Reading Reviews for Diamonds into Coal
  
276 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Rumbleroar goes roar Erised

19th January 2014:
Wow what an interesting start. You've gone such a good job of setting up the story and teasing the reader for me. Can't wait to read on :)

Author's Response: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed this first chapter, and I do hope you come back for another soon :)

-Amanda


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Review #2, by UnluckyStar57 Of Wit and Learning

1st January 2014:
Happy New Year! I'm here from the BvB review battle, and since is reviewed the second chapter of this story a few days ago, I wanted to take a look at the third!

We finally get to meet Helena! Yay! As a bookworm myself, I love the fact that she wants to put learning and scholarship over marriage. The dreadful suitor that only talks of sports is no match for her! And yet, although she hides it from her mother, she sort of wants a wedding of her own. The wedding dress in the picture sounds amazingly beautiful, by the way!

When she goes to the bookshop in town, she reminds me of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. It's awesome that although she lives up in a castle, she isn't above running errands in the village (especially if books are involved).

Oooh, I'm excited for Venn and Helena to meet! I will definitely come back and read the next chapter soon!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hey there!

I'm happy to hear that you felt like you could relate to Helena and liked that she was sort of well-rounded. I can see how you feel like she was sort of inspired by Belle, haha :) It's great that you're still enjoying the story and want to read more.

Thanks for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #3, by CambAngst Desire

31st December 2013:
Hi, Amanda!

My feels are aching on any number of levels. I'm sad to see that even after centuries, Helena and Venn are unable to come to any sort of reconciliation. I'm sad that they both continue to inhabit this plane, searching for the closure necessary to move on. Mostly, though, I'm sad that this beautiful, well thought out and painstakingly researched story has come to an end. It's been an amazing journey and I'm glad that I was able to follow along.

I thought that you might have detailed the confrontation in the forest a bit, but this was a really clever way to end the story. It reinforces the idea that Venn was not in his right mind when he killed Helena. The actual circumstances surrounding their deaths felt blurry and disjointed, much like I would have expected if Venn was delusional from lack of sleep and over-exertion.

The details of the murder fit well with what little we know from canon, building on it to round out your version of events. The reason he killed her was much more comparable with your story. Even the small detail of how he came to wear his chains was well done.

I really liked the way that his uncle is the one to confront his spirit and welcome him into his afterlife in Hogwarts. It was fitting somehow. It also makes it obvious how Venn became the house ghost of Slytherin.

Helena was perfectly in character in this, her last appearance. The way that she chastises him for dwelling on the mirror's fantasies fit precisely with the way she always treated him. Her inability to forgive was so purely intellectual in nature.

When you stole my life, you showed me no mercy, no opportunity for vengeance. I take it now, and forever. -- I loved this line! So fitting.

Also this one: He only wished he were as ignorant and deluded as she thought. Sad to see that even the mirror's illusory comfort is unable to assuage his guilt.

This story was fantastic from start to finish. I am very glad to have found it and I've thoroughly enjoyed every chapter. Bravo!

Author's Response: Yeah, this chapter was tough to write. This story was tough to finish, really, because I got very attached to it and my characters, and beyond feeling sad that I couldn't give them a totally happy ending, I was just sad to have to let them go at all. It's weird to think now that when I started brainstorming this I worried about losing interest halfway through. I still mourn having finished this!

Part of my decisions about the actual murder/suicide scene were stylistic, as you mentioned, but part of it was honestly my worry about keeping in ToS compliance regarding spousal/romantic partner abuse. Ever since I became a TA, I've been a bit overly cautious about sticking to the ToS, which sometimes means that I really tone down potentially sticky situations or I go overboard with ratings and warnings. Better safe than sorry - I want to keep my status :) Anyway, I'm glad that the scene still worked stylistically despite leaving out some of the detail.

Venn feels a lot of regret over his actions, and I think Salazar understands that just enough to use his nephew in accomplishing his purposes. If he feels an iota of empathy for Venn, it's buried deep within his cold, black heart. I wanted Salazar to really be the villain until the end, and I hope I accomplished that with his little deal here.

Helena obviously learned a lot more about herself in the afterlife, and unfortunately she's got eons to take her revenge against Venn for what he did to her. Only time will tell if her heart hardens or softens for him, though she clearly isn't interested in reconciliation at this time (or in canon).

Glad you liked those lines! I was a bit proud of my writing in this chapter :) I think it all hearkens back to the initial prologue - Venn wants desperately to have a second chance with Helena, and yet part of him also wishes he could just fall away to dust in front of the mirror, just to have some sense of conclusion and escape from her.

