Reading Reviews for The Moon Maiden
14 Reviews Found

Review #1, by patronus_charm The Moon Maiden

24th December 2014:
Hey again Jenna! ♥

Wow, this chapter was so beautiful and sad and haunting and Iím not really sure where to start other than that this was a great way to tie up the story and the ending was perfect! ♥

The beginning section was so moving because even though we so rarely heard about Bathildaís own family in this story, that scene with the ring was really poignant as it seemed to symbolise so much like the roots of her life and childhood and how sheís turned into the decrepit being who is remembering all those events in writing and simply waiting for death to come and get her. It was so sad and sorrowful and I wish someone could have been with Bathilda for that moment.

I loved the cameo of Flitwick and I really thought you captured his perfectly. It seems natural in a way that he and Bathilda would be drawn to one another as they are both outcasts from society in a way, yet they are both insanely wise and knowledgeable it makes sense for them to get along. The cameo from Dumbledore was very interesting as this was the first time that I got a sense that someone viewed him in a negative light because of what happened in his youth. It just felt that as Bathilda knew what he had been plotting with her nephew, she knew what he was capable of for the cause of love and that seemed to haunt even though as she did seem a little cold and off with Albus, even if she did allow herself to give him a few compliments. It was just such an interesting exchange and itís made me want to know even more about their relationship.

I had wondered how you would make Muriel a spinster and I really like how you did choose to do it, as you directly hit upon her bride by taking her wealth and status and it perfectly explains why she ended up as that angry, grumbling spinster we know from the books. Bathildaís feelings of rejection just seemed to seep out in everything she said and you couldnít help but feel for her, especially with this, ĎFor what did you leave me? Why did you choose not to love me? How does your hair still smear the hair around us with that sweet, familiar perfume?í That was just so raw and so emotional and so perfect.

The theme of loneliness was brought up again in this chapter with the way all those close to her being gone. Even though Gellert did end up evil, he was still her nephew and still taken from her. I found the comment about Lily especially poignant because it left me realising that so many people would have had a happier life if she was still alive.

The ending was great with the way the moon maiden appeared as it tied into the story really well and it finally felt as if there was some calm and order in Bathildaís life for once. I really liked how Muriel was there too because even though their time together in their real lives was so short, at least they had the afterlife together.

A fantastic and beautiful story! ♥


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Review #2, by patronus_charm A Man's World

24th December 2014:
Hey Jenna, sorry it took me ages to come back to this story but here I am! ♥

I loved Bathildaís character itís so interesting to read and almost mysterious too as Iím never entirely sure what her true thoughts and feelings are. The older Bathilda is especially interesting to read with the way she casts this figure of loneliness and she only has these shadows of the past for company. Her belief in the demons was especially interesting, and I wonder if it will re-remerge in later chapters too.

Bathilda in the past with Muriel is great to read too as sheís so in love with her and would do anything for itís so powerful and so special in a way too. It almost feels that as Bathilda doesnít really have anything to lose she puts her all into Muriel, whereas Muriel has much more to lose from this relationship so thereís something almost holding her back from committing her all to it.

Her thoughts about Gellert and Albus are so great and I love seeing the snippets of their relationship as itís always been a curiosity to me, so itís interesting to see it from another perspective as it helps me understand a little more. It seems as if Gellertís visit affected her deeply so aside from Ariana obviously dying, I wonder what else occurred during it to cause her to give off those sorts of feelings, and what exactly is the secret that sheís keeping. I do have an inkling of what it could be but I do wonder if there is more to it than what Iím currently thinking.

Iím still unsure about my thoughts in regards to Muriel, at times she seems to be so innocent and under the complete control of her mother, but then a few moments later sheís suggesting that they come out to their families as itís for the best. The letter from Muriel to Bathilda does echo how I feel about her, because thereís the courage in telling her parents the truth but then the submission in how she gives into the will and agrees to marry. Sheís a wonderful complex character anyhow, and I do really enjoy reading her as itís fun to decipher the motivation behind what she does.

The last section was really great as it tied into the first with the supernatural elements of it and the internal reflections too. Bathilda seemed even more lonely then as the stranger didnít even stay to keep her company and she was left standing there alone wondering if the creatures are still lurking about. I do hope the next chapter does bring her some happiness.

Great chapter! ♥


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Review #3, by patronus_charm The North Window

1st November 2014:
Hey Jenna! I'm finally here for the review exchange so whoo for that and apologies for being late with it :P

Wah, this story seems so exciting! (this is a rolling review just for future reference) I've only read the first section so far and I'm already in love! The description is amazing, and it really gives the story the antiquated feel I imagine it to have and it just ties in so well. Another thing I loved was how Bathilda is a writer because it somehow gives the story a wonderful poetic element to it which ties into the description and just makes it all lovely. I'm not sure if that makes much sense to you but I really love it. I'm also really intrigued about who the visitor could be and why she's accusing Bathilda of those things. I have a feeling there's a very good backstory to this so I can't wait to read on and find out what happened!

Ooh I loved the beginning of the ball scene as it just revealed so much about Bathilda's character and made me love her! She really is an independent woman who knows how she stands in society. I really like how despite the fact she knows that, she rebels too with the way she isn't married and is a historian as it just makes it so much more interesting. Another twist I liked was the fact though she wasn't of the same social standing as the others, she was still comfortable to hang around with all these people, and that really showed what an independent person she was.

Muriel was really interesting too, as I never imagined her to be such a lively and chatty person as she seems so moody in her old age. I liked the twist about her having to marry Ollivander because there were no other suitors for her. It does make me wonder whether anything did happen on the continent, or more specifically whether anything happened between Muriel and Bathilda because I have a feeling that something did. Hmm, I shall just have to read on and find out!

