more than nearly anything. Which was, essentially, why she confided in Astoria so much. At least one person thought she was amazing.

Lavinia might not have minded dying young if it really had been a blaze of glory. As it was, though, no one knew how she died - it wasn't widespread that she was a Death Eater. As far as the public is concerned, she simply fell from her broom. No questions asked. Poor Lavinia.

Astoria definitely inherited and learned a great deal from her mother. And I'm glad you like how they read each other! I really enjoyed writing that, and how much of their communication was really unspoken.

She really is brilliant, from my perspective! Complex, and she made some terrible choices, but I think I'll always have a soft spot for her. There's more of her later in the story :D

Who could have killed her, and why? Yet another mystery...

I LOVE how behind Astoria's plan you are here. And thank you so much for such a lovely compliment! I appreciate that so much! And thank you for leaving me two reviews! That was very kind of you :D

--Penny





 Report Review

Review #7, by dreamgazer220 Into The Sanctum

21st May 2016:
Penny! I am here with your requested review ♥

So, this chapter! You are brilliant, you know? This story really feels like we get to see what's happening inside of Hogwarts while the trio is off gallivanting to find Horcruxes (which we know isn't the case, but you know what I mean!). Times are hard at Hogwarts, and you're doing an amazing job of painting the picture of the pain and torture that must have gone on in this place during this time.

I love your use of language and description. I've said this almost every chapter, but you really manage to paint an image in my mind, and I felt like I could really see what the Room of Requirement looked like, even if we hadn't seen it from a movie perspective.

AND OMG YOU INTRODUCED SEAMUS! *dances* I have to applaud you on your writing of his accent, it actually makes me a bit envious! And I love his humor, it's just enough to brighten up these dreary times. I also really love how observant Astoria is, the minor things she notices about a person. It's those details that make your writing so amazing; the bruise on Neville's face, for instance, or the scars he has. The background noises of the Room as everyone's hanging around until Astoria walks in. It's just so well done.

And we meet Luna as well! I like that you've decided to include both Dean and Luna in this, even if they're not present in the books. It's still entirely possible that they managed to find a way back to Hogwarts, y'know? We really don't know much in terms of what happened in those times.

I can totally believe the Carrows rationing food like that. I have a feeling I known where they're taking Gryffindor's food - is that to feed the army of Death Eaters in the Forbidden Forest, perhaps? It's so heartbreaking to read lines like "Snape's orders", but still so true to the character that all of the students know and fear.

Speaking of the Carrows, *shudders*. Were you really suggesting what I think you were suggesting about the young girls? I'm not really sure I want to know the answer...

I don't have much CC for this chapter at all. I think it flowed well and the conversations kept things interesting, and I loved meeting the new faces. Well, new to this story, anyway. I can't pick out the lines because I'm on my tablet, but there were a few times where you forgot to put a closed quotation mark at the end of a dialogue, and there's a typo somewhere up top where you are missing the word "she". I think it's when Astoria's deciding that she's going to do this so that she can look at herself in the mirror, or something along those lines.

And throughout all of this, Astoria's not looking to play hero. She's still looking out for herself, but there is very slow character development happening, and you're doing a great job with making that realistic.

And that Neville/Luna moment where he quoted her mum was so adorable! Do I spy a new ship? :) And speaking of ships... Astoria was worried about Draco's safety! I love that she recognizes that it's horrible, but he did save her, as she pointed out. It seems only natural that she would be concerned for his well-being.

AND THAT ENDING. Astoria's clever, about asking the right questions. Did she just create a secret passageway to the kitchens?! I guess I'll have to read on at some point to find out... The suspense, you're good at it! Just like everything else ;)

Another brilliant chapter, my dear! Thank you for the request!

♥Jill

Author's Response: Hey Jill!

You're going to make me actually blush. You are so sweet!

You know, it's funny, but I think writing Astoria has helped me so much in improving my descriptions. I mean, I always did like painting the scene, but Astoria is so darn observant, I can never skimp on it. She's always scanning the room, observing all the small details, and now it's bled over and become part of my overall style. Just one of the many benefits of fanfic :) I'm so glad that you like it, and that you feel like you can really see everything. I'm super visual, so I always hope that people will really be able to see the images popping into my mind.

SEAMUS! My love! I'm so glad that you enjoyed him, and I do hope that you continue to, since you've written my favorite depiction of Seamus thus far. You're right--amidst all the grimness, he gives everyone some much-needed levity. His part's actually grown much bigger than I initially expected. He just kind of burst onto the page (much like Ginny, actually. Huh)

Yeah! I didn't want to leave them out. In the movie, Luna even says that she's going back to Hogwarts. Which, I mean, she can't possibly just go and rejoin her classmates after having escaped from Death Eaters, so that really only leaves the option of joining the gang in the RoR, as far as I can tell.

Good job picking up on that about the stolen food. I could draw it out, I guess, but I think you know you're right. ;) And I'm glad you thought it sounded realistic. Not only is it practical--the Death Eater camp needs food, why not just take it from the school? But the Carrows are sadists, not educators; I think they'd spend as much time as possible trying to come up with various ways to make life at Hogwarts miserable for most of the students.

As for what I was suggesting about Amycus...yes. I was suggesting that. :/ I didn't really set out to make that a feature--it just sort of flowed out of what happened with Amara. I'm not saying that anything has or hasn't happened, and I didn't want to go into any kind of detail, because that felt unnecessary, but...it just...seemed true? Like I said, the Carrows are sadists. After it came up with the boggart, I felt like I had to address it, at least a little. I didn't want to shy away from how horrible I feel like Hogwarts must have become. The worst hasn't happened yet--as of right now, most people aren't living in the Room of Requirement full-time, just the refugees. It's still not as intense as it gets later, when they have to move in permanently. But I wanted it to be clear that the Hogwarts we knew is far, far gone, even if the kids are doing their best to manage. There are very real reasons for all the fear, and the hate, and the desire to fight back.

Thanks for the CC! And for doing this on your tablet--I'm sorry your laptop died! I found that missing "she" and one missing set of quotations, so those have been fixed! Thanks for letting me know about them.

I'm so happy that you think Astoria's development is happening realistically. The pace of it is something I've worked really hard on, so that just delights me! And DO you spy a new ship? Perhaps ;) And Astoria certainly has not forgotten about Draco. She's got a lot of other things to deal with, atm, but he's still there, being all morally grey and confusing as ever.

:D Yay! You liked the ending! She definitely coaxed the Room into creating a passage of some kind. As for where, you'll have to read on to find that out. It's long been a part of my headcanon that Slytherins would be particularly good at dealing with the Room of Requirement. It's like a deal with the fairies, or a magical contract--you need just the right words, and I think Slytherins would be particularly good with that sort of thing. And I'm so glad you're feeling the suspense!

Thank you so much for this WONDERFUL review, which absolutely made my day!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #8, by krazyboutharryginny An Unwelcome Visitor

20th May 2016:
Hiya Penny! Here for our swap! :D Sorry I'm a bit late with this!

I'm very impressed with this chapter! Something about the way that it's written is so striking. The descriptions are really vivid, and you've included so many details that really build up the story and make it a lot more engaging. We're given a sense of the current climate of the wizarding world without a whole lot of exposition, and same thing with the atmosphere within the Greengrass home.

You haven't really given us all that much solid information about the specifics of what's going on - Astoria's mother has died, her family's loyalties are in question, Malfoy is a Death Eater, and beyond that we don't really know too much. But you've given us enough, and dropped enough hints, that it draws us in. It's all very intriguing, and I definitely want to know more about the situation.

I briefly mentioned your descriptions, but I wanted to talk about it a bit more. The language you use is just stunning and really goes above and beyond. An example would be how, instead of saying that Lavinia's eyebrows were furrowed, you said that her "frown was a fissure between her eyebrows" - that's such a creative and unusual way to put that, and that sort of description really elevates this chapter.

My favourite part was this:
"It was incredible how a dress could be a political statement--how so much subtle meaning could be worked into the threads and knots of colour that she really just wanted to rip off her back and burn. It was a load of rot, the lot of it.
As far as she was concerned, it was green for Greengrass--that was where her loyalties lay."

And I also loved the bit when Astoria was rude to her House Elf when she would normally have been polite - it was a simple and effective way to build up the atmosphere of Malfoy's visit and even the climate outside the Greengrass home.

Great work, Penny!

-Kayla

Author's Response: Hey Kayla! No worries!

:D Thank you so much for saying that. I work super hard on the descriptions, so it always means a lot to me when they're appreciated. And you just said such kind things, and even pulled out a specific example? How lovely of you! Ooh, and a favorite quote, too. You're spoiling me ;) I'm really fond of that line, too, because it was a fun way to very quickly say a lot about Astoria--she knows how to play the game, but that doesn't mean she likes it. She has her own priorities--her family--and doesn't care a bit about the rest of it. And it was a chance to write in a little peek at the fire and anger under all that steely control she has. I'm just so glad you enjoyed it, because it's one of my favorites, as well.

I'm glad you're intrigued! Since I set out to make this story part Mystery, I really wanted to make sure that the first chapter didn't give away too much, but just dropped hints. This fic is, in large part, about secrets, so I wanted to have it open with that feeling that there's a lot going on under the surface.

Oh, Filly. Astoria's relationship with her House Elf was one of the most important things I knew about her, right at the start. We may not yet know what kind of person Astoria is, but at least we glimpse that she's got a decent side to her. I was a little inspired by Regulus Black's affection for Kreacher. We know that Regulus made a lot of mistakes, but it was Voldemort's misuse of his House Elf that drove him to sacrifice his life to try to bring Voldemort down. And I imagine that there could have been more Purebloods like that. I mean, we really only see a few examples of the House Elf/Pureblood relationships, and it's usually pretty awful, mostly because we only ever see Elves who are matched with pretty terrible people (with the exception of SIrius, whose treatment of Kreacher is terrible, but is also complicated by Kreacher's brainwashed spewing of his abusive late-Mistresses vitriol). But in my headcanon, most Pureblooded kids would be raised at home, rather than sent to a Muggle primary school. I imagine House Elves functioning as tutors and nannies--sort of the governesses of the Wizarding World. Many Purebloods would probably leave for school and grow up to continue to think that House Elves were beneath them, but I think some would hold onto that bond. Astoria is one of those.

But yeah, it would be a *terrible* idea to reveal that you considered your House Elf an equal in the "Magic is Might" era, so Astoria has got to keep that under wraps. Tense times, for sure!

Thanks so much for this super encouraging review, Kayla! I really appreciate it!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #9, by NPE An Unwelcome Visitor

16th May 2016:
Hi there,

I am really sorry it took so long to get back to you. It's been like a month.

I can only apologise, a lot was happening in RL and it came out of nowhere and prevented me from devoting much time to this site.

