Reading Reviews for Year Five
292 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Gabriella Hunter O.W.L.s

29th July 2015:

This is Gabbie from the forums dropping by with you review! I was a tad bit late this time but I've moved and it's been crazy! This adulting thing is annoying, man.

On to this!

So, the dreaded OWLs have arrived. I thought that I could practically feel the group cringing through some of them. There's nothing worse than knowing that you have this huge life altering test coming up but what I liked was that each member of the group was going through something completely different. I'm not sure if this was on purpose or not but I think that you showed each of their lives well here, the tests that they took reflected on their lives and how far they had come.

Perhaps I'm reading a little too much into metaphors here but I thought that was a great way to tie them all together. It's great to see that some of their issues have slowed down somewhat (Emily not smoking anymore) while others still need to be resolved. I thought that you wrote the passage of time really well though, you didn't dwell too long on one particular subject--the span of days went by quickly as they were met with more and more challenges.

I also enjoyed that you didn't just have all of the group miraculously getting through their OWLs without making mistakes. That would have been completely unrealistic, I think but what I gathered was that if this group, with so many issues can actually try for a better future, anyone could. They worried for each other, encouraged themselves and kept on going (Except for Tristan, who gave the middle finger to History of Magic like a boss. Hahahaha)

Now, onto Tristan...



I know that it wasn't some kind of accident and I had a feeling that something would go wrong after that little thing with Malfoy. Ugh, what a little snot, eh? I also like the canon that you added into this too, what with him bragging about that Nimbus his Dad was going to get him and all that. But...but...Tristan! Ugh, I can't believe that you've done this to me!

I'll be back, darn you.

Much love,


Author's Response: Yay Gabbie!

I'm so glad you thought there was, yeah, like a reflection of where they were at. I think for a lot a couple of them (like Emily and Laurel), the exams kind of shook them out of their more personal worries and gave them something else to focus their energies on. (I think a big problem for these kids is that they're sort of under-stimulated. Very clever, each of them, but with not enough outlets for their energies. They would probs have all benefited a lot from more extra-curricular activities).

Passage of time here was something a thought about a lot, so I'm glad you think it was well done. I worried about rushing in this story, but here, I think a kind of rushed pace made the frantic mood come through better.

And yeah, they def COULD have done better on their exams if they'd worked put more energy into their classes before.

About Tristan. I'M SO SORRY! I swear I didn't plan this, but then all of a sudden I realized it HAD to happen, and that I'd sort of subconsciously been building to it (and that the Lake had come to take on this weird sort of significance).

Sorry sorry sorry!

And AH! Only two chapters left! EeEeEeEe!


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Review #2, by Shinicha Muggle Magic

29th July 2015:
Ahh okay, I hope I have kept everything in my mind that I wanted to comment on (not sure if I did).

1. Okay so when I said last chapter that locking their kid up to protect it is NOT the way to do it, now this is exactly what Isobel's parents are doing ... but admittedly, she's a different case to Tristan.

I really feel with her concerning the smoking-thing though. I never went as far as smoking in the shower (how obvious would THAT be?) but from eating bananas to hide the smell and washing my hands to carrying around perfume I did all kinds of things :D All in all, she is handling the pressure with much elegance and patience though. Maybe it is because she only has to spend her holiday's with them, but I admire her self-composure.

2. I immensely enjoyed the "muggle-wizard" interaction! First, it was nice to see how grown-ups get along so well and do not clash as it so often happens in stories and also real-life (slightly disapproving families, forced politeness...) It also feels scary that I almost can relate more to the parents than to the kids. Damnit, I'm only 23!

3. On the other hand you wrote about so many things I was wondering about when reading the books! I never did much research reading the Wiki, so I have to ask: Are the facts about hags being a different species, and about Arithmancy made up? Or true? In any case: interesting!

4. Nice way to mention Albus fist boyfriend btw :D

5. And the subtle critique of state meddling was also amusing. If the Unspeakables are anything close to our intelligence services or "constitution protection units" they're nothing but despicable. Úo

6. I laughed at the "hippie-ness" of Emily's parents. They seem very lovely.

7. Speaking of family: There is SO something gonna happen between Isobel and Lucas. RIGHT?

A few more things:

-Isobel's non-eating habits are worrying (I once read this book "air for breakfast" (was the roughly from German translated title), and felt shocked when I felt I could agree to almost every point up to the stage where the main cast grew these baby-hairs that the body produces when you hunger too much. ISOBEL DON'T GROW HAIR. EAT.

-Thanks for also introducing me to the word "stoked", I'll be careful to use it from now on :P

- I noticed a minor spelling error: "iare you certain you're getting enough protein?Ē "

- brownies are tricky, I hope they don't plan to eat all of them at once, otherwise they might have to extend their visit to the rehab clinic!

Author's Response: Ooh fancy, I'll reply in number form too :)

1. The interesting thing here is that I'm not sure whether or not this was even a good idea :P Like, I write it as though it isn't, but maybe it is?

Heh, I smoked in the shower, and it WAS obvious. Me and my friends would do it under the auspice of shaving our legs. Bloody ridiculous.

2. I wrote this when I was 23! And yes, I weirdly identified with the parents a lot too! I think it was the first time I properly looked at a parents' perspective and tried to consider why they do what they do in, like, a mature way.

3. The thing about Hags is from Fantastic Beasts (they're given the classification of 'Being,' which implied to me that they're a separate species). The Arithmancy thing was kinda made-up though. I looked into it, and it seemed way too simple to have an entire course on stretching multiple years (since it's basically just one kind of divination), so I messed around with it by including some numerology stuff and some other neat ideas I had :)

4. RIGHT! Elphias was TOTALLY Albus' boyfriend at some point! Like, COME ON. That eulogy?

5/6. Heh, yeah. The Unspeakables always struck me as shadowy and sketch, and some of their research reminds me of CIA tests back in the 50s and stuff. The Madleys DEF have a perspective I've seen before (a lot of my friends have hippie parents)


-OH MAN, I just looked up that book and HOW WEIRD. Ok, so one of my friends is recovering from anorexia nervosa right now and her name is Serafina! ~WoOoOoOoOo~

-Heh, 'stoked.' My California is showing :P

-Whoops! Thank you! Editing now!

-oof, yes. Edibles can be QUITE easy to overdo!

YEE! Thank you so much for another fantastic review!


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Review #3, by Shinicha War Children

28th July 2015:
Ah, I admit the level of self-hatred that Tristan has reached is hard for me to comprehend, by which I mean to put myself into his position. How do you do it? (Asking this question without wanting to touch any nerve) I feel that even with close friends that had a full-blown depression, it was more out of a struggle to live. But maybe I'm just telling myself that.

The effects of the charm Laurel "invented" immediately reminded me of how H is being described including nausea. So there is the confirmation. For some reason I have utter respect and terror of heroin and it always unsettles me when I read about how people take it. Even though there must be a lot of people who try it and never get addicted... I really hope that Tristan doesn't make a habit of it. Also, "smack" or "smacked" will never be the same for me again! I didn't know this word! (English slang is not my fortť :P )

As to the whole mystery: Now we have additional clues. After the initial wondrous feeling of Snape actually being ... caring!! ... (could it have been just before he gets bitten by Fluffy? I really don't have the exact timeline in my head now!) ... I internally kicked myself - because I thought something was up when Tristan reacted weirdly to Neville being sorted! What, I still don't know. I was thinking about adoption when reading about the scene with Mary, because then the "family" thing would make more sense. And R could be the name of Bellatrix' husband - what was it? Rudolphus I believe. But how that would make Tristan at fault of anything still isn't explained. SO THE MYSTERY CONTINUES.

I really feel with Tristan's parents, because really, what can you do when you suspect your son of seriously abusing drugs? Locking him in wouldn't really solve the matter, probably worsen in.

I still can't grasp the 'energy' between Tristan and Emily. She is so incredibly patient - I would in the meantime have made several desparate attempts to approach him and been jealous during all the hours he disappeared with Laurel. And he seems to be calmed down and somewhat happier around her, it seems so strange to fight off what is helping you!

And a question on the side: how did you go about researching your story? Did you read the first book parallel to exactly match everything that's happening with the book? How do you even THINK of all the side-characters and even invent relatives that fit into the chronology perfectly?!

Also, thank you so much for replying to my reviews, I'm happy to read it :)

Author's Response: You have a really interesting point there, I think. So like, I do think that depression involves amounts of self-hatred that would seem absurd objectively. That said, you are on to something about it. Like, his self-loathing isn't /generalized/ the way you might expect from depression. It's more, I dunno, specific. And there is a reason for that, promise!

Really glad you caught the smack/charm-blend comparison! I'd modeled Laurel's invention and general behavior on that. Also, sorry for destroying the word 'smack' for you!

I got all excited and checked Snape's timeline, but alas, it was actually after the Fluffy bite. Super stoked that you dug Nice!Snape, (or, rather, Unsettling!Snape). And it's insanely exciting to see someone sort out the clues :)

I'm a big fan of Tristan's parents myself--and yeah, writing them, I realized that I didn't know what /I/ would do in their place. Which helped a lot, because I wanted them to be sympathetic and not, like, inept.

You make a good point about Emily. I think that part of it is that she's done a lot more dating than Tristan, so she's more comfortable be patient. And she really cares about him, she doesn't just /want/ him.

OK, RESEARCHING THIS STORY: It was SUCH a thing! I did a whole mess of research before I even started writing. Luckily, I didn't have to read PS at the same time because the HP lexicon has really detailed calendars and timelines. I also used the wiki a lot (but you have to be careful with that one, since they site video games and movies as canon, so you always have to check their sources). As for minor characters, hp lexicon and wiki both have all sorts of character lists, so I compiled usable names and associations to draw from when I needed. While writing this, I usually had like ten research related tabs open and certain things (like the calendar and some Hogwarts maps) that just LIVED at the top of my browser.


Also, I always respond to reviews! Partially because I really enjoy replying, and partially because I too love getting author responses :)

Yee! Thank you again sososososo much for all these reviews!


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Review #4, by Shinicha The Big Thing

28th July 2015:
The things are getting intense and there is truly not one incredient of teenage drama missing!