The ending was very curious and I can't wait to see why Bathilda has to please this lady as the whole situation just seems so strange right now, I need more information so I can try and figure out what's happened here.

I will definitely be back to read the other chapters as this first one was great, Jenna! ♥


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Review #4, by What's in a name The Moon Maiden

17th July 2014:
This is beautiful and also my new head canon

Author's Response: That is so sweet! Thank you so much, this review was really lovely to receive. :)

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Review #5, by teh tarik The Moon Maiden

30th March 2014:
Hello again, Jenna! AT LAST I'm here to review your final chapter of your very lovely challenge entry. OK, first I must say that this chapter was absolutely squeeworthy aaslkdjvms. Somehow, I thought that there wouldn't be a very happy ending - maybe it's because I've read most of the other challenge entries, and while their ships are just as interesting, many of them end in misery and tragedy. So I'm really happy to see something different here!

Ah, have I mentioned that I love your Bathilda very much? I love her even more in this chapter, and the great lengths you've gone to write her life in detail - her dedication to her writing, her associations with the rest of the wizarding world; it makes a whole lot of sense, the life you've given her. I get the sense that, with Bathilda, she feels she's unable to change the world and social views of women, and women in same-sex relationships. But this doesn't stop her from doing her best to make a name for herself out in the publishing world, for writing her way into such a profession. I love the references to her projects here and there, and her clear feminist activism. That being said, while she achieves so much with her writing, there's that inescapable hollowness that she can't elude - and it's so sad that she actually does have the opportunity to change this, especially when bumping into Muriel during the Gringott's event. By the end of that encounter, I was pretty much throwing my hands up in the air, thinking that there were too many unresolved things between Muriel and Bathilda for them both to ever reconcile fully. Not to mention how proud the both of them are. I like the reference to Bathilda having a number of relationships with other women during her life, perhaps attempting to find companionship, though of course, none of these really compare to what she and Muriel had. I can imagine Bathilda leading this very open lifestyle, continuing to remain scandalously unmarried - as you wrote her in the first chapter - having many lovers.

Ooh, and Grindelwald performed Occlumency on her!! Aah, and I wrote Kendra doing a Memory Charm on Bathilda in my own fic. :P And Rita Skeeter definitely did something to her as well. Yeah, seriously, WHY is everyone messing with Bathilda's head!?! :P

But the part I liked best was that final bit with the Moon Maiden, and the explanation of all the windows showing different parts of Bathilda's life, what has been or could have been. The demon children surprised me, in particular,. I loved how deftly you wrote that scene; it tied things up perfectly, and shed more light on the Moon Maiden myth (pun not intended :P ). I didn't expect the stranger to be the Moon Maiden! But of course it makes perfect sense. I pretty much adore the premise that before Bathilda can ever attain any measure of happiness, she has to confront the truth of everything she was, she and Muriel, and in order to confront that truth, she has to write. It's honestly very well-thought out, because Bathilda is a writer after all, and writing has been a powerful tool for her throughout her life - she uses writing to elevate her social status in the wizarding world, but she also misuses writing, e.g. in that awful, impulsive letter she sent to Muriel all those years ago.

And of course, I can't tell you how happy I am that Muriel and Bathilda finally got together again. I'm imagining them both living a peaceful afterlife in Bathilda's old cottage, now a much more peaceful place, gossiping and teasing and chattering to their heart's content.

Fabulously written story, Jenna! ♥ I saw that Aphoride recommended it on the forums and it deserves just that. Because I'm so tardy, I have a few more entries/chapters to get through before posting the challenge results *hdies* Thank you so much for participating; this has been a joy to read.


Author's Response: Hi teh! :) Wow, another monster review... thank you so much!!

I'm so glad you liked this ending to the story, I absolutely loved working on this strange but fun little creation. I know what you mean about not having a happy ending! Looking back I do find this ending a little ominous and happy at the same time but it was always going to end this way, with the bittersweet ending in real life and then the reunion in death. In my head there was sort of the danger that this Muriel might be a figment of Bathilda's imagination, that all the figures could just be appearing inside her head, but either way she gets to be with her love again. :)

It makes me so happy that you like Bathilda! She's such a contradictory character here - she's very brave and trail-blazing in some ways, but at the same time she has all these doubts and fears and isn't comfortable with publicly revealing her sexuality. I love how you described her "inescapable hollowness" - that is very true. They are both so proud, and judging from the way Muriel spoke about Bathilda in DH I imagined she would hold a grudge even if her own heart was hurting for a very long time. Bathilda is so scandalous, but when it really matters to her she can't fight for it - I do love her for that though.

Haha! I was so sad/amused when I read what happened to your Bathilda in DC. My poor Batty! :( ♥

I'm so pleased you liked the explanation of it all - that was one of the first sections I wrote so it felt really good to finally explain everything - in an afterlife, cryptic sort of way. *giggles at pun* :P I'm actually glad it came as a little unexpected but tied in the story well, and how the myth and the title and Bathilda's world are so intertwined. Yes, I imagined that her writing would be an important outlet, as was facing things in that cottage where she lived for so long. And I love your mention of how she "misused" writing to hurt Muriel - it's so true, and shows how crucial yet destructive writing is to her while remaining an integral part of herself.

I agree! They would have an afterlife full of tea, gossiping and probably arguing, though I'm not sure where they would go to get away from one another. :P I'm really pleased you liked the ending and the potential it could bring.

Thank you so much for all these amazing reviews, teh! :D And thank you for the challenge - I never would have had the motivation to act on this strange idea of a ship if it weren't for the challenge, and I think I learned a lot while writing this. Good luck with all the other entries - thanks so much! :)

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Review #6, by Aphoride The Moon Maiden

26th March 2014:
Ah, I can't believe this is over! I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to this! And I really, really can't believe this is the first review on this chapter! (Though it might not be, by the time I finish this :P) So ridiculous... this definitely deserves more reviews than it has!

