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Review #1, by 800 words of heaven Snape's Second-Worst Memory

15th December 2013:
Heya! Here with your incredibly late (as always) review request!

Ooh! We get to see things from Snape's perspective. Exciting stuff! And what's this? Sirius Black of all people is sitting in the restricted section? Studying potions? No wonder he goes to hide in the restricted section and study. He can protect his devil-may-care reputation that way.

I really enjoyed the way you wrote the interaction between Sirius and Snape. Sirius can be quite conniving and cruel when he feels up to it, and the situation that is going to happen as a result of this is going to be doubly painful and cringe-worthy because Snape actually feels some empathy for Remus, and that's just plain heartbreaking. Sure, everything that Snape ever really does is for Lily, but he's willing to offer Remus his help because he feels for him, and understands the importance of some relationships. I love reading Sirius this way. I'm doubly guilty of this, but often this side of him is either ignored, or is turned into something involving girls and relationships instead. Sirius is just a supporting character in this story, but it's so fantastic the way you've shown him as a well-rounded character despite this, especially because you've done it all through the perspective of other characters.

Another thing I really love about this story is that whilst it's never explicitly said, the bond between the four Marauders is shown to be quite strong. I envy your excellent "show not tell" skills!

You asked whether Lily felt as if she were in character. I thought her introduction into the chapter, when it was just her, sounded like her, but the entire scene with Snape read as if she was really detached from everything. Perhaps she was in shock? It just felt as if she wasn't quite there. The scene between her and James was sufficiently awkward, though! That always present undercurrent always makes me giggle.

In terms of action, the only thing that didn't quite sit right was the timing. I am by no means an expert (having written about one and a half action scenes ever, and not very good ones at that) but I think because you skipped from James realising what was going on, to Lily's reaction to Snape's second-worst memory, the effect was a little lost in the middle because I didn't get to experience what Snape was going through in that moment. It's his actions that would have been most interesting in that case, at least for me, and because he just burst on the scene it felt a little flat. Also, even though you've written Snape so incredibly well, because this is the first chapter that we see things from his point of view (I think), I didn't feel any sort of emotional attachment to him to really feel for him when he finds out that Remus is a werewolf. The scene that follows though is very telling of who he is as a person though, and that makes up for that lack of connection. I definitely could relate to his feelings in the scene in the hospital wing!

Reading over this review, I sound really critical, but I really did enjoy it. You're such a good writer, that I have to try extra-hard to find things to comment on other than, "OMG YOU'RE SO AMAZING PLEASE TEACH ME YOUR WONDERFUL WAYS".

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for stopping by again!

Hah, we wouldn't want Sirius's supposed legion of female followers to know that he actually plans to pass his exams, right? Just kidding.

The Snape/Sirius interaction was really interesting to write; they clearly aren't at the point where they just spit fire back and forth with every conversation, but there's already clear animosity and distrust present in the air between them. It's kind of sad, because we already know James doesn't approve of Sirius using Remus to put Snape's life in danger, and yet Severus can't find it in his heart to give James another chance to show how much he's matured. I think it would be hard for anyone not to like James in this moment.

Yay, "show not tell!" I'm glad it works well here, because I'm always encouraging people to "show not tell" and I would hope I could provide examples of that in my own work :)

I think I would attribute some of Lily's detachment to shock. She's been trying to keep her budding relationship with James and her attempted reconciliation with Severus separate, and now they're both here in front of her fighting for her attention. It probably brings back some unpleasant memories. But I see what you're saying; perhaps I could find a way to make it more evident that this is shock she's feeling and not some other emotion.

Yeah, action is definitely one of my Achilles' heels (Can I have two? Because I'm not awesome at laugh-out-loud humor, either.). I think part of why I chose to focus on Lily with that interaction is because we kind of get Snape's perspective in canon; he clearly reflects on the whole thing with a lot of bitterness and resentment. I do think you make a good point about getting emotionally attached to Snape and wanting to know more about what it felt like to be betrayed by Sirius here. Perhaps there needed to be more than just the aftermath, which is what is seen in the hospital wing with the curse development. To be honest, I could probably write this scene from every character's perspective and it would be interesting; it's such a complicated and really tragic moment.

You didn't sound critical at all, and I really appreciate you paying attention to my areas of concern and providing good constructive feedback about how to improve. Even though this story is done, I may go back and edit it in the future, and I can always use your comments in future work. And of course I appreciate your kind words!!

Thanks so much once again :)

-Amanda


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Review #2, by 800 words of heaven Revelations

5th November 2013:
Hello again! I am SO sorry for this incredibly late review request!

I really enjoyed this chapter! Possibly because Regulus is still my favourite, but mostly because you write really well. His characterisation is just so... ugh. It gives me feels - good one :)

You asked specifically about the Quidditch match, and I know what you mean about writing action scenes! I felt that the timing was a little off in that section. One minute, James had scored the first goal, and then Lily and Regulus were exchanging notes, and the next the score was so high. As usual, the description was fantastic, however!

My favourite part of this chapter though was how you wrote Sirius leaving home. Usually, it's such a huge thing, with this massive confrontation and shouting matches and almost illegal curses flying all over the place, finally culminating in Sirius storming out. I really liked how you wrote it so much quieter. It felt far more personal and real that way - especially because as readers, we saw it through Regulus' eyes. There's so much between the two brothers that just goes unsaid, and the tension that this causes was really evident in that scene. It was really well done, I thought.

I say this every time, but your writing is just so fantabulous that it bears repeating every time - awesome stuff!

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for coming by! I always look forward to hearing from you :)

Yeah, I'm still not totally confident in my Quidditch-writing skills. Maybe one day I'll convince myself to write a true action story and push myself to improve there. I'm glad the imagery worked well, though!

I've written Sirius leaving several ways, both in fic and just in my head, and I think this is my favorite, with him packing his things and refusing to give his little brother the pleasure of a farewell. I think their relationship is so interesting and this moment between them makes me so sad, even after having read and re-read it previously. I'm very pleased to hear that the emotion was tangible and that overall this chapter was "awesome stuff!" Haha :)

Thanks so much! I'm off to re-request!

-Amanda


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Review #3, by Roots in Water Making Good, Breaking Bad

11th September 2013:
Hello! I'm finally here to resume our long-term review swap. I hope you still have time for this, if not, I definitely understand. I'm sorry for my several-months-long absence- real life became crazy and I don't know quite where the time went.

This was another really well done chapter. One of the things I find really great about this story is your ability to switch tones between Lily's sections and Regulus'- because of course Regulus hangs around "darker" people.

I really liked how you set up this chapter. The description in the beginning of this chapter worked really well to set the stage as well as introduce the characters. Rosier's dialogue immediately reminded us about who we are watching/reading about.

Rosier's superior attitude was very well written. I particularly liked how you only showed it through his actions and his words, in how he stated that the bartender wouldn't be any trouble and how everyone looked to him to ask about and understand the ways of the Death Eaters.

Also, I liked how Rosier told Regulus that he only bought drinks for girls. It fit in perfectly with his characterization, especially since he was the one who made Regulus buy that drink in the first place, instead of his preferred drink.

The switch into Lily's section was very well done as well. It was immediately apparent that we were with a different class of people. The interaction between Severus and Lily was also well written. I particularly liked Lily's line about how she's no one's Lily, because, of course, she isn't. No one should treat her as a prize, or put her on a pedestal.

I also liked how there was no definite resolution. There were steps towards a potential healing, a potential mend of the break, yes, but there was nothing resolved in their interaction. This is great because their situation is now far more complicated than it was before, and Severus needs to apologize deeply and very well in order for them to move past the insult he called Lily. If Severus had accomplished that in this one interaction, it might have seemed too easy, and thus not fit in with the complexities of this story.

I am very curious about the ending of the chapter. It's probably due to the length of time since I last read this story, but the description of Sirius' eyes was quite interesting. I can't remember if something occurred to cause Sirius to look that way... Gah- there probably was. A reminder, please? Anyway, the description, and Regulus' subsequent observation, was a great way to further link the two character groups as well as show Regulus' concern for his brother.

All in all, I think that you did a fantastic job with this chapter and I do hope that we can continue with our exchange. Great work! :D

Author's Response: Hi Claire! I'm glad to hear from you, since I haven't seen you around for quite a while. I'll admit that I'm really very busy this semester, and while I'll try to maintain the swap, reviews will probably be a little more spread out than they were over the summer. If you'd prefer not to continue, though, that's fine with me. Just let me know.

