Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
1,093 Reviews Found

Review #26, by CambAngstPut On Notice: Put On Notice

9th July 2014:
Hi, pix! I'm here to win another valuable point in Ye Olde House Cup. Also, to finally read and review your story, which I have been missing out on. So first off, let's deal with the formalities:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now, with that out of the way, may I say what a great job you did of nestling yourself inside Scorpius's over-inflated blond head and getting comfortable. The voice you captured in this story was excellent: smug, self-important and cocky, but with just enough self-doubt and introspection to make him interesting. Interesting and more than a little comical. To briefly and inadequately summarize: "Who needs Rose Weasley? Not me, that's for sure! I just like to stare at her, you know, from a distance. And do foolish things to make her annoyed at me. Because if she's annoyed at me, she's paying attention to me, not that I need her attention! Or even want her attention. I just enjoy knowing that I'm on her mind somewhere..." It's a bit pathetic, but in a cute sort of way.

It seems that he's turned into something of a Robin Hood, flaunting the Ministry's law in order to help the weak and powerless. It's funny how he wants Rose to not only know what a bad thing he's done, but also appreciate it for his noble intentions.

The only thing I can critique you for a bit is that sometimes the timeline of the events Scorpius is thinking about gets hard to follow. He's sort of bouncing around between different years they were at Hogwarts together, and the events are a little hard to put in any sort of order. Then there's an implication that he hasn't seen her since leaving Hogwarts, but it's pretty obvious that he has. There's almost a schizophrenic quality to it, which perhaps was what you were going for. In that case, bravo!

Good job, and I hope you did well in the challenge!

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Review #27, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakout: Rose POV

9th July 2014:
Hi, Beth! Back again for another awesome chapter. Even better, I will be claiming a valuable point for Gryffindor! Let's get the formalities out of the way, shall we?

House Cup 2014 Review

Now that we've taken care of that, I like the progress you made with Rose in this chapter. She seems like a new woman after finally giving in -- and convincing Scorpius to give in -- to the passion that's been growing between the two of them. She's getting all dolled up and going out to a crowded place. She's snogging Scorpius silly, both in private and in public. She's buying rounds, she's joking, she's laughing... just an all-around functional 20-something. It was beautiful to watch.

You did a good job of keeping her progress measured and realistic. She nearly has a panic attack in the pub, but with Scorpius's help she's able to pull back from the brink. He's so very good for her on so many levels.

All of Rose's cousins and friends were incredibly supportive, as well. You can feel how badly they want this for her, the recovery and the normality. They want her to be herself again, whole and full of life. That's the Weasley family written well!

One thing that I found a tiny bit odd was when you dipped into the fashion discussion with Selenia and Samara. There was nothing wrong with it, per se, just that you didn't do anything like that for any of the other characters. I remember reading it -- admittedly last night, so I wasn't at my sharpest -- and thinking, "what's the take-away here? Why is she emphasizing this?" Not a big deal, but it caught my overly-critical editor's eye.

Ha! Dom is awesome. And it appears that she can't hold her liquor very well. Either that, or she's had too much of it. Regardless, she has no problem shouting out what the others have probably realized and politely decided not to comment on. Good thing her boyfriend is there to rein her in just a bit.

Aww, Al is getting all sentimental on her. I like Al in this mode. It's much more fun and heart-warming to read than Al in Type A, brooding, overprotective jerk mode. Yes sirree, we are having a wonderful family night out. Love is in the air everywhere. Even the Auror mentees are getting in on it. What a great night for a...

DEATH EATER ATTACK!!! Aiieee! Everybody take cover!

Death Eaters have lousy timing, you know that? While the action here was fairly straightforward, it instantly sent my brain into detective overdrive. How did the Death Eaters know that Rose was going to be at the pub? Even Scorpius didn't know they were going to be there until just before they left home. I'm suddenly looking at everyone present with a very suspicious eye. Let's say for the sake of argument that we can rule out Rose's family, because god help us all if the Weasleys have been compromised. That would leave Selenia and Samara, who seem like unlikely candidates, Dom's boyfriend, the bartender lady and... well, Scorpius, himself. I rather doubt that Scorpius is plotting against Rose, but let's say for the sake of argument that his movements are being surreptitiously tracked. Perhaps by a long, lost relative. Hmmmnnn...

All guessing aside, you did a pretty good job with the fight scene. It was easy to visualize the chaos and the jets of light and hear the cracks of spells. Rose's panic and difficulty functioning also came through clearly. I was a little surprised that Albus would have sent her off to find Lily, given her mental state. She obviously wasn't in much of a position to take on the task, but I guess decisions get made in the heat of the moment. In spite of that, she's still worried about finding Dom and getting her out of there. I love the compassion and the way that she wants to protect her family, even if she's not really able.

And... you left us with a cliffhanger. That was mean of you, Beth! Very mean. I approve. ;)

I didn't see any typos or other problems with this chapter. It moved at a nice, fast pace and it was fun to read. Good job!

Author's Response: Hey, hi, ho!

So - first order of business is to apologize. It has taken me far to long to respond to this - and your other completely awesome reviews. I didn't want to send a perfunctory response and I got all caught up in my first House Cup, so my review responses (and writing and daily chores and life functions) have taken a back burner.

Thanks for all your comments - I especially appreciated the fact that you found Rose's progress to be well paced. There is no magic "off" button for recovery and Rose will continue to have progress and setbacks.

The super over-done fashion description is a big editing error on my part. I think that I mentioned earlier that I started this entire story from the middle - actually I started writing at Chapter 9 - the scene with Albus and Scorpius shooting up the forest. I don't have any good explanation as to why it started there, as I said this is my first go and the story just started to come to me from that point.

Anywho, with that as my start, this chapter was the first place where I could describe the two Potter boys' women - and I just left it in. I did edit this chapter (and edit and edit and edit), but I thought that I might have been incomplete in my earlier descriptions of those two fairly important characters. I also thought that it would show that Rose , for the first time, feels on par with these two (even though she claims she doesn't). She is with her man, all "dolled up" (to borrow your expression) and really happy.

Dom is a party girl. She works hard, plays hard. She just had a little bit too much to drink on this particular night - perhaps because she showed a bit of weakness to her colleagues at the meeting earlier in the day. I don't know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes (alright a LOT of times), I don't know why my characters do things. When I go back and edit, it makes sense and I'm like "Oh yeah! She drank to much and THAT's why she got hit with the cruciatus that is revealed two chapters from now..."

I like Al in this mode too. He seems to look just like Harry, but have quite a bit of the Weasley temperament. Rose doesn't seem to mind the overprotective Al, but she is just very forgiving of people and accepting of their natures.

Yeah, those Death Eaters are a huge pain in the butt, huh? How did they know? I'm glad you are trying to figure it out, but there were a LOT of people there - and you are right, it was a last minute decision to go there. I can't give anything up just yet. You will have to keep Hm-ing.

Thanks again. This was my first fight scene and I took a while to get it how I wanted - but me reading it over and over and over can't compare with feedback from an objective source.

Yeah, maybe Al sending Rose to find Lily wasn't the best move, but it was the heat of battle and he was worried about his little sister (who he had been told to take care of by Ginny), Rose seemed like the best option at the time.

Glad you liked the cliffhanger. I don't like to overuse them, but every now and then, they are just plain fun!

Thanks again, Dan. If I haven't told you before, your reviews are part of the reason I've continued the story - and have been posting the chapters as quickly as I have. It really makes a difference when you know someone is eagerly awaiting the next installment!

Thanks again!


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Review #28, by CambAngstBurn Away the Darkness: Shine

8th July 2014:
Hi, Sian! You're doing such awesome things in the House Cup reviewing competition, I definitely feel like you deserve some love as well. First, let's get the formalities out of the way:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now, on to more pleasant things! I thought you painted an unusually balanced and realistic picture of Petunia. She's not an easy character to write because I find her motivations and emotions to be really complex and very different at different points in her life. You captured some of the bigger themes that run through her story: her jealousy, her fear of things that are different and her tendency to allow that fear and jealousy to twist into spite and bitterness. But you also included some unexpectedly tender moments. It seems that she really did love her sister and miss Lily after the world of magic took her away. I almost saw a moment of love for little Harry, at least until James's black hair and glasses drove her away from him. The idea that her doting treatment of Dudley was an attempt to compensate for the love that she could never feel toward Harry was a really neat one. I never thought of it that way.

Your writing was lovely. I didn't see a single typo or grammatical error and the whole thing flowed very nicely. Great job!

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Review #29, by CambAngstAll Grown Up: Looking Down

8th July 2014:
Sarah! I am here, scoring points for my house!

House Cup 2014 Review

This was really touching and sweet and even a bit funny in places. I liked the balance of emotions, even if sadness was the overarching sort of feel. Tonks is right, she does get to see things that other parents probably miss, but without having any ability to interact or affect anything. That has to be an emotional roller coaster, especially for someone as excitable as her.

You picked some really good moments in Teddy's young life for her to focus on. Things that definitely would have emotional weight.

Then at the end, when you brought Remus into the story, that closed a significant loop for me. It would have been really sad for her not to be able to share these moments with Teddy's father.

"You know, it's a good thing we named him, I can't imagine what mother would've come up with, given the chance." -- That was an awesome way to end the chapter! A nice, light note to offset the melancholy.

