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Reading Reviews for Play harmless
11 Reviews Found

Review #1, by quill2parchment Play harmless

2nd June 2017:
This was such a great take on Hannah/Neville.

Using the ring as a symbol was such a clever idea, and it works on so many different levels. For one thing, as she consciously reflects, you can see the sacrifices she has made in her relationship. You can see how the marriage is also sort of "rolling on the floor" without any sense of definite direction. Finally, I think it's great that the entire time she is reflection on her marriage, she is ringless. It's as if she takes of her ring and allows herself to ask all those so difficult questions.

I also like how honest the portrayal of their relationship is. Obviously, we only get Hannah's POV, but we still get the Neville that we all love and admire, and while she understands that he's a great husband, she is just unsure of how she feels about him anymore... She is not sure if she misses him, or if being closer to him (working at Hogwarts) is going to make a difference, and I think that genuine doubt is what makes me doubt is what made this story so enjoyable. She's just human, and she's trying to make it work, but, at the end of the story, the reader, like Hannah, isn't sure if her trying is going to "matter after all."

Great story!

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Review #2, by Illuminate Play harmless

22nd May 2017:
Hi! Sorry for taking so long to review!
This is a really nice oneshot. I like the fact it explores a little known character. My favourite fanfics are the ones that fit into the canon well without contradicting it.

I also like it's not your typical romance. It shows how love sort of mellows after time, though it's sad that their marriage doesn't seem to be very happy anymore. A way I think to help increase the emotion might be to perhaps have a little description of what their relationshop used to be? How they used to feel for each other? That would show the contrast really well.

I did see a couple of small typos (unless it's for aesthetic purposes the H in 'Harmless' should be a capital letter) but other than that it was very easy to read :) Great job!

Author's Response: Hi! Thank you for this really nice review! I'm glad you liked it!

Introducing a contrast between past and present is something I tried to do, not so much for describing the feelings though (but describing common actions - such as sharing a plate, sleeping under the same blanket - that have been lost), so I might want to work a little more on that. At the moment I'm not sure how I could do that as the whole piece is about Hannah's thoughts, and I doubt that she would be able to recall how her full love felt now that she is so melancholic.

About the H in the title, I had no idea :)

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Review #3, by adluvshp Play harmless

24th April 2017:
Hey there! Angie here (Lost muse) with your challenge review!

So, I loved the use of metaphor here - you use the ring to represent the relationship - and you explain the metaphor too! It was very interesting, and a little saddening that Neville and Hannah's relationship has gone down such a path. I find it a little difficult to digest that Neville would neglect his home life for his career, but then I suppose, people change as they grow up and face life.

My only point of critique here is that perhaps you should not have explained the metaphor so directly? I like the whole "this is implying that" aspect better, especially when dealing with metaphors, rather than it being out there. It is a lot more vivid writing for me if I "figure it out" rather than have it told. But of course, that is only my opinion. And sometimes, different narratives require different treatments!

Besides that, I think this was great. The way you characterise them both (Neville through Hannah's eyes - especially about his work life) was believable and Hannah's compromise and her thoughts on the matter made me want to reach out and give her a hug.

This was a beautiful little one-shot. Good work! Than you for participating in the challenge. Results will be out soon!


Author's Response: Hi Angie, Thank you so much for the review, and for the whole challenge! Oh, I'm so happy for winning the third place :) this was my first challenge :)

Your review is also very helpful! You are making a good point for not explaining the metaphor so directly (although I'm guessing that individual preferences might differ there), I won't change it now, but that's something I'll keep in mind for the future.

I'm glad you liked the sotry owerall, I'm sorry for making it so negative, I tried to keep future for Neville and Hannah open, despite experiencing a hard time at the moment.

