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Reading Reviews for Burning Inside
  
16 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragon The Perfect Servant

15th May 2016:
Howdy Dan! It's been FAR too long since I read anything of yours. This was, truly, a masterpiece. I don't usually read stories that center on Bellatrix - primarily because I despise her, secondarily because most I've read don't really seem "right" to me somehow. The latter CANNOT be said of this.

This story (along with Bellatrix as its driving force) is intense from start to finish and it's intense in exactly the ways that Bellatrix is - her zealotry, her insanity, her determination - but it also doesn't fail to explore her as more than a maniacal Death Eather. Though she definitely becomes that, you make her character much more real by not just showing us the depths of her devotion or madness, but by showing her the very real building blocks that likely made it so - the family pressures and socialization, the fears and insecurities - and how Voldemort and serving him completely and perfectly filled those voids.

Though it perhaps goes without saying, I'll say it anyway, that I thought your descriptions in this story were also exceptional. It reminded me (though this was a much more...what's the right word...aggressive maybe, or violent (?) - it's just very thematically and in some ways stylistically different - story) of Sarah's (Gryffin_Duck) The Brightest Blue, where Alice Longbottom has chromesthesia. Which is kind of interesting on another level because there's obvious intersection between the characters.

ANYWAY - the point of all this rambling is to say that I thought this story was incredibly brilliant and I hope I'm not away as long next time because it also served as a reminder about how exceptional your work always proves to be.

Author's Response: Hey, Kevin.

I've been staring at this for days, wondering how to start to answer. At the beginning, I suppose.

Bellatrix is easy to despise and I don't honestly care for the way that most authors write her. If they're not trying to go totally AU and turn her into some sort of twisted love interest for Harry, they usually gloss over her mental instability. Neither one of these works for me. What makes Bellatrix such a powerful and interesting character is that she's the antithesis of the type of maternal love and devotion that's embodied by characters like Molly Weasley, Lily Potter and even her sister Narcissa. Bellatrix brings a completely different type of devotion, one that's driven by hate, prejudice, cruelty and -- I believe -- need. Bellatrix had a burning need for the Dark Lord's approval. He filled a void created by her sterile upbringing, her loveless marriage and her mental illness.

When you write Bellatrix, you have to be intense about it. She doesn't work any other way. In my first draft, this story was longer. In the end, I cut out everything that might be considered "filler".

I read Sarah's story after I read this review. I definitely see the similarity, even though I wasn't thinking of Bellatrix's condition that way at the time I wrote this. At any rate, thanks for pointing it out. It was a really good read.

I really appreciate you stopping by. This was a lot of fun to write.

Thanks!
-Dan


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Review #2, by lindslo2012 The Perfect Servant

18th November 2015:
Wow Dan,
This was truly an amazing read. I have not read one of your amazing stories in quite awhile! This one is one of my favorites!
As usual, your descriptions and scenes in the story is my favorite part about it. You have always been amazing at the sheer details of your plot and the scene in front of you. I feel like I am standing there watching this whole scene come about.
Also, your story gave me a glimpse into Bellatrix's life I never knew before now. I never heard her father's name and I never sat here and imagined what her life probably was like growing up or what kind of family she and her two sisters had. No wonder she is as unfriendly as she is. Like Draco, her family kind of molded her that way. Another scene I loved was when you described how she felt while torchering those people. That is a side of her I knew probably existed but never got to see inside of her mind like I did with your story. As always, splendid job! I love your work!
-Lindsey

Author's Response: Hi, Lindsey! Long time, no see.

Aww, thank you for all of the kind words. Bellatrix was a big, crazy joy to write, even though the subject matter is not exactly what you'd call fun. I really enjoyed exploring some of the things that were broken inside that screwed up head of hers. There's a saying that bad people come from bad places. This was my idea as to what sort of bad place Bellatrix might have come from.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #3, by alicia and anne The Perfect Servant

30th August 2015:
Dan. Dan... Dan...Dan.
How are you so amazing at descriptions? How do you get everything to flow so beautifully together? Is it teachable or are you a gift sent to us? A god of writing!

You've made Bellatrix your own and done such a fantastic job with her. I love your Bellatrix, you've managed to capture not only her loyalty for the dark lord, but also her thirst for pain, her craziness (crazyness... craziness... you know what I'm saying!) Her ruthlessness!

Just seriously... How are you so amazing? I think that you've somehow made a bargain with a writing Demon or something.

And yet you've broken my heart so much with the scene, because it's with Frank and Alice and I know what's going to happen, but then at the end with her going into that rage and then that dream, I felt sympathy for Bellatrix, the pain that she was feeling, the anger, it was all powerful and it was consuming and she seemed to break herself as much as she was breaking them.

And then she was in the cell, and it hit me that she was just remembering it all.

Author's Response: Hi, Tammi!

