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Reading Reviews for The Ides of March
  
49 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Penelope Inkwell Melancholy were the sounds.

13th September 2015:
UGH! Rowena is the worst! I love how, for a moment, you had her complement Helena, and I was like, "Wait! Was that...did she just say a nice thing?" And then she immediately turns around and ruins it. No wonder Helena has such low self-worth, poor thing. Her mother just tears her down at every opportunity. It's like she's so in love with her own wisdom that she doesn't want to take the risk that her daughter might learn to think for herself, might learn to challenge her, or might prove herself just as clever or more so than her mother.

I'm highly suspicious of the baron. I mean, it's all well and good that supposedly he thinks women can learn and be intellectual equals, but does he really? And there are these "rumors" that are worrying. Not to mention the fact that we totally know he's a murderer, so that's a bit of a character spoiler right there :/

I wonder if she really will marry him, or if she'll run before then.

Girls conceal, boys reveal. On and on and on, I can list examples of my separate life from the other half. Which is why it makes no sense. Why keep us apart? Why keep us separate? I cannot live with someone if I do not know their habits.
--this was quite sensible of Helena. I can see why she's a Ravenclaw. Separating boys and girls never made much sense to me, either, and I think she explains the concept perfectly, as well as the restrictions on women that are not placed on men. The conceal and reveal line was very quick and clever. She's smarter than she knows.

Pull, stretch, smile, her commands from years back still have their effect on me.
--this was a good line!

CC:
I no longer do a lots of things because of you.
--it seems like maybe this should be "I no longer do a lot of things..."

Good work! And congratulations again on your Dobby nomination!

--Penny

Author's Response: I know she really does suck as a mum as she's just so cruel and unforgiving and all Helena needs is a hug and not constant criticism. Boo to Rowena even though it pains me to say that as a Claw but I think when people are too focused on intelligence, it can lead to a focus on a perfection hence why she keeps on badgering Helena.

Be suspicious! I shan't say why but given that he does end up killing Rowena should be a big enough indicator that he isn't all what he seems!

I know, it never made much sense and even though gender segregation is nowhere near as prominent as it was then it still makes me question why they are so keen to define the differences between them and point them out rather than embrace and integrate them.

Thanks for pointing out the CC and this review, it was so useful and lovely! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #2, by Penelope Inkwell A star riding through clouds.

13th September 2015:
Hello there! I'm here reading through all the Dobby nominations--and I do believe some congratulations are in order! Well done!

I can certainly see why you're up for best descriptions. The writing style you use has a poetic quality to it, and it fits very well in the time period. It also fits your protagonist, who is obviously quite intelligent and would have an advanced vocabulary like that, and seems introspective enough to notice all the details.

I find the religious elements interesting. It's rare that I see people trying to tackle that around here, so I'm curious to see what you'll do with it. It makes sense, though. I mean, nowadays it's common for people to be atheist or agnostic, but back in the 10th century, I'd think most people would have adhered to some sort of faith--some of them truly, and perhaps some of them more culturally, but still. So that's a rather realistic tack to take, really. Of course, wizarding culture might have differed some, but since it's before the Statute of Secrecy cut them off from one another, I'd think there'd be a fair amount of religious, philosophical, and intellectual exchange between Muggles and wizardkind.

Helena's lack of self-confidence is really tragic. It sounds like her mother is a real piece of work. It's all highlighted by how she describes Eleanor--almost worshipfully. It makes me sad for Helena, that she can't see herself in anywhere near as positive a light.

And speaking of light, I'm a bit of a names geek, and I couldn't help but notice that Helena and Eleanor are different forms of the same name, both meaning "light". Was that intentional? It seemed like it might have been.


CC:

So, as a rule, I always try to give a little CC, because I find it tremendously helpful, as a writer. I only noticed a couple little things.

Even at seventeen years of age, tales of my father is the only thing which soothes me to sleep.
--it seems like this should be, "tales of my father are the only thing that soothe me to sleep," since "soothe" matches up with takes, which is plural.

Do not ever destroy, because not even wit could save you then.
--it seems like it might be good to say, "Do not ever destroy it, because..."


You've got a well-written, highly descriptive first chapter here, and I'm interested to see where you go with it. I'm sometimes a bit reluctant to read fics about Helena, because it ends in such tragedy, but you're doing a good enough job with this that my curiosity might just overwhelm my emotional self-preservation ;) On to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Hello there and thank you!! ♥

Thank you so much! I definitely had a lot of fun with the descriptions in this story as it was my first ever Founders one so writing the period features was great and I was influenced a lot by Virigina Woolf so it was fun to incorporate her style into the story

I know, I've always wondered about magic and religion as magic does feature heavily in religion and given how the Church was heavily involved in the witch-hunts in Europe as a verse in the Bible supposedly encouraged there is that link there. But I wanted to explore the link the other way round if that makes sense and see how the magical community was involved in religion hence why it plays such a big role in this story.

I know, Helena is a rather lonely and sad character and does make one feel sorry for her even if it has meant that she's developed some rather strange characteristics at times.

Erm, sort of, I chose Eleanor as I liked how it rhymed with Helena and it showed another way of them being together but mostly because of Eleanor of Aquitaine as I always liked her from history and she reminded me a bit of this Eleanor.

Yes, those bits of CCs were very useful so thank you for them!


Thanks for this fabulous review actually, it was much appreciated! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #3, by HeyMrsPotter Melancholy were the sounds.

11th September 2015:
She is not charming, she is not normal, she is not even pretty, Wow, Rowena isn't getting mother of the year award any time soon is she? What an awful woman!

Oh no, not the Baron! Rowena paints such a good picture of him too, wanting women to persue their interests and such. But still, we all know how that story ends.

Another great chapter, Kiana!

Dee

Author's Response: I know, boo to Rowena she sucks so much in this story and if a Claw is saying that you know she's bad. :P

That's what makes it even worse :( But I did enjoy writing him as there are a few more twists to come so hopefully he surprises you!

Thanks for this fab review Dee! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #4, by HeyMrsPotter Nothing thicker than a knife's blade.

11th September 2015:
Hello again!

I can totally see why this was nominated for best desrciptions in the Dobbys. You paint such a gorgeous picture when you write, Kiana♥

I love the relationship that Helena has with Helga, I can see why she turned to her rather than her mother. Helga's answer made such sense but at the same time I prayed she would give Helena a different answer, I'm hardcore shipping Helena and Elenor already :p I could really feel Helena's pain in ignoring Elenor, but I suspected it wouldn't last long. I don't think it's going to be easy for the girls from here on, now that the words are out there's no taking them back!

On to the next!

Dee

Author's Response: Hey Dee!

Aw, you are too kind, Dee, as those words just brought a massive smile to my face! ♥

Aw, I love it too as Helga's so cute and adorable and I really just love writing Puffs as they never seem to have any bad traits. Feel free to ship them, because even Helena can be brave enough and ignore the sometimes wise words of Helga as she does have a quiet Gryffindor side lurking away there.

Thanks for this fab review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #5, by HeyMrsPotter A star riding through clouds.

11th September 2015:
Hi, Kiana! I'm here for Dobbys reading week! Congratulations on your nomination :)

This is such an intense first chapter. It feels very authentically founders(ish) era right away. Not only is the language perfect but it's also in the way you talk about God, and Helena burning in hell for her sin of being in love with another woman.

That one paragraph where you talk about the children of the founders sums them all up so perfectly. Slytherin's children are there to help him achieve his ambitions, my darling Hufflepuff loves all the students as her own, Godric and his army of children, and then Rowena with one daughter who just isn't smart enough. You could have taken out the names and I still would have known who was who. And I've already developed a total soft spot for Helga which has nothing at all to do with me being a Hufflepuff :p

I'm so intrigued as to what will happen between the girls now that their feelings are out. I can't wait to read on!

Dee

Author's Response: Hey Dee! Thank you :D

Aw, thank you so much as that's such a big compliment because you know what the Founders era is like when it comes to authenticity as you just need to be so careful unlike with the other eras.

Aw, thank you so much! It is quite funny how they use their children to further their aims but go ahead and develop a soft spot for Helga as she's so lovely and a constant throughout this story so she deserves all the soft spots.


Thanks for this great review!

-Kiana


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Review #6, by UnluckyStar57 Nothing thicker than a knife's blade.

