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Reading Reviews for Unexploded Bombs
16 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Penelope Inkwell The Answer

1st September 2015:
So that's what happened. I could totally believe that the Dursleys would have never gone in that room, so the premise that there was a trap waiting there for 19 years works really well.

I like how you write through Dudley's method of grappling with everything. A part of him blames Harry--and I think that's unsurprising and Harry speaks to that really well--but he also recognizes on some level that it's just a tragic, pointless, cross-fire situation. He kind of seems to want Harry to show some sort of gratitude to Vernon or something, for "taking a hit" for him, but the truth is that Harry is right--Vernon didn't do it intentionally, and I can't imagine he ever would have. Vernon didn't deserve Harry's gratitude. His death might have merited a bit of Harry's pity at the most, and that's just because Harry is a rather good and forgiving person. Mostly he feels bad for Dudley, though, and I think that's good of him. I like what Harry had to say about Aunt Marge, too, how nobody's all bad. And maybe that includes Vernon. His son loved him, as did his wife, and it is a shame that he died for something so pointless, even if I can't quite bring myself to mourn for him.

This whole thing was just a really interesting way to explore the two men's leftover feelings about growing up with one another, and about their messy family situation. I like the idea that, even though there are things they may never totally overcome, on some level they do appreciate one another, and Dudley knows that Harry will always be there for him. At the end, their relationship still feels uneasy, and I think that's right. I don't think it could ever be completely comfortable, especially after this. But even so, they're family. And I think that comes across really well.

He didnít know about exorcists, but he knew you had to pay exterminators.
--this was a very small bit of humor that came at the perfect time to break things up a bit. I just liked it. Dudley tries so hard to cling to ordinary things in the face of magic, but at least he doesn't ignore it. He certainly turned out better than his parents. I think he got more than he realizes out of living with Harry. But maybe that realization will come in time.

You did a nice job with this piece! Really good description, as before. It was a really interesting snapshot of Dudley and Harry's relationship after all these years, and I definitely enjoyed reading it. Congratulations again on your Silver Scales nomination!


Author's Response: Hi Penny,

Thanks for another thoughtful review! You have analyzed the relationship between the two men, as expressed in the story, so very thoroughly. It makes me happy to know that the stuff I was trying to say did come across in a reasonable, believable way. (But I suppose there will always be two schools of thought as to whether Aunt Petunia would have marched into Harry's old room to clean it up or would have just pretended it didn't exist, as I assumed in the story. It could be reasonably argued either way.) I love your line "Dudley tries so hard to cling to ordinary things." That's a good way of expressing his personality.


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Review #2, by Penelope Inkwell The Question

1st September 2015:
Hi! I'm here checking out the Silver Scales nominees, of which you are one (Congratulations, by the way! That's a big deal!) I've seen your name mentioned here and there, but I've never read one of your stories. I'm so glad I came to have a look!

You have a really nice writing style--it reads so smoothly. You provide plenty of description, from painting the setting to showing exactly what the characters are doing in-scene (shuffling feet and the like)--those are the details that so often get lost, but really help a story to come alive, and you do a great job incorporating it all.

I like how you've got Harry and Dudley on cordial terms, and Dudley has grown into the sort of person that can realize that his cousin was mistreated, even if he hopes that Harry wouldn't say anything about it or be unkind about his father's passing. I think Harry handled himself really admirably. It's clear that his sympathy is for Dudley rather than Vernon, but he seems to give him that whole-heartedly. I just really appreciate that he's matured to that point. It can't be easy for him, but he puts Dudley's grief first. And he's willing to help, even though Vernon is essentially maligning him beyond the grave.

I suppose that, as an Auror, this is Harry's field. Dudley's lucky to have him.

Oh, you're dialogue flows very naturally, too. I wanted to make sure I mentioned that.


As a rule, I always try to give CC, because I find it tremendously helpful. But it's all just my opinions.

Dudley fidgeted, sitting in the driverís seat and moving his legs a little to encourage the circulation in them.
--I think it would flow better if it just said, "to encourage circulation" and left it at that.