I don't think I can teach anyone because I'm not sure what the secret sauce is. I read your review and I'm thinking to myself, "I wonder if she was reading somebody else's story by mistake?" Wondering in a very pleased way, of course. :D

Bellatrix is all of those things. I think first and foremost, her fanatical loyalty to Voldemort drives all of her other characteristics. She lives to please him and she's completely immersed in his "teachings".

Ha! You make me smile so much!

You're right, she was in her cell in Azkaban the entire time. She was having a pleasant dream at the start, until one of the Dementors sensed her happiness and came to feed on her. Then her dream becomes a nightmare.

Thanks so much for the awesome review!


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Review #4, by StarFeather The Perfect Servant

7th June 2015:
Hi, Dan.

I couldn't understand Bellatrix at all. As many readers know, she's an atrocious villain, charismatic character. But I wondered how people could be obsessed with the only man like Voldemort.

Your way of description is interesting here. You tried to look into her mind deeply, her desperate desire to serve Voldemort.

You yarned her story with your abundant expression, endless agony, fear and nightmare of her own father.

After I finished reading this, I don't know why, I remembered Scarlet O'Hara in the "Gone With the Wind". I may be able to understand her now.

Kenny

Author's Response: Hi, Kenny!

I'm really pleased if I helped you to come to a better understanding of what makes dear Bella tick. She is a very interesting villain and a striking contrast to the other strong female characters in the books -- Hermione, Lily, Molly, McGonagall, etc.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #5, by Gabriella Hunter The Perfect Servant

27th May 2015:
Hello!

This is Gabbie from the forums dropping by with your review! It's so good to be back reading your work, you've always been one of my favorite authors. I kind of want to sit in a corner and try to force some awesomeness out of my own stories...I'll get there eventually. Hahaha.

Anyway, Bellatrix. I'll admit that I've never been a fan of her character and I usually choose not to read stories about her but this was so fantastic that I might reconsider that rule. I thought that you chose to write about mental illness and sadism as rather bold (I applaud you for that because some writers are awfully squeamish about things like this), it's refreshing to see something so raw dominating the archives.

I am not sure how you were able to get inside of Bellatrix's head so well but I was completely engrossed in all of her actions. The first scene is so graphic, bloody and horrifying but you wrote it so smoothly (And without any pretense) that I was hanging onto every word. I loved the descriptions that you gave to Bella's actions too, the "fire" that raged in her body while she tortured her victims. The joy that she got out of their suffering leans towards sadism/psychopathic tendencies and I'm amazed that you managed to write it without flinching.

I actually loved that scene the most, I thought her attraction to Voldemort fit in well with what we already knew. There was so much devotion and even lust there that I got chills but once Voldemort showed up, I was unsure where this was going. I'll admit that I'm very immature and when I read the word "Naked" I giggled.

Ignore me.

Anyway, I thought that the transition from Voldemort to her father was brilliant. I'd always wanted to see more from Bella's interactions with her family and while I think that she fears her father, I got the feeling that her pride was the most important thing. A prideful fool is a horrible thing, apparently but I loved the grittiness of it and the fact that she's thrust back into reality by Sirius's goading.

Two family members with completely different views on "pure" magic. That was a great parallel, actually and that ending...man, it had such an ominous ring to it and I wanted to leap into the story and stomp on that flame. Hahahaha.

Anyway, I know that some people would be put off from the graphic nature of this and the violence but I thought it was amazing. I would love to read more mature stories like this on the archives and while I've touched on some issues (Strippers, sexuality and depression) I have yet to even attempt something this gritty.

So, wonderful job!

Much love,

Gabbie

Author's Response: Hi, Gabbie! Sorry for taking so long to respond to this. Let's dig in...

I agree that the archives could use some more "raw" writing. I tried to tread lightly on Bella's mental state. I wanted to paint a certain picture of how she came to be the way she is, but I didn't want to turn her into a sympathetic character. She's still a horrible person: cruel, arrogant, sadistic, prejudiced and violent. But there tends to be a bad story that goes with every bad person, so I wanted to see whether I could draw that out without this becoming a fluffy attempt to redeem her.

A few reviewers have suggested that maybe I was a little **too successful** at getting inside Bella's head. Perhaps I should seek counseling. ;) I'm glad that you didn't see any "pretense". I don't think the situation deserves any.

I wanted to see whether I could capture the insane awe and reverence she feels towards Voldemort. For her, it's akin to an erotic experience, but he only reciprocates these feelings in her mind.

Sadly, if the dementors couldn't extinguish Bella's "flame", I don't think the rest of us have much of a chance.

I agree that some people would find it off-putting, but it is what it is. Horrible things happened during Voldemort's reign of terror and those acts were committed by horrible people. I just try to deal with it in the most realistic way that I can.

Thanks so much for the wonderful review!


