This seems like an interesting idea that can offer a lot of room to experiment. I, personally, can't get enough stories about magic, and this one promises to introduce us to new wizarding mythology and maybe a different type of magic? Fun!
I really feel for Rose - being a Weasley must be so exhausting. I liked how you characterized her here: "Her hair fell in front of her eyes, momentarily obscuring her vision. She hated her hair. The infamous Weasley hair. It made her even more indistinguishable amongst the mass of her family. She had always sworn she would dye it; anything would be better than being a ginger. Yet, as much as she wanted to show she was an individual there was always that part of her which held her back, so the red stayed." I find that you illustrated the problematic of individual freedom of thought vs. heritage very well here. And you indicated that she has not given up on greatness yet!
If I were to offer any CC, then it would be that you could use a tad less "telling" and a bit more "showing" in the overall narrative, especially for a first chapter. For example this part didn't make it easy for the reader to feel into the story, because it's a list of facts we haven't "seen" yet: "It just wasn’t impressive by her family’s standards. They were all high-achievers, so if Rose wanted to match their levels of success she had to work twice as hard."
Overall, great start to what promises to be an excting and original story!Author's Response: Hey there!
I think that's the reason why I decided to write it. I love Harry Potter, Egypt and history and bam all those things combined will hopefully be good!
I'm glad that you liked Rose's characterisation as it's kinda different to how she's usually depicted, but I figured it would be more fun to show her as the Weasley who isn't as sucessful and more of an individual.
I have that issue a lot, and I always end up falling into that trap one way or another. I'll definitely review the chapter and make it more 'showing' :D
Thank you for this great and useful review!
-Kiana Report Review
Hey, it's Whiseky from the forums with your incredibly belated review...You must have requested months ago, so I'm sure this will come as a surprise :P But here I am, haha!
Well, I do love a historical fic, especially since the role of witches and wizards in Muggle history remains mostly unexplored, to say the least. I'm very curious to see how you will tie the two worlds together!
I loved the way you structured the beginning of the chapter. As a film student, I could really picture the way the different character entrances would look on screen :D Your writing style supported this very much, since you made sure to give us only the kind of descriptive details that go a long way to convey meaning, despire being so brief.
As someone who enjoys giving as much CC as possible (I know I like reviewers to have a critical eye when reading my stuff, so I like to return the favour), I'm not sure where I stand on some of the decisions you made for this first chapter. On the one hand, there is an interesting progression of depth from section to section. You start out with minimal information and get the reader hooked on the sheer action of the proceedings. But as we read on, with every new character we get to delve deeper and deeper into the problems of the world they are in and their personal baggage. I think that is a great strategy.
And yet, I must admit I did get a tad lost among all the characters towards the end. I began swimming at Simon's part, to be honest. Suddenly, there was no location description to hold on to (at least not at first - and we never do find out what the room he is in looks like). And also, there are memories of some other people although we hadn't even met the one remembering them..
But, as I said, I like the idea that we delve deeper and deeper into the world with each character instead of just getting superficial introductions to all of them. But what seemed to be missing was a common thread. With the first three, we had a mission, a location and a few difinitive aspects of the new character. It was easy not only to follow, but also to connect to the previous section. I suppose a good cheat sheet when introducing many characters at once, it's important to contrast them against eachother, connect them somehow.
I know I'm spiraling a bit here, but I'm just not sure what to suggest...:P Maybe find something that would lead the reader from one section to the next - either an object, or a theme. Another things that helps is having the new characters each think/talk about a characer that remains "off screen" for the time being. This way you give the reader something to relativize the new characters against.
Yeah, so actually, I loved this chapter :P I think your writing style was wonderful, you pick just the right words and you've set a great pace. Your characters seem complex and intriguing, as does the world you've created for them. I think I'll review a few more chapters :)
Off to the next! Report Review
I know you were probably hoping to get a review on a different story, but I've been meaning to have a lok at this since the challenge, so here I am!
I see why you would consider this to be your least favourite, but not because it isn't good! It just seems as if you picked up many themes and it was difficult to weave them together into something as compact as a 4000 word one-shot.
But, honestly, I thought some of the imagery was magnificent. And it spoke volumes to me as I am terrified of all things that go in the direction of body-horror. And pregnancy is probably one of the most surreal and distrubing things nature has ever come up with :P
My favourite descriptions would probably have to be the scenes in Borgin and Burge's, just because you really used the setting to magnify the horrors of Merlope's pregnancy and her physical disintegration. The way you describe Burke's eyes really defined the darkest side of the world Merlope lives in for me: "Burke has wet eyes that seem to wobble in their sockets, sticky yellow drops caught at the corners. There is a boil on his lower eyelid, making the small flap of skin droop toward his cheekbone. And strangest of all, the long feathery eyelashes, each slow blink bringing them together" neutral gazes, corruption, abuse. Something about the delicate eyelashes sticking really completed the image for me. So good job on that.
Also, I loved this: "Behind him, the Kappa opens its scabbed eyelids and extends its webbed hands, its thin flesh pancaking against the glass." As a parallel to Tom wanting to break out of her belly, it really worked for placing him in all this filth that defines the world of dark magic and shady deals before he is even born. He is in a bottle, powerless but not miserable...his motivations are unclear but he is not pure. I think this was a very elegant solution and I admre you for coming up with it!
I enjoyed how you tried to look for imagery among the behavious of plants to illustrate Merlope's pregnancy. It's interesting that you chose to connect insects to that as well, and there were parts where it worked nicely. But I found sometimes that you overdid it a tad and began mixing insects and plants to a degree that became more confusing that illuminating. For example the first paragraph: "Something has changed in Merope Gaunt, a thrumming of insect wings, a pulse kickstarting into life. Her belly is a pouch of warm soil, crisscrossed with red veins. Seeds can take root here, splitting into small plants that will inch up and up her body, their tendrils will wrap around the soft masses of her organs and the trellis of her bones before sprouting out of her mouth and into the sun." if you are trying to describe the phoetus, then is it a winding plant, or it is it a winged insect? Also, maybe you could use the actual word "insect" less and stick only to the adjectives and verbs that would remind the reader of the behaviour of insects? Then maybe the imagery would be less confusing.
I suppose what could have tied up the story more tightly would be a reason for all the horror-imagery, you know? Tom is eating away at Merope from the inside, the burden of her guilt and the punishment for her decisions. Somehow, despite all of the distrubling imagery, he doesn't come accross as something unsavory. It's just a bit difficult to figure out what you are trying to say when everything (both the outside and the inside of Merope) are described similarly.
Well, I hope this could help! I wasn't trying to be critical and must admit I enjoyed your ever astounding ability for beautiful descriptions here as much as in anything else I've read by you :)Author's Response: Whiskey ♥
Gaah, thanks for this amazing review and for all your critical feedback! It was really interesting to read your thoughts about this piece, and your interpretation of the imagery - because this story relies quite heavily (a bit too heavily for my liking, in fact) in imagery to illustrate a theme, and to carry the story forward. I myself am not a big fan of stories with heavy but generalised imagery; also, I very much prefer the literal to the metaphorical / figurative :) Hence, I wasn't too sure about this piece. Actually, now I remember, I edited this piece months ago, but I've been a bit too lazy to upload the updated version. Anyway.
I didn't focus much on baby Voldy in this story - except in the dream bit, and his influence on Merope. I meant him to be more of a neutral force in this story, but some reviewers including you have seen him as already unsettling and somewhat tainted - and I must say that yes, I think it's quite possible to interpret him this way. It really made me think about my own story and see it in a different light :)
As for the imagery - there's quite a lot of different things going on, isn't there? :P There are images of plants, insects, earth, eggs even (though this is extraneous and is purely there because...I dunno :P ). I didn't mean for them to be teased apart with each component analysed, but mmm, you're right. It is VERY TELLING that when they're taken apart bit by bit, it becomes a bit confusing. What I intended was for all these images to work together to create an overall motif/theme of natural life, or growth / flourishing.There's a kind of duality of growth in this story - Tom is flourishing well and dandy but at the same time, his growth is kinda parasitic on Merope, pretty much stunting her. Everything is flourishing about Merope, inside AND outside, except the essence of Merope herself.
ACK THIS PROLLY DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE *buries head under pillow*
Gah, I'm just floored by your compliment on the descriptive detail ^.^
GONNA TIE UP THIS RAMBLY RESPONSE NOW :D THanks sososo much for this wonderful review, Whiskey! You've really made me think about my own story. And that's always a good thing ^.^
-teh Report Review
Hey, it's Whiskey from the forums!
The first chapter was so short, I thought I might read on :)
I must admit this is my very first Dramione ever. I know, I know - impossible in the world of hp fanfic, but I've just avoided the ship like the plague, so I remained untainted until now, haha. But I'm glad I gave this one a chance!