He liked to think that the relationship between himself and his cousin had softened since the terrible time of war when Dudley and his parents had been forced from their home and had been made refugees in the midst of a dreadful, bloody conflict that had spilled over from the magical community to threaten even ordinary people like himself and his parents.
--since you already say "Dudley and his parents", I think it might be better to just end with "ordinary people like themselves," since the subjects have been established. That's nitpicky, of course, but there are no major problems here, so we're down to the nitty gritty.

Anyway, obviously all that is just picking the nits. I didn't see a single misused word or grammatical error in this entire chapter, and that's rare in and of itself. You're writing is incredibly clean!

On the whole, this is a really good first chapter, and I'm intrigued by the mystery. I definitely want to know what happens next! Great job!


Author's Response: Hi Penny,

Thank you so much for your review, which is not only kind and flattering but also long and thorough. It is really helpful when you take the time to list all the things that you liked about the chapter. After I started writing fanfiction, I bought a series of fiction-writing textbooks and then began to take creative-writing classes at the local college, and I have learned a lot, which I have tried specifically to use when writing, and it seems to have paid off. In a few weeks I will be starting the second year of the curriculum.

I am glad that you thought that the relationship between Harry and Dudley was reasonable; we could see the germ of it in Deathly Hallows, and it seemed plausible to me that they could have developed an understanding between them that was not too uncomfortable. A lot can change in nineteen years.

Thanks for the CC. It's always good to have another opinion; you made good points concerning those two sentences.

I'm glad you liked the story. And isn't that Silver Scales image (the snake on the piece of turquoise) beautiful?


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Review #3, by Pixileanin The Answer

27th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 - Gryffindor

Back for Chapter 2!

Your descriptions continue to paint the scene in such a vivid way, while still moving the action along.

I like the idea of Dudley needing to look like he's supposed to be on the front lawn while he wonders what's going on inside the house. It's definitely something I think he'd pick up from his parents. "Look normal." "Don't act strangely." Very self-conscious. That sort of thing. Nice characterization!

It's a shame that Vernon "took a hit" for Harry after all these years, but I can't help feeling like it's some kind of poetic justice. I really like the "rickety past made of broken-down parts but still functional' line, as relating to Harry and Dudley, and also the house. And I am glad Dudley has matured a lot for this story. But something about Dudley is a bit passive in this. His dad died because of Harry, and he's so accepting of it, like I see him getting a little bent out of shape, but he's not angry at Harry for anything. That's being very forgiving of him, in spite of his upbringing.

Another nice chapter!


Author's Response: Thank you, Pix, for your comments on this chapter also.

Interesting, you are the only person who ever brought up the question of whether Dudley should have shown or felt more anger at Harry for what happened to Vernon.

Thinking about that question, I would say that, since it is twenty years since Harry and Dudley parted company, a lot of the old rancor has just faded away, so that while they both realize that this accident happened as a result of Harry's having lived in the house in the past, it wasn't Harry's fault. They both had lived through terrible times, and they knew that there were bound to be bits of garbage left over, 'unexploded bombs'. But it is far enough behind them now that they can talk about it, perhaps a little stiltedly and awkwardly, but they are able to say what needs to be said.

You gotta feel for Dudley. He's trying so hard.

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Review #4, by Pixileanin The Question

27th June 2015:
Hi there! I came to see what was up on your page and found this lovely piece.

Oh, and fine print time: House Cup 2-15 - Gryffindor

Story time!

I loved the first paragraph. Not just because it had beautiful imagery, but after reading the piece, I felt like it was a metaphor for the whole opening. Readies us for the relationship that Dudley and Harry have now, compared to what it was when they were kids. Really lovely connection to the piece as a whole. I love it when stories lead the reader in that subtle way.

There's definitely a mystery here, which I love. I also love that Dudley is not laying blame on his cousin, that he's simply inquiring and having Harry help him figure things out. At least his mum isn't in the house right now, so assumedly, she's safe. Even so, if something in the bedroom is deadly, it's Harry's responsibility to help. Which he seems to want to do.

I love cooperative characters!

Lovely writing, very fresh premise. I am excited!


Author's Response: Hi, Pixileanin!