Thanks so much for this and all of your lovely reviews! It's been so great going through this story with you, and I'm pleased that you enjoyed it so thoroughly. Hope to hear from you again on a different story!

-Amanda


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Review #4, by CambAngst Rowena's Last Hope

31st December 2013:
Happy New Year! I'm celebrating the arrival of 2014 by tagging you in Review Tag.

It's been such a long time since I've read and reviewed this story, but it was easy to slip right back into the flow of it. Everything you write is so memorable.

Poor Rowena seems to be on her last leg. Even as she stares death in the face, I like the quiet sort of determination you gave her. She seems to believe that Venn will succeed in returning Helena to her, in spite of the long odds. Venn, on the other hand, is more realistic about things.

I fear she will not listen to my counsel. She will perhaps accuse me of lying to her. -- Or perhaps simply refuse to return even if she believes he's telling the truth. Regardless, he seems to be more in tune with Helena's mindset than her mother. His heart's in the right place, however. It was interesting to see how affected he was by Rowena's plight, even after she's judged him an inadequate suitor for her daughter.

Helena... part of me felt badly for her and part of me didn't. After all, she brought this upon herself. I doubt she ever thought about how difficult it was going to be to survive without her servants and her father's money. I was sort of impressed with her initiative, the fact that she wasn't above engaging in a bit of manual labor to feed herself as she traveled. It was definitely consistent with the respect that her family showed for their muggle subjects. I also liked the fact that she was still thinking about Venn, wondering how he was faring and whether his coronation had happened. She obviously does care for the big lunk, she just can't handle his Captain Caveman routine where married life is concerned.

Although she missed Venn, the truth was that she would miss herself even more. -- That one line really says it all. It wasn't right for a lady as brilliant and talented as Helena to be forced to sacrifice so much of herself just to become Venn's wife. What's saddest about this story is that everyone ultimately pays for his inability to handle her true value as a person.

Since this is the second-to-last chapter, I'm pretty sure I know what the rustling sound was. I guess I'll find out very soon. I just can't stop here. ;) Excellent chapter! On to the next...

Author's Response: Hey Dan, thanks for stopping by! Sorry these responses are a little bit delayed. Oh, and a happy (belated) New Year to you, too!

Yeah, I think both Venn and Rowena fall short of understanding exactly how Helena feels right now and how frustrated she is by how the situation in her life has evolved. They can almost bond over their mutual interest in getting her back, but we know that even if it worked, they'd go right back to having at least some degree of animosity toward one another afterwards. No one wants to give up hope quite yet, though.

Helena is definitely a very naive girl, but she's learning some hard lessons. I'm glad you pointed out the line about her missing herself more, because I think that's the biggest thing she's learned--it's just not worth sacrificing her own happiness to please anyone else or fit any molds. I have to wonder if she would be doomed to that fate no matter what in this day and age, or if some other man who respected her a bit more might have one day shown up for her, if her mother had only been a bit more patient.

Thanks for your fantastic review :)

-Amanda



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Review #5, by BookDinosaur A Birthday Feast

27th December 2013:
Hello! I'm here for the first of the Twelve Days of Reviewing at HPFF - a chapter that features a feast. :)

I really liked this chapter. I think that your portrayal of the Middle Ages was very realistic, especially the speech. Previously when I've tried to write a piece that involved Sir Cadogan I found the speech very hard to get right without seeming stilted, but here it all seemed very natural and flowing, so well done there. It was easy t read and at the same time it felt very much like the Middle Ages.

I loved how Venn's mother was trying her best to get him married off and how she was appealing to him, to Slytherin, to anyone. The whole atmosphere of this chapter was very Old English, not just the speech. The way Venn and his mother treated each other and those less off then they were was very realistic. And I just have to mention how Venn's 'baser instincts' caused him to pause and say that well, Helena was worth at least a look. It was very believable and made him more relatale somehow, like he has faults too.

Since the reviewing task was to review a chapter with a feast I feel like I should at least comment on the feast in this chapter. Well, it was toned down and very dignified. If anything, i think I would have liked to see more mentions of the other guests in the room apart from the three main characters, Venn, his mother and Slytherin. other than that, this was very well written and perfectly paced.

Great story! :D

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for coming by! Sorry for the slight delay in my response :)

It did take some thought before I was happy with the dialogue, but I'm glad the style worked well and felt appropriate to the era. I agree; it can be hard to work it out!