It's great that you liked the beginning of this chapter and the emphasis on Rosier as a leader. It's interesting for me to think about the Death Eater hierarchy, since it seems very "dog eat dog" compared to the way the Order is structured. Rosier is king among these younger students, but surely he would cower before someone like Dolohov, and they would both be meek before Voldemort.

Naturally Lily would hope for a simple solution, but as you said there's a lot of carnage between her and Severus and a quick fix wouldn't be realistic (or very interesting, I think). Both of them are unwilling to commit fully to the reconciliation in their own separate ways.

Well, Sirius's expression was just a reminder that he doesn't want to reconcile with Regulus or trust him the way Regulus wishes he would. There's a definite separation between them, one that the others present there don't really understand.

Thanks so much for another awesome review!

-Amanda


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Review #4, by Violet Gryfindor No Turning Back

23rd August 2013:
Ahhh, how can you do this? The first half of the chapter ends on the creepiest note ever and then the second half ends with extraordinary cuteness. They contrast each other in just the right way though because they demonstrate just how Snape and Lily's paths are diverging. There was a moment when I thought she would just walk away from James, when he says that he wants something more from her - it was interesting how that put into words what Snape has been trying to express. There are, however, two differences - James works at making himself more acceptable for Lily and, in the end, Lily makes the decision to kiss him. Meanwhile, Snape sees his only way to success is by removing James - his idea of "active vs. passive" has been twisted by his experience, by the constant struggle of his existence. That's always going to be divisive point between Snape/Lily and James/Lily isn't it? It's a fantastic example of doubling - Snape and James are mirror images of one another in so many ways, with Snape as the negative to James's positive. It's rare to see this doubling played out so carefully in a story. Even if you didn't do it intentionally, thank you for bringing it to light with this chapter!

It was also very good to see the aftermath of the scene with Voldemort and gauge Regulus's reactions. It was a relief that he was incredibly bothered by what he had done - so he was playing a role after all, but it's one that he can't step out of, even though he seriously regrets how he treated Wilkes. The prestige that he now possesses is frightening, but he needs it to survive - it's his ticket to safety, at least among the Slytherins. I like how Regulus is caught in this strange in-between space where he feels a great affinity with the Slytherins at the same time that he's almost disgusted by them - he is, and isn't, a Slytherin, just as he is/isn't a Death Eater later on in his life. It's what sets him apart from Snape - prior to this, there were still many similarities between them, but Snape has made his choice - the only reason he later backs out is when Lily's life is at stake. But Regulus was never "in" enough to back out. He's playing a dangerous game, and it's brilliant how you've taken the bits and pieces of his story in canon and expanded it into this - he's so multi-faceted and his story is incredibly complex. I keep shaking my head in wonder at how well you've developed him.

To be honest, I wanted to cry when Snape made his decision. This is what comes of being a Snape fan for too long, I guess, because your characterization of him is spot on. He isn't afraid of killing to get what he wants, nor is he ever afraid of the cost - his life, other lives, they don't matter to him. All the same, to hear him say that he wanted to kill James gave me the chills - it was the way he said it, so matter-of-factly. The fact that it also shocks Regulus to such an extent - and this is someone who had just met Voldemort - increases the impact of Snape's statement. You wrote it incredibly well - it becomes a heart-stopping moment that dramatically changes how one reads the second half of the chapter. Brilliant writing here!

The only issue I've noticed is that, in the previous chapter, Mundungus Fletcher had stolen a mannequin for Moody's use in the Order training, and here you've made him a first year Slytherin. Other than that, you've once again nailed it with this chapter. I love how much suspense and drama you work into the story, focusing more on these elements, but neatly breaking them up with romantic scenes - it's a difficult balance, but you achieve it effortlessly. ^_^

Author's Response: I think this is really where the story starts to come apart and you see that Lily's path leads to happiness (well, to a point) and righteousness and Regulus's path leads to his demise and the demise of others. The contrast you picked up on was definitely deliberate, because I also wanted to show that this deal is just really unrealistic. The wool is coming off both of their eyes now.

Thinking about it now, I suppose what I wanted to get at with James here is that he and Severus aren't inherently different in terms of how they feel for Lily. I think that was illustrated most deliberately in the scene where James watched her on the Map, and I had the thought that people would freak out if it had been Severus following her around the castle with his eyes. The difference, though, is that James was able to control his affection and bide his time, and ultimately his patience showed Lily that he was worth giving a shot. Severus wanted it all right then and refused to give Lily any time to come around to him. It's a stroke of maturity in James that even I have to respect, though I still don't ship them :p

Regulus is just so scared to commit to... well, anything. He's just such a baby and I kept coming back to that realization that these characters are so young and so not ready for what they've gotten into, be it of their own accord or because they were forced into it. I think that comes up fairly frequently now in good Order-based Marauder stories, but maybe it doesn't occur as often if you think about the Death Eaters, especially people like Regulus and Draco who don't even know what they're really doing until it's too late. I also agree that there is definitely a quality to his personality that makes him different from Snape, and for me that comes in the form of his privileged upbringing and not having to face the ways of the world up until this point. Sadly, the loss of his best friend will be the least of his concerns before too long.

Leading my Severus down this horrid path has been quite an emotional journey for me, too, but I just wouldn't be doing him justice if I tried to sugarcoat him. It's sad, but the best parts of him, the most interesting ones--they're the messiest by far. I think part of why I like him is that he feels so real compared to a lot of other characters. He's full of flaws and he doesn't always respond to them in the right way, not even often. I think that's something we all could really relate to, though hopefully most of us have retained a fuller arsenal of morals than Snape has here.

Ugh, I cannot believe I did that! I will definitely go back and make some corrections as soon as I get a chance -- thanks so much for pointing it out. Sometimes I get a bit carried away with trying to bring in familiar names and faces :) Anyway, I'm so pleased you're enjoying and continuing to follow the story, and I can't wait to relive the experience of finishing it along with you! Thanks so much!

-Amanda



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Review #5, by Violet Gryfindor The Right Sort of Wrong

23rd August 2013:
This is a fascinating chapter with a lot going on, all building to that final moment - a moment that falls into my definition of epic. It had quite a heavy feeling to it, the atmosphere close and oppressive, yet the pace was quick - it left me breathless to read, hanging on every word.

What strikes me is how both Regulus and Snape have this two-sided nature, where they can be caring, though slightly selfish, teenage boys working through school, then they take on the Death Eater role and become cold, as though reflecting Voldemort's personality. It's chilling to watch that switch and it leaves readers questioning these characters' motives - what is the role and what isn't? If they're both of these things at once, then how can anyone ever trust them? You especially emphasize this for Snape because of the scene that precedes this one - although Snape in anxious in that previous scene, there is still a significant transformation in his manner. If I remember correctly, Lily mentions Snape's duality in "The Prince's Tale" chapter from DH - she interprets it as a form of hypocrisy, in which Snape treats her differently from other Muggelborns. It supports the way that you have Snape constantly want to spend time with Lily on their own - he distinguishes her, and I still wonder whether he understands the implications of that at this point in his life.

But that still leaves Regulus. I think it was important to keep a bit of a distance from him in that last scene because it would have revealed too much otherwise - it also lets you emphasize his numbness of both thought and feeling. When he uses the crucio curse, it's like another person takes over, entirely unlike the way that Bellatrix seems to use it - Regulus takes no enjoyment from the act. However, when he decides to leave Wilkes behind, is that just for show to impress his cousin and Voldemort? And certainly Wilkes won't forget the way that Regulus proved to be the better Death Eater, so I guess that would further bolster Regulus's position. Can we trust him? I'm looking forward to see Regulus's reaction to this scene after the fact - where will he go from here? How will he get from this point to his death in the cave? So many questions!

It contrasts quite interestingly with the first scene because Moody isn't less ruthless - he wants them to get hurt in order to prove themselves, but in a typical Moody-esque way, he uses the most complex means to do so, mimicking the Auror training sessions. It's a far more physical thing - while it requires cleverness and a quick mind, it relies equally so on stamina. For the Death Eaters, everything is in the mind - even the use of the forbidden curses relies entirely on the mind and heart of the caster, not their physical prowess. That's what makes it so much more disturbing. To join the Order, one needs an open heart and mind, but to join the Death Eaters, one has to be closed to everything but Voldemort's goals and desires. Voldemort is in control of everything that goes on during that scene.

