Reading Reviews for Smile And Smile...
  
14 Reviews Found

Review #1, by StellaRose Chapter One.

25th July 2013:
Hmm. I normally don't take the time to read one shots but yours caught my eye. Really well done! It makes me sad to think that she could have gotten help and turned out differently but refused to do so. Very thought provoking piece that reinforces the idea that we can change our destiny. No one is born evil, they are made that way due to the choices they make. Can't wait to read more of your stories :)

Author's Response: Hi StellaRose! Thanks so much for letting this one catch your eye! Your take on Smile and Smile is a really interesting one to read... The idea of destiny being ours to control is a fascinating one. I just really wanted to try and look at how on earth somebody becomes Dolores Umbridge. A combination of self-hatred and utter vanity seems to have done the trick.

Thanks again!


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Review #2, by LittleLionGirl Chapter One.

25th July 2013:
Oh my. I cant believe how well this was written. I dislike Umbridge a lot but you made me pity her a bit. I guess I understand the whole "Everyone needs punished" attitude; it was just funny in a way that she pities the Weasley twins when she deserves pity herself. Cant wait to see what else you have for me to read!
XOXOXOX,
LLG

Author's Response: Hi LLG! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing :) I really, really hate Umbridge too - more than Voldemort. But I wanted to work out how exactly one becomes Dolores Umbridge! You've hit the nail on the head there - for such a vain person, she doesn't have a very clear image of herself!

Thanks again! &hearts
Athene xoxoxox


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Review #3, by patronus_charm Chapter One.

7th February 2013:
Ooh I saw the summary to this and was immediately intrigued, as I always think the childhood is always what makes people weird. I mean look at Voldemort’s! So I was very excited to see how you wrote her childhood and whether it was a messed up one or not!

I thought it was interesting that you made Umbridge a subject of bullying herself, thought I can see why that would make her who she is in the HP books, as it was perhaps a form of revenge on her behalf.

I liked the canon characters appearing it was so nice, as it just makes the story more realistic and it was fun to see how they may have been at Hogwarts!

I found it interesting that you made Umbridge feel as if she was being patronized by Dumbledore, as she has a tendency to do that herself to others, and of course to Dumbledore. I guess this links into the revenge idea, and the fact she had a position of power which she sought to abuse.

I liked how you tied in the fact that she appeared to be rather masculine according to her mother, and thus the extreme feminity and fondness for the colour pink stemmed from. I think it’s excellent how you’ve interlinked all of these ideas, to make a very plausible backstory as that requires some skill.

I really like the flashbacks as it really help me learn how her past affected her present self. Overall I thought this was a great one-shot as I’ve never read any about Umbridge before, but this certainly showed her in a new and perhaps more sympathetic light!

Author's Response: How lovely to get an unexpected review on this story! It was good fun to write, as well as challenging - we had to take the character we hate the most and write something sympathetic/from their POV.

I'm glad you enjoyed the appearance of the canon characters - I really had fun including them and thinking about how they might relate to Dolores (particularly Cygnus - I think there's another story there!).

You've also picked out one of my favourite things, something I hoped people might notice - the sickly pinky femininity is a backlash against the way her mother treats her, and an attempt to ingratiate herself to her.

Thanks so much for leaving a review, I really do appreciate it!
Athene xo


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Review #4, by Sidna Chapter One.

22nd September 2012:
This is awesome! This type of story is now rare...
Complete with good grammar, good storyline, good diction, and lack of disgusting "Twilight" love.
I've seen some others where Hermione falls in love with Draco. It's disgusting.
I loved your story.
Do you live in Great Britain?

Author's Response: Well, thank you very much! It's very nice to receive an unexpected review like this.

Draco and Hermione stories, or 'Dramione' are pretty popular, but I'm not a fan of it personally.

I am from the UK, yes... could you tell? :)

Thanks again for your kind words, I'm glad you enjoyed the story.


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Review #5, by feathers101 Chapter One.

20th September 2012:
I utterly loved that! Your writing is brilliant.