Unfortunately I have never read the Casual Vacancy, however I love your writing. The scene in Hogsmeade was, just incredible. Not because my wish for psychedelic drugs has come true ( :P ), but because of the smartness with which you wove in the future-present-trippy parts. Also, I am now bursting to know what the BIG THING might be. When Tristan first didn't want to reveal his middle name that started with "R", I irrationally thought of Riddle (which doesn't make any sense whatsoever, since it's a last name PLUS hardly anyone realized the connection between tom and voldy).

But it must be connected somehow to the Big Thing, no? Since he also talks about his "family"... but at the same time, judging from Emily's reaction it was something he did himself, when he was small? Ah, so many questions...

Behind all your characters' declared independence from the rest of the student-body you get their fragile emotional (teeny) state very well across; the fact that they do care a lot and in fact almost all their problems stem from exactly caring a lot about what "society" thinks of them.

By the way, for some inexplicable reason Isobel refuses to have black hair in my head!! I tried telling myself so often, and still she remains the blonde I saw in my mind when I first read the name. Why might that be??

Overall I'm really, really impressed with the effort and research you put into this fic. I'm sorry that my reviews are so useless .-. but believe me when I say that I enjoy it immensely, love it dearly and admire your writing a lot!

And btw, thanks to you I listened to Blur for the first time in my life (don't ask me how I managed to bypass them ...) and I love the song you mentioned. So thanks :D

Author's Response: 'No ingredient of teenage drama missing'! Yes! That was exactly what I was going for! I really wanted to see how all these Teen Drama conventions would play out in the Hogwarts context, since a lot of them never came up in canon (which makes sense, since Harry and co were a bit preoccupied fighting evil). But yeah, like, what's Hogwarts like for normal kids? Or rather, what's Hogwarts like for the kids who'd rather smoke under the bleachers than watch a Quidditch game?

So reading CasVac DEF isn't required for reading this, but, funny anecdote: an RL friend of mine got super spy status and found this online and read it all (luckily, he was down). Then, some months later, he read CasVac and said "it reminded me of Y5 a lot," and I was like "OTHER WAY AROUND, BRO."

And YAY I'm so glad you found Smartness in, erm, yeah psychedelia :P That was super fun to write, because I liked that canon idea that there are older and more subtle magicks outside of wand-waving.

You're def not the first person to think Riddle, and I won't lie: I do kind of dangle that thread.

Your point about their preoccupation with what 'society' thinks is very apt. Like, I think rebellion is important, and so is criticizing the status quo, but young/dumb kids CAN take it too far. When they decide that certain lines are dumb, they can also cross lines they maybe shouldn't. In a way, I think canon explored the same questions, but more to do with rule breaking. Like, when is it ok to break rules/laws? Sometimes the trio do it for good reasons, and sometimes it works out, but sometimes it doesn't, and the story is a lot about them learning how to be smart and thoughtful about it.

Huh, that's so interesting what you said about Isobel! It's such a brunette-y name in my mind! And while she is supposed to be half Arab, maybe she can have dyed her hair in your mind-cast :)

You're reviews aren't useless! I so appreciate all of your feedback and analysis, and it's so on-point and interesting :D (hence this absurdly long reply)

(And YAYAYAY BLUR! So stoked that I was able to introduce you!)

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Review #5, by Shinicha The Hex Head Express

28th July 2015:
Loved the second chapter as well!!! :)

It is always really interesting to think about what the side characters in the books are up to when we don't read about them. So i enjoyed the Percey and Penny interlude immensely, even more so the twins!!! But most of all I loved how you connected the far-away stories of the ministry and the order with Hogwarts by creating Tonk's past.

So far I enjoy the group's dynamic and all the potential future conflicts that are already implied; such as emely-tristan-(isobel?); laurel's inclination for charms etc.

The drugs are another thing I found hilarious and imaginative. (Speed-for stuying :'D ) I noticed that there are no psychedelic substances in play yet! (But would that fit better than whiskey?? Btw: why whiskey for gryffindor?? :o )

Can't wait for more!

Author's Response: Yayay thank you!

Since Percy and Penny were in their year, I definitely wanted to include them, especially because I thought it would be funny to see what these kids thought of them. And the twins! That was fun too, since they were older than Harry, and seemed all big. But to Tristan and co, they're younger, which was cool to think about.

And Tonks! I was SO stoked when I realized they would have overlapped at school!

I'm very interested in the dynamic you named--I like how you're thinking right now. That's the suspicion I'd hoped readers would have ;)

As you know, psychedelics are yet to come! But yeah, so, whiskey: that has a lot to do with what /these/ kids think of Gryffindors. Loud, prone to aggression, etc. And think about it! There are tons of Gryffindors in canon, and the main booze they drink is whiskey!


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Review #6, by Shinicha Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

28th July 2015:
First of all, excuse my short review, as it is a bit bothersome to write long texts on a phone!

I'm really intrigued by the story so far, also because you said it's inspired by Skins. I watched the first three seasons years ago (when i was still young and innocent haha) and remember it left me very disturbed indeed :D

You did a great job with so many things in this chapter: finding hilarious excuses for magic in a home (the ikea-part made me laugh out loud); including canon characters in a subtle way; shaping Tristans broody teenage character subtly but clear (telling the story from this omniscent authors perspective is very refreshing!) .

So i can't wait for more!! :)

Author's Response: Yee! Hello! Thank you so much for dropping by this story and taking the time to leave a review (especially since it's all annoying and on your phone!)

Oh man, so I was the same age as the kids when the first season came out, so my reaction was very "HOW DO YOU KNOW MY LIFE." Although I was more of a "Jal" type--like, the goodie-two-shoes, Hermione-ish friend. If only relatively.

But anyway! I'm s glad you liked the kind of tone and style of this, I def loop in canon as much as humanly possible, while providing an alternate POV for all the stuff. And yee, the ikea line was my favorite too :)

Thank you again so much for reviewing!

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Review #7, by Pixileanin The Big Thing

27th July 2015:
Hey there, I needed to get on with the getting on, so here I am. When I started reading this chapter, I immediately had to stop and wonder what I was writing at the time that you were writing this. I don't know why that first sentence made me think of that, but it did.

Ah yes, I was writing that kooky rabbit story. Anyway, I don't know why or even if that's important, but I was just curious. Sometimes life has a way of getting away from me.

"Emily noticed, also, that she knew things."

What exactly was in that potion?? Maybe I don't want to know. Getting that close to someone is risky and dangerous, but Emily is the right person to do it. Poor Tristan though. I don't think he was ready to be so transparent, even though she was able to soothe him. So there's the Big Thing, which we don't know, but Emily does, and then somewhere down the line you show us that Emily feels like Tristan has been hinting at it all along.

I love the tender, yet sad moment that these two have together in the Corridor. I have best wishes for them, but it seems like a long, hard road. Or maybe you just tease me. Harumph with the teasing!

So back to the potion thing, which I have to say the execution of was completely brilliant. You managed to make social commentary sing in the midst of being under the influence of mind-altering substances, and it hit like a splash of psychedelic colors. And the bit about Emily bouncing around inside other peoples' heads was both cool and disturbing at the same time. Those boys, ugh! I didn't want to see what they were thinking, but man oh man did it make an impact.

Brain bleach. Poor Emily. I don't even blame her for not telling Isobel anything. There were Deep Thoughts, and it really wasn't Emily's place to tell anyway. And when is she going to say something to that girl about the not eating? It seems like she's wise to the situation, but maybe there's just too much stuff going on for her to take it in. You've overwhelmed your characters to the point of breakage. So many issues!

Another fantastic installment!


Author's Response: Hm, now that you said that I'll be keeping an eye out in your story, see if I can't have a similar ~woOoOoOo~ moment.

Dimethyltryptamine and MAO inhibiting harmala alkaloids. That's what's in the potion. Heh, it really IS a real thing! And all of Emily's experiences with it were based on research into the shamanic rituals and beliefs around what the potion does (it's used sort of as psychic medicine, apparently) and first-person accounts by people who've done it. As far as I can tell, it IS risky and dangerous, and should probably only ever get used under the supervision of a Shaman. But you know, Emily. Close enough.

But yeah, the Potterverse was all inspired by British/Western European mythologies and stuff, and basically said "all this stuff is literally real here," so I liked the idea that the same might be true for other cultures. Like, this 'potion' really is psychoactive, but it's /believed/ to be magical and involve psychicness and stuff, so I was like "YUP, THAT TOO--REAL."

Ooh so glad you liked the commentary in there! Anti-muggle-born prejudice is so obviously silly to us, so I really wanted to challenge myself to think what /real/ and /vehement/ hatreds a person might have, and make them as compelling as possible (even if they were stupid, all things considered). I have a lot of suspicions about what might motivate hate IRL, so I definitely drew upon that here to invent the perspective of those Slytherins.

As for Isobel, and why no one has done anything, that's sort of a reflection of an unfortunate reality. It can be months and months, sometimes years, before teenagers realize their friend has developed an eating disorder--even when it OUGHT to be obvious. I'm guilty of this too. There's also the fact that readers get to see from everyone's POV in this story, so the whole picture is there. We get everyone's clues. The characters each only have bits and pieces.

Man, writing such a downer story means always ending responses on a super downer note!



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Review #8, by Gabriella Hunter The Presence of Love

23rd July 2015:

This is Gabbie dropping by for our swap that was about half a century ago. I'm so sorry that I'm late, real life issues got in the way and I wasn't able to find the time to do anything. Like, what is this adulting thing that people have told me is so great?

They obviously lied. >.>


So, I'm back with my broken little friends for this chapter. I was really eager to read on in this story and I was not disappointed by any of the growth you displayed here with each one. I was of course, blown away by how easily you managed to connect everyone through loneliness, sadness and hope.

I think that what stood out to me the most was that this wasn't merely about the kids. There were a slew of adults here that varied from giving good advise to the ones who were merely wishing it were over. It's something that a lot of people experience growing up and you're not quite sure how strong your bond is with anyone until you're shattered. What would happen if there was nowhere left to turn? That was the question that popped into my head more than once while reading this and it seemed like Emily learned that lesson here. I was so proud of her for doing the right thing and I think that what Dumbledore said about her reflecting on her actions may have helped talk about what happened with her with Andrew. I kind of want to rant about that but I'll hold off for now because I have to let the hate flow through me for a while and it's going to be a minute before I can cool off.