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Review #6, by Miss Lucky The Perfect Servant

19th April 2015:
Hi Dan *waves*

I'm Miss Lucky, the one responsable for all the luck in the world with my sisters Lucky Star, Lady Luck, The Lucky Lady and Lucky. One of my dear friends told me she had seen you around the forums, and she really wanted to come by and read and review one of your stories. Unfortunately she can't, because she is running from the evil King Jeoffrey of Westeros - you may have heard of him - and needs to stay out of sight. Coming here would simply be too big of a risk, so I offered to come in her stead. And that is why I'm here.

You may not know this, but I'm actually quite familiar with Bellatrix. She was very mean to one of sisters once, so we decided that she would not be getting any luck from us. And that is why she is a very unlucky person, and why she eventually dies. Some would call it karma, we call it "treat us nicely, and life will treat you nicely".

Anyway, I really liked this story. I think you captured her craziness well. She truly was an insane person, even back when me and my sisters went to Hogwarts with her. But I was told she just got even more crazy after that, especially after meeting Voldemort. We used to be so frightened of her, which is rather strange seeing as we have the power to change anyone's life. But she was so unpredictable, and you never knew where she was standing. She was the type that could suddenly attack you, and I suppose that is why she fit so well with Voldemort, why she was so good at being his servant.

I never knew she was struggling so much, though, which does make me feel a little sorry for her. Just a little, though, because she was pretty horrible to me and my sisters. She once cursed my eldest sister, Lucky, so she ended up in St. Mungos. They were worried she would never be able to change people's lives again, but she is strong. So luckily she survived with the help of me and my sisters lucky glitter.

Speaking of my sister, I should probably be going back to her now. I promised I would meet her, you see, and I'm already running late. I doubt you'll see me again, seeing as we Lucky sisters are very busy spreading our luck, but you will probably see my friend over at the forums. Maybe you could say hi to her for me? I can't reveal her name, because of she's hiding like I mentioned earlier, but she told me to give you this clue to her identity:

Your clue:

While my name is a clue
A better one is "wait"
I am not good with precision
It's in my nature to be late

Hope this might help you find her, if that is what you wish to of course. And I almost forgot, you've been nothing but kind to me, so I will give you a little luck now *throws lucky glitter at Dan*.

May you have much luck in life!

Yours Sincerely

Miss Lucky

Author's Response: Hi, there.

I'm not entirely sure how to respond to this. I have no idea what the answer to your riddle might me. I'm really glad that you liked the story and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond.

I'd say "good luck", but it seems like you already have that covered.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #7, by TreacleTart The Perfect Servant

18th April 2015:
Hello there!

I'm here from the Gryffindor Review The Person Above You Thread!

I've been meaning to get to reading this particular story for quite awhile. During the Golden Paw nominations, I saw it listed and knew it was something I would enjoy. Bellatrix happens to be one of my favorite characters, so I was quite curious to see how you handled her, particularly after all of the rave reviews that I saw.

The complexity that you gave her character in this was striking. She is this sadistic, horrible person who lives only to commit atrocities upon others, but when you started writing about Cygnus, I somehow still felt a tiny bit bad for her. It was a very odd sort of conflict to feel.

The devotion that she shows the Dark Lord is spot on in my opinion. In the books she has this creepy obsession with him, almost like a lover who's been tossed to the side. You managed to capture that here and elaborate on it. The idea of this raging fire with in her burning to please him is beautiful.

This was a lovely one-shot. You've really managed to evoke quite a few emotions and say a lot about this incredibly interesting character.

Great work!

Oh and on a side note, I love the banner for this story. It really captures what the story is about.

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: Hi, Kaitlin!

A lot of reviewers have been questioning my sanity a bit, saying that I got a little *too far* into Bella's head for this story. Now you admit that she's one of your favorite characters. (She's one of mine, too.) I guess we're both crazy. :p

Feeling "a tiny bit bad" is more or less what I was going for here. I didn't want to make her too much of a sympathetic figure. She's bloodthirsty, violent, sadistic and she revels in her master's atrocities. But bad people come from bad situations, or so the saying goes. So making her a little bit sympathetic seemed appropriate.

Her devotion to Voldemort is one thing I would never question in anything I write. I believe it was absolute and unshakeable, no matter how shabbily he might have treated her.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

-Dan


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Review #8, by Microwaved Marshmallow Peep The Perfect Servant

5th April 2015:
peep peep

It is I, a pink marshmallow Peep, sitting in a microwave as if it is a cold cell in Azkaban.

However, this story transported me from my cold cell into a world of living color. Bellatrix is crazy, but she sees the world in such an intriguing way... My favorite part of this story was the array of colors that she saw in the magic. And then Voldemort's subsequent decay came with a separate set of colors that were horrifying and wonderful to behold.