(Note: this review may be rambling in nature, at times insensible and illegible and filled with squeeing and general compliments about everything... sorry :P)

So, Bathilda. I love her. I just love how you portray her. The way we've almost gone through her life, from young(-ish) to old and the changes she's faced and seen and undergone. I love how she's a bit of a coward, really, even when it concerns things and people she loves, and how she shies away from things which are considered abnormal, despite writing history which is, frankly, full of secrets and 'abnormal' things and scandals and so on. The hypocritical nature of her is just so real and so lovely to see in fanfiction, since it's not always portrayed!

I love the beginning section with her mother's ring on her finger because it had fitted her, though it doesn't any more, and then how she stares out of the window and sees her reflection? An old woman? there, looking at her, and it's her but doesn't seem to be her. It's a beautiful way of phrasing it and such a haunting image.

The cameos were amazing, too! Filius and Albus and Mr Gaunt (last of the sane ones, I assume :P)... though I'm pretty sure Albus' hair when he was young was auburn, not 'sandy' ;) Don't know if that was a mistake or a conscious choice otherwise, but I thought I'd mention it anyway :) The idea that Filius was so concerned about dragon welfare is wonderful, as well as him saving the hour with a quick Aguamenti. Ravenclaw represent, haha!

The mentions of Muriel before the end section were so bittersweet. Because they kind of both ruined anything they could ever have had, you know, and it's not wholly either of their faults, but just something between them, and Muriel is too stubborn to change it, even though potentially she could have, in the end... it's a really sad idea, that she turned into the character we know from the books from that - so angry and old and bitter, and gossiping and rude... it's not a nice ending, really. I liked how she was still able to make a bit of conversation with Bathilda, though, it was nice to see that they could at least have a bit of conversation, despite everything, even if it was tense and awkward, haha. The little details about how Muriel organised Bathilda's funeral and all after she'd died were so sweet, too - that Muriel still cared about her in the end. Gah!

I loved the mentions of the books she wrote and about what, too; how she'd avoided writing about Gellert as far as possible. And I loved the use of Occlumency to block it from her mind so even Rita Skeeter couldn't get it out - and the little mentions of Albus slipping out of the window, arranging his clothes and all... :P I love how astute Bathilda is, that she thinks that information like that could have changed the war, but that it would also overshadow everything else they'd both done... because I think it's still true even today, you know, and it's such a horribly unfair thing!

The ending was fabulous, with the moon maiden appearing and Bathilda being dead and the use of the windows - which was so clever, I really didn't get it until you explained it! - to show different aspects of herself and what could have been, with the demon children... and Muriel! I love the idea that in the afterlife or whatever Muriel and Bathilda had their own little cottage, haha, and lived together :P (With Albus and Gellert down the road, ofc ;D)

Your writing, as always, is just stunning. You capture the era and Bathilda's voice both so, so well. It's so distinctive and beautiful and your descriptions are always so gorgeous. I don't really know what to say other than that it's just so lovely and I'm so jealous of how you can do that!

So yes, this is now one of my all-time favourite stories for sure, and if I see somewhere to recommend it, I definitely will because this is amazing. Just amazing. Honestly. I love it!


Aph xx

Author's Response: Hello! :) Wow, this review is just amazing. ♥ Thank you so much!

I love that you love how I wrote Bathilda! :) I grew so attached to her while writing this and I feel oddly protective of her now, she had so many trials in her very long life. And I love how you've noticed how she is hypocritical and very imperfect - in a way, she's more comfortable writing and learning about other people's history than addressing her own, which made her very interesting to me.

Thank you, I'm very pleased you liked that scene! And yes, I didn't want to fully identify the old woman as being a part of her - she is, in a way, but Bathilda is so much more than that old woman who was killed by the snake, which is the message I was sort of quietly thinking about while writing this.

Haha, I'll change the hair colour - good catch! :P I'm pleased you liked the cameos as well, Flitwick just sort of showed up but I thought it was a nice moment since he was one of those people who others would probably underestimate as well. But he got to save the day! I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with young Albus but he sort of had to make a proper appearance eventually.

Yes! It really isn't a very happy ending, until the very end... well, sort of. The fact that they lived for decades with this kind of bitterness and regret, and how Muriel in my mind held a grudge or was quick to gossip about Bathilda to her dying day is quite sad. But I imagined that Muriel would come together in the end to help out when Bathilda had nobody left to care about her. Muriel reminds me of Ron a little bit (though nastier) in how they hold a grudge and talk badly about people but eventually forgive the people they love in some way.

I imagined that while being connected to Gellert would be sort of socially destructive for Bathilda, being emotionally connected to him would be worse. And I wanted her to know that there was some secret affair going on between Albus and Gellert, but not to tell Rita Skeeter, so Gellert placing a block in her memory so she couldn't speak it fit well and seemed like the sort of nasty but self-preserving thing he would do. I agree, it is so unfair how back then this sort of knowledge would have affected the way people saw them, which is just ridiculous but of course still is happening in other parts of the world and even in daily life here sometimes. So I'm really pleased that part resonated with you! :)

I'm glad you liked the windows! I enjoyed building up the hints and explanations and then having the moon maiden explain it all - I actually wrote that last section when I was working on the first chapter so it felt good to finally post it. And haha, that would be hilarious! I didn't really expand much on heaven and what it would be like, but it was nice to hint at some sort of happy ending.