I really like this. Your turns of phrase and the obvious intelligence you portray in Astoria through her thought-streams are wonders to behold frankly.

I also greatly admire both your word economy, to suggest so much in 1700 words is terrific, and the palpable tension you managed to create. My curiosity is piqued and you have suggested enough intellectual food for the reader to create a banquet of intrigue.

The only element of CC I'd have concerns Draco. I appreciate he had the arrogance and entitlement to rock up at her house and give all these demands. However, he is only 15/16 at the time and even though his Dad's in gaol, it's a ballzy move. It could arguably have been elaborated on.

I am not sure which chapter I was supposed to review so I will probably post another review maybe of a different tale or a further chapter in this. I can only reiterate that I am sorry fro taking so long.

Best wishes,

Nick

Author's Response: Hi Nick!

Oh, please don't worry about it! I don't want you to feel bad! I understand that sometimes RL just happens. I do hope everything is alright.

Wow. Thank you. I'm glad you thought Astoria sounded intelligent, because *I* am definitely about to sound less coherent than I'd prefer. I don't even know how to respond to such a lovely comment apart from saying "thank you so much!".

Bahaha! Thank you! "Word economy" can be a bit of a struggle for me, actually, but I didn't want to overwhelm people with long opening chapters. Later they tend to expand, as we know the characters a bit better, but I'm really happy that you felt drawn in by the opening chapter even with its shorter length! (Also "banquet of intrigue" is perhaps one of the best descriptions this story has ever received, and I love it!)

And thank you for the CC! At this point, Draco is actually almost 18, and he's working for the Death Eaters, which is where his authority comes from. But I'm glad you said that, because that means maybe the time-period/situation aren't being conveyed as clearly as I'd like.

It's really alright! Thanks so much for this review!

--Penny



 Report Review

Review #10, by TreacleTart A Trace of Home

16th May 2016:
Penny!

I'm here finally, to leave you this long overdue review. I actually read this chapter pretty much the instant you posted it, but didn't have the time at that moment to leave you the review that you deserved...and then life just decided to be complicated. But here I am to make up for it.

I love that we've finally found a little chink in Astoria's nearly flawless armor. Up until this point she's been good at hiding her emotions, a perfect strategist, and quite honourable, so it was nice to see her just a tiny bit vulnerable. It makes her seem a little more human.

I thought Luna's assessment of the wand was a really cool touch. Of course Luna would've learned about wands while spending all of that time with Ollivander. It fits her personality so well. And I loved how sharp her thoughts about Astoria were. Luna always seemed quite intuitive if anyone actually stopped to listen to her.

I'm certain I've told you before, but Seamus is one of my favorite HP characters and I ship Dean/Seamus pretty hard, so for me to even consider saying that I'm rooting for an Astoria/Seamus hookup says just how well you're writing the growing bond between them. Whether it's friendship or something more, you've done a beautiful job of it. And I love that you haven't made Seamus a bumbling fool, but a flirty, intelligent, capable, and intuitive person. If he had been a complete idiot, I doubt he would've survived the war, so it's nice to see you putting so much thought into his character.

I also love all the little details that you include in this story. You don't just tell us that Astoria knows that a cure for boils helps swelling. You add in the touches about Purebloods using it after a long night of heels. You tell us in great detail about the things that make the office home for Astoria, like the falling leaves in the picture and I can almost see it. It's really details like that (which you are amazing about including) that make this story come to life in such a vivid manner.

Ugh. And the last scene. Could Seamus be anymore adorable? “So I’m just gonna give ye a hug, because that’s what friends do. An’ ye’re gonna manage not to be weird abut it, Astoria Greengrass. Alright?”

 This was possibly my favorite line in the whole story, mainly because it summed them both up so well. It says clearly that Astoria isn't someone who likes her personal space invaded, but that Seamus is confident enough to know that she needs it invaded right about now. It was just perfect.

My only tiny bit of cc is really more of a note for going forward. I'd just say to be careful with how you write Seamus' accent. With any character with a distinct voice (Hagrid, Fleur, Seamus, Viktor) it's easy to make their voices sound awkward or clunky by adding too many accented words per sentence. I think you're doing fine with it so far, but I noticed one or two sentences that were just a little bit choppy, so I thought I'd bring it up.

Also, there was this one little thing here...

t’s just...”

It was just, - just need to add a space between the end quotes and the second it

Otherwise, your writing is as flawless as usual and your story is still one of my favorites on the site. I hope you know how talented you are and what a brilliant mind you have. I look forward to the next chapter!

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: Kaitlin! This review is so lovely, I just want to hug you!

Hooray! I'm so glad you liked that bit about Luna. It's always been part of my headcanon that Luna would be knowledgeable about wands. She did spend all that time in a dungeon with Ollivander, and she is a Ravenclaw. Luna *loves* unusual, esoteric information, so I could only imagine she'd be all over wandlore. And I'm really glad that you liked the sharpness of her thoughts. I wanted to balance out Luna's dreaminess while still showing that she truly is astute. I completely agree with you--if anyone would ever really listen to her and not get sidetracked by the crazy details she sometimes throws in, I think she has a lot to offer.

Okay, so, confession time: I LOVE Seamus Finnigan. Writing him has been *so much fun*. The thing is, despite all the angst of Traitorous Hearts, I'm usually a lot more light-hearted. I mean, I always enjoy writing a bit of darkness in, but I'm so fond of jokes and puns and silliness that this story has really been something different for me. I've loved setting up all the tension and all, but Seamus came along and I was like, "Oh thank God! Comic relief!" But I'm so happy that you're with me on the characterization. I wanted Seamus to be funny, but not a jester. He, very consciously, provides balance to all these people's lives. He's a bit of a jokester, and very much a charmer, but I never wanted to write him as a bumbler. Would Minerva McGonagall entrust a buffoon with explosives on Hogwarts grounds, even in the midst of a war? No way! And I agree with you about him surviving the war. He's got to be smart. And I imagine his being wrong about Harry earlier would have left him far more open-minded.

I do know how you felt about Dean/Seamus, so while I fully expected some Seamus/Astoria ships to set sail here, you were the last person I was expecting! :D Thank you so much for your kind words. I love their bond, and as for what comes of it...this we shall see ;)

I am *delighted* that you enjoyed those details. They're some of my favorite bits to write. Astoria's knowledge-base comes from a very different place than the rest of them, and it's important to me to always be drawing that back in. She's a Slytherin, and a Pureblood, and it's not just something to overcome. Sometimes good things come from it.

That last scene. I tried writing it a few different ways, with a few people saying various things, but then I was like, no, this needs to be Seamus and Astoria center stage. And I really wanted to show it after the last chapter ended with a brittle, unapologetic, overburdened Astoria. You'd mentioned how Astoria's "apology" was really cold. And it was. Saying you're sorry - especially to someone you believe hates you - is really hard. It's not just a blow to your pride; it's being *vulnerable*. And Astoria's not in a place where she can be vulnerable in front of a near-stranger. But here we finally get to see her give into that. She *needs* to open up, to have a shoulder to cry on, and Seamus is the perfect person for it. What you said was just right: Seamus is confident and intuitive enough to know when she needs to have her boundaries pushed, for her own sake. Astoria needs people like that in her life, and Seamus is particularly good at that. I love writing all of their interactions.

Oooh! Thank you for the CC! I'd been worried about that very thing. The accent can be tricky. If you ever feel like there's a sentence that's choppy, please do point it out! And thanks for catching that spacing error! I appreciate your sharp eyes so much!

Kaitlin, you are actually making me blush. I got this review after driving like 5 or 6 hours and feeling sick, and it made me feel SO much better! You are so kind, and I appreciate your reviews so much! THANK YOU!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #11, by Unicorn_Charm Behind the Bleeding Walls

15th May 2016:
Hey Penny! I'm here with your review!

Yikes, Hogwarts sounds just awful. Astoria seemed like she's slightly losing her cool demeanor. The news of all of those students, you can tell, has really shaken her. The little details she thought of, like being lent a quill, or perfect attendance cupcakes... The probably deaths of her classmates truly seemed to unnerve her here.

Worse though was listening to the Slytherins in the common room. And what I liked here was how you mentioned that not even being a Slytherin exempted you from the war. That people who were Pure Bloods and/or Slytherins were just as easily killed. The response to that from the other Slytherins was so sad to read. You don't know if they're just saying those things to keep up appearances, or if they're truly brainwashed enough to feel nothing about a house mate's death. Pansy was awful. Ugh I wanted to smack her so badly. She's one that I'm sure truly felt that way, and wasn't just trying to look good in front of everyone. The cow.

Daphne seems so sheep-like. The complete opposite of her sister. I did get a kick out of her not liking what Draco said about her, because only a sibling can get away with saying/thinking those things haha. Totally true.

I also laughed about how the broom closet was so cliche. Too funny. :)

The ending of Astoria's section has me on edge. Who was the Gryffie and what did he do to her?? Where are they going? What's happening?? I need to know!!

I noticed one little typo in this section: silence of
eggshells afraid to be broken.

Oh and that Draco section! Gah! I'm so glad we got to see his POV again!

That sounds so unpleasant, camping in the Forbidden Forest. Not to mention, a bit terrifying. Like he said, there are tons of crazy creatures in there. I'm sure being there is a punishment for letting Harry go.

Everything about Bellatrix was written so perfectly here, it was truly amazing. The part about the Occlumency was horrific. The memories and thoughts that went through her head. Dear lord. She's such a psychopath. And I loved how you mentioned the weight she was losing. She definitely unraveled quite a bit (which is saying something) by the end of the series. And it was so obvious here. I also imagine that her relationship with her husband was exactly how you wrote it. I don't think she loved him. She loved Voldemort. I think her marriage was more out of convince than anything else. So that fit my headcanon.

Oh so Draco didn't go back to school at all? That makes total sense though. After what happened the year before. I do in he'd want to step foot back in there. I always wondered if Draco thought much about those last moments, when Dumbledore offered him and his family protection. I was really pleased to see that here. I'd think that it would have been something he thought of. Something that would have bothered him. I often forget how much Draco really did go through. Even though he brought some if it on himself, for the most part, he never really had a choice. I should probably give him the benefit of the doubt a bit more.

Astoria really got to him on so many levels. He keeps thinking of her. But it's in a way that shows that it's not only the fear he has of her, something about her really has him intrigued. Also in the same way she remembers like the details of his eyes and such, he's thinking about the same things with her. I'm loving this gradual build up, without them even being in one another's presence often.

Jeez, first Astoria is taken by some mysterious person and now Draco has some thing coming up behind him! What in the world is going on?!

