Reading Reviews for Year Five
51 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngst Muggle Magic

28th July 2014:
Hello, again! So you've reviewed about a zillion of my chapters today and I'd feel bad about tagging you again. Hopefully another new reader will tag you and discover this awesome story!

Gah, poor Isobel! I don't know if you've read the book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but Isobel makes me think of it. In the book, Famine -- one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse -- is forced to reinvent himself after modern agriculture limits his opportunities. So he becomes a fad diet guru and essentially convinces vain people to starve themselves. Isobel's problems obviously run deeper than vanity, but the cabbage soup diet brought me right back to the concept. Unrelated tangential note: In the book, Pestilence is forced into retirement after the discovery of Penicillin, and is replaced by Pollution.

Isobel is hiding so many things from her family, I don't know how she keeps it all straight. I have even more respect for her intelligence after reading this chapter, although that intelligence is being applied to frightfully self-destructive purposes.

Wow, Doge and Dumbledore as a couple. It's not impossible to wrap my head around, but tricky. I think maybe a one-shot on the topic could help. ;)

I'm feeling... something for Isobel's parents. My knee-jerk reaction is to say "dislike", because a lot of her body image issues seem to arise from the way they're treated her in the past. It's horribly ironic that they would have noticed the issues when she was nearer to the heavy end of the spectrum and they seem oblivious to it now that she's inching toward the dangerously thin end of the spectrum. Except that they aren't completely oblivious. Her mother seems to have half a clue, she just isn't doing much with it. Maybe "disappointing" is a better word?

Ha! Emily's parents seem like the best kind of muggles. They're fascinated by magic, they live off the grid, they have a son who works at a growery... I love all of the back story that goes along with them. It's easy to see how Emily ended up the way she did. A smart, loving, carefree girl who's also a bit on the sensitive side because she was likely sheltered from some of life's crueler realities as a child.

At least Isobel's dad didn't come off like a complete jerk during the conversation. He's a little self-important, but not at all in the Lucius Malfoy sense.

Lucas seems like an all-around solid older brother. One thing I noticed that might or might not be a continuity error was the following in the author's note: Levinia was disowned by her family shortly after becoming pregnant with Emily, and moved to the Highlandís with Jim to set up a small, sustainable, organic farm--mirroring the American 'back to the land' movement of that era. If Lucas is the older sibling, did Levinia's parents approve of her husband and ideals for the first child but not the second? Just seems a bit odd. Not a big deal, though. I like the fact that Lucas asks the girls about recreational magic and what happened to Laurel. He probably sees enough "drug people" in his job that he's hip to some of the dangers.

I really liked the conversation between Lucas and Isobel. Might there be just a hint of a romantic interest there? I felt a little something...

Another awesome chapter! I'm looking forward to the reunion at St. Mungo's, even though it might not be so much fun to read.

Author's Response: No, I've never read it, but sounds super interesting, and I generally like Gaiman.

As for Doge and Dumbledore as a couple: reread Deathly Hallows with that in mind--totally implied! Or not. But enough for Isobel to get the same idea :)

Yeah, Isobel's parents are pretty imperfect--partially because of their desire to be perfect. They aren't bad people, but I've seen parents like these, who don't realize how much they're hurting their children in subtle ways. I had a friend who pulled an Isobel in her late junior-early senior year because of the stress of applying to college. Her mom was actually proud of her, and only realized later that her daughter's weight loss was a bad thing.

And for some reason, I really enjoyed writing Ahmad. He's a fun combination of intelligent, kind, arrogant, and oblivious. I imagined him as looking like the Hedge-Fund guy from Skins:Fire.

"A smart, loving, carefree girl who's also a bit on the sensitive side because she was likely sheltered from some of life's crueler realities as a child." Yeah! Exactly! Well, mostly! You'll see!

Ah, it should have said 'Lucas', not 'Emily.' Indeed a continuity error. Thanks for catching it! I don't edit my end notes nearly as thoroughly as my chapters!

Thank youuu for another review!


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Review #2, by CambAngst War Children

28th July 2014:
Hello, again! Sorry for the long absence, but certain trade-offs were made to allow for the House Cup even and the piper had to be paid. Anyway, I'm back again and using the Common Room review thread as an excuse to kick this off.

TRISTAN had three times started a letter to Emily apologizing for avoiding her and explaining himself, and had three times torn the parchment to shreds. -- After the events of the last chapter it would have been easy to roll right into a thriving Tristan/Emily ship. You've set it up well. Nobody would have held it against you. Instead, you back them up a step, which is pretty much the way that actual angsty teenagers would behave. Pacing, pacing, pacing. This story always has excellent pacing!

Whoa! Of all the things that could possibly happen to a Hogwarts student, I think Snape trying to be supportive and comforting would be near the top of any decent list of the weirdest, most unsettling experiences. Like Tristan, though, I couldn't take any of it at face value. Snape just doesn't do things like this. And then at the end, the other shoe drops. Longbottom Maybe the R name I was looking for wasn't a surname? Maybe Tristan's middle name is actually Rabastan? Rodolphus? You really keep the mystery going!

Aww, it's so sweet that Emily wrote to Tristan's mom. Whether the teenagers realize it or not, that's something solid right there.

"Child of Sorrow" I feel like more and more pieces are falling into place. He was born during the Dark Lord's first rise to power, but well before Harry.

I like that he sees a choice with regard to Sophie where his mother only sees something that had to be done. She's a witch, he's a half-blood who prefers the muggle world in many ways. Makes sense.

Poor Eddie has so many things working against him that I have the utmost respect for the fact that he's willing to make a go at talking to Tristan. Given my doubts about whether Eddie is actually Tristan's father, my respect is that much greater. Poor bloke is trying so hard to do the right thing and I think he really might have gotten there if Tristan had been in a mood to give him have a chance. Kind of ironic that Tristan holds the muggle world in such high regard and yet he completely blows off the earnest muggle sitting in front of him with a hand held out in sympathy.

Ah, the visit to the dealer's seedy apartment. I might or might not be in a position to say that you captured the details of the experience sublimely. Drugs tend to lead you to hang out with people that you'd never in a million years associate with for any other reason. Also make decisions about your personal consumption that you wouldn't make otherwise. Again, excellent description of the physical effects of that decision.

Oh, wow. So Sophie had a boyfriend. Reintroducing her earlier in the chapter when Tristan's mom was talking to him was a small touch, but a really important one. It's a good thing Sophie's boyfriend buys the story about what happened. He didn't sound like anyone you'd want to mess with and Tristan was being stubborn about going out unarmed.

I hope that Tristan finds the wherewithal to buck up and go see Laurel. Probably won't happen, but I'm hoping anyway. He does, however, lower his walls just enough to sign his full name. Baby steps...

Great chapter! It had so many small things in it that added up to an excellent whole. Your writing was also error-free and it flowed very nicely. Loved it, can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Ha, no worries! Although, your detailed and thoughtful review makes me feel hella guilty for the many nonsensical and repetitive ones I left on Detox.

Yeah, Tristan/Emily can't be that easy. It's only chapter five--where's the fun in that?

Hah, being offered tea by Snape is definitely one bazillion times more unsettling than being shouted at. Snape's fascinations and relationships with students are endlessly interesting. He spends 6 years verbally abusing Harry, but sacrifices himself for him. He weirdly loves Draco, despite that Snape's WHOLE LIFE is avenging Lily, and Draco is of Death Eater stock.

This story flowed in weirdly chronological order during the plunny phase. I came up with Tristan, and knew I wanted to kickstart the story with a woefully timed memory modification--BECAUSE THAT IS SO SAD. That whole idea, that the magical world could be a cruel place in novel ways, was really interesting to me. I also like that Tristan and his mates are kind of anti-statute-of-secrecy, and so were the Death Eaters/Grindelwald and co, but for very different reasons.

Your point about Eddie is really interesting. I feel like, in his own incorrigible way, Tristan actually gave his father more patience right then than he would anyone else for precisely those reasons. I mean, he was more honest than most kids would be in the same situation.

I had WAY too much fun writing the scene with "Spider." I actually researched the history of Sonic the Hedgehog to figure out if it was era appropriate to have multi-player mode, or if they had to switch.

Glad you liked the Sophie play-out! Wanted to remind readers that Tristan started the year in a really crappy way, lest I strain their capacity for sympathy too much with his prat-ness. I really CANNOT IMAGINE how traumatizing of a first time that would be--how lonely it would make someone feel, if the other person couldn't even remember it (and not in a real-world roofie way--which is entirely different).

Thank you for taking the time to review!!!