Wow, thank you so much lovely! I really loved writing this and the writing style it needed, so it means a lot to see you say that. Thank you for the beautiful reviews, and for recommending this, and just being so awesome and supportive! ♥

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Review #7, by MargaretLane The North Window

24th March 2014:
I'm guessing Bathilda is dead here and the "heaven" is meant literally. I'm not 100% sure. At first I assumed it was, but then the stranger coming in and ruining her day started me wondering if that'd happen in heaven and then when she wondered if she was in hell, I thought it probably was literal again. *laughs*

I love your description of it and your style of writing also. There's something almost old-fashioned in the style of writing that allows me "hear" Bathilda. You appear to be very good at characterising people through the narrative itself. Even though this isn't first person, the slightly formal language fits with the era she comes from.

Hmm, the part where you describe how she imagines the children and their laughter being that "of hungry monsters" is rather ominous. I'm guessing the implications of that will become clear later.

I wonder who the visitor is and why she is accusing Bathilda of not telling the truth. Something to do with Grindlewald, perhaps. Or Dumbledore.

*grins at the idea of Bathilda being "scandalously unmarried"* I was just yesterday commenting how many of our leaders of 1916 were unmarried in their 30s, but that is Ireland and there are rather especial reasons why marriage was delayed here (1/8 of the country starving to death in the space of five year tends to have long-term effects).

I do like the idea of an unmarried historian. *laughs*

And ooh, the Imperius Curse on Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell is probably the most hated character in Irish history, so that amuses me. There are some theories now that say he wasn't as bad as he was painted, but on the whole, NOT a popular character here.

Ah, your note at the end confirms that this is literally heaven.

A part of me sort of suspects the visitor in question is Muriel, but I don't think she'd be dead yet, so I'm not sure. *ponders*

Author's Response: Hello! :)

That's a good guess! I wanted to give the story a unique spin and writing it from an afterlife perspective was very interesting and challenging for me. I imagined her being in a sort of confusing limbo, though explaining the full extent of heaven and hell is a little much for a short story like this. :)

Thank you! I'm very pleased you liked the style of writing, and that it fit the era and the character. That really means a lot to hear as it's one way in which I try to get into the characters' heads.

The children are eventually sort of explained - they're quite creepy to write, but do have a certain significance.

Ah, very good point about Ireland! That's quite interesting. I imagined that for a woman like Bathilda, especially since she lives alone, it would be a little improper and she might be criticized by society.

Haha! That is very true, I personally think he was such an extreme historical character. It would be interesting to learn more about how history has portrayed him in comparison to how he actually was, but yes, not good for Ireland. I liked imagining what effects and consequences it might have if he were controlled by wizards as well.

Hmm, interesting guess! :)

Thanks so much for the review! :)

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Review #8, by teh tarik A Man's World

5th March 2014:
Jenna! Hello! I actually read this chapter a couple of days ago, but haven't found the time to review it until now.

Goodness, where do I begin with this chapter? There's so many amazing things in this chapter. The afterlife parts of this story continue to intrigue me, and now I'm really, really curious about those demon children. Bathilda feeding them her own breakfast was such a surprising gesture; I'm kind of wondering if indeed they're as terrifying as she imagines them to be, or if they're something else entirely. And I love how her routines remain the same even in the afterlife; I'm imagining that her present state of the afterlife isn't the most exciting of situations, and that she survives by sticking to her lonely old routines and writing her story.

Mrs Prewett is indeed quite an unsettling figure. I suspect, just as Bathilda suspects, that Mrs Prewett had begun to guess the nature of her daughter's relationship with Bathilda. It's terrifying imagining her livid as she was at the end, when Muriel pretty much confirmed her suspicions. I love the unsettling effect Mrs Prewett has over Bathilda, even when she's showing the latter around her house. And ahh, Muriel! You've portrayed her gossipy self so well here; it's just something she would do, pester Bathilda for all the dirty details about the Dumbledores. It sounds like there's nothing that she likes better than hearing about others' not so spotless reputations! There are other lovely touches to Muriel's characterisation as well: in particular, the way she seems so gleeful at the tragic ending to the Moon Maiden's tale (I love that story, by the way; I always love stories about myths).

And again, I love how tender and light-hearted the girls are with each other when they're in private; there were some wonderfully fluffy moments there in the gardens, but even then, there's always that sense of unease that things aren't going to end well. And I love your descriptions of the moon in the sky; it's a constant reminder of the awful story about the Maiden, and perhaps a persistent indicator that Muriel and Bathilda's relationship are going to end badly as well. Bathilda's rage at the end when she received that letter was similar to the Sun Chevalier's scorching anger. Honestly, I was nearly shouting at my screen, "Oi, give it a chance!" especially when I got to that part with Muriel about to leave home after all. IF ONLY. If only Bathilda had just...I dunno...delayed writing that letter for a few hours. :( :(

I love your feministic messages in this story, by the way! From the chapter title, to the masculine rage of the sun, and how Bathilda is interested in the Moon Maiden's artist who dressed like a man so she could have a chance with her work - and I think it's a lovely touch that Bathilda dresses in a more informal style with smock and slacks in the afterlife, compared to all those dresses of the early twentieth century. You've captured this aspect of history very well, and the effects of the prevailing patriarchal society on women and on a same-sex relationship between women. Your Bathilda/Muriel ship and the social perceptions of such a relationship are in keeping with historical context, and I really applaud you for this. Lovely writing, there!

And bahaha! I think I know what Bathilda saw when she went to her great-nephew's room: she saw my OTP, Albus/Gellert. ♥ I can only imagine her vast shock at that! I think the unhappy end of the boys' relationship and Ariana's death has been haunting Bathilda for quite a bit, perhaps to the point that she wonders if her own relationship with Muriel will have a bad end as well. And as for Gellert Grindelwald, I have to squee a bit there because alskfjlacimf that's EXACTLY how I see him!! In those few sentences you have about him, you've captured his character marvellously, the whole feigning of shame thing: he's so unreadable and it's hard to tell whether he's being sincere or not.