12th August 2015:
Hi Kiana! I'm here for the BvB Review Fest at last! :D

Okay, so I remember reading chapter one of Ides of March a long time ago, and I really loved it. So I'm confused at myself because why didn't I come back to this sooner...? Never mind, I'm here now! :D

I really love how you've characterized Helena. We don't get much information about her from the books, except that she was going to be the Baron's wife, and she obviously wasn't down with that. That little bit of characterization alone gives you lots of liberty to create a personality for her, and wow, you really do a great job! Helena isn't only overshadowed by her mother, she's also trapped by her, in a way. There are so many expectations on her as the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw--not only to be wise and studious, but also to be proper and married... to a man.

The scene in the beginning showed the real tension between Rowena and Helena, and that only served to contrast with the relationship between Helga and Helena, which seems to be much less tense. I like how you described the snow, which gives me the image of enclosure, which is quite appropriate because Helena obviously feels very trapped by her situation. Unfortunately, Helga's advice to her doesn't help very much. She might not understand Helena's exact situation, but I think that even if she did, she would give the same advice. From what I know of medieval times, it was very, very wrong to even think of the same sex in a romantic way, much less act on those feelings. (If you were a follower of Christianity; I can't say for the more native religions.) So that's really tough because Helena feels that to love Eleanor would be to act directly against her faith, but how could it be wrong when it feels so lovely to love this girl?

I also like how Eleanor put it when she was talking to Helena. Like, sure, it's a sticky situation as far as the physical Church is concerned, but would God really hold a grudge against two people if they loved each other--something that Jesus taught as one of the greatest things you can do for your fellow man? (Sorry, been a while since I've brushed up on my New Testament.) But I know that what with the Church being an exclusive thing where the priests read the Bible to the congregation, they would teach very limited views of the Bible, and probably no one would even have one, outside of the very rich and the clergy. So does Helena actually have a Bible, or does she just know the teachings from her father's sermons?

Just a bit of CC before I wrap this up:

If I listen too carefully, too much too, I will be forever bruised and beaten down by them. With Mother she is the lone victor, the wielder of the knife. She alone is the one who has decided who succeeds or fails, and she has clearly dealt her cards for me as Nike, the winged Goddess of Victory, does not fly by my side.

These few sentences sort of lost me a little bit for various reasons. The "too much too" in the first sentence is a bit ungainly in context, and I think it could be improved by taking out the second "too." The "With Mother she is the lone victor" sentence made it seem like someone, maybe Helga, was "with Mother" in being a "lone victor," which doesn't make sense to me. Maybe reword it to simply "Mother is the lone victor...". And lastly, the last sentence is juggling a lot of metaphors, so I would watch out for that. You could improve that by picking one of them and extending it throughout the whole sentence without using all the extra references to back up the point of the paragraph.

That being said, this whole chapter was so very well written, and the prose flows so beautifully! I love the way that the lines of description are powerful without overpowering the whole chapter. After all, using beautiful imagery isn't this story's sole purpose, and you do an admirable job of balancing the story's aesthetic tendencies with the plot and struggles of Helena Ravenclaw.

Beautiful chapter, and I will have to be back for more soon!

♥Mallory

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Review #7, by nott theodore Tear me asunder.

17th July 2015:
Hi again, Kiana! Yay, I get to read two of your updates in one go (because I've been terrible at reviewing recently and I'm trying to finally catch up with some of my favourite stories)!

The opening of this chapter was so sad and upsetting. I really felt so sorry for Helena - it was like everything had been washed to grey and she couldn't see past it. It reminded me a lot of the opening of the first chapter, in a way (and I'm supposing that was intentional), when she thought of Eleanor and watched her from afar, as she does that here, but at the same time there's less hope here. It's almost as if everything else is even worse than before now she's known what it's like to be with Eleanor.

Rowena is just... so unloving. And I suppose in a way representative of some of the mothers that exist even now, sadly, let alone at a time when rich women spent barely any time with their children and those children were essentially brought up by servants. The way that she treats Helena is really upsetting to see, because I can't imagine what it would be like to have a parent like that - she can't compliment her or really show compassion, and she just expects Helena to do what she's told for the good of the family. And even though Rowena knows that Edward isn't a good person - even when she sees it here, right before her eyes - she doesn't care, she only wants to assure that there's a good match made for her family and a connection that will continue to help Hogwarts.

I don't like Edward at all. I've seen a few different portrayals of the Bloody Baron in life but I don't think I've seen any that are quite so unlikeable as this one! I don't know why - I think part of it is because he's just trying to cover up and put on a show in some ways, and his act isn't as good as he thinks it is, and there are hints of his real nature slipping through. I feel like he could be quite a dangerous man to cross - well, we know that he is, when he gets angry - and if Helena had ever married him, her life would have been very unhappy.

I had to laugh a little bit about Helena thinking of someone who's twenty-eight old. Because it's really not that old, but at this time when life spans were so much shorter it probably was, and she's definitely right about the difference in their ages being a lot, even if at this time that was hardly an obstacle and was actually quite common.

Helena has so many problems and issues that I just want to give her a big hug. I feel like if she were alive now she'd have had so much more help but she was more of a victim of her time too, because there are so many things she struggles with mentally, and now that's making me really sad to think about the fact that mental health just didn't even exist as a concept at this time, and not just then but for so many years afterwards, and so many people suffered without help being available :(

Okay, that was a tangent that was probably unnecessary :P Sorry about that!

The scene with Eleanor getting through to Helena finally was so sweet! ♥ I think Helena has been so afraid of loving people - because, let's face it, what has she experienced of love up to now in her life? - that she's been pushing Eleanor away just because of that, let alone all of the other things that she struggles with about their relationship. But Eleanor isn't as apathetic and cold as Helena thought she was and it was so sweet to see her going after Helena and making sure she knew that she wanted to be there for her. The 'I love you' moment was adorable.

The last section of this chapter was just so ominous in tone, and it felt really foreboding. Now I know that there are only four chapters left, too, I know that things can't go well for long, no matter how much I want them to. It's so terrible of Rowena to say that Helena is to blame for the badness that she sees in Edward - it's almost as if she knows that it's there and she's washing her hands of it, and will say that Helena pushed him to bad behaviour if they get married. It makes me so angry with Rowena for that. I'm looking forward to the next chapter (although a bit apprehensive about it, too) and again, good luck with all the updating you want to do! ♥

Sian :)

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Review #8, by Beeezie Tear me asunder.

16th July 2015:
Hey, Kiana! Back for BvB. :)

Oh, Helena. The beginning of this chapter is heartbreaking, and I can really feel how much she's faded away having lost (sacrificed?) her connection with Eleanor, at least for the moment. I found the fact that she assumed that she was just experimentation and recklessness to Eleanor to be particularly sad - it really speaks to her very low self-esteem and depression, which you portrayed very clearly throughout the chapter.

And it's clear that Eleanor is not as dissociated and apathetic as Helena seems to think as the chapter goes on. I loved their meeting by the lake - where every other relationship in this fic is strained and contentious on some level, even Helena's with Helga, her relationship with Eleanor is beautiful. I suppose it is contentious, in a way, but what they have and what Eleanor brings out in her is lovely in so many ways. I want them to hold hands and walk and kiss and be in love forever. Helena never seems at peace except when she's with Eleanor, and it's nice to see her as such. She's got far too much anxiety and tension in her life.

You're really not letting up on your portrayal of Rowena as being a rather harsh and even neglectful mother. Helena can be rather pretty when she smiles? Seriously? So she's not pretty the rest of the time, and even when she does smile she's only sort of pretty? Guaranteeing continued contributions to the school is on Helena being a good wife to a man Rowena doesn't know at all? Well, then. I can see where some of Helena's low self-esteem is coming from.

I already don't like Edward. I'm assuming that's intentional. Maybe part of it is that Helena is so clearly and deeply in love with Eleanor that I'm a little in love with Eleanor having immersed myself in the story again, or maybe it's just that I really dislike men who need their egos stroked the way Edward seems to need (or at least Rowena seems to think he needs), or maybe it's his casual dropping of the word 'Mudblood' and love for Slytherin and all those other little things that scream 'I am not the best person ever.' Or all of those, and other things on top of it. Regardless, though, I don't like him at all.

I liked that even Rowena was displeased by the mention of Slytherin - though it doesn't seem to stop her from pursuing the match. Ugh. Rowena, be a better mother.