I liked that you bounced back and forth from Laurel and Emily too. The theme was obviously love here and you showed so many different forms of it, the girls miss one another as deeply as Tristan misses them and to see it written so wonderfully was amazing. Laurel and Emily worried me for a while because I was unsure if they would make up or not, there were a few things still in their way.

Laurel's relationship with her mother was something that I liked too. It was a very raw, uncensored conversation that I think both of them needed and I was glad that there was some closure between them. I also caught that Rita Skeeter Easter egg and I admit, it made me shudder to think of how her horror began...

What I found really surprising was the entire section with Emily's parents. Now, they were fine with her brother growing pot but how dare he sell it? That just baffles me! I think that there was a big disconnect between them all as a family and I wonder if that will be resolved before the story is finished.

But while Laurel and Emily finally made up and accepted that their friendship was too strong to ignore, Isobel finally confesses her secret. I was so relieved! Gah, I hope that she gets the help that she needs because I was so worried about her. It felt like all of the characters broke in some way, revealing their true selves and I thought you wrote it brilliantly.

But gosh darn it! Andrew and Emily! What?! I want to do so many horrible things to that guy but on a whole other note--we've been shown that Emily has a rather promiscuous time at Hogwarts but now I see that it might actually stem from trauma. Very clever of you to tie that in for a good thought, it makes her seem far more vulnerable somehow. Also, thank you for being so bloody honest about the entire thing, I don't know a lot of authors out there that would have handled such a topic so openly without deflecting from the issue.

Ah, I feel like Emily might have given Squirrel the touch of death with that last line. Hahaha.

So, there were a thousand things that I would have loved to talk about more but there aren't enough words. Wonderful writing as always and I'm glad that Tristan showed up towards the end of this chapter, it seems like he's shattered as well and I hope that the pieces are put back together soon.

Much love,


Author's Response: Gabbie!

This review is one of those great ones where I want to make sure I don't waste my response, and really reply like I want to, because your analysis is so fantastic.

Hah, adulting is SO overrated :P

I'm really glad you liked all the adult characters I had in here. It was one of the more interesting things to write when I was working on this. Like, I've been a teenager, so I know that perspective really well, but this was the first time I really pulled back and tried to properly conceptualize of a parent/caretaker point of view in a meaningful way.

The Laurel/Mum relationship is definitely a complicated one, and I really didn't want to simplify it--like, make it all good or all bad. 'Uncensored' and 'raw' were such good words to describe their convo!

The disconnect Emily's parents have is weird, isn't it? I absolutely have met parents like that! Like, they're fine with moderate cannabis use, and they'd be cool with an adult child working in the grow industry--but a teen selling at school? TERRIBLE. And maybe there's a point there, but there is sort of a disconnect too. And the justification of doing the same thing "but it was the 60s" is sort of stupid. Like, yeah, that was them in the past being silly kids. But one day, Emily's own behavior will be the past/her being a silly kid, so it doesn't really hold water.

So I definitely don't want to shame someone, even a teen, for having casual sex with multiple partners, BUT. Butbutbut--the earliest indication of her 'reputation' as school was at the latest age 14. That's young enough to wonder if something more troubling might be going on. And Hogwarts doesn't have that many students, so you'd think it'd be pretty slim pickings when it came to boys, so we're left having to assume Emily wasn't being all that discerning. Which is all pretty standard behavior for some people who have experienced abuse.

I'm really glad you think I handled that well--it's just such an unfortunately common thing to happen, and I think back in the early 90s (or I guess, late 80s is when that happened), people were a lot less knowledgeable about sexual violence/what constituted sexual violence, or how to deal with it. I think readers will recognize that she didn't give consent, on top of it being a statutory assault, but I think it took Emily a long time to realize that she had in fact been raped. In fact, I don't think she really put it together until Isobel asked about it.

And I don't really want to end on that note, so, eep. Thank you SO MUCH for this review. It's really heartening to hear that you think the various elements in this chapter were, like, valuable and well executed. Your reviews are always so thoughtful, and I can't explain how encouraging it is to see someone really engage with this story.


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Review #9, by Pixileanin Self-Spelling

23rd July 2015:
Hey, I always planned to come back to this. Today I asked myself why not now???

Ah, so Isobel suspects bad things. Okay, you know what? I have also wondered what the difference would be between Transfiguration and Alchemy. I suspect that one is more an illusion and the other is a permanent transformation. But I digressÖ

Laurelís disappearances are becoming very regular and disturbing. I think Isobel is right to worry, but yeah, what would she say? But then, SO MUCH TENSION!! Isobel reacts with sleeplessness and situps, things that she can control, oh dear. Things are going down. And then the forever aftermath with the whispers. Thatís the hardest thing to face in school. Everybody talking about whatís none of their business. I donít miss it.

Tristanís reaction to Laurelís self-spelling makes me wonder several things. I would love to believe him that he isnít doing the same, but having spent a lot of time with Laurel, I canít help but think he hasnít done it at least once. Though he does seem to draw the line at going overboard, there are these niggling doubts about how strong he really is. I guess we shall see. I appreciated his reaction to all the attitudes. Walking out of class seemed to be more of a statement of protest against everyone thinking so badly about Laurel, instead of himself. He does seem like that sort of loyal friend.

Back to Isobel and her issues. Seriously, this girl thinks her friend is in trouble, but she canít look in the mirror and see her own downward spiral. Youíve written her so convincingly that I donít feel sorry for her as much as I worry for her. She thinks, like all the other characters too, that sheís FINE and sheís NOT. And oh, how thatís going to kill her if she keeps it up. But noÖ sheís in control, so it must be okay.


And I was right about the Alchemy. :P 10 points to Gryffindor!


Author's Response: PIX! Oh man I'm so glad this long-term swap is back on, and properly!

I really like your point about transfiguration possible being, like, more of an illusion. Which would explain why you can't /eat/ transfigured things. The appearance changes, but the actual matter stays the same. Hm. New headcanon accepted :)

Sleeplessness and sit-ups, oof. I'm glad you spotted the 'control' thing.

Hogwarts was always a rumor-mill in canon, so I def wanted to mirror that here (yet time Laurel's hex-out so that Harry would have been preoccupied and missed it. Also, I figured that since it was a drug-thing, it might have gone over Harry's head and people wouldn't have talked about it with the younger students.)

You're analysis of Tristan is really apt. This isn't really a spoiler, so I'll just tell you that you're right (it's confirmed later)--he has done it at least once. Because like you said, of COURSE he had. That was def written as a lie, so I'm glad you twigged it.

Hah, yes, Tristan's protest. Such a rebel without a clear cause, rebelling all over the place messily. All in all, a bad move on his part because it meant abandoning Isobel to go it alone :(

Isobel definitely uses anorexia as a method of gaining control when things are out of control--which is twisted, because obv that's actually her LOSING control.

YEE--thank you so much for coming back to this story and taking the time to review :D Sorry this chapter was so bummery, things perk up a touch after this, I promise!


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Review #10, by bigblackdog The Presence of Love

19th July 2015:
hello hello!
i have been completely sucked in to this amazing fic for the last 19 chapters and now i feel COMPELLED to review.

of course, your impeccable research is commendable and it's really gratifying to see how their actions have very realistic consequences (even while i'm still rooting for all of them, which is due to your incredible character development).

but the thing that COMPELS me to review is the inclusion of the lyrics to "five years." it couldn't be more perfect! (unlike a lot of other fics) i find the lyrics you include really contribute to the meaning and tone of your story.

Author's Response: Hello!

Oh my gosh thank you! I'm so glad you're digging this story! I'm also stoked to hear you've been reading it straight through, which was how it was designed to be read. I wrote this all out and edited before uploading, so it definitely has that pace and arc.

And yay you like the realism! Realism was VERY important to me (in my story about wizards :P)

I'm also REALLY glad that you dug the way I incorporated music. I really wanted that aspect here because I wanted to explore all the teenage realities and perspectives that didn't get included in canon--and yeah, music is HUGE for a lot of teenagers. I never wanted the music to just seem self indulgent, like me just throwing in all my favorite songs, but rather have it be really relevant to the story, characters, and era. Like, I'm not nearly as big a Nirvana fan as Tristan is, but Nirvana was a REALLY important band to a lot of people at this time.

So like, I determined that Emily and Tristan would both have a pre-existing Bowie love, because both of their parents grew up in the muggle world and would have been teenagers/young adults when Ziggy Stardust first came out, so Emily and Tristan would have grown up with it. So yeah, it would be the first thing they listened to together.

Thank you so much for leaving a review, and taking the time to read this story!


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Review #11, by greenbirds Cleaner, More Brilliant

15th July 2015:
i cannot believe how entranced i was in this! i usually try not to read stories so quickly, but i sped straight through this, so eager to read more. i finished it in a day and a half. i'm absolutely speechless. i couldn't even leave reviews when i had such strong views and opinions and praise- i was so keen to carry on reading. so sorry about that, but hopefully this review will make up for it? alright, so...

1. i love isobel. i see so much of myself in her, it's almost frightening. thank you so much for creating her. i'm not going to ramble on about my personal life, but yeah, yeah, yeah, isobel is SO GREAT. i've sent several screenshots of her persepective to some friends and they completely agree- i think writing characters that readers can relate too on such a level must be one of the greatest talents a writer could possess. you're absolutely amazing. BUT the quirrell kiss plot line- oh my god! oh my GOD! that was so crazy! when i read his death scene when i was like, eight, i remember thinking he died quite sadly- but now i'm so happy, i really think he got what he deserved, especially as isobel never officially filed the action against him.

2. i love how you've written oliver. i'm personally a fan of the rom-com oliver/oc stories you find on here, but i feel like they 'james potter II' him too much (if that makes sense? sorry i'm exhausted), not giving him his own character. how you wrote him is exactly how the football captain at my school acts, and i like how you embodied the bad traits of gryffindor within him too. it was so great seein the gryffindor/slytherin conflict from the slytherin persepective, like obviously gryffindors aren't going to be complete saints.