And, that creature in the west window is not Nagini, is it? :P It doesn't sound very snakelike, but I just remembered that Bathilda had an awful death in DH. :O

Anyway, apologies for letting this review grow so out of hand! Fabulous chapter, Jenna! I love this, and I do hope you'll be able to get your final chapter in before the deadline! ♥


Author's Response: Hi teh! :)

Ahh, monster review! ♥ This was amazing, thanks so much for taking the time to leave all these thoughtful observations! I'm glad you're liking the afterlife and the demon children, as it is both very simple yet rather unclear and complex at the same time. I'm afraid that not quite everything gets explained in the last chapter! Yes, Bathilda is very much in limbo right now and her life (or afterlife) is a little monotonous.

I'm glad you found her unsettling! Yes, Mrs. Prewett was very perceptive. I imagined her being a stronger character than Bathilda really sees her as - she's too caught up in her own problems to think about the limitations of the life Mrs. Prewett has had to lead. Haha, I'm glad you like gossipy Muriel! :) She has some nasty attributes which surface on occasion and which are quite fun to write. I'm so glad you like the moon maiden story as well! It was very interesting tying it into the story.

Aw, you've characterized their relationship so well - they're very adorable, but there is a slight danger to their relationship which they can't ignore. Yay, you picked up on the moon references! :D I wasn't sure if they were too subtle or not so I'm really glad you noticed and what the implications could be. Ahh, I know, it's such an unfortunate chain of coincidence and circumstances that led to them splitting up. Of course it had to happen because of canon but I felt a little frustrated with them. But of course, a big part of both their characters is that they won't fight for what they truly want, they're too frightened.

I'm so excited you pointed out all the feminist touches! I really enjoyed weaving those through and imagining how Bathilda, an early feminist figure, might see the world and fit within it. Patriarchy is one of those unavoidable things about writing historical fics, unfortunately, but this story gave me a chance to explore it in this context. I'm really pleased you liked it!

Hahaha, your OTP being witnessed is a very good guess. :P Of course, Bathilda is too proper to describe what she saw, and she can't really say anyway. I thought that due to her connection to those events and being a bystander for them they would disturb and worry her, and it does seem to foreshadow her and Muriel. I'm so glad you liked Gellert as well, yay! :D He's such a shady character as you said and I imagine him always talking in riddles and mystery.

She did have an awful death! :( Well, you'll find out next chapter! :) Hehe.

This review was amazing! :D Thank you so much for all the lovely comments. The next chapter should, if all goes well, be validated very soon! :) Thank you! ♥

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Review #9, by Aphoride A Man's World

22nd February 2014:
Hey there! I'm so so glad I got an excuse to come back, because I do honestly love this story. It's just so beautiful and tragic and mysterious. It's wonderful! :)

I love Bathilda. I just love how you've characterised her - how she's clever, and lonely, and so in love with Muriel, and so secretive about what she knows and so loyal not to reveal other people's secrets... at the same time, she's so cautious and unsure of things and I liked how she couldn't quite work out Mrs Prewett - it really made her human and so realistic, you know? The idea that despite being good at reading people, some still elude her.

Muriel is so great as well - how she's so desperate to know what went on with the Dumbledores, and the truth of it, and Bathilda just refuses to speak of it. She's such an innocent girl, but has this strange sort of maturity which I think you only have when you're that age, when you think you're mature, you know? It's great! Mrs Prewett... I actually feel kinda sorry for her, cooped up in the house, probably bored, I'd imagine, desperate for something to do, maybe lavishing everything on her daughter and all... it's not a great life, really, and you can't wholly fault her for being suspicious of Bathilda.

Your details in this are fantastic. I loved the little bits - the demon children clawing away at the door, the 'feigning of shame' with Gellert, the references to mythology and the story of the Moon Maiden, the tapestries and so on... it just makes this such a rich story, if that makes sense.

I love your writing, too. It's just so beautiful. You manage to keep the mystery of what's happening to Bathilda in the first and last sections - is she dead, is the woman who 'visits' her real or not, who is the woman who visits her - but not make it overly mysterious and complicated, so that it's hard to follow and understand. Instead, I'm just curious ;) Your phrasing and words are so gorgeous, too - I love all the little things you include, like the period gesture, such as 'was it not' and things... it's just so lovely!

You're teasing me with the Albus/Gellert, as well... what happened? What did Bathilda find? Gah, I wanna know! I'm so curious!

This, as always, is just beautifully brilliant. Let me know when the next chapter is up! :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hello! :)

Aw, thank you so much dear! I'm so happy you're liking this. It's just such a joy to work on and unlike any story I've written before.

I'm really pleased you like Bathilda! I've grown quite attached to her as well. It's lovely to hear you find her realistic, and the contrasts between her love for telling stories and her need for secrecy because of how dangerous the secrets are. You're right - there are some people who she can't quite understand, or she doesn't want to understand fully. Mrs. Prewett is quite a contradictory person herself.

I'm glad you like Muriel - I felt it was important to show that gossipy, rather pushy side to her. I love your comment about thinking she has that maturity - that's just how she is. She likes the idea of having freedom but doesn't quite grasp it for herself. I'm quite glad you felt sorry for Mrs. Prewett, as she grew as a character I saw how she does focus in on Muriel and is quite protective of her, but has some demons of her own.

Thank you! :) I love writing the little creepy details and the anecdotes. Being a mythology nerd I just couldn't resist.