Love it! Love every second of this! I cannot wait to find out what happens next. This just keeps getting better and better. Truly an amazing story! And I will tell you that with each review. :p

Thanks for responding!! I always love reading this! ♥

Tons of love,
Meg

 Report Review

Review #12, by dreamgazer220 An Admirable Thing

12th May 2016:
Penny, I'm back and here for our review swap! ♥

So I had gotten quite used to your long chapters, so I was a bit surprised to see that this one was on the shorter side. And while it did feel a bit like a filler chapter (which is completely fine, and probably necessary), you still managed to keep things interesting and we still learned more about the characters.

I loved your descriptions of the way Legimincey worked. It's so interesting that Draco dreams of other people's memories, but it actually makes a lot of sense, given that he's seen so much. And it seems that his brain appears stuck on Astoria, I wonder why that would be.

You do such a great job of writing Draco. You handle his complexities with great talent, showing us the true struggle that he's facing because he's not so sure he wants to be on this side of the war, but it's the side that he picked. I loved the bit about his friends; and while it's sad that they wouldn't write to him, it makes sense, and he doesn't even seem that bothered by their silence. It says a lot about the kind of relationship he has with them.

And I did notice the tie into the souls thing even before Draco did, which I think is quite interesting. The Greengrass family seems to have a thing for souls, I wonder if that will be a theme later on in the story? I really like it, though. And I loved Astoria being worried that hers would be part of the painting and that's how it moved! It definitely seems like something a little magical child might think.

I wasn't sure if we would see any Astoria in this chapter, but I'm glad that we did! She's clearly making a catalogue of things she knows about Neville, which is smart.

AND GASP! Is he taking her into the Room of Requirement?! I think he is, since they're waiting on the seventh floor! I can't wait to see what her reactions to that are going to be, especially since, with three weeks from the battle, it's more of a sanctuary than a secret room.

Another great chapter, my dear! Keep up the great work :)

♥ Jill

Author's Response: Hey Jill!

Yeah, this one's a bit of a break in the midst of all the long ones. I try to do that sometimes, just to kind of break things up a bit. I'm glad that, even though it was a bit filler-y, you still felt like you were learning things about the characters. It was set up that I considered important, and I needed to fit it in. I also wanted to just have a brief moment to slow down before the crazy really starts up again, as it will in the next few chapters.

I'm so, so happy that you feel like Draco is being well and complexly portrayed. I work hard to kind of balance that line of making him sympathetic without pretending he's squeaky clean. He's selfish, and he knows it. He has a lot of regrets. On some occasions he's done the right thing, but most of the time he hasn't. And you're right--he's not *at all* sure about his side of the war. But it *is* the side he's stuck with. He doesn't see any other option open to him, and in his mind, it's pretty much impossible that the Order and Co. could really do anything to take down Voldemort at this point. And yeah, his friends...he's not *too* much better off than Astoria has been, in that department. I imagine that he's grown genuinely attached to Crabbe and Goyle after all these years, so there is that, but on the whole, no one's talking to him, and he isn't surprised. I think it says as much about his opinion of himself right now as his relationship with his friends, but you're right. Those relationships still lack depth, and Draco has been pulled out from his family support system. It really is rough times.

Draco is very concerned with souls right now. Unlike Voldemort, Draco can feel remorse. He's still in the midst of doing what he has to do to survive, but he does *hate* it. It's that part of him that wants to change, to turn back, but feels so tainted, like he has no chance. Really, Astoria doesn't even know what it meant to him when she looked at him and told him that somewhere, he still had a soul. And I do think that he pulled that memory to himself because of that reason, that obsession. Like a magnet. And yes! Baby Astoria being afraid of being painted was a fun bit for me to write, and I loved showing her relationship with Felix back when he was mentally healthy. I'm glad you liked it.

I'm so excited for you to see the Room of Requirement! I cannot wait to know what you think! Thank you for this review, Jill! Your reviews are always splendid!

--Penny




 Report Review

Review #13, by Gabriella Hunter An Admirable Thing

11th May 2016:
Hello!

This is Gabbie from the forums here and it's good to be stopping by again! I'll most likely be here again in a few because we still have that jumbo swap to get through. Admittedly, A Force of Wills has more chapters than TH so if you want to switch up with a different story at any time, just let me know.

Anyway, this!

I don't mind chapters like this at all because it gives my heart a break. Haha. I like that there was a weird moment of peace during Draco's scene.

I was wondering how he was doing and it's nice to see that he wasn't eaten! I don't think he would have been very nutritious.

I think Draco's scene was my favorite part of this chapter though. I think I understood him better here when he had his guard down than I would have any other time. It's interesting here because he always prided himself of being above everyone else and now he's not even able to get the pillow he wants.

It makes you question your life but instead of Draco regretting how he treated others in the past, he just wants things to be the same as they were before. That's another grey area about him that I think Astoria might understand whenever they see each other again.

I also really dig this idea of him being able to shuffle through other people's memories. I don't think I've seen that before and it's such a unique idea! *Steals it for later*

What's really telling about this is that Draco is pulled into Astoria's memories so easily. I love the idea of them being like a clock, each new piece is more intricate than the last and this really gives me a more in depth understanding of Astoria too. Sweet dreams, Draco!

On a whole other note, my brother used to believe that whole thing about pictures stealing your soul. Hahah. I had a good chuckle while I was reading that whole bit (Also, it's pretty darn sad to see Astoria and her father, knowing what happens to him later)

So, Astoria!

Hahha. Back again with that sass! I was really curious about what would happen after that last intense chapter. I think you did a good job by not having that same mood fade into this one, it makes me really anxious for the next one.

It's the lovely, ominous reprieve before things turn horrible. I love doing that in my writing so I'm not going to be fussy. Hahaha.

Anyway, she's going to get more than she thought by helping Neville (I think he looks like a smexy cardigan lumberjack) and I'm eager for the next chapter!

Thanks for the read!

Much love,

Gabbie

 Report Review

Review #14, by Unicorn_Charm The Writing On the Wall

11th May 2016:
Penny! I'm here for our swap!

Wow what a great chapter! I think this one is my favorite so far. I was completely immersed in every single word of it. Just fantastic!

The beginning of this chapter was so sad. I was hoping that her father would have been alright enough to take her to the platform, and it totally broke my heart reading that he didn't seem to know who she was at all, and spoke to her like she was the help. Like a stranger. I still adore the relationship that she has with her elf. It's so sweet how much she cares for her. I wish that she would have stayed with Astoria on the platform, but she's right, it would have brought attention to herself. I'm sure not many students bring only their elves with them when going back to school.

You could definitely feel a friendship, or at least a respect for Ginny growing here. She was worried when she didn't see her, even though she tried to cover it up with more frustration than anything else, and was concerned for her well being. I still think this friendship is so amazingly written and coming along really organically. I love them together.

Astoria is so impressive! How does she know everything that's going to happen in the castle?! I'm dying to know how she found out about what Ginny was planning. I'm glad she warned her though. Gah! I just love how complexed and mysterious and strong and witty and amazing Astoria is in this story!

And of course she showed up haha. I don't know if it was morbid curiosity, making sure Ginny was ok, or wanting to be rebellious in a quiet sort of way. The whole "cloak and dagger" comment was really funny. I adore how you've written them to he so similar, yet so completely different at the same time. I really want to see them remain friends for a long time, because I think they balance one another out really well.

I loved how you touched on what happened to Ginny her first year. That really is brushed off for the rest of the series, and it was something that I'm sure was completely traumatic for her to have gone through. It really did feel like the rest of the school had forgotten about it, and it makes a lot of sense that Ginny would have become more outgoing and whatnot to try to prove that she wasn't a weak little girl.

Geez the last thing they'd need would be for Peeves to spot them. Yikes.

That conversation on the stairs was excellent. You could really feel the bond growing. It was nice to see them have kind of a typical "girl" conversation. Even though Astoria might not be so good at it haha. But she did give Ginny some good advice. And again you showed just how perceptive she is, since she realized what was going on between Ginny and Harry, even though it seems most others did not.

The ending was sweet. You can tell that they are truly concerned for one another. Whether it's out of friendship, or a camaraderie, like you said in the AN, it was nice to read.

I wonder how long before Astoria finds out that Ginny is alright. If there will be any way she'll send a message to her or not before she appears for the battle.

Also, I'm intrigued to see how her interactions with Draco go when she gets back. If Draco is any different after what happened at his place during the holiday.

Penny, this story is just wonderful. Really, one of the most creative, interesting and well written stories on this site. It's amazing! Can't wait to read on!! Thanks for the swap, dear! ♥

Hugs,
Meg

 Report Review

Review #15, by Gabriella Hunter In Dark Spaces

6th May 2016:
Hello! >:)

Surprise! I haven't forgotten about you, girl! My little life has been all over the place and I haven't been motivated to do anything lately.

My apologies!

This is seriously going to be one of my favorite chapters. It explored so many different aspects of Astoria's character and I think you've nailed her personality. Some people tend to slip up when it comes to novels and instead of their characters growing, they begin to fracture.

What's lovely about Astoria is that she has those moments when she's wavering into someone she doesn't recognize. I feel like that's an important trait to have in general because how many times have you been shocked by something you've done or said? It's a realistic thing to go through.

I've never been yanked into a cupboard though and I thought that scene in particular was just amazingly written. I love your descriptions and i just got this feeling of being shut off from the rest of the world. Astoria is just made out of pure gold, her snappy retorts and her calmness during this situation says a lot about her.

I think that you're doing something interesting here with her grey areas. Astoria has already made it clear that she wants to live but at the same time, Neville does bring up some good points. I was going to try and get disappointed with her for refusing to help them but at the same time, I understood where she was coming from. Becoming involved in something like this is dangerous for a person like her and she certainly doesn't see the point in it right away.

Neville handled himself well and I like that even though we don't see him, we get a strong sense of who he is. There's such a strong presence from him and I can't wait to read more of their interactions together.

I find it interesting that Astoria is trying to relate more to her fellow Slytherins. I'm not sure if it was actually out of loneliness but I think that her point about people drifting away from you due to tragedy is so true. I've had that happen more than once and it's strange to experience, especially when you try to get things back in order.

It was also painfully clear that she had nothing in common with the other students in her year. I thought that was a good point to make, she feels "othered" in more ways than one.

So, let's talk about the last half:

Why you do this?!

I think I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! Ugh, the way you described the Great Hall was just so brilliant. It felt like such a small space and there was this oppressive atmosphere that you did such a good job at highlighting.

But OMG! I want to punch Amycus Carrow in the throat! I can't believe he tortured that poor girl like that! Such a darkly beautiful scene though, I know it couldn't have been easy to write. You did such an amazing job though that I was so absorbed in it that Astoria's non verbal magic made me jump!

Ah!

She was going to stand up and take that punishment though! That shows that her character has changed significantly and instead, Slughorn stepped in. Shocked!