Author's Response: Aw, thank you! Good to hear you enjoyed it so much :) Thanks for leaving a review!

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Review #6, by TyrannicFeenix Chapter One.

11th September 2012:
OMG, I've never seen someone actually use supercilious in a sentence before, extra points for that. Nice work on the timing too, Dumbledore as Transfiguration professor. A such an interesting professor he is so far. I am liking this.

I know they are tormenting her, but I love Tiberius and Druella. I'm not sure why but I find them fascinating, i suppose we all know someone like them at one point in our lives. Certainly an interesting peak into how Dolores became Umbridge so far.

I love her twisted sense of right and wrong. She is deeply manipulative as you can see with her twisting Fudge to her idea in such a sneaky way. And her hatred for children is so ingrained. I am curious to whether it was home or school life that caused such feelings in her. This is so very good. And I'm curious whether she has some unresolved hatred towards Dumbledore himself from her school years, and if that is somehow affecting her nature in the here and now too.

Argh I can't keep him down, PickyFeenix notices that you said "the children at staff at dinner in the Great Hall" instead of 'the children and staff'. Sorry I'll try to keep him in check. The poor house elves. how had Dumbledore let their mistreatment go unchecked?

I am loving how neatly you have seperated the time changes. Nothing worse than reading through a story that isn't properly marked out like that, you go from one paragraph to the next (if you're lucky and they haven't done it mid paragraph) and are immediately confused by the time change. Not here, expertly layed out.

Man Dumbledore can be such a cool character. Concerned for every student in the school even when nothing more than a teacher. I hope Slughorn gives them such a talking to. Though that may not have quite the desired effect. I'm pretty sure being scolded by a walrus wouldn't be quite so scary as it would from Dumbledore (I hate the Slughorn didn't have his mustache in the movies).

Ah, and that is where her penchant for physical reminders of transgrestions comes from. What a delightful mother she has. No wonder Dumbledore is furious. Not only is she being hurt at school, she suffers at home as well. It's small wonder she became what she did.

Wow, finally at the end, nice and long entry as well (always a plus in my book, I hate chapters that I can read without ever scrolling the window down, pet peeve). And so very well written. You really got into her head and went to town, you have certainly met the requirements of my challenge. And I love the bullying parts too (not in a condoning way) they were so good. Truly showing what it can be like for some children in school. It is a reality far too many still have to deal with every day.

You have not converted me on Umbridge (she is my second most hated character) but as with yourself, it makes you feel for her in a way the books never allowed. She is a horrible woman, but this goes to show that it can be many different little things that add up to forge such a person later in life. If this is anything to go by I can't wait to see the other entries, though you have certainly put quite a bar in place for the other entries. I realy enjoyed this fic from start to finish.

TyrannicFeenix

Author's Response: Supercilious is a great word, isn't it? Very expressive, I think. I quite like Dumbledore as a teacher too! I think his classes would be so interesting.

I'm glad that despite their actions, you enjoy Druella and Tiberius. It's oddly fun to write nasty people, don't you think? And yeah, I think we've all come across people like them at some point.

I love that you picked up on this before I even got to it! "And I'm curious whether she has some unresolved hatred towards Dumbledore himself from her school years, and if that is somehow affecting her nature in the here and now too." Well done you :P

I love PickyFeenix! I need PickyFeenix! Thanks for pointing that out, I edited it, hopefully that'll be up soon. As for the House Elves, I think Dumbledore just can't have known- after all, elves don't exactly tell tales, and Umbridge is a sneaky woman. I'm sure that if he had known, he'd have been utterly furious.

The layout! I'm a stickler for stories I can read and that have a discernible flow. So thanks for commenting on that!

I just love Dumbledore so much. Even with all his flaws we see in the later books, he cares deeply about people, and especially children. I totally agree with you about Slughorn! Haha! I actually imagined Richard Griffiths playing him, despite him already being Uncle Vernon. But then again, I imagine Uncle Vernon as looking a lot like Danny DeVito in 'Matilda', so I'm in a muddle already when it comes to the films!