3. the way you crafted this whole story about eating disorders, addiction and mental health is just awing. i'm sure everyone's mentioned it to you by now, but you handled it with such sensitive neutrality and simplicity it reads like a professional novel. this kind of reminds me of 'girl, interrupted' by susanna kaysen, especially the laurel storyline. so brilliant, so awing, so talented. again, i'm so tired so i'm probably doing a terrible job of expressing how impressed i am- sorry! you just need to know (hopefully you already do) how incredible this is! how incredible you are!

4. tonks and emily's friendship is so great! i loved that! i know it's a smaller detail compared to the other happenings of the story, but i loved it!

5. onto a longer point (sorry if i'm boring you by now)- i really admired how you handled the plot of tristan and his parentage. you could have easily given it a constant presence to keep readers reading, or just for the sake of a good cliffhanger, but you didn't, and it made the story- and the writing- all the more stunning. i read somewhere that a good writer doesn't need to rely on cliffhangers to keep their readers, and it's most certainly true. and on the subject of tristan's parents- i'm so happy (like i was physically beaming at my computer screen) that he got that closure with rabastan senior, and got better. not completely, fully, wholly better- that would be unrealistic, especially for a teenager- but he DID gain a lot, i think, from speaking to his father, and i'm so glad. i'm so glad in general that the four all got better and defeated their problems, but especially tristan.

6. your references to muggle culture of the 1990s is so great! i loved it! i JUST missed the 90s that tristan loved so much, but you know, i still went through my emo year 7 stage, i still spent itunes vouchers on nirvana and my chemical romance whilst talking about how much i hate my parents on myspace, i'm down with that. kind of. anyway- i just loved how you really embellished the details of his passion for muggle music and literature. and speaking of details-

7. your commitment to keeping this completely canon is unbelievable. i've run out of adjectives to describe your talent and adverbs to describe my reaction to it, so i'm starting to sound really repetitive here, but IT'S SO ADMIRABLE. you deserved all the praise you've been getting, and so much more.

above all, you're such a talented writer, and this was an absolute pleasure to read. thank you so so much for writing this. i really hope you carry on writing, i'm so excited to read more of your work! you have such raw talent, and such a way with not only prose, but characters and plot. you're awe me, and i can't praise you enough.

Author's Response: Oh my gosh, thank you SO MUCH! This is really something of a dream review, right here, and I'm kind of squeeing and jumping up and down and generally having an explosion of feels :D

I'm SO glad to hear that you read this story all at once, because that's very much how it was intended to be read. I wrote it all out and edited it before uploading, rather than writing and posting chapter by chapter, so it doesn't really have the episodic structure of a lot of other fics. Hence why there's never any cliffhangers :P

But thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to leave such a moving, insightful, thoughtful review. You've really made my day! It's just so encouraging and means so much to see that this story resonated with someone.

My first draft of this review response was WAY over the character limit, so I'm going to have to shorten everything I wanted to say! To try and keep myself from just rambling at you and shouting THANK YOU while I smash my hands on the keyboard, I'll reply number by number.

1. You have no idea how happy I am that you appreciated Isobel's character and arc! I've known a lot of people to suffer from eating disorders, so it was really important to me that I wrote about it as accurately and sensitively as possible. And I also didn't want to reduce her to her illness, and have her be a lot of other things outside of just sick, so it means so much to me that you found her perspective compelling and relatable. As for the Quirrel thing... UGH. That was NOT a fun scene to write :( But I've noticed a trend in teen stories where teacher/student plotlines are kind of shipped, or treated as romance. I wanted to subvert that here, and show that NO THAT IS NEVER OKAY (hence it being an assault, rather than a 'consensual' thing--although I think consent is always dubious when there's such a pointed power imbalance).

2. I'm so glad you liked what I did with Oliver! Yes to everything you said!

3. I'm really stoked that you used the term 'neutrality.' I never wanted to do any grandstanding in this story and I knew that readers are smart enough that they didn't need me to tell them what to think. And yeah i was DEF inspired by 'Girl, Interrupted' when it came to Laurel! Well spotted!

4. When I was planning this fic and realized they would have overlapped with Tonks I JUMPED WITH JOY

5. It's funny, because Tristan's backstory was originally going to all get revealed really early on (like, in Ch1). Then it got pushed off to Ch10, and then LAST MINUTE I decided to hold off the big reveal until the end. And I'm super glad you think I handled well, rather than just as a little hook to get readers interested. I also love what you said about him getting better, but not "completely, fully, wholly better." I wanted the ending to this story to be happy, but still realistic. Things are better, and their memories of the past will eventually take on an almost rosy.

Like, when I originally got this idea, I thought it would be a really light and funny story. I had really fond memories of my crazy teenage years. Then, once I started writing, ALL this stuff started coming back to me, and I remembered how AWFUL being a teenager was. So yeah, the happy ending is that they'll look back on this terrible time, and only see the good. And the past is the past--it's just a story we tell ourselves, so you can change the past by telling a happier story.

6. THE 90S! I was so annoyed that the films were set ambiguously present day, so I had a LOT of fun being like HEY LOOK, THE 90S! I was a baby when this story takes place, so I did a WEIRD amount of research to get it right :)

7. THE CANON! That was also incredibly fun in a kind of nerd way :) I really wanted readers to BELIEVE that this could have been happening in the background.

I too am finding myself at a loss for words with which to thank you! This might be my favorite review I've ever gotten, and you have no idea how much it means to me!


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Review #12, by UnluckyStar57 War Children

15th July 2015:
Hi Roisin! You didn't think I'd forgotten about this story, did you? Eventually, I'll get all of these chapters reviewed, although the Finches helped me out a bit a few months ago. :)

Okay, I have to say before I go into the greater part of the review that I'm looking at this story through an innocent's eyes (well, you knew that already). So I'll try to keep my analysis intelligent, but some of the stuff just makes me feel this awful, aching sadness inside my chest because of the things these kids are going through.

(Also, I'm listening to 90s playlists on 8tracks to set the mood for reading and reviewing this. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is on.)

First, Snape. It seems so strange to me that he would offer a listening ear to his students, but then I remember that he's the Slytherin Head of House, so it was kind of his job. He is really awkward about it, though, listing all those names. I wonder if he had a specific point for doing that, or if he was just being typical Snape. And saying that he "slithered" is such an accurate description of him, so brilliant job on that!

Ooh, and watching Snape touch on potential mental illness was simply painful. It seems so odd coming from him, but I think he most likely suffered from depression himself, so he would know. Ooh, and I could really imagine Tristan's discomfort, especially when Snape mentioned "Longbottom." Remind me--did Tristan have anything to do with the Longbottoms before this point in the story? (Sorry, I have such an awful memory.) Even if he didn't, it seemed weird that Snape would just pluck that name out of a hat. I think he was really trying to get into Tristan's head, and he wasn't even using Legilimency.

Oh no, reading about Tristan from Mary's perspective was just heartbreaking. I think when it's just Tristan, I kind of accept that he is the way he is, like, "oh, Tristan is going through some struggles, this is normal," because the story is usually focused on his thoughts. They've become normal to me, and that is super scary. Looking at it from Mary's perspective though, this isn't normal. Reading about his childhood development was very sad, because I think it would've been terrible for Mary to watch her child stagnate. I'm glad that he caught up, though--he's very smart, but I can imagine that it must've been hard at first. (And if I ever use the wrong terms and/or language to talk about these things in my reviews, please let me know. Again, I'm trying to be conscious of what I'm saying, but I mess up a lot.)

Learning about his name's meaning was eye-opening. It's like his name lends an extra dose of sorrow to his character, like he was destined to have emotional and mental turmoil. Name meanings are important--I should pay more attention to them.

And the Sophie thing was just icing on the (lopsided, stale) cake. His parents didn't need to modify her memory? I don't know, there's just such a disconnect between Tristan and his parents--like the generation gap is even wider because of circumstance and they really just don't understand what he's going through at all.

Especially Eddie. Poor guy, trying to be a good parent, but sooo removed from the situation at hand. And Tristan isn't going to open up, of course not, because he's a teenager and he's ailing and maybe he doesn't even know that he needs help. Aggh, the parent scenes are heartbreaking because of the lack of communication and understanding, and mad props to you for being able to write that so well.

Uh oh, the drugs again. You know how I feel about the drugs. It's still so sad that he keeps descending to new low points. As if the Laurel situation wasn't already bad enough, he's got the knowledge that Sophie was Obliviated unnecessarily, and then her boyfriend was there. It's absolutely awful and scary how he's sinking, and I feel like I can only view him as his parents would--I don't truly understand him, but I get sad because I don't want him to hurt like that.

You've done such a brilliant job so far of characterizing Tristan and his friends, and even though I started reviewing this story a long time ago, I still remember how it was at the beginning. He's come a long way, but it's been mostly downhill. I'm still holding out hope for brighter times to come.

Catch ya later. I think I need a moment to process these feels.


Author's Response: Yay Mallory!

I'd hoped that there would be enough that was universal in this story that people could read it without having /personal experience/ with all this, or at least write things in such a way that it was accessible. I do hope that worked out!

Snape's convo with Tristan is definitely out of the ordinary, and I hope there will be an AHA moment later ;)

I think you're absolutely right, though, that Snape would have experience with depression. In fact, I'd argue he was pretty depressed all through canon. And it seemed like he had a lot of depression as a teenager too (bad hygiene and self care can be a warning sign).

Heh--I'd hoped for /exactly/ what's happening now! You vaguely remembering something about Longbottom but not remembering /what/!

YES! Mary's perspective, and adult perspectives in general, are designed to kind of pull back from the base-line angst of the story to kind of give a more accurate view of what's going on. None of the kids are really equipped yet to examine everything properly, and all of their individual POV's are slightly unreliable when it comes to interpreting themselves, each other, and what's happening. You've picked it up a lot earlier than other readers that Tristan isn't just a moody kid or an angsty dude, but actually suffering from /depression./ But I had hoped to introduce that in a gentle way, slowly, the way he and others would see it--so yeah, it would seem sort of /normal/.

