Reading Reviews for Playing Pretend
14 Reviews Found

Review #1, by The Basilisk The Last Remaining Fan

19th March 2015:
Hello, Amanda! It'sss I, the Basilissk.

This is a wonderful story! You never fail to come up with the most brilliant things. My extreme dislike of Lockhart aside (he tried to come into MY chamber!), I honestly felt my heart being ripped in two. The weird combination of being oh-so-Lockhart and not being him at all was especially painful. You could really see him fading away into something totally different. The descriptions of Tuesdays were what got me, though. I just kind of wanted to pet him and take care of him, poor old guy. Also I loved the book title - "Playing Pretend", it's just so weirdly fitting. It's true, but not degrading. I definitely think they could have been a lot worse to him. Although I suppose seeing him as he was in the last few days probably had somewhat of an effect on the kindness. People often get dragged through the mud, even after death, and I'm glad that this didn't apply to him, all things considered.

Anyway, lovely story asss usual. I'm very glad I had the chance to read thiss. Thanksss for the great time.

(I've decided to post 44 reviews over the next little while. Each one of them has a character at the bottom. If you can find all 44 reviews (not all are out yet, so keep your eyes peeled) and rearrange the letters into a quote from Harry Potter and PM it to WriteYourHeartOut on the forums you could win a donation to HPFF in your name!)

The Basilisk


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Review #2, by Snape_Malfoy The Last Remaining Fan

22nd February 2015:
Wow, just wow! This is an amazing, bittersweet piece. Evocative language and imagery that tugs at the heart-strings. Such a great piece!

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Review #3, by Beeezie The Last Remaining Fan

11th July 2014:
I never liked Lockhart - I don't think many people did - but this was heartbreaking. It's horrible to watch someone lose themselves. It would have been one thing if, without his memory, Lockhart had turned over a new leaf... but he didn't. He was just left as this hollow shell, with most of the personality of the Lockhart we knew but literally none of the substance. I can absolutely see how once the last vestiges of his old life faded away, he would do the same. The imagery of him reading and appreciating each letter he'd gotten before throwing them away was just so sad - my heart went out to him.

Terrific job.

House Cup 2014 Review - Ravenclaw

Author's Response: This is probably my worst nightmare. Like--not exactly, obviously, but the general idea of slowly losing yourself and just having endless days of depression ahead until it's time for you to go. I think he really outlasted the life he created for himself and it was probably best for him to bow out quietly like this. I'm really happy to hear that the emotion was palpable and the story caused you to look at Lockhart differently.

Thanks for your sweet review!


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Review #4, by patronus_charm The Last Remaining Fan

23rd June 2014:
Hi Amanda!

Wow, this piece was really amazing in showing the subtle changes in Lockhart and how he was gradually deteriorating and fading from the world. The use of language was so amazing here that I had to read it through a few times just to fully absorb and appreciate the story as it’s one of those that with each read through you’ll gain something new from it.

Your grasp of Lockhart’s mind was really fantastic and it almost made me sad to see the state he was in now. There were flickers of his former self with the ordering of gourmet food, the obsession over fanmail, etc. which really made me laugh as he had such a flamboyant character it was nice to see it was still there. Though that just acted as a mask for his more fragile self with the way he stumbled over words and forgot people’s names, and just seeing him so beaten down was really sad as he just didn’t seem to be aware of reality at all.

I think the ending was my favourite part with the way they dealt with Lockhart’s death and how it almost felt that Lockhart had had a final moment of clarity before it all ending with this ‘“I can be anyone I want to be.” That was his only explanation. He gave it with a smile.’ I really liked that you did gave a nod to his past as it did seem as if he did remember some with the way he had Gadding with Ghouls near him. I just wish I could have been in his mind at that point as it must have been really interesting.

The title of the memoir and how it was dressed down was really interesting as it just highlighted how we never really knew what the true Lockhart was and he could have been this boring and bleak person but we’ll just never really know.

This was a really interesting one-shot, Amanda, and I’m so glad I was paired with you!