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Review #3, by emmacweasley The Question

27th July 2014:
"ear off" will ALWAYS be too soon ;) but oh my god i loved this chapter - i didn't know i needed an isobel/twins chapter so much. and Hagrid! Oh, Hagrid. also, EW Quirrel. Just gross and awful and ugh, poor isobel. and l o l at emily being awful and then realizing some things. good for her. i'm sorry - this isn't the best review, i guess, it's mostly just me telling you my feelings, but it's like 5:30AM so.

Great Job again!

Author's Response: No worries--I'm just pleased to get your reaction! This chapter was, I think, a really shining moment for the twins.

And I'm really glad you liked Hagrid--I knew it was risky weaving him in, as he's some major canon, but I really wanted to pull in the card game, as well as give Isobel some good adult guidance.

Definitely getting some more dimensionality out of Emily now. No one is allowed to be perfect in this story ;)

Yeah, the Quirrel bit was tough, so I ended up just being really sparse with the description. And, an interesting challenge to give myself: is it possible to make readers hate Voldemort *more*? (I imagine sharing a head with Voldemort had to have some influence on the situation).

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #4, by marauderfan The Question

21st July 2014:
Hello again!

Woah, so much happened in this chapter. QUIRRELL! ACK! I did not see that coming. As if Isobel really needs more issues to deal with - give the poor girl a break! Asdjfkoasjdokf

Ok now that I've gotten that out, I'll attempt to do this review in order. I'm so glad Isobel talked with Professor Sprout for a bit, she really needed that what with all her friends being so caught up in their own problems. Also, along those same lines, I love that you have these random sections from Sprout's POV! I've never seen anything else written from her perspective and it's such a lovely change. Also a nice balance to have narration from a such a grounded, stable person who's got life sort of figured out and sees things very differently than the teenagers do.

Tristan finally stood up for himself! Kind of. I mean, it was through owl post, but the fact is that he did tell Emily to stop dealing, rather than just not caring about anything. He told her what she needed to hear, even if it might get her annoyed at him (and I feel like he wouldn't really have done that before). So that's something, right?

Loved the scene with Hagrid as well - you very subtlely built on all we know from the book and it was so cool to see that in here. When you mentioned they were going into the Hog's Head and that the gamekeeper was there, I was like OMG THIS IS WHEN HAGRID GETS NORBERT(A). And then it was so cool to see it unfold, especially when Hagrid was carrying the twins (haha) and Isobel was carrying the dragon egg and even asked about it but Hagrid passed it off as a joke. Good thinking, drunk Hagrid. Ahahaha it was fabulous though. And THIS:

Fredíll lecture my ear off tomorrow though. -- So that's how George lost his ear. :P Omg, but this was the best line ever. (Also, no, not too soon - can you believe it's been SEVEN years since that book was released? Man, I feel old.)

I love the ending paragraph too, with Isobel at the Ravenclaw door, and the bit about good is distinguished by the presence of love. She should reconsider her old friends in that light, and maybe it'd help her reconcile with them, to see things while standing in their shoes, so to speak.

Also the line about perforated cauldrons. You are very quotable, you know? (Not to sound creepy or anything :P ) Awesome chapter!

Author's Response: Oh yes, that was quite awful! I made an icked out face every time I wrote or edited that sequence, and the prose around it is VERY sparing as a result (because really, who wants to hear any more detail than what was there). That situation wasn't the first time writing this that I felt like "Oh god, this terrible thing is going to happen"--like it wasn't up to me.

Ah Sprout! Yeah, that was the exact reason I included her interludes. She's most definitely a wonderful and grounded (hah) canon character, but she doesn't get nearly as much play as, say, McGonnagall (also, I felt like there would realistically be some sort of guidance counselor--Harry gets that from Dumbledore, but not every student could). And I definitely wanted to break up all the teenage POV with an adult mindset, to offer perspective and another interpretation of the characters.

I am SO glad that people at HP Lexicon figured out what dates in 1991-92 the events of PhilStone took place! They did so much work, and it made it so much easier to plot out the story against canon! I find it really fun to play with all that dramatic irony, too--we know it's Quirrel under the cloak, Isobel doesn't.

You are totally on to it, as per Isobel reconsidering her friends in that light. That idea, the Presence of Love, is definitely a theme that carries through the conclusion.

And SO glad you liked the perforated cauldron bit! That line came to me all at once while writing, and I was so stoked on it!

Ah! I can't believe there's only a few chapters left already! A few challenge deadlines are coming up I'm trying for, so it'll be a little bit before the next chapter comes up (maybe a week-week and a half, depending on the queue). Thank you for reviewing! We're so far into the story, it's really awesome to see what you think of how it unfolds!


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Review #5, by CambAngst The Big Thing

13th July 2014:
So wait, Emily gets to know Tristan's secret now but we still don't??? No fair! I'm starting to get a few guesses, though.

First off, though, it's killing me that neither Tristan nor Emily is picking up on whatís going on with Isobel. Tristan or Emily or any of the teachers or the Ravenclaw prefects or... well, anyone, for that matter. Granted, we're the all-seeing reader who's lived inside of each character's head for at least a chapter now, but it's still hard to imagine how everyone could still be missing the warning signs. Emily especially, since she's -- in a relative sense -- the most sober and well-grounded of the bunch.

The way you wrote the Peruvian potion was amazing. I don't know how much of this is research vs. first-hand experience -- and in the interest of keeping within the ToS, you probably shouldn't tell me ;) -- but you really nailed it with this one. The visual effects, the sense of disassociation and drifting, the feelings of interconnectedness with the world at large... all of it was perfectly in line.

And then it seems like this stuff actually does something more than overpower their serotonin receptors. That was a pretty crazy touch, and one that really brought the two worlds -- drug culture and magical -- together brilliantly. I loved every second of the way that we finally got to dig deeper into Tristan's character and his past. And it happened without all the unnecessary angst and posturing, all just completely matter-of-fact.

"I donít think youíre contagiousÖ or stupid," Emily gently offered in the brief pause after "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ended. -- Ha! I love that lyric. I was in my junior year of college when that song made it big and trust me, it was very contagious.

Ooh, so this potion even connects you with the glitch in the universal way, so to speak. You keep coming up with new ways to make me hate Higgs and Flint even more. Even though the things that Emily learns during her brief psychic connection with Flint were terrible, they were really insightful in a way. I love the amount of thought you've put into things for this story.

The scene with Emily and Tristan back in the "safe" corridor at Hogwarts was really sweet and touching, which doesn't happen all that often in this story. My speculation, based mostly on what I read in this chapter but also based on Tristan's mysterious middle initial, is that Tristan's muggle father isn't actually his father. I have a sneaking suspicion that his actual father is a pureblood Death Eater, perhaps Evan Rosier? Augustus Rookwood? Regardless, I think that's the secret that he's been trying to keep. I think that's why his middle name is such a stigma and I think that's why he didn't fight his sorting harder.

I hoped that the alone time between the two of them might grow into something more, but that would have been a lot to expect under the circumstances. Although I guess that, looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more.

Ah, the big give-away! I knew there was more to the flashback of Emily meeting Tristan than just the cuteness value, and on the second reading I picked up on those six little words: "It tends to go in families." If Tristan's mom was muggle-born, it seems very unlikely she was a Slytherin. If, perhaps, she was unintentionally impregnated by a pureblood fanatic -- sexually assaulted, even? -- it could go a long way toward explaining why she married a muggle and tried to take a step back from the magical world.

The more I think about it, that could also explain why Snape is so fond of Tristan. If Tristan has a muggle father yet he actually comes from an old, pureblood family, he and Snape would have that in common. So many possibilities!

I really loved this chapter! It was awesome in so many different ways. Great job!

Author's Response: Gah, I know, right? But, if memory serves, teenagers can be a bit self involved, and eating disorders often take a few months before they are obvious. Plus, those robes are really baggy.

I did online research for the Peruvian potion, but fractals writ in pink and green are something I've seen under different circumstances. That potion was incredibly fun to write, and the foray into psychedelic magic was, I thought, I nice digression from the rest of the story. I really liked the idea that, in a fictional magical world, folk magic is literally real. Also, divination being such a vague discipline, I liked writing about a magic more subtle than wand waving and incantations.

And yeah, I think it's really easy to take Nirvana for granted now that it's on such constant radio rotation. But it *was* such a big deal for so many people once, and their emergence meant a lot for many young people. Since I'm going for era-accuracy, I didn't want to underplay that. One of my big issues with the Potter movies is that they didn't set them in the 90s (and they didn't wear ROBES).

Oh man, the Higgs and Flint thing was so interesting to work on. I really wanted to challenge myself to properly conceptualize the prejudice. Also, I'm certain that seeing yourself from someone elses POV must be shocking--how things you do are interpreted in bizarre ways you wouldn't imagine (wet hair at breakfast). I definitely also wanted to imply that prejudiced people have weird and repressed fascinations--because I think that is often true in the real world. (I would imagine that Death Eaters secretly read Hustler).

"Looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more," that was a brilliant analysis! Oh man, wait until you see some phrasing way later--you might be psychic now, too!

I'm really stoked to see your speculations! I'd never ever ever tried to write a mystery before, but I've read a lot of Christie and Rowling's new books. I think the best mysteries are those where a number of possibilities are available to the reader, so I'm really pleased to see people's theories! Since I know what's going on, I wasn't sure if it was to obvious, or to obscure, but I think people are picking up on exactly the right things at precisely the right times!

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Review #6, by marauderfan The Disappearing Room

12th July 2014:
Aw. Poor lonely Tristan sitting in the corridor by himself and talking to his only friend, Sir Cadogan. I guess he really needed some actual alone time like this though, to realise what he had. In the wise words of Joni Mitchell, you don't know what you've got till it's gone. And I think he's finally realising what good friends he had before, now that they're gone.

I've always thought Leap Day birthdays are so cool. Tristan should have sent Emily that long letter. She could have torn it up if she didn't want to read it, but at least she'd have known he cared. :(

I absolutely loved the entire scene with Dumbledore and Laurel's discussion in the Mirror Room. It was so touching that Laurel only wants to be happy, she just sees herself happier - and then afterwards when she handed her wand to Isobel to prevent her from self-cheering or anything, it looked like a step in the right direction. I was proud of her. She can do it! Aw, and Tristan just wishes that his parents were his real parents. That is actually so sweet.

This chapter shows an entirely different side to Tristan as he takes the fall for all of his friends' illegal activities. And what a fall it is.

The Malfoys were going to adopt Tristan! Draco would have been his brother, sort of. Ha, that's weird to think of O_O I wonder if he knows that?

wanted to draw your attention to one typo here:
made him feel nauseous and disorientation. -- I think you meant 'disoriented'.

As frustrating as Tristan can be sometimes, I do feel really awful for him in this chapter. But hopefully it's the change he needs... eh.. might be? Wow, this story is all kinds of complicated right now. I can't believe I've reached the last posted chapter again! Waiting eagerly for more.

Author's Response: Right? Lucky the portrait of the knight was there for company.

I'm so glad you liked Dumbledore! Talk about one of the most daunting canon characters to write!

As for seeing almost-themselves in the mirror--it could be that what they want is simple, and immaterial. Or, it could be that when so much is going bad in your life, desires become very basic. I imagine that for them, it's a combination of both.

Can you imagine how awful Tristan would have been were he to be a Malfoy??? Something I wasn't able to shoe-horn into the story, but a bit I decided on anyway: had the Malfoys adopted Tristan, they would have rechristened him "Lesath:" The brightest star in the Scorpius constellation!

And thanks for pointing out the typo!!

Yeah, I was so surprised by how much plot I got out of "TEENAGE IS HARD!" The first draft really kind of wrote itself, and the characters went in such unexpected directions once I got to know them :)

Next chapter is in the queue, and then there might be a pause before the next. HC reviews mean going back and re-editing chapters for all the little typos and errors that got pointed out. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: THANK YOU FOR THATTT!


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Review #7, by marauderfan Interrupted

12th July 2014:
So much happened in this chapter! Often I review as I read but there was just too much that happened and I forgot to write stuff down because I was too absorbed in the story :p

Here's a list of my general thought after reading this chapter.

Tristan and Emily were really cute in the beginning, her knowing what he's about to say before he says it, just aw. Especially so because I know it will still take ages for them to get together thanks to Tristan being a jerk.

Laurel knows Tristan's secret... and Snape's secret as well! So Tristan did grow up in a family of Death Eaters until he was about 6.

WHY did the Weasley twins steal that potion? It's nothing but trouble. Here's the line that stood out the most: He should have chucked it in the lake right then. -- Can anyone tell me what FORESHADOWING is? Uh oh. This does not bode well, I know it.

Emily is starting more self destructive behaviour now too. Nooo!! I did like that she found at least temporary friendship with her fellow Hufflepuffs, who would be good at keeping her away from destructive things, and I'm SO glad she wrote to Tonks! Yay for Tonks saving the day.

There's more I would like to say but I'm going to cut off this review now because I think my dinner is burning, oops. But I'll be back to read the last chapter in a bit. :p

Author's Response: This chapter is definitely a major point in the story--it's the first where the POVs shift so rapidly, because they're lives are all getting to tangled up. And it was the first really long chapter. Plus "He should have chucked it in the lake right then" is the first time that an omniscient narrator really speaks.

"Belvina" was a name I got from the Pureblood family trees. In like the 1800s there was a Belvina Black who married into the Burke family. Which, since they are all distantly related, still doesn't tell you anything about Tristan's real parentage. Your Rookwood theory stands.

I'm glad you liked Tristan and Emily's lake scene! I wanted there to be a lot of sweetness there, but I still wanted to pull back ("he evaded as he breathed"). True Romance is difficult at 15-16.

It's implied that Emily had some old, and existing burn marks. I hope that came across!

As for the Hufflepuffs/Tonks--I was really stoked when I read about Redwood wands, because I knew I wanted that for Emily. They're considered lucky, because people with Redwood wands tend to land on their feet, and snatch opportunity from catastrophe.

Go rescue your dinner! And thank you so much for taking the time to leave these reviews!!!

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Review #8, by marauderfan Torture

12th July 2014:
And the cracks are already appearing in the group. Isobel had some pretty unkind things to say about Tristan... but really, they're true. He is being rather miserable company. I'm glad Isobel talked to him about Emily though. I think Tristan's heart is in the right place as he really cares for Emily, but he's just confused and doesn't fully think about the consequences of his actions. I wish he'd tell Emily the truth though. I think in the end she'd much rather hear it from him than through the grapevine.

No wonder Isobel is tired all the time - it's because she never eats anything. I'm now as worried about her as I was worried about Laurel prior to Laurel's over-hex. Please don't tell me she's about to collapse or something. One of her selfish friends HAS to get their heads out of their @@@ in order to see what's going on around them. They are all four of them SO selfish. Well, they're teenagers - weren't we all?

The Crucio thing... hm. His parents had something to do with the Longbottoms. I'm sticking with my Rookwood theory and STILL WAITING for you to divulge the secret, you sneaky writer. :P Anyway, this was another excellent chapter. Your writing is fantastic and really draws me in.

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: You know, after reading what you said, I think Tristan's heart is always in the right place. It's the location of his head that's the problem.

And yeah, I'm sure Emily would prefer to hear it from Tristan, but he's really not very brave.

Both "Torture" and "Self-Spelling" were chapter titles I was unnecessarily pleased with--because they related to Isobel as well as other people. Isobel self-spells (evomere), then Laurel's hex out. Isobel's hunger pains are torture, then she discovers Tristan's weird reaction to hearing about Crucio. THAT IS ALL I WILL SAY ON THAT FOR NOW!


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Review #9, by marauderfan The Trouble With Laurel

12th July 2014:
Nooo Laurel! I had a feeling this would happen, this is not the right way to combat her depression. And Tristan, idiot, that's not the best thing to do right after she just got out of REHAB FOR SPELLS AGHH. Both of these characters, I really just want to shake some sense into them.

Ahhh his stereo is fixed AND works in the castle! Isobel is so wonderful to him. Music is a good outlet for Tristan, because it's the only thing that makes him have any emotion at all, and it's not destructive. I could see Tristan being in a band. Except that would probably turn out badly for him because of all the destructive behaviours that would inevitably occur when they go on tour. But I digress.

Aw, I like that Emily is trying to encourage Laurel in her hobby of bracelet making when Laurel doesn't find much else to be interesting. Why would the twins bring her a potentially poisonous thing from Snape's office? I worry what Laurel will try to do with it in her current state.

Nononono not Tristan and Laurel! I mean yeah, they're both kind of messed up people so they have that in common but NOOO. This is just going to destroy Emily, and the group dynamic, and ughh. Stupid hormones. Stupid Tristan. Stupid Laurel.

Ok, when even self-involved TRISTAN notices that Isobel isn't eating, then she should know she has a problem. OPEN YOUR EYES WOMAN. I think she's still denying it's even a problem, she genuinely thinks she's under control. What I wonder is, when she finally does realise she's got a problem, will she ask for help or just try to handle it on her own? :-/ I'm glad both Tristan and Emily are drawing attention to it though.

The comment Emily made about Laurel being oblivious to what's going on with her friends was so twistedly ironic as she herself has no idea what's been going on behind the scenes with Laurel and Tristan. Poor Emily.

I understand Tristan's frustration at Professor Sprout for trying to get him to talk about his feelings - maybe he just needs someone to be there to listen even when he doesn't talk. LIKE EMILY. Tristan going on at the end about how he's too messed up for Emily makes me sad, because he needs a little bit of Sunshine in his dark life.

