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Wow! This was an absolutely chilling piece. I'm not in the habit of feeling badly for old Lucius. Everything that ever happened to him, be brought upon himself. But it's hard not to get pulled into the despair and terror that you infused this story with. I wouldn't trade places with him for anything.
I thought it was a little amusing, in a twisted sort of way, that he dreads the visit of a Dementor. It seems pretty obvious that their proximity is already affecting him. The depression, the lethargy, the nightmares... all of them sound like effects of having lots of Dementors close by.
His refusal to cry as a symbolic act of defiance, the thing that he chooses to focus on so as to show that he has not been broken, was a good choice. He seems to be fairly broken in most other respects, but until the Dementor approaches him at the end, he refuses to cross that one, final line. I thought this line was an especially clever emphasis on the point:
Wiping an unshed tear from his eye with the back of his dirty hand... - Denial. It isn't just a river in Egypt.
The happy memories that he tries to cling to as a defense mechanism made perfect sense. But the nightmares quickly punish him for his small conceit. The dream sequence was pure horror. You did an awesome job with that. I loved how the nightmare mixed elements of the memory with his current reality. It was all so twisted and surreal!
And then the Dementor comes to visit him for real, and he finally breaks. I felt sad without necessarily feeling sad for Lucius in particular. Maybe just a little. ;)
I saw a couple of typos that you might want to take a second look at:
He didn’t think he could take more of those terrible dreams he dreamed, but he could not lay wake forever either. - lay awake?
Lucius’s eyes open wide as he struggled for air, a burning sensation searing his lungs. - opened wide
A massive figure, cloaked and dark dark was standing in the frame of the entrance, silhouetted ominously against the bars. - you doubled the word "dark"
Otherwise, I thought your writing was lovely. The words you chose and the flow of the story complimented the dark imagery beautifully. Very nice job!Author's Response: You can't imagine the puddle I melted when I saw your review! Thanks so much for it! I'm only sorry it took me so long to respond to this :(
I wouldn't trade places with him either! For a long time I haven't been his fan either, but I have this memory from the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 when he's sitting at the table and Voldemort asks for his wand. He gives it to him and Voldemorts snaps it in two. The way he jumped there, at just that sound, made me wonder what could have possibly happened to the once proud man we've seen in the earlier books/films. Basically this was the premise for my one shot :)
When I was thinking about his characterization, crying was the first thought I had to portray that exact same of defiance you talked about. Crying would have been the maximum proof that he was indeed broken and he could not allow that. To maintain his sanity he HAD to believe that he was still in power somehow, that he still held control over something. Glad you caught that up ;)
I'm SO happy you liked the dream sequence. I was unsure if I made the transition from dream to reality believable enough or in a flowing, natural way. I really was nervous about that part!
Thank you for pointing out the typos. Be sure that I will re-read the story once again and correct them! And thanks a million for the review. I loved it! Report Review
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room!
This was a really neat "coming of age" story. I've read a lot of different versions of how Lily and James managed to overcome their confrontational past and fall in love. Nearly all of them involve James finally deciding that it was time to grow up and put the childish frivolities of his past behind him. This was an interesting take on the moment that took place.
I liked the nerves that James was feeling. This is a big moment for him, and not just because it involves Lily. For a lot of rich, popular kids like James, the refusal to take anything seriously is as much a defense mechanism as anything else. They're frightened of the possibility that the could fail miserably if they ever actually tried to straighten up and apply themselves. Making things even worse, there's a war brewing and, as his parents have correctly surmised, James and his schoolmates are going to play a major part in determining the outcome. It's a really heavy time, and you did a good job of incorporating it all into James's mindset.
Even though we don't get to find out what's going on inside Lily's head, her reactions seemed spot-on to me. I chuckled a bit at the notion that she thought James had stolen the Head Boy badge from somebody else. And once he gets her over that hump, her first thoughts were for Remus, which I thought was really sweet of her. I'm not really sure whether Lily would have known about Remus's disease or not at this point, but it doesn't matter so much. Everything you wrote about her, especially the way that she was looking at James at the end, felt like Lily Evans.
As I was reading, I saw a few things that you might want to take a second look at:
With a shaky hand, he lifted his sleeve and checked the watch that hugged his sleeve and the little hands told him there were still thirty-five minutes until eleven. -- Did you mean to say, "hugged his wrist"?
Even though Mrs. Potter had insisted, Sirius could wait until his graduation to move out; her protests were ignored, a situation that proved, in the long run, as in right now, for the better. -- This sentence is, um, challenging. ;) I don't think you need the first comma. The semicolon should probably be a comma, and maybe the last part would sound better as: "her protests were ignored. In the long run -- and especially right now -- it had worked out for the better."
Of course, he said to himself, of course it would be here. - would be her.
“Lily, I did not steal the badge. It is mine, it came in my mail and I am the Head Boy!” - To me, this sounded much too rigid and formal for something James would say. I would contract "It is" to "It's" and "I am" to "I'm".
Overall, this was really clever. A neat little peek into one of those missing moments that had huge repercussions for the future. Nice job!Author's Response: When I got the prompt for the challenge I kept thinking about what could happen at that moment. And I decided that at 17 one would have the maturity to understand that if one must work with somebody for school, one does it!
Lily's reaction was something I just pictured her saying at that moment. It's the disbelief that makes you search for the logical explanation at that moment. I think it was said somewhere in the books or on Pottermore or somewhere that Lily and Remus were friends and she was one of those who knew about his condition even before she and James got together. I am happy you liked my Lily!
As for the typos and such, thank you so much for pointing them out! As for the last sentence, which you said sounded rigid, it was made that way on purpose. I saw James explaining to her like you would explain to a child.
Thank you so much for the review! Report Review
I really, really love what you did with the First Year lessons in this. I can see Emily's point perfectly. There can't be anything quite like the excitement and awe of young kids who totally new to the subject, some of whom (muggle-borns) are seeing complicated magic for the first time in their lives. The way that you wrote the kids was perfect. Their eagerness to please and earnest competitiveness were brilliant touches. Emily obviously connects with them very well.
Again, I thought you did a really good job with McGonagall. Even when she's trying hard to be nice to Emily and supportive, she's still so intimidating. I liked the fact that she seems genuinely concerned about Emily, that was very much like her. Also the measured words of encouragement. I hope we get to see more of the two of them interacting. I imagine McGonagall would have a lot of advice as to how Emily could better connect with her older students.
Finally, I enjoyed the way that I could sort of feel Emily's hair coming down as she enjoyed an evening at the Three Broomsticks with her friend Michelle. Drinks aside, I thought the company really had an impact on her. Spending all of your time in the company of children will definitely wear an adult down over the long run. I see this with my wife every day when I come home from work. ;) You need to interact with other people your own age or your social skills start to degrade and you'll quickly find yourself in quite a rut.
Suggestions? I think I would have liked to see Emily and Michelle talk a bit more about their respective lives, and especially about Emily's. I assume that a part of Michelle's role in this story is to help Emily come to grips with her own need for companionship. More of that may be planned for future chapters, but this one felt a bit slow on the character development front.
I'm going to just stop commenting on your writing, OK? If I don't say anything, just assume that it was brilliant! :)
Back soon for chapter 4!Author's Response: Yeah, that lesson with the first years was really easy to write. I imagine the majority of the first years, and especially the muggle-borns, would be super-enthusiastic about their classes at Hogwarts. And I thought it was important for Emily to have the reprieve as well, because it demonstrates that she is not only good at teaching, but deep down she actually enjoys sharing her talents with these kids.
I think there's so much of McGonagall we don't see and after reading about her back story on Pottermore, I think there must be this kind, motherly side to her that rarely gets seen. She wants to be a mentor for Emily the way that Dumbledore was a mentor for her and helped her through her own suffering.
I definitely agree about the whole spending time with people your own age thing. The fact that she's become so reclusive has contributed to her change in personality. She's forgotten how much fun it is to be young and Michelle is starting to remind her of that. I really appreciate your thoughts on Emily and Michelle sharing more about their lives and I'll definitely take that in to account, although how I envision Michelle is this link to Emily's former personality rather than the person who draws the real issues out. I want Emily's journey to recovery to be a team effort of sorts, there won't be one person who magically saves her from everything, but rather a tapestry of influences help Emily to look at things differently and find happiness again. I see Michelle as the one who encourages that young teenage girl in Emily, the one who takes her out dancing and shopping and makes her giggle. Michelle isn't trying to 'save' Emily, she's just befriending the girl she remembers Emily to be and that will hopefully draw aspects of that girl out of Emily. On it's own it does sound a little superficial, but when it's hand in hand with the other people that will step forward to help Emily, Michelle actually becomes a vital part of Emily's healing. I hope that makes sense. But you're right, I could review some of the character development with Michelle - I don't want her to become a one dimensional character on page because she's quite vivid in my mind. Thanks for the suggestion :)
Thanks again for reviewing, I'm planning to write another review for you once I've replied to mine so you'll be seeing me again soon :) Report Review
Funny, how old friends can snap us out of the doldrums of adult life for a little while, isn't it?
You definitely continued to add depth and substance to Emily in this chapter. Aside from major-league feelings of inadequacy, she also seems to be turning into a bit of a recluse. It isn't an easy thing to do inside of a castle filled with around a hundred people, the majority of whom have a built-in incentive to kiss up to you, but she's pulling it off pretty well.
Certain aspects of teaching seem to be universal, regardless of whether you're in a magical school. I suppose there's no easy or quick way to mark essays, even with magic. I'd never really thought about it before, but for someone who teaches a subject that's required for all students and nearly all years like Transfiguration, that must amount to a huge amount of homework to grade. When do these people sleep?
But I digress. Having Emily reminisce about going to Hogsmeade as a student was a great way to introduce some more back story and character development without it feeling forced. And I think that getting her out of the castle for a while helped your narration out. A change of scenery is always good when you want a character to be pensive. You've obviously put a lot of thought into what it means to be a muggle-born wizard or witch. Her fascination with Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade reminded me of the wonder that Harry always felt when he visited these places in the first few books, before things started to turn bad.
I thought the character Michelle was a great foil to help Emily continue to draw out her feelings about her life. Michelle seems to have a lot of things in her life that make Emily uneasy, possibly even a bit jealous although she isn't eager to admit that to herself. At the same time, Michelle also expressed a lot of admiration for Emily and her achievements in life. It seemed like Emily came away from the conversation feeling like her life might not be quite as bad as she's been thinking, but that there are obviously things that she's missed out on because of the need to hide during the war and her work/life balance since the end of it.
Once again, I thought your writing was fantastic. I couldn't find a single typo or grammatical problem. You really have a knack for writing with a nice, smooth, regular flow that's easy to follow and immerse myself in.
Great chapter! Back again soon...Author's Response: lol...I love your comment about 'major-league feelings of inadequacy' I think that sums up Emily's feelings about her teaching abilities pretty well! And Emily is definitely hiding from the people around her, partially because she doesn't want to think or talk about work too much, partially because it's exhausting and partially because she just wants to run away and hide. When she's around other people, she also has to put this mask on, the mask of a person who is fine and happy and that takes a lot out of her, so it's easier to avoid people sometimes.