"You really got into her head and went to town" is such a cool turn of phrase! Thanks :D

I really enjoyed this challenge, as it really *was* a challenge. So thanks for setting it! It made me write something I wouldn't normally think of writing. And I'm so happy that you really enjoyed this... I'm looking forward to reading the other entries too.

Athene G xoxo


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Review #7, by EverDiggory Chapter One.

11th September 2012:
Wow, now that you've waited long enough for your hair to turn grey, I'm here(;

Flow: I think you did really exceptional with this. When you warned me that there were a few jumps, I was a bit over observing;P But, I think you pulled it off rather well. I think because it was all connecting in a way, that it really did flow nicely!

Dialogue: This did seem rather believable, to me. I love Dumbledore's concern and how he tries to approach it in a gentle way. I think there was plenty of dialogue to explain the teasing, Dumbledore's concern, and Dolores...mask, if you will. I don't know particularly what I liked about it, but it seemed to fit very much to the character speaking, if that makes any sense?

Imagery: While there wasn't a lot, but there was a fair amount, I think it was the perfect amount! A piece like this needs just enough to gives us visuals but not overload us. I think you pulled this off well and really added to this lovely piece.

Characterization: Dolores...gosh, I've never really, really tried to think about her too much, for I hate her as well. But, with a childhood such as that, I can see her turning into that god awful woman she is. Her piers were awful... Dumbledore was pretty spot on; concerned, considerate, compassionate.

This was really well written, no doubt. But, I still feel no pity for Dolores. Does that make me cold-hearted? I don't think so. It's one thing to be bullied, abused and hurt over the years. And sometimes, you have no control over it. But as she grew older, she allowed herself to turn into someone she would hate as a child. She turned down the same bitter path that all those awful people did when they inflicted pain, emotional and/or physical, on her. Now, she's no better than the rest of them, effectively wiping out any pity I may have held for her.

This really didn't feel off to me. I think you did really well, I was pleasantly surprised to read something so unique. Of course its not too icky;P I'm lost as to how you could think this is icky! I think you did a wonderful job!

Thanks for requesting! Oh! And is it sad that I had to look up who Homer Simpson is?:P

xx

Ever

Author's Response: Hey Ever! (I love your usernames by the way, so pretty)

Thanks for your comments on the flow of this piece. I really wanted to show young and old Dolores but wasn't sure how to do it, so I tried to keep her characterization in line and that seems to have helped.

I'm really pleased that you found the dialogue believable! I hardly ever write dialogue :S so I get nervous about it.

You are not a sociopath for not pitying Dolores. I certainly don't mean that you should ever pity adult Umbridge. I just feel sorry for her in the first scene, she's this unpopular, sad young lady who just can't get anything right in the eyes of her peers.

And. I can't actually believe you had to look up Homer Simpson! Bless your little cotton socks. You've been missing out!

Thanks so much for the review, it's helped me out. I'm thinking of editing my A/N, as a few people have thought I was loopy for pitying Dumbridge. Oops, now I'm at it!

Athene xoxo


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Review #8, by manno_malfoy Chapter One.

7th September 2012:
Pity. I pity Dolores Umbridge and it's your fault! I truly liked the blind hate I had for her before reading this and I'm not quite sue how I feel about this alteration. Nonetheless, I do know that I absolutely loved the piece responsible for the change and for several reasons.

Every single bit of this story seems to have been meticulously thought through. Whether it's the characters you have chosen to be at Hogwarts then or the part you've chosen to include from her adulthood. You've made a heavily scarred woman glow with brilliance and believable consistency of state despite the change in surrounding the passing of time and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I especially loved her long-term determination, how she never seems to forgets about the things she wishes to do despite everything. It really does sound like her.

You said you were worried about the time jump. Well, I wouldn't be. You've chosen a particularly important part of Dolores's life to show us, you've shown us how victory looks like to her and how she processes it in her mind. And for some reason, I don't think it would've worked as well if you had placed it anywhere else. I liked how when I read the part after it about how she was going to make sure she humiliates Dumbledore the way he had humiliated her, I had already seen her do it and win a round against him. I don't know why I liked this progression but I just do!