Poor Edeline just wants to retire and get some grandkids, haha. Venn definitely has some faults--as does everyone in the story--and for now, all he sees with Helena is a chance to spend some time with a pretty face and get his mother off his back. Little does he know how much he'll grow to love Helena, and how she'll grow to love him.

Thanks for your comments about the feast. I don't remember if I mentioned other guests in the chapter, but I meant for it to just be the family. I'll have to have a second look at that. The family is definitely the focus, though there are servants present.

Thanks for your lovely review! I hope you return sometime and read more of the story!

-Amanda


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Review #6, by UnluckyStar57 A Birthday Feast

26th December 2013:
Hello! I have come for the Twelve Days of Reviewing over on the forums, and when I found this chapter, I couldn't resist reading and reviewing. I've read your work before, and you always do a magnificent job with every single aspect of the story. :)

This particular story interests me greatly because 1) It takes place in the Founders era, and 2) It's about Helena and the Bloody Baron! That's not something that I see every day, so it makes for a lovely change of pace. I really enjoy reading about how the Founders came to be, and Helena Ravenclaw has her own bit of history in the making of Hogwarts, too!

Venn Selwyn is a stubborn one according to his mother, I see! He obviously has ambition, and I have no doubt that he would be in Slytherin at Hogwarts (after all, it IS his uncle's House!). I can see how his drive to rule and have control over things will eventually cause his and Helena's ruin, but for now, I think that I like him! It is saddening to watch a character so richly described as Venn, only to know that his character will soon unravel. But that's the fun part about writing--you get to torture your characters! :)

For the Twelve Days of Reviewing, we were supposed to review a chapter about a feast, and although the feast in this chapter is not as extravagant as the Hogwarts feasts that we all know and love, it definitely plays a big role in the story. After all, this is where Venn hears the name that will haunt him for all of eternity... Helena Ravenclaw. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Brilliant story! Merry (late) Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello! Sorry for the delay in responding :) And thank you for the lovely compliment!

You know, before I wrote this story, I wasn't all that interested in the Founders era. But I really fell in love with it, and these two characters especially, while writing this - and I'd love to write more Founders in the future. It just goes to show that you never know what you might like.

Venn is definitely very stubborn, and I'm glad you can already see how it will be his downfall, given that everyone already knows how the story ends. It really broke my heart to torture my characters, but at least I gave them a proper back story, right? Don't worry, it won't be all doom and gloom throughout the entire story.

Hope you come back soon to read more! :) Thanks for your very kind review!

-Amanda


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Review #7, by Courtney Dark Desire

30th November 2013:
Oh my god this was the perfect last chapter! Sob! Why does it have to be over? I really fell in love with this story and grew super, super attached to your characters, and even though they're dead, I don't want it to be over! I just want to know more - more about their life at Hogwarts and Venn's reaction when the Chamber of Secrets was opened and the Battle of Hogwarts and their first few days as ghosts and...basically this story was just so good that I am desperately sad that there is no more.

This chapter was the perfect way to end your story. When I saw that the name of the chapter was Desire, I suddenly remembered that the first chapter, which I read quite some time ago, was a flashforward into the future, and I got super excited! And I love the way you wrote the death scene - I felt a little bad for Venn, actually, when I realized it was all a misunderstanding, based on that bloody basilisk! Well, actually I felt bad for both characters, considering they both ended up dead.

Thank you so much for writing this amazing story, I really, really enjoyed reading it and I wish desperately there was more!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Yay, we made it to the end!

Aww, I'm glad you thought it was perfect! I worked hard to tie up a lot of loose ends here, and you're right that there is a ton more to the story that could be explored. I suppose that's where the reader's imagination comes in :)

Yeah, the chapter title was a nod to the prologue, showing that the story has really come full circle and we're back to the present after having reviewed Venn and Helena's whole love story. I did want to leave that lingering sense of hope at the end to show that maybe there's still a future for Venn and Helena, if only they could learn to forgive one another. Sadly, by Harry's time, we see that still hasn't occurred, and maybe it never will.

Courtney, thank you so much again for all of your wonderful reviews. I'm always surprised when someone enjoys my work enough to want to read and review the whole story, and it was so fun to explore this novel anew with you and remember why I adore it so much. Again, sorry for the delay in responding!

-Amanda


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Review #8, by Courtney Dark Rowena's Last Hope

30th November 2013:
I can't believe I only have one chapter left to go! I have enjoyed reading this story, following Venn and Helena so much, and I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to it. Sob!