Your writing was lovely in this. It flowed really nicely and I didn't see any typos, grammatical problems or awkward wording. Nicely done!

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Review #30, by CambAngstReasons to Smile: Alexa: When Ultimatums are Made

8th July 2014:
Ugh. I'm feeling seriously emotionally stuffy right now. I need some emotional air. OK, while I take a breath:

House Cup 2014 Review

If the last chapter wasn't fun to read, this one was even less so. It seems like Alexa has so many difficult relationships in her life at this point: Albus, her father, her brother... Somebody once told me, and I can't for the life of me remember who, that if you have a problem with everyone then it's unlikely that the fault lies entirely with everyone else. Which is not to say that everyone else is faultless...

It never stops, the screaming. -- As the parent of twin 6-year-olds, I can confirm that this is true. Horribly, horribly true. Oh, wait, this is a nightmare, not real life. Well, it's true in real life, too, except the screams are less bloodcurdling. Poor Alexa. She can't even escape it in her sleep.

Wow, so she's thought this pretty far through. I feel like she doesn't want to leave Albus, but she'd rather do that than see everything destroyed. I can't really relate, but I can follow the logic.

Ash seems like a good confidant for Lexi, one who can offer a hint of insight on the male perspective. It's really too bad she doesn't take him up on his offer. Somebody needs to kick Albus's, er, butt.

I agree with Ash. It's sort of hard to relate to someone who grew up in a sprawling pureblood estate. It sounds very cool, though.

Aww, Theo has another kid! That's awesome. He seems like the kind of guy who's made to be a dad. At least until they reach their young adult years. So there's a big fight brewing between the three Notts. Work related? Family related? Something else? You're spinning a lot of good mystery here.

Sigh. It's awful to see what's playing out inside Albus and Alexa's home. You did a great job writing Isaac's reaction. Parents always think that kids don't notice these things. They're pretty much always wrong about that.

The final confrontation between Albus and Lexi really needed to happen. In fact, I wish they'd spent more time on it. Instead, Lexi sort of storms off again and Albus is too much of a coward to really press the issue. So sad. I hope circumstances really force them to deal with this soon, because it doesn't seem like they're going to deal with it otherwise. Interesting, though. Who was killed? There are lots of characters from the first story that we haven't seen yet...

I saw a couple of typos while I was reading:

I managed to stop him before he got Gracie herself -- himself?

The last time I saw you for more than an hour was Kieron's birthday party two weeks ago and you were so lost in your own thoughts, so distant, that been ignored by you while... being with you felt almost cruel. -- being ignored by you

You're killing me, Sam! Killing me! Please let them be a little happy soon, OK?

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Review #31, by CambAngstReasons to Smile: Albus: When the Damage is Done

8th July 2014:
Hi, Sam! I'm back again, getting myself all caught up. First, a note from our sponsor:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

OK, so maybe I'm a tad less angry with Al now. At least he has the minimal wherewithal it takes to know that he's acting like a jerk and feel badly about it. I'm really curious who it is he's chasing and why the case is so important to him. It has to be somebody pretty awful to get this kind of a rise out of him. It also sounds like the individual is not simply a garden-variety fugitive if he has a gang of thugs watching his back. A very interesting mystery you've spun here!

Al definitely seems to have some of his father in him, specifically the patent disregard for his own health and well-being when he's immersed in his work. When he's refusing to visit St. Mungo's, I could easily hear Harry, refusing a trip to the Hospital Wing.

You did a great job writing Isaac in this chapter. The admiration and need for approval was rolling off of the kid in waves. It's horribly sad to see him worry so much over things with his dad, and like I said earlier, Al at least feels badly about the whole thing. But not badly enough to change, apparently. Stupid Al! Stupid!

Lexi was solidly in character in this chapter, but I have to admit that I'm more than a little annoyed with her, too. Just like in the first story, they've both so stubborn sometimes! The silent treatment she's giving him as she builds up to telling him off really isn't helping the communication any. It's great that she inherited her father's strength, but some of his other traits are causing her problems.

Again, so much of his father in Al. He can take on dark wizards, but he's too much of a coward to face his own wife. Or his own feelings.

"Go. I can't stop you anyway." -- Sigh. Not a good note to end this chapter.

I noticed a few typos as I was reading:

sure we talk to the other neighbors, but Craig spends time over here, comes over opfor dinner, and has even been to the Burrow with his kids. -- comes over for dinner

Alexa, like Theodore, will wait it out, will think about the worse possible thing that can be done to you -- worst possible thing

The very idea of being fed soon as the boys running back in -- soon has the boys

Bobby goes on and on about a gamefowl football he played with some kids in the park the other day -- game of football?

Great job!

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Review #32, by CambAngstYear Five: Loose Lips

7th July 2014:
I'm back again! In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually read this chapter last night, but I was way too worn out to write a decent review. Here I am, ready to do it justice. First, a bit of boilerplate:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now, on to the substance and the glory.

Tristan is a really deep kid. Emily, Isobel and Tristan all seem like pretty deep thinkers, actually, but in that "too cool for school" way that prizes off-beat topics and irreverent lines of inquiry. The jury is still out on Laurel, I think, although she is a Ravenclaw so the potential is obviously there.

"'Ouch," teased Isobel. "You really know where to hit Snapey where it hurts: ethics." -- A brilliant line, although you have an extra single quote in front of "Ouch".

I love the idea of Sir Cadogan attempting to mentor and intimidate the foursome, it cracks me up. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you misspelled his name in the first mention: Cadoaon. I think that was the last typo I saw.

There was nothing Tristan hated more than being confined. -- You slip in a lot of small facts and observations about Tristan in this story. I'm almost to the point of giving up on trying to figure out which ones have a bigger purpose and which do not. Almost. This one seems like something that might pop up again later on.

I loved Tristan's nickname for Quirrell, but the description raised an interesting -- and exceedingly minor -- point in my head. I'm not sure that Quirrell stuttered before his encounter with Voldemort. The Harry Potter Wiki -- which always must be treated with skepticism, but is sometimes correct by sheer chance -- implies that he was always timid, but started to stutter and faint after returning from his sabbatical. Take it for what it's worth. Probably nothing to lose sleep over.

Tristan's meditation on the definition of quaint was completely brilliant. Kudos to Marauderfan for that one!

Interesting. Tristan has a point where his job prospects are concerned, although he overdoes it a bit. I'd never given much thought to what might happen for a witch or wizard who wished to reenter the muggle world after finishing their studies at Hogwarts. There are approximately three million fan fics out there -- mostly Dramiones; ick -- where Hermione attends a muggle university after Hogwarts but they all tend to skim over the topic of what she submitted for a secondary school transcript.

You are doing a marvelous job of slow-playing whatever it is that's developing between Tristan and Emily. They're definitely not romantically involved, but you can see the potential chemistry. She seems to get angry at him when she realizes -- perhaps subconsciously -- that he's beating himself up for no good reason.

Wow. It sure is easy for witches and wizards to cover their tracks when they're on the cusp of getting caught in the midst of some recreation. I envy that.

While I was reading the conflict between Tristan and Oliver Wood, I had this image of Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson chest-thumping it out in Breakfast Club. Tristan isn't quite the loud-mouthed rebel that Nelson played, but Wood would totally fit with Estevez's jock character. I wonder if he ever taped somebody's buns together in the Quidditch dressing room? Why on earth do I think of things like this???

I wonder what happened to Laurel to put her in such a mood? Could be Cheering Charm withdrawal, I suppose. Or maybe something more. I guess if it's important, we'll find out.

Tristan seems to have earned some respect for standing up to Wood and taking his licks. Fred and George weren't the first ones who came to mind, but it makes sense. The other Slytherins, however, were more of a surprise. And Tristan doesn't take it well at all. I hope that the lie he tells to get back on their bad side doesn't come back to haunt him too badly. Who am I kidding? Of course it will.

Your end notes are required reading for this story. The little bits of color and clarification you add are always interesting.

Great job! Be back soon...

Author's Response: Ah, thank you for catching those mistakes! I will fix them straight away! And the Quirrel thing too.

I'm really glad for your reaction to Tristan! *steeples hands and smirks, ideally while lit from below*

I definitely wanted Tristan to be a bit of a pain, a la Harry when he was in his fifth year. But, obv very different. Just equally 15.

And excellent Emily observation! Glad that came across!

Haha! From this point forward, I will imagine Oliver Wood as Emilio Estevez!

Is 'the lie' you mentioned that he said he was a mudblood? I thought I remembered Harry being considered a half blood because Lily was muggle-born...

Now that I think on it, there isn't a named PC term in the Potter series for the children of muggle-borns. Hmmm.

I'm glad you like the end notes! I wasn't sure if I was just being self-indulgent. There were just little bits of research I happened upon that were really neat, but couldn't be gracefully woven into the story.

Thanks for another wonderful review!

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Review #33, by CambAngstReasons to Smile: Alexa: When Emotions Break Through

7th July 2014:
Sam! I have been meaning to get to your sequel for ages and the House Cup is always a great opportunity to catch up on reading and reviewing. It's like getting something for free, really. So, to get the formalities out of the way:

House Cup 2014 Review

Whoa, what on earth has happened to Albus? He's gone from being a rather doting boyfriend to suddenly being absentee daddy workaholic. My initial reaction is that I want Alexa to hand him a verbal beat-down. I might even go so far as to want Keiron to give him a physical beat-down. OK, I should probably calm down. We haven't even heard Albus's side of the story yet. It had better be good, though!