I also think you've done wonderful work regarding her 'psychology' as you had put it. I felt that you made me understand her so well and have given very good reasons and explanations to the hatred and bitterness she seemed to showcase later on in her life.

The most fascinating thing was how you found such subtle and lovely ways to slip in other things that determined Dolores's outer features. I mean, her adoration for cats, the color pink, and so on. They're such tiny details but they add a lot to Umbridge and I like how you made such things influenced and not just-because.

I think you're a brilliant writer! I really loved your style and your description throughout the piece. There seems to be a couple of typos. I only remember one though.
"I will speak to Professor Slughorn about Master Burke..."
I may be be wrong but I believe 'master' supposed to be 'mister'?

Anyway, I'm so glad I got the chance to read this story! It's such an interesting take on Umbridge and I think that you've explored her really well. And I apologise for having taken such a long time to get to your review but I've been busy.

Oh, and good luck with the challenge!

-Manno

Author's Response: Hi! Sorry I've taken so long to respond to this review, I've been on night shifts and my brain's been all over the place!

Well, thank you for appreciating my story so much, please feel free to go back to blind hatred of Umbridge. I still detest the woman. Go and read the chapter when she scars Harry. That'll help.

Thanks for the encouragement about the time jump. I moved that section around a few times, and deleted it at one point, but to hear that you think it's well placed is really good. As for seeing Dolores winning a round against Dumbledore... It made me sad, so I tried to make it better by giving him the last word in the story. Even if he's sad because all the pink ones have gone, heehee!

I'm glad you picked up on and enjoyed the little details like the colour pink and the kitty cats. I always enjoy putting them in to my stories!

'Master' is what I meant. It's an old-fashioned but still sometimes used word to mean a young man. So, before you're a Mister, you're a Master!

Thank you very much for the review, it's much appreciated :) I wasn't sure about this story but the reviews I have received have been so helpful in making me more confident in it.

Athene xo


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Review #9, by FallenAmaranth Chapter One.

2nd September 2012:
Wow, it took a bit longer than I expected for me to get this to you, I apologise.

The first thing I noticed was your opening line, it's brilliant and describes what one wouldn't think was necessary, but which adds to the whole 'setting of the scene'. Since dust particles floating through beams of light are things that usually get noticed, but aren't thought much about. This line is just the beginning of many lines of fantastic description. :D

I think it flowed rather well, the time jump did seem a bit odd at first, but the transitions are great and very clear. Once I read through, I decided the chapter seems better with the time jump in it. We get to see the child - what she becomes because of it - and why she is that way.

Reading this, I almost feel pity for her - I also hated her in the books - I never thought about what her past could have been. And I think this is an entirely believable idea - that Umbridge was bullied and mistreated as a youngster. Dumbledore was very much in character the whole time, and I did love his last line about the Jelly Bean.

I liked the other Slytherins that were there - Cygnus, Druella and Tiberius - they're canon characters, but ones that we know nothing about. It is common that a very unpopular person is friends with someone who will only show kindness to them in private, and I like how you've done that in here with Cygnus and Dolores. Druella was pretty much how I would imagine a pureblood Slytherin girl acting, especially when Cygnus was 'hers' - or would be someday.

All in all, I think this is a fantastic piece, it's extraordinarily well written and a very interesting idea, and I think you've come up with a great explanatory piece to show the history of the girl beneath the bow.

~ Emily

P.S - It's not icky in the slightest, I love it ;)

Author's Response: Hi Emily,

Don't worry, a review is always worth waiting for!

Thanks for commenting on the opening line - they're so hard to write, I find, and so I tend to start with a wide shot of the scene before zooming in! Similarly, I'm grateful that you commented on the final line. I thought it was a bit of a silly note to end on, but I love Dumbledore and I wanted him to have the last word in Dolores Umbridge's story.