Teaching is a challenge, and for Emily, who is so depressed, it just becomes this huge unclimbable mountain she can't get past. The saddest thing is that deep down, Emily does actually enjoy teaching Transfiguration.
I'm glad you picked up on the muggle-born thing, I think there are a lot of aspects about being muggle born that are glossed over in JKR's books, not in the sense that she wrote it badly, but in the sense that there were a lot of things that just weren't pertinent to the story she was telling. And I want to explore a lot of those 'gaps' with Emily's story. One thing JKR did brilliantly, was describe the wonder of seeing the magical world for the first time as a muggle-born witch or wizard, and I was hoping to capture that similar feeling with Emily's memories.
There's definitely a bit of envy with Emily and Michelle, although not really enough to cause a rift between the characters, it's more like there's just enough to make Emily feel a little bit more depressed. Michelle is someone who suffered through the war but as a pure-blood who was able to be relatively sheltered during the war, she hasn't suffered the trauma that Emily has. She is a lot like Emily used to be and that's working to Emily's advantage because Michelle is something of a catalyst to lure the old Emily out into the light.
Thank you again for the great chapter, I really appreciate all of your thoughts. Thanks again! :) Report Review
I absolutely loved the cold, distant, Victorian relationship that you created between Bellatrix and her father. One of my favorite recurring themes throughout Before They Fall has been Bella's obsessive need to be in control. She's all about mental and physical discipline. This was such a nice vision of where that all-consuming passion for control came from. Everything about her interactions with her father, his associates and his underlings was about suppressing all of the behaviors that come naturally to a ten-year-old child and being Cygnus Black's perfect pure blood daughter. She was so extreme in her determination that it was almost creepy.
You have already collected Sirius, Bellatrix and Regulus in BTF and now I think you've added another Black family member to your cupboard of perfect characters. I thought that the way you wrote Cygnus was terrific. It was all about the small details with him: the way that he only acknowledges Bella when they're alone, the pride that he takes in her rude, dismissive treatment of the hostess at the restaurant and the way that he uses his very rare compliments to feed her need for perfection. Topping it all off, once the sun rises on a new day, yesterday's triumphs are old news to him. Bella is right back at square one.
In spite of the fact that he's a complete and utter bastard to her, Bella obviously lives to please him. Again, you've reinforced a precedent that we see again and again in BTF. I'm not sure Bella has any idea how to live for herself. It's as though she smoothly transitioned her subjugation of self and desperate need for approval from Cygnus to Voldemort without missing a beat. Poor Rodolphus never even factored into the equation, it seems.
The ugly conversation Bella and her father share about muggle-borns was the final element that you incorporated, and it filled in another important facet of her (deranged) mindset. Her hatred of those who don't come from a pure blood line obviously comes directly from her father. The viciousness of the comments they make was breathtaking. I am almost frightened to read what comes out of her mouth when and if this story reaches the aftermath of Andromeda running away with Ted Tonks.
I think that's mostly all of the good stuff. Just to keep it all balanced, a few typos and other things that I noticed as I was reading:
Students that think just because they posses a wand they’re as good as you... as good as the few amount of pure-blood families we have left. - "few amount" sounds a bit strange. Maybe "small number"?
She was not addressed for the remainder of the meal, therefor not permitted to speak, but she didn’t mind. - therefore
Belle let her mind wander and began thinking of what the next few days would bring. - Bella. (Freudian slip? :p )
She supposed it had a lot to do with all that she’d learned that day, and couldn’t wait to tell her sister’s that she’d gotten to attend a business dinner with Father. - "and she couldn't wait to tell her sisters that..."
As she neared the dining room and Cygnus’s became recognizable, - "... and Cygnus's face became..."
I'm sure you're laughing at me right now. No, I can't turn it off.
Anyway, I'm really enjoying this story. It adds even more depth to her twisted, terrifying character. It's really fun to see how her head got bent so badly. Nice job!Author's Response: Dan Dan Dan!!!
I've really think Bellatrix had to have some sort of daddy issues. Not that she wouldn't be crazy regardless--- either a person has it in them to murder others or they don't--- but I do think that Cygnus's treatment of her, or more so the fact it was just as easy for him to ignore her as it was to pay attention, started the ball rolling for her to need a certain kind of approval.
I don't think Bellatrix could have been *just* that devoted to Voldemort. We saw over and over that she cared nothing for her own life and everything for how valued she was by Voldemort. So having her start those feelings young in a less of an extreme scale felt right. Her father's approval is the only one she seeks until Voldemort comes along. And we'll of course see how little Rodolphus got tangled into all this.
I'm so happy you liked Cygnus! He wasn't as hard for me to write as I thought he would be... I think I was just in that right mindset at the time. Mwahaha.
Thank you for the typos &hearts, and yes, i was laughing at you. Hahaha. But you know, in that loving sort of way ;)
I'm so happy you're enjoying this new little project so far! Report Review
That was a really interesting and very different take on Regulus's short and tragic life. Being one of those tall, dark and brooding sort of guys, he's not exactly a rare commodity in stories around here. This was the first time that I'd seen a story where he became a Death Eater for love rather than his parents' twisted sense of values, however.
This is probably horrible to admit, but when you described his relationship with the mystery female character the first thing that popped into my head was the whole discussion of "friendzone" that presaged the April Fool's Day prank. The second thing was the sham marriage that Rodolphus Lestrange shared with Bellatrix. Whichever one you want to hold it up against, I think the point is the same. This girl never really loved Regulus the way that he loved her. In the end, her only true love was for the Dark Lord and the power that he represented in her mind.
I know you said that this chapter hasn't been beta read, but I really didn't see very many things that need to be fixed. Here was the only typo I spotted:
Now here I was her standing before me, with the Dark Lord next to her. - here she was standing before me?
This was a neat idea and you did a good job of executing it. The only thing that struck me was that it isn't clear whether he's already taken the locket horcrux when he confronts his former love, and if so, whether she was part of the reason that he decided to betray his master. I thought that would have added something, but then again I'm a stickler for completeness. ;) Report Review
Hi, there! Gryffindor Monthly review exchange is going down!
I thought this was a really neat start to a story. The idea isn't something I've ever seen before. Post-Hogwarts is my favorite era to read because there are so many interesting possibilities and directions to pursue in the aftermath of the war. Every character who survived would have had some sort of story to tell, considering that the entire wizarding world was being rebuilt from the ashes. Your main character should have a really interesting view into what happened at Hogwarts in those intervening years.
And that's not the only reason she's interesting. I really liked Emily's back story. I do agree with your author's note that there was a lot of it. Perhaps you could have held onto parts of it and worked it into the narrative or dialog of future chapters of the story. But you're four chapters in already, so I think the chances that you'd want to go back and rewrite everything at this point are fairly slim, so I'll leave it at that.
I really liked the idea of her being a muggle-born witch who seemed to have more than a couple of close brushes with danger during the war. I really hope you give yourself more chances to explore those events and the effects they had on her life and her mindset as the story unfolds. In her current situation, she seems to be in quite a rut. I wonder whether the malaise she find herself in has anything to do with the relative lack of excitement and challenge in her life, compared to what she went through to survive the war?
Let's see, what else? The opening scene was absolutely brilliant. The way you took her so low and then, with the question about using the loo, you managed to take her even lower. I also thought you did a really good job of capturing Professor McGonagall's voice. It's not an easy thing to do. Not at all. But you wrote her commendably.
The reason I'm focusing so much on your plot and characterization is that I couldn't find a thing wrong with your writing. I didn't see a single typo and everything flowed beautifully. Your word choice was really good and nothing sounded awkward or singsongy. The chapter had a good mix of dialog and narrative -- especially for an introductory chapter. Once I settled into the flow of the chapter, it was really engrossing and it was over before I knew it!
I was really pleased to draw you as a review exchange partner this month. I see you around the forums a lot and you seem like a really active, really interesting person. I'll be back for chapter 2 soon. :)Author's Response: Thanks so much for the review :)
I hadn't seen anything quite like this either and I wanted to look at what the ramifications of the war would be like for a regular witch or wizard. At the same time, I was also curious about how the wizarding world dealt with the treatment of mental illness...not like what happened to Gilderoy Lockhart or the Longbottoms, but actual depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress etc. Wizards might have advanced healing techniques but they aren't immune to psychological pain.
Yeah, there is a lot of information in this first chapter, but it's really only a base for the information about Emily. It's a kind of starting point for our understanding of her situation, but I'm not sure what I could take out. There will be a lot more information being revealed about Emily as the story progresses too.
I think the muggle-born aspect is so interesting, because it creates this automatic tension between the two worlds a witch or wizard is forced to live in. It frustrates me when an author has a muggle born witch or wizard but then practically ignores the muggle aspect of their life. I wanted to include some interaction and connection to the muggle world for Emily, which will come up in later chapters. But I also thinks it makes an interesting backdrop for her experiences during the war...which will be explored further as the story progresses :)
Oh I'm glad you like that opening scene. I wrote that a long long long time ago and it just sat there on my hard drive as this random plot bunny until one day I got the inspiration to write the rest of the story! Oh and McGonagall...I am so worried about her. She's going to be a fairly regular part of this story so I hope I do her justice.
There will be more action in the coming chapters, but I hope you still like it :) Thanks again for the great review! I was really happy to get you in the review swap too! Report Review
I saw this story on my beta reader's favorites list and it caught my eye. This is one of my favorite eras and genres to read.
For an opening chapter, I thought you did an excellent job of pulling me in. I love the fact that this story seems -- at least so far -- very focused on Ron. Far too often, he gets the Second Banana treatment in these stories. You brought his character out with amazing clarity and depth. The emotional torment that he's suffering was written so well, it all felt amazingly genuine and gut-wrenching. Also, very true to his book characterization.
Hermione was also a joy to read. I thought you captured her voice, her over-analytical streak and her emotional reactions beautifully. All of the supporting characters felt well-developed and in character. The only ones that seemed a little strained where Harry and Ginny. The way that Harry was blaming himself felt a little flat and not quite as tormented as I would have expected while Ginny's rebuttal wasn't as vehement as I would have liked. Not a big deal, but I thought I'd point it out.
Overall, a very nice start. Can't want to see what else you have in mind.Author's Response: Hello!
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to review. I love this genre as well. I'm so glad I was able to pull you in - that was certainly the objective. I think Ron's feelings get left out of things a lot, so I really wanted to focus on him. I'm glad you picked up on that :)
When I read over this story to continue work on the next chapter, I agree that Harry's feelings weren't as tormented as they should have been. I find that when I write Ron/Hermione, I always try to fit Harry/Ginny in as well (naturally) and end up doing one relationship justice and the other not so much.
However, I'm thrilled you've enjoyed the beginning to the story, and hope you continue reading. Thank you!! Report Review
Out of all the chapters of this story, I'm finding this one to be the hardest to review. It's tough to even know where to start. This was the chapter where everything came crashing together. Every character, every event, every stray plot thread -- well, every one that I can think of, anyway -- they all converged in this unbelievable roller coaster ride of suspense, fear and "oh my god, so THAT's why ABC happened way back in chapter N!" I think it's going to be incredibly hard to review this without sounding like a gushing, squeeing mess of a fanboy, but here goes. I owe you a good faith attempt, but I can't promise much.