I love the way that the Healer has to bribe Isaac to get him to cooperate. I imagine he gets that from his mother's side. The Notts seem like people who don't proceed without first understanding what's in it for them. I don't ever recall a doctor visit when I was little where the doctor bribed me with a bag of candy, and now I'm feeling like I got totally gypped. I should have been less agreeable. The entire scene was really adorable, with Isaac mimicking the Healer's movements and expressions. As annoying as it must have been to everyone except Isaac, it would have been hard not to laugh.

There's a whole story behind them - not the color, why my family have them in the first place - but that's not important right now. -- OK, so this is probably the most leading sentence I've read today. I do hope there's a fun story that goes along with this. :)

From there, the sadness takes over. Why on earth is Albus being such an idiot? I'm sure he has his reasons, it's just hard to imagine that they'd be anything compelling. At least compelling enough to leave a six-year-old in this sort of state. I have two six-year-olds at home and I can't really imagine treating them like this. It's the highlight of my day when I get home and see them smile. Makes me wonder whether Albus has hit that phase of parenthood where he's feeling "trapped".

It's always a little bittersweet to see Arthur and Molly at this stage of their lives. Sweet because they've made it and they've obviously enjoyed a lot of happiness watching their grandchildren and great-grandchildren come into the world. Bitter because they're such lively, energetic people and time gradually steals that from you as you get older. I felt very sad for Molly, but I also commend you on the originality because it's nearly always Arthur who succumbs to Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia in fan fic stories.

OK, so I thought Albus was a huge jerk and then Hugo comes along. Wow. I remember him being this relatively innocent, sweet boy in the last story, finding his way as he sorted out his sexuality and whatnot. Now, he comes off like a mean, ungrateful jerk. What has happened to all of these people? Sam, what have you done??? :p

I liked the detail on the Notts' family business interests. That kind of detail always enhances my enjoyment of a story. It adds some context that keeps the plot out of the Friends zone, i.e. - how do these people afford this marvelous lifestyle with no visible means of support?

I saw a couple of small typos as I was reading:

And Casey, being a relatively good and patient healer even if he is crap at it anywhere else, is allowing it to continue until Isaac finally let's him do the examination. -- finally lets him

between us two and them, we control a lot of businesses all over the word -- all over the world

In closing, I hope that Keiron beat Hugo up after Alexa left and then went to look for Albus. Just kidding, but you need to smack some sense into these character straight away, OK? Looking forward to seeing how you do that!

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Review #34, by CambAngstHeart(less): Heart(less)

7th July 2014:
Hi, Roots! It's been forever since I've read and reviewed anything of yours, but today is special! I'm here for:

House Cup 2014 Review

You did a really amazing job of capturing Narcissa and Bellatrix. For Lucius, I thought maybe you were a bit too kind to him, but we can quibble over small things in characterization without detracting much from my enjoyment of the story. You know first-hand how much I liked a good writing of Narcissa, and this was definitely a good one.

From a young age, it seems that Narcissa has been dealing with her elder sister's bloodthirsty insanity. The contrast between Bellatrix's ghastly potions and Narcissa's dolls was stark.

Would this have been Lucius and Narcissa's first date? It reads like such a prim, proper pureblood affair. I feel like there should be chamber music in the background. ;) I liked the little thrill that she gets from putting her homework aside and giving in to romance.

Aww, she's going to miss him while she's away for her last year! Again, it was the small touches in this section that really brought it alive for me: the cup of tea, the emptiness of words versus long conversations, the way that he pulls her trunk and holds her hand.

It seems like she doesn't really understand what it means for Lucius to take the Dark Mark in the beginning. Her answer was rather flat and unconcerned. If she only knew...

Lucius was such a dutiful husband while she was giving birth to Draco! Well, mostly. It seems like things got a bit too intense for him from time to time. But he was there. I'll give him points for that.

The scene with Draco getting hurt on his toy brookstick was Narcissa at her best, at least in the way that I always think of her. A woman trapped between the roles of pureblood matriarch and mother. She manages to be both, not without some effort.

Her motherly qualities really shine after Cedric's death. No matter how different their situations might be, she can't think of Cedric without seeing Draco in his place. I remember reading something once along the lines of "every mother sees their own children in every child". Seems very appropriate to this situation.

Then things change dramatically for the worse. I've always felt like Narcissa's greatest strength came to light after Lucius was sent to Azkaban. Life tested her again and again, and she always managed to rise to the occasion.

I like that you did show the changes that Azkaban and the war brought to Lucius. They're perhaps a little deeper than I'd imagined, but very real nonetheless. At the end, when they're tearing through Hogwarts, desperately searching for their son, that captured the real strength you've given the two of them.

Your writing was great in this. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems or anything else that detracted from the beauty of the piece. Great job! Can't wait to see you write some more of Pansy's story. :)

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Review #35, by CambAngstEvent 3 - A Last Goodbye: A Last Goodbye

7th July 2014:
Hi, Lauren! Here to review your story for:

House Cup 2014 Review

This story was sad, but also really touching. You wrote it with a lot of subtlety and finesse. It would have been easy -- not emotionally easy, but easier to write -- to have Ron bawling all over the place. It also would have been easier to identify Ron as the narrative voice right out of the gate. Instead, you paced the story very deliberately. You dribbled in the key details alongside your vivid descriptions of the weather, the tree and all of the other tangible details that really grounded the scene in my head.

I love the idea that Harry lived a relatively quiet life to a ripe old age, surrounded by family and friends. Your Harry certainly has the same preferences for privacy as mine. He definitely would have hated going through life as "The Boy Who Lived", and all of the other superlatives that people heaped upon him.

Ron was such a good friend to Harry. I'm imagining that Ginny was devastated by his death, so it was incredibly kind of Ron to step in and arrange for the type of funeral that Harry would have wanted. It sounds similar to the way he lived his life after the war: a quiet affair limited to family and close friends.

Overall, I loved your take on Ron. He's humble, but he also doesn't underestimate himself. He feels comfortable in his own skin, and he's taking his time processing the events and letting his emotions catch up. I would estimate that his emotional range is at least up to a tablespoon by this point, if not a quarter cup. ;)

Your writing was beautiful. I mentioned your pacing above, and you did an awesome job of using detail and nuance to make it all real and gripping. Great job!

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Review #36, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: A Bit of Backtracking

7th July 2014:
Hi, there! I'm here, as always, to enjoy the next chapter of your story. Also, I will selfishly claim a bit of credit for Gryffindor:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now that the formalities are out of the way, it never hurts to take a small step back when we feel as though something important hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. And the memory of Voldemort killing Draco was definitely important on a couple of levels. First, I think it cleared up the majority of what had been left unsaid about Devlin's original kidnapping. It seems to me like the process of Devlin's wolf taking over when Devlin needed to be protected probably started in the memories Voldemort unearthed. It's odd to think that, in a way, Devlin owes Draco a small bit of credit for his survival.

I liked the way you continued to round out Voldemort's take on his relationship with Devlin. The similarities he sees between his own childhood and the abuse that Devlin suffered from Draco were revealing. In spite of them, there's no sympathy there, only a possessive sort of interest. It infuriates him that Draco was able to get Devlin to scream and cry when he was never able to. Once again, you emphasized the fact that Devlin was mostly a curiosity to Voldemort, partly a reflection on his own youth and partly an academic sort of problem that he was never quite able to solve to his own satisfaction. And, wow, does that guy have a twisted idea of what makes a good birthday present!

Harry's own reactions to Draco's body were interesting, as well. I like how the feelings it evoked went beyond the pure loathing that he came to feel for Draco after Devlin's kidnapping. After all of the years that had passed, Harry still felt an odd sort of kinship to Draco. Like an appreciation of the mutual dislike they had shared for so long.

Nice little metaphor with the repairs to the house. Lots of things are changing, mostly for the better.

It's strange, but at times I feel like Emma and Maria are tangled up in Devlin's head in a similar way to how he thinks that he and Voldemort are tangled up in Voldemort's head.

Interesting, how someone like Molly can spot the similarities between a young Harry and Devlin so easily.

I like Maria's appearances because she seems to be one of only three people (Harry and Emma being the other two) who have an ability to make Devlin completely lose his cool and do/say/realize things that he would ordinarily suppress. This paragraph really jumped out at me:

"Maria!" Thomas shouted, easy and casual - as if talking to Maria wasn't a precarious affair. She turned her brilliant blue eyes onto Thomas and a smile curved her lips upward. He felt something clench in his chest that he hadn't known was there.

Ooh, are you teasing another big reveal that's yet to come? Biggest mistake. Hardest punishment. The red-eyed man's greatest weakness. I'm sure that Voldemort lost his mind if Devlin ever called him Tom. Here is this boy who's supposed to be this younger version of himself as well as his possession, throwing his muggle father's name in his face... Scary stuff.

Yay, Fred's still alive! I don't think you've ever covered this explicitly, but I'm very happy to see it. Freddie reminds me a lot of his father. He's irreverent and also innocent in a way. It doesn't really occur to him that his question might be hurtful to Devlin. To him, the Dark Lord is one of those distant, intangible, scary things that adults whisper about, so it MUST be really cool!