I enjoyed that you didn't ignore the effects of the war and that a general sadness underlay Hermione's retrn to Hogwarts. Her breaking up with Ron didn't seem forced at all. Grief can both bring people together and let them drift appart, depending on the personality.
Introducing Malfoy's change with Luna's "auras" was a great touch! It's just very...Harry Pottery, you know? These little magical details that define the characters and scenery...Made me smile! (Although you did spell "aura" as "Auror" at some point :p)
I do wonder who in their right mind would make an ex-Death Eater and murderer of the most beloved wizard of all time Head Boy, though. But I suppose you will explain that in due time.
If I could offer you some CC, then it would be to maybe do more "showing" instead of "telling". The story does begin with a bit of an info-dump. Although what you tell is helpful, it doesn't exactly convey emotions that would draw in the reader. Besides, some of these things could be revealed gradually, thus creating suspence and curiosity. Just a thought!
Thanks for the swap!Author's Response: Thanks for the swap, I really enjoyed your one shot!
I'm glad you gave Dramione a chance, I think they're very well suited. I do love Ronmione too though, hence the amicable break up, I really don't like fics that make him a cheater or violent as he's just so loveable! This was the first bit of fanfiction I ever wrote so reading it back is a little cringey and I can totally accept your CC and completely agree! I do plan on revisiting this story very soon and doing some heavy editing for the earlier chapters so thank you for the feedback.
As for Draco being Head Boy, although it doesn't say so in the story (again, I'll probably change that in editing) I'd like to think that Draco would have written to or visited McGonagall before term started to ask if they would have him back and that Dumbledore's portrait would have convinced McGonagall to give him a chance to prove himself and also give him a bit of a confidence boost in returning to a school full of people who thought very little of him.
Thanks again for the swap! Report Review
What a crushing and merciless account of Nearly Headless Nick's death :D
I'm not even sure why I enjoyed this as much as I did. I suppose it's because of the way you managed to tell a story set in the Middle Ages with a tone that neither modernized the environment, nor romanticized it in the way most historical stories do. Customs may be different at a different point in human history, but you clearly demonstrated that the people always stay the same.
I loved how you expanded the painfulness of the event by allowing us to whitness the transformative (and certainly traumatic!) effect the entire endeavor must have had on the poor executioner. This simple line was wonderfully poignant: "He had made the journey from man back to boy during the execution,...".
And, despite the slight awkwardness of the first paragraph, I thought it set the tone effectively, especially here: "After a glorious summer that had continued well into October, autumn seemed determined to make its presence felt and the inky skies were tearing themselves apart in a bid to do so." From the start, with just a few sentences, you introduce us to the blend of pettiness+tragedy that defines the rest of the story.
And, since the tone of this one-shot was so well constructed, I could not help but notice the few things that didn't seem to quite fit. I hope you don't mind if I offer some CC!
First, there were a few sentences that pushed the tone into the territory of dark humour instead of the detached and ironic voice of the rest of the text. For example here: "He had been a particular favourite of the king, and had always amused him with his mysterious abilities; until last night, and his unfortunate mishap with Lady Grieve’s crooked teeth." and here "Practicing on pumpkins was all well and good, but when it came down to it only experience made an expert in such matters." I'd love to see a version of the story written in a Pratchett-esque tone such as this, but right now this isn't that story. These two sentences kind of broke the flow and cunfused me about how I was supposed to expereince the story - and not in the right way.
I loved how you tried to explain why Nick becomes a ghost on the basis of his fear of death.And yet, I found the implication that the pain of the sloppy execution pushed him to long for life even more was a bit unconvincing. I'd imagine all he'd want halfway through would be to finally die. A few more details could really help clear up his motivation and add an extra emtional reality to the enitre event. Just a thought...
Fantastic story, overall! So glad I clicked on it :DAuthor's Response: Hello!
I know what you mean - it's not exactly an enjoyable topic, but I actually really enjoyed writing it so it's good to hear that people actually liked this! I'm so happy you thought that I got the historical setting across the way I wanted to. That sort of thing is really important for me when I'm reading, so it's good to know I managed it here.
I think it's a sad and brilliant fact that human nature remains the same, no matter what time we're in. The executioner (strangely) is my favourite character in this story, because he simply wrote himself. I didn't think an execution like that couldn't not have an effect on someone.
Of course I don't mind CC - I know that there's always room for improvement, especially in my writing! Now that you've pointed those sentences out, I can see what you mean. I think putting in some more details about Nick's fear of death would be a really good idea, and I'll definitely go back and look at this when I have a chance.
Thanks for such a long, helpful and lovely review!
Sian :) Report Review
Hey! It's Whiskey from the formus!
I found this to be wonderfully written. Although I'm no fan of weddings, I found this one to be interesting to follow nevetheless. You used the situation well to introduce the characters and their main conflicts.
Molly is definitely someone I can associate with! Not everyone feels that they can sum up their feelings with a simple "I love you", after all. I wonder what has made her so careful and rational, or whether that is just part of her character.
I must admit I was hoping for more "rising dark lord" right from the start :P But I understand why you would choose to take your time, and it's most likely better to ease into the story more gradually, especially a story of global proportions.
I enjoyed the level of detail you use to set the scene and establish the mannerisms of the characters. If I could offer some advise, though, then I'd suggest that you focus on the surroundings as much as on the people. Although it may not seem very interesting to describe rooms, sometimes a few sentences can go a long way to inspire the imagination of the reader :) But this is really a minor thing and I hope you don't take it as a critique of your style. I really did find the text to be nicely paced and descriptive.
A few more comments:
I found this bit to be a bit confusing: Molly knew when her thoughts were wanted and unwanted. Were you trying to hint at the way sometimes people don't want to hear what is good for them?
Also, this: some romantic Disney princess deal bothered me a tad, since Disney is clearly part of Muggle culture and not of wizarding culture. I'm sure there is some wizarding equivalent. Harry Potter is so much fun to read precisely due to the minor details that define the magical world and set it appart from the world we are used to.
And one more tiny detail would be the POV jumps between Mlly and Noah. While both his and her views are well described and allow the reader to connect with each character's feelings, a novel is not like a film, and it can be confusing to skip from mind to mind so quickly.
I liked this very much and I hope to find time to come back and find out more about this new Dark Lord ;)Author's Response: Hey, Whiskey! Thanks for such a speedy response! I was just headed to your one-shot right after I finished submitting chapter eight for this fic! :)
I've actually never been to a wedding (besides the one my parents had when I was half a year old lol). So, I wouldn't know if they were my cup of tea. But I sort of based this off a few movies I've seen. I actually had a big problem using a wedding to introduce everyone because in my past, I always use some big event to get everyone introduced. Parties, births, and the likes you know? But you're right, it does get the job done in introducing everyone. :)
I sort of just adapted it to her type of character. Though I do believe Percy changed after the war, I can't help but think that some of his old ways were passed down to his eldest daughter due to the fact that he is still the same Ministry sort of person who took years to find a woman he could love.
Well, while there are hints here and there about a new dark lord, I must admit that it really doesn't delve into it until chapter seven. After that though, there's loads of it everywhere ;). So I cross my fingers that you can stick with it for the long run!
Thank you for bringing this re-occurring problem up! I've always asked people what they think about my settings, and they always say it's fine, but I'm always afraid that I focus far too much on the people, and not enough of where they are. Of course I know the details in my head and can imagine exactly where everyone is sitting, but because I know, sometimes it escapes me to actually mention it in the story. I promise to try to work on this more!
What I meant by her knowing when her thoughts were wanted and unwanted was just a way of her trying to calm herself down a bit without starting a bit of an argument. It doesn't work, obviously, but she tries to keep a level head at times.
Funny you mention the Disney princess bit, because that's an edit from a previous version that also made no sense. I just couldn't think of anything that Molly would reference her to, and I didn't want to get into much detail on describing something made up at the moment. Maybe I'll fix that sometime down the road ;).
Uh-oh... If you don't like the POV jumps now, you may or may not like the rest of the story. I got the idea off of a very popular fic I read years ago that did the same thing. I loved getting into the heads of a lot of characters, so I adapted it for this story. I try to break it with the ~~~ so you know when there is a character switch, but the jumps are sort of what makes this story for me. :/ I hope they get better for you to adapt to them!
I'm glad you liked it and I hope that I don't lead you astray as you get (if you wish to continue that is) further along! :) I'm going to finish vamping up chapter eight and then head over to your one-shot! :) Thank you so much for the lovely review! Report Review
You set up quite the conflict here! Muggle-wizard relationships are a difficult and interesting topic to explore.