Astoria has made her decision to do the right ting but I wonder just how far she's willing to go. Hmm. I'll have to stop by for the next chapter soon!

Thanks for the GREAT read!

Much love,

Gabbie

Author's Response: Hey Gabbie! I never thought you had forgotten about me! I know things get crazy sometimes!

I am so glad that you said that! I completely agree. One of the things I like about Astoria is how she periodically surprises herself. She's changing, and has multiple instincts warring all the time. She is a person whom, we know, has strong protective instincts, at least towards the people she cares about. But it shows that she has that capacity. But she also has a very healthy sense of self-preservation. And so, as those different sides of her are battling it out, sometimes even she is surprised by which one wins.

She doesn't always recognize herself, but I think that's a part of growing up, like you said. And especially for Astoria, who is under a lot of pressure to grow up fast, I think it's a pretty natural progression.

Haha! Thank you! Whenever Astoria gets scared, annoyed, or vulnerable, she tends to bring out the sass full-force, and Neville just shoved all three emotions at her, so he got stuck in the path of Astoria's Speeding Snark Train of Self-Defense. She is good at maintaining her calm, though. She's so highly analytical that she's able to focus on facts to keep her head. Astoria knows that the best way to gain control of a situation is to act like you already are, which she does like a champ. She's very manipulative that way. #snaketraits :)

I'm REALLY happy that you understood Astoria's perspective! That's what I was really hoping for with this chapter. It was the only response that felt natural to me. Look at all that Astoria has been through: the person she trusted most--her mother--broke that trust. She also lost her mother. She's been helpful to the rebels once, and look what happened! She and her whole family were nearly killed! And Astoria isn't just a girl; she is, for all intents and purposes, the head of the Greengrass household. There's so much weight on her shoulders. It's more than just her life that she feels she must protect. Her family is also at stake. I think her initial refusal makes a lot of sense, and I really feel for her in that situation. She is 16, and the world is asking so much of her.

I'm so glad you liked Nevill! Major canon characters are the hardest to get right, so it means a lot that you thought he showed up strong.

Astoria *is* really lonely. You're right that she didn't just take up with Ginny because she felt isolated, though. She's trying to rationalize her actions. There's clearly a part of her that wants to DO something, but her mother raised her to be rational and cautious. She's trying to spin the situation into something that she can control.

:D HEEHEEHEE! (I'm not laughing about any of the truly horrifying things that occurred. Those were truly hard to write. But it does make me happy that you were on the edge of your seat!)

Amycus Carrow *deserves* to be punched in the throat. He deserves WORSE. Honestly at this point he makes *my* skin crawl. And poor, poor Amara. I rarely feel remorse for what I make my characters go through, but I hated putting her through that. Truly. It was awful. But it was the sort of thing I could believe happening. I don't think these kids just suffered cuts and bruises and crucios. The Carrows are sadists, and I think they came up with all kinds of ways to cause pain.

But YES! Astoria finally *snaps*, and I am so proud of her in that moment. I think at another time, in the past, Astoria would have stood back and let someone else take the fall. But after what she's just witnessed, I don't think she could bear to imagine some 2nd year being punished for her sake.

How far she is willing to go is a VERY good question, to which she definitely doesn't yet know the answer. I look forward to hearing what you think about it! Thanks for this splendid review!

--Penny








 Report Review

Review #16, by TreacleTart The Weight of the Curse

6th May 2016:
Penny. Penny! PENNY!!!

YOU'VE UPDATED!!! EXCUSE ME WHILE I HAPPY DANCE AROUND MY LIVING ROOM!!!

Alright. Now that that's out of my system, let me get down to the nitty gritty.

I think you know that Seamus is one of my all time favorite characters, so I was quite pleased to see him make an appearance in this chapter. I absolutely love the way that you write him. He's so adorable and happy and he has just the right amount of snarkiness. He's pretty much exactly as I picture him in my head. I also love that you make him clever, witty, good at managing things. You put so much work into making even the side characters come to life and it shows in particular with him.

Astoria is her usual brilliant self, except I think a few cracks are starting to show in her usually perfect exterior. I loved that performing the Imperius curse really got to her. She usually is so good at acting like nothing affects her, so it was nice to see her have a more emotional moment.

I'm really curious about Astoria's seeming inability to cast a reductor curse at the dummies. Towards the end we see her cast a very effective one at her own reflection, so we know that she is capable of doing the spell. I'm wondering if she has some sort of mental block on it and can only complete it when she's mad.

Oh! And Asotria's apology or whatever we're calling it. That was sort of cold. I mean she told the truth, but still she could've softened if up just a bit. Even an I'm sorry would've made it sound a little bit better.

My only tiny bit of CC on this particular chapter comes in the beginning with the Impreius Curse. I found myself wishing that there was just a bit more intensity to it. Like there was something almost dreamlike going on and it seemed just a little too peaceful for the horribleness of it all. Maybe it's because of how rational Astoria is. Even though we know she's upset, she's wearing the mask, so we don't get to see a lot of reaction. Anyway, the scene was still really good, but if I had to nitpick that would be my only bit.

Again, I'm so happy that you're back to updating this! I love this story so much and can't wait to see where you take it! I'm off to read the next chapter right now!

~Kaitlin

 Report Review

Review #17, by dreamgazer220 In Dark Spaces

5th May 2016:
PENNY PENNY PENNY.

Okay, here for our review swap, and I LOVE this chapter!!

You did a fantastic job of building up the tension and suspense once we were actually in the cupboard with Astoria and Cardigan Boy (I literally laughed out loud when I read that line!). She is absolutely the type that would reprimand him, that would call him out. She has no time or patience for whatever he has to say, and it comes across so very strongly on the page.

It was also remarkable, really, how well she could see his facial expressions in the dark. It makes sense, though; Astoria has sharp eyes, and the small details you provided gave us a chance to see them, too. It was a great chance to SHOW us Neville shrugging his shoulders, or raising an eyebrow at her, and you really did not disappoint.

I just loved that scene so much. It was true to Astoria's character, that she doesn't want to be involved in something when she doesn't get anything out of it - that's the true mark of a Slytherin right there. But she listened to him, and Neville clearly got it into her head.

And I loved how you characterized Neville! You can tell he's sweet - he's worried about the children and the people they're hiding, and not having enough food or real supplies to give them. He's stressed and he's worried, but he's also tough. He knows that he's the leader now that Ginny's gone, and you do such a fantastic job of showcasing that development. He'll do whatever it takes to help, even if it means pulling an angry dragon into a supply cupboard.

Can I just tell you that I love what you're doing at Hogwarts? The torture is so cruel, so downright evil, and I never even thought of the Carrows using boggarts as means for torture. But they're Death Eaters, and like everything else you do, it just makes SO MUCH SENSE. That poor girl, though. I can't imagine what she must be feeling, so many fears going at her again and again. Do we get to find out what actually happened to her? I think she's just knocked out cold - Astoria mentioned something along those lines - and I hope that she'll be okay. The poor thing, so afraid and intimidated that she can barely speak.

AND THEN THE FORK. OH MY GOD!

You're brilliant. Okay, you're just brilliant. I could feel the tension dripping off the page as I read everything in the Great Hall. And the fork was something so unexpected, but I found myself saying "Yes!" when it actually was Astoria who had done such a thing. She's selfish, but she's already starting to change. So very slowly, but it's happening, and she can recognize it too.

And what's up with Slughorn saving her?? I'm very curious to see where you go with this! You manage to leave bits and pieces of intrigue as the chapter progress that honestly leaves me at the edge of my seat and nervous for what's going to happen next. Because really, I don't see any of it coming, and then it happens, and I'm like, "Well, of COURSE!!".

This was another amazing chapter! You're doing such a great job of building the story arch and Astoria's character growth. I'm also amused that she refers to Neville as Cardigan Boy, even after she knows who it is. It shows that, even though she's kind of selfish, she's still got her own sense of humor, and it's really refreshing.

So. did you get the part where I loved this chapter? :)

Thank you for another great swap!

♥ Jill

Author's Response: JILL JILL JILL!

Did you?! YAY!!! :D

I have to say, I'm fond of the Cardigan Boy bit. Astoria's sense of humor is generally very dry and understated, and she hasn't had a *ton* of opportunities to really bring it out. After all, things have been pretty grim. So I love writing those moments where you get a little glimpse of that side of her personality.

Astoria is definitely sharp, with powerful observational skills. I tried to make sure that most everything she does notice is either what she glimpsed and mentally catalogued in that brief moment before he counteracted her Lumos charm, something she's putting together through hearing, or else something she sees in that final moment when her Lumos overpowers his countercharm. But she really does notice a lot just by hearing. It was a fun chapter for me to explore just how well-trained Astoria is. She can gather a lot of information from a conversation in a dark room with a boy she doesn't know. But I'm really glad that you felt like you knew what was going on and, in the parts where there was something to see, you could envision Neville's expression. If there's any area that struck you as something she oughtn't to have been able to see in the dark, though, please PM me, bc I'd want to fix that right up.

I'm so glad that you weren't terribly upset with Astoria. I thought some people might dislike her decision, but I really couldn't right her any other way. Her first instinct is to protect herself and her family, and Neville *is* asking a lot. But you're right; he definitely got it into her head.

And yay! You loved Neville! Working with the canon characters is always the toughest part, so it really makes me happy that you enjoyed this glimpse of him.

Ugh. The Carrows. That part of the chapter was hard to write. I mean, it really is sickening. That's some deep mental scarring, right there. But it was the kind of thing I could see them doing. I think that torture might be the one area where the Carrows had some imagination, as they were clearly sadists. And that's just sort of where my imagination went immediately--I don't remember really considering multiple torture scenarios or raising the stakes or anything. But it just ended up being the exact sort of thing that would get to Astoria. After all, she's been that one girl, standing alone with the weight of the world on her shoulders. And here she sees this child, younger than her, suffer worse than Astoria herself ever did, and for what? Stealing a DINNER ROLL. It absolutely horrifies her and brings out a different side to her personality. I think the deal is that Astoria becomes protective of the people she shares a connection with and, in that moment, she sees her own horrors magnified in what happens to Amara. It brings out the part of her that isn't controlled and cautions--the part of her so deep and instinctual it looses uncontrolled, emotional magic. She reaches the breaking point, where there's just no way she can stand by and let this happen.

:D :D :D The fork was a big moment for me, writing wise. I am SO GLAD that you enjoyed it so much, bc I really wanted it to be an instance where everyone could just go "YES!" and really be cheering for Astoria, even as they held their breath at the potential consequences.