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Review #5, by Unwritten Curse The Last Remaining Fan

29th April 2014:
Hi Amanda! I'm here to review your challenge entry!

Ah, I love your writing. So beautifully crafted. You never cease to impress me on that front.

This is such a sad piece, but not overwhelmingly so. I was surprised that I felt sympathy for a character who is so frustrating in the books. You managed to make him pitiful here, what with him slowly being forgotten while also slowly forgetting. There were some great details in here--like the bit about his favorite author being Gilderoy Lockhart (himself), and how he sometimes believed that the adventures he read were his own, and the connection he had with the little old woman who was his last fan.

It just felt like this story had to be told. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for entering the challenge, Amanda.

xx Gina

Author's Response: Hey Gina! Thanks so much for stopping by!

It was very interesting to write about Lockhart. I agree that he's not usually a target of sympathy, and I found him very annoying in the canon series. I kind of wanted to take his downfall and turn it into something beautiful, give him a kind of dignity that he tried but could not achieve in his youth. I liked the contrast between the fame he achieved in the first part of his life and the way he sort of faded away here, with only a small memorial left behind. I guess his name was always more than the real person underneath it.

I worked hard on the details and I'm glad that you enjoyed them! It's always fun to take little things we learned about a character in canon and try to make something out of them when you go to do your own work.

Thanks again for your sweet review!


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Review #6, by MadiMalfoy The Last Remaining Fan

20th April 2014:
Hi, MadiMalfoy here with your long-ago requested review! :)

FIrst of all, just wow. Gilderoy is really a difficult character to capture because we're given this very shallow and face-deep persona with not much underneath. After he loses his memory, all we're canonically given is that he is residing in St. Mungos in the long-term ward. So you really took a chance to explore his life after losing his memory and did it very well!

You were concerned about the plot flow due to splicing different rewrites of this together, but I couldn't find any interruptors of the plot whatsoever. Your bits and pieces flowed very smoothly and nicely. I think it makes sense because you had total freedom in writing this so you took creative liberty and created a very touching product! The fact he continues to lose his memory saddens the reader because the Healers can't figure out why and yet he keeps going and fighting because he wants to continue his relationship with his one remaining fan.

His death could not have been any sweeter than how you wrote it. It really contradicts his actions from when he was younger (i.e. ripping off all of the people who really did what he wrote he did). The memorial made by the staff of the hospital supports his personality changes after his memory loss and the lasting effects his presence had on the staff.

A truly wonderful one-shot that highlights the good parts of Gilderoy Lockhart that had gotten swallowed up in his celebrity status but showed themselves when he could no longer remember that part of him. Great job!! :)

Please re-request for any of your other stories any time you'd like. :)
~MadiMalfoy x

Author's Response: Hey, thanks so much for stopping by!

Yeah, it was fun to explore Lockhart beyond the characterization in the books and think about how his life may have progressed after he entered the hospital.

I'm so glad the plot flowed together well despite all my rewrites and details. It was sad to imagine Gilderoy's condition deteriorating, but at least he made the best of his final days and died with a little bit of grace.

I'm glad you picked up on the contrast between these last moments and the majority of Lockhart's life. The tone and reception were definitely meant to look different!

Thanks so much for your kind review :)


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Review #7, by lindslo2012 The Last Remaining Fan

10th April 2014:
Hey! Sorry for the long wait. I haven't been able to get on the internet in quite awhile. :)
I was so touched by this.. not only because it was completely amazing but because I work in a hospital.
The way you described everything so well made me feel like this may have been one of my patients I would take care of. I have a special place in my heart for patients who have dementia and forget kind of who they are.
I feel bad that this happened to Lockhart and I kind of wish that it didn't. I'd hate anyone to be as bad off as him.. but it is his fault because if he didn't try to perform the charm on Harry then he would still be just fine.
I especially enjoyed how you wrote about the old lady and his friendship through the fan letters. It just made me smile to think that that one person made this poor man have a little bit of old glory :)
I honestly could not take my eyes off this and it was honestly very beautiful! You were wonderful with the detail and the plot. It was just great!
I hope you come back to re-request another story of your's :)
Until next time,

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for coming by to review :)

I'm in the field of psychology and have also worked in a hospital with patients like this, and I'm glad you were able to resonate with the experience. It's difficult work, but it's good to have people like you who care enough to do it!