There was one thing I wasn't sure about, though. Some of your dialogue tags seemed a little awkward - for example, Rowena "shrieking" before Helena meets Edward seemed a little jarring to me. I get speaking seriously or intensely, but why on earth is she shrieking about it?

That aside, though, this was lovely. Amazing job, and I can't wait for you to upload the next chapter!

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Review #9, by Beeezie Consider things like the stars.

16th July 2015:
Hey, Kiana! Here for BvB!

I continue to love your prose, and I think that you're doing an excellent job of portraying the sect of Christianity that a lot of people subscribed to - particularly back then, but even now. My heart broke when the priest told Helena that she was speaking of sin and that he wasn't sure what hope there was for her. It's such fear mongering, and I hate it, but I can totally, completely see it.

What I also love is that I'm continuing to have a strong reaction to a lot of Helena's narrative. I'm a little bit of a heretic - I'm not sure I'm particularly interested in God in any context, let alone the strong all-powerful all-knowing meddlesome (sorry, if this is your thing) God that Helena believes in. There are points in the story where I want to shake her, which means that you're writing a very good, complex, believable character. You include a lot deft touches that really drive her belief in God home and show how significant her beliefs are to her - which, in turn, makes a lot of her conflict re: Eleanor make more sense.

I keep waiting for her to just get over the whole God-doesn't-approve thing, but I'm starting to think that maybe she's not going to, not completely. She's clearly moved past it to some extent - she directly agrees with Eleanor's conviction that what they have can't be a sin - but when she says that they aren't as they ought to be, that does indicate that she still feels a measure of shame and confusion about it. That bothers me so much, but if that is where you're going with it, it's a really interesting take that is, unfortunately, quite realistic.

Regardless, I feel so bad for her right now, and while I don't see how this can work out, I hope that it does.

A bit of CC, though:

I think I may have mentioned this in a previous review - if I didn't, I meant to - but the references to other gods throws me off. Helena seems to be a very devout Christian, and the anxiety she felt regarding her relationship with Eleanor earlier in the story clearly indicated that she takes doctrine very seriously. The casual references to other gods seems strange to me in that context. Saints I could understand, but not gods.

That aside, though, I loved this. Amazing job, and I hope she's okay!

Author's Response: Hey there Branwen! Thanks for this fab review and apologies for only just getting to it! ♥

Aw, I'm so glad that you liked it as I find the influence of Christianity over time really fascinating because back then, even though Helena knew of another world thanks to magic, she still didn't know enough to not believe him and she just followed his words blindly about having to obey your parents, etc.

I'm glad that you are having a strong reaction as it's better than any reaction. Bahahaha, don't worry at all as it's rather ironic I made her so religious as I'm not religious so I guess it was my way of exploring their mindset so I can try and understand them better. I'm glad you find her belief believable though as I'm never sure if I'm over doing it but I definitely want to shake her at times too because if she thought more about it, then there would be no barrier to her and Eleanor.

It's slowly, ever so slowly, getting there. I'm not saying she'll end up disregarding the entire Bible as she's too religious for that, but she'll be at peace with it and Eleanor a bit more if that makes sense. I know, it's such a shame that it is a realistic take for that era as it's one of those things that saddens me the most as well as the fact we're only just developing into a society which respects love of all forms. It's just shameful that the human race took so long to get that.

No, no, no, I totally get what you mean and was just editing that chapter in question and I thought it was a bit off too, so I'll definitely change that to something else but thank you for reminding me of that! :)

Thank you for this fab review, Branwen! :D

-Kiana


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Review #10, by navyfail A star riding through clouds.

16th July 2015:
Hey, Kiana! I'm here from the Blue versus Bronze battle!

First off, I love the title of your story. It reminds me of Julius Caesar and even though I'm not a Shakespeare person I do love finding references. And the quote at the beginning of your story... I loved it!

I've only ever reader one or two stories that take place in the Founders era, so I'm pretty new to this time. I like how you took a new approach to Helena Ravenclaw with the slash. I think it makes this story intriguing. Also your writing style reflects her character very well. You can right of the bat tell how Ravenclaw she is since she analyzes a lot and thinks in similes and metaphors. I also love how you used repetition. It worked really well. And your description... how do you do it? It's absolutely amazing!

I have a feeling Eleanor has something up her sleeve... I don't know why. Maybe it's because Helena isn't known to have a happy ending.

Lovely story!

~Sama
(Team Bronze)

Author's Response: Hey there Sama!

Hahaha, yes, his death certainly did inspire me considering how Helena ends up dying!

I'm glad that you liked this new approach to it as Slash is so popular nowadays but I've never ever read a Founders one so I thought it would be fun to try it out. Aw, I'm glad you think the writing style fits with it. Hahah, yes, she is most definitely a Ravenclaw and wasn't just placed there because of who her mother is. Aw thank you for your kind words! I'm not sure how I do it, I just write!

Oooh, I would just say wait and read on as Eleanor might not be the one to watch ;)

Thanks for this fantastic review! :D

-Kiana


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Review #11, by Aphoride Consider things like the stars.

15th July 2015:
Hey Kiana! :) I just had to drop by on this when I spotted you in the BvB because I was thinking about this story the other day - I saw some of Virginia Woolf's books in the bookshop and was reminded of my sister and this, haha - and how much I missed it so it was too good an opportunity to pass up :P

I really, really love your take on Helena. I love how lost she feels, and how, really, little there is in her life almost without Eleanor - it's an incredibly sad, raw portrayal of her and I love it so much. Plus, I love too actually how there are traits of her mother in her, too, but the kind of traits which clash - and it's so easy to see her ending up how she does in the books, you know? She's just so real and so fascinating because she's so modern, in a way, but stuck in a medieval time. It's so good! :)

(I'm rambling, I'm so sorry - I'm really tired, if that's any excuse...)

I actually really loved this chapter, with the philosophical/theological parts - I think it makes so much sense for Helena's character, you know, given her beliefs and how she really wants to be accepted, or at least keep the two things which mean the most to her: Eleanor and her religion. I loved how she spoke to the priest and he told her she was in danger for not listening to her mother, and how she felt like she almost had to make a choice between her religion and the possibility of redemption and salvation and Eleanor - it's such a heartbreaking choice, because we know how much they both mean to her :(

Your writing in this chapter was just amazing. Just so so amazing. Seriously. All of your description was out of this world - and I loved the end of the second section when she's almost despairing of the thought of not being able to have both of the things which are most important to her. It was such gorgeous writing. Plus, as always, your details were stunning - I loved the evocation of the moon maiden, and the moon versus sun bit at the beginning, and then the section about reality and what is and isn't real was so good - so thought-provoking but so interesting, especially with the feeling around it that maybe she was fainting or dying. It was so good! :)

This is an amazing story, as always! I've got to come back to this quicker than I did before :P

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hey there Laura! ♥ Aw, I feel honoured that those books reminded you of the story so thank you so much for dropping by as I always appreciate hearing what you have to say about the story! :D

Aw, yay! I'm so glad that you do as I did want to write a more lost, forgotten Helena than the strong one I tend to see in a lot of stories so I'm so happy that you liked it. Hahah, I get what you mean because in so many ways she is like her mother, she is the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw, but in other ways she's much more free and independent of society than her mother will ever be.

(It's cool I enjoyed reading the ramble)

Aw, thank you as I had tons of fun writing it so I'm never sure if others enjoy as much as I did. You are right to highlight the conflict between Eleanor and her religion which is why the history of religion fascinates me because it always seem to be in conflict with the most natural thing, that being love. It is such a hard choice, especially as she believes her soul is being decided on this but towards the end of the story she finally reconciles those two sides of her personality.

Aw, thank you so so so much! Virigina Woolf definitely helped a lot with this as her words are so amazing it's so easy to be inspired when reading her things. I'm glad that you liked as I always have so much fun coming up with new imagery for Founders stories as I feel that you can write much more creatively in this era and do a ton more detail.

Thanks for this fantastic review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #12, by nott theodore Love makes one solitary.

28th June 2015:
Kiana! ♥ It's been far too long since I've reviewed at all and I've been meaning to catch up on this story for ages, so I'm finally here!

I was so worried for Helena at the end of the last chapter, especially with everything that happened, so it was great to see that you'd updated and I could find out what happened next. There was so much going on in this chapter as well and it was great to find out all of this new information about Helena's life and what's happening in it, even though there was lots of angst too and the ending made me sad :(

It's so sweet that Eleanor's voice was the first one that Helena really heard when she woke up, and that Eleanor was waiting for her and sitting at her bedside to make sure that she would recover. That really shows how much she cares about her, even though their relationship's a difficult one and they have to be careful about their love. But it must have done so much good to Helena to hear Eleanor's voice and know that she was there and worried about her, too.