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Review #4, by lovegood27 Play harmless

6th April 2017:
Hi Dossy! Here for review tag at HPFT. I've read your other story already, so I figured I should probably read this one too ;)

Okay, my first reaction was :-( You mentioned this being your first try at writing romance, but I think you've done a pretty good job here, despite the fact that it wasn't the happiest of fics *sad face*

I really liked the metaphor you've incorporated into this story. I could understand why Hannah would feel worried about thinking she was sacrificing her husband for her son. Aw, I you really made me feel for her. I get the impression that she's sort of having an internal battle with herself. One part of her is trying to be understanding that Neville is busy, while the other part of her is feeling slightly bitter. Is that about right?

I found the bit about Gavin's name interesting to read about. I really liked the reasons you gave about why Hannah didn't want to call him Percival; a person does need to be someone in their own right. On the other hand, I was also touched by how Neville named his son Percival because he wanted him to be a good person; you've made it very emotional for the reader :)

I was impressed with how much information you managed to convey about Neville and Hannah's relationship, despite the fact that the former wasn't even present in this story. They seemed to have been a very close couple (the plate sharing was a nice example ;) ) but then drifted apart a bit due to work taking over Neville. The ending was sad, but it was a good ending and made me want to read more :)

Omg, yes, I could totally see Hannah as Matron. And I think she would be much better than Madam Pomfrey because she wouldn't be as forcefully protective. It was so sweet how she wanted to apply to be closer to Neville.

This fic really managed to touch my heart, it was a very enjoyable read. I hope things work out for poor Hannah- awesome job! :D

Author's Response: Hi lovegood27 :) Thank you so much for this review - I'm glad you followed me in the line for the review tag!

This is indeed not the happiest story, and I'm sorry if I mad you sad - but I kept the end open, I myself hope that Hannah and Neville will work on their problems and solve them eventually.
You are totally right with Hannah's internal battle! And I'm so happy you mentioned the plate sharing, this was among the first details I decided to include (to show how they did not appreciate their closeness, when their relationship was fully functional - but they just said that plate sharing was merely practical and nothing romantic).

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Review #5, by TidalDragon Play harmless

16th March 2017:
Howdy! Here fulfilling our swap - I'm sorry it's a day late!

In any event, I found this story spectacular. It really captures the shifting dynamic of a relationship over the longer term and particularly after the birth of a child. This fundamentally affects people in such a powerful way and I think it's accurate that it's most often the mother, though not always.

An interesting sub-focus of the story for me was also the way Hannah went through the rationalizations that are used when people feel their marriage or relationship "going stale". I think it's powerful that you leave the end result of it in this case something of an open question because it is, so often, a true tipping point. Here it seems like it's likely to tip negative, but there's a lot to be said for the many, MANY souls who fight through this and find each other again. Either way it underscores how couples can wind up operating on different wavelengths, seeing the same sacrifices very differently and the importance of communication and making sure both people stay focused on the present and the future.

I really feel for Hannah and Neville by the end of this piece - her because of the contrasting joy (as mother) and disillusionment (as wife) and him because he probably doesn't know this.

The only thing I saw amiss in the story was a "Who's" that should've been "Whose", but this was truly a brilliant piece!

Thanks for the swap! I hope to respond to your review soon!

Author's Response: Hi :) Thanks for the swap!
I'm so glad you liked this - and I've of course corrected the "Whose" typo, thanks for pointing it out!
I don't really know how to respond, you have me overwhelmed with all the positivity, basically you summarized the essence of the story better than I could have done ;)

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Review #6, by victoria_anne Play harmless

13th March 2017:
Hello Dossy! I'm back!

I love the idea of choosing one of Dumbledore's names for their kid, and I love that it was Neville's idea. It's probably a really good thing that Dumbledore has so many names :P But (on the other end of the spectrum) I also really like Hannah's comment about giving an individual name to an individual person.

You've done a wonderful job of making me empathise with Hannah's situation. It can't be easy for her to have Neville working away so much, especially after the birth of their son, but I love how understanding Hannah tries to be.

The way you used the ring for symbolism was really well done, too. I really like how to did that, especially the idea of her giving it to Gavin.