Anyway, this was a great chapter! Now I feel super bad for Rowena, wasting away and worrying about her missing daughter and about not being able to see her again before she died. Though Venn genuinely seemed to want to help Rowena find Helena, I cannot help but me suspicious of his motives.

I am impressed with Helena, managing to last a week on her own - although she really should have brought food in her bag. That is definitely the first thing I'd think to pack! And oooh, that cliffhanger! I can't wait to read the last chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Aww, I'm sorry you're sad, but I'm happy you've enjoyed it so much and been so good as to review all the chapters :)

Yeah, both Rowena and Venn are experiencing some regrets here. Poor Helena is having a few of her own, particularly in terms of not having been very practical in her packing. Clearly she's not ready to be an adult yet.

Thanks for another fantastic review!

-Amanda


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Review #9, by Courtney Dark Fight or Flight

29th November 2013:
Venn! Stop being so influenced by Salazar! It's driving me insane! Can't you see with his basilisk lurking under the school that's he's EVIL! Gr!

And what about this comment: 'As if anything about that dreadful occasion could merit my joy at this time.' If Helena heard him talking like that she would definitely not be happy! And Salazar talking about setting the basilisk loose on some innocent muggles with glee...he is one creepy, creepy bloke.

The weird thing is, as much as I am disliking Venn and is attitude at the moment, during his conversation with Helena, I sort of saw what he was talking about. The dress is a bit of a ridiculous reason to put off the wedding...but I also see Helena's point of view. She has now realized that perhaps Venn is not the person she thought he was. Perhaps if she was braver she would reconcile with her mother? But how does that saying go? It is easier to forgive people for being wrong than right? Or something like that?

Anyway, awesome chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Venn is under a lot of stress due to Salazar's plotting, and unfortunately that means that he's even more dismissive of Helena than usual, not even being able to entertain her girlish quirks. I see a rift between the lovers coming soon...

Yeah, the dress is a bit of a flimsy excuse. But clearly Helena is looking for any way to stall this decision and get everyone on her side. I don't think either she or her mother are in a good place to make up right now, sadly. Who knows if they'll get the chance?

Thanks for another fabulous review!


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Review #10, by Courtney Dark Pieces of a Dream

29th November 2013:
This is, without a doubt, my favourite chapter so far!

First off, we got to see Venn and Helena being presented with Salazar's locket and Rowena's diadem - well, sort of at least. I'm not sure it was meant to, but Salazar's comment to Venn about returning it actually sent shivers up my spine, and when Witter presented Helena with the diadem, I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that she steals it!

And that dance between Helena and Venn! He is definitely becoming more and more Bloody Baron like! Let's just say that if I was Helena in this chapter, I'd be more than a little aggravated. I don't blame her from getting out of there - and I really did enjoy that servant's point of view. It was interesting seeing Helena from a different POV.

The argument between Salazar and Godric! I love how even though this story is centered around Venn and Helena, you still add in all these events concerning the founders that we know from canon. And Rowena actually was sick! With only three more chapters to go, I can definitely see that things are starting to get serious!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: I liked this chapter a lot because I think it represents a turning point for Helena. She realizes that this whole wedding and marriage thing isn't going to be the perfect dream she thought it was (hence the chapter title). On the outside, they look like two blissful young people just having fun and enjoying their riches, but we know there's more under the surface, and it's dark.

Helena has had just about enough of being dismissed and downplayed by her fiance. Venn, of course, won't realize what he has until it's gone, as you'll see soon.

Yes, lots of cliffhangers regarding the Founders, and things are getting serious. Hope you enjoy the last few chapters!

Thanks for another great review, Courtney :)

-Amanda


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Review #11, by Courtney Dark Devil in the Details

29th November 2013:
Another awesome chapter!

I am so glad, for Helena's sake, that Witter is actually taking an interest in her wedding and helping her to get through it when Rowena isn't taking any interest at all. I still feel so bad for Helena that her mother has basically cast her out, but I can definitely see, more and more with each chapter, why Rowena is so hesitant about this marriage. I think Venn means to be a good guy - and he is sometimes - but he also has some slightly unpleasant characteristics. Also, although Helena is definitely very intelligent, she came across as a tad naive in this chapter, and very innocent - like, she still has all these dreams and wishes, but some of them are slightly unrealistic and may not come true.

Venn's gift was very sweet and thoughtful. I am so conflicted! I love both Venn and Helena and always love finding out more about their relationship, but you have made them these fleshed out characters with both negative and positive attributes that it is hard to work out exactly what I think of them, especially Venn!