The way you wrote Regina was absolutely terrifying. She was cold as ice, but imbued with the same false sweetness I remember from her first appearance. Her maniacal hatred of Viktor was combined with a win-at-all-costs compulsion and a fiendish sort of genius. She was going to take absolutely everything from him and then leave him to take the fall for it. Rose's life was nothing more than a tool she was using to cause him pain. I felt like I was seeing shades of Jami's Bellatrix, but with a more controlled and focused strain of sociopathy. What makes it even worse, at least to me, is that Viktor's only "crime" was disappointing this horrible, shallow, fake, manipulative person by turning to an out-of-control lifestyle that she probably drove him to by being such a b... um, bad person. That's how I'm interpreting things, at any rate. Maybe he would have found that lifestyle no matter what, but I'm sure she didn't help.
Poor Rose held it together better and for much longer than I would have expected. I loved all of the physical details that you used to convey her terror, anxiety and even anger.
I am completely in awe of how you wove all of these seemingly unrelated plot threads together into Regina's "master plan" to destroy Viktor. The overdose was especially brilliant. If it was me, I probably would have given in to the temptation to drop some sort of hint, some little bit of information so I could come back and waggle it in the reader's face and yell "gotcha!" later on. But Regina's not like that. She leaves no evidence. And she knew Viktor so well that she knew that he'd have drugs hidden somewhere in the flat. She's so frighteningly single-minded, it's crazy!
And then all hell broke loose. You couldn't have pulled me away from my computer while I was reading the last quarter of this chapter with a logging chain and a bulldozer. From the moment that Rose lunges at Regina until those awful final six words of the chapter was one of the most amazingly tense, suspenseful action sequences I've read anywhere on HPFF. I could feel my heart pounding when it was over, and then I was instantly empty.
This paragraph hit me like a kick to the stomach:
But that was as far as she got before she felt the impact and the pain overtook her. A horrible, ice-cold fire that spread through her back and arms. It took her breath away, stole the spell from the tip of her lips. And for a moment, even made her forget who she was. It was just pain.
I have nothing to offer you in the way of constructive criticism for this chapter. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. It was absolutely brilliant. Please accept this nearly irrelevant typo as my small attempt to brush a stray bit of dust off of your masterpiece:
But Regina had gone suddenly quite, apparently having said all she intended to on that matter. - quiet.
And with that, I'm almost at the end. I'll do some more gushing in my review for the next chapter, but please know that I mean the following with complete sincerity: This is one of the five most incredible chapters I've read on HPFF.Author's Response: I have to start this off by apologizing for the delay in responding. A review this nice deserved a prompt response, but I shall do my best to try and make up for it now.
I tried so hard not to leave plot lines dangling out there! Since I don't plot much of my stories in advance, there were a lot of little bits here and there that I threw in along the way without knowing where it all was heading. That this chapter didn't feel like a total free-for-all is a minor miracle.
Jami's Bellatrix is awesome, and I do think Regina has some of that same psychopathy. She just channels it all into this one venue. She doesn't even really hate Rose -- she doesn't see her as enough of a person to bother hating. From my end, I didn't really see Regina as a cause of Viktor's problems in the past; I think he would have been on the same path with or without her. But she definitely didn't help, and I certainly don't think he really did anything to bring this about. He could have been a perfect husband and she would have found some reason to hate him. She had crazy inside of her -- he was just a trigger.
One of my regrets on this story is that I didn't drop more hints to the reader. I tried several times but it never came together. I tried to have Rose walk in on Regina in Krum's flat, tried to send an Auror there on an anonymous tip, have a mysterious package delivered. I even wrote out a whole scene in the last chapter where Krum and Rose arrive at his flat to find it ransacked. But I couldn't make any of it work. I always wanted the ending to be a surprise in terms of the villain being Regina, but I wish I'd threaded more of a feeling of outside danger throughout the story.
Wow, just... thank you! This was my first attempt at any real level of violence. I didn't want bloody or gory, but I was aiming for tense and real. If anyone saw my internet search history for the day I wrote this scene, I'd probably look like a psycho myself! Who knew stab wounds feel cold, not hot?
Thank you for such an amazing review. I'm really a little speechless that you liked the chapter so much. I'm sorry again for taking so long to reply. Please know it wasn't a reflection of my appreciation for your comments! Report Review
Hi, there! I'm annoyed with myself. I tried to catch you when you were the last post in Review Tag, but then you weren't any more. So the heck with it. I'd rather read something I enjoy.
I'm really starting to get into your AU version of the wizarding world. The idea of Harry as a long-suffering father of a son who's fallen into the clutches of the Dark Lord is one of the most original things I've come across in quite a while. And you keep layering additional nuances onto your premise. It's very complex and interesting. The idea that Devlin is a werewolf adds even a bit more difficulty and conflict to what I assume will be a very tricky family reunion. If the social status of werewolves among the wizards of Britain remains an issue -- and with Voldemort having a pack of them as part of his forces, I'm sure that's not helping -- then I can see it being very difficult for Harry and Alex to convince Devlin that he's better off leaving the Dark Lord behind. All in all, a very interesting story you're setting up here.
Geoffrey seems like a really intriguing character, too. It's pretty obvious that he's attached to the boy, both magically and at a personal level. They share the difficulty of having lycanthropy, but it feels like more than that. He seems to feel paternalistic toward Devlin, but also somewhat in awe of the boy. He has such a disciplined mind -- an obvious plus when trying to survive among the Dark Lord's treacherous followers -- that I feel as though there's a lot more he has yet to say.
Alex came off as a very powerful, very intelligent and very intuitive witch. Definitely not somebody to be underestimated or trifled with. She seemed to compliment Harry really well. She's much more direct and insightful than he is.
This chapter felt kind of rough, like it could use a good scrub. The first part, especially, had a lot of typos and issues around verb tenses. At times, it felt like you were trying to write in the present tense, but you kept slipping back into past tense. Then about a quarter of the way into the chapter, you fell into a rhythm and everything flowed really nicely. I think it would really help to clean that first part up, because it made it a little harder to get into the flow of the narrative.
I'm glad I stopped by. I'll try not to be as long before returning!Author's Response: Okay - the idea that someone TRIED to catch me on the review thread made me grin for an hour. I am pretty sure my co-workers wondered what the heck was up with me when I got back from break!
I love it when someone says my story is original! Oh, if you like the whole Devlin as a werewolf thing, wait until you learn HOW he was bitten! That'll be a fun angst-filled treat for you. ;) It's interesting you would jump to the social status of werewolves, because this will play a part in the story as we go forward, but not at first. I won't speak to Devlin's knowledge of the werewolf-social-status issue, either, because it will play a part as well.
Geoffrey is one of my favorite character's to write, honestly. He is definitely more than he appears to be - perhaps more than HE knows he is, since he, being an adult, is obviously very aware of the issues of being a werewolf.
"She seemed to compliment Harry really well." EEE! You're the first one to kinda say "they seem believable together" and so I reward you with the stupid grin again.
She is much more like Devlin, which is to say she is much more like Tom Riddle might have been. We'll learn more about her origins and upbringing as we go forward, but first the focus will be on Devlin.
About the roughness...yeah...I admit I kinda copied and pasted the first part from the original version because I couldn't think of a better way to begin the chapter, then took it in entirely different (and way better) path than before - which is probably where the writing improved. So I totally agree and cringed a bit when I did a quick re-read before replying to your review. Thanks so much for picking up on that flow issue though - I will be sure to try and improve it.
Feel welcome to come back very soon! I won't complain. ;) I'll try and play the review thread more often again, too.
I'm really not sure why you ever took this story down. It's short, but really moving. I thought you captured Neville's character perfectly in this. You did a great job bringing out the things that motivate him, his own heroes that he tries to live up to, his loyalty to his friends and the deep need that everyone had to simply see the death and suffering end. It's not heroism in the classic sense of the term, but it definitely works.
I thought the sword was a nice metaphor for his attempts to come to grips with what he'd done. He wasn't willing to let it go while he was still trying to process everything. It was almost as though he was afraid that if he relinquished his hold on it, he'd suddenly be plunged back into the horrors of the war.
Then Hannah comes along, and she tells him some things that he needs to hear. She helps him put the pieces into place inside his own head. And by reassuring her that the war is really, truly over, he is able to reassure himself. Once he reaches that point, he's able to let the sword go. It's all real then. Nothing is going to change things back to the way they were.
I saw a couple of small typos that you might want to take a second look at:
If not for Professor McGonagall quiet strength and Madame Pomfrey’s secret healing potions, none of the scraggly band of Gryffindors would have survived. - McGonagall's quiet strength
It’s over now, isn’t it?” she whispered, - missing its beginning quote mark.
Aside from that, your writing flowed really nicely. Once I got immersed in Neville's mindset, it was a smooth ride to the end.
I thought this was really well written. It made me want to explore more of your writing!Author's Response: Dang that copy and paste! I sometimes forget to edit the mistakes out when I change things. I will definitely go correct those typos. Hate those. Thanks!
You got exactly what I was trying to get across with Neville in this story. I love when a reader picks up the parts I wrote and gets the same message I intended them to find. Thank you so much for the review! ~GW Report Review
Like I said, I've been looking forward to this chapter for a really long time. You are an amazing storyteller. You have quite the knack for making these characters feel like the characters I loved in the books. You also do a great job of building a strong emotional connection between reader and character. I feel for them, deeply and genuinely. I root for them. I hate it when they struggle and I breathe a little easier when everything turns out alright. That's one of the marks of a good writer.
Also, you've chosen to right one of the most egregious wrongs committed by JKR, the death of Fred. It wasn't a hard choice, per se. Anyone could make it. But you've taken it and made something special out of it. You didn't just have him jump up off the ground and turn right back into his old self again. It's been difficult, painful, expensive and it's put a big strain on the family. And in doing so, you've brought the entire Weasley family plus Harry back together stronger than ever. I love that about this story.
I thought you did a fantastic job pacing the first section where Arthur signs the papers to sell the paddock. It was full of tension and regret, and you really took your time developing those things. I felt so bad for Arthur that I wanted to jump in and buy it for him. Then you began to hint -- very gradually -- that something wasn't quite right with this simple transaction. Something was very odd. And little by little, you brought the sun back out in the midst of the gloom. It was heart-warming.
Ah, Rita Skeeter. I suppose Harry could have fed her a blasting curse, but short of that I don't think I could have asked for much more than the way that you actually ended their encounter. She is truly loathsome.
So here is Exhibit A in the case that you need to update waayyy more often: I had to backtrack a few chapters to remind myself that Ron and Hermione were off in Australia, looking for her parents. You did an awesome job with him in this chapter, though. I loved the way that he didn't think so much as he just reacted. And I especially liked the way that he couldn't figure out why everyone was making such a big deal about what he did. There are definite side effects to spending a year on the run from vicious, evil dark wizards.