You're totally fine here about language and terms, no worries :) And I was being sort of intentionally vague and obscure about specifics.

Tristan was the very first name I decided on (and man, the song "Tristan" by Patrick Wolf suits him to a spooky degree--probs cos Wolf was using the same associations as I was)

I honestly can't think of a way around modifying her memory, but I think Tristan has a right to still be angry about it. That was a terrible and traumatic thing to happen to him :(

I really REALLY like his parents, and they really are doing their absolute best--but what should one really DO in this situation? It's difficult and complicated, and they're separated from him for months on end, and yeah, Eddie is sort of out of his element. There might be a better choice of action, but it isn't exactly clear, and not having been around him, they don't know the full extent of the situation.

That bit of drug use was inserted to draw a parallel with what Laurel was doing, to show how bad and dangerous it was. And I'm glad for what you said about not understanding Tristan. Like, he has this pathological fear of being /exposed/, and I don't think he really realizes how much he keeps under his hat, and how much people DON'T see. Like, he thinks others see way more of him than they do, and doesn't recognize the disconnect between how he feels inside and how he appears on the outside. 'Walking enigma' is a BIG part of his character.

Yeah, a lot HAS happened, and you're absolutely right that they've come a long way--but not in a good way :(

I try to vary the amounts of angst in this story, so things lighten up a bit in the next chapter. 'A bit' being the operative word :P

Oh Mallory, thank you SO much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful and insightful review! It means so much to me that you've still stuck with this story :)


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Review #13, by wolfgirl17 Self-Spelling

15th July 2015:
Hey Buddy,

Me again with your next requested review, and I must say I see what you meant by the notion of this chapter taking a darker turn.

I was expecting that there might be some kind of fallout over Laurel self-spelling but I didn't expect it to be quite so sudden or so out of control. Obviously you've captured the notion of how easy it is to OD and how destructive such things can be, not to mention the guilt that wracks the friends who knew or suspected things might be getting out of hand.

I'm concerned too about this foreshadowing for the eating disorder/ self-loathing we're seeing from Isobel. Not to mention concerned over the idea that Emily might end up heart-broken if Tristan doesn't realise she loves him. And I'm worried about how moody he's been.

My goodness, woman! You've gone and gotten me all invested in these characters as though they are dear friends whom I want to shelter and nurture and save from themselves. Gah! I've never personally had to deal with anything like that from any of my friends. For the most part we're all pretty tame. The worst I've ever dealt with from them is one friend with minor self-image issues indulging in too many boys.

I mean, I've dealt with the occasional drunk-off-their-butt friend, (and been that friend myself once) but I've never known the agonizing guilt of having a friend suffer a drug addiction or severe self-image issues.

This story really is such a gem, Roisin. It's got it all. All the angst and the issues that come from being a teenager in a crowd where things have started to go a little pear-shaped.

I can't wait to read more and to find out how everything plays out for these wonderful characters you've created. Seriously such a brilliant story. You're a genius for thinking of it. I wish I could find things to con-crit for you, but this story is just perfect.

Keep up the fantastic work, my friend, and please do keep requesting. I'm hungry to read more.


Author's Response: You are on FIRE Ellie!

Oh yes--that guilt :( Since we get to see from all of their POV's, we get all the clues they each pick up individually, but each of them only has a third of the picture, so readers figure things out or understand things way faster than they all do.

A lot of worries there, and none of them unfounded :( But I'm so pleased these characters feel real to you, and like friends!

I don't think this group necessarily represents ALL teenagers, as you know, but I do think groups like these are pretty common. While none of these characters are exactly anyone I've known, a lot of their issues are pulled from RL things I knew people to go through--but my friend circle was sort of statistically predisposed to this stuff (urban, working class, inner-city, 'at risk' youth, and all that :P)

I'm sososososo glad you like this story, and your encouragement means the world to me!

Thank you SO MUCH for all of your consistently fantastic reviews!


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Review #14, by wolfgirl17 Troll in the Dungeons!

15th July 2015:
Hey Roisin,

Wolfgirl here again with another review on your marvellous story!

So to jump right in, I found a couple of typos throughout including:

"Too many fags, and an foolish admixture of Nettle Wine on top of Whiskey, had left him with a sore throat and painfully chapped lips."

I don't think you need 'an' before 'foolish', but I could be wrong??

I must admit that throughout this story, Tristan has certainly been my favorite, though I can't really put my finger on why. I like the other characters too, but I think I like Tristan the best simply because he's stuck in Slytherin when he doesn't really seem to belong there.

Why is he in Slytherin? Sure he's moody and an over-thinker, but he's never come across as being particularly ambitious or all that cunning. Was it just for the purpose of isolating he a little more from his friends??

Have I mentioned that I really like this fic?

I didn't think I would, to be completely honest. I'm usually not a huge fan of a drug/hex-head/smoker/drinker scene, simply because alcohol makes my stomach burn unless I drink way too fast to start and get more than tipsy before the burn sets in, and I'm always more likely to be found at home writing rather than socialising with 'normal' people.

But the characters you've created are so believable. They're typical teenagers with their underage consumption of everything bad for them, but they're also flawed and filled with angst and self-doubts and just a touch of awkwardness. You've really done that age group justice in the way you wrote this.

I especially like how apathetic they all are to Harry being at school, and I love this window into the world of being a Hogwarts student through the eyes of someone not in any way connected to Harry, Ron or Hermione. You've really done such a commendable job with this and I envy you your writing skills.

As always, this chapter was fantastic. I love the chapters that focus on Tristan the best.


Author's Response: Ellie! That was so fast I'm in such awe!

Ah yes, that is DEF a typo, thank you!

It's so interesting seeing who everyone's favorite is! It seems like everyone seems to like a different person, for different reasons. Honestly, Tristan is really the MC for me, even though it's an ensemble cast, so I'm glad you like him :)

Ooh, so yes, why he's in Slytherin: lots of reasons. Some meta, some building to, some subtle. Basically, his Slytherin manifests in different ways. He MIGHT be an ambitious person, if he was actually interested in school or professional advancement. Like, the ambition is there, but doesn't have focus. He's also a bit elite in his own way, only he cares more about muggle music than blood status or social standing. And he's subtle, and could be cunning if he wanted to be, and keenly aware of other people and how to behave (even if he doesn't care sometimes). And he's def not a Hufflepuff or a Gryffindor, and not interested enough in school to be a Ravenclaw. And more on this to come--but also, in this chapter, we see that he kind of accidentally CHOSE Slytherin with the hat without realizing it.

It's a VERY good thing that you aren't into that scene, and I'm certainly not trying to glorify it. It's such a reality for so many young people--including a lot of my friends when I was this age--that I wanted to examine it. But I'd never argue in FAVOR of reckless substance abuse! I'm glad you think it's believable, and complex. I sort of had to show how it could be fun at times, because if people didn't find it fun at times they'd never do it. But yeah, I never wanted to glamorize OR condemn, just paint a picture of something I thought was worth examining :)

Yay, the trio as cameos only! A lot of the idea of this story was seeing how these same exact canon scenarios played out for radically different people. (And I'm not sure if I mentioned before, but Tristan was designed as the anti-Potter. Like, an inversion of Harry, which means he has weird similarities, except the opposite).

Thank you so much for this review! Things get a lot darker from here on out, and I'm super curious about what you'll make of all of it.


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Review #15, by wolfgirl17 Behind the Mirror

12th July 2015:
Hello again my dear Roisin,

Wolfgirl here once again with your requested review.

Let me just say that I'm so pleased you included the twins in this so much. I just love them. I especially loved the

"Extend the Hatchet!", "Bury the olive branch!"

quotes. Positively genius. You had me in giggle fits at work. It was just so Fred and George. Like, I can picture them sitting there shouting such things and McGonagall shooting them a chiding look from the staff table.

I did notice this little typo:
"ďWell, aside from me and Fred now. And George, it he remembers.Ē

if you have the time to do a quick edit.

Honestly your stuff is so good that most of the time I feel like offering advice is just silly of me. You're clearly a fantastic author. How are things going at your publishing job??

As for you concern, the answer is yes. The story does keep my interest. It's a good read, and something different to the rot-your-teeth fluff I usually immerse myself in so it's a welcome change.

Keep up the great work, bud. You're doing awesome.


Author's Response: Hello!

Oh I'm SO glad to hear that you liked the twins and thought they worked! They are such beloved characters that I would hate to get them wrong, you know?

Thanks for pointing out that typo! Will get to it straight away :)

[publishing job: finished revision on the first book, which just got published, and waiting for the next manuscript to edit]

Thank you so much for this encouraging review :)


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Review #16, by wolfgirl17 Three Times Charmed

11th July 2015:
Hey there Roisin,

Wolfgirl here with your requested review from month ago. I'm so sorry it took so long for me to get here. I've been super duper slack and have no other excuse than my perpetual laziness that struggles to convince me sleeping all the time is the best idea ever.

On to the chapter.

Overall this one felt a little like a filler chapter to me simply because other than offering an idea of Emily and Tristan getting together and of Laurel becoming an addict, not all that much happened. It was intriguing to see Isobel's POV on things and to get a better look into her personality though.

As always, I enjoyed the amount of humor that you put into a story and your vocabulary is fantastic. Every time I read your stories I feel smarter afterwards.

Positively brilliant work, your writing is always impeccable. Keep it up!


Author's Response: Hello, Ellie! No worries about taking your time, it's always nice to get a review of yours :)

This is definitely a bit of a filler. The story is what you might call "character driven," so a LOT of exposition was required to make the later stuff all work. I hope it still felt satisfying, for being more exposition than plot. And yeah, a big part of it was getting to know Isobel.

Thanks again so much for your feedback!