Anyway, I really enjoyed this chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: I loved being able to focus on the father-daughter relationship here, since all we ever hear about from canon is the conflict between Helena and her mother. Unfortunately, Rowena has a point that Helena is choosing to ignore. I think you've developed a good understanding of the problems at the core of Venn and Helena.

Hah, I meant for them to be hard to work out. My goal was for the reader to really be fighting with themselves about who to blame and who to feel sorrier for by the end of the story. Hopefully I've succeeded!

Thanks for another sweet review!

-Amanda


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Review #12, by Courtney Dark The Paths We Choose

27th November 2013:
I really enjoyed the section of this chapter from Helga's point of view, particularly her memories of her upbringing and how she met Rowena and joined with Salazar and Godric to build Hogwarts. Your portrayal of her personality is just fantastic, and I loved how caring she was toward Helena - Helena was clearly in need of a mother figure to help her decide what to do, and because Rowena wasn't there for her, I think Helga did the perfect (and very Hufflepuff-ish) job of comforting her.

Salazar is plain creepy. The way he actually delights in the thought of that basilisk being at the school...shudder. But Venn YOU NEED TO TELL SOMEONE! Except then there would be no Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom, and that would be disappointing...HANG ON! When he's the Bloody Baron of Hogwarts, why doesn't he tell anyone about the basilisk! Grrr, Venn, I'm disappointed in you!

I absolutely loved the scene between Venn and Helena. It was so perfectly sweet - recently Venn has just seemed like such a nice guy, but he's the Bloody Baron, so I can't shake the feeling that he's going to do something horrible. And by the way, I don't know if you've said this before, but the way you write their speech is incredible! It sounds very old fashioned, but not undecipherable. I love it!

Awesome chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Glad you liked getting Helga's perspective! I do think of her as being more of a maternal figure for Helena, given that Rowena is a bit colder and more academic. I really wound up falling in love with Helga's character and I should probably write some kind of spin-off that's just about her.

The answer to your question about Venn's secrecy at Hogwarts is coming, I promise.

I'm happy you liked the way Venn and Helena speak to one another. I worked hard on the dialogue and I'm pleased by all the compliments I've gotten on it :)

Thanks for another kind review!

-Amanda


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Review #13, by Courtney Dark Salazar's Last Stand

27th November 2013:
This story just keeps on being amazing!

I'm sorry, this review won't be particularly long, because I am so eager to read the next chapter, but I actually think this was one of my favourites so far!

I loved the scene between the four founders. I can definitely see that tension is getting higher and higher between them - how long until Godric and Salazar have their fight, I wonder??

I really enjoyed the scene between Venn and Cepheus, too. I think we just got a sneak peak of Venn at his best, and in this chapter he actually seemed like a genuinely nice guy who cared a lot for Helena. How much more of this will we see, I wonder?

I only just remembered Helena's words about falling out with her mother, and I've finally been able to see the cause! I can definitely see the issue from both points of view, but I definitely sympathize with poor Helena - although Rowena is definitely wise to be weary of Salazar!

On to the next chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: I'm glad you liked this one! It was interesting to focus on the Founders a little more toward the end of this story.

Unfortunately, the tension between Rowena and Helena is only going to grow. Stay tuned!

Thanks for another fantastic review!

-Amanda


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Review #14, by Courtney Dark A Day of Surprises

23rd November 2013:
One thing that I found super interesting in this chapter is that, during Helena and Venn's combination, it became really obvious that they hardly know each other at all. Helena, while not so enthusiastic and a bit worried about the dress fitting, was excited to discuss the wedding, whereas Venn wanted to keep as far away from that topic as possible, and Venn talked of having a large and spacious home, while Helena wasn't particularly thrilled with the idea of children. I think this showed that while the two of them clearly have a connection, perhaps a part of it lies more in the physical first impression kinda stuff than in the we are perfect for each other and have so many similarities sort of way. If that makes any sense at all.

In saying that, we definitely saw Venn's sweeter and more loving side come out in this chapter. I loved his surprise flowers for Helena. I also especially loved the line: 'Venn could not conceal his smile. This strange woman had an effect on him.'

Oh, and I love this rebellious streak that Helena has, especially how a part of her his sly and enjoys defying her mother.

Great chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Yeah, again, I think it comes back to Helena still being somewhat childish and innocent and Venn being all about business. In her mind, Helena's perfect prince would be just as excited about the wedding as well, but (let's be honest) most men don't exactly fill that role naturally. The idea of being a mother is frightening to Helena and reminds her that she has to grow up, whereas Venn sees it as the obvious next step.