I loved the difference in perspective between how Devlin perceives the scuffle with Freddie and how Freddie perceives it. Once again, you've done a brilliant job of teasing out aspects of Devlin's upbringing and perspective through his reactions. Freddie hardly thinks anything of what happened. I'm sure he's had rougher rows with his older cousins and maybe even his sister. But Devlin has no concept of violence and aggression being used without the intent to seriously injure or possibly kill. He only understands "adult violence", as opposed to childish roughhousing.

Harry's reaction really reinforced what you've been alluding to a lot recently. Harry understands a lot of things about Devlin, some of them better than Devlin understands them himself.

Ooh, ooh, ooh! I can't wait to read this conversation. I sense, well, things coming from it. I was about to say good things, but nothing is ever quite that clear-cut where Devlin's past is concerned.

So a few small typos and other things I noticed while reading:

Harry's green eyes followed him and he could feel Alexandra's gaze pick him out at a moment's notice, her keen gaze assured without having to track his every movement. -- Not a huge deal, but you used "gaze" twice in the same sentence.

Maria's eyes were still on him, their conversation was still fresh in his mind, and these two things, happening at once, made him wish that the place wasn't warded against Disapperation. -- should be Disapparition

"Stop talking," Harry said, firmly. "Take breath." -- "Take a breath"?

Excellent work, as always! Looking forward to the next!

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Review #37, by CambAngstYear Five: R

6th July 2014:
Hi, there! Back for another chapter! Also, it's House Cup time and this is the one event I actually have some time to partake in, so:

House Cup 2014 Review

With the pleasantries and formalities out of the way, I do like the way that you continue to deliver the key plot points of your story. I would not have guessed that Tristan was a Slytherin. That puts a very different spin on the character as well as his apparent feelings of alienation and his mood swings. Coming from a mixed family and all.. awkward... No wonder he has such mixed feelings.

Ha! Although it's brief, I liked what you did with Cedric. We only ever see him through Harry's eyes when he's much older, already in the prime of his lady-killing sparkly vampiric godliness. Here he's just breaking out of that ungainly adolescent phase and we're seeing him through the eyes of someone two years older.

Emily's "tradition" with Dumbledore was a really nice touch. All of these kids are the sort of teenagers who almost go out of their way to be disaffected rebels. I don't want to go quite so far as to slap the "rich, suburban white kid problems" label on them -- Tristan's problems are obviously real -- but it's not like they're suffering in the same manner as Harry or Neville. In spite of all that, there's this connection between Emily and Dumbledore. Something the two of them share that transcends age, blood status, academic aptitude and studiousness. Then again, I always imagined that Dumbledore had a bit of a rebellious streak. He probably just didn't express it by engaging in "recreational magic" and other such diversions with his friends.

Grrr.. Marcus Flint. Reading this makes me feel even better about having Draco curse him in Detox and then killing him off in Conspiracy of Blood. He didn't fare well in my stories. ;)

I love Tristan's plan for getting revenge on his roommates. In spite of the enjoyment he'll derive from it, living with that bunch of pureblood supremacist jerks has to be awful for him. At least he has his friends and his literature to keep him company. Slaughterhouse 5 was a favorite of mine when I was younger. I'm now curious whether those themes of predetermination and absurdity will find their way into your story at all.

Funny and completely unrelated side story: When I was in college, one of the dorms on campus used to have a big weekend party every year after the end of second semester classes and before the start of final exams. My freshman year, they hired a band from Seattle that not many people had heard of to play on Saturday night. The year was 1991 and I'm assuming you can guess who the band was...

Ooh, another mystery surrounding Tristan. I'm curious whether his middle name could relate in any way to his interest in Harry Potter. Or maybe I'm just grabbing at straws. The boy has secrets, and I like that about him!

Laurel's kind of a junkie for those Cheering Charms, isn't she?

OK, so there's really only one thing I found in this chapter that I can nit-pick you on and it's this: “Tristan. Cheer me. For the love of Merlin,” commanded Laurel, finally lifting her head. You keep everything in this story so marvelously canon, but in the books, Merlin was never treated like some deity whose name could be invoked or taken in vain. People would refer to his beard or his pants, but I don't recall it ever being implied that he was any sort of god. So there, my one possibly useful bit of constructive criticism.

Wow. I guess they've survived four years at Hogwarts already so they know what they're doing, but I'm not sure I could handle Snape in that mental state. Also, why does Snape love Tristan so much? Does he feel some responsibility for looking after his House's one half-blood? That doesn't sound much like Snape, but I guess stranger things have happened. The plot thickens further...

Another great chapter! I shall return!

Author's Response: Oh yay, so glad to have another review from you!

I'm so very, very pleased you didn't see the Slytherin thing coming! "Reluctant Slytherin" was the original central theme for Tristan's character, and then I worried that that was a pretty common trope around here and people would see it coming straight off!

"lady-killing sparkly vampiric godliness," hahahahahaha. Oh yes, couldn't resist giving Cedric an ugly-duckling phase ;) Alternate POV of canon characters is a LOT of fun!

The Dumbledore wave: I really liked the idea that Dumbledore has a personal relationship with ALL of his students.

Now I wish I HAD woven in Slaughterhouse 5 themes! I chose that book just because it was appropriate to the era, and Tristan's age (and I like it (; )

Aha, you lucky thing. My thought process: "hm, PhilStone look place in 1991-92. Lots of Nirvana is going to have to be involved."

Ohmanohmanohman, I wanna say something about Tristan's suspicious interest... but the spoilers.

Thank you for the Merlin comment, I hadn't thought of that! I will indeed think very carefully about how to revise that line.

Thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed review! You rock!

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Review #38, by CambAngstYear Five: The Hex Head Express

3rd July 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

Very intriguing. I've seen this trope of "magic as an intoxicant" used in stories on other sites, but this is the first time I think I've ever seen it on HPFF. It's actually a really neat idea, along with all the other illicit uses for magic that wayward teens might come up with. JKR avoided the entire issue in the books, which probably makes sense from the standpoint of keeping them kid-friendly, but witches and wizards are human, too.

It was fun to meet some more of your main cast. There seems to be quite a difference between Emily and Laurel -- the happier, bubblier half of the foursome -- and Tristan and Isobel. It's a pretty nice balance, actually.

Tristan came off as someone who's desperately looking for something to be cheerful about, and not really succeeding. Small wonder that he takes his jollies where he can find them. After what happened in your opening chapter, I suspect he's ready to go back to school, although he's not completely ready to let go of the comforts of the muggle world. I would find it incredibly annoying to not be able to listen to music for months at a time.

Nice job with the Cheering Charms. I've seen the trope horribly overdone in other stories and I thought you kept it pretty believable in context. There was nothing ridiculous about the way the scene came off.

Isobel tried to remember what she had been thinking, but couldn't. She'd just been looking at Emily's hair. It fell in a mess of waves, interspersed with tight ringlets, like some muggle storybook picture of a wood nymph. Isobel had wanted to try tugging one, because she felt certain it would bounce. -- I loved that little bit. It was instantly recognizable as one of those little mental traps you fall into when you're... um... under the effects of a Cheering Charm. Yeah, that's the ticket...

I liked the introduction of the Weasley twins and I can't wait to see how they interact with the group. Although I can't necessarily see them engaging in all of the activities, they seem like the sort who would think of the foursome as a fun group to be around.

Now what is this not-so-subtle interest Tristan is taking in Harry? Do I sense a little something more here?

Ha! Poor Hermione! That sounds vaguely traumatic.

Wow. So Arthur Weasley... shed... battery collection... Bwahahahahaaa! I love it!

The foursome's observations on the four houses and their choices of sin seemed spot on!

I really enjoyed this chapter. It was well-written and I never seem to spot typos or other problems in your work. Bravo!

Author's Response: Oh hello again!

I'm glad that "recreational magic" worked--I had no idea if it had been done or not, but I figured thrill-seeking teens+wands=trouble. I mean, if you *can* someone *will.*

I always felt like there were more adult themes hanging round the periphery of the Potter series, and the periphery is where this story takes place!

What you said about the bubblier half of the foursom--I just looked it up, and they each perfectly correspond to one of the four humours. Laurel is Sanguine, Isobel is Choleric, Tristan is Melancholy, and Emily is Phlegmatic (which sounds bad, but is actually rather nice). I've heard that's common in western fiction; any group of four will correspond--be they Ninja Turtles, Sex and the City women, or Hogwarts Houses.

Your thoughts on Tristan are dead on! I'm really happy to see that all those things about his character are coming across.

I'm really pleased that you quoted the bit you did--I really like that idea, and re-wrote that section a million times to get it right!

I definitely think the Weasley's would be a bit more savory than the other four, but absolutely yes, find them fun to hang around. Fred and George are the token younger friends, but they're also a little better adjusted than the main quartet. Which isn't to say they aren't rulebreakers--more on that later ;)

Yay, you are the first person to mention Tristan's interest in Harry's upbringing!! Oh the foreshadowing.