I wanted to show just a bit of Slughorn's progression. He's clearly a coward, but we know he's *amazing* at the Battle of Hogwarts. Everyone thinks he's fled, and then he turns around and brings the reinforcements that turn the tide of the battle. He *personally* duels Voldemort (with help). This man who once turned into a couch to hide from visitors! So I wanted to show a little bit of that. No one except Astoria would have any idea of what he did, but I imagine he's building up to that moment, too, slowly shaking off his cowardice until that time at the Battle when enough is ENOUGH!

Jill, thank you so much for this WONDERFUL review! I truly loved it. It's so encouraging. Hugs!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #18, by FireOpalQueen An Unwelcome Visitor

4th May 2016:
Traitorous Hearts, Chapter 1:

Hello, there, Penny!

This is Kapa, here for our swap! Thanks for the two(!) reviews you left me, they were really insightful (and don’t worry about being nit-picky, I love nit-picky!). Oh, and sorry that this review is a little late! I thought I’d spend yesterday at home in front of my computer, but instead I went on an impromptu excursion to visit a museum which took up the larger part of the day. But now I’m here, and it’s time to get reviewing!

As you may or may not have noticed, Traitorous Hearts has been on my Favourites-list since Dobby-season last year, and I’ve been planning to review it for a long time, so this swap of ours is a good opportunity to get my lazy butt to actually do it. The problem with stories that are both as good and as long as this one is that I feel that they deserve my very best reviewing efforts, and that takes a lot of time. So even though I plan to review all of this story ‘unprompted’, so to speak, it might take me a while to get around to. So yeah, maybe it would be a good idea for us to make another swap soon, as you mentioned… : P

This first chapter, and the ones immediately following it, approaches perfection. Really, if the whole story had just been Draco and Astoria matching wits in the Greengrass parlour for 80 000 words I’d happily have read it; I’m always a fool for tense games of mind-chess. I mean, I enjoy the later chapters too and I appreciate that the story you want to tell is about more than just this moment, but this scene is so well executed that it could easily have stood on its own. Actually, this chapter is so good that I doubt I’ll have much of worth to say about it; through edits and reviews you’ve clearly already polished this chapter ‘til it shines. I mean, with lines like “Tall, blonde, thin and sharp as a rapier. Draco Malfoy.”, how could I not love it? Of course I know that the very same Draco Malfoy spent much of the year before crying in bathrooms, comforted by Moaning Myrtle, and yet your characterisation of you is not only compelling, but also enough in keeping with canon to not be jarring. We’re seeing the persona that Draco himself wants to show to the world (just like Astoria is presenting hers to him). And Astoria sees through it, at least somewhat, when she thinks that he looks “like a child playing in his father’s clothes, filling a role he was not made to fit.”

There are so many good lines in this chapter, omg! “Draco Malfoy was here to do what he had to do to survive.” is great (and reminds me of Hamilton, haha!). Another favourite of mine is “Austerity in one’s tea additives had never struck her as admirable”. Lines like this is what makes good character writing, and it’s just plain funny! : ) My absolute favourite line in this chapter is probably “She could not afford to be kind in front of Draco Malfoy.”, tough. It perfectly encapsulates the whole scenario set before us in this first chapter, and sets off the constant interplay between kindness and tartness in Astoria’s personality that runs throughout the story as the main inner conflict.

(Also, hehe, it always amuses me when people talk about light blonde hair as an unusual hair colour –because I’m from Sweden, where it’s almost the default. I actually used to have almost white hair myself, but it has darkened with age.)

All that said, I have found a few things to remark on:

When Astoria first sees Draco you describe him as looking “as if he might have emerged from the grey mist”. You seem to mean that he looks so much like the mist that he might as well have materialised from it, but due to the dual meaning of the word ‘emerged’ I first read it as you saying that he looked like he had arrived through the mist, which he probably really did, unless he Apparated straight to her doorstep, which I imagine would be a bit rude.

You also mention Draco wearing a ‘suit jacket’ which strikes me as a pretty weird piece of clothing for a Pureblood wizard. I think I’ve read somewhere that you’re going with a mix of book and movie canon for this story, though, and movie Draco admittedly wears clothing that book Draco probably wouldn’t be caught dead in, so maybe this is a moot point…

“‘That would be kind of you,’ he confirmed”. I think ‘confirmed’ is a somewhat weird word choice here. Maybe ‘agreed’ or ‘acquiesced’ could work, though none of those is perfect either…

“You will bring Mr. Malfoy and I some refreshments” – here, the correct phrasing, for once, would actually be ‘Mr. Malfoy and me’, haha!

“She had thought to let him begin the conversation, but he wasn’t,” – I believe ‘hadn’t’ would work better here.

“He tapped the manila folder” – the last ‘he’ that you mentioned was Mr Greengrass, and it’s been a little while since you mentioned Draco, so calling him by name here wouldn’t hurt (wow, and you thought you were nitpicky!).

The last sentence is great as it is, but maybe it would pack even a little more punch as “From the perspective of her daughter, the unexpected death of Lavinia Greengrass was a sight more than ‘unfortunate'.”

And lastly, a more general piece of advice, for you to take or leave as you want. This is actually advice that I’ve gotten myself in the past (and am still looking to implement better, oops), and it is to look over your paragraph spacing. You have many very short paragraphs, which runs the risk of making the text seem ‘choppy’ and not flowing well. I’ve heard that each paragraph should contain one whole idea, and with that rule in mind the progression of three paragraphs that begin with “This was not the boy she had known at school.” and end with “Draco Malfoy was here to do what he had to do to survive.” could easily be one paragraph instead of three (as just one example).

All in all, this is an amazing first chapter of one of my absolute favourite stories on the Archives, and re-reading and reviewing it has been a treat! : D

/Kapa

Author's Response: Kapa! This review was such a treat! And I completely understand about it taking a day or two--that happens :) I absolutely love museums, though, and I'd love to know what sort of museum you visited!

You know, I hadn't thought of it, but now I think I do remember seeing your username on the list. Haha, I understand. I find myself frequently leaving short reviews on my favorite stories when I'm trying to catch up, and then feeling terribly guilty for not leaving longer ones. It's always the question of what's best--a bunch of short reviews that I'll remember to give right then, or long reviews that it may take a while for me to get around to. I try to intersperse them, but definitely understand that feeling. And I had a great time with our swap, so I'd be delighted to do more!

Honestly, this review made me so happy that I literally did the thing where you are forced to cover up your face and peer through your fingers from sheer delight. I didn't even know people really did that, but apparently *I* do! :D I feel like you put into words what I was going for, just, near perfectly! On the inside, Draco is still the sort of boy who cries in bathrooms and is lost and miserable, but Astoria's first glimpse is of what he *wants* her to see, just as he first notices the false image that she projects. But both of them are perceptive enough to notice, fairly quickly, that neither person is exactly what they're pretending to be. It's only that neither of them initially knows the extent of it. You just NAILED that, and I am so, so pleased! You really got what I was going for.

Favorite quotes are such fun for me! It's cool to see what stands out to different people. I have to say, I've always been rather fond of the "tea additives" line, so I'm glad you found it funny. :)

Also, I'd definitely never thought about how that might sound--the rare blonde hair thing--if you're Scandinavian! I'm American myself, and while blonde hair is common enough, that white-blonde shade is pretty rare here outside of childhood. Mostly if you see it, it's dyed hair. But that's pretty funny, and I'm glad you shared it!

And Kapa, thank you so much for CC! I'm sure you can tell that I'm a perfectionist, so it means so much to me that you'd take the time to give me notes--I always want to be making everything better, so I appreciate the nitpicking. It helps me to grow as a writer!

You make a bunch of really good points, and I'll have to run back through and do some editing on these things. The word choice and grammar stuff is especially useful, as is letting me know when "he" might be misleading! At some point it just gets hard to see all those things, as the writer. And you're right about the robes vs. suit jacket conundrum. I veered a little towards movie Draco, there. When I first read that comment, I thought about going and changing it this very minute, but the suit jacket *does* serve a sort of purpose in chapter...5, I think it is? Maybe when you get there, you could help me brainstorm a solution on that front, and I could switch it to robes? Because I certainly see your point. I'd just need to do a bit of adjusting in order to change it.

I totally understand what you're saying about paragraph spacing. I believe some of them used to be chunkier, and I ended up splitting them because some people say that, when reading in the on-screen format, they find split paragraphs easier to process? That must be more of a personal thing. I can see the point of it, but I'd always been given to writing in larger paragraphs prior to. So, I guess it's something I'll have to work harder at balancing. I definitely see what you're saying, and when I make those edits I'll try to have a look through and see where it might be possible to pull some sentences together.

Thank you so very much for this review, Kapa! I absolutely loved it. And certainly let's swap again sometime!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #19, by dreamgazer220 Behind the Bleeding Walls

4th May 2016:
Penny! I'm back! *squishes*

Firstly, I'm so glad you found your wallet! I know how terrifying that is. And I'm glad you got my Grease reference, I was hoping you would! :)

ANYWAY. Onto your actual requested review. ♥

So I did notice one thing, I'm not sure if you meant Black Friday or Good Friday? Black Friday is in November, so that's why I was convinced about the timeline. It happens somewhere in the beginning, where Pansy's talking about the other families that are abducted.

And speaking of Pansy: your characterization, girl. Spot-on once again. I loved this line: "Pansy was the sort that liked to have a little blood on her, so long as it was someone else's. That way she could claim a part in the victory." SO TRUE! I really liked that we got to see inside the Slytherin common room during the brink of the war. It's so interesting, and I'm wondering if the names you mentioned will come back somehow?

I feel like Astoria's feeling a twinge of guilt that she let her family survive, but I'm glad she's also relieved about it. It says a lot about her relationship with Daphne that, while she would sacrifice herself for her sister, that doesn't necessarily mean she has to like her. I think that's a very true fact about a lot of families, and it's nice to see that not all siblings - even if they're sisters - are particularly close to each other.

I know you were worried about the suspense before she gets taken by a Gryffindor (I have some guesses, but I'm going to keep them quiet and see if I'm right!), and I think you did a good job. It did seem a little draggy in some parts, but at the same time, you don't want to rush everything and it's a nice tack to Astoria's humanity that she wants to be left alone for a while. She's definitely feeling the burden, and you do such a great job of showing us that she has feelings, too.

AND THEN WE GET TO SEE DRACO, YAY!

Ahem. There's something so amusing about the Death Eater's setting up camp in the Forbidden Forest. I don't think it was too draggy in this part - it was nice to get inside Draco's head, as we've spent a good amount of time in Astoria's, and it's so good to see where he's coming from. And girl, characterization. HOW DO YOU DO THE THING?!

Draco's fears, his guilt, his worries for his mother- it all felt so real and so raw to me. And details I forget, like that Bellatrix is his aunt- it's so interesting to see how those family dynamics work out. And I LOVE that one of the Malfoy family rules is that family is first. It just makes a lot of sense (how many times can I say that in a review?).