Thank you so much for going to my author page and reading one of my stories. I have been taking writing courses for a couple of years and have been trying hard to incorporate what I learn into my writing, so you may credit the courses for whatever successful qualities are in my stories.

Like you, I love co-operative characters. Being angry and snarky is usually not a smart way to behave, and I get irritated by characters, in either books or movies, who behave stupidly. Life is challenging enough as it is.

I'm so glad that you stopped by to review! Thank you for your very kind words.


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Review #5, by Elysium The Question

25th May 2015:
I've never read story that focuses on Dudley in this way, which was immediately intriguing. I think you showed the growth in his character, glimmers of which were in canon, or at least the potential for it. The dynamic of his relationship with Harry is also particularly interesting.

Strong imagery at the start especially, which is always something I look for in a story, but there was a healthy mix of dialogue, plot development and introspection which gave great insight into Dudley's world.

A really strong start to a very interesting premise! Just what was Vernon doing in Harry's room, and what on earth was in there to cause his death. The strange noises coupled with this makes it all very intriguing. Great read so far!

Author's Response: Hi, Kylie,

Thank you for reading and reviewing my story. Perhaps by now you have read Chapter Two also, and I hope you enjoyed it.

I try not to make Dudley (or anyone, for that matter) seem buffoonish. I've been acquainted with some boys who were holy terrors in their youth, but who eventually matured and became good citizens. Dudley was not stupid, but, given his upbringing, he had to learn the hard way what society requires of us. His wrestling coach at Smeltings probably didn't put up with much nonsense. And after Harry left home for good, a lot of the chores and responsibilities probably fell on Dudley. So it's reasonable to think that he would have changed. I hope so.

I also enjoyed the challenge of writing the relationship between Dudley and Harry after all these years--tentative, awkward, but ultimately honest, willing to put the past to rest.

Very nice to hear from you !


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Review #6, by adluvshp The Answer

13th May 2015:
Hey! I am here for the Hot Seat review. Sorry I'm so late!

This looks like a very interesting story! I read the first chapter and immediately after that I wanted to read on so I continued! You have an interesting mystery going on here. The idea that someone had planted a curse for Harry in his bedroom is very intriguing. I am curious to know who did it and what kind of curse it was and whether it's really gone now. I am guess there's a lot more than meets the eye since the story is a WIP and your summary hints at a "time bomb" that's been "ticking for 19 years." Great premise and great intro into the plot really!

Your characterisations of mature Dudley and Harry were very good. I could connect to the characters and found their interactions realistic. The way you portrayed their emotions was also very good. What I like even more is that this is from Dudley's POV and not Harry's, so it's a very fresh perspective.

All in all, I'm really liking the story so please update soon so I can read the next chapter xD Glad I stopped by!


Author's Response: Hi, Angie. Thank you so much for the Hot Seat Review. No matter that it's a few days late. :)

I have to confess that I did it again--posted the final chapter and totally forgot to change the status from WIP to Complete. (You will notice that I have hastily changed it now.) I'm very glad that you liked the story, and I feel guilty for leading you on, making you believe that there were more chapters to come, when in truth there are not.

It was written for a Terrible Two-Shot Challenge, with the prompt of a seemingly natural death called into question when someone receives a letter written by the decedent shortly before his/her demise. So I thought of who could die in an expected way, and I thought of elderly Vernon. It seemed plausible that a Death Eater (or a few of them), while running away from justice after the death of Tom Riddle, might make a quick detour through Little Whinging and set up a booby trap at Number 4 Privet Drive, just to get back at Harry for having defeated their leader.

It was a pleasure to write the two men, especially Dudley, in their older years, making hesitant, awkward interactions with each other, wanting to get past the difficult years that now lie behind them, and trying tentatively to speak of the past in an objective and unemotional manner. At last they can speak the truth without its hurting so much.

As to who set the booby trap, we will never know. Not someone with a lot of finesse. A rather crude, spur-of-the-moment job, a final lashing out at Harry before the perpetrator is captured and sent to Azkaban for his role in the Death Eaters, never knowing that his ultimate victim would be Vernon, not Harry.