I'm happy that you enjoyed the story and the emotion and that you liked seeing Lockhart develop a meaningful relationship with someone before it was his time to go.

Thanks again for your lovely review!


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Review #8, by Hogwarts27 The Last Remaining Fan

7th April 2014:
You picked a challenging character to write about for this challenge because he's supposed to be so 'out of it'. But even so, you tapped into the fragment of mind and emotion he still had left, and took us on an emotional journey with him. You managed to give him a surprising amount of depth and dimension, and explored him excellently, with a lot of both inner and outer detail. Very well done!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your very kind review! I'm happy that you enjoyed the story and really appreciate all of your compliments.


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Review #9, by TidalDragon The Last Remaining Fan

5th April 2014:
Howdy! Now that I've finished mine I'm trying to review the other entries in the challenge ahead of the deadline so I don't get backed up on reading everyone's stories. I figured I'd start with yours since I have always enjoyed your stories so far. This one proved to be no different!

I thought your handling of Lockhart was very well done. You stepped outside a literal approach to the challenge and used it really well to develop who he became leading up to the end.

It was also very interesting to see how despite his condition, in many ways he was still the same Gilderoy Lockhart. That made me almost...ALMOST...feel for him when the fans dried up on him and particularly when his last fan died.

I thought you also did an excellent job of showing the range of his behaviors on different days and how it changed over time. The touches about constantly re-reading his own work, clinging to the pieces of fanmail (especially his name), and his conflict about all of it were powerful.

Good luck!

Author's Response: Hey there! It's very nice of you to go around and read the other challenge entries. I wish I had enough time to do the same :)

I'm pleased to hear that you liked Lockhart's characterization and found a hint of pity where it was difficult to feel any before based on just his canon storyline. I definitely tried to emphasize the parts of him that we all remember while also showing that there could be more depth to him.

The details are always the best part for me in writing and I'm so happy you enjoyed them. Thanks again for this lovely review!


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Review #10, by Lululuna The Last Remaining Fan

26th March 2014:
Hello! :) I'm here from the review swap on TGS!

I really loved this! I think it's fascinating how in your stories you seem to focus on the psychological struggles of the character, and thus give a whole new side to them. This was the case here - it was just a bittersweet story in a way, of loss identity and projection of self, and something which both felt very much like Lockhart which unveiling a new side to him and the repercussions of the events of Chamber of Secrets.

...led to a room with a view. At first, I wasn't so sure about this sentence, as I was wondering what the view actually was! But I've decided that I do like it, since the uncertainty of what the view is shows how Lockhart doesn't really "see" what he needs to see or have a specific identity or future to look upon. So it was an interesting choice to not actually describe the view. The other thing that I liked in this story was how it played on the idea of Lockhart being a spectacle, especially through the harsh circumstances of his death. And so this sentence could also be taken to mean that he was the view for the nurses and spectators to gawk at. So either way, an interesting symbol.

...was repeated time after time in many different styles of handwriting. I found this was such a wonderful way to show how Lockhart's personality has been forced to evolve and change due to his memory loss. He was so invested in signing his fanmail - manic, almost - and so the fact that he would cling to that yet not have a specific signature or identity with which to carry out that deed was quite tragic.

It's also interesting how even after losing himself, Lockhart is still so motivated and kept in place by his fans. But there's an interesting reversal there - instead of his fans existing to vindicate the lies that he told when he had his memories, they exist to help lead him back to some understanding of identity and truth. I thought the mention of his desperation was interesting - it fit in well with how I perceived Lockhart from when Harry and company went to visit him in OoP. It's like that boundless enthusiasm and self-worth has been transformed into a desire for the self-worth, which makes all the difference.