Another thing I loved was the descriptions of Hogwarts looking like it was bleeding. And Draco's worried about having to face Astoria! I KNEW IT. :D He's so confused it's kind of adorable.

Ooh, and I also really loved the opening of this chapter, I forgot to mention that earlier. You just. Your descriptions and language and characters. A+

I really enjoyed this chapter! Not a lot was happening, but for the most part, you did a good job with trying to keep the balances. I'm not sure how to work up the suspense in the first part because I'm really not sure if you could cut anything, y'know? I am really bad at giving advice sometimes, haha.

Thank you for another request! I can't wait to see where you take this! All the exclamation points!

♥ Jill

Author's Response: Jill, with your prompt review-answering, you have inspired me to be more on top of my review responses than I have probably ever been. What a star!

Ah! I appreciate CC so much. Please keep it comin'! So, in this case, it's actually a thing. I think Black Friday is mostly an American deal? But, for far longer, that term has been another name for Good Friday. They're synonymous. I thought about saying "Good Friday", but "Black" seemed to capture the mood of the moment a little more. I'll keep an eye on it, though, and if it seems to be causing a lot of confusion I may switch it, or at least clarify in the author's note.

Thank you! You're very perceptive. I'd try to remember those names, if you can. They might come back to haunt you ;)

I think one of the best things about Astoria is her loyalty. It doesn't matter that Daphne has mostly been useless and unpleasant. Astoria still loves her, even if she'd maybe rather not ;) Maybe she doesn't have the universal loyalty that's prized among the Gryffs and the Puffs, but the people she does love, she'd die for.

Haha, I'm so happy that you were so glad to see Draco! I'm envisioning how baffled he would be by that in his current state, and it's cracking me up.

The Death Eater camp is definitely a bit unusual. They're set up like that for a number of reasons, and I *think* you should be finding out most of them in the chapter I'm trying to finish up right now. I'm glad that you said that you could see where he was coming from--that's what I really wanted. I think Draco is enormously conflicted. After all, he tried to do the right thing once or twice, and so far, it's almost never worked out. And from a plot standpoint, I think JK did a brilliant job with Dumbledore's death--no complaints (except my tears), but I always hated for Draco that that moment was stolen from him. Because I think he would have made the right decision, and now we--but especially he--will never truly know. And I think that would haunt him.

I really do feel for the Malfoys, or at least for Draco and Narcissa. Draco may have bragged about "wanting" to be a Death Eater, but he was always just doing it for attention. He was a child, and he had no idea what he was talking about. I think that, now that he does, he'd take it all back in an instance. And in the end, he didn't *choose* to become a Death Eater; he was forced by Voldemort as a sick revenge for his father's failure. He spent a year suffering under the weight of an impossible task that it's clear some part of him didn't want to carry out at all. He's in a bad way, for certain, and even though he isn't "good", I think he's interesting and sympathetic, with lots of potential.

Oh, Draco is so confused (and maybe a bit adorable, yeah) He doesn't totally know how to process what he feels for Astoria, but it has clearly made him make DANGEROUS CHOICES. And what could happen to *her* if he saw her again, in a Death Eater capacity? Like, he wants to stay away, but also...she has really pretty eyes, you know? ;) (heehee, poor Draco) How is he supposed to deal with THAT??

Haha, I'm *glad* so many things make sense! It's sort of my idea of what Pureblood ideals were supposed to be, before they were corrupted. I think loyalty to family is a huge deal to them, and probably where a lot of this bloodline mania came from. Witches and wizards once (pretty rightfully) felt it was them against the world, and I think that would have made family loyalties quite strong. Therefore, I don't think it's any surprise that the Slytherins value "fraternity" over "loyalty"; it implies extreme devotion to a brotherhood, versus the idea of just being a stand-up person all around.

And I appreciate your advice. If you don't know of anything I could cut, I'll leave it for now and see if anything pops out at me in my next round of edits. Thank you so much for this absolutely LOVELY review!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #20, by Ohpl A Trace of Home

3rd May 2016:
Wonderful chapter. Your Luna is perfect. Exactly the right mix of strength and oddness. While the room may have created what Astoria needs it is the people around her that will allow her to do what she needs to do. Start to heal. Her realization that she was also her fathers daughter was touching. She is both bending and breaking here. In a good way.
If you ever wrote a story in this time frame with Seamus in the lead I would be the first to read it. I love him in this story. His irreverence and kindness is what they all need.

Author's Response: Have I told you how much I appreciate you? Thank you so much for taking the time to write up a review when you read! It is so encouraging.

Also, that really means a lot! I was worried about balancing Luna out, trying to show her serious side as well as keeping her her lovable, loopy self.

You are exactly right! I think Astoria appreciates the grand gesture, but it's the people that mean the most. She's shut out human connection for far too long, and she really needs this.

And haha, thank you! Maybe I'll consider writing a Seamus one-shot companion piece, if I ever get the chance. That could be really fun. I love him, too. He keeps the rest of them from getting too serious :D

Thank you again for this lovely review!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #21, by dreamgazer220 The Writing On the Wall

2nd May 2016:
Penny! Here for your requested review ♥

Okay, so, this is by far my favorite chapter so far. And I mean, not just because there was a lot of Ginny Weasley, as it shouldn't come to a surprise to you that she's my favorite character. ;) I know you said in your request that this is your favorite chapter, and I can see why.

There are so many things I LOVED about this chapter. I loved the way you built up the tension for Astoria returning to Hogwarts after the holidays. It's really so sad that Filly was the one to bring her there, and it shows the truth and rawness of her father's condition. You do such a brilliant job of weaving in and out of Astoria's thoughts and moving the scene along without it droning on. It's so clear that something is wrong and everyone can feel it, even in that opening chapter. It just makes so much sense that they would be so subdued, not wanting to draw too much attention to themselves.

I really, really liked that Astoria was irrationally angry about Ginny not being there. Of course she knows she's on the run, but having her want to have some girl talk after everything that happened makes her seem less hard and even more human. It's a subtle reminder that, despite everything, she's still a sixteen year old girl with a lot on her shoulders. It also painted this picture of her being lonely, which we didn't really get to see in the last few chapters because of the interrogation. You did an amazing job of showing that vulnerability and that need for human connection.

And then you bring us to another flashback, prompted by something that Astoria remembers saying to Ginny. Everything you write about Hogwarts makes me go, "Why yes, but why didn't this happen in the books?" Of course, there's stuff we know that's canon - like Dumbledore's army and the graffiti on the walls - but you twist it around and make it just so raw.

I love the power play that's still going on between Astoria and Ginny. It's clear there's been some development, at least on Astoria's end, but they're still staying so true to their characters and their strong personalities. You just write them SO WELL.

And OMG, Ginny's breakdown was so brilliant and I didn't even see it coming! It makes SO MUCH SENSE that that's why she's doing all of those things, to make up for what had happened to her first year. I really loved the line where you said, "Everyone had known what happened to Ginny Weasley, and everyone had forgotten." I GOT CHILLS, PENNY. CHILLS. (It's electrifying!)

Ahem. And Peeves showing up, brilliant. And that conversation between Astoria and Ginny about Harry - you did such a great job of, once again, showing us Ginny's brilliantly strong character and her strong will, but also being scared and vulnerable and not knowing where Harry is or what's going to happen to him. I can't imagine what that must be like, but you did an astounding job of painting that picture for us.

It really felt like I was there in that corridor with them. The hushed whispers and everything - it was just SO GOOD, Penny! I envy your talent with language and description. I can see this alliance blooming and it's so brilliantly done that I'm not even questioning it.

I'm a little sad that we didn't get a chance to see Draco in this chapter, but there was enough going on that it makes sense as to why he wasn't around. Will we get to see more of his POV once we get to Hogwarts? I wonder what their first encounter will be like.

Honestly, I can't think of any CC to give you. I mean, if anything, I'd say that the beginning was a bit slow, but you did such a good job of setting up the tension and then throwing us onto the train and the flashback that it really worked for the chapter. I know not everything can be fast-paced all the time, so it was a nice balance.

Thank you for the request! It just gives me an excuse to keep reading this fabulous story that you've created, and I'm so excited to see where you go with it. It honestly keeps me guessing and has me at the edge of my seat.

Amazing job!

♥ Jill

Author's Response: Jill!!!

Jill, ohmygracious, this is the *loveliest* review! I had to pause to go put it in under the "Reviews That Made My Day" thread on the forums, because it really did. I've had a crazy day. I was out shopping with my mom and suddenly couldn't find my wallet, and was worried it had been lost or stolen. I finally found it back home - literally thank God - but I had been so worried and it had kind of turned my day upside down. Even after I found it and was so grateful that it wasn't gone, I was still kind of shaken up. But then I logged on and saw this LOVELY review and all the warm-fuzzies came to help chase away the last of my anxiety. I can't tell you what a gift this was. I was so grateful to receive this review.

This *is* probably my favorite chapter at present. Definitely one of them (though I have one coming up that may almost rival it). But Ginny and Astoria's dynamic is one of my favorite things about this story. I never expected them to balance each other in quite the way that they do, and it's changed this story drastically, and for the better.

Everything you write about Hogwarts makes me go, "Why yes, but why didn't this happen in the books?"
--so, you're actually going to make me cry

Ginny's breakdown was so important to me. I never wanted her to be just a side character, stuck in for convenience. Everyone in the D.A. has a reason to be there, but none have more reason than Ginny. When I thought about that statement in the books--the graffiti on the walls--I guess the parallel just struck me and it seemed perfect. I feel like in the books we get a glimpse of the fact that Ginny is a powerful, fierce witch, and a brief reminder that she knows what it's like to be possessed by Voldemort. But I wanted to explore what that *meant*. Ginny is so determined to be a part of things, to not be left behind, and I just wanted to point out that it's not just because she's a Gryffindor, or because the rest of her family can fight and she feels left out. Those things are true. But I think that Ginny Weasley has a personal score to settle with Tom Riddle. I think that really gets lost. And I wanted to talk about why that might be, too, because Ginny--shy, terrified Ginny--becomes so cool in the later books. And we really do almost forget about what she went through. And I just thought that that might be intentional. Ginny has so much fire and swagger, and I don't think it's *despite* the fact that Voldemort nearly broke her when she was just a girl. I think it's *because* of it.

It's also pretty significant that she's telling these things to Astoria. I think Ginny can be braver about her feelings than most girls in her situation might be, but she's still very proud. She's the only daughter among a whole pile of boys; I don't imagine she often shows emotional vulnerability. You mentioned that Astoria made progress in trusting Ginny, and she really has. But this is Ginny's show of trust, and it's considerable. I think she knows that Astoria can keep a secret, but still. It's a risk. But I also like the connection it shows between them. Both girls are used to concealing a lot and bearing heavy burdens, and it's that connection that's allowing them to grow a little closer here.