The French ♥ I don't need to say much more about it because I know you'll understand why I love it, but the little details like that just make the story so much better!

Helga is just the sweetest! I love how much of a role she plays in this story because it's really great to see her in such an important role, because I think she's often overlooked in most Founders stories. But this story really shows how truly caring and compassionate she is, and I'm so happy that Helena has someone that she can confide in to some extent, and someone who will look after her and care for her, even if her mother doesn't. Helga clearly doesn't really approve of the way that Rowena is behaving towards her daughter, and it's kind of sad that there's a growing rift between them, but I have to side with Helga on this - if your daughter has been in the Hospital Wing for a week, then you should make sure you're there to see her and look after her! No wonder Helena feels so lonely and confused over everything when her mother doesn't really seem to want to show outward affection towards her. It's kind of sad to think though that to some extent, this is what (at least upper-class) mothers were taught to do with their children for so many years!

It's really interesting to hear how long Eleanor has been at Helena's bedside, insisting on waiting until she wakes up and knows that Helena will recover! It's not been viewed suspiciously yet but I suppose that's because anybody would just assume they're friends because in this era homosexuality wasn't really allowed and was thought of as a sin, so maybe in a way the hatred and prejudice that is imprisoning them is also protecting them, but it's still really sad to think they have to worry about that sort of discovery. It makes me so happy to live today, even though there's still a long way to go!

Ooh, the story about what happened with her father was so interesting! It's something I've been wondering about throughout this story because Helena has thought about her father quite often, and the sort of beliefs that he held, but we never really knew about his influence in her life or what happened to him because she seems unable to turn to him since he's not there. And in most stories we don't really get to see Helena's father at all, so it's so exciting that you've included him here and we got to find out what happened!

That's such a horrible way for him to die, though :( I thought it was really creative to include all of that, because all of those factors have somehow had an effect on Helena as she's grown up even though she didn't know her father or what had happened to him. It's really horrible that Salazar Slytherin might have done that sort of thing - and the mystery surrounding how there were no marks on his body also makes me think that perhaps he was the person to invent the Killing Curse, because that's the only way they couldn't know how he actually died? I feel really sorry for Rowena now to have gone through something like that as she must have loved her husband and poor Helena, only just finding out now :(

The little details about the medicine of the time, with the blood-letting and all those sorts of ideas which we now know have no impact whatsoever, were so great! It was wonderful to see you include that sort of thing because it just adds so much to a story!

Oh no, the argument that Helena had with Eleanor at the end of the chapter was so upsetting! I feel like now she's going to slowly start pushing all the people who care about her and have helped her away and she's going to be left on her own with nobody to help. We know how this is going to end and it's so sad to watch it happen! I can understand Helena panicking about Edmund though and not wanting everybody to be taken in by him, and then Eleanor's reaction too - things are made more difficult for her because of Helena's beliefs (for both of them), and she only wanted to cheer Helena up and make her feel better, but Helena's not in the right mindset for that. It's so sad to see them arguing like this and breaking apart! I get the feeling that this is going to be the real start of Helena running away from home, and I'm so intrigued to hear about her visions, too!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hey there Sian! ♥ Apologies for only just getting to this lovely review I hope you'll understand why!

I know, there certainly has been a ton of action in the story recently with Helena fainting like that at the end and then all these revelations and arguments in this chapter! Poor Helena, having all of this go in her life :P

Aw, I'm glad that you liked that as it is amazing how powerful hearing your loved ones speak is when it comes to healing as I've read all these stories about people hearing the dogs bark and that brings them out of the coma. Anyhow, it really goes to show how deep their bond is as you said which is what happened at the end is all bit whaaat???!!!

Aw, I do understand and I'm glad you liked it! ;) ♥

Yay for Helga! I do agree that she is often overshadowed and I guess that could be because she's possibly perceived as the boring one of the Founders as she's just the kind one who takes all the students, when in reality she is the thread which holds Hogwarts together. I would possibly argue she is the most important Founder in this story as she has the most influence over Helena and how she thinks and reacts. I know! The rift between her and Rowena is sad but justifiable as someone needs to take a stand about the way in which she treats her daughter.

I know it is sad that in that era something like that probably would have ended up with you burnt at the stake. I suppose it wasn't thought of as suspicious because Eleanor is just loved by anyone so they're a lot more lenient about what she does than they are with anyone else plus Helena hasn't really had any friends before so I guess they're just grateful that she's finally found some.

I'm glad that you liked it as I find it strange to that Helena's father tends to be glossed over. He does crop up a bit more throughout the story so look out for that!

I know, it really is :( Aw, I'm glad that you liked it as it was hard trying to think up a way in which he died, a lot harder than I expected actually. Yes, the Killing Curse certainly played a part in that and I think Salazar perhaps didn't intend to kill him but probably came across him in an angry rage and it just happened as I think he still felt some sort of feeling towards the other founders.

Aw, thank you so much again! It's all thanks to my GCSE in history as we had to spend an entire year studying the history of medicine and surgery so I thought I might as well put what I learned to use here. :P

I know, I'm so sorry about that but I felt they needed to air their issues as they had sort of been building up and they will come out stronger because of it. I think Helena is just quite an irrational and jealous person because of the way her mother treated hence she doesn't know how to handle relationships and does stupid stuff like that. You're definitely right about Helena not being in the right mind-set but she does sort herself out soon luckily!

Thanks for this absolutely amazing review!! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #13, by tangledconstellations Love makes one solitary.

7th May 2015:
Hey there!

*cheers* Another chapter!! I've been so excited about an update ♥

This was a really beautiful chapter, and even though things are getting really tense and really quite 'real' in terms of the relationships you're portraying I love that your tone still shines through and this fic is still written so wonderfully. In some ways, it feels sort of nice to have Eleanor and Helena have a disagreement. It makes me think of them even more as real characters, as two people who are being shaped by the time in which they're living in. But at the same time, it totally hurts my heart too. I feel like at this point all of the stresses are piling up on Helena and maybe she is being irrational and bitter like Eleanor says - but that just makes me feel for her so much more, and just shows that they're not just existing perfectly in a vacuum ~ their situation is absolutely going to take its toll on how they view themselves.

I thought the final few lines of this chapter were so beautiful and really left an impact on me. Because Helena is still waiting, even though she feels bound and insecure and not loved, she is still waiting for Eleanor and I think that's so important. It would be so easy for her to just be like, fine ok I'll marry this guy, I'll make my mother happy and I'll be what I'm supposed to be, but she's instinctively not. I love the romance element of this fic, the way it's not all flowery feelings and flirting. It feels really real, really convincing and as though it's something that these characters cannot avoid.

I also thought it was great to understand more about Helena's father because it's creating a richer background and adding a lot more to the cultural context. Knowing more about her past, about her family etc makes me care for her more and makes me really sympathise with her. Again, I really loved the relationship you've shown between Helena and Helga ~ you write it really well, the way Helga often wants to indulge Helena in information and just general care and affection, but she doesn't entirely too, because she's aware that Helena isn't her daughter to care for.

This review is a bit rambly - I'm really sorry! - but I really really enjoyed this chapter. Even though things are sort of going awry here in some ways it's important and beneficial to see that. I am so looking forward to seeing what's going to happen in the next chapter ♥

Laura xxx

Author's Response: Hello Laura!! ♥ I'm so sorry for only just responding to this review, life has been crazy lately that I've only just had the time to do things like this.

I know, it is getting a bit more darker for the two of them but I'm glad you could even like them arguing because I've never heard anyone say that before :P Hahaha, I know they are both quite complex characters and I think Helena is definitely very irrational but I suppose Eleanor is the only good thing in her life so she's bound to be and jealous too so it's quite sad that the society they live means emotional pressures on them are even greater.

Aw, I'm so glad you liked it! I think Helena's probably still waiting for Eleanor now as a ghost even though she's dead and stuff. She's definitely too in love to ever settle down with a guy and I think not marrying the Baron would be a sort of sign of rebellion on her part against her mother who's always controlled her life.

I'm so glad that you liked it as he's always been a distant figure up until know so I was really glad to finally include more information about him as I know I've been pretty vague up until now. I'm so glad that you like those two as they are so cute and Helena does need someone who loves with no strings attached.