Hahaha, Hermione and Arthur. I imagined Hermione's little trauma coming right after she met Harry and Ron the first time. And Arthur loves all things muggle--ALL things, amiright? I like the idea that he doesn't know about stigma or implications, just thinks it's a delightfully quirky muggle passtime. And of course F and G wouldn't tell him ;)

Thanks so much for your review, and I hope you update Death Hunters soon!


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Review #39, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakdown: Rose POV

2nd July 2014:
Hi, Beth! I hope you didn't expect me to take my time getting to this, because I've been checking every few hours since you said that it was in the queue. ;)

I really love the way that your chapters always seem to have sharply contrasting highs and lows. This was a pretty extreme one even by your standards. Rose starts off with something that feels distinctly like gradual progress, dips into the depths of shock and despair, then ends on one of the highest notes of the story so far. It was quite the ride!

I really, really like her therapist. Ruth is obviously very sharp and very experienced. She sees things in Rose's life that Rose can't see for herself and because her words carry the weight of an impartial, professional opinion, Rose actually listens to her!

"It… is very powerful and can only be done under certain - er - circumstances." -- Well, I obviously have my own guess, but we shall see whether I'm correct.

It's funny how quickly Rose gives herself away with her preemptive statement about where her relationship with Scorpius hasn't gone yet. You don't just blurt something like that out unless the thought was pretty close to the forefront of your mind.

And then things go south in a hurry. I'm kind of impressed by the way you pulled Cormac McLaggen -- psst, there's no "a" in the "Mc", I checked my copy of HBP -- off of the dust heap and made him the face of irresponsible stupidity in pursuit of glory. Even more so when you recall his history with Rose's mum. It's a small thing, but I liked it.

Even within this one scene, you served up some highs and lows to play havoc with Rose's emotions. From the Head Healer's vote of confidence in her to the horrible loss of her first patient to her discovery of the true nature of the injuries to the Ministry workers, poor Rose was being pulled in every direction. It was no surprise at all to see her succumb to all that emotion when it was over.

Yes, her knight in shining... um, shiny blond hair arrives! You couldn't have set up their big moment any better, I think. Well, their latest big moment, at any rate. And it was a big one. Rose opens herself up so unconditionally to him, relying on him emotionally in a way that definitely wouldn't have been possible a few chapters back. And he's finally up to the challenge! I think back to Dominique's warning right after the attack in the girls' flat. He's definitely acquitted himself of his past behavior, I think.

Now what's this about going out? On the one hand, I feel good for Rose. This seems like another huge step for her, getting back into what most folks her age would call a "normal" existence. On the other, I'm worried for both of them. Stannous is still out there.

Brilliant chapter, and I'm sort of holding my breath for the next!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

So I must apologize for the lateness of this response. This is my oldest review sitting in my "unanswered reviews" pile for a reason. I really like to take my time in responding to you because you take so much time to write them.

I am very flattered that you check regularly for updates. It really motivates me - and makes me nervous at the same time. I always click that submit button with "What will Dan think?" buzzing through my head.

This chapter really did run the gamut, huh? I think it kind of needed to, for this point in the story. Warning: more dramatics ahead!

Yeah - the circumstances for the healing power are... very interesting. Even for this case.

As usual, Rose is too much inside her own head to have an actual discussion with Scorpius about such an important step. To be honest I completely HATE the name of this story. It is really cliched and over the top cheesy. BUT, I have to admit, as the story moves on, the title does ring true for the main characters. Ugh!

Cormac was always going to be the power hungry ministry executive. He probably hates it that Hermione (and Ron and Harry) are higher up than he is in the government organization. I will fix the spelling of his last name. Thanks for finding that!

Rose is ready. Ready to take the proverbial next step with Scorpius and ready to move on with her life. She just wants to be normal. Yeah... Stannous is still out there. I was pretty obvious with the "I want to go out." line. Everyone picks up on that. (All two of you who read the story and review).

Uh-oh. Something is definitely going to happen when they "go out."

Thanks so much for this review. They ALL make my day!

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Review #40, by CambAngstDon't Mean a Thing: Not the One to Stay Around

29th June 2014:
Hi, Rose! I heard you had a zero unanswered reviews problem and I'm here to fix it. ;)

I am absolutely in awe of the concept behind this story. The idea that Sirius would push Lily and James together in this way that only he could... it's beyond clever, it's brilliant. I love the slightly twisted altruism that you've infused his character with. He sees what Lily needs -- what he thinks she needs, anyway -- and he goes about trying to give it to her in a way that neither she nor James would ever approve of. I thought it was a beautifully accurate take on his character, both in terms of his loyalty and his completely unconventional approach to problem-solving.

In the beginning, it almost seems as though there's more to Sirius's attraction to Lily. In fact, upon a second reading, maybe there actually is. I love the scene you created in one of the castle's hidden places. It was a lovely complement to the clandestine and dangerous nature of their encounter.

Ooh, Lily is something of a naughty girl, isn't she? This is definitely not the stock characterization of Lily Evans, and I like where you've taken her. At the same time you're baring all of Lily's, er, less ladylike traits, you open up Sirius just enough to let us realize that the task he's engaged in isn't easy for him. He knows already how this is going to end, how it must end to accomplish its intended purpose. You didn't really elaborate on whether his discomfort stems from feeling like he's betraying James or knowing that he's going to break Lily's heart in the end, and I liked that. It could be either or both.

Then he does what has to be done. It's ugly and harsh and not at all pleasant to visualize. I definitely visualized it, though, because all of your descriptions were so vivid and real.

Brilliant concept, beautiful writing, great execution! I loved every bit of it! :)

Author's Response: Can I just say how much this cheered me up? I mean, really, I was surprised and elated by this review.

You're the first person who hasn't just told me how twisted it was at the end. Thank you for being twisted with me. It's a very Machiavelli move on Sirius' part - that he'd understand or think he understands how to manipulate people in just the right way. This was a very interesting side of loyalty. It's along the lines of hurting someone to help them out.

What I withheld from this story (and should go back and add) is Sirius' own feeling of unworthiness. Where he wants Lily but doesn't think he deserves her. Sirius knows that James wants her too but sees him as more worthy - which is why he would play out their relationship like he did. I'm glad you like the secret passage and that you saw the symbolism behind it.

I get bored with the stock characterization of Lily. That's fine if she's a background character or not deeply explored in a story (e.g. in A Moment of Fear I really didn't put a lot into her). I don't care for the use of Lily as some sort of Madonna to Harry's Jesus role. I did want to leave Sirius' actions and feelings up for interpretation. Was he being the ultimate wingman or was he being a selfish jerk that happened to help his friend out? Depends on the reader.

I'm so happy you liked my harsh Sirius. I was kind of using the classic move tough guy goes soft then gets mean again for how he played through this.

Thank you so much for picking me up out of the 0 unanswered reviews bucket and for leaving me such a squee-worth review!!


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Review #41, by CambAngstHoping for A Heartbeat : Words No One Wants to Hear

27th June 2014:
Hi, Lindsey.

This is the chapter that I've been expecting since the beginning. In spite of that, it wasn't any easier to read. The chapter itself was short and kind of spartan, which isn't a bad way to capture the sort of cold emptiness that Ginny must have felt in this moment. It's horrible to watch everything you've been imagining and thinking about and hoping for disappear in an instant. I feel so awful that I want to send everyone cookies: Ginny, Harry, the Healer, you... everyone who's ever been touched by an experience like this.

I'm not really sure what else you could add to improve this chapter. It really says all that needs to be said. You did a really good job with it!

Author's Response: Well hello there! I am so glad that you liked it and that you don't see much that needs to be improved. :) Thanks so much for coming and reviewing, you have given me the motivation to continue it!

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Review #42, by CambAngstThe Deathly Children: Symbols and Stories

26th June 2014:
Hi, teh!

Another brilliant chapter in this awesome story! I'm really surprised that more folks haven't been actively following this. OK, maybe they are following it and they aren't reviewing, which would be a shame. Either way, I think anyone who's aspiring to write any story on HPFF -- especially one set in this era -- could learn a lot from the way you use language and imagery and your descriptions of physical sensations. You do an amazing job of conveying mood and moment using these things!

I love Gellert's letters from prison. They're high-minded and articulate, yet blunt. The Dumbledore he's addressing is exactly the flawed, regretful man that Harry meets in King's Cross station near the end of Deathly Hallows. Not that Gellert doesn't have plenty of flaws of his own. But in his letters he acknowledges many of them, and tries to hold Albus to task on doing the same. Interesting that even after his horrible misdeeds and his defeat at Dumbledore's hands, Gellert seems to view himself as a conscience of sorts to his former friend. A very angry, vindictive, mocking conscience, but nonetheless one who's trying to make Albus face his own worst tendencies and shortcomings.

I love the way that you tied Ariana's three women together with the three witches in Gellert's story. That was pretty brilliant. Death seems to speak to Ariana, which I guess isn't so much of a stretch for a story like this one. And she's unconsciously making the symbol of the Hallows. Weird, fascinating stuff!

I thought it was very sad that Albus isn't even following up to make sure Ariana eats any more. He leaves her food at her door and goes about his business. :(

I tend to agree that the meetings between Gellert and Albus are anything but accidental. In so many ways, Gellert reminds me of a young Tom Riddle. He charms Albus and gradually reels him in. Never revealing too much, always teasing with just a hint here and there of the true potential that lies within. I think he's also started to understand Albus's other interest in him. The one that Albus doesn't even necessarily recognize at this point.