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Review #17, by Alida Cleaner, More Brilliant

25th June 2015:
I'd just like to sincerely thank you. This piece is honestly one of the most well-written and intriguing stories I've read on this sight. I fell in love with each of the characters, and your evocative prose left me feeling deeply connected to descriptions, settings, and the complex emotions displayed by everyone, but especially Tristan. I know this sounds cliche, but you definitely have a gift for writing. I hope that, if you want, you'll be able to publish original work in the future (I would definitely read it lol.) I found it quite difficult to read some of the more intensely depressing sections, but they were so well-done. The ideas you expressed were really interesting, and I felt your portrayals of canon characters were spot-on. I love writing myself, and I definitely feel as though I've found a lot of inspiration in this story. Loved, loved loved it. Lots of love and the best of luck in the future xx

Author's Response: Oh my gosh, thank you so much! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave a review, and your kind words are making me flail and grin with joy :)

This story was an absolute beast to write and it means so much to me that you enjoyed it and felt inspired by it! The positive feedback I've gotten on this site has encouraged me to begin taking creative writing classes, which have been amazing so far.

Thanks again so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #18, by Slide Cleaner, More Brilliant

7th June 2015:

Obviously part of the issue for these characters is being underage, but I know I'm as guilty as any writer of wilfully ignoring forms of magical travel apart from Apparition. Which is supposed to be kind of unpleasant and dangerous if done wrong, so the Knight Bus and brooms and Floo are all relied on heavily. But regardless, in a story like this one, I think it's important to use little details like the Knight Bus to ground it in the Potterverse, and you always use them perfectly. It's apt, not like a tour of canon stuff.

The kids are better, but of course they'll still smoke outdoors and break the rules. Because they're still THEM. And still teenagers.

...I envy the wizarding world for having to think so little about fashion. MY BANE.

Yay, Isobel is getting her disorder under control. Laurel's advice sounds wise. And thank GOD she's identified it as an addiction to starvation instead of an addiction to FOOD. I realise that perhaps the saddest thing about this story - you know, aside from Tristan's attempted suicide and parental issues and Laurel's overdosing and addiction and Quirrell's sexual assault... ASIDE FROM ALL OF THAT the saddest thing is that Isobel's eating disorder has been kind of a footnote to those problems. I don't mean that it's not been given the right dramatic weight, I don't mean it's been a footnote in the writing, but those big problems hit all four of them. In another life, Isobel's struggles would have consumed a friendship group with worry and support. In this life, some of them didn't notice just because their own situations were genuinely too overwhelming. That's rather sad.

Just as I was thinking, 'I love Laurel,' Isobel goes and thinks basically the same thing. That's GOOD WRITIN' THERE.

CHUCK WEASLEY. That name has to stick. I love Tonks. For some reason I tend to love Tonks cameos in stories more than I love Tonks-centric stories. It's hard to keep the Tonksness of Tonks when it's all about Tonks. She should whirl in and out, being Tonks at everything. Okay it's late and I'm determined to finish but you'll just have to put up with this phase of my reviewing.

I love it when wizards think simple Muggle things are awesome. Because they ARE.

Yay, the inevitable but still delightful hookup of Emily and Tristan! You crazy kids try something healthy for a change.

Year Five: Sponsored by Weetabix.

And they are, of course, rather alright with their exam results in the end. And it IS the end. I have adored the story, but then, a story about OCs set against the backdrop of canon is right up my alley (and you make me want to brush up my old stories and make them way less... dated, by which I mean terrible). But this has had great characters and been tremendously character-driven, which I adore. Your determined adherence to canon has kept a story where magic is hardly ever a plot point (magic drugs aside) still perfectly rooted in the Potter-world. Sometimes this kind of drama fanfic can feel like you could transplant it to the real world and lose little, but doing that to Year Five would be to rip out the heart of it.

Or one of the hearts. Another's the aforementioned characters, who you've weaved and introduced masterfully. While Isobel remains my favourite, I've loved how Laurel snuck up on me as a reader, introduced far more slowly and more gently than any of the others. I still don't feel like I have a full grasp of her, but that's okay - because she's in a transition herself, so my sense of her being incomplete feels apt, as her OWN sense of herself is incomplete.

Then there's the moral complexity and messiness of issues, which always gets me on board. You neither shy away from nastiness, nor do you condemn or justify, which is just perfect. And again I must commend you on your deft touch. The big, important moments get the perfect amount of attention. You give them all due deference and focus, and don't let them bog the story down. An attempted suicide and a visit to meet one's Nazi birth-father could have had chapters upon chapters dedicated to them, but they weren't THE point, they were just SOME points. And they were handled brilliantly but not over-indulgently.

'Over-indulgent' might be what this review is in danger of becoming, so I shall start to tie it off (I also have a cat asleep on my forearms which is making typing harder). I must absolutely go through the rest of your work, but if there is no sequel, especially no continuation reaching to the HBP-DH era and Second War, I'll just have to throw a tantrum.

This has been a pure pleasure to read. Thank you so much for writing it.

Author's Response: AH this review has been so hard to respond to because I never want them to ennnd!

You know how it feels to put a weird amount of work into a story and then be like "OOH LOOK THE PERSON IS NOTICING ALL THE THINGZ (or at least commenting on them!)"

Confession: 'they all ride the Knight Bus at some point' was totally on this story's to-do list. It might have just been a pit stop on the canon tour.

Ugh, Isobel's ED. I worried SO much because I didn't want to make her arc seem unsatisfying, but then thing is... That's sorta the NATURE of anorexia. I once read an article about how it's impossible (even irresponsible) to write about anorexia at all because to write about it would be to make it seem interesting, and writing is an art so putting it in language is aesthetesizing, but ultimately the author argued, the real experience of anorexia nervosa is TEDIUM and BOREDOM. So yeah, that's tough, because I never wanted this story to seem tedious or boring, so I kind of DIDN'T go too into detail (and I think spending too much time describing or quantifying physical wasting or mechanisms of starvation is irresponsible, too). And, ultimately, it's just not that interesting or glamorous, I think. It just sucks, and then maybe it gets better a bit later, and you look over at your old friend and think "hey, there you are! Huh, you're better now! When did that happen?" No fireworks. So, ugh, I hope it isn't too unsatisfying. TOGGLING REALISM AND GOOD STORYTELLING IS HARD!

(Because my wizard story has to be realistic)

CHUCK WEASLEY IKR! Take it, have it, pass it along. I'm also trying to make "Dom" not be a thing (Nikki, Neeky, Mini, Nik--there are other options!)

That's probably the best explanation of Tonks' characterizations I've ever heard :)

Oh gosh, so I have to tell you something. When I first read your 'Weetabix' comment I started laughing, out loud, and couldn't stop. FOR MINUTES. Like, I got into that slap-happy hysterical thing where you think you're calming down but then start cracking up again. I got so rent with laughter I silent laughed (you know, the almost paralyzing mirth that shows you REALLY mean it). And then I read it again and it happened again.

BUT TO BE REAL, every time I go to London it's like all Weetabix all the time--I blame your people.

This is a very FANFICTIONY sort of fanfiction. When I first wrote this all out, I hadn't yet discovered HPFF or read ANY before, so I didn't realize how much of it was, like, really original stories that could excise the Potter and still stand. I thought it would be a pretty niche audience that would ever have any interest in this story, one which necessarily presupposed Potter nerd-dom, so I played that up and wove in as many meta and thematic references/plays/subversions as possible.

I'm REALLY glad Laurel snuck up on you, that was VERY much what I was trying to do :) And yeah, I didn't want to tie a big bow around all the characters as if they were all done cooking. 'Coming of Age' always struck me like a weird idea because WHAT age? It's more like 'Coming to Another Age.'

My original idea for this story was 'Hogwarts Stoners' and 'reluctant Slytherin Lestrange child brought up as close to mudblood as possible while remaining realistically plausible,' and it was planned as a rather lighthearted romp. But then I thought about it, and realized it couldn't possible be so light, and remembered that being a teenager SUCKS. So, erm, TADA!

AND YES THERE ARE SEQUELS IN THE WORKS. I am still sobbing about them and stressing out over it, but one day. ONE DAY.

Thank you SO much for leaving me all this amazing, insightful, thoughtful reviews. It really makes it all worth it :)


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Review #19, by Slide After

7th June 2015:
Tristan's Uncle Frank. Well. I guess everything's connected.

I have often wondered how much McGonagall and Dumbledore clashed over issues with Harry. How much has she known, how much has she guessed, how much has she simply chosen to ignore or accept through trusting Dumbledore? Not really the point of the story, but for a story which has wonderfully showcased the best of Dumbledore, I adore you reminding us of some of the worst of Dumbledore.

I suppose Tristan picked a fantastic time to bury bad news. I bet the whole school was SUPER confused on how everything went down at the end of PS and COS.

I shouldn't laugh at Isobel learning about Voldemort living under Quirrell's turban. I shouldn't. It's horrible. But it's also kind of hilarious. OH GOOD they also find it funny I'm not a bad person -

TRISTAN TELL ME THE STORY. ACK! I DID think it was possibly the Lestrange brother, but I prefer to cling to my more crackpotty theories (if I must be wrong, I prefer to be hilariously wrong). UGH I am going to need continuations of this story to see how this all pans out in the war, I SWEAR I WILL NEED THIS IN MY LIFE. But this one's not over yet.

Of COURSE he was worried, and of COURSE they accept him, and both were inevitable and natural. I adore Tristan meeting Voldemort on his birthday - because the First War was different, wasn't it, so many more of the Death Eaters had LIVES, and he had to at least PRETEND to be involved in them, to care about them, if only a little.

Isobel and Emily - ah, here we go. I don't have much to say on the scene, other than it's got lovely resolution to it which suits both characters, and yet the dangling threads and questions are also most appropriate and perfect.

Yeah, don't mention Witch-Nazi parents to the Muggle psychiatrist. It won't help.

HNG a reunion with Tristan and Rabastan I did NOT SEE THIS COMING. Okay so it might ease my burning need for the HPB-set continuation, but I may still have to start on my picket signs. Oh HELL, Bellatrix, you're so evil. I'd assumed Tristan's reaction to the Cruciatus was about witnessing the fate of the Longbottoms. Yay, Kingsley's the Auror! This whole run-up is brilliant, I'm GIDDY.