I like how the old woman who died was never actually identified as the fan who wrote to him, but how Lockhart took that as a sign that she had died. In a way, I wonder if he wanted to die - if, as he constructed and reconstructed so many stories and things about himself, it felt right that she should die so that he could move on. I'm probably way off here, but that was an interesting interpretation which occurred to me. The little detail about her asking for his advice about parasols and mice were quite sweet as well. :)

It was one of few selfless acts, or so the person who wrote his obituary would remark. I thought this was quite interesting, how after his death the media reverts to constructing a self for him and making assumptions, like that he had been acting selflessly when he was cleaning up. It shows how by creating a life and self for himself and then losing it, he really was punished for his lies, and how the way he was treated as a spectacle or display (or a view!) carried through and was used against him after his death.

The whole story was told in a really whimsical, distant style - it almost gave the impression of drifting away, if that makes sense. Or at least that's how I felt while reading it. I also really liked the double meanings, and had a lot of fun interpreting different angles and depths to the story - it's always so great to read a fanfiction which is so complex and unique. I'm sorry for rambling so much, hopefully at least some of this review makes sense! :P

You did a lovely job, I really enjoyed reading this very original and poignant story! :)

Author's Response: Hey! Thanks so much for coming by and leaving me this incredible review. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to responding, but I'm here now :)

It's always my goal to explore a character in new ways and try to persuade the reader to see him or her in a different light. Lockhart was a real challenge because people either have a very negative impression of him, making him an unlikely protagonist, or he's reduced to an object of humor or irony. I played on that irony a little, but I think it came out in a slightly darker way here.

I think I originally meant for the "room with a view" to be literal, in the sense that Lockhart's celebrity status could earn him a nicer room with a window, something that most residents would not get. I really like your interpretation of how Lockhart himself might have been the view for others.

With the handwriting, I was referring to the fact that others had written his name when addressing fan mail to him, but again I like the idea of his handwriting changing based on his mood and growing (or weakening) understanding of himself. I think that's quite realistic and also very poetic. It's great when reviewers put a new spin on my work and cause me to re-examine it :)

I love the way you describe Lockhart's changing point of view and the role of his fans. You definitely "get" the piece. I found it interesting to imagine Lockhart wanting nothing more than to discover his true self here, in contrast to his desire to conceal his true identity in his youth. Plus, wouldn't it be exciting to wake up and discover that you're actually quite famous?

I think the old woman's passing did bring about a sense of closure for Lockhart. Rather than continuing to fruitlessly question his own existence, he accepted the fact that his life was coming to an end and it was time to put his questioning to rest. He probably did feel a sense of relief toward the end, though I'm sure he didn't wish any harm to come to the old woman :)

Yeah, it's kind of sad to imagine that Lockhart never really got to tell his own story. Others' perceptions of him always made up the whole concept of who he was. At least the remarks in his final days and after his death seemed to be positive here.

I think you really got the style down and understood my frame of mind while writing it. It was really fun to work on such a stylistic, character-driven piece, and I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it so much!

Thanks again for your fantastic review :)


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Review #11, by SeverusLove The Last Remaining Fan

24th March 2014:

Amanda. Amandamandamanda. Wow, this was...I didn't even know someone could do that - take one of the annoying characters and give him/her a personality. You really stretched your creative muscles there and took such rein over Gilderoy and made him so much more human that I sympathised with him. His last words meaningful. :') This could definitely be his canon-redemption. It was a masterful piece of literature; thank you for the read.

Lots of love,
~ Sevvy

Author's Response: Hey, it's great to hear from you!

I always challenge myself to see something new in canon characters, even if we feel like we know everything there is to know about the person. I'm glad you liked what I did with the character and felt that he found a sense of redemption in this story.

Thanks so much for your lovely review!


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Review #12, by Cassius Alcinder The Last Remaining Fan

14th March 2014:
Wow, it looks like you have a bunch of new stories that I have to add to my summer reading list!