Gellert's story was really well done, I thought. On one level, Gellert's right. There isn't some clever moral lying beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. The point seems rather simple, actually. Death's gifts are not gifts at all. For those who have everything yet cannot be satisfied and happy -- the villagers -- there are no magical good outcomes. The poor girl tries to "fix" them and only succeeds in killing them. It's an odd story for Gellert to share, but one that I think might haunt Albus later.

Ariana's insights into Gellert's character seem spot-on. Too bad Albus doesn't listen to her more. I loved the little comment about chewing on her dolls. You have a really neat way of bringing her back to being a somewhat disturbed teenage girl whenever I start to lose sight of that.

I really enjoyed this and no, I didn't think it was too long. Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hey Dan!!

I feel awful for taking so long to respond to this brilliant review. But thank you so much for coming back and reading and reviewing, especially since this chapter had no feedback at all, but you came along and changed that. I think I don't have many followers because these aren't very popular characters to read about, at least in a longer WIP? Also, I'm not a particularly fast writer, which might cause readers to lose interest. But thank you so much once again for coming back!

Ooh, love the way you described Gellert's voice in his letters as a "vindictive, mocking conscience". He does indeed know Albus really well, and I'm of the opinion that he doesn't think Albus deserves his fame and victory and all, or at least that Albus is the betrayer of the bond the both of them once shared.

Aah, I'm so glad you like the way I linked up Ariana's "hallucinations" with the story! I was seriously worried about that one, and I'm going to keep on worrying about it, but you've given me absolutely encouraging comments on this. I'm also quite excited to develop this aspect of the story a lot more. And of course, this is where my fic possibly begins to twist and turn a little way off the canon track. But I don't think this will go AU at all.

Albus is odd, isn't he? I believe that right now he's completely unable to see beyond himself. Well, he understands his brother and sister, he knows them well, but there's a barrier between him and them (there's a barrier betwenn each of them, in fact), and he's just unable to be completely empathetic with them. At least right now. Gellert is a refreshing twist for him in his dreary new life, so of course, he seizes on to this bright spark and hopes he can find a kindred spirit, somehow. Something to alleviate the boredom of his life.

And as usual, I'm having a ball with writing Ariana. No, she's not the completely destroyed girl I often encounter in fic. Certainly not.

Thank you for this amazing review, Dan! It's wonderful to see your continued support for this fic! ♥


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Review #43, by CambAngstTrying not to love you: Chapter twenty-five – News

25th June 2014:
It took me quite a while to figure out what I wanted to say about this chapter. I've been thinking about it ever since you sent me the draft of it weeks ago. As a beta reader and fellow author, I can't say enough about the pacing and character development of your story. I read the other reviews and I see the cries of despair and it's obvious how much your readers connect with your characters. As a fan of the story, I definitely feel their pain. We root for Gwen and James and we revel in their small steps forward and mourn their missed opportunities. This was definitely a chapter that didn't have a whole lot to celebrate.

Gwen's visit with the French healer set a mood of impatience and struggling with the unknown that carried through the rest of the chapter. It was a really good start.

Then it transitions from that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing right into Gwen and Joshua's discussion of their relationship in the aftermath of the Great Broom Closet Incident. Well, not immediately into that discussion, because it seems like they continue to do the awkward dance for another half day. I was oddly proud of Gwen when she finally snaps. It seems like it had been a long time coming and even though the crisis isn't Joshua's fault in any way, shape, form or fashion, she deserves at least the courtesy of knowing where his head is.

And I think his head was exactly where I would have expected it to be. He asked her the only question that really mattered, in my opinion. People get kissed by surprise. It happens. But when they return the kiss, that's different.

"Did it mean nothing to you too?" Joshua interrupted.

The question left me stunned. "I – I –" I stammered as a response, the words escaping me.

He let out a sad smile. "That's what I assumed."

And there it is, the only question that's really important. And Gwen totally fumbles the response and he knows it. After fumbling on a bit longer, she comes clean... sort of.

There, I’d said it. That was closest to the truth I could possibly tell him. -- Oh, Gwen. She can't really even admit the truth to herself, so I guess it's quite a stretch to think she'd admit it to anyone else.

So I did what I always did when someone questioned me about my feelings for my best friend. What I had been doing already too much in the short amount of time Joshua and I had been together. I lied. -- As a fan of the story, out of everything in the chapter, I think this was the paragraph that hurts the most. It hurts to watch somebody do something that's ultimately so self-defeating. Sigh.

And he accepts her lie. Accepts it, forgives her, says that it's in the past and he's ready to move on. Moments like this are the ones that make me suspicious of Joshua. He isn't this stupid. He must realize she's not being completely truthful with him. So why is he doing this dance?

And... she's kissing Joshua but she can't stop thinking about kissing James. Most people would see this as a big, red flag. Poor Gwen is still too much of a mess, though. Frustrating...

Oh, boy. When Harry Potter shows up at your door late at night, it's never good news. So just when you have my head spinning on the topic of "Joshua, the Impossibly Understanding and Forgiving Boyfriend," you hit me with another round of guessing on Gwen's father. It sure seems like somebody wants him out of Azkaban. So one of two things is probably happening here: A) the same person or people who convinced the other prisoner to kill the guard are also forcing Gwen's father to change his mind, or B) Gwen's father has changed his mind because he knows about something bad that's happening. I'm leaning more toward option B, but time will tell...

So I think it's fair to say that Gwen comes off like a crazy lady when she explains to Joshua why she has to go. Or doesn't explain, actually. Once again, here's why I keep thinking that Joshua has ulterior motives. How on earth does he just accept her non-explanation of why she's suddenly leaving to go see the guy that she kissed and oh, by the way, that didn't mean anything. He's either the most trusting human being alive or he already has an idea of why she's going...

I'm completely convinced that nothing was happening between James and Sam. I mean, they're planning surprise parties, after all. So either James was asking her to keep something secret related to the party, or... or James was talking to her about a girl that he might fancy. The possibilities...

Of course, Gwen leaps headlong to the worst possible conclusion. The last couple of screens of this chapter were incredibly hard to read. Gut-wrenching. Heart-breaking. Painful. Ugh. I need cookies...

Well, I honestly cannot wait to see what happens next. Gwen and James have obviously taken a few HUGE steps backward in this chapter. It will be interesting to see how they recover. Great job, you big meanie, you!

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Review #44, by CambAngstYear Five: Dozens of Little Televisions (1991)

23rd June 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room!

After I read your story summary, I started reading this with a lot of fear and trepidation. I know not a thing about you -- aside from the fact that you review rather thoroughly -- but your story has the type of premise that I normally avoid. It's really, really hard to write a compelling novel that's set at Hogwarts, during the time of the books and involving major canon characters. So many things can go wrong.

All of that said, I really enjoyed your first chapter and I think you've got an idea here that can really go places. It looks like you're planning to write a story that sort of feeds into the story told in the books, but does it from a bit of a distance. This could definitely work.

I love the way you set up the start of this chapter. For the first few screens, there was nothing that even suggested I was reading a story about wizards and magic. Sophie was a fantastic lead-in to the character we're really meant to meet and get to know. She's flawed, age-appropriate and her issues are completely realistic. You didn't go overboard with the teenage rebellion theme, you just let her actions speak for themselves. Beautifully constructed!

Then you slowly begin to work in the little hints that Tristan is not what she thinks. I loved the pacing. Bit by bit, Sophie realizes that she's not in Kansas anymore. Her take on the magical portraits was great writing. You took your time and let her explore things in a way that felt perfectly natural.

Tristan's poor parents! I loved your take on how a witch would relate to a muggle appearing in their home. Mary seemed as frightened of Sophie as Sophie was of her.

Lastly, we have Tristan. You captured his angst and sadness about the double-life he leads in a very believable way. It didn't feel like some spoiled, rich, magical teenager whining, "woe is me!" His problems run deeper and the manifestations had a lot more gravity.

You write really well. Everything had a great flow to it and even though the subject matter was more teen-focused and angsty, you resisted the urge to dip too deeply into slang and over-the-top behavior.

I really enjoyed this and I'm excited to read more!

Author's Response: Wow thanks! It's really encouraging to hear that you liked this story despite some VERY understandable hesitation. (I did a truly obnoxious amount of research and planning before I started writing this--I think I've read the entirety of the HP lexicon and wiki. I can't imagine being able to write Hogwarts era off the top of my head (: )

I'm really pleased with the reaction to the Sophie-device. I fretted over her because if she wasn't compelling enough, I'd lose readers instantly, but if she was too likable/interesting, readers might be upset that she doesn't turn up again.

What you said about teenage rebellion/actions speaking for themselves--I hope that I was able to maintain that throughout chapters. I kinda wrote this for readers in at least their early 20s (like me), who can recognize things in the characters that the characters can't see in themselves. Sort of like in OotP (Harry's "Year Five at Hogwarts"), when you can tell he's being an angsty idiot even if he can't. I truly hope that that works, and would love to hear your thoughts going forward!

And I'm glad you identified with the parents! Writing parents from a teen POV is very potent.

Now I'm worried that the characters get to over-the-top later, ah! This story was inspired a lot by early "skins," and Rowling's "Casual Vacancy," so yeah. Aaaah!