Heh, sorry for all the shouting at your characters in this review. It's not directed at you, I promise. :P

House Cup Review 2014

Author's Response: Oh I'm glad for your response to that! I definitely didn't want anyone to be shipping them.

Haha, I think Tristan would be pretty awful in a band :p He would spend most of the time laboring over the 'influences,' and the result would be an absolute mess. He's definitely more of a fan of music than a creator of music.

Eeeh! Everyone's presents to her definitely said more about themselves than about Laurel. Isobel gives her beauty products, Tristan gives her music (which she would play on, what?), and only Emily gives her the things that Laurel herself wants and needs. Aand, the twins give her stolen things, just because.

Feel free to shout at them! I definitely wanted to mirror OotP--I shouted at Harry so much inside my own head :)

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Review #10, by marauderfan The Little Things (1992)

12th July 2014:
Oooh, Laurel's POV!

Stratigraphic layers of rubbish -- haha, this just made the geology nerd in me very happy. Aw, sounds like Laurel's parents have been more suffocating than supportive. (Parents? Or is it just her mum?) I can certainly understand why her mum feels the need to keep an eye on her after everything that went down, but she's not doing it in a very supportive way.

Also this kind of makes me think about how all four kids turned out in the light of how their families are. Isobel and Laurel don't seem to have much from their families apart from scrutiny, and as a result they're both pretty messed up with destructive behaviours. Emily's family is wonderful and I think she is the one with the fewest problems at this point. And Tristan... I think he has the support he needs from his parents, because they really try, but nothing will get through his thick skull when he's so intent on blaming himself for his real heritage - again a family problem, a secret, which is destroying him. Gah!

There you go again with the "R". Okay, here's my guess, the R stands for Rookwood, which was his original last name before he was adopted.

Ah ok, it is just Laurel's mum. I love Sprout's POV, by the way. She really is trying. Maybe she will end up being the support Laurel never got from her mum or from the Healers in St Mungos - or even from her best friends sometimes. Aw, Laurel - I want to give her a hug :( I'm glad Isobel did.

It does seem like Laurel is going to succumb to depression at some point, I can already tell by the things she's thinking and her completely hopeless outlook on life. The scene in the corridor also really pointed out how much has changed since the beginning of the year too, how rather than sitting there to enjoy each others company as they used to do, now they are immersed in their own problems.

Um, I'm not sure I like where this is going with Tristan and Laurel. Is she trying to get with him? She can't be that oblivious to Emily's feelings, or that selfish... or maybe she is. Oh dear, I smell drama. The plot thickens. Perhaps I spoke too soon about Emily having the fewest problems.

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Author's Response: The "stratigraphic layers of rubbish" bit was an idea I had, that was never addressed in the Potter series, about how it must be weird to go to boarding school. Harry lives at Hogwarts, and hardly thinks of Privet Drive as his home, so that wouldn't be an issue for him. But to spend so little time in your own bedroom, and have it be a kind of flophouse during school breaks must be a weird experience. I based a lot of that off my friends who went to college, but whose parents kept their rooms intact. Then, after a few years, their rooms aren't their rooms anymore--but the room of someone much younger, and poorly maintained.

Yes! Isobel and Laurel's parents can be VERY harsh. I think that has a lot to do with their being Ravenclaws. A lot of pressure. Laurel's name was very intentional--Laurels are symbols of achievement.

I definitely wanted Tristan to be, well, someone readers kind of want to slap. But, at the same time, the more than comes out about him, the harder it is to be angry at him.

I'm glad you like Sprout, too! It's interesting for me writing the adult POVs, and seeing their maturity contrast with the kids' immaturity. Some of the bits I wrote about Sprout were inspired by Tessa Wall in the Casual Vacancy.

I think Laurel is just really vulnerable right now, and needs a lot of affection and reassurance. After everything she's been through, she just doesn't have the space to consider other people as much as she should.

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Review #11, by marauderfan Recreational Magic Abuse Recovery

12th July 2014:
:O Isobel and Lucas!! Am I the only person who actually didn't see that coming? I'm glad there wasn't too much drama about it, Emily didn't seem to bothered.

Okay, St Mungos. I love Neville's little cameo as he goes to visit his parents, aww. And LUNA!! Little ten year old Luna, she was adorable and I think you wrote her very well - which is a huge compliment because I think Luna is so often written slightly out of character in fanfiction, but I could hear Luna's voice as I read her lines here, it was perfect. Nice work.

Ah, Laurel... well, I guess she's kind of just how I expected her to be. I'm worried that she'll be depressed after she leaves, since nothing interests her anymore and she's kind of become a robot. At least she has little things like friendship bracelets to occupy her time. And thank goodness for Luna, because she's a breath of fresh air and hopefully she'll rub off on Laurel a bit before Laurel is released from the ward.

No pictures of Tristan as a baby! Hah! This supports my he-was-adopted-at-the-age-of-six theory. As much as the suspense of waiting is frustrating me, I love how you continue to drop little hints, really well paced out. Actually the whole story is incredible in that regard because the amount of planning and thought that went into this really shows, both in the development of the plot and in the well-rounded, flawed characters. :)

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Author's Response: Oh yes, Emily is pretty relaxed about that kind of thing :)

So happy you noticed the Neville cameo! And that you liked Luna--I, like probably everyone else, love Luna, and really wanted to get her right. Since I was adding some pretty significant backstory to her character, and a dark backstory to boot, getting her right was really important to me. Since it's implied by Prof Sprout that rec magic isn't TOTALLY unheard of in the magical world, I thought that Xeno Lovegood was a pretty good candidate.

And yeah, I think Laurel having Luna around is definitely a good thing! Laurel does have pretty far to go, though.

I'm really glad the pacing is working! After I wrote the first draft, that was the thing I spent the most time on (besides basic editing). I'm really happy to hear that you like how that's going!

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Review #12, by marauderfan Muggle Magic

12th July 2014:
Wow, the scene with Isobel's parents sheds a lot of light on Isobel's problems. They aren't exactly the most understanding, even if they are concerned about her. I don't think they realise just how serious the problem is, and a simple "I'm fine" sets them at ease. :-/

I kind of love Emily's family, though. They seem like the coolest people! And living on a farm in the Scottish Highlands is so my kind of jam. Her siblings are pretty amusing too.

What a great place for Isobel to spend some time, too, because Emily's family seem like a supportive type. And Isobel is actually eating (even if only just to not appear rude, but still)

So uhh... they're planning to bring special biscuits to someone in the hospital who just overdosed on recreational magic? Heh.. Well, if it helps. I suppose it could be worse. I am curious to know how Laurel is doing, though.

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Author's Response: Yeah, writing Isobel's parents in that scene was rather heartbreaking. I knew kids with parents like that, and it made me really angry. They're mostly nice people, and I weirdly liked writing Ahmad, but they're very harsh on their daughter's fragile self esteem. I imagined Isobel as having gone through a chubby phase, because her model (Kat Dennings) is REALLY curvy. They couldn't tell that their daughter was just developing early, because the rest of the family is so willowy.

Emily's family is definitely the reason she is the most stable. Writing about them was fun too, because it was another little era-appropriate thing I got to research!

Ah! So pleased you said what you did, Emily thinks EXACTLY the same thing in the next chapter--sneaking those cookies into rehab: good idea? But from what I recall from my teen years, that's the way kids think.

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Review #13, by marauderfan War Children

12th July 2014:
Tristan mourns the loss of his stereo more than the loss of Laurel. *snort* Um, I have no comment on that. Typical. But I actually don't think he's being selfish to think Laurel is better off where she is - she really did need help, and now she's getting help.

Also, lololol at Snape trying to be friendly offering tea. He fails at whatever he's trying to do, although the intimidation certainly works. Aah, I'd forgotten about Tristan's reaction to Neville in the beginning of the year! I think Tristan is actually related to the Lestranges, not Mary and Eddie. Sly hints, these. But I'm really enjoying trying to figure it out as each chapter reveals a little more.

Hm. You don't mention how old Tristan was when he was brought home from the hospital, and I don't think he was a baby then. I think he was six.

Awkward scene with Tristan meeting Sophie's boyfriend, that's exactly what he needs is the past being dragged up when he's so sensitive about it already. :-/ Also, Tristan would like Kafka, haha. I continue to appreciate all the music and literary references in here, it makes the story just that much more realistic in the time period and characters.

Tristan hesitated, quill poised, before finishing a swooping signature with his full name. -- Ugh, you're such a tease. :p When do we get to find out?!

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Author's Response: Oh I know! Tristan can be a real pill. He definitely isn't a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff. I definitely don't think these kids realize how unqualified they are to help one another, and because they're teenagers, don't put too much stock by adults. I don't think he genuinely believes that Laurel is getting help. More like she's being punished for some transgression.