Your depiction of Voldemort is particularly strong. The appearance you've given him fits very well, marking the long (painful) transition between Tom Riddle and the resurrected Voldemort - he's made about four horcruxes at this point, so the state of decay you've described, with this bloodless, emaciated man balding in the most disgusting way possible... it's right out of a horror film. Your description is so vivid that my skin crawled to read it - the whole scene played out like a film, actually. It was amazing how you did that.

You also continue developing Lily's story in an excellent way. I'm curious as to when she'll decide to join the Order - at this point, I'm guessing it will be after her exams because she's not the type to skip a step, especially not as important a step as the NEWTS. Her interactions with both James and Snape placed her, once again, in the active role - it's clear that she's in control of her life, even if the world around her is moving toward chaos. Your characterization of her is fantastic, and I can't wait to see whether she'll get a more action-oriented scene before the end of this story. :)

I know I've said it with every chapter, but this is a very well-written and exciting story to read. Often I have trouble finishing novels online, but yours makes me want to continue right to the end (so that I can complain that there should be more :P). Amazing work!

Author's Response: The ending to this chapter is probably my favorite in the whole story, though it totally rips me apart to make my Regulus so heartless.

Yeah, I think you made a keen observation there. For me, it goes back to Snape's simplistic view--in his mind, it's totally logical to treat Lily differently from other Muggle-borns because she's Lily and she's his and she's special, and that's just that. Regulus, I think, has a slightly greater comprehension of the potential ramifications of this allegiance, and yet he's also drawn in by Voldemort's power and the idea that satisfying his parents could also earn him respect among the people he admires. He can't help but love being treated as "special" by Lucius, Bellatrix and the others. Actually, now that I consider it, it's almost like he's the foil to Lily. Now that was totally unintentional!

Anyway, this contrast between Regulus and Wilkes will obviously mark a turning point in their friendship, and ultimately in determining whether Regulus is just an idealistic student or a potential Death Eater underneath it all. The story may not go quite as far as you mentioned, but you can at least imagine what it would be like given his personality here.

Becoming and living as a Death Eater is definitely a mental process, or at least it is in my mind. If you can't outrun the Order and Aurors, you have to at least be able to out-think them, and if that trait doesn't scream Slytherin I don't know what does. I love the quote about how the Death Eaters are basically a mixed bag of weak people, all of whom are seeking an escape from reality. They make it easy for Voldemort to use them.

I'm so pleased you liked my Voldemort! He's a challenge to write, but I actually find characters like him and Dumbledore to be less difficult as some people claim. It's fun trying to balance his utter, literal soullessness with his tendency to feign etiquette and speak calmly and professionally. I think it's that sense of calm that really makes him scary. (And your compliments made me feel less apprehensive about my current/next project, which is a horror story, so there's that.)

Hmm, you'll have to keep an eye on Lily. I do think her plot line starts to pick up a little bit and she gets to shine more in later chapters.

You're lovely, as always. Thank you! :)

-Amanda


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Review #6, by Violet Gryfindor Small Favors and Large Tokens

23rd August 2013:
This is another fantastic chapter. Somehow you keep making them better and I don't know whether it's doing my self-esteem any good to read your work. ;) The quality of writing here is top-notch and I very much admire your characterizations and interpretation of the Marauder Era.

Oh, you did it! You've written one of the best scenes between Snape and Lily that I've ever read, taking into account many of the issues that too easily get brushed aside in other stories. I loved how assertive Lily was, speaking her mind, yet doing so in a way that was still supportive and positive - you captured the perfect balance between her famous strength and kindness. Your portrayal of Lily is fantastic throughout the novel, but this last scene goes above and beyond anything I expected anyone to write about Lily. You made her very real - one can see where the legend comes from, but you make her human and down-to-earth, like in the way that she hesitates before approaching Snape, having to remind herself of the promise to Regulus. Although she treats Snape with kindness and is even friendly toward him, she's still uncertain of him and his motives - this is why she has to assert herself and tell him that they've become very different people. Her line about trying to figure out where they can fit into each other's lives was perfect - it's the one thing that Snape has trouble doing, though, because he seems to want it all. (I do wonder whether he doesn't want to give up his friends because he fears what they do could to him if he's not their friend, or is it that he genuinely doesn't want to give them up, and thus change himself? It's an interesting question.) You demonstrate the problem with Snape's ideas because he unrealistically wants Lily and wants to be with his Death Eater friends, ignoring the fact that it's never going to work - he wants that childhood with just himself and Lily, but he doesn't take Lily into account at all. It's sad because I don't even know how much he listens to her in this scene.

But thank you for writing it. Someone needed to do it, and you did it beautifully, without bias.

There were other scenes in this chapter, weren't there? :P What struck me most was that, although Regulus did the right thing and made that overture to Sirius, it went unnoticed. How could Sirius not even think that maybe his brother would have done this for him? It's like he doesn't even think of Regulus at all, just lumps him in with their parents. It explains why he continued to harbour his negative feelings toward Regulus in canon, claiming that Regulus would just do whatever their parents wanted. The world doesn't seem to recognize that Regulus might have a mind of his own, and it's strange because other young people - even younger than Regulus - are constantly rebelling in the series, yet no one gives a thought that Regulus too might be capable of it. Is it that he's too reserved and quiet? Or that he's too good at playing the role of loyal Black son and Slytherin? He may be an enigmatic character, but the way that other people in the Potterverse see him is even more perplexing. You write him excellently, and like with Lily, you give him a lot of depth, emotion, and complexity.

It's what makes your story a joy to read - even after months away from it, I can step back into this world you've formed without feeling out of place. It's a wonderful experience, and something that's hard enough to get with published fiction. Brilliant work!

Author's Response: Oh, puh-lease, you're too kind :D I will say that it's been awesome hearing back from you as I attempt to grow in my writing, and your feedback has been really crucial to my growth over the past 2 years.

Oh, oh, I'm so happy you like my Lily! I keep getting feedback that she's too nice and clean, and I really tried to bring out her flaws and insecurities as the story wore on to show that the difficulty of trying to keep to the deal was starting to wear on her quite a bit. I'm sure it must have been extremely challenging to face Snape after what occurred between them, especially with at least a lot of suspicion about the magic he's learned to wield, and I wanted to showcase Lily trying to stick to her guns and yet feeling that hint of doubt throughout the exchange.

I viewed Snape throughout the story and especially in this scene as being sort of greedy at his heart--not necessarily because he's a "bad" character and it's just part of what you get, but because he's trying so hard to avoid living in deprivation like he was forced to do as a child. He's willing to do what it takes to keep Lily and his new friends, and he doesn't understand the idea of having to give one up.

Regulus, on the other hand, I see as still being quite young and earnest at his heart. He wants to prove himself, and yet he's not ready to give up all his freedom quite yet despite being fascinated by what the Dark Lord has to offer. I think you're right that Sirius casually lumps him in with Orion and Walburga, and that it's really quite unfair to do that when you consider his complexity. I became really attached to Regulus over the course of the story, and I think he and Lily both grew a lot.

Your reviews are always so wonderful, and I love how much they make me think. Thank you, Susan!

-Amanda


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Review #7, by patronus_charm A Postscript Precluded

16th August 2013:
Amanda! I'm so annoyed that I'm still away so this is going to be another phone review! First of all, a massive congratulations on finishing yet another brilliant novel! I really hope you have another project lined up soon because I need to carry on reading your amazing work!

I really liked this chapter because I thought it brought an excellent sense of conclusion to the story as a whole. With them being at the Hogwarts express and Lily with James it made me realise how much these characters had changed over the year. You really showed their progression in such a natural way that I really feel this could have happened.

The resolution regarding Celestine and Sirius was great too. I really loved how you showed it through a conversation with Lily as it felt a lot more natural. You're really making me want a sequel now so I can find out what happens next year!

The boys banter over the Marauders map was great! With that and the hints about Lily being head girl it really makes me want a sequels so I can see the transition even more.