Aw, wow, thank you! :) You're so sweet. I'm glad you're curious about what exactly is going on and how it's a little obscure and mysterious. I can't promise it will ever be completely resolved, the way the last chapter is looking at the moment. I love writing the historical parts and trying to get into their heads a little - it's a bit easier than writing the 15th century in PTD, but I still want to get the feeling of the era across.

Curious is good! :) Yes, Bathilda was being quite mysterious about the boys. :P Partly, she doesn't want to fully admit it to herself.

Thank you so much for the amazing review! ♥ I really love hearing your thoughts and reactions to this story. The next chapter will be up in the next week! :)

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Review #10, by toomanycurls A Man's World

18th February 2014:
Are those literally demon children? I was taking it figuratively last chapter but not it seems literal and I'm a bit freaked out.

I do love that there are demon children though. Just because it fits perfectly with this afterlife Bathilda has. I like to imagine that if there's an afterlife it would be as similar to real life as possible with a familiar setting and home comforts.

!!! I love your nod to your story about the Fat Lady!!! I do that in some of my stories and it's always so fun to fit in.

Everything in this chapter feels completely accurate for the period and like they could be talking about real history and art. I'm so jealous of you right now (and happy to be reading this superb chapter).

I'm really excite that you're facing gender issues head on! This had to be a frustrating time to live in for a woman like Bathilda. I think her critism of the gender construct in society fits quite well with her personality. I especially loved her thoughts on the symbolism of a white wedding dress. I could imagine how the story of a woman disguising herself as a man for credibility would stand out.

The Mood Maiden story feels like it could be a parallel for Muriel/Bathilda - which is rather deep and I like that you did that. But I'm blown away that Bathilda sees it being similar to Gellert/Albus. This is like literary Inception (minus the weird horn sound thing).

It's sad that Muriel is stuck between losing her inheritence or not having love. Chosing the life of povery isn't as simple as it seems and I can't really be too harsh with Muriel for not wanting to foresake her livelihood. I am glad that Bathilda said she didn't want to live with secrecy. I wish their circustmance weren't made so difficult by society and those ridiculous expectations!

I admire that you went all realistic with Muriel not showing up. I hate that it happened and that Bathilda's heart is broken. I'm trying hard not to go all caps lock and just yell.

This is just so beautiful and tragic! I'm seriously in awe of you right now.


Author's Response: Hello! :)

Hmm... well, they're not exactly real demon children.. but definitely not symbolic... hehe. :P They sort of get explained in the next chapter, well sort of.

I'm glad you like her afterlife! It's a lot of fun to imagine though rather creepy.

Ahh I love how you noticed the Fat Lady reference! :D It felt right since they were in the same time period and probably would have known one another. Hehe, you're so awesome for picking up on that, I love doing it sneakily as well.

Aw thank you! I'm glad it feels accurate and realistic. Writing historical periods is so fun.

This story turned out a lot more feminist-oriented than originally planned, but I'm so glad you liked it. Yes, it would be very difficult, and Bathilda is lucky to be as educated and aware of these issues as she is which makes her a really fun character. I'm glad you found that interesting as well - I was excited to have a story to include the wedding dress thing in as I've been carrying that knowledge around for a while. :P

Hahah inception! I love it. The story does fit very well with both situations, and Bathilda's awareness of Gellert and Albus would give her this heavy and serious perspective on the moon maiden story and her own story. I'm so glad you liked it! :)

I agree - it seems like an easy choice, but as Muriel as been very privileged it's quite difficult for her. Not everything always works out the way people want them to, however, which is sad. I agree, it's so unfair, but this would sadly have been very normal for the times.

Oh no, I'm sorry for it too. :( But of course things had to happen with canon and Muriel would have had a hard time either way. But it did break my heart a little.

Thank you so much! This review was just amazing, I loved it. I can't wait to see what you think of the last chapter once I get it up! :D ♥

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Review #11, by Aphoride The North Window

18th February 2014:
Hey there - stopping by for our review swap! :) I'm so so glad you posted that, since I can't believe I didn't spot this story before and so it's a perfect excuse to leave off studying Tort Law and read this :P (Not that I needed much persuading, tbh)

So, I was incredibly, incredibly curious about this even if just for the fact that it's a Bathilda/Muriel, which is one of those pairings I've never come across before, or even heard of, yet seems somehow like it could work quite well, despite the age gap there would have to be between them.

I love your characterisations of Bathilda and Muriel. I love how Bathilda is sort of like a hoarder, of information of things she's interested in, perhaps even of secrets. I dunno, I just get the impression that she's sort of like a kind of well of information, you know, things go in and they don't come out. It's brilliant! I love Muriel, too, how I can really see how she turns into the woman we know from canon - with the horrible shrill voice, barking orders at people, and so on. She's younger here, obviously, and perhaps a bit more innocent and naive, and less 'I know everything', but still enjoying a good gossip - which seems so integral to her character!

I love the way you write this, as well, with the different sections, where Bathilda and Muriel are younger, and then later when Bathilda is older, and the strange woman (I dunno who she is... Rita Skeeter? Or a more mythical figure, like the actual Moon Maiden or something? I don't know the story behind the moon maiden, though, if there is one, so... *shrug*). The differences between the two sections are so clear, but at the same time the style is the same and the writing just as beautiful :) I really love how incoherent the older Bathilda sections seem - almost like she's not even sure what's going on, and it's such a brilliant quality to manage to evoke in writing - I have no idea how you did it. It's amazing.