Cygnus Black makes me so angry. Is it hot in here, or is it because I'm a hothead? Nope, someone turned the microwave on, whoops...

But he makes me angry, telling Bella that she should've been male. Bella was Voldy's most loyal, most valuable subject, and if she doesn't get a gold star for that, then who should?! Wait a minute, am I sympathizing with her?! Well, you wrote her in such a way that I hate her father more than I hate her actions. After all, she's only a psychopath because of the inbreeding and cruel punishment tactics of the generations before her...

10...9...8...

Uh oh, my time is expiring. Just wanted to reiterate that this is a brilliant look into the mind of Potterheads' favorite psychopath. Well done, sir!

♥Microwaved Marshmallow Peep

BEEEP!
*muffled explosions, wide array of colors ensue*

Author's Response: Hello, Peep! And thank you for spending your, um, last moments with me.

I tried to figure out ways to show just how insane Bellatrix was, and the visual hallucinations seemed like a good start. I'm glad you liked the color schemes. I don't have much of an aesthetic sense, so I was worried whether they would clash. ;)

Bad people come from bad places, or so I've been told. It can't have been fun growing up in the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. I also suspect that Cygnus felt a lot of bitterness and resentment over the fact that he never had a son to carry on the family name. Bellatrix probably bore the brunt of that, being the oldest child. I wouldn't necessarily say that I wanted readers to sympathize with Bella, only to understand where she might have come from.

Once again, I really appreciate you taking some time out of your final moments in this mortal coil to review my story. Thanks!

P.S. - You and your little friends are delicious!


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Review #9, by Felpata Lupin The Perfect Servant

21st March 2015:
Review Tag!
Ok, I must admit this wasn't exactly on my chords (so sorry... feeling very very guilty...)
But it was objectively very good!!! :)
Your portrayal of Bellatrix was perfect, you captured her craziness very well. The fact that she could actually SEE the beauty in people's suffering is... I don't know... creepy? But really interesting.
I was a bit confused at first at the changing scenes, then I realized she must've been in Azkaban and reliving everything in her head like a dream. That made much more sense.
I loved that you put Sirius in here. I chuckled at his comment.
All in all, brilliant work! Great description and characterization! Congratulations!
Chiara

Author's Response: I've read this through several times now and I'm not entirely sure what to take from it.

I'm sorry that the story didn't click with you. Given your other comments, I'm not sure whether you really thought it was "brilliant work", but thanks for the compliment.

Thanks for reading and reviewing.


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Review #10, by Roisin The Perfect Servant

8th March 2015:
DAN. DAN. DAN. OH MY GOD. THIS IS SO GOOD.

I said it when you first showed me the first paragraph of this--but you really have a way with the Black Sisters. How did you even write this? It's just... SO PERFECT.

It's beautiful, even. That's what's so amazing. You took the most horrific, disturbing, terrible parts of canon, and managed to aesthetecize it. But not in a bad 'glorifying violence' way, but in an amazing Character Study way. It works because you know we know it's bad. And man, it WORKS.

This is just gorgeous prose. Really truly lovely language. And like, we all know, objectively, that Bellatrix felt that way. But you do SUCH a good job of SHOWING it. I can't even explain what I mean--this story did it better than I could ever say.

And it's so SUBTLE and COMPLICATED. Like, I almost feel her. I almost feel bad for her, or even feel forced to identify with her. But it isn't redeeming. It's just empathetic.

It's a truly remarkable thing to be able to empathize with even the worst people. That's something about JK Rowling I aspire to. In 'Casual Vacancy' she wrote from the POV of all these really despicable characters, but genuinely felt for them. When I first read it, I hated those characters, but she argued that they, too, deserved sympathy. I'M RAMBLING.

And the way you play the sexual element to Bellatrix's feeling to Voldemort is SO in line with what I picture. Like, you took my headcanon, and said it better than I ever could. She is this deranged, messed up person, but of COURSE he wouldn't reciprocate the way she might want. Bellatrix's whole thing is being this violent ball of passion, while Voldemort is passionless and cold. She's a psychopath, he's a sociopath. And I have NEVER seen that better written.

And that's another thing--I genuinely believe they were both mentally ill. I genuinely believe that ANYONE who does awful things is mentally ill or otherwise messed up. Even something petty like shoplifting comes from somewhere. It doesn't excuse behavior, but at the same time, it isn't valuable to just call it 'evil' and be done with it. 'Evil' is complicated, and messed up, and there can be sympathy there, even if you still hate that person for who they are and what they've done.

UGH THIS STORY GIVES ME FEELINGS.

THIS IS A TRIUMPH.