You know, for angst. Angst-giddy. And it was beautiful and brilliant and PERFECT. Again, you set up the complicated issues and questions with no obvious answer, no right and wrong - how 'should' Tristan feel about Rabastan senior? - and yet you don't DWELL. I envy you there; long-windedness and going over and over the same moral issues is something I know I do too much in my writing. You've handled this scene, this culmination of Tristan's entire story, with a light touch that seems effortless and yet absolutely more than enough. More and it would be indulgent. Less and it would be insufficient. But it's JUST RIGHT and I love it.

And the ending gave me ALL the feels.

Author's Response: Yes yes, even the muggles need to be canon.

I don't really blame Dumbledore, but I HAD to assume that that would be McGonagall's perspective. A lot of that scene was inspired by the very beginning of PS and the whole 'baby-on-the-doorstep' bit.

Yes, something that could have been a huge story around school got very conveniently eclipsed by Harry Potter. Which was also a necessary choice, because I needed to handwave away why Harry never heard about any of this stuff with them.

Do not feel bad about succumbing to that Dark Comedy! IT NEEDED TO GET LAUGHED ABOUT!

I think I need to go back and make this all a million times more subtle. I had NO IDEA how savvy readers would be! Like, I'm glad it still seemed to have at least a bit of surprise, but most readers had Rabastan near the tops of their lists.

I also think that, with Voldemort, he kinda considered Tristan to be sort of an investment. Or like, something that belonged to him. The child of his followers, a pureblood, and one day, another body for his chess board. :(((

I'm REALLY relieved you thought that this was the right amount for this scene. I worried I'd rushed it, as it's pretty BIG, but yeah... Just, what else is there to say once all the stuff has been established? It sucks and it's complicated and it's weird. DONE. I still think I want to go back and add more description, but it's SUCH a relief to hear that the amount of analysis was right. I'm a fan of your work and super trust your judgement!

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Review #20, by Slide O.W.L.s

7th June 2015:
This chapter will apparently be from the POV of OWLs, based on formatting history. ;)

I want some Honking Daffodils in my yard. But it's nice to see the girls patching things up. Tristan is obviously going to be a harder one to sort things out with.

I think I'm now more anxious about these guys' exams than I was about MY last exams. HA YES quiz Laurel on Cheering Charms. Beautiful.

Yeah, Emily. Where DO vanished objects go? Which is a good question, but perhaps more important: ARE YOU DESTROYING MATTER? Bloody wizards.

Tristan, saviour of the giant squid! On the one hand, it's kind of satisfying, mostly because Malfoy & co try to stand up for themselves. But, as is apt for this story, it's still a sixteen year-old threatening some twelve year-olds.

You're right, Emily, if the animals didn't die, you're probably okay.

Oh, Christ. Oh, the giant squid might have saved him. Yeah, this was upsettingly not surprising, even if I didn't see it coming. I'm very interested to learn it wasn't planned! I mean, characters DO stuff, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been similarly blindsided as a writer, but it's all come together most believably. Also, we were kind of due a crisis of a climax, after Laurel's Ordeal (I will find my Campbellian monomyth in ANY story, I promise you). But now I also MUST press on, of course.

Author's Response: BAH. Yeah, that would seem to be what's being indicated ;)

I was so worried about getting the tension of the exam bits right. I was worried I was rushing, but then maybe rushing is GOOD because it has the frantic pace, and then I think my own worry just made it all a mess of nerves. So that worked out.

"Are wizards destroying matter?"--a question that needs to get asked a lot more often. Like, always.

HAH, seeing Malfoy as a tiny was infinitely satisfying to me.

And, the terrible thing... Sorry... I realized while writing that it WOULD happen and AT THIS POINT (Harry also missed his History exam), and I'd accidentally built up all this perfect foreshadowing for it. The Lake had kind of become its own character, and then there's the whole thing with CV and the river. I was SO upset when I realized what Tristan was going to do--which is stupid, because I was theoretically in charge of this story. So then I fretted, and considered how to save him (hence the squid scene). After MUCH deliberation, I decided that saving him wasn't just the sentimental thing to do, and that him dying would be too much. A RELIEF. I NEVER would have INTENTIONALLY planned for a story to feature suicide--but then once that decided to happen, I made sure to plan for it and build to it accordingly (the great benefit of pre-writing)--which is why the whole first bits of this chapter are actually pretty light. NEVER TRUST LIGHT IN THIS STORY. Well, I guess that advice is a bit late, now you've read it all.

Again, SORRY.

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Review #21, by Slide The Presence of Love

7th June 2015:
Aw, poor Emily. How do you write that kind of letter? In simplicity, it seems. The penultimate paragraph of this section is kind of brilliant; 'If he'd loved her, he would have. But he didn't, because he did.' Love love love that - what it says about Tristan, what it says about love, how it so succinctly covers that beautiful complexity. I adore those kinds of emotional contradictions.

And the scene with Laurel is lovely as another flash of the 'real' Laurel, the one we're discovering bit by bit on-screen, instead in everyone else's memories.

Oh, the mention of Dumbledore reminded me of LAST chapter stuff, so, seguewaying - the Qurrell/Isobel stuff (ugh, putting it like that was not my best move) did 110% NOT either victim-blame and/or make Isobel out to be dumb. And I think the most absolutely perfect way you painted Isobel as not foolish for going with Quirrell was having her remember Laurel talking about Dumbledore walking her back. Like, genius; comparing the situation to one with Dumbledore makes it seem SUPER safe, trustworthy, kind, the PERFECT false sense of security. Soo, not sure you needed the reassurance, but that whole thing was handled to perfection - dramatically but also 'morally,' for lack of a better word.

And back to THIS chapter. Ha, Emily trying what Harry will try much later with the passwords. Oh my GOD sad Dumbledore. I just can't cope with this. DISAPPOINTED Dumbledore. This is the cruellest thing you've ever done. I think it's 'weary,' that's the word-choice which is punching me in the face; you painted him as bouncy and exuberant and then reminded me he's an old man. Christ. Though there's also a very strange disconnect of the most Potterly of moments - a conversation with Dumbledore in his office - combined with something crushingly mundane - the selling of drugs. It's kind of head-spinny, but I actually like the juxtaposition, bringing all the magical matters crashing to mundane Earth.

I've started working with ex-offenders recently, so this entire conversation about actions, consequences, and leading on to prisons and rehabilitation (and the condemnation of Azkaban) is most apt - and then I snorted at Emily worrying Dumbledore was going to send her there. This is what your writing does! I get all ponderous or infused with socialist righteousness, and then I giggle. BUT, Dumbledore handles this beautifully. She's aware her actions have consequences, there's a lesson learnt, there's no gratuitous punishment (gratuitous in that exam season is no time to make a point) - but her parents being told WILL help make sure this sinks in, and they'll doubtless have something to say.

Ahh, the awkwardness of parents when their kids are fighting. Though Emily's not wrong in her condemnation of her parents' hypocrisy. 'It was the sixties,' isn't a get-out-of-jail free card!


You've done a fine job of walking around the truths of Laurel's life until you've needed to reveal them, bit by bit: saying she lives in Godric's Hollow sounds twee, idyllic - the truth is something different. And, of course, paints a very eye-opening picture.

Isobel, Voldemort's going to know how to fly now. I hope you're happy.

There HAVE to be satellite Gringotts banks in wizard-friendly settlements, NOTHING ELSE MAKES SENSE. But in other news, I wholly appreciate how Laurel is becoming (or always was?) the acutely observant and honest and more even-handed one. Either showing her old self, and/or changed by her experiences.

Saint Mungo's using the 'once a user always a user' mantra kind of makes me recoil, though I've found it interesting how some people I've met with a history of drug use refer to themselves perpetually as addicts, even if their usage is years old - and some just as ex-addicts. I commend you on how you brush through these issues, give them the attention and complexity they deserve, but you don't get bogged down when it would be so EASY to go in circles on these issues. SHOULD Laurel define herself as a hexhead? In some ways it's very important. In others, that's not the most important question.

I again love how the parents are creeping in more and more to the plot and the issues. They were always there, but they fill in so much of the wider context and are genuinely interesting in their own right. But then, dealing with damaged teenagers REQUIRES dealing with parents. That particular Philip Larkin poem springs to mind.

UGH I am kind of tearing up at Isobel finally going to Emily this is embarrassing. But more helpfully, I love the animosity fading almost at once; such a genuine thing, sometimes, after fights between friends. Once the initial barrier is broken, bitterness can evaporate. Sometimes. And now Emily makes a whole lot more sense.



Emily, out of all of them, is definitely the best at abstract ideas. I think it's why she handles things relatively better, because she's more comfortable with ambiguity and more accepting that sometimes there aren't right answers.

YESYES, the Dumbledore and Laurel walk DEFINITELY was supposed to normalize it. But REALLY a student shouldn't think it odd when a teacher offers to walk them somewhere.

SO GLAD that /disappointed Dumbledore/ was devastating! I thought that HAD to be the most soul shattering flavor of Dumbledore--and he's hardly the yelling type (LOOKING AT YOU, GAMBON)

Wow, I'm SO stoked that, as someone who works with ex-offenders, those ideas resonated to you. This is one of the FEW points in the story where I do sort of offer my perspective and try to argue a point and preach, because it's something I'm PRETTY SURE is true. Punishment for the sake of punishment never made sense to me, and most evidence seems to suggest that it doesn't work (be it in parenting, or education, or criminal justice).

"I get all ponderous or infused with socialist righteousness, and then I giggle"--THAT. That is the highest praise this story has yet gotten!

Dumbledore's diary must be a strange read. "11am, give massive revelation to my child-soldier assassin about his family. 12 noon, discuss the fierce battle between good and evil with my triple agent. 1pm, explain to a teenage pot dealer why her actions were irresponsible."

So yeah, Emily's parents aren't perfect either. Or maybe I'm being too hard on them. The other kids smoke, even if their parents weren't hippies in the sixties. And something bad DID happen to Emily basically under their roof when she was a kid, but something bad ALSO happened to Isobel at SCHOOL. So yeah, no method is fool-proof.

Yes, I definitely don't know the answer re: once-a-user-always-a-user. In the one hand, Laurel's really young, and wasn't actually using for all that long, if you think about it. Does she really need to take that on as part of her identity? At the same time, maybe accepting that as part of herself--really accepting it, and forgiving herself and loving herself anyway, might be the sort of thing she needs. I don't know! She doesn't know! And I've never been an addict, so I'm not really to be trusted to argue one way or the other. But it's a thing to think about, at least!