Your writing is gorgeous. Seriously. It's just flawless. Everything flows so perfectly, and it's almost poetic in the way you've written it. I found it oddly ironic/clever how Bathilda seems to refer to her living as 'her heaven', but there are 'demon children' outside and things like that... I just love the juxtaposition of the two things :)

So yeah, I love this. I will definitely be back, and have yourself a favourite in the meantime ;)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hi Aph! :) Ah, I'm so excited you came to read this! Hehe, always glad to provide an excuse for not studying. :P

I'm glad you found the pairing interesting! It sort of occurred to me while I was re-reading DH and I knew about teh's challenge so this was the perfect excuse to write it. I did play with the ages a little bit by making Bathilda younger than she might have been, but logically it sort of fit as JK seemed to have written her as like 140 by the time Harry came along. :P

I'm so glad you like them! Yes, ah, that's just how I saw Bathilda! :D She loves learning and writing and translating history for other people. It's wonderful to know you thought Muriel fit with canon. She was just so obnoxious and hilarious in canon, and here I hoped she'd have the basis of that rather selfish and judgemental nature. Writing her love for gossip was so fun!

I'm really happy to hear you liked the structure and the different scenes as well. I had a lot of fun imagining the afterlife scenes especially. The moon maiden story is something I made up, but then I googled it and apparently there is some story called the moon maiden which has a similar-ish concept... well, sort of. :P I love your comments about how the story felt incoherent and scrambled for the older Bathilda - that's just the mindframe I was in when I wrote it, as if things shift into existence and go from being clear to confusing really quickly, so it's lovely that you picked up on that.

Wow, thanks so much! ♥ I'm so honoured you like the writing style! :D It's never really specified whether Bathilda is alive or dead, in heaven or in... that other place which is not 12+. So I'm glad you like the contrasts and the juxtapositions. I had so much fun writing this and no idea how readers might react so it's so lovely getting your feedback.

Thanks so much for the amazing review, dear! :D

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Review #12, by BookDinosaur The North Window

8th February 2014:
Review swap! Hi Jenna. :)

I haven't read many after life fics, and while I have read some same-sex pairings, I haven't while they're both dead, so whoo for new things, right?

First things first, I absolutely adored the imagery in this piece. other couples, couples who could safely dance in one anotherís arms, moved across the floor with finely wrought smiles and precise, mechanical steps. Thta phrase was so beautiful, not only in the phonetic sense, but the way it paints a picture so vividly of couples moving across the floor, restrained and very proper in everything they do. The ladyís form does not cast a shadow across the crescent of bright sunlight on the floor. She turns to look back at the old witch, and for a moment her eyes take on the blue innocence of a child. That was just beautiful. I really don't know how to describe this, but your use of the language is so lovely Jenna. The narrative was written in this beautiful, almost ethereal style.

I think the visitor was written with just enough creepiness and beauty and mystery. I love how you've described her ever-changing appearance. The way you've captured the afterlife world is just amazing.

I think the 1904 scene was beautiful as well. The language, the description of everything was just so vivid and perfect. You've really made the story's setting believavble.

The relationship between Muriel and Bathilda was amazingly written. Both of them were characterised wonderfully, with the constraints on women in the time period coming into play with something s small as Bathhilda wearing a white dress to maintain her innocence and chastity, or Muriel not being able to find a decent suitor because she was alone somewhere 'in questionable company.' The way you've described all this, and yet had the two of them care for each other in a perfectly reasonable and realistic was is amazing.

Ooh, the west window is so creepy! I think that Bathilda might have to look into it during the coming chapters, and I'm scared of what might be in there and what will happen to her.

All in all, Jenna, this is an amazing story and I'm so glad I got the chance to read it. This is a fantastic entry to the challenge and a wonderful start to a story. Update soon!

Author's Response: Hi Emily! :)

Hehe, whoo for new things indeed! I was a little nervous to write all these new angles in the story but it was a lot of fun. :)

Aw, thank you! I'm so happy you liked the imagery and how the sentences reflected the meaning. You really are too lovely to me, it really means a lot to get your feedback on the writing style here. ♥ I did love writing those parts so it's lovely to get thoughts on it.

Ah, I had a really clear picture of how I wanted the visitor to come across, and it's great to know you found her creepy but also a little beautiful. It's really wonderful to know you liked the way the afterlife was written.

Thank you for saying the 1904 scene was brought to life! I'm so glad it was believable. I really enjoyed imagining what the ball would have been like for wizards.

It means a lot that you liked their relationship! I was a little worried that it wasn't enough of a focus but I enjoyed writing the dynamic between the two of them. It's great to know you thought they were in character and fit with the era, and that it felt realistic.

Bathilda will definitely have to look out there at some point! I'm glad you find it creepy, I'm actually quite excited to reveal what it is. :)

Thanks so much for the amazing review, Emily! ♥ You're such a wonderful reviewer and HPFF friend. :) I really appreciate all your comments, and the next chapter will hopefully be up soon!

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Review #13, by toomanycurls The North Window

8th February 2014:

I'm so excited to have a new story of yours to read! When I saw you had this pair I was quite interested to see how you'd put them together. I just love everything about this story.

It's a bit eerie in the beginning. I loved your description of her visitor - the ever changing visage and undefinable features. The world around Bathilda just seems like a hazy dream.

The scene from 1904 (congrats on not typing 1940 :)) was divine! You captured the mood and texture for not just that era but of two women who are in a clandestine relationship. The imagery of doxy infested wigs was wonderful!

Hearing Bathilda list off the families there made me want to have an entire book series on wizards in this time period. It's fascinating to me that the Potters also bragged about their connection to the Peverells - just because that would also be bragging about their connection to Slytherin. I thought her choice in clothing was quite striking - just that being unmarried at her age required that she show her chastity through symbolic choices in clothes. I LOVE the mention of Muriel listening at the door - such a great reference to the books and Muriel's own account of her past.

Muriel stealing Bathilda and taking her up to the hidden room was just amazingly romantic. Reading their interaction reminded me a bit of Fried Green Tomatoes with their deep concern for one another and romance.