I do think Venn has some redeeming qualities, and I am proud of the man he came to be (well, the man I made out of him). I hope you continue to like him and enjoy Helena's rebellious streak.

Thanks for another fabulous review :)

-Amanda


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Review #15, by Courtney Dark Houses Asunder

23rd November 2013:
And so the chamber of secrets is revealed! I seriously loved the way you wrote about it, I've always wondered how and when Salazar started putting his plan into place, and what was going through his mind when he did so. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised that, when Salazar told Venn of his plan, Venn was less than impressed. The idea of a basilisk lurking underneath a castle for a thousand years is even more terrifying when you really think about it.

Rowena definitely seems to have changed her mind about the wedding! Or, should I see, she is clearly having her doubts about Venn. He is a very strange sort of character, thinking about it. At times he seems like the perfect husband for Helena - he's super tolerant and accepting of all her more unusual behaviours - but at times he seems to have all these unpleasant traits from the Slytherin side of the family - I'm looking forward to seeing what happens between he and Helena!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Yeah, even Venn can see that having a monstrous beast living on the Hogwarts grounds isn't a fantastic idea. I think it really shows how unhinged Salazar has become in his pursuit of a pureblooded world. I'm glad you enjoyed watching the Chamber of Secrets develop from an idea into a reality!

Oh yeah, Rowena has some regrets about rushing her daughter off to marry Venn now. You're right that he seems to appreciate her quirks one moment and then denies himself (and her) that chance in the next, wanting to make sure he makes the family proud. It's like he views her personality as childish and needing to be put away as she enters womanhood, whereas she just knows that she is who she is and doesn't want to change.

Thanks for another awesome review!

-Amanda


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Review #16, by Courtney Dark Houses Joined

23rd November 2013:
You are such a talented writer. Seriously. I have no idea how you write the medieval era so well! I wrote a founder's one-shot a while back, and I found it so difficult, yet he seem to do it easily and flawlessly!

I love how, more and more each chapter, we see the development of all your characters, and some personality traits that we previously did not know they had. For example, I always knew Salazar Slytherin was nasty (obviously, he's Salazar Slytherin) but in this chapter we really saw what a negative influence he is to Venn, and how much he hates the idea of Muggles within Hogwarts.

Oooh, Helena forgave Venn. To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about that. Yes, I kinda do want them to get married, because I do like them together, but I'm not sure how real Venn's apology was. And will he be a good husband, even if he's in love with her? And what will Salazar and Rowena think? I guess I'll have to wait to find out!

Awesome chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hah, thank you so much!

I really had fun playing up Salazar's nastiness in this story. I kept inventing new, horrible things he could do, and you're right that he's an important influence for Venn for better or for worse. I think a big part of Venn's journey in the story was sorting out what to do with Salazar.

Yeah, I think she was thinking more with her heart than her head. It's too bad that these young people feel like they have a ticking clock and don't really take the time to be choosy about whether the other person is really and truly right for them.

Thanks for another fabulous review :)

-Amanda


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Review #17, by Courtney Dark Feats of Bravery

19th October 2013:
Hey there!

So this was another awesome chapter, and I love that we got our first look at Helga Hufflepuff. I like that though this is not a founders story, precisely, we still get little glimpses of them. Helga was just what I imagined her to be, and I liked the interactions between she, Rowena and Salazar. We certainly saw the more 'Slytherin' side of Salazar this chapter - and in Venn, too.

Venn using magic to help him win the jousting - that is definitely a Slytherin-ish trait, and not at all honourable, which makes me wonder whether Helena will say anything to him about it.

Anyway, I really loved this chapter, it definitely had a very medieval sort of feel to it, which is great!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hello again, Courtney!

Helga was one of my favorite characters in this story. She's so forward despite the traditional, conservative attitudes in this story, and she was just fun and lively. I feel like she would have been an essential piece in the planning of Hogwarts.

Hmm, wonder what Helena will do when she next sees Venn? Guess we'll have to see...

Thanks for another very sweet review!

-Amanda


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Review #18, by WeasleyTwins Houses Asunder

5th October 2013:
Hello Amanda! Finally back for another chapter!

At the outset, I thought it was so odd for Salazar to mention a wedding at Hogwarts. Hogwarts is an educational institution, not a wedding venue (although the idea is lovely). It just didn't sit right with me, so when Salazar took Venn into the tunnels, I realized your intentions. Very inventive, I must say. I like the idea that he added them after the initial construction of Hogwarts. Although, one does have to wonder how the other Founders never figured it out. Perhaps we will learn something about that?