I like that you try to narrate instead of only "show". Sometimes, I do find, though, that you could do with less "telling" and more demonstrating with examples. I liked this: "This was their last month together, as Dom was leaving for an internship at daily prophet in Paris and Catherine was starting as an intern at St.Mungos. Both of them would probably not even remember this game when they met next." More reflective/contextualized descriptions like this could really bring the story to life :) I liked Cathrine's parents too, they seem like an unusual wizarding family. Maybe you could expland that section with some examples. It's sort of difficult to understand characters if we are just supposed to take their emotions as a given fact instead of feeling them. Also, you might want to watch out for typos and some misuse of words, such as here "and left the other one with Catherine to reject". It would be "to be rejected", I think. Or here: "shawl wrapped around her naked sleeves"...did you mean arms and not sleeves? A sleeve is part of a peice of clothing, so it can't really be naked...
Ok, hope this could help :)
Cheers!Author's Response: hii,
thankyou soo much. i never would have been able to point these out myself. i will surely correct them.
Em Report Review
I'm glad to have come accross this story. There can never be enough stories focusing around the Blacks and the Malfoys...especailly stories like this one that try (and succeed) at giving each character a distinct personality and depth. Yuhu!
Usually, the Blacks are introduced in one big pile as part of an obligatory info-dump before the story continues. I'm very happy that you did not resort to that but instead let each character enter the picture on their own accord and in their own time.
The father standing up, Bella twirling her hair and Druella grabbing Narcissa's face...these simple details somehow brought the characters to life and distinguished them immediately. Without relying on contrasts, you somehow managed to not tell but illustrate what we already knew about the dominating, pinched and arrogant ways of the Blacks. It was clear that in your mind, neither character was a flat symbol, but instead a person, with flaws and inner conflicts.
I particularly liked how you foreshadowed the appearance of Andromeda with this: "Cygnus, on the other hand, now only had two daughters." It makes more sense to introduce such a family trauma not as a fact, but more as an unspoken feeling that tears at the characters while also uniting them. Although Narcissa and her father seem to have little in common, we see them both deal with the issue in the same way. I thought this was a great touch!
Generally, it seems that you thought out your themes very well: choice, perfection, control. Dumbledore's speech was an elegant way to tie these things together, and to establish the tragic contrast of what "right" can mean depending on the circumstances.
I would like to point out, though, that this sentence struck me as a bit off: "She’s beautiful, son. A great trophy to display to your friends." I realize that Lucius' father was intended to come off as misogynistic and rough, but I somehow can't imagine anyone saying that honestly. Even if he was half joking, the word choice would be a bit less, uh, straight-forward, I guess. As oppressive as high pureblood society might be, they would hardly degrade eachotehr in front of others. These things are known but go unspoken. I hope you see what I'm trying to say :P Basically, an indirect hint at Narcissa's status as a trophy would have probably been more realistic. And since the rest of your dialogue flows so well, this part really did stick out.
Ok, that's it! I liked this :D
Cheers!Author's Response: I definitely agree with you. The Blacks and the Malfoys certainly are a bunch of interesting people, so I really liked writing this. I'm so glad to hear that you liked it! :)
It's so nice to hear that their characters came across without interrupting the story with a lot of descriptions of them. I think that there is so much depth to the characters, which makes it both trickier and more interesting to write, and I'm glad that it came across in the story! They are all so very complicated.
It also makes me really happy to hear that you think that the themes were tied together. That was the point of Dumbledore's speech, and I'm glad to hear that it worked. Yes, this probably wasn't what Dumbledore meant by making the right choice, but it was the right one in Narcissa's mind.
As for that sentence, I absolutely agree with you. I haven't even thought about it like that before, but thank you so much for pointing it out! I'll try to come up with a better, more subtle way of putting it. I really appreciate your advice :)
Thank you so much for this review! It's really helpful and encouraging, and I appreciate it so much!! :) Report Review
Hey it's Whiskey with your really belated review :P
I liked the flashback structure. it doesn't always work, but here it does and you were clever to reveal information in both timelines at the right moments :)
I like that you connected the ring-based murder to issues of marriage. It just has this cruel irony to it :D
I must admit, though, that I found the end to be very confusing and had to reread it several times to figure out who was pretending to be who and when...I think what got me tangled up was the sentence with all the boyfriends mashed up into one. Maybe more hardcore fans know the names, but I was swimming in a pool of question marks :P The last sentence did clear up the main point, so if you are afraid others may have a hard time unraveling the twist ending, simplify the last parts and remove any unnecessary names.
In terms of writing style, you had some wonderfully paced and detailed moments when Narcissa wonders about the letter and when she kills the girl. But there were also quite a few ru-on sentences you might want to look over. Some examples: "And yet she does not hear the sound resounding around the empty dining room with an echo that sounds almost ethereal, as if her home knows that it does not house a family any longer – only a family that is now broken." and "The thinness of the material and the imperfections that blemish it suggest the parchment is a low quality version most commonly used by Hogwarts students and impossible to trace due to the vast quantities it is manufactured in." among others.
Also, a few questions:
Why would Poppy/Andromeda resort to sending Narcissa the letter if she could just contact her? Was she trying to break her down through the suspence? What does she get from this? Is she angry that Narcissa wanted to kill her? If so, why doesn't she sound angry when they meet? is she trying to reveal her secret to Narcissa this way? Why, after all these years?
Doesn't a body on Polyjuice Potion turn back to its original form after an hour or so? Did Andromeda get burried within the hour, then? Did Poppy seriously spend her entire life drinking Polyjuice Potion to keep her disguise?
Oh, and, why were Poppy and Andromeda switiching bodies to go and kiss eachother's boyfriends in the first place?
...eh, haha, sorry. I ask a lot of questions :P
Anyways, the story had some uncanny and well palced suspence and was original, to say the least. Just do try to tie up some of the loose ends for dunces like me who don't get the subtleties of the ending. Report Review
Hey it's Whiskey here for review swap :)
Well, first off I must say the writing is impeccable! I could tell you worked on picking the right words, and I was happy to see that you didn't over-do the dramatic/esoteric tone associated with centaurs, but instead sprinkled it into the narrative when necessary. Good job on style, I really enjoyed it :)
I would say that the scene with the unicorn was my favourite. Not only because - unicorns (*yay*) XD. But because of this sentence: "But something about the wood sprites reminds me of locusts swarming over a rotting body, and with a small shudder I turn away and walk on." I think that this little inner conflict really defines the entire story. Firenze is between two worlds, and he can belong to neither fully. On the one hand, he is a centaur, a nature-bound and intuitive creature that should not have been bothered by the similarity of the unicorn's body to somethign decaying and filthy - that's just nature, after all. But he is also human, and cannot help his desire to structure the world based on morals and civilizational ideals. I like how you pull this theme through not only to his character, but to the future of the wizarding world and to the "traitor" boy that gets caught by the centaurs, as well as the obvious conflicts among the centaur pack.
I enjoyed how you connected the greyness of everyone's alliance to the feeling of change, as shown by the skies and grieving forest. It makes sense, since, I suppose, change must come when opposites are no longer opposites. Also, your choice to have the centaurs bounce back from the war with more aggression makes sense. It makes more sense than everyone just being so happy its over that they would allow no more conflict. WWII came from the bitterness left by WWI, after all. Someone will always feel like they lost more than they should have. Your story paints a unique new AU apocylptic scenario where wizards must face the consequences of having oppressed a massive amount of the magical population for centuries. Rogue bands of house elves? Sounds like fun stuff, got me inspired haha
Let's see, I did have a few comments, though. For example, when Bane says: "Entertaining foolish notions of diplomacy and civilization..." I felt like that was a slightly forced thing to say. While "diplomacy" can be used with a negative connotation (mostly meaning lying and manipulating), civilization really can't. As Bane was speaking to a group of his own and organizing them into a unified force based on certain political or ideological beliefs... well, he too was entertaining notions of civilization. You know what I mean? Either you need to explain what civilization means to him ("and falling for a false, greedy civilization!" or something :P), or you need a different word. What is it that he hates about the wizards? Their disrespect for nature? Maybe their selfishness and individualism? Their abuse of others? There are plenty examples in our own history to draw inspiration from, i'm sure ;) And I know it may seem like i'm nitpicking here, but honestly, it's these little thigns that make a conflict either back and white, or grey and nuanced :)
And one more tiny thing: the Dark Mark on the boy. I know that sidestepping cannon is what fanfic is for, but I thought that Draco was an exception and that, usually, Voldy didn't recruit schoolkids? Maybe the boy could have a Slytherin scarf or something else that would undeniably identify him as a traitor? After all, he does admit it himself that he switched sides at some point, so mabye you don't need the mark?
Well, I think that's it! Great story, I'm glad I clicked on it :)
Thanks for the swap!Author's Response: Hello!! Thank you so much for checking out my story and for leaving such a thoughtful and insightful review. I really appreciate it!! :)
Thank you for your lovely compliments on the story: it's really good to hear that you enjoyed the tone and thought it suited the centaurs. I really thought that the time after the war would be not only of rejoicing and healing, but also of conflict, and figured that groups such as the centaurs had probably reached their breaking point and saw this as a good time to strike now that the common enemy with the wizards (Voldy) had been eliminated.