Sorry again about the ghostly, non-existent Chapter Three. :p But I'm glad you liked the story.


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Review #7, by pointless_proclamations The Question

10th May 2015:
Hello again, Vicki!

Happy Mother's Day!!

The summary of this story was too compelling to not give in to the urge to click it and read. Here we are now because of that amazingly written summary. And what an interesting title too!

Your first paragraph sets the scene really well. The setting and the atmosphere builds in the mind, allowing for the following events to play out more naturally and with increased vividness. I am instantly captivated.

It is so heartening to see that Dudley and Harry are on good terms.

"I canít call the police and I definitely canít tell my mother."
Oh! This is interesting. This is very interesting. At that point, I found that I lacked the ability to peel my eyes off the screen.

Now you've got me reading articles regarding the causes of ventricular fibrillation. . .

HOLY COW! I WANT MORE NOW. Ahem. This is suspense and mystery written supremely well. Vicki, this is amazing, amazing work.


Author's Response: Hi again Em. Thank you for reading and reviewing a second story! The title was meant both literally and figuratively. (Usually I have unremarkable titles because I don't spend enough effort on them.)

The writing quality of this story reflects the gains I have made in the past few years by studying textbooks and taking courses on writing. Slowly, bit by bit, the skill increases. I appreciate your saying how much the setting and description in the first paragraph set the tone for the rest of the chapter.

My, I wasn't expecting any reader to take a Google detour into the causes of ventricular fibrillation!

Thank you so much for saying that the suspense and mystery were well written. Suspense/mystery is a new genre for me. My only other suspenseful story is "Dark Enough To See The Stars".

By now you have probably read Chapter Two also, and hopefully enjoyed it just as much. Dudley is an interesting character to write.

Thank you for your very kind comments!


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Review #8, by Infinityx The Answer

22nd April 2015:
Hi! Here from the Slytherin review tag!

This was a very interesting story. I like how you've focused on the interactions between Harry and Dudley and the dynamics between them. Of course, they'd have a lot of unspoken issues or things to get past. I can totally see everything lingering on for so many years and then coming out into the open after Vernon's death. I never really thought of how the Dursleys were affected by the whole wizarding war. It was a great idea to go about this story from such a perspective. I mean, a majority of us don't like the Dursleys because of the way they treated Harry, and although there's no excuse for that, we don't think of their side to the whole ordeal.

Your characterisations were good as well. I love how you brought in parallels from Harry's childhood and Dudley's current actions. They were such great connections to the canon series while still remaining their own thing if you get what I mean. :P

Anyway, this was really nice! I'll be back to read some more of your fics soon! :)

Author's Response: Hi, Erin,

Thanks so much for reading my story, which is partly a little mystery and partly a philosophical reflection on how far Harry and Dudley have come since the Bad Old Days. It was good that Harry could say that what had happened was not Dudley's fault.

I'm glad that you thought that the characterizations were good. I think that, with the Dursleys, there is always the risk of falling into stereotypes, and I did not want it to seem as if Dudley and Harry had learned nothing over the intervening years. After all, they are blood relatives, and (most of the time) blood is thicker than water. Another, different glimpse of the Dursleys is seen in my story "Tiny Animals".

Thank you so much for this lovely review.


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Review #9, by CassiePotter The Question

18th April 2015:
Hello! I'm here for our review swap!
As soon as I read the summary for this story, I was really intrigued! And you definitely didn't dissapoint with the opening chapter! I think it's always interesting reading stories about Harry and Dudley when they're adults. I like that you have them getting along and keeping in contact with one another. That's what I like to think would happen after Dudley's change of heart in Deathly Hallows.
I'm so interested in what's going on with Vernon's death! What's in Harry's room that could have killed him? Especially since Harry didn't leave anything dangerous or magical there... You've definitely got me asking questions about what's going to happen, and have given just enough information to keep me interested.
This was an awesome first chapter! Thanks for the review swap!
Cassie :)

Author's Response: Hi Cassie,

Thanks for reviewing so quickly for the review swap. Im glad you liked the story, and I hope you went ahead and read Chapter 2, so that it would all become clear. Perhaps no one has written this situation before, but it seemed not improbable that something like this could have occurred, and it was really interesting to write Harry and Dudley after all these years, still kind of awkward and uneasy in each others company, but slowly feeling their way back to some sort of resolution for all the hard years.