Also, when you said "it's electrifying!" all I could think about was John Travolta in Grease :D

I do love that girl talk moment. Like, after all the high emotion, a little bit of low-key, normal vulnerability. A little bit of humor. In my mind, Ginny and Astoria are sisters beneath the skin, and here I think they are just starting to realize it.

As to your question, yes, there *will* still be scenes with Draco once we get to Hogwarts. They are spread out between Astoria's scenes, and you'll see why. Essentially, Astoria's life is just a lot more fast-moving than Draco's for these next few chapters, but he's still a huge part of the story. Never fear!

Thank you for this wonderful review! It truly did make my day.

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #22, by Startafire An Unwelcome Visitor

1st May 2016:
Hey there! So sorry this took so long!

Here for the first part of our swap and I'm just going to dive straight in and get started...

This is the first Draco/Astoria fan fiction I have ever read, I've been working my way around to find one as I am a fan of Draco, and I think yours may just be it!

You have such a strong opening to this chapter and I love the influence her mother sets of Astoria about keeping secrets. It's rather sly in a way and tells me this little scene will most likely link in later with the story?

We then jump forward to 1998 and the way you displayed the time jump was done so well and so smoothly! It just flowed perfectly and I really do applaud you for that!

I absolutely love the imagery of the dress and the political way it can be represented. Astoria obviously feels strongly against everything it could stand for and simply deems it Green for her surname. Already you're displaying her as a strong and independent young women who can clearly think for herself, I can already tell she is going to be such a like able character!

And oooh Draco, where to even begin! the pleasantries they exchange almost has be writhing in my seat, it's an awkward situation and I just wanted him to say something, to show us how he had changed since the war. But of course he'll always have some Malfoy in him and this is shown so well when they get straight down to business.

One particular part that is my favorite is the way we see Draco through Astoria's eyes. Clearly she's not the biggest fan of his, and instead of outright telling us she doesn't like him, you tell us through the way he sits, the way he speaks and dresses.

At the same time I don't know whether to feel sorry for him or not. He's skinnier than usual which tells us he's not eating and maybe going through a hard time? Yet at the same time I don't want to like him for Astoria's sake and whatever she has gone through.

I want to know more, no I NEED to know more!

There is so many questions, about the war, about Draco and especially about her mother!

I'll stop baffling now and just say this was a fantastic first chapter. A little short, but I think this is why it was so brilliant, it was the perfect length to make us, as a reader, want more!

Onto chapter two!

Ella

Author's Response: Hey Ella! What a lovely review! Thank you.

I am such a fan of Draco! He may not be the best role model or anything, but he's such an interesting character to read and write! It's great fun to write characters who *don't* always make the right choice, who don't have heroic instincts and have to truly *work* at being good. If, of course, he chooses to do so.

I'm so flattered that you think this might be the Draco/Astoria story for you! That really means so much! I do hope you continue to like it!

I was so nervous about slipping through time when I was first writing these chapters, so I'm really pleased that you thought it was done well. Thank you.

I know?! They are *so* awkward. I always imagined that, amongst themselves, Purebloods would have this very stuck-in-time, 19th century way of speaking. The great thing is that that speech style really lends itself towards the uncomfortable. It sounds so stiff and starched, and I loved playing with this forced politeness while there are basically conversational sharks swimming around in the subtext.

At this point, Draco hasn't actually changed since the war. We're still in it. This story takes place in the background of Deathly Hallows. Draco is a Death Eater, and he's in relative favor at the moment, since Snape lied and claimed that he was instrumental in helping him to kill Dumbledore. He's got a cushy job, by Death Eater standards. But he doesn't seem to be wearing it well, does he?

We're at Easter Holidays now. Which, on the book's timeline, means we're some days ahead of when the trio get Snatched and taken to Malfoy Manor, if that helps put it into perspective at all.

I'm glad that you're already inclined to be on Astoria's side! I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not you pity Draco. There's plenty more to find out about his situation, both good and bad.

There's lots more to find out! I hope you find the answers intriguing!

This *is* a short chapter, but I'm glad you thought it was right for the opening. If you read past chapter 2, the per chapter word count increases considerably, if long chapters are more your jam! But I think there are still plenty of questions, even then :D

Thanks so much for this lovely review, Ella. It was great fun to read! I definitely look forward to seeing more of your thoughts.

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #23, by dreamgazer220 A Family Affair

27th April 2016:
Penny! Here for our swap ♥

I loved this chapter so much. I'm always impressed by your ability to keep things interesting, even when Astoria is doing mundane things like packing for school. She certainly has a lot on her mind, and I don't blame her! I would be confused too (well, I am confused!) about Draco saving her, and what his motives might be. It's also so interesting to see this dynamic with the house elves because it speaks so much about Astoria's character. I really like that she's not like other pureblood children who would torture them, but rather looks at Filly as more of a companion.

And we finally get to meet her father! I absolutely loved your description of the library- again, it's just your command of language and description. I really want to live in that library and I don't blame Astoria for spending much of her childhood in there. I can totally picture her as a child sitting in uncomfortable positions in the armchair and just devouring novels! I also really liked the fact that he called her Tori and she called him Papa. It made everything feel less formal and more familial, which I enjoyed. And for Astoria's sake, I'm glad that it was one of his better days, even if he did mistake her for Lavinia originally. That scene really made me feel for Astoria, though, as I can't imagine what she must go through on a daily basis when she's home - and it certainly doesn't help that she doesn't have anyone else to lend a hand. Ugh, Daphne!

You also did a great job of painting a picture of Astoria's family by giving us some of her heritage. Her great-great grandmother seems like a very strong, powerful woman and I can't help but wonder if we will see more of her portrait in future chapters. I certainly hope so!

And then you bring us to the Malfoy Manor! Immediately you set up an amazing contrast between what's going on in the two homes. And it was interesting to see the Narcissa/Draco relationship here after Harry's escape. Draco is right, though. Voldemort will find him no matter what, and I don't want to think about what he's going to do when he finds him. It really was a beautiful parallel scene, with Greengrass Hall and Malfoy Manor. Well done!

Another thing I really enjoyed was that you brought us right back into the heat of book 7. I'm so excited to see where you're going to take this and I can't wait to read it from both Astoria and Draco's perspective.

Keep up the great work, and thank you for another wonderful swap!

♥Jill

Author's Response: Hey Jill!

I'm glad you didn't find Astoria's packing too boring. It definitely gave her no opportunity to avoid everything that's on her mind.

Bahaha! DRACO is confused about Draco saving her. He's not really known for his compassion or bravery, and he's well-aware of it. Astoria *tries* to be honest with herself, but she isn't always successful, and sometimes she's too harsh. At this point in his life, Draco is pretty much exactly harsh enough with himself. He's facing the fact that he's a coward (or has been most of his life), so he was as shocked by his actions as anyone else was.

There are definitely reasons. He just hasn't fully sorted them out yet.

I love Filly the House Elf! As does Astoria. I imagined that our view of House Elves in the books was fairly one-sided. Most of the people we see with Elves--Walburga Black, Hepzibah Smith, Lucius Malfoy, Barty Crouch Sr.--well, they're all pretty terrible people. I imagine that there are decent families with House Elves, too. The way I imagine it, a lot of Pureblood kids with society parents are largely raised by their family Elves when they're young. That would give them the opportunity to form a very close bond. And maybe not everyone would take that opportunity, but Astoria did. She's never been the best at making friends--a trait she gets from her mother--and Daphne isn't winning any award for world's best sister. So I think that Astoria and Filly would have grown quite close. And Astoria is not alone in this. For all his fault's, even Regulus Black--a Death Eater!--clearly valued Kreacher. It was Voldemort's poor treatment of Kreacher that was the final straw, leading Regulus to betray Voldemort and lose his own life in the bargain. That's the sign of someone who loved a House Elf very much. And I thought that could be the case for more than just one Pureblood child.

The library is definitely the best, most comfortable place in Greengrass Hall. I'm sure it's old, but I imagine that it was very much in Felix's style, and he's a fantastically warm person. I loved writing this scene! It was fun to show what Astoria was like with at least a little of her guard down. I mean, she's still on edge around Felix. She never quite knows how he'll be or what he might say, and when he forgets her, well, that's very hurtful, even though she knows he doesn't mean it :( So she still isn't totally vulnerable, but she loves him, and we get to see a bit of that warmth come through. It was fun, after all the cool posturing of the scenes between her and Draco or Ginny.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Honestly, I should just write a side fic called "Ugh, Daphne!" with a list of all the things she's doing wrong.

I'm glad you liked getting a glimpse of Astoria's heritage! My main problem with the HP books was that they always seemed a little low on diversity. I love the cast and all, but the fanart of Black Hermione and Indian Harry gives me life!

The scene at Malfoy Manor was one of my favorites to write. I always wondered how we go from a Draco who would spare Harry--because he must have known--to the Draco that goes after him in the Room of Requirement? But when I thought about what must have happened to the Malfoys after they let Harry Potter slip through my fingers...well, it made a lot more sense. I wanted to include that so that Draco's character arc would make sense. But I also wanted to show that I think he merits *some* sympathy.

Yeah, that was the other benefit--tying us into Deathly Hallows! From here on, the story is much more closely tied with those events, so I'm excited to see you get to those parts and to see what you think.

Thank you for these awesome reviews, Jill! You're so wonderful!

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #24, by Gabriella Hunter Behind the Bleeding Walls

27th April 2016:
Hello! >:3

I am so sorry that it took me so long to stop by with a review for our swap! Man, life has been kicking my butt lately. I got a weird stomach thing for a second and my laptop died last night! What's up with that?

I'm going to be honest and say that I would probably debate offering up my soul in order to binge read this story. I've wanted to delve back into it for ages now but things kept getting in the way so I'm so happy to be back.

What's strange is that it doesn't take much to get back into this either. Some stories either stick with you or they fade away but what's so lovely about this is that it's so rich and detailed that it would be like, impossible to forget I'm in love with it.

Anyway!

I really loved the way you opened this chapter, I've never started one this way. It seamlessly goes from various POVs without a hitch and you also give us some darn good exposition. Hogwarts sounds like a grim place and I could really feel that while I was reading. You took a much more nuanced approach than I did because in A Force of Wills, I'm just like:

"Everything sucks and people are gonna die, yo."

What's great about what you've done is that I can see through Astoria's eyes so perfectly. I think that with all of the information that she has and all of the secrets that she must keep, it must be difficult to find a safe place. The gossip about the missing and dead students just really added a nice touch to this as well.