Haha, I just couldn't write a trip into the Forest without a mention of unicorns... even if it was dying. :(
I'm so glad you liked that line about the unicorn, it was one of my favourites as well. Firenze is such an interesting character because, as you said, he's suspended between the human and animal worlds even more so than other centaurs. While centaurs live in the natural world, they do indeed have many attributes of humanity: acknowledgement of their selves as unique, for one. I imagined centaurs as being a more... well, not primitive, but pre-liberal/Enlightenment kind of civilization, in which the identity of the group is more important than the individual. Firenze challenges this by making his own decisions and going against the will of the herd, and I imagined Bane fearing him because of this power.
Those are such excellent comments about the word choice of diplomacy and civilization!! I've been brainstorming to think of some better ones which embody more strongly the sense of detachment from humanity that centaurs feel yet their own insistence of being a special, strong group. Above all, Bane hides his irrationality well and is a dangerous leader for a bereaved group. Maybe that humans impose rule on the centaurs, who are a separate nation within the jurisdiction of the wizards. I'm thinking along the lines of First Nations conflicts within North America at the moment, but will definitely work on that, so thank you for your help. :)
I gave the boy a Dark Mark because it fits with my novel that I'm writing and this story can be seen as existing within the same canon. But I can certainly see how that could seem a bit off, and will consider re-working it. :)
Thank you so much for such a helpful review!!! :D Report Review
hey, it Whiskey from Review Tag!
Well, I love me some dark angsty stuff, so this was right up my alley :) To my enjoyment, it was also wonderfully written and structured!
I thoroughly enjoyed the connection you made between the rocking chair and the memory of the swing. Then, immediately, the words "Come with me" took on a new meaning, simply through the visuals you created of him rocking back and forth in anguish while mentally soaring in an idealized memory with a dead girl. I really liked the first part of the story, probably more than the second.
If I were to offer any advice (although this is all a matter of personal opinion), then I would say that the effect of the story would be stronger if you elave out the very last few sentences. What he is about to do is actually quite clear from the start. The sense of uncertainty an "open" end would leave might add instead of subtract from the desperation and unease of tone you have created. Convincing the reader that he has no other way out can be even more disturbing than showing them what he does, you know what I mean?
Just a thought...
Loved this one-shot, I can really see why you won the challenge :)
See you in the forums!Author's Response: Hey! Thanks a lot for reading and reviewing.
Hi-five! I love dark angst stuff too. I am pleased you found this well-written and structured, thanks.
I wanted to establish a connection between Draco's present and past instead of straightaway jumping into the memory randomly, so I thought of the rocking chair, glad you liked that. Haha you make it sound a lot more awesome than the scene actually was, but thank you. I am pleased you liked the whole imagery that I tried to bring in, and the entire first part.
Thank you for your kind advice. I'll take it into consideration, and perhaps one day when I come back to this story and wish to edit it, I'll definitely think about what you suggested. Right now though, I am pretty content with the way it is =)
Thank you so much for all your lovely words, and advice though. I am flattered *blush* Report Review
Hey, it's Whiskey from the forums :)
Ah, Regulus! A fascinating character that deserves more attention in the fandom, for sure! I like how you try to answer many of the questions about his motivations and his story by connecting them with his intense and somewhat childish love for a girl. The way you describe the events has a detached yet poignant tone to it makes them believable even to someone like me who just isnt into shipping :P
The *Blink* structure is a nice choice ;) It adds a fast and unsettling rythm to the story, which never really lets us leave the actual event of his approaching death. In fact, I would make the segments even shorter, or maybe have them get shorter as we near the end? Just a thought...
I really do love how you managed to evoke vivid images with such little description...I couldn't do that! Him pretending to be surprised to see her at the Quiddich game, the broken nose, her waiting for him after the mission and a few other moments really helped me picture both Regulus and your OC, despite the limited information. I also liked this sentence: "Blink. Death, blood, and screams, those were the rewards for a Death Eater." After all the black and white depictions of Death Eaters we are used to, one forgets to really picture their life and just accepts it as a fact in a desensitized way. But that sentence managed to remind me of their sadism - you refrained from telling the reader that Death eaters= bad directly like most others seem to do and instead explained why.
Great job, basically. And thanks for the swap :) Report Review
Hey, it's Whiskey! Sorry it took me so long to get to your story!
I must say I enjoyed this very much. At first, I wasn't too happy about having to read through a Rose/Scorp to get to the golems, but the second section made it clear why we needed them! There isn't a more modern take on the nature of fairytales than to admit how relative morals are and how easily a story can mean something else. Throwing in the hopes of the new generation combined with the still quite vivid memories of violence from recent wizarding history was quite an inventive way to put something as traditional as a fairytale in a critical context. Good job!
I find both parts (the golem and the Rose/Scorp) were well written, each with their own style and rythm. I particularly liked your description of Irena: "Pure magic flowed in her veins, and shone through to the tips of her golden hair. However, she was very lonely, and seemed somehow to be fading, like a flower too long in a vase." It made me think of the film Tangled :p A few other sentences were strange though, for example you once used the word "handsomest". It's probably just me, but that sounds kind of funny, you know? Also, this was a bit confusing: "...felt stronger than she ever had when blood flowed through her veins hotter and faster than blood." Since you are going for a slightly affected storytelling tone in the golem parts, it would make sense to pay particularly close attention to the word choice :) It's some minor things, but they do stand out since the rest is so carefully constructed.
I liked how you contrasted the two different endings. I also found it interesting how Rose immediately set her Critical Theory Cap on while Scorp dismissed it as "just a story". He couldn't be as offended as her even if he tried. There are certain limits to theory, after all, and the last step comes from associating with the group that is being discriminated. The whole scene made me think about the way a feminist conversation usually goes if you are trying to have it with a guy who is into you - it basically doesn't :P That said, there was a nice feminist undertone to the golem story, and I like how you hinted at the parallels while still sticking to the discussion of pureblood supremacy as the main issue.
It was interesting that the "better ending" had Irena more empowered as a woman, as a non-magical being and as a blood-traitor, as a scientist and an individualist. Basically, she embodied solidaity with everything marginal all at once. It was a nice touch! Doesnt get more politically correct than that... Ron really knows where to find the good stories XD
One thing I missed, though, was a stronger characterization of the golem. He was similar to the servents so must have had an expected role to fill, but it wasnt clear how exactly Irena's society viewed him. They didn't seem to be bothered so much by the fact that Irena chose to fall in love with this creature as much as that he took her magic. But, I suppose that was the point of the story :P
Also, I liked the "do not harm yourself" bits in the golem's programming when contrasted to Irena's suicide. In the end, it is a story about personal integrity, so these details set the tone.
Alright, I'll stop rambling now! I really liked this story, so thank you for entering the challenge :D Report Review
Hey, it's Whiskey aka ChaosWednesday from the formus!
I like how you turned this into a typical story-within-a-story. That is what I was hoping for when I set up the challenge. And I was happy to find that you didn't make the "outer" story seem forced, but involved it with the fairytale, bringing the Sandman out of the "inner" story and into the action.
There are many different variations of the Sandman myth, and I don't recall one quite like yours so I will assume you added your own unique little twist. If that is so, it works very well and has its own moral without sidestepping the main theme of dreams - after all, losing one's temper is also the result of dreaming (and being disappointed), just in a more metaphorical way ;)
I liked the tragic ending and the feeling of inevitability it entails for the Sandman. Fairytales are intended to speak to some deeper truth, and that truth is never purely good or bad, but a bitter-sweet mix. I'm glad you found a way to incorporate that into the story.
I did find, though, that there was a lacking in characterization in this story. Hermione and Rose don't get much screentime, so maybe there wasn't much to be done there, but the Sandman himself could have used some more depth. An easy way to achieve this, I think, would have been to contrast the Sandman in the story and the one in reality. Have him act slightly differently, maybe a bit bitter or a bit more manic, or do something that wasn't even mentioned, some sort of ritual, maybe. Maybe you could have shown how he has learned to deal with his punishment over the years - does he try not to shake when he sprinkles the sand? Does he get angry? Does he try not to do it alltogetehr and is there something virtually forcing him? You know, something that would either contradict or enhance on the story that Hermione told.
Hope that could give you some pointers...
Thank you for entering the challenge!Author's Response: Thank you I'm glad you liked it!! Thanks for the pointers too I really appreciate them:) Report Review
Hey there, it's Whiskey from the forums!
Ah, this was great! Cadogan was an interesting choice, and I was happy to find that you still managed to keep Merlin as the main character.
I enjoyed the tone you chose, which is very much in tune with the challenge of writing a bedtime story - simple and fast-paced, yet properly symbolic when necessary. The structure was great, with increasingly difficult adventures that challenge more and more of Cadogan's abilities and morals.