In the first draft, ALL WAS REVEALED during the Snape scene--but I decided that was way too soon, and paced it out further. Also, the story got longer than anticipated when I got to know the characters better. (I wrote this whole thing out like, a year ago, then did lots of revisions before uploading.) There will be flashbacks to the rest of that convo later ;)

And ahaaa, glad you forgot-then-remembered about Neville. So many little hints, a few red herrings, teeheee.

"You don't mention how old Tristan was when he was brought home from the hospital," well aren't you clever!

I know, Kafka, right! It was originally going to be Nietzsche, but I think Kafka was a better choice for Tristan. Nietzsche suits Isobel better, in a way. But she doesn't seem like the type to read a muggle philosopher.

Can I just say how very VERY cool it is to read someone's responses chapter-by-chapter! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave reviews!


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Review #14, by marauderfan The Big Thing

12th July 2014:
I'm not sure how I feel about Emily and Tristan going off to take hallucinogenic potions just after Laurel was carted away for over-hexing... they do seem to have themselves under control a bit more than she did, but maybe that's only temporary. Anyway, I loved the way you wrote that scene and what they saw and how time was folding in on itself like a fractal, it was beautifully written, kind of floaty.

The scene with Tristan and Emily in the hallway is really sweet, though slightly annoying to read because I know Emily knows Tristan's secret now, but I still don't! :p

Eleven-year-old Emily's way of introducing herself to Tristan is perfect and adorable. Okay, but now back to Tristan. Something doesn't add up. He says houses run in families, but his dad is a muggle and his mum (Mary Macdonald?) was a Gryffindor. I was just thinking about this and Mary would be way too young to be having kids at the time Tristan was born. My best guess is that Tristan was adopted, potentially from a family of pureblood dark wizards who gave him his middle name "R". So many questions. reading on now. :p Btw, the pacing of this story is excellent. There's enough info to progress the story, but you conceal enough to make me want to keep reading! Another great chapter!

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Author's Response: Right!?! I think that Emily kind of realized there was something tacky and unwise about it--but Emily's also the most stable of the four. She's only charmed three times (the train, Hogsmeade, the Quidditch match) all term, so she isn't too worried about over-partying.

I really enjoyed writing the potion! Emily's visions are based a bit on some of the teenage philosophizing I did as a kid--the gist of which was "everything is connected, and it's all mushy." Plus, as I mentioned in the A/N, LOTS of research into real-world psychadelia. And I hope it comes across, but Emily's chapters change a bit after, in the way she thinks about things.

And yay, the introduction. Since this is a coming-of-age, I thought flashing back to them as children was important, because they're currently in their transition state.

And ah! What you said about things "not adding up" PERFECTLY mirrors something Isobel says in the most recently uploaded chapter! :D

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Review #15, by marauderfan Self-Spelling

12th July 2014:
Thank goodness Isobel has noticed Laurel's overdependency on charms. And after that DADA class, I'm worried something really serious is going to happen to Laurel.

Isobel's eating disorder is getting worse than I thought, too. But who is going to look out for her, since she is the one who really looks after people in a mum-like way? Everyone is too caught up in their own problems/feeling sorry for themselves. Wow, this chapter is really showing how none of them can keep going as they are, and they're headed for a crash.

Oh goodness, and there's the crash. That was such an eerie scene, like I'd seen it coming but still wasn't sure what to expect. Now I'm wondering if they're going to change any of their behaviour at all, if Laurel's situation will serve as a wake up call to them... but sadly I get the feeling it may take more than that.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised by Snape at the end. I think he actually helped by not drawing any attention to what happened in a time when they're all in the spotlight.

it's really late at night and I want to keep reading but I worry about what kind of gibberish I would be leaving as a review, so maybe I'll be back tomorrow haha.

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Author's Response: What you said about Isobel's eating disorder is 100% on point. Unfortunately, she really doesn't have anyone around who's properly equipped to deal with it :(.

I'm really glad that scene came off as "eerie." I researched overdose warning signs for some of the details (shallow breathing/stopping breathing, fingernails turning blue, etc). It was cool to be able to add those real-life details, but also be able to invent some other creepy details (eyes open, strangled smile).

And oh yes, I adore Snape! I wanted to let him have a little good-guy moment in there. He could hardly be described as professional, yet he has his moments (remember him and Umbridge? That was some of the craziest character interplay!)

Thank you so much for more fantastic reviews!


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Review #16, by marauderfan Troll in the Dungeons!

12th July 2014:
Okay, 10 chapters to read. I'm stoked.

Poor Tristan. Gah, sleeping in contacts is the WORST. Aw, and leave it to him to spend his birthday feeling sorry for himself. I must say I loved the conversation between him and the Sorting Hat though!

Um, I wish I'd had a class in school that just consisted of playing with cats. That sounds like the most awesome class. Free Time and Animals!

It makes sense that Tristan and co. would be really good in Charms class, shame their 'talent' for it can't get recognised haha. I loved the conversation between the Gryffindors and Tristan in Herbology. They have such a weird quasi-friendship now and it's pretty entertaining.

Also, I love that Tristan chooses to sit with the Bloody Baron. I mean, who else should I have expected him to sit with? Haha.

Ooh, there is something weird going on with Laurel...she's got a serious problem if she's always on some hex or another. And of course Tristan won't speak up about it. I guess its up to Isobel to notice. I hope she notices soon.

He then reminded himself that those were the sorts of thoughts that made him an (non-12+) -- Hahaha! This is what I love about Tristan. He is fully aware of how moody and annoying he is, and makes jokes about it (to himself).

The canon stuff in this chapter is fantastic. I loved Hermione telling them off for being unruly. And Tristan's description of the Quidditch game was brilliant, since he has no idea what's going on and honestly doesn't care, and what was SUCH a big deal in the book is kind of just whatever to him. Weird broomstick - who cares. :p

A few typos I thought I'd bring to your attention:
and head off to the lake together-- should be 'headed' (past tense)
and at one point you said 'overt' when you meant 'over'. Anyway, small things. Excellent chapter!

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Author's Response: Ah the Sorting hat convo--it was so sad to me, because *we* read CoS, and know that Harry chose Gryffindor, Tristan could have just as easily. But of course he's Tristan, and didn't think to try it.

Hahaha, the kitties. I thought it was funny that Kettleburn's class is ostensibly the opposite of Hagrid's. As CambAngst said in his review, Hagrid's is more "Animals And Also: Mortal Danger."

Yeah Wood and Tristan worked it out, but they're still hardly compatible. Wood is still the jock Tristan jinxed, and Tristan is still the kid who jinxes jocks.

The Bloody Baron seating was a last minute realization, I'm glad you liked that!

And yeah, I think of Tristan as having a lot of great qualities. He's clever despite himself, has a sense of humor, and can be positively charming when he feels like it. It's just he spends more time accentuating the negative in his thoughts than the positive.

Thank you for catching the typos! Will edit straight away!


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Review #17, by marauderfan Behind the Mirror

11th July 2014:
Hi! Very sorry with how long it's taken me to get to your request! I was in the middle of nowhere for a month with no internet. Please forgive me - here's some cake as a bribe.

Also, HOW did you get 11 new chapters up while I was gone?! ELEVEN? Actually I'm kind of excited to have so much to read now :D

Ok but now your review. Sir Cadogan escorting Emily and Tristan was funny. Actually, everything Sir Cadogan ever does is funny, both in the books and in this fic. :D And I definitely noticed all sorts of hints at a future Tristan/Emily relationship, although probably very far in the future, since I think Tristan is pretty oblivious to his friend's feelings.

This was a great chapter - sounds like a blast of a party! I love that Tristan invited Oliver. And that he was the only one calling in requests on Muggle Music Hour. And a dance party! That sounds like the best dance party ever.

The chapter may have been primarily fluff/filler, but this is where the Weasley twins learn about the Hogwarts kitchen, and that's a huge event! Hahaah, poor twins though, that's a rough night. What I really love about this chapter though, is that it shows how much the misfit Hex Head group shares with the twins and vice versa, how mutualistic their friendship is. The twins let them in on their secret passageway, Emily shares her secret of the kitchens. I thought it was sweet.

Potential discrepancies I noticed: Emily predicts that the caved-in hallway could comfortably host only ten people, but there are far more than ten people at that party. Magic (a la GoF tents at the world cup that are bigger on the inside)? Is the party in the TARDIS? Now that I read that paragraph over, I think you meant that she was expecting only ten people - but the way it's worded it sounds like there's room for only ten people, so you might want to just tweak the wording there.