There's this sense of emptiness about Hogwarts now in the students and the grounds. You can breathe it all in and what's great about this is that the Slytherins are aware of how fragile they are. They're not safe.

So, shut up Pansy.

The looming threat was hinted at but not overdone like some stories tend to be when it comes to the eventual Battle. The disgust, relief, fear and dismay were written beautifully but I'm going to tell you what my favorite part of this is:

Astoria admits to not being a perfect person.

Can I just hug your face? I get so sick and tired of these main characters being written like they're made out of gold. I want to see them make mistakes and what makes your Astoria so darn fantastic is that she admits that she is NOT without faults. She's glad to be alive and knows that it's wrong to feel that way when someone else might have died in her place.

Also, that's another twin moment! My Astoria is in denial but she does admit to not caring about that sort of thing later on. She also kind of gets kidnapped in the dark too! Zing!

Draco!

Gah, I friggin' love your Draco. He's such a complex character! I like how you haven't made him into some tragic hero too just because he helped Astoria, he's still looking out for number 1 when it all boils down to it. I like that he's not selfless here, he's really afraid about what might happen and although he does show a few moments of regret, you can tell that if he had a choice, he would always pick himself.

I loved the similarities between the pair and I hope that we get to see them together again. I think that Draco might have some other problems going on though and he should be more careful about eavesdropping on his nutty aunt. I wonder where she's off to? Bella is taking her role as Grand Jerk too seriously, I believe but that entire scene was written beautifully by the way. You describe hateful, evil people so well and Draco's narration is simply superb.

I just hope he doesn't get eaten or something.

I'm not sure when this story might take on a more romantic note, considering how both of these character are but I like that Astoria has made Draco feel off balance. She's lingering in the back of his mind and I'm curious to see what might happen when he does meet her again.

So, this was a wonderful chapter as usual and I'm glad that I've started reading again! We need to swap more!

Much love,

Gabbie

Author's Response: Gabbie! This review is wondrous!

Also, don't worry about it at all. Seriously. What with all your computer craziness *and* getting sick. Besides, we have the evil twin curse of "every time we go to do a review swap, RL does something and we get slowed down". It's chill. We both know we're good for it.

Oh gosh, Gabbie! I'm so, so flattered! But you don't need to offer your soul, or your firstborn, or anything in that realm. You might decide you want them later ;)

I'm so glad that it's easy to slip back into it. I've been worried about that since hiatus. It's really good to know that you were able to pick it back up without a problem.

*blushes*

I mean, "Everything sucks and people are gonna die, yo" is still a pretty good summary of what's going on ;)

You're definitely right. Astoria doesn't have anywhere right now that she can go and feel like it's a refuge. She's in a very lonely place right now, for sure.

I really wanted to portray Slytherin House during this period partly because I think it would be such an impossible place to be. Not everyone was pro-Voldemort, but while I imagine the other Houses could openly discuss issues with the Carrows/Voldemort, that would not have been safe in Slytherin House. Everyone had to keep their fears and doubts all bottled up. Some people in that room are legitimately horrible. Some of them just don't know what to say, and don't want to be caught saying the wrong thing. But they really aren't safe.

Ugh. *Please* tell Pansy to shut up. I get more annoyed with her every time I have to write her. ick.

*Hugs back* Yay! I'm so happy that you approve of Astoria's moral grey areas. I know there are people who only like those golden heroes, but that's not what this story is about. Like, the Harry Potter books are great, but one thing about Harry is that he doesn't often have to really *try hard* to do good. And that aspect of his character is less interesting to me. I wanted Astoria to *struggle* with right and wrong. Sometimes she does the right thing, sometimes she doesn't. Often when she *does*, it's against her primary instincts. And really, on the occasions that she *does* do the right thing, I think it's almost a bigger deal because it isn't easy for her. I want her growth to really be a process, and I'm really glad to have readers that are on board for that.

Kidnappings in the dark = ~twin connection~ :D

Thank you! That means so much to me. Draco has definitely been a tricky character to work with. His primary concern has always been himself and his family. He had a...deviation there with Astoria, and frankly he hasn't even figured out what the heck was going on with that. But yeah, I didn't want it to be like, "I did one single not-awful thing and immediately everything has changed. Now I shall be an unproblematic fave!" Does he have a conscience? Yes. Does he have regrets? Absolutely. Is he still for the most part focused on himself and his family? Oh yes.

I want him to grow and all, but it's early days yet, and he's still very much himself.


Draco definitely needs to watch out for Bellatrix. She is very bad news.

"You describe hateful, evil people so well" -- Why thank you! Haha ;)

"I just hope he doesn't get eaten or something." -- I'm gonna be honest. I smiled all through this review, but this actually made me laugh out loud.

Ah, the romance. We'll get there. They're on each other's minds, but there is definitely more to come before it quite qualifies as an out-and-out romance. At this point, they're basically both going over it in their heads all the time being like, "Okay, like, are they screwing with me? Or did we have a ~moment?" Draco is actually more of a hopeless romantic than Astoria, which has been pretty fun to play with so far.

Thank you so much for this FANTABULOUS review, and I'm looking forward to more review swaps! You're the best evil twin a girl could hope for! :D

--Penny


 Report Review

Review #25, by dreamgazer220 A Changing Tide

24th April 2016:
Swap 2/2.

Penny. Penny.

WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING HERE?! And, of course, I mean that in the BEST possible way! I just - my heart - and you - and Draco -

Okay. So. I loved the opening of this chapter. I loved the imagery of Astoria unconscious on that uncomfortable sofa, and the language you used to describe it was perfect and reminded me of the first chapter, as when she was describing Draco coming into the parlor and how unwelcome he was there. She's uncomfortable, but she knows she's safe, and she's still home, merely by simple things like the fireplace and the rug. And really, isn't that all you need to remember where you are?

And, of course, I loved Astoria trying to defend herself with a fire poker. While it's not a wand, it certainly was a weapon, and I loved how she recognized it.

Once again, the banter and conversation between Draco and Astoria truly is remarkable. They really are a good match for each other, both intelligent and cunning in their own ways. If only he wasn't there to interrogate her on her innocence. Though in this chapter, it was clear that they were starting to see each other differently. We saw that a bit in the previous chapter, but it was nice seeing it from her perspective, as they're getting better readings on each other. He can already sense when she's doing something completely uncharacteristic, and she can sense when he's terrified - and, of course, who WOULDN'T be terrified of Greyback?!

Astoria begging for her father's safety is just so beautiful. It shows, again, that she's very strongly protective of him, even if she doesn't quite feel that way about Daphne. I do hope we get to meet her later on, I'm curious to see how she would stand out against the way that her sister describes her - and even Draco, as they were in the same year at school.

This chapter played out like a movie in my mind. The writing, as always, is so beautiful and clean. It allows me to get sucked right into the world that you've created, the different dynamics that are playing so well with each other. And I sort of really enjoyed that Astoria went into a fit of laughter when she realized that they were coming for her, no matter what she said or Draco did. Interesting, though, that she asked him to help her.

AND THEN HE DID! I was honestly as shocked as Astoria probably was, he had been so silent and then had done the thing I least expected of him. And I love that he has no idea why, though I suspect it's got something to do with the fact that he fancies Astoria, or that he might begin to fancy her, but with you, you never really know ;) It will certainly keep me guessing, especially now that the interrogation is over.

But will he find out that Draco's lying? What will happen to him then, and will it be up to Astoria to save him when the time comes? As you can probably gather from these questions, I'm very intrigued to see where you take this because I have honestly no idea. I've never read anything quite like this and I can't wait to see how it plays out.

Thank you so much for another great swap! We'll have to do more in the future.

♥ Jill

Author's Response: Is it *wrong* if the first thing I say is MUAHAHAHA? ;)

My favorite thing is reviews that start in all caps :D

Squeak! Astoria defending herself with a fire poker is one of my favorite things. It's ironic, in a way, that as a Pureblood, she often enough goes for a non-magical solution, but it gives her an edge, because no one ever expects it. I think Draco was just like "wait, wut?" One of Astoria's chief Slytherin traits is her resourcefulness, and when backed into a corner, she can be outright vicious.

I'm pretty sure when Astoria jumps up, bonks him on the head, and then slices his arm with a fire poker, there's a part of Draco that's just like, "You know, I don't know why I'm surprised anymore. This sort of thing could only happen to me."

You're right--they're definitely getting better reads on each other in this chapter. Emotion is running high, and the walls are crumbling. *waggles eyebrows*

Yeah, I really wanted to stress that idea about Slytherins--that it isn't that they are *disloyal*, but that they are selectively, fiercely loyal. The people they care about? That's a sacred list; no one touches them.

You've actually already met Daphne. She made a brief appearance back in Chapter 4--the Malediction Perfidious, when Astoria was injured. I'm not surprised if you don't remember her, though; she wasn't terribly helpful. There will definitely be more Daphne down the line. She's Astoria's sister, after all. I'll be interested to see what you think of her when you see a bit more of her in person. Astoria *does* care about Daphne--she'd save her if she could. But Astoria knows that saving her father is a stretch, and he's the one who wouldn't be able to save himself. Daphne, if nothing else, has plenty of self-preservational instinct. Felix is a man with shaky health, both mental and physical. He'd never manage life on the run.

Aww, thank you! I love that it played like a movie! My background is theatre so, often as not, I write the dialogue and then fill in the scenery, but that's how i always am hoping it will be--like it's playing out right in front of you. Thank you!

I liked writing Astoria's breakdown, too. Obviously it was highly irregular, but these are extreme circumstances, and it was fun to explore what she's like when she's just...done. I think it was a wry laughter, but also full of genuine relief. The idea that she failed--her family, herself--was in many ways worse than the idea of death, at least at that point, when she wasn't yet actually facing it.

Ugh. Greyback is awful. He'll definitely be haunting Astoria's dreams for a long time. Are we lucky enough to have seen the last of him? Who can say?

And she asked Draco because he was all that was left to her. It was a true last resort, an act of pure desperation. She was definitely shocked to see everything that happened next.

I KNOW!! HE DID, RIGHT?! Draco did a thing! A *good* thing! What is this world coming to??

I'm SO glad that I'm keeping you on your toes. Writing Astoria and Draco's story is so fun because the background is all there, you know? The building blocks are laid out, but there is so little known about where they were in between all the action of Deathly Hallows. We know a little bit about Draco, and almost nothing about Astoria. It gives me a lot of room to play, which I'm really enjoying. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it plays out, too!

Thank you so much for this wonderful review! I had so much fun reading it--might have cackled once or twice ;) And yes, we definitely have to do this again soon! It's been so much fun! Thanks again! I'm using too many exclamation points!

--Penny


 Report Review
If this is your story and you wish to respond to reviews, please login

<Previous Page  Jump:     Next Page>