Lastly, we come to poor Fred being trapped in a hospital room with Aunt Muriel. And here he probably thought he'd already paid a very high price for cheating death. It was nice to see Crookshanks back. For me, that's actually one thing I pay attention to in all post-war fan fics. Did the author remember Crookshanks? It's a mark of thoroughness, since JKR more or less let the poor guy fall off the radar there at the end.
I really, really hope that this chapter marks the start of a new era of frequent updates for you and this story. Please tell Eldy that whatever part of this he wrote, I thought it was fantastically well done. Because the whole chapter was fantastically well done. Everything flowed really well and I didn't see a single typo or grammatical error. When I read it, it felt shorter than it really was. I'll be keeping an eye out for the next one!Author's Response: Wow! What a review! I think my head might swell from all the nice things you just said about me and my story! Thank you!
And I am so so so so so sorry you've had to wait this long for an update. Everytime I thought I was getting on top of real life, it jumped me again. Keep your fingers crossed that this time I can keep real life in check and manage to update faster! This whole story is outlined, it's just finding the time to write it and keeping the muse around so it actually sounds good.
Your kind words about my writing make me blush. Thank you so much. I'm not sure I'm as good as you make me out to sound, but I like writing, and I feel like I am emotionally connected to the characters I'm writing, so maybe that slips across into the writing somehow.
Oh Fred. I have never forgiven JKR for that. I knew I'd have to find a way around it in a story sometime. (Either that or ignore it completely.) I'm just lucky this way seems to be working out. That said, I'm not a big fan of "quick fixes." Life just doesn't work that way. So, I'm probalby dragging it out a bit for poor Fred, but that's the only way I could think of to make it realistic.
That part with the selling of the paddock had A LOT of help from Eldy. I was totally stuck and he stepped in and wrote some of it for me, getting the juices flowing. (He gave me some of the best one-liners for other parts of this chapter as well, so I really must give him a huge shout out.)
I'm not sure where Rita came from. I hadn't planned to have her in this fic, but she just sorta barged in. (Her style, I guess.) Was a fun moment to write, however. She really is nasty, isn't she.
Again, so sorry about being so slow! Did you at least enjoy the backtracking? And I love Ron, so I had fun letting him be the hero for once, and just reacting to something instead of waiting for Harry and Hermione. You are right - there are a few perks to be had for saving the world.
Auntie Muriel. Hehehehe. That part was fun. And we probably shouldn't feel TOO bad for Fred. I'm sure he's done enough stuff over the years to more than deserve this little story fest.
As for Crookshanks - I usually get bogged down in little details. I'm always worrying that I've missed something. I just felt like I needed to show that Crookshanks hadn't been forgotten and was still running around. (I worry about people's pets! Making sure Dorothy kept track of Toto in the Wizard of Oz used to freak me out, LOL.)
I promise to try and update much sooner this time. You know I'm not the twice a week kinda writer, but I will make sure it's not a year again before there's more. Thanks again for such a wonderful review!
Hi, there! I am trying really hard not to let myself start reading your new story until I finish reviewing the rest of the chapters of this one. It's meant to be an incentive, although it hasn't been getting the job done so well. :-/ At any rate, one chapter closer...
Poor Rose. Never get drunk unless you're prepared to pay the piper. And Rose is paying the piper. I really couldn't find any fault with your descriptions of her suffering. It felt completely realistic to me. And then her knight in shining armor -- well, at least her aging former sports hero in yesterday's wedding clothes -- shows up to save her. I loved this line from Viktor:
“Are you really going to question my expertise in this area?”
He had her with that one. She supposed if anyone would know how to treat a hangover, it would be Krum. - Indeed. I doubt most people alive would have more experience with waking up hung over and confused. And it was followed by another classic Viktor-Rose exchange:
“See,” Krum said when she’d finished cleaning her plate. “I told you I knew vhat I was doing.”
“I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.” - Brilliant!
I loved the way you wrote the article from the Society section, presumably from the Prophet. Hermione was right, most people in the wizarding world really are a bunch of shameless busybodies. But the quick glimpse of Rose and Krum on the dance floor, looking -- gulp -- normal and happy was a really nice touch. I liked the effect that it seems to have on Rose, even though it is brief.
OK, so Heart came off a lot less creepy in this chapter. Slimy? Sure. Unscrupulous? Mostly. But not nearly as creepy. It's all just free publicity to him, apparently. And who can blame him for decrying the lack of it. Well, aside from Rose...
Your description of Rose's editor really struck a chord with me: The man, despite his timid appearance and an unusual affinity for sweater vests, proved to be excellent at his job, plowing through Rose’s chapters with lightning speed. Is there anything in the world that makes an otherwise competent, respectable, professional man look more namby-pamby and, I don't know, lame than a sweater vest? I am completely blown away that we're still having this conversation in 2013. Now that I've gotten that out of my system, back to the review.
I find myself wondering whether you have any first-hand experience with the publishing process. That section wasn't especially long, but you wrote it very deliberately and with just the right amount of detail to make it feel very realistic without belaboring the point. Peter came out of this looking like a very competent, very smart attorney. When I think about the way I've been going back and forth on the guy for pretty much the entire story, this was a pretty nice way to wrap up the plot line for him.
The conversation between Krum and Rose as they're walking back to her office really put a smile on my face. The two of them have been through so much together, and neither one of them is "relationship material" in the classic sense of the term. That's probably one of the things that brings the two of them together. I really liked the anxiety that both of them feel about what's going to happen once the book is complete. It's the great unknown, and it definitely seemed a bit scary. You wrote it as less of a happy ending than the start of the next adventure, which I think is totally appropriate for these two.
I have to say that I love the little note she left for Heart under the title. I can't repeat it, but I love it!
And then... and then... You leave us with the ultimate cliff-hanger!" So obviously I know what happens next, but I'm going to channel my thoughts from the moment I first read this. I was convinced it was the Man in the Suit. Con-freaking-vinced. If you made me take a second guess, I would have said Viktor's first wife, Liddy. You did a great job of building misdirection around this.
So I found one little typo on this:
-- Krum, as usual, seemed obvious to the cold. - oblivious
I'm gonna do it! I'm going to get to the end. It's in sight, and then I can let myself read the new one. That's my proverbial carrot and I'm chasing it for all I'm worth.Author's Response: There's no rush at all. I've been having a super dry writing spell of late so there will be very little to catch up on ;)
Haha! Rose did get what she deserved, I suppose. Though in her defense, it can be pretty easy to drink too much champagne. And I'm so glad you liked that little moment there. I love throwing in a bit of banter between the two whenever I can. It helps them from taking themselves too seriously.
I think the wizarding world is so prone to gossip because there are so few of them on the whole. It's like living in a small town. Who is marrying who really IS front page news. But the normality of it all really was the point -- leaving the impression that the two are heading down a path where they and the world at large embrace the relationship as "no big deal."
Phew! I'm glad I managed to redeem Heart a bit. His real moment of redemption comes off-screen and is alluded to in the last chapter, but I'm glad you didn't want to throw a shoe at him in his last appearance.
Nope, no publishing experience for me, but I have read a lot of books about writing and they always seem to contain at least a few chapters on publishing. The rest is just educated guesses! Hooray!! I'm so glad that you ended up on the side of liking Peter. I thought ending on a note where he walks away looking competent and that he did a good thing by bring the pair together was a proper sendoff.
I feel like you are hitting on all the things I wanted from each scene! Their little stroll down the street was totally meant to feel like the two are heading off into the unknown but ready to face it together. This whole chapter was supposed to have that sort of feel to it -- wrapping up their old lives to head off into something new as a pair. Not necessarily marriage and kids and that sort of happily-ever-after, but a future of their own making.
Hehehe... Rose's note to Heart was a favorite of mine, if I do say so myself. And yay for surprise plot twists! I'm so glad you didn't guess Regina, though I hoped she lived up to the role of villain!!
Thanks for another awesome review. And thanks too for the typo spot. I can't believe you're almost at the end! Report Review
Hey, Jami! I'm getting on this week's installment a little earlier. And you started with the great lines a little earlier in this chapter, too:
James halted outside of a compartment as the sound of exploding snaps caught his attention. Amateurs, he thought, listening to the surprised squeals of what sounded like younger students. - Awesome. Just awesome.
James's solo section at the start of the chapter was a fantastic mix of the various vintages of James Potter. We had "Old James" mentally mocking the antics of the younger students and worrying about how his friends would make fun of him for the dopey sort of happiness he gets from being able to talk to Lily whenever he wants. We had "New James" performing some fairly in-depth analysis of his relationship with Lily and the way he's feeling about it. I loved all the small details about how each has managed to fit quite comfortably into the other's life: Lily settling in nicely with James's parents while James is accompanying her to visit her parents' graves. We even have "New James fretting over the legacy of Old James", when he worries that Lily will wake up one day and remember what a jerk he used to be. That last version of James added something pretty neat to this chapter. It's the first time we've seen him sort of confront the situation that used to exist between himself, Lily and Snape head on. And his take on things was actually quite balanced... albeit with a strong bias towards hexing Snape if he steps one toe out of line.
I loved the way that he plays Lily a bit at the end of the first section. He winds her up, then he concedes the game far too easily for her to take much real satisfaction from having bested him. It's a classic "good boyfriend" move. Let the girl win, but make obvious that you're letting her win. This is how the James Potters of the world save face without ending up single...
It's a move that the Sirius Blacks of the world are still struggling to learn, apparently. Sirius's section made me sad, but I think it was very well written. I didn't feel a bit of hesitation to believe that Sirius would have flown off of the handle and gone after his brother like that. You hit all the right notes with him in this chapter: the furious anger over the fact that James and Lily were nearly killed, the disappointment that no matter how hard he tried to turn Regulus away from the Dark Lord it just didn't work and the hurt that he will never admit that he feels over being disowned by his family. It was the perfect storm for him, guaranteed to put him in a bad place and spark a violent reaction.
But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. You set up the circumstances beautifully to allow James to make the connection between the attack at the hotel and the spy inside the castle. I loved the group effort as they gradually weed out the possible alternative explanations and home in in the truth. Little by little they chip away at it until it's obvious that somebody tipped Bellatrix off that James would be accompanying Lily to Wales.
And then Sirius comes unhinged. Again, very nicely done, the way that Sirius gets his head of steam going. I liked the way you mixed some more familial, almost parochial feelings that Sirius once had for his brother in with the seething fury that he now feels. A lot of authors write Sirius as though he popped out of the womb wearing Gryffindor scarlet and gold and hating everything about his family, which is kind of dumb if you think about it. Obviously there was a time in his life when he was close to Regulus. You brought that out really nicely in this chapter, and it adds a lot of depth to his character for me. It isn't just the loyalty that Sirius feels for James and Lily that pushes him over the edge in this chapter. He could have directed that anger at a lot of different people. It's the feelings of betrayal and abandonment towards his own family that he's never fully dealt with that cause him to direct it all at Regulus.