Your choice of words kept a light feel to the narrative while avoiding sounding too modern. You were mostly consistent with this, which was great, but there were a few slip ups with the use of expressions such as "kicked out","payment", "kidnapped" and a few others. They do stand out, so I'd advise you to go over the text again sometime. And there were a few typos here and there that you might want to fix. Otherwize, in terms of style and narrative, I'd say you did a wonderful job!
The story really did have everything that constitutes a fairytale - a hero's path to greatness (symbolized by his acquiring bits and pieces of armour on his way), a magical sidekick, damsels in distress, magical adventures, evil barbaric clans (goblins) and a happy ending. The one thing that I found was slightly missing was a moral - I get it that the story wraps up with Cadogan finally pulling off his own task without much help from Merlin, but it wasn't exactly what I would call a karma twist. Most fairytales tend to conclude with something from the beginning coming back in a new form and laying out the plot in an unusual way. Maybe you could have Merlin discover something new about Cadogan (except that he can kill giants) or about himself, or about Camelot. It could be as simple as him understanding why Cadogan was in Gryffindor and what the benefit of bravery really is...you know, something to switch the tables in their established relationship of teacher and student. It could be something as simple as Merlin's tactic failing on the giants, so he realizes that he is not a fighter, while Cadogan is.
Otherwize, merlin seems really just too all-powerful and it is unclear what his narrative role in the story is except to be grouchy and to constantly help Cadogan not get killed (btw, my favourite task was the first one with the magic lake and the knight being eaten by a fish :3 Although the terrified baby dragon was pretty neat as well). So, unless you were trying to imply that Merlin orchestrated all of this (in which case you would need many, many more hints to make that clear), it would not be abad idea to give Merlin a character arch as well.
So apart from the end coming a bit abruptly and not feeling as wrapped up as one would expect from a fairytale, this was a really engaging read! Characterization, description, tone - all that was all perfect.
Thanks for entering the challenge! Report Review
I had completely forgotten who you got for the challenge and must admit I felt the suspence!
I like how you threw in some hints about Ginny's transformaton from the very beginning (the dress, the newfound powers, the unexplainable urge when she saw Hermione). It was nicely planned and kept me guessing without giving anything away. The end was particularly unexpected because, well, one doesn't really expect vampires in HP. It's also pretty interesting how the new evil after the Death Eaters are now the Lilium. I would have liked some more info about that, maybe some more flashbacks to what the world looks like in the time of this story. You mentioned people disappearing, for example - maybe a few more sentences could have painted a nice and creepy appocalyptic AU scenario? Just a thought :)
I enjoyed how you incorporated Lilith as a bedtime story, although I did feel like you could have adjusted the story to fit the wizarding world a bit more. After all, I don't believe wizards believe in any gods or would recognize a name like Satan, you know...
I liked how indepth you went into description, that is always a plus! Lots of details really liven up a story. Although, I did notice that you sometimes pack many things into one sentence, making it difficult to get through the narrative. For example here: "She pressed her face to the cold damp stone of the floor beneath her. The scent of moist earth permeated the air and the damp stone reeked but the coolness felt agreeable against her hot face as sweat rolled from her forehead." Sometimes, it's also important to focus on the rythm of a text in oder to multiply the effect of the words.
All in all, great story! Thank you for entering the challenge! Report Review
Hey there, it's Whiskey from the forums!
When I put Rasputin on the list for the challenge I never expected anything like this, so put me down as pleasantly surprised! Snape happens to be one of my favourite characters and I find that your analysis of his psyche (despite your dislike of the character) was thoughtful and nuanced!
I know that the problem with challenges is that there is a deadline, and so I won't criticize you for the fact that you must have written the story in such a short time. But it does feel like you could flesh it out a bit more, so maybe when you feel up for the task, you might find some of my advice useful.
First, I couldn't help but notice that you do a lot of telling rather than showing. Especially in such a character-focused story, we must delve into the inner world of Snape. Rasputin as an idea does indeed create such a gateway, but some more imagery and reflection could help understand the connection better.
I like that you don't go into the actual story of Rasputin and use him more as an idea that is in Snape's head. It's quite original and makes sense considering that Snape's intepretation of the historical figure is what matters, and not the facts from the history books. Defining Rasputin as a misunderstood double agent was great and showed clear parallels to Snape's story. If I may, I would like to suggest that another defining feature of Snape's story, namely his love for Lily, can be translated into the figure of Rasputin as well. He was rumourd to be in love with the Tsarina (whether the love was romantic or not no one can say, but it was definitely a doomed and turbulent relationship to an unattainable woman - does sound familiar, doesn't it ;)?)
Basically, you have a great idea here and it could be really interesting if you take the time to explore Snape's motivations a bit more and to link the two characters more clearly. Also, a bit more showing instead of telling could really make the story come to life.
great story and thank you for entering the challenge!Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much for that CC.
You really did point out so many things that looking back, I feel like I can definitely incorporate into a revision/edit of this one-shot.
I'm glad that my dislike for Snape's overall character didn't damage the way that I wrote him! That was one thing I was a bit worried about.
Thanks so much for your advice, and it was a pleasure to write for this challenge (: Report Review
hey, it's me again!
Ah, it has happened! Well, I find you described the scene very effectively! Considering how I am still under the impression that Dorcas is a bit Mary Sue-ish, it goes a long way to say I still enjoyed the long awaited clash between the two. And I did. The best was Snape's uncertainty. Somehow it really does work well for his character. Basically, i will state once again that you have a great grip on who Snape is. There were a few other bits where I thought you did a great job characterizing him, like here:
"It wasn’t her fault… or maybe it was. All she was supposed to do was her job, not drive him madly to distraction. Severus was pretty sure that Dumbledore didn’t have his people running around whoring for him just to get information.
He’d been the one who had almost ruined it weeks ago. He tried to reason with himself, but she was just so… He gritted his teeth. If she got herself killed, he’d…
Damn it! This wasn’t supposed to happen."
At first I had to eye-roll when his stress about Netterheim immediately slid into petty worries about his feelings, but you quickly made it clear how distracted they made him and managed to incorporate his attraction to Dorcas into Snape's life. So, as I said, good job on Snape!
Dorcas is another issue. Maybe if you would add a few bits just as insightful from her pov as the one I quoted above from Snape, she would be easier to understand. So far, all I get is her being irritated at him (understandably) but not doing anything about it and then thinking something along the lines of "And she shouldn’t care because he was a Death Eater" or "she was pretty sure it didn’t mean anything." which comes sort of out of the blue. What are the consequences of her feelings for him? Compare them to something. Make her remeber something from her past. Illustrate her conflict of trust with some emotional details (not just her noticing his physical closeness or caring about his safety). How does she feel or react when he is mentioned? (The exchange with Marlene was a start, but we never discovered how Dorcas felt, just what she did). When she is annoyed at him, is there some sort of twist that nags at her more than it should? What is it like? And, the most important question: what does she try to do to compensate for these feelings? Snape gets angry and distant and tries to belittle her, for example. And he has a backstory to fall back on that convinces both the reader and him that he is no good for her. What about Dorcas - what is her story, her baggage, her dreams? You describe her actions, but hardly ever her hopes and fears. Basically, I still wouldn't be able to tell you how she reacts to things even if there was a gun pointed to my head. I don't mean to be harsh, but I just feel that, seeing the quality of the rest of the story, that you could do a better job characterizing her.
That said, the rest of these chapters was great! So both Netterheim and Avery became significantly creepier. I do love creepiness :D Avery's little collection was...if not necessarily the most believable thing (I just cant imagine him doing anything requiring the physical concentration of pinning an insect of wrapping up a, uh, stub)...was still wonderfully described and contrasted most effectively with the messiness of his state. As always, you did a great job setting the scene!
As to Netterheim, I knew it! Germans must always be evil unless they are in a Germna story :P Don't get me wrong, stereotypes can be great. Especially like this:
"Netterheim's amusement grew. Just for fun, he stepped forward, crowding her into a corner. She had a certain innocent appeal, he thought. When her pretty blue eyes widened, he leered closer, wondering if she was the type to fight back if cornered." From those few sentences I got a better idea of who Dorcas is than during everything that came before it.
I will do some terribly annoying nitpicking, but when using the English alphabet "Gemutlichkeit" is spelled Gemuetlichkeit. Also, I don't know what it is with making all foreigners use that awkward "no?" at the end of their sentences, but Germans don't really talk that way, as I'm sure you know ;) But you're in luck, as they do add an even weirder "or?" to the end of their sentences, so maybe you could use that instead? Up to you, really :)
Oh, and I have to mention I loved how you went from Avery's collection to Dorcas squishing insects on her plants. Great transition :D
Ehm , I think those are the main comments for now. Basically, the only critique is still Dorcas. Setting, secondary characters, tone, flow are all amazing.Author's Response: Hey! I'm still alive out here, and so are you, so that's points for the both of us!
Yay! I feel like it's my birthday every time you come back for another review. You always have such insightful and pointed things to say and I learn so much about my writing from reading your reviews. They really are very special.