The only comments I really have is consider changing 'the child' to his name. Since it's in her point of view, that's how she'll think of him, and 'the child' sounds a bit impersonal. Apart from that, it's a gorgeous little piece. Awesome work!

♥ Bianca

Author's Response: Hello (again ;-)) Bianca,
Thank you (again ;-)) for stopping by with all these nice things to say!
I changed "the child" in a couple of places to Gavin, I think you were right about that.

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Review #7, by dreamgazer220 Play harmless

9th March 2017:
Hello, I'm here with your requested review!

So I adore Neville/Hannah and thought that this would be a good piece to check out. I think you did a great job with this; though I've never been married myself, I was still able to sympathize with Hannah's predicament. It's hard when people keep telling you that your significant other is a good man/person when they're constantly away from you - and I really do believe Neville would be that devoted to his job as a Professor. I can see him really caring for his students and him feeling like Hannah has things under control.

As a technicality, I'm not sure if this is really classified as romance - perhaps romance and angst, since there's a fair amount of melancholy here. That said though, I really loved the symbolism of Hannah's ring and how that was what started the whole thought process.

I also think it's adorable that they argued over names for the child. I can totally see Neville wanting to name their son after Dumbledore and Hannah's just like, "No." I like that she calls him by his middle name and allows him to be his own person in that sense.

I have a feeling that Hannah has a very strong case of cabin fever. I'd be curious to see where this goes if Neville were to come home. Would they talk about it? Would Hannah leave? Would they fight? I like that you don't give us an answer, though - it leaves me hope that maybe they do work it out. :D

Some of the paragraph chunks were a little long, in terms of flow, but it still read pretty well. I'd consider getting a beta or just have someone take a second look at it just to iron out some sentence structure stuff.

Overall though, you did a really nice job on this, especially for one of your first fics.

Thanks for the request!

Author's Response: Hi :) Thank you so much for this very nice review! I'm so happy you appreciate the point that everyone is saying to Hannah that Neville is such a good man, and this makes it even harder for her to talk about her problems. No other review has pointed this out before, and I kind of feel that this is a key point to the story and to why Hannah and Neville do not openly talk about problems in their marriage.

I've added angst to the classifications - thank you for the suggestion.

To be honest I wasn't thinking of cabin fever when I wrote this. But I think you are right, the depression that most stay-at-home moms experiences might be in a way a related disorder. Anyway I want to keep their future open, I think at this point anything can happen, they might end up fixing their relationship or not.

(In the meantime I got a wonderful beta to read this story, and the long paragraphs as well as some English issues were fixed - I'm still waiting for validation.)

Thank you again so much for stopping by!

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Review #8, by AbraxanUnicorn Play harmless

5th March 2017:
Hello, I'm here for the HPFT review you requested :)

This is a rather melancholic one-shot, which concentrates on an aspect not often seen in fanfiction - the end, or beginning of the end, or the harsh reality of a relationship. It's a place that so many people reach, once the fire has died out of their partnership. Such an interesting and individual approach for a piece of writing!

I probably wouldn't call it a romance, per se - I think an "after-romance" is more apt. The ring is a lovely bit of symbolisation within this piece and you use that particular imagery very well.

I like that you've addressed the issue of "naming" in the HP series; it always seemed strange to me too that everyone should be named after someone else. I'm glad Gavin breaks the mould, even if it is with his middle rather than his first name :)

In light of English not being your first, or even your second, language, I think you have done an excellent job with writing this :) It is heartfelt and well-structured. However, I think it would perhaps be even better if you had a beta writer to iron out the little sentence and grammar kinks in there :)

Thank you for the review request and I hope this was helpful.