Ooh, but Belle gets caught in the crossfire. After the way that she just opened up to him and allowed him to share a very personal, very painful moment of reckoning with her family, the way he tried to push her away isn't going to play well at all. You asked whether I thought her anger was justified. I'm sure Belle feels justified because in her mind she was trying to help him avoid doing something very foolish that would have had terrible consequences for the career he wants to pursue as an Auror. She probably feels even more hurt because Sirius didn't tell James, Remus and Peter to "get out of here" or that he didn't want them there. Not that he wasn't thinking it, mind you, but he didn't say it, which would have mattered to her. Above all else, she's French, so it isn't like she needs a reason to get angry, just an opportunity. ;)
You left us with some fun questions to ponder between now and next Saturday. (Thursday for me, but I hate to brag.) What else was James going to say before Sirius lost his head? What did James and Lily have to offer the Slytherins to smooth things over? And how long with Belle stay mad at Sirius? At this point I'm not thinking that James has managed to deduce that Rukin is the spy, but I'm really curious what he does think.
Awesome chapter! Very nicely written and great insight into James and Sirius. Til next time!Author's Response: Dan! Look! I've almost responded to all my reviews!! Then I can finally go finish the review I started for Detox yesterday!!!
Hahaha I'm happy you liked that line. I love getting to put those little... James moments in there.
Hahahah I love, love love your analysis of James! I hadn't realized I was mixing that many James, but now that you say it, it's so clear! I've been wanting to talk about their rocky past for some time now. Originally I was going to when they were in the hospital, but there was just so much going on already. But it will definitely be something that gets brought up again. I don't like when Severus become a huge focus in these stories, but I also don't like when he's ignored, so I'm really trying to balance that out. But of course, James will still find any excuse to hex Snape if he finds it necessary :P
Hahhaah yes, exactly with James's little winding Lily up. He wanted to get her all.. Lily ish...but wasn't going to actually make her mad. He's learning quickly, isn't he? I'm so happy you liked that ♥
And like you just said, poor Sirius is still struggling with learning that one. Haha. I don't think Sirius was just born a Gryffindor either. I think that he probably realized at a young age that he wasn't okay with his parents life style and tried to question that, and was reprimanded pretty severely for doing just that. And then it just got worse and worse. But Regulus was sort of an innocent bystander in all this, and Sirius would have loved to drag him away from the values that Sirius realized were terrible. And not being able to did hurt him. I'm so happy you liked all the sort of mixtures I had going in Sirius. Sometimes it's so hard to figure out exactly what he's angry about with so many things always going on in his moody little mind, haha
Poor Belle does get caught in the crossfire :(. She's come so far, and it seemed like Sirius was already way ahead of her in accepting his past, but he really might not be. In my head, he's only really talked to James about some of the more terrible moments of his childhood. Maybe it's time he let Belle in on a few?
The fact that you're looking forward to beta reading the next and getting it a few days early is a miracle. I can't believe you haven't fired me as your writer to beta read for yet, hahhaah.
I don't think James has managed to figure out Alrek's part in it either, and remember he wasn't on the bench with the rest when the girls were talking about the wedding in front of him. So he may have no idea what Alrek *does* know.
I'm so happy you liked the little dip into our male characters mind. And that you liked this entire chapter, and that you're still such a huge part of this ♥
Hi, there! Tagging you from Review Tag!
I am so pleased to get a chance to come back to this story! I hear so many good things about it and I really should have made a point of reading more.
The beginning of this chapter was sort of strange. It had a disorganized quality to it, like a person struggling to find their point. Or perhaps to find themselves. Regardless, it set a very interesting tone for what was to come. Like Fred is doing his very best to maintain a sense of identity. Of being.
And then he goes into his recollections about contemplating death with George. I loved the idea of the two of them growing as old as Dumbledore together, but still looking for opportunities to prank Percy. So sad that it was never to be.
The unfocused anger and random destructiveness in the aftermath of Umbridge banning them from playing Quidditch was probably the part of the chapter that I found the hardest to get my head around. The idea of Fred and George venting in such a wantonly destructive way seemed a bit odd. Fred and George have always been about controlled, precisely choreographed mayhem in my mind. There's always a design behind their mischief, a master plan that perhaps only makes sense to the two of them, but is very real. Maybe I just missed something in your description, but this felt a bit off.
Anyway, the idea of the two of them coming upon replacement brooms and stealing off to the pitch was where the story reconnected solidly for me. Fred and George, blowing off steam as the rough-housed with a flotilla of bludgers was a great scene. The blackness of the nearly-moonless night added to the sense of toying with death in the way that only the two of them can. And then Fred nearly gets killed by three of them, only to be saved by his brother's almost instinctive reaction to the danger he's in. Again, a perfect twin moment. The way that they joke about Fred's serious injuries reminded me a lot of the scene in Deathly Hallows where George cracks wise about his severed ear.
That awkwardness that settles over the two of them when the topic of death comes up was a nice touch. They really are too young to contemplate the harsh reality of death in anything other than a joking manner. Fred's close brush was definitely too close for comfort. It put the topic front and center and even with their formidable ability to make light of anything, they couldn't quite shake the tension.
Lastly, we come to that terrible night at Hogwarts. The stark contrast between their joking dismissal of the non-reality of dying at a young age and the abrupt reality of Fred's death was well written. I loved the idea that Fred's last thought was of George. I can't see it being any other way.
You are a fantastic writer. You have a particular knack for using the visual element of how you put the words on the page to add some extra depth to your writing. I don't see that done very often, and it usually isn't very effective. Here, you made really excellent use of space and spacing, capitalization and the lack thereof. Very well done.Author's Response: Hello there! Wow, thanks for such a lovely review! It's such a detailed, insightful and honest one, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate these :)
I have to confess that this chapter no longer fits with the rest of the story (because I've been a bit experimental and all my story notes were deleted and I've had to start planning again). Thus, the entire chapter will be rewritten so it's a little more stylistically consistent with the newly validated Chapter 4 (where Fred also narrates again), and then I will swap this chapter around with no. 4. Yeah, it's all confusing as anything. I've been having a lot of doubts with this chapter as it is, and I'm so please to hear all that valuable feedback about what works and what doesn't work so well.
The beginning of this was just me trying to experiment a little :) Obviously, it no longer fits too well with the rest of the story, so I'm going to tone down things a little. I'll still try to work with space and voice and everything, but at a more restrained level.
I absolutely agree with you on your point about "choreographed mayhem" being much closer to the twins' style rather than random destruction. I've been becoming increasingly unsure about this scene, and it does seem a little over-the-top. And you pointing out how odd it seems really confirms my suspicions. So thank you so much for that. You've no idea how useful your comment has been!
I'm glad you like the other scenes, the bludger bit and the awkwardness...those will also have to be rewritten, though! In hopefully a more sensitive manner!
Gaaah, and the praise you gave me ♥ ♥ I'm just absolutely floored by all of it and I'm relieved and impossibly happy that you didn't find the stylistic weirdness too much or too disruptive to the reading process :)
Thank you so so much for your wonderful review! I hope you'll come back to this fic again!
-teh Report Review
OK, now that your story is no longer infested with bananas and bunny rabbits and garden sheds, time to do a proper review!
The Universal Parents are at it again! Taking in James, Lily and all of their friends so that they can feel safe and secure for the rest of the holidays. It was a marvelous thing to do in the aftermath of the attack on James and Lily. Not that they seem especially put out by the company. Once again, please tell me how on earth I can get myself adopted by William and Olivia Potter. So what if I have kids of my own? They're just so awesome!
The three teenage girls making breakfast in the kitchen felt like... well, three teenage girls making breakfast in the kitchen. If you take out the magical oven and the bit about sneaking around by wand light, they could be any three teenage girls anywhere. It was a nice, normal moment plucked out of their strange and complicated lives and I enjoyed it. Little things like that really help to ground the characters in such a tragic and exotic story.
In a strange way, Lily's thoughts about how the attack was actually sort of a relief made sense. They've all been living with so much uncertainty up to this point. Constantly looking over your shoulder starts to feel a bit silly after a while when you have no real reason to believe that anyone's going to be there. Now they know who they're looking out for and why. It's easier to plan and organize.
I guess Lily wasn't able to keep the new development in her relationship with James a secret for very long. It's healthy, I suppose, for her to get her doubts and anxieties out in the open rather than let them eat at her. Belle and Alice are obviously good counsel in this situation. Lily and James had a very natural moment of passion, yet they handled it very well. These two handle everything well, actually. At some point, I'd really like to see what happens when they don't handle a situation particularly well. They're teenagers, after all. They should mess up from time to time.
“You take some more of that, dearie,” Augusta Longbottom said, scooping another heap of mashed potatoes onto Alice’s plate. “You’re looking a bit too thin lately. - Ha! Good, old Augusta. I wish I could say that Alice was in for a long, difficult life of biting her tongue. But I guess I can't. :(
And then the prank comes off. Brilliantly done! It was funny and annoying to the adults -- well, to Augusta, anyway -- yet completely harmless in the long run. And it gave Lily and James a chance to steal away from the others.
“Well well, Lily Evans. I didn’t know we were giving each other those kinds of presents, but I suppose that’s okay with me.”
- OK, now there's the James Potter that I keep expecting to see more of. He's still got that cockiness and just a touch of insensitivity that comes out every so often. But it's all in good fun now.
After a second’s thought, she walked back over to her trunk and replaced the clothing she’d removed. This wasn’t her room in the Heads’ Quarters... she couldn’t just leave it a mess and wait until she had more time to clean it. - And there's the Lily Evans that we all know and love. Just a bit too Type A to leave the straightening up for later. ;)
The dream blanket was another brilliant touch. I loved the little bits of magic you worked into James's explanation, even though he wouldn't reveal all of his secrets. On a very sad note, I wonder what happened to that blanket? Talk about something that Harry would treasure if it ever made its way into his hands. :-/
Now I'm dying to know what James wanted to wait until later to tell Lily. I get that he doesn't want to spoil anyone's Christmas, but it's also a bit frustrating to see him being stubborn about it. At least Lily's showing that she can be stubborn in return. I liked her ground rules that she laid down for him. That was a Lily Evans touch if ever there was one.
And there's something inside the Snitch, too? Jami, why do you torment us like this??? Leaving so many things hanging at the end of what's supposed to be a warm, snuggly, holiday chapter, you still torment us with loose ends and dangling questions. :p
As always, splendid job with this! I feel like the pace of the story is bound to pick up now, and I don't know whether to be excited or terrified. Possibly both. See you again soon!Author's Response: I'm playing catch up on reviews and responses today! Yay!
You didn't like the infestation?! I thought it added a certain... eccentric quality to the story ;).
Hahahah DAN! Shall I write a chapter where Olivia and William meet a nice man and his twin boys and want to bring them over to the house for lunch? Then we'll just work the adoption into there somewhere? :P
That's what I really wanted. Something normal in the middle of all this craziness. These poor girl, and guys, have already been through way too much.
I struggled with where to go with Lily. Part of me said she should be having constant nightmares and every sound should scare her, but then that just didn't feel like Lily. Of course she'll still have those moments of fear, but like you said, now they know what they're up against. They understand who was after them and it's in the open, no more hoping that it was nothing and expecting it there at every turn. Poor characters :( I'm feeling awfully sad for them right now.