I'm a little sad that the pact between Lily and Regulus didn't work. I guess it was only natural that it didn't work out but I'm still with that awful empty feeling of what if. I think Regulus looking at Sirius, Lily thinking about Snape and Regulus seeing Lily really enhanced that feeling. Even if it wasn't a particularly nice feeling it was really cleverly done and wrapped up the plot really well.

The mentions and fears with Regulus regarding the death eaters scared me a little. They all ended really well with that chilling sensation of knowing what happens to him but really hoping it might go against canon just this once.

A fantastic chapter to end a fantastic novel! ♥

-Kiana

Author's Response: Kiana! Endless apologies for not getting to this response sooner. I got review-bombed, which is not something to complain about, but I do feel bad for taking a while to get the responses out.

Anyway, thanks! It's a big relief to get this story finished because I definitely experienced that sense of being in the middle and thinking, "Hmm, where is this going, exactly?" Haha. It's been so sweet of you to follow it faithfully, and I really feel like I've taken a journey through both of my novels--and other stories, of course--with you. It's quite special to me :)

Oh, it's so awesome to hear that you feel like I achieved a good resolution for everyone! I definitely wanted things to settle up on the train ride home, to really symbolize the end of the year and the passage of time in the story. I'm glad you can see how everyone has changed since the beginning of the story--the lines have been drawn and much of that ambiguity is beginning to ebb away at last.

Sadly, no plans for a sequel to this story, at least for right now. I never say never, but I'm a bit burnt out on Marauders era and I'm excited to concentrate on my new project. I definitely appreciate the enthusiasm, though!

In a way, I think the Regulus-Lily pact was doomed from the start, just because it would have required an unfair share of effort from them both and a lot of moving parts that weren't really in either of their controls. I think of it like something you want to believe in because you're young and idealistic and then you grow up and find out it's not so easy. I do think that my characters learned some important lessons from having been part of it, and I'm glad you felt like it was wrapped up nicely. Of course, I wish it had worked, too.

Yeah, I wanted to end this with more of a vague sense of possibility and hope, almost in a naive way--we know what's going to happen to these characters, but they have no idea in this moment. It's sort of sad to consider.

Thank you so much for your wonderful review and all of your fabulous support, my dear! Finishing this would not have been the same without you, and I hope it's been half as fun for you as it was for me.

-Amanda


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Review #8, by 800 words of heaven Making Good, Breaking Bad

16th August 2013:
Hello! Here with your requested review, like a month and a half late, as usual! Also, I'm up to chapter seven already? Time flies when you're reading and reviewing a good story!

Okay, so first paragraph in, and I'm already feeling sorry for abandoning my review page for so long. I temporarily forgot how well you set the scene. Also, why did Rosier assume the girl was a muggleborn? Was it because she was eager? Because let me tell you, muggleborn or not, I reckon I'd be pretty excited to see Honeydukes for the first time. Or did he just mean it as an insult?

I had a bit of a chuckle that the Death Eaters chose the Hog's Head as the place to do Death Eater-esque things, simply because in OotP, it was used for the exact opposite purpose. However, it does seem to be a popular place for the Hogwarts students to go and organise secret clubs!

On another note, thinking about Mr and Mrs Black arguing over Mr Black's liking for firewhiskey was a nice touch. It was an unexpected moment of domesticity that really added something a little mundane to the picture, which I thought helped to ground it overall.

Oh, I love the way Regulus and Wilkes are reacting to their first taste of firewhiskey! It's just such a nice and subtle reminder that they're two rather young boys, trying to hang out with other dudes who seem to be a lot cooler than them.

So you specifically asked about my impressions of the Death Eater boys, and I think you've done really well! You've managed to hit that balance between the naivety which comes with being young and eager, with the sort of ruthlessness and complete focus that you associate with the more experienced and hardened of the Death Eaters. You can really see the seeds being sowed which lead to them becoming what we see of them in canon.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but is Lily always so... nice and polite? For some reason, her characterisation always strikes me as a little flat. I always feel more invested in Regulus' story for some reason, and he's a far more relatable character for me. This might just be me - I don't know, but I'm assuming that you've received some feedback on your two characters, and you can judge for yourself which of the two your readers seem to prefer! But yeah, Lily is weird for me. Sorry for not being a bit more eloquent or elaborate about that!

Severus, on the other hand, is very well written. It feels as if you know the inside of his head better, and can write exactly what he'll say and do. Because he doesn't actually talk that much, the way you describe his body language is very important, and I think you do an excellent job with it. Out of all of the characters in your main cast, to me, it seems that you have a handle on Severus the best.

Oh, my goodness! Peter said "you can trust me"?!?!?! Ironic foreshadowing, or what?

As always, a wonderful chapter!

Author's Response: Hey, no worries :) Happy to hear from you!

He pretty much meant it as an insult, as if wizarding folk were used to this sort of thing and it was stupid to get so worked up over it, and also a comment on the difference between his age and hers. I'm like you; I'd be nothing short of stoked to get to visit Hogsmeade no matter how many times I had been there before :)

Yeah, the Hog's Head is a fairly seedy place, but I did think it would be interesting for Rosier and company to think it was a good spot without knowing who Aberforth was. I didn't quite hit on that irony when writing this, and now I can totally see what you mean!

You know, I read a lot of stories where students are drinking Firewhisky like it's no big deal, but the stuff sounds pretty strong and bitter to me, even more so than the Muggle version. I wanted to use the drink as a vehicle to show that Regulus and Wilkes are a bit out of their depth here; they're not the hardened young men they pretend to be. It's great to hear that the pre-Death Eaters (and Rosier) feel in character in this chapter.

People do seem to gravitate to Regulus a bit more, perhaps because he is more flawed and also because he's not used in fic all that often. I think I unconsciously write myself into a lot of my characters, and I'm sort of a peacemaker type, so perhaps Lily's endless politeness comes from that part of me. I'm sorry you aren't a big fan of her right now, but I do think she starts to come apart a bit later on and maybe you'll like her more when she's less polished. I may stop by and re-request next time you have open spots, and I would definitely be curious to know if your perception of her changes in the later chapters.

I do think I'm becoming a lot more comfortable with Severus, and he's my favorite so I'm happy that you feel like I've done a good job with him. I try to put some emphasis on body language since you don't get that all the time in fic, and it's great to hear that you think that's coming across.

Yes, a bit of foreshadowing there :)

Thanks for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #9, by AlexFan Autumn Reds

13th August 2013:
I don't know why I haven't read Post Scriptum before because I'm absolutely loving it before.

I couldn't help but give a small cheer when you included Peter because he's often left out of Marauder stories. I hope that you include him later on in the story instead of letting him fade to the background (and because you're brilliant I've got a feeling you won't let him fade away.

I think Sirius would've stood up to his mother about the way she was treating the attendant but I don't think that he would've really wanted to cause a scene at the station especially with his mother, who would've no doubt started screaming at. I could be wrong about though but I think that's why Sirius doesn't speak up.

The thing that I loved most about this is the fact that Lily wasn't cold to Severus, usually she becomes incredibly cold and mean and tells him to stuff it but you did it differently and I like that because it makes sense. I don't think Lily would immediately turn into this cold person, I imagine things between them would be a bit awkward between them and such.

Anyway, I enjoyed the chapter!

Author's Response: Aww, that's great to hear! Thanks!

Peter is definitely not going to fade into the background--in fact, he becomes really important toward the end of the story. So I hope you continue reading and tell me what you think of him as his character develops.

Yeah, you're probably right. I think Sirius will always have a touch of that spoiled well-bred attitude within him, but much of it probably got groomed out by his difficult experiences in Azkaban and after his escape. Even here, he's surely more decent than his parents. But you're right, he wouldn't want to set Walburga off, not in front of his friends and the crowd.

The relationship between Lily and Severus is very complex in this story and, again, it's very important. I'd love to hear any further thoughts you have about their interactions in the later chapters, too.

Thanks for your sweet review :)

-Amanda


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Review #10, by blackballet His Other Home

13th August 2013:
Whoo hoo! This was another great chapter. The beginning made me very, very hungry considering I haven't eaten yet. I love how you've written Regulus. When I first began writing, I swore I would always hater Regulus, but lately I've been loving him more and more.

He's very observant of Sirius and his friends, which is interesting. It's like Regulus is jealous but annoyed with how they act.

I think the cake topper was when Slughorn asked him to be in the Slug Club not two seconds before mentioning Sirius again. Poor Regulus.