The comment on the time jump is really useful to me, as whilst editing the story I kept moving the adult Dolores section around - from the beginning to the end and at one point I nearly deleted it! So it's good to know that you feel it works well where it ended up.

'I almost feel pity for her' - brilliant! That 'almost' is actually what I was gunning for. She's a loathsome woman (have I mentioned that I hate her? :P) and I didn't want to absolve her of all her sins by giving her a bad childhood. She's still a piece of work as a fifteen year old! I'm glad I seem to have struck that balance in your reading of it.

I'm so happy that you made the Cygnus/Druella connection, and that you see Druella's conceited possessiveness. One thing ...Tiberius isn't canon ;) he's an OC, for whom I borrowed a typical Slytherin/pureblood surname.

Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I was really unsure about this story but you've helped me feel more confident in it. "the history of the girl beneath the bow." is such an awesome turn of phrase!

I will definitely be requesting reviews from you again - not because this is a nice review, but because it's really thoughtful, and I appreciate that you really took the time to read it.
Thank you times a zillion.

~Sarah~


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Review #10, by Pottergirl7 Chapter One.

1st September 2012:
I found this through TDA and i was curious. So i read it and i must say i thought it was amazing. I absolutely loathe Umbridge too but at times i actually found myself pitying and sort of understanding her! Only a good writer could turn the tables and make the readers walk a mile in someone's shoes so effectively. Well done.

Author's Response: Hi! How lovely to get an unexpected review!

I'm glad this story piqued your curiosity... and that you found yourself almost pitying her. I'm even more glad that you still hate her - if you didn't, I'd have failed in my mission to understand her, but keep her just as dreadful.

Thanks so very much, getting a review like this really makes my day!
Athene xo


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Review #11, by kjp Chapter One.

1st September 2012:
hello you asked me to review your one-shot on hpff forums. My name is kelsey and i must say this story is excellent. Your writing reminds me a bit of JK Rowling's actually which is pretty impressive. This story is a very well thought idea, i wonder where the thought came from?
Your characters were well thought out, you made Umbridge exactly how i imagined her as a young teenager and Dumbledore was perfectly written... I can't find any thing wrong with how you wrote the characters.
I'd suggest getting a banner from the dark arts. It really does help popularity with your story grow.
You have the ability to write in third person which some people have real trouble to write (me being one of them :D )
I don't have any bad points to say, your plot, characters were perfect and believable. 10/10 from me :D
-kjp
p.s. I hate her too :D

Author's Response: Hi Kelsey,
Thanks for getting to my story so quickly! Sorry it took me a little while to respond, real life (ugh!) has been very busy.

Wow, your comment that my writing reminds you slightly of JKR's is a huge compliment. Thank you so much!

I'm trying to remember how I came up with this story. I think I just thought, nobody can be born *that* evil... and how can she think she's doing the right thing?

Thanks for your comment on Dumbledore, it's very nerve-wracking writing him so I'm glad you feel I did ok!

I took your advice - I had already requested a banner on TDA but it was taking a long time so I thought I'd better request a specific artist and I got a fab banner really quickly! You're right, it is a good idea.

I find writing in the first person really hard! Haha! Third person feels comfortable to me. Funny that we're all different with writing skills.

Thank you so very much for your review and appreciation of this story. I wasn't sure about this story, but you have really helped my confidence in it.

-Athene xo

p.s. Good! Haha! Hate for the Umbridge!


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Review #12, by Jchrissy Chapter One.

30th August 2012:
I love that you started off with Dolores as a young girl, it made me start out at least with an open mind instead of a ‘pitch for ready’ sort of attitude towards her. And your Dumbledore, let me just say I could never talk to you again because of how jealous I am that he is so *Dumbledore-ie* he’s perfect!

The children teasing her are bad enough - creative teasing name - dumbridge, btw ;) - but then Cygnus’s horrible cruel dismissal and being such a jerk to her, that’s even worse than knowing people are making fun of her, because he’s making it clear that she’s not good enough to even be seen with him. That the idea of her trying to snog him is humiliating and disgusting, and showing her in such a mean way that it is the last thing he'd ever want. Poor demented woman.