Thank you so much for this fab fab review and I'm sorry I'm only just responding to it! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #14, by Beeezie Melancholy were the sounds.

14th April 2015:
Hi, Kiana! Iím back for BvB. :)

Oh, yikes. Helenaís relationship with her mother really is so fraught. I canít say I blame her, really, but itís a really thought-provoking view of Rowena that I donít think Iíve run across before. I like it a lot, though, because I think itís actually really effective at showing a darker side to a lot of the traits that are really characteristic of Ravenclaw as a house. I can see how, taken to its logical conclusion, an analytical and intellectual nature could lead to being cold and distant. Itís really thought-provoking, and it makes me wonder whether sheís like this with everyone or just her daughter.

My heart really goes out to Helena and Eleanor, because I just canít see this story having a happy ending - since, as you mention in your A/N, we know that the baron kills her, and it seems like she was still fairly young at the time.

I am wondering whether Helena and Eleanor run away after the baron arrives. Helena seems so focused on Eleanor that I canít see her falling for the baron, really (although I guess itís possible that sheíll initially be intrigued and question whether it would really be so bad, since thereís no denying that it would be easier). Itís been interesting, though, to see Eleanor voicing the same concerns Helena was in previous chapters. I wonder if sheís trying to distance herself from Helena, a little - maybe even subconsciously rather than consciously.

This was another great chapter. :) I can't wait to see what happens next!

Author's Response: Hey Branwen!

I know, it really isn't good at all, but it does change a lot later on so keep yours eye out for that. Yes, I thought it would be interesting to focus on how Ravenclaws could be just as bad as Slytherins could be, as the pursuit of intelligence and perfection can be a bad thing if taken too far, and I think that's the case with Rowena. I think with Rowena she finds her to deal with complex emotions, hence why her relationship is worse with Helena than with other people.

I know, I'm sorry but it has to happen, but there are few more things which happen before we reach that point.

Hmmm, I can't answer that as that would be giving away the rest of the story, but I will say that Helena is guided by her own will at the end of it and she does what she thinks is right. Hmm, as for the case of Eleanor, there will be more twists and turns for regarding her, but I can't say more than that.

Thanks for this fab review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #15, by Beeezie Nothing thicker than a knife's blade.

14th April 2015:
Here again for BvB!

This was really heartbreaking. I hate (hate, hate) the beliefs that Helena is buying into, but I think that theyíre (unfortunately) very realistic for the time period, particularly since Helena is Rowenaís only child and thereís some stake in carrying on the family name.

And speaking of Rowena - ooh, I love the way youíve set up their relationship! Given what little we know about it, it seems likely that it was strained at best - she didnít just steal her motherís diadem and run away out of nowhere. I feel like youíve introduced a lot of nuance and room for tension in their relationship, which I really love. And, in giving Helena a good relationship with Helga, youíre making it so that she does have some adult council that she trusts, which I think is important for the story - otherwise, sheíd only be thinking about this to herself!

But the best part of the chapter was (of course) Helenaís interactions with Eleanor. I love how Helena is pulled toward Eleanor like a moth to a flame, even while sheís struggling against it - so much so, in fact, that sheís congratulating herself on managing to stay away from her for a few hours. Thatís pretty significant, and it makes the fact that by the end of the chapter sheís decided to pursue Eleanor anyway very believable.

One little bit of CC, though: while the dialogue usually comes across as being a lovely feature of the very different era, there are occasionally moments where I feel like it got a little stilted. Iím not sure if part of it is that you donít always describe people during conversations (which I think would really help convey the anguish and pain during the scenes with Helena in particular) or if itís the language itself, but either way, it might be something to look at. :)

Overall, though, this was a wonderful story. ♥ I can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Hey there Branwen!

I know, it's so sad as I really wish I could change and go back and tell them how stupid they are, but their entire belief is so, so, so rigid it took centuries to see the slightest bit of progression in it.

Aw, thank you, I was a little worried about portraying her in such a negative light especially as I'm in a Claw and all so I did feel quite bad doing it but I'm glad that you liked it. I was always interested in way Helena stole the Diadem as it seems like quite a strange thing to do, so I put a little spin on it here and I hope you like it. Yes, I always imagine Helga being a sort of guardian angel to all the Founders children so at least Helena can count on her.

Aw, thank you! I know, they have a very odd relationship but I think the reason why they need each other so much is because they're the only ones who understand what it is to be a lesbian and how they had to fight with society for who they love, but at least with one another they can be who they truly are.

Oooh, I'll definitely look into that as the dialogue is always a rather tricky to think to conquer, especially making it time appropriate so it could probably do with some reviewing, thanks for pointing that out!

Thanks for this great review Branwen ♥

-Kiana


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Review #16, by Beeezie A star riding through clouds.

10th April 2015:
Hey, Iím here for BvB! Youíve been leaving me such awesome reviews on CINAS, so Iím really happy I can get in after you and start to return the favor. ♥ (Especially since I love reading Founders fics, though I havenít had the courage to try to write one yet.)

Then I clicked into the first chapter and realized that this story was about Helena being in love with another woman, and I was sold. Yes please.

I loved your characterization of Helena on so many levels. The picture she paints of herself and the place she occupies relative to the Founders and their children is fascinating, and it makes a lot of sense given what we know about Helena and her mother in particular. Itís tough to know how much of this is in her head and how much of it is reality, but either way, the frame of mind youíre showing makes a lot of sense in the context of her running away.

The mention of her Muggleborn father is also intriguing, because it really does bring up so many questions for me! Itís interesting to see hints of how the old prejudices played out back then, especially in the context of religion - IIRC, this is around the time when Christians are burning witches and wizards, right? Iím wondering whether that plays a part in Rowenaís hostility toward it.

And Eleanor.

I love how enchanted Helena is by Eleanor, and I found the way her social status and understanding of her fatherís religion are shackling her to be heartbreaking. I could see Eleanor in my mind, because your description of her was so wonderful, and I was a little enchanted, too! Iím glad Eleanor does seem to return the feelings, and I think that her initiating something goes very well with her family lineage and House - fortune favors the bold, after all!

This was lovely. Iím definitely going to find time to read more of it. ♥

Author's Response: Hey there Branwen! Aw, thank you, I'm glad that you decided to read it as I know not that many people are interested by it as they think Founders stories are kind of meh.

Whoo, thank you, I thought it would be an interesting thing to explore as it's mentioned in so many other eras but rarely in this one.

AW, thank you! I know, I think she will always be judged differently from the Founders children as she's an only child and she can't confide in others what it's like to be a daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw. I think naturally as a Ravenclaw too, she's more likely to be withdrawn and quieter, but I do think quite a lot of this is just in her head.

Haha, I'm actually studying witch-hunting in history right now so I'll be able to answer this for you. The peak of the executions was 1560-1660, and that was when there were mass witch-hunts and a real sense of terror in the populace, however, they did occur before but they were much more sporadic and they weren't known for running rampant.

Aw, I'm glad you like her too as these two do have a very special place in my heart. I'm so glad that you did like her and you were able to imagine her as I sometimes wonder if the idea of Eleanor is lost in all these mystical descriptions of her. Hahah, yes, her family lineage and House will definitely motivate for the rest of the story.

Thanks for this fantastic review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #17, by Crumple-Horned Snorkack Consider things like the stars.

27th March 2015:
Greetings. The Snorkack has ventured out of the forest once again to appreciate some beautiful writing, and I would certainly refer to this story as beautiful. Helena's narrative voice is so wonderful, almost lyrical, and more than anything, I appreciated the themes of secrecy and the philosophical nature of the chapter, as they are both topics I can relate to. I spend my life hiding in the forest unseen by humans, and of course what else does one do but philisophise when they have the expanse of time before them and only a few other friends whose existence is also debatable? Only last week, the Loch Ness Monster and I discussed the philosophy of religion. But my digression aside, the religious aspect seems very important to this story considering the time period, and you have showed just how powerful it was, through Helena's thoughts.

Altogether it reflects the time period really well, in the way priests are involved, and how disobeying is seen as suh a terrible thing. But it puts her in such a difficult place, and her resulting existential musings are appropriate to the situation and just lovely writing. Well done! I eagerly await the next chapter.