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Review #10, by TearsIMustConceal The Question

16th April 2015:
Hi there!

I stumbled across this story in the review tag and Iím so happy I did!

I am so intrigued already! The fact that itís about Harry and Dudley after the war is interesting in itself but the whole story and mystery really makes me want to read on!

I like that Harry and Dudley are on speaking terms, they were cousins after all and I like to think that it was Vernonís influence that made Dudley act the way he did! The fact they went to each otherís weddings is cute and it makes me feel fuzzy! And it doesnít surprise me that Vernon is the same old Vernon Ė he was never going to change, not in his opinion of harry or the wizarding world but thatís what makes it believable. A lovely Vernon just wouldnít have made any sense!

The idea that Vernon has possibly died from some dark type of magic is really interesting and very different! I have no ideas about what could have been in Harryís room but I really want to find out what it is! I feel like itís some sort of comeuppance to how Vernon treated Harry and his dislike for all things magical.

I cannot wait to read more!

Vicki (Iím a Vicki too!)

Author's Response: Hi, Vicki.

I am so glad that you read my story and enjoyed it. By now you have probably also read Chapter 2, so you know how it turns out. We don't know much from canon about Harry and Dudley's later relationship; I think that JKR said in an interview that they exchanged Christmas cards but weren't best buddies. But I like to think that as the years went by, the strong emotion of their shared boyhood faded somewhat, at least for them, but obviously not for Vernon.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing.

The Vicki from Oregon

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Review #11, by patronus_charm The Question

16th April 2015:
Hey Vicki, sorry it took me a while to review this!

Oooh this is such an intriguing story! I always love it when stories catch up with Harry and Dudley later on in life as I would like to think that they could have been sort of friends, so Iím glad to see that this was sort of the case. Itís just quite touching that they were able to get over what happened and managed to go to each otherís weddings and Dudley came to him now in a time of need. Gah, it just makes me so happy when people make up! ♥

I have to say in terms of your characterisation of both Dudley and Harry I thought it was excellent as you noted how they would have changed over time and took that into account when writing them. I think Dudley was my favourite here, as the nice glimmers we saw of him in the DH came through here with the way he drove to find Harry and waited and waited for him to come out. I also liked the maturity of his character and how he was old enough to recognise that his dad wasnít wholly good and there were reasons for why Harry didnít like him.

The letter by Vernon was typical of him and I guess there was never going to be any hope that he would change his character. I did like how you included all his mannerisms into the letter such as moaning about the garden and the business, as you really made his character shine through in that. Hmm, it is very intriguing about whatís gone on in Harryís bedroom, I canít quite imagine what it could be but it does sound very interesting nevertheless.

This chapter has really caught my interest, so when I have time Iíll come back for the next! :)


Author's Response: Hi, Kiana. No need to say sorry; overnight is quite fast enough! I'm so glad to know that you thought the characterization was good, because perhaps it is always a little risky to know how much your characters have changed over time, especially in an emotionally charged relationship such as the one between Harry and the Dursleys.

When I wrote Vernon's letter, I was not consciously thinking about what he was probably like, at the end of his life; I just wrote what seemed natural to me, and I guess my unconscious told me that he would never change his opinions, unlike Dudley, who was young enough to learn, grow and change.

By now I hope you have read chapter two, so that you know what was in Harry's bedroom. The story is partly action and partly reflective, a description of how I hope things did turn out between them.

Thank you so much for doing this review swap with me.


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Review #12, by Panacea The Answer

16th April 2015:
Loving this! Keep up the good work!

Author's Response: Hi, Panacea. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my story! I√ʬĬôm glad you liked it. It was interesting for me to write Harry and Dudley as able to talk about the old times without much rancor. For many people, the emotions fade as so many years go by, but apparently for Vernon they never did. That√ʬĬôs too bad for him.