I'm really glad you appreciate my kind of reluctance to do much grandstanding. I know it frustrates some readers, since SO much gnarly happens in this story--but I figure they don't need ME to tell them it's bad. I already showed it being gnarly, and they come to their own conclusions just fine :)

I LOVED WRITING THE PARENTS. Teenagers were easy, since I've been one, but it was an interesting exercise to consider the parent perspective (probably for the first time ever).

Oh Emily... So I would never sex-shame someone, even a teenager girl (I grew up in a city so 15/16 was pretty standard, and I know it can go older or younger in other environments) But for teenager to have SO many partners seemingly starting from age 14, in a school as small as theirs (so it's not like there's a wealth of options) is sort of a red flag that something might be going on. And that something is almost always a recent experience with violence or abuse... on that depressing note, thank you SO MUCH for this (and the other!) reviews! Most reviews I get focus on story and character, and I SO appreciate that you discussed some of the larger themes and ideas here. I'm just so pleased that it WORKED or rings true or is just generally interesting :)


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Review #22, by Gabriella Hunter The Question

7th June 2015:

This is Gabbie from the forums dropping by with your review and I'm sorry for the lateness. I got caught up doing big girl things and time just kind of flew by without me wanting them to. I also had a nasty battle with Chinese food that practically destroyed my stomach...

But you don't need to know about that. >.>

There were a dozen little things in this chapter that I would like to touch on but I know that I'm going to end up forgetting something. I'm always blown away by just how complicated and detailed your characters are, they feel like real people and I honestly think I'd known them at some point. I can picture this broken little group so well in my mind and I enjoyed being back in Isobel's head, I was curious to see what she had been up to now that the gang was clearly separated. The fact that she didn't notice Tristan's disappearance was a really brilliant way of showing just how disconnected they had become from one another.

Isobel did the right thing by confronting Emily about what Tristan did for her though. I really, really loved the conversation that she had with Pomona too. I didn't expect it but I'd hoped that there would be an intervention with her eating disorder, though you hinted that the professor already knew. That is a sign that an intervention might be happening soon later on and I'm curious to know more about how that plays out. I WAS diverted from that issue though when Isobel asked about Tristan, finding out more about him than she had expected.

There are a lot of qualities to the boy that she doesn't like but she still went out of her way to help him. I think the fight between her and Emily was well-done too, I think we've all hated our friends and argued like this. Emily of course got over her anger a tad but Isobel clung to it for a while longer and I wonder now if the two of them will ever patch things up. I have a feeling that it's going to be a bumpy road if they even dare to get past this little event.

Now, I'm very proud of Laurel's progress too and I think what really struck out to me about her conversation with Isobel was this: She wanted to know what it would be like to be loved in that way, basically saying that she had no idea what real affection was. That struck me numb for a moment because I've felt the same and related to her on a deeper level because of it and I wonder when Isobel will ask that important question about herself.

Now, would it be wrong of me to want to find Quirrel's remains and scatter them into the four winds? I was so shocked by that entire encounter (Though I did find their entire talk about flight very neat. Those ingredients that she had mentioned from Tibet reminded me of levitating monks and I'm not sure if that's what you were going for) that I let loose a few very naughty swear words.

My mom gave me the death glare...

I was glad that Isobel got away but the shock of it has to be terrible. I'm glad that she ran into the twins and managed to purge some of it out (Getting drunk is apparently the best cure and I shall remember this) but it's ironic that this would happen to her and not say, Emily. I'm not sure if you did that on purpose or not though but I picked up on it immediately.

Aberforth shouldn't let underage kids drink!

Also, I LOVE your portrayal of the twins. I loved them before but after this chapter, they are seriously my favorite version. They feel more fleshed out in this story and I like the bond that you gave them with one another and Isobel.

It felt very authentic.

"Ear-off" made me wince. Hahahah.

Anyway, another great chapter and I'm really eager to know how Isobel deals with what nearly happened to her. Hagrid is going to have some trouble with that dragon egg but that's not the focus of this story but I DO like that you included the creepy hooded person too, reminds me of the fact that this is taking place during Harry's first near-death experience at Hogwarts.


Much love,


Author's Response: The great reviews are the hardest to respond to. Thank you for this and sorry I'm so late!

I'm glad you mentioned Isobel's perspective and the group's separation. I think that not noticing that he'd gone was sort of disturbing to her, since she's always been the mum of the group. It comes as a shock then to find out that one of her friends has been gone for DAYS without her even noticing :(

I always really enjoy writing Pomona. The kids' perspectives are so muddy and ambivalent and confused, and rising out of that with some adult clarity from time to time always felt refreshing to me. I hoped that Pomona's observations could kind of act as a trustworthy perspective of where everything is at.

The tension between Emily and Isobel is something I've been building since their first chapter together. There's a kind of slow burn there, where neither is really inclined to get upset with the other, but at the same time, Isobel's been consistently questioning Emily's decisions and Emily is now ultimately frustrated by being treated like a child.

What you said about Laurel and true affection is, I think, very apt. Her trysts with Tristan (heh) haven't left her feeling very good about herself, and her family is a small one, with just a mom (who's steez is kind of withholding affection). Laurel is an affectionate person, as indicated by her habit of sleeping next to Isobel when she's sad.

Ugh, the Quirrel scene was so hard to write! In the end, I just decided to write very little. Who really needs more description? (And yeah, the flying convo was totally inspired by Tibetan levitating monks)

I'm glad you mentioned the irony of Isobel being the victim, rather than Emily. I think that kind of ties into subverting the rhetoric that someone was 'asking for it.' Assaults can happen to anyone, and it's pretty much always shocking and terrible when it does.

It's SO relieving to hear that you like the twins! They're such an intimidating challenge to write, but I found I really enjoyed it. Like, I sort of just knew them so well that their dialogue and behavior flowed really easily.

Thank you sosososo much for this review! And sorry AGAIN for taking forever to reply!


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Review #23, by water_lily43175 The Disappearing Room

7th June 2015:
Tristan's musings on Emily are heartbreaking. The guy's truly only realised what he had now he's lost it. Although drinking Draught of Tranquility really doesn't help the situation.

I think this Laurel/Dumbledore scene is just about my favourite of this fic. You write him so well, he really would try his best to look out for every student. And what Laurel and Tristan both see in the mirror is interesting to say the least, poor kids. Although perhaps Laurel's knowledge of her desire will help her get better? Her giving her wand away is so heartening.

Oh well Tristan's in trouble. And what a friend he really is to Emily and Laurel when it comes down to it, taking all the blame and refusing to get either of them into trouble.

Hum Lucius and Narcissa tried to take Tristan, this is INTERESTING. Family, eh? Racking my brains again, I have a theory but I'm not so sure it's correct...

Another excellent chapter :)


Author's Response: Yeah, Tristan did sorta take it for granted that Emily would always be there. And while I think he does deserve unconditional love, I also think Emily deserves to focus on herself and what's best for HER. Not that she does a STELLAR job with that or anything. But she's been kind of the innocent by-stander to everything that's been happening to everyone else, and maybe it's HER turn to be selfish and freak out for a moment.

SO GLAD you think I got Dumbledore right! He is SO intimidating to write! And YES, he cares about EVERY student. Not just Harry! And I DO think that this insight will be valuable to Laurel. Plus, she's really hard on herself, so Dumbledore's kindness (and even praise) really meant a lot to her.

A good friend, yes, but also, just SO MUCH SELF-LOATHING. He genuinely thinks he deserves the punishment, even though he didn't commit the crime :(

Well, DISTANT, BARELY RELATED, TENUOUS familial connection. And purebloods being so inbred and interconnected, maybe not all that big of a clue! But I suspect you are on the right track ;)


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Review #24, by water_lily43175 Interrupted

7th June 2015:
Okay so yeah Emily's crumbled.

BAHHH so much happens in this chapter and I don't know if I can create a coherent review out of it all. I can't work out if the conclusion I think I've drawn about Tristan is the right one or not. Poor Laurel, trying to straighten herself out and ending up in further trouble. Poor Isobel, just trying to do the right thing and being snapped at for it. POOR ALL OF THEM. It really does feel like things are going off with one hell of a bang. ONWARDS!


Author's Response: POOR ALL OF THEM!

I'm really glad that these characters can invoke sympathy from you. I mean, considering everything that's happening with Harry in the periphery, their individual Teen Drama is objectively petty. But I RESENT that idea! The way people write off Teen Drama, or scoff at "Moody Teenagers" always really upsets me. The stuff they are going through is REAL and MEANINGFUL and it's REALLY IMPORTANT TO THEM. Sure, it might not be war or an epic struggle between good and evil, but why should things have to be relative like that? I just hate the way people write off a person's anguish by saying something like "you have food on the table and running water, stop complaining." Just because one life is harder doesn't mean another life is easy.


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Review #25, by water_lily43175 Torture

7th June 2015:
Wuh, there is TOO MUCH angst in this chapter. Isobel's internal thoughts on Tristan just sum the both of them up, I think, and it's nice to see that their little chat causes her to rethink it all. The poor guy's drowning in self-loathing. In fact all of them are, except perhaps Emily, and it can't be easy for her to have to watch everyone crumbling around her.

Cruciatus curse seems to be a trigger. HO HUM. Need to know things.

Creepy conversation with Quirrell at the end. Ewww go away you bad Voldemort man.


Author's Response: Your comment about her Tristan-angst summing "both of them up" is REALLY on point. No one else has mentioned that, and I hadn't really thought of it that way, but YES.

Yeah, the teenage experience is a LOT about defining oneself and self-reflection, which FAR too often results in self-loathing :( I think Emily is the most immune to it in part because she's had the most consistently supportive and lovely family, and in part because she's honestly just the smartest. They are ALL pretty clever, but I think Em's the most intelligent. She's really the philosopher of the bunch, and thinks about abstract ideas more, which is a better use of one's mind than constant self evaluating.

Ah yes, Voldemort mining ideas from teenage girls. He'd be so embarrassed if anyone found out!


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