Brax X

Author's Response: Hi Brax,
I like your after-romance term, I will update my description :)
I have just discovered a forum with volunteer beta readers, so I will take your advice and ask someone to correct my English
Thank you so much for your review, I'm glad you could find positive things in it :)

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Review #9, by crimson quill Play harmless

3rd March 2017:
I'm here for your review! yay!

you said you weren't a romance writer but I really liked this! I think it was really good at capturing the moment when she knows the marriage is over. you've portrayed both hannah and neville as understandable characters like it was just one of those things to happen to people.

it is just so sad and angsty when it works so well. it's very raw and human. you've created a neville that is believable eg. always willing to help others which is true of the neville we know from canon however his character's marriage has suffered as a result! hannah's mixed feelings also come across as so realistic.

my only comment I guess is the second paragraph is super long so if possible maybe split into two paragraphs for easier reading but it's not a big thing really.


Author's Response: hi :)
I've looked at the second paragraph now, but I could not find a place to split it. I guess I will have to look again to make it at least shorter. If anything I made it longer now - I did not want this piece to sound like everything was over, in my mind at this point it is still open if this is 'just' a crisis that Hannah and Neville would overcome, so I added a sentence explicitly saying that Hannah was willing to change in order to try and save their marriage.
Thank you for reviewing, I really appreciate it!

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Review #10, by LunaStellaCat  Play harmless

22nd February 2017:

Hello, Iím here with your review before I go to fetch my cat.

Youíre an eye-opener, make no mistake. I tried to go through and see if I had indeed left a review, and it turns out, I had not. So I went snooping.

Okay, so I like Neville Longbottom as a character. My reasoning? He was the almost Harry Potter. In my opinion, his parents were stronger, more grounded, more fit for the fight as it were. Thereís a writer out there called Northumberian who actually switches Harry Potter for Neville Longbottom. If you have never read that author, you need to if you enjoy HP fan fiction. Nís a gift. He is.

I tend to go off on tangents. Stay with me, if you want.

Confession time? I am not a romance writer, either. Iím an analytical thinker, me. And Iím rather a cynic. I laughed out loud when you said that, so thank you. (I died. :)) That's me.

Okay, so the symbolism. Let's start there shall we? The fact that the ring plays the role of carrying the weight of this marriage? That - that in itself - is a masterstroke. Well done, madam or sir, or neither, should you choose not to identify. (Sorry. Iíve got a dark sense of humor.) Okay, the fact that Hannah lets the child play with the ring? Thatís not so unnatural. Iím not disagreeing with you - I wanted to point this out. I once lost the ring I was given at my godson's baptism because I dropped the thing down the drain. (Yes, she did.) Talk about panic. Jesus. But I like that the spinning ring shows the instability and whatís thrown into question.

Okay, hears where Gavin gets a little Ö strange? Again, this isnít bad The child is hard to place as far as his age. Here, Iím thinking of a toddler, but then Hannah does or says this thing, and that toddler suddenly has a high, high level of intellectual reasoning that wouldn't actually be normal. Does that make sense? Think about that.

Hannahís characterization is fine. The only thing that I want to say here is that running a bar in not a layabout job. Speaking from my sisterís experience, who has worked in kitchens since she was fifteen and later as a barmaid. Being a barmaid is hard work. You have to get people drunk, keep a hundred conversations going at once, know when to cut folks off and split the till at the end of the night. And that's the bar - not the tables or the outside crew - just the bar. Or the stocking or the cleaning. And youíre lucky not to be robbed at the end of the night after collecting your shares. I used to watch my sister do this at a nearby bar - and the recipes for the drinks made my head spin.

Whenever I place a barmaid or a barman in my work, I think of my sister. I place a barman or a barmaid in a lot of my HP works. Someone who runs a bar is a workhorse if they do it right. Want a hint as a writer? Write about what you know. And if you donít know, do research to build that said world around you. It makes you and your writing more believable. If Hannah isnít a proper barmaid, Rosmerta, I imagine, would be quite displeased. The Three Broomsticks has been round for a minute.

I agree with Hannah on the naming thing. The names of Harry Potter children make me cringe. Itís a pet peeve. Lily Luna. Really, really, Jo? Not every child is named after their father or mother. Thank you, Hannah, for pointing that out. Like, seriously.