I hope you will enjoy reading some of my other stories also, both the short, quick reads and the slightly longer ones. I see that you write only long stories (so far). :)


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Review #13, by FriendofMolly The Answer

12th April 2015:
Even though that last line could be the close of the story, but somehow I don't think so. In the back of my head I kept thinking, I hope the cupboard under the stairs was cleared. I too must ask if there was more to this story, something they didn't mention to Duds? I guess I'll find out. It has possibilities.

Author's Response: Hi, FriendofMolly,

Thank you so much for reading my story and writing a review for Chapter 1. It is interesting to see your speculation, after reading Chapter 1, about what happened to cause Vernon's death, but of course, now that you have read Chapter 2 also, you know the answer.

You bring up a good point: was the Ministry of Magic aware of the fact that a magical action had taken place in that house on August 25? And if so, what did they think was going on? Was there any way for them to tell who the perpetrator was? Maybe not, since Harry got into trouble for "underage magic" when it was Dobby who had performed the magic deed, in CoS. So maybe we will never know who it was that set the trap.

I'm glad that you enjoyed my story. Thank you so much.


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Review #14, by FriendofMolly The Question

12th April 2015:
I am really glad your story caught my eye. How intriguing, that Vernon might have been killed by magic? Since they never went into Harry's room it was a perfect place for someone from the Dark side to hide. His mistake was opening the door, he was probably hit with the killing curse. If there was only a way to put a trace on the Unforgivables. But the Ministry should have suspected magic being performed near Muggles, Unless they assumed it was Harry visiting.
PS I must continue.

Author's Response: Oh, look. I did it again! I wrote a response to your review for Chapter 1, and then accidentally pasted it onto the review for Chapter 2. Duh! I've really got to be more careful. *bangs head on keyboard*

Anyway, the response for Chapter 1 is located above, and here is the response for your second review, the review for Chapter 2.

Actually, in answer to your question, we must assume that there was nothing in the cupboard under the stairs, because the Auror/Cursebreakers, Peter and Jerry, said that the house was completely clear of curses and safe to enter again. I think that whoever the stray, on-the-run Death Eaters were, who made a short detour to Privet Drive in the days immediately after Voldemort's death, to plant a booby trap as a last parting gift to the man who had defeated their leader, they didn't know the details of Harry's early life and would not have placed any significance on the stairwell cupboard. They probably just ran through the house, identifying Harry's room by the possessions he had left behind in it (old robes and schoolbooks), and planted the booby trap there.

Of course the Aurors didn't even try to explain to Dudley the details of what they had done inside the house, and he couldn't have understood anyway if they had tried. But I don't think they withheld anything crucial. They told him what he needed to know, and explained their basic findings in a way he could understand. I wasn't planning to write any more about this episode. To me it is finally finished.

Want to hear something interesting? Some months ago I read about a hand grenade that had been thrown during some battle of World War II in Europe. The grenade lodged in the crotch of a tree and never detonated. Over the years, the wood of the tree grew to completely envelop the grenade. Recently the tree was cut into firewood, and the piece containing the hidden little bomb was put into a wood stove, where the heat of the fire caused the grenade to explode, seventy years late. It damaged the stove but luckily did not hurt any person.

Thank you so much for your two reviews!


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Review #15, by TreacleTart The Answer

12th April 2015:
Hello again Vicki,

After that lovely first chapter, I had to read the second one! I had to know what happened to Vernon and who planted the curse!

This chapter quickly picked up where the last one left off. The urgency Harry was showing about the whole situation really made me nervous. I was imagining all sorts of horrible possibilities.

The insecurity and vulnerability that Dudley shows while he is outside of his house waiting for the aurors to finish really completes his evolution in my mind. Instead of being impatient or complaining about the inconvenience, he's polite, even treating these stranger wizards kindly. He is quite certainly a changed man.

I could see some frustration building up in Dudley as he and Harry talked in the front yard. I imagine that it would be hard for him to except that the curse that killed his father was meant for Harry. Once again, his ability to let it go really demonstrates his growth.

I think selling the family home is the best decision Dudley could make. In my opinion, there are far too many bad memories there for everyone involved. Hopefully, he can find a nice little place close to his home for Petunia.