And also, as much as I adored the fact that the Hufflepuff password is Hufflepuff, and the resulting teasing conversation between the twins and Emily, on Pottermore JKR reveals that the password to the Puff common room is actually a series of tapping on one of the barrels across the corridor (to the rhythm of "Helga Hufflepuff" - so yep :P) Anyway, I thought I'd let you know because I know you're really set on this story being 100% canon, so something to consider (if you consider Pottermore info as canon). If you want, I'm a Hufflepuff on Pottermore and I can PM you the whole spiel about the barrels that JKR provides. (Does this make me a traitor to my house for telling our password all over the internet? :P )

Anyway, the story is absolutely still keeping my interest and I'm excited that I have 10 more chapters to read before I have to wait for another one.

I love your endnotes, by the way. I'm a sucker for all things trivia, and this is like Year Five Trivia, hooray! :D I'll definitely be back!

Author's Response: Oh yay! Hello again!

Yeah, the queue was insanely short for a week, it was a beautiful time.

Ah! The hufflepuff password. I heard about the Pottermore thing, but the HP wiki said it was a 'pass-rhyme.' Because there was conflict, and I liked the joke, I dissented. I would very much like to know the details from Pottermore, though, and may change it. Let me know if you ever catch more canon discrepancies!

And you are the second person to get thrown off by the "ten people" thing, so I will definitely edit that. I did mean that she was only expecting ten, and that the space was overlarge. The confusion in the wording probably came from my going back last minute and deciding to underline the "parties get blown up very quickly" thing. Thanks for pointing it out!

I'm glad you liked Fred and George finding out about the kitchens! I liked the idea that the twins didn't discover everything on their own, and that even if Harry never knew Tristan and co., their influence was around.

While doing research, I found something saying that Sir Cadogan was a Knight of the Round table known for chivalry--but I could never find it again!

And I'm very glad that you like the end notes! I can't really resist writing them :)

Thanks so much for another review!


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Review #18, by CambAngst Self-Spelling

10th July 2014:
Holy crap! So I think I mentioned something in my last review about feeling like something big was about to happen. I honestly wasn't expecting it this soon. Anyhow, one small formality:

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So it finally happened. You'd been building up to it for a while with Laurel. I really want to commend you on your pacing of this story. Your plot lines move in a nice, even, natural-feeling progression. I can't really think of anything that's come completely out of the blue in this story, but it isn't as though you telegraph every last development, either. Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints.

I can't decide whether I think Tristan or Isobel will be the next to crash. Tristan doesn't seem to be as bad off as Laurel in terms of charm abuse, but I'm not sure how much more the kid can take mentally. If Isobel doesn't eat something soon, her body is probably going to start to shut down. Even Emily seems to fall off the wagon from time to time and take her substances too far. They're not a healthy group of individuals.

The Defense lesson was a great foil to keep drawing out Laurel's problems. It was interesting to watch all of the cognitive dissonance surrounding Laurel's reaction. Isobel and Tristan both should have figured out what was going on. At some level, I'm sure that both of them did. But they're also so caught up in their own problems that they don't seem to want to create even more difficulty and confrontation by calling her out on it. So the conspiracy of silence goes on.

Isobel's anorexia/bulimia is reaching scary proportions, as well. In general, I think you've done a very realistic and gripping job of showing the troubles that these kids are struggling with. You don't overplay it or blow the drama up to ridiculous proportions. All of them believe -- as I think most sufferers of such conditions do -- that they have things under control. It doesn't seem that serious to them, even though when we see it through another character's eyes, we definitely know it's serious. That's some really good writing.

The scene where Isobel finds Laurel in her bed had a very surreal, "this isn't happening" kind of quality to it, which was perfect. Everything about the rest of the school's follow-up reaction was also well done, from Flitwick trying -- and mostly failing -- to be helpful to the other Slytherins being complete jerks about it. Snape, oddly enough, seemed to be the only one who realized that sometimes less is more. Laurel is, presumably, where she needs to be now.

Second chapter in a row with no typos! Great job!

Author's Response: "Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints." High praise, that!

Your "conspiracy of silence" comment was great! All these kids have stuff going on, but they only have eachother for support. And so their support systems are woefully inadequate. Kids go through these kinds of things at that age, even if they aren't at boarding school. But, I thought that in that context, it could be even more dangerous.

I'm really glad that you think her eating disorder was handled properly! I read once that people always fail when they write about that subject, because they end up romanticizing the stoicism and stuff. Which is irresponsible. The writer of this op-ed suggested that what eating disorders TRULY are, is boring and tedious. Now, since I'm going for accuracy, but also trying to write something interesting and engaging, "boring and tedious" is a difficult task to do in the right way. So yeah, really glad you think it's all coming off well.

And I'm really happy the overdose was surreal! It was such an important scene, I really wanted to get the tone right! And as for the fall out: YES. I lovelovelove Snape, and writing him from the perspective of students who hate him is really fun, but I also wanted to give him a moment to shine.

Thank you for these reviews! I can't say how encouraging it is to see all these little things I worked on coming through, and working out. It's an incredible luxury to get chapter-by-chapter feedback, so I thank you!

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Review #19, by CambAngst Troll in the Dungeons!

10th July 2014:
Hi, there! I'm continuing my march through your story. It's an opportunity to enjoy it and feel good about it at the same time. Win-win.

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First off, love your chapter image. The model is perfect for the way you're been building Laurel up.

Poor Tristan is kind of a mess, emotionally. It seems like he comes by a lot of it honestly and I'm guessing that the highs and lows of repeatedly charming with Laurel and the others are affecting his moods, as well. Addiction is a harsh master, and I'm sure that he's in deeper than he realizes.

This new combination of charms that Laurel is using sounds like a pretty bad deal. You have one charm canceling the euphoria of the other, allowing her to function "normally". That sounds like the very essence of addiction if I've ever seen it.

Tristan's sorting brings up some interesting points. We know from history that the hat makes mistakes sometimes. Or as Dumbledore said, "Sometimes I think we sort too soon." Then again, it's possibly that Tristan wouldn't be happy no matter where he was. His self-loathing is reaching pretty scary levels. He doesn't even seem to feel worthy of a nice gift from his parents or a tiny check from his grandmother.

It seems like sometimes Tristan excels in spite of himself. With both McGonagall and Sprout, he makes a good impression and then almost immediately ruins it with self-destructive behavior. I feel badly for him, but ultimately the situation can only be considered his own fault.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals' -- Ha! Brilliant description of a class where the students were basically instructed to play with kitties for an hour. I wonder what they would have called Hagrid's class? 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger'?

This chapter gave a different view of more than just Laurel and Tristan. Emily seemed pretty out of control, as well.

"Wait, look," Isobel pointed. "People! We're people!" Isobel explained, indicating to the swarm descending on the Quidditch pitch.

"Letís go be people!" yelled Laurel, and she took off sprinting in the direction of the game.

Not a great sign when you're ambivalent on your personhood.

Interesting to see the Quidditch experience through the eyes of a non-fan. I guess all of the plays would be a bit confusing if you had no idea what was going on.

I feel like you're building toward something here. I can't say exactly what, but I don't see the foursome's activities being something they can sustain for an entire school year, especially with OWL's at the end. I'm really curioius to find out what. Good job!

Author's Response: Glad you liked the image! I spent a lottt of time choosing faceclaims for the characters. I ended up choosing actors who came to prominence as teenagers doing indie films. That way, they would have enough moody pictures (rather than glamor photos), and would look realistically young enough. I thought that image was incredibly perfect for the chapter, and even though she clearly isn't wearing robes, used it anyway. (In canon, they wear ROBES--I take this very seriously! I tried to only use pictures where they look like it could be robes, unless the chapter takes place in the muggle world.)

Oh yes, that charm blend is a monster. Honestly, I was basically trying to make it roughly equivalent to opiates. I'm glad that the VERY BAD IDEAness of it all came across!

Tristan's history with Sorting was, for me, totally tragic. He was basically in the same situation as Harry, with the hat suggesting he should be in Slytherin. But whereas Harry fought the idea, and ASKED to be in Gryffindor, Tristan resigned himself. One gets many opportunities for dramatic irony when writing fanfiction :)

"Tristan excels in spite of himself"--that's a really spot on observation! Cheers for that whole paragraph! I definitely wanted him to be sympathetic, and for readers to understand his behavior the way you do, but also kind of want to slap him.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals'--ahhh, so glad you found that as funny as I did! 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger' is so good that I wish I'd set this story in 1993!

And I'm glad for your reaction to their states-of-mind just before the match. I wanted them to have fun, but I didn't want to romanticize their charm-use.

As for the match itself, I've never really understood sports myself, and I really liked the idea of them all being fish-out-of-water at a game.

Aha, as you know, you were SPOT ON about their behaviors being unsustainable. So good on you! And I'm so pleased that that was paced properly!