This was a very interesting take on Lockhart. In the book he was something a comic figure, and I couldn't help but chuckle at how he ended up. However, you managed to spin a much darker and introspective look at what would have actually happened to somebody who met his fate.

There seems to be a strong sense of karma in the way that Lockhart had constructed his whole identity through dishonesty and co-opting the experiences of others, and how when that is taken away from him he doesn't know what is left. His lies have come back to bite him, but I also sympathized with him even though he made his own bed because he just seems so sad and lonely now. While it may have been satisfying to see him try to right his past wrongs, he was probably too far gone at this point.

As usual, the imagery in the story was excellent, and really set the tone. You could really get a sense of the broken-ness and confusion that surrounded him.

Looks like I have some catching up to do!


Author's Response: Hey James!

The story was actually way darker the way I wrote it initially, but I ended up wanting some kind of redemption for Lockhart. I felt that he had done the penance for his lies and deserved to have a little peace and dignity in his final days--which he would never have gotten had he not been forced to give up his farce of multiple roles.

He definitely was lonely and confused in his final days, but I actually view it as a good thing. His memory loss forced him to try to piece together who he really was and live with that, though I don't believe he was able to accomplish it fully before he died.

It's great to hear that you liked the imagery, too, as I worked especially hard on that. Hope you return for more stories later! Thanks so much for your kind review!


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Review #13, by Infinityx The Last Remaining Fan

14th March 2014:
Oh wow, Amanda. This was just so completely, utterly beautiful and touching.

Here for the BvB battle.

I've always admired your writing, and I found this absolutely powerful and perfectly written. Your descriptions were brilliant and the amount of detail you put into this made me hang on to every single word until it was over. It was amazing.

There was just one thing that confused me a bit in the middle. When Lockart heard the healers talking about the woman who had passed, he was immediately certain that it was his fan. But there's no mention of the healers saying her name or anything more about her identity. It could have been any woman in that case. When her letters stopped coming, Lockart's suspicions would be confirmed, but until then they would just be suspicions, right? So wouldn't it be better to show him fretting and worrying, and then his reactions to the confirmation of her death? That part kind of disrupted the flow, but maybe it's just me.

Other than that, I absolutely love this story. You've characterized Lockart wonderfully. I especially love how he was so engrossed in the stories within his own books in the beginning, without knowing that he was the one who wrote them.

I usually quote parts which I find most brilliantly written but if I do that here, I'd end up quoting the entire story back to you. I can't find even a single redundant word here. The writing is perfect.


Author's Response: Hi Erin!

Thanks so much for your kind words. It's great to hear you found the story captivating!

The middle part you mention was meant to be a bit hazy. I definitely used some artistic license when describing how Lockhart just "knew" that it was his fan who passed away. Maybe he found out behind the scenes who she was, or maybe he just felt in his heart that the event was meaningful, but I purposefully did not go into the details in order to stick to the loose flow of the story. I hope that makes sense!

It is good to hear that you liked the details I emphasized, like him reading his own books and becoming his own "fan."

Thanks again for stopping by!


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Review #14, by PolyJuice_ The Last Remaining Fan

14th March 2014:
Blackout Battle~ 1/10

Ooh, this was really neat! I've never read a story like this before and I was pleasantly surprised!

This was a really neat take on the Gilderoy we saw at Mungo's in OOTP. I never really considered his condition - I've always skimmed past his parts because I can't stand him.

You wrote him so that I actually liked him. He's endearing! Haha. I love the way you told of him getting his books under his bed, and slowly forgetting he wrote them. It was so good in a horrible way! :P

Oh my gosh, though, that last bit about the book? You killed me with feels. *accuses*

Anyway, absolutely fantastic story,


Author's Response: Hey, thanks for coming by!

I'm glad my story renewed your interest in Gilderoy and that you felt I showed a more likable side to him here. I meant to really expose the poignant nature of his final days and bring him past the point of just being a little joke from the canon series.

Thanks for your kind review :)


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