Okay, so I was very, very nervous about having you get to chapter nine, when things came together like they did, especially since you had so many concerns about Dorcas' character. And I'm so relieved that the eye roll didn't develop into something that completely knocked you out of the story, because that would definitely have been tragic. I worked so hard to keep Severus in character, or at least in the character that I had set him up to be, and I'm glad that paid off here. I felt like the only thing he had going for him was his insecurities, so I played those as hard as I could within the scene, but hopefully not hard enough that he couldn't work through them eventually.
I now have some concrete things that I can figure out about Dorcas to make her character "feel" more in the story. And I don't know if I mentioned this earlier, but I finally figured out why she's having such a hard time emoting on the page. It's a personal issue between her and me, but now that I know what it is, I can, if I choose, work around it to bring her out in the ways that you suggested. I feel like this is an incredible breakthrough for my writing. It wouldn't have been possible for me to see it without your feedback, so I am eternally grateful! Thanks so much!
I know I built Avery up as this largely incompetent guy, especially through Severus' eyes, but he's got some skills or he wouldn't be in the Dark Lord's services for too long. I guess the only way to get into his head was to , err, get into his head. Glad you liked the creepiness and the scene setting! It was pretty fun to put all of that together.
Ah hahaha! Of course all Germans are evil! (not really, but they do have this inborn uptightness about them. I'm convinced it's genetic, or at least the older generation does). Nah, I was just having fun, and Netterheim is quite the astute businessman to be doing deals with all sides like he does. He's gotta have some less than savory attitudes to pull that off. Ah, and nitpick away. I forget that if there's not an umlaut, there's gotta be that extra e... or at least that seems to be the rule. I'm a bit fuzzy on how that works. Just the other day, I was watching some show where the "foreigner" in question used the awkward "no". I think the character was Ukrainian or something. It made me smile and think about your comment. Ah, well. Sometimes stereotypes and awkward tropes are are too fun to pass up.
I can't remember if that cool bug transition happened on purpose or if it was a happy accident during revision. Either way, thanks for mentioning it!
Thanks so much for another amazing, insightful review!
Until next time... Report Review
Ugh, I KNOW i typed you a long review for these two chapters, but it seems to have never been posted. Whatever I did - I'm such a dunce XD
Well, I'll give you the highlights as I remember them, then.
First, I loved how much darker the story had gotten, what with all the mind-invasion, insanity and death.
What struck me as very odd was the way you handled the ex's death/betrayal/revelation. At the end of the previous chapter, I just though Dorcas was being squeamish about seeing a dead body - nothing even hinted to me that there was more to the story. Nobody's reaction seemed to point towards the fact that one of THEM had just turned out to be a DEATH EATER! If I were Moody, I would not have sent anyone on their merry way - I would have called a meeting to discuss new security measures IMMEDIATELY!. Like, yesterday! you know what I mean? Why was everybody so casual?
Also, I liked how Snape finds out about the attack and Dorcas almost being killed. It was a nice narrative touch and helped illustrate his growing attraction to her. Dorcas almost falling for him as well could be understood under the circumstances, but, well, since we don't get any insigt into her emotional world, I still couldn't feel it very much. I get it that she is a strong woman of steel that is an Auror and Order member and has probably learned to supporess her emotions. And these chapters got pretty close to painting her that way. But a little bit more contrast to illustrate how she is underneath and how she comes accross on the outside could really liven her up.
Ok, those were the main points as far as I can remember. I'll make up for this short review in the next one, promise!Author's Response: Aww, I hate it when the site eats my reviews! I've had that happen to me a few times and it's not fun.
I'm so glad you're enjoying the darkness. My current WIP started out all lightness and joy and has since taken a turn for the dark as well. Maybe I'm meant to write that sort of stuff. Huh.
Yeah, why was everybody so casual about there being a traitor in their midst? Someone should tell the author that it's serious business, oh wait. That's me. Haha. I gotcha.
I'm understanding the whole "not seeing Dorcas' emotional reactions" point you're trying to make. After thinking about it, I have finally figured out why I wrote her the way I did and didn't include a whole lot of personal, feely things about her in the story. Now that I've discovered the culprit, I see the things I could do to fix her.
I really enjoyed playing around with the mind magic in this story. It's something that we got to see in the books, but I wanted more. I guess I'm drawn to creepy things like that.
Thanks so much for another insightful review. I don't mind the wait so much, just as long as you come back sometime. :)
pix Report Review
Hey! I'm back!
I'm terrible with time and all things related to time. Basically it's a miracle that I can survive in this world on my own :p So yeah, I hope you don't hate me for the monumental delay between reviews! (^.^)
These two chapters had some interesting relationship development!
Maybe I'm reading to much into it, but the way Snape thinks about Dorcas seems to be a mixture between belittleing her and being aware of his own inability to comprehend her. Here are some examples that struck me:
"He paused, considering, "You're too pretty to die.”
That was probably the stupidest thing he’d ever said and for some reason, he found it ridiculously funny. “Don't die." Severus rolled on the ground, giggling at himself. "
And:"She’d gotten damned good at wrapping those bandages too." I like this attitude because, although not very respectful, it IS realistic and I find that it captures the sexual tension very well! As I mentioned in my earlier review, you seem to have a great grip on Snape's character and I really enjoy reading him this way. That said, I did find it a bit strange for him to lament the destruction of his flat quite THAT much. Didn't he think that he had been sabotaged? Also, shouldn't he worry more abot the potion? Or about his wounds? Or attracting attention to himself and his activities? Oooor, well, the well-being of the others in that building maybe? Just about anything would seem more important than the actual flat. From what I got, he spent more time in the potions store than at home anyways. This is similar to my comments about the conversation at the bar with Dorcas: somehow the stakes veared into the territory of Normal People Problems when the situation was much more complex.
As to Dorcas, well, I'm still not convinced, but you said you learn as you go, so I'll just wait a few more chapters before looking into her characterization in more depth. I do have some advice though, so hear me out XD
At some point, you have her perceive Snape as a wild wounded animal. I liked the comparison, but I couldn't recall any situation that would point towards Dorcas seeing him this way. They have several strange moments where you could add a few details that would re-enforce and build up this image - for example when he attacks her in the kitchen or in earlier chapters, maybe even from their very first meeting. If you throw in a few adjectives that paint Snape's appearance or behaviour as animalistic and wild, then a lot would become clear about Dorcas' relationship to him. Her mistrust and confusion about his motives as well as her desire to help him, not only on a professional level, would just make more sense. So far, we had Dorcas open up about her ex, allow Snape to mark her, show up whenever he needs her, invite him to her home and, well, just be passive and accomodating all around. These situations could easily appear more conflicting and dangerous if described in a different way. So far, every time they are together I imagine them speaking in hushed voices, sitting really close together and spilling their secrets haha. Basically, very intimate but not dangerous.
Let's see, now to our Death Eater goons. Although goons are not my favourite type of villian, I respect your choice to portray them this way. I liked the little moment of bonding they experiences towards the end of this chapter. This, for example "Severus almost cracked a smile, and for a split second, he thought that Avery might have returned it before looking away and knocking back his drink." I liked the implication that, although they are sick of eachother, the guys can't help but experience a certain level of undestanding and sympathy after such a long time of working side by side. I wish you would focus more on that and less on Avery bashing :P Maybe use the Death Eaters less for comedic relief and show them working as a team? After all, I bet they lash out at eachother not because they like to, but because of the pressure they are under and the constant struggle for power that defines their group dynamic.
Oh, and while I'm still on about that scene, where was the magic?? give me magic!!! XD sorry, but you spoiled me in the previous chapters with the potions and the tracking spell! And now we have Death Eaters throwing darts and drawing with chalk... I alwys imagined Death Eaters would use magic all the time, for everything. Just to not be like Muggles, you know?
Oh, btw, I liked Netterheim! Die Heimlichkeit der Welt was a great touch, although I wonder what use a Muggle work would have for a wizard? Argh, who cares, it was fun! You mentioning the Übermensch in his pov was also a nice detail. Let me guess, Netterheim is German :P Going by the "Danke vielmals" bit in your A/N, I deduce that you are too?
Well, I hope I could be helpful! I'll try to leave less of a wait between this review and the next :P Tschüs!Author's Response: Hi again! *is very excited*
First off, I apologize for the late review response. Things have been piling up in RL and I had to run off and be "responsible" for a few weeks. :)
But that's all behind me for now, so I can devote my attention to this great review. I really love how you get into everything about this story and point at things so I can see exactly what you're talking about. I wish I could take a screenwriting class, just to see how things are crafted to come together like they do.