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Review #20, by CambAngst Behind the Mirror

10th July 2014:
Party! Party! Seriously, that sounded like a fun party. OK, quick formality:

House Cup 2014 Review

I read this chapter last night, but once again it seemed prudent to wait until I was a little less brain-dead before reviewing.

Ah, the Weasley Twins. Purveyors of fine mischief and mischief-related services to the Hogwarts community for just shy of seven years. I wonder whether they found the room behind the mirror on the Marauder's Map or whether it was genuinely their own discovery?

Interesting. When I read this last night, I missed the fact that it was Tristan's idea to invite Wood. Wow, that boy is complicated. Smart, too. I love Fred and George's reaction to being told.

This seems like a good spot to stop and compliment you on the way that you've sought out canon surnames to create original characters. Given the relatively small size of the British magical community, I think that approach makes a lot of sense.

Laurel didnít come at all. -- Is it just me, or do I sense a major crash coming up in her near-term future. Either a crash or an intervention, I would think. Possibly both.

Ha! Sir Cadogan is totally onto them! In fact, maybe he understands more than they do. I guess when you live in a school for a few centuries, watching generation after generation of teenagers pass by, you get to be a pretty good judge of these things.

"June," he improvised, throwing his arm around her shoulder. "And our chaperone only just stepped out." To Emily, he whispered, "play along, it'll make him happy." Hmmmnnn... Tristan, you sly devil!

"That was big of him," replied Oliver, unsarcastically. -- It really was. I'm glad to see that you made Oliver basically a decent guy in the end.

So I feel compelled to stop and ask at this point: How do these students smuggle so much booze into the castle? Bottles of liquor are one thing -- compact, easily hidden -- but entire cases of beer? Filch is slacking!

Every Hufflepuff years five through seven had turned up, as well as most of the upper level Ravenclaws and Gryffindors. Tristan was still the only Slytherin. -- I'll nit-pick you a smidge on that passage, because earlier you mentioned that the collapsed passage could hold around ten people. You might want to tweak that description a bit, because I do like the idea of a large party.

It seems that even some of the castle's "A students" have a bit of a recreational magic habit. I remember kids like that from college, using everything from caffeine to asthma inhalers to stay up and study just those few extra hours.

And then the Weasley twins start puking. Ah, the novice drinkers at their first big party. There's a story that transcends the muggle and magical worlds effortlessly.

The House Elves are so nice to the students. I love that throughout six books set at Hogwarts, nobody was ever once turned in by a House Elf for breaking the rules. Because there's little doubt that the House Elves knew everything that was going on.

I didn't see a single typo as I was reading this chapter, so kudos on your editing! It was a fun read, even if it was a bit fluffy. I think it definitely added to the story. Great job!

Author's Response: First off, your reviews are really thorough and insightful, and I super appreciate that you take the time to leave such good ones!

The collapsed passage behind the mirror crops up in canon, and is listed on the Marauder's Map, so they could easily have found it there.

And yes, canon surnames. With only 35-50 students graduating Hogwarts a year, it must be a tiny population! Also, it was fun finding a character for someone to be related to, and helped a lot with coming up with names (if someone had a brother or sister named, I looked up common sibling names--I also looked up most common English baby names in the mid seventies for naming the muggle teens).

Ah yes, their encounter with Cagogan--my attempt at shipping. Romance isn't my strong suit, so playing it as awkwardness and subtle comedy was easiest for me. Also, it let me bury yet another very big hint!

Yes, I definitely like the idea of seeing a basically good person from another POV (Tristan and Wood the first time round), but Wood is hardly a bad guy in the books. A bit of a jock, and passionate to the point of obnoxiousness, which I could play with--but ultimately a nice guy.

Ah, the excess booze. I figure the older students who are of age have an easier time sneaking things in, maybe? They know magic way beyond what Filch could detect, and they have practice.

Size of party: I will rewrite that bit, didn't mean for it to be confusing. I'd tried to suggest that the space was over-large for a party of ten, because that's all Emily thought it would be. But from my experience as a teen, word of parties tends to spread fast, and become ragers rather quickly.

And yeah, "study spells"--figured there had to be a magical equivalent to what kids at my college called "study drugs."

You make an excellent point about the elves never turning students in. The concept of House Elves was one of my favorites in the books--another statement about power and corruption, and how power is only ok when used to serve others. Also, the tricky issues of exploitation, but also Hermione's cultural insensitivity. Now I'm rambling, but yes, House Elves are potent!


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Review #21, by CambAngst Three Times Charmed

9th July 2014:
Hello, again! Doing what I can to help with the big push, so for the record:

House Cup 2014 Review

I like the fact that Isobel owns her vanity. She does it and she does it well and she takes what most would consider a vice and makes it into a sort of personal virtue. In fact, this chapter really seems to be all about vices. Isobel is vain, Laurel is a charm junkie (gluttony?), Emily is a slag (lust) and Tristan has a real superiority complex where it comes to the muggle vs. magical (pride). That leaves out wrath, sloth and envy, but you can't have it all in a story with only four main characters I suppose.

And then, all of a sudden, Emily just gave up on boys, in order to wait patiently for Tristan to start paying attention to her. -- Ah! I'm pleased that I got this right in one of my earlier reviews.

It seems that they've planned out their trip to Hogsmeade quite thoroughly, obtaining necessary provisions and all that. A very realistic touch, based on my own experiences. To waste a day effectively, you need to make sure that everything is in place or you'll spend valuable slacking time addressing your wants and needs. That's way too much like productivity.

I love what you did with Filch. I wouldn't imagine a middle-aged squib who lives in a magical school would know much at all about muggle technology.

Laurel and Isobel are quite the pair as they make their way around the village. It's more often male characters who are written as this type of trouble-maker, and it was neat to see a pair of girls engaging in a devil-may-care day of recreational magic, petty theft and generally being obnoxious.

Hmmnn... who or what was inside the Hog's Head that chased Laurel away? Another small mystery?

You've done such a good job of keeping Tristan's music perfectly time and genre-appropriate. Kudos on all of your research and excellent taste.

Ha! Love the Hufflepuffs and their secrets to obtaining all manner of creature comforts.

I saw one lonely typo as I was reading:

She patted it once, and pinched the excess flesh around her naval. -- navel

Great job! I shall return soon.

Author's Response: Thank you for all of the reviews!!!

What you said about the seven sins is really interesting! Wrath and envy definitely make appearances, and even a little bit of sloth (although it's by far the least interesting sin.)

Writing their day in the village definitely involved me trying to channel my younger teenage self, and remembering all the ways intoxicated/giddy teenage girls can be obnoxious, and how they don't really care. I'm glad you found it realistic! And the comment that young women are rarely written that way was quite the complement.

Oh, I didn't mean for the Hogs Head to be such a mystery. Rather, Laurel just thought it looked very seedy, and that two teenage girls might do better NOT to go in.

And yes, lots of research into the music! I tried to comb through everything era-appropriate in order to find the songs that fit each person the best. And writing Isobel's distaste for the Pixies was fun, because I really like them.

AH, thank you for pointing out "naval"!!!

You're the best!

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Review #22, by CambAngst Loose Lips

7th July 2014:
I'm back again! In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually read this chapter last night, but I was way too worn out to write a decent review. Here I am, ready to do it justice. First, a bit of boilerplate:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now, on to the substance and the glory.

Tristan is a really deep kid. Emily, Isobel and Tristan all seem like pretty deep thinkers, actually, but in that "too cool for school" way that prizes off-beat topics and irreverent lines of inquiry. The jury is still out on Laurel, I think, although she is a Ravenclaw so the potential is obviously there.

"'Ouch," teased Isobel. "You really know where to hit Snapey where it hurts: ethics." -- A brilliant line, although you have an extra single quote in front of "Ouch".

I love the idea of Sir Cadogan attempting to mentor and intimidate the foursome, it cracks me up. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you misspelled his name in the first mention: Cadoaon. I think that was the last typo I saw.

There was nothing Tristan hated more than being confined. -- You slip in a lot of small facts and observations about Tristan in this story. I'm almost to the point of giving up on trying to figure out which ones have a bigger purpose and which do not. Almost. This one seems like something that might pop up again later on.

I loved Tristan's nickname for Quirrell, but the description raised an interesting -- and exceedingly minor -- point in my head. I'm not sure that Quirrell stuttered before his encounter with Voldemort. The Harry Potter Wiki -- which always must be treated with skepticism, but is sometimes correct by sheer chance -- implies that he was always timid, but started to stutter and faint after returning from his sabbatical. Take it for what it's worth. Probably nothing to lose sleep over.

Tristan's meditation on the definition of quaint was completely brilliant. Kudos to Marauderfan for that one!