Author's Response: Hi there Snorkack! Thank you again for returning as this means so much to me as your reviews are always so kind and lovely. I'm so glad that you like Helena as she means so much to me, and I can definitely see how you relate to her. I imagine she would have been a good friend for you as she would understand of what being a recluse was like. I'm glad that you liked the religious aspect of the story too as it was interesting to delve in as it caused some thought-provoking questions in my mind.

I know, hopefully she has the courage to challenge the system and fight for what she wants otherwise it's too sad. The next chapter is now up if you wish to read it and thanks again for this great review!

-Kiana


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Review #18, by nott theodore Consider things like the stars.

18th February 2015:
Hi Kiana! I finally made it here - I've been trying to review this for a while but trips away and then no internet prevented me, so I'm finally caught up and have time to write this!

Your descriptions in the opening section were stunning. I could tell how much thought you'd put into them and I loved reading those first few paragraphs; the beauty in the imagery really made the relationship between Helena and Eleanor sound like a beautiful, wondrous thing and it was lovely to see that effect in the narrative, particularly with Helena's doubts so far. But the relationship with Eleanor is definitely something that brings her happiness, and that was clear to see here.

At the same time, though, I think it's really significant that these meetings only take place at night. I like the way that the moonlight is something that allows Helena to be herself, and that she can enjoy her love at this time, but at the same time it's really sad that the two of them are only able to be together under the cover of darkness. They can never be themselves in the day time because of the way that society has been constructed around them and it's really upsetting to think of that.

From the first section, though, I sensed a shift in this chapter in Helena's state of mind, and her thoughts and feelings about Eleanor and who she is. It felt like she had begun to drift away from Eleanor more and more after the initial section, especially as her thoughts centred more on religion than other things.

I loved the passages that you wrote when Helena attended church, and it definitely wasn't too religious or philosophical for me - I found it so interesting to see the way that you weaved those elements into the story. In a story like this one, I don't think it would have been realistic if you had tackled a relationship like Helena and Eleanor's without at least some mention of religion, especially when we know that the magical and Muggle societies lived more closely at this point, so it helped make this story seem even more believable because you included that.

One of my favourite parts of this chapter was the scene in the church. I really liked the way that you showed Helena to have some true religious feeling, rather than practising because that's what she's always been brought up to do. The detail about Eleanor, Rowena and Godric never attending church was really interesting too; if I'm right, Christianity hadn't taken hold everywhere at this point, so there would have been some leniency in who attended church, but I also wonder if their magical background has an effect. Religion was always one of the biggest topics that the books avoided and I find it really fascinating to see how people interpret its presence in the wizarding world.

I loved the imagery that you used when people continued to ask Helena to tell her mother things; the wound and the blood coming from it, as though she was in physical pain because of their gratitude for her mother. I liked the way that she thought of God transcending everything and that these people would be better if they placed their trust in him than in Rowena. Besides showing some of the relationship between Helena and her mother, it also showed the standing that Rowena has in the community and the way that Muggles might revere witches and wizards because of what they're able to do.

The discussion that Helena had with the priest was brilliant. I'm really glad, for a reason that I can't really explain properly, that the priest berated her for thinking of disobeying her mother rather than the relationship that she's having with another woman. Of course, both are sins in the eyes of the church but I think that the strong condemnation she received for even thinking of going against her mother's wishes shows how she would have been treated if her secrets had been revealed. The priest probably thinks that she's lusting after a different man and in his eyes that's bad enough, without her relationship with Eleanor being revealed.

I felt so sorry for Helena in that section; her faith seems so strong and so to her, obviously, the priest is highly important and stands as a representative of the God that she loves, so she's put in an even more difficult position with regards to Eleanor. I think that faith is what seems to have really had the most impact on her drifting away from her love.

The triplication in the following section was really effective, and you used it so well so that it had an impact. The words that you chose to repeat really stood out, Helena's thoughts dwelling on her confusion and fears of what will happen to her if she dies and if she continues the relationship with Eleanor. It was so interesting.

I loved the imagery of the letters of Eleanor's name drifting up to the moon, mirroring the way that Helena is putting Eleanor behind and leaving their relationship in the dark nights when they met.

And the ending was really brilliant. There was a lot of tension in such a short section, with the sort of doom coming to Helena bit by bit as the sounds approach and her fiance arrives. I get the feeling that there could be a decision arrived at soon, as she chooses to flee from home rather than marry Edmund, although at the same time I wonder if we'll get to see the development of her relationship with him. The Bloody Baron is said to have loved her, after all.

This was a brilliant chapter, my dear, and I'm really sorry that it took so long for me to get here - I'm hoping this review helps to make up for it a little bit! ♥

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hey there, Sian, of course this review makes up for it and you have nothing to apologise for as I have taken a shamefully long time in getting to this!

Thank you so much! I've really had fun playing with the descriptions in this story, as I've noticed that depending on which era you write in, the description you use changes accordingly. So as this is written in the Founders era, you could go all out on the nature, and the clothes and the feelings because they seemed to be much more reflective about that, which made it a lot more fun to write about.

Yes, you right about the importance of it being night time too, for those reasons you pointed out. It really is sad, but just imagine if they met up in the day time, the chances of them being caught are just so much higher and then they really would be in trouble which is the really sad thing. Another thing about the day time is that they focus on society too much and are almost too up tight and not able to relax because of the sun being up.

Yes, you are definitely right about the shift in her thoughts as she's starting to get over the initial excitement of Eleanor, and now she's focusing on the wider implications of what them being together exactly means.

Aw, I'm glad it didn't get too religious or philosophical because when you're writing it it's so hard to judge how other people will react, especially to topics such as those. Yup, it was starting to spread into Britain at that point, because they said the Founders was about 1000 ad or so, so the influence is still quiet weak hence why the Godric and Rowena aren't religious at all. I think in a way it needs to be explored, because magic is in a way a strange thing and needs a more mystical explanation than things in the Muggle world do, so in a way it's even more plausible that magical people are religious than muggles.

I'm glad that you picked up on the relationship with her mother, because I think the fact she is this righteous women in the community means it's even harder for Helena to understand her because she never gets to see that nice side of her mother. It really is quite sad how people can be so different depending on who they're with. I think also the way Rowena treats her means that Helena is drawn to religion and God because then she feels as if someone understands her and someone can provide her comfort when her mother cannot.

I'm so glad that you liked it, because I think that even though Helena is lost in the world of love with Eleanor, she still wouldn't be too in love to admit the fact the person she loves was a woman because she definitely does realise the gravity of that. I think in those days it was definitely more respect for your elders, you should do what your parents say etc. hence why the priest focused on her going against her mother than loving someone.

I know :( It's so sad, because nothing seems to go right in her because she probably thought she would receive guidance on how to deal with her mother, but rather she was told to end it completely as it wasn't what her mother desire.d

Aw, thank you so much! Those themes will definitely be covered in future chapters as Helena tries to figure out whether her and Eleanor can actually be a thing or not so I hope you look forward to it!

I know, it was a bit dum, dumm dum, you definitely will get to see more of Edmund but there's a bit more of a build up before you actually see him in the flesh I must say.

Thanks for this fantastic review, it completely blew me away! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #19, by Aphoride Melancholy were the sounds.

14th February 2015:
Hey there, Kiana! :) Happy Valentine's (Singles! :P) Day! :D

I think I've said this before, but your writing in this story, the characterisation of both Eleanor and Helena and Rowena, the plot in it - all of it is just amazing. It's so breathtaking, it's actually really hard to review, because it feels too much like I'm just repeating myself over and over again :P

Is it bad that as sorry as I feel for Helena and Eleanor, and how Helena has to get married and try then to preserve their relationship during that, I do also feel a little sorry for Rowena? There's something so sad about her constantly being so disappointed in her daughter and not understanding, even if it's unspeakably cruel to Helena :( You kinda just want to bang their heads together and make them get along, almost.