I was thinking the same thing about Augusta. She'd be a woman that would drive you insane ninety-nine percent of the time then make you want to hug her the other one percent. Ugh. Feels.
I am so happy I chose to do this from James's perspective, because I have no the tiniest clue how I was going to explain the magic behind the blanket. And you know my obsession with explaining EVERYTHING about magic, so just having James not tell her and keep it his secret was a million times easier, haha.
You've already seen me again! I'm such a late responder! UGH!
Thank you for your amazing reviews Daniel! And for giving me a very fun distraction on this *lovely* Monday morning. Oh wait, you're at home. It probably really is lovely for you. I bet you and the twins are having pancakes for breakfast!
As always, than you ♥ Report Review
Gah! Yes, yes, yes!
You made us wait long enough, you know that? :p
I loved the way you set the scene at the beginning, with all of Rose's thoughts about the time she's spent with Scorpius and how their relationship has evolved. All in all, you've been very gradual about bringing the two of them together. You didn't rush into things. Heck, they didn't even seem to like one another at first. And you set up Scorpius's trepidation about things -- his concern for his career, his fear of Ron -- very well.
Poor Scorpius seemed like a wreck when he returned from finding the murdered Auror. I thought there were good things and not so good things about the scenario you set up. The good part -- and this probably sounds really ghoulish of me -- is that I liked the way you explained the way she was killed. Torture is very over-rated as a fan fic plot device, and we all know that it rarely produces the intended results in the real world. What was done to Miss Shepherd was so much more insidious and believable. It also made the Peverell Society seem more menacing to me. They're not a bunch of amateurs, utilizing brute force to get the job done. The not so good part is that I wasn't wild about using the death of one of Scorpius's colleagues as the catalyzing event that brings the two of them together. This is mostly a matter of personal preference, I guess, but "big moments" born out of that sort of grief and duress are never quite as plausible for me. At any rate, I loved everything that came after, so feel free to ignore me.
The way that they open up to one another, Scorpius asking her to tell him something about herself, was clever and sounded perfectly realistic. The back and forth between them was nicely done, and you could definitely feel the whole thing building to a crescendo.
Once they kiss... wow! Electricity! One thing I wished -- and I understand being scared to death of getting a chapter rejected; been there many times, myself -- is that you'd gone into just a little more detail about what happened between them during the jump between the second-to-last and last scenes of the chapter. I wasn't quite sure what to think, and to me it definitely shades the questions that poor Rose's hyperactive brain is churning through as the two of them relax on the floor. At any rate, I thought all of her questions made perfect sense in context. Scorpius scared me a little at first with his moody response when she questions whether she'll return to her old life and he to his after the crisis is over. But then it all smoothed out and they had such a touching conversation. I loved the little bit of Shakespeare you worked in, and the connotations it carried. And I wanted to cheer for them as they made their way up the stairs.
Suggestions? Well, now that the love story is out in the open, so to speak, I would love to see you slow down to pace of the storytelling just a bit to really focus on Rose and Scorpius's feelings and reactions. You've covered a lot of ground in the first 11 chapters, and you might benefit a little from really giving the reader time to connect with these two and understand what drives them, especially Scorpius. This chapter was a really good start in that direction. I felt like I learned nearly as much about Rose in this one as I did in the previous 10. Scorpius probably needs his own chapter now. ;)
Wonderful job! This made my day!Author's Response: Getting such a lovely review from our Most Versatile Author made my day! Congratulations on that, by the way!
I know I kept you waiting for this one, but I wanted to build up this relationship and their way of dealing with each other, not just jump into it!
Even though I know that grief isn't everybody's favorite way of starting a romance, the way I envision Scorpius is being a very tough guy, the kind that doesn't break out of his shell often or easily. It needed to be something that hit him close but not Rose, so that we could see the two roles reversing, where she gets to be the one that protects for a change!
As for what happened on the floor, those kind of scenes aren't really my type and I don't want, as you said, to risk scarring a validator for life! :D
I am so happy that you liked them getting together. I was having serious doubts about this chapters, they seemed a little out of characters for my taste, but I'm really happy to see it was all in my mind!
And because great minds think alike, the next chapter we get to see Scorpius' side of the story and what's going on inside his head right now!
Again, thank you so much for the reviews and the CC. I always have your advice in the back of my mind when I'm editing my chapters! Thanks again!
Such a beautiful day for a wedding! You set an absolutely perfect scene at the start of this chapter. It was really humorous to see how much more difficult that seemed to make things for Rose. If it was raining, or cold, or if the day was any less perfect in any way, it would have made it a lot easier for her to decide to make a run for it. Because the whole wedding thing is obviously not her scene. All of those commitment insecurities are boiling over. All in all, a brilliant continuation of your characterization of Rose from the last chapter.
Besides, she’d made a promise to herself to be more okay with all this love stuff. What better place then this to test her new resolve? - Brilliantly put!
She really surprised me with her honest answers to Viktor about not wanting a big wedding and a family. It's a very unusual thing to find in any Weasley character. Charlie always seems like the Lone Ranger of the family, the only one who eschews the ideals of hearth and home and pursues his life's passions without regard to the social norms. I like that look on Rose here. For one thing -- and I would think this even if the site wasn't going Shipless ;) -- it breaks your story out of the tired, old Next Gen romantic narrative. For another, it fits so perfectly with everything you're written about Rose up to this point. There was no hard, left turn into Happily Ever After Land. I don't know if there's such a thing as common law in the wizarding world, but that's the direction the story is heading and she and Viktor are alright with that.
I thought you did an awesome job writing Viktor's brief reunion with Harry. I wasn't sure what you'd make of that, or whether you'd avoid it entirely. What you did with it was so low-key and simple. It was perfect, I thought, for these two characters. They've both had more than enough notoriety in their lives. They don't like it when people make big deals out of things. They really seem to understand one another. So they simply chat, quietly and amiably, until Harry is called away for more pictures. Q.E.D.
I see the evening isn't done taunting Rose with the siren call of domestic bliss and nuclear family stability. The little girl was a pretty adorable touch. At the moment, of course, the Archives are turning "little girl" into "bunny rabbit", but that's neither here nor there. ;) The way that Rose relates to her wasn't unfriendly, but it wasn't maternal at all, either. It set the stage really well for the conversation that Rose and Viktor have about marriage and children. The way that Viktor sort of explains away his relationship with Peter was interesting. He just isn't one to be tied down by feelings of obligation. He seems like the type who would make a really great uncle when he's in the right mood. I guess Hugo and Billy will have to adopt!
The ending was another awesomely humanizing scene for Viktor. I loved the idea that he wants to set Rose apart from all the ones that came before. He wants to put her on something of a pedestal, whether she wants to be there or not. From the point of view of being a sober adult, sitting here and reading a story, it's pretty obvious how much she means to him. Because honestly, it had to be difficult for him to say no in a situation like that. Very nice touch!
I admit it! I couldn't find any typos! I feel so defeated!
Oh, goodness. We're winding down. I already told you I finished reading, so I know what's coming up. I'm savoring the chapters I have left to review!Author's Response: I'll admit to falling into the cliche of using the weather to reflect a character's mood, but doing the exact opposite here seemed much more fitting. It's almost like the weather is mocking her... and she kind of deserves it for being such a chicken :P
I didn't want Rose to be outright hostile towards marriage and families, but for someone who struggles with commitment, I can't help but see her as at least skeptical about how it might fit into her own life. And while I didn't do it intentionally to avoid falling into a happily-ever-after trap, I do think the idea that every Potter and Weasley falls in love and gets married by the time they're 25 isn't overly realistic. And honestly, if Rose was on the hunt for a husband, I doubt she'd have ever gotten involved with Krum :P
I'm so glad you liked the Harry cameo! I played around with which family members to trot out, but in the end, I thought Harry provided the best opportunity for a little perspective. I totally see it the same way; Harry has been both famous and infamous, and he doesn't really look at Krum and see gossip or scandal. But I also thought it provided some nice contrast. The two are very close in age, and it kind of gives you a yardstick to hold Krum up to -- the kind of life he didn't choose for himself.
Haha! No, mothering doesn't come natural to Rose. And that's exactly what the "bunny rabbit" was meant to show. I'll see if I can work an adoption for Hugo and Billy into the sequel!
The ending (if I did it right) was meant to show two things: (1) that Rose was back in the relationship 100%, intimacy and all, and (2) that Viktor is in love with Rose. I made a point of never having him say the L-word up until or even at this moment, but this is his way of trying to express that. Granted, he does it while also being a jerk, but that's really Viktor in a nutshell. He loves and cares for her, but he's never going to be great at just being a normal, caring boyfriend.
Success!! A chapter without a million typos. And just in time for the story to be almost over. Thanks again for such a wonderful review. I have so much (i.e. too much) fun responding to them. Report Review
Woo-hoo! Another chapter! OK, so admittedly, I read this a few days ago. But I just re-read it, so you've getting an even better review in exchange for the wait! I hope that didn't sound as weak to you as it did to me. ;)
Things really seem to be getting worse in a hurry. You've done a good job of making the Peverell Society seem pretty menacing for an organization that isn't very well defined at this point. The thing I'm most curious to know is what their actual agenda is, where the Hallows are concerned. If the society is made up of descendants of Ignotus (Harry's ancestor, who chose the Cloak of Invisibility) and Cadmus (who chose the Resurrection Stone), it seemed a bit odd that the Elder Wand would be the Hallow that they were most focused on. Then again, the Stone is presumed lost and the Cloak has safely been passed from generation to generation of Harry's family. The Wand, I suppose, is in danger of fading into history just as the Stone already has. Perhaps that's what they're attempting to prevent.
Kidnapping an Auror is certainly one way to get Harry's undivided attention. I like your Harry so far, even though we haven't really been inside his head yet. The welfare of his Aurors is obviously very important to him, as is his family. He seems fairly well-rounded.
Something about the Auror meeting you wrote really clicked with me. It had that flighty, disorganized feeling that everything involving the Ministry of Magic seemed to have in the early part of the books. Everyone was talking over everyone else. Even Harry couldn't really keep it under control until something was being said that they were all interested in.
And then you got the band back together! Yes! That was one of my favorite parts of CoB to write, when the surviving members of the Order and Dumbledore's Army gathered for a renewed call to arms. I especially liked the way you wrote George. He seemed so earnest and affectionate, yet also driven and organized. It was funny to see Fleur pressing Teddy on when she could expect her first installment of grandchildren. That's very similar to the way that I think of her.
There was really only one thing I saw in the chapter that sounded off to me, and it isn't a big thing: Fleur and I will interview the goblins. The word "interview" sounded too direct for a relatively clandestine operation like this. I would expect that Bill and Fleur would be poking around, looking for hints, calling in favors, etc. But "interviewing" struck me as too formal.
I saw two other things that might be typos:
-- He had also been Minister for more than Rose cared to remember. - for longer?
-- Every fiber in Rose’s being told her that this was only the beginning and the though made her insides turn to ice. - and the thought
Otherwise, very nicely written. Looking forward to your next installment!Author's Response: Oh my! Such a long and lovely review! I can't stop smiling!