As always, everything is impeccable. I did feel that Venn protested a bit too quickly, but then again, maybe I have been misjudging him over the course of the story. I think that Rowena knows something is going on with Salazar because of your descriptions of her visage and her change of heart concerning Helena's marriage to Venn. Overall, another wonderful chapter! ♥

Shelby

Author's Response: The idea for making Hogwarts the venue sort of reminded me of when people who meet at college decide to get married in their university's chapel. I've seen it happen several times with friends of mine. Plus, Hogwarts is gorgeous :) But yeah, Salazar definitely had some ulterior motives when he invited Venn to come out and see him.

Looking back on the story, I don't know that I specifically addressed how the other founders didn't find out about the tunnels, other than building Salazar up as a really sneaky character. As you'll see, they at least recognize that something is off about him, something that concerns them a lot. Rowena is probably the first to notice this.

I tried to show that Venn has some of the same anti-Muggle prejudice as his uncle but isn't quite strong enough to actually endorse violence against Muggles. Part of his journey here is learning to be stronger and do the right thing, to figure out who he is and what he really stands for. Whether he will make it there or not is the question.

Thanks for your lovely review! And I'm sorry this response took ages, I really am!

-Amanda


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Review #19, by Courtney Dark Midsummer

2nd October 2013:
Okay, I cannot say this enough times: the way you add historical details into this story is just perfect! I especially enjoyed this chapter, because we got to see how open-minded the Ravenclaws are when it comes to muggles, their festivals and their religions, especially in comparison to the Selwyns/Slytherins.

I love how uncertain Venn was in this chapter about 'mingling with muggles'. It fit his character so well, and really showed the differences between he and Helena.

Aw, the bit with the gloves and the sort of marriage proposal was cute! Although why is it, during this time period, that males always thought that battles and tournaments was the way to win a woman's heart?

Well, I am really looking forward to reading about the tournament now! Like Helena, I hope Venn wins too!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: I do think this chapter was interesting in terms of contrasts; like you said, the Ravenclaws are more accepting of Muggle traditions and practices, whereas Venn finds it hard to stomach being around Muggles. I'm sure you can see how these differences could cause some tension between Helena and Venn.

Venn is a man's man, that's for sure :) I really liked the historical tradition of having the man give his glove to his future bride as a way of asking for her hand in marriage. I'm glad to hear you liked it too!

Thanks for another kind review!

-Amanda


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Review #20, by Courtney Dark Second-Best

1st October 2013:
How do you do it? How do you write such amazingly descriptive, engrossing, perfect, awesome chapters? I am so unbelievably jealous!

As might be obvious from what I just wrote above, I really enjoyed this chapter. I loved all the detail you put into Venn's hunting trip - it somehow made the story and the time period seem so much more real. And then I was pleasantly surprised at the appearance of a Black and a Lestrange - although I can definitely imagine Venn keeping company with those sort of families.

I also really enjoyed the feast scene - mainly because of all your amazing descriptions, such as the bride's gown. I will probably repeat myself about a hundred times, but you write all these historical aspects, such as the dowry, so well, and I just want to keep reading on to find out more!

Aw, Venn took a midnight ride just to visit Helena. That really is kinda sweet. And I really like that he overheard the meeting between the four founders - will we actually meet Godric and Helga, I wonder? I also noticed that in this chapter, some of Salazar's more unpleasant qualities were definitely evident.

Awesome chapter!
Courtneyy:)

Author's Response: Hello! Sorry this response has taken ages - it's been a crazy month!

Anyway, I'm really glad you liked my imagery for Venn's hunting trip and seeing him interact with the other young noblemen. It was really fun to imagine what an engagement party might have looked like in this time and to tie together the historical aspects with my own little magical twist.

I'm happy you liked Venn's romantic gesture, too. You will meet Godric and Helga in future chapters, so please be sure to tell me what you think!

Thanks for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #21, by Courtney Dark Reflection

21st September 2013:
Wow, this was a really good chapter! I absolutely loved the interactions between Helena and Venn, and the way they reacted to each other - and it was definitely interesting to see Helena's point of view of Venn. It is very clear that she fancies him, but it seems like there's a small part of her that knows he's quite arrogant, too, and perhaps not the nicest person in the world.