Your Helena is amazing, though. I love how romantic she is, but how angsty she is, too - though it's so realistic for the time. There really is no hope for them, and there's something so captivatingly brave about their whole romance and relationship which I just love to pieces - even more so because we know it's doomed, you know? In this chapter, I loved the way you had her practice walking the way she was instructed - for some reason, it struck me pretty deeply, as though simply by conforming to walk in the 'right way', it's a symbol of a deeper conformity and a deeper repression, almost. I have no idea if that's what you were going for, though :P

Also, the whole musing on how men and women are so different was so cool - it's one of those things which is so sensible if you think about it, haha, like it makes sense! :P Rationally, it's perfect! :)

Your writing, as always in this, is an absolute tour-de-force - your description, your dialogue, the set-up of this chapter and the entire plot overall. Especially the description. I adore the little inclusions of religion in this, and your use of colour with the blue for lies. It's so, so lovely! So evocative and so emotive, too. So, so wonderful - I can't say that enough! :)

So yeah, I love this, and I love you, and this is a wonderful story! Hope you enjoy your Valentine's Day! :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hey Laura!! Thanks for this lovely Valentine's Day review, I'm so sorry it's taken me a while to get to it. :P

Aw, thank you so much! These two have definitely been among some of my favourite characters to write about as they're just so different from anyone else and you can really explore a wide range of issues with them.

I know, but as we know from canon, Helena never actually ends up married to him, but what caused her to end up in Albania is another question... I get what you mean about Rowena because though she has lots of skills, people skills is something she severely lacks and you really wish that she could work on them because then everything would be better again. Rowena does have a few surprises to come though...

Aw, thank you so much, I'm so glad that you like her as she is very close to my heart. I think that's why I like historical stories so much because unless you went by the prescribed norm, you really didn't stand much of a chance as everyone and thing were acting against you. Aw, thank you, you're definitely right about it symbolising conformity and repression and even though her mother goes outside of societal norms, she still wants her daughter to be within them.

Bahaha, I know, because the whole men are from Mars, women are from Venus is so true are a lot of the time as we really are quite different.

Aw, thank you so much! This review means so much to me as you were so kind and just ♥ ♥

I hope you had a good Valentine's Day too! :D

-Kiana


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Review #20, by BellaLestrange87 Consider things like the stars.

7th February 2015:
Hi Kiana! I'm here for the Blue vs Bronze review battle!

The opening section was beautiful to read. I could feel how happy Helena and Eleanor were, a happiness which, unfortunately, probably isn't going to last. The joy that Helena feels when she's with Eleanor is a huge contrast to the way she feels when she's with her mother, or overhearing Rowena's plans to marry her off to the Bloody Baron. It saddens me that Helena isn't close enough to her mother to feel comfortable telling her about her relationship, and that Rowena doesn't seem to care about Helena's wishes when playing matchmaker.

I really enjoyed the church section. I'm not religious myself, so I don't really have any idea what I'm talking about here, but I'm going to pretend I do and ramble on anyways. Helena's thoughts about how her mother, not her, is a sinner for not coming to church was very revealing. A lot of strict religious anti-gay propaganda that I've seen offers the view that those who are in same-sex relationships will go to hell, and Helena's view that her mother will go there instead of her as Rowena is not religious was a nice contrast.

I like how the priest's advice kept with the times, and how, instead of supporting Helena in her desire to stay faithful to who she loves, he reprimanded her for going against her mother's wishes. From the way Helena phrased her question, it doesn't seem like she's asking much - "I want to love who I love. Is that wrong?" - but since we know that she's lesbian and for some stupid reason that's not allowed, her question is an entirely different matter than if she loved, say, a noble duke or some other suitable match. I also feel that the priest's response would be a lot harsher and more condemning if she had revealed that she loved Eleanor and not let the priest assume it was another man she lusted after.

And I love how after that advice, she had a huge mental debate between the different parts of her. I feel like this is ominous, how she decided that death is the only answer to this question. Of course, we know from canon that she ran away instead of committing suicide, but I still can't wait for the next chapter to get posted. You ended on such a good cliffhanger: Did she escape? Or run away? Please post Chapter 5 soon!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Hey Olviia, I'm so sorry for how long it's taken to reply to this, life has been crazy!

Bahahah, erm, how did you guess that? I'm sorry that it won't last but as you know, Helena ends up a ghost whereas Eleanor doesn't so that's a big giveaway as to what happens in the story. :P I know, I think it would still be hard given what society was like at that time, but it still would have been nice if her mother could help her.

I'm glad that you liked it, as I'm not religious either, just very interesting in things like philosophy and theology so I had a lot of fun writing it here. I know, it's not nice at all what they say about them. But I suppose as people still sadly hold those views then, they stood nice chance against it back then.

I know, I think the whole respect your elders thing then was a much bigger deal than it is now, because I don't think a parent would ever dream of telling their child who they could and couldn't marry. I know, I think it's the only good thing about it because if Helena had told him about Eleanor, she would have been done for.

Bahaha, canon does help a lot with this story and the next chapter should be posted in the coming days, apologies again about how long it's taken!

Thanks for a fantastic review, Olivia! :D

-Kiana


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Review #21, by Aphoride Nothing thicker than a knife's blade.

5th February 2015:
Hey there, Kiana! :) I was so glad you posted about a review swap, because it meant I could find an excuse to get back to this rather than reading about the beginnings of corporations... ;)

You know, it's been a while since I read the first chapter, but I still remember so much of it, because there's really no way I could forget this story. I don't think this is on my favourites yet, which, tbh, has been a long time coming... so I'll have to see to that once I've finished this ;)

As before, your characterisation of Helena is amazing. I love so much how you develop her relationships with other people - especially Rowena, and Helga, and Eleanor - and I love, actually, how female-centric the cast is. I find female-centric casts harder to write than male-centric ones, so I always love reading things like this. Helena continues to be such a tragic figure, in this: her relationship with her mother is so bad, and I feel for her with that, but at least she has Helga who tries to do the right thing and say the right thing, even though she doesn't understand what Helena's talkig about. What I love most about Eleanor, though, is how she's something of a counterpoint to Helena, almost, with her family loving her and being so happy and bright, compared to Helena who prefers anonymity, or attempted anonymity, at any rate. There's something wonderfully poetic about them.

The historical references and everything in this are so, so good, too. I love how religion is a major theme in this and really plays a role - it's so true to that era, and you handle it so well. I felt so sorry for Helena, though, after her talk with Helga, and being so convinced that her mother would just tell her she was doomed anyway - it really wasn't what she wanted to hear, even if it perhaps was what she expected. Though I loved the ending - it was so sweet! :)

Your writing, as always, is amazing in this. Just phenomenal, really. It's such a beautiful style you use for writing this, it really brings to mind the time and the period this is set in, and emphasises how solemn Helena is as a character, and makes the emotions so much more strongly felt. Your description is beautiful, but your dialogue is just brilliant and that always stands out to me whenever I read this. It's just... each word is perfect, you know? I don't know how you do it, it's a real gift...

So yeah, I love this and I can't believe this isn't on my favourites already :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hey Laura!! Apologies for taking aeons to get back to this, I have no excuse other than life. :P

Aw, it means so much to me that it's stayed in your mind so much, as it really is the closest bit of writing to my heart as I've really had fun exploring the issues within this.

I'm so glad that you liked Helena as she is so much fun to explore as there are always new facets to her to uncover as she is an intriguing person. Whoo, I think you're first person to comment on that, but I'm glad that you did because we often usually have a cast of dominant males, especially in historical stories, but the women of the world were pretty impressive too so it only felt right they got their time. Aw, I'm glad that you like the contrast between Helena and Eleanor as it is fun to write too, and to me it almost makes the two of them even more tragic if that's possible. :P

Aw, thank you so much. I've always loved the history of religion as it combines both philosophical ideas and history which are two great loves of mine, so I've had so much fun here. I know, it's so doomed, and there are plenty more twists and turns left for them so the ending might not last for too long.

Aw, thank you so much! ♥ (bah, I keep on saying this throughout the review. :P) That really means so much to me, I can't really describe it but I'm here flailing around nevertheless. :P ♥ ♥ ♥

Thanks for this fab review! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #22, by tangledconstellations Consider things like the stars.

4th February 2015:
Heya again lovely,

Eep, the fourth chapter! I love how far this fic is coming, I am so invested in Helena and her love for Eleanor right now.

I really enjoyed this chapter, most especially because there feels like there is more of a distance between her and Eleanor. She's not as swept up in her feelings anymore - the rational, more socially conditioned part of her is speaking up and convincing herself that the way she feels is in need of some sort of cleansing. You've created a really interesting contrast: Helena is still in love with Eleanor, and she is the unattainable beauty that transcends their social positions, but at the same time its as though she's something that she needs to be purged of. The implications of their feelings for one another are really starting to take a hold of their lives actively. Helena was almost quite optimistic when visiting the priest, like she had found a way for her love of God and of Eleanor to exist side by side. Alas...!