Dan, if there was an award for most perspicacious reader you'd win it over and over again! ;)
We are going to get into Harry's head in the later chapters, when the main focus will be his actions and thoughts on what will go down. Writing the meeting was one of my favorite parts as well. I see the Aurors as being trained to work under pressure and when they break down, it's clear that the situation is bad.
I'm relieved you liked George. I've never written him before and it seemed so simple in my head, but he just wouldn't go down on paper the way I imagined him!
As for the "interview" with the goblins, I didn't think of it as an interview in the Rita Skeeter sense of the word, Quick Quotes Quill and all. They would of course be calling in favors and poking around, but Bill and Fleur saying "We'll poke around" doesn't sit right with me.
Thank you again for the lovely review!
I've said it again and again: nobody can really write Bellatrix the way that you do. I love the small glimpse into the workings of her mind and the narrative that drives her all-consuming hatred of magical beings she deems "less worthy" than herself. Which is to say, essentially all of them with the possible exception of her Lord. And I was even wondering about that a little bit by the end.
I hope you have a chance to elaborate a bit more on this legend she's thinking of. It seems like a really interesting cultural touchstone for explaining some of her mania where muggle-borns are concerned. I did have one thought as I read it. Did you mean to say, "magic taking magic" instead of "magic making magic"? I wasn't sure quite how taking another's power is quite the same as making magic.
Her thoughts on her fellow Death Eaters were really well done, I thought. Especially her husband. They're all irrelevant to her. When the time comes, she'll cast them aside without a care.
You’ll watch them all fall away, living endlessly in the beauty of it. Then, as legend has it, their power will be yours. - Beautiful and deeply disturbing all at once, the way that she glories in killing.
I'm so excited to see where you're going to go with this! You're off to an amazing start!Author's Response: Dan! ♥ Finally clearing out my unanswered reviews!
Bellatrix and I have grown quite close, haven't we? Haha!
This next chapter backs up to her childhood. So we'll definitely see some of the pureblood related legends, especially this one, influencing her. I think in my head I meant magic making magic because, following the current Bellatrix train of thought I was in, her power is strongest. Her power is used to kill the undeserving. Her magic has made more, given her more now that it's been released from someone who it *in her head* never belonged to. I may just be justifying a typo though. ;)
Thank you so much for all your amazing encouragement ♥ I'm sending you huge internet hugs right now! Report Review
OK, time to finally finish the review that I started writing on Saturday afternoon.
First off, a small bit of commentary:
What do you think of Reaching New Heights: The Viktor Krum Story? It’s got a certain ring to it, don’t you think? - Come on, Rose! That's so cliche!
It was nice to see Viktor actually get serious about something. You didn't drop it on me right away, but as the chapter progressed, it became really obvious that this was huge for Viktor. He finally puts the childish "ice man" posturing aside and lets Rose see that the hearing, and maintaining his freedom, was important to him. That the possibility of losing his case bothered him, frightened him, even. It helped to humanize him quite a bit.
The man in the suit was... I think unnerving is really the best way to put it. I didn't really feel like Rose was threatened. He didn't seem creepy in the stalker sense of the term. The game he's playing seems to be a lot more personal and a bit more cerebral. All of Rose's head games with Viktor seem to be paying off, because she seems to know exactly how to put this guy in his place. Naturally, I'm really curious what was inside the envelope, but the way you ended their encounter really built up a sense of mystery. And I loved this line:
The man was making a good show of looking nervous, as if he really was offering her something he ought not to have been sharing. But Rose wasn't buying it. There was a hint of something akin to glee in his eyes, as if this was all some sort of game for which he would soon be declared the winner.
I thought that did a brilliant job of making it clear what this guy was really all about. There's something really off about him, and he's convinced that he can manipulate her if he dangles the right bait in front of her. To Rose's credit, she just pushes him away.
Rose was so consumed with this one terrible possibility that she almost missed the sound of the front door swinging open. Before she even had the chance to ask what happened, Viktor crossed over to her, scooping her up in his arms, burying his face in her hair. - I really love the visual here. So much vulnerability on his part.
And then... he starts to talk about the future and Rose freaks out. This was a really awesome gender role reversal. And you couldn't have sprung it on two more unlikely characters, which made it even better for me. Rose: the archetypal female character who's been alternating between a girlish infatuation with the man and mothering him through all of his troubles. Viktor: the stone-faced alpha male who mostly shows her flashes of emotion when he wants to reel her in and seduce her. And in an instant, it's all flipped on its head. She'd the one panicking at the idea of commitment and he's sitting there confused about where the train came off the rails. Very nicely done!
Heart is just plain creepy in this chapter. Funny to think that he came off as sort of a twisted father figure way back at the beginning of the story. Not even the most twisted father imaginable wants his daughter to drum up business like this. What a weirdo!
Then she gets the family one-two punch in the form of Hugo and Al. Hugo sets the pins up and Al knocks them down, I thought. Hugo starts off by reminding Rose that this situation really is all about her. What she wants and the trade-offs that she's willing to make. And everybody else will either deal with it or they won't.
Al was the master stroke. And you did it in a really unconventional way. He comes along and shows her everything about her relationship with Krum that's wrong and right, all at the same time, if that makes a lick of sense. The infatuation, the lost weeks and the fact that she's basically forgotten Al's wedding are all symptomatic of just how much of an effect this relationship have had on her. This line really hit home for me:
She'd hardly given his upcoming nuptials or the fact that he was only months away from becoming a father more than a passing thought for weeks. Al was right. When had she become so self-involved?
And yet Al isn't there to yell at her or be angry or offended. He gets it. And eventually Rose gets it, too.
The final revelations that hit Rose as she's lying in bed were the icing on the cake for this thoroughly brilliant chapter. I said earlier that this chapter was huge for Viktor, but even that pales, I think, compared to how huge it was for Rose. It finally dawns on her why she's gone through so much for him. Why she's put her career and her relationship with her family at risk. Why she wants to help him so much. And it coincidentally happens to be the same thing that terrifies her so much that she had to run away from him. I loved this paragraph like few other things you've written in this story:
So there was her sad little truth. Viktor might be the addict, the one who couldn't get his act together. The one with a string of failed relationships and more demons than he seemed able to handle. But she was the pathetic one. The one who was scared of commitment, of jumping in with both feet. Of ending up with a stupid grin on her face. Scared of falling in love.
Her whole speech to half-awake Viktor was awesome. You can feel her convincing herself, item by item, reason by reason, that the things that should keep her and Viktor apart just aren't enough to overcome what she feels for him. It was like watching something roll downhill. And this line made me laugh out loud:
The very thought of you and I together makes my father want to kill himself - or kill you. - Truer words have rarely been spoken...
One typo only: “I hate to break it to you, but you love life isn't really my top concern at the moment. - your love life.
I think I'm about out of characters, so I'll end with a single word: amazing!Author's Response: I'm so glad this chapter humanized Krum for you a bit. I tried really hard to keep him a grey-area character, but if the reader doesn't like him enough to at least vacillate on the idea of him being a good match for Rose, the story doesn't really hold up well.
Looking back, I don't think I developed TMitS plotline as well as I should have, but I'm happy he gave off a creepy vibe here. He isn't a physical threat to Rose, but he's unhinged enough to still be a danger. I'm glad that line stood out. Now that you know the ending, you know his hatred has been eating at him for a long time. He's enjoying the idea of causing Viktor and anyone who cares for him pain.
Swapping the roles here was fun, but hopefully didn't seem too OOC for either of them...? I always pictured Rose as falling for Krum a bit because a part of her really didn't believe the relationship could go anywhere, and I see Krum as someone who actually likes being in a relationship, despite being unable to maintain them -- hence all the marriages. But only now does a real long-term relationship seem feasible to either of them so those true underlying feelings come out.
Haha! I didn't mean for Heart to come off that creepy here. My bad!!
I tried really, really hard to teach Rose a lesson here without feeling like I was lecturing to the reader. Al really didn't go there to teach her anything. He wants to make sure she's okay and maybe nudge her along, but just by being himself, he holds a mirror up for her, letting her draw her own conclusions.
Awww, I'm so glad you liked that paragraph. Internal monologues scare me like nothing else I write, so that it was one of your favorites of the story makes me happy to no end.
The end scene was meant to be Rose's belated freak-out to all the crap life has thrown her way the past few months. If Rose were real, she'd be an idiot if she hadn't thought all these things at one point or another. I thought this might be a fun way to acknowledge to the reader she had, in fact, considered all these things. Plus I wanted to make sure it was clear Rose was willingly making the choice to say to hell with it all. She wasn't being tricked or lulled or dragged into it by Krum.
lol, I love Ron as a dad. I couldn't resist.
Thank you for such an awesome review! Seriously, it was such an amazing treat to read and respond to. Report Review
Tagging you from Review Tag!
Wow. I really admire the creativity it took to come up with this. I'm not normally one for AU stories, but you took this in such an interesting direction and you were so thorough and original in your plot that it really pulled me in.
I really like this darker side to Harry Potter that you've created. Having survived so much death and heartbreak and evil, it seems only natural that a part of it would rub off on him. The world that he lives in seems fairly dark, as well. Death Eaters openly attacking, only to be repelled or captured by Harry's Aurors... it has the feeling of an open war. The internal struggle that you gave Harry -- the conflict between the hero that he is expected to be and the angry, wounded man that he is on the inside -- was beautifully done.
Sirius is still alive! I really love that decision. If you're going to take a story in the AU direction, you might as well give new life to one of the most interesting, entertaining characters who died in the books.
Let's see, what else? I really loved the penseive scene. Devlin seems like such a precocious, lively, wonderful little boy. And his baby magic, the act of creating all the lilies... he really does understand what makes people happy and how to touch them. The opening scene with Voldemort and Devlin made my skin crawl. You did a great job of capturing the dry menace and insidious cruelty of the Dark Lord as it would be perceived by a frightened, injured little boy. I felt so awful for Devlin, but at the same time his strength and his faith in his own magic was inspiring.
Kudos for really good writing and great editing! The entire chapter flowed really nicely and nothing sounded awkward or forced. I only saw one typo:
"My wand is against you neck," Harry said, deadly, when the Death Eater dared to try and move away. - against your neck
All in all, you did a fabulous job with this!Author's Response: Eee! Would it sound too fan-girlish if I said I actually squealed when I saw your username? I'm really not the fan-girl sort of girl, after all. But I am a huge fan of your Remus/Tonks transformation fanfic. :D So yeah, I squealed when I saw YOU liked my story! Woot!
This story just came to me, honestly. I began to write it when it was popular to write James-was-the-son-of-Voldemort fanfics (yeah, WAY back then) and decided I wanted the connection but didn't find it believable through James, or Lily. It seemed plausible, however, that Voldemort might have taken part in the 'fun' when he was younger. Hence Alexandra.