Author's Response: Hi, Roisin! What an awesome surprise! I hope you don't mind me taking a little while to respond, but I wanted to be sure to remember to post this in Reviews That Made Your Day before I did. :)

OK, so responding. Hmmnn... Ever get one of those reviews that's hard to respond to because every time you read it you get a pleasant, warm buzzing feeling and a dopey grin on your face and your brain doesn't want to work right? This is one of those. Maybe if I make the browser window really small so I can only read one paragraph at a time.

I'm glad that this didn't come off as glorifying Bellatrix or her madness. She's a genuinely awful person: bigoted, hateful, violent, cruel and sadistic. That said, there are aspects of her character that I find pitiable. It's pretty obvious, at least to me, that she has huge issues with authority figures. She craves Voldemort's approval to a dangerously unhealthy extent. Ha, I just said "dangerously" as though there's anything Bellatrix does to any lesser extent than that. But you get the point, I hope. If it wasn't her father who left her with a deep-seated and unrequited need for affirmation and approval then it was some other important person in her life. Which pretty much rules out her husband.

"I almost feel her. I almost feel bad for her, or even feel forced to identify with her." -- You should be careful. I've had a number of reviewers question my sanity due to what they perceive to be an ability to get inside Bella's head **a little too much**.

I don't think it's impossible to empathize with Bella. You can separate a person's circumstances from their actions.

Ah, you picked up on that one little moment where Voldemort almost touches her. I debated whether or not to have him actually touch her. I debated it a lot. In the end, I didn't see much to gain from going that one extra step. If he had, you're correct, there wouldn't have been anything sexual or passionate about it. Merely another expression of his need to constantly measure and evaluate his servants, his need to make sure that he understands and controls all of the variables.

With Bellatrix, there's no doubt. She is *very* mentally ill. There's an old saying that nobody comes out of prison better off than they went in. And she was pretty far gone before she went to Azkaban. With Voldemort, I don't see it as quite so black and white. It really depends on what you define as mental illness. I think it's possible to be cold and emotionless and terrified of death without becoming a violent, dangerous, mass-murdering, dark-magic-performing dictator. The thing with Voldemort was that he was unwilling or unable to accept the possibility of his own death *no matter the cost*. He was so obsessed with mortality that the only way he felt he could be sure was to control *everything* and have six insurance policies besides. Does that rise to the level of insanity? It's an interesting philosophical debate.

OK, I'm going to go back into "goofy smile" mode now. Thanks so much for the amazing review!


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Review #11, by toomanycurls The Perfect Servant

23rd January 2015:
This is a remarkable story. It feels as if you crawled inside Bellatrix's mind and camped there for a few days before finding your way out to write about your journey. You've written one of the best character pieces I've ever read.

reading through the scene with the Longbottoms was a pull between not wanting to read more because it was breaking my heart but unable to look away because it was wonderfully done. I like that you didn't make it about the agony the Longbottoms felt but the power Bellatrix exuded. Your writing conveys the sense that Bellatrix was burning with passion for the acts she was committing and pride in her status and master. I loved her contempt towards the Longbottoms and their act of being blood traitors and worst of all, weak.

When you transition from the scene with the Longbottoms, I am glad you did so with such finesse. It gives the story a very difficult to obtain sense of surrealism.

The next section shows a bit more of the cracks in Bellatrix's mind. While reading this I got the imagery of Daenerys rising from the funeral pyre except where she met her followers, Bellatrix met her master. I've seen a lot of stories that try to give air to Bellatrix and a sexual vibe towards Voldemort. Yours is my favorite. she's obsessive and rabid but living in awe of his power.

Oh how I loved Cygnus questioning her about Voldemort's fall. I imagine that Cyngus is her own inner voice and self-hatred for letting Voldemort die. You made me feel sympathy for Bellatrix as her father is dragging her to the closet as a punishment. You're not really pushing to make her a person of sympathy but I like that you didn't go for the view that she was just born crazy and wicked.

In the end, her need to check that she still burnt for Voldemort showed that she does truly have a burning desire for him and his reign. It felt like the same thing someone does when they wake up in the middle of the night and have to check that the doors are still locked or their children in bed.

There is a challenge for nonlinear stories going and this would be an amazing addition to the stories there.

-Rose

Author's Response: Crawled inside of Bellatrix's head? The reviews I'm getting for this story are making me start to wonder whether I need therapy. Apparently I get Bellatrix a little *too* well.

I had a lot of misgivings about the scene in the Longbottoms' home. I definitely didn't want to glamorize it in any way. But this is told from Bellatrix's point of view, so I had to put that lens on it. You hit on one of my two big takeaways from that scene: her power and passion for serving the Dark Lord. The other thing I hope people caught onto was that her contempt wasn't limited to just the Longbottoms. Even her fellow Death Eaters are beneath her, as far as she's concerned.

Transitions... whew! This story is all about transitions and that's what I fretted the most about. I wanted the transitions between various scenes to be as smooth as I could get them.