I really like the idea of building Severus up in Dorcas' mind as a wounded animal. I spent an awful lot of time trying to understand Severus' character for this story, and I suppose that if I had spent the same effort on Dorcas, she would have seemed more "together". I guess I concentrated too much on her impulsiveness and not as much on the reasons why she would be so impulsive. I'm learning. :)
You are absolutely right about the Death Eater goons and the reasons why they lash out at each other. I was going for the "we're people too" scenario, with that scene in their flat. I suppose you do have a point that Death Eaters would use magic for everything. I thought it would be funny for them not to. Actually, now I have a crazy notion that if I were to rewrite that scene, they could be so drunk that they'd think it was funny to act like "stupid" Muggles and then sometime in the middle of it, they'd give up and use magic, or pass out, or... okay. I am NOT rewriting this story... haha!
Netterheim was my favorite OC to write. I have a bit of German heritage to pull from, and I definitely used some of my relatives as a basis for him.
Again, this was way more than helpful! Thanks so much for another informative and detailed review! Report Review
hey there! It's Whiskey from the formus for the review swap! I know I took for ever to get to it, but after I posted on the formus I realized I had less time than I thought :P
Anyways, interesting idea!Very unusual style. I like how impassive the narrator seems to be, even as she is describing how her father is tying her up.
I must say, though, I did notice some typos. It's not much, but worth looking over. Also, you seem to leave out words a lot, especially in the beginning, like here: "I didn’t homework". Also, this sentence seems quite awkward and I think it could be rephrased in a more simple way: "My father's interest showed in me only after my display in magic."
All in all, interesting! I liked the isolated villiage setting, would have loved to read more about it. You really do like your arranged marriage strories, huh? ;)
cheers, and sorry for taking so long to swap!Author's Response: Hey! thanks for doing this!
Im glad you like the narrator! I wanted her to be a bit different and I guess as a cold person, she is very different.
Thanks for pointing that out! I didn't actually notice it when I read it haha :P
LOL yah I guess :P I always try to find stories like that to read and when I dont find them... I start writing them on my own lol =)
Thanks so much! Report Review
hey there, it's Whiskey from the formus. I'm sorry for taking absolutely forever to get to your request - I'm a terribly undisciplined reviewer, but I try! :P
You have an interesting premise here! I liked how you compared Audrey's memory-whipe with suicide by having her leave a note. It's an interesting philosophical idea that a person is a collection of their memories, and once those are gone, so is that person. You illustrated the idea nicely with the cauldron cakes. She only likes them because of what they mean to her - it's not some sort of genetic predesposition. I found that to be a very nice touch!
I also liked the end. Although it's just a chapter in a WIP and not a one-shot (right?), it tied things up nicely. We saw her accept her situation, realize that she is not that different from others, and begin to fill up her mind with details that are pertaining not to her past, but to her present.
The analogy between Audrey's "empty slate" and the empty room she wakes up in was also quite a neat narrative addition. I liked this: "The room slowly accumulates a personality of its own." On the one hand, that sentence implies that Audrey is developing her own personality, but it also draws attention to the contrast between who she was and who she is now, sending a less optimistic message.
Speaking of the room, though, I found that you had a strange way of describing it towards the beginning. It was always "cold, square", "clean, white", "stiff white" etc. Always two very general adjectives paired together. I found they didn't help me picture the room and it seemed like a bit overkill and repetitive. I think it would be easy to fix if you, instead of lining up adjectives, just gave one or two of them their own sentences that would elaborate on them some more. Explain what the whiteness, the coldness or the emptiness felt like!
Another thing that struck me was when her brother said this: "We didn’t care, we were kids and we’d eat anything she put in front of us..." Do kids eat anything their parents give them? I thought kids were the most difficult to pease and are notorious for being a complete pain about food? They always want pizza or, i dunno, haribo, right? As far as I know, kids can get really tedious if they decide there is a food they categorically won't eat, like cheese or olives, something like that... I don't know much about kids, but from everything I've heard and read, they are very unlikely to eat up "creative dishes". :P
Also, eh...the rugged muscley guy who suffers from a tickling charm...He IS lying, right? If he isn't then, well, did it have to be a tickling charm? XD It's just kind of absurd and silly and doesn't fit with the tone of the rest of the story. And if he gets fits only once in a while, why does he have to stay in the hospital all the time? Couldn't they have figured out some meds/counter-jynx/physio-therapy for him in the 6 months he had been there?
Those three points are really all the CC I have! The rest, I found, was nicely written and at times quite touching (when her brother remembers their mother, for example)! It got me hooked, both because I want to know what drove Audrey to obliviated her own brain to bits, but also because I want to read more about St. Mungo life - it seems to be filled with fun, underrated people :DAuthor's Response: Thanks for the wonderful review! xD I love your CC because I can't disagree with any of it, and I'll definitely think over points and see what I can do to work on them! Report Review
Well, this was absolutely mind-blowing. What won me over was the end. This: "You’ll have to look a little closer to find him – but he’s there."
While I was releshing in you wonderful descriptions, something in the back of my mind was being all picky and kept nagging at me with "Where is this going? What are we seaching for in these memories?" And then that one sentence allowed everything to fall into place. We were looking for Collin, one of the most minor characters that, despite going practically unnoticed, still left a tiny yet meaningful rift in wizarding history.
I also loved how you concluded everything with fireworks. It reminded me of the ending of Blue Valentine - I don't know if you've seen the film, but the use of fireworks is very similar. There is something dangerous and exciting about lights exploding everywhere :P They symbolize both destruction and new beginnings, and are easily connected to war as well. It's a very subtle and clever analogy.
Another of my favourite moments was how you described the parents' reaction when they found out. It's a situation that not everyone has experienced personally but has seen overdone in literature and film so many times, it takes some effort to let the individuals still shine through their grief. The way they rocked back and forth, while awkward - and possibly because of it - was incredibly touching.
Let's see...Oh yes, and I loved this sentence: "And there’s half our Dad over there – the margin of the print slices cleanly through his face and so he’s one-eyed, quarter-nosed, and with an unfinished smile." That, besides evoking a very vivid image, was a neat way to foreshadow the tragedy to come.
That said, I just couldn't get over your use of the word "folks"...I know it's kind of nitpicky, but I just can't see it fitting with the rest of the narration.There is something provincial about it that stands out. I'm not British, so I really don't know how widespread the use of the word is, but - ugh, ok, it's up to you, really :P
A few more things I found a BIT les perfect than the rest of the story was, first, the abundace of details. On the one hand, they do create some vivid magery that I enjoyed very much, but they were also a bit distracting. This mostly occured in the sea-side scenes. This sentence, for example: "During our stay there we’d always stop at the local takeaway for fish and chips, which came parcelled in newspaper, oily blotches soaking through the print." It's wonderfully descriptive, but I didn't find that it added anything towards moving the story forward. I'm not even sure what it depends on, actually.For exampe, when reading about Doris, I thought the tea-bags were a perfect touch, but couldn't say the same for the description of her arms and her knitting. I suppose what unites the details I found superfluous is their lack of interaction value. The diner and the knitting say alot about the places and people they describe, but not much about the relationship of the narrator and other characters to them. I hope that makes sense! Keep in mind, this is the most minor bit of CC in the world and it's really not important at all :P
Also, I found that Collin's memory of his coma was a bit of a strange addition. Staring at cracks in the ceiling is sort of a cliché, in my reading experience. Also wouldn't he have been more focused on the people around him? He seemed to have an endless amount of curiosity and awareness of people and, considering the unusual circumstances of that year, there would have been people fussing over him constantly, right?
Don't pay much attention to my CC, it's really the most insignificant of details. it's just that when I read something that is nearly perfect, I become more aware of places where I, personally, could imagine improvement. This was a wonderful piece of writing and I hope to read more of your work!
Cheers!Author's Response: Whiskey ♥
Ugh, sorry for taking twelve billion years to reply to your very lovely and incredibly detailed review! I have absolutely NO IDEA WHY you would give such a great review along with some very honest and thought-provoking concrit, only to end it all with saying "don't pay attention to my CC..." -_-
I need the CC and I can't thank you enough for it :D
This is a fic I didn't plan too much at all. I borrowed the starting line from another story and just began writing :) I'm glad you liked the ending; that was one of the easiest parts of the story to write because it just came so naturally to me.
It's so interesting to read your interpretation of the story. In my mind, as I was writing this, Dennis isn't actually searching for anything. He's just...feeling aimless and all, feels like he's stuck in some rubbish place and of course, his brother is dead and all. So he looks through his brother's stuff and photos without thinking he'll find much. But I like your interpretation of the fic! How Dennis might actually be searching actively for some hint of his brother, some fragment of him in the photos. It's a very logical interpretation, of course.
Glad you liked the way I showed the parents' grief. You're right about these sorts of things being overdone in films and books - there's always that danger of things become overly melodramatic. I'm so happy you thought I handled this well :)
As for the "folks" bit, I'm not British either :P I was intending for the Creeveys to be from the northern UK or somewhere...hence the way Dennis says "Mam". I don't know if people over there use the word "folks" or not :P I probably need the advice of some locals of that region!