Like I said before, he's also observant with the members of his own house. He handled situation very well, and I can see that he is an exceptional liar, which coincides with his small canon part.

You've kept his character up through the first couple chapters, and it's very impressive. It showed when he was speaking with Severus about Lily as well.

Good job, as always!

blackballet

Author's Response: Hah, yeah, writing feasts always makes me hungry :)

Regulus does seem to be kind of popular among readers of this story. I think it's because I deliberately tried to portray him as a troubled adolescent faced with choices that he feels are too big for him - I'm sure most of us could relate to that at one point or another.

Regulus is in the unusual situation of being a shadow to his older brother and yet commonly being perceived as better than Sirius in terms of his House and family loyalty. Neither position allows him a lot of room to develop his own personality and his own talents. As you mentioned, there is clearly more to him than meets the eye.

Thanks for your very kind review :)

-Amanda


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Review #11, by Haronione Eggs and Bacon

11th August 2013:
I really enjoyed this first chapter :) Lately I have developed a great fondness for fics that focus on the relationship between Sirius and Regulus, and I think I'm going to love this one :)

I loved the opening of this chapter. I've never really imagined the Black family having more than 1 house-elf, but it does actually make sense that they do, it really fits with the family. I loved how you had kreacher being the head elf here. And introducing the family and the story through these elves was fantastic, it gave the reader a real sense of the superiority of the family.

Speaking of the family, I really liked your portrayal of the Black family and the dynamics of it. Your characterisation of each family member was, in my opinion, fantastic. All too often in fanfic, Walburga and Orion Black are overly cruel to Sirius. I loved that you have them being more indifferent than cruel towards Sirius, and how they treat Regulus so differently to Sirius. I also really loved that you haven't started the story with Regulus and Sirius completely hating each other like so many fics do.

I really enjoyed this chapter. The descriptions were great and you really set the scene well. The little details you add in to the descriptions and actions make it a really interesting and enjoyable read :-)

All in all, I loved this and look forward to reading more :)

Haronione ♥

Author's Response: Walburga seems like the kind of woman who wouldn't think of lifting a finger to do housework herself--unless, of course, everyone else seemed incompetent compared to her :) So yeah, I thought a team of elves would be more appropriate, with Kreacher at the head. I'm glad you liked beginning the story from their point of view.

My thought is that a powerful, well-known family like the Blacks would be disgraced if allegations of abuse ever leaked out to the media. I much preferred this version where there's more of a cold war between Sirius and his parents--plus, it's more ToS friendly :) Regulus, though, still holds out some hope that he and his brother will reconcile. I suppose you'll have to read on to see if it happens.

Thanks for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #12, by blackballet Autumn Reds

11th August 2013:
This is very nice. I usually don't read Lily because I've always found her way too optimistic for my liking, but I like her in this! I like her description of autumn in the beginning, and I think it was very true to her character.

And oh, that little conversation with James was adorable. Reminded me vaguely of Harry with Cho. Keep up the great work, really.

Author's Response: Thanks! I really like Lily and I hope I've characterized her well in this story. I would imagine her to be observant, not only about her surroundings but about people as well.

Glad you liked Lily and James getting along.

Thanks for your kind review :)

-Amanda


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Review #13, by RipleysCaress Eggs and Bacon

8th August 2013:
Academica!

You're still writing! I was hoping you would be! :)
It's been so long since I've been on this site or writing, I feel so bad that I haven't updated any of my stories, so kudos to you for still going and having time to write such amazing stories!

I'm hoping to be able to read this one up to the newest chapter very soon!!! So far so good though :P

~Ripley

Author's Response: Hey, stranger! Fancy seeing you here :) Seriously, glad to hear from you and I hope to get to read more of your fabulous work soon.

This summer I've been on kind of a writing binge, and I see it calming down as school begins, but no worries, I do have more work planned for the future.

I'm halfway through the final chapter for this story, which I'm actually quite proud of, so I do hope you come back and check it out :)

-Amanda


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Review #14, by patronus_charm Rising from the Ashes

7th August 2013:
Happy 200th review, Amanda! As a prior warning this is a phone review!

It's great that you love writing Snape, as I love reading your Snape! The backstory you provided for him was so touching and I really feel that I got to know him that little bit better by knowing his parents relationship and how he regarded them.

The scene between Snape, James and Sirius was really interesting. It showed great character development in all of them. Seeing Snape's thoughts in regards to the balance of power and lily was really interesting too.

I really liked the scene between Snape and Lily prior to the kiss. There I was thinking wow this actually works, they can be friends and revise over the summer together, why on earth didn't JK make this canon and then bam!

The prelude to the kiss was handled really well! It almost made me feel as if I should have expected it. I really liked Lily's reaction to the kiss though, it felt very her. Mature, yet the confusion about it was still there. I really feel for her having to placate Snape and James!

I think where Snape ended up going and what he did was fitting considering what just happened with Lily. It did make me wonder whether that gave him the final push or whether he was always destined for that.

The scene with Voldemort was perfect due to your wonderful characterisation! I really got the chills in that scene and it definitely made me fear for poor Serverus and what he had gotten himself into!

A wonderful chapter, and I can't wait for the next to see how the story wraps up! ♥

-Kiana

Author's Response: Kiana, oh my gosh, you are too much. Thank you for coming by and putting the cherry on top! There were times when I never thought this would reach 200 reviews, and here we are :) Nowadays when I write something new the thought always crosses my mind--"What will Kiana think of this?" Haha. I adore you!

ANYWAY.

This chapter was tough. I don't particularly like writing Severus joining up with Voldemort because it's a part of his life that really flies in the face of my little shipper heart, and so I challenged myself to try to juxtapose Snape's fixation on Lily and his decision to become a Death Eater. It felt safe, and a bit comforting, to begin with him writing to his mother. Their relationship is a huge part of my head canon.

Yeah, I kind of meant for that scene to show that James has actually grown up and Severus really hasn't. He's still focused on getting the upper hand and getting the girl, and he doesn't really recognize that his way isn't the way to get to Lily's heart--unfortunately.

Yeah, Lily got a rough shake in this chapter, poor thing. On the one hand, maybe she's a bit naive for not realizing that Snape would continue to pursue her romantically once she let him in again, but on the other, I sympathize with her (and you!) wanting everything to work out without complications.

Yeah, I struggled with the idea of Lily's rejection being the last straw in this chapter. I think it would have been powerful, and yet it seems like Severus was headed that way in terms of his personality anyway. I think he sort of had blinders on because he didn't realize that his ambitions to master the Dark Arts wouldn't be something Lily was okay with. He thought somehow, in his brilliance, he'd figure out a way to make it all work. So in my mind, he made his final transition here to try to salvage what he could of his future.

Hah, glad you liked my Voldemort! He's tough to get down, especially in the dialogue, and I'm happy you felt like he was in character. I hope you liked the Marking, too--that process was one I really had to think through a lot.

Thanks so much for your lovely review! I'm about halfway through the final chapter now and hope to have it posted sometime soon.

-Amanda


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Review #15, by AlexFan Eggs and Bacon

7th August 2013:
Every single story of yours that I've read has been interesting and I find myself wanting to continue onto the next chapter.

I think you captured the Black family perfectly, you can tell that they all think highly of themselves by the way that they act and speak. You've made Sirius stand out by making him a bit different in the way that he carries himself.

Usually the only person that we see Sirius as is this loud and arrogant person so it was interesting to see him as someone quiet at home who wants to stay out of his families ways.

Kreacher was also spot on, you got his disdain and hatred for Sirius perfect and I like how he managed to convey his feelings for Sirius without overstepping his lines as a servant.

The thing I like most is that Sirius's family isn't that they hit him like it's often portrayed but they do it in small ways like giving Regulus the family ring and other things.

This was a really interesting start and I'm looking forward to the rest of it!

Author's Response: Thanks! What a sweet compliment :)

Yeah, I think Sirius comes across as really normal compared to the rest of his family. He's not perfect or overly concerned with how he appears, and he's brave enough to say what he really feels even when it gets him in trouble. It's clear that he doesn't fit in here! But as you said, I didn't want to even approach the abuse territory, because I think that would be unbecoming of a proud pureblood family and was just a bit cliche.