Thanks so much for your review! Since this isn't the type of story you generally read, your feedback is especially valuable.


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Review #45, by CambAngstDream Catcher: The Burrow

20th June 2014:
Hi, Maggie! I'm back for chapter 2!

This chapter had an awesome life transition/coming of age feel to it. Molly is surrounded by the familiar trappings of her childhood, but at the same time she's experiencing the highs and lows of moving on.

I loved this paragraph: Lucy rolled her eyes. She was thirteen—everything embarrassed her. Your writing has real snap to it. You're great at using this sort of small aside or observation to break up the narration and lighten the mood.

You did a good job of defining Molly's niche in the family. She prefers not to be the center of attention, to observe from the periphery and pick and choose her moments. There's quite a contrast between her and Victoire. Definitely a situation of opposites attracting.

Poor Vic can't quite figure out what to make of life at this point, it seems. After being the social butterfly and the life of the party, it must be hard to see "that life" coming to an end and be faced with one that's full of uncertainty and doubt. Being overshadowed by her less popular cousin's achievement probably makes it even harder. I feel badly for her. I think I hear "Glory Days" playing in the back of my mind. ;)

Nice job! I really enjoyed this.

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Review #46, by CambAngstDream Catcher: Patronus

17th June 2014:
Hi, Maggie! I enjoyed your review on CoB so much that when I saw your post in the chapter updates thread, I wanted to take a look.

It did take me a little bit to wrap my head around the idea of Molly and Victoire being close to the same age. For some reason, I always think of Molly as being close in age to James. But after a bit, I was over it. If you want Molly to be one of the elder cousins then she is!

I love the memory she chose to fuel her Patronus. I'm not the world's biggest sports fan, but I can definitely relate to that feeling of being completely immersed in the energy and passion of a stadium full of cheering, chanting fans. It's a magical thing, one you don't get to experience very often in life. You did a great job of drawing out the intensity and the magic of the moment with all of the details and emotions you evoked. Especially Arthur with tears in his eyes. What a wonderful moment! And you gave her a panda bear for a Patronus. Adorable!

Your writing was pristine in this. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems or anything that distracted from the flow and rhythm of the chapter. Great job!

Author's Response: Hi, thank you so so much for coming by! I feel terrible for not responding sooner, but RL is attacking me at the moment. But this review makes me smile every time!

I had this idea of Victoire in my mind, and I knew she and Molly would balance each other so perfectly as friends. So I decided that they needed to be close in age. I'm really excited to explore both of these characters more deeply as the story goes on, and to flesh out their relationship. I'm glad it started to feel right after a bit, and hopefully as the story goes on it will feel more natural.

I don't know that I'm a huge sports fan either, but I do love the moment when it's down to the wire and the underdog pulls off something spectacular. It can be very inspiring, and that's what I saw as Molly's biggest motivation to pursue Quidditch.

Thanks again! I'm so happy you decided to come by, and I hope you continue to enjoy Dream Catcher :)


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Review #47, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakthrough: Scorpius POV

15th June 2014:
Well, well, well, what have we here? The Aurors are hard at work in a new chapter!

This is a very interesting mystery when you put all of the pieces together. There's something very deliberate about the way that Stannous abducted and tortured Rose. An agenda that's not immediately apparent. If it was a simple act of violent retribution against the Potter/Weasley family, there would have been no reason to return her alive. It obviously wasn't about money since there was never a ransom demand. If the point was to send a message of some sort to Harry, Ron and/or Hermione then it didn't work out so well because Rose concealed so much of what happened to her until just recently. What are we left with for possible motives?

I'm starting to think that Stannous's motivations are very personal and they're centered narrowly around Rose and very possibly Scorpius. I'm not letting go of the obvious similarities between Stannous's name and the surname of Scorpius's great uncle and aunt. Maybe the message that's being sent here isn't meant for the Trio at all. Maybe somebody doesn't like the fact that the only heir to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black is getting cozy with the half-blood granddaughter of the ultimate blood traitor family? Or maybe it's something else entirely. You see how intrigued and confused you've made me? :p

I like the power dynamic that's playing out between Albus and the mentees. It's not at all hard to see where Albus is coming from, but that snappish tendency you've been building up with him since the scene where he duels Harry surfaced again. You've done a good job developing his character and you've paced it really well.

Dom seems to feel most of the same things that Albus is feeling -- so does Scorpius, to a different extent -- but she handles those feelings much better. There's a lot more velvet padding the knife of her emotions than you get with Albus.

"We lived in a state of complete panic and then were so relieved that she seemed unharmed that we didn't ask these questions when we should have!" -- Excellent observation, Dom! And a lot of time has passed. The answers won't be any easier to come by now.

They're going to pretty great lengths to keep everything concealed from Ron, which is actually quite sensible. Ron doesn't handle stuff like this well. I think it would be nice to have Hermione's big brain on their side, but she'd probably feel bound to share with her husband.

Excellent writing! I didn't see a single typo or any other problems. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

Your reviews always make me smile.

I'm so pleased that I have intrigued and confused you! :) Stannous is definitely targeting Rose Weasley - and it is a pretty big mystery.

You have a great intuition, Dan. All I'm gonna say.

Al is a hothead. He is all passion and a little bit of ego, but he feels things deeper than most. Rose is his best friend and he doesn't always see things objectively when it comes to those that he loves - he is a lot like Ron in that respect.

Dom is a tough cookie and she doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve, but she is just as shaken about this as the rest of them. She just goes about things in a more methodical manner.

Harry doesn't like keeping this from Ron and Hermione. I think he could use their help as well, but he doesn't want to betray Rose's confidence. They are a lot tougher than Rose thinks. Rose just sees her parents as "Mum and Dad," not necessarily as tough, dark wizard exterminators. Can anyone really look at the people who changed their nappies and see a superhero?

Thanks again - next chapter should be in the queue soon!

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Review #48, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: The Best Birthday Present

14th June 2014:
Hi, there! Back again for your new chapter!

Harry's choice of bringing in the mind healer was interesting. It's pretty counter-intuitive to try that with Devlin, I would think. Well, let me rephrase that slightly. It's counter-intuitive to try that with Dubhán. Devlin needs all the help he can get, but I found it hard to imagine that Dubhán would willingly participate in such a thing. And he doesn't, at least not willingly. Some of what slips out by accident was pretty revealing, though.

The initial back-and-forth, the sort of "feeling out" period was perfectly awkward for such an encounter. As an omniscient reader -- one who knows what's going on inside Devlin's poor little head -- I have to question the wisdom of Harry not sharing a bit more with the mind healer. I get that he didn't want Devlin to feel like confidences had been betrayed and he probably didn't want to bias her thinking and all that, but he kind of walked her blindly into the cannon fire.

"It seems foolish to argue about liking a name. It seems foolish to even be discussing liking a name." -- This is sort of symptomatic of the problem, I think.

But from those shaky beginnings, I think some pretty useful and revealing things arise. Not that Devlin really shared all that much, but I think maybe he straightened a thing or two out in his own mind. I liked his explanation of the difference between being Devlin and being Dubhán. How being Dubhán sort of absolves him of the need to listen to his conscience and be limited by it. Dubhán was the one who survived Voldemort, along with the sharpness. Devlin was just a freeloader on the journey, a potential source of weakness that could have gotten all three of them killed. It's no wonder that Dubhán feels so disgusted and pathetic about the way he acted in the bathroom with Harry. The boy sobbing in the bathroom was pure Devlin, finally trying to come to terms with all of the terrible things Dubhán did to survive.

Then there's his reaction to the word typical. You played up that word brilliantly. I could never imagine Voldemort using that word as anything other than a derogatory term, and Devlin plainly internalized that message. The way he associates "typical" with "worthless" made perfect sense.

Somehow, some part of him hadn't believed Harry. Likely it was the same part that still doubted Harry's promise and reassurances from the night before. -- Alright, well there is that. Maybe Harry's more clever than I'm giving him credit for. He did what he said he was going to. That's a pretty big deal for Devlin.

"Harry calls him a monster. He doesn't really call Harry a monster, but he hates him as much as he loves himself. There's no one else that makes him so furious. No one else that makes him so...real." -- Now I simply could not pass up on this line! So being angry is being "real" if you're Voldemort. Perfect!

I loved the healer's parting advice for Devlin. Reorganizing your mind, putting events and thoughts in their proper context, can definitely be exhausting. Especially when you're doing it in such a way that you have to vocalize things as you go. I'm sure Devlin was burned out.

It seems like Devlin's birthday went more or less to his liking. Not a big, splashy affair. No other kids around to make him feel awkward.

I loved the paragraph where he's verbally agreeing with his mother but shouting her down on the inside. The part of him that's a "typical" ten year old is the part that lives on the inside. The part that Dubhán has to keep under control.

Wow. It kind of felt like you were going to kill off Draco at some point, but this wasn't at all how I was expecting it to happen. I would have bet on him having his own scene where he either goes out in a blaze of glory, fighting against Harry, or a scene where Voldemort kills him to make a point. Instead, he's sort of unceremoniously killed by Voldemort and left for the Aurors to find. It was a relatively quiet way to go.