Ah, yes the details. I know there are plenty of details, and not all of them relate well to each other. I did intend some of them to be random, things and images to leap around, like Dennis' attention is drawn to all sorts of the most trivial of all details. The Creevey brothers are indeed very observant, though Colin is fascinated by everything, Dennis just notices things with a certain distance and indifference (probably due to his present state). At least that's what I was trying to convey, don't know if I succeeded!
However, I do think you are right about the seaside scene. That bit is certainly out of proportion; it's much heavier on the detail and description compared to the other parts of the fic, and I have this nagging suspicion that it's because I was trying to fulfil the requirements of The Five Senses Challenge.
And yes, probably Colin's memory of being Petrified is a little out of place. I've always had the nagging suspicion that it wasn't supposed to be there, and I'm so glad you pointed this out :D You're a great detail-oriented reader! I will try to fix this bit a little. I don't think people would have really fussed a lot over him during his stint in the hospital wing. Colin was never a really popular kid :)
Thanks soso much for your review, Whiskey! It's been so helpful! And apologies once again for the huge delay in responding!
-teh Report Review
hey there, it's Whiskey from the forums with your requested review!
I don't think I've read anything so blatantly AU before, and I must admit it was fun! Sirius and Voldemort are alive, eh? (*fingers crossed* maybe Snape too? I guess I'll just have to read on and see). So, I suppose you'll explain this later, but what happened to the whole "neither can surivive while the other lives" arrangement between Voldy and Harry? It felt like a ticking time bomb (considering Voldy's obsession with not dying) and I'm curious to see how you will explain Voldemort taking his time to track down Harry instead of, like in the books, charging at him at his earliest opportunity.
Delvin seems like a very intense, unusual child, not only because of his genes (also interesting, by the way, how does a Harry/Voldemort child occur exactly? Is it because Harry hasn't removed the horcrux in this AU and passes it on to the child?). The way you described Delvin's perception of what was going on, as well as his relationship to his own magic was quite vivid. This: "There was a sharpness at the edges of his mind that he hadn’t felt in a long time" was very abstract but strangely effective nevertheless. I also liked how you dealt with the feeling of torture, especially here: "The pain itself was dimming and Devlin wasn’t quite sure where any part of his body was. He might even have been able to fall asleep, except that the sharp thing in his head wouldn’t let him."
That said, I felt like the first part of the chapter had a pov switch that sort of confused the narrative. At first, based on the more simple words you chose, we are in 4-year-old Delvin's pov, but then this happens: "He was dead, Voldemort was sure, but he rose from his chair just to be certain. On his way to the body, he felt a pang of disappointment that the child had gone and died so easily - Voldemort had wanted to make him scream." And suddenly, we are in Voldemort's pov. Pov skips like that are rather alienating for the reader and make it difficult to get into the story. I think removing the brief trip into Voldemort's emotions and resorting to describing his actions from a more distanced pov might make the transition out of Delvin's mind smoother.
Let's see, I generally like the way you describe the subjectivity of magic. It's quite unusual and not at all like in the books. Here, for example: "Harry lunged for the man as emotions, so all-consuming that he didn't think he could ever identify them, exploded inside of himself and sent his magic on edge, humming all around him." I wonder if this description was intended to draw a conncetion between Delvin and Harry, implying that they are both "tainted" by Voldemort's magic? Just speculating.
Ok,moving on. I found the memory itself to be quite touching, although the fact of it being played for the Death Eater came accross as a bit forced. He didn't know that Voldemort stole Harry's son? Didn't Voldy make a big deal about retribution during the torture scene? He has to keep his Death Eaters loyal, after all, so I'm sure he used Delvin as another public display of his progressing feud with Harry. Also, I sort of had to sigh at Harry having a housewife...but I guess THAT gender assignment is rather typical for the HP cannon, so, oh well. :P
In terms of writing style, I mentioned that there were parts I found you described very poignantly. But there were other moments when you either had run-on sentences or, for example, descriptions like this: "with an unpleasant sound". And if it's supposed to be Delvin's childish pov, then there weren't enough similar word-choices to legitimize the undescriptive nature of the word "unpleasant". Also, when describing action sequences, I noticed you use a lot of words and "and then"s, as well as list many in-between details. All of this slows down the action, causing the subject matter and the rythm of its telling to be at odds with eachother. There were many other examples, but here is one I found scrolling back: "Harry leaned backwards and pushed the photo down onto the desk so that the Death Eater couldn’t see it and then he turned back to the man, more furious than before." The "and then" slows down the action and also softens the impact of what came before and after it. Also "So that the Death Eater wouldn't see it" is superfluous information that, again, slows down the reading while telling something that was already quite heavily implied. "leaned back" is also, actually, not very necessary information. You could have used the same space to focus on his face expressions during the act, or that his hand was shaking or was unexpectedly steady, etc. Actions are generally easier for the reader to fill in than emotional details or surroundings.
Oh, one more thing that I really liked was the photo! I liked how you utilized the jif.-like nature of magic photography to express Harry's uncertainty! That was a great touch :D
I hope I could help and that I didn't come accross as too critical! I might come back for a few more chapters if I find the time :)
Cheers!Author's Response: Whoa! Thanks for the super long review. I hope I can answer all your questions.
Snape is still alive. He'll actually play a visible role in this story, as well.
The "neither can surivive while the other lives" thing. Well I'll be honest by saying I started this story before the 5th book had come out, so I didn't KNOW about that when I started writing. I suppose in my story Voldemort actually took time to THINK and also, Dumbledore is alive. I think Dumbledore probably believes he has only one chance with Harry and that he might have missed it - in that Harry has something to live for more than just a girlfriend and friends. Also, Dumbledore grew too attached to Harry, even in is own opinion, and I tend to think HE'D have a bigger problem telling Harry he'd 'raised him for slaughter' rather than assigning Snape the job after his death. But again, these are all belated ideas that I have spinning in my head, because this is truly and entirely AU!
The whole Potter/Riddle thing. No, it's nothing to do with the Horcrux (once more, I didn't know when I started this, although I have incorporated that into the story now). It's a true blood connection and if you can't guess how THAT could happen when we already know Harry's father, then you'll get a big clue in the next chapter. I actually thought my summary might have made it pretty clear...so I'm glad I know it hasn't.
The POV switch...yeah I think I probably just got caught up in the moment. I need to figure out a good transition or as you said, just not delve into Voldemort's POV. The first chapter is a bit jumbled because I added the kidnapping scene and mixed up the progression - I am pretty confident you won't find the same issues as you go forward and I intend to fix them here.
**I wonder if this description was intended to draw a conncetion between Delvin and Harry, implying that they are both "tainted" by Voldemort's magic? Just speculating.*** Oooh, you're CLEVER! Yes, that's supposed to allude at the part of Voldemort's soul in Harry.
**He didn't know that Voldemort stole Harry's son?** Uh oh, obviously I didn't make things as clear as they should have been. No the Death Eater absolutely knows that the boy is really Devlin Potter and that he was taken from Harry Potter. I actually don't think Voldemort would flaunt it to everyone, because that would endanger the boys safety (from Voldemort's POV and he's possessive of the child). I can't give too much away here, because we won't know until Devlin comes to complete awareness of what actually happened to him, at the hands of Voldemort.
What Geoffrey is trying to do is make sure that Harry is really "Harry". The boy is valuable and he fears two things 1) that someone who the boy does not belong to at all is trying to get him because of his value and 2) that the man isn't really Harry Potter but a Death Eater or maybe even Voldemort, trying to trap him. You'll learn in the next chapter that he wasn't exactly supposed to be at that battle. He felt that if Potter could prove he had felt LOVE for the boy, he would know it wasn't Voldemort (or another Death Eater that wouldn't have known the boy well enough), because Voldemort does not feel love. I'll have to take another look and make sure his knowledge is clear.
Sentence structure...yeah I do tend to do that. I'm pretty good at cleaning it up when someone points it out though. Sometimes I just get caught up in the moment of writing. All of those things occur to me because I see it all happening like a movie so...sometimes I just tell you ~every single thing~. lol
Thanks for the photo comment. I thought it was brilliant when it flew out of my brain without warning too!
You didn't come across as too critical at all! Hope you won't mind if I re-request. Thanks so much, it was really helpful! :D
Millie provides for an engaging narrative voice, I like her. This made me smile: "James Potter and Lily Evans were in a steady relationship - a steady love/hate relationship. He loved, she hated, just like the sun rose in the east and set in the west." The POV skips were nicely placed, although I generally find such a switch to be a lot of mental work, but I'm a lazy reader :P I liked how Sirius' POV was placed in such a way that it seemed like the entire thing was Millie's daydream ;)Author's Response: Hello! I'm glad I made you smile! I wrote the start of this story such a long time ago, when I was I was still working out how to write stuff (who am I kidding? I'm still trying to figure that out), so you don't know how happy I am to hear that you like the POV changes! I've had mixed reviews concerning them! Report Review
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