I also really loved the information you gave us about the founding of Hogwarts at the very beginning, because I have always wondered about things like that, and get quite enthusiastic about little historical facts.

Anyway, I can't wait to read more!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: I'm really happy you liked seeing Venn and Helena interact. I think they're a good match for one another in terms of their wit and the fact that neither of them is entirely committed to this impending marriage quite yet. They both have their good and bad parts.

I'm also pleased that you liked seeing how Hogwarts was founded. I thought of it kind of like Plato's school, where only those close to the Founders would get to go at first and then it would gradually expand.

Thanks for yet another fabulous review :)

-Amanda


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Review #22, by Courtney Dark Vanity

21st September 2013:
So they meet at last!

Okay, this may sound weird, but in some ways I really, really like Venn...and in other ways I really, really dislike him.

I think some of his more...ugly personality features definitely came out in this chapter - for example the fact that he didn't need to be kind, she just needed to be glorious. And also when he was asking his mother about Helena, all he seemed to care about was her appearance. But I still like him at the same time, even though he is quite arrogant and selfish, and can't wait to learn more about his character.

I think I shall go on and read the next chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: That doesn't sound weird at all :)

Yeah, a lot of ugly things about Venn did come out in this chapter. Right now he sees Helena as a means to an end; if he has to get married, it might as well be to a really beautiful girl, right? He's curious about her, even if he wants to pretend like he doesn't care. You'll have to see what happens as their relationship grows.

Thanks for your kind review!

-Amanda


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Review #23, by Courtney Dark Of Wit and Learning

16th September 2013:
And so we get to see Helena at last! Well, it's not really at last, considering it's only been three chapters...but you know what I mean!

I really, really liked Helena's character! I haven't read many stories - fanfiction or otherwise - set during this time period, but of those I have read, I've noticed that many authors fall into this trap of making their female character too, well, pathetic, or too bold and out-there. You definitely haven't fallen into this trap. It is clear that she is Rowena's daughter, as she is obviously intelligent, and I can already tell that she has this depth to her that is often hard to achieve.

I really liked the descriptions of the town, because I've always found this time period fascinating, and it was just so fun to read about!

I wonder how Venn and Helena's meeting will go? I guess I'll have to wait to find out!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Helena was so interesting to work with. She's very mysterious and I feel like in canon we only get a small taste of the woman she is. I actually considered the exact issue you're describing in creating her and tried to give her the best of both worlds. She respects her parents and obligations as she should, but she also isn't afraid to speak up and be herself so that her voice becomes part of the process.

I'm happy you liked reading about her adventures in the town, too. Naturally, I thought Helena would love her books :)

Thanks for your sweet review!

-Amanda


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Review #24, by Courtney Dark A Birthday Feast

16th September 2013:
Wow, this was seriously an incredible chapter! I am already looking forward to seeing how everything we know about the Founders and Helena and Venn - he is the Bloody Baron, isn't he? It's so weird to think of him as a nice person! If he hasn't, well that's awkward - will come together.

The tone of this chapter was amazing, and the language you use gives this perfect feel of the Middle Ages, yet somehow it's not difficult to read at all. I am very, very curious to learn more about Venn - he seems an interesting character! And I really like the fact that Salazar is his uncle, that should make for some interesting plotlines...

Looking forward to reading more!
Courtney:)

Author's Response: Yep, Venn is the Bloody Baron - or he will be, anyway. Right now he's just a selfish young noble with no idea what he really wants, which I'm hoping is at least somewhat relatable for the average reader :) I'm glad you don't already hate him, because a lot of people do in these early chapters. He'll hopefully come across as more complex in the future. Salazar will be a part of that.

It's also good that you felt like the language was appropriate. I worked hard on trying to strike a balance between the era and the readability of the chapters.

Thanks for another kind review!

-Amanda


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Review #25, by Courtney Dark Erised

15th September 2013:
Tag!

I have been meaning to read this story for such a long time and, for whatever reason, I have never gotten around to it - and I am so mad with myself! This first chapter was amazing, and has already hooked me in - I actually can't wait to find out what happens next!

There's not really much more I can say on this chapter, apart from the fact that it was the perfect introduction to what I'm sure is going to be an amazing story, which I will definitely keep reading. Oh, and you have a lovely writing style - I am very jealous!

I will soon be back for more!
Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hey! I'm pleasantly surprised to see that you've decided to check out this story. I can't wait to hear what you think!

It's awesome that you liked my introduction and felt like it hooked you in. I'm happy you like my writing style, too!

Thanks for your lovely review :)

-Amanda



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