Interesting. Tristan has a point where his job prospects are concerned, although he overdoes it a bit. I'd never given much thought to what might happen for a witch or wizard who wished to reenter the muggle world after finishing their studies at Hogwarts. There are approximately three million fan fics out there -- mostly Dramiones; ick -- where Hermione attends a muggle university after Hogwarts but they all tend to skim over the topic of what she submitted for a secondary school transcript.

You are doing a marvelous job of slow-playing whatever it is that's developing between Tristan and Emily. They're definitely not romantically involved, but you can see the potential chemistry. She seems to get angry at him when she realizes -- perhaps subconsciously -- that he's beating himself up for no good reason.

Wow. It sure is easy for witches and wizards to cover their tracks when they're on the cusp of getting caught in the midst of some recreation. I envy that.

While I was reading the conflict between Tristan and Oliver Wood, I had this image of Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson chest-thumping it out in Breakfast Club. Tristan isn't quite the loud-mouthed rebel that Nelson played, but Wood would totally fit with Estevez's jock character. I wonder if he ever taped somebody's buns together in the Quidditch dressing room? Why on earth do I think of things like this???

I wonder what happened to Laurel to put her in such a mood? Could be Cheering Charm withdrawal, I suppose. Or maybe something more. I guess if it's important, we'll find out.

Tristan seems to have earned some respect for standing up to Wood and taking his licks. Fred and George weren't the first ones who came to mind, but it makes sense. The other Slytherins, however, were more of a surprise. And Tristan doesn't take it well at all. I hope that the lie he tells to get back on their bad side doesn't come back to haunt him too badly. Who am I kidding? Of course it will.

Your end notes are required reading for this story. The little bits of color and clarification you add are always interesting.

Great job! Be back soon...

Author's Response: Ah, thank you for catching those mistakes! I will fix them straight away! And the Quirrel thing too.

I'm really glad for your reaction to Tristan! *steeples hands and smirks, ideally while lit from below*

I definitely wanted Tristan to be a bit of a pain, a la Harry when he was in his fifth year. But, obv very different. Just equally 15.

And excellent Emily observation! Glad that came across!

Haha! From this point forward, I will imagine Oliver Wood as Emilio Estevez!

Is 'the lie' you mentioned that he said he was a mudblood? I thought I remembered Harry being considered a half blood because Lily was muggle-born...

Now that I think on it, there isn't a named PC term in the Potter series for the children of muggle-borns. Hmmm.

I'm glad you like the end notes! I wasn't sure if I was just being self-indulgent. There were just little bits of research I happened upon that were really neat, but couldn't be gracefully woven into the story.

Thanks for another wonderful review!

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Review #23, by CambAngst R

6th July 2014:
Hi, there! Back for another chapter! Also, it's House Cup time and this is the one event I actually have some time to partake in, so:

House Cup 2014 Review

With the pleasantries and formalities out of the way, I do like the way that you continue to deliver the key plot points of your story. I would not have guessed that Tristan was a Slytherin. That puts a very different spin on the character as well as his apparent feelings of alienation and his mood swings. Coming from a mixed family and all.. awkward... No wonder he has such mixed feelings.

Ha! Although it's brief, I liked what you did with Cedric. We only ever see him through Harry's eyes when he's much older, already in the prime of his lady-killing sparkly vampiric godliness. Here he's just breaking out of that ungainly adolescent phase and we're seeing him through the eyes of someone two years older.

Emily's "tradition" with Dumbledore was a really nice touch. All of these kids are the sort of teenagers who almost go out of their way to be disaffected rebels. I don't want to go quite so far as to slap the "rich, suburban white kid problems" label on them -- Tristan's problems are obviously real -- but it's not like they're suffering in the same manner as Harry or Neville. In spite of all that, there's this connection between Emily and Dumbledore. Something the two of them share that transcends age, blood status, academic aptitude and studiousness. Then again, I always imagined that Dumbledore had a bit of a rebellious streak. He probably just didn't express it by engaging in "recreational magic" and other such diversions with his friends.

Grrr.. Marcus Flint. Reading this makes me feel even better about having Draco curse him in Detox and then killing him off in Conspiracy of Blood. He didn't fare well in my stories. ;)

I love Tristan's plan for getting revenge on his roommates. In spite of the enjoyment he'll derive from it, living with that bunch of pureblood supremacist jerks has to be awful for him. At least he has his friends and his literature to keep him company. Slaughterhouse 5 was a favorite of mine when I was younger. I'm now curious whether those themes of predetermination and absurdity will find their way into your story at all.

Funny and completely unrelated side story: When I was in college, one of the dorms on campus used to have a big weekend party every year after the end of second semester classes and before the start of final exams. My freshman year, they hired a band from Seattle that not many people had heard of to play on Saturday night. The year was 1991 and I'm assuming you can guess who the band was...

Ooh, another mystery surrounding Tristan. I'm curious whether his middle name could relate in any way to his interest in Harry Potter. Or maybe I'm just grabbing at straws. The boy has secrets, and I like that about him!

Laurel's kind of a junkie for those Cheering Charms, isn't she?

OK, so there's really only one thing I found in this chapter that I can nit-pick you on and it's this: ďTristan. Cheer me. For the love of Merlin,Ē commanded Laurel, finally lifting her head. You keep everything in this story so marvelously canon, but in the books, Merlin was never treated like some deity whose name could be invoked or taken in vain. People would refer to his beard or his pants, but I don't recall it ever being implied that he was any sort of god. So there, my one possibly useful bit of constructive criticism.

Wow. I guess they've survived four years at Hogwarts already so they know what they're doing, but I'm not sure I could handle Snape in that mental state. Also, why does Snape love Tristan so much? Does he feel some responsibility for looking after his House's one half-blood? That doesn't sound much like Snape, but I guess stranger things have happened. The plot thickens further...

Another great chapter! I shall return!

Author's Response: Oh yay, so glad to have another review from you!

I'm so very, very pleased you didn't see the Slytherin thing coming! "Reluctant Slytherin" was the original central theme for Tristan's character, and then I worried that that was a pretty common trope around here and people would see it coming straight off!

"lady-killing sparkly vampiric godliness," hahahahahaha. Oh yes, couldn't resist giving Cedric an ugly-duckling phase ;) Alternate POV of canon characters is a LOT of fun!

The Dumbledore wave: I really liked the idea that Dumbledore has a personal relationship with ALL of his students.

Now I wish I HAD woven in Slaughterhouse 5 themes! I chose that book just because it was appropriate to the era, and Tristan's age (and I like it (; )

Aha, you lucky thing. My thought process: "hm, PhilStone look place in 1991-92. Lots of Nirvana is going to have to be involved."

Ohmanohmanohman, I wanna say something about Tristan's suspicious interest... but the spoilers.

Thank you for the Merlin comment, I hadn't thought of that! I will indeed think very carefully about how to revise that line.

Thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed review! You rock!

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Review #24, by emmacweasley Muggle Magic

6th July 2014:
House Cup 2014 Review

I'd completely forgotten about Isobel and Lucas! And how much I ship them! I don't know why - he seems so kind and so much like Emily, it's just such a good match. *sigh* I do wish he'd pop back up into the story soon! (It'd also be interesting to see more of the families in general, especially Isobel's dad. He's so interesting!)

I believe *this* one's competing for spot as favorite chapter as well.


Author's Response: Ahaaa thank youuu!

Yeah, for some reason I really liked writing Ahmad, even though he's a minor character. His dialogue just comes really easily--I imagine him as very kind, but a little bit arrogant. Also, I personally find the idea of Comparative Magic really interesting!

I'm so happy to hear you like this chapter so much! I really love where it is and how it goes, a little lighthearted respite from all the darker and angstier chapters around it :)

Ah! The fact that anyone is shipping anyone is really humbling!


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Review #25, by emmacweasley The Big Thing

6th July 2014:
House Cup 2014 Review

This is one of my absolute favorite chapters, and I think it all has to do with the description of the crazy potion they take. I really like the fact that there were doubts on whether or not it would work - western ideology always has a tendency to doubt anything "magical" that comes from the eastern cultures. And because of that, I also really like the fact that it worked, and it worked WELL. Emily and Tristan have a super great connection in this chapter, and its obviously not completely because of the potion. I'm still waiting for them to really get it together, you know.

Anyway, I also really appreciate how you've let Tristan's secret out a little by little over time. It feels much more natural that way.


Author's Response: That potion was so interesting to write! I liked the idea that sometimes magic is more subtle and complex than simple wand motions and incantations. The quote Fred and George appropriated: "a magic beyond all we do here" Spoiler: music, even when made by muggles, is literally magic in this story!

And yes-yes-yes, Western bias is a huge theme here :)

And I'm so relieved that you dug the pacing of the Tristan reveal! I wrote this all out and edited before I started uploading, but last minute I totally overhauled how I paced that mystery, and I'm realy glad it worked!


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