Bellatrix and Daenerys make for an odd comparison. Similar backgrounds, but Daenerys has a sort of compassion for others while Bellatrix is almost completely devoid of it. I think you're seeing the sexual tension between Bellatrix and Voldemort the way I intended it, which is to say completely one-sided. Voldemort doesn't *feel* anything for her, sexual or otherwise. The pride he feels is entirely in himself, like a sculptor admiring a particularly well-carved statue.

I agree completely. To put it bluntly, I think Bellatrix has huge "daddy issues". Voldemort read her perfectly, as he's wont to do. He quickly realized that he could manipulate her by stepping into the role of her cold and impossible to please father. I don't see her as sympathetic. She's violent, prejudiced, sadistic and crazy. But she does have a back story, a reason why she is the way she is.

The ending seems to creep some readers out, so I'm glad you looked at it more in terms of motivations than outcomes. She's so far gone mentally that her devotion to Voldemort has become her only reason to live, and she needs to constantly reaffirm that.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the swap!


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Review #12, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap The Perfect Servant

12th January 2015:
A few hours ago I got home from work and I realized something was missing in my life. I read a book for the first time in many years. Not a textbook. Not someone’s research but a story, something that had a beginning, middle and an end. The wheels in my head started turning and that has not happened in such a long time.

Somehow this led me to you.

Only Bellatrix could truly see the beauty in the suffering of the unworthy. Only she had been granted the vision to know and to understand how their pain was glory to her master.

The entire introductory paragraph is chilling but once I got up to this part it made me smile. Is smiling at the thought of torture healthy? No. Look what you do to your readers. I feel like this portion describes Bellatrix to a ‘t.’ If I didn’t know anything about her character beforehand this would reveal her soul to me. Bellatrix has soul, hers is just different than everyone else’s.

It strained against her control, barely contained, screaming out in vengeance against the pathetic insects who would deny her master his rightful place. His absolute authority over a world where only the pure practiced magic.

She chaotic. The second paragraph gave me goosebumps because I could hear the yelling and it is too much to handle for a sane person. Jeez. She’s horrifying. Bellatrix would have been a great character in Silence of the Lambs.

I think her and Lector would get along great.

(Ugh)

“If you want something done right...”

Typical woman. Haha.

bathing the entire world in a furious kaleidoscope of spinning, twisting screams.

Personally I feel like you could have used a different word regarding kaleidoscope. It was stronger when you used it in the opening paragraph and using it again later on kind of takes away the strength of the opening scene for me.

When the Dark Lord “cleansed” her that freaked me out. I never realized how much of a God she really saw him as. I think when I was younger I saw Bellatrix as a crazed and desperate woman but I think my perception of her has changed over the years. Crazy? Yeah, I guess. But when someone has such a hold over you and you believe in them so much…it could drive anyone insane.

I loved the transitions! I didn’t even see the changes coming and I like that in a story. I don’t want to know too much too soon but it wasn’t like whiplash so I could still follow along. I would have liked more to the scene with her father but any longer and the mystery between her former life and the present would have ruined it. I wanted more but I didn’t. I make very little sense.

Author's Response: Deeds! When an old friend who I suspected had left HPFF forever suddenly returns and leaves an awesome review, it is the best feeling ever. Thanks so much for thinking of me. It means a lot. I miss you!

I think it sort of goes without saying that Bellatrix was mentally ill. Combining that with the way she was raised from birth to place no value on people who her family saw as "beneath" them, it seemed only logical to me that she would find value in the suffering of "lesser" people if it advanced Voldemort's goals. I also think she has some major issues with male role models. Cygnus Black strikes me as the type who was heavy with criticism and vanishingly sparse with praise for his children. When Bellatrix joined the Death Eaters, Voldemort became this godlike father figure for her. He represented everything she was raised to believe in -- magical purity, impossibly high standards, an absolute philosophy of "might makes right".

Wow. I'm not sure how an encounter between Bella and Dr. Lecter works out. Assuming she could get over the fact that he was a filthy muggle, they might have some very interesting conversations. Or he might realize just how mentally ill she is and get her to swallow her own tongue, ala Mental Miggs.

Ugh. I agree with you 100% on the second use of kaleidoscope. One of the things I learned while writing this is that the English language has a very limited number of terms to describe swirling, confusing motion. Writing even something of this modest length without reusing them is a big challenge.

I think I went back and tweaked the "cleansing" scene more than any part of this story other than the transitions. I wanted it to seem like a religious experience for her, but not sexual in any way. She doesn't think of Voldemort like that, at least in my mind.

Whew! The transitions were the scariest part of this for me. I edited them several times to smooth them out. I agree with you and I racked my brain trying to think of more that I could add to the scene with her father. You know me. Aside from House Cup entries, this is the shortest thing I've ever written. ;) Try as I might, though, I couldn't come up with anything that didn't sound like fluff. :(

You make lots of sense. This review reinforced a lot of things I was thinking about this story, good and bad. That's how you get better, I suppose. Thanks so much for stopping by! Please don't be a stranger. I miss my HPFF bud! Thanks for the awesome review!