I'm so glad you liked Kreacher! He's been fun to write and, looking back, I wish I'd spent more time with him--well, Regulus, I mean. I'll have to keep that in mind as I'm working to wrap up my final chapter for this story.

Thanks again for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #16, by blackballet Eggs and Bacon

7th August 2013:
I really like this! I haven't ever really read anything involving Walburga and Orion that wasn't scary. I think it's interesting that they still cater to Sirius, and I think that it's a good representation of popular pureblood families. I also like how Regulus was still, even if subliminally, trying to be in Sirius' good graces. I can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for coming by! I'm pleased that you liked my characterization of Sirius's parents and the way they treat their children. Poor Regulus is really caught between a rock and a hard place at home, and it'll only get worse at school, as you can imagine. I hope you read on later :)

Thanks again for your kind review!

-Amanda


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Review #17, by Phoenix Brotherhood

24th July 2013:
I do really like this story so far. Regulus is one of my favorite characters, so him being portrayed as you have make me like this story even more. I hope the relationship between Sirius and Regulus will get a lot better eventually. Update!

Author's Response: Thanks so much for stopping by to review! I'm very happy to hear that you like my portrayal of Regulus so far, because it's been both challenging and exciting to take him on as a main character. As for his relationship with Sirius, I suppose you'll just have to wait and see what the next couple of chapters bring :)

Thanks again for your lovely review! I'm working on the next chapter and planning to post it within the next couple of weeks or so.

-Amanda


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Review #18, by patronus_charm Brotherhood

18th July 2013:
Hi Amanda, I still canít believe that Iím actually reading this at real time!

Reading the impact of what Peter said to Celestine was really great! I had been curious to see what was going to happen to between Sirius and Celestine and I really liked what you did here. It was nice not to see Celestine but to have her reaction through others because it was unexpected and made a change from the usual way stories went.

The interaction between Sirius and Lily was interesting to watch as usual. Youíve established the friendly relationship we saw in that letter she sent to him in the books with her sensing he was serious about Celestine and you did the development up to this point really well!

The idea of the crest on the letter and what it said was really great. It definitely got me intrigued about what was going to happen at the Order though sad too because I doubt in the two chapters which are to follow weíre going to be able to suddenly jump to them leaving Hogwarts and seeing all of the actions expected there.

Peterís reaction to the letter was interesting. It makes me wonder whether his actions in the previous chapter were possibly fuelled by fear of being excluded from the Order and wanting to play his own part in the shifting political landscape. Then it does make me wonder whether that is a big motivation or not. The differing layers of complexities in this story is truly wonderful!

Regulusí perspective was interesting too. Iím still confused about what I think heís feeling towards Sirius and if Iím confused I dread to know how heís feeling. The light sarcasm about saying hi to mum and dad was great as it showed how he felt as if he had more power since meeting Voldemort and how he can now act cocky towards Sirius.

He did have gentler moments too which were lovely to read such as noting Siriusí reference to his girlfriend and how that was odd for him. Asking about Peter was really ingenious too. I imagined that Sirius might pick up on it because he is observant at times in your characterisation of him and such wonderful foreshadowing. I almost wanted it to go anti-canon and for Regulus to declare everything.

Another wonderful chapter, but Iím not sure if Iíll be around for the next because starting on the 23rd I am internet free for two weeks and limited to it for another two and half weeks due to travels. You know that Iíll no doubt love them anyway! ♥

-Kiana

Author's Response: Ahh, it is exciting! Kudos to you for catching up so fast, and glad you're enjoying the story so far!

Yeah, I wasn't really interested in the idea of watching Celestine rip Sirius a new one in real time. I struggled a lot with trying to figure out how to do that relationship because it seemed to go in a cliche direction at every turn. I do think that Sirius felt something for Celestine that he hadn't quite experienced before, in terms of them continuing to spend time together and enjoying one another's company, but they were just starting to figure that out and then Peter went and ruined things. I suppose we'll just have to see if they are able to make up as the story concludes.

I don't really have plans to go on and explore how the two groups develop as the war builds, no. That story is already being told by a lot of other authors and my effort here was really more about friendship and internal conflict and the unusual idea of Regulus and Lily being allies, possibly even friends. I'm glad that you're on the edge of your seat about it, though!

I think you've really got a good grasp on Peter's motivation--he's afraid and feels inadequate and doesn't feel comfortable putting all of his eggs in one basket at this point. He just seems to lack a sense of internal fortitude that his friends possess. He has been so tough to characterize because I wanted to be clear that he's not a weakling and he did do something to merit his place in Gryffindor at some point, but maybe that's changed over time and he's in a tough spot. I still don't know if I'm quite happy with him.

This chapter definitely marks an important moment for Regulus. He's slowly been turning more and more toward the Death Eaters over the past few chapters--abandoning Wilkes, giving up on his plan with Lily--and here he's starting to feel like his real brotherhood is composed of Snape and the other Slytherins (partially the reason I chose the title here). He's growing scarily comfortable with his choice--and we know he'll regret it later on.

Hah, it would be nice if Regulus just changed his mind and decided to run away with Sirius. I can't say I didn't want that to happen here. I'm also glad to hear that you like my slightly more pensive than usual take on Sirius; I didn't want to write him off as a mere prankster but really showcase his intelligence and the fact that he's got a really good heart.

Hey, you'll catch up, no worries. Enjoy your travels, and thanks for this wonderful review!

-Amanda


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Review #19, by Chiara To the Top of the Cliff

13th July 2013:
The story's really great so far, I can't wait to read the next chapters. I love it how you include other characters points of view instead of just one person. Keep up the amazing work.

Author's Response: Hi, nice to hear from you! I'm so pleased that you're enjoying the story :) I've really gotten into switching POVs, even while still in third person, and I'm happy that you like it, too. Thank you for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #20, by patronus_charm To the Top of the Cliff

10th July 2013:
Hi Amanda! Iím finally back for the last posted chapter and this is so exciting finally being caught up!

The opening part of this chapter was really great! I assume that the task given to Remus is some sort of initiation thing for the Order. I really liked how youíve begun to incorporate other characters into the story such as Diggle as it gives me variety and thatís the spice of life so itís all good!

The challenges were really cool! I liked the imagination you put into them, because you obviously wanted to show that each skill was going to be tested which is something I would imagine that the Order would do. I think my favourite one was the potion one because it really was fun to read see the analytical thoughts behind his decision and figure it out with him.

The party section of this chapter was really great! I enjoyed the dynamics of all the members and it definitely was worth the hype the other characters had given it. I really loved Celestine in this section because with what happens later on in the chapter it does make me wonder whatís going to happen to her. Sheís sort of on the outskirts not being as studious which is evident with her preference for Witch Weekly, and I have a feeling something monumental may happen to her. I may be wrong, as itís just a gut instinct but it will be interesting to see.

The section where Lily was thinking back to Snape was really sweet! I never thought of them planning their future together and knowing what happens to them makes it even more tragic. The end of their friendship is such a defining moment of the series it really makes me wonder what would have happened if they had remained friends and whether they would have got that shop or not.

The idea of Snape being a mentor for Regulus is oddly touching. Him teaching Regulus levicorpus is nerving because Iím currently dreading who Regulusí victims may be. If I thought that was a little worrying, I was no way near prepared enough for the next part! I had been wondering when Peter would begin to integrate himself among the Death Eaters and I really loved how you did it, because you could clearly see he was doing it for greed, nothing more or less. Iím not sure whether thatís good or not but I suppose it is more preferable than revenge.

What he did to Celestine wasnít nice at all. Though I knew that her and Sirius probably wouldnít last too long and they would end up breaking up soon, what Peter was plain cruel. He could see that he was crushing her and her dreams, but also damaging his friendís reputation with it, which does make me question the whole greed v. revenge question.

That was a wonderful chapter, Amanda! I can now say, I canít wait for the next :D



Author's Response: Yay, you're caught up! My externship has been exhausting me over the past couple of weeks and I haven't been able to finish the next chapter yet. Hopefully it'll be up very soon.

It's so great that you liked the Order trials! I worried that I was making it too easy or that the tasks wouldn't seem relevant enough to actual duties of OOTP members, but at least it was entertaining, which makes me happy.