Her thoughts revolving around Dumbledore in this are really frustrating, because I just want to yell at her and tell her that he’s being nice! But she probably hasn’t ever seen much of the niceness for anyone, so it just isn’t a logical conclusion for her.

Okay, so, any part of - aww she’s just a young girl - sentiment has vanished with the switch the OotP time. She’s mean! She’s mean and nasty, and creepy. The worst part is, is she really thinks she’s doing something good! She doesn’t realize that she’s just being a mean old woman, but she thinks she’s helping! She thinks Hogwarts needs her help!!! Blah. But her thoughts were done so well. Her patronizing, pretentious, pink self come out so clearly, it felt like the exact same woman we know from the books. You really can ‘canon’ any character so well, my dear!

By this time (third section) any good in her is already nearly eaten away. She does fear her mother, that’s obvious, but she’s already building on that strong desire for revenge. She doesn’t blame the fact that if anyone would find out her mother would hurt her, on her mother - she would blame Dumbledore for making her mother hurt her if he were to get involved. I think that speaks the volumes about her character, she doesn’t understand right and wrong. She doesn’t understand compassion and lacks the emotional capacity to differentiate between someone wanting to help, and someone causing her hurt. I think this is, so far, the strongest aspect of the story because it shows us that this, right here, is when things are gone too far to be changed. She wants the bullies to be punished, because punishment - to her - is the only way of showing ones errors, she doesn’t want help, she just wants justice.

And she took the pink one! Favorite detail, haha!


Ah! It’s over? I thought I had another section for some reason! boo!!

Haha!

I think you did such an amazing job at writing something from her PoV. You didn’t let your own distaste of her cloud this at all, you gave her the chance to be human, to be okay, to get help. And you showed her choosing to banish that chance and it’s such an easy transfer form that last section to the woman she becomes.

You definitely didn’t make me like her (which wasn’t your goal, because we both know you’d never take that on :P) but you really made me understand her.

I can’t believe how different this is from anything else of yours, the one of it, the details you center on, it’s just so perfect and such a huge jump from the warmth of the Weasley’s, or the open wounds of When You Go (When You Fall? Before You Go? Haha!)

This is even better than I imagined, and I already hold you up to impossibly high standards :P!!



Author's Response: Hi my dear,
Sorry I'm so late replying to this lovely review. It's been a rough few days!

Please talk to me! I won't write Dumbledore again, I promise! ;)

I can always rely on you to read my stories as I intended them, even finding stuff and saying things that clarify my own story to me! This bit of your review: "She doesn’t understand compassion and lacks the emotional capacity to differentiate between someone wanting to help, and someone causing her hurt." captures exactly what I wanted to get in 'young Dolores'. Reading your comment, it struck me that she's a sociopath.

Thanks for saying that it still works even though it's miles from what I usually write... I was nervous about it for that reason. I like to write things where I feel comfortable, and this story was anything but!

Sorry this is such a rubbish little response, I have a headache but I couldn't leave it sitting in my 'Unanswered Reviews' any longer, as it was such a lovely review and I really appreciate you taking the time to do it :)

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


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Review #13, by Ravenclaw333 Chapter One.

29th August 2012:
I've never read your work before, but after this I'll definitely make a point of seeking it out. Your attention to detail is second to none and your characterisations perfect. A brilliant story, evoking pity for such a loathsome character. 10/10, well done indeed :)

Author's Response: Hi there! Well, thanks for taking the time to read and review despite not having come across my writing before :) Your comments are so kind, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this! Please do feel free to nose around my author's page ;)

Athene xoxo


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Review #14, by CambAngst Chapter One.

29th August 2012:
Very interesting...