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Review #13, by The Basilisk The Perfect Servant

8th January 2015:
Hi again,

Once more, you astound me with your style of writing. The imagery in here is unparalleled. How is one able to make horror and pssychopathy so beautifully poetic? In all it's madness, this, I believe, was genius. How do you come up with these things?!

I love the way you got inside Bellatrix's head. It was beyond amazing! The way you've characterised her and explored her mentality! The way you write about such terrible things using beautifully phrased words! I can hardly even finissh my sentencess. I am in awe right now. Again, this is the work of your awe-inspiring descriptive abilities. Wow.

The entire thing flowed so well. You've done a magnificent job of that again. I could hardly look away from these words. The progression from one event to the next was just supremely natural.

I have never read anything of this sort before. This is extremely creative and novel. A wonderful, wonderful story written with supermegaawesomeness. This practically radiates talent.

Thank you for yet another torturously wonderful read and congratulations on yet another epic piece. Honestly, if there are higher compliments to be payed, it is not that you are undeserving of them, rather, I am simply incapable of forming the due to my temporary state of speechlessness induced by this genius one-shot. What in the world did I just read?

The Basilisk

Author's Response: Welcome back!

I've never thought of Bellatrix as "beautifully poetic" before, but I appreciate the compliment nevertheless. Her madness does have an artistic quality at times.

Some folks have told me I should be concerned about just how much I was able to get into Bella's head in this story. That maybe I need some therapy. I'll take it all in a positive way. There can be beauty in the most horrific things in life, I think. It makes for a good contrast.

I'm really flattered that you found this so unique. I feel like I've read things in a similar vein, but I can't actually point out any specifics. There are a lot of talented writers on HPFF, some of them much better with imagery than little old me. Still, thank you for all the kind words.

There you go with "tortuously wonderful" again! You are spoiling me silly. Don't feel like you need to stop, however. ;)

Thanks so much for the awesome reviews!


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Review #14, by MissMdsty The Perfect Servant

3rd January 2015:
Oh wow. Just... wow. I went through all sorts of emotions while reading this, mostly revolving around stuff like "she's crazy" "she's scary crazy" "she's sick crazy" "she's just really, really crazy". Which I'm sure is what you were aiming for.

But let's take it one at a time. For the first few sentences I had the impression that Bellatrix was indeed crazy, but not just as a crazed fanatic who follows the leader as if the leader was a religious figure of sorts. Then, you sort of shifted everything and made the act of torture seem almost like a high for her, with all the colors and the sounds and it was like something from an animated movie.

Then when she indeed met the Dark Lord, I once again got the impression that we were witnessing a religious moment of sorts, especially from the repeating of "her Lord", which made it seem like a sort of spiritual experience.

I really love how natural the shifts in the story were. It sort of really gave me the mental images of the Dark Lord fading from her view and being replaced with her father and then when she was locked up, of how the prison at home transformed into Azkaban.

The last thing that rally impressed me and I want to touch upon here is the fact that she and Sirius could hear each other in prison and there is this moment, where you say that Sirius pleaded forgiveness.

This made a big impact on me, because as you've set up this story, we are basically in the head of somebody who is under the effect of the Dementors and we've established that Bellatrix is out of her mind an has little to no human feelings even before she was incarcerated and exposed to happiness sucking monsters. But I'd imagine that what Sirius has had to go through was even more terrible, because he actually had positive feelings for these people that he'd lost.

As for the ending, I was quite grossed out and that was positive because Sirius was giving me all the feels and I just couldn't handle it.

This was an amazing story, as always Dan, and you've done such a great job of capturing the thoughts of this crazy lady!

Oh, and have a happy new year!

Ral

Author's Response: Hi, Ral!

I think it's a little hard to figure out how to feel about Bellatrix because she's complex, just like most of Rowling's characters. There are the obvious reasons to loathe her: she's bigoted, violent, sadistic and cruel. She's also mentally ill, though, and my general tendency is to feel at least somewhat sorry for people like that. To top it all off, she has this complex where she seems to crave approval from Voldemort. The latter two make her vulnerable in an intriguing way.

I think being near Voldemort is a very spiritual experience for her. He's the living embodiment of everything she values. I'm not sure there is a better definition of "god" than that.

Whew! I'm glad those shifts felt natural to you. That was my number one anxiety.

To me, there are some interesting parallels between the Black cousins' Azkaban experiences. They both had something to feel extremely guilty about: the Potters' deaths for Sirius and Voldemort's fall for Bellatrix. They also both had a reason to hang on: the desire to help Harry and avenge Peter's betrayal vs. the desire to find and restore the Dark Lord. They were probably also both clinging to their hatred of one another when things got too bad.