Celestine is a little on the fringes here, but I tried to emphasize that she's not a total ditz by including her in Lily's N.E.W.T. study group. After all, this is the same girl who devised a multi-step plan to win Sirius's heart just a few chapters back. She's got a brain :)

I love that you can picture adult Lily and Severus working together in an AU scenario. It's sad to think about all that they lost out on because of one selfish mistake on his part.

I've said this before, I'm sure, but I really like the idea of a Severus/Regulus friendship, even if it's not a mentoring type of relationship like it is here. I think they have a lot in common and it would be interesting to see what they could teach one another. It's definitely a permanent part of my head canon.

Peter! Oh, it's so great that you like the turn I've taken with him. I searched for a long time for a realistic way to explain his defection to the Death Eaters and I hope that the transition I've introduced seems sensible. A lot of people seem to portray him as a bumbling fool and I wanted to suggest in this story that he's got darker, more complex traits lurking under the surface, things that are easy to hide when you're the quiet one. I love how much you analyzed his character here :)

Thanks for the brilliant review!

-Amanda


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Review #21, by Female_Warrior To the Top of the Cliff

1st July 2013:
Hey, just dropping in to say that I really like what you've done with this story so far.

Regulus is one of those minor characters who doesn't really have a whole lot of background laid out in canon, and there's so much you can do to write him creatively! He's definitely one of my favorite characters, and I love that you're developing him and telling of the marauders era from his point of view. His relationship with Lily is such a lovely thing as well. It's believable, and Regulus's compassion for her definitely puts some distance between him and the whole pureblood-supremacy set of ideals. It makes him seem more reasonable and human than, say, Evan Rosier, and also superior in his quiet little way. :)

I adored your take on how one joins the order. Alastor Moody's whole character just makes him the perfect drill sergeant. The line a few chapters back about him telling Emmeline Vance to make some of the potions deadly, but not knowing if she listened, made me laugh. You can't be sure whether Moody is serious or just trying to scare the recruits, and I think he'd like it that way. ;) The tasks you put the potential Order members through test all the right things, bravery (I thought the Boggarts were a nice touch) and practical skills alike.

Also, I loved watching Remus gain a little bit of confidence in this chapter. He definitely has confidence in his own sphere, when it comes to his studies and the like, but I enjoyed reading his success in something that was more in the area of James and Sirius's talents. I'll be anxious to know now whether his doubts about joining the Order go away now, or if they persist. I was a little bit surprised at first by how apprehensive he was, but I suppose that would fit with his status as "the cautious one."

Anyway, this is a great story, and I'm glad to have stumbled across it. I'll be on the lookout for the next chapter!

Cheers,

Female_Warrior

Author's Response: Thank you! Nice to hear from you! :)

It did disappoint me a little that we didn't hear more about Regulus even in the little slivers of information we got about Sirius and his friends in canon. I also think he's super interesting, and when this weird idea about him and Lily being "friends" came to me I found it too difficult to resist. I also love exploring the idea of him and Severus forming a friendship since they both have in common that they lost their faith in Voldemort in time.

It's so great that you like Moody and the assortment of tasks I devised for the Order. I really don't like writing action sequences and this process of the trials has put me through my paces. Moody is a lot of fun and I do hope that I've captured his raw personality well.

Yeah, I think Remus probably doubts himself more than he should. He's certainly braver than Peter and there's more to him than simple book smarts, like with Hermione. I would think that facing the trials would make a lot of people feel nervous, but what counts is that he pushed ahead, and I'm glad you liked that he was proud of himself at the end.

Thanks again for your fabulous review :)

-Amanda


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Review #22, by patronus_charm Playing Pretend

1st July 2013:
Hi Amanda! I ended up falling asleep before midnight, but Iím going to try and squeeze another one in before the House Cup starts! Also just checking your AP you are on a roll with writing. I still need to read that Andromeda one-shot of yours and now youíve got another/ in the process of writing it!

I thought the careers meeting was written well. Again, you wrote Slughorn brilliantly and got the right amount of flattery and concern in his characterisation so it was really great to read. I thought Regulusí confusion in this chapter was also written brilliantly. I was almost worried that he was going to come out and say that he wanted to be a Death Eater, but then again he still is so young he might still be doubting that path.

Regulusí reaction to him being told he could be an Auror was brilliant. It was as if he finally realised what a different path he was about to take and how it was going to change him drastically. I felt bad for poor old Slughorn who kept on proffering all these different options at him for Regulus to say no. I donít think they ever mentioned whether he stayed on or not at Hogwarts so it will be curious to see what happens next year.

I had been wondering what was going to happen in regards to Wilkes, and I really liked the section with him in it. Wilkes seems like a genuinely nice person and the way he waited for Regulus really touched my heart. He seemed to have this belief that they actually could be friends again with the suggestion of quidditch but I knew and Regulus seemed to know too, that they their paths were too fractured now to be friends like they used to.

The Order training was really interesting, and it was nice to see Lily and James together in a different setting as opposed to friends. I canít wait to see how this story line progresses because even through their firing of spells it got me eager to see them put it into action. Iím not sure where this story ends but it would be interesting to see what would happen if Sirius, Lily, Snape and Regulus met when they were meant to be fighting one another as it would have an interesting dynamic.

Then the ending was really great. Iím curious to see the interaction between Lily and Snape and whatís so important about it she has to lie to James. I found the progression of their relationship great, as itís evolved into something more comfortable but they donít yet fully trust one another and I found that to be realistic.

Another excellent chapter, Amanda ♥

-Kiana

Author's Response: Hah, thanks! I have been writing a lot now that it's summer and I'm hoping to finish up both of my novels before school starts up yet again. I've decided to put my next one-shot on hold until August because I'm busy working on a story for the House Cup, but I'm very excited about it and I'll be interested to see what you think when I get it written :)

I don't think it would have gone over very well if Regulus had told Slughorn he was contemplating becoming a Death Eater, you know? :) But yeah, Regulus has been so busy with Voldemort that he hasn't really thought about how he will practically sustain himself in terms of employment and a "daytime life." I don't really have plans to take this story into next year, but my head canon would be that he did stay in school, not being the type to disappoint his parents by dropping out early. Unfortunately, we know what happened to him.

I think of the thing with Wilkes as being a lot like what happened between Harry and Ron in fourth year. Harry was obviously broken up about not having his close friend by his side all of a sudden, but Regulus is just too far gone to really muster up emotions about it, which is sad to think about. You'd think he'd care more about giving up his oldest friend.

Again, I don't think I'm going to take this story that far, but it is interesting to picture, isn't it? They're getting ready to take one another on without even really realizing it, working right under one another's noses.

Well, I think it's less that there's something specific Lily wants to hide from James and more like she knows in general he wouldn't be comfortable with her hanging out with Severus again--and I'm sure Severus wouldn't like her getting closer to James now, either. Lily's starting to feel the tension and realizing that maybe it won't be so easy to just keep both of them in her life after all.

Thanks for your lovely review, Kiana!

-Amanda


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Review #23, by patronus_charm No Turning Back

30th June 2013:
Woo look at me three reviews in one day! I will keep on reviewing until it hits midnight because I probably should go to sleep, so letís see how many I can do in 35 minutes :D

Gah, Regulus I really am beginning to dislike you in this chapter. I know I shouldnít be feeling like this as itís not his fault and heís under the influence of others but it still doesnít mean I canít help but feel this way. That letter he sent to Lily was just cruel because there are nicer ways of phrasing things like that. I guess it shows he really is part of that world now.

He also really confused me in this chapter too, because there he was sending that letter and then he was happily reminiscing about his family with the photos and then he says heís definitely joining up. Even though it left me confused the confusion really suits him well considering what heís going through. This is such a monumental moment in his life heís going to face a certain level of confusion so I suppose I shouldnít be too harsh on him.

I could sense that the others recognised the change in him too by holding him that birthday party as I highly doubt they would have done if he hadnít had that meeting with Voldemort. I thought that entire scene was written really well and it really caught this dramatic change in Regulusí life. Iíve probably said it before I really love how much emphasis youíve placed upon him in this story as he is so fascinating.

Aw and that Lily and James scene was just wonderful. I really liked the meaning behind Fiorelloís name and itís so nice to see how much thought you put into minor details like that. I really love all the description of the ice cream parlour as it really created a vivid and fun which juxtaposed nicely with the previous one which had a darker element to it.