I have seen a few fics that center around Dudley, but none with a plot anywhere near similar to this. I thought this was very well done and I really enjoyed your style of writing.

Great work Vicki! Thank you for such an enjoyable read!


Author's Response: It's so nice of you to review again, Kaitlin, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Harry felt so urgent about taking care of this situation because he didn't know if there were any more curses or booby traps associated with his room, so he didn't want Dudley to go back inside the house until it had been "decontaminated". Harry felt guilty that his lack of foresight had led to Vernon's death, and he didn't want to repeat that mistake.

Dudley realizes that he is way out of his league when it comes to dealing with this problem, and really he has no one to turn to except Harry. Thus his insecurity and vulnerability. And through their mutual anger over the circumstances of their forcibly-joined childhoods, the two men come to realize that they did need each other in those old days, and still do. People do change, hopefully for the better, after the passage of so much time.

Thank you for reading and reviewing.


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Review #16, by TreacleTart The Question

12th April 2015:
Hi Vicki,

Wow! What a great start to a story! There's so much going on I don't know where to start! This was really quite excellent.

The first thing that really stood out to me was the way you described the scenery at Grimmuald Drive. It was beautiful. I could picture it exactly in my head.

Next, I thought the way you explained Dudley's reason for being there was deftly handled. Of course Harry wouldn't communicate by muggle means now that he's enveloped in the wizarding world. It was very clever of Dudley to sit there and wait, knowing that he couldn't see Harry's house.

I had a good chuckle when you described a late in life Vernon Dursley. I especially loved the reference to his doctor recommended diet. This is exactly how I've always imagined him in my own head.

The expansion of Harry and Dudley's relationship was lovely to witness. I'm glad that they've been able to bury the hatchet and move on. It would be quite tragic if they never had anything to do with each other again since they are really the only family that either of them has left.

Dudley's rationale for Harry not going to Venon's funeral made perfect sense. I doubt that Harry would've wanted to pretend like the person who had destroyed most of his childhood was a good man. I was thoroughly touched by Harry's comment that he would've made time for Dudley had he known. It really speaks to where their relationship is right now.

The letter that was left for Dudley was awful. Even from the grave, Vernon just can't stop insulting Harry. He seems to feel that everything is unequivocally Harry's fault 100% of the time. It's maddening considering Harry was just a baby when his family was murdered.

I have to admit, I'm quite intrigued about what was in the room. You built up the suspense around that issue quite nicely. It kind of slowly crept up on me as I read. I can't wait to find out what it was.

I have to say that I am stunned at the difference between this story and The Skeleton Tales. I think after reading The Skeleton Tales I told you that your writing was very succinct and to the point. It was drastically different with this one. This story meandered a long at a nice pace increasing the suspense little by little. The description of things was also a lot more detailed and almost poetic in places. I really enjoyed it.

I wish I could give you some type of constructive feedback, but I honestly couldn't find anything to critique. This is an excellent first chapter and I will most certainly be checking out the chapters to come!

Great work Vicki!


Author's Response: Hi Kaitlin,

I'm glad that you enjoyed this chapter. Thank you so much for such a positive review!

It was a fulfilling task to write Harry and Dudley as if they are burying the hatchet. After nineteen years, I suppose it's hard to stay angry. Eventually the worst of it just wears off, as the events recede farther and farther into the past. Dudley learned, as the years went by, but apparently Vernon never did.

The circumstances of my writing "Unexploded Bombs" and my writing "The Skeletons' Tale" were very different, which may account for the difference in tone between the two stories. "The Skeletons' Tale" was about 4,000 words in its first draft (the upper allowed limit), and the second draft (the published version) was about 8,000 words, twice the limit that my professor had set, so I didn't dare to make it any longer. Thus its "very succinct" tone.

You will be interested to know that my Screenwriting professor selected "The Skeletons' Tale" as a story that I should adapt into a screenplay that would run about two hours, so that's what I'm working on now. It allows for visual representation of scenes that would otherwise only be described with words, and there will be expansion of scenes, dialogue, etc, to fill the time slot. This is a very different way of telling a story, a very different kind of writing, and it's a real challenge!

So nice talking with you again!


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