Ha! Yes, Bellatrix let her hygiene slip quite a bit while she was in prison. I actually spent a lot of time trying to come up with a better metaphor for this insane need she has to physically verify that her "inner fire" is still burning. But everything always comes back to blood with her. And a little gross-out isn't the worst thing in a story like this. ;)

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks and a happy and prosperous new year to you, as well!


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Review #15, by Debra20 The Perfect Servant

3rd January 2015:
I will take a moment, two moments, a lifetime to tell you how MUCH I love your stories!

Your canon characters are always so IC I'm almost scared to try my hand at them because I feel like I'd be stealing a page from your book. Especially some of the hardest characters you've tackled like Draco, Peter and now Bella. Each of them are complex in their own way and you've proven you can see beyond their first impressions.

Draco can provide so many interesting story plots and character development and yet there are many who keep writing him the same way, never daring to do more with him. Peter is not only rarely written about, but when he is, he is always portrayed in the same "he's just a traitor" sort of way (or worse, completely left out of Marauder stories). And Bellatrix...well Bellatrix is certainly unhinged but she can't have been only that. There is always more to a person than meets the eye.

Apart from the marvelous job you've done depicting her dream, I am in awe of the way you made Bellatrix come alive in this story, more than she ever could have in a longer story. You've painted more shades to her personality in such a short piece than I would've believed possible. I especially appreciate the way you made the transition between her feelings for Voldemort to her feelings from her father.

Two very contrasting emotions dominate this story: unwavering loyalty and deep fear. The way she strongly believes in her master and in his cause, how she'd do anything (literally anything) for him, to the point of disregarding her better judgment is almost frightening. She permits herself to be swept away from reason without as much as a struggle...but then again, looking at how she was raised, can you really blame her? Could someone truly point their finger at her and say "you should have done differently"? Yes, she is cruel beyond redemption, she is crazy, she is vile but she is also someone who has been inoculated all her life with the idea that anyone but purebloods are worse than scum and should be eradicated. Going against that kind of influence, that goes way back to your earliest memories, is not easy.

I guess you could argue that Sirius did, but then again, we don't know much about him either, do we? We don't know much about his childhood, how his life was with the Black's, what events could have driven him away from treading the same path as Bellatrix and Narcissa.

Ugh...I'd talk about Bellatrix all day! I really should poke you one of these days and ask for your opinion on more of these kinds of characters. They fascinate me and I love debating them :D

Brilliant, brilliant job as always! 10/10 from me without a doubt

Author's Response: Hi, there! What an awesome surprise!

You haven't quite gotten to the point in your Tonks-Bellatrix story where Bella makes an appearance, but I'd be excited to read that! I'm sure you could do it if you put your mind to it. :)

I did feel kind of weird about this story because, aside from House Cup entries, it's the shortest thing I've written for HPFF. At the same time, I couldn't think of much else to write and I didn't want to fluff it up for no reason. I guess I'm happy with the length.

Bella is a more complicated individual than the raving lunatic most authors write. At least that's how I've come to think of her. In spite of her mania, there is a lot of fear in her. I think that fanatical devotion is always based, in part, on fear of rejection. It's easy for me to imagine Bella as someone who deeply craved her father's approval but rarely received it because that's just the type of family the Blacks were. They made approval and affection into very scarce commodities and used that to control their children. Once Voldemort realized what a powerful, talented witch she was, it was easy for him to use that need for approval to manipulate her and bend her to his will.

I enjoy talking about Bella, too. Or writing her, as the case may be. Feel free to hit me up with your ideas.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #16, by TheHeirOfSlytherin The Perfect Servant

3rd January 2015:
This is headcanon now, I hope you know that. Totally and completely, one hundred percent headcanon. I just can't see Bellatrix any other way after you write her. She's so... perfectly insane. And more than a little scary. It's the same for all your characters, you just write them so brilliantly I don't want any others. :D

Bellatrix, though, I think Bellatrix is my favorite.

As soon as Voldemort started to appear, I guessed it was a Dementor. If the others hadn't died, I would have said she was just crazy and seeing him. But Dementor - I was right. The transition between memories and what she was seeing was awesome. So smooth. I loved it.

I loved all of this so much!

Please never stop writing. I don't know what I'd do if you stopped. :D

Sam.

Author's Response: Hi, Sam!

That's my specialty, don't you know? Head Canon 'R Us. :p

You guessed really well if you saw the ending coming from that far away. This could have been any old paranoid delusion of hers. She really is completely nuts. That's what makes her so much fun to write.

I'm really glad that the transition from one delusion to the next was smooth for you. That my number one anxiety.

Thank you so much! I will try to keep writing as much as I can for as long as I can.


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