I really like the progression weíve seen between Lily and James and this chapter sort of ended it off with them kissing and pondering whether it was a date or not. Theyíve sort of reached the line now where they can no longer call one another friends but something in between and I thought it was really well written. Iím eager to see how this progresses now that the deal has been put into question.

Another brilliant chapter, Amanda ♥

-Kiana

Author's Response: I think you may have gotten a little lost in that first section. He didn't actually send the letter to Lily--he wanted to call off the deal but couldn't bring himself to actually tell her those horrid things, so he balled it up and threw it away. And I wouldn't say he was happily reminiscing--it was more like his old life with Sirius was staring him in the face and it was making him uncomfortable and sad to know that those days were far in the past now. Hopefully if you look at these comments and go back, the scene will make more sense.

I'm sort of building up this idea that's going to come to a head in the next chapter or so that I write. I won't say much about it except that Regulus has to find something to fill the void that currently exists in his life. Anyway, the party is a small reflection of that notion.

Yeah, the ice cream scene was neat to write. I liked how it was lighter and it made me really crave some candy-flavored ice cream :)

Things are sort of awkward between Lily and James now, but it's not really uncomfortable, except that now Lily has to figure out how to integrate all of that into her life. As for James, he's trying to work out how to keep Lily without pushing too hard so as to scare her away. It's an interesting time for both of them.

Thanks for the delightful review :)

-Amanda


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Review #24, by patronus_charm The Right Sort of Wrong

30th June 2013:
Iím back again! I told you I was determined plus youíre giving me your first unborn child, so itís fine. Though you probably shouldnít be too liberal about giving it away :P And this chapter was just amazing!

I really liked the idea of Moody almost setting up a training camp for the Marauders in this chapter as it was really interesting to read. I really liked seeing how all the different parts of the Order worked together to produce the best of them with the help from Emmeline and Mundungus as itís quite different to the Death Eaters which have a set hierarchy.

Your characterisation of Moody was brilliant! He was exactly the gruff old man I imagined him to be and it was a real delight to read him! I loved Remus, Sirius and Peterís reaction to Moody once he left, I did feel a bit bad for poor old James facing the brunt of it but I suppose with someone like Moody you can never really anticipate what theyíre going to be up to next.

I liked how Celestine didnít want to join the Order because I donít think I would have had enough courage to join so it created a truer reflection of people in that time. I also liked how you made Lily a little reluctant about joining it as it makes sense considering she knows nothing about it. Thank you so much for providing lots of James/Lily fuzzy moments at the end of the scene, they were really lovely ♥

It seems as if Snape and Lily are finally becoming friends again with him wanting to study with her. I have a feeling with what happened at the end of the chapter that something big is going to come along and change it all so Iím going to be constantly on guard. You also made the details about the study group really interesting too, and I was somehow riveted by them and I donít really know why.

I liked how you made the differences between Wilkes and Regulus clear right from the beginning. I think it was due to Regulus gaining recognition from the already established members of the Death Eaters such as Lucius and Bellatrix and that obviously gave him more influence over them. Then the way Snape placed the blame onto Wilkes when it was really Regulusí fault for turning up late. All those subtle things really added to the scene and made it full of suspense about what was going to happen.

This chapter was full of so many horror-inducing moments though I think the biggest one has to be when Voldemort ordered Wilkes to kill the man. The way you wrote Voldemort was brilliant and you had all of mannerisms down really well and it really added to the scene. Iím glad that Voldemort didnít make him go through with it, though what happened to him instead was almost as horrible.

Regulus really changed in this chapter with him using crucio willingly and then leaving Wilkes behind at the end. Though I hated seeing the change it made sense as heís finally been given a place and obviously if Voldemort regards you highly you must feel a certain sense of power which he abused. That last scene was written brilliantly and blew me away.

Another fantastic chapter, Amanda ♥

-Kiana

Author's Response: I think you make an interesting point about the Order working together, and I think that's probably what helped them stay strong through both wars despite the losses they experienced. As we saw in the final battle, the Death Eaters got quite scattered when Voldemort wasn't there to unify them, and with him there they were too competitive.

Whereas Slughorn is my guilty pleasure character to write on Regulus's side, I think Moody is my guilty pleasure character on Lily's side. He's just so cantankerous and funny and yet really, truly intimidating.

Hey, I'm all about balance, and it made sense to me that not everyone who heard about the Order would be amped about joining in. It was important to me that, as you pointed out, even people who were confident about joining felt a sense of reluctance during the process. You'll see that again in future chapters, too. Oh, and you're welcome! I figured people would like those, and there are more to come. I'm still not totally comfortable with writing them, not like I am with the Snape/Lily friendship scenes, but I like to think they're okay.

Yeah, Regulus is sort of already on the VIP list thanks to his family loyalty and the fact that Sirius's figurative inheritance (and likely literal inheritance) has kind of passed to him so that he carries the pressure of the Black family. In addition, though, I think he comes across as slightly more confident and less impulsive than Wilkes, and maybe the others see that.

Hah, great! Voldemort can be tough but I hope I've done okay with him in the limited appearances he's made so far. I did like seeing Regulus take ownership of himself and seize his independence at the end, even if it wasn't in a good way. He's largely been a follower up until this point and he's starting to see his potential--for better or for worse.

Thank you for your fantastic review! As promised in my A/N, I'll be by to leave you a "thank you" review sometime very soon.

-Amanda


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Review #25, by patronus_charm Small Favors and Large Tokens

30th June 2013:
Ok I am actually determined to be caught up by the next chapter as I thought I would be this time round but you sprung an early update on me. So donít post too soon as it will probably be the last one if it goes by the same length as Diamonds into Coal! I think thatís really cool how you do that, by the way as I noticed it with Yellow and the Middle Man. Ok I should stop blabbering and get on with the review.

I honestly thought the first section was going to be about Sirius but it was nice to have it from Regulusís perspective. I liked seeing more of Siriusí room as I really felt that I got to know more about his character through all the things he had in his room. Your Regulus keeps on making my heart all warm and fuzzy and in this chapter it was by how he sent Sirius his belongings. It was just so lovely to see that someone still cared about him.

The note from Slughorn really fitted him well and Iím looking forward to the interview because I enjoyed Harryís greatly for some reason so I canít wait to see this. Then the second note was considerably darker but I had a feeling that with the loss of Sirius from his life something like this might happen soon, and Iím dreading what might happen there.

Even though I remember you saying in a response a while ago that you didnít particularly like James, I think you write him amazingly well. You write all of the Marauders really well in fact, as you have a knack of capturing each quirk of their character and itís a real joy to read. I honestly donít know why this story is more popular as I really, really love it and itís becoming one of my favourite Marauders stories!

I liked how you almost mirrored what was happening in Regulusí life with the Marauders life by them contemplating joining the Order. I think this divergence between them is always really fascinating to watch and I canít wait to read the final chapters and see how this will affect their lives.

Even in the presents her friends send to Lily you can really tell what their characters are like and it was really fun to read. In Jamesí present you can really see the progression in their relationship and it was really nice to see.

Iím glad that Snape turned up and gave Lily a present because in my head canon they always remained sort of friends. That will be really intriguing to watch to and see how you keep it canon. Vernon does sound like a character here and quite different to how he is with Harry. It was nice to see that she trusted him enough to confide in him about that.

That was another fantastic chapter and I canít wait to read the rest!

-Kiana

Author's Response: Don't worry, the next chapter won't be the end of this one. I've planned it to have twenty chapters, so there are a few left to go. Sometimes it happens that way with stories that I write at the same time, like Yellow and The Middle Man, but not always. I do like to end on an even-numbered chapter as long as things feel complete while observing that rule.

Poor Regulus is really ill-equipped in terms of how to rectify his issues with his brother. I view his approach as almost a little childish, and yet it does make sense that Sirius could be comforted by things he had to leave at his house when he took off to live with James. Unfortunately, as you noticed, Regulus's life is about to take a much darker turn.

Hah, thanks! I like my Marauders and I've worked really hard on them, so I do hope that other people like the way I've written them, too. It's kind of sad to write about them joining the Order because I know they'll be torn apart in adulthood, but at the same time it's cool to write about such an exciting period in their lives.

I'm happy to hear that you liked the scenes with Lily opening her presents and going to talk to Severus. Right now she's okay giving him another chance, but only time will tell if that ends up being a good decision for her.

Thank you for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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