Granted, I don't go around looking for stories with "Umbridge" checked in the characters list, but I'm sure that you're the first author I've ever seen try to inject just a bit of humanity into this foul, loathsome woman. But, even Voldemort has a back story that makes the character understandable if not exactly likeable. So I suppose it stand to reason that Dolores Umbridge comes from somewhere. And I think you did a great job of positing where that is and building a terrific little story up around it. Oh, and please don't apologize for the length! Only scaredy-cats are afraid of long chapters. ;)

The way that you set her up and tied her in to a few names recognizable from canon was a great way to start, I thought. I was able to make an immediate connection and also place her in a time frame. I think this is about the right age for her, BTW, since McGonagall always seemed to be just a bit older than her.

You built her up in such a way that the bullying she suffered felt perfectly in context and made sense in a sad sort of way. While she is a Slytherin, she's also plain and high-strung and slightly overweight and she doesn't have a last name like Black or Rosier to fall back on. Her spellwork seems adequate, but not extraordinary. Dumbledore's attempts to encourage her seem to do more harm than good.

Cygnus, BTW, was a complete jerk. I will now despise him even harder while reading Marauders-era fics. ;)

Flipping forward to the present, we find the contemptible Dolores Umbridge of OotP fame in her full glory. You captured the character very well, I thought. I love the duality; how she's able to suck up to Fudge while simultaneously thinking poorly of him. She's all about appearances, even when she's getting mostly what she wants. Ooh! When she's patting herself on the back for torturing Harry with her illegal quill... OK, I just forgot about everything that happened to her in the first section and all I can think about is how much I hate her! ;)

The last section in Dumbledore's office left me with some interesting mixed feelings about both characters, actually. For Dolores's part, you made her out to be the textbook example of the bullied child who resists help because they blame themselves. The attitude of, "it's my problem, only I can fix it, adult intervention will only make it worse" is so tragically engrained in so many of these kids. And her fixation on punishment comes from her mother! That was a pretty clever touch, I have to say.

Dumbledore, for his part, sounded very much like Dumbledore. In fact, he reminded me of Dumbledore in the books to a frustrating extent. The same man who watched Harry struggle at times and was unwilling to help because of his misplaced ideas about Harry's best interests. The man who allowed Snape to continue bullying Harry and countless other children, knowing full well that it was happening. Dumbledore is "hands off" to a fault, and that comes through very clearly here, as well.

So, to sum it up, you made Dolores Umbridge make sense to me, but I don't think anything will ever make me feel badly for her. Dumbledore was also very well done, but it a way that reinforced some of the worst things I've always felt about him. Overall, your writing was terrific and I enjoyed reading this!

Author's Response: Wow, Dan thanks for the long juicy review! I have to say, writing this story made me feel kind of... unclean. And I don't actually believe it, necessarily- when I read OotP I won't imagine Umbridge as the bullied little girl here, I'll still see her as the awful, awful woman Rowling created. But challenging myself to write from her point of view meant that I couldn't just make her pure evil! There would be nothing to write about except her smirking and stroking cats, Blofeld style.

Cygnus *was* a jerk, right?! Worse than the ones who full-on bullied her, I think. Well, Dumbledore says it for me.

Ah, Dumbledore. I know. I didn't intend to portray this side of him, but somehow that's how it ended up. I love Dumbledore; I love his twinkly eyes, his eccentricity, his kindness, his odd sense of humour and his great big beard. I really struggled with finding out how very flawed he was (as did Harry, I guess!) and maybe that's been reflected here. I hope there was a bit of twinkle in amongst all the possibly harmful manipulation/hands-offishness! But yeah, although you didn't like it much, I'm going to take away the fact that it felt like Dumbledore to you!

As for the section with grown-up Dolores... I think I could probably have extended it but she's just so hateful. I wonder if I should transition it a bit more gently. Anyway, yeah... thanks for hating her! That means I did my job!

I totally forgive you for not being able to pity her. She's horrendous. I actually disliked myself for writing something trying to explain her actions! But thank you for reading and reviewing this, I'm glad you enjoyed it even if it made you... uncomfortable? Thank you again, you are a lovely reviewer Dan :)

And Jami didn't even have to tell you to do it! You beat her here!

Sarah x



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