I feel like Helena has become a lot more headstrong in the last couple of chapters. Though I think at this point she's still not sure what it is that she wants she's fighting for/against something, and it's all taking such a toll on her body. Has she fallen really sick at the end here? Argh I just want to know!

Again, your writing is beautiful in this chapter. It feels ethereal and dream like, but your dialogue brings it down to earth and makes me feel like I am Helena, sort of floating through life with these conflicting feelings and pressures. I can't wait to read the fifth chapter - I just want to know whether or not she marries this man, especially as it's not a matter of choosing what her heart wants - it's her heart that's so divided!

Laura xxx

Author's Response: Hey Laura, I'm so sorry for taking aeons to et to this!

I'm so glad that you liked it, as it was fun writing this chapter as it was much more transitional than the other ones, as she's calmed down a lot now which is nice to see. I know, there seems to be endless barriers to their love which is such a shame because you would think she would be able to get round them but sadly no.

I know, she's so confused about what's right and wrong that she just has to keep on fighting on and on. Yes, you are right about her being sick at the end of this, and we'll see exactly what happened in the next chapter.

Aw, thank you so much! I'm so glad that you liked it as it means a lot to me. The next chapter should be up soon with the illness and the potential husband being discussed further!

Thanks for this great review, Laura! ♥

-Kiana


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Review #23, by BellaLestrange87 Melancholy were the sounds.

4th February 2015:
This is for the Blue vs Bronze review battle!

So your prose here is just as gorgeous as it was in the first two chapters. I love the imagery you used in the first section and how Helena compared the different stages of her relationship with Eleanor to different ways of living. It really showed just how in love Helena was, and I thought it was cute.

I love your characterization of Rowena here, even though I don't really like her character. You've created such a cold and calculating woman and you've shed a different light on her character from what I usually imagine. Thinking about it, I can now think of a more logical reason why she wanted the smartest students: they were the only ones who were able to match up to her standards. And her characterization also adds to the story: if Rowena had been more caring, Helena might have felt comfortable enough around her mother to talk openly about her sexuality. Instead, nope.

Rowena casually discussing how Helena had no hopes for the future gave me chills. What sort of a mother would choose a man who has had many people express doubts about him as a suitable match for her daughter? Just because Helena apparently needs 'controlling' she does not necessarily need to be controlled. And even this Godric (Gryffindor?) doesn't like him. I have a feeling that this is the Bloody Baron and now you've set up a reason for how the story ends.

I loved Helena's reaction to this. There's a perfect mix of shock and anger there, as anybody finding out that their mother was planning to marry them off (against their will) to a less than desirable man would feel. And this sentence - Secrets floating round and round until they have stained the air a steel blue, the colour of deception. That is perfect. Just perfect.

Helena's logic about the separation of boys and girls and how it doesn't make sense is very interesting, and also made me ask the same questions that she was thinking. If boys and girls are supposed to get married, you should let them mingle so they at least get to know each other before being bound together for life. This quote - They are foreign beings to us. - is also perfect. I'm currently writing a novel that alternates first-person narration from Lily II to a male OC and writing chapters from his perspective is SO HARD because I have no idea how boys think.

Helena and Eleanor definitely aren't going to take this marriage news lying down, and I like that. They shouldn't just roll over and get separated because of political advantage or their parent's innate desire to get their daughters all married off.

At least Rowena is letting Helena get to know the Bloody Baron before she gets married to him. I think if it was any other woman (other than Helena) it might have gone better and she would've been happily married (or unhappily, depending on whether or not she liked him), but since we know Helena's true love, that of course isn't going to happen. However, I suppose Rowena's decision is a bit more free-thinking, from the little I know of the times.

I loved this chapter! Please write more! I know there's the fourth chapter but I'm thinking I should save it so I can savour it later.

~Olivia

Author's Response: Hey Olivia!

I'm so glad that you liked that because when I was writing this, we were discussing in philosophy the whole idea of life and what it is to be, so it sort of drifted into my writing, like lots of other philosophical things did. :P

I know, I don't really like what I've done to her either given that I'm a Claw as this feels like betrayal against my own house, but I feel as if it had to be like this in order for Helena to not be able to open up to her mother. Oooh, I hadn't thought about why she chose students like that before, but I think you're definitely right because she didn't care if they were pureblood or muggleborn, just so long as they were clever she would have taken them in I guess.

I know, Rowena is horrible like that. The sad thing is though it was most often the case for females in that era as they really had no rights at all and could not make any of their own decisions which is so sad as it was just left to their parents. You are right, that is Godric Gryffindor, though I wouldn't be so warm to him as he isn't against arranged marriages in principle, only because he doesn't entirely approve of the man.

I'm glad you liked it and Helena's indignation about this will continue to shape the rest of the story. Her love and respect for her mother really does start to go down here from now on too, as she just can't understand why someone could possibly do that to her.

I'm glad you found it interesting, as I initially didn't even think about it that much, it almost felt as if Helena took over me at that point and started writing that section herself, if that makes any sense. :P Bahaha, I know, boys are so confusing but I suppose they think the same about us girls being strange too, so really they should have integrated them more and they would have had more successful marriages as a result!

No, they are not, and it's definitely going to be all girl power and let us love from now on which is exciting. Albeit in a subtle way given the society that they live in.

I know, that is one good thing about her rather than just forcing it on her. Plus, it means we get to see exactly what the Bloody Baron is like and decide whether he would actually be a good match for Helena or not which is quite exciting.

Thanks for this fabulous review, it really did make my day! :D ♥

-Kiana


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Review #24, by ForeverHogwarts1 A star riding through clouds.

3rd February 2015:
Little slow at first but I'm very interested to see where this goes. I like your styling of writing, it's very interesting!

Author's Response: I hope you can on reading as I would love to know what you think, and thanks for the review! :D

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Review #25, by Lululuna A star riding through clouds.

26th January 2015:
Hi Kiana! :D Woohoo I'm so excited to read and review this story because it has so much of what I love best - history, founders, drama, lurve and your beautiful writing!!

And wow, the writing here is truly spectacular, Kiana. It's both ornate yet natural for Helena and I really felt like I was soaking up every word. I think the use of "you" throughout really enhanced that because it made it feel like reading a love poem and reminded me of the way poetry was written so often back in the day.

I like how right away, Helena uses the word "sickening." In some ways I feel like she says it because she feels that she is sinning, but more importantly it shows the unhealthy nature of her obsessive love. Her emotions are so strong that they make her sick and that definitely has dangerous potential and even hints to her eventual bloody end.

I love the focus on religion as well, it definitely makes sense that wizards would have been interested in religion at the time. Also, I liked how religion was an issue of contempt between Helena and her mother, since it tends to be so divisive even today. It was neat how she bonded with religion originally because it reminded her of her father, and I liked how she romanticized these ideas about him and how her life might be different if her father was alive. I felt so bad though when she thought that even her father must have liked Eleanor better because it shows how she really has no sense of self worth.

This is such an interesting take on Helena with how she feels like an outcast and like she's not good enough. It fits really well with her ghostly portrayal in canon and I'm excited to see it get to that point.

I do feel like Eleanor seems a bit manipulative of Helena, and I'm worried about how it will play-out because the relationship is in danger of being one-sided: especially considering how obsessed Helena is. I'm sure that either way, the story is going to end tragically.

This was so beautifully written, Kiana, and I'm so excited to keep reading! :D

Author's Response: Hey Jenna! :D

Aw, thank you so much! I really enjoyed writing this because the story meant I could be all elaborate with my descriptions without it being weird, so I'm so glad that you liked it too!

Helena definitely does have a very negative view towards her love in this chapter but I guess as she's the only one who knows about it, and has no one to confide about it with, it becomes all-consuming so she doesn't know if it's right or wrong anymore.

I'm glad that you liked it as I always did think that the Founders era characters would be more religiously inclined than other ones. I know, Helena really doesn't have any confidence and it does make me wonder what she would have been like if her father was still alive, I think probably a lot more sure of herself as she wouldn't just be under Rowena's control.

I'm glad that you liked the whole outcast take, as Ravenclaws always do seem to be quite odd and more prone to the loner stereotype than other houses.

Hmm, hmm, hmm, I can't really comment about how Eleanor will be in the rest of the story but you definitely are right about it being tragic but I suppose that's quite natural given how Helena is a ghost in the books. :P

Thanks for this amazing review, Jenna! ♥

-Kiana


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