Okay, I would hope that Hannah for Hannahís sake doesn't layabout and is a stronger character. I mean, outside of the barmaid thing, I would hope that she grows as a person or a wife. I canít imagine Neville, chubby, adorable teddy bear, being just the scientist. I mean, poor Nev was raised by old people. His uncle, and I can't remember dudeís name for the life of me, but he was the one cool old guy. Hung him out the window and gave him a toad? Algae?

I can't imagine Neville just being Newt Scamander. I mean, the poor guy watched his filks grow up in a mental hospital. Or the long-term residentsí ward Ö you gather what Iím saying here. By the way, I don't know if you know this, but Neville Longbottom, as told by JKR, is also blonde. He was a chubby, short blonde kid in teddy bear pajamas. See why I wanted to hug that kid?

Really well done here, Dossy. I talk too much. This review is probably the length of your piece. Damn.


Author's Response: Hello LunaStellaCat,

Thank you so much for leaving this review, it is indeed like the length of my story, so wow, thanks! I'm relatively new to HP fanfic (not only as a writer, but also as a reader, so I will consider all your suggestions, including whom to read).

I agree with you: Hannah letting the child play with the ring is nothing unnatural, as a matter of fact I do let my child play with my wedding ring, actually the idea for this story partly came from my own life (I agree most with your "write about what you know" rule).

The child (Gavin) is two years old (I say that at the very beginning), so he is indeed a toddler. I'm not sure if by 'strange' you mean that he obeyed and gave the ring back when asked (?) and that he had expectation about her mother proposing some more fun (?). (Too bad that this review forum does not allow you to reply to my reply...) I know not all two-year-olds would do it, and most importantly no two-year-old would always do it, but it is 'normal' for children of this age to understand these kind of things and comply with their mother when they are in the mood (I hope I make myself understand). I have a 2.5-year-old son, and of course we meet a lot of his peers, so of this part I'm pretty sure (but I also agree with you this is not necessarily typical behaviour).

As for the barmaid thing, I did not want to imply in any way that it was a "layabout job". Maybe I should reword this part, but what it says is that Hannah is a stay-home with the child (their flat is at The Leaky Cauldron) and a substitute is running the bar. So Hannah is home 'doing nothing' (as it is usually perceived by society if someone is on maternity leave - only few admit that it is a 7/24 'job'), while Neville is working hard to make money for the family.
(Fun fact: my brother used to work nigh shifts in a bar while at university, so we have that in common :-) But I did not intend to write anything about bar work, Hannah's role in this story is as a mother.)

I do not want to make this reply too long, but just to say, both Neville and Hannah are complex characters in my eyes, it's not 'just' being a scientist or 'just' being a mother, it's a very hard time in their lives that they do their best to adapt to.

And thanks for pointing out Neville's hair colour - I did know about that info, and I was struggling about the part when Hannah was wondering about his son's hair (I guess that's your point that two blond parents would always have a blond child), but then I decided that the info from JKR referred to Neville as a kid so his hair might have turned darker by the time he had grown to be an adult (thus making this line plausible), and also hair colour is a polygenetic trait so its inheritance is not as simple as e.g. eye colour. (In my family many children had blond hair when little or even up to puberty, but then it turned dark.)

Thank you again so much for this in depth review, and for putting so much thought into my story and for all the positive things and encouragements (and also for putting me before your cat)!

Dossy Vilja

(btw it's a madam - no secrets, Vilja is a female name ;-) in Hungarian family name goes first)

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Review #11, by Guest Play harmless

10th February 2017:
Damn. Can you continue this? As a story? This was so good.

Author's Response: Hi, Thank you so much for the review! And for the encouragement! I wasn't thinking to continue this, I literally just started in the FanFic world (apart from this story I have just one other one-shot - quite different genera). But I think that the Neville/Hannah pairing is something that Rowling confirmed, but is still missing from fanfic literature, so I might as well write more about it, once I get the courage :)

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