And lastly, Devlin's reaction. Well, Dubhán's reaction, to be more precise. No, I can't imagine him shedding any tears over Draco's death. Truthfully, I can't imagine Harry mourning it, either. And neither one of them does. But I loved Harry's reaction, which really had almost nothing to do with Draco Malfoy. It had everything to do with the guilt he feels about allowing his son to be exposed to the level of inhumanity where he was actually laughing about another person's death. That was very well written.

Great chapter! Like I said, it's a bit of a setback for Devlin, but not as bad as what I'd feared might be coming. Your writing was fantastic, as always!

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Review #49, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: Whispering Hearts

13th June 2014:
Hi, pix! Back again to see how the Next Gen kids and devil bunnies are playing together. Not so well, it seems.

It starts off on a fun note. "You can burn those," Rose said, motioning her foot to the image of her tripping over herself and shoving people out of the way. "I scuffed up my new trainers for nothing." Poor Rose! She isn't doing a very good job of convincing anyone -- even herself -- that she isn't interested in Scorpius, is she? Wren stared at the last picture in her hand, where Albus' eyes shone brightly back at her. She smiled to herself, remembering those eyes from a particularly vivid dream a few nights ago. And Rose isn't the only one who's having some unrequited (or maybe just unacknowledged) boy issues. You're still doing an awesome job of keeping these kids age-appropriate!

Poor Wren is starting to have more and more issues with Dillon's mental tendrils, it seems. At least she seems to be finding ways to fight off his control. The tea was a good start, but getting him out of her head seems to be becoming more willful and less of a passive thing. Good on you, Wren!

I have the strangest feeling that Rose and Callie's adventure outside of the castle is going to end poorly. Caught? Enthralled? Providing Dillon with the means to sneak into the castle? I just don't see any good coming of this outing. Given what Albus already thinks of James, if Dillon manages to enthrall James it's going to take Wren and Albus that much longer to figure out what's really happening. Sigh.

Now this is interesting. Is Bunny somehow shifting allegiances here? Perhaps becoming more Wren's friend than Dillon's friend? That would seem to be a significant development. She and Albus definitely need allies in their as-yet-unrealized war against the demon bunnies and their creepy little boy overlord.

Wow! So even though the demon bunnies are messing with Wren's magic, it doesn't seem like the effect is entirely one-sided. You are working so many neat plot threads into this story! I love it!

For one, small moment, Wren allowed herself to believe that the butterflies in her stomach were a good thing. -- Yes, they are! Wren needs more small moments like this.

It didn't actually matter how long or short her hair was, but this way, it made her look more... she blew her hair out of her face again... yeah, like that. -- Ha! You are pulling out all the stops in this chapter with the subtle signs of infatuation. Also, I really have to stop with the pull quotes or I'm going to run out of characters before I get to the end of this chapter.

Albus is dissing the trampy girl in favor of Wren! Good on you, Albus!

I liked the little side track into the politics of vampires in magical society. I feel fairly confident that you're setting something up for later on, although I can only guess at what. Maybe Wren does become Dillon's friend again at some point. Maybe Albus, with his less "enlightened" view on vampires, won't be pleased by this. Speculation...

I loved the "moment" that Wren and Albus have in the middle of the chapter. His hand on her arm, her inner battle over whether to tell him all about Bunny... poignant stuff!

Get out of my head, Wren demanded silently, and pushed back, hard. Her mind jolted free, and she had to blink a few times to reorient herself to where she was. -- Ooh, rudimentary Occlumency? Achievement unlocked...

"Oh Godric, you're going to cry. Okay, okay," Albus said softly, almost sounding like he was saying it more for himself than her. He took her hands in his and waited. -- Ha! The perfect teenage boy reaction! I mean, it would have showed a little more game if he'd managed to not say it out loud, but still.

Then the pace of the chapter picks up dramatically. It seems like Albus's rabbit has grown into some sort of monster in the restricted section. Maybe eating dark magic books isn't so good for a rabbit? The thing was definitely scary. And poor Wren has a 3-party call going on inside of her head. This section reinforced the idea that Wren's Bunny might not be completely in the same camp with Dillon and Albus's monster rabbit. I'm so incredibly impressed with the way you've set up Albus from the very beginning of this story. His paranoia about being pranked by James led him to take so many precautions that he feels perfectly natural being immune from the effects of the vampire thralls.

Wrapping up with Ian Sloan, I'm glad that you already conditioned us not to like him. Here, he's part vampire-enthralled zombie and part obnoxious jerk. Can't say I'm wild about either one. I just hope Albus and Wren get to Neville before he does, but knowing you, I doubt that's gonna happen. :p

Awesome chapter! It was a pleasure to beta read and a pleasure to read for real!

Author's Response: Ah! Just when I thought I was catching up... but I'm not complaining. This is amazing. All those shiny words!

I think we'd have to be very worried if the devil bunnies start playing nice with the Next Gen kids. Though now that you bring it up, I could do a dark version, where the Next Gen kids are completely overwhelmed by devil bunnies and become their...

Maybe another time.

Rose is definitely not doing great in the denial department right now. Just for you, (actually, mostly for me) there's more on that coming up soon. As for Wren, she's made a bit of progress, but her situation is a bit more complicated than simply admitting to a crush. Oh, the interfering plot!

Speaking of plot, Wren is making some headway with regaining control inside her mind. So there's that. I just hope that I've presented it in a way that I won't confuse anyone. I suppose time will tell.

There is some significant development with Bunny here. I hadn't shown much of what Bunny thinks through all of this, and I wasn't going so far as to write a scene from Bunny's POV (though I had a few of those that got trashed from the first draft. They were too weird and even I couldn't follow what was going on... silly rabbits!) but I felt like I needed to at least show that the affection between Wren and Bunny wasn't... erm... all in her head?

If Wren could get a mental break, I'm sure she would be having all kinds of thoughts that she needs right now. We'll see how that goes for her moving forward. Wren's new discovery about her abilities should help.

Albus' bracelets come in handy with trampy whats-her-name, don't they? I resisted inserting more of the sidebar about the girls following Albus around in this story. It's there, but it's so out of his focus at the moment that he's just ignoring it until he can't. I laughed out loud about Albus' lack of "game". Still laughing, actually. If he had any, he might have asked her out a year ago, and it wouldn't even be an issue now. I suppose everybody's got a learning curve. That moment was a nice interlude, so I'm glad you liked that.

You've got some interesting speculations about the vampire/wizard situation and how it impacts the story. Let's pretend that I planned all of that out and it will be fabulous. :) Seriously, I do have subtle plans, but Smeed threw a wrench in one of my subplots that I'm trying to pry apart. Again. He and I need a serious sit-down regarding the outcome. I swear I had the entire plot finished a few months ago. That's what I get for over-developing my characters. Bleah!

LOL! Three-party call, indeed! You may be impressed with the way I set up Albus, but let me tell you that he is highly displeased with his situation. I'm glad it feels natural. I didn't want him to come off as some great evil rabbit know-it-all all of a sudden.

Obnoxious jerks make the best zombies, I think. Maybe that could be a literary rule or trope of some kind: make all the zombies obnoxious.

Thanks again for the use of your eyes and this fabulous review!

Wait, wait. Does that mean you only "fake" read it before??

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Review #50, by CambAngstThe Brave at Heart: A Message and a Mess

12th June 2014:
Tagging you from Review Tag!

Can I tell you how stoked I was to get back to this story? Very stoked, indeed!

Melanie's brother seems to have one crazy owl. Like a larger, more dangerous version of Pigwidgeon. The letter that she brought was anything but amusing, however. I like how you're maintaining some mystery around Melanie's brother and parents. Are they or aren't they?

Mandy seems to be taking it all fairly well, considering her mixed parentage. I like the fact that you've introduced at least one Slytherin character to this story who isn't a pureblood. Or Snape, I guess. It really helps to balance the perspective out a bit.

Moving along to the prank. It seemed pretty clever in the state we first see it in, but it looks like things are only going to get more interesting. Three of the house tables look pretty and smell nice, the Slytherins are going to get a nasty rash -- possibly poisoned -- and Filch is going to have a major allergy attack. It seems well thought out and probably better than the broom closet prank from the Slytherin girls, especially considering that it hasn't fully played out yet.

My goodness, have the Slytherin girls been tricked into taking the fall for the Marauders' prank? I'm really feeling the need to move on to the next chapter, just to see whether Remus, Sirius and the others took off just before Filch arrived on the scene!

Another enjoyable chapter, albeit a tad short. Looking forward to more!

Author's Response: Do you know how stoked I was to see this awesome review? So stoked! Seriously, it means so much to me that a splendid writer like yourself enjoys this story.

I think his owl was sort of inspired by Pigwidgeon, actually. I guess when you get a new owl it probably has to adjust to its task of carrying letters, right? And the letter.. yeah. There's a lot Melanie isn't aware of outside Hogwarts just because she's shielded from it at school, so that's a reminder for her that she should be thinking about it.

Melanie is not a pureblood either - I think probably a lot of Slytherins weren't purebloods. There would certainly be fewer people with Muggle heritage but I seem to remember that the number of completely pureblood families is pretty low.

Their prank was probably much better planned out, yes - after all they are known for this sort of thing! And... well. They aren't exactly friends with the Slytherin girls yet, as it would take more time for them to drop such an ingrained house rivalry, so... perhaps they wouldn't be above doing that. We shall see. ;)

Thank you so much for your review!!

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