I've worked hard on being able to write Harry this way and it's really only in this rewrite of the story (this is the 3rd one), that I feel I have a grasp on him. I turned the story upside down in this rewrite and I think it is really paying off. Starting with the torture scene was a big jump and something I wasn't certain of, but I felt we needed to see this - how Devlin lost who he was, quickly see who he had been, and then rapidly progress to seeing who he is now (which happens in the next chapter). I felt it was needed to understand Devlin as much Harry.
Sorry for all the gushing. Thanks so much for the review!
So I developed an interest in this story during the Review Battle last month and now I'm quite curious to see where you're heading with it.
You're continuing to do a good job of painting a bleak and disturbing picture of Hogwarts under the Death Eaters. Neville's observations reinforced the message nicely in this chapter: the smaller number of carriages, the missing faces and the fact that Malfoy's strutting about as Head Boy.
Luna was a great choice to bring up the topic of the D.A. She's so oblivious to the danger surrounding them as to be practically fearless. Neville's reservations made perfect sense. I can only imagine what sort of horrible events lie ahead that will finally snap him out of it and forge him into a leader.
The Sorting Hat's song was well done. Those things definitely aren't easy to write, and I commend you for facing the challenge head on and not punting on it the way that most authors seem to.
I like the way that you're allowing Neville and Seamus to very gradually rebuild the shattered trust that was left over after the Ministry's slander campaign against Harry. Even with all the uncertainty they're facing, Neville seems too loyal to simply let bygones be bygones without a serious show of contrition and reliability from Seamus.
Your writing was really good in this. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems. It all flowed very nicely.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with next!Author's Response: You came back! Thank you! Now it's my turn to apologise for taking so long to respond to your reviews.
I'm glad that you think I've got the atmosphere right for Hogwarts under the Carrows. They don't know what they're in for yet, but they don't like the feel of the place - or at least, that was what I was aiming for. It's not always easy to get that right, so thank you.
And I'm glad you agree that Luna was the perfect person to bring up the DA. It had to be raised, but as you said she's a bit other-worldly so the danger kind of bypasses her: she just liked doing it because, if you recall "it was like having friends".
As for Seamus, well that trust will definitely be rebuilt but I thought it was important to highlight the reservations that just about everyone had at that time. Who do you trust?
cheers, Mel Report Review
Hello, again! It's Monday morning, so here's to a little reading and reviewing over yogurt and cereal...
It was really sweet to see Rose keeping vigil over Viktor. After what he did to himself, he probably didn't deserve such good treatment. The same way that I thought you did a great job writing Viktor's OD in the last chapter, I thought you managed to capture the essence of what it is to watch over an addict going through withdrawal in this one. Again, you didn't over-dramatize things. It's basically a lot of boredom punctuated by brief bouts of incoherent jabbering and scary physical outbursts.
When Viktor finally comes around, his reaction was mostly what I'd expected: somewhat humble, slightly macho and a tinge of regret for having put Rose through it all. It's really interesting to watch his demons and his pride battle with the good person who peeks out every so often. Regardless, it was a big step for him when he told Rose where to find the last of his stash and let her dispose of it. Well, assuming that was his only stash, anyway. Hard-core addicts usually have a Plan B. I'll choose to think the best of him at least for now.
These two lines, I thought, were another classic example of the intense conflicts inherent in Viktor's relationship with Rose:
"Then what is it you want me to say?" Rose asked with more than a hint of agitation coloring her voice.
"I want you to say vhat it is you’re thinking. You deserve that much, at least."
He wants her to be herself, on his terms.
And then they settle into what seems like a really nice little domestic routine. You really backed off of describing the physical aspect of their relationship in this chapter, which made sense to me. Viktor is still recovering, after all, and it seems like the two of them have moved beyond just physical infatuation. At times in this chapter, you could almost see the two of them acting like a married couple.
I loved the descriptions of the two of them walking outside in the fall leaves. I probably don't give you enough credit for the lovely way that you're able to evoke a mood through imagery and details in this story, but you're really quite good at it. This chapter was so wonderfully domestic. I can't help but feel like it's the calm before the storm...
I noticed a few typos that you might want to take a second look at, but nothing too major:
So you hedge your bets, pick the people you think will cause the least amount trouble and let them keep their freedom. - amount of trouble
Rose was enjoying their time away as well, though maybe not quiet as much as Krum. - not quite as much
October had arrived, brining with it a noticeable drop in temperature. - bringing
Krum’s brief escape to Bulgaria had thrown the press of their scent. - off their scent
That's all for this chapter, I'm afraid. Lovely job, as always. I'll be back soon!Author's Response: Okay, it feels a little weird responding to this knowing you've already read the ending, but hopefully I can still be coherent.
While I wanted the OD to be dramatic, I'm definitely glad it didn't seem OVER dramatic. Hopefully the drama comes more from what it means for their relationship and him as a character than because of his physical symptoms.
I'm so happy you mentioned the part about him telling her where the last of his stash is. I personally saw it as a huge moment for him but no one else commented on it. He could have lied and she'd have been none the wiser, but it was meant as a show of good faith on his end, at least in my eyes. But I didn't feel I could really come out and say it since I don't think Rose, having no experience with an addict, would recognize it as that. Anyway, I'm glad it stood out to you enough to comment on it.
Okay, so I guess you know now that their physical relationship gets addressed again in future chapters, but I'm glad it seemed natural to back of it a bit at this point. I did try to have some measure of balance in their relationship. They don't really have a lot in common, and intellectually this isn't a great match, so I thought it was important that it was passion more than anything that brought them together initially. But at some point, most couples have to either settle into each other's lives or go their separate ways.
I'm off to fix the typos now. Thanks again for pointing them out.
I'm not sure if you plan on reviewing the other chapters since you've already finished the story, though I hope you do since I really enjoy your comments. But if not, thank you so much for reading the story. I'm one of those terribly annoying writers who never believes people when they say they like something I wrote, but I really hope you did enjoy at least some parts of it. And thanks again for all the reviews, particularly being number 150. I really wasn't ever expecting this story to get that many, so it's an extra special milestone for me. Report Review
Hello, there! First off, congratulations on surpassing the 150,000 word mark! Way back when I first started reading this story, I really hoped that you were in it for the long haul, because there's so much story to tell. I'm really, really happy that you've taken it so far with no signs of slowing down yet!
Poor Lily! She's hurt so bad, but she can't let herself rest until she knows that James is alright. I love the strength you've given her character in this story. Surviving an encounter with Bellatrix is a big enough accomplishment, but even then she's concerned with his heath and safety. So easy to see her as the woman who refused to step aside so that Voldemort could kill Harry.
"Yes, darling. He'll be okay. Trust me, I didn't raise my boy to give up without a fight. He's strong." - I love these two! I seriously wish they could adopt me. So what if I'm married and have kids?
And she wakes up and the gang's all here! In your world, I really wouldn't expect anything less, but it's still awesome to see all of their friends rallying around them at a time like this.
"Zat 'ardly seems necessary. She’s been zrough enough without 'aving to discuss it," Belle interjected cooly. - Ooh! So protective, too! I love the concern that comes from all of their friends, but also the unconditional support and the intense curiosity about exactly what happened. This isn't just about James and Lily anymore, it's become an attack on the entire group. And I can't imagine James and Lily would have it any other way!
The way you fearlessly mix magical and muggle elements in your explanations of biological phenomena is something that I wish more authors would take to heart. It's so easy to lose sight of the fact that witches and wizards are still human beings, with the same physiology as muggles. Not every injury caused by magic is inherently "magical". Blunt force trauma is blunt force trauma, whether it's caused by magic or a car accident. It's going to cause broken bones and internal bleeding, and those need to be treated.
Ha! They just pelt Dumbledore with questions! I love the gradual transition you can see in the relationship between these characters and their headmaster. They're not a bunch of impressionable First Years any more, and Dumbledore affords them the dignity of treating them more or less like adults. But at the same time, he still values the small amount of childhood they have left, probably more than they value it, themselves. This line sort of said it all:
Lily watched as the professor's eyes searched over them, and part of her was certain he was trying to decide on whether or not the truth was necessary."
The parting conversation between Dumbledore and the Potters only served to reinforce how deeply all three of them care about James, Lily and their friends, if in subtly different ways. I loved Olivia's thoughts on how she'd like to watch Bellatrix rot in Azkaban. It's sad that she never got the chance. The way that William refers to "our boys," as though Sirius -- and possibly Peter and Remus -- are no different from his own son in their eyes was touching. And it was a really nice touch when Olivia manages to get a blush out of Dumbledore at the end!
Regulus was an interesting choice for the narrative voice in the final section. It's definitely consistent with the principle of "pick the character who knows the least or has the most to lose." The other character whose point of view we're familiar with, Bellatrix, already knows everything that's happened and she's already lost. It was chilling to see her reaction through Regulus's eyes. Her unflinching commitment to control and the way that she steels herself with her desire for vengeance just added a bit more to the incredible mystique you've built up around her. At the same time, I think I can already see the seeds of Regulus's ultimate betrayal germinating in his thoughts. He really doesn't like all the torture and killing that he sees going on around him. It's rather obvious that he was marked because of who his parents are, not because of his single-minded devotion to the cause. He likes his creature comforts -- a hot meal and a warm bed -- a little too much. Quite the contrast to his cousin Bellatrix and her relentless subjugation of her own physical wants and needs.
Let's see, what else? I loved the concept of the First Five. It goes perfectly with Voldemort's infatuation with ranking and positioning his minions. You even got the tricky little subtlety of Nott's suffix! He's the only one aside from Dolohov who didn't have a son in Regulus's generation.
OK, so I do take back the part where I called you a monster after the last chapter. You brought all of our favorites back strong in this one. Great job!Author's Response: Finally here to respond to your always amazing reviews &heats;
I can't believe how long this story is getting. It's actually kind of hard to believe. I remember wondering the same thing when I first started. Like. am I really going to do this? Sure, I wrote a few chapters, but will I actually keep writing? I think what's really gotten me motivated is how much into the story we're getting. I'm not setting things up anymore like I was for those first five or so chapters, I'm just letting them play out. And I became so determined not to let the TA status slow me down like it seems to do... setting a weekly updated schedule was really the most productive thing I think I could've done for this story. Oh, you don't like getting chapters on Friday and having less then a day to edit them?? ooops. Have I told you that I wub you lately? :P
I know this makes no sense so far. It's Ben's family's fault. Sorry, back on track.
Hahah Dan, the Potters can not adopt you! They have their hands full, you know.
I always get so annoyed when it seems like a wizard never hurts themselves a normal way. It's not always weird spell burns or animal bites. Like you said, blunt force trauma is just that. No matter what. I try and keep it magical enough by mainly using their remedies to cure things, but I do love getting to play with the medical side.
The 'pick a character who knows the least or has the most to lose' is exactly what I thought of in this. Bellatrix has the most to lose, but like you said she's already seen everything and doing another 'Bellatrix getting in trouble' section would just feel too repetitive. And Regulus has been wanting to play ever since his face time in the shrieking shack.
Yay I'm not monster anymore! Don't worry, as you know there will be plenty of other times to call me that :P
Thank you so much for all your amazing reviews, Dan ♥ and all your help making these chapters get to the point they are ♥ Report Review
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