I love that Bathilda's visitor is satisfied with her recounting but wants her to tell more. I think that'll sent a wonderful cadence to the story. Your diction fits beautifully with the period it's set in!

Love this!


Author's Response: Hi Rose! :)

Yay! Thanks so much, I thought this would be a really fun pairing and I couldn't resist writing about them. I'm really happy you love it!

Ah yes, very eerie. I'm glad you liked it, and the visitor. That's just how I pictured it, like a dream that isn't quite clear and defined, and I'm so happy that's how you saw it!

Haha oh god, numbers hate me but I succeeded in proof reading myself this time. :P I'm so glad you liked the historical era and how it came across. Hehe, I loved the idea of the stuffy old wizarding society and their wigs, I'm glad you liked it too! :D

Ah, I totally agree! Wizarding history and the old families are just fascinating. That's a very good point, and how the Peverells lead to both the Potters and the Gaunts. It's funny how conscious of their ancestors they all are. I'm glad you noticed the clothing, and Muriel spying - I wanted to tie in the story as much as possible to canon so spent a lot of time thinking how this could intersect as much as possible. :)

Ah, I'm glad you liked the romance! :) That's really such wonderful praise about the characters and the diction, thank you!

This review is just so amazing, I feel like this response is just full of flailing. :) Thanks for all the lovely comments, you always leave some of the best reviews!

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Review #14, by teh tarik The North Window

5th February 2014:
Helloo Jenna, I'm here to review your challenge entry! Thank you so much for participating. :D

And oh my goodness, what an exciting start to your story! I wasn't expecting something like this, certainly not an afterlife fic, which is pretty much one of my favourite things to read and explore in HP fic. Ooh, there are so many mysterious parts to your story, so many lovely touches and details! Bathilda's afterlife situation is really interesting. I love that she still has her cottage, or some version of her comfortable Godric's Hollow cottage with her (at least I assume it's a kind of warped version of the cottage she lived in when alive...). It does feel like she's in some kind of Limbo, rather than heaven or hell, and that perhaps she has to do something, "be good" before she can move on? I'm not sure, but I really do love theorising on all the possibilities! I'd guess that it has something to do with her writing what happened between her and Muriel all those years ago.

Speaking of Muriel, I absolutely love how you've brought her to life here. She was such a zany, sharp-tongued and not altogether pleasant character in the books, but definitely a very memorable one. And I love your interpretation of a young Muriel with her headstrong and liberal attitude and her sly smile and her boldness...I understand very well how Bathilda is attracted to her.

You've really conveyed the historical setting of the fic so amazingly well. I love how detailed your descriptions are, how convincing and vivid the 1904 scene was with the dresses, the manners, the dancing, and how you wove in details of the magical world (floating trays and goblin-wrought candlesticks and the wizarding families etc.). It just made everything fit wonderfully into the Potterverse.

The Moon Maiden tapestry was incredibly intriguing. I wonder if we'll learn more about it, if there's a story or a myth behind it. I love how the girls find some moments of freedom and peace behind the tapestry; it feels like a guardian of some sort, that Maiden. Another thing I loved about the kiss scene was how free and relaxed and comfortable the girls are - such lovely contrast to the careful smiles and constructed facades and mechanical steps of the more socially acceptable couples outside. You've really written Muriel and Bathilda's relationship so beautifully!

Ooh, the mysterious stranger is really mysterious. I love that indefinite shapeshifting aspect about her, and I can't wait to read on to find out. She's such an unsettling figure; that description of her smelling like 'burning meat' sent a shiver up my spine. And the cottage windows, which are another intriguing part of the story. I imagine that parts of Bathilda and Muriel's story are going to be revealed through each window, and I suppose that eventually Bathilda will have to turn to that feared west window and look through it. I'm a little afraid of what she might see! :P

Absolutely fantastic start, my dear! ♥ This is such a wonderful start and just a pleasure to read; I can't wait for you to update! And thank you once again for participating in my challenge. ♥


Author's Response: Hi teh! :) Thank YOU for the awesome challenge idea and for this lovely review! I meant to respond way earlier - evil essays got in the way. :P

I'm so thrilled you like it so far! :) I had a lot of fun coming up with this, and it's wonderful to hear you like it as an afterlife fic. I felt that since the main things we know about Bathilda from the books were her books and her very tragic ending, it was important to tie that in as it would be quite important for her afterlife self. Ah, it is a warped sort of replica of her home, and rather odd at that. I love knowing that you're wondering and theorizing about it, and finding the story mysterious - I couldn't imagine Limbo being anything other than ambiguous and uncertain. :)

Ah, Muriel! I just re-read DH and thought she was so hilarious, and imagined as a young woman she would be quite headstrong and rather gossipy to grow up into the brilliant character from the books. I really liked writing her through Bathilda's eyes and the strange sense of wonder and uncertainty she feels.

Thank you for the comments about the historical setting, that means so much! :) I do love writing these history fics so much. I'm glad it fit into the Potterverse as well.

There's definitely a little more behind the tapestry's story. :) She is a little like a guardian, though of what exactly is still to be revealed. Ah, I'm so pleased you picked up on the contrasts between the relationships beyond and behind the tapestry, and how free and happy Muriel and Bathilda are when they are alone. You're so perceptive! :)

She is very unsettling, and I'm so pleased you liked the descriptions. I've been toying with a character like her for a while and was glad to find a place to put her - she was originally a man, but changing her into a girl really helped me shape the story's message and symbolism. Ooh, yes, the west window will be quite a surprise. I'm excited for when it is revealed! :D

Thanks so much for the beautiful review, lovely! ♥ It was a real pleasure to receive and I'm excited for you to read the next chapter - it should be posted in the next couple of days. Thank you! :D

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